Star Jasmine in my white garden

A few months ago, we upped our internet speed from the lowest cable modem speed to a slightly higher speed. We hadn’t seen any increase in speed, unfortunately, and the past week and a half, the speed was so slow that it was unfunctional. At the same time, we had an offer from the cable company to get a new modem for free. My husband called on the new modem. He found out that the cable company changed from an 8-bit system to a 16-bit, which is why our system slowed down so significantly (my normal 5-minute upload of photo galleries was taking 7 hours!) and why they were offering a free new modem. We got the new modem this week (we looked online and it’s about a $160 modem). Unfortunately, it would not work with our old router. We had to purchase a new router–but now we can work again. Our old router and modem were about 5 years old. I turned a pair of pants that were torn at both knees into shorts for a daughter. I got my exercise in the garden pruning, weeding, and deadheading. I harvested artichokes and apricots from the garden. My husband and I cut one another’s hair. I gave one son a haircut. We went to the Springs Preserve, using the family pass that my parents gifted us for Christmas. We saw the butterfly habitat while we were there, checked out the fossils in the Nevada State Museum, rode the tram to Boomtown, and played on the playground. What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. Such pretty butterflies. I asked my husband to trim my hair yesterday. With having curly hair, I don’t worry about it being perfect. I hope we’ll eventually be harvesting artichokes here. They’re so yummy, and good for you too. Lots of things are coming up in our garden… lettuce, beans, cucumbers. squash. It’s gotten hot, so we’re just trying to keep everything watered. The seeds I ordered arrived today, so I will soon be planting arugula, and possibly a few other things. I canned vegetable broth from our scraps, made bird suet and hummingbird food. I look forward to reading what everyone has been up to.

  2. Brandy, You are looking really great!

    This week in Portland, OR, I:

    -planted my summer garden! I used seeds gifted by friends and some I already had. I purchased starts from Fred Meyers using bottle return money.
    – went for a long, leisurely Sunday walk through our beautiful flower-filled neighborhood for a date with my husband.
    -received some house plants and a drying rack from my Buy Nothing group. I gave away two pairs of shoes and a Lego kit to another Buy Nothing neighbor.
    – read two books from the library: Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins and a fun graphic novel called Doodlebug (I’m a huge childrens and YA lit fan).
    – rode my bike to work, church and to the grocery store (I attach a Burley trailer to it so I can carry lots of groceries home). We are currently averaging one tank of gas per month for our car.
    – made all of our meals at home. I froze some berries that I bought on sale that were going to go bad for later use.
    – I discovered my husband’s hiking books fit my son – which will save us some money as we prepare him for Trek this summer (I wasn’t looking forward to buying boots — even used — that I know he wouldn’t wear outside of Trek, even if we do hike as a family).
    – I used money I had saved in a account to purchase an outdoor table and chairs for our yard. I waited patiently until the set I wanted was discounted for a Memorial Day sale and after I was confident I wasn’t finding what I wanted on craigslist. (It was still hard to buy new, however!) I’m justifying this purchase as something we will use and enjoy all summer, and help us resist going out for meals when we can eat in our beautiful backyard. BTW- I love because you can save towards targeted goals, and because the interest rate is pretty decent.
    – I filled our summer calendar full of free and mostly free activities around town to keep us happy and busy!

