Flowering Cabbage The Prudent Homemaker

In the garden this week, I planted seeds for lettuce, turnips, and flowers.

I harvested Swiss chard, beet greens, oregano, rosemary, and parsley from the garden.

We received some rain this week. In the past month, we’ve had some rain almost every week, and it’s been enough each time to actually water the garden, so I’ve been able to keep from watering the grass  except for once (this time of year we’re allowed one assigned day per week) and have only turned on the drip a couple of times by hand to keep my seeds wet enough to (hopefully!) germinate. I’m happy to see that water levels for Lake Mead (where we get our water) are higher than last year at this time from the rain, and I’m hoping with the rain predicted to come tomorrow that we’ll see it grow even more. I’m grateful each time I don’t need to water and also grateful that the rain is helping the lake rise.

I put out buckets to collect rainwater from the roof. I’ll use these to water potted plants.

I gave my husband, one son, and one daughter each a haircut.

I enjoyed a video call to friends in France this week. It still amazes me that we can call without a per minute charge like what would happen on the telephone and that we can see each other, too! 

Completely by accident while looking up some information about something we had discussed, I found two new-to-me French learning sites. I spent a lot of time on them and especially enjoyed learning some new sayings (here and here).

I also learned several new French words, simply by looking up several in the dictionary to help our Facebook messenger conversations that we had both prior to and after our video call.

I made a double batch of laundry soap.

I redeemed Swagbucks for a $25 gift card to Amazon.

I continued to cook from the freezers and pantry.


What did you do to save money and find joy this week?




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  1. So wonderful that you are getting rain. Moisture is definitely a blessing. We have had a lot of snow this week, which will help our reservoirs — and it means I don’t have to water the trees.
    This week I sold some yarn I had listed on eBay. I baked bread and muffins, cooked all meals at home, and hung laundry to dry.
    I pruned my fruit trees and raspberry canes. After watching all those gardening videos from our state’s extension service, I’m hoping to increase my yields this year.
    We were almost out of Musher’s Wax (salve we put on the dogs’ paws before we walk them in snow and ice. It protects their paws and keeps ice balls from forming between their toes.) I was going to put it on my shopping list, then noticed the price I paid for a jar was $26. I went online and found a recipe to make it with ingredients I had on hand (beeswax, olive oil and coconut oil). I put lavender oil in it and not only does it work great, it smells wonderful.
    I visited the local humane society thrift store and picked up a pillow to use to stuff one of the pillow covers I made my MIL for mother’s day, a ball of cotton yarn to knit dishcloths, and some decorative heart ornaments — $3. I put the ornaments on the wreaths on my front doors and at the entrance to the drive. I left the red ribbon from Christmas and wired on the hearts for Valentine’s Day.
    I filled out a survey for a free subscription to Real Simple magazine.
    Our dishwasher has not been working well, so my husband took it apart and cleaned it. He thinks that will help a lot.

  2. A very frugal week, because there was just no money to spend.

    I had some good meals, though, from the pantry and freezer. I changed the way I make salmon fish cakes. I used panko breadcrumbs inside instead of flour and baking soda, and coated each fishcake with the crumbs as well. I also didn’t peel the red-skinned potatoes before cooking and mashing them into the cakes. I got an extra serving from a small can of salmon, the potato skins mashed in really well and a nice crispy coating. I also made salads for lunch, using shredded pork and kale, both cut into small pieces, with a ginger sesame dressing (store-bought). I enjoyed them, though the pork was heavier than I would normally use in a cold salad. The salads were more sustaining that the romaine or spring mix greens I usually use with cold chicken.

    This morning I made a small batch of hot chocolate mix, using cocoa, icing sugar and dried milk, to have until I can buy coffee. A little too sweet for everyday use, but a really great hot drink for every now and then.

    I am reorganizing my files. It is going to take some time. Also cleaned under the cushions of the sofa. Found some missing forks, pens, a dish cloth, notebooks and a container of deoderant (in the nick of time). No coins, though. (Too bad.) Looks like I need to put this in my regular cleaning routine.

  3. Thank the good Lord for rain! After a 5-year drought, we’re getting some much-needed precipitation too. 🙂

    Frugal Efforts:

    * Continued w/ the pantry challenge. The fridge looks pretty good, and a few of the pantry items are [u]starting[/u] to go down, but the freezers are still very full. It can take so long to get through things with only three people. I guess that’s a good thing, though.

    * Ate home-prepared meals all but two times (and one of those times was an Eagle Court of Honor which was provided by the family of the scout).

    * Hubs made more mulch for the garden.

    * Harvested lemons, green onions, and Swiss chard from the garden.

    * Made all of our bread (yay for bread machines!), cranberry-pomegranate compote (2X), yogurt, and trail mix.

    * Made a big pot of veggie soup w/ ingredients from the pantry, freezer, and garden.

    Joyful Activities:

    * Listened to lovely music on the CD player.

    * Read books from the library.

    * Went on long walks w/ Hubs and our dog.

    * Enjoyed interesting conversations w/ my 12yo son.

    Have a great week everyone!

  4. I accomplished nothing except for just surviving. My boys moved out this week, and my nest is now empty. My solution was to fall apart.
    Empty Nest. http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2017/01/empty-nest.html

    I cried so much and was so depressed, even my dog avoided me.
    Can You Find Scooter? http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2017/01/can-you-find-scooter.html

    So I turned my blog over to Scooter and he wrote a post for me. He is so sweet.
    The World According to Scooter http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2017/01/the-world-according-to-scooter.
    My Mom said he writes better than I do! She only said that because Scooter praised her in the post because she wears the best smelling perfume, fried country ham. Oh well. This week is over and the next will be better.

  5. I remember when picture phones were in the realm of sci-fi so to be able to see and talk to your friends without additional cost is marvelous.

    We had an almost no-spend week, with only a delivered pizza (the day after very icy roads) and an online order for an organizer and book covers at half-off being the exception. Yesterday at dusk was so balmy for a Michigan January that my mom opened up the patio door and, leaving it wide open, stepped onto the deck to enjoy the foggy atmosphere for several minutes. She stepped back inside saying, “I’d better shut the door to keep animals outside.” Too late. A few minutes later, I heard something in the kitchen. Mom went to investigate and started screaming about a bird. I got off the sofa to investigate and there was something darting all around, too fast for me to really see. We shut the kitchen doors leading to most of the first floor. I then opened a window and got out of there. Once outside, I turned off the kitchen light and turned on the deck light. We were still hoping it was a bird. When all had been quiet for several minutes, I put on my bat suit (a tightly hooded jacket) and started looking in nooks and crannies. Behind the cases of water, I saw what I thought was a mouse. I used an empty coffee can to scoop it up and its wings unfolded. No mouse. The lid went on and the can went outside. Unfortunately, while the bat was in the kitchen, a couple of cupboard doors were left open. So I now have some spring cleaning to do in January. I had been thinking I needed more excitement in my life. Be careful of what you wish for! We are making sure our bedroom doors are kept closed now. It is wise to do in case a fire breaks out. It is even more wise when you recently had a winged visitor.

    What brought me joy? A childhood friend has a new, healthy grandbaby and a great-great nephew of mine took his first steps (and has already shown an interest in tools).

    What thrifty thing did I do that I am happiest with myself for? I did not order any of the incredibly tempting Great Courses DVDs at great introductory prices or their online service for just $20 a month. Instead, I went through the free selections available with Roku and added a few channels, thought about the resources available on YouTube and other sites available on my tablet (Thank you for the suggestions for French), and decided I have plenty of informative videos available to watch for free. Then, my oldest sister (fellow bookworm) called me to tell me that through her library in another state, she has access to hundreds of the Great Courses DVDs. She suggested that I check with my local library to see what they have or can get for me. Most excellent idea.

    I hope you all have a wonderful week.

  6. I continued to cook from home for the most part, to keep using up what’s in the freezers and pantry. We were able to bring the last of the items in from the big freezer so I can unplug and defrost it. I’m excited to do this two months before we move – here’s hoping it will affect our utility bill substantially!

    I actually remembered to keep track of what I was doing that saved us money throughout the week. I needed the encouragement, because sometimes it feels like I didn’t do “anything” frugal. Turns out I did. 😀


  7. Great that you’re getting rain. I was gifted a rain barrel years ago. With our rain fall, it fills all on its own. No need to attach it to the downspout. It really helps when we go to water restrictions each summer.
    I made all meals at home.

    Went to the thrift store last week for the senior’s day (30% off) and found a few things. I do limit myself to a budget there.

