We harvested Early Elberta peaches, Royal apricots, Mission figs, blackberries, Meyer lemons, Swiss chard, tomatoes, Thai basil, green onions, and chives from the garden.

I sowed more basil seeds in the garden. These were ones that came with a seed order that I made last year.

I made a simple cake recipe from an old cookbook and baked it in small pans for afternoon snacks for two days. I topped it with peaches, apricots, and blackberries from the garden.

My children earned new books for our library from the library’s reading program.

I watched some free photography, website design, and business classes on YouTube.

I continued to organize our home by going through more clothing and adding things to the donate pile.

I used my Swagbucks gift card to Amazon to purchase a wedding gift for a couple from their Amazon registry. I combined the purchase with another item I had been waiting to purchase in order to qualify for free shipping (I do not have Amazon Prime, so I always make sure I meet the minimum order requirement for free shipping, and I keep a list of items I’m considering purchasing on a private shopping list).

I gave one daughter a haircut.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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  1. What beautiful delicious fruit. Such a blessing to be able to grow so much to feed your family. I look forward weekly to your post and All the comments. Thank you for everything you do.

  2. Had a celebration party for my son this past weekend. We used tables, chairs & pop up tents we already had. We were also able to borrow tables & chairs from a neighbor saving the cost of purchasing more or using a party rental. Several family members brought food. Several people also brought gifts even though it stated on the invite not to! Some things we received, we already have. The duplicates will put into the gift closet. I searched my stash and found more than enough cards to use as thank you notes & I have left over stamps that my father gave me. We were gifted several pieces of furniture from a friend that will go in my son’s room.

  3. Gorgeous photos, Brandy! I also don’t have Amazon prime, so I save my swagbucks credit until I have enough credit (or cash to top up the credit) to get what I want. I just save the items in my cart (and randomly go through and delete things I’ve decided I don’t actually need).

    My week was nice and busy, as I like it! My frugal accomplishments:
    – I made a batch of Tropical Coconut & Banana Nice Cream (http://approachingfood.com/tropical-coconut-banana-nice-cream/), inspired by a reader here (Pat J, I think). I had purchased all the ingredient on sale, or with a coupon, or traded for them.
    – I made a batch of no-knead rosemary bread, as well as a batch of flourless chocolate chocolate chip cookies, and turned the egg yolks into lemon curd.
    – I gave a pair of shorts that are now too big for me, to my sister, and she gave me an item of clothing that she can’t use.
    – I used $20 worth of loyalty points to reduce my grocery costs for the week.
    – I made baby food, using organic chicken I had purchased using loyalty points. I froze the extra.
    – Using my local trading app, I traded a batch of carrot nut muffins (using the carrots I traded for last week) and a half jar of lemon curd for 7 BNIB baby feeding pouches (the re-useable kind that you fill up yourself). The jar was a reused pretty jam jar and I tied it with reused ribbon. The refillable baby food pouches are so handy! I can pop in some homemade baby food and give it to the baby on the go, which is handy since anywhere I go on public transit takes a long time and the baby gets hungry.
    – I made Cheesy Mushroom & Pesto Pasta Bake (http://approachingfood.com/pesto-portobello-pasta-bake/), and used homemade bread crumbs in it, of course!
    – I took my baby to a doctor’s appointment at the Hospital for Sick Kids in Toronto and apparently they were having a fundraiser that day. So, for $9, I was able to get a box of strawberries, two mini granola bars, a bottle of apple juice, a mini cupcake, a chocolate, two slices of pizza for myself, two slices of pizza for my mother (who had joined me for the appointment), vouchers for two large 3 topping pizzas from Dominoes, plus a $5 Starbucks gc. Needless to say, it was a good deal! (One of the pizza vouchers and the pizza for my mum was an extra freebie, as the person donating the pizza saw that I had my baby with me, and bonded with me as he was a new grandfather as well).
    – I stocked up on cocoa and chocolate chips from Costsco, using my membership card that my workplace still pays for.
    – I redeemed Swagbucks for a $5 gc to Amazon.
    – I went to the mall with my sister and redeemed a birthday freebie of an iced tea from David’s Tea, and found out I could get another freebie due to some loyalty offer that I had no idea existed. So I was able to treat my sister to a free iced tea as well, which was nice on a hot day! I was also able to redeem a Booster Juice birthday freebie of a smoothie and brought it home to my other sister (we were all visiting my parents for the weekend). At the same mall trip, I picked up my Sephora birthday freebie of translucent powder, eye liner, and a lipstick sample. I do love free things!
    – In pursuit of better blog photos, I purchased a roll of marble-look shelf liner, and am using it as a photo backdrop. Much cheaper than a block of marble! You can see that I used it in my blog post on Tropical Coconut and Banana Nice Cream.
    – My parenting bookclub got together (book borrowed from the library), and we all went swimming in the condo pool of one of the mums. I baked chocolate chip muffins as a hostess gift. A free, fun, and entertaining afternoon for both mums and babes!
    – My husband presented a paper at a genealogy conference and received free transportation, lodgings, and access to the conference as recompense.
    – I baked cheddar cornbread puffs from pantry ingredients, and gave some to the recently bereaved mother of a friend.
    – Brandy, you reminded me that I took a free online mini-course about building fb engagement. I love free training!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as usual!

    1. I know someone who took a table that she got from a Facebook garage sale page. She sprayed the metal legs with gold spray paint and covered the top of the table in marble-looking contact paper. It’s absolutely amazing looking! You might find some more uses for the rest of your roll of contact paper!

  4. Your peaches look divine! How big is your harvest? I have never had any luck trying to grow peaches.

    This was not a cheap week for us as we were on the road to visit our son and daughter-in-law in eastern Idaho. Because of Idaho’s weird L shape, and most of central Idaho being roadless wilderness areas, in this state you usually can’t get to there from here. We live in the northern Idaho panhandle, about 100 miles south of Canada, and they live in the SE quadrant of the state…550 miles away if you go through Montana, and farther if you stay entirely within Idaho (can’t cut across anywhere, have to go around). I took sandwiches, all of the fruit in the fridge and a bag of cookies to eat on the way, plus water from home. It was quicker and cheaper than fast food, and it tasted better too (no grease). We refilled our water bottles as needed and didn’t buy any drinks.

    We stayed with the kids in their new townhome, which is a big saving from us renting a condo, as we’ve had to do twice a year for the past 5 years when we have visited. They did the cooking and we mostly ate in, although we took them out for a yummy lunch in Jackson Hole, WY, one day. I brought 4 jars of homemade freezer jam as a hostess gift. I also brought them lettuce from my garden.

    My son gave my husband a brand new pair of Oakley sunglasses that he won in a sales contest. They retail for $225. (Our top price for sunglasses is about $10). He gets about 3-4 pairs of high-quality sunnies a year, either as prizes or just as salesman swag. The optics are phenomenal!

    DDIL and I practiced making bath bombs with materials I already had and brought with me. We ALMOST got them right (the balls flattened out a little bit), which is a lot better than my previous two attempts!

    Most of our thrift last week was in the form of “spending to save”–
    *I found fresh strawberries for .99 lb. at what is normally the most expensive grocery store in the area (Winter knows which one!). I bought 5 more lbs. on our way out of town yesterday and plan to make freezer jam tomorrow.
    *A nearby town has a huge thrift store, although I thought the prices were high. I paid too much ($10) for a terracotta planter I have always wanted, but it was like new and brand new would have cost more…if I could have found it.
    *I went to my favorite thrift store in Jackson at the Episcopal church and found a ceramic hot pad/trivet from the same line as one I gave to my son years ago, and that my daughter-in-law loves. This one has a moose on it, and I gave it to her. I also bought 6 new/as-new red cloth napkins, which I will use seasonally (and on the 4th of July). They were .50 each. Finally, I got a wood and tin garden angel that is actually a bird house–not just decor, this one is functional.
    *I made a mindful decision a few days ago to upgrade my wardrobe. I really have to scrounge to find something even remotely presentable, and I look like a bag lady the rest of the time. The problem is that I have to be in the mood to shop for clothes and REALLY in the mood to shop for used clothes. We stopped overnight in Bozeman, MT, on our way. I bought two designer label tops at TJMaxx (one casual and the other a bit dressier) for $16 and $24 respectively (and no sales tax in MT!). I should have taken the time to look for clothes at the Episcopal church–they have some great stuff–but I wasn’t in the mood. I plan to spend a few hundred dollars on new and used threads over the next few months. I need to be able to pull together nice outfits for church, weddings and funerals, and the occasional outing to nice places…like the landfill or the Goodwill, LOL.

    Best wishes to everyone here!

    1. Maxine,

      Winter was just up your way on a road trip with her roommates! She said she they stopped at a tiny town that had 15 thrift stores. She found herself a raincoat there.

      This peach tree is my replacement one, so it’s a new tree still and fairly small. We have had peaches from it all week, but next year it should make quite a few.

      1. Now you’ve got me wondering! Which tiny town??? I meant to stop at Deseret Industries in Rexburg, but I wasn’t paying attention and drove right by!

        1. I think it was when she was in Coeur D’Alene! If not, it was close to there. It was raining so they went thrift store shopping instead of doing their outdoor plans. She was wondering how such a tiny town could support 15 thrift stores in a row!

          1. Hey, Coeur d’Alene (where I live) isn’t that tiny! We have over 50,000 people and about 100,000 people in the county. We do have a lot of thrift stores, but some of them are privately owned. Offhand, I can think of 9 that benefit nonprofits, and I’ll be hitting a few of them today.

            1. Perhaps it seemed tiny to her. She’s used to living in the city where everything is close together . We have a population of over 640,000 people in Las Vegas, but we also but right up to the cities of North Las Vegas (243,000) and Henderson (303,000) which makes it all feel like one big city.

    2. Hi Maxine,

      I’ve had good luck upgrading my wardrobe by shopping on Ebay and also sites like Thredup. Ebay is great when I want something very specific i.e., Lands End cashmere cardigan. There used to be free $10 offers for Thredup so look around if that site appeals to you.

      Happy shopping 🙂

  5. Your cake and fruit looks yummy. Well, we’ve finally started to get warmer weather here, so I’ve been trying not to use the oven for the most part. I did use it for baking bread, a shortcake, fries and enchiladas. Other than that, the meals have been cooked on the stovetop or crockpot during the week, and on the bbq on the weekends.
    The past 2 weeks I made:
    – homemade sausage/hot dog buns for a Saturday dinner.
    – I made Black Bean soup one day then with not having enough left over to serve as soup again (and to switch it up), I drained what little broth was left and combined the remaining beans and vegetables with rice and grated cheese to make Bean Enchiladas. Served with salad.
    – for another vegetarian option, I made Lemon-Garlic Penne Pasta with Broccoli and Green Beans. My kids topped each plateful with Parmesan cheese. This was fast to prepare and didn’t heat up the house.
    – made 4 separate meals from 2 Rotisserie Chickens: the first day was chicken pieces with fries and gravy; the second day I made Chicken Chipotle Tacos; the third day I used some of the breast meat to make Chicken-Vegetable Stir Fry with rice; the last day I made broth from the carcasses and made Chicken and Rice Soup using up any leftover rice and vegetables from the previous day.
    – made Korean Pork Bulgogi for a weeknight meal and served it in lettuce leaves for a lighter dish. Ramon noodles and spiced carrots were cooked as the sides.
    – served homemade Cheese and Potato Pieroges and on-sale Steak.
    – with leftover steak, and by adding a couple of chicken thighs, made Fajitas. Served with on-sale corn on the cob.
    – made Strawberry Shortcake as a dessert with macerated strawberries and whipped cream.
    – using the leftover macerated berries, I added extra sugar and cooked down into a jam to serve over Pancakes for breakfast.
    – made Vanilla Custard to serve over the last of the berries for another dessert.
    – made No Bake Marshmallow Bars using mini coloured marshmallows coated with a mixture of melted chocolate chips and peanut butter.
    – made No Bake Nanaimo Bars.
    – had company for dinner on each Saturday over 2 weekends. (for the Steak and Pierogies, the other for the Sausage on a bun and Hot Dogs). Got all food purchased for these meals on sale, saving us quite a bit of money.
    – made Iced Coffee and Coffee Shakes with leftover brewed coffee.
    – made “too-many-to-count” pitchers of homemade Lemon Iced Tea.
    – line dried most of the laundry; washed, and when necessary, dried some of the clothes during off-peak hours.
    – baked during off-peak hours.
    – prepared and partially cooked many meals during off peak hours.
    – encouraged kids to have shorter showers; not run water while brushing teeth; save start up water for plants.
    – by doing these things I was able to save $39.00 on my water/hydro bill this past month.
    – husband rotated tires himself for daughters’ vehicles as well as our own. That saved us $$.
    – after giving a BBQ as one of the wedding gifts for our daughter, my hubby helped the Son- in-Law put it together. We were treated to homemade pizza on the new grill for these efforts.
    – started crocheting and knitting some Christmas gifts when it was too hot or too wet to be outside
    Well, that’s all I can think of for now. Cheers everyone!

  6. Although I have commented on other posts recently, I don’t think I’ve posted my own frugal accomplishments in forever and definitely not since I moved from Maryland to South Carolina last October. I’m hoping to get back to doing them weekly since there is a certain incentive to be frugal if you know you are going to list what you have done each week.  I apologize in advance for the length of this post with my background information.

    I chose to move to SC for several reasons, including lower income and real estate taxes (even though my appraised house value is higher than my old house, taxes are about $1,100 lower). People age 65 and over who have been legal residents for a year are also exempt from taxes on the first $50,000 of assessed value so my taxes will go down even more next year (I did not become a legal resident until January after I sold my MD house). Maryland provides NO tax breaks for retirees, not even military ones. My water bill is significantly higher but part of that is because sewer and other costs were rolled into the tax bill in Maryland are billed monthly here. My electric bill is significantly lower and I no longer need to buy heating oil for the furnace and hot water heater. Overall, my costs have gone down a lot.