  3. What beautiful photos! And such a lovely photo of you. Am enjoying the photos on your photography instagram feed too!

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    – I made Better Than Box Mix Apple Cinnamon Pancakes (, and ate it as breakfast-for-dinner, and then froze the leftovers to toast for quick breakfasts. I served it with the maple syrup I traded for a few weeks ago.
    – I made some Shake N Bake tofu ( and used it in several meals this week. It’s an inexpensive protein.
    – I planted sunflower, zucchini, lettuce, and carrot seeds on my balcony garden, and started seeds indoors for bush and non-bush tomatoes, bush peppers, ground cherries, and mouse melons. I’m hoping I can grow some fun stuff this year! I planted the seeds in a cardboard egg carton. Two days later, Mr. Squirrel came by and dug up the sunflower seeds. I replanted some, and he dug them up again. Any suggestions for a frugal and humane way to repel squirrels? I can’t put up a netting on my balcony due to condo by-laws. I’ve already tried putting apple cider vinegar (supposed to repel squirrels) on paper towels in plastic baggies in areas protected from the rain and he’s ignored them.
    – I got free exercise by going on lots of stroller walks around my neighbourhood. There are some nice houses a block or two away, so I walk in that direction and admire the gardens and architecture.
    – Did some more sock darning (it seems like all my socks have decided to break at the same time), and cut open another face cream bottle to get the last of the lotion out. I have a coupon to use when I buy a new bottle of face cream, but I’m trying to wait until the lotion goes on sale, to maximize savings.
    – I made two batches of gluten-free chocolate chocolate chip cookies (they use egg whites) and then scrambled up some of the egg yolks to feed to my baby. I used the remaining egg yolk as an egg wash when I made a batch of pretzel buns, instead of using a new whole egg.
    – I made some breadcrumbs using up the last of some homemade bread from the freezer.
    – Made more baby food and froze the extra.
    – Received a sample of rice baby food in the mail; the day after I bought a package! Happily, it’s the brand that is low in arsenic, so I will use it eventually.
    – I made a batch of cranberry almond granola (, using some of the oatmeal I had traded for last week, some of the maple syrup I traded for a two weeks ago, plus some of the almonds I had bought for 50% off a few weeks ago.
    – I redeemed swagbucks for a $5 gc to Amazon. (There was a 25% sale, so it was actually better to redeem for a lower value card than to save and redeem for a higher value card with a lower sale price).
    – I went to the library with my daughter. They have toys there that she can play with, so she gets the stimulation of new toys without the cost or clutter.
    – I used the monies in my paypal account, earned using swagbucks, transcription, Pinecone Research rewards, etc., to offset the cost of a new theme and framework for my blog. I used part of a tax refund for the remainder of the cost. I’m doing all the tech stuff myself, despite NOT being tech-oriented, to save on costs. I’m trying to make my site look professional. I also hired a graphic designer from fiverr to do a logo for me (although I still have to implement that), and googled for a coupon code to get a few dollars off. For a total of $200 (Cdn), I will have done a whole site revamp! I still have a lot to do, and I accidentally went live before finishing my modifications (I want to fine-tune my recipe organization and change how ads show up) but am working slowly, steadily, and trying to do it all frugally!
    – Using my local trading app, I traded two cake pop boxes (purchased for $1 at a sale a few years ago) and some baby bonbonierre boxes (purchased for 25 cents at a garage sale years ago) for a pair of sunglasses, a BNIB cellphone ring, and some cellophane food wrappers. I’ll give the sunglasses and cellphone ring to some family friends, and use the cellophane food wrappers likely at Christmas time when I make little food gifts for my husband’s workplace.
    – I made mini no-bake cherry oreo cheesecake for a friend’s 75th birthday (a variation of this recipe Oreos were on sale so I blitzed them up, combined with a little melted butter, and pressed it into cupcake wrappers for a crust, then chilled it. Then I poured in a no-bake cheesecake batter (cream cheese and condensed milk also purchased on sale at different times, plus vanilla flavouring and lemon juice) and topped it with a canned cherry filling (purchased, of course, on sale previously). I packaged some of them up in a bakery box that I had traded for. I also included some of the flourless chocolate chocolate chip cookies I made earlier in the week, along with some chocolate cranberry nut fudge I made using the leftover condensed milk from the mini cheesecakes (essentially this recipe, but in squares I wrapped up the box with some saved ribbon. It looked very nice and was waaaaay cheaper than buying something from a bakery!
    – My husband brought home a perfect condition and boxed oxo mandolin and a chocolate foundation from the free table at his workplace. I’ll give them to some family friends who can use them (and if they can’t use them, they can pass them on).
    – Not an accomplishment, but I won a le Creuset French Oven from a blog giveaway! It’s worth $400 (Cdn)! I actually don’t have a French oven, and have been baking bread in my Corningware casserole dish, so I’m very excited about it! I would never buy such an expensive item, so free fits the bill!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone!

    1. We have had good results with repelling digging/nibbling animals by sprinkling cayenne pepper on the soil and plants. I also place plastic forks in the soil, tines up, to help repel.

        1. I’ve been told that soaking bulbs in Indian Tonic water deters squirrels, something to do with the quinine in the tonic water repels them. Haven’t tried it myself but it might work if you sprinkle it over where you’ve planted, worth a try!

      1. I second Nancy’s suggestion, but it does need to be HOT. We found some of our squirrels are able to handle simply “hot.”

        1. I have to laugh at the idea of some squirrels being able to handle ‘hot’. I have a mental image of the squirrels chomping down on some leafy greens dusted with hot pepper and thinking ‘not bad, could use some salt’ to themselves. Tee hee! I have cayenne pepper, but if that doesn’t work, I also have some hot peppers that I could grind up and sprinkle too. Thanks!

          1. I thought the same thing about the squirrels in Georgia. I used the cayenne pepper in my window boxes and it did not deter them hrom digging in my geraniums.
            The squirrels were NOT afraid of people. They would look at you, as if to say, “What are you going to do, Lady?” LOL

    2. Margaret, I went to your website and I do like the new look and set up and tried to comment but it didn’t seem to go through.
      I find the font for the comments section to be a bit small & very pale – I could barely see what I was typing.
      Also, That long side bar of social media links blocks a lot of your text – I constantly have to scroll up and down to read your post.
      But I do like the new header and the new links on the side. I give you full marks for all the work – I am currently working with a designer to redo the look of our work website – and it’s tough as I’m learning as I go.

      Good luck with the squirrel – it must be very frustrating!

