We spent four long days driving in the car this past week, spending around 8-12 hours in the car for three of those days. We took Winter to college this week, taking the baby with us. We left our other children with various family members, which gave us room to take her things as well as room to pick up some things for a nephew in another city on the way to take to the same college, and take some baby items from a niece to her brother who is also attending the same college. We took food with us to avoid needing to go out to eat most meals, though we did stop for a couple of meals and treats. We brought the ingredients for ham and turkey sandwiches, apples, grapes, string cheese, tomatoes, eggs, cheese, and some pretzels that I bought in bulk from Winco. We also took a batch of Museum Pasta Salad with us. We brought water bottles with us and filled them up at rest stops and gas stations along the way. Before we left, we threw a bon voyage party for her at home, where we served homemade brownies and water with mint from the garden. I made a flower arrangement with flowers from the garden. Winter made extra brownies for us to take as hostess gifts. We spent one night at the home of a reader who made us a delicious breakfast, and two nights at the home of a niece and nephew, who surprised me with a wonderful breakfast of my favorites on my birthday. We enjoyed a delicious dinner at the home of an old friend. We harvested snow peas, green onions, and Meyer lemons from the garden. I took our new family photos using a tripod and a remote. I’ll edit them in the coming weeks and choose new photos for our home. We enjoyed the beauty of seeing other states and landscapes. We saw a lot of beautiful green fields, and we enjoyed seeing spring blooming all over again in a cooler climate further north. One of the most amazing things we saw was a corner house where the owner had planted some flowering pear trees in the green strip on both corners (three or four on each street) with thousands of daffodils tightly packed underneath them, filling the entire green strip. The trees looked to have been planted about two years ago. It was a great example of making the most of the ground that you have as beautiful as possible. What did you do to save money last week?    

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  1. I hope Winter is settling in nicely at school; what an exciting time! Your road trip sounds very well-planned and efficient, as well as frugal.

    We had a good, frugal week:
    *Had Good Friday off of school so saved a trip to town. With gas going up, this is a a savings of about $4 right now.
    *Turned off lights and other electric devices when not in use and turned off power bars overnight.
    *Washed ziploc bags and tried to reuse other bags and containers for storing leftovers, etc instead of using new bags
    *Used plastic bags from the cat litter boxes we buy as trashbags in the bathroom and used dog/cat food bags as trashbags in the kitchen.
    *Our local “big” town had their city wide yard sale this past weekend. My daughter and I went to a total of 5 yard sales and spent our max yard sale spending of $55 (a combination of her saved allowance and what extra cash I had been saving) and got an entire back set full of mostly clothing but also a few books and bags. The best deals were at a yard sale that had racks and racks of clothes and were only $0.25 each. I haven’t seen that price at a yard sale in years. We also went at mid-day on Saturday and people were slashing prices and even gave us some free items. She now needs only bras for next school year as we literally got everything on her list. Her best score according to her was a Gucci belt for a quarter 🙂
    *Used the Coupons.com app to get an 18-count carton of eggs for free plus another $1 off sausage. Total savings of $2.78.

    Wishing everyone a blessed week!

  2. Congratulations to Winter for entering college. I know she will excel!

    Spring has certainly sprung in your backyard, Brandy! We are happy to have some green grass where we are. Most of the snow has melted.

    Here are our frugal accomplishments for last week:

    * I cooked all my husband’s breakfasts and packed his lunches to take to work.
    * I took a client out to eat for lunch for her birthday; it was a blessing to see her again and to have a frugal lunch at our local co-op.
    * I read two library books and several free Kindle books.
    * I worked on a collaboration with two other business owners for Mother’s Day.
    * It was a blessing to find high quality frozen chicken at an excellent price.
    * I combined many errands when I was going to be out and about anyway.
    * I cooked a big batch of beans and another of rice to have food ready to eat and to save time and money.
    * We opened windows when the weather permitted for a frugal way to increase the air quality in our home!
    * My friend and I took an hour-long walk for some free exercise, sunshine, and fresh air.

    1. The photos above are at my niece’s house (bulb shots) and at mine and my husband’s alma mater! Bulbs and flowering trees are done here.

  3. What a beautiful photo of you and your husband! And such beautiful spring photos too! I’m inspired to grow flowers and learn to take better photographs because of you.

    My week was the usual busyness, although nothing like Brandy’s:
    – I made bean burritos using a pot of spicy white beans (I made a lot of substitutions: white beans for black, lemon zest for citrus juice, ground hot pepper for chipotle peppers, etc.) Worked out great! The tortillas themselves were ones I bought on sale and froze, and I served it with a package of lime cilantro rice that I got free with a coupon, plus cheese purchased on sale, grated, and frozen. An inexpensive and delicious meal!
    – I cut and froze more green onions from the ones that I regrew in water.
    – I bought butter on sale for under $2.99/lb and froze it.
    – I went to the library a lot with my little one. A good walk for me, and good stimulation for her.
    – I made homemade oatmeal baby cereal to introduce oatmeal to my infant. Thanks to Brandy for the recipe! Anyone have suggestions for frugal iron-rich baby foods?
    – I used gift cards from Swagbucks to buy 3 children’s t-shirts and a sweater (all heavily discounted) from Old Navy. I’ve set them aside to give as gifts.
    – I found tulips on sale for $2/bunch, and bought one. I displayed it in my crystal vase that I bought last week at a church sale for $15. So spring-like and pretty! Cheers me up every single time I look at it.
    – Using my local trading app, I traded 4 doz. gluten-free chocolate chip cookies for a vintage cast-iron stove mini. Apparently, they were used by travelling salesmen who sold properly sized stoves, perhaps 100 years ago. It has mini cast-iron pots and pans. It’s so adorable! Definitely a collectible, but very durable, so I’ll be able to let my daughter play with it once she is old enough.
    – My family and I had a nice Easter. I went to visit my parents, and cooked Easter dinner at my parent’s place, while my younger sister took care of the baby, and my mom and older sister visited my dad in rehab (recovering from a broken hip). After dinner, I was able to visit my dad and brought him his Easter dinner too. One of the things I made for Easter dinner was homemade cranberry sauce (http://approachingfood.com/better-than-store-bought-cranberry-sauce/), as my mother had unearthed two bags of cranberries from her freezer that she wanted to use up.
    – I brought over a batch of Hot Cross Buns (http://approachingfood.com/easy-hot-cross-buns/) that I made using leftover candied fruit from Christmas. I displayed it on a silver paper cake tray traded for, and on a doily leftover from my daughter’s baptism. It was nice to bring over as my food contribution to Easter dinner, and I didn’t have to buy any ingredients as I had everything in my pantry!
    – For Easter dessert, I made what is a tradition in my family, Dutch Chocolate Pudding (http://approachingfood.com/chocolade-vla-how-to-clean-a-burnt-pot-without-scrubbing/) served in custard glasses, and topped with ‘nests’ made of piped whipped cream and chocolate eggs. Popular as always, whether with kids or adults, and not expensive either.
    – I borrowed my sister’s transit pass as she is currently not using it due to a broken ankle and saved $10 worth in transit fares.
    – I clipped coupons for 14 free packets of rice (people toss their flyers into a recycling bin in my condo mail room. I clip the tossed coupons.) As my mother and sister and I went shopping together, I was able to have them redeem the coupons at both the stores we went to, so we picked up 6 packets of rice already. They don’t eat it, so
    – I got some sunflower seeds free in the mail from Cheerios (I didn’t buy cheerios, I just went to their site). My mom gave me a packet that she got free as well.
    – I went to Costco (my work pays for a membership as a work perk) and ate free samples for my lunch. I bought a 25-cent bottle of water in the food court, which the baby found to be a most entertaining toy. The only item I purchased was a sun/swim suit for the baby. It will protect her from UV rays when she plays in the splash pad around the corner all summer. I deliberately bought it in a larger size so she can wear it longer. The top is currently like a dress so she can wear her swim diaper under it until she is old enough to use it as a top with the matching shorts. And the sun hat she can wear all the time. I thought $15 was a pretty good price for at least 2 months of near daily splashing around in the summer and possibly for a second summer as well.
    – I combined my food purchases for the week plus my mother’s and sister’s when we went shopping together, to qualify for a $10 back in loyalty points offer. I wanted to qualify for a 20x offer at our local drug store but couldn’t seem to find the offer on my account so I emailed them about that. If they allocated the points, I will get almost $20 worth of loyalty points.
    – Redeemed Swagbucks for a $3 gc to Amazon.ca.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone!

    1. Mashed/blended beans are a good source of iron for your baby. When she is older you can give her cooked beans as a finger food.

      1. I used to mix pureed dried apricots (unsulphured) with acorn squash. The dried apricots are higher in iron than fresh.

    2. Lentils are great for protein and iron, Annabel Karmel has a great recipe ‘Lovely Lentils’ that my children all thrived on. You can make it in batches and freeze it.

      1. Thank you so much, Sheena! I Googled the recipe and I already have everything in my pantry, plus it sounds delicious! I’m going to make ice cubes of the mixture so I can have a veggie/protein-rich food on hand at all times. So thankful for this community of frugal-minded friends!

    3. You know, the other reason those sun shirts and suits are brilliant is because you save in the amount of sunscreen you need. I use them myself and with my kids because they do a better job than applying sunscreen multiple times but just realized they’re frugal that way too!

      1. Yes! That’s exactly what I thought! And my daughter is particularly fair-skinned so she will burn easily and therefore would need a lot of sunscreen. Plus, if I can sell the outfit after she grows out of it, even for a couple of dollars, that makes the overall cost that much cheaper. Glad to hear that is working well for you and your kids — personal recommendations are always helpful!

  4. I finally wrote things down last week!!!
    Made a large batch of chicken fajitas, with $1.49/lb chicken breasts, and peppers that were 3/$1.00. (they were yellow, red and orange too.) Used 6 peppers. Also used onions that I still have from last year’s garden.
    Made a turkey breast in my crockpot, that I had bought for 97¢ a pound. these were our meals for the week.
    Made 12 bacon, egg and cheese english muffins. These were breakfast for the week.
    On Monday, the last day of tax season, lunch was provided to our office by a client. Then we all went out after work for dinner paid for by the firm.
    Brought breakfast to work every day. Brought lunch to work every day, except for Monday.
    I recently turned 65 and my medical plan changed (am on medicare now). I stopped at my Dr. office so I could give her the information on my supplement so my prescriptions could be ordered. She gave me a 14 day supply of samples to tide me over, in case the meds take a while to get to me.
    Planted lettuce in our trough.
    Won a free bagel from the Safeway game.
    Former neighbor dropped off 3 dozen eggs. I am going to help her with some gardening this summer.
    Transplanted 54 tomato plant that I have been growing from seed into larger pots. We can’t plant tomatoes outside for at least another month and they were getting a little long and leggy. This should help them develop better root systems.
    Got 5 family size boxes of frosted mini-wheats for $1.49 per box. This my DHs favorite cereal, so when I can get a good sale like that (about 6¢ per ounce) I will buy the limit.
    Picked up my mother’s laundry to do at the same time as I do ours. She is 96, and I would rather she spent her energy on things other that laundry. It doesn’t add even an extra load to ours, and costs her $25 per load if she has someone else do it at her facility.

