Early June Flowers The Prudent Homemaker 

I cut flowers from the garden for the house for several arrangements.

June Arrangement 1 The Prudent Homemaker

I picked 1 basketful of figs, two and a half colanders full of blackberries, and apples from the garden. We’ve never had such a large blackberry harvest. I will be covering our bushes with sheets every year from now on to protect them from the burning sun.

I froze figs and blackberries to use later in the year.

Tomato Medley The Prudent Homemaker

I picked tomatoes and basil from the garden and made a Caprese salad

I harvested lettuce, oregano, and Swiss chard.

I sowed seeds for zinnias, Armenian cucumbers, basil, and sunflowers, in the garden.

I collected seeds from my larkspur plants.

I wanted some flowers in a bare spot in the garden. Instead of buying some seedlings, which I was really wanting to do, I dug and moved some seedlings that I had growing in another part of the garden. They may or may not make it through this shady spot in the summer (they were Johnny Jump-ups, which are more of a winter flower in our climate) but they should give beauty to that spot for a little while. I will plan on planting more Johnny Jump-up seeds (which I already have) in this spot in the fall should these die, to make for some pretty winter and early spring color.

I took off leaves from my succulents that were bolting and put them in pots to dry, with the hopes of making more succulents. I have had minimal success with this so far, but I have had some success, so I should get at least one new plant to replace the bolted ones.

I collected warm-up water from the shower in a bucket each morning and used it to water potted plants on my patio.

Our lows this week were 75ºF/24ºC. As I keep the air conditioner set at 79º, I was able to turn it off for a few hours in the early morning each day while I aired out the house before turning it back on around 8 a.m (our highs were around 105ºF/41ºC.)

I studied French using free online sources.

I listened to music on Pandora.

I earned points on Recyclebank and redeemed points for a free magazine subscription.

I made yogurt, roast chicken, steamed Swiss chard from the garden, several salads from the garden, and bean burritos.

I mended an article of clothing. I shortened and hemmed a thrift-store skirt that I bought several years ago. I cut off a daughter’s pair of pants that were torn at the knee and hemmed them for shorts. 

June 2 Arrangement Detail The Prudent Homemaker

I looked over the information about the new symphony season. They have several different purchase options available to save money, including a four-performance purchase instead of the full season purchase (where you pick the four concerts you’ll attend). I had been hoping to purchase this four-performance option, and they even sent me an email with an additional 10% off discount if purchased by June 5th. Unfortunately, this is not in my budget right now, so instead, I looked over the different pieces they’ll be performing for each concert, decided which concert would be my favorite to attend, and decided to wait. The symphony has been sending out ads for 25% off tickets the month before each performance (in the ValPak for Las Vegas readers). If the budget allows that month, I’ll purchase the least expensive seats for that performance using the coupon (should they offer this option again). With an irregular income, I don’t know what our budget will be yet at that time, so waiting is the most sensible option for now.

My husband welded our trampoline frame, which was in need of mending.

June Arrangement 2 The Prudent Homemaker

What did you do to save money this past week?


Note: To those who have asked, I will be writing a floral arrangement post. I’m just waiting for some more flowers to be ready in the garden!

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  1. Oh, such beautiful pictures! I love your arrangements and I’m so glad that you’ll be writing a post on them!

    My frugal accomplishments last week are as follows:
    – I made ½ dozen single-serving sized sausage & veg hand pies (http://approachingfood.com/sausage-veggie-hand-pies/), for lunches etc. for the coming week. Great way to use up leftovers – mix them all together with gravy, and cover in pie crust!
    – My friends and I went to an Escape Room to celebrate my birthday, and by sharing on social media, we were able to save 10% each off the cost of tickets and get a free drink afterwards.
    – I baked several loaves of whole wheat bread. My yeast failed (my doughs had progressively been getting less and less rise), so the loaves were pretty solid bricks, albeit still eatable. The DH and I ate two, and I cubed and air dried the third loaf to use in Brandy’s Tuscan Bread Soup in the future, or to eat with fancy balsamic as an aperitif.
    – I started a cookbook supperclub group a while ago, and this month we’re cooking from a BBQ cookbook (borrowed from the public library). My contributions were grilled corn on the cob with ancho chili glaze, and grilled garlic bread. The only item I had to buy were the corn and the baguette, as I had everything else in my pantry (and I wanted to bake the bread for the garlic bread myself but as my yeast wouldn’t rise that idea was tossed out, boo). The supperclub is a great (and frugal) way to get together with friends, while learning new skills and finding new recipes. I used some leftover packets of ketchup from a fast food place when the marinade called for ketchup. Perfect way to use them up!
    – Made a batch of strawberry granola, using strawberries I dried last summer
    – Made a batch of chocolate chip cookies. I didn’t have white flour, so I just used whole wheat flour. I added in oatmeal as a) it’s healthy and b) it was on sale this week so I stocked up. I also threw in the last of the homemade sponge toffee I had made months ago (I kept it in the fridge to use to decorate cakes, etc.) and some leftover toffee bits. The chocolate was actually a Christmas gift that I didn’t like. I added in some ground flax seeds I found in my fridge that I thought I had finished, and also some ground psyllium (I bought some on the advice of my doctor but can’t eat it plain so I add it to baked goods. Better than tossing it out!) So I managed to use up a lot of little bits of things lying around, and make delicious cookies to send in to work with the DH! Total win!
    – I got a small bonus at work, and applied it straight to the mortgage!
    – I baked some chocolate graham crackers, using Brandy’s recipe as a starting point.
    – After I finished baking cookies and turned off the oven, I popped the cubed bread that I’m saving for soup, into the still hot oven to further dry out. The faster they dry out, the faster I can put them in the freezer and not leave them out to dry cluttering up the kitchen.
    – I made ice cream sandwiches using my homemade graham crackers and ice cream that was on sale this week, and popped them into the freezer for easy desserts next week.
    – Cut green onions from my regrown store bought green onions, and froze them.
    – Dehydrated a pineapple to give as a gift (oh so yummy!)
    – I cut some thyme from my balcony garden, dehydrated it, and added it to my spice cabinet. So very satisfying to grow and dry my own herbs!
    – I picked the first radishes from my garden, and added the chopped radish and the radish greens to a salad, along with some regrown green onion, and served it with my homemade ranch dressing.
    – I put up a wire trellis on one of my balcony walls, in a geometric shape, so that my peas can grow up it, while making it a pretty focal point. I’m maximizing the small balcony space as best I can, and it’s so much fun to watch it grow!
    – I made greenery broth (sort of like vegetarian bouillion) using leftover lettuce, a limp carrot, homegrown thyme, some home-dehydrated celery, and some frozen chopped onions. No waste, and delicious broth!
    – Redeemed Swagbucks for a $5 Starbucks gift card on sale
    – Turned half a loaf of my brick-like bread into a stuffing casserole. Just cubed it and added boullion, melted butter, chopped onion and rehydrated celery (reused from my greenery broth – no waste here!) herbs (including some homegrown rosemary and thyme!), etc., and baked it in the oven. Yum!
    – Planted some more nasturtium and lettuce seeds.

    And that was my week! Looking forward to learning from everyone else!

  2. We welcomed our third child into the world. Instead of eating at the hospital as we had budgeted, my husband went home for all but one meal.

    Meals my husband could cook had been planned in advance so we wouldn’t be tempted to use convenience foods.

    When I didn’t have wrapping paper for a wedding present, I cut up a brown paper bag and decorated it “shabby chic.”

    Before going to the hospital, I bought 10 pounds of chicken on sale, cooked it in the crockpot and froze it for baby’s baptism next week. We will have BBQ chicken along with several sides in the crockpot that my husband can put together. The party will be less than 2 weeks PPD due to when family will be in town.

    Due to recovery, we stayed out of stores.

  3. My husband & I had a mini staycation. We were able to stay at my parents house while they were out of town for the weekend (they live about a hour away from us). My mom had purchased any groceries since they were going out of town, so she told me to pick up dinner, her treat. Instead of going out, we purchased groceries for the price of eating a meal out. These items will last us several meals during the week. We went to a play & sat in orchestra seats that we had gotten for a promotional price of $20, instead of the usual $70 price. We skipped parking Feds & travelled around by bus using our free transit cards.

  4. What beautiful flowers, Brandy! I am looking forward to your post on flower arranging.

    We are continuing our frugal efforts in the garden. Our green beans are growing nicely (this is my first time planting them!) and so are our tomato plants. Next year we plan on growing more of our own food but this was a good experiment to know what works in our yard.

    I harvested lettuce and spinach. I also planted more lettuce.

    I made Greek yogurt.

    We make our own coffee and breakfast at home each morning. In the evening we make our lunches to take with us the next day to work. On the weekends I make one big meal such as a pork roast, roast chicken, or beef roast and then we eat from it a couple of days for dinner. I have also started chopping up vegetables for the week ahead. I am always looking for ways to save time in the kitchen during the week and still have good home-cooked meals.

    My company celebrated an employee’s 5th anniversary with a lunch ordered in from Olive Garden. There was enough food for everyone to eat for two days’ worth of lunches. Oh, and there was cake too!.

    I mended a skirt and some other items that had torn.

    I spent less than usual at the grocery store to offset some expenses that are coming up. I will continue to do this for the month of June.

  5. As always, thank you for another encouraging post. I know your wise counsel helps keep many of us committed to faithful frugal ways. This past week I made daily salads from lettuce, arugula, and fresh herbs from our garden. We are still eating asparagus and now the peas are ready to pick, too. There will be green beans soon. We cooked all meals at home and carried snacks or beverages with us whenever we went out for a period of time. I bought a short sleeved dress for $1.49 that snaps up the front and makes a great summer house coat. I have made up bowls of succulents for the patio tables using succulents that already grow in our garden. I have been making up bouquets to set on a table on the front porch. The porch is shaded almost all day and the arrangements last very well while adding a colorful welcome by the front door. We bought four 2 lb. blocks of cheddar cheese for $2.97, a best buy. With just three of us, that will last us for three or four months.

  6. We did a lot to save money this week. We made all our bread, ate meals at home mostly from what we had on hand, cooked a turkey to use in several meals, and picked blackberries at my mom’s house. They grow wild here and are all over the place. I’ve been researching recipes for using powdered milk and beans. I’ve found several very creative applications that I’d really like to try. I’ll let you know how they turn out.

  7. Those tomatoes look amazing! I love mixing different color produce in the same dish. It can make the most boring meal into something special. I’ve never seen a Caprese salad with anything other than red tomatoes, but I bet it’s really good.