    In addition to finances, I have family living in the area, close enough to see and far enough away that no one will stop in without notice. I bought a single story, 1,500 square foot house with a detached garage on a quarter acre of land to replace my 3 story duplex with not even 1/10th of an acre. Not having to go up and down 2 flights of stairs to get to the laundry is a blessing as is having an automatic dishwasher. I also love the weather; snow rarely falls in SC and if it does, I’ll stay inside. I moved from garden zone 7b to 8b and am using this year as my “learning” year.  Las Vegas is also zone 8b but we have a lot more rain than Brandy gets. I was amazed when I checked a map and realized I was as far west as Pittsburgh, even though I’m only 20 miles or so from the Atlantic Ocean, and I’m further south than both Atlanta and Las Vegas and a little south of Phoenix. Zone 8b means our minimum winter temp is 15 to 20 degrees F/-9.4 to -6.7 C although it can, of course, get colder on occasion. Our local strawberries were available from mid-February to mid-May. In MD, they did not start until the end of May. It takes some adjusting!

    I really enjoy gardening and will be doing much more of it next year after I retire in January. I will be 66 in February and I.CANNOT.WAIT to retire!!! Do not even try to tell me that I will be bored. I have far too much planned – gardening, learning how to really quilt by taking some classes, painting my home interior, volunteering, reading the stacks of books I have and those I want to read, joining book clubs, and exploring the state and region. I just hope I can make it until then without getting fired for telling someone what I really think. It’s amazing how much more annoying the little, stupid things are the closer I get to retirement.

    Okay, enough background. My frugal accomplishments for last week are:

    ·         Stayed home 6 days. I work from home and didn’t go out during the week. Working from home is what allowed me to move while I’m still working and keep my job. 

    ·         Bought 2 weeks’ worth of groceries, shopping from a list. I didn’t buy any meat except for 1 pack of bacon because the freezer is full and I need to eat that down some before I buy more. The only thing not on the list that I bought was spinach, which should have been on there. I’m maintaining the list on my cell phone, checking items off as I buy them. When I do my next shop, I’ll remove the items I don’t need and uncheck the others I do so I know to buy them again.

    ·         Made just about all food from home. I did buy a slice of Tomato Pie from a local deli on Sunday and decided I needed to learn how to make it to avoid that expense. I used Paula Deen’s recipe (Tomato Pie) using my homegrown tomatoes and basil and a refrigerated pie crust from Aldi’s. I did make a couple substitutions based on what I had on hand by using Vidalia onions that I cooked with a little butter in the microwave and Monterey Jack cheese because I already had that shredded. I loved this dish and it will be in the meal rotation.  I also made pumpkin pie since I was already heating up the oven.

    ·         I prepped a lot of food for meals in the coming week – strawberry cream cheese, red pepper cream cheese, and egg salad and made a meal plan for the week.

    ·         There was one night when I was very frustrated by something and so wanted to go out to eat because nothing in the ‘frig looked good or was too much effort. I opened the freezer to get ice and found the spinach and artichoke dip I bought from Aldi’s. It was the perfect meal and just took heating up in the microwave and a toasted mini bagel to save my eating out/entertainment budget from getting hit.

    ·         I hung half dry laundry in the laundry room to save on electricity for the dryer. I could put up a clothes line outside because my house is not in an HOA but the last couple years I’ve realized that my allergies are really triggered when I do that, especially with sheets and towels. It’s not worth it to me.

    ·         My house stays rather cool even when we have temps in the high 90ies. I have ceiling fans in all 3 bedrooms, one of which I use for my office. The roof overhang is at least 15 inches all around the house and combined with shade from the front porch roof and two huge trees out front (the south facing side), the house stays rather cool until anywhere between Noon and 2 p.m., when I close the windows, call any of my 3 cats still out on the screened in porch on the back of the house inside, close that door, and turn on the AC. It’s usually off again by 7 p.m. until I go to bed. My electric bill for mid-May to mid-June, which included a period of nearly a week of high temps in the 100s, was $96; $33 of that was for the service charge of 99 cents/day and a $2.50 charge for the outside light across the street. 

    1. Mari,

      We actually have a variety of zones here in Las Vegas, from zone 8b to 10. I live in 9a. The coldest I have ever seen it is 22 degrees (only once in 19 years). That did considerable damage to my citrus. Most years we only dip below freezing for a few hours for a few nights, usually during two (separate) weeks in winter (one in December and one in January or February). Other than that, it stays above freezing in the winter. If you decide to grow citrus there, make sure they are protected in winter. You will also be able to grow some things that I cannot, as we don’t get enough chilling hours for many fruits.

      I think your reasons for moving are wonderful, and having a one-story house instead of a 3-story place will definitely be a blessing in retirement!

      1. I love lemons and limes and MIGHT do potted trees but I am really wondering if I will plant any fruit trees, even though I have the room. By the time they really produce – 5 years? – I will be 70 and doubt I will want to be picking, although my grandfather did until he was 90, so… I will be deciding on that for next spring. I am definitely putting in berry bushes, though.

        I LOVE one story living!

        1. Yes, 5 years for many things. I start with 5-gallon pots that are already a year old. They take 2-3 years to start producing (3 to really be big enough for much of a harvest). Those tres are around $30 each on sale here. The big trees that are already 5 years old start around $80 a tree. Our local nursery carries both options, so there are ways to do it much faster.

    2. Hi Mari
      Thank you for the background to your move – it’s interesting to read other people’s motivations and decisions. I live in England so it’s fascinating to read about the climates and growing seasons in the US, Australia etc. I can’t imagine coping with the heat Brandy has to face but we all have our own challenges and triumphs I suppose. We have had a very wet June with the odd lovely day so the gardens are lush.

      1. Hi, Penny!I look at the Daily Mail online sometimes, mainly so I can be thankful that I am never expected to wear a hat or fascinator and to get the all important info on the latest William and Kate versus Harry and Meghan gossip which I am SURE is always 100% accurate – not. I also have seen several articles this month about your storms.

        I have lived in several states (Pennsylavania, Virginia, Tennesse, Maryland, and now South Carina) and visited many more. I am still astounded by the diversity in weather and geography in this country.

    3. Mari, thank you for sharing such an informative post. I liked all your reasons, especially being closer to family. You sound quite settled in already and many blessings to you on your new home and gardens.

      1. Thanks. I was embarrassed to write something that long but as my daughter says I definitely know how to make a short story very long.

  7. *I had a week off from work so I focused on cleaning the house and decluttering. I added many items to my donate pile and passed on some others.
    *We to the subway into the city and went to a skateboarding event sponsored by Vans. My son wanted a skateboard and I was lucky enough to find a board and safety gear for free. At the event my 7 year old son got to watch some pro skateboarders and he got to practice his skills with the “big boys”.
    *I”m trying to eat from my freezer and pantry.
    * I received some clothes from a friend that I can use for work.
    *I hung up my laundry to dry.
    *I baked bread.
    *My friend stopped by one morning. I made coffee instead of heading to Starbucks next door.

  8. This week we transferred $624 over to savings from our checking account since we had a final check from work for unused vacation days that will tide us over until this Wednesday when both our SS checks are scheduled to arrive. So far we are still on target with our retirement budget.
    I was getting ready to take money from savings to pay our second half property taxes that were due on June 20 and I was having trouble doing it online. So I called the county tax office and they looked it up and told me I had paid the full year back in Dec! So I had no balance to pay!!! That meant $1400 stayed back in our savings acount!

    I was able to take dinner over to a friend’s daughter whose husband just started work in another state while she stayed behind for the final month of her pregnancy to have the baby with the doctor and hospital she was already familiar with. She has an active 2-1/2 year old too and so my recently widowed friend (her mom) has been helping out. I decided they could use a break. I also gave her a baby quilt that I had in my gift cupboard that I made months ago! https://pin.it/sqbuw3gnazvdtt. I made it completely from my fabric stash so no OOP cost! A week before, I did the same thing with another new mom- dinner for 2 days plus a baby quilt from my gift cupboard that I made months before. https://pin.it/77fi5cm34o66u4. Having gifts already made or purchased on sale is such a time and money saver!!

    I got a notice about a warehouse sale at Tropical Nut and Fruit that sell snacks/candy so I went over! I’ve bought yogurt covered pretzels and other things from them before, so with their loyalty card, I had a $10 credit. I told my daughters about the sale and they told me what they wanted (they both have little ones and it would have been hard for them to get over there, but snacks would be a money saver for school lunches and afternoon snacks!) One other young mom asked me if I would pick up some things for her too since they are a one car family and her husband wouldn’t be home until after the store closed for the day. So, with their orders, that gave me rewards points for another $10!
    I bought 25 pounds of Pecan Pie Mix, 15 pounds of Salted Caramel pretzels, 25 pounds of Frontier Trail Mix, 25 pounds of chocolate covered peanut butter pretzel pillows filled with brownies, 15 pounds of Patriotic (RWB) drizzled pretzel stars, 25 pounds of Praline Nut Mix all for $30 OOP!! (That’s 115 pounds!) I took some of the Praline Nut Mix and filled 14 pint jars and vacuum sealed them to give 11 in gift baskets to our kids for Christmas and 1 each to my brother and sister for their surprise birthday party that we are going up to Michigan for in a week and 1 to the hostess of the surprise party! Hubby got the idea for round labels that will go on the jar lids and found a source for 300 of them for $14. He will design the labels on the computer so they will look fancy! Since I will be doing more jars for Christmas gift baskets, the labels seemed like a good investment!!
    We got 20 of the landscape rocks we got free on Craigslist last week trenched in around the fire pit so far. That’s about 1/3 of the way, so since we got 92, we will have about 32 left over for another project!
    Our grapevine is covered with grapes (Concord) https://pin.it/a33h7t446iqphr, our $6 Blackberry bush we bought in a quart size carton at Sam’s Club last Spring that looked like a twig has turned into this and we are excited about harvesting blackberries later this summer https://pin.it/jzcckw7jhfe2sw and our veggie garden of raised beds is holding it’s own and we are eating from it! https://pin.it/dlxhukny24fmrm.
    I was able to buy a 40 pound box of bananas at our local produce market for $5 and there weren’t even any brown spots! I shared some with 3 of our kids’ families and made muffins and cookies with some of the rest of them! We will freeze any that get overripe for later use.
    I canned 8 pints of black beans because we were down to our last 4 pints on the shelf! I have 100+ pounds of dry black beans so I convert those over to canned by pressure canning in hot water for 75 minutes! That way I have the convenience of ready to serve beans without overnight soaking or hours of cooking! https://pin.it/wg3p5durzzn4ub. So simple to do!

    I also canned another 9 pints of easy layered chili which can be done quickly in assembly-line fashion putting one ingredient at a time into each jar and letting the 90 minute pressure canning processing time do the cooking. Again, so fast and easy and all of the ingredients were normal ones I have in my food storage. https://pin.it/md4kgvzw3lkkmm. We tried one of jars of chili that I canned a couple weeks ago using this recipe to see if we liked it. Hormel chili will no longer be found in my house after this! This is meatier by far and has nice spice mix but not eye-watering hot! Definitely a big winner and so convenient to have on my pantry shelf!!

    Outside we used some scalloped edging blocks that have been in a stack by the side of the house to edge across the front fence in our side yard, making it easier to mow! Cost? Just our time and it decluttered a stack of blocks! And here are the first 35 of the 92 landscape rocks that we got free on Craigslist in place around the fire Pit! I think we will be able to finish the perimeter with about 20 more! https://pin.it/4g7b7lufhqdtvw

    We took the free online garden class from our County and passed the easy 15 question quiz (multiple choice) and by doing that we were given a $50 voucher to use on either a rain barrel (we have a 4 barrel system already), a composter (we were given a big tumbling one years ago that still works great) OR perennials, shrubs or trees that are native and non-invasive. We chose the plants and got this lovely hydrangea- https://pin.it/4g3kpx7gxwfm5t and also this lovely blueberry bush https://pin.it/j2eoavfgjoambj. And they come with a 1 year guarantee!!

    Got a free ice cream cone from a regional ice cream store just for downloading their app. So that was a fun treat! It’s amazing how many wonderful things you can do and have without spending much more than time! I think we like this “luxury” retirement!!

    All in all, it’s been a great week! In a few days our first SS checks should come and then our first pension check a week later. Fingers crossed that our budget numbers still work!

  9. Hello! This past week was an exercise in restraint to be sure! I kept everything in budget, took my grandkids to free or very low cost events, and went with them and my daughter in law to the zoo in New Orleans on Friday. Rather than buy the expensive food in the zoo, we packed a picnic lunch and had a picnic between visiting the zoo and the new water park located in the zoo. You are allowed to bring a cooler as long as it is under 28 quarts. We froze water bottles and drank those rather than buy the expensive drinks. I did buy my grandchildren ” Roman candy” which was a dollar a stick as a treat. My son’s girlfriend and her parents came to visit for the weekend. They live six hours from here. We did go out to dinner on Saturday night but I had budgeted that in. Sunday after church I cooked lunch for everyone instead of going out to eat. I made a cake from scratch with ingredients I already had. Kept the air off as long as possible. Kept lights off if room was not being used. Short showers to save on water. Stayed home except for my regular errand day and to take them out to eat on Saturday night. My husband gave me money for my birthday. I’m being practical and ordering new black shoes for church lol. I got an offer for free Amazon prime for a month so I set a reminder to notify mr three days before they charge me so I can unsubscribe. I usually get that offer two or three times a year so that’s when I order stuff from Amazon. I think that is all. Have a great day!

  10. I harvested basil, purslane, lambs quarter, oregano, figs , blueberries, blackberries and lettuce last week. Yesterday, I put three boxes of donations in my car to take to town today. I made a honey spice cake and pistachio purslane pesto, and froze some of each. I also froze 10 bags of lambs quarter. I enjoyed library books, including Educated. I just want to say I don’t feel the book portrays Mormonism in general. There will always be extreme and unbalanced people in every religion, and I think it’s obvious their world and your beautiful family are universes apart. I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s comments. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2019/06/summer-fruits-frugal-accomplishments.html

    1. I loved the book “Educated” – it spoke so much to the power of the human spirit and the value of an education. I didn’t really see the family as Mormon in the true sense of the word as the father’s mental illness really overwhelmed anything else. I think the mother simply gave up and just did the best she could not to set him off. I thought it was amazing that the author could recognize this and not hate him but still love and even pity him. The fact that she has made this amazing life for herself by her extraordinary determination and perseverance made such an impression on me. The next time I hear someone whining about their life or writing one of those “I’m such a victim” books I’m going to refer them to this book!

