Snow Pea Vines The Prudent HomemakerSnow Peas in Bloom

I picked lemons from the garden.

I cut a few spears of asparagus and a little lettuce from the garden.

I cut Swiss chard from the garden.

Apple Blossoms Buds The Prudent Homemaker

Dorsett Golden Apple Blossoms

We removed ten non-producing apple trees from the garden.  I have one remaining apple tree now (Dorsett Golden, pictured above).

We bought some new dirt in bulk from the nursery to put in the bed. We picked it up ourselves in our trailer (the one my husband made) and lined the trailer with a free tarp my husband had (via Craigslist). Picking it up ourselves saved the delivery fee.

We dug up and moved the previously espaliered Asian pear tree to the bed to grow as a small (but no longer espaliered) pear tree. The pear was being overshadowed by the fig tree and had stopped producing; it should give us some fruit in the new spot next year.

Almond Blossoms The Prudent Homemaker

Garden Prince Almond Blossoms

I purchased a self-fertile almond (that only gets to 15 feet) on sale to plant there too. It will take about 3-4 years before I can harvest a good-sized crop from it.

I received two free bags of fertilizer at the nursery using their coupons for free fertilizer with the purchase of vegetables and herbs (I purchased some larger pepper plants and tomato plants this year, with the hope of having more to harvest before the heat comes in and the plants stop flowering).

I purchased a lemon verbena plant for the garden at the nursery. This is a perennial plant and it will grow quite tall, giving me lots to harvest. I picked a few leaves and made herbal tea with it. 

I made some plans for this bed, in order to make it more productive for us.

My husband and I celebrated Valentine’s Day at home. It was one of two dates at home this week. We played a board game one night and a card game another night.

I bought some strawberries on sale for $0.99 a pound.  I also picked up the avocados (6 for $2) for which I had a raincheck.

I went to the library to check out some books with the children. They had a book sale and I was able to pick up a few books for our personal library for $2.25.

I listened to music on Pandora.

I studied French every day using free online sources.

We received some rain. I turned off the drip irrigation and put out buckets to collect water from the roof. I won’t need to water the grass next week and I can use the water I collected in buckets to water plants in the garden. 

Two things that brought me joy this week: I saw a violet-crowned hummingbird in the garden while I was working; I also enjoyed watching the baby take his first steps!


What did you do to save money this past week? What joy did you find in the everyday?

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  1. Hi Brandy! Your garden looks so lovely! The weather has been warmer recently (40F) so I was able to open the windows for a few hours this weekend to help air out the house. That certainly brought joy to my weekend! Here are our frugal accomplishments for the week:

    * Had date-night in for Valentine’s Day. I made lasagna and garlic bread and we watched a movie. It was nice to just spend some dedicated us-time together.

    * Brought my car in to get looked at and they didn’t charge me to fix anything- hopefully the issue I was having doesn’t arise again! This was cancelled out by my SO’s car having engine troubles, though, which cost $250 to fix.

    * Used a coupon to purchase gas for 10c off per gallon. It’s not much, but it helps!

    * Made two different bean dishes for dinner this week- enchilada casserole and a taco skillet. Both were delicious and will be going on the menu again!

    * I purchased some bell peppers for $0.54 for a three pack (after Checkout51 rebate) and some mushrooms for $0.79 per 8oz pack. I’ll be freezing the peppers and dehydrating the mushrooms for future dishes.

    * I started doing things on mTurk and mPoints again- they’re not great profit generators, but with academic surveys on mTurk, I can usually earn ~$2 for maybe 20 minutes of my time. I also spent some time on Swagbucks and InboxDollars.

    I also looked into hourly rates for tutoring for when I move to my new campus this next year. My stipend is increasing, but so are my costs of living, so I’d like to pull in a few hours of tutoring where I can. As a plus, I should be able to charge at least $20/hour as a person with a Master’s degree for the high-demand field I’d be tutoring in. However, I’m not sure how exactly to market myself, so that’s something I want to look into.

  2. What a blessing to watch a baby take his or her first steps!

    My joy for the week:

    My daughter cut my hair and made dinner for me that I got to eat with her and my two granddaughters. Whenever she cuts my hair I go to her house after work and spend a couple of hours at their house. After my hair is done I play games with my granddaughters.

    Frugal Accomplishments at our house this week:

    I live in Indiana and for the last few days we have had temperature in the 60’s with beautiful sunshine. Friday the weatherman said that the last time it was that warm was in the 1880’s. To put it mildly, we are enjoying this weather! We are saving money too because the heat has only kicked at night. That should save on our normally higher utility bill.

    I baked bread and ate all breakfasts and dinners at our house.

    I made Greek yogurt.

    We took our lunch to work everyday except one. My company provided pizza and beverages one day for Valentine’s Day. Employees brought a dish or dessert to share. I had a cake mix from the dollar store in the pantry that I made. I frosted it and sprinkled little candy hearts that I had over the top.

    Our tree was taken down on Saturday and now I have a nice pile of wood shavings that I can use for mulch. The company that took it down gave us a 300 dollar discount because we paid in cash. This morning I am enjoying the sun streaming through our living room window when just a few days ago there would have shade. I’m looking forward to planting some herbs and other plants right outside my door where I couldn’t grow much before.

    I cut my husband’s hair.

  3. Your garden photos look heavenly! We’re just getting our first blooms here… snowbells, daffodils, forsythia and anemones. We planted peas 9 days ago, so I’m hoping they’ll be poking up in the next day or so. I’ll have to look up a violet crowned hummingbird, as I don’t know those. Our first hummers usually arrive right around Easter. Lemon verbena smells heavenly. I’ve managed to keep one alive, though it’s not thriving. I think I’ll relocate it this year and see how it does. Octavious’ first steps brought a big smile to my face. I can imagine the joy it brought you. I’m joining in here:

  4. I have been wanting to put in espaliered fruit trees as inspired by you, but it now sounds like you are taking yours out? Do you still recommend espaliers in general or would you say it is not worth it?

  5. Sarah, I would consider them if you have self-fertile types, and/or if you live in a colder climate. Mine did not grow as I had hoped. They also grew away from the wall and into the center of the bed. I don’t know how to prevent that; I had them growing along and tied to wire mesh and stakes, but they came forward a couple of feet anyway. I have seen beautiful photos of them laden with fruit, but that was never my case with the apples–the Asian pear, which I kept and transplanted, had lots of fruit until it was overshadowed by the much larger fig (its location was just poor planning on my part). It should do well in its new location, but I want more fruit from it than it can give as an espaliered tree, so I will allow it to grow into a new shape in the new location. That won’t be too hard, as it lost several branches two years ago, most likely due to my overcrowding from the fig tree.

    The few apples we did get from mine were mealy, and no one wanted to eat them. There are other fruit choices that would be better to espalier in a hot climate than apples.

    The one apple we are keeping is ripe in June, and is a sauce apple. Crisp apples, which we prefer for fresh eating, are not easily grown in our climate. Apples don’t even turn red here; cold is what makes apples turn red, and most apples ripen in summer here.

    For the space, I would have gotten more fruit from grapes or blackberries than I did from the apples. We took out the mesh and I now will have other trees there with other food beneath. While the trees are small I can plant even more under them than I can once they are large, but even once they get bigger, I should be able to grow more in the same space, as I won’t be having to deal with mire mesh in the middle of the bed (instead of the back where it should have been). I’ve been planning that bed all weekend and I think I can really maximize the space to add a significant amount of food to our plates.

  6. Wow, your snow peas are really coming along nicely! I love the idea of having a nut tree in a garden. In fact, I was looking up what nut trees will grow in our zone (5b) earlier this week. Nuts are so expensive to buy, but are a great protein source. As for your joyful moments this week, both would have made my list too! Thanks for sharing, Brandy.