    I am glad you had a good and safe trip taking your daughter to college. It is the beginning of a big adventure for her. I wish her the best.

  5. What a lovely photo of you and your husband!
    This was a very expensive week, as we paid 2018 state and federal income tax and 1st quarter 2019 taxes, as well as property taxes. Lots of outgoing money, but I was grateful we had the money in savings to make the payments, though now we need to build up those accounts again.
    When we moved into this house, we didn’t do anything with the back yard (this was a new build) except throw out some grass seed to try to deal with the mud. That was a big mistake, as the grass grew in clumps and the rest was mostly weeds – all on a steeply sloped hill. We have long wanted to re-do it and talked about saving up to have it terraced and replanted – but that would require several thousand dollars and the money always goes for other things. So this year, we decided to do the work ourselves in stages. This week I started, taking out all the grass and weeds in about 1/3 of the yard, covering with mulch, and putting in 258 plugs of pink thyme. Our only cost was $250 for the thyme plugs – the rest was our labor, and wood chip mulch from our fire mitigation efforts last year. Also rocks I picked up from around the yard to start the first row of terracing. It will take several years to complete the project this way, but it will eventually get done and be lovely and low-maintenance.

  6. You look wonderful Brandy and happy belated birthday to you! You’d never know that you were the mom of NINE kids! AMAZING! Bittersweet dropping the first child off at college, I’m sure. My one and only is finishing up his freshman year of high school…so in 3 short years, I’ll be doing the same.

    Frugal accomplishments this week?
    ~received several magazines free via mail thanks to my Recyclebank account!
    ~used Verizon Up rewards for a $5 Starbucks gift card
    ~stayed home and cooked all meals instead of eating out

    I worked all last week, so nothing major. My husband starts his new job next week so these last two weeks, he’s been doing some spring cleaning around our home.

  7. I learned how to make homemade noodles with my mom! The kids loved them! Just flour and egg which is a great substitute for when we are low on pasta. We used chicken bones for the broth and bits of the leftover chicken. She said you can even dry them on a string for later and remembers strings all over the house from her mom and grandma making them. We served them with cooked brown sugar carrots on the side. 🙂

  8. This week huge pineapples were on sale at Meijers for 77 cents each so I bought a dozen and 2 of my daughters came over on Saturday to learn how to can them so they aren’t “borrowing” mine! For the $9.24 I spent on a dozen pineapples, we were able to can 38 pints!!

    They also wanted to learn how I can Sweet and Sour Sauce, so we made 26 pints of that using tomatoes and pineapples I had previously canned and onions and bell peppers I had in my freezer. They were amazed that I had all the ingredients to make this without going to the store for ingredients or supplies! I think they are now converted! We spent 4-1/2 hours for our canning and came away with 64 pints processed!! And we had lots of time talking and laughing! They are both also converted over to using a steam canner rather than a water bath canner for the savings in time and energy!

    I always bought 2 boneless hams for $1.99/pound and used my slicer to deli-slice 1-1/2 of them for sandwiches and wraps and the last 1/2 I sliced and cubed for putting into entrees/salads, etc. Since, even on sale, deli ham is well over $3.99/pound, I know this saved me over $40 on ham! For Easter, since there were over 35 of us – our kids and grandkids that are local- we always do a pot luck and I bring the main entree- usually turkey or ham or both. But the last year and a half, especially for holidays in milder weather, I started making ham and cheese hoagies and chicken salad croissants and PB&J sandwiches for the kids to make it easier to hold a plate and eat without the need to try to cut up meat ! We all seem to enjoy the easier, less stressful food prep and can focus on visiting and enjoying our time together more!

    I cooked up 27 pounds of ground beef that I bought on sale and then after it cooled down, I put it into my Kitchenaid mixer to crumble it more uniformly . Then I packaged it into 2 cup increments and froze the packages! What a time saver when I’m getting dinner made!

    Fresh Thyme was having a sale on 85% lean ground beef (with a limit of 2 packages per customer) so I went Friday night and hubby and I went Saturday morning and got a total of 18 pounds! This will mean that we won’t have to buy ground beef for a long time and certainly not at the regular prices!

    Strawberries were also on a weekend sale at Fresh Thyme that was ending on Saturday for 99 cents/ pound with a limit of 2 but apparently people didn’t buy much because of the limit, so when we went for the ground beef, they had a delivery early that morning of a pallet’s worth of flats so they put out a sign that said 99 cents/pound – NO limits! Called my 2 daughters that were coming for canning and picked up 2 flats for one daughter, 1 flat for another and 1 flat for me! Mine are now frozen and in quart size bags for smoothies now!

    I completed a baby quilt for a client using blocks that she embroidered. She wanted it within 2 weeks (which included Easter weekend) and supplied all the materials, but I charged her a premium for it being a rush order. I knew I could do it without any stress but I feel like if someone has an order that they need more quickly that they need to realize that it will cost more. She was thrilled to pay the price and have it finished! So that was $ into my savings cushion for Hubs retirement in just over 5 weeks!

    I started a new quilt just for fun to add to my gift cupboard using a MSQ tutorial- Tilted 9 patch. I made mine 16 blocks which is smaller than the 1 in the video and I made it random scrappy rather than using coordinated jelly rolls. This is another way to use up my scraps and it was easy to put together because my scraps are all sorted by size into shoeboxes and I just pulled out the sizes needed! Easy-peasy!

    1. Gardenpat,
      I missed the Meijers pineapple sale but another friend just posted that Krogers has them for .77 this week. I am going to pick some up and try my hand at canning them! Thanks for the tip!

      1. would you consider posting a “how to can pineapple” listing? I’ve never thought about canning it when it was cheap. (Not that it gets very cheap here.)

        1. Pasty and Jonna, canning pineapple is similar to canning peaches or pears. Because it is quite acidic, you can easily use a water bath canner. There are lot of tutorials on line already, if you need processing times, or more instruction. In my experience, 1 fresh pineapple will make about 2 pints. The taste of home canned pineapple far exceeds what you find in the grocery store! So when it goes on sale for rock bottom prices in your area, I highly suggest canning some!

    2. Gardenpat,

      Would mind sharing your Sweet & Sour sauce recipe? It’s my favorite sauce & I’m tired of paying crazy prices for it. And is it hard to can pineapple?


  9. Lovely pictures Brandy…you and your husband look so happy…my frugal accomplishments for this past week included: made cinnamon rolls for Easter gifts with supplies on hand. Created baskets for the grandchildren from my gift cupboard adding candy picked up after Valentine’s Day. Kept the heat off most days. Planted kale, carrots, Swiss chard in the garden. Combined errands to minimize gas usage.
    Purchased butter on sale for 1.99 lb. Froze it for later use. Picked up hams for the freezer. That’s all I can think of right now….have a great week!! Gaila in the NW

  10. I lost this post once, so here’s hoping I can remember everything!

    I’m sure sending Winter off to college was bittersweet. Our son was a freshman in college and living at home when WE moved! It seemed very weird to move him into the dorm this way.

    Lovely picture of you and Steve.

    What did I do this week? I stayed home and watched my daffodils and hyacinths come into full bloom. My tulips are budded and beginning to show color. The two dwarf fruit trees (Golden Delicious and Bartlett pear) I ordered arrived and were planted the next day. The bare-root strawberry plants were in the same order and are in the fridge, waiting for a new raised bed to be built. The trees and berries were not cheap, but they should be a good value. I planned my veggie garden on paper.

    I was gifted a purple aubretia by a friend who joined us for Easter dinner. Not only that, but she brought dessert, too!

    I had some time to kill Friday night while my daughter was at a dance and decided to browse Goodwill. I found a pretty end table/nightstand in a fruitwood finish for $15. I also bought a basket for $4. It is caned, not woven, and I suspect worth a lot more than I paid for it. Both are in perfect condition.

    I don’t usually bother with coupons because store brands are usually cheaper, however I clipped and used $14 worth of coupons last week. I figured out how to work the system for fuel points at Fred Meyer (Kroger), which I give to my son by using his phone number. I bought a $100 Freddy’s gift card for 4X points and used some of it to buy $39 worth of groceries for 2X points = 478 points combined. That’s a nearly .50 gallon discount on gas.

    Freddy’s garden center is fully stocked. My big saving last week was that I DIDN’T BUY ANYTHING!

  11. Forgot to mention–thanks to Nancy in eastern WA’s post last week, I bought 6 months’ worth of pasta for .49 lb. Thanks again!

  12. Fabulous photos Brandy – I love your blog and your photos plus all the lovely comments from your other readers.

    Special hi to Lorna in Australia, I am still reading all your posts here!

    In NZ we seem to be having a short, cold autumn which has been a bit of a shock to the garden. The sunflowers fought on bravely but are now succumbing to the cold. We grew several types this year and now have 8 boxes of sunflower seeds.. Probably about half of them are Golden Toasted F1 which is a sunflower especially bred for edible seeds. We got a great result with it.

    We’ve also harvested the last of the walnuts, grapes, apples, pumpkins, courgettes and other produce from the garden and orchard so are going into winter with full freezers and a lot in the pantry.

    Our hens have continued to lay so we always have a good supply of fresh eggs.

    I got a great deal on some excellent, large whole chickens @$10 each so they were very good buying. Made a big batch of seafood chowder and froze some of it.

    1. Hi Wendy and so good to see you commenting here : ) and a special hello to you there too.

      So glad you have been able to fill your pantry and freezers with all your wonderful produce and it sounds like your gardens are in full swing and producing well at least till the cold hit. Hope you had a wonderful Easter with family.

      Still waiting to plant ours here but hopefully will start on some ornamental flower gardens this week and have all that is needed to start a few vegetable beds shortly as well. With lots of kangaroos here it is a major construction project to set up mesh garden enclosures to keep them out and stop them eating everything but we will get there slowly but surely.

      Have a great week :).

      Sewingcreations15 (Lorna)

      1. On the drive last week I saw what looked like a dead kangaroo on the side of the road. It had to have been a deer, but it didn’t look like one! It make me think about all of my Australian readers.

        1. Oh that is sweet Brandy to think of us here in Australia 🙂 .

          We have lots of live kangaroos that come into our yard at night and we talk to them in the same clicking noises that they make to one another that DH learned when he was a wildlife carer. They just look at us and pop their ears up when we talk to them and are not scared but we don’t get close to them so it doesn’t frighten them.