    2. Laurie, I am in piedmontNC and forage for purslane, lambs quarters and wild blackberries. I make smoothies with all three and dehydrate the LQ. My garden is producing tomatoes, zucchini and chard. The peppers are just starting. I am picking and dehydrating basil, parsley, oregano and mullein.

  11. My daughter and I purchased 25 lbs of pork loin on sale and packaged it for meals later—-froze some and cooked some in the crock pot while cleaning house, then froze it in single meal packages. We stocked up on vitamins and otc meds, bacon, 12 lbs dried beans, 1 dozen cans soup, several bulk spices, bulk tuna and salmon, and 130 servings dehydrated potato flakes. During the same trip. Most of these supplies will last 6months to a year.—at an expenditure of about $20 per month. Hubby repaired the dryer for the price of the replacement part: at a savings of at least $100. He then paid $30 for oil change supplies for his truck vs $80 to have it done. I paid $3 for a home organization book on sale vs its exorbitant original price. I reviewed our monthly Amazon order for unneeded stock/items and added consumable necessities. We are currently reviewing our home and business budgets for more ways to cut costs, and this week we dropped cable tv service, opting for internet based services at a savings of $100 per month. The local farms and our garden are coming in now, so the abundance of vegetables will be enjoyed and the remainder preserved for the winter on a weekly basis.

  12. This is a few of the savings from the last couple weeks:

    made $35 selling items(2 sacks of books, 1 dvd)
    brought home leftovers from picnic
    saved .73 per gallon off gas with reward points
    sold 11 rolls of deco mesh making $40
    made cake for hubby birthday instead of buying one
    went out for breakfast on his birthday instead of dinner
    My mom sent over some TV dinners that we don’t eat, so I listed them and soda from the picnic no one liked
    My mom sent over 4 cans of soup and several snack foods since she needs to reduce her sodium intake

  13. Wow, that bowl of mixed fruit sure looks delicious, Brandy! I’m sure everyone enjoyed that treat.

    Recently, I have been focusing on buying items that I know we will need in the future, like school clothing and other items DD will need for school in September. By watching for clearance and sale items, I can buy very good quality items at excellent prices. After all, many are not thinking about buying winter clothes off the clearance racks when our temperatures are warming. Our household’s frugal accomplishments for this week included:
    *Meals made at home included breaded fish with homemade tartar sauce, potato wedges, homemade coleslaw and carrots, BBQ cheddar sausages & hot dogs with coleslaw and knorr pasta side kicks, spaghetti with meat or plain pasta sauce, canned cream of potato soup with homemade garlic bread, breaded chicken fingers with potato wedges and corn, bacon sandwhiches with coleslaw , pickles, potato chips and cupcakes for dessert, and breaded stuffed chicken breasts with white rice and carrots (intentionally made extra rice so we had leftovers). We did not eat out or have any type of take out for dinner all week! Whoohoo!!!!
    *Due to time restraints, I was not able to bake something for lunches this week. However, DD & friend only went 2 days this week before exams started. So I used rice crispy treats I bought on sale after Halloween. They were still fine, but do need using up anyways.
    *Trimmed my own bangs, to extend the time between needing a haircut. I need my hair long in the summer, to put up in a bun for work. My normal is to wait until just before Christmas, when I am finished work for the season.
    *DD had her friend over on Saturday, which meant she stayed for dinner. I decided to pull 4 packages of bacon from the freezer (bought on sale a while ago) and cooked it up for bacon sandwiches. I also pulled out a bag of ciabatta buns from the freezer (again bought when on sale or clearance). For dessert, I made up a cake mix into 24 cupcakes and used up some icing in the pantry as well.
    *DD & I both had a doctor’s appointment this week. Thanks to our health care, as there was no cost OOP for the visit.
    *DD decided last minute to attend PHIT program one evening. We happened to be at the Dr’s appointment when the decision was made. I contacted hubby on the way home and asked him to come up with a quick dinner, as the program was taking place around the time we typically eat dinner. He pulled canned soup out of the cupboard and whipped up homemade garlic bread to go with it. Dinner was all ready shortly after we retruned from the Dr’s appointment, giving us plenty of time to eat before heading out again. Very proud of hubby, who listened when I told him he needed to be more on top of making meals at home.
    *The PHIT program was a scavenger hunt in a community garden. There was a children’s garden, with included an herb garden area. While we were waiting for another family to finish, we had the children eating & smelling some of the herbs, like mint, chives and lavender. They were surpisingly quite receptive to it! DD won 2 free swim passes to the Wellness Centre, which do not expire. We already have 2 other passes that she won from another PHIT program. We may use them this summer or save them for the winter.
    *Hubby took DD and my mom to find a replacement bathing suit bottom for DD (she still had 1 top in good condition). Her bathing suit bottom had become so thin from use in the pool, you could see through it. The store happened to have a 30% off sale and they gave him an extra discount for being a CAA member, saving quite a bit of money! I went the next day and found a bathing suit (top & bottom) for myself, plus 2 shirts for DD (1 summer 50% off and 1 on clearance for school next year). I used the rest of a gift card and only paid $13.33 OOP.
    *Out of the blue, a local restaurant owner called my husband asking if he was still looking for a job. Hubby has know idea where the man got his number from, as he has not put his resume out to anyone yet. Hubby really wants to take the summer off! Anyways, he told the man he wants to do breakfast hours and has 17 years experience doing it. The man seemed quite excited about his experience. He is going to look at the possiblility of shuffling people around and will be in contact. Hubby is waiting to hear how much they are willing to pay him and what hours. If he doesn’t like the offer, he’ll keep looking…after the end of summer!
    *Hubby and I checked out a discount place that is only open on the weekends. Neither of us has ever been there before, despite it being around for a couple years. Well, they had great prices on several things and we ended up spending $120 in the end. I did pick up some Christmas gifts for DD, high quality name brand running shoes and nice winter socks for me, a dress shirt for hubby, good quality driver side wipers for my car (2 for $4!), 2 travel neck pillows (we wished we had them on our European trip, so now we have them to use for future trips!), and 2 good quality reusable water bottles for DD to use at school (we had nice ones but 1 was broken and 1 went missing over this school year).

    By the way, I thought of a few more things to take on a long car trip or picnic lunch. You could buy some cheap Freezies and throw them frozen into the cooler to help keep items cold, then let the kids enjoy the Freezies after lunch. Pudding (homemade or mix) in individual reusable containers would work for a snack or dessert option. Of course, popcorn is also a great snack to take. Can make caramel corn or season with various flavours to make it more special, if you’d like. I have used parmesan cheese or powdered cheddar cheese (like the stuff in Kraft Dinner) on popcorn to make cheese popcorn, which is quite tasty!

  14. My garden is producing peas now, which is a big treat to me. I also harvested enough strawberries to make a batch of freezer jam.
    I splurged on two flats of begonias and petunias from my local discount store. They were only $4.99 a flat and those extra flowers have added some bright spots to my garden. I pulled out two long planters that I used to have on my porch and lined my driveway with the planters and a begonias. I continue to work in the garden each day, thinking of Mariviene and her example.
    I made shrub–an Early American drink from fruit, sugar and vinegar. I had some mangoes that needed using. I macerated two cups of fruit with one cup of sugar in the refrigerator for about four days, then strained the fruit (later putting it on my oatmeal) and added one cup of cider vinegar to the liquid. Use about one tablespoon of the shrub to 6-8 oz. of water (plain or sparkling) and ice. It makes a very refreshing summer drink! I had a meeting at my home and served it to my guests, along with some homemade cookies, and they raved about the shrub.
    I trimmed my bangs, saving the need to get my haircut by a few weeks.
    I am working on finishing up knitting projects with yarn that I have. A friend gave me two knitting books with projects that don’t take too much time, which is also a good way to use up my stash.
    This week I will rotate my closet again. I just did my first 333 project, where you select 33 items of clothing to wear for three month. It doesn’t include outerwear or exercise clothing. I’ve loved doing it! At first, I thought I would get bored with my options but that hasn’t been a problem. In fact, it’s interesting that even with only 33 items of clothing and shoes, there are still items I haven’t worn much, so I could likely get rid of them in favor of pieces that I favor. I also like the simple, clean look of my closet!
    The temperatures haven’t turned hot yet–but will later this week–so we haven’t had to turn on the air conditioner yet.
    Have a glorious week everyone. Thank you for all of your inspiration and support.

    1. Thank you for the “shrub” recipe – I have just started mixing apple cider vinegar with my water and it is taking some getting used to. I have some fruit that needs to be used up so making a concentrate like this would be very tasty.

    2. Kandace, my history-loving daughter mentioned a recipe for a drink called Shrub that was, among other reasons, created to help stave off the heat (because of the vinegar content) and to keep energy levels up during the summer. I was curious about it when she told me, but forgot all about it. Now that you’ve brought it to my attention again, I’m going to make some. Strawberry season has just begun here in Canada so it’s a good time to try it. Thanks.

      1. I think it is the Colonial version of Gatordade. If you google it, you will find several recipes, some of which use red wine vinegar. Other recipes have a stove top, faster version. As I have done more research it seems that it can be canned as well, so a good way to use up extra fruit during the summer. I think I am going to make a batch or two.
        So glad that others have heard of it too!

  15. It has been another win/lose week here. That is the way summer is for me. I keep two of my grandbabies during the summer and it costs me sometimes. With that said it hasn’t been too bad this year.
    To save on electricity I make sure the windows are shut and covered where the morning sun comes in.
    I open the front of the house until noonish…then I cover the windows to keep out the horrible afternoon heat.
    This week I went from closing the door at noon to closing the door at 8 and nine in the morning. The temps were only in the low 90s, but the heat index made it feel like 108.
    At night when I go to my room I turn off the a/c in the living room.
    I have hung comforters over the back part of the house that I am not using the air in.
    I now live alone and I don’t need all of this room, but my house has been paid for for 20 years so I will be staying here as long as I can.
    I was going to buy a big piece of beef for the slow cooker, but the store we went to wanted $4.99 a pound for the beef. Needless to say I am not paying that much for meat.
    I am eating out of my freezer and pantry for the next 3 weeks. The only thing I will be buying is milk for the grandbabies.
    I watched Netflix (which my daughter pays for) almost every day this month.
    My son is sending me some anti-inflammatory gel that we both use. This is great for me as it costs over $40.00 a tube with insurance.
    Our city hall was closed Friday when we went to pay the water bill (cut off date was Sat.).
    When Jake went in Monday to pay the bill I told him to question the late charge since they were closed without notifying everyone. The sec. said there was a note on the door 9are you kidding me). After a few minutes of talking the secretary waived the late charge (over $6.00).
    This week there was a big notice in the paper that city hall is no long going to be open on Fridays. That is fine with me as long as we all know.
    Most meals were eaten here.
    I did take the kids to DQ for a drink. They love getting this treat. We go during happy hour so the drinks are half-priced. We buy 3 large drinks for just over $3.00. They kids drink from these for the rest of the afternoon.
    As usual there is more, but I won’t remember until later on today. *laughing*

  16. Amazing photos. From time to time i happen to other websites with perhaps similar content but the quality of photos simply pushes me away.

  17. I love reading your blog every week, and I read all the comments, though I don’t comment often. This week: Was under grocery budget. Cooked all meals at home, made pumpkin cake and pumpkin/vanilla pudding cups. Teaching my son, who got a poor grade in culinary, how to cook (his poor grade was due to lack of participation). So, due to his grade, I’m having him cook with me every day. So far he’s made a Thai noodle salad, chocolate chip cookies, a crockpot beef/vegetable soup, and today we are making spaghetti. Not really frugal, but will be so good for him someday, and I told him by the end of summer he would have an A in Mom’s culinary class! Deep cleaned the family room (moved couch, did windows, shelves, purged). Looks so much better. Have been tutoring a lot, which has helped finances. Starting my own business in Sept and staying under budget for supplies and start-up costs. Have had a good response so far and am very excited! Sold a few things on FB Marketplace. Fertilized my lawn, weeded, and have kept my plants alive since April which is a record for me, I’m not much of a gardener. Although my brother is giving me his FOUR, beautiful, cedar standing garden beds, this week! So I’m going to try.

    1. I love this! We all have to eat. We all need to learn how to cook! Way to go!

  18. Hello everyone! Our weather has been heating up, so we’re mostly staying indoors. We had several days with heat index around 105-110 last week. It does not cool down enough at night to open the windows – it’s usually in the 80s, and our humidity stays relatively high, so the air conditioning is a full-time deal now. We keep all of our blinds and drapes tightly closed 24/7, and many of the windows have light-blocking drapes now. We have ceiling fans & fans throughout the house. We also have 2 portable a/c units we run – one in our bedroom and one in our main living area & kitchen – to supplement our older central a/c system. They’re on timers to come on around 3 PM on workdays, so they do help cool the house before we get home. Our automatic thermostat keeps the house temp at 80 while we are gone. When we are home, it only goes down to 78/79, and the portables do the rest of the work in the rooms we are using. Summer is oppressive to me, because it’s prohibitively hot for doing anything outdoors, and we have to keep the house sealed up like a drum. I much prefer fall and winter when I can open the windows for fresh air and natural light, and enjoy the outdoors. We had some severe weather Sunday evening and our power went out briefly. We are thankful it came back on quickly, as many are still without power. We’ve had a very wet season with a lot of crazy weather. The good news is that we aren’t in a drought currently and are actually several inches above our normal rainfall. Usually by this time of year we are dry as a bone and under constant fire risk.

    Last week we did several projects around the house, including cleaning out our cedar chest of bed linens. It was crammed full, and once we started pulling things out, we realized we had items that don’t even fit our current bed sizes. Still can’t figure that one out. We were able to donate a couple of sheet sets, pillow shams, a duvet cover, and a nice comforter, and it felt good to get rid of unnecessary items and reduce clutter. Went to an estate sale that was 75% off and my husband found a nice pair of shoes, new in the box. He also bought a pair of vintage binoculars for $5 that we resold for $25, and a package of new kitchen towels for $1.25. I received a TJ Maxx gift card through rewards on our cell phone service. Combined that with a free shipping code (after signing up for their emails) to get a bottle of shampoo & conditioner for free. Used grocery store rewards for a free dozen eggs and pita crackers.