      1. Thanks SO much for that feedback, Margie! I really appreciate it! I’ve contacted the theme provider to see if it is possible to customize the comment font colour and size, so that it is easier to read. I thought I could do it myself, but can’t find out how, so hopefully they’ll respond to my support ticket soon. I’m glad you mentioned it, as I wouldn’t have come across that issue myself.

        In terms of the side bar of social media text, do you mean the one on the left? I believe Athanasia has had a similar issue when reading my blog, and one of the readers here mentioned that if zoom out on your screen a little bit, that should resolve it. I don’t think it’s an issue for every reader. I hope at some point to be able to switch to a different (but also free!) social media widget plug-in.

        I’m so not a techie, so for me, trying to do back-end blog stuff is like trying to fix a car in pea-soup fog, when you don’t know what is under the hood, and it’s a foreign car, and it’s a hybrid car, and also, you can’t even drive. So, lots of trial and error, but at least my labour (and google and youtube) is free!

        Good luck with your work blog! There’s definitely a steep curve to learning the back-end of blogging!

        1. Yes it is the bar on the left side. A number of blogs seem to have this happening and I do find it annoying – but understand that you may not have any choice in the matter.

          I spent the day emailing with the web designer – changing the background colour, moving pages around between drop down menus and supplying updated text. I thought we were just about finished with this go round until someone mentioned another page we should have at a meeting tonight (and it’s not as though I hadn’t suggested this in the past)! I think I will just leave it until the next round as there is a meeting next week of the committee that will give final approval. As I’m sure there will be other change requests I’ll just wait and do them all at once.

          After the new version goes live I’ll be getting more lessons in how to do any updates. I can already do some but still need a few lessons – lots of fun.

      2. I have mentioned the problem with that left side bar with all the social media links several times in the past but it is still there. Not sure why it needs to be as the same links are at the bottom of the page.

    3. HA! When I started reading this post I misread Better than Box pancake mix as Better than Botox pancake mix! What a great combo that would be—eat comfort food pancakes while getting rid of wrinkles! Thanks for the laugh, and the link.

      1. Pancakes are always better than botox, any day of the week! But if you add in some grass-feed collagen to the pancake batter, it might actually help with reducing the visibility of wrinkles. Or so I’m told. (I’m vegetarian so I won’t take collagen supplements.) In which case it really would be Better than Botox Pancakes! 🙂

    4. Margaret, I don’t know if this will work or not, but perhaps try orange peel. Our cats HATE the smell of oranges. We call it “kitty repelent” whenever we eat an orange. Just one sniff and they instantly change their minds about asking for a cuddle. It might work for squirrels, too. Congrats on the win. Sounds like an amazing prize!

      1. Orange peel is a great idea, Rhonda! I’ll keep orange peel in the fridge so it doesn’t dry out and then strategically apply it to the sunflower planters. Best case scenario, the squirrel stays away; worst case scenario, my dirt gets some extra nutrients. So really, win-win!

      2. Margaret, congratulations on the win! Fabulous! I think you might try coffee grounds to repel the squirrels — I don’t know but it might work!Ann

    5. For repelling squirrels…I was told to dust everything with allum. It is sour and the squirrel might tear it up once, but they aren’t supposed to come back again. I haven’t tried this personally, but was told that it works in the garden wonderfully well.

    6. Hi

      Read the Birkenstock granola post and laughed. I’m addicted to Birkenstocks and if I see them cheap it is an autobuy! Try them if you get a chance- I’ve never fallen in them.

      1. Thanks, Sheena! I have a pair of sandals now that are very similar to Birkenstocks. The most expensive shoes I’ve ever owned, but they’ve lasted two summers so far and are in absolutely perfect condition, and I was even able to wear them 9 mos pregnant, so I hope they will last a long time. I plan to resole them if necessary down the road, so I think they’re actually a good investment.

    7. No idea if it would work for squirrels, and I don’t remember if I read it here or another blog, so thanks to that poster:
      Deer are repelled by smelly soap, like Irish Spring. The person was going to hang bars of soap from branches in berry-basket-plastic-clamshells, which have some holes but would protect the soap.

  4. I did the usual small stuff to save. I’m not going to make a list since we all do the coupon stuff. Paid all bills on time and online. *laughing*
    My big thing this week was that Atmos Energy was fixing the road where they dug it up months ago. My husband asked them if they would dump all of the gravel in my driveway. They were happy to. I now have an extra-long, newly graveled drive with a turn around at no cost to me.
    I sewed my grandson’s shirt where it had come apart at one of the seams.
    I paid someone to help purge my sewing area and paid with coupons, crocheted hats and books. I gave her a little money too.
    I think bartering is so underrated.
    Thanks for all you do Brandy.

      1. Thank you and yes it was. I had just said a couple of days earlier that I needed to buy some rock. Thank goodness he thought of this. It saved me a bunch.