    I continue to stay frugal by shopping the sales and using coupons and rebates whenever possible. Last week I found an incredible deal on soap. 3-packs of Cetaphil bars were only $0.07 each after coupons! I have never seen that brand so deeply discounted. I also found $0.25 Q-tips, $0.89 melons, green peppers for $0.19 each, and a 5-pack of squash for $0.69. At CVS, I did 3 transactions and got 2 shampoos, a pizza, and toilet paper for $3.49 total. All of my deals can be found here: http://thejewishlady.com/super-savings-saturday-61017/

  8. Beautiful pictures as always, Brandy!

    This week I saved money on my Comcast bill, made foaming soap, received some free clothes for my son from my mom’s Facebook group adventures, and I made some gluten free chocolate chip as well as raspberry muffins. I’ve been listening to free podcasts and reading free ebooks.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  9. Those flower arrangements are so gorgeous. I look at the pictures over and over again — so inspiring!
    We started out last week with a three-night camping trip. Our only costs were half a tank of gas for the truck, and $10 to dump our tanks before we returned home. We camped for free in the National Forest, and brought all food from home. We had a great time hiking and relaxing in camp.
    Back home, I also cut flowers for the house. I made homemade granola, a batch of pancake syrup, and whole wheat bread. I also made a batch of whipped body butter, with supplies I had on hand. The recipe made so much I think I’m set for the next year. On Thursday, we attended our electric co-op’s annual meeting. We enjoyed a free meal and music and received a $10 credit on next month’s electric bill – also a lovely matted photograph of local scenery, which I will frame. It is really gorgeous. Another night, we attended a free program on bluebirds at the local state park.
    I harvested enough peas from the garden to serve with a meal – the first of the season. We also had radishes, herbs, and lettuce from the garden. I used water from our rain barrels to water two of my garden beds, and all of my hanging baskets and potted flowers. Our water rates were increased last month, so conserving is even more important.
    I mended an ottoman the puppy had chewed, and sewed up a torn skirt on an armchair, and took in a shirt that was too large.
    Our weather has finally warmed up enough that we can enjoy our back deck more. Several mornings we ate breakfast out there, and we have enjoyed lunches and dinners there as well. It’s so relaxing to sit out and enjoy the fresh air, flowers, and birds.

  10. Brandy, your floral arrangements are gorgeous. Please count me in as one who would appreciate a post on floral arrangement.
    My flowers are presently thriving and I did cut hydrangea, daisies, purple coneflower, coreopsis and my one lone calla lily to be enjoyed on the kitchen table.
    Other frugal accomplishments include:
    Harvested and dried oregano. Harvested dill and used it to make tzaziki (sp?) sauce. Used the sauce to go into the chicken gyro sandwiches we had three times this week. I also used the last of my lettuce in them as it is getting too hot for the lettuce to continue growing here.
    Filled out one PineCone survey.
    Entered my Walmart receipt into the Walmart Savings Catcher account.
    Attended my niece’s high school graduation. Everybody met at P.F. Chang’s before the ceremony to have dinner. I remembered an email I had recently received which included a buy one entrée and receive another free. We had signed up for their rewards card the last time we ate there which was at least a year ago. The email was to let us know that they missed us and wanted to entice us back. The timing was good for this event.
    My husband and I have always been frugal with turning off lights, keeping the A/C set high in the summer and the heat set low in the winter, etc. However, we are receiving notices with our electric bill that we are using more electricity than many in our area. We do run our small business from the house so that does require extra computers and a printer. We read through all of the suggestions they provided and feel we are already doing most of them. Our next step was to replace all of our lightbulbs with LED bulbs. The power company will provide a box of them to us free of charge. This was completed this week. The old bulbs were donated to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. We are eager to see whether we see a noticeable decrease on the electric usage. Also, I welcome any tips from readers on the best ways they have found to keep the electric usage low.

  11. This week I bought my oldest son a snow suit for next year, and a pair of winter boots for myself. Even though it is 31C today I am thinking about Christmas and winter because this is the best time of year to get final end of season clear outs.

    Rhonda A – last week I saw you were planning a trip to Europe and I meant to respond but never did. My family is originally from Belgium and my husband and I spent our adult lives in Europe before coming back to Canada six years ago. If you have any questions feel free to contact me.

  12. I finally mended my ripped pocket in a pair of jeans. I wear jeans to work every day.

    We had fun with the kids on Thursday afternoon – it was the last day of school and our school PTA sponsored a beach day. They brought sun shades and water and juice, but everything else was BYO. Rather than eat dinner at the nearby restaurant, I packed veggies and hummus, snacks, and turkey sandwiches. And water. There’s nothing like the beach to tire everyone out.

    Friday no school so we split the work day rather than pay for care.

    I skipped my normal Saturday shop. After a conversation at the beach with another mom with a grocery budget (I think we may be the only 2 people I know with a budget) – I decided I didn’t need to shop. Her budget is $150/week. Mine is $133/week, though I’ve averaged out $140/week. And her kids are bigger and eat more. I decided to try and wing it for a few extra days. The expensive stuff for me is produce – I don’t garden and our family of 4 easily eats 5-7 pounds a day. I decided I could wait until mid-week.

    This week is first week of summer camp. We were going to have our big kid just be home all day, but found a baseball camp. Since it’s out at 2 pm, I’ll be able to shop mid-week after picking him up to replenish fruits and veg that we may need. If it were a regular work week, I probably would have done the Sat shopping.

    I finished crocheting an afghan for big kid.

    Saturday we entertained the kids by taking the little one to the YMCA to swim and taking the big one to the batting cages. Today I walked with a friend, and my hubby is dropping the car off at work and biking home. He’ll bike in tomorrow. He’ll repeat that later this week, which saves one round trip in the car. The Sunday/Monday doesn’t save a trip but gets him exercise.

    Our neighborhood potluck is today. I already made up some bubble water in the soda stream. We will take lemon bars because we are drowning in lemons, roasted potatoes, and a tomato/basil salad. None of this requires shopping!

    I made a big batch of Spanish rice for lunches for the week.

    I picked up a new book to read at the little free library down the street.

    I listened to a bunch of music on Pandora. And I’ve been watching shows on Hulu and Amazon and Netflix. I hit the end of the series “Shetland”, and “Call the Midwife” on Netflix, and was about to be bummed out. Then I found that Amazon prime *finally* has season 2 of Poldark on Prime.

    I ran yesterday and walked with a friend today.

  13. A new Aldi has opened up near where I work, so I don’t have to drive to get to Aldi. I can just walk the 5 blocks to pick up groceries during my lunch break or after work. Super pleased!!!

    Continued to put a bucket in the shower to collect the cold water before the shower heats up. This water I put on my vegie garden and pot plants. I’m experimenting with collecting the laundry water and putting that on garden beds that have flowers and shrubs. Nothing has died yet, but I’ll keep an eye on things.

    Cutting kale for my lunch wrap. And this week I have a lot of food left over from a parish (church) lunch. So I’m sharing this with my parents today, on this long weekend. (We get a holiday on Monday to celebrate the Queens birthday.) We plan on hiking along a local river, which is free and fun.

  14. I am super happy for you having the opportunity to think about spending some potentially available disposable income on the symphony!

  15. Well I don’t know if there will be any to spend or not 🙁 So that’s why I’m waiting. With an irregular income, I never know what we will have. At the current rate we’re going, we’re likely to make 1/3 of what we made last year. I managed to make the lowest-priced discounted tickets work in our budget for one performance this year (and we ate dinner at home before going) and maybe I can make one performance work in the budget this fall–but we’ll see.

  16. Brandy..enjoyed your beautiful flower arrangement and all your frugal finds. I will try your salad as I have basil growing abundantly now. I will look at see your other salads as well. I will look into our Symphony as well. They give free in certain parks during summer. A few frugal accomplishments this month.
    . Picked spinach..basil..thyme..chives..rosemary from our garden.
    . Scrubbed down an older swing my husband was going to throw out..now we enjoy sitting and looking at the pond in it.
    .able to purchase 2 sleeveless tops at $1 each. Our air went out so it was warmer. Brand name so made nice. A pretty nail polish for summer for. 25.
    . Chicken thighs .69 deboned ourselves. Bought several packages.
    . Made more sugar free strawberry jam using my frozen berries.
    .Got my meds for Free using certain grocery.
    . Used my Starbucks gifted card for a few small iced coffees. Want to make my own sugar free this summer but need good recipe.
    .i have divided my basil and replanted 10 more plants.
    . Learning more about gardening online.
    . Spray painted a .25 frame.Red…added a nice card sent to me to place in my new blue n white with touches of red bedroom.
    Listen to classical tea time music on Epidemic. Its royalty free.
    Have a beautiful month.❤

  17. Thanks to the reader in the last post who suggested that I not despair about the carrots not being up.
    We had heavy rain this week and now there are a thousand carrot seedlings that will have to be thinned. Now to figure out what to do with the excess! (perhaps eat them like sprouts? Are they edible?). And how thin to thin them.

    I’m wondering, Brandy, if you make yogourt with or without a yogourt maker? I haven’t searched your recipes yet… If you make it with a machine, which machine do you use? I am hoping, partly due to cost and partly due to allergies, to make my own bread and my own yogourt. I almost bought a Cuisinart convection bread maker for $70 (usually $225) but decided I just don’t have the counter space for it. I think I’ll make my own bread but perhaps get a yogourt maker. Any suggestions, anyone?

    Actually, I just read your comments about yogourt. Still, I’m wondering if any of your readers recommend a particular machine.

    My gardener (whom I use infrequently) gave me $100 of rock garden rocks which were left over from a different project. They will be used to make a very shallow retainer for a tree well to replace the rotting 4x4s that are 60 years old. And since they are porous tufa, I will drill holes in them and plant primulas etc there.

    I fed a few scraps to the red wriggler worms that my gardener gave me and who now live in a bucket under my sink. I hope I will have some great worm castings for the rosebed.

    I phoned a florist and asked her if she would be interested in buying some of my flowers for her shop. She said possibly. Each Itoh peony plant is supposed to have up to 80 blossoms in a season (and I have 22 plants) but it looks like they will need another year before they really produce. At maximum production (and assuming I don’t keep any for myself), I would make about $5,000.Cdn. I just have to figure out how commercial florists keep the ants off. Each Itoh peony plant normally costs $80 but I got each for $2.50 at a flat sale.

    I got an application form to fill out for reduced symphony and other concert tickets.
    I am going to treat myself one last time to fresh, locally grown asparagus before it goes off the market.

    I planted nasturtiums so I can eat them in salads. And to attract hummingbirds! The hummingbirds should have a lovely summer as I have 72 lobelia (the $1.00 per pot of 6 plants on sale), and fuchsias. The lobelia (which was wind-damaged when I bought it on sale) is thriving.

    I hope you can go to the symphony.

  18. I can sympathize on the income fluctuating so much for real estate. My husband is a Realtor, and we have to always be planning ahead even if we have good months- we never know when the next slow season will come (and it WILL come) so we are conservative in our lifestyle, spending and saving. Thankfully this year is shaping up to be a much better year thanks to our hyper local sellers market.

