Frugal Accomplishments

Frugal Accomplishments For the Fourth Week of April

The weather was beautiful this past week. We even had a tiny bit of rain and enjoyed seeing a rainbow!

We read books from our own library outside in the garden.

It started to get rather warm (what some of you would consider hot and even hotter than summer temperatures in some places in the world; 91 degrees F/ 32,7 degrees C) so I made sure to open the windows in the mornings when it was cool and close them before lunch. It won’t be that long before the nights never cool down below 100 degrees F, so I’m grateful it is still so cool this spring, as I can avoid using the air conditioner a little longer this year. Our most recent bill is $15 less than this time last year (and $14 less than last month!)

I harvested lettuce, arugula, spinach, rosemary, Meyer lemons, green onions, and snow peas from the garden.

Normally I don’t have problems with anything eating my Swiss chard in the garden. I noticed that one of my plants was being eaten. I turned over the leaves and found a caterpillar, which I squished. I plan to keep a closer look on the garden this year for pests that could reduce our yield.

My mom was placing an online grocery order and allowed me to add some items on to her order. I was able to split the delivery charge and the tip this way with her. After the groceries were delivered, my parents wiped off each item and put them one at a time on the wall between us for me to pick them up. We are taking lots of precautions to keep one another safe; my husband can mostly work from home but has still had to go to the bank and to his office once a week.

Breakfasts this past week were crepes with lemons and powdered sugar; omelets and toast; pancakes; eggs and smoothies (made with frozen peaches and blackberries from our garden and home-canned cranberry and grape juice), and eggs and toast.

Lunches this past week were salad (several times and once with homemade macaroni and cheese); bean and rice burritos; and bean and pasta soups with Swiss chard from the garden. I added alfalfa sprouts that I had sprouted to my salad and used lettuce from the garden and the store.

Snacks this past week were apples and peanut butter; strawberry and peach shortcakes (with strawberries and peaches from the freezer); chocolate chip cookies; popcorn; peanut butter cookies (my teenaged son decided to try a recipe that uses shortening instead of butter); oatmeal smores cookies that my daughter made from a recipe book of mine; and homemade French bread (I’m using about 75% whole wheat) with homemade apricot jam from our pantry.

Dinners this past week were rosemary garlic pork roast with fig sauce, steamed broccoli, whole wheat pita bread, and butternut squash; pork tacos and strawberry/peach shortcake using frozen strawberries and peaches with shortcake from scratch; roast chicken with au gratin potatoes and broccoli; Museum Pasta Salad with snow peas and green onions from the garden; bean and rice burritos; and quesadillas and salad.

I wanted some more clothing but since thrift stores are closed, I took advantage of a site’s 50% off everything sale to purchase some things for myself. I looked at several places online first, as I had read of even greater sales elsewhere, but I hadn’t found anything I liked on the other sites. As I have been building a new wardrobe to fit my current (smaller) size, I have been adding pieces slowly. I needed a few more casual items that I can wear while working in the garden and around the house.

My son has been offered jobs left and right lately, and for more than he was making at the thrift store. I do not want him to go out. He asked for and received special permission from the dean of the university to start classes a semester early (normally they require a student to be 17 and his birthday isn’t until July). They gave him permission to start full-time classes now instead of waiting until fall (he was accepted to start classes on campus in fall). He started taking classes this week (new semester; they have a trimester schedule) and is taking 12 credit hours through the university. He applied for and received notice that he would be receiving financial aid which will cover his tuition. He is also taking an additional 8 credit hours of free Institute classes online through Institutes in different cities.

When buying books, he chose the Kindle edition of a textbook, which allowed him to get a free audiobook version as well. He is able to listen to his textbook while he exercises.

I tied up grapevines in the garden, pulled weeds, and checked on plants. None of my squash had come up. I planted new seeds in the empty tomato pots from the nursery that I filled with potting soil and set them in a location that gets sun most of the day. I’ll transplant these once they grow.

I dropped the lid of the tea kettle, and the plastic knob/handle at the top broke off. My husband was able to put on a knob that he had and make it work after he made the screw shorter.

My husband spent more time organizing the garage to make it work well for his needs. I am glad that he has been able to do this while the weather has been pleasant.

My husband gave our eldest son a haircut.

I dug a small succulent that had grown from a broken piece in my garden and potted it up for my dad. It will be my Father’s Day gift to him.

I cut parsley and oregano that were bolting from the garden, washed them, and set them to dry.

What did you do to save money last week?

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186 Comments

  1. I noticed that in my my comment here on last week’s post that I was getting closer to having made 300 masks. As of Monday, I’ve sent out over 396 masks. My back and shoulders are stiff but I’m glad I was able to do this. I’m all caught up with the orders and am guessing that everyone has a mask that wants one now! It’s been great to put some of my fabric bits to use, although my drawers of fabric scraps are still pretty full. Truth be told, I could probably double the number I’ve already made without running low! Yikes!! Lol! But, at $2 a mask for replenishing my materials afterwards (I just bought a dozen more spools of thread!), that has still put over $750 into my account to do just that. Hopefully, any good will that comes from this will have a positive effect on our little business

    I bought some food storage buckets and lids and 3 more gamma seal lids at Home Depot because my friends had wanted their buckets (with gamma seals) returned when we emptied them. Final inventory was: (2) 5 gallon buckets of instant refried beans (gave 1 to our daughter), (1) 5 gallon bucket of dehydrated potato slices, (1) 5 gallon bucket of kidney beans, (1) 5 gallon bucket and (2) 35 pound containers of white wheat and (1) 5 gallon bucket of soybeans! Our friends had suggested that we could just give these to the chickens or toss then into our compost pile because they were old. But when we opened the buckets and tested the contents, everything is still pristine and dry and doesn’t have an “off” taste or smell! So these will all be added into our food storage as well as that of our various children! Since our food storage is constantly be rotated (as we eat it), it won’t be stuck in buckets for years now!! Lol!
    Our 2 new chickens that we bought 4 weeks ago from a hatchery – Laverne and Shirley (Plymouth barred rocks) started laying this week!! We also got verification from a local farm for our June 3 pickup order of 3 Rhode Island Reds to add to our little flock. They should start laying in July! I am hoping that this will get us back to the 4 dozen eggs a week production that we had the first 2 years from our girls! That’s enough for our family plus some to sell! We feel blessed to have these chickens here in the middle of the city!!
    Our garden is doing well. The peas and chard and spinach I planted as seeds have come up and I’ve added to them the seedlings we bought- 4 packs of seedlings for 99 cents. I, of course, picked out packs that had “extra” plants within the pack. My 4 pack of spinach actually had a dozen little starts! https://pin.it/2DCGrLU
    This next 2 weeks there is a sale at the same hardware/garden center for the 4 packs of veggie or flower starts for 69 cents/4 pack!!
    We went to a hardware store/nursery to see if they would have an apricot tree, but no luck! We were able to pick up 4 apple trees and 2 cherry trees that our daughter (on 13 acres) asked us to look for. We decided to drive over to their house to deliver them (about an hour away) and realized when we got there that the gas tank on our minivan was below 1/4! ?? We used GasBuddy and found that 10 minutes away from their house and on our way home, gas was down to $1.09/gallon! Our 18+ gallons was less than $20!! Oh, how the free GasBuddy app on our phone has saved us so much money!
    Some friends who are moving from Ohio for a teaching position at BYU-Provo stopped by to say goodbye through our front door and give us some basil starts to put in our garden! I’m excited because basil wasn’t something I had planted yet!

    Since our regular monthly SS checks came in on Wednesday, I was able to take our excess zeroed-out balance and put almost $600 into savings and make 5 additional principal payments on our mortgage. So April had the equivalent of 6 months taken off our mortgage! IRS has all of our info and says we are eligible for the stimulus and they will notify us when they have a date that they will direct deposit it.

    We will be getting a refund for our Wicked tickets because the performance would have been Wednesday this week and it was cancelled because of COVID19. This had been a once in 10 year kind of splurge- 5th row behind orchestra pit, exactly in the center! Sad we won’t be seeing it, but grateful they notified us of the refund!
    We tried a new IP recipe and it was a big hit! I substituted cooked turkey from the freezer (extra one fromThanksgiving sale) for the chicken, home-canned Rotel and black beans, corn I froze last summer and DIY Ranch Dressing Mix! Now, if that isn’t a “food storage” kind of meal, I don’t know what is! Lol! https://pin.it/5YRfwMu
    Our son at home got his first unemployment checks this week after 4 weeks. He also got his stimulus check so those have been transferred into his savings account for now.
    The weather is glorious so I’m going to spend some time in the garden! I love this time of the year even if there are inconveniences. If we all are prudent and wise, we can come through this
    Gardenpat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    1. Your masks are so nicely made. I can’t believe you could get out 396: in such a short time. I was the happy recipient of seven .

      1. Thanks, Connie for your kind words! Smiled when I saw a neighbor of yours ordered some after you got yours! Stay healthy!!

        1. I dug up 2 lbs of potato fingerlings which grew from buried potato skins. I added fireplace ashes to the soil a few months ago for the potassium soil nutrient.
          We drank scads of herbal tea this winter by boiling water on the woodstove and filling our thermos bottles.
          By serendipity, I used the saved flimsy key ring as a paper clip. I turn it on the paper until there is a full circle on the front and back of the papers. I love it better than conventional paper clips!
          I do yoga, classical strengthening and stretching exercises by watching PBS and Zumba by watching You Tube. I use a bike inner tube as a stretch band and things around the house instead of purchasing paraphernalia for exercise.
          Harvesting root veggies is no longer a dread from dealing with all the attached dirt. I tried standing the harveat in a bucket. After adding water, I swish the bucket around. Veggies come out clean, and I pour water back into the garden.
          My neighbors were throwing their rubber plants into the street for recycling. I brought plants home, clipped the roots and overgrown stalks, and I replanted in a pot with well-draining soil. I saw a plant that size at the garden shop for $35. I’m reading that plants in the house neutralizes toxicity in the air, so working on having plants in every room.
          Today feels like Groundhog Day in that we need 5 more weeks of sheltering-in-place. Stay safe, everyone!

    2. I laughed at your chicken names of “Laverne and Shirley.” Made me imagine them doing the walk-dance in the opening credits of that show.

      1. One of the 2 new chickens is bigger than the other and seems a bit bolder – hence the names- LaVerne and Shirley!! Lol!

    3. That Instant Pot chicken chili is a pantry meal favorite of ours! You can make it with canned chicken as well and it tastes great. (I have used the canned chicken from Costco and the ones from Walmart).

      1. Cindi- My family doesn’t think that they like dark meat turkey, so I used a bag of it and they never knew the difference! So Yummy, they exclaimed! I smiled!!

        1. been rough couple days but today at least I am able to do a bit. Amish neighbors doing fine, They planted their spring garden Saturday. Was fun the 1 yr old walking around like she was the boss and watching everyone else work. Even across a 14 acre pasture is was great.
          Hope Sugar Cookie doing well along with you also

    4. Where did you purchase your plants and when is that great sale? I’m in Columbus too. We should meet up some time!

      1. Denise- Sutherlands. There is only 1 left in Columbus, south west . Here’s their address: 2590 Clime Rd
        Columbus, OH 43223. Their veggie starts have always been cheaper than anywhere else! Not the Bonnie brand they also sell, but these they have in stock in abundance. Good luck!

    5. Pat, I enjoy reading your comment every week! Do you have any advice about introducing new chicks to the flock? We have raised chickens for years but usually only get new ones. My daughter got 6 more to show in 4H this year. We are not sure if we should build a new coop or try to get the 4 year olds to all get along with the new ones. We do have a extremely aggressive rooster that only behaves for my husband! With covid, we are not even sure she will get to show at the county fair. Purdue University who is in charge of our 4h has put everything on hold till at least June 30th. Any advice would be great!

    6. Gardenpat,
      Thank you for your hard work making masks . I was the lucky recipient of 10 of your beautifully crafted masks .
      J-

  2. It was a good week for our family! No tornadoes, and our electricity only went out for most of one day from a wind storm before the power company got it restored.
    In frugal savings:

    *I got my hubby to help me and we made a strawberry tower out of recycled things we had around the house. In this we planted the strawberry plants that I got on clearance a week ago.

    *My hubby got our broken generator working again. He was inspired when our electricity went out from a wind storm, and we had no idea how long it was going to be out THIS time, the week before it was out from the tornadoes, so he took the generator apart even further than he had done before, and with an even greater cleaning he got it working again!

    *Using the generator power, I was able to run both our fridge and our freezer, as well as run our internet so we could have my daughter’s FaceTime piano lesson. Our generator is too small to run anything like a microwave on top of the other things, but I figured out we could run our crock pot so found containers to put some leftovers in the crock pot to heat. It worked perfectly, and tasted SO good to have warm food when our house was cold!

    *I made home made bread in my Dutch oven.

    *I enjoyed the roses blooming currently in our garden. Always free to simply enjoy what you already have!

    Pictures of our strawberry tower and other things and more details over on my blog at:

    https://chickadeecove.blogspot.com/2020/04/frugal-friday-week-of-april-19-26-2020.html

    I am writing from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

  3. Congratulations to your son for getting accepted for early start!

    I’ve been working on my container garden and the yard a lot this week. I have Seminole Squash (an heirloom winter squash) seeds coming up, and I planted okra and parsley this weekend. I cut some of my new chives for the first time, put a cage on the tomato plant and set up a trellis for the cucumbers. I pruned a rose bush that had dead canes from a lawn mower hitting them. I sprayed Spray and Grow on all the fruits and vegetables as well as my re-potted flowers, which I’m trying to revive.

    I trimmed back my stevia plant after I repotted it, let the leaves dry for a few days and used them to sweeten herbal iced tea.

    I sprayed for aphids on my lemon tree.

    I was sorely tempted by some scrumptious premium brand blueberry jam on clearance at the store — that’s one of my favorites — but I still have homemade pear butter, lemon balm jelly, hibiscus jelly and beauty berry jelly. We grow some blueberries, but my preference is to eat them fresh, and I never leave enough to make jam. I set the jar back and saved myself $2.

    I planted the ends of a few green onions, and they are growing new tops.

    I clicked through this blog to shop at Amazon, and bought some signage for our gates with a gift card I got from taking a survey.

    The weather was perfect for hanging out laundry, so I hung it all out, even a blanket.

    I washed some windows with a cleaning solution suggested by a professional cleaner — a few drops of dish detergent to a gallon of warm water and a microfiber cloth. It works great and is super cheap. Polish dry with another clean dry microfiber cloth.

    I mended some of my husband’s pajama pants.

    We had a cool spell after warmer than usual weather, so I plan to work outside as much as I can! I also may be going back to work at my office next week, after working from home for a month, so this is my chance.
    Best wishes to everyone here.

    1. Jo,

      I love your story about the jam. I always think that I’m most frugal with what I choose not to buy. To have it in hand and put it back is an accomplishment!
      Way to go,
      Trish

  4. Hi, Brandy

    I completely understand your desire for your son not to go out right now and love that you’ve found a way to make the most of this time. I did want to mention for perspective and for anyone else who may be looking for a job: grocery stores are desperate to hire people with experience and are currently paying an additional two dollars or more per hour above normal wages. My 19 year old daughter was hired on the spot at Safeway because she had experience and is currently getting paid $14.50/hour and working 33 hours this week. We do not come in contact with anyone who is immune compromised and my husband is still working out of the home so we are willing to take this risk for her to build up her savings.

    1. I’m glad she was able to get a job. My son noted the higher prices as well that places are paying. He’s thrown himself into his schoolwork and is really enjoying his classes right now. His work is shut down but they are paying him for two months anyway, so we were happy for him to start school early.

  5. I’m glad your son can start classes. When my youngest daughter is a little older, she wants to get a job. (She actually wants one now, but she’s too young) For now, I’m with you. I don’t want her to go out even for odd jobs. My husband drove her around to drop flower bouquets and a baby gift off on doorsteps for a couple of people–that cheered her up. This is a huge difference for her as she is used to being very busy and interacting with kids a lot. I ordered a Biology curriculum and I’m having her spend quite a bit of time on it since she has so much time on her hands. We will be out of our current curriculum mid-May, and I’m going to order more, or use things around here. I want her to have a schedule and routine and have a nice balance between useful, productive activities and down time. I’ve noticed several of her friends are spending lots and lots of time sleeping in all day after staying up most of the night, spending hours and hours on their phones, computers and video games, and a small amount of time doing the school work their public schools send out. And, they complain constantly how bored they are. Since this is her first year of home school, she’s just learning how the whole thing works around here–life is one big learning opportunity. I’m hoping she can catch that idea, even though she started late. I want her to learn that life does not need to stop when one goes through a crisis–it just looks different, it will be hard, but she can get through it.

