Roses in Blue Vase The Prudent Homemaker

I cut flowers from the garden for the house and put them in some garage sale vases.

I picked the last of the blackberries from the garden.

Apples and Flags The Prudent Homemaker

I picked apples, lettuce, basil, tomatoes , and three zucchini from the garden. 

I cut and dried parsley from the garden. 

I sowed seeds in the garden for zinnias and Bells of Ireland. 

I collected spinach seeds from the garden.

I collected warm-up water from the shower and used it to water pots in the garden.

My mom picked up a bag of top soil on clearance for $0.65 for me. I used it to top off the pots in the backyard that were needing a bit of dirt.

I opened the garage door in the early morning just a few inches and let the heat out of the garage. I also opened the windows for a couple of hours early each morning to freshen the house, during which time I was able to turn off the air conditioning (with lows at 83º next week and highs above 110º, I won’t be able to do that then, though I will let in at least a bit of fresh air still each morning to freshen the house, and then close the house back up.) Monday and Tuesday we had unseasonably cool weather, and I was able to turn off the air conditioners! That changed quickly as temperatures were 110º F /43ºC by Thursday, which are normal temperatures for here this time of year.

I ordered some homeschool books while they were on sale and also used a free shipping code, which saved me a total of $48.63.

I listened to swing music on Pandora.

I studied French using free sources. One of my children studied French using free sources as well.

My husband gave one son a haircut.

My son and my husband mended the wheelbarrow.

We had an online video call with friends in France.

Gladiolus and Grape Vines The Prudent Homemaker

What did you do to save money this past week?

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  1. Oooh, gorgeous flower pics! I walked my mom’s garden this evening with her, and she pointed out all her flowers and the told me the names, and when she got to a David Austen rose, I said finally, a name I recognize! Simply because it’s on your blog. 🙂

    My frugal accomplishments this week:
    – I redeemed pinecone rewards for $10 to my paypal account
    – It was my birthday this week, and Starbucks sent me a reward for a free drink or food. I used it to buy a lunch box one day. Normally, it would be $10 with tax and I’d never buy it, but I got it free! A small thing, but it totally made my day.
    – By rinsing out an empty shampoo bottle, I was able to get an extra week’s worth of product out of it.
    – I carpooled with my mother to run errands when she was in my end of the city running errands.
    – I made a peach galette to bring to a potluck ( I made it vegan, as the friend hosting the potluck is vegan, and I used some breadcrumbs made from leftover bread crusts in it, to absorb the juices. Turned out lovely, and my friend appreciated it! I also carpooled with friends to get to the hostess’s place, as it was in a neighbouring city.
    – My mother gave me some samples that she had: shampoo & conditioner, and packaged ear plugs from several hotel stays. She also gave me a craft soap that she was given, and I will likely give it as a gift to someone else.
    – My mum also gave me a cedar tree (small) that she was able to get on sale for $2! It will make for something alive and green on the balcony when it’s snowy winter.
    – The DH and I sent some items to his mother, and I included some toiletries (Crabtree & Evelyn) collected from a hotel stay earlier this year.
    – My sister bought me a cake for my birthday, and I was able to give her a $3 off coupon that I had clipped and saved months ago.
    – My sister used metallic confetti at my party, and I saved it to put into cards for friends’ future birthdays. It was her idea!
    – The DH reused decorations from previous years to decorate our home for my birthday. We’ll packed them away to use again, as usual. They’re only dollar store decorations, but why waste them?
    – I thinned my carrot sprouts, replanted the thinned plants, and repotted a $2 cedar plant that my mom gave me.  
    – I pulled some wilted carrots from my fridge, peeled them, and soaked them in water to crisp them up
    – I took a box home from work to reuse to wrap a gift for my dad in
    – I picked up my birthday freebie from Sephora while at the mall running errands. I’m not sure yet whether I’ll keep it for myself, or give it away.
    – I use a coupon to get a free iced tea from David’s Tea while shopping.
    – I bought a number of items that I needed at Shoppers Drug Mart, all on sale, and qualified to get a $10 gift card free. I’ve set it aside to use next time I shop there.
    – I used a birthday freebie at Mary Brown’s Fried Chicken to get a free chicken sandwich for my mom. Birthday freebies are awesome!
    – I refused gift bags and wrap for my father’s day gifts

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

  2. Beautiful flowers, of course, but I love your kitchen counter tops! I’ll be redoing my entire kitchen after our #yearofno, and I’d love to have something like this. Right now it’s a terrible cheap tile and very hard to keep clean.

    I’ve been opening our garage door to keep things aired out here, too. Our highs have been in the ’90s which is hot enough for me. 🙂

    Here are the ways we saved last week:

  3. I used coupons at Red Lobster for our Father’s Day dinner Saturday, even though my kids get a little embarrassed. LOL I recycled my Aldi’s brand of coke cans. I made a trellis from two old porch columns a neighbor threw out. That was my favorite.

  4. We had friends for dinner last night and all food was from our pantry, freezer, and garden. Love it! Picked peas and asparagus for vegetables this week. For salads I gathered chives, lettuce , and arugula. The warmer temperatures have made the lettuce and arugula bolt. I am gathering as much as I can that is still good and after washing I wrap the greens in a clean linen tea towel and then put in a bag in the crisper. Hopefully we will have another couple of weeks of salad this way. I am also drying parsley, basil, and oregano. One night this past week I roasted a large chicken. We have had several meals from it and I am now boiling the bones with a bag of kitchen scraps from the freezer. It should give me about 4 pints of stock for cooking. I will leave a pint in the refrigerator and freeze the rest in 2 cup containers. I have continued cutting flowers from the garden for the house and the front porch. As always, we cook all our own meals and carry snacks and drinks with us when we go out.

  5. I bought 8 pounds of strawberries for $.98 a pound, made 10 halfpints of strawberry jelly and froze approximately 4 pounds for more later. I made homemade Greek yogurt from 2% milk. I turned off the A/C when I went to work as well as various other electrical appliances and augmented the A/C with a portable swamp cooler when I came home. I used kitchen warm up water to water indoor plants.

  6. Sandra, I left some of my bolted arugula in the garden for a bit before and had some of it self-seed. So if you don’t get around to picking all of it or if you pick off the main leaves and let it bolt, you may get more arugula without any effort on your part. Being hot, it may have to grow up, self-seed again, and then you will have a fall crop, or you can eat this next crop, depending on your summer temperatures.

  7. Let’s see. It was a rough work week. I really wanted to go out for tacos and wine Friday night. But when I was done with work and met my husband with the kids, he told me he was sick with an upset stomach. That pretty much changed the whole weekend into “quarantine/ hibernation mode” -because he probably picked it up at work, and I didn’t want our family to be a vector.

    So, no meal out on Friday night. No potluck on Sunday, so I saved myself cooking something big and saved a bottle of wine too. Because he didn’t feel like eating, I skipped my main weekly grocery shop, and I did that last week too. All I got was saltines and applesauce. He wanted some tea, and the brand he likes was on sale for $1.25, but they were out. So I made tea at home from teabags and put it in the fridge. Iced tea!

    The kids and I worked our way through the leftovers. For hubby’s tummy, I made homemade bread, roasted potatoes, and relatively plain pasta (olive oil, lemon, parsley). I also made smoothies and homemade salad dressing. I cooked up a big pot of beans for later in the week.

    For entertainment, day 1 we played Legos and did some coloring. We went outside to play, but it was hot (not Vegas hot, but hot). So we were only out there for about 15 minutes. Once it cooled down later I took the boys for a short 1 mile walk and found another book to read at a little free library. We watched a movie on Netflix (The BFG) and some shows on Amazon (Poldark) and Hulu (Worst Cooks in America).

    Day 2 hubby was feeling well enough to go to work (he has a deadline), so I packed him up applesauce and potatoes for lunch. His Father’s day breakfast was homemade bread. We did some more coloring, but I REALLY needed to get the kids outside. Because of the quarantine, I avoided the invited lunch out playdate. I avoided the neighborhood potluck. I avoided the park. We went to the beach instead, the one with free parking. Except parking was full so we had to park in the nearby street and walk. We did buy smoothies after, which were not cheap. But after the kids were less than appreciative so we are going on a “no treat” streak until end of July, when we go on vacation. So they can learn to appreciate it again.

    All in all, I was well below my budget again this week for groceries. I’ll surely be glad when hubby is better, and hope that nobody else gets sick.

  8. First a question: My apple trees, which are 4 years old, have apple scab. It’s to late to do anything to save my apples this year, but does anyone know what I can do to save the trees (2 of them) so we can actually harvest and enjoy our apples? I have two pear trees next to the apple trees, can those get it too?

    I harvested parsley, strawberries, and green onions. I spread some more fertilizer on the garden and fruit plants and weeded. I planted more basil, parsley, lettuce and delicata squash seeds. My flower seeds in a planter in front of the house have sprouted. My husband picked up some free plants someone was giving away (I am not sure what they are but are just green right now, they will flower next spring if they live) and he planted them around our mailbox.

    cooked all meals from scratch and ate at home

    drank water and made my coffee at home every morning

    purchased a Sam’s club membership, taking advantage of a good deal making the membership $20 ( I missed out of the free products, though, which would have made it .06, but I am ok with that). We purchased some bottled flavored water (for my husband – he’s trying to kick his Mt. Dew habit but does not like plain water), cheese, Ziploc bags, and Dove white bar soap. I began keeping a price list so I know which store has what cheapest.