  19. I cannot tell you how thankful I am to have found this blog. I need a group of women who encourage me to be the frugal person I must be in this difficult season of our lives. This week we picked 5 gallons of green beans, freezing most, eating some. We are growing edamame for the first time and starting to pick and eat that. I made an enormous cheese potato casserole w/potatoes and onions from our recent harvest to use as a couple of meatless meals and as a side dish with others. I made a double batch of blueberry coffee cake for the freezer with the last of berries bought last summer. Able to turn off AC for a day and a half b/c of an unexpected cool front here in Texas. My daughter gave me $10 of Macy’s cash. By adding $1.31 to it, I got a 6-pack of socks to stash away. I was tempted to purchase a snack one day when I remembered I had a coupon for a small, free fruit cup from Chickfila. I cut sunflowers and zinnias for inside. A few tomatoes are starting to ripen. I am enjoying library books.
    Thank you, Brandy, for how much you are helping me.

  20. Wow! Having read your blog for years now that blackberry harvest has to be exciting for you! Congrats!

    It’s been busy around here and it just seems to get busier every day. The garden is growing despite something (probably a moose) chomping on a few cabbages (garden update is in the post I’m linking to. I planted the most I’ve ever planted this year, so am hoping for a good return!

    My list for the week can be found here…


  21. Hi Brandy! I’m jealous of all the fruits of your garden- mine is just starting to root properly now!

    We haven’t had much in terms of frugal accomplishments (moving makes it hard to be frugal). We moved all of our stuff in one day to a location 3 hours away from our original apartment, so we had to rely on eating out more than I’d like. However, we have begun to settle a little bit, so here are our frugal/quality of life improvement achievements from the last few weeks.

    * I just bought 5 dozen eggs for 59 c a dozen, and 5 14oz packages of sausage for $1.50 each. The eggs should last us a month, and the sausages will be used for dishes like red beans and rice. Each sausage package came with 2 links, so I can easily just use half a package per recipe.

    * We left our old bedroom set with my parents to be sold (it’s solid wood, which means we might get a couple hundred dollars for it) and instead we bought a dresser and two nightstands from Ikea. This allowed us to update the furniture (I’ve had the old set for 16 years)! I also ordered a new mattress+frame from Sam’s Club. It’s a 12″ foam-topped spring mattress with a frame that acts as a box spring. All in all, we spent a bit under $650 on the new bedroom set, and I’m hoping to get $300 back from selling the old set.

    * I stopped by Sam’s Club to purchase bread flour, black beans, olive oil, toilet paper, napkins, cheeses, and deli meat. I also visited Aldi for a few items, like some all purpose flour for $1.29/5 lb package, peaches for 78c a lb, milk, and white beans.

    * I made a pork roast in the slow cooker on the second day we were moved into the apartment. I picked up a few potatoes and carrots from Walmart (while picking up other items), chopped those up, then topped the pork roast with onion soup mix and cooked it all day on low. I found a gravy mix packet in the packed food and used that to top the whole meal.

    * I used some ham that was a bit freezer burnt to make ham stock for Senate Bean soup. It was such a hit last time, that I’m making it again in spite of the warm weather.

    * My mom found several packets of seeds that she had bought for 9 c. Green beans, peas, lettuces, and forget-me-nots are what I got from them. I need to purchase more soil for my planters, but hopefully I’ll get these new plants planted this week.

    * I pulled several meals from the freezer to keep us from ordering out. Chili, hummus (to eat with carrots), split pea soup, and chicken noodle soup were all eaten, which leaves us more space in the freezer.

    I think that’s everything for now! I hope everyone is having a wonderful week!

  22. My son would love all of those blackberries. We planted blueberries this year, maybe blackberries next year.
    -Paid all of our bills online saving us the stamps
    -My kids handed out my son’s graduation invites to family and friends also saving on stamps
    -Watched my sister’s dog for her while she was out of town, she treated me to lunch when I dropped him off.
    -Got movies, CDs and books from the library, returned other items. No late fees.
    -Brought lunch to work every day. My manager one day treated me to pizza so I saved it for the next day. Later in the week I brought lunch in for her. I cook all the time. She does not.
    -Went out to breakfast (cheapest meal to eat out) with a group of mom’s one last time before school let out. I used a gift card I got free with an additional purchase so it cost me nothing. Still plenty on the gift card for a few more breakfasts.
    -Sent my son to the store to get 5 dozen eggs that were on sale. That was all he got.
    -A co-worker gave me a “Goonies” shirt that she got free with another purchase. We were talking about some of our favorite movies and it came up. She is much younger then me and never saw the movie and asked if I wanted the shirt. Its my size too.
    -Used the old dog food bag as the kitchen bag all week.
    – Our friend fixed my husband’s truck. We had 2 quotes and he charged us $400 less then the cheaper quote. Woo Hoo!
    -Sold 2 items on EBay and used a box from work that was going to be thrown out.
    -My husband brought home 5 mini bagels from work that were going to end up in the garbage.
    -Batched all my errands together to save on gas. Had my son stop at a store that he would be passing on the way home from school one day.
    -My husband and son did all of the yard work and did several minor repairs to the house and car.
    -Had 3 no spend days this week
    -Went to see Wonder Women at the theatre I work at with my family. My son’s friend came too. Brought our own cups and got free popcorn and drinks. Saved $108
    – Cooked at home all week, made roasted chicken that then got used for other meals, made pancakes one night when I was running late getting home. Made peanut butter cookies for snacks and lots of smoothies.

  23. Thanks all! A boy! We didn’t find out gender ahead of time, so it was a nice surprise for the entire family!

  24. Kim, it sounds like your power company sends out reports like ours does. But ours does not give our free LED bulbs! How wonderful!
    My parents live next door to us and have the same model house. They switched all of their bulbs to LEDS and they have seen a difference in their bill. I am always comparing as they have the same house (but it faces a different direction, which means their main living area is in the shade most of the day, while ours is in the sun. They have lights on much more often than we do, and their bill is lower both summer and winter. I rarely have the lights on at all in summer, but they turn lights on much more and continue to have a lower bill. They noticed a difference once they switched the whole house. As LEDs are expensive, we have been making the change slowly.

  25. Rachel,

    I’m glad to hear the market is good where you are! The market is rather odd here right now; houses are starting to sit while there is a shortage of homes for sale (with the exception of lower-priced houses, which are selling quickly). It’s very odd and it is slowing down across the entire three-city valley of the Las Vegas area. My husband and I own a Real Estate company (and he is the broker) and sales are down for the whole valley, and our agents as well. This kind of slowdown often means the start of a slowdown in the market, so we are being cautious.

  26. Wow on the green beans! How fantastic! I wish mine would stop being eaten; I still haven’t harvested any and it is due to be 109º in a week, so my plants will burn 🙁 I am very happy for you!

    It sounds like you are doing some wonderful things!

  27. Brandy, I always enjoy hearing about real estate in other areas. My mom has been a realtor for 35 years and my sister is as well. Here in northern Indiana houses are selling in 2 days and basically if it’s on the market for over a week there is something wrong with it. People are asking and getting crazy prices. My mom said it has been nuts, they are working 12 to 14 hour days. I do think you are right that it may be the start of a slow down. We saw this in 2007, crazy prices and buyers fighting over houses and then the economy tanking. At least you and your husband have weathered this before and are prepared.

  28. I put our TV, printers, and computers onto power strips. The strips are turned off if the electronic isn’t being used. I had a $10/month reduction in my electric bill. The power strips prevent the “ghost” electrical usage by appliances.

  29. So jealous of your blackberries! I can’t wait until they start producing around here! Here are my frugal accomplishments for the week:
    – cooked large batches of food and reheated them in the microwave to avoid heating the house up. We still have not turned on our air conditioner.
    – set the dishwasher to a shorter cycle. So far I can’t tell a difference in the cleanliness of my dishes.
    – air dried some clothes. We still don’t have our clothesline set up at the new house.
    – caugh warm up water in shower and used it for my plants. This is the first time I had tried this trick after hearing so many of you guys do it. I can’t believe how much water I caught!
    – continue to be diligent abut turning off lights, etc
    – picked another 1.5 pounds of strawberries and a pound of radishes
    – added water to hand soap to get the last bit out
    – accepted 12 tomato cages and a half pan of strawberry pretzel dessert from my grandparents. I was also able to share some taco casserole with them.
    – made 2 loaves of bread and a cake.
    – walked outside or around house for exercise instead of using treadmill, which saved electricity.
    – borrowed parchment paper from my mom instead of buying since I only needed a small piece
    – made strawberry and apple fruit leather. Unfortunately, we didn’t really care for the strawberry one. I wish I would’ve frozen them instead. The apple was good though! I’ll try to find a way to use the strawberry.
    – completed a receipt survey for $3 off a $15 purchase
    – accepted a roll of landscaping fabric from my parents
    – bought 8 blueberry/blackberry bushes on clearance for $2 each. I’ve already picked a small bowl of blackberries from the bushes!
    – bought some oregano, chives, basil, cilantro, and parsley on clearance
    – paid a bill online
    – saved an envelope
    – combined as many errands as possible. Was able to check out two books and a DVD from the library
    – picked up 5 rubbermàid shoe boxes and a dinosaur game from the free table at work. I’ll use the game with my students. I actually had shoe boxes on my list for organizing craft supplies. These need wàshed up, but they were free!
    – used a free shampoo sample
    – ate three meals with my parents. I brought a side dish, but they provided the bulk of the meal. They also sent me home with leftover cake and some puppy chow.
    – bought some more strawberry plants. I spent more than I did last year, but it was still worth it if they all grow okay.

    My husband and I decided to spend some money last week on some landscaping stuff. We bought quite a bit of mulch for around our 12 fruit trees and various bushes. We also bought some chicken wire and bird net for some garden projects. We have a list we’re hoping to accomplish before the end of the month. I think we’re making good headway!

    I also had a bit of an accident this week. I chipped a front tooth. But a friend of mine, who is a dental hygienist, convinced her dentist to squeeze me in on Saturday. He fixed my tooth and didn’t charge me anything! He said it was on the house since he knows I work with two of his hygenists’ kids at school. I was amazed! He will most likely be my new dentist! Anyway, it was such a blessing!

  30. Carrot greens and sprouts are edible but try it in small quantities first because there are a few rare people who are allergic to the greens but not the carrots. I throw them into salads, soups, wraps…

  31. We had a great week around here. I was able to pick and use a LOT of lettuce from the garden. The little white snow peas started producing.

    Patsy’s Sunday School class/mid-high youth group had a luau and they were encouraged to dress up. We didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg, but wanted her to look great. I think her costume turned out great for only $2 out of pocket. I posted pictures on my blog: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2017/06/11/saving-money-june-10-2017/

    We were given some hot dogs and hamburger patties that were leftover from a barbecue we helped with today. I need to come up with good ideas of how to incorporate them in meals over the next few days. Since it’s confession time, I have to admit we don’t love the hot dogs, so I’ll have to hide them a little bit.