          There are lots of wallabies and kangaroos here and yes sadly a lot get killed on the roads due to the drought here and they tend to congregate around the verges of the roads where the grass is greener than the pastures are at the moment. We keep our grass watered with grey water so they do have some green grass to eat as it is so dry for them everywhere. So sad to see them killed on the roads as they are beautiful creatures.

          Have a great week Brandy and if you would like some kangaroo photos for the children I would gladly send them to you.

          Sewingcreations15 (Lorna)

          1. Lorna, My three boys 10,9,6 think it is SO NEAT you have kangaroos in your back yard! Here in Kentucky it is normal to see deer or rabbits. Do you see those animals in your back yard in Australia?

          2. Renee in KY I can imagine your boys would love to see the kangaroos too 🙂 . Here if we stay quiet and not move we see them come up to our back door almost under a tree to the side of the patio. They are not scared unless you approach them too close in the wild and you have to be careful of the male bucks in mating season and also when the females are carrying their young in their pouch. We do have quite a few zoos with kangaroos who were bought up in captivity who are much more friendly than the wild ones and you can interract with them more freely .

            We do have deer here but I have not yet seen one in our yard but have seen foxes and seen rabbits around but not on our property. The local councils here are baiting for rabbits to eradicate them so they stay under control. It is illegal to keep rabbits as pets in our state of Queensland but other States allow them.

            Have a great week ahead :).

            Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

  13. Those blooming trees are lovely. The happy couple looks lovely, too! 🙂
    I met a friend for lunch, as meeting at a house was just not possible, but we chose Taco Bell, My lunch was about $2.75 because seniors (ahem) get a small drink for free. We had a good 2 hours of chat, as we’ve been unable to visit each other in a long time. The restaurant wasn’t busy inside, so we didn’t keep anyone else from a table.
    I got a sale ham and froze it for later.
    I had ordered a dress from Amazon for Christmas (through your link, Brandy) and neither the color nor the pattern is seasonal, so I wore it for Easter Sunday services, too.
    I weeded around my three blackberry plants and put some more pine straw and leaves on them for mulch.
    I pruned crepe myrtles in my front yard. It’s not the best time to prune, but my time is severely limited by my job and my husband’s health issues, so I do it as I can.
    I have almost enough to get another $25 Swagbucks gift card.
    I mended a sweater.
    I’m waiting patiently for sales before getting more makeup. I get a cruelty-free brand, so the sales only come a few times a year.
    Happy spring, everyone!

  14. I love the pictures of all the flowers and trees that are blooming, and especially the one of you and your husband. I’m glad you got a nice road trip when you took Winter to college. Still, I hope you have a little space in this week to recover! I know how much energy it takes to travel, especially with a little one. I’ve done it, and I still enjoyed it, even if it was tiring, and didn’t usually have much time to rest afterwards, but I can always hope for you:)

    Most of my last week centered on Easter preparation. I tried to make it simple, but nice, and feel like I succeeded. I used what I had to decorate the tables, with just a couple of inexpensive additions. Pictures are on my blog:http://beckyathome.com

    I did a lot of yard work. I have a lot left to do, but made some progress in-between rain showers and a busy week. The baby lettuce plants, snow peas, boc choi, and radishes are up in the one raised bed I finished, the new compost bin my husband built for me is getting compost in it, and lots of digging was done.

    I spent hours correcting, recording and having my niece finish up odds and ends for a homeschool meeting I had on Friday regarding her upcoming graduation. I will go in 1 month with the last few bits that need to be done, but since she is graduating June 6, I wanted to make sure we were on track. We went through a diploma program for homeschoolers, so she will be able to get a diploma since we jumped through all the hoops required, got the credits needed, etc.

    My husband started taking my niece’s senior pictures. He wants to do another session or two, but there are already lots of great shots from this last time.

    My husband got a free grocery tote bag with a purchase today. We need lots more of those now, since they’ve outlawed plastic bags in our town, and you have to pay for paper ones. I’m doing my best to remember to take the bags in the stores. It’s not doing me much good to have them if I leave them in the car!!!

    1. Here is a suggestion for those times when you forgot your bags in the car. Go ahead and check out and just put everything back in the cart without any bags, keeping the receipt to show you paid, of course. When you get to your car, pack the groceries in the bags you have in the car and load them in your vehicle. That way you can carry things in once you get home.

      1. That is really a good idea! Thank you for that:). The other thing I plan to do (in time) is to sew some little cloth bags that roll up and fit into my purse. I have a pattern for that. I don’t think they will be good for a large shop, but will be good for times when I just get a few things. I will try it out, anyway!

        I have gone back out to the car to get the bags more than once when I realize I didn’t bring them, but that’s pretty inconvenient! I’ve also paid for the bag a time or two:(.

  15. Congratulations on getting Winter settled into college. I’m glad that you and your husband were able to take her there and enjoy some time together.
    We had an expensive mid month with sending off our taxes but am grateful we had the funds to pay them.
    I bought 11 skeins of wool yard at an estate sale for $14, which will give me enough to make a sweater. I also bought an electric fondue pot for $6 for a friend who does encaustic painting and will use it to melt wax.
    Our washer, at 25 years old, has been slowly dying. When filled with water and clothes, the agitator doesn’t spin well. I think the gears are shot. We bought a replacement today, not frugal, but on sale. I also had roughly a $500 credit from several years ago at the store where we purchased the washer, so that significantly saved on the cost. The clerk had to do a bit of checking on the credit but it was found. We didn’t replace the dryer. While it is old, it is still working.
    I made a baby afghan from two skeins of donated yarn. I will donate the afghan to a non-profit organization. I also make some dishcloths from donated yarn, also to be donated again.
    I’ve spent time in the yard cleaning up and weeding. I often think of Marivene and her admonition to pull up a bucket full/apple tree pot full of weeds each day to keep up with them. While I am not as disciplined as she, I smile when I think of her. My peas, radishes, and lettuces are starting to grow and the garlic I planted last fall is doing nicely.
    At the beginning of the month, I started a 333 project with my wardrobe. I didn’t know if I could do it, but it’s actually been quite fun and I realize that I have plenty of clothes to wear. My closet looks ready for a photo shoot, with clothing color sorted and also by type–dresses, pants, skits, long sleeved items, then short sleeved items.
    Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

    1. Kandace I find myself thinking of Marivene often and missing her emails full of tips and treats so very much. She touched my life deeply when a friend was deeply needed. It’s amazing how our lives are entertwined when we are from so many different places.

      1. I thought of her this past week as I drove by the place where she lived on our way to take Winter to school.

        1. As I was pulling weeds around our fire pit and in my veggie garden, using a little 3-1/2 gallon bucket, I was remembering that Marivene had given me the habit of going out and filling just 1 bucket each day because that would keep my whole yard looking maintained well without spending hours and hours at one time! She impacted a lot of us with her great ideas and her comments are missed!

      2. Oh I do miss Marvene too!! She was so knowledgeable and creative …I think I am going to go back to earlier year posts to read some of her past comments…and Happy Birthday Brandy …sorry I meant to in my earlier comment but had pressed the post button lol …

    2. Kandace, Brandy…my nostalgic thoughts of Marivene always go toward that oft mentioned cubby and what came in and out of it. Also, what and how she would be decorating for each holiday as they happen.

  16. Happy Birthday! How wonderful to start your day feeling loved with a special meal. I purchased many plants at a local plant sale, which supports the NC Herb Society. They were a mix of herbs, flowers, and a new to me fig. We got all but the tender ones planted that evening. I canned a mix of pumpkin and winter squash, and baked the majority of our spaghetti squash still in storage. I’ll freeze what doesn’t get eaten in the next day or two. I made yogurt, and harvested asparagus, oregano, parsley and wild cat brier tips. Your photos are lovely as always. I especially like the sweet one of you and your husband. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2019/04/boys-bunnies-frugal-accomplishments.html

    1. OK, I’ll bite. I can’t believe I’m the only one here who doesn’t know “wild cat brier tips.” Please let the rest of us in on this! Thanks!

  17. Beautiful photos as usual. I wish Winter all the best in this new chapter in her life. It has been a long time since I commented- always mean to but run out of time. Anyway today I have to as was very fortunate. To explain: I have debated buying a chest freezer for ages. About a month ago I ordered one and it eventually arrived on Saturday ( it was out of stock). Teenage daughter had announced she needed new phone as hers had broken. My rule with these sorts of issues is that I will pay for basics but extras they pay for. She wanted a smartphone so she paid for it ( I firmly believe this helps teach money management). We went to the phone shop after the freezer was delivered and stopped in a supermarket where I found chickens ( 3 pounds) for £2.43. I bought 8. This was not the saving highlight of the day! It occurred to me that a larger branch of that supermarket may have better savings as it was going to be 2 bank holidays in a row ( Sunday and Monday). I needed petrol anyway so went there. I don’t really know how to describe the savings. The deli counter was closing down so everything – meat,cheese, olives, etc was 75% off. Huge cheeses that were £16 were selling for £4. This was on top of the regular food being discounted ( I waited until it had all been reduced twice). As a result of this I have filled my new freezer (311 litres). I bought a turkey for Christmas and an extra turkey crown. Today was mostly spent repacking food and freezing it. I made up sandwiches ( with reduced cheese, reduced meat and reduced bread) and froze them for school lunches. I easily saved the price of the freezer ( probably a lot more) just with this shop. I have enough food to last until next year. I feel very fortunate.

  18. Last week was certainly not frugal for us. Hubby had complications from a colonoscopy and ended up in the ER (and subsequently admitted to the hospital). With the out of pocket expense for the colonoscopy, the ER copay, second colonoscopy and the hospital stay, we are probably looking at several thousands.

    On top of that, I filed our taxes and was surprised at how much we owed (2018 was my first year back at work full time). Writing that check was unpleasant but it’s filed and paid. (So happy for some cushion in our bank account.). I’ve already adjusted my withholding to withhold more each payday.

    We had planned to replace our old water heater in April but that may have to wait a month or two. To help defer expenses, we will be eating mostly from our pantry and freezer into May and looking for ways to make cuts in our expenses.

  19. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia :).

    First of all happy belated birthday to you Brandy and I hope you had a wonderful day 🙂 . The photo of you and your husband is divine and you both look so happy and Brandy you have lost a lot of weight from baby and look so fit and healthy I must say. The spring garden flowering bloom photos are divine and remind me of what we can achieve here once we get a bit more organised in our new home. Hopefully we can start planting out some flowering plants in our gardens this week too.

    We spent most of the week pulling down the last of the huge grapeyard vineyard so didn’t get a lot accomplished.

    Our savings last week added up to $250.47 🙂 .

    Finances & listings –
    – Paid our 6 monthly water bill for the property and we used only 70lts of town water per day average for the two of us :).
    – Paid our usual fortnightly mortgage repayment.
    – Listed 10 free listings on eBay saving $16.50 on usual listing fees.