  5. Such a beautiful time of the year! Retirement is quickly approaching – May 30 is the last day hubs will go in for his farewell party. He’ll be paid for the 31st too without it being counted as PTO.
    Hopefully, our ducks are all in a row. We have our last “normal” paycheck on Thursday this week and then the final one from work on the 6th. Just found out that the time counted into that final check will also be for his last two weeks because his pay is a week behind. Supposedly, we will get another check for unused vacation days too. Then we float until June 26 or so when the first monthly checks start arriving! I will feel more confident once that begins! Until then, I still worry that I’m free-falling!! Lol!

    I got a notice from the local warehouse that I bought case lots of yogurt covered pretzels and mini chocolate toffee bars in Feb that they were having another clearance case lot sale! This time 15 pound boxes of peppermint yogurt pretzels and key lime yogurt pretzels were on sale for $2.50 a box! There were 18 pound boxes of a couple other flavors that were $10/box (which is still a good price, know that these same ones from this company are in 1 pond bags at Fresh Thyme for $3.49/pound!!
    So I told my local friends and fam know I was going and took orders. I brought back what they wanted, they paid me same price I bought the boxes for. Some insisted on giving me a couple dollars extra. The nice thing was that this company has loyalty cards that they stamp for every $5 you spend. When you get 20 stamps, you get $10 off credit, so my purchases were free! Plus, in paying for everyone else’s, I got more reward stamps for more store credit! So I actually came out ahead!

    We put an ad on Craigslist for some of our excess koi and so far we have made another $130! Every extra dime is going into our savings to see us through the transition!

    Although gas prices have jumped again (to between $2.76 and $2.89 a gallon, I filled both our car and van for $2.35/gallon when they were almost empty by planning errands in the same vicinity! Oh, how I love the free GasBuddy app on my phone!

    This week our Army son starts his 3rd week of chemo and radiation of the 6 week course. Then 8 weeks after, he will have surgery. Because his oncologist told him that because of his diagnosis that his siblings that are up to 10 years younger have a 10 times greater chance of having this same colon cancer, so tomorrow I babysit 4 grandsons while my DIL takes one of my other sons for his colonoscopy and in 2 weeks, I take another son in for his colonoscopy! One daughter is getting hers scheduled in the next couple weeks too! I’m glad they are taking this seriously!

    One of our daughters just bought a new Purple mattress and because we referred her ( We have one and totally love it!) we will get a $50 Amazon gift card and she will get a $50 amazon gift card after all the sale pricing and bonuses on top of that!

    Our chickens continue to produce and we sold 10 dozen excess eggs this week! That’s an extra $25 into savings! Every little bit helps!

    We ate some of the first lettuce from our garden tonight at dinner! What a treat! Our garden is looking healthy from all the light rain we’ve been getting in the late evening/ early morning hours! We are hoping for a good harvest!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

  6. I canned raspberries, raspberry jam, strawberries, strawberry jam, and pineapple, 59 half pint bottles. Half pints are a perfect size for my grandbabes. I’m happy to report all 59 sealed. Our six chick friends are growing quickly and will soon graduate to the back yard coop. I’ve been researching to find low cost and no cost activities in our area to make the summer months a little more enjoyable while the grands and I are at home. I’ve compiled a good list and will let the kids pick what they’d like to do. I’m also planning to take them to the zoo, aquarium, and planetarium using public transportation (so much easier than driving, trying to find parking). I’ve figured out which days are the lowest prices to help the budget stretch a little further. I mended the edge of the bassinet covering so it could be passed on to another family for their soon-to-arrive baby. I’m grateful to have it out of my basement and being used by someone who is appreciating it. We are working at potty training and I am looking forward to no more training pants (hopefully soon!). I cleaned out the outgrown summer little girl clothes and found someone who was willing to take them and use them.

    1. Hi Jerri,
      One fun idea for summer children’s activities is to assign a theme to each day of the week. For example: Monday – movie day – make popcorn, get a movie from the library or one from your home collection and enjoy. You can find coloring pages online that tie in to the movie theme.
      Tuesday, visit the library for free story hour or just go and check out books. Be sure to check with them for any special activities you may need to sign up for in advance.
      Wednesday could be cooking day where you make a certain recipe that the kids pick out.
      Thursday, visit a public pool.
      Friday, take a picnic lunch and go to a new to you playground.
      I hope you have a wonderful summer. You can find similar ideas online.

      1. I love this! I have been making some summer plans along these lines but hadn’t thought about assigning certain things to certain days. That sounds nice!