    I spent hours and hours in the yard and garden. My husband has grown many, many veggie starts, and once they are ready, it’s my job to put them out into the garden. I planted more carrots and beets from seed, dill, basil, and cilantro from seed, 100’s of onion starts, 3 little head lettuce starts, more snow peas, etc. I will say that only 2 of my Swiss chard plants came up and they are quite pathetic! I guess you can’t win them all:). I like to succession plant, and I’m trying to fill in every little corner I can find with little veggie starts. What we don’t eat, we will share. We are hardening off tomatoes and peppers and some other starts. My husband has delivered starts to various people he’s sharing with, and will deliver the rest of what we don’t need to my sister tomorrow. She grows a huge garden. Between the two of us, we will supply our other sister, who is interested in canning this summer for the first time in a long time, and other relatives.

    I weeded and hoed around the plants that are out there. There is quite a bit of hand-hoeing to do, as I basically grow the entire plot as one big, huge raised bed with rows closely spaced together with narrow walkways. One the initial tilling is done, only the tiny hand tiller can go between the rows, and as the plants grow bigger, it’s pretty much hand hoeing and weeding. It’s the only way I can get enough planted in the back yard I have.

    My husband made trellises and supports so we can grow some things that climb up to save space in our garden.

    I cut out a dress for my daughter.

    My husband fixed a plumbing issue for under $10. We didn’t have to call a plumber, which would have been necessary since there was water all over the kitchen floor. Twice. I did the crawling around under there, he provided the know-how and went and got the parts. It turned out to be a problem with the faucet, and he fixed it. It sure needed cleaning out under the sink, and I did that. Yuck! But, now it’s clean.

    We cooked 3 meatless meals this week. We have plenty of meat in the freezer. We’ve just decided to stretch it, in case there is a meat shortage. If there isn’t, no harm done. We haven’t grocery shopped for almost 2 weeks at this point. But, when we did last, some items were still missing, and the good sales are gone for the most part. It’s just basically a situation of just buying what you can for whatever price they ask for it. So, we want to be wise with our resources. We are loaded up with staples such as lentils, beans, etc. and want to use those items we have already paid for. We have a few more weeks to go before we get enough from our large garden to make a difference in our grocery bill. Our 24 year-old daughter had an “Imperfect Produce” box delivered here last week. Some things in there were things she specifically wanted, the rest was for us to eat. So kind.

    Brandy, I’m glad your husband can work. Here’s hoping someone needs to buy a house from him. The house next door to us sold. I was surprised. I didn’t see people looking at it and it was a fairly quick sale. I wasn’t expecting people to be buying houses right now, but someone did.

    I put pictures on my blog: http://beckyathome.com

    1. Becky— houses are still getting contracts in our neighborhood within 24 hours and with multiple offers. We have considered listing our home and looking for something smaller but the inventory is quite low.

  6. Hello to everyone!
    Our garden is looking beautiful, which is a real lift at the moment. Kale and swiss chard continue to be harvested. I have seedlings of kale, chard, collard greens, lettuce, peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and beans all doing well. I spent some time planting the ones that need shade here. The sun loving seedlings are still in their small pots in a seed tray outside, it is certainly warm enough. I found canning lids at Ace hardware at the same price as Walmart normally has them, but Walmart is sold out here.
    We are learning the cycle of when to open windows in our new climate. We used to live in a similar climate to Brandy. Where we are now, a cool breeze comes up every day about 4 pm, and we can open our windows. We do not have A/C here-this is the first place I have lived in the US that I did not have A/C. We are happy with our electricity bills!
    I, too, have taken advantage of online sales on clothes. Only things that I need. I am taking this time to ‘make over’ some clothes that were in my thrift store pile. It gives me good practice in my dressmaking skills, and sometimes I come out with a really useful item. I have also been a bit more ruthless about getting rid of hand-me-downs that don’t work very well for me. I don’t like feeling sad about the clothes I’m wearing.
    We got 3 orders of free chicken nuggets at Wendy’s on Friday, they were running a promotion. Tomorrow Taco Bell is offering free tacos. I can’t eat either of these things, but I go with my husband so we can each get one, and then he eats both.
    I got cross stitch fabric from my Buy Nothing group. We did curbside pickup for some craft items at Michaels. We played Scribbl online (like Pictionary) with my sister and her daughters.

  7. Not the most productive of weeks, but I did solve a problem of what to do with canned unsalted whole tomatoes. I had bought several cans with a plan to make chili, use them cooking a pot roast, and make pasta sauce. This didn’t happen, and now that May is here, I am reluctant to make things from my winter menus. I found a recipe for classic tomato soup, which used chicken stock as a base and white onions. I had a mason jar of poultry stock, and white onions., so I was good to go. I used I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter from a super sale price and rather old dried thyme instead of fresh, but it made a wonderful soup, which luckily left me leftovers for a couple of extra meals.

    I found out this morning that my reappointment to the board of our regional college was not going to be approved by the government after all, so I am completely retired now. It means there will be a little less disposable income, but doesn’t have an impact on my main expenses, so no worries there.

    There is very distressing news from our provincial government here in Alberta about how the price of oil will impact the economy. They have also issued unusually strict and early fire bans this year, which has an impact on everything from using off-road vehicles, to barbecuing with briquets, to using fire pits. The bans are intended to cut the number of forest fires, they say to help our lung health when we get COVID, but more likely to keep down the cost of fighting fires and evacuating people. And there are floods this week forcing communities to evacuate, so the government released a lot of information about planning for a disaster. The food bank in Fort McMurray, one of the larger centers in northern Alberta, has been flooded out. People are evacuating, but being asked to follow social distancing rules. It is hard to cross-reference rules for different catastrophes!

    My cats are on a new nighttime routine. They were howling at me and scratching me and stomping all over me to get me up to feed them in the middle of the night. They now get moved out of the bedroom as soon as they do this, and the door isn’t opened until I am ready to get up. They are a little shocked, but I was losing too much sleep, and then having to catch up in the day. They are smart cats, though, so I don’t think it will take long for them to figure out the kitchen is really closed after the lights go out.

    1. I’ll go against the flow here, and say I hope people don’t go out and panic-buy huge amounts of meat the way they did on toilet paper and other staples. I think it is important to trust the food-supply system to use their expertise to provide a reasonable supply of equivalents to what we are used to buying. Over-buying this year by individual households has created much, much more demand than grocers have been able to supply. It is not that these things were actually in short supply.

      I am concerned about meat, because we some key plants shutting down in Canada too. But I see my local grocer bringing in more of brands from other locations like British Columbia and Germany. They are limiting quantities to encourage gradual purchase of supplies, which helps them keep a steady supply. I’ve also been thinking about other protein options. I haven’t had cottage cheese in the longest time, and it is probably time for me to learn to make yogurt!

      Growing vegetables is, of course, a very sensible thing to do. It takes time to get good at gardening though, so I hope too much effort and investment isn’t made by people without experience. It also can cost quite a lot to get all the canning supplies and equipment, and with so many people doing this year, there won’t be garage sale and thrift store jars available, if you can even go to one of these sales/stores.

      I am also keeping in mind that much of the media coverage about food shortages in initiated by individual suppliers and industry organizations that have an agenda other than providing the consumer with information. Our believing there are shortages make us more willing to buy meat at any price, as an example. So, I hope we all can take the time to breathe before we react.

      1. Elizabeth,

        I read some very interesting pieces in the last couple of days. They were interviews with farmers and ranchers. The problem is that the packing houses have sick people (so they are killing the animals and NOT selling them. They are going to waste. Today there is a headline about 2 million chickens being slaughtered that would have been sold. If you read the interviews with the farmers, it’s not hype. The rancher who was speaking said that ranchers are losing $300-$400 per head on cattle, but the packinghouses are profiting $500-$600 a head. They are calling for a bust-up of the monopolies on packinghouses so that there are enough smaller companies to slaughter and package the meat locally. Then there is enough, but otherwise, there is not.

        Here is the interview with the rancher. It’s probably the best written piece I’ve read in years: https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/24/opinions/united-shades-of-america-family-farms-kamau-bell-opinion/index.html?fbclid=IwAR2cSWmSc54hGTJ6ob-kTWLbmL9waA6JLkRwXv_fPfDVsDfmG7tfgzdy9P4

        Here’s the piece from BBC (note: I had to go out of the country to find out more about what is happening in the U.S. I always try to read world news) about one of the packing companies: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52311877?fbclid=IwAR03MVzN2Zc1qjaLO5t9FZhHPJJbjk73_80nxpkivWCOsHo-5ujvqzEiSzU

        1. Thanks for the links, Brandy. A few of packing plants in Canada have been closed for the moment because of employee illness, not helped by work conditions, but other plants are saying in the media the same will happen to them — if government doesn’t give them the money to change the working conditions.

          I am sympathetic to farmers. I live in farm country, and have worked in the agricultural sector for many years, but these are the difficulties of large-scale agriculture and distribution systems. Maybe we’ll see a return to the co-operative movement, especially in the meat business. It has been very big in the past in this part of the world, and arose out of farmers not getting a fair deal from the people they bought from and sold to.

          I just hate to see consumers exacerbate the smaller supplies with over-purchasing meat for their own households though. I bought groceries this morning, and there was plenty of selection, just not full shelves. Flour was back, though, and a small shelf of hand sanitizer.

          1. Hi Elizabeth M.

            I’m not so sure people will be stocking up on beef — in fact, they may avoid it for a while and stock up on beef alternatives. My grocery shopping volunteer went to the store for me today. I had asked for canned lentil beans which were on sale but all of that brand of bean was sold out (lentils, cannellini, black, mixed, borlotti) and it’s probably because people are now buying beans as an alternative protein source. Yesterday, I emailed Top Grass beef, an Alberta company and asked where their meat was processed. It is not at a big plant. Pricey but grass fed and antibiotic free. I am trying it out. I don’t eat a lot of beef anyway but need some to keep my iron levels normal. This is the first time since last October that I bought toilet paper. (My friend last fall had bought an enormous package for me). The store even had some! The store also had Classico pasta sauce on sale and the shelf was empty except for two which he bought for me.

            A friend bought hand sanitizer at a brewery here that was making it — $15.75 — she bought one for me, too. I’ll pay her back. It is the size of an. olive oil bottle. It is better to use soap and water but I’m sure hand sanitizer will be ok for some things. Ann

        2. It disgusts me that these beings lived horrible lives and are being killed and no one is even going to eat them.
          What a sick society we are.

          1. It is very sad. I hope this loss of life helps us to change the way we produce and package food in the nation.

      2. A trick I learned, courtesy of a son and son-in-law who are vegan, is to keep a supply of tofu on hand. It’s inexpensive and so versatile. I’ve used it in place of ground beef in a number of different ways – crumbled up and cooked w/ taco spices for tacos/burritos/taco salads – also crumbled and cooked w/ bell peppers and onions and herbs (including a little turmeric to make it yellow) as “scrambled eggs”. Lots of other ways to prepare and serve it, these are just a couple of things I’ve had success with, w/ the vegans. 😉

        1. That’s a good reminder for me, Ava. I love tofu stir-fried with vegetables on or mixed with rice. It takes on the flavor of anything you cook it with, so is great with all kinds of sauces.

        2. Tempeh is also a good protein source and can be marinated with whatever ingredients you enjoy. We slice it thin, marinate it with a little maple syrup, soy sauce and liquid smoke, and bake it in the oven until it’s crisp. It has a lovely salty/smoky/sweet flavor. Nuts can be soaked overnight and then sauteed with onions and spices to make a substitute for ground cow. Going vegan can save lots of money (and lives).

        3. Thanks to the person who mentioned that they were using toilet paper rolls to grow seeds in. I am doing that, too. I did, however, find several pots that I had missed recycling last year so I will be planting in those, too.

          I saved money because my volunteer found yogourt on sale at 50% off as it was near the best before date. Also cheese that usually sells for $13.95 was on sale for $7.95 so I bought 2 blocks and put them in the freezer. I have a third, smaller block for eating now. I may make lasagna with it. I got two jars of pasta sauce at a good price. I try to replenish my pantry when I use that pasta sauce. I also got 4 cans of tomatoes on sale, also for the pantry. Also, Classico pasta sauce comes in mason jars so I am saving them to replace all of my empty mason jars that were thrown out, recycled or whatever when I was in the hospital. I will buy new lids for them. They are not quite as big as some of the jars I have used. but glass is glass. I am hoping that I have nanking cherries and sour cherries for jelly making and I have my eye on a buffalo berry plant down the street., also for jelly making (I have never made buffalo berry jelly but it’s supposed to be delicious).

          I have been writing to people asking for permission to quote for our book. They have been very gracious and have said yes but then sent me reams more of information. I finally have this incorporated in the chapters so can proceed with other book related tasks.

          I am going to sit outside tomorrow and plant the first of my seeds. I have a large plastic dome which I bought with its base from our local coffee shop (it held the pastries) when it went out of business. It was $5.00. One of the gardening club members saw it and wished she had bought it, saying it would be perfect for seeds –I laughed and said that was exactly what I had bought it for. Alas, the tray base for it was thrown out, recycled, whatever when I was in the hospital so I’m not sure what I will use. For the short term, I will put the dome on the patio table and have the pots under the dome which will protect them from blowing off the table with the wind. I may cover it overnight with a towel to keep the temperature up.

          I tried to participate in the nature challenge but it was so windy that no birds came and I then gave up.

          I still don’t have yeast although I found an old jar and may test it to see if it works still.

          Ann

      3. Elizabeth,
        Respectfully, I disagree with you about gardening and preserving food. If people are inspired to start this year, I think it’s a great thing! There are so many resources people can draw upon to get gardening tips or canning lessons. I think as long as people understand they probably won’t grow enough to take the place of buying food, they’ll be fine. Even growing a few herbs is easy and can be an entry point. Those of us who are experienced were once beginners too.

        1. I do think if they start small this year and build over time, it is great. I’m just don’t want people to fail in too big an effort when they can’t afford the resources. I remember there were very heavy rains the first year I planted a garden, and most of the seeds literally floated away, except some lettuce seeds that spilled by accident when I was planting. Lots of spring mix salads that year. Fortunately, I wasn’t counting on the garden to feed me.

          1. I’m always of the “Go big or go home” attitude when it comes to a garden myself. I know it won’t all make it, but if one has the means to do so, putting in a garden is a wonderful blessing. Some things, like fruit trees and vines, take a few years to produce, so putting in more is important to be able to harvest in years to come.

    2. My cat does this too when hungry. Crawls all over me purring, nuzzling my face, & giving a love bite if the 1st two don’t work. Then he starts on hubby. I locked kitty out of the BR & he sat & cried outside the door so he could come in and pester me this afternoon. Gotta love ’em.

  8. My favorite posts, I love the inspiration!

    We foraged some deadnettle and cress for salads. We also foraged bigleaf maple blossoms for blossom pancakes (they have a sweet floral flavor, vaguely reminiscent of syrup)!

    I made a big pot of lentil stew for lunches this week.

    I whipped up batches of vegan bacon, sausage, and “chicken” from chickpea flour and vital wheat gluten.

    I gave my 15 year old son a haircut.

    My son has been spending the evenings playing an online game with his cousin, who lives 1700 miles away. His aunt, my sister, purchased the game for my son’s birthday last week.

    We had a game night with out of town friends via Discord and Jackbox games.

    I made patio rail planters by cutting down cat litter jugs and devising a sturdy anchoring system. We live on the third floor. I planted out container varieties of tomatoes and zucchini, along with basil, lettuce, spinach, radishes, chives, and rosemary. We have a small shelf style greenhouse that we dumpster picked last year, which was used to start the seedlings.

    I asked for and received wine yeast from our Buy Nothing group, with no contact pickup, of course. We are going to try our hand at making dandelion wine.

    My partner and I had a date afternoon. We went geocaching along a local open hiking trail, then came home and enjoyed conversation and a homemade pizza on the balcony.