    This week, our frugal accomplishments included:
    *Baked a dozen double chocolate zucchini muffins using up some frozen shredded zucchini from 2 years ago and a dozen banana blueberry muffins using up some ripe bananas & frozen wild blueberries I bought last summer. One recipe called for buttermilk, so I mixed up some powdered buttermilk I have in my pantry. Both are healthy breakfast, school lunch or snack options for my daughter, and plenty for the rest of the family to enjoy as well.
    *Meals made at home this week included pasta with choice of sauce and leftover sausage optional, chicken fingers with homemade fried rice (using leftover rice from last week) and veggie spring rolls, taco bake, chicken souvlaki with leftover fried rice and salad, breakfast sausages with homemade seasoned potato chunks and corn, hamburger helper with green beans and garlic bread, and roast beef with mashed potatoes, gravy, coleslaw and carrots.
    *My daughter took leftover homemade beef barley soup (from last weekend) in her lunch 2 days this week, but there was still a lot left over. I divided the last of the soup into 2 freezer baggies (approx. 2 cup portion size per bag) to avoid waste. This will be especially useful as a hearty lunch option for when I’m working this spring/summer.
    *I bought a huge 5L jug of dish soap on sale for $8.88. We have been buying our dish soap in bulk since last summer and just refill our smaller soap bottles for easier use. The same dish soap in a regular sized bottle (just under 1L size) is usually $1.97 on sale, so this definitely saves us money!
    *Finally bought 2 huge packages of BLSL chicken breasts on sale at Costco ($2.50 off per pack – bought the cheapest packs I could find). Upon bringing them home, I cut up all the breasts into bite sized chunks and had my husband mix the chicken with homemade marinade to make souvlaki. After it marinated for a day, I packaged it up into family sized servings and froze for future meals.
    *I found 175g bags of foil wrapped, milk chocolate hearts marked clearance after Valentines day. Normal price was $3.50/bag and I bought 7 bags for $0.50/bag…a $21 savings! We enjoyed one bag and I tucked the rest into my candy/chocolate stash to use for Easter baskets, another special occasion or a “just because I love you” treat. Chocolate hearts are good for any occasion!
    *Some other amazing grocery deals I picked up this week were 4 dozen eggs on sale for $1.77/dozen (best price normally is $1.97/dozen), 2 Cinnamon Raisin Loaves and a pack of hamburger buns, both on sale for $2 but found some marked as 50% off making them $1 each (short dated so I froze them immediately) and a 1lb bag of Kiwi fruit on sale for $0.50/bag! I don’t recall ever seeing kiwi this cheap before, so I’ve always just bought a few every once in a while. I’ve started researching kiwi recipes on Pinterest. If I can find some excellent recipes my family will eat, I may buy a more! (note: we’re not really huge smoothie fans)
    *I saved the paper that my valentines roses were wrapped in to reuse for a craft, wrapping paper or another need.
    *I got more free exercise chipping away at the thick ice build up on our driveway and pathways this week.
    *My daughter enjoyed a game of lazer tag, free through our Autism Ontario membership. She could have done a second game but opted not to.
    *My mother did some calls this week and significantly reduced the monthly bills for T.V. and phone.

    [b]My joyful & beautiful life moments this week are[/b]:
    *My husband bought me a dozen red roses for Valentines day (I think I’m supposed to share them with my daughter and mom, but that’s OK). As it so happens, I bought some store bought cookies for a Valentines day treat (a huge treat at our house these days). We don’t normally do anything for Valentines…too ironic that we both decided to do something for each other this year!
    *My cat brought me his catnip stuffed heart on Valentines day to let me know he loves me. He actually does this almost every day, but it was still special! He cries as he walks into the room with heart in mouth to get my attention, then drops his heart by my feet to await a cuddle. I tell him I love him too and he’s ever so pleased with himself. He’s such a love!
    *The temperatures soared to unseasonably high, spring like weather this weekend, which helped melt away some of the large accumulation of ice and snow. Still snow on the ground, but….WhooHooo!!!

    Looking forward to reading my weeks worth of inspiration from everyone! Hope you all have a lovely week!!!:D

  7. I loved reading about everything going on in your garden, as we are still a couple of months away from planting much of anything here. Last week I made homemade bread,we ate all meals at home, and I hung laundry to dry. I re-dyed my husband’s black jeans with Rit dye, as well as a black shirt. They both look like new now. I knit some dishrags from a ball of red, white, and blue cotton yarn that I bought at the thrift store for $1. I listened to free audiobooks I downloaded from the library, and finished up watching Edwardian Farm on youtube, and started watching Victorian Farm – all for free. We are so blessed to have so many resources like this! We had a lovely Valentine’s Day at home, with a nice dinner for two from the freezer. I made a cherry pie using pie filling I canned last summer. The next day I shared some pie with our neighbor.
    Our dishwasher wasn’t doing a very good job. My husband took it apart and cleaned everything thoroughly and it is working much better now. We will be attending a family reunion in Arkansas and a wedding in Texas this spring. Living in the mountains, where summers are usually cool, I have very few summer clothes – and we will be down South for a whole month. When I went shopping I had a hard time finding things I thought were both flattering and modest. I purchased one top on sale, then hit Joann’s President’s day sale and bought fabric for four more tops and a pair of cropped pants. I spent $50, but I think I will be very happy with the results. I have already made three of the tops. All the patterns I either already owned, or downloaded free from the internet. I also went through my closet and pulled out some things to donate (and one shirt that was so badly stained I made it into a rag.) My husband installed the backsplash in my kitchen and it looks so nice. Now we are saving up for door pulls for the cabinets.

  8. Oooh, I’d love if we could have a lemon tree in our yard. Mr. Picky Pincher and I have started planning out our garden and we’ve made room for plenty of fruit trees.
    This past week we’ve:
    1. Cooked PLENTY of freezer meals. We could probably go a week or more just from our pantry, which is a great feeling. That means less temptation to eat out. 🙂
    2. We ordered grass-fed beef from a local rancher. It’s $600 upfront but we basically won’t need beef for the rest of the year. It comes already processed and ready to cook. It’s a lot of money upfront but it’s ridiculously cheap in the long run. We had to make room in our reach-in freezer just for all of the beef.
    3. We also celebrated Valentine’s Day at home. We cooked a nice lobster dinner with $5 sale lobster tails.
    4. I plan to repurpose our mountain of tin cans. I’ll make our nephew a set of toy bowling pins out of the tin cans as well as DIY citronella candles to prep for summer.
    5. Mr. Picky Pincher baked a lovely loaf of sourdough bread from his sourdough starter. We definitely don’t need bread for a long time!

  9. Pruned the CandyCrisp tree & more of the front forsythia bush. Took the glass cloches off the garlic shoots, since the weather has moderated for the time being & the shoots are hitting the tops of the cloches. Sun + cloche + top of shoot = burned.

    Weeded the front beds & some in the back perimeter bed, since the ground is thawed at present.

    Hung about half of the laundry to dry, to keep a little humidity in the air inside the house.

    Filled a few more water containers for storage.

    Filled 2 more clean empty tuna can with rolled strips of corrugated cardboard & added them to the supply in the box in the garage. When there are enough, I will melt some more candle stubs & wickless candles purchased for next to nothing at the thrift, & pour the melted wax on top to make buddy burners for camping or emergency use. The lids from Diamond nuts fit the tuna cans, so I put those on top after the wax is cooled, to keep out dust.

    When youngest DD & I were ready to head home from Washington on Monday, we checked the weather ahead. SE Idaho had several areas where flooding over roads, including the interstate, was an issue, so we chose to drive home overnight, when the temps were below freezing & the “melt” would not be adding to the flow. We were able to navigate our way without encountering any flooding issues or closed roads. Studied a few alternate routes before leaving, just in case. DH met us in her car, where DD would normally turn off to go home, so we could transfer her things to her car & she could continue on home. He drove me the last 2 hours to our house. Otherwise, DD would have driven all the way to our house, picked up her car, then driven back home, so he saved her about 3 ½ hours of driving time, even tho the gas use was the same. After driving for 10 hours, it was nice to not have to drive thru rush hour traffic for the last 2 hours because of his thoughtfulness.

    Picked up my car from the dealership, & paid for it with our Discover card. The funds are already in the checking account, but by running it thru DC, we will get 1% back, which is about $40 on this repair. I already used a coupon to get $50 off, so when I apply the cash back to the card balance, it is like another coupon towards the car repair.

  10. I had great success buying large tomatoes early on last year. Also, when I was growing my own, I started them really early so they would grow big. I had the opposite problem as you at my old house– a very short growing season during the summer, but you just have a short season early on so I’ll bet it works for you. Here’s hoping!

    I think watching the baby take his first steps is such a joyful moment. Probably the most joyful of the week!