    Home organisation and cleaning –
    – Cleaned out and swept the garage where my car lives after we sprayed it for Redback spiders last week.
    – Vacuumed my car and DH washed it and now it doesn’t look like a red dust ball anymore :).
    – I swept the cement paths down one side of the house to get rid of dust and leaves.

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked all meals and 3 loaves of bread saving $10.47 over buying it locally.

    In the gardens –
    – Pulled down the rest of the grapeyard vineyard and cut the post in half where a tap was connected and put all the good posts in the leanto shed.
    – Cut the not in good condition wood up with the chainsaw making just over a cubic metre more of firewood to add to our winter firewood supplies saving $240 over buying it.

    Hope everyone has had a great week too :).

    Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

    1. Hi Lorna, I live in Australia too and wanted to pass on a tip regarding your mortgage in case you are not aware: You can ask your bank to make repayments weekly instead of fortnightly. They don’t advertise this but it’s easy to change over once you ask them. Even though you’re still paying the same amount over a month (e.g. 4x $200 instead of 2x $400), it cuts down the interest a lot! It might be worthwhile exploring if it suits your situation. Joana

      1. Hi Jo and thank you for that mortgage tip it is very much appreciated : ) .

        We have our mortgage set up so we can pay whatever off on it when we can by simply transferring money from one account to the mortgage account and don’t have any limits on doing so. I will discuss this with DH as this was also another thought I had to save interest as well.

        Thanks again and have a great week 🙂 .


  20. Another life passage – taking your oldest to college. I’m glad that both you and your husband were able to make the trip with Winter. Congrats on the 19 year proposal anniversary!

    • Did taxes myself, made swag goal x 2, washed ziplock bags, and hung laundry out x 2
    • Made risotto with arugula and gorgonzola, asparagus soup, a batch of Brandy’s blueberry muffins, roasted cauliflower snowflakes, and a pot of chili
    • Baked molasses cookies as a thank you to one of my son’s friends who helped me inspect a used car I was thinking of purchasing.
    • Inventoried all food in the house and designed menu plan to use up food in the basement freezer
    • Made chicken stock in slow cooker using a bag I found buried at the bottom of the basement freezer labeled “soup fixings.”
    • Using a bag of frozen, cooked white beans and the stock made from the “soup fixing” bag, I made a pot of white bean and kale soup with Italian sausage.
    • Bought hair color, toothpaste, mouthwash, and jelly beans at Walgreens in two transactions. First transaction I earned a register reward and was able to pay using balance reward points. Second transaction earned balance points and I paid using the register reward. I also had coupons for all items.
    • Ordered an 8×10 photo from Walgreens for free
    • Replenished spices which were low by purchasing at the bulk food store. I reuse the glass and plastic containers that the original spices came in when I purchased them years ago.
    • Frugal fail – I had two overdue items from the library so I paid fines.
    • Watched HGTV via YouTube for free

    1. Hi Libby. I also had a fine at the library this week?but I look at it as a way to support it. A couple of years ago the city council was seriously considering closing it down altogether. That would have been disastrous to me since it’s the closest one to my house?

  21. Beautiful pictures! Those flowering pear trees are so pretty. They’re all over our neighborhood. When we first moved in here, we paid for 3 trees in our 1/3 acre yard. We now have 6, thanks to the Kansas wind! The seeds must’ve been blown into our yard and I recognized them as trees when they came up. My husband moved them to where we wanted them. One is a flowering pear, but we have no idea what the other 2 are. They’re all beautiful and I love that they cost us nothing!! I keep hoping for a couple more to pop up. I’d like at least 3 more trees back there.

    It’s an odd time to start school. Is Winter on the quarter system? What a change for everyone. My husband (#8 of 9) says he bawled when his 3 older brothers left home. He said the last one was the hardest on him because it left him alone with 5 sisters!! He was only 11. Alas, everyone grows up! It sounds like you had a wonderful trip to see her off and I’m sure she’s well prepared as she learned from you!

    1. The school has a trimester program: winter, spring, and fall terms. You get assigned to two of them and they choose which ones. They also have a summer half term that anyone can attend. Spring starts in April after the winter terms ends.

      She cooked twice for one of her roommates the very first weekend! She is definitely prepared!

  22. Good afternoon Brandy,
    Oh my, what fantastic photos! It was great to see you and your husband looking so happy, a great picture! I am happy to know Winter is now at school, she will have a wonderful experience and knowing how smart and capable she is, she will make great use of the opportunities she finds. My mother and aunt dropped me off at graduate school and I still remember seeing them drive away ?. It was probably harder on me than them…and I had gone away to college before, so it was just that time in my life I guess. Clingy at age 25. Now at age 62, I read about Winter and smile about her leaving the nest and flying away.

    On the frugal front, our grocery stores finally had some decent sales, so I bought a ham for $0.87 a pound and 14 pounds of hamburger at $0.99 a pound! Safeway had the hamburger on sale, lowest price I have ever seen! I am back to menu planning so that is helping me spend less this month on food. I had gotten lazy. Our house AC broke, and the service tech showed my husband what the part was and suggested we buy an extra one from Home Depot, since it is a part that is known to fail. Home Depot price would be 75% less than the AC repair place charges for the exact same part. Of course, once we buy a spare, the system will never break 😉

  23. Fantastic road trip! I hope Winter loves college! You and your husband look fabulous at BYU! I had more extensive dental work done today. I paid cash for my 50 percent, which was $368. I made a simple ham,green bean casserole, and mashed potatoes for Easter and delivered it to my kids who were writing college papers. The food was greatly appreciated. I trimmed my front bushes and washed the front of my house. It looks so much better. I still need to do the side. I sat outside and read in my backyard. I walked for exercise in my neighborhood. I made tomato soup because of my sore mouth. I ate at home. I paid off a bill So glad y’all were able to go with Winter.

  24. I saved 40% on DSL service for the next year by making one phone call. But I am still frustrated by the cost of regular phone service. I think we are going to try a wireless-at-home aervice with a temporary number. If there are no glitches, we’ll move the phone number and save an additional $50/month. In the past, we have been glad to have old-fashioned phone service in the aftermath of a horrible downburst windstorm, a tornado that went through about a 1/2 mile north of here, and after an ice storm that caused us to lose power for most of a week. But $600/year is a significant savings and we could use the savings for a medical alert system. I also saved 40% at CVS for something we needed using a coupon.

    That’s about it. I love reading how everyone else is saving.

  25. I have a question for the readers here, so many being expert gardeners. My backyard has a horrible poison oak problem. We back up to a protected greenspace, which can’t be sprayed. The poison oak is all over in that woods. My worst problem though, is that the oils seem to be everywhere- not the plants- but the oils, in my yard. For example, we have a basketball court, and even when my kids just go shoot hoops and use the balls, they get poison oak rashes. No one can use the trampoline (same issue). I’m at a loss. It’s like the whole yard is unusable. Is there any frugal way to remedy this?

    1. No answer, but I can tell you what NOT to do. My dad once pulled up all of the poison oak–which he had done before with no issues–and burned it. The oils /smoke gave him a rash over 98% of his body (including down his throat) and he ended up in the hospital for a week (now they would send him home within 2 hours). Call your county extension service and ask questions, and be very, very careful.

      1. Maxine – the recommendation to contact your local extension agent is spot on. They will know what can and can’t be used in your area. There are also some resources at the local office of the Farm Services Administration – but they are usually focus on weeds in fields.

    2. Dawnelle 22 April 2019
      also call the local health dept about environmental health issue… That’s what my Mom did and they led her to the correct person to deal with it.

  26. The flowers are beautiful. I planted my dahlia tubers yesterday. Most of them seemed very dry so I’m hoping they will still produce. I soaked in water first to try to plump them up. I also planted my tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini seedlings.

    The tv remote was not working as too old. My husband found a remote we don’t use and it works perfectly on the tv.

    I checked out a few books and movies at the library. I found out I can watch acorn tv for free through my library also.

    I purchased a new suitcase from Kohl’s. They had free shipping plus additional savings so the suitcase was almost 60% off.

  27. Best wishes to Winter…I’m sure she’ll do great! Our frugal accomplishments were:
    *Meals made were beef tacos w/corn, leftovers, steak and grilled asparagus, chicken salad wraps, eggs with sausage links and biscuits, grilled steak strips and chicken with rice and roasted asparagus, shrimp scampi with tossed salad.
    *Found out my husband and I will be in charge of this year’s family reunion. After calling several locations, we decided to host it at our church (which will be free). Also opted to make a FB event instead of mailing out invites to save on postage.
    *My son decided against a meal plan for his summer session at college. We give him the option of a meal plan or the cash to use for groceries. I am so proud of his decision!
    *Made 48 cupcakes with mixes bought on sale and homemade frosting. I sent 27 to the Wednesday night children’s groups at church, we had some on my son’s actual birthday, and I froze the rest.
    *Enjoyed a free pancake breakfast at church before service on Easter Sunday.

    1. The meal plan at my daughter’s school averages $6.50 a meal!!! I can feed all of us for less than that per meal. Her school has very few dorms; most students have an apartment with a kitchen, which is a great help in saving money. Good for your son!

      1. Brsndy, his meal plan averaged $8.00 per meal! In the past, he has gotten a block of meals per semester which averaged out to 5 meals a week and supplemented that with his own cooking. It’s not a good deal, but all-you-can-eat is tempting for an active young 20-year-old!

          1. I don’t think. If he got 5 meals a week it comes to 40 dollars a week, which averages to 160 a month.

            Seems kind of high but at my son’s school, they can also get take out containers and bring home food so it isn’t too bad. He doesn’t do it any more and cooks instead, but it wasn’t truly a horrible deal.

            1. I thought he was getting all his meals on the meal plan. Most dorm students don’t have a place to cook and there is often a cost per semester and not per meal, but the university gives an average per meal cost on their website.

  28. Hi Brandy, thank you for sharing the beautiful pictures of you and your husband as well as all the flowers.
    I was off last week so no packing of food for work.
    My frugalities include:
    Organizing my freezer and making a list of the contents
    Baked a dozen of pineapple/sour cream muffins as well as a dozen of applesauce muffins. These are in the freezer for breakfasts and snacks.
    Cooked a pot of coconut curry pumpkin soup using the last of last years frozen pumpkin and homemade broth. Soup has been portioned out and frozen for lunches.
    Bought a new pair of running shoes at the thrift store. I was also emailed a 50% coupon from the thrift store making the shoes just under $6.
    Hosted Easter dinner , most of the food came from my freezer and pantry.
    Watched Youtube videos on cooking for the freezer and meal planning.
    Always looking forward to reading all the comments!!