  9. Brandy, I would love to see a post on building a frugal wardrobe with maybe a glimpse into your closet. I love your style (vintage) and would love some pointers with shopping frugally. If you feel comfortable sharing the site with the 50% on clothing, please do! No pressure, though. Love reading your weekly posts! I still am working on a “frugal post” so I will leave another comment when I get that up. Thanks!

    1. Monica, I bought some t-shirts at Downeast. They’re fairly fitted and more of a layering t-shirt (definitely not vintage, but I could wear some under thin vintage-style blouses or just with a skirt). I also bought a dress that I had been eying; I hope it’s flattering on me! It’s more dressy but I could also wear it in the house and be comfortable in the heat here on a day I’m not planning to work outside.

      Normally, I spend most of my money at garage sales and thrift stores, but since those options are not available, I’m looking online for sales. I bought some church dresses before, but they’re definitely not everyday wear, and now I have no reason to dress quite that dressy, so I want some things that will do well in the heat at home. I’ve been wearing out a few things that I bought used several years ago from garage sales, thrift stores, and ebay, so I needed some new things this summer.

      1. I like your outfit in the photograph of you with the colander. I like to wear skirts & tops also when to teach face to face. I also like my skirts midi length as I do not have to worry when I bend & reach while I’m moving about the classroom. It’s hard to find skirts let alone midi length. I found some skirts that length at a Christopher & Banks store in Texas. I miss going to school to teach so I can wear my skirts or dressing for church. No one cares what you wear in on-line class.

    2. For information on all things lentil including a multitude of recipes, check out the Canadian website lentils.org.

  10. I harvested asparagus, peas, rosemary and lemon balm from the garden. How wonderful they allowed your son to begin school early, as I’m sure he has more time right now. Our peonies are also blooming. First, the light ones, and now also the newer deep pink ones are blooming. I wrote down your tutorial for thinning fruit trees, and plan to do that this week. I enjoyed the last of the 1940’s House series, as well as Harriett through Netflix. I finished a free Kindle book. It wasn’t my favorite, but I have several more to read. There was lots of scratch cooking, including a sweet potato cake, hummus, a broccoli quinoa dish, kale salads and apple carrot zucchini bread. Laundry was hung on the line. I wanted to use some of the rose petals, as they’re blooming profusely right now, so I added coconut oil to a quart of petals to infuse. This is the first time I’m trying it, so we’ll see. Sweet potatoes were dehydrated for pup treats. Liquid soap was made using soap making scraps. Several items were listed on ebay. I hope everyone is staying safe and well. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2020/04/using-whats-on-hand-frugal.html

  11. Congratulations on having another high school graduate and college student in the family.

    I’ve been working to expand my garden space at my apartment. I purchased two bags of compost and then a neighbor offered me some compost for free. Another neighbor went shopping for me for some plant starts. Between all of their help, I was able to avoid the stores and still get what I needed. My asparagus and rhubarb are producing. Next up will be peas and turnips. I’ve planted other veggies from my seed stash but am waiting to see what will germinate. I also gave up one of my community garden plots to save money.

    In the kitchen, I have been working my way through the freezer on top of my refrigerator. I had a few ‘whoops’ items that were found and had to be thrown out. I’m getting creative with what I am cooking to use up what is there.

  12. Our weather in western Maryland has fluctuated wildly lately. Some days it feels like June, and other days it feels like February! I have spinach and radishes ready to harvest in the garden.
    -A friend from church called to say that his place of employment had received a large shipment of food that they couldn’t store, so they were giving it away. Did we want any? I told him to check with others first but if there was any left, we would be happy to accept it. We ended up with 14 lbs of provolone cheese, 8 lbs of mozzarella cheese, 4 quarts of yogurt, 2 quarts of sour cream, 4 quarts of half and half, and 5 lbs of cottage cheese. What a blessing!
    -I continued to stock up on pantry staples. I put in an order for 50 lbs of wheat farina and 160 lbs of boneless skinless chicken tenders. The chicken is $1.15/lb but I’m happy with that since there won’t be any waste from them. It should be enough for several months and I ordered it anticipating rising prices.
    -My husband picked up an old freezer for free. It will house our chicken feed after the birds arrive next month.
    -My husband also has to finish the chicken coop. He called a neighbor who owns a small sawmill. The man sold my husband a flat of 100 rough cut boards for $80. They are hardwood and at least 10 feet long. This was a substantial savings.
    -I mended several clothing items and hung a few loads of laundry to dry outside when it wasn’t raining.
    -I redid our budget. Our bills have increased over $100/month in the last year. I will continue to try to reduce the ones I can.
    -We used gas points to fill the tank of our van (23 gallons) for $11.40.

      1. Cheese changes texture when it freezes. It crumbles when frozen and is no good for slicing. But, if you planned to grate it all, anyway, freezing will save you a lot of work.

        Shrink-wrapped cheese will keep for a long time without molding if you leave it in the wrap and only peel back as much as you need. Then wrap the open top tightly with foil or plastic wrap. (I usually put a rubber band around the wrap to keep it tight). If you do get a little surface mold on the cut side of the cheese, it usually does not extend into the shrink wrapped cheese, and can simply be cut off.

    1. What a blessing all of that food is. I am sure you will put it to good use. I have frozen cheese and half and half before and it has always been fine after. The cheese does tend to crumble more. You may want to shred or slice it first if you want it pretty for sandwiches.

  13. For the last month I have been stocking up my pantry, freezers & toiletries more than usual. I have been listening to several YouTubers for theast several months that have been talking about the coming food shortages but my sister and I started noticing bare shelves around last November/December in our area.
    Tyson just put out an article is several prominent newspapers to get the word out that meat shortages will here in less than a few weeks. Our grocery shelves here never fully recovered from the panic buying from last month & the stores in our area are still having problems getting a good supply of toilet paper in.
    The shortages will only drive up the prices on chicken & beef plus pantry items. I know you’ve probably heard of the farmers plowing their fields under with vegetables still in the fields plus culling their animals. This will lead to meat shortages for the rest of the year if not into next year imo.
    The food pantry lines are long & will only get longer I’m afraid but will there be food for the people at these pantries? I’m thinking not bc they’re having a very hard time right now getting food donations bc of shortages.
    Very concerning times we are living in. I’m praying that people will heed these warnings and stock up as much as possible for their families & maybe put a garden in if possible.

  14. Mom is slowly regaining strength, the ability and desire to eat real food is increasing, and the wounds I can see are healing. The trend is in t he right direction. We’d be home right now anyway because of her health but I am getting a bit antsy and hope we will be able to drive to nearby parks and eat picnic lunches in a parking spot overlooking a lake by June. The parks have stayed open for many activities throughout the “Stay home stay safe” order but with so many CoVID-19 cases in our county and adjacent counties, there is no way we dare to leave the house and yard.
    Last week, I planted my garlic and leeks in pots that are still on the buffet. I am trying to grow microsprouts of head lettuce, broccoli, peas, sunflowers, and popcorn. The first four have all sprouted and I might be taking the lids off one or two today. The corn was just planted yesterday. I am not sure how large a garden I will have this year yet. I am not looking forward to breaking up sod, so I have been saving cardboard boxes to smother grass and will probably limit my garden to the pots I already have, one shady flower bed (mint loves it there), and an area that can be planted using some garden soil purchased in bags that would be delivered at the same time as water softener salt is or a few yards delivered from a landscaping supply firm if I decide to buy that much dirt. Much of the backyard has low spots and could use more dirt so it would not go to waste. But moving several yards of dirt from the front yard to the back by wheelbarrow load by myself sounds like an awful lot of work.
    I am glad your son is keeping himself productively occupied while he is at home.
    Just curious: When do you sow the Armeanian cucumbers and the Chinese yard-long beans near Las Vegas? Are there any seeds you can sow in the summer heat?

    1. Both of those can be sowed in the heat here. They still manage to flower in the summer, when other types do not. I sowed late this year, but our weather was cooler than usual and the cucumbers didn’t come up. I sowed the beans a few weeks ago and they are up. When my snow peas are done (probably within the next 10 days as it is above 100 this week, which is too hot for them) I will sow more beans in their place and also transplant the cucumber plants that I sowed (a second sowing) in some leftover plant containers from the nursery.

      Squash seeds can come up in the summer, but it might be too hot for them to flower. Some people wait to sow them until July or August to avoid the squash bugs and to have them flower in the fall when it cools down below 100 in October.

      It’s still possible to sow Swiss chard, New Zealand Spinach, basil, thyme, and oregano as well.

      For flowers, zinnias and vincas will germinate in this heat.

  15. Hello Everyone! We spent a lot of time in our yard this past week; weeding and getting out & cleaning the patio furniture. We are trying yet again to get back in a routine every day. We have tried many times since all of this started and are hoping to be successful at some point! I organized all of our emergency canned good, cleaning supplies and paper products. One of our goals during shelter in place is to organize our entire house (which I did not think was bad to begin with)…figure out what we use and what we don’t….and share our excess with others. I found more items for my son’s Christmas stocking and put them away in the bag in my closet. My mother in law brought us a Costco Chicken, hamburger meat, cheese, a can of sliced pineapple, a bag of my son’s favorite chips and three homemade masks she had ordered from a co-worker. While cleaning out under the bathroom sink, I found a package of bobby pins, which I was happy about because I was going to order a package on Amazon; i need the pins to help secure my masks. I organized under all of our sinks & took inventory of what we have. Our neighbor gave us a succulent plant. Another neighbor gave us two lemon cucumber seedlings! Lemon cucumbers are my favorite vegetable 🙂 The mom of my son’s best friend gave us a huge bag of huge lemons. She also gave us another bag of Pomelos that she had gotten from a friend. We aren’t sure what to do with the pomelos, but are looking to find things to do with them. They make the kitchen smell so good. I accepted a workout dvd from a neighbor who was getting rid of it. My mother in law brought us dinner one night. My parents gave me some take out food containers which they were going to recycle. I will repurpose them to use for my husband’s lunch.

    1. I’ve only had Pomelos a few times, but we just ate them like really big grapefruit! We cut them in half and scooped out the fruit. Yum!
      Years ago, we bought them a few times when traveling down to California–they were either at a fruit stand, or someone was selling them from the back of a truck on the side of the road. They were so big, we couldn’t resist trying them, and then we loved them.

  16. Great news about your son’s schooling! And thanks for listing your meals. It gives me ideas!

    My week was pretty routine, or at least COVID-19 routine. One week is looking like all the others. 🙂 My son did drive over from Southern California. He’s been self isolated for a while, so we felt it was safe. My daughter and her family came over for dinner on Saturday night. They have also been self isolating. It was nice to have our family all in one place.

    My accomplishments this week:

    • Used free toiletries, washed ziplocks and foil and ran only full loads the in washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • My daughter brought me some more hotel toiletries from her travels that she found when cleaning out a closet. I gave her some Star Wars Kraft Macaroni & Cheese that I had gotten a few months ago for 10c each. My grandson was excited about that!
    • Ate dinner in 7 times. We had chicken soup with homemade bread; hamburgers with tater tots and corn on the cob; braised pork chops with scampi style pasta and asparagus; ham with cheese potatoes (from a box that has been in the pantry forever) and braised cabbage; London broil with cowboy caviar and baked potatoes; steak, roasted veggies and baked potatoes; leftover steak, baked potato and cowboy caviar.
    • Ate lunch in all 7 days too. We had salads, soups, canned beans and dinner leftovers.
    • Breakfasts have been fried eggs with bacon; English muffins with peanut butter; oatmeal with dried cranberries; toast and peanut butter; and smoothies.
    • Hung 1 of 2 loads of laundry. We are wearing our clothes more than once, so laundry this week was minimal.
    • Walked for exercise. I’m trying to use this time we have to better take care of me.
    • Continued reading a book my son gave me for Christmas. It is a self-help book (12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan Peterson.) I’m really enjoying it.
    • Forgot to mention last week, the flour I finally found was 20# in a cotton flour sack. I saved the sack and will reuse it.
    • We have a trailer that we have parked at our friends’ house as they have room on their property. In it was a smaller coffee pot (4 c.). Last weekend, we drove out to their place, had a nice 6 ft. apart visit and picked up the coffee pot. My husband has been working from home and making coffee every morning. But for our larger pot to work properly, he would have to make at least 6 cups worth, but only drink 3. Using the smaller pot will cut down on waste.
    • Sewed 10 masks with material I had on hand.
    • I saved all my stick deodorants when they got to the bottom until I had 6 of them. Dug them out and microwaved until they were liquid (35 seconds or so) then poured the liquid into one of the containers. Got about a quarter of a stick.
    • Made a cake with a cake mix I’ve had for a while.
    • Worked on a denim quilt I am making. Slow going, as I am not a seamstress! But it does give me something to do.
    • Our garden is coming along. Can’t wait until we can harvest some tomatoes and zucchini!
    • Hubby installed a new timer on the yard and garden’s watering system.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  17. My grocery bill was far from frugal last week. We were out if some more expensive things, like my witchhazel and sandwich bags, then hubby wanted drumsticks ice creams, and I finally found the big hand soap refill bottles, and my hairbrush broke and I had to replace it.

    Got back .25 from checkout 51 and $1.25 ibotta

    Gas was .97 at Sam’s! I filled up my truck for just under $19

    Washed my truck 1x for free at Sam’s

    Watched Love Never Dies for free online

    Redeemed my free dozen donuts from Krispy Kreme

    Used my free one night rental for my birthday from Redbox to watch a movie

    Finished up Star Trek Discovery on CBS all access

    My husband brought home a dozen eggs from his boss

    My husband also went fishing and caught enough fish for dinner for him and the 20yo, plus extra to freeze.

    Husband also found a headset for his computer marked down. He’s so excited the 20yo gifted him a new setup!

    Found flea drops for the small dog online for $5 cheaper than the store.

    The weather is still all over the place here, so I open up the house when I can, and try to run the heat at a bare minimum.

  18. I have been inside our house for 41 days. Our yards are very small and still under snow. When we can get to our garden beds in our front yard, I am looking forward to working with them. We have two community garden plots that my husband will plant as soon as possible. We have heard our favorite garden center is open with wearing masks and people. I’m hoping we can try going this week as I am very concerned about obtaining celery plants. Last year we froze 27 pints and aee still woring therough that. It is an easy way to add more nutrition to many meals. We also need some tomato plants whoch we plant in pots in our front yard.
    My husband has been to the grocery store three times since quaranting started. Once we bought more vegetables our food has been plenty. My oldest son, whose youngest son usually comes here after school, bought us rice and pinto beans at Costco recently. We really appreciated that! Both he and his wife are able to work from home, so the children are also home. I’m ready to restock, but after 2 weeks with no new cases, there was just one., so we are starting over quarantining.
    My husband is able to continue working, using zoom for church services. I continue to knit hats for the villages here and reading when I am unable to sleep at night. Thankfully I have yarn and books ahead! Winter is always long in Fairbanks, so I try to be prepared!

      1. I freeze celery all the time. I use it for soups and casseroles. It changes the texture. We don’t use it for chicken salad or a green salad. I also dehydrate it but again only use it for soups and casseroles.

  19. Those peas look so good. And it’s great that your son was able to start college — and that he’ll have a scholarship.
    This week I made sandwich bread, 2 batches of yogurt (from powdered whole milk), sourdough bread, and oatmeal cookies.
    I went through all my yarn and patterns and made up kits for a bunch of different projects. I did the same for a couple of embroidery projects as well. I am finding needlework very soothing right now.
    We went to town for the first time in three weeks and picked up orders from the grocery store, pharmacy, and pet store. I picked up the canning jar lids I had previously ordered from Walmart. I did have to venture into Target for toilet paper – the first we’ve purchased since this whole thing started. I also bought bleach and rolled oats from Target – everyone else was out of these things.
    I planted more cabbage and broccoli in the greenhouse. I thinned my carrots and successfully transplanted most of the thinned plants. I planted potatoes and peas and flowers and herbs. outside. We got some horse manure from a neighbor and I used it to build a new compost pile, since I used up all my old compost in the new garden beds.
    We enjoyed our first salad from the greenhouse, and had dandelion greens with dinner twice.