    I took advantage of a deal at Target to purchase Oxiclean: buy 2 at 9.98 and get a $5 gift card, used a 10% cartwheel plus two $1 off coupons I printed from coupons dot com, plus I had $2.30 left on my last Target gift card bringing the price to just over $4 each. I will use these when I run out of laundry soap soon to make Brandy’s laundry soap recipe. I also noticed while I was there the price of eggs was ridiculously cheap. I will pick some up tomorrow after my daughter’s ear doctor appointment not to far away. I also have a $3 off coupon making a small bottle of Aveeno lotion free that I will pick up at the same time.

    I made minestrone soup, peach pie popsicles, pumpkin bread, tacos with rice, hamburgers with cottage cheese, applesauce, and baked beans, lemonade using bottled lemon juice in the fridge, meatloaf with baked potatoes and homemade “Pizza bake”. My daughter and I made my husband a homemade carrot cake (Brandy’s recipe) for father’s day as it’s his favorite cake.
    I made a meal plan for the coming next two weeks to avoid fast food/ordering in. My employer has me working 6 days next week and things will be hectic.

    I also started working for my best friend who has opened her own mental health practice (She has a Master’s in Psychology and several certifications). I am helping manage the social media accounts for her as she does not have the time right now. Eventually, when she has enough patients, she will bring me on as her Administrative Asst. She pays me a small amount but I enjoy doing what I can to help make her dreams come true. We can also use the money it brings in 🙂

    I stayed home! Saved money, time, gas, and wear and tear on my vehicle 🙂

    I will be getting insurance quotes (home and auto) from some different companies. The one we have had for the last couple years continually raise our rates every month, with no explanation why. I will also be cancelling my amazon prime membership and let my tracfone cell phone shut off after the service days ran out because I never used it. I do have a home phone, that goes through my internet, that only costs $13 per month for unlimited calling in the U.S.
    Have a great week everybody!

  9. My special needs daughter spent 10 days in the hospital. This was a surprise illness. I am grateful for the wonderful care we received from an incredible staff. There is no telling what her bill will be but the hospital said our income is so low that they will write off any balance due. I am grateful for their charity. I was blessed to not have to pay parking at this facility. It is the only free one I have ever seen. We had use of free internet the entire stay. My daughter didn’t eat anything but yogurt and applesauce the entire time. Each day, the dietician would bring me a tray of food. She said they always had extras sent up that did not get used. The food was incredible. I came home to find that I had sixty dollars worth of gift cards available from swagbucks. I stocked up on several grocery items we are low on at My computer died the week before the warranty expired. They couldn’t repair it. They refunded my purchase price and I purchased a nicer one on sale for an additional 16.00 dollars. I rarely buy extended warranties but this item is the exception. That extra 45.00 dollars was well worth it.

  10. This week has been mostly spent on finishing unpacking, though we did make a few financial moves:

    * I picked up my transit card- as a student, I get access to a transit card that allows unlimited rides for $300/year, and since I live right on a train route, taking mass transit to campus is quite easy and much cheaper than driving. Parking on campus would run me at least $70/month, not including gas, mileage, and increased repair costs, plus I won’t get stuck in traffic 😀

    * I did not go grocery shopping at all this week. We’ll need to pick up some milk (and perhaps some bread, if I don’t get a chance to make some), but my SO can do that at work, saving me a trip.

    * We’ve been eating more leftovers from the freezer and using up the food we have already instead of shopping more. I will definitely need to stock up again soon, but I’m hoping to wait until July. I did pick up some bread and some tomato paste (to make enchiladas with chicken from the freezer), but everything else we need we already had.

    * We ended up not using some parts bought at Ikea, so we will return them and get our money back.

    * We ordered a new mattress- a queen, complete with frame, for $400- and it arrived just a few days ago. We finally got it set up today, so tonight should hopefully be quite comfortable!

    * My mom found a comforter set for us for $84 (originally $300). It matches our color scheme in the rest of the apartment perfectly, plus it came with the comforter, 2 regular and 2 euro shams, a bed skirt, and 4 decorative pillows. It looks and feels really nice, especially on the new bed!

    Packing and unpacking all of our stuff reminded me of how much we truly do have and to be thankful for it. Even though I had spent months using up our pantry, we still have so much food left. I retook inventory and planned the rest of June’s and July’s meals based on what we have on hand, so we will only have to purchase a minimal amount of food, which will help with our budget.

    Also, unrelated: I would love tips from others who bake (particularly bread) in a gas oven. I’ve only ever used electric, so I’m in a bit over my head. I also finally had room to put out my toaster oven, so if anyone has any ideas for what to cook in one, I would greatly appreciate hearing about them!

  11. Well, this has been a great week! Last Sunday, we visited our daughter and she taught me how to use my instant pot (I got her one for Christmas that she uses every day. I bought mine last July, took it out if the box in March and hadn’t used it) !! Monday, I hard boiled a dozen eggs with just 2 minutes of actual processing time! They came out perfectly! Tuesday, I used a $1.59 gallon of milk and 2 Tablespoons of a nice Greek yogurt as my start and made 24 containers of Greek yogurt using my instant pot! My cost per single serving container of fruity Greek yogurt was 8 cents/container!!! That’s a major savings and it was so simple! I’m now hooked! Lol!

    We put up our chicken coop expansion using materials we already had on hand! More than doubled their space! We get 2 eggs a day every day now from our 2 hens! The county public health vet inspected our hens and coop and we are legally permitted to have up to 8 chickens!! The we already ordered and are picking up 3 more next Wed!
    I harvested enough peas from the garden to fill a quart ziploc!
    We sold those 2 rain barrels for $85 and could have sold another 6 if we had them!
    Got an order for 2 twin headboards and a bench with storage cubbies below and coat hooks up above! Should be easy to make and is certainly adding to our income! A custom wedding monogrammed tray we made is being picked up tomorrow and Friday another bench and 2 end tables will be picked up!
    We stained/water sealed the front of our side yard fence. Weeded and mulched our berry bushes. I resisted the urge several times when I was running errands this week to stop for fast food, instead considering what we had in our fridge already and saved a ton that way!
    Opening windows still at night. Fortunately this week, the overnight temps will go down so that will be enough to keep us cool!
    All in all, a good week, with more to follow!!

  12. Hi all. Most of my week was spent packing and using up what we have. I have donated many things. I have some more packing tomorrow. Then Tuesday we move.
    Have a good week everyone.

  13. Brandy I have a question. Have you considered purchasing the instant pot? I got one a few weeks ago for my birthday and I love it so much! I was skeptical but I have really enjoyed cooking with it. Dry beans in 40 min, The best pot roast, chicken stock in an hour, mashed potatoes in 10 min, squash in 10 min, shredded chicken (from a frozen block) in 30 min. I’m not sure about the cost of energy to use it but I spend way less time cooking things that used to take a long time. Im a convert and I wanted to hear your thoughts. I know one way it saves me money is I’m less likely to eat out in a pinch if I’ve forgotten to thaw something for dinner. The only think that didn’t work well was shrimp because they made it smell fishy for days and I had to scrub it a lot to get the smell out.

  14. Lovely flower pics! Around here all I seem to be able to grow with any real talent is dandelions, which my son is allergic to *laugh*.

    It’s been busy around here and I’m trying to get as much as I can done without spending any money. The garden is starting to take off, although I have some holes to fill in where seeds didn’t germinate or where conditions just weren’t right to help the plants grow. Overall, though, I’m happy with how the garden is doing so far. I even went out tonight and thinned the turnips a bit and got enough young greens to make myself a salad tomorrow for lunch, which also gave me enough greens already to have paid for the packet of seeds, so woohoo!

    My list for the week can be found here…

  15. Tis past week I’ve tried to use food we have in the freezer…we have so very much for which I am very thankful

    I have been transplanting self sown Heartsease into small punnet multi pots till they grow a bit bigger. I gave one punnet away already to a friend .

    Instead of buying a cake for a Surprise Bday party at the last moment I organized myself and made a basic packet cake mix I keep as a back up and jazzed it up….also used Egg replacer in it deciding to keep the eggs for later.

    Hired a steam cleaning machine for the car seats instead of getting the car detailed . It cost a fraction of the price and I got a workout….although it was an expensive carton of spilt milk 😉 but we have a clean car now!

    Buying for our use when transporting grandson after school a Booster Seat for the car from a local Buy, Sell and Swap for a third of the full price.

    Getting some large black plastic garden pots from a friend who works at a wholesale nursery… Reuse and recycle. I am always looking at ways to save but still to look nice.

    Asked a friend for some Daisy seedling which have sprung up in her garden. They are very hardy and will fill some dry corners.

    Mended, altered and repaired some Pyjamas

    Bought to alter some very reduced price knee length straightish skirts. I am using the easiest method and taking in the side seams all the way to the top and making tiny waist darts. They are a knit material with wide elastic inserted waistband ….I wear long tunic style tops over them. It’s a real comfy style .

    I smiled when I changed the sheets on our bed as I had bought them years ago during a very lean year. They were in an Op Shop as Donna Covers so I just restyled them adding extra to the sides….I don’t think they will ever wear out they are such thick cotton. I still wish that I’d had more money to buy extras 🙂

  16. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia where it is cold and we have the fire on in our mountain cottage 🙂 .