    Went to the garden store. In preparation, I had gone through the seed catalog and started a plan for this year’s garden. This week: the store had their member’s day (15% off); January is a month to redeem points ($3); and, I had a gift card from Christmas. Spent $0.25 OOP for some seeds and ‘starter soil’ for the seeds. I went with a list of the seeds I wanted and used that as a guide for my purchase.

  8. Hello y’all! THe most rewarding and joyous thing from this past week was an assignment that was a happy accident. I asked my students to send me a Bible verse or quote that speaks to them as members of their generation. The response was overwhelming- so encouraging and uplifting. I compiled them all into one doc and sent it out to the class. I also shared it with our closest friends, as we were feeling a bit discouraged after a divisive week in our nation. As for frugality- here’s my list. Thank you for the opportunity and encouragement to track our blessings:
    – Started back to work- brought all meals, snacks, enjoyed free beverages
    – Gave soup as gifts
    – Hung laundry, washed out Ziploc bags, hand washed dishes
    – Did my own nails
    – Gave husband a haircut
    – Recycled for a hobby- I’ve missed doing this on a routine basis
    – Ate two meatless meals. Each were a huge hit!
    – Repurposed all leftovers
    – Arranged a barter for a baby gift
    – Delivered a handmade baby gift to one of my husband’s employees
    – Added all change to change jar
    – Had a friend over for lunch instead of dining out
    – Used the Ibotta app for rebates on groceries
    – Made cookies and protein balls for snacks- kids initiated this and had a good time!
    – My husband used Turbo Tax to complete our tax return for free
    – Sold back textbooks
    – Pocketed cash from unused items that I returned
    – Asked for a refund on overdraft charges- request granted! Phew!
    – Our family was hosted by friends for Sunday lunch
    – Initiated a potluck to watch the Cowboys game with family- so delicious!
    – Hosted an after school play date
    – Our daughter attended an out of town birthday party to go ice skating. I made up adorable birthday gifts with vintage aprons and baking mixes for the two birthday girls. Total out of pocket was $3- they were a big hit!
    – Stayed home instead of going out- this helps me SO much with temptation to purchase “on sale” things that we don’t need
    – Made stock from a turkey carcass and veggie scraps
    – Made a table with my dad from wood scraps atop a base that I had thrifted. It was so fun!
    – Rearranged furniture and décor in one of our rooms- we’ve used that room more this week than in the three years we’ve owned the house!
    – Cancelled a blog that I “meant” to update. The last update was over a year ago- it was time to let it go. I avoided a $100 fee
    – Attended a local walk to commemorate the life of MLK and attended an MLK dinner- both free and we had free babysitting
    – Probably the most exciting: I’ve asked for a promotion/raise. We’re praying that this is the right time for me to begin teaching full time and to earn the salary that accompanies it!

  9. I received a $100 gift card from Albertson’s for completing a customer survey online. (They always say that they draw a winner and this time it was me.)

    I ate a lot of frozen entrees from the freezer I had made several weeks ago such as baked potato soup, turkey and rice soup, hambone soup and whole wheat pasta with ground turkey and Bolognese sauce. It was good to have because I have been nursing a minor case of the flu. I helped sew baby blankets at church and had a chili lunch provided.

    We paid extra on our mortgage so that we can pay it off soon (September?), rather than taking the full term, which would be more than 6 years longer.

  10. Me and my sister where both talking about this last week. We can talk and see each other from so far away. Makes it seem like she is next door. Love it.

    We went to the museum for free on Monday in celebration of Martin Luther King. We also took a picnic so the only thing we used was gas.
    Here are the rest of my frugal ways this week:

  11. That’s a rather interesting flower you have photographed, Brandy. It’s funny you should mention getting rain. We’ve been watching the weather for the areas in California that we will be visiting. The area has been in a drought for years and now that we are going to visit for the first time ever, they are expecting flooding! Oh well, at least it’s not snow.:p

    Our frugal accomplishments this week were:
    *With this week being a bit chaotic (I had a few of appointment/meetings scheduled plus preparing for our vacation next week), I decided to crack open a jar of homemade strawberry applesauce to use as my daughter’s lunch treat this week in lieu of baking something. A pint jar dished out perfectly between 5 reusable snack containers, too!
    *Of course, we had another 2 snow days here due to freezing rain. The first day was so bad, I didn’t want to even attempt to go out to the garage to fetch some items from the freezer…not after my fall the previous week. My mother braved it to put down sand on the pathway and driveway for my husband, who again went to work. The next day the buses were cancelled again. We needed milk and, more importantly, sand for the driveway. My daughter despirately needed to get some school work done before we leave on vacation, too. So we arranged to drop her off at the school (we waited until late morning so the roads were sanded and much more passable) and went on our supply run in the mean time.
    *Though Canadians are usually good at dealing with bad weather, our recent ice storm made life pretty interesting. The roads were so bad a plow/salt truck slid off the road in Toronto, as did the industrial sized tow truck that came to rescue it! Thought I’d share the video, which is scary but also humourous all at the same time: http://globalnews.ca/video/3185848/freezing-rain-sends-salter-trucks-sliding-into-guard-rail
    *Meals made at home this week included homemade cream of broccoli, cauliflower and cheese soup with garlic cheese biscuits, hamburger helper with corn, breaded stuffed chicken breasts with carrots and pasta & sauce side dish, grilled cheese and bacon sandwiches with pickles and ice cream cake, and chicken ranch tacos (for my husband and daughter) plus salad with boiled eggs (for my mom & I as we weren’t very hungry).
    *Dairy Queen had their customer appreciation day on Saturday, with 50% off ice cream cakes. Since we will be in California for his birthday, and he LOVES ice cream, we decided to buy one to celebrate early with my mother (who’s decided not to go with us). He was a very happy man… as was my daughter and mom who also LOVE ice cream! (Just an observation…I saw numerous people buying several cakes and having staff write birthday wishes to individuals on them. I think they were buying them ahead to keep in the freezer until the birthday. I never thought of doing that…brilliant idea!)
    *I did not buy very many groceries (just a few necessary essentials) which saved us money. I have ensured there will be enough food & general supplies for my mother while we are gone. The pantry & freezers are well stocked with lots of options, so she shouldn’t need much. However, if something is required, she will buy it as needed.
    *My mother and I attended a volunteer appreciation luncheon held by my work (I also volunteer as well) on Sunday afternoon. It was held at a very nice resort in our area and included a delicious free meal. My mother even won a prize (after claiming she never wins anything) and chose a beautiful hand knit shawl.

    Today, my husband and I did some last minute errands, in preparation for our vacation. We leave for Toronto tomorrow and fly out Wednesday for Los Angeles. So, so excited!!! We just hope that our flight is not delayed going there…though we’d happily take a delay coming back.;) Wishing everyone a wonderful week.

  12. * I am finally on the mend from a bad upper respiratory infection and have a bit of energy again.
    * We have not gone out to eat in 2 weeks now – partly because it is difficult for me to find food I can eat on menus but mostly because there is NO extra cash available – zip. zilch and nada! Especially since I will have 2 fifty dollar co-pays I will have to come up with for next weeks doctor appointments. This new way of eating has me losing weight at a too fast of rate – nearly 15 pounds since the beginning of the year! Good thing I kept me “skinnier” clothes as a just in case – I shouldn’t need to buy any jeans at least unless I go down more than 2 sizes.
    * I mended a couple pairs of socks and made myself another head scarf for work.
    * Brought home all of the left over Sunday papers from work (2 paper bags full!) which included all of the coupons as well.
    * Brought home bacon and jerky from work that didn’t stay sealed in their vac. sealed bags (seems silly to me – just put it in a new bag rather than throw it or give it away!)
    * Was given a very large steak by my inlaws which we cut up and used in a Asian dish over rice. Unfortunately, our rice cooker decided to burn out so I need to look for a new to us one at the thrift stores. I still haven’t mastered making rice on the stove top unless it’s instant!
    * Made more of my gluten free bread + some gluten free banana muffins. I froze them individually so I can pull out one at a time. I also made a turkey breakfast sausage – it’s okay but it needs a little tweaking – we are too used to the commercial brand taste and it’a hard to mimic w/o the additives.
    * Borrowed 2 books from my daughter to read for inspiration – I needed something uplifting.
    * Picked up the 2 recliners my inlaws gave us – now I am trying to give away the couch the cats decided to use as a scratching post (along with the leftover fabric to fix said scratches) – so far no takers.
    * Brought home more food from work for my hens – they are really liking the treats AND the unseasonably warm weather we have been having.
    * Pulled the last of the carrots in the garden and getting really anxious for Spring! I can’t wait to get to work on our land and in my garden. Especially since a co-worker suggested that I could at least start fruit trees on the property as long as I keep them protected from critters 🙂 Sometimes, you just need someone else’s brain to pick!
    As for Joy: Not worrying about hubby every day – yes, it is still in the back of my mind that the cancer could return at any time, but for now it is GONE and we can scheme and plan for the future a bit better. And my pups and my cats – they make me exasperated and make me laugh every day 🙂 And garden planning always brings me joy – I can’t wait to see if my transplanted baby grape vines survived the winter!