    We cooked and ate most meals at home. I bought corn on the cob 8/$1, so we have been enjoying a lot of corn side dishes. I’m using my instant pot and crock pot more frequently to avoid heating up the oven. Tonight we are going to have grilled chicken leg quarters with corn on the cob, and I am going to try pinto beans (from the pantry storage) in the IP. Started them soaking before I left for work this morning. Those should make enough for at least 2-3 meals, or we will freeze them for refried beans at a later date.

    Last Saturday we planned to drive to a lake, and stopped at a grocery store that is not in our usual rotation due to distance (HEB, for those in Texas), and stocked up on several good sales. They had chicken breasts and pork butt $1/lb so we bought some of those for the freezer, as well as some chicken leg quarters. I also found a cute t-shirt on clearance for $3, and some cosmetics marked down to $1.42 each. They are items I use regularly, so I was happy to find such a bargain. The lake we went to was free, but ended up being a bust. The water was extremely dirty and crowded. We had been once before, but it was during the off-season and it was a totally different experience. We stayed for only a few minutes and left, didn’t even get in the water! Still it was a nice drive, and we got to see some wildlife.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

    1. Pam we always keep a stack of extra sheets around to cover furniture because the dogs will sometimes jump up on them and I know when we are not home the sofa or daughter’s bed is their preferred sleeping spot. That way we just peel off the sheet as needed and wash and we can pull them off quickly if company comes in. They are also nice for laying out on the grass and they feel cool not warm as a fuzzy blanket would.

      1. That is a good tip, Athanasia! We keep a stack of old sheets & blankets in our garage closet to cover our outdoor plants during hard winter freezes.

  19. Your cake and fruit look delicious. It reminds me that something doesn’t have to be expensive and extravagant in order to be elegant. Our frugal accomplishments this week were:
    *Meals made were fried eggs with bacon and biscuits, spaghetti with salad, pan-seared London broil with brown rice and peas, garlic shrimp scampi pasta, leftovers.
    *Filled out a survey on a KFC receipt (we took dinner to my parents) and earned a free sandwich.
    *Topped off all of my canisters/storage containers and took inventory of my pantry to make a list of needed items.
    *Walked with a friend, my husband and my son on different days for fellowship and free exercise.
    *Washed windows with vinegar and newspapers.
    *Took blueberry muffins from the freezer and wrapped them to give to a coworker on his birthday.
    *Accepted an 18-pack of eggs as a thank you from friends who came over and took a shower when they were having water problems.
    *Cut lotion, toothpaste and self-tanner open to get the last bits out.
    *Used my husband’s razor blades that he was going to throw away. They might be too dull for his face, but not for my legs. ?
    *Accepted several pairs of men’s jeans and fleeces and passed them along to male coworkers who could use them. Also accepted a set of flannel sheets, several white cloth tablecloths, 20 white cloth napkins and a large sectioned serving dish.
    *Received a free lunch at work that my boss had brought in. Also took home 3 – 9×13 pans that the lunch was served in and washed them to reuse.
    *Our son treated us to dinner out since he hadn’t been able to come home for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. My husband had a gift card for the restaurant so he put that towards the bill to lower the cost.
    *My college son was home for the weekend so I sent the rent check with him instead of mailing it, which saved a stamp.
    *Sent a sympathy and a get well card from my stash.

    1. I never thought to take home the aluminum pans from the office. Our office frequently does lunches for staff and no one else would want them. I’m stealing this idea!

      1. Steal away, Laurie! I often take meals to new moms or funerals and I don’t want them to worry about returning my dishes, so reusing these pans saves me money and keeps them out of the landfill (for now). Its a win/win.

    2. I bought one of those razor sharpeners from Lehman’s and it really works. I waited till it was on sale. My husband made his razors last for weeks. If you coat the blade in lotion or oil after you shave it stay sharper much longer. It is the micro rust that’s makes it drag. Now a package of razors from Costco will last a year.

      1. Thanks, Lyn! I will be looking into the sharpener. And I already have baby oil so I’ll use that on the blades now.

  20. On Saturday, we went to the library book sale. Each branch has book sales throughout the year, but this is the biggest one and every child gets a free book. I knew hat books series and authors I wanted to look for (mostly classics like Boxcar Children, Little Women, and Berentein Bear books) so I wine in with a goal which helped not to get distracted LOL. I also wanted to get some children’s dictionaries (with pictures) and encyclopedias. I found so many great finds! I spent $24 for 28 books.
    On Monday, I roasted a whole chicken I had bought the week before for 89¢/lb. It wasn’t very big, but I got enough meat off of it to use for several meals. I used the leftover bones and roasting veggies to make broth, which I stored in the fridge in empty (cleaned) salsa and jam jars. We had missionaries from our church over for dinner on Monday night, and they were appreciative of a yummy roast chicken! I served Brandy’s garlic rice on the side as well as steamed broccoli. It was a simple and beautiful meal.
    We picked up our free ice-cream coupons for the summer reading program last week and will go get ice cram cones on our way home from errands tomorrow. The next county over is also doing a summer reading program that we can participate in, we’ll drop by the closest branch and pick up our prize this week as well.
    We are on the search for a new rental. Our current lease isn’t up until January, so it’s hard to plan anything. Living in a small, 2-bedroom 4th floor apartment is getting harder with 3 small children who love to run and jump and just be children! There is no way for them to go play outside unless I go with them, which I can only do if no one is napping, no food cooking, etc. It’s been great financially to be able to put more money towards paying down debt, but we are willing to compromise a little on finding someplace that has more room and maybe a small yard or on the first floor where the children can play outside within ear-shot.
    It’s been extra discouraging lately to feel as though we’ll never get out of student loan debt, never own our own property, never feel “caught up” for retirement, etc. Reading your blog, Brandy, and everyone’s comments, makes it better. I know we all have struggles and are trying to save money and resources and it helps to feel a sense of community here. Thank you!!

    1. Hang in there, Lisa! Once you have accomplished your goal of getting out of debt, you will feel wonderful! And I can’t even explain to you how empowered you will feel, but trust me, you will!

    2. I remember that feeling oh so well. We are now on the other side, so it really is possible! Keep plugging away! I’ll be praying for you!

    3. Lisa, it never hurts to look around for better housing. However, you also know that staying where you are is certainly plausable. This means, you don’t have to move unless you find the perfect place that meets your families needs and your budget (preferably a place that will still allow you to put money away each month). Looking with the knowledge that a move is not necessary gives you time and the power to look with a more calm, purposeful state of mind, instead of a paniced sense of urgency! Good luck with your decision. Your doing a great job!!!

  21. Mercy, last week was something else! I was set to go to a work conference, that is required, at the beach. The hotel is paid for and we have a set amount we are given for gas and food, which barely covers it. I never stay any longer than the paid for days because it is just too expensive. I received a call that my uncle was on death’s door, he lives in the vicinity of the beach, and I had to rush down there a day early. He managed to somewhat recover, so that is a blessing. In my haste to get there, I forgot half my food. I also didn’t make advance reservations because I was trying to get there as soon as possible. After I got there and determined he was stable, I stayed at Motel 6, since I was down there a day early. It is expensive at the beach, $112 a night for a Motel 6, but I was too exhausted to care. I will say it was a very nice room and I was pleasantly surprised. Food was more expensive down there too, but that is okay. I am glad I was able to go down there and see him early. I was going to stop in anyway and see him but I sure didn’t expect to go down a day early and pay for a hotel room and forget my food! I had to rush my dog to board early at the vet also. That is why we budget, for unanticipated expenses. After I got back, yesterday, I went to SAMS, and another grocery store, and bought bacon and sausage for the first time in years. I must say, I am enjoying eating it. This is not really frugal, but it is certainly delicious….lol

    1. Cindy, I feel your pain. There is nothing worse than to have a plan, then have it fall apart due to your own mistake (like forgetting food you planned to take on a trip). I’m glad things worked out for you, though. But I am with you on the bacon and sausage. It might not be the most frugal choice, but having a treat every once in a while is a small reward for your perserverence in frugality. I’m glad you enjoyed your little reward. I love reading your comments. You do an amazing job every single week!!!

  22. Brandy, your fruit looks fantastic! Now I’m hungry! LOL!

    Our big news is that my daughter delivered a new granddaughter into our lives. She is beautiful, of course and we are ecstatic!

    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 6 times, including steak, baked potato and roasted cherry tomatoes; turkey and rice casserole with zucchini; spaghetti with zucchini and tomatoes, mixed with leftover chicken from last week; sour cream enchiladas with lettuce and tomatoes (twice); and cheddarwurst sausage, baked potato and caprese salad. 7th night was our annual anniversary dinner at Fleming’s Steakhouse. I got gift cards at Christmas from Costco for 20% off and we also used a $25 gift card we got from them when we went last year.
    • Worked 9 contract hours, both days from home, so gas savings too.
    • Hung 4 of 5 loads of laundry.
    • Hubby took his lunch to work all week.
    • Had to take my Dad to the 3 doctor appointments on 2 days this week. The first day, I brought him back to my place and did his laundry and gave him lunch here. We had BLT’s with my homegrown tomatoes. He loved it! For dessert we had strawberry shortcake that I made with some blueberry muffins that were drying out.
    • Found 3 cartons of almond milk on the clearance rack and also got 3 Ibotta rebates for them, so I paid 97c apiece for them.
    • We’d received a rebate check from Costco from our annual membership that came to $38.35. We used it on Father’s Day to buy some steak for Hubby.
    • My son had told me he would give me Spotify for Christmas, but neither of us had done anything about it. When he remembered, he gifted us the unlimited Amazon music instead, as we will use that more.
    • Paid extra on the mortgage and took off 3 months of payments from the end.
    • My son came to town and brought me a gallon ziplock full of more hotel toiletries. He doesn’t use them, but knows I do.
    • Brought my daughter a dinner of turkey casserole. The recipe I have calls for Rice-a-Roni, but I made it from homemade instead. I had all the ingredients on hand also.
    • Put in some time on Rev.com transcribing. I make a lot more per hour at my other contract job, but it is not something I can stand to do for too many hours in a day. Thought I would try to make my down time more productive.
    • Found 2 pennies in 2 different places!
    • Found a $1 off next shopping trip in the cart at the grocery store.
    • Great deals at the grocery store included 10 boxes of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese (Star Wars shaped) for 25c each. The “use by” date was June 19, 2019, but I know they will be good for a long time. Also got 2 half gallons of milk for 25c each and 15 bottles of PowerAde for 44c each. My husband needs these when he is working outside in this desert heat. Water just doesn’t cut it for him. Small price to pay for the amount of work he does himself. Also got 5 packages of pizza cheese for 99c/8 oz. bag and 5 jars of picante sauce for 99c each.
    • Canned 9 jars of tomatoes from our garden. I put the peels through the Kitchenaid strainer to get the last of the juice and added that to my soup container in the freezer. I got about 1 cup of juice, so worth it!
    • Went to Goodwill and picked up 3 teacup and saucers (2 were Noritake) and 2 Wedgewood dinner plates. I priced the dinner plates on replacements.com. I paid $2 each, on replacements.com, they go for $33.50! I also got a small fan for my desk at work that I needed. Total came to $16.
    • Hubby changed his own oil and we got a $10 rebate on it.
    • I had saved the last bits of some containers of deodorant. I took them out of the containers, melted them down in the microwave then poured it back into an empty container.

    Happy saving, everyone!

  23. Hi Brandy,
    How do you keep works out of your peaches? I spray mine but still they get them! Thank you,

    1. Angela, make sure to always clean up any peaches that fall half-rotten to the ground and keep them cleaned up to prevent problems in the future. I have had trouble a few years with a few but not very often. I spray my trees with neem oil when they are dormant.

  24. Brandy,what recipes do you use your Thai Basil in? I’ve got one plant that is producing like crazy, and I need ideas to use it up!

    Our frugal accomplishments for the week:

    * Picked up my first CSA box last week, and I prepped all of the produce in it when I got home. I froze what we wouldn’t eat this week, and save scraps for making stock.

    * I started recreating a list of recipes that use beans, as my old list was outdated. The list is quite extensive!

    * I made meals for lunches this week that used up what we had int the house instead of purchasing more items. This included using a few leftover corn tortillas to make chips, pulling leftover bread from the freezer for french toast, and utilizing the last of a batch of salsa in some black bean soup.

    * I read “The Obesity Code” from the library, and based off of that, have decided to reduce snacking and further reduce my sugar intake.

    * I used fruit from the freezer to make smoothies for the week. We’re out of fresh fruit, now that we ate the last of our watermelon, but this is a great way to get in a couple servings of fruit.

    * I considered having my SO buy another box fan (the airflow in our apartment isn’t great), but I decided that we would be fine without one and we could save the $20.

    * We continue to eat down the pantry. Next month, I will be stocking up on some items, but for the entire summer, we will have to stick to a $150 budget, which is about $100 less than our current budget. Additionally, we are switching our cat to a different food because of hairballs, which, depending on which brand we go with, could be anywhere from $1.30 a day to $2.50 a day, and this will have to be included in our food budget, leaving us with not much room in the budget. Fortunately, we have lots of food in the freezer and pantry!

    * Since our fridge is mostly empty, I took the chance to clean it up a bit. ?

    * We hope to take advantage of some 4th of July sales- usually they are good for things like meat and bbq supplies. I’m hoping for a good price on another watermelon!

    I hope everyone has a great week!

    1. I mostly use the flowers in floral arrangements! But it is good in Thai soups, pasta salads, stir fries, and is especially delicious in spring rolls.

    2. K, if the only reason to change the cat food is hairballs, have you tried a hairball remedy/gel first? Pet stores and Chewy.com have several of them and Chewy has different flavors. A 4.25 ounce tube is around $6 and shipping is free if you order $49 or more. I buy cat litter, food, etc. for my 3 cats from there so I have no problem hitting that when I order.

      1. Hi Mari,

        Yes, we tried one already with no improvement. I went with a highly rated one (Laxaire) too, and tried adjusting the dosage, so nothing has helped so far. I decided to change the food because the shelter had her on a different food than we did that was higher fat, and she didn’t have hairballs, so I’m hoping this will help.