    This weeks frugal accomplishments were –

    Garage sale finds –
    – Picked up 4 outdoor garden solar lanterns new in their box, a leather punch and 10 plastic garden pots for $5 in a pay what you think it is worth garage sale.

    Groceries & budget –
    – Purchased chips to last us until the end of the year on special saving $21.69 compared to usual prices.
    – Whilst out of town topped up on 4 shave creams for DH to last us a year.
    – Topped up on 4 additional tins of lychees and mangoes for our food storage.
    – Came in under budget for our six weeks by $20.56 on our phone and internet usage.
    – Came in under budget in fuel by $37.64 by combining errands when we went out.
    – Banked more money into our saving for our home bank account.

    Home internet business –
    – Sold some saved seeds from our gardens on the internet making $8.50.

    Garden –
    – Picked cherry tomatoes, capsicums, early Massey shelling peas from the gardens.

    In the kitchen –
    – Made an apple pie and pumpkin soup from pumpkins picked from the gardens to last for 2 meals for us and 2 guests for one night.
    – Washed, diced and froze 13 bags of capsicums for advanced food storage.

    Fuel –
    – Purchased fuel while we were out of town saving 7.4c per litre or $2.76 on what we pay here in town.

  17. In the garden we have tiny tomatoes starting to grow. A couple of weeks ago I planted some old cilantro seeds in the garden not really expecting anything to grow, but this week I found some beginning to come up. That was a nice surprise. I harvested more lettuce for salads to put into our lunches.

    Over the weekend and during some 90-degree weather our ac motor went out. Since it was the weekend we weren’t successful at getting anyone to come out to look at it. On Sunday afternoon we were at our daughter’s house who lives next door for a cook-out. Our son-in-law, who works for our local utility company, looked at our ac unit. He was able to get a new motor and installed it for us. It saved us about $500! We have always known how blessed we are to have central air conditioning but this past weekend we felt especially thankful.

    I made Greek yogurt.

    I gave my husband a haircut.

  18. I hope your daughters health improves. It must be so hard not knowing what you have to pay. I’m glad the hospital came through for you.

  19. Lillianna – I am so glad your daughter is better and home (I am assuming). It sounds like a wonderful hospital 🙂

  20. Wow. You have it so hot! We live in PA where it gets very cold and occasionally very hot-but 110 is a rarity. My husband travelled to CA for work once and told me how you never saw anyone outside during the day because it was just too hot. He said they were more comfortable than we are because they are always inside in the air conditioning (and we don’t have one.) Then I see you and I know FOR A FACT that you are outside quite a bit. One can’t have a garden and yard the likes of yours without lots of effort. But, at the same time, you have fair skin and haven’t burnt to a crisp either. So my question is…when do you do most of your yard work? In the morning? Evening? What time do you wake up or go to bed routinely?

    You should be proud of all of your accomplishments. You are a rare find!

  21. I enjoyed Pandora during a 5 hr road trip to visit hubby’s family over the weekend. Even sang along to several of the songs :o). Yesterday I was excited to see the zinnia seeds sprouting that I planted last week. Blueberries and blackberries are coming in well. I thinned some of the apples, and chopped a couple up with the dog’s dinner. We have plans to harvest our garlic today or tomorrow. Basil and purslane were harvested, and turned into a yummy pesto last night. Joining in here:

  22. Yes, Brandy, I have found lettuce, spinach, and arugula reseed easily if allowed to develop seed heads. I just give them a good shake before pulling up the old plants and it gives me a head start on spring greens. Today is cherry canning day. We have two trees full of ripe cherries.

  23. I agree about preferring to cook with gas vs electric. You can learn to time things using residual heat with electric, but I like the immediacy of gas. When it’s on, it’s on and when it’s off, it’s off. Does that make sense?

  24. This is off-topic, but it struck me that there seem to be some Mennonite or Quaker or other Plain folks who comment here, and I wonder if anyone can help me. I am trying to locate a source for back copies of “Plain Magazine,” which ceased publication some years ago. I have recently read a couple of books by Plain’s former editor, Scott Savage, and I would love to find copies (even digital) of the magazine itself. Many thanks for any suggestions anyone can offer.

  25. K. In the summer I only use my toaster oven. I bake my breads as rolls as a loaf is too tall. I make single layer cakes and small batches of muffins. It saves the heat in the kitchen as well as lower electricity. It also helps me to control the size of batches . I tend to cook too much!

  26. I bought three small pans for our toaster oven, and during the summer i use the toaster oven the same as I would the big oven with these smaller pans. You have to watch the items like a hawk (because the oven is smaller it tends to finish faster and would burn most items If I did not watch but it is easy enough to watch and so I do)
    I also use to reheat / during the summer I try to keep the big oven off as it heats the house too much!

  27. I have been fairly frugal I thought, until I came across your blog a few months back. I have always gardened and love yard sales and thrift stores. I will be taking leave from work this week as i just brought my sister home on hospice. As we are going through this time of transition, it has become even more clear to me the importance of family, friends and simplicity.
    My frugal accomplishments have been packing my food for the 24 hour stays with my sister when she was in the hospital. Now, I bring items from my pantry I can prepare at her home. She is not able to eat, so it is only cooking for one at this point.
    Thank you for the loveliness of your blog and your wonderful tips. As my life returns to a more normal pattern I will be glad to add more of your habits to my routines.

  28. This week was a good mix of hard work and fun. We started the week by spending a day cutting a cord of firewood in the National Forest. We found a huge downed tree and it only took half of it to get our cord. We hope to go back for the rest of it soon, but if someone else gets to it first, there are many more downed trees in that area. Getting the wood is very hard work, but it is very satisfying.
    We washed all the windows outside, and most of them inside. My husband took all the big indoor rugs outside and pressure-washed them (Best way we have found to get them clean without damaging them.) They look great now.
    We successfully switched our dogs over to Costco’s Nature’s Domain dog food. One of my dogs has a very sensitive stomach, so we have had him on an expensive pet store food – but a friend pointed out that the ingredients in Nature’s Domain were very similar, so we gave it a try. Not only is the ND $17 a bag cheaper, the bags are 6 pounds larger.
    A friend and I like to get together for lunch whenever our schedules allow (which is only about once a quarter.) This time I suggested she come to my house for lunch. I made a pasta salad and rolls and she brought dessert. She had been wanting to see my garden, so we had a wonderful time visiting – and no restaurant bill.
    We attended our annual neighborhood picnic. The homeowner’s group supplies fried chicken, brats, and dessert and everyone brings a side to share. I made a potato salad. We had fun meeting some new neighbors and visiting with old ones.
    We attended a free concert in the park. I packed a picnic dinner. We had a good time listening to the music and visiting with friends.
    Our local women’s club had their huge annual rummage sale. We spent $24 and came home with a bunch of stuff – including a large rolling suitcase (which we have been searching for for some time) for $5, a pair of women’s Sorrel winter boots in very good condition for $7 (these normally sell for over $100), and a brand new pair of walking shoes – the exact same shoes I bought last week for $50 – for $3. Since I know those shoes fit well and I like them, I bought them to stash away for when my new ones wear out. I also bought a gorgeous linen dress with embroidery around the hem. It was far too long for me, but it has a high waist and I was able to cut out the middle section and sew it back together. The dress cost $1. I wore it to church yesterday and received several compliments. We bought a lot of little, useful things, including fishing line, wooden spoons and Christmas cards, too.
    I harvested radishes, peas, and chard from the garden, transplanted some chard into an empty spot, planted more lettuce and re-planted black-eyes peas.

  29. I am going to a work conference on the beach, and managed to squeeze my tubby self into my old bathing suit and other casual clothes so I had to purchase nothing…yay! I also had to work this weekend because of being gone this week, but that just meant I brought my lunch to work and did not spend any money, other than gas getting to work. I took care of my friend’s dogs last week when she was on vacation. She will take care of my dog and cat while I am gone…bartering at its finest….lol. I did buy sunscreen, snacks etc. at Dollar General using their $5 off $25 coupon. I really need another beach towel but I am gonna try to make do with what I have. I hope that I am able to keep my food expense at a minimum at the beach. It is expensive there, we are required to stay in a hotel room without a kitchen, and I am taking one of my grown sons with me and he eats like a horse…lol.

  30. Weather Underground says it should be 117ºF (47ºC) here today. I went out early this morning (a little late for me; it was 6 and I prefer to be out there by 5), planted two things, covered some more of my grapes with sheets (this seems to be working well, but where I didn’t cover them, the birds are eating them!), pulled a few weeds, and watered the pots. I am usually up before 5 but not today. You can see my schedule here:

    I do burn very easily so I wear a hat and for my face I use a moisturizer with sunscreen on my face and neck. I try to garden when the sun is not up/still low and again at 7:15 or later in the evening in the summer. But picking fruit sometimes means going out during the day, so I try to work quickly. Otherwise I don’t go out during the day in summer. A quick trip to the store (all of 5 minutes away) means getting into a car that is 140º inside and it doesn’t cool much in a 5 minute drive. It’s exhausting and can wipe me out for the whole day. So, when I go to the grocery store, I go after dark (8 here) and while it is often 113º at that time, I am at least not in the sun and am planning on going to bed afterwards.