  32. Wow, saving $108 on a movie is astonishing!!
    I found a pair of good quality shorts at Salvation Army for $4. They need to be shortened a bit and possibly tapered a little too. That is on the agenda for this week. I also bought a pair of new capris on sale for $19.99. Those were my big splurges for myself.

    More urgent, I bought a new set of 100% cotton sheets, thinking I would use them for a couple weeks and see how I liked them before buying a second set. Last night noticed that my toes went through the bottom sheet of the second set of old ones. I bought them at the same time, so not surprising. Also picked up a new soap dish as our old one finally rusted for the final time. I used 20% off coupons on both the sheets and the soap dish, saving $16.
    I went to lunch with a friend before the shopping, so combined two trips into one.
    We went to a car show today and my husband won two first places, and we stopped to eat out on the way home to celebrate. Half of my dinner is in the fridge for tomorrow. It was over 80 but there was a stiff breeze, making it quite bearable to sit in the sun all day! We added sunscreen frequently!
    I also hemmed a new pair of yoga pants and wore them for the first time to class.
    Meals this week included goulash (twice), bratwurst with pasta salad, pizza, (also twice) and salmon portions with sauce. Still have bratwurst and pasta salad to use again also. Summer weather has finally arrived and we did some work on the delayed garden too. Planted zinnas and cosmos seeds in one bed and prepped the vegetable garden for some seeds–hopefully tomorrow.

  33. It takes 8 weeks for me to get bush beans. I don’t know where you live, but that’s an idea if you have 8 weeks left before frost. I always plant them in succession so I have them all summer. You could still get leaf lettuce, too. I am still planting succession crops of basil, cilantro, lettuce, and I will probably plant another zucchini bush and cucumber bush. I know I won’t get many from those last 2, but it is nice to have some nice healthy plants in the fall when the powdery mildew rears it’s ugly head. I usually pull out the old ones, and just eat from the new ones. There are also fall crops that you could plant if it gets to be really late–such as cabbage, broccoli, boc choi, and Swiss chard. Beets and carrots like cooler weather, as does spinach. I’ve planted flowers up to the 4th of July before, because I just couldn’t get to it before. I’ve gotten them 1/2 price, too, because it was so late. They went into the fall with beautiful color, they were just a little smaller than they might have been for a while until they caught up.

  34. This week we sold 2 benches, 2 end tables and a planter box for our business and got orders for 3 wooden Christmas trees and possibly 2 more large storage seating benches! Our side business has made over $1000 in profit in the past 5 weeks! That makes a nice addition to our income!! I also got a $9 pinecone Visa (used it to pay some lab fees!) and sold a small chain link gate for $15!
    I just listed 2 matching rain savers that we bought @Sams club last year and don’t use. We are hoping to get $85 for the pair. Hubby and I have both been put into a 1 hour focus group that pays $75 each for an hour! So that will be an extra $150 next week!
    We built two of the three walls for the chicken coop expansion and are getting 2 eggs/day for our 2 hens! All the materials except the hardware cloth are recycled!!
    Our garden continues to provide us with fresh greens and peas!
    We continue to recycle materials we have stacked in our yard to add walkways and landscape.

    Made homemade bread. Took lunch and dinner to a couple friends who had heart surgery! Ate dinners at home!
    Put extra money into our savings account,

  35. What beautiful arrangements! I do wish I had that talent!
    We just got off from a week at scout camp. My daughter goes free as I volunteer and my son goes to the little brother unit for $40. Quite a steal and lots of memories!
    I cleaned out lots of craft supplies for projects for the girls which made my husband happy. 🙂
    Meals were leftovers this past week.
    We are visiting my sister in Nashville (a halfway point) next month. Since my husband works Saturdays and most things don’t open until noon on Sundays, we are going to Sat evening service then getting up early to stuff there, saving 1 nights hotel stay.
    Picked up a few more plants for garden did this year is such a slow start due to weather.
    Bought bulk peaches and they should be ripe enough to slice and freeze after work tonight.
    My son is earning trading post $ for cub scouts camp by doing extra chores which helps mom out too.
    Have a great week!

  36. Thank you for the offer! My husband is so excited to go that he’s trying to convince me to go next April. I think, maybe, I’ve talked him into waiting until April 2019 to save more money before going.

    We’re still researching everything. My husband is very good at planning trips. With the info I have given him, he has already looked up cost of flying Iceland Air (confirmed they do allow a few days layover to encourage tourism and they are cheap!), as well as the train routes, cost of traveling on them and how long it will take to get to the spots we want to visit. I’ve been researching some of the cities/countries that we want to visit so we have an idea of what we might want to see while there (museums, landmarks, sites, etc.), as well as their specialty foods that we might want to try. Some of the info includes costs (food is expensive in Iceland, some museums are free to visit, etc.) which also helps us plan our budget needs.

    So, if there is anything that you would highly recommend seeing, good tips for traveling in Europe or suggestions of things to look into that will save money, I’d love to hear them!!!

  37. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    Here is our frugal accomplishments –

    Finances –

    – saved more money for our home.
    – decided not to borrow from the bank yet to build our home and save more, this will save us 5 years off the term of the mortgage and $374 a month.

    Household purchases & groceries –

    – Purchased a new PlayStation 4 & 5 games on special saving $132.59.
    – Purchased 4 x oven mitt, 2 pot holder & 2 tea towel sets on special saving $12. Ours were worn out.
    – Took advantage of a special on groceries saving us 5% off usual prices and free delivery saving $10.01.

    In the garden –

    – Planted carrot and turnip seeds.
    – Picked early Massey shelling peas, cherry tomatoes, green and butter beans and carrots from the gardens.
    – Missed a scheduled watering in the garden due to rain saving 90lts of town water.

    In the kitchen –

    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.
    – Blanched and froze 2 more packets of peas for the freezer along with 13 more packets of beans for the freezers.

    Electricity savings –

    – Cooked 3 meals of steamed vegetables for tea on top of the slow combustion stove rather than turning on the mains powered stove.
    – Most mornings while the fire was on we made our hot chocolates with water heated on the stove rather than turning on the kettle.
    – Used our solar lanterns every night to light our home rather than turning on mains powered lights.

  38. Love all the fruit that you harvest from your own garden, Brandy! I’m trying to convince my mom to let me build a raised garden for raspberry bushes. They need full sun, but the only area that would work is over the far end of the weeping tiles. Not sure if it will happen at this point. We pick wild flowers mixed with flowers from the gardens for our buildings at work. I’m looking forward to reading your post on creating flower arrangements. Maybe I will glean some ideas and tips for work!

    Well, after weeks of rain and cold temperatures (we’ve had the heat on in the evening into June, which is very abnormal), we are now into a heat wave! I knew that was going to happen, too. Extreme weather swings are so hard to tolerate! Anyways, frugal accomplishments for our home this week included:
    *Meals made at home included homemade chicken noodle soup (made from homemade poultry broth from the freezer, a leftover 1/2 a cooked chicken breast, leftover green beans, a handful of frozen carrots I processed last fall, a handful of frozen corn, a handful of egg noodles from the pantry and seasonings from the pantry – cheap and delicious) with homemade drop tea biscuits, BBQ hamburgers & hotdogs with salad, chicken fingers with flavoured rice and mixed veggies, piggies-in-a-blanket (breakfast sausages & cheese wrapped in Pillsbury cresent rolls) with lefover mixed veggies, and taco bake.
    *On Sunday, my husband’s boss sent him home with some free treats from the restaurant to share with us. They really like my husband!
    *I attended the last Handweaver’s & Spinners Guild meeting before our summer break. It was hosted at my work. We enjoyed a wonderful catered meal (I had the roast beef and the desserts were divine!) which cost only $10. The guild was given a tour and talk about our Jacquard Loom. I am a member of the Jacquard team and enjoyed sharing information about the loom. We hope to encourage some new volunteers from the evening!
    *Attended a school fun fair and ended up volunteering at the grade 8 bake table (not planned…long story). We made well over $300 before the night was through. There was enough left over they decided to freeze everything and plan to have a second bake sale for the children/staff on Tuesday next week. All proceeds go towards the grade 8 graduation (awards, disk jockey, ect.) which my daughter will benefit from. I also received a free slice of pizza and drink for volunteering.
    *My MIL invited my husband to go to a lacrosse game on the same night as the fun fair. She had been invited by friends who had extra tickets. They went out for dinner (her treat) and enjoyed a nice night out.
    *Found some cute key rings for 2 of my daughter’s teachers (music note for music teacher and Eiffel tower for French teacher). I noticed a sign for buy 1 get 1 50% off, but when I paid for them, it didn’t ring up. I inquired about it and the cashier checked. Apparently the deal was expired, but since the sign was still there, I received 1 for free in stead!

    As always, I really enjoy catching up on what everyone was up to during the week. Hope you all have a wonderful week!

  39. Thank you for including both your successes and your struggles. It is encouraging to see your efforts are rewarded such as how covering your berries resulted in a bountiful blackberry harvest. It is helpful to see how you work out a “plan b” for dissappointments and budget shortfalls such as filling in the garden barespots with your own seedlings instead of purchasing some, as well as your plan for attending the symphony.

  40. Mom bought a pretty, very lightweight long-sleeved blouse for just over $2 and a sundress for $1 at Goodwill. I need to hem both items before she’ll wear them and perhaps add inseam pockets to the sundress from the excess soon-to-be cut off the bottom. I am glad she will have a few new-for-her very cool things to wear now that we finally have summer weather. I also mended undies, the straps on a full slip, and replaced the elastic in two half slips. I had been putting off all sewing for so long even though I like to sew.

    I also rearranged the linen closet, another long-postponed project. I moved the first aid/medicine shelf down so that my very petite mom can reach it and, in the process, separated the twin and full sheet shelves so she is less likely to put the sheets on the wrong shelf. It was re-emphasized to me that we have several lifetimes’ supply of sheets. I cannot buy more, no matter how good the sale.

    We’ve been continuing to eat our way through our overstuffed cupboards so we’ve been doing less grocery shopping. My goal is to minimize food waste. It is difficult when you are trying to keep weight on an older person who is fussy about leftovers. I think that as we gain some space in the freezer, I will start freezing leftovers immediately and bring them out in a week or so. When I lived on my own, I would sometimes make a big pot of something and, reheating it very thoroughly at least every other day, it would be my main food for a week. This type if meal “plan” simply doesn’t work with mom who won’t eat the same thing more than two days in a row (orange juice, oatmeal and mashed potatoes being the three big exceptions). I just wish I had baked more goodies while the weather was cool. I don’t want to heat up the house with the oven now and we don’t (yet) have a toaster oven. One MIGHT end up in the basement after I go shopping again (20/20/hindsight: I should have bought that $2.99 one on the shelf at Goodwill yesterday.) Or I can finally experiment with using a diy solar oven for cookie baking….

  41. Someone may have mentioned this, and if so, I’m sorry for duplicating. Goldstar.com has local tickets for performances that need attendees, and they are quite deeply discounted.