    I put my week on my blog, but forgot to mention that I did a lot of mending this week, too. My mom came over and we worked through some items with the 2 girls I homeschool (daughter and niece), so they got some experience, too.

  11. I’ve done some unnecessary and unproductive spending over the last couple of weeks. However, I’ve had some successes too:

    -Redeemed a coupon for a free 2 lb box of chicken strips (no gluten, lower salt).
    -Found a lovely box for $5 at a thrift store to put my sewing things in. I’ve sorted all the different items (e.g., thread, buttons, needles, measuring devices) and put them into ziplock bags, until I can get better storage containers. They are tidy and easy to find. I’m glad to get rid of the cardboard box I’ve been using for years. The cats enjoyed getting into the new box while I was sorting the sewing items into the bags.
    -Was invited to a Scrabble party. I haven’t played it in years, so I looked up the rules on the internet the day before and played three games for free on the computer. That made the games a lot more fun to play at the party. We were served a lovely supper — two kinds of salad and soups, homemade bread, and brownies.
    -Spent a minute in daylight adjusting the overhead lights inside the car, so the lights go on when I open the door or click on the fob to unlock the car doors. This hasn’t been set right since I bought the vehicle a couple of years ago, but I never thought of it except when it was too dark to see! A free fix. Also got new windshield wipers in time for a mid-winter melt that left the roads very slushy for drive into the city.
    -Bought cleaner for my laptop screen. I asked a young guy on a ladder where the cleaner was. He got down from the ladder, took me past an aisle that he waved at sort of casually and continued on to a display in another section of the store. The display had small kits of cleaner for $5, whereas the ones in the first aisle were larger ones for $12. It is good to get help from a student on a budget!
    -Spent an hour with my doctor (courtesy of provincial health insurance), reviewing the (good) results of a new medication, and planning how to approach a couple of new problems that have interfered with my activity level. I’m feeling optimistic about this plan.
    -A focus on healthier eating and a little more walking means I’ve lost eight pounds over the last couple of months. This is encouraging me as I plan for March meals and activities.

    I haven’t felt very positive lately, but getting results from some of my efforts and a couple of hours more of daylight each day than in December is slowly turning this around.

  12. Hi Brandy! That is so exciting about your baby. 🙂

    We took a trip to NorCal this weekend…so more expenses than normal but we saw our older son and that brought much joy. We used a generous gift card that we had received for a wonderful meal for all of us. Most other meals through the week were homemade except for Valentine’s Day. Hubby picked up fairly reasonably priced take out Peruvian food and I simply set the table and lit candles. 🙂

    Earlier in the week I planted a dwarf orange tree. We were pummeled with rain in SoCal so not much gardening. Hoping this week is better! We spent time in Carmel for our trip and I took many photos of the beautiful gardens there so now I am especially inspired! 🙂

  13. This week I canned 11 pints of Sweet and Sour Sauce for my pantry to use up a single fresh pineapple before it got over ripe! I had all the other ingredients in my pantry that were needed- home canned diced tomatoes, frozen bell peppers, fresh onion, homemade brown sugar, vinegar, etc. So wonderful to see those 11 jars on the basement shelves since we were down to our last 5 pints!! And such a quick dinner option- just add meat and make rice and dinner is served!!!

    I finished piecing and quilting a large lap quilt that used 728 of my 2″ square fabric scraps. I then found a free online pattern for another bed size quilt that I liked but I needed to add baby quilts back into my gift storage so I made a smaller version (fewer blocks) and used another 256 of my 2″ square shoebox! That’s almost 1000 two inch squares that I’ve used this week in quilts and yet my shoebox is not empty yet!!! Having my scraps organized and precut into common sizes saves SO much time when I want to make a quilt quickly!!

    I ordered a 40 pound box of Zaycon BLSL chicken for $1.35/pound and will pick up on Friday! I will get a $10 credit for next time by helping them unload the chicken for an hour!! Have already planned my prep and processing for after I get the chicken home!

    I took dinner to 3 different families this week without having to leave my house for ingredients!
    I bought $14 worth of shampoo, yogurt, pasta and salad mix for free by using coupons combined with sales!
    I made Cheesy ham and potatoes o’brien breakfast casserole to use up a homemade bag of potatoes, onions and peppers from the freezer in my effort to rotate things that I’ve frozen. I bought several foil food containers- round and loaf pan size from Dollar Tree and so my breakfast casserole was divided and baked into 2 of the round containers and then labeled and stacked in fridge for fast and easy breakfasts! I made a big batch of monster cookie bars- some went with meals I took for service and some for us to enjoy, but the rest went into small round labeled foil containers and stacked in fridge freezer to pull out later when we didn’t have lunch treats or needed to take a treat to someone!
    Replenished more of my homemade seasoning mixes and baking mixes. I love the convenience of mixes and the savings and complete peace in knowing what ingredients are in them!
    Started our next woodworking order that will be about $110 in profit and shouldn’t take more than two hours to build and assemble!
    Made all our meals at home and brown-bagged lunches for work. Rotated things from fridge and had almost no food waste this past two weeks!
    We are truly blessed!

  14. My Valentine and I celebrated with a fancy dinner at my local garden club. It was a perfect evening so I wrote about some of the drama.

    If that wasn’t enough excitement, I wrote about the rocks in my neighborhood. Yes, a whole post about my rocks!


  15. I bought some of the snowpeas you had mentioned and then showed Hubby your picture of your peas, his response was look at all the food… LOL. I won’t plant mine until end of March. We went to Menards and got some odds and ends since they had their 11% rebate going on again. They were out of the softener salt we use so Hubby is going to use what he has in the truck bed(uses it for weight during the winter) and hope we don’t get any really nasty weather. My son let me know he has a bag of dirt I can have since he isn’t planting anything this year in containers, doesn’t think he will even plant in ground either with his work schedule and living alone now.I’m still looking for large containers to replace the ones I’ve planted in for years that finally broke too bad to use.

    Right now in OH we are having spring weather, but Old Man Winter isn’t going to go away, he will be back this week with more snow.

  16. Consider growing a Meyer lemon tree or two in pots. I have one that lives despite my benign neglect and gives me a lemon or two each year. It sits outside on the deck during the months when the coldest temperatures are above 28 degrees and in front of a north-facing patio door inside in the winter. I wish we had a sunny south-facing window but we don’t. Our south-facing windows are shaded by the porch roof and a large maple tree. With more thoughtful care, the tree would provide more lemons.

  17. Aw first steps! A mixed moment of pride and sorrow as you know that you are now going to be chasing the little one a lot more. I remember those days well.

    It’s been busy and full here. At the moment we’re having a vigil over our old cat on whether or not her time with us is done. She looks so tired, I think it’s time to say goodbye, but my husband keeps getting hopeful she’ll perk up for a while longer. We shall see how it goes.

    My week in a nutshell can be found here…

  18. Brandy,
    I bought a Meyer lemon tree last year and it’s been in a very large terra cotta pot. It just doesn’t seem to be doing very well. Maybe because I have no idea what the heck I’m doing or maybe it needs to be planted? Do you have any good links in regards to lemon trees? Thanks for your help!

  19. Badly stained or well worn clothing can also be cut into strips and sewn together to make fabric “yarn”. It can be used to knit or crochet things like rag rugs, place mats, table runners, even made into a purse among other things. Since you mentioned that you knit, I thought this might interest you, Cindi.

  20. What type of almond tree did you get? I wanted to get one for our land but I was reading how the juglone realsed by the trees hinders/ kills near by plants. I read that you need at lest 75ft btwn the trees and certain plants like tomatoes. Thank you for any advice you have.

  21. Hello everyone!
    Brandy, your pea vines have me counting down to March 17th – when I can plant mine.
    I need a last minute OTC, and after the purchase realized there was a coupon. After further inspection – they were offering a refund if I could upload a receipt. I am thankful I am “techy” enough to have figured that out.
    Dealing with a head cold/flu all week I took time to mend clothing that can be sold. (Minor unseen mends, buttons, hems..)
    Used scrap paper folded into quarters to draw the alphabet (a letter per quarter). For my niece & nephew this Christmas I will make the fabric letters using old jeans and some colorful fabric for the vowels.
    Joy this week was just taking time to nap, sit quietly to nurse this cold. I can’t remember the last time I did that.