  29. Congratulations to Winter! I hope you aren’t feeling too blue about it! Exciting time for her!

    My accomplishments this week:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and foil and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Ate in 7 times including steak, baked potato and spaghetti squash (twice); rosemary lemon chicken, rice and peas; pork roast, pasta w/cream sauce and asparagus; turkey kielbasa with boiled potatoes and cabbage; and shrimp scampi. Hubby went out to dinner on his company 1 night. I just had a bowl of cereal for dinner that night.
    • Got a free issue of Victoria magazine. I will cancel the subscription as soon as I get the bill.
    • Paid extra on the mortgage and took off 3 months from the end of the loan.
    • I got my American Beauty pasta on sale at Kroger this week (thanks for the heads up, Brandy!) I had to buy 6 to make it 49c each. Which brings the total to $2.94 for 6 # of pasta. Then I had a store coupon they had sent me for $1 off 3, then an Ibotta rebate of $1 back if I bought 2. So I essentially paid 16c/lb! Gotta love those deals! I already have a pantry full of pasta, but I was not going to pass that up! Plus a couple of weeks ago I got about 6 jars of spaghetti sauce for 49c each and 4 jars of alfredo for 75c each. Cheap dinners! Also got 4 lbs. of butter for $1.88/lb. and ham for 99c/lb.
    • We own a RV trailer and were paying $87/month to store it. Our friends who live on 2 acres graciously offered for us to store it on their property. We moved it over there this week and will get $40 prorated back on this month’s rent.
    • Got a $25 IHOP gift card at work.
    • Worked 16 contract hours, all from home.

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

    1. Laurie,

      I have had a subscription to Victoria magazine since I was 14, except for the time when it was cancelled. When it was bought by another publisher years later, I gladly resubscribed. It is the one magazine I pay to receive, and I reread my old issues. I used it to plan my backyard garden (back before there was Pinterest) and to design the windows in my living room.

      1. I also love Victoria MAGAZINE and I own every single issue! It is the one indulgence that I won’t give up. I find it so relaxing to sit and read it and it has led me to so many wonderful female writers, artists and entrepreneurs.

      2. I got the issue in the mail and I love it! I may not cancel the subscription after all! I do pay to get Tea Time magazine, as I love everything about tea. They same publisher of Tea Time publishes Victoria. The pictures are so beautiful and I feel at peace just looking at them.

  30. Happy Birthday, Brandy!

    We also just returned from a 10 day trip – 5000 miles – to the east coast and back. We took my 92 y/o mother to visit my daughter and her family in the Pocono Mountains of eastern PA. (Mom’s part of the trip was 500 miles each way.)

    We took food for lunches, dinners, and snacks so we limited money spent on meals at restaurants. One reason for the trip was to take a large piece of furniture that is a family heirloom to my daughter’s house. We visited family and friends and spent most nights as guests at the homes of family members. I read 4 library books during the travels and we listened to music we recorded on MP3 players or books on CD. We did also spend 2 days in the Hocking Hills in southern OH. These are very scenic (and free) state parks with lots of hiking. We visited 2 interesting (and free) National Park Sites in KS – Fort Scott and Brown vs. the Board of Education (in Topeka). Since we will be busy working as National Park Rangers soon, our next trip won’t be until October.

  31. Happy Birthday, Brandi! Glad to hear you had a good trip. I hope you will share her progress in future posts as well as her new creations. I just helped send a student off to fashion and design school in California this past August. It is exciting to hear how they are doing in school. I love sewing and seeing what others do.

    It has been a productive week and somewhat frugal. We Kept Easter dinner very simple and got a ham for .99/lb with a $25 purchase. I included some dry beans in the purchase since they go the farthest. I bought just enough items to hit the $25 mark. We also went to the discount store which is about 45 minutes away. We stocked up on canned veggies and fruit. We also got some candy for Easter.

    On Saturday, we put in some new raised garden beds. The wood and soil cost about $96. It will give me an additional 55 square feet of growing space. I planted several herbs and cool weather veggies today with seeds that I had previously purchased. Aside from that, the garden is ready with radishes, lettuce, and spinach. I’ve been adding them to salads and sandwiches. Tomorrow, I’m planning to make a pintos and spinach side dish. If anyone s interested in following the greenhouse and garden progress, check it out at instagram @aplaninmind

    We enjoyed a free concert this week at the high school. My son plays in the band. We also enjoyed a recital at the college. We were there in a visit.
    Have a great week everyone.

  32. Lovely photos!

    The past week was busy earning and saving money. I was offered a small temp job painting fences and I accepted. I worked a total of 18.5 hours.
    My MIL offered me the opportunity to take any of her items that she was planning to donate. I accepted some clothing, a blouse, and 2 sweaters; some artificial flowers and stems and some fabric. I made an arrangement with the flowers for my covered front deck.
    I received a cheque for $20 for completing some surveys.
    I received a sample pack which is rare, I find, to receive samples in Canada.
    My husband sold some books he no longer was using for $12
    I mended some clothing and fixed a purse with shoo goo,
    I was able to use $30 in grocery store points for our Easter gathering, food only ended up costing $4.75 OOP.
    We switched our savings account to a high interest account;
    I received an Amazon order that was paid for with Swagbucks, it was mainly grocery items but I also purchased a gift for my Mum for Mothers day. I continue to earn Swagbucks and reached my goal 7x this past week.
    I coloured my hair then I asked my 19 year old daughter to cut my hair for the first time ever. I have curly hair that I wear in a chin length bob and she did a great job! We had so much fun and I was so pleased with the results.
    Wishing everyone a lovely frugal week.

  33. What a lovely couple you and your husband make. And your pictures are beautiful, as per usual 🙂 I bet it was difficult, emotionally, to take Winter to college. My second eldest daughter branched out on her own and it was hard to adjust. The house felt lonely for a while.
    – Definitely not a frugal week:
    * we finally managed to buy my husband’s suit, shirt, tie and shoes for my eldest daughter’s wedding. Will still need to purchase a purse for me.
    * hosted Easter dinner for family, which although I managed to get many food items on sale, was still a little pricey due to the amount of people I had to cook for.
    * cooked all meals at home except one, in which we picked up pizza the day before Easter to give me a break. Thank you hubby!
    * saved the leftover brewed coffee in mason jars all week, then made a couple of pitchers of homemade Iced Cappuccino’s for the Easter crowd.
    * with some of the leftover brewed coffee, made a Chocolate-Mocha Pudding Pie. Served along with Lemon Meringue Pie, and Coconut Cream Pie for Easter Dessert.
    * made homemade cloverleaf rolls for Easter dinner. Served with whipped butter.
    * turned scraps of bread into croutons for Caesar salad, and into breadcrumbs as a coating for a Chicken Parmigiana meal earlier in the week.
    * baked some leftover tortilla scraps from my daughter’s bridal shower and used as dippers along with veggie sticks for a light dinner of Mexican Taco Dip.
    * Made homemade beef broth then used to make Cabbage, Rice and Vegetable Soup.
    * surprised my kids by serving homemade crepes, strawberries and frozen peaches for breakfast. I haven’t made those in a long time so they were quite happy.
    It was, indeed, another hectic week. Blessings to all.

  34. Happy birthday! And congratulations to Winter on beginning college. I’m glad she has an apartment with a kitchen. The college my children attend require a meal plan if they live in the dorm. Since dorm is free as part of scholarship, it makes paying for the meal plan worth it. I think each meal works out at $8!!! My little 100 pound girl never eats $8 worth. I think we got closer to our money worth with our son.
    I received several house plants and cuttings of a collard tree from a friend. I had never heard of such a thing. I hope some of the cuttings take. I gave a friend a verbena plant for her birthday. It was propagated by the master gardeners and was only $3.
    I bought strawberries at a roadside stand. They were delicious!
    I bought a brand new grater for $2.50 at the thrift store. It has a handle which feels like a luxury after we have used a grater with no handle for the last 19 years (obviously not very important to me ?). I also found a Pyrex mixing bowl with a very faint blue tint at the same thrift store.
    I have been watching some shows on YouTube.

  35. Hello,

    I love the photo of you and your husband! So beautiful! Here are my frugal accomplishments:

    – I prepared a frugal Easter dinner for 7. I was able to get a ham at less than $1.00 per pound. I have picked up looking for hams and turkey at rock bottom prices from here so thank you! I also made green beans that I purchased for $.17 a can. I purchased 5 lbs bags of potatoes for .99. I made potato salad. I also was able to go to the bread outlet and get some Hawaiian Rolls for $1.00. The guests brought desserts.
    – I was able to find 3 uniform short/skirts for my daughter at the Goodwill for 2-3 dollars each.
    – We also went to a resale scrapbook store and it was 50 percent off. I was able to get a lot of items for about $20.00 including a ton of yarn, sewing needles, fabric, a loom, and more.
    – Last week, on church night, I went to Walmart to get a pizza. Although I could make one, it is church night and grabbing one from Walmart is still cheaper than a $20.00 or more fast food bill.
    – I sent away for some free samples which I put on my blog here: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/2019/04/22/9-freebies-today-4-22-19/ There are some good freebies like 200 free business cards, which I need to sign up for!
    – My mom sent my daughter’s Easter dress. So, that helped save. My son wore a shirt he already had.
    This week, I really want to get some seedlings started. Maybe if I put that here, I will get to it!
    Have a Great Week!

  36. Happy Birthday !
    I hope everyone had a nice Easter. We had a busy weekend as my twins turned 21 the day before & we hosted family dinner & an egg hunt for the little ones.
    Ways we saved: filled plastic eggs for egg hunt that I’ve had for many years with candy that was free due to using my CVS extrabucks, used birthday decorations for the twins that I have had since their 1st birthday! Bought some bday gifts using a gift card that had been given to me & percentage off coupons that I had found online. Family contributed to dinner so OOP cost was not too bad.
    Planning menus from pantry & freezer using up holiday leftovers so not shopping this week. Spring is here to stay FINALLY so looking forward to getting outside, cleaning up the yard & setting up the deck. All free & good exercise!

  37. How exciting for Winter. I am glad you were able to enjoy a few days away. It is wonderful to see the spring flowers, and your happy smiles!

    I was short of vegetables, so I used canned diced tomatoes to make soup for lunch. I included the last half onion in the house. The tomatoes were
    bought on sale, and had olive oil and garlic in them. I added some herbs to give it more taste, and the last of a half and half container.

    I bought two lbs of carrots at an excellent price, and have been using them in different forms in different meals.

    I roasted a chicken, and then have made a couple of different skillet dinners using rice and vegetables.

    I made blueberry pancakes from scratch, which lasted for several meals. They turned out a bit crumbly, I’m not sure why, but they tasted fine.

    I have been using a ham bought on sale before Easter. Many happy meals from it. The bone is in the freezer now to use to make stock.

    I have had more bags of garbage in the last few weeks than fit in the garbage bin, but this morning’s load fit the last bags in. I also returned bags of bottles and milk cartons for the deposit. I used the funds to buy cat food. My back hallway has some room in it again, though it still needs a good clean-up now that winter is over.