        1. We had a cat that had the same problem with hair balls. The only cat food that worked for us was Royal Canine Hairball Formula. It can be found at most pet stores.

    3. K made an excellent point when she mentioned prepping her CSA share for freezing. Someone who used to post on a frugal forum I frequent (try saying that 3 times, fast) spent every Saturday morning preserving the little dibs and dabs they hadn’t used and ended up with an impressive amount of canned food that otherwise might have gone South. Since my garden is so small, I’ll be doing the same this year. Just a reminder that you don’t have to drag out the big canner to process small amounts, as long as the boiling water covers the top of the jars. Also, you can process jars of different foods at the same time if the processing time is the same.

      1. What do you use as a rack to keep the jars off the bottom of the pan of boiling water? A round cake cooling rack or something else?

        1. A round cooling rack would be good. I usually use the rack/trivet from my 6 quart pressure cooker. I have arranged extra jar rings on the bottom of the pot. Depending on the pot and what you have, the answer also could be “all of the above.”

    4. I just bought and read “The Obesity Code” as a friend has been following the program (under doctor’s orders) and not only has she lost a lot of weight but she has already come off one Diabetes med and hopes to come off the other very soon. I am not diabetic but my cardiologist wants me to lose a lot of weight. He did say to follow pretty much Dr. Fung’s program – but he didn’t explain it quite as well so I was thinking that I still had to count calories etc. I’ve also watched a lot of Dr. Fung’s videos on YouTube and it really makes it all make sense! For years I’ve been saying that I dieted up to my current weight and it turns out I was right!
      I’m managing to fast for at least 17 hours per day and then eat my two meals within that 7 hour window and so far it hasn’t been difficult at all – in fact I often find it difficult to eat as much as I think I should be eating as far as veggies are concerned. I’m also starting to use the apple cider vinegar and I’ve lost weight already without any real hardship. Good luck with it “K”.

      1. Hi Margie,

        Yes, I loved reading through the book and figuring out why dieting had never worked. I’m thinking of sending a copy to my father, who is a Type II diabetic.

        Right now I’m doing a 16:8 schedule, though I have been struggling with a particular medication of mine that should be taken in the morning with food, so I’m still in the process of figuring out what works best for me.

        Congratulations on the weight loss success!

    5. You might look into making your own raw food for your cat. It’s very simple, especially with one cat. I worked with a holistic vet and raw food was his first prescription. Cats and dogs have not evolved to eat cooked food and do really well with raw. It saves me on vet bills in the long run.

      If you won’t/can’t try the raw food, adding enzymes to the cooked food often helps with hairballs, as does adding some coconut or olive oil.

    6. MY son uses a grooming mitt every night on both of his cats because they had problems with hairballs. HE said every since he started doing it nightly they don’t have the issue… also they know they get one on one time with “daddy” and Daddy calms down from his work day. His vet suggested him doing this.

      1. Hi Juls,

        We have also tried the mitt! Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to have made much of a difference either. (Though maybe it’s because she still hates being brushed, even with the mitt…)

    7. I’ve got 2 cats with occasional hair balls . The best remedy I’ve found is good ol’ Petroleum jelly. I put a little on my finger and swipe it on their paw. They instinctively lick it off and I haven’t had any issues with hairballs since I started this. I do it a few times a week.

  25. Hi Brandy and friends! Thank you for the inspiration! Here in NE Ohio, it has been very rainy! Even the local sandbar that was a popular attraction has been closed off due to all the water, which has basically obliterated our sandbar 🙁 As for me, I am finishing up my clinical rotation this week, then next week am off for vacation. We’ll likely go to our town’s local 4th of July festival that has an awesome fireworks display. We walk down to the pier, where my husband is a member of the local boat club, which gives us access to their clubhouse and we leave our chairs, enjoy the festival, then head back down to the lake for the fireworks display. It’s quicker to walk there than drive, as we’re only 4 blocks away and the traffic is ridiculous once the fireworks are over.

    ~~Enjoyed a free People magazine subscription with my Verizon Wireless UP rewards points
    ~~tended to our garden, which we are growing tomatoes, green peppers, banana peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplant, and pumpkins
    ~~Enjoyed Southern Living magazine free with my Recyclebank points
    ~~went to the high school for sports physicals for my son for the upcoming school year, which were being done free of charge. Last year, we paid $10 for it, which is still cheaper than a $25 co-pay to take him to the doctor. Free is even better!
    ~~Utilized a Starbucks giftcard for a free iced tea that was an offer from Verizon Up rewards.
    ~~trying to use up the food we have in our pantry for quick, easy meals

    Brandy, how is Winter liking college? Hope she is doing well. She ought to start up her own blog or YouTube channel! Lotsa money to be made if she gets a following!

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

    1. There’s a lot of money to spend to produce a site and not always a lot of money to be made. I only make around $1800 a year from my website. She has a job and she’ll make more than that at work.

      I did not know that Southern Living was a choice at Recyclebank. I will check that out! That magazine has looked interesting to me for a while! I have some Recyclebank points I could use for it, too!

      1. Winter could do a simple blog through blogspot or others like it, She wouldn’t have to do a website. Mine is free at blogspot. BUT I really think she will be too busy doing everything at college and work. Out of my 22 grandkids, only 5 maybe 6 still are on line for blogs,Facebook, twitter snapchap etc.

        1. She is very busy with a 15-hour a week job and 16 credits this semester. She doesn’t have time to blog, nor does she want to.

  26. Beautiful fruit! We’re getting a few strawberries and raspberries so the kiddos are enjoying those as they ripen. I’m okay with them eating them right off the vines because they are one of the reasons I garden.

    I’ve spent the past two weeks rotating out seasonal clothing and purging the outgrown clothing. It feels good to have that done. I’ve gifted five garbage sacks of children’s clothing to friends who will use them because those items bless no one if they are sitting in my basement unused. I enjoy looking at the organized closets and drawers. It’s the little things!

    I went through part of my fabric stash and found some flannel for receiving blankets. Now to crochet the edges for some gifts.

    The kids and I spent a couple of happy afternoons at our local splash pad. They got to run, splash, and play with other kids and I got out of the house for a bit. We’ve also been going to our local park in the earlier part of the morning to exercise the dog and us. It’s helped to burn a little energy off so we can concentrate on reading.

    One of my nieces had major surgery and she has five little kids. I’m grateful for a fairly well stocked pantry that I could pull from to make a few things for meals for them. I’m grateful my parents practiced preparedness and taught me to do similar. I really enjoy baking so I’m always happy to make something to share.

    We take our full water bottles with us every time we leave the house. That’s cut down on unnecessary stops and sugary drinks for all of us. I hope we can continue the trend.

    Make it a fabulous, frugal week.

  27. Fruit on cake is one of my favorite ways to eat cake. The balance of flavors is so good.
    I wasn’t sure what to expect on my latest power bill — we had several rainy days that kept temps a in the 80’s, and several days of upper 90’s with high humidity. Imagine my surprise when I saw my bill was about a third lower than normal for June. I can only assume that the programmable thermostat that we installed upstairs is paying for itself. No one uses the upstairs during the day, so I set the a/c to keep it in the mid-80’s up there during most of the day. With a ceiling fan running and the program dropping the temp back down at night, it’s just cool enough at night for comfortable sleep. I use the budget billing plan, so I’ll pay the same as last month, but if I continue to use less than budgeted, my budgeted amount will drop.
    I batch cooked this weekend, putting multiple things in the oven at once — a butterflied chicken and two pans of chopped vegetables. I don’t like using my oven in the summer, but sometimes I will. I try to make it as quick as possible, though. Spatchcocking/butterflying the chicken makes it cook faster.
    I had to replace some shoes; my dressy black flats and black loafers both bit the dust. I replaced them with one pair of black flats that can go with slacks or skirts/dresses, and got those on sale.
    I signed up for a chance to take a survey for $30 in Swagbucks, and I was informed that I was chosen! Now, I just have to remember to take it — it’s at 7 p.m.
    I finally brought some vintage 1960’s china down from my upper cabinets, to clean up and see if I can sell it. It was my mother-in-law’s china, but my husband is finally letting go of the idea of hanging on to all of her stuff for sentiment, and frankly, no one else wants it.
    Have a good week, everyone!

    1. Programmable thermostats save a TON of money. When we installed one at our last house, I was shocked at how much the bill came down the first month in the middle of summer. Our current house had two of them when we moved in (one for each a/c unit).

  28. Oh my goodness, those dessert pictures are lovely. Sticking to my very low sugar nutrition plan for now, I am really enjoying just the smell of chocolate wrappers and images of beautiful, sweet, delicious desserts — so thank you!
    We have been seriously shrinking our electric bill in the hot CA desert. We have one portable evaporative cooler, which moves around to wherever we are and keeps a room about 10 degrees cooler than outside (though we turn it off once the humidity reaches 40% because it doesn’t work at that point — but the humidity goes down again fast). So far we haven’t turned on our portable AC. We may not need to because we will be traveling through much of July and August. Then we may need it for a few weeks, but by mid September, daytime temps start to fall back into the low-mid 90s, and it’s bearable.
    Also, I’ve been diligent about turning off lights and power strips, and we have replaced our indoor night lighting in 3 rooms with one 30ft. string of LED fairy lights, and switched to solar motion sensor lights out front and in the side yard. These do blink on and off constantly with every gust of wind and passing/flying night creature – the neighbors may wonder what the heck is going on here, with 8 lights flashing randomly! — but they last past midnight, which is all we need. They’ve eliminated the problem of accidentally leaving on the yard light, which was happening several times a week because the switch is two rooms away from the door (no idea why, it wasn’t our doing) and I would get distracted before reaching the switch and forget to turn it off (yes, haha, I’m getting older). It was so irritating to let the dogs out at 7 a.m. and find the yard light blazing away in the sun!
    Other than that, and picking up markdowns at Ralph’s and free food from the Sprouts app, my best frugal move has been firmly committing to fixing 2-3 meatless dinners per week. We love beans, tofu, and eggs, it’s really just making the commitment to think ahead and make them. This week, we will enjoy Margaret’s delicious Shake and Bake tofu recipe with vegetables (this is once a week for a while now, never tire of it!) and an easy, yummy recipe for mushroom & black bean burgers (https://www.thekitchenwhisperer.net/2014/04/12/chunky-portabella-veggie-burgers/ ) since I found baby bellas at Ralph’s marked down to 2.50/lb, and have leftover black beans and broccoli in the frig.
    As always, I appreciate and look forward to reading everyone’s frugalities for the week!

      1. Yay here too. I’ve been meaning to mention here how much we enjoy it for a while and glad I finally did. Also, while I’m at it, thumbs up on your easiest ever pizza dough recipe too! We’ve made it a few times and it is indeed easy and delicious.

  29. Your fruit looks wonderful. The only fruit we grow is strawberries. I live in an area with a lot of commercial orchards, and if you don’t spray, you just have tons of worms in the fruit. We do however, have a walnut tree. That makes up for a lot, since nuts are so expensive. I substitute walnuts for almost any other kind of nut in recipes.
    I brought my breakfast and lunch to work each day.
    Still listening to books on CD that I get from the library while I drive.
    Went to Fred Meyer and got the 5 packages of cheese for 99¢ each, the 5 bottles of salsa for 99¢ each and 5 bags of potato chips for 99¢ each. We are having a whole group of young people (early 30’s) over this weekend after they play in Hoopfest for a BBQ on Saturday and for spaghetti on Sunday. We have done this for the last 15 years or so. Tiring, but we enjoy it.
    I took last Thursday off work to take my 96 year old mother to the doctor. she is healthy, but had to find a new primary care provider since she moved to my town last winter. We went to the doctor, got new disabled parking placards for the car (I only use it when she is with me), got her a new Washington State ID card with her new address (she willingly gave up her driver’s license), filled a prescription from the new doctor, and went to lunch. This was all between 9 and 2. She was pretty exhausted, as was I.
    Got some bone in chicken breasts for 89¢ a pound. Bought 3 packages. 2 went in the freezer and the third went in the crockpot.
    Made a turkey breast in the crockpot that I had purchased for 99¢ a pound a couple of months ago. We bought 5 and pull one out whenever we are in the mood for turkey.
    Had my Mom over for dinner on Sunday. Turkey is her favorite.
    Picked lettuce from the garden for a salad.
    Weeded in the garden a little bit each evening after work. I love these long evenings.
    Went to the farmers market on Saturday. My neighbors sell there. So, while I don’t buy much, if I can, I buy from them. I got a 3 bulbs of garlic, as mine is not quite ready yet. While there she asked if I would like some basil plants. I said sure, and she dropped off about 30 plants after the market was over. This is the same neighbor that gives me cucumbers for pickles, and I always give her a couple of jars in thanks. I think I will make some bread and take a loaf to them.
    My DH will be gone for three days after the 4th of July. It is an annual trip he takes with our sons. I am planning on organizing my recipes that I have lying all over into binders. I already have the binders, and they are labeled, main dishes, breads, side dishes , vegetables, soups and appetizers, and desserts. I will bring the printouts to work with me and stay after to punch holes in them. We have an electric three hole punch we use for files, so this will save my wrists.
    Used $1.00 per head cauliflower from the Fred Meyer cheap produce rack for cauliflower au gratin to go with our turkey. Seemed like a fancy dinner.

    Hope everyone has a great week.

    1. When I had to replace several trees a couple of years ago, I made some changes to add nut trees. I have two small self-fertile almond trees. We will get a few almonds this year from them. They appear to be slow-growing (and max out at 15 feet high), so it might be a few more years before they produce in earnest. I also added male and female pistachio trees (one of each) as they are also a good desert-growing nut. If I had more space or could figure out how to grow more in the space that I have, I would add more pistachio trees.

      1. I got my walnut tree right after my father died 31 years ago. He had planted it for me at his house a couple years before he died and we dug it up that summer. It is also a great shade tree and if I were younger I can picture myself climbing it. But also I am 65 years old and climbing trees is
        probably not in my best interest.

        1. “I am 65 years old and climbing trees is probably not in my best interest.” love it!

  30. *****Summer may have arrived here today. We are supposed to be in the low 80’s for about a week, but unfortunately accompanied by another week of thunderstorms. We have had enough rain times 3 already.