  22. Holly,

    The only tree that I know that does that is Black Walnut. I have never heard of that being a problem with almonds. Please let me know where you read that because if that is the case, I need to remove my almond tree. My garden is only 75 feet wide.

    This is a Garden Prince Almond and it only gets 15 feet high. It is self-fertile.

  23. Kim, it takes about 4 to 5 years to start seeing significant production from the tree. Many people recommend knocking off any fruit the first couple of years to give the tree a chance to grow larger, rather than putting all its energy into fruit production. Do fertilize it to help it grow larger until then.

  24. I was at a fiber arts retreat for several days – it felt like a huge splurge, but because we had already budgeted for it and I carefully planned my meals and where I would shop/what I would shop for, it was still well within the budget. I don’t know when I’ll get to attend another, since we are moving somewhere I won’t have access to grandparents willing to provide childcare 😉 so I really, really tried to make the most of the experience.

  25. I’m pretty sure that’s only black walnuts. I even attempted to google it. I have a black walnut tree. It was already established when I moved in. There are mulberries(within 10 ft) and honeysuckle near it. They go crazy every year. I have 14c mulberries in my freezer and just under 2 small waste baskets filled w walnuts ready to shell.

  26. K — I would suggest two things to help with tutoring: (1) contact support services for students with disabilities as they’ll probably keep a list of possible tutors, and (2) contact the department in your specialty area and leave your contact information. When a professor identifies someone who might need your services, they can at least point them in your direction. Of course, this all depends on the university/college’s policy. I would definitely have flyers, which you can probably post (with permission). Good luck on that!

  27. Rhonda, you should be able to grow filberts (hazelnut). We are 4b so you are warmer. Our trees on the property have been going since the late 1880’s. They’ll produce for about 50 years but they can grow pretty big. A couple of my cousins tend to them and then divide out the harvest between the 5 farms. One year our share of the crop was 44 lbs. They do need another tree to cross pollinate. If there are varieties that don’t, I am not aware. Hickory is another nut. They grow all over up here in our woods. That’s a good nut for foraging, if there are places you can do that by you.

  28. I’ll look it up again tonight. I’m not sure if it was in a book or online but I’ll try to remember. I do remember it was that all nut trees had juglone but the type of nut tree determined the strength with the black walnut being the worst.

  29. I used to do library research for grad students, and I got most of my business from work of mouth but I also put ads in the school newspaper. My upstairs neighbor was a grad student/research assistant at the time so her friends started me off.

  30. I would love to know how you are so productive with a little one around. My first is 5 weeks and while I can sometimes get things done during naps most days I feel lucky to get dinner made.

  31. Okay, it’s not the almond. It’s black, Engish, Persian walnuts; all hickories and butternuts. Sorry for the confusion!

  32. I did buy one of those lemon trees in the pot and this is the 2nd year now it has overwintered in my sun room. I have not had a fruit yet, but it seems to be growing well.

  33. I feel a little spendy, but I’m actually saving money in the long run — I’ve ordered the loose-leaf tea I use for kombucha and the rooibos I use for regular tea from a place where I can get them in bulk, to save per ounce. I also ordered fish food and pet treats in bulk, to save on those items.
    I used a Swagbucks gift card to help purchase a new flat-iron. One of the hot plates in mine died, and since I use the iron daily, I definitely was going to replace it. It’s too old for the warranty to be any good anymore.
    I entertained my granddaughter and her friend with craft supplies which I had on hand. They had a wide range of things to use, and had fun with it.
    I shopped a thrift store, but didn’t see what I needed, so I left without buying anything.
    What joy those first steps are! I know that warmed your heart, Brandy. I had the joy this weekend of watching our youngest grandchild start pulling herself up. We also celebrated my husband’s birthday this weekend.

  34. I cannot believe Octavius is old enough to be taking steps himself!! Time goes so fast when they are little.

    We had a good Valentine’s Day–we exchanged cards but no gifts–we don’t need anything at all. My husband wrote me a sweet note telling me all the things he’s grateful for about me–I didn’t realize that he appreciated my correcting his spelling, but there I have it in black and white!! I tease him quite often about only liking my cooking at this advanced age!!

    My daughter wanted to make chocolate dipped strawberries but couldn’t find strawberries worth spending on. So she brought us some homemade peanut butter cookies–which I’m sure were appreciated MUCH more than the strawberries would have been! She recently bought a cookie scoop so they were perfectly round and uniform in size—her friends saw a picture on line and accused her of buying them. They were homemade and they were delicious!! She doesn’t enjoy cooking much but does bake and mess with chocolate covered everythings when she gets the chance. I was very happy to have her bake something for us.

    We have been enJOYing warm weather for a few days also, and all the snow has melted except the huge piles in some parking lots. My husband and I did some furniture moving and vacuuming underneath and surprised ourselves at how tired we now get from what used to be no big deal. But then we took most of one of the lovely springlike days for a ride—a couple stops for needed items, and then a walk through a close-out store, just for the fun of it. I bought a can of blueberry pie filling for $2.49–and the blueberry pie will be dessert tonight. He bought a can of spray paint and today he painted our wire soap dish for the bathtub. It hangs on the rim of our ancient tub, and has to be sanded and painted every year or two, because they don’t seem to make those anymore. I feel like the winter has been somewhat productive as we manage to do a couple jobs every day and still have time to be “retired” and enjoy our hobbies as well. He is moving some old slides to a thumb drive for daughter’s birthday at the end of the week. She requested that on her wish list—for several years when she and her sister were young we took slides exclusively, and have no “hard copies” of those photos. It included our stay in England and I think some time in Mississippi too. I want to see them as much as she does.

  35. Hi Brandy,
    Your website is always such an inspiration!
    I just planted a Dorsett Golden. It seems to be doing well. I’ll cross my fingers and hope the boring insect don’t kill it. We live in Zone 9 about 30 miles inland from San Diego. We have plenty of frosty nights and a whopping 27 inches of rain so far this year.
    We have an Almond and Walnut tree that the birds planted. The Almonds are so bitter when I tried them I don’t bother picking them. Our dwarf Navel is loaded with beautiful oranges this year. Thank you for all the great advice, motivation and inspiration. Bravo to all the Home Farmers.

  36. I am happy to say that I successfully rooted an apple tree from a cutting of an established one we had. This will be it’s second year and it already looks happy and healthy. This was my first attempt. I have three more ready to go. I also have a potted meyer lemon tree that I have to over-winter in-doors and normally it looks very sad by this time of the winter but this year it is looking better than normal. I think this is due to placing it in front of the French door so it got more light.
    Yesterday, I needed to go buy a few groceries which for me, means driving a half hour. I called a friend and she happily agreed to carpool with me. We both got the groceries we needed and were able to visit during the car ride which was a bonus.
    I did a few hours of gardening on Saturday and over-did it so now I have a sore, stiff back. Last evening, I just needed to sit for a few hours with the heating pad on my back so I got out my yarn and made two dish clothes. I felt productive and knitting took my mind off my pain.
    My adult son got a new job and purchased a few new pair of pants. Tonight I will hem them for him saving him the cost and trouble of taking them to have it done professionally. I am more than happy to do this for him.
    Thanks again to Brandy for hosting this weekly post and for the encouragement this blog community provides.

  37. I used e-rewards to get credit on my Starbucks gift card. I don’t like coffee, beer, wine, or any alcohol so my only vice is chai tea made with Tazo chai syrup and skim milk. I ordered lots of Tazo syrup from the Starbucks website using gift card credits with free shipping.

    I am still eating leftover holiday turkey -which was frozen, of course. I made enchiladas, pasta y fagioli soup (usually made with beef) and also had turkey sandwiches. I froze about half of the soup and the enchiladas because it took me a week just to eat the other half. I am trying to avoid white enriched flour and am not great at making pie pastry so I made pumpkin custard (homemade pie filling baked in individual custard cups, with out any crust.) It was a nice dessert – but since it doesn’t freeze well, I had to eat 8 servings day after day. (DH does not like pumpkin).