    Money looks to be tight at least until my Old Age Pension starts in a few short months. There is money coming in, which I am grateful for, but lots of expenses. It may just be my attitude, because I am feeling worn out with a tight budget. I am just doing my best not to worry.

    Yesterday was warm and sunny, so I worked in the yard, doing some pruning and clean-up. The first of many such days, I hope, between now and the end of May. I hope a little fresh air and sunshine will improve my mood.

  38. You are going to miss her so much. When my first daughter left for school, I did not realize how much she did for me. I had never dusted our living room, she always did it. It was the hardest year of my life to adjust to doing everything myself. But what an adventure for Winter. I just pray she does not get married right away. I would not let my girls go to church schools for this reason. All three have advanced degrees and can support themselves if need be, and they all have great husbands. The youngest will be married this August she will be just short of 27. Yippee 17 years of college and all married. I feel like I did it! I am just amazed by you.

    1. Kim, She just turned 17 a few months ago. We aren’t going to permit her to get married before she is 18, so she certainly can’t get married right away! She wants to finish her degree first, and she has scheduled it all out in order to graduate in a timely manner. I was 24 and my husband was 37 when we were married. We value education and so does she.

      I think church schools are wonderful! She gets to have prayer in class! The cost of going is a tenth or less than what other schools cost. She gets to have religion classes and weekly devotionals. There is an honor code and drinking and partying is not a part of the atmosphere. The campuses are beautiful and there is a temple within walking distance.

      As someone who grew up not allowed to have prayer over a meal, going to a church school gave me the freedom to live my religion. I very much enjoyed my experience there.

      1. I went to BYU (which is a church school) as a 17 yr old, over 42 years ago. I enjoyed it. I did not get married until I was 26 years old, and had four degrees including a law degree. The three last degrees were at colleges in the deep South, and my law degree is from a Baptist college. So two of my degrees are from two completely different church schools/religions. I distinctly remember going to my bishop at BYU and telling him I wanted to go to law school. He was delighted, and so encouraging to me in my career pursuits. I was never pushed to get married at neither BYU nor Mississippi College School of Law. I also was not pushed at the secular schools I attended. I wish many blessings to Winter. Several of my friends’ children attend attend BYUI and love it!

      2. You are very wise in your reply, education is of great value but there is also value in being a Godly wife, mother and homemaker.

  39. Brandy Belated happy birthday. The picture of you and your Hubby is wonderful. I remember when my oldest went to college…SIGH, so proud but worried and the home life without her was strange for awhile. A big adjustment to her siblings that were used to her helping hand instead of waiting for me to help since I usually had the little ones’ needing me also.Dividing chores was a lesson to all of us.

    IT’s been a busy week … What I did frugal? First, every morning I read this blog.It has kept the lifestyle of being frugal first and fore most in front on our minds….like when Hubby wanted to order the 8 qrt. Power Air Fry oven,dehydrator and rotisserie… Yes we deep fry, we used to rotisserie on the old grill, new grill doesn’t have that ability and yes I don’t have enough dehydrators (can you tell he used to debate against me 🙂 ) and yes we have cholesterol issues and we try to be good but warm weather triggers the craving big time and this is the only one we have seen that the reviews that we trust the people that have actually bought it and used it…..BUT I slowed him down with …how many hours do you need to work to cover this expense AFTER the normal bills are paid and the medical bills are paid? He is thinking because right now he is working to save for his deep sea fishing trip with his best friend in June., 🙂

    I “stood guard”yesterday Amish neighbor E horse that had jumped the fence but hit the ditch on the other side and knocked herself out. Made sure all the cars and trucks moved to the side until she “woke” up. His other 2 Clydesdales reared when I came near her so I just waited as they kept nudging her through the fence. When she got up FINALLY they both walked the fence trying to get her to stay with them as she was on the road and then driveway until they got to the gate… No way I was opening the gate for her as they could have came out instead. I did get her in the barn , E’s 2 oldest arrived home and help me get her in her stall. She’s worth over $10,000 and they were very grateful. I do think his horses would have gotten her to come up to the barn if she hadn’t gotten hit. The one guy stopped and told me he didn’t see her but saw me as he probably would have hit her with his semi.
    I have to go back through what I had planned to plant. Rain has put a hold on cool weather crops and now the soil is getting warmer. I hope to plant Little Snowpea white that Brandy had mentioned . Not sure I will get any other peas in as we can start planting corn and beans in a couple weeks.. I hope for a better fall for cool crops. I am out of broccoli, cauliflower and beets of the cool weather and completely out of beans and have just enough of tomato if I “budget” how much I use each week. The only thing I have plenty of is frozen corn.
    Thanks for everyone that post comments here. The wisdom you share helps
    Blessed be

  40. I am donating two large bolts of fabric (one has enough to reupholster a sofa) to the Ujaama Grandmothers’ fabric sale. My gardener is coming over tomorrow so she can carry them out to her car and then deliver them to Woodcliff Church, Calgary where the sale starts on this Friday and Saturday. Great bargains of high quality fabric are found there. I am also donating some skeins of yarn but keeping my favourite. And perhaps a little cross stitch kit. I hope to find someone who can knit a sweater for me out of my favourite yarn. I just don’t think with the broken arm I’ll be able to knit. Fourteen months later, after the accident, they found that in addition to the spiral fracture which is healing, I have a totally severed tendon and a second tendon that is partially torn. It is the tendons that are causing me such pain.

    I am tempted to try a bit of clean up in the yard but there is a forecast of snow for the end of the week. Yes, snow! I am enjoying the hepaticas in bloom in the yard. They are a northeastern US wildflower but thrive here as well and I love them so. Once established, they require no maintenance at all and are the first thing up in my garden.

    I watched 3 movies free on Kanopy through the Calgary Public Library. One was “Churchill”. I have always thought about internally conflicted Churchill must have felt with some of the ruthless but necessary he had to make. I am not sure if it is based on true facts but the film was superb. Ann

    I am not buying many annuals this year but hope to grow nasturtiums from seed in my pots.

    1. That should have read, “I have always thought about how internally conflicted Churchill must have felt with some of the ruthless
      but necessary decisions he had to make”.

      I managed to give away two large bolts of upholstery fabric, plus a cross stitch kit and two other yards of fabric.
      Someone will get a wonderful fabric.

  41. Brandy, Your photos are lovely as usual. What a lovely time to start university –– surrounded by flowers! You must be feeling very wistful as your eldest starts university but you have prepared her well both in supplies and talents! Ann

  42. I am sure you will miss Winter, but it sounds like a good trip to take her to college!
    I traveled earlier this month, and it seems like have been playing catch-up ever since, so I’m posting things from about the last three-four weeks (I’ve caught up on reading only part of the blog and other people’s comments so far!) Here are some frugal accomplishments:
    — Redeemed points at the salon where I get my hair cut for a free pedicure before going on vacation to warmer climes
    — Took a spring break vacation to Texas, where we stayed with a relative. The travelers were my mom, daughter and I; my mom paid for most gas (we drove from Minnesota) and meals; I paid for hotels on the way down and back — and used a loyalty program to gain points. My daughter broke the strap on the reusable bag we were using to hold munchies for the car ride; replaced it with one from my aunt (our host’s) stash. We had a good time visiting relatives’ homes and seeing their animals (cattle, deer at a hunting ranch, etc.), playing cards, and more. Went to a state park one day, where my mom and daughter did a horseback ride and my aunt and I did a short hike. Texas residents 65 and older are eligible for a state park “passport,” which does not expire, and allows the resident and one guest to have half-price admission to the park. (Evidently, the guest addition is relatively new.) We also went to Fredericksburg and Luckenbach, and visited a college friend of mine in Austin. We spent our time in Austin at their zoo, which is not as expensive as some other zoos and populated with all rescue animals, then had lunch at the Whole Foods original location. The prices are Whole Foods prices, but there is an *extensive* selection of “deli” type items for lunch, and any leftovers can become groceries for the rest of the stay.
    — Much of my time since our return has been taken up with clearing things out, due to an office move at my work and in preparation for a spring consignment sale and church garage sale. As part of other people’s clearing out, I received a roll and a half of toilet paper from someone else’s office (no idea what it was doing in there, but it helped me stretch our supply).
    — Also took home leftover popcorn and caramel corn, plus a few Ghiardelli chocolate squares, from the treats someone brought to church book club meeting. I ate the popcorn and caramel corn for a snack and used the chocolate squares in an Easter basket for my daughter.
    — Took home leftover doughnuts and strawberries from the church Easter breakfast which daughter had helped set up as part of church youth work.
    — Had a free meal provided at church as part of a youth mission trip meeting.
    — Washed my car at using a free carwash coupon I receive when getting an oil change (subsequently got another oil change and received another coupon)
    — Meals made in the past few weeks, still using up some of that Christmas ham, have included: ham and noodle toss, using some of the ground/chopped Christmas ham from the freezer, broccoli from the freezer, and ramen noodles and ham stroganoff.
    — Dairy Queen is currently running a promotion of 2 for $4 sundaes or dipped cones after 8 p.m. We stopped at Dairy Queen, thinking this would only work for small sundaes/cones, but the cashier said to just try and see what happened with a medium. The deal worked fine for 2 medium sundaes.

    1. We just returned from a long weekend in Fredericksburg & Luckenbach. I’m glad you had a good time in my state! We live in DFW area of Texas, so that is our “long weekend getaway” spot and we plan to retire there in a few years. It’s beautiful right now with all the wildflowers.

  43. Brandy – I was amused that Winter has already been cooking for room mates. When my youngest daughter went to university she quickly acquired the nickname ‘ Mummy’ from her flatmates – none of them knew how to cook and would ask her advice all the time. She often cooked for them all and over time taught them all how to cook many meals. Even now, 4 years after they graduated one of them still texts her to ask how to cook things. Winter has been properly prepared for student life as Madeleine was when we took her to uni. Best wishes to Winter.

  44. I’m sure you will miss Winter, but what an exciting time for her! It sounds like she definitely has her priorities in order, and I’m sure she will do well, whatever path she takes. I’m also certain her roommates & friends at school will be grateful for her cooking skills. Also, that is a great photo of you & your husband!