  31. Devon, so sorry to hear of your sisters health. Having just gone through that myself I know what you are going through. Remembering all the fun I had with my beloved SIL (since I was 3 years old) and taking to her about it, even when she couldn’t respond brought some comfort to my old heart. She and my brother were married 62 years, and three months after she passed he went to join her. A double whammy that I thought I wouldn’t get through, but with loving family, a million memories and the love still sitting in my heart, I have. I pray you have the same.

  32. Whew! That about sums it up. I haven’t posted because life has been so busy. My job is seasonal and this past month has been the busiest time of the year. To share my “odd” job, I carried my camera with me a few days and took pictures. On my blog I am sharing a series of everything that happened over a few days time.
    This is the first of seven posts in the series.

    As for saving money, I turned on auto-pilot. Everything was automatic or reactive. My goal was to try and not whip out the credit card to survive. My brother owns a video production company and so we are traveling from one event to another to video. I try to fix lunches for the crew to help them avoid constantly flying through expensive fast food places eating junk. My one main menu item is bean burritos wrapped in wax paper so they can eat one handed while they continue to work. I vary the ingredients to change up the menu, but the crew is so thrilled to get a “REAL HOME COOKED MEAL” when they are starved and exhausted. I can feed a crew of six for much less than the cost of one fast food meal.

    There was one night I was so rushed I could not fix anything because I was out of food at home. While they were working, I slipped out to go to the grocery store down the street then rushed back before the event began. The crew knew I did not have time to fix anything so they came out to me to offer to buy my dinner. Which fast food joint did I want? I could pick! (YUCK). I confessed to running to the grocery while they were working hard and had a trunk full of food. I humbly offered them the keys to my car and said, “If you don’t mind fixing it yourself, have a tailgate party.” THEY JUMPED FOR JOY GRABBED MY KEYS AND FLEW OUT THE DOOR! Wish I had a picture. I was busy and could not leave but heard tales of all these men rummaging through my trunk fixing their dinner, no silverware but plenty of toilet paper and laundry detergent.

    Life has calmed down now and work is slowing. It is time to get back to important things like gardening and reading blogs.

  33. My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    – continued to be diligent about light and electricity usage. Our temperatures got above 90 degrees last week so we finally turned on the AC. However, temperatures dropped a bit from some storms we got this week, so I’ve only been running it in the very hottest part of the day.
    – I collected shower water, but we got over 3 inches of rain in a four day span, so I haven’t really needed to use it. The rain also saved me from having to water my garden – I missed two regular waterings and probably will not water tonight either.
    -I exercised at school when I worked this week. I have also been trying to do workouts that don’t require electricity for the treadmill.
    -I also charged some electronics while at work this week. For several of my electronics, one charge lasts all week. I charged my phone in the car whenever I had to drive somewhere.
    – Continued to eat leftovers and from our pantry/freezer.
    – only did completely full loads of laundry.
    – I used some coupons to get some good deals on popcorn, shredded cheese, brownie mixes, and gatorade. I don’t usually buy gatorade, as it is so expensive. But I do pick it up when it is on sale as a nice treat for my husband when he’s working in the hot sun.
    – Got chicken breasts for 98 cents a pound. I bought 12 pounds.
    – fixed our broom again. Hopefully this will work better than last time
    – paid a bill online – saving a stamp, envelope, and check
    – did not wear my contacts when I wasn’t leaving the house. This saved me on contact solution. I also did not wear makeup or perfume on those days.
    – checked out the second season of Downton Abbey from the library. Surprisingly, my husband really likes the show, too!
    – Used coffee grounds to make the soil more acidic for my blueberries.
    – combined errands as much as possible
    – attempting to propagate some strawberry plants. I already had everything I needed to do it. The runners were coming out the sides of my raised bed.
    – picked strawberries, radishes, and two tomatoes from the garden
    – bought some junebearing strawberry plants for 50 cents. Bought 4 cauliflower plants for a total of 30 cents.
    – skipped fencing for my bushes, which is what my husband wanted to do to keep the deer out. But I just thought it was way too much money. I am trying a ribbon and pinwheel trick I heard about from a veteran gardener. If it works, the cost will be significantly cheaper, about $6 instead of $300.
    – bought 2 gallons of milk at 87 cents a gallon
    – started saving some ice for blanching vegetables later this summer. This will keep me from buying ice when the time comes. I put one ice cream bucket of ice from our ice maker in the freezer.
    – accepted some leftover pork steaks from my parents. These will be at least two meals for us.
    -skipped eating lunch out when running some errands. Instead we came home and ate some leftovers.

    My husband did have to visit prompt care this week for an allergic reaction. With our insurance, it only cost $25. Thank goodness for insurance.

    I am doing pretty well with the grocery budget this month. I think I’ll have about $20 left at the end of the month. But I also stocked up on several items. And we bought groceries to prepare the sides for a Father’s Day meal with my parents and grandparents. Overall, I am pleased so far.

  34. We feed our cats the Costco Nature’s Domain cat food, they do very well on it. The Nature’s Domain food is made by “Taste of the Wild” (compare ingredients & the addresses on the bag).

  35. Totally! I wasn’t looking forward to this particular birthday as it brought home the fact that I’m getting older and not yet a mom, but between family and friends, it turned out to be a lovely one. Plus, I’m healthy, my family is still around, i live in a safe country, and have access to plenty of food, so I feel VERY lucky to be who i am at the age I am.

  36. This week I worked every day due to a big annual event on Saturday and Sunday. I am an exempt employees, so I don’t receive any extra pay, but I will be able to take a day off next Friday for a three day road trip. My lunch was provided for five of those days by my employer and dinner was provided two of those days. Also I took home about 3 lbs of pulled pork and some grilled hamburgers (I freeze to add to vegetable soup or chili). My husband worked Saturday and Sunday, too, so he didn’t have much of a Father’s Day celebration.

    We did go to the rodeo early in the week, since we had some out of town company. There is rodeo every day for 3 months here. We buy $20 season passes (only available to some locals) since a ticket for one night is $20. We’ll probably go 5 or 6 times during the season.

    We are working hard to pay off our mortgage by September first. Only $10,000 to go!! I think we will make it.

  37. I was thrilled to discover that even though I don’t have a Costco near me, I can get the food mailed to my house with free shipping. This will be a big money saver for us and the dogs really like it.

  38. I also forgot to add that I bought a bow. It wasn’t exactly a frugal purchase, but I had been wanting one for awhile and had saved up the money for it. I actually came in UNDER budget on the purchase. I am hoping that the bow will last me many hunting seasons, allowing me to harvest deer and turkeys to eat. I already shotgun hunt for deer, which makes up the majority of our meat. However, the shotgun season is only 2 weekends. By bow hunting too, I greatly increase the time I can hunt. Hopefully, that will allow me to add more meat to our freezer until we can get enough to last the year. Not to mention, I really enjoy hunting and being in nature. I have also been practicing regularly, which gives me some exercise as well as a fun hobby!

  39. I had a good frugal week.

    * I found large containers of vanilla Greek yogurt on sale for $2.00 each. I bought 4 and froze them in ice cube trays to use in my morning smoothies.
    * Got strawberries for 98c per pound. Froze those also for my smoothies.
    * Used a gift card my husband had received from work for all of my grocery shopping this week. Avoided buying items on clearance that I didn’t need. Still have some money left on it too.
    * Bought eggs on sale and coated them in mineral oil so they would last longer.
    * Used up some leftovers from my freezer including pulled pork that I used to make carnitas tacos on Monday night, BBQ pork on hamburger buns on Tuesday night. Tuesday’s meal was especially satisfying frugally, as we usually eat out on Tuesday nights as we play in a Trivia league and it is held in a bar and grill. Hubby made a point of getting home in time to eat at home first. Had leftover turkey & gravy from the freezer on Wednesday night with boiled potatoes and peas. Thursday I wasn’t sure if I was going to be home to make dinner, so I made a batch of cornbread using my toaster oven instead of the big oven to go with the jar of home canned pintos and jalapenos hubby would be eating. Since I ended up at home after all, I had a can of baked beans and cut up a hot dog in it (both bought on clearance.) I ate half and saved the rest for lunch the next day. Another time we normally would have eaten out, so I feel good about that. We also won a $20 gift certificate for coming in 2nd that night.
    * Ate some leftover cornbread for breakfast with home canned strawberry jam. Froze the rest by putting 2 pieces in each sandwich bag then the 3 sandwich bags in another plastic bag. That way I can easily just take out 2 pieces at a time.
    * Refilled our foaming pump soap dispenser. I use liquid hand soap, diluted 5 to 1. Makes the liquid hand soap go so much farther! Plus I used liquid soap I had gotten free from Staples rewards. Doubly frugal!
    * Our 35th anniversary is next weekend, but hubby will be out of the country, so we went out to dinner on Friday night. We used a gift card to Ruth’s Chris that his employer had given him last year when he was also out of the country for our anniversary. Hopefully we will receive another gift card this year! LOL!
    * Used free hotel toiletries.
    * Drank free coffee and tea I had gotten from work.
    * Had toast with free jelly that I had gotten work.
    * For Father’s Day, my daughter brought over bratwurst to grill. I made a pasta salad with pasta I had gotten on clearance for 50c/lb. I did have to buy cucumber, tomatoes, onions and Italian dressing. I will add a can of tuna to the leftover pasta salad and have that for dinner prior to going to our Trivia league.
    * Got chips on sale. Fritos and Cheetos for $1.77 per bag if you bought 3, and Ruffles, $1.99 if you bought 3. There was a coupon on one of the Ruffles bags for free nacho sauce ($3.99 value) if you bought 2 bags. I got 6 bags of chips. We used 2 for Father’s Day and I will save the others for other events that will pop up.
    * Went to Costco with my husband to buy a car battery. While there, I only bought exactly what I needed: Butter, antihistamine tablets and cottage cheese. I was proud of us for not making any impulse purchases.
    * Had a $10 off of a $10 purchase coupon for JC Penney. Bought an adorable 4-piece pajama set for my grandson that I ended up paying $3.43 for. I bought them in the size he will be on his birthday in November and will give them as a gift.