    DH and I exchanged valentines cards and gifts, which we had ordered on Amazon, using some gift cards received for completing surveys. He received a western belt buckle he picked out and I received the game Sequence. The next day was his birthday and he received more Amazon gifts – the DVD set – National Parks, America’s Best Idea and a small desk for his office. I would buy items locally if they could only offer them at close to the price I can buy online, but I realize that we have specialized taste and live in a small town that can only offer more general types of items. I think about this a lot – what items do we purchase or consume and where they come from. We try to buy used items when we can because at least we’re supporting the charities that own the thrift stores and we are reusing items that someone else can’t use.

  38. It produced lemons this past year but the branches look spindly and the leaves have a lot of yellowing. What fertilizer do you recommend? Also, I know from speaking to you in the past you live right around the corner from me. I have a few garden related items you might be interested in. I’ll take a picture and email them to you.

  39. Thanks, Athanasia, that was really helpful! Although we will not be planting anytime soon (I’m still living with my mom and she intends to sell once we can buy our own house, s no point investing now), I was really curious what nuts would grow in our area. I know that black walnuts will grow here. Was kind of wondering though, as it’s something I might talk about with visitors to the pioneer village I work at, too. Now I can do some checking to see if hazelnuts and hickory nuts were grown in this area during the 1800s!

  40. Hi K – I don’t know where you are living but $20 an hour is lquite ow for the Akron,OH area.As far as marketing yourself, introduce yourself to (professors? Are you at a college?) as well as any resource center. Tell them your background and provide references – that should do the trick.

  41. K, all 5 of my children have tutored over the years. Most often the students needing tutoring were brought to the attention of my children by the professor or the adviser and they were asked if they were interested. In our system the students pay a set fee.

  42. Marcia, I am glad you enjoyed the cookies your daughter made. Scoops are the secret to getting uniform cookies and a good judging in 4H foods. Also great for making meatballs and filing cupcake tins.

  43. Hello Brandy and all,
    How quickly time flies if Octavius is standing up already ;). Whenever you mention him, I think of the photo of him in the adorable shirt with airplanes all over it and his big smile.

    Last week was a good week. I made corned beef and cabbage in the crockpot for dinner with friends, and it was fantastic. Since I retired two years ago, I have been working on improving my cooking skills and it is great when a meal turns out really well. The corned beef was bought last year on sale, so the meal was very economical, just a few purchases of veggies.

    I went through my closet and took many of my remaining work clothes to a consignment shop. I have a $260 credit there now from clothes dropped off last year! In the last six months I have been working on eating healthier and exercising more…and now am looking at some sort of thing like a Fitbit or other device to do heart rate and distances. I want an Apple Watch but don’t want to spend the money to buy one ;). My girlfriend pointed out I can take the clothing credit, get a check from them and it will pay for the watch! Brilliant! Turning old clothes I don’t wear into something I will use everyday but would never buy for myself, win, win! Finished our taxes yesterday and will get a small refund so that drama is over too.

    Finding joy in being healthy enough and being here in Arizona where the weather is glorious and the quails come by our kitchen window every day to eat the ripe olives.

  44. Rhonda,

    The Stark Brothers catalog just showed up at my house. You can check out their website for types even though they are in the U.S.; it may give you some ideas. They had quite a few different nuts listed to zone 5, including several varieties of pecans, butternuts, chestnuts, and walnuts. And as was mentioned before, hazelnuts (aka filberts) will grow for you too. Almonds should also work in your area. Loo for self-fertile trees if you only want one, but on hazelnuts you are going to need two. Not all tres have that option; for example, I put in pistachios, and you have to have a male and a female tree. Just find out what kind you need for what you want.

  45. We are in central Ohio and built these planter boxes that go over plastic buckets that we get free from Sam’s club bakery! They look nicer than plain plastic buckets but you can actually use them as square foot gardens! Really simple to use and care for and free to build!!!

  46. I bought one, too, last year. It has about five lemons on it in various stages of growth. With our cold, cold Winters and only a Southern exposure of very little real sun, it’s barely hanging on. It’s the Charlie Brown version of a lemon tree. So sad. But, I’m hopeful….

  47. I will have to try the Tazo Chai Syrup. I have been buying STASH decaf Vanilla Chai Tea bags. Very affordable, tasty and I love it with a splash of half-n-half. I don’t even use a sweetener. Low calorie and I can have it at night and doesn’t keep me up.

  48. Thanks for mentioning this, Rhonda!
    Actually, after I posted, I pulled it out of the rag bag (where i already have tons of cleaning rags) and cut it into tiny pieces and put it in a bag with all the little scraps of fabric from quilting. I almost have enough in there to stuff a pillow!

  49. Black walnut trees are NOT compatible with tomatoes&peppers .The roots put off something that will kill them if planted in the ground.I have to plant mine in pots otherwise they die.

  50. Something to be careful of – tutoring may effect your stipend and your entire graduate package, depending on your state laws and/or department policies (the university I teach at doesn’t allow tutoring on campus because each assistant has to do 2 hours a week of free tutoring in a dedicated room that’s available to everyone, tutoring high school students is okay though), so just be careful and look into what you can do before putting your name out there. And I will agree that $20/hr is low, depending on your field. Here the going rate is $20/half-our or $40 for the hour.

    Best wishes,

  51. We ate out for dinner the day BEFORE Valentine’s Day. Beat the rush. lol

    For Valentine’s Day, I made my Valentines chocolate covered strawberries. I got the chocolate melting wafers for $1.59 for a 12 0z pkg. It was enough for an entire Qt of berries. Michaels had a coupon for 20% off everything, including sale items 2/12 & 2/13. 🙂 So, instead of $20/lb, I paid under $4 for a pound. And they were very easy to make!

    I get lots of free magazines in the Mail, thanks to recycle bank and My Verizon rewards–ESPN the Magazine, Cosmo, Glamour, Allure, Good Housekeeping, Food Network, Martha Stewart living, Real Simple, Family Circle, Woman’s Day, Everyday with Rachel Ray, People, SI, Redbook, Weight Watchers, Popular Mechanics, White Tail, In Style, Harpars Bazaar, Elle, just to name a few. Yes, I have more than one email address I use on the one website…but as long as they still allow it, I’ll still get the free magazines.

  52. Will you need to plant another apple tree to fertilize the one you’re keeping? We have a few feral apples trees around here, and I ‘d been on the fence about chancing just one tree. Then my neighbor planted two trees which means I can definitely get by with just one! Indecision is sometimes the frugal choice, LOL. 😉

  53. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia :).

    Aww at Octavius taking his first steps 😉 .

    Our frugal accomplishments are –

    – Banked $342.48 into our savings for our home with cash fund and in total this month so far $1329.47 😉 .

    Garden –
    – Saved seeds from our crops of corn, dwarf butter and green bush bean strike and watermelon to plant for next season in the gardens.
    – Due to rain we had 3 days where we turned off the drip irrigation system saving 1175lts of town water use.
    – Picked silverbeet, spinach, carrots, large spring onion bulbs, watermelon and a pumpkin from the gardens.

    Home –
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.
    – Cut and froze 2.441kg of spring onion bulbs from the gardens for an advanced food stock of onions in the freezer.

    Fuel –
    – Topped up 1 jerry can of fuel at really cheap fuel prices when out of town saving .22c per litre with total savings of $5.02.

    Our joys and blessings –

    – We have had 2″ of rain in the last week and love hearing the rain drops falling on our cottage tin roof and seeing the rain water tanks fill to capacity.
    – Spent a romantic date night dinner with my husband at a church function with good company of 34 others, and a DJ with wonderful food provided by our ward and other food and salads cooked or made by the High Priests and Elders Quorum. We cooked 5.2kg of wine barrel smoked beef which was marinated overnight in a marinade of garlic and onions from our gardens, mustard, oil and brown sugar for 5 hours on our BBQ. The meat was provided by the ward and was delectably tender to eat, there was none left at the end of the night. DH made a food storage magic mix pudding for his bring a plate contribution.
    – Watching our 2 new baby magpies flitting and playing in and around the vegetable plants in the gardens. Mum and Dad magpie consider us part of their family too.

  54. Look into nut trees that are native to your area, and try to find them to buy from a local grower, as they should be better acclimated to your zone. Wild hazel, butternuts and beech (which produce nuts) all do well in my neighborhood. Black walnuts taste different from walnuts purchased in stores. Some people like them, but they are mostly grown for wood, not food. One almond takes a gallon of water to grow, so I that’s a variety I would avoid unless it is native to your area.