      2. Also, to add some interest, you could also have the kids make their own movie on “Movie Monday”. They can edit what they film, then you can watch it as a family! It would be a great keepsake, too. If it turns out well, perhaps the grandparents would enjoy a copy as a Christmas gift.
        For “Library Tuesday”, you could create a library scavenger hunt, or give the kids some questions they have to research to find the answers to at the library.
        For “Cooking Wednesday”, if the kids are old enough, have the kids find a recipe on line they want to try, then have them check for all the ingredients in the pantry. Or you could give the kids a budget, then take them to the grocery store to buy the supplies to make dinner for the family.
        Instead of just swimming, you could do “Summer Sports Thursday”. Play a game of crochet, badminton, volleyball, basketball, baseball/catch, etc. as a family. This might help stretch the budget if there is a cost for the public swim. Save the swimming for when it is too hot to do anything else.
        Of course, having a picnic and going to a different playground each week makes each week fun. But you could also add a photo session at each park. These could be used to create a special memory book, calendar or mug for a gift idea later. Also, you could bring special activities to do at the park, like flying a kite, blowing bubbles, sidewalk chalk, etc.

      3. Last summer my daughter did a week of color. Every day was a different color. Activities and food were tied to the color.

        I know for red day they went and picked strawberries, made projects with red hearts and ate a lunch of red foods. I believe they made homemade pizza with red sauce and had strawberries and raspberries. The kids picked the colors for the days a couple weeks prior so my daughter could plan.

        She said the hardest was blue. I believe they had nachos made with blue tortilla chips and blueberries for lunch.

        Kids had a blast with this, making projects, doing an activity, and helping with the cooking.

    2. Jerri, when you are at the library (as others have mentioned) don’t forget to sign them up for the summer reading program.

      1. Great reminder! Our summer reading program has great “rewards” for those who participate the whole summer.

  7. What a fun spring outing.
    We spent most of last week camping for free on BLM land in Utah. We hiked and enjoyed all the spring flowers. Brought all food from home. Our only expense was gasoline, and we used a $1 a gallon discount from grocery points to fill the tank on the truck before we left.
    The small electric heater we keep in the camper to keep it from freezing at home (we are still getting snow here!) broke. The next day we went to a neighborhood garage sale and were able to purchase a new one for $3.
    We enjoyed mixed-green salad from the greenhouse.

  8. Technology is so great when it works and so, so, so frustrating when it doesn’t. Glad you were able to resolve the speed and compatibility issues but a bummer that it cost you money.

    • For third day in a row, the outside temp didn’t break 50 degrees. The inside of my house on 13 May was 59 degrees but I refused to turn on the heat in mid-May. So I turned on the oven and baked to warm up the kitchen.
    • Made pot of oatmeal & flax seeds x 2, made pommes dauphinoise, roasted a chicken, made asparagus soup, risotto with spinach and tomatoes, chicken taco soup, baked broccoli, wild rice and cheese casserole, and a ham and broccoli quiche
    • I need to replace some parts on my CPAP machine and before buying from the local sleep center, I wanted to see what pricing is available online. I spent about an hour putting together a spreadsheet of the prices for each component at every site I could find. Surprisingly Amazon was the cheapest for the machine parts and Bonanza was the cheapest for the mask set up.
    • I stocked up on vitamins at Walgreens with their BOGO sale, used a $2 coupon, and then used $10 worth of reward points to help pay for them. I had wanted to purchase more but they were out of stock so I requested a raincheck.
    • Researched different meditation apps and downloaded a free one that was highly recommended by several different bloggers
    • I had met a friend at a coffee shop the day before and I had the most delicious raspberry ice tea. The next day I made a batch of raspberry sun tea so I can enjoy this drink at home.
    • I had gone to a job lot store the day before and you never really know what they will have. There was a new-to-me brand of holistic cat food for 25 cents a pouch. I bought a few to see if my cats liked them. The cats LOVED them so I went back and bought all the stock the store had.
    • At a local convent, I attended a freewill donation, full moon labyrinth walk.
    • Watched HGTV for free on YouTube
    • Played free Wheel of Fortune app on my phone

    1. Libby- we discovered a few years ago that it was much cheaper to go online to buy hub’s C-pap supplies! When I say cheaper, I mean about 75% less than we had been paying a local supply company!! Amazing what a few minutes of researching online can save you!!! This is also one of the reasons that we have an Amazon Prime account which gives us free fast shipping!

    2. Libby, I LOVE that you tried something new at a restaurant you really enjoyed, then went home and found a way to make it! I often do that, too.

  9. Thank-you everyone for the nice comments about us selling our asparagus last week!
    This week it has been raining, a lot. We hope to put our garden in when it stops raining.
    Hubby has been helping me cook at home. Homemade pudding and caramel corn for treats. Carrot soup. Tuna sandwiches. Egg this and egg that from our chickens. Lots and Lots of eggs for all our meals. I’ve been walking a couple times a week with my son. Free exercise picking asparagus when it wasn’t raining.
    Shocked with a bill for over a thousand four hundred dollars today. Due in 6 days. The bill arrived today. I’m really hoping it is a mistake. Because we can’t pay it. We were not expecting it. It is a shock.
    Thinking of side gigs to make money,
    I was asked to do a reading of some of my writing at Kansas City’s Plaza library in June. I am looking forward to it.