  13. For me, this week is going back into the land of the living! My husband and I both ended up with pneumonia about 10-12 days ago. I was only 3 days out of a head cold and I started coughing. The next day I was shivering uncontrollably. That day, my husband started coughing. And so, on Monday of last week, we trooped off to the doctor. Temps at almost 103. We both got breathing treatments & a pile of meds and sent home. We spent a week in bed, him missing work all week. I had the flu back in 1990 and this was worse. I didn’t think that possible. No idea where it came from, but left us both wiped out. He went back to work today and I’m still puttering around. I have asthma so the cough just goes on and on.

    Our budget went out the door and straight to the doc and pharmacy….and I’m sure we’re going to be getting more lab and office fees for the treatments. Ick.

    My goal for the week is some semblance of normalcy.

  14. Hi All,
    Brandy’s frugal lifestyle is really starting to make me re-think every single purchase I make. I have been wearing a black wool coat this winter and one of the buttons was ready to fall off. The buttons looked cheap even though the coat was expensive when purchased many years ago. I was going to buy 3 new buttons to update the coat but found buttons the size I needed are quite expensive. Then I thought I would check the thrift store thinking it might be cheaper to purchase a coat just for the buttons….so glad I went to the thrift store. I found a brand new, high-end black coat for $6.99! I was so very happy with my find which was cheaper than new buttons would have been. The new coat is even a better fit for me than the old one was.

    In the past, I never would have considered replacing the buttons, I would have purchased a brand new coat at a retail store. It probably would have been on sale but I can guarantee it would have been far more than $6.99.

    Thank you to Brandy and this entire blog community for helping me re-think my lifestyle. I am thrilled with my new coat and more thrilled that it allows me to stretch my clothing budget. This weekend was a great weekend for improving my wardrobe. I went to a Marshall’s store and they were having a great sale. I got two brand-new, high-end pair of jeans that fit me well for a total of $15. I can now get rid of a couple pair of jeans that were ill-fitting. I am so excited to have some new, great-fitting wardrobe additions.

  15. Does the homemade laundry detergent work as well as commercial products on really dirty items like mud, grass stains, that kind of stuff?

    I am staying frugal by shopping the sales and using coupons. Last week, I found lots of clearance items at Target like $5.68 tablecloths, free emergen-c packets, and $0.73 bags of Twix candy. At Rite Aid, I found $0.19 candy bars. All of my deals with pics can be found here: http://thejewishlady.com/super-savings-saturday-12117/

    Also, if any ladies need makeup, there are high value Almay and Revlon printable coupons. I got free Almay eye shadow at Rite Aid and free mascara at CVS with mine this morning.

  16. That sounds awful! There have been very strong flu strains going around the country this winter. I’m in the Boston area and most everyone I know has been sick at least once so far and many more than that, with flu and colds. Hope you guys feel better soon.

  17. A few years ago, a friend of mine at work went a whole month without her bottom dentures because she couldn’t find them and they ended up being in her couch cushions! You never know what might end up in there!

  18. That kale picture is simply striking! Helps on a cold, windy rainy day.
    I have a sturdy recipe box (cardboard/bottom half only) that I have visions of recovering in twine. Instead, I re-covered it in paper scraps (mostly origami) from my stash. Certainly looks a lot better and made my empty wallet not seem so depressing.

    I purchased a head of cabbage for salad greens – diced with some chopped apples, shredded carrots and a pinch of nuts – makes for a filling salad.

    I have been racking my brain on where to cut back more. I found a penny savings challenge on Pinterest. For each day of the year you put that amount of pennies (or change) into a bank, jar, whatever you wish. At the end of the year – over $600. Kinda makes finding a penny on a walk more fun.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  19. My frugalities:
    This past week I made some soaked-grain whole wheat bread, which I love, and it’s so much cheaper than organic store-bought. I used my second hand grain mill and ground organic wheat berries from the co-op, which I bought at their big bulk-bin sale.
    I used a pork roast to make a huge pot of “Brunswick stew”, which wouldn’t satisfy purists, but my family loves it, and it really stretches the pork. I had plenty leftover for the freezer, for future meals.
    I found a good, solid wood sewing table at the Humane Society thrift store — finally!
    I got my $200 bonus for opening an online checking account with a bank where I already had a savings account. It’s an interest bearing account with no minimums, even.
    I used Swagbucks to get a $15 Amazon gift card. I have an eye on a gift for next Christmas which that gift card will cover.
    I’m working to convince my worms to move up to the next bucket in my worm farm. Some got the message and moved, but some are happy where they are. I may have to re-locate them manually so I can get to the castings for my veggie plants.
    What brought me joy:
    We escaped harm and damage from the terrible storm that swept the Southeast, killing several people just 2-4 hours from us. We are so thankful for our escape, and so sad for others who did not.
    I have started going over our church catechism with my oldest granddaughter. She is the sweetest child, and willingly spent an afternoon with her grandmother, exploring and discussing beliefs.
    Watching the Patriots win and rooting on our hometown player in the game!

  20. Made all our meals from the food we already had at home this week! This included taking dinner over to our daughter’s in-laws who are still recuperating from knee replacement surgery and pneumonia! It’s amazing to me the variety of meals I can make with what we have stored!
    I helped another daughter make 4 dozen breakfast burritos and 3 dozen ham and turkey lunch wraps! Nice to see her preparing for busy days!
    We were able to bring home 3 van loads of free pallets to use on our confirmed upcoming orders that will bring in another $450! There will still be more leftover to start making more planter boxes and benches for Spring season sales!
    By planning our errands, we are only needing to put gas in our car once every two weeks!
    When we got free pallets, we also found enough free plywood to make the roof on the chicken coop we are planning to build next month! That will save some money!
    I’ve filled another big bag full of clothes that don’t fit any more to donate to goodwill.
    Paid bills online and paid off 2 more medical bills!
    We are grateful for the ability to work and for all the skill building that is available for free online! What a wonderful time to live!

  21. How do you get the free mascara at CVS? I guess I was a little confused when I went to your website and it looked like you had to buy two mascaras at $7.99 a piece, then use a BOGO coupon??? and then a $3 CVS coupon? Did that make both $7.99 mascara’s free? I have never used BOGO, so pardon my ignorance. I get so confused on coupons….lol

  22. Last week was a good week for us, we were healthy, I spent time with good friends and it rained a lot here in the desert!

    We ate all but one meal at home, I baked bread, made laundry detergent (brandy’s recipe) and fabric softener, washed ziplocs, did my own pedicure, made banana bread, and bought gas for $1.99/gallon. I learned a few months ago that I could freeze milk, it is so wonderful to have milk in the freezer and not have to worry about running out. Amazing how that cheers me up ;). Also, some items where I didn’t buy new…I broke the lid of a microwave dish set and now have goodwill on my things to do list. I have found glass lids there before for $0.25. I didn’t buy any new essential oils after the spa visit, instead will use up the ones I have that I am not fond of…like orange…sigh. I got emails from amazon suggesting books to read, I then took the titles and went to my local library website and got both the books I want! Amazing how much I save by getting free library ebooks versus buying them on amazon to read.

    Every year a group of three of my friends and I get together (folks live in different far apart states). Last week, three of the four of us got together here in Az, rather than go out to dinner I cooked for us at home, and it was great. The food and wine was much less expensive (all but the salad I already had at the house) and it was so nice to sit around in a quiet spot and blab. We went to the spa one day but I had budgeted for that expense. In the days when I spent lots of money, I used to go to that spa a few times a year, I realized last week it had been more than five years since I had been there. It was lovely as usual, a real treat ;). I was thankful for my friends and my habit of saving money so I could be there and not worry about money.

    Brandy, as one other reader said earlier, thank you so much for this site. I have learned so much and find inspiration each week. Your topics and everyone’s comments are invaluable!