  42. Well the crap hit the fan again. We were still trying to recover from the last time that happened. Our tenants from hell are breaking the lease at the end of the month. I am ahead on the mortgage, but in the event that house isnt rented quickly, we will be paying the mortgage out of our savings. I am sinking every extra penny into savings in the event that this will happen. I’m rereading all the 40cent a day posts and all brandy’s recipes to see what I have may have missed or where else I can cut. I applied and was approved for a Sams credit card, so I got $20 off my food order instantly. Yeah I know I need another credit card like I need a hole in the head, but Sams is the closest gas station to us. They dont take cash. If we need gas and I am prepared to use my cash from my sales, then we have to drive farther and pay more for gas. I intend to only use the card at sams and will pay it off before the month is up. They told me that I can pay on it in the store. I did purchase 3 bags of quaker grits at Sams, so we have grits to eat for anyone that wants them……….which just happens to be me!! Meals are consisting of beans and/or pasta. I am not baking bread until I absolutely have to. I will get the 85¢ bread from Aldi’s as needed. In the past, when I bake bread, it gets devoured that day or the next. Butter, jelly and peanut butter gets used 10X quicker than before. I attempted to make baked beans from dry beans last week and I just had a disaster. Wound up cooking them too long and a lot of them just dissolved. I threw in what was left of a bag of quinoa which soaked up the water. It turned out really good and we had meals for several days. My daughter had requested pancakes, so I made some from scratch and my husband ate the leftovers for snacks. I made baked oatmeal for us to snack on and that went quick. I also made oatmeal cookies using oil instead of butter. I ran out of k cups, and bought a container of maxwell house and will use the “my k cup” instead. I usually use my office supply rewards for my kcups, but decided to save them in case we need toilet paper or some other thing that they have. We ran out of soap, so I went to my flea market stash and got a bottle of bodywash and brought home about 20 boxes of barilla shells that I had previously been trying to sell. I am so grateful that I have things on hand and the ability and knowledge to figure things out. Hopefully once things get straightened out again, we will keep doing what we are doing and get that emergency fund back in place and even multiplied a few times.

  43. I am glad your carrots came up. Patience is a virtue, but hard, especially in gardening. 🙂 As for thinning carrots, I just decide how big I want the carrots to be, and pull out (gently) all those that would be in the way when they grow. I end up with my carrots being around 2 inches apart on all sides. Gives me a lot of carrots in a small space.

  44. One of the things we do when we freeze green beans, is put about 1/2 cup of the cooled water we cooked them in with each package of beans prior to freezing them. This gives the beans a fresher taste when we thaw, as we don’t have to add water, and even more flavor goes into the beans.

  45. Just curious, but isn’t it winter in Australia? Or is your winter not like mine in Eastern Washington, where nothing will grow due to the cold weather?

  46. I filled out a survey on my grocery store receipt and got a $5 off of $35 purchase coupon for the next shopping trip.
    I have $50 banked at Amazon and am working on Swagbucks to earn more, so I can buy a really nice pressure cooker for a lot less.
    I’m just amazed that Brandy gets lettuce and tomatoes at the same time. Any lettuce around here, even shaded, would be bolted and/or horribly bitter, but our tomatoes are just coming on.
    We are steadily getting blackberries off our vines — not colanders full, but several each day. This is their first year to produce and I’m proud of the little guys.
    I bought buttermilk produced by a sort-of local pasture-grass dairy and returned the cleaned glass jar to the store on my next trip– $2.00 back in my pocket.
    Our newest blueberry plant that struggled for so long is finally catching hold and produced one whole berry this year. It’s a start.
    I’m paying bills online, saving stamps and envelopes.
    I love the flowers! I wish I had enough in bloom at once for such a varied arrangement. Mine seem to bloom serially.

  47. Check your Landlord Insurance coverage. Mine covers the mortgage for a couple months for stuff like this. You can also file a small claims suit for the remaining months on their lease. Something to think about.

  48. Margaret, I appreciate that you write out your post, not just put in a link.

    For you supperclub group, do you cook right at the host house or do you all bring your food prepared?

  49. Brandy, in your first two arrangements, I see a green plant in there. Are those Bells of Ireland or something like that? I’ve only seen them once & that’s the name that popped into my head. The arrangements are absolutely beautiful!

  50. I’ve had good luck replanting the thinned carrots as long as the thinning is done when the plant is still quite small. They don’t all make it, but most do. I’ve found it’s worth the effort.

  51. Yes, they are a pixie version of Bells of Ireland. They grew half the height of what the package said for pixie bells (probably due to our heat) so I am going to plant the regular version next time and see how tall they get. They are tricky to germinate–they need light, but seed packages say to cover them. Then I read to not cover them and just keep them moist, and I have had more luck getting a few to germinate. I am really liking the way they add to an arrangement, so I am going to try to grow a whole bunch more, even if it takes me a bit to have some success. I always thought of them as an early spring flower (because grocery stores tend to only have them in mid-March) but it looks like they are more of an early summer flower. I’m taking a crazy chance and I planted some seeds today for the regular height. Hopefully they will germinate and I’ll have some to add to summer arrangements.

  52. Hi Nancy in E Washington you are correct it is winter here and we also have frosts here as well. Our daytime temperatures are around 15 – 20º C at the moment so the soil is warm enough to plant but the night time temperatures are very cool down to -2 to -3ºC.

    I have worked out how to plant in microclimates where the vegetable plants don’t get hit from the frosts. We have sheds that shelter some garden beds, fences in other areas, and plant under tree canopies for more sensitive crops and we have raised garden beds although on the ground are high enough to stop the frosts getting to the plants. We also have nestled the plants and newly planted crops in with a thick layer of composted grass clippings around them as well.

    Over the few years I have been here I have saved seeds from vegetables that have survived the frosts and just replant them every year. In time they build up a resistance to frost and cold and at the moment I am still picking cherry tomatoes, peas and some beans that I have bred in this way to adjust to our climate here.

    I hope this answers your questions and helps you with the merits in saving your own garden seeds to build up a resistance over time 😀 .

  53. Jo, the lettuce is bolting. Normally it all bolts in April when temperatures get in the high 90’s, but we have been having a very unusual spring and a cool May. My lettuce is bolting now but we are eating it as fast as we can. The rest I am letting go to seed, as I am growing all open-pollinated lettuces,

    I am trying to grow more flowers this year than before in order to be able to have more arrangements. I am already planning next year’s garden in my head after seeing a number of flowers I want to grow that are blooming for other people right now.

    I am planting zinnias now. They’re cheap to grow, and the more you cut them, the more they produce. They also last a long time in arrangements, unlike roses. I’ve not put them in formal arrangements almost at all but I am looking forward to doing so once mine are ready. They like the heat of mid-summer and usually come up in a week; if not, I replant.

  54. Thanks, Athanasia!

    Regarding the supper club, we both bring prepared food sometimes and cook it at the hostesses house sometimes; it depends on the dish. For instance, when we cooked from a French cookbook, one dish was a soufflé, and had to be cooked just before serving; or with our latest cookbook, which was all bbq, we cooked at the hostess’s house but did some prep beforehand, like making the dough for the grilled pizza, or parboiling the corn so that it would cook on the bbq faster. That said, if we can prepare the dish beforehand, we do, like when I make parantha flatbreads for an Indian meal. Cooking beforehand means that we can socialize more over a leisurely dinner!

    I really enjoy the cookbook supper club. Such a great way to stretch our cooking skills!

  55. Hi Kim from Australia and we have been on the same quest to reduce power bills as well 🙂 .

    Here is what we have found works –
    – Turn off appliances when not in use at the power points.
    – Turn off your computer router when not in use.
    – This one saved us $40 odd dollars a quarter is that we turned our fridge temperature down to 3 oc and our freezer temperatures down to – 18 oc , washed in cold water after pre-treating stains and used solar lanterns to light our home at night without turning on mains powered lights at all.
    – When you boil the kettle only boil enough water for what you are using as it takes less time to boil and uses less electricity.
    – Turn down the temperature on your hot water system to 60 oc as this is hot enough to kill bacteria and will save you considerably on your power bill.
    – Have shorter showers.
    – Turn down the brightness on your TV to the lowest level of your preference as well as your laptops and computers.
    – If you have a slow combustion fireplace in winter steam your vegetables, cook stews and boil water for cuppas on there rather than using the mains powered stove.
    – Cook in bulk and freeze portions, heating things up use far less power.
    – Fill the oven when you are cooking with it to save on power costs.

    I hope this helps.

  56. Hello Brandy:

    We are getting into a new rhythm as the kids have finished school for the summer. They are attending VBS (vacation bible school) this week before we head off our epic road trip: http://www.dollarsandsensetimestwo.org/2017/06/great-american-road-trip/. We will be crossing 12 states and two different coasts. It is very exciting and terrifying at the same time. We’ve preplanned our lodging which is a combination of camping, staying with friends and one night each way in a hotel until we get to our destination. It will be a nice time for my younger kids to catch up with their relatives.

    This week, I canned 14 pints of strawberry jam and froze several bags of English peas. We always go to a pick it yourself place which is very reasonable (pick it yourself is extremely popular here). Our garden looks terrific although our temps are very high for this time of year (95 today) but will be in the 70s by the end of the week. This week I have harvested kale, lettuce, argula and the first jalapenos from the garden. The tomatoes are starting to come in, my herbs, carrots, cabbage, cucumbers, celery, potatoes, onions and carrots are developing. My peas have been slow to flower. One of my roses in the front of the house has been eaten by something, I’m amazed there are blooms at all. I’ve treated with soapy water which seems to help, though I don’t see an insect presence. Roses flourish well here, we’ve got the same climate as the UK.

    Hope everyone has a good week…I’ll be chiming in next time from the road

  57. Your flower arrangements look like paintings by the Dutch masters. Now I want to go to the Norton Simon! 😀

    You get such wonderful produce from your garden(s). I know you’ve done some posts on gardening (pruning/culling apples; your white garden), and I would be interested in more posts on how you manage to get such abundant harvests, especially since you garden in such difficult conditions. Your use of sheets to shade your blackberries is intriguing.

    Frugal Efforts

    * Used a coupon for son’s birthday lunch out (and had enough leftovers for another meal).

    * Ate one meal at the spring Court of Honor for our son’s scout troop (and brought home leftover tri-tip, baked potatoes, and butter).

    * Ate all other meals at home (there were lots of leftovers from the celebrations on Sat./Sun.).

    * Hubs and son rode their bikes to work/school all week.

    * Saved gift bags from son’s birthday.

    * Harvested three kinds of lettuce (I haven’t bought lettuce in over a month), broccoli, our first “Eva’s Pride” peaches (We just planted the tree this past winter; the tree is still tiny, but we got about 8 peaches from it.), Anna apples, Santa Rosa plums, and the first bell pepper and first yellow squash of the season.

    * Collected eggs.

    * Made salad dressings and bread.

    * Kept the AC off, as we have had lovely weather lately.

    * Accepted produce scraps for our chickens.