    1. Fourteen hundred dollar surprise bill! Wow, that would shock me, too! I sure hope it is a mistake, Tammy. That’s ridiculous!!!! By the way, if you are looking for egg based dishes, have you tried looking up recipes for savoury bread pudding (also known as a strata)? They are easy to customize with whatever veggies you have available, and can be made from saved bread ends that often nobody wants to eat. Pretty cheap to make, but seriously delicious! Lots of recipes on Pinterest or on-line if you do a search.

      1. Strata is a good idea Rhonda. I haven’t made that in a long time. We are thinking that that bill is a mistake. It has been a stressful week with two family members in the hospital. One out now. And that bill looming over our heads. We think we already paid it in chunks. On a good note, my husbands old company wants to rehire him in a job that won’t hurt his feet.. He just needs to take a test. That would be a big boost in income.

        1. That is really good news for your husband. I hope that works out. I’m sure a steady stream of income would definitely help you get back on track financially. Best of luck!!!!

          1. Ann and Rhonda,
            Thank-you for the good wishes. More income would definitely get us on track financially.

      2. Rice pudding and bread pudding- both require lots of eggs! I use condensed milk bought on sale in place of the cream or half and half called for. French toast made with homemade bread or French toast casserole- basically bread, eggs, and some cinnamon is another nice way to use up eggs without feeling like your eating eggs!

    2. Congratulations Tammy for being asked to do a reading of some of your writings at the Kansas City’s Plaza library. That’s wonderful news! And I’ll have my fingers crossed that the 41,400 bill is just a mistake! I do wish I lived close — I’d be buying your asparagus for sure! Ann

        1. Tammy,
          That’s great news about your husband and job possibility/probability. My last post should have said $1,400 not 41,400 bill.

  10. Hi everyone! I have followed the site/blog for 10 years now and have never posted before. One thing I do to save money on outings is to use library passes to museums, science centers and cultural attractions. I am eligible to join the library for the town I work in which covers different selection then the small town we live in. I am considering paying 20 to a different library for a 6 month membership – I would save at least double that on one outing! I don’t know if this is a New England thing or if it is available everywhere? With summer coming up -I thought I would share. I have arthritis and fibromyalgia so prepping my 1 foot high raised beds for planting is tough. I hired a neighbor to clean them our and dig up some perennials that found there way into the vegetable beds. I planted the transplanted violets and columbine to my Mom’s grave. She died last year so I am going to add perennials to her site as I divide things- Saving the expense of flowers. My Dad visits everyday so he will water them for us. If any one has suggestions on tools or techniques to make gardening easier for the not so young. It would be great!

    1. I’m so glad you chose to comment today!

      Our library district does not offer museum passes. It would be wonderful if they did! There are not a lot of museums here, though. A family membership to the museum is the best option here. We don’t have a zoo here, either.

    2. Hi Lisa,
      I’m also in New England and have checked out the museum and zoo passes from our local library for years. Several libraries in CT are part of a consortium and the museum passes can be checked out from any of the consortium members. The passes used to be first come, first served but now you can reserve them in advance.
      I LOVE libraries!!

    3. “Museum” Passes are common in the northeast part of the US, especially New England. Our library has passed to multiple museums, science centers, the children’s museum, a planetarium, two historic properties, and an aquarium. We are so lucky to be able to use this program!

    4. Lisa, couple options in the garden… you can raise the beds higher. You can get a mechanic’s roll cart to sit on and roll as you do the garden. You can start gardening in pots instead of beds. Personally between my cerebral palsy, arthritis and fibro, We put weed barrier down in the walk areas of the garden and I CRAWL on my hands and knees or scoot on my butt if the hands are hurting too bad.

    5. I had a handyman make me some raised planters that are at a level for a seated person. I garden in a wheeled office chair in containers. That way I can sit and scoot around doing whatever needs doing. All of my containers (except new raised planters) are also on wheels – those individual plant trolleys) so I can move plants around my “garden” as the season and weather dictates. There is a great booklet at this website on gardening with all types of disabilities which gives very specific information (such as how high, wide, etc). Hope this helps and you enjoy your garden!

  11. Great picture of yourself, Brandy! (I wasn’t sure you ever wore jeans, LOL).

    A couple of things forgotten in recent weeks past…I mended a pair of pajamas and my neighbor paid us $970, which he owed us for almost a year for his share of the fence that divides our properties. Big surprise! (I’d about given up on him).

    This week–
    *It rained 1-3/4 inches on Friday, so I have not had to water since then. This much rain is an infrequent occurrence. (For awhile, I thought about building an ark).
    *I was gifted a pair of floral clippers and a teapot missing its lid. I had the matching lid!
    *I bartered the Honda small engine from a power washer not worth fixing, for $80 worth of other labor. A good deal for both of us.
    *I bought $50 worth of TP and other household products at good prices and received a $15 Target gift card. Which brings up another “usual frugal stuff” thing we do–I use Scott 1,000 sheets, and not too much of it, either (was that TMI?).