  23. Sorry your empty nest was so hard for you. It always seems quietest just after they leave. I find it quite noisy when I have my family over now, and there are only three of them. You will get used to the quiet but it does take some adjustment time. I feel totally useless some days, and then my husband will say something nice about my cooking for him, and I will think I do have some purpose after all. It’s a difficult adjustment. My girls came and went a few times before leaving for good.

  24. Rice on the stove top is so easy! This has been foolproof for me: Put 1c dry white rice and 1 &1/2c water in a saucepan. Turn heat to high and cover with lid. When it comes to a boil, turn the heat off, but leave the lid on. Let it sit for about 15mns, remove the lid and fluff with a fork. (Remember to use a dry measure cup for the rice and a wet measure cup for the water as it makes a difference.)

  25. My main focus for the past week was cleaning and catching up on getting things back in order after the holidays. It’s nice to get those boxes back into the attic and get the house back to normal. I have been cooking a lot as well, although I did pick up some specials one week in particular when the sales were too good to ignore. I’ve been working on floors that don’t get washed too often, and curtains that need washing as well. This will continue for a couple more weeks in between other chores. Today I had to run to the hospital lab for bloodwork for next week’s regular appointment. When you get older, there are so MANY dr appts. I take Lipitor and it requires bloodwork every three months prior to my appointments, plus I noticed he checked other things as well. After 46 years with high blood pressure, it takes a toll on the body and we’re watching an area of concern quite closely. Luckily it didn’t take long, because when I got home I discovered an math error in my checking account had caused an overdrawn situation. They simply take the money from my savings, although they do charge, it’s only $5 because it’s a credit union not a bank. I quickly transferred some more as I have a couple more outstanding checks and I don’t intend to pay more charges for using my own money! It was MY error, not theirs, so I will pay the fee without complaint. Then my daughter messaged me to say she had been trying to phone and something must be wrong with the phone–that also turned out to be true. They promised it would be fixed today but then called later and said it would not be! SO now it’s Wednesday, as tomorrow happens to be my birthday and my husband and I have plans for the day! Good thing we have cell phones, as it’s the land line that is out. But as long as the internet still works, I can live with that. We are considering changing that whole situation around anyhow–this may get us moving faster. We need faster internet service so movies work better when we have a chance to watch one. My birthday will be inexpensive–we still have a gc for the movie matinee, and then we will also be having dinner out, although we have not decided exactly where yet. It will not be expensive as we prefer more reasonable prices anyhow. My daughter will come with cake after dinner–she already consulted me for flavors desired.

    The sun finally came out today after two solid days of grey and gloomy FOG. So happy to see sunshine again!

  26. My mom lost her clutch purse containing her wallet for nearly a week after my high school graduation. We tore the house apart (just a slight exageration) more than once looking for it. It had slipped deep into a crevice under a cushion of either a chair or sofa.

  27. What a pretty flower! Brandy, there was a story on NPR (National Public Radio) about a new greenhouse in Las Vegas called Urban Seed that will be growing food aeroponically (sp?). The plants are grown vertically in a-frame greenhouses and the roots are exposed to air and receive moisture and nutrients via mist. It sounded very interesting. They said that head lettuce would only take 22 oz water per head as opposed to 13 gallons and in a 24 sq ft area they could grow 500 heads in 30 days as opposed to just 50 heads under normal growing conditions. The name of the segment is FARM OF THE FUTURE: WHAT GROWS IN LAS VEGAS STAYS IN LAS VEGAS in case you are interested.

    We did all the usual of composting, recycling, using up leftovers, cooking and eating at home, did some mending and darning and button repair, hung clothes to dry inside. Picked up 5 reserves from the public library. Packed lunches and snacks for work.

    Mixed up 10 pie crusts and put 8 in the freezer. Made blueberry pie from frozen berries, gingersnaps, 2 loaves wheat bread, 1 loaf raisin cinnamon swirl, cheese and vegetable pizza and one cheese with pineapple and olives and pieces of ham from our Christmas ham. Made plain yogurt, tapioca pudding, creamy coleslaw, grilled fish (from freezer) with onion, red bell pepper, and potato kabobs (parboiled the potato chunks first). Served with rice and yogurt. Made chicken stuffing casserole. Baked squash and apples from storage. Made 5 bean chili with vegetables from dried beans and home canned juice. Made corn bread to go with it. Made applesauce spice cake with maple buttercream frosting to take for dessert for dinner at daughter’s house.

    At the grocer bought red bell peppers as they were on sale for .99/lb, normally 3.99 or more. Bought radishes, celery, dried black eye peas, dental floss, unbleached flour, wheat gluten, tamari, 2 gal of milk, frozen peas. Used the sales with the double coupon day. At the farm store bought case of suet blocks 12 for 10.00 for the birds.

    Read 3 books and some old National Geographics. Daughter Olivia and I watched Great American Cooking show on HULU. She and I worked on Valentine cards also, sorting through the leftovers of what they had made over the years. We made a few more and addressed envelopes. I guess as to what brings me joy, I would say writing and getting letters. Real letters that we can keep, not just electronic ones. We do a lot of letter writing and card sending…we have many relatives that do not use the internet or own a computer at all. We keep the basket of letters/cards handy so that we can share news, pray for someone, show off the pictures.

  28. Honestly, I think we’ve had more frugal fails than wins this week. We officially broke the $50 budget, but that was primarily due to me forgetting to bring my Walmart gift card with me when I went to grab some milk 🙁 We’re about $10 over budget (We’ve spent about $60 on groceries this month) and we’ve eaten out a few more times than usual, though we’re still under our allotted $50 eating out budget. I picked up some potatoes (5lb bags for B1G1 free- made them 25c a lb), a few bananas that were marked down to 29c a lb, a couple loaves of wheat bread, a gallon of milk, some sponges, and a bag of rolls that had been marked down as well.

    I had to purchase some bug traps for our pantry, as I found a beetle larvae and I want to nip any potential infestation in the bud. I’d rather spend $2 a trap now than to throw away a bunch of the pantry later. Since I was ordering those, I decided to also order the fur/hair collecting broom I’ve been eyeing on Amazon, as well as some large-size ziploc bags for the few items I did not already have in plastic bags or airtight containers. I used some rewards from Cross Media Panel and a $25 gift card from Christmas to pay for it all, so at least I didn’t have to pay anything out of pocket.

    I stopped by my mom’s place to pick up a package and she sent me home with Christmas cookies from her freezer, so that was appreciated! 🙂

    I used my ECBs at CVS this week to get 4 deodorants- they were on sale 2/$5 and when you bought 4, you got a $5 ECB back. So, I picked up 4 deodorants and a package of travel-size Kleenex packs, used my ECBs, and only paid tax out of pocket.

    Lastly, I meal planned for the month of February, and I think we’ll come in under $80 for the month. I wanted to only spend $150 between January and February, so if I can stay under $90 between now and the end of February, we’ll be golden. I’m planning a lasagna dinner with homemade garlic bread as a nice date-night meal for Valentine’s Day 😀

    Also, as a reminder: always inspect your canned goods before consuming! I found a can of green beans in my pantry with a small hole near the bottom of the can- it had been leaking very slowly and the paper around it was becoming moldy. If you (or any of the other commenters here) find something like this, throw it out! Also, please write “do not eat” on it to prevent someone from finding it in the trash and assuming it’s safe to eat. No one should get sick from something as easily prevented as this!

  29. That ornamental cabbage is a work of art! I went to Marshall’s and Big Lots, looking for a couple different items for a possible present, but didn’t find anything, and ended up finding an excellent deal online. We’ve also got some much needed rain the past few days, which got our cistern to the halfway mark. Tonight’s dinner consisted mostly of our homegrown vegetables… potatoes, carrots & green beans, which is always nice. Joining in here: https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2017/01/a-new-cozy-corner-frugal-things.html

  30. We had a rough week last week. We got the dreaded phone call from the school nurse that during head checks she found lice on all the kids in my daughter’s class. Oh goodie….. So spent money and LOTS of time treating that. It looks like it was caught early so hopefully we won’t be plagued with this for to long. I also purchased tea tree shampoo and conditioner. We used it exclusively last year during preschool and never had an issue with the little devils. I didn’t think about it this year until now. Tea tree is supposed to repel them. Then my daughter caught a horrible stomach virus and suffered for 3 days from that while I caught a terrible cold. But, enough complaining, here are the frugals I did manage:
    I combined sales and coupons to get Hefty zip top bags ( 2 boxes), Tide simply clean detergent ( 1 bottle) and a large bottle of Advil.
    I managed to get my swagbucks goal twice last week
    I earned $3 in rebates from Ibotta and Checkout51 and $2 from the Walmart savings catcher.
    I got my husband an egift card for his birthday (tomorrow) online and printed it off, saving me gas and time.
    We didn’t eat much due to the various illnesses this past week. My husband did buy us some chicken noodle soup since I was too sick to make it from scratch.
    That’s about it. Have a great week everyone!