  55. Great idea for the buddy burners!

    I read recently that hanging one full load of laundry can increase the humidity level in the immediate area by 30 percent! I much prefer to hang my laundry than to pay for a humidifier. 🙂

  56. I have been on a vanilla chai kick also. The bigelow brand with a splash of half and half no sugar has been my afternoon treat since December….I even asked for boxes of the tea for Christmas. My mother is now addicted as well lol. I realize it’s black tea with spices but I can’t seem to replicate it. Between the chai and Russian tea I’m a pretty happy camper.

  57. You could also take a mix of different fabric strips (preferably the same material type and weight) and sew that together to give you a type of “crazy yarn”. It will produce an interesting stripe pattern and makes a great throw rug. Since you quilt, this might be a great way to use up bits of leftover material too! Stains or other flaws will not be visible, since the fabric strips will be squished up when you kit/crochet with it. You can choose how wide to cut/rip the strips, 1/2″ up to 2″ work well, but wider can be used if you want a really bulky yarn. There are tutorials on line that show you how to make rag rug yarn as there are several ways to attach the fabric strips together. I prefer sewing them at an angle, so that you don’t have big lumps. It’s easy to do, and can be sewn by hand very quickly with a simple running stitch (the seam only needs to hold the strips together until you make it into something). I suggest working on the yarn while watching T.V., listening to the radio or while sitting outside on a lovely day. You’ll have a nice sized rag ball in no time at all!

  58. Hello to Brandy and everyone from NW Louisiana. It’s so exciting that your baby Octavius started walking; it doesn’t seem that long ago you were telling us his name.

    My frugal accomplishments last week:

    – Free candy bar, energy bar and canned soup from Kroger
    – Found a 3.6-lb pork loin in markdown bin at Kroger for 1.07 per pound, total price was $3.86. Sliced half into pork chops, froze other half for a roast.
    – Half a dozen croissants marked down to $1.99 at Kroger, that was my splurge.
    – Bought a 3-lb bag of Fuji lunchbox apples for 1.99 at, you guessed it, Kroger!
    – Ate all meals from scratch at home.
    – Made double batch of lasagna, which I divided up into four smaller pans, ate one, froze 3, as a whole 13×9 dish is too much for us at one time.
    – Did the same with a single batch of tuna casserole.
    – At Walmart Neighborhood Market found loaf of Italian bread for 50 cents, two pounds of strip steaks for $10, well another splurge, and a marked down pot of red tulips for $1.98.
    – At Dollar General bought two bags of Valentine’s Day candy at 50% off, as well as some V-Day stickers half off for my granddaughter’s arts and crafts projects.

    Joy last week was, as always, watching her continue to grow into her own little person. And watching her pick daffodils and run in the 1/4-acre of them growing in my yard. Got some great pics of that.

    See y’all next week.

  59. Andrea,

    The apple I am keeping is self-fertile. It is a Dorsett Golden. It ripens here in June and is a good sauce apple, but not so great for fresh eating.

    Apple tree pollination is rather complicated. Some apples are self-fertile, but most are not. An apple cannot be pollinated by its parent tree. Jonagold, for example, is a cross between a Jonathan and a Golden Delicious, and neither of those trees will pollinate it. It cannot pollinate itself, as it is sterile. It can be pollinated by Granny Smith (which is self-fertile) and also by White Winter Pearmain, as well as a few others. You will need to find out which apples your neighbor has to see if they will pollinate the one you want to plant, or else you need to plant a self-fertile apple.

    Not all types flower at the same time, and therefore they cannot always pollinate another tree for that reason, either. I planned my espaliered apples to pollinate one another, but then they did not all flower (lack of chilling hours being one reason) and then of course if the one needed for pollination didn’t flower it couldn’t pollinate the other, so it just became a big problem with a bunch of trees that couldn’t help one another.

  60. Because we have so many “wild” apples around, plus pig apples, crab apples and antique apples on old farmsteads in our neighborhood, plus two commercial orchards within a mile of our house, we shouldn’t have a problem. I can see how you’d have to be very careful to get compatible trees of self pollinators since apples don’t normally grow in your climate.

    Unfortunately, my neighbor lost the tags from his trees. Planting two compatible trees in my yard would probably increase my yields, so there’s still that to consider. If we continue to be in drought as we are now, I probably won’t plant this year anyway, as outdoor watering is likely to be prohibited. It’s still fun to think about though in the dreary cold of winter!

  61. Thanks. I missed that post (yes I read them) and this would be great…if we had free wood. I do a lot of sq ft gardens as I had a person give us his vinyl fence that he replaced

  62. Andrea Q, my husband always gets at least one can of Diamond nuts in his Christmas stocking, & since the cans has a wide lip that doesn’t work well, I just toss the Diamond lid into the fruit box in the garage where I keep the buddy burners. Over the years, we have accumulated quite the collection of lids for no additional out of pocket.

  63. Hello everyone! I am so thankful for our lovely weather in Nebraska for the last 10 days! We have been able to turn off the furnace!!! The nice weather is coming to an end with 55 and rain on Thursday and 37 with snow on Friday. Brrr!!!
    We should come in under the $150 budget I set for this month and I can’t think of anything we will need in the next 7 days. Right now I am at $137.60.
    I was able to hit some great sales this week. Our Kroger affiliate had .49 pasta and I bought 12 packages of penne and shell macaroni. Asparagus was $1.48 and avacados were 3/.88. Another store had strawberries for $1.88 a pound and they were delicious! I am also splitting Zaycon chicken order with my daughter that comes Thursday for $1.69 per pound. I am looking forward to trying it.
    We ate all meals at home and used up or froze our leftovers. I did all my errands when I was already out taking the children to school or activities.
    We have started planning what to grow in our garden. May seems so far away!
    Brandy that is so exciting that Octavius is walking
    I hope all your garden work will pay off with great yields.i am thankful to be able to participate in this site. I learn so much about so many things.
    Thanks again for all you do!!

  64. Elizabeth, congratulations on your weight loss and healthy eating.

    I use one of those multi drawer-ed metal cabinets and keep it on a shelf in my sewing room. The drawers vary in size from top to bottom with one large one across the bottom. It holds all the bits and pieces, like sewing machine attachments, turners, rippers, threaders, papers of needles and hooks and eyes, different sizes and types of elastic etc. The drawers are plastic and I just label them as to contents. My husband bought it in the automotive section at the store years and years ago.

  65. I have a couple weeks worth of accomplishments to post since I’m so sporadic in actually posting.
    – my husband and I got away for a couple nights to celebrate our anniversary and as a babymoon (only six more weeks!). That part want so frugal, but my parents were able to watch our two older children for us.
    – when picking up my kids, my mom gave us a gallon bag full of cherry tomatoes, 2 cukes, a zucchini, and some mini Bell peppers that she had received from a friend that owns an organic grocery
    – my dad finally was able to cut up the tree trunks that I had saved when we cut down trees last year. He made a bunch of thin slices which I’ll use for ornaments and other crafts as well as chunks of varying sizes 2-6″ that my kids are using as building blocks. They live the blocks and have spend hours making different things.
    – we actually had a decent snowfall (a rarity in western Washington) so my husband works from home and we all took a snow day to enjoy it.
    – Wednesday is my shopping day so I’m trying to keep myself organized and do all of my other errands on that day as well.
    – I made a double batch of granola. We love it and have it at least once a week. While all the ingredients were out, I filled two gallon bags with the ingredients for two more double batches to keep in the freezer until needed. That will save me time and effort when the baby comes.
    – I started some seeds indoors. Leeks, broccoli, cherry tomato, eggplant, peas (snow and shelling), and lettuce along with sweet alyssum and marigolds. The marigold seeds are from my first attempt at saving seeds so we’ll see if it works.:)
    – I took my kids on two frugal ‘field trips’. One to a rock shop to look at all the different kinds of rocks and minerals and tools. The owner let each of them choose a polished rock for free. The other trip was to the park and ride in town. Just north of it is a large great blue heron rookery. There are probably 20 nests up in the trees as well as several herons guarding them. Fascinating to see.
    I love reading everyone’s comments. They are so inspiring. Thank you all!

  66. Gardenpat, that sounds like a good recipe. Do you usually use the minimum of the sugar listed? Or do you add more? This time of year are you just using a quart of your canned tomatoes, juice and all?