  20. Last week was a minimal grocery shopping week, so that is helpful. I ate a lot of the bits of leftover meals from our freezer. I cannot eat wheat, so on lunch days that involve wheat (like mac and cheese, for example), I defrost something. I made rice and Indian lentils. We re-sprouted some romaine lettuce for our salads. We picked our first radish. I went for several runs and walks. One neighbor sells his limes for 25 cents, so I bought two. On another walk (further away), I found free lemons and oranges. I was short on pockets, so only took one lemon. I wish I’d had room for enough for lemonade!

    We also had chicken soup one night, lots of pasta, and for me at least, a few days of oatmeal. I’m working my way through a 10lb bag. I made bread twice (for the teenager with a hollow leg, who likes it with peanut butter). I spent time looking through some cookbooks to plan future meals around lentils.

    The kids relaxed outside in our hammock, and also in our little kiddie pool. My husband patched two holes in it.

    I made reusable teabags. My husband accidentally bought k-cup tea two weeks ago (someone was ramming their cart into his at the grocery store). We don’t have a Keurig. This weekend we figured out how to make it in the drip coffee pot and now we have iced tea!

    We watched movies and shows, and I made popcorn. My husband was complaining that the “old” popcorn I bought from the bulk bin must be stale because it didn’t fully pop. He bought new popcorn. Well, I made popcorn with the old stuff and it was fine. Turns out, he didn’t have the heat up high enough on the pot. Our other snacks have been oranges, apples with peanut butter and cheese, homemade bread, strawberries.

    Though I haven’t used it yet, I discovered a local home beer supply company will refill soda stream canisters for $8. This is far cheaper than Bed bath and beyond, which is currently closed.

  21. Things seem to be going well at your house, Brandy! Going to college online while being furloughed with pay for a job is nice work if you can get it!

    At our house, everything went in slo-mo last week. None of us felt very well, but nothing related to covid-19. Today is a good day for all of us! This was our slo-mo week–

    * I cleaned the sole plate of my iron with a paste of baking soda and water. No, I don’t iron (I’m not THAT bored), but I do occasionally press something. First time I’ve cleaned the iron in about 15 years!

    * I dried a load of wash on a rack on the patio. This was done mainly not to set in stains I’ve been working to remove. (That 70% off Russell Stover chocolate bunny got me into some real trouble, LOL). 

    *More trouble coming up, LOL–I got 3 more Russell Stover solid bunnies for 90% off when I picked up an Rx for my daughter. Seven ounces of solid chocolate for .44 each. Able resist the bunnies so far, but couldn’t resist the deal!

    * I finally froze the leftover Easter ham. I reorganized the freezer while I was at it. I have more food than I thought! And now I can find it!!

    * Gas was $1.55 at Costco. I thought it would be less!

    * Most fun thing I’ve done–and it cost $0–was to move our lawn furniture out of the shed and onto the patio and deck. I have done some rearranging from where I had it last year and that’s been just like playing house. What’s new this year–I had a 5×7 area rug at our vacation home that we are not using since we had the carpet installed. It’s perfect on the patio! 

    Brandy, just a reminder that Down East has a retail store in Winter’s college town. By the time you get there for the temple ceremony, probably everything will be on sale.

  22. It’s been awhile since I’ve posted but I’ve still been reading the blog every week. You are all so inspiring.

    *We ate all meals at home except for our date night for which we used a gift card. We’ve added one a son to the household who came home from his mission for our church. My grocery costs haven’t gone down – especially with the lack of sale prices. I have been able to buy some things on clearance – bread and sundries. I was able to find canning lids on Walmart.com and restocked my wide mouth lids. I checked the local walmart and they were wiped out of wide mouth lids – but did have lots of regular mouth size. I have also reused lids on occasion. My neighbor, who tutored me on canning, told me to hold onto my lids in case of shortages. Could be helpful in times of emergency/low supplies.

    *I haven’t had great success with gardening and have really been debating about doing another one. I have the worst luck with starting seeds – even with all the knowledge I’ve gleaned from our local extension. It’s been very frustrating. I’ve had luck with tomatoes and cucumbers in my garden. But nothing else has done very well. I did make some applesauce from clearance apples found at the store. I’ve also canned peaches and pears. But it’s been discouraging. I will keep debating with myself 🙂 Our time to plant is after Mother’s Day.

    *I’ve done lots of mending on ripped clothing and bedding.

    *My daughter is moving and got rid of a few items. I got a brand new ironing board cover and some pots that I can use for plants or maybe herbs?

    *I’ve taken advantage of free trials with kindle unlimited, CBS access, library and Netflix. Cancelled everything before I was charged. I’ve been reading a lot of books.

    *We’ve been taking advantage of the weather to enjoy the outdoors with walks and bike riding.

    *I’ve been re-using old scrapbook supplies to work on art journals, cards and other craft projects. It’s been so fun to be creative without spending money and yet creating new things. It’s been a good way to write about my feelings during COVID-19.

    My husband and I did do a quick getaway to a local bed and breakfast for my birthday. They were offering 1/2 price off their lodging. We were the only guests on the property and it was a little strange. But quiet and peaceful in a forest setting.

    Thank you for all the ideas and encouragement. My husband isn’t working but is still being paid (at a lower rate). We are trying to save and cut costs as much as possible. We feel we’ve been quite creative as we’ve re-purposed. My husband re-painted our bedroom with paint we already had. Our bedding was reversible so I flipped it to the other side and rearranged items for decor. I’m considering stopping coloring my hair. I don’t like the gray but my husband is actually encouraging me to stop doing it. He says I’ve earned every one of these gray hairs and I should be proud. I’m trying to come around to his thinking. I’m mostly gray around my face and the top. I’ll keep thinking about that one too.

    1. I still have lots of things that don’t grow for me, or years when things don’t germinate. I just keep trying with my garden. Even a little success is some success! Keep trying!

    2. Amy,
      As I’ve said before, the things I grew best at first were rocks and weeds! Just keep trying. Each year, you will get better. If you can grow tomatoes, grow a bunch and can those!

      Good dirt is key, as is frequent watering. I check my garden daily–the little plants are like babies. There may be bugs attacking, slugs eating, they may be too dry….and so forth. When I try to get seeds to germinate in my garden, I often take a watering can and give them a little sprinkle each and every day until they come up, unless it rained that day. That way, they never get dried out. They are a little tougher after they come up good, but I find when sprouting, they need that daily dose of water. If I’m trying to get a row to sprout in the heat, I water in the morning and evening–just enough to make sure they get damp so they can sprout. And, I only water the row, so the weeds don’t sprout so badly.

    3. Amy, don’t be discouraged. Keep planting seeds and you will find what works for your area. Gardening is not for the weak at heart. It has a steep learning curve but the reward will be worth it. After many years of gardening, I still have more failures than I can count but then things will all work together and there will be a bumper crop.
      Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

  23. We ate from the pantry, supplemented by some vegetables and dairy from the store.
    I continued to prepare to move, packing a few boxes a day.
    I brought in income and decluttered our homed by selling our snow blower, a 2-year-old water heater, and some antique sconces through online sources.
    I signed up to make 100 masks for the project protect project. I picked them up on Tuesday and was making good headway when my sewing machine froze up. I called a friend who had a sewing machine, but couldn’t find it after 24 hours. I called a neighbor who had a sewing machine that was given to her by another neighbor, now deceased. I used her machine to finish the masks by Saturday morning, when I dropped them off.
    I have a few peas that have started, but my lettuce and spinach seeds are probably too old. The beets, kale, and radishes are coming up. I also bought starts of broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage and planted them last week. I have tomatoes to plant as well, but will wait for another week or so. They are hardening off.
    I am working on the yoke of a striped pullover sweater using scrap yarn. I am making the stripes using the Fibonnaci numbering sequence and it looks great! I still have enough yarn left that I think I will make another sweater, this time a zippered cardigan.
    My friend is teaching an online mindfulness course that I have signed up to take over the next six weeks.
    The weather has been beautiful and I have enjoyed walking my neighborhood seeing the beautiful trees and flowers in bloom.
    My husband and I played a game on our porch.

  24. Love the snow peas. I can hardly wait. I just planted a 4×8 bed with snow peas. Was able to put in 4 rows (I have two fences in them, so they each side of the fence). Also planted a 4×8 bed with 4 rows of carrots and one row of beets. I love carrots, but not beets. I’m one of those people that think beets taste like dirt. My DH loves them though. I do like the beet greens. Other than potatoes and lettuce, that is all we have planted. Still gets around 35 degrees at night, so we have a while to go. We will put cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower this week.
    I went to the store one time – mainly for my Mom. When you are 97, there are just a few things you have to have. I made brownies and took her some.
    My son’s girlfriend was going to Costco and texted asking if we wanted anything. We were running low on lettuce, so asked for a bag of romaine hearts. I trade a jar of zucchini relish that I made last year and a chive plant for the romaine. Left it in front of our garage, and she made the exchange.
    Made pulled pork in the crockpot with a pork shoulder roast from the freezer. I had purchased it for 99¢ a pound. I put it in the crockpot and pour a can of root beer over it, then let it cook on low overnight. In the morning, I take the meat out of the liquid and shred it. I don’t put BBQ sauce on it right then, because I do different things with it. This time I am going to make pork quesadillas, BBQ sandwiches, pork enchiladas, and add some to chow mein. That meat will be enough to feed us many meals. I will put some in the freezer to make some of them.
    Got gas for $1.59 a gallon. First time in a month, with how little driving I am doing. I usually go through a tank of gas each week. I have not worked for 5 weeks. Luckily, our house is paid for, as I have yet to receive my unemployment yet.
    Replanted 1 row of lettuce in the water trough that did not come up. Must have been old seed.
    Dried two loads of laundry on the clothesline.
    Former neighbor gave me 2 dozen eggs. I gave her 4 empty egg cartons. I think I got the better end of that deal, so I am going to make bread this week, and take a loaf over to them, and drop off on her porch.
    Made a batch of cauliflower soup using cauliflower from our garden last year, from the freezer.
    All fow now.

  25. Hello Everyone! I must say that I am so envious of all of you that are getting to spend time outside. The weather has been primarily cold & rainy here with only 1 day in the past 2 weeks with warm spring weather. So looking forward to a warm up! This past week I did some redecorating by moving some pictures and knick knacks to different areas of the house. I also found a pair of votive candles that have a fresh spring scent which we are now enjoying. My son went through his t-shirts & gave me a few that I was able to cut up for rags and my daughter replaced missing buttons on a pair of pajamas for me. Our library recently updated to the Cloud Library app and I am loving it! I have borrowed & read 3 books so far that are on my “to read” list. I am really missing my weekly yoga class, it was a great stress reliever & relaxation for me. I started to do yoga by Adrienne on You Tube and I am really enjoying it. My greatest frugal find was a store that primarily caters to restaurants had a sale on eggs. I purchased 30 dozen for $17.99! We were able to share with family, neighbors & friends making porch deliveries. I had fun being the Egg Fairy!
    Hope everyone has a safe, healthy & frugal week!

    1. What a great deal on eggs!

      I am looking forward to organizing, cleaning, and working on house projects in the summer when it is too hot to be outside working much in the garden.

  26. 1. Chopped up some uneaten chocolate candy & used it instead of chocolate chips in chocolate chip cookie recipe.
    2. Dug around in the deep freeze & found 4 lbs of unknown meat. Husband said it was venison. Thawed out one lb of it, added 1 lb ground meat and 7 oz leftover Pepperidge Farm stuffing cubes & a few other ingredients. A tasty filling for stuffed bell peppers emerged.
    3. Found frozen sand bass in the freezer. Baked these. A bit fishy in taste but dosed it w/ cocktail sauce.
    4. Have curtailed my trashpicking due to COVID 19. However I did find a like new short white lab coat at the curb in neighbor’s discards while out
    walking. I often wear a lab coat over my street clothes at school when I teach my student nurses. Teaching on-line for now.
    5. Found a dollar bill while on my evening walk in the street near a curb.
    6. Had a partial gallon of vanilla ice cream that had thawed too much & separated before refreezing. I thawed out some of it & used in place of milk for
    pancake batter this AM. Tasty vanilla pancakes.
    7. Found a yard art item & black lattice type metal planter on a curb. These I sent to my best friend as she has a lovely back yard & likes things to spruce
    it up (My husband says to quit bringing home junk from my walks.☹️)
    8. A coworker had a friend who works for a dr who gave us a bag of meds for use at school in demos. Well what do you know. One type, dose was a me I am prescribed so 4 months of free prescription for me. The med was 30$ month at the pharmacy & that was what I paid with insurance. I’m grateful.
    That’s all I can think of for now.

  27. Congratulations to your son on his college entry. I’m glad that you asked and that the college was willing to waive their age requirement during this time. I have asked colleges for many age-related waivers when my children were younger, and they always agreed, though one time I did have to petition the President directly. I think that the lady in admin thought that I wouldn’t go that far. She did not know me!
    I’m glad that he is enjoying his classes. You have raised another hard worker!

  28. Brandy your blog is so lovely! It is always a place of joy; thank you for taking the time to post every week.
    I have now been off work and at home for 6 weeks and have lived happily and frugally during this time. I still have fuel in my vehicle from 6 weeks ago. I have not used any make up or touched up my hair roots; my cat doesn’t seem to mind!! I have not spent any money that was not for essential living. I was fortunate to have plenty of food in my pantry and supplies at home to complete projects around the house.
    This week I worked outside in my yard doing some spring clean up in the garden and bringing out our patio furniture which was also cleaned up. Our outdoor furniture was purchased second hand several years ago and I purchased new cushions for it. Every day that I bring the cushions out for use I make sure to put them away every night to avoid the early morning sun damage.
    My husband fixed our gate so it opens much easier.
    I made several hankies for myself from some old pj pants.
    I made my own disinfecting wipes with paper towels and bleach (1 part bleach to 10 parts water).
    I sold several small items on FB market that were picked up from my porch.
    All laundry was hung up to dry, all meals were prepared at home.
    I painted a closet door that was a little scratched up; fresh paint always looks so much better.
    I transplanted a plant and took a few cuttings – I have put in water to see if they will root.
    I have several chats with family and friends on FB messenger app.
    Thanks to all your readers to contribute – I love reading all the comments each week.

  29. Brandy I am so glad your husband is mostly working from home at the moment and happy that your son is staying at home too and not taking the chance with more work considering the virus is so virulent 🙂 . How wonderful you were able to share an online order with your parents and split the delivery cost so you didn’t have to go to the shops.

    A blessing that the weather is cool for you and you haven’t had to turn on the air conditioner as much and saved money and also all the produce you are picking from your gardens too for beautiful meals.

    Here in Australia the government is giving us $200 off our next quarterly electricity bill so that is a true blessing to us so that will be more money we can put into savings or to use for other household maintenance jobs we have planned such as painting some of the sheds and home window sills. Fuel here has also gone down to about half price from what it usually is so we have been taking advantage of this huge saving to up our fuel storage as we live in the country and a fair way away from everything and use a lot of fuel. Our little village does have a fuel station at the little local shop only sells unleaded which we don’t use.

    We spent a lot of time out of the home this week for medical appointments but did get a little done around the home.

    Our savings last week added up to $147.94 🙂 .

    In the kitchen
    – we cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    Purchases –
    – Purchased a loaf of wholemeal bread on markdown for $1 saving $1 on usual prices.
    – Bought e-gift cards for fuel saving 5% or $12.21 on usual prices.
    – Used my Woolworths rewards card to get 4 c per litre off the fuel we purchased saving $9.86.
    – We filled 10 jerry cans of fuel on a very low price cycle using DH’s DVA fuel allowance we saved up saving $124.87 on prices we paid last time we filled up on fuel.

    Cleaning –
    – I deep cleaned the 2 bathrooms and toilet.

    In the gardens –
    – I cleaned up about another 1/3 of the shrub prunings and put them in the wheelie bin to be collected next week.

    Have a great week ahead everyone :).

    Sewingcreations15.

  30. Your dinners all sound delicious! The weather there sounds wonderful. We are having a cool, wet spring here in the Seattle area.

    Thank you to the person last week who mentioned the Prepared Pantry as a possible source of yeast. My dad was looking for yeast and his area of Minnesota was all sold out. He was able to order some from the website. So, thanks for the tip!