  31. Well….I can say I stayed in budget. We were going out to eat using my free meal and a coupon for Hubby tonight for my bday meal that got missed due to broken down truck…truck got fixed and we had to go get it tonight instead of going out to eat. Grabbed a couple hamburgers on the way back home using coupons for 50% off. Went to the doctors today, potassium and magnesium still too low and not only do I have to take supplements I have to eat foods that are high in it….be okay if it was during garden season but fresh produce is a pretty penny right now and I was worried I would end up over the budget we set. Got 36% off and came in $20 under budget (so I have milk money if needed for the end of the month) AND that was AFTER I paid for the supper tonight and I put back the money from the groceries to pay for our meals out on Saturday when we go with our one son and some friends to a local Chinese buffet to celebrate Chinese New Year’s as we all like Chinese and they are going all out at the buffet. I am looking at the costs of trying to raise greens year around with our winters here in Northwestern OH. The rest is here http://chefowings.blogspot.com/2017/01/frugal-week-and-eating-from-pantry.html
    Blessed Be .

  32. I cried too,when my boys left the nest. But, I got used to it. Now I have grandchildren! It is amazing all the things you can accomplish after the initial depression phase is over! Spend your time doing something you really enjoy. It helps.

  33. I altered one of my old skirts to fit me better after losing weight. I sewed on new elastic to the waist bands of half slips to replace the stretched out elastics. I’ve not had to water the garden due to all the rain we’ve been receiving this month. I’ve saved on gas by working from home a couple of days. I’ve continued to eat from the freezer and pantry for the most part; I’ve been averaging $5 per week on my groceries, so far, this month. It’s been a frugal week.

  34. You have given me the idea to sell some of my yarn on ebay! I would like to knit, but I work so many hours and have decided that any free time I get I really want to spend in my sewing room.

    I have never thought about checking to see if our state extension has gardening videos. I would love that. Its really important to get information about your local area. I wish I could grow the things like Brandy does….

    Come by for a visit!


  35. Sounds like a productive week, Brandy!

    I had a pretty productive week too:
    – A colleague gave me a hand cream, a lip gloss, and a body wash that she received as a gift but couldn’t use. I set aside the hand cream to keep at work, and put the lip gloss and body wash aside to give to some friends.
    – The DH brought home a big container of candy canes from his office: one of his coworkers challenged me to use them up in some baked goods. Challenge accepted! I posted about the cookies I made, here: http://approachingfood.com/candy-cane-cookies-what-happens-when-my-baking-cred-is-challenged/
    – Made another batch of Brandy’s Swiss Chard soup, with some of my own preserved lemon. The DH loves this soup, so I’m making batch after batch for him!
    – Bought a pair of sneakers at 50% off. Perfect, because my current ones will be rotated to become my work shoes once they get a bit more worn out, and the new sneakers will be my new ‘street’ shoes.
    – I tried a new recipe: farro salad with greens, roasted grapes, and braised onions (a Martha Stewart recipe). I bought the farro from my local bulk barn, and the greens and grapes were on sale. I’ll pack it for work lunches along with some swiss chard soup this week.
    – I went grocery shopping with a friend: frugal because she drove, and because we went to a store that has super-cheap prices on some things (T & T, which is an Asian supermarket). I bought Japanese pears for $1/lb (!) which the DH and I are happily crunching through. I also bought some ingredients that were on sale, plus that are hard to find otherwise (Indonesian spices and such). Shopping together was a way to be social and still get our errands done. It was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot about Chinese cooking (my friend is a Canadian, originally from Hong Kong, whose parents grew up in Indonesia – so she was able to translate the Mandarin language labels for me and also let me know which brands were authentically Chinese/Indonesian). Now I can make some super-flavourful (and cheap!) rice and noodle dishes!
    – I’ve been price-comparing some plastic storage lids for Mason jars, and found the cheapest price at Canadian Tire, so I picked up a box. I get so happy just looking at my beautiful canning jars now! I’m sure some of you can relate. 🙂
    – Added water to a detergent bottle to get the last bit of detergent out of it. It was a bottle I got free in a product testing survey. I do love free things!
    – Made an egg-free vanilla custard recipe, and packed some of it with fresh fruit for my lunch tomorrow.
    – Used the remaining custard, half a banana, and some graham-style cake crumbs from my freezer, to put together a single serving banana cream pie (sans cream). Perfect portion size plus I got to use up some of the cake crumbs from my freezer.
    – Downloaded some free printables for my anniversary and for Valentine’s Day. I will print them out for low-cost but pretty decorations: letters to form an I-love-you banner, love notes to stick on the mirror, and a label to fancy up some homemade dehydrated banana chips (“I’m bananas over you!” Corny, but cute, and it’ll make the DH laugh.)
    – I boiled some eggs to make an egg salad for several easy meals for me this coming week, and when I went to get the mayonnaise from the fridge, I realized it was expired. So…I made some myself! The recipe called for light olive oil, but I only had some olive oil that my friend brought me from Greece and I couldn’t read the Greek label…so I just went with it. Turned out it must have been extra virgin olive oil, because it definitely affected the flavour of the final product. I added in a clove of garlic to mask the taste, but it still wasn’t enough. So I doctored the egg salad with spices from my pantry (smoked paprika, onion powder, mustard powder, nutritional yeast, and some salt) and it turned out great! I don’t think I’ll ever buy mayo again – yay for adding items to the no-buy list!
    – I had a lot of mayo leftover, so I added some homemade yoghurt to it in an equal quantity, and dumped in the last of my dried onion dip mix that I bought something like 4 years ago. I let it sit so the flavours could meld, and packaged it up for salad dressings for the DH for the week’s lunches/dinners or for dips for carrots for my lunches/snacks. I love using up odds and ends!
    – Polished my leather shoes
    – Made a batch of chocolate fudge syrup
    – Made a batch of chocolate pudding for lunches/desserts for the week.
    – Redeemed a code for a free 6×6 inch softcover photo album with 40 pages. I only had to pay for shipping (less than $6 Canadian). I try to make one of these each year, as a quickie sort of family album. There are always free codes being given out from the online photo album companies, so it’s easy to do.
    – Inspired by Brandy, I sewed a fabric bunting out of two fabrics I’ve had for years (one piece of fabric I bought on the east coast 10 years ago and used as a tablecloth before turning it into a bulletin board backdrop and now into bunting, and the other fabric I found in a clearance bin at the fabric store, also nearly 10 years ago now. The thread I bought recently for 10 cents at a garage sale). I plan to use this for all sorts of celebrations for years to come!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone this week, as usual!

  36. I just got some lettuce mix seeds to grow inside. Sometime I’m going to get an aquarium. I’m using a smallish clear tote. (I have a cat who will eat my plants. She ate my basil one year.) I figured a grow light can help for grey days. I know spinach can also work. That might give you an option. The stores are putting out seeds right now. I’m in Ohio and we still have a couple months of possible frost.

  37. Elizabeth–I don’t know why, but I have always felt comfortable when I had weeks like you experienced. Something about getting busy and being creative when there is no money to spend. I really feel most comfortable when I am being extremely frugal.

    You have reminded me that I enjoy making hot chocolate from scratch. I am going to go do that now! A simple pleasure! And I think people forgot that we didn’t used to have ready-made hot chocolate mixes!

    Come by for a visit!


  38. I am really getting through my pantry. I want to use up things that have been lingering for a while.

    I love your “joyful activities”. I am going to keep track of that too! I think that increases contentment and helps you to have a grateful heart. Really, taking pleasure in the simple things in life.

    Come by for a visit!


  39. Potatoes are a good source of potassium and magnesium and are super cheap! If you don’t already, you might want to try logging your foods in Cronometer- you can make a free account, add what you eat, and it will show you all of the vitamins/minerals/micronutrients that you’re eating. That would give you an idea of how much potassium/magnesium you’re taking in already.

  40. Hello to Brandy and everyone from NW Louisiana!

    I’m so glad to hear about your abundant rain Brandy. We also had a LOT of rain, a little too much, but we must take what comes.