    Have a wonderful frugal week everyone!

  40. Hello Lorna,
    I love reading your posts every week and I’m oh so curious what the name of your Etsy shop is? I would just love to check it out:)

  41. I have cooked egg and cheese sandwiches in the toaster oven. If a small oven proof dish fits, it is nice for roasting veggies for two. We also use ours for reheating leftovers from pizza to sloppy Joes to cornbread or hotdogs.

    Good luck!

  42. Yes, Happy Birthday Margaret. Many little fun celebrations with the free items. Except for Starbucks, I didn’t recognize the other businesses.

  43. Regarding the gas oven – I had never used one when I was a newlywed over 40 years ago. I thought – what a wonderful drawer at the bottom of the stove, and proceeded to put my dishtowels, hot pads and placemat in this drawer, as our apt. had almost no storage. Well the first time I baked something in the oven I smelled something burning, and all of my nice, new kitchen linens were on fire. It was where the flame was, but having no experience with gas – I had no clue. 🙂 so be careful.

    As far as the toaster oven, I love baked potatoes in them. I don’t like ones from the microwave, so the toaster oven doesn’t heat up the house so much. also I make small pizzas, and really anything you make in a larger oven – just smaller quantities.

  44. I really love the basket that you have your apples in, Brandy. It’s so pretty!

    Well, I’ve had a really busy week this week topped with an even busier weekend. I’m just finally getting time to post my frugal accomplishments. Still haven’t even read any of the other comments yet, either, but I will over the next few days. Still exhausted after the Smoke and Steam Father’s day event at work on Sunday…looking forward to a good night’s sleep! Anyways, this week our frugal accomplishments included:
    *Meals made at home this week included homemade chicken souvlaki with white rice and corn, BBQ hamburgers & hotdogs with salad, chicken low mein stir fry with veggie spring rolls, chicken fingers with tater tots and corn, and pasta with sausage and tomato sauce (DD had past mixed with a bit of oil, parmesan cheese and mozarella cheese, since she doesn’t like tomato sauce).
    *Bought take out pizza one night for dinner. I used the leftovers for lunch nearly every single day this week.
    *Took DH out for dinner to Chinese buffet on Father’s day, after both of us came home from extremely busy days at work.
    *Instead of baking treats last weekend, we opted to use some of our home canned raspberry applesauce (literally apples and some raspberries added , then cooked down into a sauce – delicious!) as her lunch treat this week. This weekend I baked up a brownie mix from the pantry for the lunch treat for this coming week, as well as a father’s day treat.
    *I’ve been cooking several hard boiled eggs at the beginning of each week, then putting the extras in the fridge to use during the week. I often eat one egg, warmed slightly in the microwave, in the morning for breakfast. My mom will sometimes use one to make an egg salad sandwich for lunch. Sometimes my daughter will eat one as devilled eggs or egg salad as her breafast, depending on her mood. By cooking several at once, I save on energy and it is definitely a time saver too!
    *Popped into Costco, after filling up my car with cheap gas, to pick up a few items on my list. Lucked out and found some of the items on sale that I needed (I have a list of items to buy if on sale). Also found 2kg jars of peanut butter (the BIG jars) for $3.49 each! Whoohoo!!!! Bought 12 jars, even though I just restocked our supply. Can’t beat that price!!!
    *Bought 12 cans of spagetti sauce, 12 cans of mushrooms, 6 cans of baked beans, and 4 packages of pasta (900g size) for $0.75 each can/package (plus 2 containers of margarine @ non-sale price of $1.50 each). Total cost $28.50 and our pantry is now well stocked for the next few months!!!
    *As a grade 8 grad gift for my daughter, we bought her a new double mattress set (she currently has a worn out twin bed). Since she needed a new set anyway, it was the perfect, practical gift. We watched for a sale before buying, of course. We already have a double bed frame and old head board that belonged to my grandparents that will work just fine, saving us on those costs.

    That’s all I remember for now. Looking forward to reading everyone’s comments as I get time. Have a wonderful week everyone!

  45. Mandy you should call your county extension to see what is best for your area. You do know you can still eat the apples, right?? There is nothing chemically/biologically wrong with them that could make you sick. Just cut away what you don’t want on this year’s crop and look into treatment before next season.

  46. Hi Robbie and glad you like reading my posts and sure that wouldn’t be a problem.

    I did shut my Etsy shop but do have one on Ebay. I sell under the name of sewingcreations15 so if you do a search by seller you will find my shop. For most items I design and sew them myself and sell and post internationally. With the saved garden seeds unfortunately due to import/export restrictions I can only post those to Australia.

    Hope this helps.

  47. We bring our crockpot with us when there is no kitchen. I wash it in the bathroom sink when done. We bring a cooler and fill it up with ice every day. I pre chop everything up ahead of time.

  48. My Mom always had a gas stove and we always seemed to rent apartments with electric stoves after we were married. When we bought this house 39 years ago it did not have gas run to the house at all–and still doesn’t. Now I love my electric stove–you have the exact same “evenness” of heat when you turn it down, so it isn’t a little higher flame on Tuesday than it was on Monday. The residual heat thing can work to your advantage too. Making your double recipe of granola, I cook it for 8 minutes and then another 8 minutes after stirring, and stir again and put it in for 8 more minutes after turning the oven off. I let it cool for 10 minutes and then put it into my granola container for the week ahead. I guess you can get used to anything if you have to use it.

  49. Thank you Athanasia! I did not know we could still eat them 🙂 I guess I should have googled that! LOL I will call our county extension and see what they say to use. Thanks again!

  50. Hello Devon and lovely you have joined us all here 😀 .

    As a fellow carer to my husband with injuries let me tell you you are doing a wonderful job and you are right family, friends and simplicity are certainly what get us through here too.

  51. Thanks, Athanasia! Regarding the stores, Shopper’s Drug Mart is kind of like Walgreen’s or wherever that store is where you get ECBs (or like Boots in the UK); Mary Brown’s Fried Chicken is like KFC (except way yummier, in my opinion. Their seasoned taters are the BEST); David’s Tea is just a chain of tea houses, although it’s mostly for buying loose leaf or prepped teas to go, usually people don’t buy teas to sit down and drink there; And Sephora is a make-up/skin care store that sells all brands under one roof (I know it’s in the US as well).

  52. Happy birthday! One caution, please: don’t send the confetti in cards to anyone older or with mobility problems. I have a disease that makes it hard for me to walk and it makes me crazy, and has driven me to tears, to open a card and have things spill out all over the floor. Pets can also be attracted to those bright shiny objects…I don’t mean to rain on your parade, just to alert you to things an able-bodied or younger person may not think of. It also infuriates me to open a magazine and have those loose cards spill out all over the floor…

  53. Julie, something that made my family less embarrassed, and even turned them on to couponing themselves, was to keep track of every single penny I saved with coupons. At the end of the month, I’d announce the total and point out what that amount would buy. It became a game with the kids and as adults they are now very aware of how to get a bargain!

  54. Harvested my first cucumbers, pak choi, carrots and scallions this week. It snowed slightly/went below freezing/hailed on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, but I had everything covered so nothing was ruined. The growing season for interior Alaska is about 90 days, 100 days in a good year, so I start things indoors, transplant as soon as I can (my raised beds mean the soil warms up faster) and cover things at night. It is hailing as I write this and I don’t have everything covered but it isn’t supposed to last long so I am probably okay. I grow my carrots in 5 gallon buckets and start five buckets really early, and then on June 1 I put more seeds into the ground, so I have a fresh crop much earlier than usual and then the regular carrots in late July.

    Harvested my early season honeyberries and froze them for smoothies; I sneak the carrot tops and pak choi into the smoothies and no one notices if I use blueberries or honeyberries. Honeyberries perform really well in cold climates, one of the few fruits I can count on making it through the winter.

    Ate from the freezer and pantry, since I have some stuff that is getting old.

    Traded homemade jam for fresh salmon a friend caught this last weekend.

    Salvaged a pair of pants. I was going to get rid of them but my husband, who is the seamster in the family, went over every seam with a close zigzag pattern and put in new elastic so they should be good for another five years! They are so worn they are like wearing pajamas and a neutral color so I can wear them with any shirt. I love them and wish I’d have bought five pair when I bought the one!