    Frugal accomplishments:
    – Last week I mentioned I picked up a box of free sheets for my work. One sheet was too large for our needs, so I cut it in half and hemmed it, making two sheets instead of one. The box also contained a duvet cover, which I cut apart and hemmed to make two sheets. I saved the leftover fabric and the buttons in my stash.
    – Found a canister of half dried out sanitizing wipes in my car. I have a spray bottle the sanitizing solution of the same brand, so I sprayed a bunch of it in the canister to moisten the wipes, so I will be able to use them.
    – Managed to locate a free radio for my office. Ours died and there is no budget for a new one. I will pick it up from someone’s porch tomorrow.
    – Needed rubbing alcohol and there is none to be found. I bought a bottle of Everclear (75% alcohol) and put this in a small spray bottle to sanitize my phone and credit cards. This is way more expensive than rubbing alcohol, but I used what was available.
    – Washed the insoles for my shoes. Makes them last longer and smell better.
    – Used mint from my herb garden to make tea.
    – Made a large batch of tomato/carrot soup and froze most of it for later. Shared some with my mom.
    – Made a big batch of salmon cakes from canned salmon. The “best by” date was last year, but the cans were sealed and in good condition, so I figured they were still good.
    – Made a batch of muffins and froze most of them for later.
    – Made progress in using up some gluten free baking flour in my fridge. I don’t like the texture it gives to baked goods, so I’m mixing it with almond flour and using it that way.
    – Placed a bulk order of two gallons of coconut oil. I use that a lot for cooking.
    – Passed on large bag of wool batting to someone who makes felted slippers. I had bought the wool for a project that did not work out.
    – Skyped with friends in France and Greece. It was interesting to hear about how those countries are dealing with quarantine/stay home measures.

    Looking forward to reading everyone’s comments!

  31. Your garden is amazing Brandy! And congratulations to your son on being able to start college so early – your children are such a credit to you and your husband.
    Last week was not frugal by any means. I went to the grocery store last Thursday and went into a bit of a panic mode and just kept putting things into my basket! I could barely manage to fit it all into my bundle buggy for the walk home! Not sure why it suddenly hit me like that – I’m really not desperate for anything at all.
    I also ordered masks from two different companies – the large order of disposable masks and gloves arrived today – again, quite a bit of money was spent! But – the writing is on the wall that we will be required to wear them in public so wanted to be prepared. More stores are requiring staff to wear them and one grocery chain is now asking shoppers to also do so. Toronto has a large Asian population so it is not unusual to see people wearing them. And I have 3 friends in China who have all been urging me to wear one when I go out – it’s just a way of life there.
    I went into my office on Friday morning – first time since March 17th and I wore a mask and gloves – it is so hot! I cannot even imagine how all those front-line workers manage for hours on end – no wonder their faces are so marked when they finally get to take them off. The subway ride was uneventful – train cars were barely 1/4 full and seats are all taped off so that we maintain social distancing. Didn’t run into one other person at the office so I was able to spend 3 hours just getting some things updated. I had meant to bring home some historical documents that I want to go through but completely forgot so may make another trip in on Wed. – the streets downtown are like a ghost town There were a few coffee shops and a grocery store open in the underground Path system so I picked up some fresh veg and then went to my drugstore to pick up a prescription. I have another 3 due in about 10 days time and they did warn me that I’ll only be able to get a one month supply instead of my usual 3 months. That’s fine – I’m a couple of weeks ahead anyway. My prescriptions are all covered by the govt. health plan so didn’t cost me anything.
    I was due an appointment with my cardiologist last Wed. but of course offices are closed so he called me and we just chatted. I was scheduled for an echo-cardiogram so we have rescheduled for 3 months from now.
    Gave in and ordered some hot rollers from Amazon – they arrived today. The length is fine but the top has gone very flat and I’m going to have to trim my bangs this week. Luckily I had decided to stop colouring it about a year ago so that’s not an issue.
    I also managed to get a couple of loads of laundry done last week – have to use the laundry room in the basement of the apt. building so I’ve been reluctant to go down there very often – but it was very quiet.
    I have also finally made a start on the final closet that needs to be cleaned. I want to move some of the canned and jarred food that is dated 2022 or later back to there so that I make sure to use the closer dated items first! I also want to have a better idea of what I use – when – and how much I should continue to restock. Non-food items are fine and really I have lots of food but I’d like to have more in longer term storage as I do believe there will be shortages over the next year or so. In Canada we too have had food processing plants close due to the virus and meat has been noticeably scarcer in recent weeks. I’d love to get to one of the larger grocery stores just for a bit of variety – my smaller No Frills store doesn’t always have a wide choice. I might stop off at one on the way home from the office on Wed. just to see what is available. If there is any kind of lineup I’ll just leave. So far, any grocery store or drugstore that I’ve been to has been very, very quiet.
    I’ve been eating a lot of salads this past week as I wanted to be sure to use up the fresh foods first. As a protein I alternated hard boiled eggs, beans and some chicken thighs that I’d already cooked and were in the freezer. I did make a big pot of stew with lots of veg, mashed a big pot of potatoes and roasted some odd veg. I have a lot of gravy and veg left after most of the meat has gone so I’m going to put that into the freezer to use later as a gravy with some other meat. Leftover bits and pieces of veg have been added to the last of the mashed potato and squash to make some veggie “burgers” – the only food that I threw out this past week was about half a cup of coleslaw that was just a bit too slimy.
    For a change of pace on the weekend I watched some of the videos on Youtube from the National Gallery in London – a series of lectures about different artists and certain paintings that they created. So far I’ve watched 3 and really enjoyed them.
    I had scheduled to have my A/C window unit installed tis past Saturday – earlier than usual but the company wasn’t sure if or when they’d be allowed to do this work when we made the appt. As it turned out they would have had to cancel anyway as they have priority work for the Govt. to install units into the new centres for the homeless that are opening. We have tentatively rescheduled for May 9th. It is still cool here – barely above freezing at night – but the weather tends to change here very suddenly – it can be snowing one weekend and we can be in shorts the next one so just want it off my list of things to do.
    Stay safe everyone.

  32. I love that your son was able to enroll early to college. I have also asked mine to refrain from returning to work. Mine have all enrolled online to complete any odds and ends classes they may have needed. It’s been many years since all my children were at home with me. Parenting young adults is comical. I’m try to remind the children to manage their laundry , shower and other water activities. I completed two more tax returns and managed to get them filed for free. I examined each child’s credit cards and checking accounts to check for any recurring subscriptions. Just like the caterpillar, I quickly squished them. I found 8 unused Audible credits. I’ve suggested they negotiate amongst themselves to pick books they all may enjoy. I have temporarily suspended car insurance on all but on me vehicle. My son’s hybrid gets the best gas mileage, so we will use it if needed. We actually received an unexpected car insurance rebate. I had heard of these but didn’t realize we were part of the incentive. I used a gift card from swagbucks to buy several more deals on swagbucks. With the promotion , we got a food box for $2.00 from Gobble. We will use the 6 meals for Mothers Day. A lovely salmon dish. I bought a couple subscription beauty boxes. I googled coupon codes to use along w the swagbucks promotion to get them for a couple dollars a piece. I don’t buy it ,or use makeup often but do enjoy treats every now and then. This seemed like a nice way to treat myself. I’m taking multiple hot showers a day. The steam really helps my respiratory issues. I’m taking massive antibiotics and steroids. My breathing is mildly labored and the chest pressure about the same. I googled essential oils and found I had a bottle of peppermint oil that came w a diffuser. It seems to help at night. My worry is great. My mother’s oncologist has strongly recommended that I come to her next appointment. I may have no choice but to suit up and attend meeting. My best guess is her treatment is being terminated. This season of my life is coming and will be bringing great storms with it. I’m reminded to be kind to myself. This to will pass . We will all move on and I will be looking for brighter days. All is well here. Just a little overwhelming. I hope everyone who is dealing w hardships knows it gets better. It changes, but we make it. Many hugs friends.

  33. Congrats to your son on getting into college early, and getting financial aid as well! You’re raising your kids to be hard-working and self-sufficient! Also, yummy meals! And I love your garden pics as always!

    My frugal week:
    – I made Carrot Muffins filled with Blood Orange Marmalade (http://approachingfood.com/healthy-carrot-muffins-with-blood-orange-marmalade-filling/). I made the blood orange marmalade using some fruit that came in my weekly produce box. I try not to waste anything, and since it’s organic, the peel is edible. And speaking of no waste, any suggestions on how to use radish leaves?
    – On the weekend, I baked two loaves of sandwich bread, a loaf of banana bread, and several calzones, in preparation for the week ahead.
    – I cooked a ham and sliced it for lunch meat. I made and froze cheese sandwiches for myself and ham and cheese sandwiches for my husband for lunches for the week.
    – I made a batch of easy pickled beets (http://approachingfood.com/everything-is-coming-up-beets-easy-mennonite-pickled-beets/)
    – I made several pitchers of iced tea from tea gifted to me.
    – I researched new ways to keep my toddler entertained while at home, without spending money on new toys. I try to do something new each week. This week I dug through my paper supplies and pulled out 4 different colours of paper. I’m teaching my daughter colours by sorting her duplo onto these coloured sheets. A new and fun game for her and no money OOP!
    – I made cornflake brown butter mallow squares (a variation on the classic rice krispie squares, using what I had in the house).
    – Using a package of tortillas, I made lentil burritos using homemade taco seasoning, which even my meat-loving husband liked, and spinach and cheese quesadillas twice. I saved the water from cooking the spinach and added it to my dough instead of plain water when baking sandwich bread, for a bit of added nutrition.
    – I tossed a few wizened tomatoes, some cucumber, and a bit of red onion with the last of a container of yoghurt (basically finishing up a few items in the fridge) to make a fresh and creamy salad that both my husband and daughter liked.
    – I redeemed Pinecone Research rewards for $5 to my paypal account, and my husband redeemed over $100 in loyalty points for groceries. He bought mostly shelf-stable foods, plus some bananas for my daughter and some cheese and crackers. He bought the latter so that we could have a few fancy cheese and crackers Netflix mini-dates. A small thing, but the fact that he thought to do that to surprise me warmed my heart, and no money OOP makes it even better.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

    1. Margaret @ Approaching Food = I just read on a different blog that radish leaves could be used in place of basil leaves to make pesto. That writer suggested blanching the radish leaves first. I haven’t tried it yet but plan to.

    2. Margaret, you can cook radish greens like you would any green (spinach, chard, etc.). I like them fried in olive oil with garlic and hot pepper flakes.

  34. Brandy,

    The amount of food you cook in one week is eye popping! Since quarantine, I’ve been making lunches and dinners and doing more baking than I ever have before (both breads and some desserts) and I feel like I never leave the kitchen (and this is for only four people mind you). I still make everyone get their own breakfast as I use most of the morning to do paid work and everyone wakes up at a different time. I’ve been trying to teach my teenagers to cook (when will we ever have this much time together?) which makes things go even slower.

    Living frugally in Portland:

    *Made a strategic Costco run for bulk items and gas. It was the first time we’ve purchased gas in two months. Prices seemed generally the same as always (well except gas which was much cheaper), so that was a relief. I didn’t find any sales on the items I needed, however. And many canned foods, pastas and hand soap and paper products were sold out. I bought a $5 rotisserie chicken and will get three meals plus some bone broth from it (quesadillas, chicken, rice and veggie casserole and chicken and rice soup).

    *A neighbor offered her leftovers from her CSA box. Everything was still very usable except the tomatoes. I got celery, carrots, a big onion, green beans and some potatoes. I froze the green beans and will use everything else up in the next week or so. The veggies taste so much better than anything from the grocery store – even if they aren’t at peak freshness.

    *I made homemade play dough with my son with autism to practice math skills. We divided up the dough and added food coloring and different scents to smaller batches from things around the house including peppermint and lemon essential oils and lavender from the garden. He is a sensory seeker and loves strong smells so this was a treat.

    *We used up a gift card my mom had gifted us last Christmas to Cheesecake Factory. It was supposed to be for a date with my husband, but who knows when that will happen so we made it a family meal date. I bought a salad for myself to keep ourselves under gift card budget so it only costed us $5 for the tip for bringing the food curbside and was a great treat. We combined it with the Costco run as both places are nearby and out of our direct neighborhood. Now we’re completely out of gift cards 🙁

    *I gave away our bike trailer to someone who needed to sell their car to pay their bills. The bike trailer will allow her to make trips to the grocery store by bike. We weren’t using it much these days and it seemed like a waste, especially when someone needed it. I can haul a lot of groceries on my cargo bike. I will also appreciate the space back in our tiny garage.

  35. Hi, Brandy! I’ve been reading your accomplishments weekly, but I have never commented, as I was not very good as saving money, being a full time teacher, private tutor, as well as a wife and mother to two children, one in first grade and one in kindergarten, both involved in multiple activities outside the home, in charge with driving them from place to place, while also paying for a nanny and a private kindergarten and gas and car maintenance and rather often, ready made food! This year (I tend to think in academic years), however, was very tough on me, stressful and getting things done at home and outside it became a challenge, especially in the context of our long term aim to afford moving from an apartment to a house. For this, I understood that I need to change things, that it’s impossible for my husband and I to keep up with the effort of our lifestyle longterm and still afford to change our accomodation, while also being present and involved in the life of our children. The quarantine has helped with rethinking things. Though I am teaching online, my husband is also working from home and the children are here too. For the first time ever, we are spending all our time together, doing things and I love it! I have also had, finally, the time to declutter and to cook and to get a schedule organized at home. We are still working on this, but these are our frugal accomplishments this week:
    – I cooked everything from scratch
    – I cut my husband’s and my son’s hair
    – I mended some clothes
    – when my husband took the children for a walk in nature in a remote area close to us, they took sandwiches and water from home, therefore they did not have to spend money for that
    – We set a limited budget for outings, at about 2$, for icecream when it’s hot.

    1. Good for you!

      I was feeling a bit guilty this evening wanting everyone to go to bed (at bedtime! ha!) so that I could have a few minutes to rest and do something for myself. Your comment reminds me that I am with everyone all day. Thank you.

      1. Yes! I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels guilty but is ready for everyone to go to bed at night (seven children)…just so I can grab a you tube show or read a couple of chapters! But yes, we are with them all day, serving and giving! ❤️ Mama needs to unwind.

        1. I can’t imagine managing seven children since our toddler keeps us quite busy and we are usually waiting to have her sleeping to breathe.
          I had been working from home for the entirety of 2019 after coming back from my maternity leave, without a nanny or daycare. I paid for it in declining performance, health and mental health. Well the toddler is still happy and likes me so I guess we made it out of that phase. Since my husband is also working from home it is way easier. I also know when to stop and rest or give time to the toddler. A lot more gets done when I spend this 15 minutes and avert a cranky sulking child or days of continuous pain.
          I am in awe of all the women who post here and of our mothers surely didn’t seem like they were working that hard. How wrong I was!

  36. I finally got through to the seed company and was able to order the Armenian cucumbers, the Hakurei turnips, a cabbage that matures in 40 days. I may be able to get two or three crops of the Hakurei turnips! They sound great!

    They were not filling any seed orders until they caught up but they were open this morning and I did not have to wait very long on the phone.
    Elizabeth M., Yes it is very worrisome about Alberta’s economy. Notley did a good job of keeping most people other than those in the oil industry employed when times were tough. Had she done deep cuts to health care, we would have been in really desperate shape. Now that times are tougher, Kenney doesn’t have as much room to navigate. Still, don’t lose hope.

    About the meat processing plants — it is dire right now but most of the people will recover in a week or two. They may still work reduced shifts because
    of better working conditions/distancing but in a couple of weeks those meat plants should be in operation again.

  37. How I understand about the temperatures. I live in subtropical Australia and we have high heat and humidity. As autumn slowly progresses I am enjoying less air conditioning. God bless.

  38. My children and I adore your photos! , do you by chance sell any prints? I would love to print a couple of your flower photos?! You have also inpired me to plant flowers and I am looking forward to taking photos.

    We cut our hair at home , my husband and I normally do his and two boys, but I talked him into doing my hair, and I added layers. I also cut one of my daughters hair. 5 haircuts for free!

    we were not planning on doing a garden this year, because we have very large trees and deal with a lot shade. Now that we are immersed in it and so excited.

    we have switched our schedule around to accommodate all that needs done outside- when the baby goes down for his nap (4 months) we stop whatever we are doing (homeschooling, playing etc) and head outside to get the yard ready.
    ‘I also decided to go ahead and redo the front landscape – it sit up against the house too high . I bought some annual flowers seeds to plant along with planting edibles throughout because that space gets full sun, unlike our actual garden plot in the backyard.