    * Hubs repaired some drip line in the garden.

    * Continued to give the new rose bushes the water collected from rinsing dishes.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  58. Free LED bulbs?! That’s fantastic! We are currently using CFLs and [u]slowly[/u] transitioning to LEDs (’cause those little stinkers are expensive).

    It sounds like you are already pretty frugal in terms of your electricity. It will be interesting to see how the LEDs impact your usage; please share your results.

  59. Those are great ideas. I’ll probably try one soon, since there must be 10-15 hot dogs in the bag. I ate one of the burger patties crumbled up, then topped with cheddar cheese, on a left-over baked potato for lunch today.

  60. Thanks so much, SJ. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow but the day after I will try it. I had been wondering if it would work. Thanks

  61. Hi Rhonda,
    I could offer the best tips if I knew which countries you were specifically interested in (I haven’t been everywhere haha). Without flooding the comments with a novel, I can offer a few quick suggestions. Please keep in my mind that all of my suggestions I am giving without any consideration of personal safety (risk of terror attacks) because that would involve me writing an entirely different set of advice that I don’t think would be suitable for this format.
    Iceland – I haven’t been there – however my husband has. He said it is one of the most beautiful countries he ever visited. His photos from his trip are truly stunning – he did say that Iceland was VERY expensive (like most Scandinavian countries). He was there before the 2008 market crash, so it may or may not have changed since then.
    The UK – The UK can be done on the cheap or incredibly pricey. I think you mentioned you had already been there so I won’t say too much about that.
    France – You mentioned Vimy Ridge. It is an amazing site. If you are thinking about doing a WW2 or WW1 related tour than this area is fantastic – Vimy Ridge, Beaumont Hamel, Juno Beach, Dunkerque, the town of Arras is a great place to stay as a base for this. If you go to this area I would really strongly recommend Belgium as well (I am totally biased). Ieper (Yprès) is a must see if you are into history. There is beautiful Museum there called Flanders Fields located in a Medieval cloth hall. Also in Ieper is the Menin Gate where the Last Post is played nightly in a Remembrance ceremony:
    Nearby to Ieper there are many war cemeteries, trenches, and historic sites (including a tribute to John McCrae). There are loads of guides and tours to do in this area. Also in Belgium is Brugge (dubbed the Venice of the North) very beautiful touristy town. There is a concentration camp in Belgium (Breendonk), a smaller camp but available to visit as a historic site. There is also the Atlantik Wall in Oostende (Ostend): https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Attraction_Review-g188672-d2369247-Reviews-Atlantic_Wall_Museum-Ostend_West_Flanders_Province.html
    The Atlantic Wall is great to visit. Oostende is fabulous to visit (I am totally biased). It is a very popular tourist area with Europeans because it is has beaches and an amazing long boardwalk/path along the sea. In the summer there are fireworks there most Monday evenings. I can’t recommend a hotel there because I always stay with family – but there is lots available I know.
    A great way to see the WW1 WW2 sites in this area is to rent a car and drive the coast (assuming you are comfortable driving in Europe). Driving in this area is not like driving in Paris, much less stressful! Although public transit is great for going between cities (like Gent, Brugge, Ostend, etc.), if you are wanting to visit a lot of cemeteries and war monuments it is a bit trickier – unless of course you get on a tour.
    From Belgium and France it is very easy to access Holland, Germany, and Luxembourg as well. Sluis is a really pretty border town on the Dutch/Belgian border. There are a lot of shops there, but it is also just very well kept and nice to walk around.
    OK – two last things I will say:
    1. Personally, I found the most affordable way to travel (other than totally slumming it) in Europe is to rent an apartment type hotel room as a base camp. You can grocery shop and make most of your meals at the hotel or take a picnic and use it as a base to see other sights. Canadians are so used to driving, you can do many things as day trips whereas Europeans would not consider them as such. You can travel by train, bus, or car – depending on what area you are in and how flexible you want to be with your travel.
    2. Another great country to visit is Austria, particularly if you are interested in history. We spent a great deal of time there (not by design, more by fluke of friends marrying Austrians haha) and it is VERY easy to get around there with a rental car. We often flew to Vienna or Salzburg, rented a car and went ALL over the country. There are many different landscapes and sights to see here. The best places to stay here we found were actually in the ski slopes during the off season. There are many people who rent out apartments in their home during the ski season, but they also do so during the off season and usually at a very decent price. We usually stayed in a village called Schladming and traveled from there.
    Honestly, there are so many places and things I could recommend. I know people like to hop, skip and jump all over Europe in short time periods and that is ok to do, especially if it is a onetime trip, – but my personal advice would be to pick an area and focus on really seeing it. It will be less expensive and much less stressful.

    Now I am really missing the old life…. : )

  62. Oh wow! Your flower arrangements are gorgeous! I need to step up my flower-growing game so I can practice too. 🙂

    This week:

    1. We went on a road trip to visit family and packed our own snacks.

    2. I watched free YouTube workout videos–no gym membership for me!

    3. We’re getting a LOT of tomatoes from the garden. Mr. Picky Pincher turned these into a tomato puree and froze it for later.

    4. I pickled eight cucumbers from the garden.

  63. Shade makes a huge difference in my power bill in the summer, since my house is at least one-half shaded all the time.

  64. I hope the Las Vegas market recovers soon. I still have not recovered anywhere near, financially, the level I was at prior to 2009, and I hope there is not another downturn this soon. 2009 -2011 was a disaster, financially, for me. When the real estate market suffers a large downturn, usually everything else has a downturn also, at least, that is my unfortunate experience. My problem is medical bills and insurance, and really, there is not any way to reduce them.

  65. How interesting to be able to do a comparison with your parent’s house. We have some rooms that are in direct afternoon sun and there is a noticeable difference in the temperatures in those rooms. I keep the blinds shut on those windows when the sun is at it’s strongest. In the winter I do the opposite. I am encouraged to know that your parents have noticed a difference on their bill after switching to LEDs.

  66. Thank you, Libby, for that tip. We do have everything in our home office plugged into a power strip or maybe it is a surge protector. Not sure if they are the same thing or not as my husband installed it. I see that it does have an on/off switch. Perhaps we should turn it off over the weekends. Good to know that you have seen a savings using them.

  67. Thank you for all of these great tips, Lorna. Some of them we are currently doing, but many we are not. I am off to investigate the brightness levels on the TV and computers.

  68. I love the flowers, I love your gardens and harvest ….I have a classmate that lives in your area and he loves it…does miss skiing though.
    Looking for more ways to save more. Run errands with other appts in town even though that means a long day for Hubby that works 3rd. Insist Doctors give us Generic meds instead of name brand. Search for prices of things we need to buy and wait until it’s down to where we set the limits. I was having some issues with my fingernails, doctor sent me over to the manicurist instead of the specialist. Saved half of what I would have spent on copay. Got bit by cardboard mites and got sick…ended up taking Rascal’s generic Benadryl the Vet had us get for him due to his allergies LOL. Hubby got some bug killer off the neighbor and strayed the farrowing house. Figures it was the last box under all the other boxes and nothing in it was ours or the kids. Landlord thinks it belonged to the people that lived here 8 yrs ago and just got shoved under the cabinets I was cleaning out for the landlord since I am in the farrowing house sort stuff that the kids and we had in storage.Hubby rides the motorcycle when it’s not forecasted to rain.

  69. our bill dropped $25. We changed to LED the day the meter was read and everything else stayed the same. Landlord changed all the out buildings and barns to LED and said the bill for that dropped also.

  70. I’m in Ohio and our realtor warned us things were slowing down and to be VERY careful with what we buy and get a mortgage for. Houses are in the $150,000 plus range that I wouldn’t pay more than $100,000 for with the repairs needed done. Kind of wondering if we are looking at another 2008 bust… we lost 2 houses and barely made it through the 3 yrs…which is why I am SO GRATEFUL for you Brandy and those that share here

  71. Marcia, lemon bars, roasted potatoes and tomato basil salad sound like a perfect summer meal as is!

  72. Cindy we call the billing dept when we get the bill ( and we have ins) and ask if they will take a percentage off if we pay right then…sometimes they say no but other times we have gotten up to 20% off.It doesn’t hurt to call and ask.

  73. I answered a pop quiz on a facebook page and won coupons for some free berries. Yay! A favorite food!
    I’ve also been out of any coffee shops for nearly two weeks now, which is a nice stint for me, ha ha. I did, however, purchase a better quality of coffee for home use. But it is still vastly cheaper than just a couple trips out to a coffeehouse.
    Otherwise, pretty much the same as all else. Trying to eat at home more and bringing lunches to work, reusing, recycling/upcycling and doing without.

  74. I’m the picky one, Dad (90 plus) and Hubby can eat the same thing all week… I change the leftovers… like roasted chicken one day, beef the next, leftover chicken made into casserole, soup, chick and dumplings etc the next, leftover beef the following… I do what I call Blue plate specials.. meat with gravy over mashed potatoes or stuffing (dressing)/bread(biscuit better 😉 ) with a veggie. Just something to think about.

  75. Beautiful flowers, Brandy! I love your pictures!

    Hubby was still out of the country most of last week, so made 1 dinner of some chicken breasts that were in the freezer (cubed and sautéed in olive oil with Italian seasoning, garlic, salt & pepper) then poured a can of spaghetti sauce that I had gotten on clearance for 50 cents. Ate that with vermicelli I had also gotten on clearance for 50 cents a lb. Ended up having that 3 more times. Also ate up some leftovers from the freezer instead of going out.

    Because hubby was on a business trip, he was reimbursed for his expenses, plus a per diem that he didn’t use all of, so we ended up making $200 on his trip. Since his expenses, including his flights, went on our credit card, we earned a lot of airline points. Plus he is racking up some good miles. And he gathers the toiletries every day and brings them home to me. Our family travels a lot for business, so I always have free shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc. that I use instead of purchasing.

    Drank free coffee and tea that I had gotten from work and made an individual chocolate cake with a mix I got free from work also.

    We took a quick trip to Portland to go to a Craft Wine and Beer Festival and a Fruit Beer Festival. Used points for hubby’s flight and we have a companion pass, so our flights came to $22.40 total for both of us. Stayed with my niece, so only expenses were the festivals themselves and a couple of dinners out.

    I had gotten peaches on sale last week and when I cut them up for the freezer, I noticed that there was a lot of flesh still on the skins and seeds, so I put them in my colander over a bowl and scraped off what I could. I put that nectar in an ice cube tray and it filled 6 blocks worth, which I froze and put in my smoothie fruit bag. Not huge savings, but something that gives me a kick.

    Have been using only 1/2 of a dryer sheet in my loads. I hope to start hanging my laundry soon.

    I’ve been really good about entering what we are spending in my budget spreadsheet and keeping my freezer inventory up to date too.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  76. I wanted to ask what those green bells were, too! I love them – they’re beautiful and unexpected. I live where it’s pretty cold, think zone 3. I’ll have to research whether or not those would grow here.