    *****We should be picking strawberries soon. Asparagus is done. We will still pick rhubarb for quite awhile. Peas are in and delicious. We had delayed planting of almost everything due to wet fields and wet gardens, but hopefully with this week of heat
    things will catch up. We have various herbs and greens growing.

    *****I only work 2 days a week mid-June til mid-August. I am salaried so that does not affect my paychecks as the checks are divided over 12 months. Summer is my husband’s busiest work time, also busiest for daughter Eliana. She has 13 and 14 year olds, daughters of a cousin, babysitting for the summer. The 3 children are too active for even my mother and I together to take care of. The twins are now 1 year and Dora is almost 3. Olivia fills in a little bit but she is working at church this summer filling in for the 2 part time secretaries…one takes off for the summer, the other her husband is transferred out of town.

  31. I always look forward to your beautiful pictures Brandy – and that cake with fruit looks delicious! As I mentioned above I’m trying to follow an eating style that will work for me and also allow me to lose – and keep off – a lot of weight. For me low carb & low sugar (no processed food) seems to work best. I’m also practising intermittent fasting – which has been surprisingly easy – we’ll see how it goes.
    I have been buying more meat and things like butter (grass fed animals where I can find them) so that is a bit pricier – however, I do try to make it stretch with the addition of more veg (rather than rice or pasta). I did get a good deal this week with getting pork chops for $3.50 – regular price was $14.00. There was a deal on but the cashier made a mistake. She tried to correct it but I said that it was still incorrect – she disagreed – and not politely so I went straight to the Customer Service desk. They agreed with me – hence the deal! They all went into the freezer. The only meat I plan on buying in July is a rotisserie chicken and some steaks – but only if I can get a deal or collect Loyalty points. Otherwise the freezer is stuffed so I’ll concentrate on fruit & veg.
    I’ve really got to get myself organized in July – just don’t seem to be making a dent in the debt and that has to stop. I’ll be working all summer so really need to sit and figure out how to do this. The money is there I just need to make sure it goes to the right place!
    I did finally finish switching over my winter and summer clothes – just in time as it has finally warmed up and we will be around 26 to 30C over the next week or two. I was able to pass along a few items to a friend who has lost a lot of weight and to also donate a few other items to my church’s donation bin so that has cleared out a few more things. I’ve not done badly with getting rid of this sort of stuff – my downfall is paper! It just never goes away. I don’t have any plans for this coming Saturday so after my morning walk I plan on making a dent in the shredding – wish me luck.

  32. Brandy,
    Those peaches look absolutely wonderful!
    This has been a wonderful week for us. I was actually able to do a bit of grocery shopping and buy some items that I really wanted. On top of that we took our grandchildren to the craft shop. When my 7 year old grandson told my 5 year old granddaughter not to ask grandma for anything because she doesn’t have any money my granddaughter said “ok”. I was happy to be able to tell him that I had budgeted for this trip and that they each had a certain amount they could spend. My grandson asked, “Really, grandma?” I told them they were the sweetest grandchildren in the whole world! And my husband and I had so much fun being able to purchase some craft items for my grandchildren. Of course we looked at clearance items and we helped them subtract until they each spent their allotted amount, Then we went to Aldi to buy a pizza and then went home to eat pizza and do crafts. It is amazing how much more I appreciate these little things now that money is so tight. The joy I felt at being able to do a little something was great! my husband agreed.
    Of course things are tight but we are making it! So happy!
    Enjoying classical music on Pandora for free as I type this.
    Enjoyed seeing deer this week as well as turtles. Lots of turtles for some reason.
    Parents are helping build and hubby’s brother came over to help one day. He brought ice-cream and offered to take us out for pizza. I told him I didn’t mind cooking. So I used things we had to make what I called a Texas stew. Both men, hubby and his brother enjoyed it. They were able to get more work done and I saved his brother money too .
    We splurged today and bought Chick-fil-a sandwiches. I love them but really was sorry we spent the money.
    Paid tags! Yeah! Now it is a no spend rest of week until pay day and we will pay more bills and likely have another no spend week. But we are eating well, have a home and a way to get around, and i am happy that we have the internet.
    Next week we will only eat what we have. No shopping. But we have food. yeah! Looking forward to there being room in the budget for some summer clothes.
    Feeling blessed anyway.

    1. Aww

      Your grandchildren sound lovely. I suspect their parents had a word which is also very thoughtful in itself. You are fortunate in your family.

    2. Hi Tammy,

      Your post brought a great smile in my mind’s eye. It is so lovely that you are making it even if finances are tight.
      And really nice you could treat your grandchildren! You have come so far since moving to the farm/acreage. I thought of youtoday
      as I bought the last asparagus of the season here (the weather has been so iffy that it stretched the season out just a bit).
      best wishes for continued happiness! Ann

  33. The most excitement of the past week was that my daughter brought over her vacuum cleaner, which is much newer than mine, and vacuumed almost my entire house in exchange for using my washer and dryer while s he was doing it. This was excellent for me, as my back was sore this week, but especially because her vacuum is so much better than mine. We have a cat and she said it’s a wonder the cat isn’t bald, with all the cat hair that was vacuumed up! She didn’t do the bedrooms we don’t use because there just wasn’t time, but she collected a ton of dust and hair that my vacuum would never get up! The house feels so much cleaner now!
    I had more car problems this week, discovering that my husband is not reading his e-mail any more (due to dementia) so we had no warning that the registration of both cars was expired! I took care of that fast enough ($120 for 2 years) and also took one car for inspection and one for an oil change. Later this week the inspection has to be re-done because the “check engine” light came on while the car was being driven to make sure it was OK! That’s an automatic fail until it gets fixed!
    Once things stop falling apart around here, it will be great! We did get one day’s work done in the yard—for us that’s a short amount of time. I tried to get DH out for another hour after dinner, but he was too tired. I have to read up on dementia and tiredness, as he really does shy away from work these days. Not a problem we used to have. I give him little jobs, like watering plants, and stuff he can handle, but it seems he can handle less and less, and I have to do more and more. We’re old, and it’s tough. Had a talk with DD and she is going to put some time into helping me get the house back in order. DH just leaves things whereever, and I can’t always keep up with putting everything away the day he gets them out. I will hire a cleaner part time but there are a lot of little de-cluttering tasks that I want to take care of first.
    Tomorrow my sister has invited us and my other sister over to swim and have lunch. DH is invited but won’t say if he is going to feel like it or not. He can stay alone a while, although I don’t leave him often as I’m afraid he will try to do something he can’t manage.
    Today I managed to catch up with myself a bit–made granola after doing without for a couple days, emptied the dishwasher and set aside a dozen clean canning jars for a neighbor who wants them for wedding decorations. I still want to wash at least another dozen, quarts this time, as I don’t use them all any more anyhow. She can keep them afterwards as she is young and might want to use them for canning. She will pick them up when I have them ready–the wedding isn’t until October, but I’ll be happy to have some of them out of my way. I use some for dried ingredients and herbs and beans, etc. but not so much for canning anymore. I use the freezer more. I made a meatloaf and baked potatoes since the oven was already hot from the granola. Steamed broccoli and no dessert! Once again Dh ate about 6 of 8 fruit turnovers that I bought on sale this week. I need to bake something but I haven’t decided what to make yet–possibly snickerdoodles, although he can go through those in a couple days too. We have ice cream on hand 99% of the time, so it’s not like we’re doing without “dessert.” Just too busy to bake some times.
    Still have lots more to do in the yard and in the house but I do feel I’m making progress!

    1. Marcia, a friend from church is going through he same thing as you are with your husband and she says the one thing she has learned is to be a bit selfish and to make sure she takes care of herself as well as her hubby. Living in a big city she has access to good doctors and support groups who are there for him and for her and they really keep an eye on the caregivers as they can burn out very quickly.
      Do what you can with the house but be sure to ask for help and take it when it’s offered. And have those little breaks with your sisters – they are important for your health.
      My friend says that her husband is better earlier in the day but things catch up with him by evening – a friend whose mom also has dementia has noticed the same thing. Coping with day to day things takes its toll so by the end of the day they are both mentally and physically exhausted. And we really noticed the craving for more and more sweets with my grandmother – it seems that the taste for sweets is still there even when the taste for other foods seems to disappear.
      All the best.

      1. Hi Margie,

        Actually with Alzheimer patients there is a well-known syndrome called Sun Downer syndrome. At the end of the day and as sun is going down, those patients become very agitated. I don’t think scientists know why but perhaps it harkens back to the childhood fear of the dark somehow.

      2. Margie , you are correct about the preference for sweets . I have lost all my desire for food. Nothing taste ‘s good but sugar. I no longer enjoy food at all. The only thing I really like are the packs of sugar cookies that are iced and sold at our local Wal-Mart bakery. Not the greatest choice in the world. Dementia is wicked.

    2. Marcia,
      My 97 year old mother lives in a Granny Apartment with us. She has Moderate Dementia also. I try not to let her nap in the daytime because she seems to be worse at night if I do. Our house fenced but she could start wandering. I looked into the GPS system but it is expensive. I found a little square monitor people put on their pet’s collars if they get out. I think it was around $16.00 on Amazon. If she wanders off you can track them on your phone with an app. I have it hidden in her walker. It is exhausting caring for her, but I can’t imagine putting her in a home yet. Plus the cost is staggering here. I wish you and your husband all the best.

  34. Pet sat for a friend an hour away. They leave me money for grocery and meals out. Upon arrival she had left three of my favorite snacks plus my fave toilet paper. Even with donut shop holes each morning, lunches out, afternoons at local dairy bar for happy hour 1/2 price lemon ices and sandwiches for supper I was able to leave them $40 I didn’t have to spend. They have Amazon Video so I watched 5 seasons of Sopranos. Lack one season, pet sitting in Memphis next week and hope to finish series then.
    Local chain of discount stores is closing many locations. I have loved, loved, loved sending greeting cards for 40+ years. Store carries Hallmark cards, as part of liquidation I’ve been able to buy tons of great cards for 10 cents each. Some originally $8.
    Pet sitting in Memphis next week, they leave tons of money and gift cards, have great internet and tv and live in great area of town for shopping and eating out. I’ll pretend I’m on vacation for 8 days.

  35. Totally forgot about this. I won $2500 which had to be donated to non-profit in my county. Donated to local public library. They are using it to buy books and DVDs for circulation. I love the library and was so excited to help them out this way. Had to keep it a secret for 4 months and I’m a talker so that was hard. Both my mother and brother won 2 years ago and they donated to local volunteer fire dept and niece’s school for playground improvements. I do accounting for our family farm and it took less than 5 minutes for me to submit applications for each of us.

  36. We slipped away to the beach last week, in our camper, using our Oregon State Park Pass, which makes the fee $8/total. We took food with us and cooked in the camper, and kept our activities low-key. We used our zoo pass to visit a reciprocal museum, saving us almost $40 in fees. I read library books and played games–both board games with the kids and games on my I-pad. We watched library movies, and movies we already owned.

    Before we left, I harvested snow peas, raspberries and a few strawberries. When I got back, I harvested LOTS of snow peas and raspberries, and started to pick some lettuce–thinning the very thick row. My sister and I went to visit a friend, and we each took some taco ingredients for lunch, so no one needed to eat out. On my way home, we didn’t stop for anything, either, even though it was a bit of a distance.

  37. That cake looks delicious!

    This week I accepted eggs that were a day past their expiration date from a friend who was going to toss them.
    I fixed a scuffed & scraped toe on my sandal with a little glue and a tan sharpie. Looks almost new!
    Finally made sesame noodles using spaghetti noodles. They are a great filling lunch(es) this week. I can also see making these for travel (devoured cold in the hotel).
    I pulled weeds and filled my tub almost daily (“The Marievne Method”). The yard looks so much better staying on top of them like this.
    Did a few side hustle jobs that brought in money for bills and a car repair I am saving for.
    Have a great week everyone!

  38. I keep meaning to comment every week and then miss the end of the week.

    I haven’t posted in a while ( months) so this is the last few weeks.

    Found milk 4 pint bottles for £0.88 each. Fantastic price here – bought 20 and froze 19 ( son missed one in car so had to get rid of it- gave it to acer after quick google search. Acer is still alive. Yippee!). Found corn in supermarket £0.38 for 2 ears. Usually £1.50 ( I know- hideous). Bought loads and froze. We all love corn.

    Have remembered to claim expenses at work.I’m not good at this but getting better.

    Called up company that provided gas and electricity under new deal 2 years ago. Electricity less than expected unfortunately gas a lot more ( I expected this).. I paid it and have peace of mind. Think A+++ appliances I bought when replacing helped.

    Water was £80 less for last quarter than previous one. Yippee.

    My chest freezer that I bought 3 months ago has already paid for itself. This is partly due to me visiting supermarkets and zooming over to reduced racks ( and freezing what I found) but nothing wrong with that.

    I sold a car. This was quite significant for me personally as this is the first car I bought myself. It was 23 years old. The reason it is a saving is that I don’t have to pay insurance, road tax or MOT charges ( in all would have been near £1000). I was very sad and took loads of photos- teenage children have given up on me. I did get £50 from the sale.

    Ordered delivery. Thought I had voucher for discount only to find out that it expired the day before. ( I had already promised my children delivery pizza). Felt bad until checked account and realised I hadn’t ordered a delivery since March, and before that November.

    Organised trip away. Saved using avios points ( a bit like air miles).

    My sister is dog sitting while the children and I are away for a short break over the summer. She can work from my home. I pay her air ticket. I am so grateful. This means my dog stays at home with his favourite ‘aunt’. Her air ticker is 1/4 of his kennel cost. She arrives a day early and we have a ‘visit’ beforehand.

    Sure I will think of something later but all for now everyone

  39. Probably should point out that break away is with late husband’s best friend and his wife in Switzerland. I have never been there so really looking forward to it. I bought the tickets for the 4 of us with avios points- total cost so far £140 for return flights. They said they will meet us at airport ( it is a late flight as I was late booking) and take us to their flat. Im sure we will spend while there but looks really good. Can’t wait.

    Having rescue angel (dog) looked after is icing on top.