    I bought UNO on my last big grocery shopping trip and have since been playing it nearly every day as a family.

    We have enjoyed watching two new- to -0ur yard- birds! The kids enjoyed getting out our Midwest Field Guide to learn about them.

    We observed a red tailed hawk on our front yard tree- it sat long enough my husband was able to sneak out the door with our good camera and take photos! So fun!

    We were able to use Zoom to chat with my mother who ended up in the hospital. She is home resting now, but is doing self quaratine due to it being a COVID hospital.

    We are really missing the library but I downloaded an audiobook that we can listen from the computer while they play after dinner.

    1. Faith,

      I am not yet set up to sell photos, but that may happen at some point in the future!

    2. Faith – I saw 3 red-tailed hawks from my kitchen window 2 days ago – I wasn’t sure whether they were hawks or falcons as I’d never seen the red tails before – it was the flash of red and their shadows going by that caught my eye. They circled each other for ages and it was lovely to watch them.

    1. Oops I thought I had uploaded it…sorry! But I have now. PS Congratulations to both Winter and now your other son on their accomplishments. You must be very proud and thankful!

  39. Hello Everyone! Our weather has been ideal and we’ve spent a lit if time outside in our yard. My husband is finishing up a new chicken coop, he pressure washed the patio and hedged bushes along a walkway. I amended garden soil, direct sowed a wide variety of seeds (some succession) and harvested kale, cabbage, fennel, green onions, lettuce, carrots, Swiss Chard, a few strawberries, lemon balm, thyme, parsley. I plan to remove herbs from a garden bed and transfer them to pots. I didn’t realize the lemon balm would take over. This will give me another raised bed for veggies. I also planted flower seeds in hopes to brighten hanging baskets and patio planters that are currently bare. All meals were from scratch such as kale chicken salad, omelettes with sautéed chard, stuffed cabbage rolls, and chicken fricasee with fennel salad. I baked 2 loaves of 3 seed whole wheat bread which was a new and successful recipe. I finally got my car back from the shop after 25 days. The loss of use check will go toward mortgage principal payment. I have realized that not working and not having to drive my kids to school (no bussing as we live too close to schools, however one is off a highway with no sidewalks) it is rather easy to live with one car. Have a wonderful week!

  40. I got out yesterday to visit the Amish to get milk, eggs, and honey. Strawberries were in and the price was $10 for one gallon. Last year the price was $8 and three years ago it was $6. Inflation seems to be accelerating. The food auction was open so I checked it out. No one was allowed in without a mask and gloves. The floor was marked to keep the audience six feet apart. It was odd. The crowd was tiny, only a handful of people. They were not jovial like last year but subdued as if it was a funeral. There was only a small amount of produce for sale. Mostly I felt sorry for the auctioneer trying to chant while wearing a mask. It would have been funny if it wasn’t so sad.
    Next, I visited a Kroger in a larger town to see what was available. I didn’t need much but what was on my list was not available: coconut milk, bread yeast, sunflower oil, Vidalia onions (not a need but a treat for me), and toilet paper. Toilet paper hasn’t been restocked in my small town since the beginning of the panic four weeks ago (has lockdown ONLY been four weeks? It feels like it has been forever!). I’m not out of anything, yet, but I don’t want to let my supplies get too low.
    Then I stopped by Save-a-Lot to see if they had anything on my list but they didn’t. I did find ground beef expiring that day for $1.99 – I bought all ten pounds! I was surprised to see people (not richly dressed) walking past the clearance meat and buying fresh for $4.50 a pound. I left two pounds in case there was another frugal person in need. As soon as I got home I began browning it and caning it. It will be put in the pantry for when the supply chain is completely broken. My men want meat. I’m fine without it.
    I’m ready for this pandemic to be over.
    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

    1. Here you can get a pound of strawberries for $2.50 to $3.99. I didn’t buy any this year as they are too high.

      1. I didn’t buy any last year because of the high price. The Amish family had made a mistake and thought I had placed the order for the strawberries. The kids had obviously gone out and picked them just for me (probably at sunrise) so I didn’t have the heart to say no. My husband loves them and was quite happy when I arrived home. He too gasped at the price but then said, “We can’t get what we want, but only what we can find.”
        Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

    2. Same problem here – 2 men need their meat! I can go without the meat. Things have been very stressful for me – I worry to much – my daughter is graduating from college a year early and moving far away – Jobs are hard to get – we are praying that all goes well when she arrives to her new apt. She has interviews but they have to be in person. I have saved gift cards for her and we are doing all we can.

      My frugal attempts
      using up what we have – including a soup that is meat, potatoes and carrots that everyone but me did not want leftovers….. There is no more water in the soup but still meat and potatoes – that has been my lunch for the last few days and one more day left.
      I had leftover apples so I made muffins with them and will be making more in the next few days with the 3 left.
      I rolled coins found some will go to our daughter – laundry in her new apt takes quarters 🙁 I have been doing swagbucks and surveys – just got a $10 PayPal that will go to our daughter and working on more. We are debating on her car – she will not take with her since she will be in a city and really it’s our car so probably will sell it. I m trying to focus on one day at a time…. I was not going to comment since I have felt so stressful but when I saw your comment Jeannie, it cheered me. So thank you! I do enjoying this blog – so many good tips. So thank you all!

      1. Mary, I have been very sad about all that is going on and have chosen to not comment. It didn’t have to happen. So many people are suffering, struggling, and dying. No, it wasn’t a good economy for all people and it would have crashed even without the virus debacle. We often said we felt like we lived in a parallel universe and were the only people in our circle who were having difficulties. Reading this blog has kept me from feeling alone. Now the tables are turned and we are doing fine compared to many others. I don’t feel vindicated or happy in finally being right.
        We are experiencing a slow-moving trainwreck and it is going to get worse before it gets better. I can see the future. All I can do is to try and make it better for those around me and those whose paths I cross.
        Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

        1. Jeannie:
          Thank you for your comment. That is how we felt during 2008/2009 — while everyone seemed to be doing so well in 2007/2008, we were struggling desperately. We actually felt no effect from the 2008 Recession since we were no worse than in 2006 or 2007. That was our own personal Depression. Since then we have spent nearly only on needs and saved every penny possible — saved in a savings account, not spent on other things. We also continued to cultivate skills including additional ways to seek enjoyment for free. We still don’t have a house but we finally have savings and are doing much better overall. This time we are facing a direct impact to our income/employment, but because we have savings, we are much better off than many people.

          Thank you to Brandy for hosting this wonderful community and all the concrete ideas. Your photography is always such a joy to see. We are having an extremely cold spring, still feeling like winter (extra difficult with the stay-at-home order). The past couple weeks have had snow multiple times. So, your garden photos are truly food for the soul! Thank you.

          1. Laure, it is the skills I have acquired living frugally that has given me the confidence to face the future. I see disaster and just shrug now. It seems you too are well prepared to handle what is coming down the road.
            Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

      1. Marybeth, the ground beef is canned and hidden in the pantry in the basement. Hubby was wanting some of it after his hamburgers were gone. I told him I am saving it for the apocalypse. He replied, “We are in the apocalypse now!” I couldn’t disagree but said, “If you really want it, you can walk down the steep steps into the dark basement and hunt through the many cardboard boxes on the shelves until you find it.” He declined.
        Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry
        PS; I FOUND TOILET PAPER!!!! There was a limit of one per person so I made my son buy a package also. He was quite willing to do so.

  41. I’m so happy for you with your son successfully heading into college. Congratulations!

    I had what seemed like a very long week. I found that I was quite tired this week and in pain as I work to regain my strength. Since I wasn’t making much progress, I’m redoubling my efforts. Walking more, stretching and making myself keep going longer between rests. Recovery is definitely tough going. The rain and snow can be discouraging, but the sunshine rebounds my spirits.

    I’ve been feeling overwhelmed (I’m sure being exhausted and not feeling up up par doesn’t help) as I tackle medical bills the insurance should pay from my son’s back surgery, helping him to finish his AA online (so close), rising food costs and probable upcoming shortages, meal planning with an emphasis on using less meat and cheese that the guys will happily eat, my grow lights arriving broken, the new checks arriving incorrectly printed…just so much stuff! I make must do lists and tackle them daily. It’s working! And we tackled a couple cleaning/organizing projects that will bring peace and joy when they are finished, and we live in chaos until than. I’ve tackled the linens and will be sending more useful (and requested) pillow cases, napkins and an Irish linen tablecloth in my daughter’s next quarantine box. I’m also sending some nice napkins, napkin rings and an extra backgammon game to her college roommate for her birthday. It’s satisfying to have my beautiful linens loved by the next generation. And fun to see the girls setting up house.

    Good news, I have a small retirement that I can move from one state to another and buy back some time to add 2500.00 a year to my current minimum payout. This will be helpful and a nice return. Most of our retirement is held with my husband (we are 10-15 years out), but the little I get helps.

    Frugally:
    *what prompted the organizing projects is a successful attempt to free up some plastic storage containers that can be used to grow plants in the new greenhouse. Not sure how I want the greenhouse to be setup and this will be an inexpensive way to see. My parents left us a few containers when they were here last summer that we just filled with stuff to be sorted. we are amassing a donation pile for when the thrift shops open.
    found change in the backpacking supplies for the change jar
    Used old rolls from the freezer to make grilled sandwiches
    *Found Bananas on reduction and brought home a lot (not all) of them to freeze for smoothies. I may make banana chips and banana bread as well.
    *Cancelled the Acorn channel free month. Ironically, if there were shows I’d watch on the channel I’d keep it, but after finishing Foyles War, there are none that I can find that I want to watch.
    *We also cancelled the CBS all access for the same reason.
    *Am happily watching Call the Midwife each week on PBS.org (thanks to this blog). I watch each episode twice. Such a good show and they are like visiting old friends!
    I’ve been listening to audio books from the library for free. I found I can watch all the Christmas specials for Call the Midwife free on the library’s digital access as well. Our library just opened up free access to Lynda.com and I am finally getting a handle on the website/blog I want to start. So helpful!
    *I’ve been out of Swiffer mopping sheets for quite some time and was missing them as mud season is here. Just when I finally put them on the grocery list, my husband brought a quarter of a box and a full box home. The opened ones were dried out as they hadn’t been used in quite some time, so I rewetted them. The shop doesn’t even have a Swiffer mop anymore. One less thing to buy, and they didn’t need up throw them away.
    *I tried some rather old seeds and some are germinating. I mailed my SIL a number of packages for her family since I have too many that are too old. To give the seeds a better chance of germinating, I soaked them overnight and used a heat pad. Most of my seeds are open pollinated, so I can save the seeds of those that germinate and produce fruit.
    *Cut the bottom off my hand lotion bottle and used it up. Brought out from storage another bottle of the brand I use that I had gotten on sale a couple years ago. I bought all they had saving 2$ on each bottle or about 20$ total.
    *My daughter did a free stretching and relaxing half hour yoga class Saturday that I have been doing daily to help with the tight muscles from increased exercise. Yoga.mbs

    Blessings to all…especially those who are feeling cooped up like I am. This too shall pass, just keep preparing for the future as we’ve been forewarned.

      1. Thank you Patricia. I’m hoping the better weather will really help. Hoping Florida isn’t too hot for you to get outside now.

        Blessings.

        Trish

  42. I had to stop and think about what I did frugal this week. I did trim my own hair,Made biscuits and rolls, Transplanted the seedlings I started from tomato plants I harvested seed from last year and 3 yrs ago. I turn the furnace off during the afternoon when it gets warm enough and then back on about an hour before we head for bed. I harvested rhubarb and asparagus from the gardens. We had put a lot of the bills on the credit card leaving the money in the saving acct and then I paid it off before it was due. So got a small amt of interest on the savings. I did go to the ER for Crohn’s attack and they ran a Covid 19 test also as I have some of the symptoms… Hate waiting for the results but my daily life hasn’t changed any since I wasn’t going any where to begin with.

    Blessed be everyone.
    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2020/04/trying-to-think-of-what-i-did-frugal.html

  43. was your daughter able to get married like she wanted? if so im happy for her..couldn’t tell whos hands those were..lol

    1. Those are my hands 🙂

      She was able to get married; it was more like an elopement with just two witnesses. We were not able to attend. They spent money on the license, and she bought material to make herself a veil. She wore a dress she already had and shoes she already had.

  44. *After making sure that an older edition textbook would be okay for my daughter’s astronomy class next semester, I found one for just $10 on Amazon. Compared to $120 for the brand new edition!
    *We also borrowed a math curriculum from our homeschool co-op instead of buying one and saved $60. My high school junior decided that she would rather get a jump on next year’s math class while we are stuck at home due to our state’s stay at home orders.
    *I ran into the dollar tree and grabbed a lot of things we had needed and a few that we didn’t! My favorite things were a set of ceramic frogs and gnomes that added some fun to my plant collection.
    *I took four cuttings from a Pothos plant I bought at Lowe’s for $12 and then divided out six smaller plants from the same pot. Apparently whoever potted this plant just crammed six newly rooted plants into one giant pot, so that made it easy for me. Ten plants for $12 is a good deal:)
    https://thethriftyeducator.com/2020/04/28/frugal-things-27/

  45. I too am struggling to start seedlings. I fear some of my seeds are too old. I checked on them and I have 2 tomato plants up; one a cherry and the other an Amish heirloom. Also two other seedlings have sprouted. In the garden the only things to have come up are my beets and radishes. We have had snow the last couple weeks withfrost at night and 60’s during the day this week. I will try to sow again over the next few days.

    I purchased a Gala apple tree and two Red Haven peach trees. I lost one apple tree to deer last year.
    I have two pear trees that still produce and need to buy a tart cherry this paycheck to pollinate my other tree. I don’t remember what type my 20 year old cherry tree is, but it has never set fruit. I have tried planting a second cherry tree at least 3 times but it dies within 3 years. I will try again.

    I bought gas for 1.29 a gallon this week. I haven’t seen it this low in a long time as our city price fixes prices. I can drive 20 minutes in any direction and get gasoline for .20 to .30 cents less.

    I am baking chicken quarters for dinner and the children have been missing dessert. I made up a cake mix and divided it between two 9″ glass pie plates. Microwaved each pie plate separately for 6 minutes. The cake isn’t pretty but it is quick and keeps the kitchen cool.

    I am tired and stressed this week. My husband has been self quarantining for Covid-19 symptoms. He tested negative, but had so many symptoms his doctor put him in quarantine. (Apparently 30% of people have a false negative test.)

    He is quarantined to the bedroom. I am attempting to sleep in a recliner. He calls me on the phone for curbside pickup when he needs food or drinks. (Trying to find humor anywhere we can!!)
    I have used nearly 2 gallons of bleach disenfecting everything he touches. I feel blessed that his symptoms are on the mild side, but worry that my children or myself might develop symptoms and be stuck at home for months!! (So far we are all symptom free!)

    Luckily his work pays for two weeks of Covid-19 absence. He is supposed to return to work this Saturday after 16 days of being at home.
    He works in the food industry and they have gloves but are only required to wear beard nets. I worry for his co-workers. He doesn’t want to infect others, but he feels he got it from work because people have been coughing there for weeks. He has a N95 mask that he will wear just to be on the safe side.

    I so enjoy this site! You all encourage me to try more and keep moving forward. Thank you so much!!

    1. Deanna, good luck with your husband’s “confinement”. It is good to disinfect everything with bleach (interesting comments elsewhere here on the half-life of bleach). Your curbside comment did bring a smile to me! I hope that he is fully recovered before he goes back — he doesn’t want to relapse if he’s not fully well….