  67. My biggest joy this past week was getting some much needed rain! It gave the yard a good soaking. First time we’ve had any moisture in a month or more!

    Meals this past week were: Crockpot enchiladas, pasta and veggies, leftovers, taco salad, lasagna, and chicken and rice. For Valentine’s Day, I made heart shaped meatloaves and diced onion potatoes.
    Extra savings:
    *Used a $2 coupon from the pharmacy off groceries.
    *Used Walgreens points for $5 off purchase.
    *All meals at home.
    *Our warm weather has allowed us to keep the heater off. It’s been nice to open the windows for some fresh air.
    Plus our regulars like catching water, hanging clothes to dry, driving only when necessary, etc.

  68. We have snow pea and apple blossoms too. Yay! (And I think watching a baby grow and develop has to be one of life’s greatest joys. 🙂 )

    Frugal Efforts:

    * Made trail mix, cranberry-orange compote (used up the last of the frozen cranberries), bread, and most meals.

    * Continued w/ the pantry challenge. We must be doing well, because we’ve actually used up some of our staple items and had to restock them. (The freezers, while showing a bit of space, are still pretty packed, however.)

    * Ate all but two home-prepared meals. (I was lazy one day, and one day was my birthday.)

    * Accepted produce scraps (for feed) and shredded paper (for nesting) for our chickens.

    * Hubs and I celebrated Valentine’s Day w/ slices of cheesecake and coffee (and thanks to a gift card, it was free).

    * Continued to do the usual things (thermostat at 68F, sprinklers off, etc.).

    Joyful Activities:

    * Had a Valentine’s Day date w/ Hubs.

    * Put Valentine’s sprinkles and whipped cream on our oatmeal Valentine’s Day.

    * Celebrated my 52nd birthday.

    * Enjoyed receiving cards/notes/calls from my husband, son, and some dear friends.

    * Noticed that the first of our irises are beginning to bloom.

    * Opened up the doors and windows on warm, sunny days, and drank hot tea on chilly rainy days.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  69. Thanks, Athanasia.

    Your cabinet sounds like a great way to keep things organized. I like to think I’ll keep up with the mending with things in better order!

  70. I would have loved to have come on your field trips with you! They sound really interesting, especially the great blue heron rookery.

  71. I made oatmeal peanut butter choc. chips cookies as we were extremely low on snacks snacks. I froze 1 Ziploc bag for later use as the recipes made approx. 50 cookies (small sized)

  72. Greetings! I can’t believe the baby is starting to take steps! They grow so fast, don’t they?
    I’ve been on a road trip with my sister. Since i bought a pile of gift cards at 20% off, i didn’t spend a fortune on the road. I will be doing that again. Also, i didn’t buy any souvenirs, not even a postcard. (That’s a first!) I did hit up Aldi’s, Trader Joe’s and another grocery store, to pick up bargains we can’t get here. (I do so love Aldi’s!) One son has three Aldi’s within 20 minutes. He’s also close to a store that will sell short dated foods for cheap. He bought me 10 packages of beef lunchmeat for 1.00 each. (7 oz.) And, he got me at least a dozen boxes of fiber bars for 50 cents-1.00! I got a few things to re-sell on ebay. (We hit up every thrift from Ind. to Fl.) When i got home, my husband told me he’d reset the thermostat to be lower in the morning when we were gone so we wouldn’t have to always remember to turn it down. Now, we can turn it up if we get cold. Works for me!
    It’s not much, but i actually came home with money. I was so happy! I gave everything some thought before i bought. I’m ready to hit the road again!

  73. work. I decided that I need to take advantage of the unusually warm and sunny days we are having right now and get started before the cold returns. This decision is saving me quite a bit of money, providing great exercise and glorious sunshine. My joy was seeing my oldest nephew doing so well. When he was almost 16 he lost his Mother and it took its toll on him for several years. Losing a parent is hard, but worse when you are young, and beyond heartbreak when you are exceptionally close to that parent as was my nephew. He has turned the corner. He is back in school, working at a job that he loves, and is a homeowner…which gives him great satisfaction. Family came in for the weekend and my nephew Robert stayed with me, (we too have always had a strong relationship) and just hung around my house visiting, helping with my projects and cooking meals together, between family outings. Seeing him happy and maturing brings me such happiness!

  74. Lorna, I keep seeing you adding money each time to your savings and this months number over $1000! Congratulations! I know from your comments that you are working hard to make this happen. A huge accomplishment to keep focused on what matters the most. Also, two weeks ago you wished me well on my first homemade chocolate cake, it turned out perfectly ;). Thank you for your kind thoughts.

  75. All your gardening accomplishments are so inspiring, Brandy!

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    – Made iced tea from loose tea gifted to me
    – Had my parents over for dinner, and served them Brandy’s Swiss Chard soup with preserved lemon added (the DH and I LOVE this soup), topped with shaved parmesan, and with a salad which was topped with some of my home-canned peaches and homemade vinaigrette dressing. I pulled a box of crackers from my pantry and served that too, and set aside the rest of the crackers for lunches this week, and the remainder of the swiss chard soup for dinner for the DH this week. I also served some chocolate and vanilla layered puddings that I had made the previous day. Both my parents really enjoyed the soup, and it was a healthy, frugal dinner and really easy to pull together.
    – Made Short-Cut Cinnamon Buns ( to celebrate Valentine’s Day. I made one in the shape of a heart for the DH. A frugal gift and a tasty one!  The ingredients are all pantry ingredients and the butter I buy when it’s a loss leader and freeze it. The ones that we didn’t eat right away, I stuck in the freezer for snacks for the next few weeks.
    – When my parents came to dinner, we also carpooled to get some errands done, and the DH and I were able to pick up a metal rack from Ikea for my balcony garden, saving delivery fees. I redeemed a $20 off coupon (Ikea Canada sells real Christmas trees for $20 and then gives you a $20 off X dollars coupon to be redeemed before the end of February. Living in the city, Christmas trees are extremely expensive, and since I knew that the DH and I would be buying something from Ikea in the new year, it made sense to buy a tree in December and get a $20 off coupon). With the coupon, the rack ended up being only $20!
    – I borrowed the current issue of Martha Stewart magazine from the library. The public library is such a great resource!
    – Made apple cinnamon pancakes for Sunday brunch, to use up a couple of apples that were on the cusp of getting wizened. I didn’t peel the apple before I grated it, to make sure I added the nutrients and fibre of the skins to the pancakes as well.
    – Cleaned my kitchen backsplashes with a combination of homemade citrus vinegar and pure lemon juice. Gets rid of any greasy residue for pennies, and now my kitchen shines!
    – Dehydrated pineapple, bananas, and nectarines as snacks for an upcoming trip
    – Made some wall art for the DH as a Valentine’s gift. I used, and made a word cloud print of meaningful words in a heart shape, printed it in colours to match our decor, and at a later date (when I find a good sale on frames!) it will be framed and placed on our bedroom wall. You can choose different shapes and colours, and enter whatever text you want, so it’s very customizable. Cost? The price of printing, so pennies!
    – Packaged some heart-shaped candy (bought on sale last year) in a Valentine’s themed baggy (re-used) and tied it with some leftover Christmas ribbon as another little gift for the DH.
    – Got a small Lindt dark chocolate bar from a client at work. I’ve set it aside to use it in my baking in the future. I’m thinking shortbread with dark chocolate chunks!
    – Received a free hardcover cookbook in the mail! (I got it free in exchange for agreeing to review it on my blog.)
    – Baked some 4-ingredient energy bites for an upcoming trip, to pack for snacks on the road. Super-easy to throw together, and I used 1 fresh banana (trying to use up produce before we leave for a few days) and 1 banana from the freezer. The other three ingredients were pantry ingredients. SUPER-cheap, healthy, and tasty! I plan to also eat some as a breakfast on the road, and they’re healthy enough that I can do that. 
    – Dehydrated a head of cauliflower. It was on sale, and this is a great way to preserve it without using up valuable freezer space. Also, great for camping trips!

    As always, I really enjoy learning from everyone else!