  40. I love your fruit and cake dessert. Looks very tasty.

    Last week I started not feeling well and finally ended up in the ER for the severe stomach cramps. Turns out that I am ill and am heading for mega tests. Since I’m on serious pain medicine, I could not go to work for the final 3 days of the school year, but have plenty of sick days. I am no longer working away from home because all is done there. I’m all resigned and had a ticket to fly home with a layover to visit my daughter. I called the airline to change the ticket and not only did Delta change the ticket for just two days out and wave the change fee, but they also put me in comfort plus seating where I had more room. I get a refund as the flight is less without the multi-city stopover. I cannot say enough good things about Delta.

    I have excellent health insurance and will get definite answers soon I hope. Until than I am resting and plodding along slowly. The good news is that very little non-medical money is being spent.

    I am so blessed to be back home! Happy frugal-ing!

    1. Hope you feel better soon, PJGT! I was wondering how you were doing because you had posted a few times about being ill. Glad you have some pain relief; hopefully you’ll have some answers and resolution soon! Glad you have good insurance. You’ve come through so much, you’ll get through this too!

  41. I am so happy to see many of the familiar people still here! I had to take some time away but am slowly getting back into the swing of things and adjusting to our (yet another) new “normal”.
    That cake looks yummy~Is it a pound cake? (I may have missed the type of cake you said it was) Simple, old fashioned recipes are my favorite. And usually so economical! Right up my alley!
    I see so much has changed. One of your baby birds have flown the nest?! How exciting for her. Although it can be hard on us mama’s, I always had to reassure myself by remembering to be thankful that they were healthy and capable of being able to take that step.
    I may have said this before, but I wish there was a way to like/acknowledge all of your wonderful comments/contributions. I always learn something new from y’all.

    1. It’s funny that life’s twist and turns have once again left me at a destination that I never anticipated being at. A recent health diagnosis has left me just wanting to enjoy life. I’ve spent my life always planning for tomorrow. Always preparing for something in the future. Always being prepared for the unexpected. Now , I am focused on making memories with my children and enjoying myself. I have accumulated quite a few movie tickets from various promotions this summer. I have seen several movies already and plan on going and seeing everything else I am interested in. I love going to the movies . I have quite a few swagbucks and have been using them on myself. I bought a bird feeder and installed it right outside my bedroom window to enjoy. Sugar cookie is leaving to visit family for the summer and I have several trips planned. Of course being frugal is engrained in me so I will travel cheaply. I used swagbucks to buy groupons. I bought new shoes, a comforter and a ticket to the Atlanta aquarium. I may not get around well ,but find doing swagbucks surveys great at occupying my time. After two years, I find mine are quite profitable. One of the greatest lessons I have learned here is keeping that list of needed items. Conquering my need to shop and only buying needs and not wants has made a huge difference in our budget. Now that I have nothing needed, I can use my swagbucks on more frivolous purchases. Enjoying today and hoping everyone else is too.

  42. We cancelled Direct TV! As of July 1 we will use an antennae, Netflix & Amazon for viewing. This is saving us $160.00/month. Changed internet service provider, saving $10.00/month for a year with much faster internet. These savings will be put towards paying off a credit card debt. Cancelled a subscription service we do not use, ordered 2 needed items using earned Amazon points, and got to try a product for free through a survey company. I was the recipient of a few free lunches at work & have recommitted to packing lunch every day as well. Since I travel from office to office it can be tempting to pull into a drive-thru but having my packed lunch bag on the seat next to me I will find a nice spot to park for a bit & enjoy a peaceful (non working) lunch. I submitted my mileage to my company for reimbursement & will use that for an oil change that is due.
    Have a great week everyone!

  43. Travelling through the US I was thrilled to be able to go to an Aldi yesterday-eggs were .69 per dozen, milk was around $2 per gallon and fresh cherries were $1.29 per lb. Great prices. I had a free $4 on my CVS card which I used to buy 2 burritos for dinner in our hotel room-total cost .18 cents. That was my deal of the day. Gas prices haves seemed quite reasonable too. We are more than halfway to our destination in Ontario so ” on the road again soon”. Mainly eating from grocery stores plus one take out Chinese dish that DH and I split.

  44. My sister is getting married this weekend, so this week hasn’t been super frugal for us. The wedding is out of town, so we have a hotel room. We’ll also have to pay someone to take care of our dogs. I’m packing some snacks, but overall it won’t be very frugal.

    Anyway, we still haven’t turned on our AC. This weekend is the first time it’s supposed to get kind of warm, but we will be gone so we still aren’t turning it on.

    I’ve been eating lettuce, strawberries, and radishes from the garden. And a few blackberries.

    For fun and exercise, I’ve been walking with friends in the evening.

    We visited a discount grocery store. I got a case of 48 yogurts for $2.50. I got 5 lb bags of shredded cheese for $3.99. I bought three and froze two. I got pop tarts – 2 boxes of 6 for $1. I don’t usually buy pop tarts because they are expensive. But these were cheap, so I bought 4 boxes and froze 2. I got some little bags of chips – 10/$1 for one variety and 5/$1 for another. I got some lunchables – the big ones – 3/99 cents. Lunchables are another thing I never buy due to cost, but they were a nice treat for lunches for my husband . For some reason he loves those things. I also got 5 lb of cottage cheese for $1.99. I bought ten pounds. I separated them into smaller containers and froze them. I can use them in meals that take cottage cheese or use as a substitute for ricotta cheese. It was too good of a price to pass up.

    We are still eating food canned from the garden last year. We have quite a bit of pasta sauce and applesauce to finish up.

    We are getting lots of rhubarb. I made some rhubarb dream bars and some rhubarb cobbler. I’ll make rhubarb sauce this upcoming week.

    Someone used my referral code for fetch rewards, giving me 2,000 points! If it was someone on here – thank you!! My code is K9YTB if anyone wants to try it. We’ll both get extra points. I like fetchrewards because I get points on every receipt and I don’t have to buy specific products. Of course, you get more points for brands that they partner with, but even my generic stuff gets me some points. I feel like I don’t get as much with Ibotta because I buy so many generics.

    Anyway, hope everyone has a great week! I’ll continue my quest to be frugal!

    1. Jessica: I used your code to signup for Fetch Rewards. Thanks for letting us know about the app. I also use Ibotta as a result of another commentator’s referral some time ago. Both apps are very easy to use. I must shop anyway, so the rewards add up.

  45. I painted my pantry while my husband and was out of town for 4 days. It was a huge mess taking everything out, but so worth it having a clean ,organized space. I used paint I already had and am in love with the clean feel every time I open the door to it.

    A friend offered me 3 chicken carcasses and some black beans if I would come pick them up, I gladly hopped in the car and took her some produce. I made chicken broth with it and then soup and broth for rice. We had stir fry for three meals, just changing out the veggies.

    I have been trying to stay hydrated with homemade pineapple, blueberry komcha and orange infused water.

    Hope everyone has a blessed week, and Brandy thank you for your encouraging, beautiful blog!

    My husband and I take daily evening walks and I walk 6 out of 7 mornings a week, for a total of 5 to 7 miles a day.

  46. Hi, Brandy.

    Just a quick thank you for your post on thinning fruit trees. (I now have it bookmarked.) Following your directions, I drastically thinned our Eva’s Pride peach tree. Earlier this month I harvested a lot of lovely peaches and made peach butter and frozen peach puree. And a few were eaten fresh, of course. The tree is still quite young–planted two years ago, perhaps–so it was exciting to get as many usable fruits as we did. I also thinned our Gold Kist apricot (planted just last year and still basically a twig), and we harvested a dozen smallish but very tasty apricots.

    Thanks again for sharing your wisdom (and stunning photography) on this wonderful blog.

  47. Hi! Last Sunday my husband and I brought his 12 year old granddaughter to the library–I was fiending for books, and I’m also trying to encourage her to enjoy reading and going to the library…so though I’m strict in enforcing the No Phone rule, I make sure we take her out for a nice treat afterwards to make up for any perceived cruelty. Though I couldn’t find any books to check out, I was happy to find two paperbacks for a dollar…talk about cheap entertainment! Also, with the heat, it was wonderful to relax in the air conditioning, read some magazines and people watch. My step-grandbunny found a book to read, which will hopefully alleviate some of the boredom and funk she’s been going through lately. Afterwards we met up with my sister and a friend for ice cream, and enjoyed catching up with each other. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for some of these simple pleasures!

    My workload has been threatening to bring me to my knees, so I’m also grateful for my husband, who has been very supportive and understanding; he bought me a box of dark chocolate Tim Tam cookies for my work lunches, since I had no time or energy to make cookies or brownies. He also made a large pot of cabbage soup, half of which I froze, and also cooked a few other meals for us…when I got home from work, he would tell me to relax, go to the patio I now consider my resort/oasis and read…or just enjoy the fresh air and listen to the birdies and the pretty sound of my colored windchimes, which sound like an ice cream truck. How cool is that?!

    For our date night, we purchased the camping wagon he wanted for our picnics, BBQs and days at the beach. This was a combo Stepmother’s Day and Father’s Day gift, and to put the cherry on the sundae, it turned out to be 10 bucks cheaper than advertised! He’s really excited about it and can’t wait to break it in! It’s a nice gift we can both use and enjoy, since we do love going out for picnics. After our little shopping outing, we had a nice dinner and ice cream bars at home, watched a Netflix movie, and slept on our couch bed in the living room. It was cooler than the bedroom, and felt like a slumber party, especially since he put on the star shower!

    During the week, we also finished watching the latest season of Colony on Netflix, which is kind of a bummer, because now I’m dying to know what happens next, and I miss the excitement! I also watched the last episode of Netflix’s What If, which starred Renee Zellwegger, who must’ve had the best time playing such a villainess…I could never be a good villainess, so that makes it all the more fun for me to watch, LOL! (Though I suppose my step-granddaughter probably thought I was a real natural due to the phone ban!) Thank goodness for guilty pleasures, too!

    I had to call on Jesus (for real, this is not just an expression!) to keep myself from buying any cigarettes or e-cartridges, despite the challenges at work and the incredible temptation, so I guess that’s something, a bit of a savings. I would also love to go out for cocktails one of these Saturday nights, but alcohol tends to worsen my fatigue issues, despite how good it feels at the time…I usually save that kind of thing for a vacation now. So I guess that counts as a savings, too. Instead of giving in to the temptation for those things, I enjoyed Skinny Cow ice cream bars (so I, too, can become a Skinny Cow, ha ha!), played with my precious little doggie, and snuggled with my husband–they’re both the love of my life. Life is good!

    Have a great weekend, and keep cool!

  48. Hi!
    We had a wunderfull stay in Sweden (Ockero). Our air-bnb was not the best/cleanest, but who cares, we only stayed 5 days. The bed was oke that is the most important, but it was VERY basic. (no watercooker,but you can boil water in a pan, and no coffee machine , so we drunk coffee outside the house).
    We did a lot of island hopping, the ferry’s are mostly free. Took always some water with us and something small to eat. Sometimes we bought a sandwich or so in a supermarket. We went out to eat 2 times, the fish is wunderfull there, we eat crab once and lobster ( a halv of each though) and changed plates so we both could taste it. We never had lobster or crab before (very fresh) it was delicious you could taste the sea. And we bought shrimps once ( very fresh also) and eat it at the house. So we still where a little frugal but also spend a little extra money. The rental care was super, we drive an old peugeot station at home with gears, this was an automatic Volvo new. My husband never drove an automatic so the person from the rental had to drive a few rounds wiht us in the parking lot (lol). We did not even know how to start the engine (hahaha) push a button…and where do you put the carkey??? But we did good the rest of our stay. It is a beautifull country, swimming spots everywhere (always with toilet and someplace to change clothes) nothing demolished with respect to nature…wunderfull. (although I know that there are a lot of troubles in the big citys). We went to Gotenburg by boat, but did not like the citylive ( we never like the citys, we know that now after other experiencies and have dicided that we are not going to visit big citys anymore).
    And now we are home again, picking up the frugal live again.
    Greetings from Tanja (Netherlands)