  77. How exciting, Gabrielle! I hope you enjoy your epic adventure across the states. That sound like so much fun!!!! Don’t be afraid to ask the locals for suggestions of where to visit. They know the area well and may have suggestions of inexpensive places worth visiting or ways to save on costs on some of the attractions.

    To keep food costs down, I highly suggest grocery shopping for breakfast, lunch and snack items as you go. It sounds weird, but I always love grocery shopping in new cities. Sometimes they have things we don’t in our area, and sometimes it is just interesting to see the price differences. We like to buy small “treat” items that we would never buy at home. My daughter was so excited when we bought her cheese in a can while visiting the States (we don’t have that in Canada)! Such a simple way to make a vacation special. I also highly recommend investing in one or two of those soft sided cooler bags from Walmart they sell for transporting frozen grocery items home, if you don’t already have them. They work really well with Ziploc baggies filled with ice and are very easy to transport for picnic style meals while visiting various sites.

  78. If you can stand working in the rain, transplanting in the rain might actually be a good thing. I’ve had the best luck with transplanting on cool to drizzly days. Hotter weather can add additional stress to the plants. Good luck!

  79. I’ve made corn dogs in the past by making a batter out of cornmeal then dipping the ‘dogs’ in the batter and then deep frying them. Here’s the recipe I used.
    From the Mennonite Country-style cookbook, for 1 pound (about 8) hot dogs:
    Sift together: 1/2 cup flour, 1/3 cup cornmeal, 1Tbsp sugar; 1 tsp each dry mustard and baking powder; and 1/2 tsp salt.
    In separate small bowl combine: 1 egg, beaten; 1/2 cup milk; 1 Tbsp oil. Stir into dry ingredients.
    Fry in deep hot fat (360 to 375 degrees) about 2 minutes.

  80. Laurie: when I peel peaches I save the peels in the freezer and when I have enough I make a low sugar pectin peach jelly. Last week, a store in Fairbanks had peaches for 99 cents a pound—that is an unheard of price for Alaska. We bought over 20 pounds and saved some for eating out of hand but the others we peeled, chopped and froze. I used the peels right away and got 7 pints of peach jelly (which we actually heat up and use as pancake syrup…), from something I used to throw away.

  81. Besides all of the usual frugal stuff, here are some un-usual things I did this week:
    (1) Last summer a friend and I planted a bed of strawberries behind a retaining wall. In the past week, I’ve harvested about 2-1/2 gallons of berries. I made one batch of low sugar freezer jam and plan to make another tonight or tomorrow. I was planning to make a glazed strawberry pie this afternoon, but didn’t get to it.
    (2) Gratefully received an inspirational book with garden tips and a Mannheim Steamroller Christmas CD. My friend was helping clean up from a used book sale.
    (3) Finely chopped leftover roast pork to add to ground beef to make a meatloaf. There was lots of garlic on the pork!
    (4) My son and his fiance came to visit Saturday through today (Tuesday). This was a change in plans that required me to do some serious cooking. Coincidentally, we plan to move in a few weeks and I’ve been eating down the freezer and pantry…and there was some good, big stuff left. On different days, I made two racks of barbecued baby back ribs, chicken fried steaks and roasted a whole turkey, plus macaroni salad, mashed potatoes (adding leftover potatoes to freshly cooked) and a couple of big green salads. We’ve had leftovers for lunches. They have a 575 mile drive home tomorrow, so I’m sending them with a package of sliced turkey and all of the leftover gravy for their dinner.

  82. SJ. – it poured rain today and is supposed to rain tomorrow but I think I’ll try to transplant them in the rain. Thanks for the suggestion.

  83. If you have a basement, but no air conditioning, try the following to cool off the house. First, get up early in the morning while it is still cool and open all the windows for an hour to let the cool air in. Secondly, turn on the fans on your furnace (not the furnace, just the fan). The fan will bring up cool air from the basement. It will cost some in electricity but is cheaper than a/c. Also you only start running the fan when that morning cool air has disappeared. Try assembling a dish at night, put it in your fridge overnight and bake it first thing in the morning. Or, just use your stove top burners to cook. (boil potatoes, sweet potatoes, eggs, make potato salad). Make the uncooked broccoli salad: some people steam the broccoli just a bit but you probably don’t need to, then add pine nuts, grapes, or raisins, some mayo mixed with a little orange juice, some people add bacon but you don’t need to, add a little sugar. Then chill it all day in the fridge and eat at night. Cook extra potatoes to keep in the fridge for a couple of days without putting the mayo in. Make a salad your standard dish every day but vary the main. If you can get a baked chicken for the same price as it would cost to buy an uncooked chicken buy it and slice off the meat, shred some and keep it in the freezer. Then use the shredded chicken to make a main dish. Use some slices to make great chicken salad sandwiches. There is a great chilled pasta salad. I think it is made with bow-tie pasta, add frozen peas, add mayo, add grated parmesan cheese, add some tomatoes, refrigerate. You’ll have to find the recipe online as I’ve lost the exact recipe. Anything that can be cooked on the stovetop is okay for hot weather. How did your mother manage leftovers when you were growing up? Mine was masterful. She would vary the leftovers. Much like Juls Owings. I still miss some of her leftover dishes. Your idea to make a big pot of something and freeze it is great. You would only have to do that a few times with various dishes to start getting a variety of leftovers. Ask your mother what she’d like to eat. Make milkshakes as a treat (and that will put on weight for her or keep it up). Make smoothies (my friend put on 20 pounds from having juices and smoothies!) Make a few chilled soups – some are easy, like a chilled potato soup made with cream or cucumber soup with cream. Hope that helps!

  84. Since my pantry is almost bare and the freezer is not far behind, I made soup tonight. I used one can of chopped tomatoes (they were like pureed tomatoes), one can of mixed beans (could easily use more, 1 box chicken broth, 1 ham bone from the freezer. After I took the ham meat off the bone and added the meat back in, I added a small amount of left over sour cream. For good measure, I threw in some chili powder. It turned out amazingly well. Sort of like a cream of tomato soup but with protein. Total cost: $3.00. Lots left over for tomorrow. Going to the farmers market on Friday and will stock up then.

  85. We are building this summer and I realized too late that to bake now would be hot and awkward…not to mention that I have packed up all but the essential foodstuffs (I can get to the bins of food…it would be a wee bit difficult though), so I just bought onsale goodies that will last a month. I didn’t buy the least expensive “junky” baked goods that I used to before I realized how bad they were for is, but bought better quality. A small expenditure for a great savings of time, heat and frustration. I could have baked ahead, but now realize that we wouldn’t have the freezer toom. Quandaries to be solved. Sometimes I think it is the little things that are most frustrating…like solving the showering dilemma while the water is being done!

  86. So excited for you and your family! We took 2 such trips (4th and 7th grade for our daughter) and they are some of our favorite family memories. We laugh and laugh at our adventures and misadventures. In addition, the children learned soooo much as we had them navigate, find the public pools at each stop, calculate costs, set-up camp, cook, research and try the Jr Park Ranger program at each National Park (one pass = entry into all for a year). Good to meet relatives and see the different states. Enjoy!!

  87. Thanks Margaret. Our church has it’s 150th anniversary next Fall so in preparation we printed up a church cookbook and will be selling it before Christmas. I’m on the anniversary committee and that would be a fun way to promote the cookbook. I know a lot of people will buy it just because but we’re going to encourage folks to try recipes from the cookbook and bring it either to a potluck or as snack for meetings etc. I’m going to suggest the cookbook club idea. I know I would do it. We might have to have several. Are there like just the number of people in a club for each item on the menu? or couple per item?

  88. Jessica, what lucky circumstances following your unlucky tooth chipping. Sounds like a good new dentist for you.

  89. Kim, actually sounds like for the best that your tenants are leaving, if they are so bad. Hope things look better soon and you sound very self-sufficient.

  90. Becky, we’ve made corn dog muffins in mini muffin pans. Spray the pans, then portion your corn bread mix into each pan a little less full then normal and then push a section of hot dog straight down into middle of pan. Bake till your muffins are golden and done and serve with catsup and mustard. Fun for kids to eat and to make.

  91. They’re so beautiful! I wish you good luck with them. My friend had a one-time surprise pregnancy at 49 and her daughter was born on St. Patrick’s Day. When I met her, her daughter was just turning 17 and my friend said that she & her husband always gave their daughter a bouquet of those Bells of Ireland for her birthday every year. It was the first time I had see them, it was a huge bouquet, and I was bowled over by how beautiful they were. I’m going to have to call her. I didn’t even think to ask her fi she grew them herself! She loves gardening like you do so it’s possible.

  92. We are finally into summer weather here, though that also mean conditions are right for storms and tornadoes. We’ve had a couple tornado watches and several severe thunderstorms. As usual, right when the peonies are in full bloom. Clipped a number of the heads off and float in bowls of water. Keeps the ants from getting in that way. But everything is growing well in the gardens, flowers and vegetables. We only lost electricity briefly, but many trees branches.

    Did all the usual of composting, recycling, used up leftovers, packed lunches, cooked and baked from scratch. Received a rebate back from oil and filter purchased for our cars for 2 movie tickets. They are good for movies put out by a certain company, I don’t remember which, so hope can find an acceptable movie to go to.

    We have a missionary here for the summer and she is staying with us. As she will spend most of her time working with one person or other from church she can ride in with me. She will go on the mission trip in 2 weeks as will my youngest girl. The church vans will drive every one down to sister churches where they will run 2 weeks of summer programs for youth and young adults and some repair and improvement projects on the facilities. They’ll tow trailers with supplies, food, tents etc.

    Harvested peas and peas and peas! We’ve never been able to grow enough peas to last the year and my oldest the farmer girl was determined to succeed. I said you know we have to shell all those peas and she said sure, good time to sit and chat. So that is how we have been spending free time, enlisting all available hands. We are trying vacuum sealing this year as she asked her husband for one for Mother’s Day.

    Also harvested lettuces, cilantro, parsley, mint, rosemary, basil, spinach, asparagus, rhubarb, radishes, green onions, rosemary and oregano. Thinned carrots and washed them and added to batch of coleslaw. My grandma used to saute them with peas and potatoes in butter. So good, I’ll do that with the next batch of thinnings. We’ll probably have new potatoes by then and the little nubbins are what I’ll cook with the carrots and peas.

    Between church and relatives attended 3 more graduation open houses. Gave cards (homemade) with a check or gift card. My husband and I went on a belated anniversary trip as we had waited for Susie and Bernie’s baby to be born. We borrowed an RV belonging to a church family and we were gone Fri-Sunday. They keep it parked at a campground when not travelling…he is a paraplegic so it is all handicap accessible and so is the campground. All the paths are blacktopped, the piers are extra wide. It was very nice. We stayed 2 nights. We just had to bring bedding and our food. So we fished, cooked out, had campfires, watched the stars, chatted with the regulars. I had my scooter along so we could take long walks around the grounds. We used the showers and bathrooms of the campground and they were nice and clean. Sunday morning they even held church services in a small outdoor amphitheater. Each night they hold something there, either a showing of a movie or a talent show or a nature or history talk…that kind of thing. We picked up info about renting a spot there in the future, possibly the group camping site.