  46. I have been busy experimenting with using kitchen scraps to start garden plants. I just repotted a celery bottom that was started in a small container of water on my kitchen counter into dirt in a pot outside that can be brought in on cold nights. I did the same with a carrot top that has started growing greens on top which I read can be used in a salad. I planted garlic cloves that were starting to sprout in an outdoor container and they are growing quickly. I also have a few spring onions in a glass of water on my kitchen counter that provide green tops to clip and keep resprouting. I squeezed the seeds out of two different kinds of tomatoes into some dirt in some empty food containers and they sprouted in a week! We have also started radishes and lettuce from seed. Some of the herbs in my garden are starting to come back, mostly oregano. I am down to using between a quarter to half pound of ground beef in chili or spaghetti sauce or tacos and adding extra beans to the chili and tacos and we really haven’t noticed much of a difference. We are expanding our garden this year. We ordered some pantry foods online so we didn’t have to drive to the store and that saved time and gas money. I baked bread, cookies and cake and made jello for deserts. My husband repaired my sewing machine and I made two face masks using a pillow case for material. I tried two different tutorials. Does anyone have any suggestions on a good tutorial for face masks?

  47. Long time listener, first time caller 🙂 I went to clean my beehive that had died over the winter. I was expecting only dead bees, but instead found untouched honey comb. I was able to process 7 cups which will be a nice sweet treat for us. I am still going to go ahead and sell my beekeeping equipment though, because it is too disheartening to have them die every winter.

    1. Thanks for hosting us every week, Brandy—you and everyone here inspire me.

      FWIW, I can’t speak to the travails of actual beekeepers like Beth (above) but I do know of five honeybee colonies in walking distance from our house—three in trees, one inside a concrete wall, one in a sprinkler box—so I think that the bees themselves are making do!

      Frugal successes this week:
      * Harvested artichokes (so many!), lemons, strawberries, chard, collards, rosemary and oregano from the yard
      * Found pastured medium size eggs at the market today for .99; their “sell-by” date is tomorrow, but they should be good for at least three weeks before then and we use lots of eggs right now!
      * Been buying up some of the flavored tofus from our supermarket—they’re delicious, now I need to figure out what to do with the plain kind!
      * Used our cargo bike for most errands, so even less gas expenditure than usual
      * Filled up the van anyway out of sheer habit, went to the debit-only gas station where gas was $2-something a gallon which is rock bottom for us.
      * Made chocolate pudding for the kids out of some organic pudding mix I picked on close out last year, made sourdough bread and kombucha, made roasted garlicky artichokes, made sourdough waffles to use up sourdough discard, used up some homemade mango vinegar as salad dressing, made family-movie-night popcorn on the stovetop from kernels purchased in bulk
      * BUY NOTHING GROUP: Picked up a huge, like-new box of Miracle Gro, some plant pots, a five-gallon bucket and an olla; gave away several bean seedlings, cucumber seedlings and an entry-level sewing machine
      * Worked on my fitness with the free Couch to 5K app
      * Entertained myself with the free iNaturalist app, neat sightings this week including an osprey and a blindsnake
      * Continued watching the Phillippa Gregory dramatizations of English history on Starz to get more value out that subscription while I already have it for Outlander; I’m up to the story of Catharine of Aragon and am quite enjoying the educational soapiness
      * We pulled the 7yo out of school but he’s thriving using Khan Academy, Typing Club and Epic for storybooks, all of which are free online, although he probably learns the most from watching YouTube videos about his hobbies.
      * We’re spending much more on groceries and a little more on “home entertainment” but we do seem to spending less overall because of not visiting restaurants/drive-thru, paying for gas and doing assorted outside activities

      CORONAVIRUS SHORTAGES
      * Smart & Final had flour available
      * Sprouts had disinfectant spray (Seventh Generation brand) and had restocked the Botanical Interests seeds display, including many vegetable seeds
      * San Diego Seed Company, which is based relatively close to us, had plenty in stock and was delivering in a timely manner; I picked up several vegetable and flower varieties I hadn’t been able to find elsewhere

      Hope everyone stays healthy and safe this week!

      1. Spring is when bees like to swarm. I know a beekeeper here who was so sad that her bees swarmed and left in the spring. I know another who has lost all his bees due to swarming. They are looking for a new, larger home.

  48. We paid the first half of our house property taxes last week. The statement had a breakdown of how much we pay for various services: $33.14 a year for our public library! What a bargain!
    My husband goes in spurts of baking bread for several weeks, and then going back to store bought. Of course, now that he wants to be baking, we can’t find yeast, and he will be out in another few loaves. He experimented with sour dough starter; for the first attempt, it was good. I just made croutons out of the last few pieces.
    I am looking online for recipes to use some of the many many abundant chive plants that grow all around our house.
    Last year, or maybe even the year before, at a fill-a-bag charity yard sale, I picked up one of those cutesy little gift seed packs, with a tiny peat pot and cucumber seeds, estimating it cost me less than ten cents with the other stuff I got. I planted the eight seeds in peat pots this year, and they all sprouted! As we don’t eat many cucumbers, I will have lots to share if they keep going. I also have sprouting at least one zucchini and one squash plant out of the gifted seeds my Dad gets from charities asking for donations, (the same places that overload him with address labels, notepads, and other stuff he gives away).
    I hauled out my ten largest plant pots and mixed up the old soil in them with new I had bought last fall and got them ready to plant this weekend, (basil, parsley, lettuce, spinach, pansies). I also planted the ends of some green onions in one of them. Guess which is the only one the squirrel dug around in! It took less than two hours for him to show he is ready for some squirrely yard work.
    Enjoying having tiny bouquets of violets in the house. We seem to have more birds in our yard this spring. Perhaps the lack of traffic in the area has led them to expand their nesting areas.
    We turned off the furnace and opened the windows today. Hope to be able to keep that up. Making sure to drive our vehicles at least once a week for several minutes, but we sure haven’t needed to buy gas.

      1. Thanks, Margie: Some kind of cheese biscuits are likely on the menu.
        I understand Canada (and I wouldn’t be surprised if also the U.S.) is experiencing a french fry overage! People are eating baking potatoes at home, but the variety grown to make the best fries is different. Because so many fries are normally sold in restaurants, they aren’t getting used. Perhaps poutine prices will go down when things reopen.

        1. I haven’t had fries in 7 weeks!! I don’t have an air fryer and I’d be too nervous to deep fry at home – although I’d be happy to help out! But my cardiologist would not be happy that I’m adding even more carbs to my diet. 🙂
          But have to say – the one meal I’ve been craving is a really delicious burger and some fries!

  49. Brandy, I want to say that I’m truly inspired by your creativity and resilience. While so many are complaining you get to work figuring out how to make it all work without skipping a beat! I’ve been following your blog for about a year now and this is my first time commenting. I’ve been sharing your blog posts a lot lately with friends and family who are struggling and they all have found you to be inspiring. I hope you know that you are bringing so much hope into people’s lives during a hard time and are truly doing God’s work.

    As for myself I went shopping for my parents this week (they are high risk and have been self-quarantined for months now) and dropped it off outside their house. I found eggs at a somewhat reasonable price while shopping for them so I picked up a few cartons for my family. I have been trying to use up some odds and ends in my food stockpile – this week I made cornbread, veggie burgers, and chocolate chip pancakes to use up some things. We are moving across the country to California in July so I will be trying to live mostly off my stockpile in the hopes of not having to transport too much of it across the country. This week we had: breakfasts: blueberry muffins (frozen blueberries from last year’s harvest were gifted to me as a thank you from my mom for dropping off groceries to her), chocolate chip pancakes, cornbread with honey (purchased on super clearance), eggs and toast (my wife is currently working as a nurse at one of the few COVID facilities in our region and is often gifted food from the community – she brought home a whole loaf of local bread); lunches: tomato and mayo sandwiches, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, veggie burger sandwiches, hummus and veggie sandwiches, leftovers; dinner: pasta bolognese with TVP (we got the TVP on sale before COVID and have been slowly working our way through it. I’ve discovered that if I cook TVP with water, oil, smokey BBQ sauce, and soy sauce it tastes so much like meat!) and salad, roasted vegetables with mashed potatoes and baked beans, vegetarian fried rice, tacos made with TVP, chili with rice, “cheesy” rice casserole (with nutritional yeast instead of cheese).

  50. Still haven’t gotten gas. Hubby has been working from home for 6 weeks. We had 8 yards of dirt delivered. The 4 of us got it done that day. Went on several walks. I started to go through the downstairs pantry. With everyone home it was getting messy. I am taking inventory and reorganizing it. I am working on it a little at a time. My youngest’s boyfriend sent her flowers. She was so excited and surprised. They really miss each other. It was very sweet. My mom went to the grocery store to pick up a prescription. She walked over to the meat aisle to see what they had with everything on the news. She said they only had organ meat . In the fridge section they did have hot dogs and breakfast sausage. She said there were a few bags of frozen chicken nuggets in the freezer section. She grabbed one for my sister. My nephew is autistic and only eats certain foods. I harvested my kale this week. First crop for me this season. I Facetimed several times with my oldest daughter. I made a chicken one day and boiled the bones after. I made chicken orzo soup with some of the stock and meat. Stay healthy everyone.

  51. I had the pleasant surprise of coming into work this morning to read an email offering all admin officers full-time work for the next six months in the Hospital I work in (I currently work three days a week). I will take this up and save the extra money I will get each fortnight as the current crisis has really brought home we need more of a cash buffer in place.
    I am also going to enrol in a free social media course offered by a local college which will help both my husband’s business and my own work.
    My daughter had the idea of picking a theme for dinner each night so this week everyone in my family is making a vegetarian meal. Next week will be the choice of cooking a Lebanese or Italian dish.
    We are having beautiful Autumn weather so I have been spending every minute I can out in the garden, rewarding in lots of ways and a real antidote to stress.

  52. We have been busy planting things. I cut my husbands hair. He loved it! It made me happy. I’ve been considering just letting my natural hair grow out. I don’t know what color it will be. My husband thinks the natural color looks pretty. We will see. I plan to cut my son’s hair sometime this week.
    We have made a lot of Indian bean dishes this week. Cooked Asparagus several times this week. I am getting free exercise picking asparagus.
    I have been reading books around the house. Using the internet to find new recipes using what I have. We will probably use curbside service for groceries this week. I really miss going grocery shopping for loss leaders. I do still have some blueberries in my freezer when I bought them at a deep discount as well as some cranberries. I plan on using those this week. I’ve been rereading my book on essential oils. I love the smells of geranium and lavender. Both smells relax me. I have found that my blood sugar number go down when I eat protein and vegetables. It is possible that beans raise my blood sugar. I need to test that out by not eating other things that I know raise my blood sugar. I hope I can still eat beans. I enjoy them and they are cheap. I am glad I am gardening with my husband. Having fresh veggies is definitely helpful. On days that I only eat meat and veggies I feel great and my numbers are great the nest morning. I have been on the phone talking to my grandchildren. My husband has played video games with them while on the phone. It has been fun to watch. I planted armenian cucumbers also. None have come up yet, but it has only been a few days, I t is just now getting warm. We enjoyed a double rainbow this week. So beautiful.

    1. Beans have about 20 grams of carbohydrates per 1/2 cup while meat has 0 carbs and vegetables very little depending on the veg. The more carbs you eat the more your blood sugar goes up. I know this because my son is a Type 1 diabetic requiring insulin like all Type 1 diabetics. Exercise will also help keep your blood sugar number within range. Good luck.

      1. Susan,
        Thank-you for the information. That explains why my blood sugar goes up when I eat beans! I did notice on days I’ve exercised my blood sugar was lower the next morning. Have a great week!
        Tammy

  53. I love your photos, Brandy! They’re a beautiful reminder of what late spring/early summer will be like here in a month or so!
    My first iris bloomed this week (right next to the foundation of the house – added warmth!) and my rhododendron is just peeking out! Up next, tulips and daffodils, and lilacs. I’m so excited by each new thing.
    All but one of my seeds sprouted this year – super surprised since they were older seeds. I’ll transplant seedlings in about 2 weeks.

    We cleaned out the TV cabinet and accompanying bookcase this week. It looks so much better. My husband has a place he can drop off donations so we sent 5 paper grocery bags and one large box of movies (both DVD and VHS) and books. I’m grateful we can take things out of the house right now!

    We are all still working from home mostly (my husband goes in 3x per week and I go in once) or schooling from home. We’ve got our routine in place, which helps immensely. My husband’s pay went down a bit (he’s a Pastor and his salary is dependent on congregational giving) but mine went up, so for now we’re stable. We have been putting the “extra” money that we are not spending on other things (children’s activities, gasoline, etc.) now in savings along with most of our stimulus money. We have several house repairs that need to be done when the stay-at-home orders lift (carpenters, contractors, etc. are only able to do outside work where they can guarantee social distancing right now – roofing, framing, landscaping, etc.). Yesterday I added a new repair to the list – a vent in the roof is leaking. We are on the list to get a new roof when they have an opening – we were originally scheduled for June along with our other work but we will see now! Today we will have to open up the attic so things can dry out. It seems like it never ends sometimes, doesn’t it?
    Here are my frugal things from this last week: http://lea-intherefinersfire.blogspot.com/2020/04/frugal-friday-last-full-week-of-april.html
    Have a fabulous week everyone,
    Lea

  54. Thankfully my seeds have all sprouted. We have had very warm weather already. My daughter has killed two Rattlesnakes already at her house. One was on her gravel driveway it did not rattle when she walked by it. The other was a baby in their calf barn.
    They are dairy farmers but also raise Beef x calves. The beef prices are so low right now for the farmers. Calves are selling for $30. People are buying them up, not sure what is going to happen with the food supply. Everything is back in stock here but TP. Lots of price increases. I have noticed a lot of people making their own bleach wipes.
    Bleach has a very short half life and in 24 hours it is almost ineffective when it is mixed with water. Commercial wipes have lots of additives in them. In healthcare bleach has to be mixed fresh each day. Just wanted to share so people don’t have a false sense of security.
    Praying for safety and provision for Brandi and all her readers.

  55. Hello Brandy and readers!

    Congratulations to your son on being able to begin his college studies. That’s wonderful! Next year, my son can enroll in a program in Ohio called College Credit Plus. He can earn college credit while still in high school. A 2019 graduate of our high school participated in this & had earned enough college credit to enter university as a junior immediately after graduating high school. It is free to participate and we will be taking advantage of this.

    School here in Ohio has been cancelled for the remainder of the school year so remaining assignments will be completed online and via paper packets sent home from the school. All grades for the final 9 weeks will be pass/fail. My son is finishing his 10th grade year. Sports were also cancelled and he plays baseball. Was one of only 2 10th graders who made the varsity team this year. We even had to special order cleats for him due to his shoe size. Hopefully they will fit next season.

    It was also my son’s 16th birthday on the 26th. However on Saturday, we had a small birthday party with my parents coming over. None of us have been sick. We had pizza and cake with ice cream. As a bonus, my mother, who is a licensed cosmetologist cut all of our hair for us while she was here. I sent them home with several pieces of pizza for them to enjoy later as it is just the two of them at their home.

    I watched Call the Midwife on PBS.org. LOVE that show. Especially being a nurse myself, and soon-to-be family nurse practitioner. Just waiting to be able to take my board exam as all testing centers are closed in my area.

    My husband made beer bread which was very good.

    Enjoyed my free magazine subscriptions to include People magazine, Real Simple, Good Housekeeping, Martha Stewart Living, and Country Living. Some were obtained with the Verizon Wireless rewards they offer each month while the rest were obtained with RecycleBank rewards..

    My husband and son cut down a tree after getting a quote from a service which would’ve cost $1200 had they done it. We are going to put in an above-ground pool since we sold our camper a few weeks ago. The money we got from the stimulus will go to help pay for it as well so there will be nothing put on credit.

    Staying home saves lots of money!

  56. I cut my husband’s hair twice now – a first and we think it looks just as good as the salon cut. I made two masks each out of tea towels. I had to sew them by hand as I don’t have access to a sewing machine tight now. I made them out of cotton tea towels that I got at a gtocery store as all the fabric stores are closed.
    We shop at a coop grocery store nearby. I have had no problem finding meat or fish as the meat is all organic, therefore a bit more expensive. But we are very careful – no waste at all. Plus I am cooking way more beans and other vegie options. This morning my husband found a good deal online for Bob’s rolled oats and ordered 4 large bags. It brought to mind that scene from Oliver where he holds up his bowl and says, ” Please sir, can I have more?”
    We found a house on Fidalgo Island that checked almost all our boxes. We grabbed it the first day that it appeared on the market. It is going through escrow right now. The owner has accepted $5000 less so we could have the interior painted. It really needs it, although the rest is quite perfect and the inspector found little wrong. I don’t know how long escrow will take as these are weird times – some houses are closing faster and some slower. I can’t wait to have a house as I haven’t been able to stockpile much of anything.
    My relative in England continues to improve after the coronavirus. He is now walking, talking and able to do some physical therapy. It will still be weeks until he can go home.
    I have been talking to so many friends and relatives on the phone which is such a nice thing. It makes one realize the importance of human connection. One of my grandsons has been concerned I’ll get Covid – you know, cuz I am “old”. I reassured him of how careful I am:)
    Other than that we have been making things like bread and granola. Also watching free shows on the TV. My sister just told me that the new season of “The Last Kingdom” just started up. A favorite of mine.