  41. Melissa–may God continue to bless you and your family and I pray that your husband remains cancer free.

    What new way of eating are you referring to?

  42. I am so sorry you were both so sick! Thank goodness you are recovering. I don’t know if you heard, but former Pres. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush were both in the hospital with respiratory illnesses. President Bush had pneumonia and the First Lady had bronchitis. It really has been a bad year.

    Take care!

  43. Sorry this week was so tough for you. It does get easier when you find your new normal.
    I loved Scooter’s post. He is one lucky pooch.

  44. Lisa, Thanks. That’s exactly what my week was like.

    I was lucky, because I had been able to stock up in the last month or two so I could have some good meals. But I enjoyed having a few quiet days with no errands to run. I liked seeing what I could make with what I had on hand, and managed to improve on some of what I usually do. It was nice taking care of some things around the house too that I don’t normally get around to.

  45. Forgot a couple of things:

    Wanted cilantro for my chicken tortilla soup but the very local grocery store where I bought the avocado doesn’t carry it and the seeds I planted in a container are sprouted but not big enough to harvest. I walked out in my yard to an old herb bed and found some “micro” cilantro growing that had reseeded itself.

    I made a double batch of chocolate chip cookies.

    And I am so joyful and thankful we were spared the destructive storms that swept through our region.

  46. How fun to be able to speak to a friend in France! Both because of the wonders of technology, and also because you can work on your language skills.

    We’ve had a ton of rain here lately. Almost too much. If it were cold at all, we’d be experiencing a very snow covered winter. We’ve had unusually high winter temperatures for the past couple of years.

    I haven’t pulled together my money saving ways because I’ve been blogging every day of January. It’s been extremely time consuming! Which hasn’t allowed me to spend much money…so I guess that counts as a way I’ve saved? haha

    Have a wonderful week!

  47. Bananas are loaded with potassium and are usually pretty cheap. I often watch for clearance bananas that are banged up or a bit over ripe to sell for top dollar and use them for baking. You can use them to make smoothies as well.

  48. Day 23 of eating from pantry and freezer, getting a bit difficult now!! I can see the bottom of my little freezer but still have a good bit of meat in there, some berries as well. I am completely out of greens. Made some “Scrappie” soup from bits, one potatoe, two carrots, two celery, an onion, leftovers frozen including pumpkin, tomatoe soup, some chili, chicken boullion ….. it was an interesting, thick soup with the last of my barley. I will work on depleting frozen bags of veggies. How lovely it sounds to pick from your garden Brandy, I hope to get out this week for some cleanup, as we have SUN for 4 days this week. made bread of course. and will be making more of your laundry soap this week, it is all I use for regular washes. Ann Lee S, Vancouver island, BC Canada.

  49. Hello Brandy and all from Australia 🙂 , I am glad to see you are getting much needed rain there.

    Our frugal accomplishments are –

    Financial –
    – Banked more money into our saving for our home with cash bank account.

    Kitchen –

    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.
    – Made our first ever batch of yoghurt saving $2.78 over purchasing it.
    – Picked and froze strawberries from the gardens for an advanced supply for jams and also of course ate some.
    – Picked and blanched and froze snow peas, beans and capsicums picked from the gardens.
    – Made a quadruple batch of granola saving $6 over purchasing it.

    Groceries –
    – Shopped around our pharmacies for bulk peroxide and purchased it $5.66 cheaper from another chemist.

    Gardening –
    – Picked strawberries, snow peas, beans , tomatoes and capsicums from the gardens.
    – Saw a tree being cut down in our neighbour’s yard and asked the contractors could we have the wood for firewood. They said yes and delivered it with their truck cut into smaller manageable pieces for us. We have been cutting and splitting it over the last few days and there will be enough firewood in it to last 1/2 to 2/3rds of next winter. Not bad for just asking 🙂 .
    – Reused our grey water saved from our showers and washing machine to water the lawns with.

    Electricity –
    – Used solar lanterns instead of mains powered lights to light our home each night.

  50. I was depressed when my kids all left, too. It takes awhile but that’s why we raise them to be independent. It’s really kind of cool to see how they grow into adults; what kind of people they are. The best is when they call to chat. We drop everything so we can talk. It does a heart good!

  51. It is called low FODMAP and the letters stand for different types of sugars in foods. I have been diagnosed with IBS (although I am seeing a GI doc on Wednesday to see if it is something more) and this diet is specifically for IBS sufferers – it is not for losing weight but it is something that might occur. I have cut out all gluten, almost all veggies and fruits and all dairy that isn’t lactose free or very close to being lactose free like hard cheeses. Since my current flare up has seemed to have died down, I am going to start reintroducing the fruits and veggies one at a time to see which ones I react to. I know I am gluten sensitive but have been tested for celiac disease and it came up negative. My brain fog and aching joints improve when I am off gluten so I will remain gluten free.

  52. Wowza! It sounds like quite the frugal week. I love the idea of collecting rainwater. Our water bills are insane ($60/mo on average) so I’m down with anything that can make it a little more tolerable.

    This week:

    1. We’ve made several meals based solely off our pantry, which has been fantastic.

    2. I realized our savings rate is closer to 57% instead of 50% because of my Roth IRA savings. Woohoo!

    3. I harvested green onions from our patio garden to garnish dinner.

    4. I’m trying to go as long as possible without a hair cut. Going strong and hoping to make it to the one year mark. 🙂 When I do get my hair cut I use a $8 Great Clips coupon, since Mr. Picky Pincher is too nervous to cut my hair.

    5. I used up some old bread to make French toast and topped with homemade whipped cream (made from leftover whipping cream).

  53. Hilogene, I just love it when gathering of friends can be that simple/thrifty and every one relaxes (more). Glad you were able to enjoy a spa day.

  54. Thank you Marcia, yes, the house is so quiet. I keep hearing them move upstairs then realize they are not here. I am feeling lost since I spent so much time cooking for them. They LOVED my cooking.
    I suppose I am looking for my purpose. When they were young, I chose these goals to have achieved by the time they left college:
    1. Love God
    2. Love to learn.
    3. Be potty trained. (They were boys after all, it was not easy)
    Now I am wondering what I am called to do.
    Thank you for the encouragement.

  55. Oh Tammy, there are so many things [i]needing[/i] to be done, dusting, vacuuming, dishes, laundry, etc. Yet, there is still so much I haven’t done because I did not have the time or energy. But what do I want to do? I don’t know. I know what I like to do, plant flowers, grow vegetables, quilt, the list goes on and on. But is this what I am called by God to do?

  56. Yes, Lisa, they will return when their refrigerators and cabinets are empty. They always arrive home hungry. But it just feels different this time. They will visit, but it will be a visit. This is always home but…I just need to…I don’t know what I need to do. I think I will go to your blog and enjoy reading it! Yes, that is my plan for the day. Thank you for the invitation.
    P.S: Scooter says the same things over and over: Let me in/out, scratch my belly, where did Pack Leader go while I was not looking and his favorite, GIVE ME A HOT DOG!

  57. Thank you Pat. I am glad this week is over. I knew it would happen someday but it did not make it any easier. What has been a blessing is all the wonderful, understanding, compassionate women on these blogs. I have lived in a house full of men (even Scooter is male) and so I miss the female companionship. Everyone has made me feel ok about grieving. We are a close family; I homeschooled them; I took raising them seriously. It was a big part of my life; however, I know I must let go. I will. I will. It is time.

  58. It has been fun watching them grow and seeing how each one can be so different from the others. Hopefully we can all skype this weekend and they can share with each other also. They have grown to be friends now that they are adults. You would never have believed it when they were younger. I was amazed they managed to grow up without killing each other. Boys, they are like that.
    Thank you

  59. I use the recipe from [u]Yogurt Culture[/u] by Cheryl Sternman Rule, which calls for fresh/frozen cranberries. It’s easy and very tasty.

  60. I’ve found intentionally focusing on blessings to be incredibly powerful. When I was going through my treatments for breast cancer I kept a gratitude journal in which I jotted down 1-3 things each day, and it really made a difference for me. I continue to notice the everyday blessings in my life (and I really need to get back to writing them down! :p).