    Made bread and pie crusts. I don’t like making pie crusts but I didn’t want to go to the grocery store…

    Used a British recipe to make breakfast scones, with ham chunks and cheese. Great to grab and run. Can’t believe I am still eating down the NY ham…

    Cashed in $25 with Swagbucks, to get an Amazon card. Used it to order more canning lids (not the screw on parts, just the lids you cannot reuse) and some Nips, my husband’s favorite candy. His birthday is coming up so I am looking for little treats, since neither one of us really needs anything.

    Discovered Allivet, where I could get my ancient dog’s arthritis and pain drugs for a third of what the vet clinic changes and half of what the other pet med online place charges. It saved me over $300 for a 6 month supply. My rule is I will pay up to 10% more to buy locally instead of online, when dealing with local small businesses like the vet, but I could not ignore this kind of savings. IT pains me not to buy local, when I see these small places struggling but I have to balance it with what we can afford. My old boy will likely die within the year and I want him comfortable to the end because he has been such a faithful companion and once scared off a persistent man who knocked on the door, swaying and incoherently asking for directions. I was home alone and when he sense I was nervous, my faithful Dane reared up on his hind legs and barked in the guy’s face. For that alone, I’d spend whatever it takes to make his life easier.

  55. Your flowers are just lovely! How do you keep them from burning in the heat? Our temps were in the 90s by the last part of of the week–and we’re supposed to top 100 this week–and our poor flowers do NOT like it. Well, actually, the black-eyed-Susans and coreopsis don’t seem to mind a bit, but the roses, hydrangeas, and gardenias are pretty crispy. 🙁

    Frugal Efforts:

    * Ate mostly home-prepared meals.

    * Hubs and son rode bikes to work/school 4 times (by Friday it was too hot).

    * Harvested lettuce, purple pole beans, the first zucchini of the season, broccoli, 1 (!) blackberry and 1 (!) strawberry, grapes, green onions, beets, and yellow squash.

    * Collected eggs from our hens.

    * Checked out books, DVDs, and CDs from the library.

    * Walked for exercise.

    * Either composted or fed the hens produce scraps.

    * Used warm-up/rinse water on potted plants and our new rose bushes. The state has lifted the official water/drought restrictions, but I don’t want an enormous water bill so we’re continuing to conserve.

    * We, too, have been able to open up the windows/doors in the mornings and at nighttime. The AC is set for 80. So far, I’ve been able to hold off on the AC until about 4 p.m. Then we can usually open up again around 9 p.m. This week, with temps in the mid 90s to low 100s, we will probably have to run it more, but I’ll hold out as long as possible. We use ceiling fans and keep the blinds closed as well when it’s hot like this.

    * Thirteen years ago we added blown-in insulation to our walls (our house is over 60 yrs. old and had virtually no insulation when we bought it), and then we also added additional roof vents and turbines. These measures, in addition to a giant magnolia tree (which came with the house) and a bougainvillea vine (which we planted years ago), help to keep our house fairly cool most of the time. They have more than paid for themselves. We’ve looked into solar, but the pay-back time would be much too long for us (our electric bill averages about $70 per month–higher in the summer, of course, but lower most of the year).

    * I’m rooting cuttings from one of our pothos plants. These are plants we used in our wedding 30 years ago! We just keep taking cuttings from them.

    * Son is working on his Cooking merit badge for Scouts, so we’re teaching him to “shop” the garden, fridge, freezer and pantry as he plans meals.

    * Cooked up a big crockpot of pinto beans, ran them through the food processor, and froze them in 2C portions to be used in burritos.

    * Paid bills on line.

    * Son hand-delivered some thank-you notes.

    Frugal “Fail” (sort of)

    * Our washing machine sprang a leak, and we paid someone to fix it. Normally, Hubs would have done the repair himself (it turned out to be just a split hose), but he just didn’t have the time this past week. We used money from our “new fridge” fund, so hopefully our fridge will keep going for several more years (it’s about 14 years old). I’m just thankful that we had the necessary funds to get the job done.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  56. This past week, I gave 2 birthday parties for the girls. (Of my 8 children, 3 birthdays are within 8 days of each other) The party for the one that turned 17 was a BBQ and sugar donut party. She rallied the aunties and her dad and I, and we were able to cook it all, including my sister and aunt frying raised donuts on the spot. The girls played SPOONS, and took a walk to a nearby park and took pictures. Simple and fun.

    The other party was a tea party for the daughter that turned 13. I let her invite a few friends in after school Wednesday and served them little sandwiches, chocolate-dipped strawberries, tea, etc. My niece and older daughter helped make some of the food. It was very elegant and nice. They then played croquet on the lawn. Also, simple and fun.

    We bought a zoo pass, with summer fun for our kids and the kids we work with in mind. As of today, we’ve already used it twice. Last week, I took the 2 homeschooled girls (niece and daughter) to the zoo to celebrate a little friend’s birthday. So, 3 ladies, 2 teens and a newly-turned 3 year old enjoyed a rainy, windy day at the zoo. We had a lot of fun, but no picnic for us that day.

    Today, my husband and I took 1 daughter, and my niece and nephew. Today was super hot, sunny, and we did enjoy a picnic. My husband had his last day of school/work on Friday, and is now off until September. His summer job is working as a PSW (personal support worker) for my special needs niece and nephew, same as mine. We will take turns working when there is only one of them that needs support, and we can both work if they both need care at the same time. There are goals they are working on and we take them places, and do activities with them to help them work on those goals. Sometimes we take them places and do activities, such as today, and sometimes we help them with learning to do chores, and other more mundane, but useful, activities. We were both needed today as both their mom and dad needed to work.

    The garden has started to produce. I’m hoping that my husband can till a bit tomorrow and I can plant another succession planting of green beans and lettuce.

  57. Caring for special needs children is hard enough. But when sickness strikes, it can be even more stressful. I hope your daughter is on the road to a full recovery. So glad that the hospital was so generous with the financial support and meals, too. I’m sure that is a huge relief for you!

  58. I used my toaster oven all the time when my daughter was younger. My husband worked evenings, so it was just her and I for dinner. The toaster oven was perfect for making dinners for two. I would cook convenience foods, like fish sticks or chicken fingers for us then add veggies and rice, mashed potatoes or something like that. When I was just out of college, I rented a room one summer where I only had a toaster oven and hot plate to cook with. I made all my meals, as well as baked cupcakes and muffins with just those two appliances. A toaster oven is really just a mini oven!

  59. Thank you Linda. I am so sorry for your double loss. I think you are right in that we get to a place where the most healthy thing to do is remember with joy and a grateful heart for the people we have been blessed to have in our lives.

  60. I make baked potatoes in the crock pot. I think they turn out just as good as in the oven, and it doesn’t heat up the house.

  61. Wow, Pam, thanks for the information on Costco’s ND! I feel Taste of the Wild to my 8 year old Cocker and am happy to learn they are the same. I’ll check out her favorite on my next trip to Costco. Thanks again.

  62. We have pretty much stayed out of the grocery store for 3 weeks now other than for milk (hubby needs to learn to walk by sale items though….he brought more than just milk home!) and have started going to the big farmers market for our produce (cheaper and better quality too). We also get “double up bucks” there. So for $20 in food stamps they will double it and give us another $20 in double up coins to use for food at the market. I was able to actually get some duck eggs for myself there as well and they only cost us 2.50 for a 1/2 dozen.
    * Mended a pair of my “trash” jeans that I use for doing messy outdoor or painting projects. I also put elastic in another pair of capris and a pair of shorts. I also made myself a new headband from a scrap of vintage material.
    * I painted an old antique apple crate with paint I had on hand that matches the colors in my sewing room. I will use it to store my mending pile in.
    * A friend gave me a new pair of tennis shoes she couldn’t wear.
    * I am back at work so I am bringing home odds and ends for my poultry again which cuts down on the feed they eat. I am getting 2 eggs a day from my 2 chicken hens but the duck hens are still too young to lay.
    * I accepted leftovers from my in-laws after a dinner – she makes a small portion of her beans and potato salad w/o onions for me.
    * We bought cat litter using coupons I received from complaining to the company about the change in their product (had to take a drywall mud paddle to the wet spots because they stuck that hard to the bottom of even my new boxes!)
    * “Dog sat” my brother in law’s Pyrenees and he paid us. She is a total diva and is not good with cats AT ALL so we have to keep her leashed in the house. Our cats see her and they just all head to the safe spots now – my son’s room and the basement. No amount of correction is working so we are just making sure to keep our cats safe.
    * Started getting a few berries – enough for hubby to put on his cereal. My raspberries are loaded in blossoms so it won’t be long now for them either. My beans[i] finally[/i] made it thru the ground since we [i]finally[/i] got a couple days with decent rainfalls. My cukes are blossoming already as is my summer squash. My sweet and hot peppers are still struggling – i am not sure I will get anything from them if we get an early frost this year. My volunteer tomato plants are looking better than the ones I started early in the house so I’m going to just let those go and see what we get. My potatoes are huge and already blossoming as well and the ones I pretty much just thew in the ground along our fence line cause I was out of room in the garden are just now coming up as well 🙂
    * I started the process of sorting thru ALL of our tools and hardware including all of the various bolts, screws and nails. We can never find a tool when we need it cause they are in 3 different places in the house! The amount of tape measures and screwdrivers I’ve found is impressive! I emptied some my son’s Legos into a rubbermaid tub and then took the plastic drawer towers to use for the tools so we can organize them into 3 sets for each area that needs them. I still have 2 more huge drawers to empty of his Legos – he’s 21 so no longer playing with them but I refuse to sell them as they are the old type with less molded pieces and more just plain bricks so you can build anything – not just the original set. I also have saved almost all of the instructions that came with the sets. Someday I may have grand kids who’ll appreciate them.
    * I finally got to the bottom of the brush pile. I spent alot of time during my six weeks of recovery outside cutting down the smaller branches. They are now all piled into 5 gallon buckets and feed bags and we will use them in the wood stove in the winter. The amount is taking up ALOT of space in my shed right now. I cleaned up the leftover mess and put it around my raised boxes. I also emptied the ash from the old burn pit into my raised beds.
    * We had 90 degree temps for almost a week but our A/C was running but not cooling. I am very glad I hung onto as many fans as I did! It took 5 days to get someone to come out and “fix” it – they put new refrigerant in it but said there is probably a leak but they our home appliance warranty thru the gas company doesn’t cover leak diagnostics, just minor leak repair…..which makes no sense but for now, it is again cooling. Of course now the heat wave is over and we don’t need it running LOL. For the problems that we had getting someone out here we were given 2 months of warranty service for free and after the mix-up over leak repair and whether they diagnosis it, they gave us a $100 credit – which pays next months gas bill. This the 2nd time we’ve had problems with their service but we couldn’t afford to have the appliances repaired otherwise.