    Cooked from scratch mostly. My husband did most of the cooking at the campground in or over the firepit. He grilled fish, vegetables, hobo dinners in foil, pudgie pie sandwiches, made rhubarb crisp in the dutch oven and invited the neighbors over to share. For breakfast he made breakfasty stuff…eggs, toast, pancakes. We cooked coffee in the stove top percolater. The second night our neighbors invited us over for ice cream sundaes.

    At home earlier in the week I made rhubarb pie, white bread, biscuit shortcake…we had enough strawberries ripen for one round of strawberry shortcake. Made bean burritos, coleslaw, cucumber salad, cut up a watermelon, made tossed salad with the greens and other vegetables, had bacon lettuce and tomato once. Bought a few tomatoes…this time of year we seem to buy more fresh fruit and vegetables than others as our own harvest has not come in yet and we’ve gone through our put up supply. Plus you just get so excited about having all that fresh food again.

  93. You can also,fry the hot dogs cut up with some potatoes and onions. Yummy! Not all that healthy, but tastes good. :). I just made corny dog muffins over the weekend. The recipe I use includes cheese too. I originally made them as a kid recipe, but now make them because I like them and they are handy for lunches.

  94. I love church cookbooks — such great repositories of local dishes!

    For my cookbook club, we kept it pretty small. Everyone signs up to bring a type of dish: appetizer, main, side, or dessert. Depending on how many people are able to attend, we’ll add in additional sides and appetizers (there’s currently only six members, but a 7th might join soon). The hostess only provides plates, cutlery, and a drink. This way we end up with a proper sit down dinner, and we all stretch our cooking skills! The hostess usually keeps the leftovers. But the concept could be expanded to a larger potluck buffet. Food and socializing are always popular!

  95. We need a new-to-us vehicle for my son’s upcoming commute to college and have been saving, saving, saving. Found one from longtime friends that comes with an extra set of tires, transmission and radiator. The dad is a mechanic and the jeep Cherokee is in great shape for being older. We had all but 800.00 of the asking price saved and my son is able to pay that off in the next two weeks from his paychecks. A relief for the find, but now we are scrambling to boost our quick access savings again!

    I shall be using all the new ideas I find here! Thank you everyone for sharing!

  96. I cannot pay $10,000 in bills (after good insurance) in full at once…but thank you for the suggestion, it might work when he has minor bills, which he will have these medical problems for the rest of his life so I am sure there will be minor bills, as well as major bills. Again, thanks!

  97. Hi all. Being frugal in the last week has been mixed. I did not grocery shop a lot but had to use that saved money in home improvement stores.
    Our move is in the next week (when it may hit 120

  98. to finish…Did not really cook all that much since being gone for the 3 days and then we had the 3 parties to go to and they all have food. Did take food over to Susie and Bernie–a bag of clean lettuce leaves, 2 of the tomatoes, a loaf of bread and a little less than a pound package of bacon but I cooked it up first so they would not have to deal with it. I know others already signed up to bring dinners so I thought they could just have this on hand for some sandwiches at lunch.

    Used a 50% off coupon to buy a spool of thread. At the grocer bought the sale butter, 2 gallons milk, 3 packages of bacon, sunscreen, toilet paper, detergent, wax paper, 2 5lb bags of carrots, medium sized seedless watermelon, white pepper, mayonnaise. Used coupons on all and combined with the store sale. Picked up free item.

    Mended, put the last of the winter clothes away. Was given a stack of BIRDS AND BLOOMS magazines and have been reading them. Picked up a lightweight fleece blanket from the take-it-or-leave-it table at church. We can use it outside or in a car.
    Reading a biography and will apply it to our church summer reading and the adult summer reading at the public library. Stopped at a Little Free Library outside a nursing home and found a book suitable for our church/school library so gave them 2 to replace. I carry a box of books in the car that are discards or duplicate donations so I am prepared when I come across a little library.

    Well I hear baby Dora up from her nap now. We’re going to go sit outside now and shell peas while she plays in her playpen. Have a good rest of the week everyone.

  99. Thanks Lorna. I know I have a few areas of warmth so things can overwinter. But, they are near the house. I have my perennial herbs (oregano which is over 20 years old), thyme and my green onions in those spots, as well as some perennial flowers. We get down to -10 to -20 F. in the winter – I think that is like -23 to -29 C. We also get quite a bit of snow. We had snow on the ground for almost 80 days straight this last winter. Our summers usually have 5-10 days of over 100 F. We have quite a drastic shift in weather due to the seasons. I start my tomatoes and peppers in the house in early March, and we just finished planting outside yesterday. It is interesting the way different climates grow things.

  100. Oooo, what a great idea! I have hot dogs in the freezer and corn muffin mix in the pantry – this is going to happen. 😀

  101. Well, I wrote a response and somehow must have forgot to hit send. So here is try #2! I want to thank you for sharing this information. There are 3 places that are very high on my bucket list, Ireland (my family history originates from here…looking at visiting Dublin, Cork and Limerick), the Netherlands (specifically Amsterdam as my husbands Grandmother was a war bride from there, but we may travel somewhere else to get more of a feel for the country), and Poland (specifically Auschwitz but looking at other things to see around Krakow). My husband loves WWII and viking history, but I love all history (I went back to school to train as a conservator and now work at a Pioneer village museum). We are hoping to go for 3 weeks, which will include a couple days lay over in Iceland. I know very little about Iceland, but I’m game to visit since the opportunity is available. My husband keeps wanting to add more places to visit (pretty much any major WWII site) and I’m trying to avoid having this be a tour of every Nazi Concentration Camp in Europe trip. But we will most likely add other places, just as long as we visit my bucket list places. By the way, Belgium definitely sounds amazing and very well could end up on our itinerary! The Flanders Fields museum would be really interesting as we have heard that poem so much, I can almost quote it from memory.

    Our plan is to travel by train and local transit, as we are unfamiliar with the road signs in Europe and there will be language barriers. We are planning on going in April 2019 (though my husband is trying hard to convince me to go in 2018). By this time, my husband will have just celebrated his 50th birthday (I’m 4 1/2 years younger). We may be a bit old to be backpacking Europe, but we’re definitely up for the adventure…not to mention extremely excited to be going! We are planning on staying in private rooms at hostels, but I love your idea of getting an apartment type hotel room when we plan on staying for a couple days in one area. That would make things easier to leave our luggage in a room. Buying breakfast and lunch items from grocery stores/markets is pretty typical for us when we travel, so a kitchen/fridge would be good too.

    Thank you again for your suggestions. Honestly, I think this trip will most likely lead to more adventures in Europe. So many countries to see and experience!

  102. Roberta – I thought the same thing about the lovely flower arrangements, including about Norton Simon! We were there in February – my husband had never been – such a wonderful museum. We’re lucky, aren’t we, what with both the Getty museums, Norton Simon, the Huntington Library/Gardens…? 😀

  103. I haven’t had creamed new potatoes and peas for years. Sounds wonderful!

    I love camping in our RV. I’m so glad you got to have a little get-a-way in one. It sounds like a wonderful campground.

    Wonderful food, as usual:)

    Today, we celebrated 2 birthdays at the zoo, and I will get to cooking tomorrow for a bbq birthday party. What a lot of birthdays we have at this time of year:) Fun!

  104. 120 seems excessively hot! I’m sorry! My green beans used to get ready to be canned (like 49 quarts) when the temperature turned 107. I hope your move goes well.

  105. Ava, have you not yet been to Descanso Gardens? They’re in La Canada and definitely worth a visit (especially in April!). If you are living in Pasadena or nearby, though–I think you are very blessed! All of those wonderful places (The Huntington is a HUGE favorite of mine, and I love the Norton Simon too) and the most wonderful climate. And of course both Getty museums, though I have only been to the Villa, and twice at that. They were building the new Getty on the 405 when I moved away. I grew up a bit further north, so Pasadena was a good hour and a half drive then (and more now with the increased traffic!) but it is oh so lovely! Then you have the free Science Center and free days at the history museum (there are free days at Huntington too but you probably already know that) and so many other wonderful things to see and do–plus the beach!

  106. You must be in the Phoenix area, Mary. Me too. We’ve moved in the summer too and it can be brutal. One thing we learned is to drink plenty of fluids while doing it. But not just water. We found drinking a Gatorade or PowerAde to be much more effective. Good luck with your move!

  107. PJGT ,

    Try no bake items like instant pudding and no bake cookies, popsicles, are great no bake treats.

  108. Thank you! We are in Yuma and not moving far and lucky for us we can take our time. Our plan is to move most late in the day and early morning.

  109. When we lived in TN we would wait until power aid or gatorade went on sale for under .50 a bottle then we would buy like 500 of them and all the boys working in the fields rolling the hay and working with the corn had something to drink !

  110. Most welcome Nancy in E. Washington.

    I doubt whether my seeds would be snow resistant though :p . Our temperatures get down to -11 oc in winter and up to 45 oc in summer here so we have a marked temperature difference also between temperatures here as we are at a higher altitude of 500mts above sea level and nestled into mountains here.

    Yes I would be doing the same with raising your starts by starting them in a greenhouse with the lower temperatures you have there.

  111. Rhonda – Iceland is amazing but you are right about food being very expensive. Try to get a hotel or B&B in central Reykjavik and that way you can walk to everything in town. The bus tours are good value for money and if you can only go on one sign up for the “Golden Circle Tour” – you won’t regret it.

  112. Rhonda those are all great ideas. Ireland is beautiful. Amsterdam is fun. Holland is incredibly easy to get around. If you are thinking about going to Poland, I would really recommend seeing some of the sites that represent the Jewish community pre-Holocaust (as well as Auschwitz, to which I have never actually been). There is a new museum that recently opened in Poland that is supposed to be excellent (see website here: http://www.polin.pl/en). There are several well preserved Jewish sites elsewhere in Europe as well, specifically in Prague, Budapest, Rome. I should say here that I actually did my MA at a Holocaust research centre (I wrote my thesis on post-Holocaust autofiction…….this is usually where people’s eyes start to glaze over when I am talking to them…..). Anyway – if you want any more information, or are looking for some good pre-trip reading on these places or topics do not hesitate to send me an email at lifefreedomfamily at gmail dot com Enjoy the planning – this sounds like a wonderful adventure.

  113. Becky, it was the first time we had ever stayed in an RV. It was very roomy (well compared to our VW bus) also as he uses a wheelchair to get around. I don’t think I would enjoy actually driving one, that is for sure.

    I like to visit the zoo occasionally but we don’t have a close one. We used to go to the big state one when the children were younger. Now I suppose we can go with the grandchildren in a few years:)

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