  49. Hi again! I dream of making my backyard a beautiful garden like yours. We are still slowly working on the side yard but it’s our first year gardening and I am amazed at how much we can grow and how well the kiddos eat from the garden when they grow it themselves. Our frugal accomplishments were hard this week as I had my sister and her three Littles staying with us for 3 days. 10 kids means lots of hungry mouths to feed and it takes a good part of my day cooking and cleaning and starting over haha. This week we:
    *returned some craft items back to the store I had bought the previous week and didn’t use. I used some of that money to buy an undershirt I needed:
    *made homemade French baguettes for chicken banh mi sandwiches and French toast. I used the leftover Thai sauce I had made for pizza and the sandwiches.
    *had leftover pancake batter from the day before stored in the fridge and added extra baking powder and some almond flour to it to make another days worth of pancakes so I didn’t waste any.
    *made 2 batches of almond milk. Saved the almond pulp and dried it out, then blended in my blender to make a flour. I have used the flour in pancakes, granola, and have more leftover.
    *bought the cheaper version of many items I previously bought name brand. Switched out dishwasher tablets for the powder stuff, it seems to work well.
    *started to do my laundry (4 loads a day about) at night after kiddos go to bed so it doesn’t heat up the house and the energy bill is less.
    *turned the thermostat up so it doesn’t come on as much. I open the windows in the morning and at night to cool it down. Then close the shutters and curtains during the hottest parts of the day.
    *I used old (and too small) church shirts from my son to make a fabric banner for my baby’s first birthday next week. I saved the buttons for future projects.
    *went to the movies as a family to see Toy Story 4 on Tuesday because it’s $5 ticket say, saving us half off the price of a ticket. We only go to the movies 2-4 times a year so it is a special treat.
    *cut open lotion and shampoo bottles to use the last bits.
    *took empty glass jars to store that recycles them when I was shopping, saved me a trip.
    *used reusable grocery bags when shopping, saved $0.05 a bag and didn’t have to deal with all the plastic.
    *hubby put in drip lines to front planter (using leftover parts he had from the garden boxes) so we are saving water from hand watering them.
    *purchased another pack of dishcloths to use to wipe up spills on the kitchen (we don’t buy paper towels or napkins).
    *cut sponge pads for washing dishes into fourths so we use just a tiny one at a time.
    *cut some older clothes that couldn’t be donated into rags for cleaning.
    *didn’t go shopping several times to save on gas and $$$
    *stayed within budget on gas and groceries (we haven’t used a credit card for over a year now), paying cash for everything is so helpful for me to see what we have and it hurts more to spend haha.
    *hubby is a sales account manager so his pay varies. This month he got a bonus which I was super happy for! I was able to stock up on canned goods, shelf stable pantry items and bathroom items. This will help us in leaner months to have things already at home.
    *I harvested strawberries, cilantro, basil, 3 pea pods (?) and lettuce from my garden a few times this week.
    *hubby built a fun kid sprinkler out of leftover pvc pipe from sprinkler supplies.
    *we were able to return 3 bags of nutramulch back to the garden store we didn’t use in the strawberry boxes hubby built.
    *I cleaned out and reorganized my pantry using baskets/bins/jars I had on hand. I was able to condense and give many items to my sister.
    *I made a batch of orange vinegar cleaner using the peels from the oranges we have been eating.
    *we took our veggies scraps and fruit cores and rinds to the little farm by us that has baby piglets. They love the scraps and the kids love to walk there see them.
    *I borrowed a pack n play from a friend for my sister to use while she visited.
    *I let a friend borrow a tool and she came back and gave me a beautiful bouquet of roses and cilantro from her garden.
    *I cancelled our Netflix and Amazon Prime, we still have Hulu though because the kiddos love to watch I Love Lucy and baking shows.
    *I deep cleaned the baseboards and windows and cabinets with our microfiber towels (Costco pack in car section) and a bit of hot water. Then I just wash them and hang dry to use again.
    *I have a pair of pants and some other clothes to my sister that no longer fit me (I’m losing weight finally after I stopped nursing- and she is pregnant and so needs a bit roomier pants for the inbetween maternity clothes stage).
    *we went to the library and all the kiddos checked out more books.
    *with the shirts I cut the long sleeves off of- I turned the sleeves into dresses and skirts for my little girls bears and dollies-they were thrilled with the new dress ups.
    *I used a 50% coupon for some white thread I needed.
    *I noticed my phone bill was $20 higher than usual so I called and they fixed the mistake.
    *I used canning jars and Pyrex containers on hand to store any and all items in the fridge (we don’t buy plastic wrap or plastic baggies/ziploc).
    *I froze some pesto to use later.
    *I made homemade pizza crust and made a few pizzas with the leftover roasted veggies we needed to eat up.
    *I am potty training my daughter at night to save on the extra diapers, she still has a hard time so the washing of the bedding each night is probably costing more, but hopefully she gets the hang of it soon-she is super deep sleeper.
    *We accepted leftovers from a church party where they had several large subs leftover and asked if we could take some home.
    That’s it for this week. We are ever grateful for all we have and just working on making the most of it. This year has been a wonderful struggle. Hubby had a third part time job (he does sales and teaches tae kwon do for the first two), and they dropped his position a year ago-rescuing our income by $1000. With seven kiddos it was a significant drop. We were about to have our seventh baby and frantic. No matter how hard he tried he couldn’t pick up a new part time job or get a higher paying sales job. I tried several attempts at making cookies/baked goods and selling them or babysitting but nothing lasted long term or brought in a significant and consistent amount. Our grocery budget as been $100/wk (food, clothes, medicine, everything) and gas for two cars $50/week for the good part of a year. However we have completely changed for the better. We no longer consume mindlessly or shop for fun/ boredom. We are very intentional in our purchases and try to be mindful when we purchase things how it will end its life (recycled, given to someone/donated, trash, repurposed). We buy a lot less and yet are more fulfilled than ever. We know what we have on hand and use it up wasting little. We are more creative and appreciative. We have been humbled and accept food from others and clothes. We repair things and take better care of them. We make sure we have a budget and use it (gosh that was hard to finally really start doing). We are learning to garden and sew and gain lots of new skills. I know none of these changes would have happened if we hadn’t lost that job. We are changed for the better and I am so thankful! Our new slogan is frugality is the spark for creativity. Even our kiddos recognize and appreciate more and are so grateful for what they have and what we do for each other as a family. They enjoy time with us so much more now and really try hard themselves to make sure that before they say they need something, they can’t do it a different way and use something else or wait. I am so grateful for a God that blessed me with this past year of lessons. Have a happy day!

    1. Jenny, have you tried looking for some of those shows on YouTube or through your library’s app?

    2. Jenny, that was an amazing post. I was getting tired reading about all you did and then I got to the bottom and the part about losing the extra $1,000 in income and the positive changes you have made in your lives. Congratulations on all you have done, the shining example you have become for your children, and on becoming stronger and not letting it break you as a couple or as individuals.

    3. Jenny, Our family income the past few years does not match up to God ‘s blessings and provisions. I have learned how to enjoy spending money while we have very little to spend. I have enjoyed a life that is less clutter with activities and choices because we choose not go in debt for vacations, kids activities and stuff. We don’t have to plan prep or clean up after a vacation at home. Instead of rushing off to kid activities we are home sharing readalouds, games and TV shows. We go to parks and library programs. My house is cleaner and I have time to read this wonderful site because I only get one tank of gas a month (10 trips away from house including grocery shopping). I grew a tiny garden this year!

  50. The fruit and plain cake sound great! I may try that for my birthday dinner this weekend. The frugal things I accomplished: Accepted 8 homegrown tomatoes from daughter’s skating coach. Accepted a bag of fresh, but totally squashed hamburger buns that worked just fine as toast under frugal, homemade Hamburger Gravy. Made long lists of the most frugal dinners I make/want to try.
    *Not frugal at all are the many, many doctor appointments for our family members. Some are 90 minutes away, some are local, but three-hour procedures. All require driving and wait times. This is my full time job, and I am just exhausted, as I have chronic health issues, too. This makes it hard to cook from scratch every day, but I am trying my best. Too many times, though, we are having to grab fast food.
    *My good news is that my 16 year-old, high functioning Asperger grandson was accepted into our state’s workforce commission Summer Earn and Learn program for students with disabilities. They provided extensive job training and employer matching , according to their interests. He starts work Monday with a Computer Tech Company, where he will get not only training, but up to 160 hours at $8.50 per hour! We will be advising him on spending and saving for long-term things, such as a car. He will be able to drive by the time he is 21, I do believe. I will be driving him to and from work each day, adding to my exhausting schedule.
    * When I bought a gallon of exterior paint, after not doing so for about 3 years. I was shocked at how the price had risen from low $20’s to the upper $30’s. I was pleasantly surprised at checkout to learn I can get a rebate of $15 per gallon. Now the sweaty, exhausting job of painting in the heat begins. It is hard to understand how we can often have days with 100% humidity, but it isn’t raining. It makes the heat index rise by about 20 or more degrees. We will see how much water I can drink. I do know to be sensible in this awful heat and take very frequent breaks.

  51. We’ve been packing picnic lunches and spending time at the park or river in the cooler morning hours. Instead of going camping and paying park fees, we’ve camped in our own back yard and the kids have had a blast! We are fortunate that my mother in law has a pool and let’s us come and swim anytime. She lives about 45 minutes away, but my husband heads that way for work 2-3 days a week anyway, so we just drop him off and drive the extra 10 minutes to her house and spend a day swimming and having a great time. My MIL is so kind- she regularly buys treats and ice cream bars for the kids to enjoy while they are up there swimming, so its extra special for them. My youngest turns 4 this month. I’ve set a small budget and we are having a pool party at my MILs. I’ll make homemade pizza, fruit salad, and cupcakes. We’ve tried to make this summer memorable for the kids but affordable. We were able to save 400 dollars this month- not as much as we would have liked, but some home repairs had to be done- our HVAC went out on a 95 degree day and had to be fixed for $350. Yikes! But thankful for ac, and that our old system will hopefully last a little longer!

    Made all meals from scratch, including all breads, muffins, and biscuits for breakfast. Harvested tomatoes and cucumbers from my garden. Canned 5 jars of pickles. Making homemade pizza tonight and refried beans for burritos tomorrow.

    Started going through my son’s clothes. He starts kindergarten this fall, and I was worrying myself to death about all the things he needs that we will have to buy. I was pleasantly surprised that he only needs a few pairs of jeans, a new pair of shoes, backpack, lunchbox, and water bottle. He was given some clothes at christmastime that were too big at the time but fit now, so it’s like shopping from his closet! It will still be an expense, but less than anticipated.

    Not frugal, but I’m going to a paint night with a girlfriend tonight and am so excited! My husband gifted me the ticket and blessing to go cut loose! Ha! If I’m not working, I’m caring for the house and kids, so I’m looking forward to some adult lady time!! It happens so rarely these days. Have a great week everyone!

  52. I used some tomatoes a bit past their prime to make an easy fresh tomato sauce. I have the recipe on my blog in the last post. It’s so simple, but tastes so vvery good and can be stretched to feed many. It’s a great summer time recipe!
    I turned three big scarves that just looked bulky about my throat and made kimonos. I found the instructions on YouTube at DIYMom.
    I painted, cleaned, sorted, etc. It was a pretty typical week in my home, busy enough and plenty to do.

  53. Not too much new here. I had a real push to finish the book — or at least the footnotes which I did before the archives moves to the university. I was supposed to go to the free Métis exhibit 9evening 2) last night but earlier in the day I started feeling unwell so cancelled my handibus and didn’t go. Boy, was I glad as just when i would have been returning home, we had a torrential downpour, lightning, etc. many city streets were flooded so I was glad I did not have to go home in that.

    I had hoped to get to the farmers’ market yesterday as it was supposed to be the last day for Alberta-grown asparagus. I couldn’t get a handibus trip so felt sad. I booked a trip yesterday for today and thought I’d go just on the off-chance there was some. And boy that hunch paid off! I bought 8 packages, including 3 for my friend who also was sad that we had missed it. I took photos of the asparagus with my cell phone! (I thought of you and your asparagus Tammy!) I bought some fresh B.C. cherries as a special treat. I stopped at the grocery store on the way home and bought a month’s worth of meat that I am about to put in individual packages in the freezer. I splurged and bought ice cream too as I could get peanut/nut/egg free ice cream.

    My garden survived the terrible storm but things looked a little bedraggled by this morning. When I came home, everything looked better. Wouldn’t you know the hummingbird was there as my cabbie unloaded the groceries but I didn’t have a camera. maybe tomorrow. In the meantime, I got a beautiful swallow tail butterfly photo instead of the hummingbird.

    I have been doing a lot of Duo Lingo (Italian) but it hurts my broken tendon. I still have quite a bit to do but unbelievably I have 36,000 XP.

    We are supposed to have beautiful weather at least until the end of next week. I hope to get sorting papers outside and make progress in this regard. happy holiday weekend everyone! both U.S. and Canada!

    1. Glad to hear that you are sill on track for the book – please let us know when it is ready to be published.
      I bought myself some asparagus this morning and also treated myself to some Ontario strawberries that have just hit the stores – expensive but so delicious and sweet! Loblaws had some good deals on beef this week (and I collected Loyalty Points) so I got some steaks and some stir fry strips and one of the tasks still on my list for today is to get things packaged up into individual servings and into the freezer!
      My parents used to have a number of hummingbird feeders on their back deck and I used to love watching them so good luck getting some photos.

      1. Hi Margie,

        I am a firm believer in enjoying fresh fruits and veggies when they are available. So I’m glad to hear you went for the Ont. strawberries! Yum. I am waiting for the AB/BC ones. They really are so sweet. I have a couple of exquisite photos of hummingbirds but the hummingbird now visiting is a different species so I still hope to be outside when she lands. You probably get Ruby-throated but here we are on the farthest western boundary for Ruby-throated and get Rufous with some Calliope. Having said that, it is Ruby-throated that I really want to photograph.
        no luck yet but i got lovely butterfly photos yesterday.

        It was a surprising morning. I was searching online for some photos at the Archives when in a completely unexpected place I found an interesting group photo with R.B. Bennett (pm of Canada) and several other people, some prominent, some not and there was my grandfather. I can hardly wait to get to the archives tomorrow and look at the original!

        The book still has to be edited, And we will be submitting it for a grant to finance printing. We will give copies to local schools and libraries and sell the rest but we are going to have a small printing as storage would be a problem otherwise. It has become very difficult for me to type so I hope to finish it very soon.


    2. Ann,
      i”m glad you get beautiful pictures of birds. I enjoy reading your comments. We have been noticing a lot of turtles and cardinals around here.

  54. Oh a friend picked up some groceries for me, too. The clerk said “wow did you ever save a lot” to her about my order. I saved about $20 and paid $30.

  55. Beautiful photos, as always!
    I gave my sons haircuts with some clippers I bought a long time ago. They definitely save me money!
    We ate at home a lot, cleaning up leftovers and odds and ends.
    This week was VBS at church and the last week of swim team. I am ready to stay home more, definitely! But, the kids have had fun. I volunteered for VBS in advance doing some of the prep work for crafts before it started. Had I taught, I would have had to put my youngest in the nursery, which our church charges $10 for. No, thanks! Seems strange that they do that for volunteers.
    I signed up for a teacher day at the aquarium. I will probably take the kids if we’re able to get tickets.
    We purchased loss leaders and markdowns at the grocery store, as always.
    I sold some items on ebay and mailed them out today.
    I made homemade cookies for a neighbor, who shares my birthday.
    My parents were going to bring pizza over for my birthday, but a couple of kids were sick. I still wanted pizza, so I made one at home using dough I made in the bread machine.
    I ordered a full cart food box, then another after the first one came. With shipping, one came to $6 and the other to $8. Although family size, it takes more than one packet to feed my family. They’re not too bad; we’ve had the hamburger helper, macaroni and cheese, pasta salad, and lentil/rice packet. I think they’re cheaper than what I could make from scratch, as I usually pay $.50/# for beans, oats, and pasta, and $.25/# for rice.
    I applied for a focus group.
    I pre-made dinner for a busy weekend, so there will be plenty of food and no temptation to eat out. Well, there will still be temptation, but at least I have a plan!
    I signed the kids up for the free slime making at Michael’s and the free wood craft at Home Depot.

    1. Leigh Ann, be careful with the slime if you haven’t had it in the house before. My ophthalmologist told me her kids ruined her new sofa with slime and there are spots all over new carpet that won’t come out. I don’t know the details of what color, which recipe. I was going to make slime for Christmas presents for adults, but she talked me out of it.

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