  61. My week has gone very well and I am thankful for that!
    We ate all meals at home.
    I combined what errands I had with dropping my son off at school saving time and gas.
    I used my sprouting potatoes to make homemade hash browns and sliced potatoes that will fry quickly since they are already cooked. I also made my own cubed potatoes for a recipe by cubing raw potatoes and boiling them for 5 minutes then continuing with the recipe. The recipe turned out well.
    I made a peach dump cake with my last cake mix in the pantry and peaches from the freezer for my husband’s birthday.
    I made my first load of bread with our new bread machine and I think I will try to continue doing it. It tasted so good!
    I have only spent $32 this month on food! I have had to buy milk, bread, and my last stop was for butter. We were done to one stick!
    We are out of many pantry and refrigerator items but I am hoping to get to the end of the month without buying anything else except maybe one more gallon of milk!
    Have a great week everyone!!

  62. I went with short hair recently – mostly because I got a terrible haircut and by the time my hair was okay, it was short. (I usually cut my own, and regret the decision to let someone else cut it.) Now, I need another cut, but I can’t really cut it myself at this length, so I’m a little bothered. I work outside the home FT now, and need to look professional, so I guess I’ll be getting a hair cut. I do cut Husband’s and Daughter’s hair, so that is some help.

    My frugal accomplishments are here – and you’re welcome to visit! http://thecentsablehome.blogspot.com/2017/01/this-weeks-frugal-accomplishments.html

  63. I love homemade hot chocolate and it doesn’t really take any more time than a package of instant, plus it’s healthier! I just put a heaping tsp. of cocoa powder and a heaping tsp. of sweetener (we like maple syrup) in the cup and add a cup of hot milk. Individual servings and so yummy!

  64. My husband love the Great Courses DVDs and audio recordings! We get them through our library as well. We’re currently ‘attending’ a course on art appreciation which I’ve then used to teach our daughter during homeschool. They are great!

  65. I did two things this week that were frugal and brought joy. The first was fixing my gas fireplace! It took me an hour and a half, but I vacuumed out the dust, repositioned the logs, and re-lit the pilot. It has t worked since last year this time, so having a cozy fire to sit by in the evenings will bring my family and I much joy.

    The other thing I did was re-purpose a dresser that my son didn’t need into a new work station to house our printer, office stuff and other misc items that were piling up. It brings me joy to have a neat, organized area instead of piles ready to topple at any moment.

  66. Best frugal thing: Needed to buy new towels and went to Ikea. They were having a sale if your were a “Family” member so I joined. Not all rang up on sale. Stood there for quite a while so they could call a supervisor and figure out how to ring it up (3 separate transactions) so I got all items on sale. They were great about it BTW.
    What brought me joy: A video this morning of my 2 month old granddaughter “dancing” by moving her arms and legs to music. They have been entertaining her by goofy dancing to 90’s music so now she gets excited when it comes on LOL.

  67. Thank you Brandy 🙂 , it was a 15 metre 49ft high ironbark hardwood tree and the contractors cut it into 1.5mt or 5ft long pieces and delivered it like that with their truck onto our front lawn. The trunk was 60cm or 2ft round, just a big beautiful tree and such a shame to see it cut down.

    I just could not see it go to the tip and go to waste and thought it was worthwhile asking 😀 , and what a true blessing it is . The contractors had to cut it down in sections anyway being so large, and they even asked us about what size pieces would be manageable for us.

    We have a large forestry chainsaw and had to cut through the trunk half way on one side and then turn it over to cut through the other side. Such beautiful firewood that will burn hot and for a long time to warm us through next year’s winter once we have let it cure for a year. We are putting the dried leaves and smaller branches through our branch shredder and using it for garden mulch and to make paths between our garden beds so none of it will go to waste as our temperatures at the moment here are between 35 – 42oC .

    I think the reason why the contractors said yes to us is that as a commercial enterprise they have to pay tip fees to drop it off at the tip. For us to purchase that amount of firewood it would have cost around $300 – $400 so it is a massive saving for us while we are saving for our home.

  68. Brandi – is that a flowering kale or cabbage??? I have been wanting to try some to pretty up things in the cooler fall weather and that one is stunning!

  69. That’s exactly what I do – mix cocoa powder and sugar in the bottom of a mug, add cold milk, and microwave for 1 minute 45 seconds. Delicious and I know exactly what is in it. Made for a fast breakfast on the run when my teenager didn’t want to eat anything.

  70. Oh Mandy! I am so sorry about the lice. I went through that twice with my daughter. Believe it or not, her kindergarten teacher was using the same comb to fix all the girls’ hair!

    Great job on Ibotta and Checkout 51. I used money from Ibotta back around Christmas time.

    I hope you will stop by for a visit:


  71. Athanasia, What a great tradition with the letters. I like to get letters, as well. But, i think the art of letter writing is dying out, sadly. Schools have stopped teaching cursive, too.

  72. Mrs Picky Pincher congratulations on such a high saving rate 🙂 , it is not easy to do let me say as we are practicing just what you are doing as well.

    Are you paying a mortgage or saving for a home at the moment ?.

    We are saving for a home with cash and are averaging around 65% combined after tax savings here as well. You are right we can all live a very frugal life without sacrificing our lifestyles. Over the years we have set up and grow extensive vegetable gardens here, buy our meat and raw ingredients in bulk and shop around for the best prices. I have to say we eat very well and don’t go without at all and are truly blessed.

  73. Hi thejewishlady we make our own stain remover at home that we pre treat our stains with before washing and it works brilliantly and we wash always in cold water.

    In an old bottle put in – (best to mix this and use this outdoors or in a well ventilated area as it stinks)
    – 1lt of dishwashing detergent.
    – 1lt of ammonia.
    – 18 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda ( you may know it as baking soda but I am confused with International names for things :p )

    You can a couple of hours before washing spot stain remove grease and other bad stains on your clothing with it by shaking the bottle and pouring a little on the stain and using a toothbrush or small scrubbing brush work the solution into the stain scrubbing in a circular motion both on the front and back of the stain. Leave for a hour or so and rinse it under running water and pop it in the wash.

    For soaking we lay our clothing in the bath pour a little over each layer and add more clothing and do the same, then top up with water so it is just over the top of the clothing. We do this in the morning and then rinse them out and pop them in the washing machine in the evening.

    It gets your whites wonderfully white and gets out just about every stain we have come across including grease stains from food. In Australian dollars this costs us $2.50 to make as we purchase our bicarbonate of soda in bulk.

    I hope this helps.

  74. Hi thejewishlady I meant to say you can use this stain remover on both coloureds and whites as well. We even soak our sheets in it.

  75. I love reading everyone’s ideas here!

    This week we’re preparing for little man’s birthday, so some of our savings are there by reusing items we already had and making things at home rather than purchasing. We also had some frugal successes with gleaning from the food pantry (they don’t open until Wednesday for clients, so especially some produce won’t last that long) and the school cafeteria (the food waste amazes me when kids throw away perfectly good whole fruit or unopened packages just because they don’t want it).

    I hope you’ll check out all of our frugal accomplishments here:

  76. My week was mostly the usual things of just trying not to spend unnecessarily and not wasting things.
    However, I want to thank you for sharing your schedule. My washing machine has the delayed start option and I had never tried using it. I finally did and having a load ready when I first got up was a great way to start the day.

  77. This past week wasn’t very frugal for us, but it did bring us joy!

    This year, I am homeschooling my niece along with my daughter. My sister plans field trips–many, many field trips–more than we have ever done before, as her main part of the process. She also pitches in financially so that we can enjoy these experiences together, as my budget could never bear the price of all we’ve done this year. This week, she took us to San Francisco with her, as she was going to a work conference. While she was in the conference, I took my daughter and 2 nieces sight-seeing around the town, and then we all took a tour on the last day. We used public transportation, which was a fun stretch for all of us. We always drive everywhere in our normal lives, so it took some thinking to figure it all out. We did, though, and only got on the wrong train one time. I also learned how to use Uber, which was an affordable option, compared to some.

    We had a wonderful time. San Francisco was a great place to visit. We didn’t even get through a tiny portion of all the museums and places we had found on the internet before we went. It was, however, extremely expensive. For example, a typical breakfast in a restaurant was between $13 and $25. Yikes! My sister was extremely generous and treated us to many meal “experiences,” a tour of the city, and our lodging. I was very grateful for the fact that I know how to save up for these times, and had taken a good chunk of money to pay for the things I paid for. When I have over-planned financially for things, it takes the stress out of the experience, leaving me to enjoy things much better. Thankfully, I had been setting money aside for a few months.

    The girls learned a lot, and it reinforced what we had studied in the fall. Plus, traveling is always a good experience. My nieces travel a lot, but my daughter has limited experience with traveling, so it was a wonderful opportunity for her.