    Brandy – the flowers are beautiful! I wish my glads would have come up…..I think something may have eaten them since not a single bulb has made a showing and I planted them at the beginning of June!
    Have a great week everyone!

  63. We are celebrating my husband’s 50th bday in a few weeks and having a big party. He didn’t want me to cook, but after I got the quote for brisket and sausage from a local restaurant ($1500.00) I decided to cook the meat myself on the grill. My best friend is helping me cool the rice, potato salad and beans, which means that overall, including the drinks, the party good for 75 folks will be less than $300. I also tried to get some paving done on our backyard but couldn’t believe a cheap quote was 1600.00. We decided to mow the lawn very short and do with what we have. Even though I tried to start digging myself for a nicer dining area, Its very hard work and given I have so many neck and health issues, I will just have to be grateful we have a large yard and that people are celebrating my husband and not the yard. It’s so hot here in TX and I’ve taken my kid’s to the pool since its free for entertainment. We are pet sitting for a week and that was a nice surprise to bring in extra income.

  64. Its winter solstice today in the southern hemisphere and bbrr its cold. I’m continuing to put the grey laundry water on the garden beds that contain shrubs and flowers only. There is a shrub that lost a fight with a hoard of native sawfly caterpillars and it looks no worse than usual. The washing machine provides about 30 litres of water over a wash cycle. So I think its a good way to use the water twice and reduce my water bill overall.
    I continue to use the warmed up shower water on the vegie garden and in the plant pots.
    Now I’m looking for ways to save on heating.
    Frugal fail or relationship win…I had to fly to Sydney for work and the work trip incuded a free breakie. But I ended up going to visit a friend who lives a long way from the city and paying for breakie. I hadn’t seen her a two years so it was lovely to sit and chat before I rushed back into town for work.

  65. Devon, I am sorry to hear about your sister. We have said goodbye to several family members, including my father in law, over the past few years. Any moment you can spend with family is precious.

  66. Alexa, Great idea about renting the machine to clean the car interior! I am borrowing my daughter’s car for 5 weeks while she is out of town, and I thought of getting it detailed for her as a “thank you” before I return it. However, your idea has prompted me to rent a machine and put in some effort on my own to clean the car and save some money.

  67. Hello everyone! I have enjoyed reading everyone’s comments. They always give me extra motivation to find ways to hold onto my hard-earned money, and find beauty in every day.

    This week, my sister and I took 3 of my children to the Botanical Gardens in our area, which was free since we are members. They had fun Lego displays throughout the gardens (a dragonfly, a butterfly, deer, a peacock, etc…all made from thousands of Legos!) that were quite amazing. We packed a picnic and ate outside in a park, so no added cost there. My son asked if I would buy him a bouncing ball ($4) from the gift shop. I told him that if he really wanted the ball, I would loan him the money, but he would have to pay me back immediately when we got home. He decided he didn’t need the ball after all, and put it back. 🙂

    I also decided to plant some raspberry and blueberry bushes in my yard, so I dug up some big, prickery bushes to make room for them. It was hard work, but the beds are ready for the new bushes that I will purchase when I get my next paycheck at the end of the month. They may not produce this year, but I am thinking ahead to the future.

    Our neighbor invited us to swim in her pool one hot (93 degree) afternoon. It was exactly what my kids needed.

    Made all meals at home.

    One daughter made peanut butter cookies to take to a get-together with her friends, and another daughter made 2 kinds of popsicles to take to her friend’s house.

    I’m planning to stay out of the stores for the rest of the week, so I made a list of all of the treats I can make with items I have on hand so that my kids (and husband) don’t notice I haven’t gone to the store to replenish their snacks.

    Have a great week everyone!

  68. This past week was a mixed bag. On the good side, my husband was invited by his boss to go deep sea fishing for the weekend. All his costs were covered and he came home with 11 pounds of red snapper and three pounds of black fin tuna. Since I do not care for fish, he’s set for a while. I packaged it up in vacuum sealed bags for the freezer and he had a generous tuna dinner tonight.t.

    On the bad side, a foolish mistake on my part cost us on one of our utility charges. I won’t be making the mistake again. To try to recover, we will be eating from the pantry for the rest of June and only buying necessities (milk, bread, etc.)

  69. Not a long list of accomplishments last week. We were on vacation for the early part of the week but came back a day early, so saved a bit there. We went to the national parks in the southeastern part of Utah, absolutely beautiful. My husband had surgery Friday so spent the weekend at home recovering. Overall, I continue to draw down the freezer and pantry, now the freezer is 1/3 full so the end is in sight…after I cook three turkeys ;(. I went insane last fall buying five turkeys…my most recent idea is to have a group of friends over for dinner and have turkey! One down, two to go. Since there are only two of us, a 20 lb turkey lasts a long time. Especially since I only learned how to make turkey soup two years ago…(I can’t believe all the years I tossed out the turkey carcass…better late than never).

    Weather in Arizona is crazy hot this week so we will have another frugal week staying at home in our air conditioning.

  70. -I didn’t book a vacation
    -I didn’t buy a nice cold refreshing soda when running errands
    -I said no to having friends over and providing a meal for their family. We never get invites to their house and I feel it’s unfair they never put on food for us. A very one sided friendship
    -staying with my parents at their vacation rental next week. Kids will have a blast at the beach
    -said no to buying things as per usual
    -my children’s private french tutor is on one month holiday so no tutoring costs for that time
    -library visit
    -park visit and duck pond
    -rotating children’s toys..brings more enjoyment and more creative play. Children have a restricted amount if toys but i still feel they only need a limited few out at a time
    -making cookies with flour, sugar and hours worth of rolling and cutting out shapes for the children!
    – researching internet providers and computer prices as we have neither
    -researching french TV to stream onto our TV
    -being intentional

  71. Quiet week overall.
    Husband got 2 tix to symphony and restaurant gift card for father’s day. I won at silent auction. Was price of tickets alone.
    Made a breakfast cobbler with last of our peaches.
    Turned up thermostat. Lesson. Even if you think you’ve set it at a temperature… check!!
    Daughter is at free stem camp this week.
    Got 3 meals out of a pizza deal
    Have a great week everyone!

  72. Are you looking for shows for your children to watch in French? Do they like Le Petit Nicholas books? There is also a television show that they can watch for free on You Tube, based on the books, all in French. Here is the channel:

    We have the slowest cable modem (it’s slower than they advertise if you call, but on their website they list this speed) but it is fast enough to stream online to watch. You may also want to look into Kodi; you can watch tons of stuff for free online with it (you’ll need a computer) and you can watch French tv live online for no cost (provided you have a computer, internet, and have Kodi).

    While your children are taking a break from their tutor you may want to check out Learn French With Alexa on You Tube to keep them studying. If they’re more intermediate, Francais Avec Pierre is a great You Tube channel as well.

  73. Hi! The gardener told me to put pin wheels – bright, shiny ones work best in my garden. I put one on each corner and two in the middle. Then he said to tie gift wrap ribbon (curly ribbon) around tomato cages or sticks throughout the garden. The idea is that these items will move around with very little wind movement. The movement scares deer more than smells. As a deer hunter for the last 18 years, I can tell you that deer are very skittish at movement. So I thought I’d try the trick – so far, so good.

    I also heard that if you “fence in” your garden with fishing line abou a foot off the ground and again about 3 feet off the ground, it will keep them out. The idea is that they won’t seen the fishing line and will walk into it. Not being able to see what is touching them should scare them away. I plan on trying that trick as well. I live in the deer Capitol of the Midwest so I battle deer every year.

  74. Well we do have a KFC but I am anti fried food person so my husband occasionally picks up some for himself when he is out over the lunch hour. A tea shop would be nice; we have coffee shops but I think they mainly have the tea just by the teabag.

  75. I used to take my small crockpot with me when I would go to conventions as well. Split pea soup was a favorite. Also, chicken and rice using canned chicken. Also rice pudding. Basically any ‘pantry’ food could work.