    1. It’s usually too hot (in my opinion) to wear jeans here. I even find it too hot for shorts, and come summer, a necklace feels like a warm winter scarf on me and I’m like, “Get it off! Get it off!” Friday was only 71 and this time of year it is usually 105. I usually wear jeans from November to March, but this year with our unusual weather I have been wearing them more often. Normal temperatures are due to return in June, so I’ll be back to dresses and skirts and sandals. (My husband wears flip flops 11 months out of the year here.) It’s the opposite of your weather in Idaho!

      1. I feel the same way here in Phoenix, Brandy! The one area I don’t skimp on is keeping my house cool! Have to say, we have been thoroughly enjoying this beautiful weather this far into the year!

        1. Same here in central CA. It’s been beautifully cool and we’ve had some rain. I’m sure the hot weather is coming ?

  12. I’m glad you got your internet running well again!
    We have been enjoying free blueberries from the field. We took some to a potluck, with a carton of ice cream.

    I took our car in for an oil change, $20 with a coupon. I went for a walk while it was in. When I came back, they had not done it and offered to do it for free tomorrow. I gladly accepted. It’s a business owned and run by a friend and I know they will honor it.

    Still packing for my friend (who is keeping us for free while we’re between houses). I came across 2 wooden bowls in the kids art supply closet. All of the closet contents were being donated so I asked if I could have the bowls.

    Listed 3 items on eBay. I have 2 books listed that I wanted to read, but my library (always my first choice) didn’t have. I bought the books used on eBay and then listed them again when I had finished them. I’ll probably break even money-wise, but I won’t have the clutter.

    Donated a few bits and pieces and took small table and stool to thrift store for my friend.

  13. Hi Brandy, love your pictures ! This weeks frugals include:
    All meals cooked at home and lunch packed for work.
    It is finally warm enough to dry my laundry outside, most are scrubs so they dry quickly.
    My manager to us out to a Vietnamese soup for lunch last week.
    Mowed and trimmed the yard for free exercise, living on a corner gives me my exercise year round.
    Made a huge pot of chili using pantry ingredients and loss leader beef, this will be frozen for quick meals.
    Used chives from the garden to perk up meals, they are only things ready but all the seeds I planted have come up. I am hoping for a good gardening year.
    Used the library to borrow magazines , books and a movie.

  14. Hello Frugal Friends,

    I love all the beautiful pictures! Here are my frugal accomplishments:
    – On Saturday, I made a frugal volunteer dinner. I made potato salad, macaroni salad, sloppy joes, 5 cheesecakes and a salad with veggies. I was able to make it for about 35 people for about $100.00. I thought this was pretty good. But it took me all day… Hopefully it saved some.
    – I shopped at the military commissary for items that are cheaper there.
    – I volunteered at a consignment shop that I sell crafts at to avoid the $30.00 per month fee to put items in.
    – I received a party pack from a company called Tryazon with several free organizers for crafts. I need to post about a fun play date using them and I get to keep the items. It was worth well over $100.00.
    – Cooked meals at home to include: nachos, chicken thighs, meatloaf, and meatballs.
    – Ate dinner at the in laws on Sunday.
    – My daughter made cupcakes for my husband’s birthday.
    – I signed up for freebies. They are on my website at:
    – Did a mystery shop at a fast food place and got a free lunch. The site is called Market Force. I have been paid several times by them.
    That’s about all I can think of!

  15. Love the lion’s head picture, Brandy! And you are looking good too!

    We are really enjoying this great weather we have been having. It has really saved on the A/C bill!