    We had a mostly un-frugal week, as we went out of town for a long weekend. Typically we are frugal in other areas so we can spend a little more comfortably on these weekends. I can’t remember if I posted last week or not, but my husband recently earned a significant promotion. He has been with his company for almost 30 years and has worked his way up from practically the very bottom and through a lot of workplace stress & struggles. I am so proud of him, so although the trip was already planned, it was also partly a celebration. I am so very thankful for how blessed we are. We did enjoy several free activities including a National Park and some drives through the country to check out historic sites and a living history farm. Since we were away from home, we tried something different on Good Friday and went to a “Passion drive through” put on by a church in the area we visited. It was a multi-scene reenactment of the days leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion, with an accompanying CD of scripture that you listened to in your car as you drove through. Very different from anything we’d seen done before, but I must say it was very nicely done. On the frugal front, we’ve had to turn our central air on most days (mostly due to humidity), although it isn’t hot enough yet for it to run too often, so at least that is something. I stocked up on canned vegetables for 25 cents each at Tom Thumb on sale. We were running low on peas & green beans, so I was glad to restock my pantry with those. During our trip we visited an Amish store and I was excited to find a clearance table with a lot of pantry items. I picked up a few things we were low on and a couple of things I just wanted to try. I also splurged last week on an Instant Pot, since Costco had one on sale. I’m very anxious to try it, since one of my ongoing struggles is forgetting to take things out of the freezer for dinner. (I also love the idea of cooking dried beans quickly.) My rationale for this purchase was that it will be frugal in the long run, since I think it will encourage me to cook at home more often on busy nights, and also it won’t heat up the kitchen so much during the hot summer. If anyone has any favorite Instant Pot recipes or websites to recommend, I am all ears. I hope everyone here has a wonderful week!

  45. Congratulations on Winter heading to college. A new adventure for her.

    On the frugal front here I have had a long week off where I cleaned and organized the garage, barn and garden shed. Not to mention started getting the RV ready for potential summer guests. We go back home each summer but leave the RV ready for any family who wishes to visit as the cabin gets locked up.

    Still planning to not return next fall as my dear son is doing so well. I’m nervous about yet another new job, but trusting that I’ll be able to return home full-time. These past few years have been a trial. Still thankful for all my blessings!

    I ate leftovers and successfully have almost emptied the fridge’s freezer in an attempt to not buy anything much. I was pretty successful, but did overeat this way. Hmmmm!

    Found a set of hand-me-down dishes stored in the garage that I put in the RV. I didn’t realize they were there and am happy to have them as I’m taking the Blue Willow set I really like and have been collecting at garage sales and thrift stores for years back with me. I’ve quite a set now all purchased for very little one piece at a time.

    Also, I found some change. Watched free shows using my phone’s Hotspot. (We have unlimited data on our phones and it is a bit slow and unpredictable, but free.) washed bags out. Did laundry at my In-laws rather than the laundromat over Easter. Just trying to not spend any money now to build a cushion and continue to pay off the remaining debt. Still looking better today than yesterday! Moving forward us winning.

  46. Lovely photos, as always! Best wishes to Winter as she embarks on her new adventure. How did the baby do on the trip? That was a long drive for a little guy. (And for the big folks, too! 😉 )

    We’ve been doing the usual frugal things, and I’ve not been keeping good records. Off to read everyone else’s comments for continued inspiration.

    Have a wonderful week, everyone!

    1. He got sick the first day, throwing up all over me multiple times within the first three hours, and again more the first day. I arrived late at night completely soaked and out of clothes for him and I. Thankfully, we were able to do laundry when we got there so that we had something to wear! He was fine after that, though, and did fairly well being in the car for so long. I sat next to him several times.

  47. How many people made how many small steps over how many years to get Winter to college! Best wishes to her and you and your family as you all adjust to new chances to grow.
    The squirrels have gone two days without burying anything in my flower pots, lulling me into a false sense of security. (I would swear there are no nut trees in a two block radius, yet they somehow find walnuts to eat on my back deck, leaving the shells for me to step on when I go barefoot to the clothes line). It is perhaps too early, but I planted parsley and basil seeds in pots outside. Reading everyone’s posts has made me much more sensitive to temperature and water. I attempted some seeds indoors, though I don’t have a bright sunny window. A few are doing ok, and I mist them at least twice a day.
    Friends got me a dozen tulips in a bowl for my birthday– quite lovely, and they are growing so much I had to put them in a taller vase. Tulips do that after being cut.
    Every several years, I return to my collection of worn paperbacks to re-read some Georgette Heyer mysteries and romances, and Helen MacInnes suspense stories. I’ve started that up again. I’ve certainly got my dimes and quarters out of the books I bought used in (gulp) the previous century.
    Aside from haunting my grocery’s clearance shelves, we haven’t been shopping much lately. I bought some pencils on Easter clearance that had neutral designs to donate to the school supply drives next fall, and some jelly beans I had waited to buy for my husband, because I knew there would be lots of those on the sale shelves.

    1. Helen MacInnes! How I loved her stories. I haven’t read one of her books in decades. Thanks for the reminder.

  48. Love all those photos and I am very envious of all those lovely blooms – we are just starting to see some buds on the trees and a few flowers have finally pushed up their early greenery but today was quite cool again.
    And congratulations to Winter – I hope she enjoys herself and that it is everything she hoped for.
    It was an exhausting week with all the extra work for Holy Week. We did bulletins for Thursday Communion Service, Thursday Maundy Night Service, Good Friday service, Sunday Sunrise Service and regular Sunday 10:30 worship!!!! I organized the Maundy Night Supper, the Sunday breakfast after the Sunrise Service and the Coffee Hour following the regular service! Enjoyed the Supper but didn’t get much of a chance to grab more than a quick cup of tea on the Sunday! Still, it all adds up as extra hours of pay!
    I started restocking my pantry – but have the money set aside for this and will spend it as the special offers come up. I did find some peameal bacon on sale for 50% off so bought two packets. I also earned about $5 in Loyalty points that I am going to save up over the next few months.
    I had booked for a haircut and to have some lowlights done in order to start allowing the grey to come in so I was expecting a long and rather expensive appointment – but – managed to get my old hairdresser (who is also the owner) and she recommended just the cut and to let the grey come in naturally as right now it looks like highlighting. I did buy some shampoo that will keep everything nice and shiny but it was a lot cheaper than expected and will be a lot cheaper moving forward – and I love my new cut!
    My only socializing last week was two lattes when I met up with my former boss – my turn to treat – so kept spending to a minimum.
    Read two library books, watched Netflix and YouTube for entertainment and even managed two walks as the weather allowed. Still behind on the housework so need to find the time for that this week. Hope everyone had a lovely Easter.

  49. Hello all. Baked the 57 cent (yes, crazy price and spiral cut at that!) ham for Easter. Packaged it up and it will do the two of us for a long time. Just did baked potatoes (or jacket potatoes) and asparagus. I kept the bone and the ‘broth’ and will make pinto beans in the instant pot and have ham and beans. I usually do navy beans but thought pintos might be a good change and I am hoping that at least a portion can be made into refried beans.

    Our local independent store (I think there are 5 in this ‘chain’ – sort of like the old IG stores) puts out produce for $1.00. Given how high their produce usually is this is a deal. I bought five bags of $1.00 each: huge baking potatoes, artichokes, white onions – the small fresh cooking types that I use for fajitas, shredded red cabbage and one that I can’t remember. When I bring the bags home I repackage them into green bags and the last quite awhile. They also had 2% milk for $1.00 a gallon! I bought the two they had.

    We are getting ready to take our 5th wheel RV to the mountains for a month. It will already be 90F here this week so looking forward to the mountain cool and rain! I have always wanted to live in the mountains and this is my chance. We’ll bring our food from home of course. We’ve collected a lot of dvds over the years – most for less than $3.00 each. I also have set aside books and magazines to take. I researched the town we’ll be near and they have ‘visitor’ library passes which I plan to enjoy. I love our library system but it has gone increasingly digital with fewer and fewer ‘real’ books. I also found out that the community pool, which also has a natural hot spring pool, takes Silversneakers so we’ll be able to take classes and use the pool for free! Otherwise it would have been too expensive to go on a regular basis. The RV has been furnished with things from home and stuff we’ve found at thrift stores. We did buy a new mattress and soft furnishings – the ones that came with it (it’s a 2011) were in bad shape.

    Okay – so this might sound weird but y’all might get a kick out of it. The master bath toilet seat suddenly got a crack across it. It would pinch when one sat down. Rather than run into town (14 miles) to get a new one I just got some duct tape and taped across the crack. Quite the “look” but no one will see it but us until I do my weekly errand run later this week.

    I try to combine all errands for one trip – planning my route as well. We have a truck so mileage isn’t great and gas prices are steadily rising. Out local Kroger affiliate sold their quick stops and gas points are no longer good there. The only place to use them is at the King Soopers store which is 20 miles from here and not convenient for a ‘run’ in trip. The local grocery store I mentioned above has higher prices so try not to shop there unless needing something ‘soon’.

    Placed our orders for the $80.00 credit we each get quarterly through our health insurance. They’ve expanded the selections to include more OTC vitamins and supplements so I ordered a lot of those along with replenishing our first aid kits. I went through the 72 hour/bug out boxes and refreshed those with OTC meds and first aid supplies. That is a tremendous benefit.

    Renegotiated our pet insurance and dropped the premiums considerably.

    Enjoying everyone’s comments. I thought of Marivanne the other day. I think she is the one who mentioned Bear Creek Soup mixes. I can get them for $3.00 a package and since I find them too thick per the directions I add more water and get 12 servings instead of 8. I love soup, SO doesn’t so I can make a package and freeze some – soups like wild rice and mushroom that I normally wouldn’t make from scratch. And I am wondering how Rhonda A. European adventure is going. And how Winter is doing at school – I paused and thought about my own going away to school experience – low these many years ago. Poignant memories – I am the oldest as well and was told later that my siblings really missed me. I was touched as I had been in charge of them a lot – our mom was a nurse and worked full time and our dad worked long hours. I thought they’d have been glad – of course I learned that they called me ‘the little dictator’ as well!

  50. Congratulations on getting Winter off to college! Happy Birthday Brandy! I like your couple picture.
    We have been cooking at home and not eating out at all. But, one day we had the grandkids and got them pizza. It kind of bust our budget. So next time we are going to have a picnic with them. My grandson overheard us talking about a picnic and now he is looking forward to it. (And I thought we were going to be depriving them if we didn’t get pizza, silly me)
    Seedlings are growing, especially tomatoes. Looking forward to getting them in the ground in a week or two. I need to go check asparagus. I have a feeling it is growing.
    We have been having dinners at our parents houses. We all bring a dish. It saves us all money.
    Taxes are paid and I am happy about that. Now to pay off tires and save for tags.
    My husband has been helping cook at home. I am grateful for the break sometimes.

  51. *****Happy belated birthday Brandy. Also it sounds like there was a wedding anniversary? Happy, Happy.

    The last few weeks were busy. Johanna has packed up and left the apartment she has shared with cousin Anna for 3 years while they worked as RNs in another town about an 1 1/2 hours away. Anna is marrying in May so Johanna used that as opportunity to find a job at our hospital here and she did. She began Monday in Labor and Delivery. She is moved in and it is lovely to have her back home. She has chosen to work the night shift for now so she has the house mostly to herself during the day as we are both at work.

    *****I am thinking we have a romance in the works here. Johanna has been keeping long distance company with a boy from church for many years now. They have known each other all their lives. He is a couple years younger than her. Thomas has finished his schooling and is a Physician Assistant and took a job with the Spanish clinic. They are both also fluent in Spanish and I know they both want to work somewhere that their medical degrees and Spanish fluency will coincide.