    I put an overview of the trip on my blog: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2017/01/25/our-big-field-trip-to-san-francisco/

  78. Hi Brandy:

    I’m late this week…my Mother had shoulder surgery and my brother and I have been sharing her care. (She has an apartment in my brother’s home) so I have the day time when my brother and his wife are at work and he shares the evening care. The weather is unseasonably warm here :), it is 50 today so I’m tackling some outside chores. I was able to finish two sweatshirts made from the Joann’s fleece that I got at 60% off. Today when I was at the market, they had the butter sculptures leftover from the holiday for 90% off for two. I bought two and they are in my freezer for next year.

    I’ve been baking a lot and have a new blog post on Welsh tea cakes (my part of PA has a rich Wels history). You can find it here: http://www.dollarsandsensetimestwo.org/2017/01/welsh-tea-cakes-taste-slate-belt/. they make a terrific light breakfast or snack. Have a great week!

  79. I, too, am in So. Cal. and I, too, have recently undergone treatment for breast cancer, and I, too, keep a gratitude journal and seasonal joy lists! I wish you continued good health, gratitude and joy.

  80. Oh Jen, once I had a 4 year old, a 2 year old and a newborn. I longed for sleep. I could tune out the noise, it was the sleep I missed. My advice: close out the world, hug them close, take more pictures and just spend time sitting together.
    On a more positive note, I received my first message from Reese last night, an email without one word in it. It was a picture of him on someone’s MOTORCYCLE!!! WHAT! No helmet, no license, no insurance, no experience driving one and now he is riding one!!! I replied with one word “Nooooooooooooooooooo!”
    Yes, Jen, enjoy them, unless they drive you crazy.

  81. I too am late with my update. Busy as a bee!
    Joyful: My son brought inside a variety of beautiful Camellias for us to enjoy as cut flowers for the week.

    Quickly earned and redeemed enough recyclebank.com
    Points for a local supermarket $10 off a $50 order. I’ll use this for February’s shopping.
    Was unable to print a coupon from a manufacturer’s website so I used their contact link online to request a mailed one, they sent me a free product coupon and two additional cents off coupons.
    I used my portable heating pad ( sock filled with rice, th at I warm in the microwave) to keep me comfortably warm in the evenings when I slow down. This helps me not be tempted to change the thermometer for the entire house.
    Choose a few selections from ereadergirl free ebook downloads to enjoy on my kindle app.

    Hope Everyone has a wonderful end to the week!

  82. Last week frugal accomplishments are:

    ~stayed home all of last week. Saved money on gas and wear and tear on the car. Plus it rained a lot last week which helped keep us home.

    ~ ate all of our meals at home. Didn’t go to any grocery stores. Thinking next month I will only be going to the grocery store to get just basics like milk and veggies and using up what’s in the freezers and pantry. Our grocery budget for next month is only $60 for the whole month. still figuring out this whole budgeting thing i we are doing $60 for next month and maybe even for the month of march.

    ~ went through all of our books and will be trying to sell them to a used book store sometime next week. I have 10 brown bags full of books!! I was amazed at how many we had and we still have a lot more books that I want to keep for now. I also went through my sons clothes and will be trying to sell next week as well

  83. Thank you for the well wishes. 🙂 I was sure it was the flu and the doc agreed. However, both our flu swabs were negative!! So, there’s another bugaboo out there just as bad….isn’t that a lovely tidbit of knowledge. My best advice is to avoid sick people, keep your hands from your face, get plenty of rest, & pray that your immune system is strong. My husband rarely gets sick so when he went down, it was pretty scary to me. We’re slowly recovering, but I can tell that it’s going to be a couple of weeks before we’re normal.

  84. Hi Becky. We’re in L.A. right now, but will be going to San Francisco next week. To help with meal costs (which most certainly add up when traveling), we like to choose hotels that are both inexpensive and offer breakfast as part of the fees. That’s one less meal to pay for and sometimes we take a little extra for snacks (like fruit, yogurt cups or wrapped pastries).

    Most hotels have fridges and often a microwave. One of the first things we do when we get to our destination is go shopping at a grocery store for lunch and snack items (we can’t bring food with us across boarders, and it weighs heavy in luggage for airplane travel). It’s OK to buy slightly more expensive individually wrapped items you’d normally never buy, for convenience sake. I assure you it is still cheaper and healthier than fast food! We even bought canned pasta ($0.80/tin) with easy open tab lids as my family like eating them cold. Don’t forget a case of bottled water to drink or bring insulated water bottles from home if preferred. We make a bagged lunch before we leave the hotel in the morning and take it in a backpack with us for another meal savings (you could also buy cheap breakfast items as well if not provided by hotel). Don’t be afraid to let the kids pick a few items that you normally don’t buy at home. After all, travel should be a fun experience. Our daughter tried Cheese Whiz in a can, and canned macaroni & cheese for the first time as we don’t have these items in Canada. It’s a simple indulgence that’s she enjoyed. We have made a habit of taking ziplock baggies, plastic utensils and reusable containers with us to aid in our lunch making. Ziplock freezer baggies filled with ice from the ice machine make perfect reusable cold packs, too.

    Usually we only buy one meal out when traveling, which even that can be relatively cheap or possibly avoided. One night we stopped at a grocery store and bought the “ready to go” hot meals they sell. They are less expensive than many sit-down restaurants and more substantial than fast food. A take-out pizza for dinner is also cheap and leftovers could be eaten for lunch the next day.

    I hope some of these ideas will help in the future. Travel for us is all about the experience (sitting on a beach somewhere hot sounds outright boring to me). I am very willing to cut corners on meal indulgences if it means we can afford to explore, learn about and enjoy other places in the world.

  85. Years ago I opened a can of cream of chicken soup and though it did not have a foul odor it came out of the can like a not-so-thick milkshake. I rinsed the can and looked inside and found a very small pinpoint hole on the side. There are a lot of people who probably would not have given that a second thought, my kids being a few of them and that’s pretty scary realizing how sick it would make them.

  86. Very joyful week but not super frugal- we had our baby!! She needed a few days in the NICU but thank God she’s okay now and is home with us.
    – sought out the help of the lactation consultants multiple times to make sure I was prepared not only to breastfeed but to pump when I go back to work.
    – our nurse gave us a bunch of size 1 diapers to take with us which we will use with our cloths once she is a little bigger
    – accepted every single offer of help from family to help with our older son and let me nap!
    – ate all (kindly gifted) meals at home
    – signed up for formula discounts since I wasn’t able to pump enough for baby number 1
    – had to turn up the heat for the baby but also dressed her in hats and long sleeve outfits.
    – cuddled and snuggled our beautiful little angel all week!

  87. Oh Jeannie…I just read your “World according to Scooter”, and I have tears flowing. I just can’t fathom why anyone would be so cruel to him or any animal. You seem like a very loving family and am so glad you rescued him. Tell him he’s a very good blog writer too! 😉

  88. Thank you Steph! I don’t understand how people can be so cruel either. It breaks my heart. Scooter was so pitiful when we got him now he knows he is loved. My hope is that I have encouraged someone to consider choosing a rescue since there are so many out there.
    My Mom said she thinks Scooter writes better than I do! She is partial to him since he bragged about her perfume in the post.

  89. I love the idea of setting out buckets to collect the rainwater. Brilliant, and so simple. It sounds like you had quite the productive week. This post reminds me of the pleasures of the garden – mine’s a bit of a mess right now.

  90. My husband and I, before we got this old!-loved road trips, and carried a jar of peanut butter and one of jam along with a loaf of bread, cooler with drinks, and would get fruit when we stopped for more bread. We did not eat PB & J EVERY day, but it saved us from starvation a few times when caught in traffic or poor weather. I kept everything inside the car and could make sandwiches on the door of the glove box in an emergency situation! Before hotel breakfasts became so popular, we had a canvas bag with cold cereal, two bowls, two spoons, and a dish towel to dry them with and to wrap the spoons and bowls in. We normally ate cereal for breakfast at home anyhow. Milk was in our cooler–and the cooler wasn’t huge either because we drove small cars. It’s amazing how much you can save when museum entrance fees are more important to you than restaurant food! We made about 4 trips entirely across the country (from Western New York state to California or Washington) and one across Canada to Alaska. Even dinners can be thrifty if you share pizza, submarine sandwiches, or just visit diners instead of fine dining establishments. Not that we NEVER ate fancy, but certainly not every day. Famous restaurants, best crab shacks, etc. once in a while are worth a couple nights of ordinary food.

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