    1. Here, 45 days is the average time for a house to close. What you choose for your closing date and how your loan is funded ar the other main factors (along with inspections along the way). A cash buyer can close here in two weeks if inspections are done quickly.

      Congratulations on your soon-to-be-new home!

  57. I have been able to save quite a bit on my gas budget this past month. I am in health care and considered essential, but I am only driving to work and back. No where else. I have set aside this extra money from the gas budget towards some repairs the car is going to need quite soon. Thankful the car is still chugging along while I save for the repairs.
    We have continued to read books that we checked out of the library before it closed, watched free movies on Hoopla and Kanopy. It’s been getting warmer out so we have been spending more time outside. Our chickens have been enjoying the free range of the yard and the extra bugs they are finding. And they are quite silly and provide lovely free entertainment 🙂

  58. Here are our frugal accomplishments (for most of April, really, since it’s been a while since I last commented):

    * Aside from one $135 grocery trip at the start of the month, we have not purchased any groceries, nor have ordered takeout. I am so grateful for my pantry and freezers- we have so much food still, even after eating out of them for a whole month! Avoiding possible exposure while also saving some money is definitely something I appreciate.

    * My SO lost their job due to Covid-19, so they applied for unemployment. We have not yet heard back about this, unfortunately, though we do have savings so it’s not as urgent a need as it is for some. We did finally both get our taxes done, which brought in a bit of money, and my SO received their stimulus check, so we also have those to add to the buffer.

    * My SO switched their phone plan to one with less data, as they are home, using wifi all day. My plan is a pay-as-you-go plan for data, so I haven’t had to change anything to see a reduction in my own bill.

    * We have been doing significantly less laundry now that we’re both home, which is appreciated since our utility costs have been going up elsewhere due to being home more often. Our gas spending has also been significantly reduced, which also helps.

    * I meal plan dinners and lunches every month, and I noticed that we were going through our “dinner” portions at a much faster pace than usual because I had not been as diligent in meal prepping lunches for my SO anymore. Fortunately, I have several containers of soup in the freezer that I have been able to pull out to supplement our meals.

    * I continue to make homemade bread (1-2 loaves a week is good for us), but I’ve also been making other baked goods as treats. So far, I’ve done an apple cinnamon coffee cake and brownies. I’ve also been using the occasional packet of jello or pudding for a dessert, since I have them in the pantry.

    * I used a bunch of frozen fruit from the freezer (bananas, tropical fruit mix, strawberries), plus the juice from canned pears and canned pineapple to make faux ice cream. Basically, it’s a super thick smoothie with the texture of soft serve, and I find it’s a great way to make fruit feel like a “treat”. I have been saving all of the juice from all of my canned fruit for this purpose.

    * It’s finally been warm enough that we can have the window open during the day without the apartment getting super cold, so we have been leaving it open to get some fresh air in the apartment (and to keep the apartment cool when baking). This means we don’t need to turn on the AC just yet, saving us money.

    * I made masks for both of us from a few old shirts and some elastic. They took a bit of time to sew by hand!

    I hope everyone stays safe and healthy!

  59. Hope you all had a nice, frugal week!
    I went to our Kroger, which appeared to be 100% stocked once again. Markdowns included some Easter candy (70% off), $1/# boneless skinless trimmed frozen chicken breasts, and $.99/# ground beef. I stocked up, especially on the beef. Some of the meat I cooked and froze, others I froze right away. Strawberries were $1/#, and delicious. I wish I had bought more than 5 lbs.
    I sold a couple of things on facebook marketplace.
    I bought some Forever stamps from a facebook group, discounted about 25%. I really don’t need them now, but maybe I’ll use them eventually.
    I cut the tangled hair that was twisted up around the vacuum cleaner roller brush. This job should have been done a long time ago.
    I used up some brown bananas to make peanut butter oatmeal breakfast cookies, adding chocolate chips bought on clearance after Christmas.
    My aunt let the kids swim in her pool.
    I helped my son cut the grass; he’s just learning.
    My mom mended a pair of shorts for me.
    I covered the car in old blankets and towels in case we got hail from a recent storm.
    I used bacon grease in a skillet of cornbread I made.
    My aunt gave us some eggs from her chickens. I sent her a video of my five year old son reading her a short story about chickens, which she liked.
    I realized that we have more pencils than I knew. Those should go on my “do not buy” list.
    I completed an online certification through my job.
    We are saving money by hardly doing anything or going anywhere.

  60. Hello all.
    I enjoy all the comments and read them throughout the week. Temps started shot up here this week. At 5:30 am on Monday the AC kicked on at 78!! So we took a chance and bought an evaporative cooler. We cut a hole in the house and installed it ourselves. Since we are in the desert, it works because of low humidity here. We are on day two, which is good because it’s unseasonably warm. Yesterday it was 107 outside and 77 in the house with just this cooler. I am interested to see how many months we can use it and not the AC. I think it will work April- June and Sept-Oct. It will reduce our electric bills a lot. In case anyone is interested: we got the Bonaire Durango 5900 cooler from Home Depot. It’s a slim cooler so it doesn’t stick out from the house very much and it’s not too difficult to install, just need an opening in the house/window, water hook up and a plug in the house. I’ll report back on it since this is a bit of an experiment.

    I planted more in the garden, including the Swiss Chard Brandy suggested. I planted in shaded areas. I cut up a shade cloth that we had and made shade for the garden. Today I had to work and on the way home I saw a big pile of things near the street. I stopped and found a couple canvas paint cloths, some painting supplies and a broken outdoor chair with nice slats. I took the slats to repair one of my outdoor chairs. When I got home, I used some scrap lumber and one of the canvases to shade the garden. I think I will water it twice a day too.

    After beginning to read the comments, I went to the store to get a few more food items. Our stores are still picked over, but the prices are not too high, yet.
    I have a stocked pantry compared to most Americans, but not compared to many of you so I’m trying to get more for the future. The store had boneless skinless chicken breast for 1.47, which is a decent price. They had two 5# tubes of ground meat for $2 a pound. So I bought those. I packaged them into smaller portions that will provide a meat taste in the meal, but not a main dish. I browned a small portion of beef and mixed it with seasoned rice and homemade beans for taco bowls last night and everyone was happy. I will continue with this. I was able to buy large bags of sugar and beans as well.

    Also had a moment of discovery… we eat a lot of salsa. It’s costly. I’ve been adding bits of chopped leftover onion, tomatoes or tomato sauce and cilantro to the store made bottle.. I minced all the cilantro stems and threw them in too. Then I realized the first ingredient is crushed tomatoes, which are much cheaper. I will be making my own salsa from now on. A little something I hadn’t noticed.

    Goals for the week: Sell two items on our swap and organize hall closet and my clothing.

      1. We really like The Pioneer Woman’s salsa. It’s made with canned tomatoes . Easy to find the recipe on the Internet.

  61. Hello everyone
    This week has been a good one. Tuesday is a favourite of mine as this post comes out. I enjoy sitting with a coffee and having a good read.
    The weather here has been sunny highs of 18c, well sunny for the UK but cold to other parts of the world. My herbs are all doing well and I’m thankful I planted extra last year. I like to use herbs not just for food/teas but also for sore throats etc. The pumpkins, peas, lettuce, carrots and a fair few others are in the garden. I can see interest rates and taxes going up here when all this is over. So we are planting more and because I feel we need it more this year, everything just seems slower to grow.
    All meals have been made at home and I’ve taken stock of what we have and need. My favourite this week was rhubarb and sweet mince meat (like in Christmas pies) crumbles. I’m grateful and thankful for our savings even if we do end up using them all. My husband is the main earner and self employed so not working at the moment. At least we still have our house and food on the table.
    We made our own clothing pegs (peg the washed clothes up outside) this week. Using YouTube and willow branches. When we need anything and I stress the word need, we look to see if we can make it. With some strong winds here we needed more pegs. They turned out great and they work. My daughter make a basket with a little help using leftover willow branches. You can also use blackberry vines that have been de thorned to make baskets. YouTube again.
    Fixed a dressing gown pocket, a pair of Pj’s and hemmed a scarf. I also made quite a few birthday cards by using card I had and scraps of material. I cut out the image I want out of scraps (birds, coffee cup etc) , glue it on the card then go over it on the sewing machine. They looks great and use up scraps. Personalised free birthday cards with a bit of time and effort.
    It’s a strange time here, shops are starting to be restocked but still short on flour and yeast in most. Key workers, NHS, careers, cleaners and many others are doing an amazing job. They say we have peaked with the virus but they are concerned about a second wave. Schools are still closed although some might be opening for a few pupils from the 1st June. In 2 more weeks we find out if the lockdown is to continue, it will have been 6 weeks by then. Some people are following the guidelines and ours are not. My parents are high risk so they have to be (shielded as its know here) for 12 weeks. I have never wanted to hug my parents more then I do right now.
    Stay safe everyone and thank you for taking the time every week to write. I find it fascinating to read about people’s frugal plans and about the virus from around the world.

  62. Well it seems we are gradually going to start to reopen-next week will be golf courses, provincial parks/camping and dentists etc. Which is a good thing as DH and I both have dental apts booked for Monday so they might be able to go ahead as booked. As well elective surgeries will start again as DH is waiting for a hip and has been in a lot of pain. I have been wanting to head to Ontario to visit DD but it seems a bit early yet for inter provincial travel.

    We did Costco seniors hr this morning but the line to get in was still long-but we were in and out in 15 minutes so that was great. Our weather is nice now and I am hardening off one tomato plant my SIL gave me today-you avid gardeners will laugh but hey it is a start-lol.

    1. Are you in Quebec? I wouldn’t advise travelling yet – we are still in lockdown. The only start on Monday will be some construction sites (public not private projects) and hands free car washes (?) – landscaping services and gardening centres who have curb side pickup. Marinas and golf courses can bring in staff to start prep work for re-opening but cannot open to the public as yet. Based on today’s numbers – I think Quebec is moving too fast and I am very happy to take a slower approach.
      My sister lives in Picton and they are a summer resort area with many people from Quebec and the US coming up to their cottages for the summer – normally they welcome all those people but this year they are worried about all those people bringing the virus with them so they are hoping that the borders stay shut for a good bit longer.

        1. Long way to travel just yet – at least to here. Alberta and Manitoba, plus the maritime provinces are in much better shape – the smaller population centres are a real advantage for you. I hope things go well out there and you’ll be able to visit soon.

  63. I’d love to see a post on frugal homeschooling. You touch in it at times but how you teach effectively without needing to spend much. I run into difficulty being frugal
    Times times with a struggling student and would love to hear others ideas.

    1. Jyl,

      You can see what we use for homeschooling under my homeschool links. The other thing that is nice is that we can pass down materials.

  64. Hi Brandy,
    Thanks to everyone for the great comments this week. It sure helps to know we are all going through this together and can learn and encourage each other.
    I have celery tops growing on my kitchen windowsill. I have planted 3 containers of potatoes and am thankful all three are sprouting up.
    My neighbor and her granddaughter left us a frozen meal on our front step! So very nice of them- I think it was a home school activity to teach about cooking and about sharing and giving to others. I was really touched.
    We used another of our Olive Garden gift cards and was able to stretch the food for dinners for several nights this week. That really helps with the food budget as the prices here increase almost daily.
    My husband filled up our gas cans while the price is low so we can use for lawn mowing all summer.
    I was in need of some new tops to wear to work and was able to find one at Target. I don’t like purchasing clothes on-line so I bought a t-shirt at Target that was a size too large but all they had and I plan to alter it to fit me. In the past, I would have just waited but I have no idea how long it will be before the clothing stores open in my area.
    I have to say I am shocked by how much money some of my friends have been spending during this stay at home time. They seem oblivious to the tough times yet to come and have spent their time shopping on-line. It seems crazy to me but then again I don’t shop much on a normal basis however I am really missing getting haircuts. I am almost tempted to cut my own hair but my hair is difficult even for the most experienced stylist so my daughter has told me to stay away from the scissors and just wear a pony tail which I have started doing.
    Take care everyone and I look forward to reading this blog again next week.

  65. I agree with someone who posted before me I believe things, food etc will be more scarce in the future as this pandemic will have ripple affects
    I have a good pantry stock but I am now convinced I need a small freezer because I am lucky enough to live in the Finger Lakes area and we are surrounded by farms, apple orchards etc so we usually by at road side stands for a fraction of the price for fruits and vegetables
    I am following Brandy’s example and many others planting things that are costly lettuces, swiss chard, cucumber at home.We have blueberry bushes but too young yet to give much.Next I need to plant pots with herbs to save thru out the fall and winter
    My whole focus is the preserve and put away as much as possible
    I am in New York by the lakes we are getting in the 50’s this weekend

  66. -I cut DH, DS and moms hair. I gave myself a pedicure. Rocking a messy bun so I don’t have to deal with my hair.
    -I got 4 more fruit trees for my birthday from my parents, to replace ones that died last year after a very cold, long, rainy spring. I’m hoping to find some more raspberry plants today. Digging up daylillies for space, which I will transplant to a rental property in need of landscaping. Also planted more strawberries, grapes and asparagus. Hope to have DH rototill the garden this weekend, as I’m 9 months pregnant and rototilling is out of the question for me 🙂
    -I was given several large bags of baby clothes. Passing along many items to friends, as it’s way more than I could ever use. Kind of shocked at how many clothes people buy for their kids. Parents are repainting an old dresser for the baby.
    -Aldi is hit or miss on staples. Not very much meat or fresh veggies. I went to Kroger to buy some birth and labor supplies, I found chicken and pork on sale plus a ham for .85/lb. Only 1 left so I grabbed it to have it in the freezer for easy post baby meals. I’ll make pulled pork for freezer for another easy meal. I’m feeding a lot of family as they are helping around the house and at our businesses, so I’m trying to add more rice, pasta and beans to stretch meals further. I was also gifted fresh fish from a patient.
    – Fully funded HSA for 2019. Happy for the extension on taxes.
    -Finished up some CEUs that were free but super boring
    -Borrowed a grass seed spreader from parents
    -Sewed a ripped sheet. Hung my jewelry organizer, it’s been on my “list” since we moved 1 1/2 years ago! Using up random toiletries.
    -Ordered takeout one night as a thank you to brother for his help, using a coupon. Left the employees a nice tip. My mom offered to pay since I’ve been helping her with social media sales for her brick and mortar store that has been closed.
    -Birthday dinner at home this year with steaks, potatoes and steak house rolls I bought from a fundraiser a while back. Sad I can’t go out to celebrate with friends but happy my family is together and safe.

  67. Just a thought…I was reading about the number of stores and restaurants that are expected to close. I’ve advised my daughter to use any gift cards she has been holding.

  68. Hi, I just wants to say that I really enjoy reading you comments they have been very hopefully to me. My son gifted us with grocery 2 weeks ago. My veggie are spouting good but I can’t put in the garden until after Mother’s Day. Been walking for exercise and pulling weeds from flowers bed. Thanks for all that you do> Brandy.

  69. -I hate grocery shopping and cooking. Have done more of each in past 7 weeks than in first 60 years of my life. Live with my 83 yo mom so it’s up to me. Brother and sister both live nearby and are really good about bringing us extra from their home cooked and curbside meals.
    -Our state opened back up for non-essential shopping on May 1. On May 4 I went to local liquidation store. They have inventory from Target and Amazon. I had gotten a $30 jewelry box there pre-virus for $5 and was hoping to find more to use as girlfriend gifts. No luck but they have some $1 tables, they were having a fill a bag of $1 items for $5. I was only customer in store so I took my time and managed to fill bag with 29 items/17 cents each. Looked them up when I got home, some sell on Amazon for $28, average retail price was $10-$15 and I paid 17 cents plus it made me so happy to buy something other than groceries.
    -Mom and I started walking every day on May 1.

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