  76. Hi Erika,
    We are pondering the same thing with our almost 16-year-old dog. It’s a hard decision but for us it comes down to the quality of life for him. We have held on this long for our daughters who are all grown and out of the house with their own pets but they grew up with our dog and it is hard on them. So I know what you are going through 🙂

  77. Just an FYI, when you purchase a fruit tree from Stark Bros, they send you a care booklet that includes a pollination chart. Apples produce either A, B, or C pollen. Self fertile apples produce the type of pollen the tree needs, but most trees produce either A and need B, or vice verse. Winesaps produce C, which is basically useless, since it is not self fertile & no other strain utilizes the C pollen. Crabapples are also useful to other apples as a pollinator. I have a Golden Delicious tree, which is self fertile, but when I planted the crabapple, the yield was higher on the Golden Delicious. I also have 2 columnar trees & 2 other dwarf trees, none of which had borne much, until my crabapple began to bloon, then the fruit yield improved dramatically.

    If you make sure you have both an A and a B pollinator within 1/4 mile, your trees should be fine.

  78. What a great idea. I am going to try this some time. I also have a friend who makes baskets from fabric strips folded around cord and sewn. She has made some beautiful baskets and I would like to try that.

  79. Lorna, like Hilogene, I want to add my congratulations on your continued, impressive savings. I’m always eager to read your accomplishments and am cheering for you and your husband in your quest for your house! All the best!

  80. Hilogene thank you for your encouragement it means a lot to me and we have added more to savings this week as well 😉 . You are right we are determined to get there and working hard to do that.

    We are amazingly still finding ways to save money on our household expenditure each week with our recent focus on buying cheaper brands of some groceries we can only get in the supermarkets. Like our wonderful Brandy, where there is a will there is a way if you look hard enough.

    I knew your chocolate cake would turn out well too, by the way so you know chocolate cakes are one of the hardest to make and not be dry, so to have success your first time is brilliant and most welcome 🙂 .

  81. Thank you Lynn for your encouragement too, the more cheerleaders we have such as yourself the harder we will try to get there sooner 🙂 .

    It is funny when we all focus on something and are determined to get there how we are blessed in numerous ways along the way, through other people , from God and in many other ways we never thought possible.

    We consider ourselves blessed each and every day and we know it is not just us but others helping us along the way.

  82. I thought Octavius was four months old….I missed a year…oops…lol. Congrats…time has flown!. I missed the 29 cent sale for a lb of chicken, but did get it for 49 cents a lb for leg quarters. I got 8 oz of cheddar cheese for $1.72, . I have not seen a lot of great sales but that is ok. I took a free pumpkin and made soup out of it, and froze it in lunch size portions. I also cooked the pumpkin seeds.It is 80 degrees here, and my allergies are acting up,. We have had a lot of rain, which is good. I have not done anything special, as far as saving spectacularly on money..,just plodding along, walking for free exercise, eating all meals at home or taking my lunch to work, and not buying anything other than replacement food, using the pantry method. I did make some really good homemade chicken salad with the chicken.

  83. * The doctor is worried that the baby isn’t gaining weight fast enough (she just turned six months old), so today I prepared several 4oz jars of homemade baby food: pears, carrots, peas, avocado. In coming days I’m also hoping to prepare portions of pumpkin, “lentil mush” and “green soup.” These will be a nice addition to her diet and should help plump her up.

    * Still cloth-diapering the baby and we’ve even had a couple of successes with elimination communication!

    * Started bay laurel, incense bush and Blenheim apricot cuttings.

    * Harvested lemons, broccoli and eggs from the garden.

  84. Margaret, what a nice idea of the printed heart art that you made for your husband. I am sure it will be cherished.

  85. Oh I am so jealous of your garden and garden plans! We are still under 3′ of snow. I DID start some veggie seeds in my “basement garden”. It’s early and I’m going to be frustrated in a couple of months when I’m fighting leggy, root bound tomatoes and peppers. But seeing the little seedlings poke their heads out of the moist soil is soothing to my soul.

  86. He is walking early!!! Fantastic!! I am also glad I was not “off” by a whole year. I am getting old….lol.

  87. I’m back home after spending most of two weeks away. I had little time for blogging last week but kept up with the frugal things I did while away from home. My newest grandson decided to put in an appearance 1 month early, the day before Valentines and needed to go to another city to NICU. I stayed with my 2 yr old grandson while Mama and Daddy stayed away from home. All is well. Baby is doing good and got to come home this week. He’s eating well and doing all the things he needs to do but they are being cautious because 7 pounds or not he’s still a preemie! He wasn’t meant to arrive until mid March!

  88. My sister had that problem with one of her grands. The doctors told her to dissolve powdered milk in whole milk and use it for her cereal or also to make pudding (American pudding) with it as well as giving it to the child for drinking. She kept the baby for a week and he gained 4 pounds! The mother wasn’t the smartest person in the world. I think she “forgets” to eat and wouldn’t be surprised if she “forgot” to feed the child now and then. He had done fine ever since.

  89. Oh Brandy I just love those pea blossoms. Here in Ferndale, WA we can’t plant peas yet. Awhile back you recommended Little Snow White/Purple pea from Territorial and we had SO much success with it last year, thank you.

    We get together as women on our country road and collectively order our garden seeds and plan our gardens together. This way we save on shipping costs, but can also divide seed packets amongst our little farm gardens and can share success stories so we don’t end up with duds. We’ve been meeting together for over ten years and it keeps my cost of seeds below $100 for my 5,000 Sq ft garden for our family of 6.

    Other frugal ways included accepting numerous meals from our church and my sister while our littlest son had pneumonia. He has Down syndrome so it’s a bit tricky but we managed to keep him home after seeing the dr a few times. No hospital stay which makes him happy!

  90. TerriC, I’m so glad to hear the baby is doing well! You are right, most people hear 7 lbs and do not think preemie, but his lungs, liver & kidneys all need the extra time to get into sinc. Congrats on this newest grandson!!

  91. It is wonderful that you have had help with meals while you have been caring for your little one. I hope he continues to improve.

    I love the seed sharing with your neighbours. I am sure you get lots of good ideas from each other. It always seems like such a waste that so many seeds come in the packages — at least, where we have short growing seasons and can’t plant multiple crops in a year.

  92. I was interested to hear about your mTurk experience. A friend had suggested it to me, but I’d never heard mention of it anywhere else. $2 for 20 minutes is certainly more than I get on Swagbucks, so I may just check it out.

  93. We,,’re still working at a pantry challenge..keeping my grocery bill at about half my budget this month so I am happy about that. My daughter sent me an article on black bean juice for treating gout. I made up a batch and hubby has been drinking it. He says it is helping. Meanwhile I have black beans to use. I made up a batch for your black bean burgers. I had forgotten how good they are. I had made a batch of French onion soup early last week. There was still a little left so I used it to replace the liquid in a batch of bread and made hamburger buns. The burgers on those buns were phenomal ! Today I had a burger pattie with grilled onions and BBQ sauce….served with a green salad it was a remarkably good inexpensive meatless meal. Thank you for keeping all of us inspired!

  94. Sandi, I too am thankful to hear of your son’s improvement and that he was able to remain home for his care.

    5000 sq feet is a wonderful size garden! You must be able to grow much of what your family uses. Your ladies gardening co-op sounds wonderful and so does the support from your church and family. You are blessed.

  95. Made a batch of chocolate-turnip muffins from our surplus
    Reused teabags 3x so saved a lot on tea this week – hubby didnt notice!
    Went out for lunch with friends and “Forgot” to bring my purse.
    Had free “spa night” by using remains of high end products found in neighbours trash.
    Hubby and I had date night home lit a candle to save on electricity.

  96. HI Brandy,
    I have had lemon verbena plants for at least 10 years. I have to bring it in and winter it over inside. They are very hard to find here. I had one plant for 5 years. It is one of my favorite herbs. I worked in a plant nursery and found it there. It makes the best tea. I run my hands on it everytime I am by them. My 3 yr. old granddaughter loves it too.

  97. Black walnut trees aren’t compatable with a lot of plants. It would be wise to research what you want to plant.

  98. I am hoping mine will overwinter here. I’m not sure if I will need to cover it or not; I have read that it should be trimmed back. I have to cover tarragon every year; it always dies back but if kept cloched all winter it will grow back in spring (otherwise it will die at the first sign of frost). That plant stays small. But I understand that lemon verbena can get 5 feet tall! Hopefully I have chosen a good location for mine. Right now it is just a tiny plant.

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