  76. Yes, llillianna, I am thankful to hear the good outcome for your daughter. It sounds to be the best of a bad situation.

  77. Oh Nancy, how sad your brand new items were damaged. But it makes one of those funny stories. Haha.

  78. Is WAR TIME FARM a PBS show? Is that the actual name? I checked the public library system, which is quite extensive, and nothing was found. Thanks in advance for any information.

  79. Robbie, you can make Greek Yoghurt by straining out regular yoghurt until it reaches a thicker consistency. I usually line a colander with a clean cotton dishtowel or some cheesecloth, pour the yoghurt on top, and place the colander over a bowl to drain for 6-12 hours, or until it is as thick as you like it. Easy to do!

  80. I hang ribbon with old/used CDs on them to keep the birds out of my garden. I had read it somewhere. It works really well. Might work for deer too. They spin very easily and during the day the sun hits them and the light jumps all around.

  81. I like the best of both worlds. We built this house with a gas cooktop and 2 electric wall ovens. I like the instant on and off heat for the kettles and pans on the cooktop.
    I like the constant temp and the residual heat, as mentioned above, in the ovens. I cook and bake a lot. When the power goes out you can still use the gas stove too by manually lighting.

    In our old farmhouse next door where my oldest girl and her family live the kitchen still has the old wood burning range, though no one uses it now.

  82. I’m not sure if it will help, but you might try contacting one of the Quaker colleges/universities to see if they have back issues (perhaps in their special collections libraries if they have them). Whittier College and George Fox University come to mind. There may be others (i.e., Azusa Pacific University is nondenominational, but it has a strong Friends connection).

  83. Oh Brandy you are lovely. Thank you very much for these great resources, I have written them all down. Anything my children can watch and read to increase their learning (and have fun!) is fantastic.

  84. Greetings!
    Our weather is still very much up and down. I heard someone mention that we’ve had four days of no rain this month. We’re due more starting tonight. All the rain means no garage sales, either. Boo…..
    I’ve been working my Summer job for the past month as well as my two one-day-a-week jobs. My frugal list is for several weeks.
    I used dried herbs from last year to make herbal oil for salve making. These include lavender and comfrey. (I’ve had the comfrey so long I can’t remember where it came from.) I found some plantain in my yard so I have some of that steeping, as well. I hope to get to the salve making this week or next.
    I received a gift card from amazon so I ordered a bike basket. I’ve been trying to ride the bike more and use the car less. I work within three blocks of all my jobs. I’m not a fan of riding at night, though. Plus, I almost got hit two years ago when a car did not yield to me when I crossed a street. People do not see bikes.
    In the yard, as I was thinning apples, the limb split. So, I had to trim it. I also took the old mulch away from all the trees, cleaned up the weed barrier fabric, replaced that and added new mulch. (That was a sore day!) I also trimmed, repotted and picked the lemons from my indoor tree. I juiced those, cut the skins in strips, cleaned those and froze them to candy near Christmas. I love candied citrus peels!
    I made applesauce out of wonky apples and froze most of it. All peels and veggie scraps are going in the compost can. I made banana/chocolate chip muffins with some bananas I froze months ago. I put some in the freezer and shared the rest at work.
    In our small town, we were lucky to get some art installations from the DIA. We have about a dozen paintings that were copied and hung all over town. So, on one of my dog walking nights, I tried to find as many as I could. They’ve since added a few more so I need to take another look.
    Since I was working on Farmer’s Market night I sent my husband to see if there was anything we needed. He used some of my dollar tokens I earned from walking and brought home rhubarb and pea shoots. I don’t know what to do with the pea shoots but I’ll learn. My rhubarb is still fairly small so this will be nice for crisps and maybe a pie. (Pie is under valued, in my opinion.

  85. My husband is a cook in a restaurant. Nearly every holiday or celebration throughout the year are affected…not to mention they are always busier on those days. He often comes home exhausted as a result, putting even more of a damper on our celebrations. It’s has just become a part of our everyday lives.

  86. They do love me! How could they not?
    They are always so hungry and many times we are not close to a place where they could buy food even if they wanted. What I fix is so simple, frugal, but nourishing. I cook a pot of beans and rice, then add whatever is in the refrigerator, sprinkle liberally with cheese, then wrap up the burrito with wax paper. It does take time to do when I am tired but when I see their faces, it is all worth it. They thank me over and over again. I am a sucker for praise every time. In return they buy me coffee and treats. When someone buys bagels for the early shows, no one gets one out of the bag until I pick first.

  87. It’s a BBC show, and you can watch it on You Tube 🙂 There is also Victorian Farm, Edwardian Farm, and Tudor Monastery Fram, plus they did a Victorian Farm Christmas and they did a castle series too. It’s wonderful! And yes, that’s the actual name. I like them all but particularly liked War Time Farm!

  88. Devon, our prayers are with you and your sister that you both may feel peace and comfort during this time.

  89. I have a generic Instant Pot. I love it. I use it almost every day. Sometimes two to three times a day. I can now buy the less expensive cuts of meat and they turn out fabulous. And, I get bone broth to freeze when I’m done.

  90. Hilogene, have you ever tried making turkey pot pies for your freezer with some of the leftover turkey? You can use the homemade turkey stock to create the gravy base, then add cooked veggies/potatoes and leftover chopped turkey and season to taste to make the filling. We make homemade pie crust, then fill up the pies with filling, but you could buy pre-made crust if you prefer, or use puff pastry on top. Normal sized pies are perfect for family meals, but individual sized allow you to adjust how much you make. We freeze the pies unbaked, then bake them when we are ready to enjoy as a meal.

  91. Pauline, I don’t have a good suggestion. You already read the books he wrote so that is a good portion. Have you actually had any of the magazines in your hand? They were never “mass produced” like other magazines are. There are no digital versions. We have some in our church library, in our magazine section. Which is basically box slips of donated magazines, newspapers. Did you try the EBAY?

  92. Hi Jessica,
    Thank you for sharing your tricks to scare away deer! I have hundreds of flowers ready to bloom, and the deer have already started to feast on them at night. I don’t want to lose all of them, so I am going to try these tips. I have already put down some Irish Spring soap shavings, since one of my neighbors swears by this method, but better to double up on my efforts than go without flowers.

  93. Pea shoots are yummy in a green salad! Just wash them and toss them in with the other ingredients. They taste just like freshly shelled peas.

  94. Lynne, we have lot of deer in our area that will eat almost anything. I have had good luck spraying regularly with Liquid Fence or a similar product. It stinks when you first put it out, but that fades, and it does work. I have Columbines and several neighbors have commented that they can’t keep the deer from eating theirs. You do have to reapply after a rain.

  95. I love that you make lists of treats to have…I make lists of snacks do that, when I am so hungry I cannot think of anything to eat except junk, I can choose thrifty healthy food.

  96. I used to live in a motel for 8 yrs. Crock pot, electric skillet and cooler.. An instant pot would be better than a crock pot if you already have it. Ramen noodles soaked in lg bowl with hot water on them (cover bowl) will replace pasta. Minute rice is the same way.

  97. When I was a teenager, a former neighbor showed up, drunk, at the front door in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday when dad was not home. Mom was not at all happy to see him without his wife. He tried to show my mom a small injury on his hand and that’s when our 6.5 pound poodle took action and earned his keep. He made the most ferocious low-throated growl we ever heard from him. The drunk sobered right up and left. I think the dog got roast beef that night for dinner. Or steak.

  98. I lived in a teeny tiny studio (180 sq ft within earshot of the Pacific on stormy nights) for seven years. My kitchen consisted of 30″ or 36″ wide stove/sink/refrigerator (no freezer) combination appliance and a toaster oven. I love to bake and baked everything I wanted except bread (The next toaster oven I buy is going to be tall) and sheets of baklava for a wedding reception. I borrowed the landlady’s oven for that. I didn’t want to bake turkeys or entire chickens. 🙂 I LOVED my toaster oven and hope you enjoy yours.

  99. Rhonda,
    Thank you for the idea. I had thought about it a few months ago, after the last turkey, but was intimidated since I never have made a pot pie before. I have a package of frozen pie crusts, so will do it next week when I bake the turkey. Thank you for helping get me to do it 😉

  100. Thanks, Athanasia and Sheena, I am grateful for the input from both of you. No, I have not actually seen an issue of Plain (and I have since read more about how it was hand-printed). It makes sense that much of the books’ content came from the magazine articles, so maybe I have read much of it without knowing it. Checking eBay sounds like a good idea. And I don’t know what abebooks is, but I’ll be looking into it!

  101. I know how you feel. I got an oven thermometer that hangs on the rack. (Mine runs hot) You may need to lower your cooking temp by 25°, esp w dark pans. Easier to cook a little longer on a lower temp, than have something burn when you attempted regular instructions. You don’t need much of a preheat time. Also start checking items 15-30 min early. You will also find you prefer some pans over others. You will start to learn timing. If you start to smell something, check it. Cookies bake pretty fast. I prefer to use parchment paper w those and it helps. I mostly use top rack. If you attempt to bake using two racks…watch closely and rotate multiple times. My oven has a warming drawer under. I only store cast iron in it. It damages everything else. A lot of electric ovens have a storage drawer. These are different.

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