    *****Much food cooked for Easter. We had ham in one Nesco roaster and hot turkey in another, chicken stuffing casserole, mashed potatoes, roast cauliflower, peas, green beans, coleslaw, various jello salads, various vegetable and or pasta salads, scalloped corn, cranberry sauce, relishes, hard boiled eggs, pickled eggs, rolls, 2 coconut cream pies, 2 lemon meringue pies a, frosty pumpkin ice cream pie (I made the pies ) and a jello poke cake, a lemon Swiss roll, a coffee and nut Swiss roll, frosted cupcakes with Easter sprinkles, a lemon poundcake with raspberries and whip cream. I may have forgotten items. Everyone brought something and there was a lot of candy.

    *****We held it at our house and all the children and families were there. Markus and his family had sunrise breakfast and church over with his wife’s family and then joined us for the afternoon. We had 47 people. We had 2 of my husbands siblings…Susie and her husband and son and his sister Annie and her 2 grown children. They live closer to us than to the rest of his family. We had some of son in law Theo’s family as his parents were taking an extended vacation to celebrate their anniversary so they came by us instead. Johanna invited Thomas and his parents. He is an only child and they don’t have any family in the area. Good thing they like crowds. We set up 6 trestle tables in the 3 car garage. It has a summer kitchen area along one end so we were able to set up the hot food and keep it warm. The weather was very nice so we had the doors open and patio furniture out and folks overflowed to the drive and patio and into house. The yard was dry enough that they set up the volleyball net and we brought out the yard toys and ride on toys for the little kids.

    *****Our snowstorm of a couple weeks ago melted and left green grass behind. Everything is coming up and bright and sparkly after the long winter. Rhubarb is coming in and asparagus is up. Peas have been planted. Those are the only things we plant this early. My uncles and aunts that run the farm market have opened it up for the season. It is on our frontage. Folks are eager for the first asparagus. We have light at night til almost 8 pm. Long days are so nice. Trees are budding but no leaves yet. I have my eye out for garage sale signs along the routes I drive.

    *****I have been getting much reading in as I cannot find anything I want to watch on TV. Everything seems too much too excess of…
    I did watch the series ENDEAVOR on Amazon Prime but those are short seasons …maybe 12 episodes altogether. I read more of the Hamish McNab series and started a new to me author, Rhys Bowen.

    1. Just the anniversary of the day my husband proposed 19 years ago. Our wedding anniversary is in July.

      1. A very special day to celebrate! Keeping focus and cebrating life changing days is important in a relationship. I hope your day was beautiful.

  52. Best wishes to Winter as she starts her college career!
    Frugal accomplishments this week:

    I planted seeds-Swiss chard, kale, lettuce, spinach, and radishes. My husband built me a raised bed with cinder blocks. It looks great!

    We had a lovely Easter dinner. As is our tradition with all dinners together, my daughters brought dishes to share. I made 2 hams we got on sale from Aldi, green bean casserole, baked beans, and a lemon pie. We also had broccoli salad, deviled eggs, funeral potatoes, coconut cream pie, and carrot cake. It was a feast! Everyone took home leftovers. I was very proud when my daughter accepted one of the ham bones so she could make soup.

    I made dish soap from a recipe I found on You Tube. I mixed it with a little of my regular dish soap which will make it stretch.

    Have a great week!

  53. I am keeping the back yard maintained so the kids can play outside and I can sit and read. I purchased a few yard decorations for $1 each. I tried growing some plants from seed. The basil is alive! This year I am praying I get tomatoes off my tomato plants.

  54. I haven’t posted in a long time! But love to read all. Here in the great north (Minnesota) the snow is finally gone! Planning my garden can’t wait.

    I also bought 10 pineapple and canned them. I also got fresh sauerkraut in a bag on a great sale. Bought 6 and canned them. I am all out of my home made canned. We have been having a lot of Reuben soup this spring.

    Made a baby blanket from scraps for my nephew’s new baby. It is called a stitch and flip so no tying or quilting. Done at the time of sewing. I lay out the backing right side to the floor. Put batting on top. Then work with fabric strips ( either pieced or just a strip of fabric the width of the quilt.lay the first on top right side facing up on one end of the quilt. The next strip put right side down matching edges. Sew through both fabric strips, batting, and backing. Flip fabric strip up. Now move to third strip doing the same thing. When you are done the quilt have been quilted and is ready for binding. I can sew a baby quilt in about an hour.

    Meals-We had ham and bean soup made in instant pot, grilled steak and oven baked fries, pheasant wild rice soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, asparagus soup (from asparagus from the freezer), and a vegetable and potato frittata. Using up last of potatoes from last year.

    I also had about 15 apples yet in refrigerator from last fall that we’re getting soft. Cooked up and made apple sauce. Also baked 4 spaghetti squash and 2 small pumpkins left from last fall. Pumpkin purée and spaghetti squash strands frozen for meals.

    Found butter for $1.99 a pound. Bought 10# for the freezer. Otherwise mostly eating down freezer getting ready for garden produce from this year. It is a cycle, grow, harvest, preserve, and eat. My hope is to try and not have anything in the freezer or on the canning shelves more than 2 years old. This time of the year meals can be interesting!

  55. I was wondering if you would share the recipe for the “sweet and sour” sauce. Also, did you pressure can them or water bath? Thanks.

  56. Lovely photos Brandy and good luck to Winter at college. I’ve had a good week frugally, found out my pay rise equates to an extra £200 per month which is much needed. Officially I’ve taken on a lot more responsibility but as I’ve been doing this job for the last 18 months or so anyway the rise is long overdue!
    We had a wonderful Easter lunch with my parents and I had enough turkey leftovers to feed us again on Monday, freeze some for a future turkey meal and make 4 portions of soup which I’ve frozen for my lunches at work.
    Reminded how lucky I am to have the NHS when I took my sons for their scheduled vaccinations on Wednesday at the doctors, cost nothing except the 2 Big Macs on the way home – a tradition I started with my boys when they were very small and they demanded (in a lovely way naturally) that I continue, they are 17 and 15 by the way!
    My 17 year old is moving away to college in September, unusual in the UK, as it’s normally 18 plus when they leave to go to University to study for a degree (referred to as higher education here). He’s going to study Sports Journalism at College level (further education) as he’s an American Football player and the College he’s going to has a program that is similar to what he would get in the US. He’s only going to be about 100 miles away but it will feel very strange I’m sure. The course is free for him – further education is free for all in the UK – but we have to pay for his lodging, food etc. He’s applying for bursaries and charitable grants so fingers crossed we’ll get some help. His ultimate aim is to study for his degree in the US and hopes his skills as an American Football player will help him in that goal. I think I’ve found a room in a shared house for him which will cost £400 per month including bills which is good value considering it is only a 20 minute walk to the college. He has a car (my mom gifted him her unwanted (spare) car but I’m trying to persuade him not to take it as the petrol costs will mount up. He has a bike he can take so I think that’ll be the cheapest and quickest option to get him to college each day.
    I’ve decided to return to my old habit of meal planning for the week and posting the plan on the fridge door. A fortuitous decision as I’m currently feeling unwell – posting from my sick bed – and my youngest has referred to the plan and is gladly cooking beef enchiladas for his and his dad’s tea. I’m not eating tonight, feel far too icky, and they will eat once hubby is home after he’s dropped our eldest to practice. He and a friend are staying at their Coach’s house tonight to a) watch more of the draft and b) to save us another long drive to practice in the morning so no need to feed him tonight, Coach us taking care of that.
    Have a good week everyone!

    1. Hi Joanne

      I live in the UK as well but to the best of my knowledge higher education ( university) is not free in England ( I think it is Scotland). Can you share any way of getting it free please?

      1. Hi Sheena
        I said that further education is free – A levels, BTECs and the like and higher education – degrees HND/HNCs – are where you have to pay.
        Joanne xx

  57. Hi, Sheena! Further Education is post GCSE and is free up until you are 19. Higher Education is University and isn’t free in England. Might be free in Wales and Scotland if you are from there and are resident there.

  58. I discovered that at one of the stores, they sell lovely packages of previously frozen beef liver for about $1.50 each.
    I tried some this week, and, for liver, it was excellent. I will be stocking up on it. I’ll cook it all at once and then freeze it once it has been cooked.

    It is high in cholesterol so I won’ t eat it too often but it will be n economical meal high in iron and folate, both of which I need.

    We had a tremendous blizzard last night but all is calm and sunny today. This is the last day of the Nature Challenge so I hope to see something else. I participated on Friday when we all hurried around trying to capture photos of trees, plants, birds, mammals, etc etc before the snow came. It was an early spring here but now I don’t know how it will develop — one consolation is that at ground level it will be very warm as the snow will insulate everything. I rushed to put back the styrofoam rose cones on a few roses and some of the peonies that were up. I fell while doing so but had a soft landing in the flowerbed. I crawled out backwards so I did not crawl over the peonies. I was blessed too in that I did not hit my camera or lens which were around my neck at the time. Once I reached the porch, I could get up using the railing. I am fine. I hope the plants are, too.

  59. Congratulations to Winter and your family. Each life stage has change and the change becomes easier with time. My adult grown daughter and son both went away to college and it was a little adjusting however, I am forever proud of how hard they worked to get there, the scholoarships they secured, and the jobs they had on campus from being janitors to flipping burgers in the cafeteria. Now as professionals with careers they value hard work and being frugal with their resources.
    We traveled last week to a family wedding. I had used a credit card years ago to get enough points to purchase our flights. (I believe in the credit card use, pay within one day, and manage points for travel needs) We stayed in discounted hotels thanks to a relatives discount, each hotel had a breakfast, and so we only ate out once a day. I tracked all of our expenses and we probably would not have attended the wedding with out the deep savings.
    Our savings this week included-
    *Made a big pot of chilli with celery, near its end, frozen tomatoes, and all the other fixins. It simmered for 6 hours and tasted great.
    *Adjusted our HSA withdrawl to make it stretch and further the earnings on the account balance.
    *Borrowed book from the library for an upcoming book club-a great no spend opportunity to socialize.
    *Coffee Pot stopped working 2 weeks ago. DH tried to fix but wasn’t successful. I have a classic Perculator, that I bought for $2 at a rumnage sale that was in outstanding product, shining and in brews great coffee. We found a new coffee pot, after much researching , and will have in a few days. I was able to find it on sale and use a gift card towards it’s purchase.
    *Decided to alter a pair of capris I have that I haven’t worn because they are too large.
    *Shopped a great meat sale at our local grocery store. We got 12 meals of meat for the future.
    *Paid our bills, and tracking our expenses.
    *Created a “To Do” list so I can piek something when we have a few extra minutes.
    Stay frugal all…..

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