    Here are my accomplishments from last 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.
    • Got a couple of Ibotta rebates.
    • Dad treated me to lunch this week.
    • Hung 5 of 6 loads of laundry to dry.
    • Ate in 7 times. Had steak, baked potato and salad twice; ramen noodles with leftover steak and broccoli; frozen pizza; quesadillas; hamburger helper with green beans; and BBQ country ribs with cowboy caviar and baked potatoes.
    • Harvested 1 bell pepper and 2 tomatoes Also, our neighbor’s peach tree hangs over our back wall, so we got 6 peaches from it.
    • My brother-in-law is cleaning out his storage unit and found a box of books that were my late sister’s that he didn’t want. My niece brought them over and I got about 10 books that interested me. It was good to go through the books also because they reminded me of her. She was someone who always wanted to learn so all of the books are non-fiction and pertain to her interest in her Catholic faith and the historical English Royals. I will spend the summer learning as she did!
    • Paid extra on the mortgage and took off 3 months of payments from the end.
    • Hubby brought his lunch to work 2 days and got it paid for one day. The other 2 days he ate very cheaply at Taco Bell.
    • Rather than pay $200 to have the tree service come and remove the remaining roots from the tree they cut down, Hubby dug them out himself.
    • The battery on my car died (luckily in my garage!) We had bought it at Costco in July of 2016. It had a 3 year warranty. They replaced the battery for free! Hubby installed it. He also replaced a broken motor mount in the car. It was a $30 part but it would have cost at least $200 if someone else had done it. I am so blessed that he knows how to do these things. We save so much money. Not only does it save on repairs, we are able to drive our cars for a lot longer.
    • Stocked up on toilet paper during a good sale.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  16. Brandy, you look fabulous! I paid off a couple of lingering bills. I am debt free except for two medical bills, which I am disputing. One is nothing to sneeze at, it is almost 5 grand and I have insurance! The other bill is a copay of $509. Once I get the bills resolved, I can truly say I am debt free. It feels good to have the house paid for but there are some repairs I need to cash flow. It is always something …lol. It is in the 90’s here in South Alabama and great swimming weather! I can swim for anywhere from a dollar, to three dollars at the local lakes and rivers. I do not swim at the free place on the river because it is so isolated. I am still working on getting my teeth fixed and other health procedures required by my insurance. I am having to do a bit of creative work scheduling so I can visit my new grandbaby in August. I am also researching cheap flights to Salt Lake. I will be subbing in court tomorrow for another ADA so he can repay the favor for when I go to Utah in August. I am so excited about the grandchild! Something tells me I will be flying a lot to Utah in the future, and I loathe flying. The things we do for our grandkids…lol!

  17. What are the yellow blooms you’re standing in front of, Brandy? They are beautiful! Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were tomato basil fettuccine with with hot dog bun garlic bread, roast chicken with roasted potatoes and green beans, leftovers, beef fajitas and tortilla chips with salsa.
    *Received a free meal at our church’s awards ceremony for Wednesday night kids’ groups.
    *Accepted leftover hot dogs and brownies from the awards ceremony.
    *Baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for the awards ceremony using ingredients from my pantry.
    *Served extra cookies along with leftover Mother’s Day chips and dip to Thursday night bible study.
    *Walked with a friend for free fellowship and exercise.
    *Received a free steak dinner for helping cook a deacon’s fellowship meal at church.
    *Accepted leftover salad, steak, potatoes and rolls from the deacon’s dinner.
    *Earned a $5 reward for spending $30 at FL. Got a rain check for $1.49 pork loin. Will use this for our family reunion.
    *Made a large batch of taco seasoning using spices I already had.
    *Ordered door prizes for our company picnic online through Ebates. This also saved me a trip to the store.

      1. We love Pablo Verde trees! We see them all over the Phoenix metro, but we are higher in elevation and they aren’t hardy here. My husband still wants to try in the warmest spot in the yard, but I don’t think one would make it. They are so pretty though!

  18. Me, the 12 yo, and her best friend went to members night at our local zoo….it’s fun going after hours. We listened to some presentations on certain animals, fed the giraffes for free, rode the train for half price, and at dinner for $2 each . At the end of the night we were leaving and walked past the snack table. The workers told the girls to take as much popcorn as they wanted(and they did, lol). We snacked on it for 2 days.

    I was afraid some oranges we had were going to go bad so I juiced them, froze the juice for later, then put the peels in jars filled with vinegar for an orange scented cleaner for later.

    Patched 4 pairs of Jean’s

    My mom sent over 4 TV dinners. It’s not food we normally eat so I told the teen he could take them to his friends house on game night.

    I received a new Fitbit for Mother’s day so I passed my current one onto the 12yo(she’s been wanting one)

    I purchased 2 markdown roasts

  19. Hi everyone!

    I hope you all had a better week than I did! This last week was full of trouble. My SO lost their job, my cat needed to have several tooth extractions, and my phone died, despite being only a year old.

    In light of all this, I took time to remind myself of my stocked pantry, flourishing herb garden, and vast spice collection. These three will allow me to reduce our grocery spending this month (and beyond), which we will need to do to weather these blows.

    Some things I’ve done already:

    * Evaluated my pantry stock. The only items I am out of or close to out of are white beans, brown sugar, tomato sauce, and table salt. All will be inexpensive to replace.

    * I reviewed your series on eating for 40c a day to inspire myself. I selected a few bean recipes to try and will be trying to grow more bean sprouts.

    * I made a list of vegetarian or low meat options for meals, and we will be eating those more often than we were previously. I also looked into more ways to season beans to keep them interesting.

    * I used liquid that I had cooked bbq pulled pork in and used it to make baked beans. I also used pinto beans instead of white beans because I was out.

    * I organized the freezers a little bit more to make finding items easier.

    * I made an imperfect produce order to provide fruits and veggies for the rest of the month.

    * I made pancakes and bread. I used buttermilk for both, and made more by adding milk to the jar and letting it culture on the counter for 8-12 hours.

    I hope everyone has a great week!

    1. I’m sorry you had such a bad week, K. Job loss just sucks, especially when there is no time to plan ahead. My husband is about to loose his job, but at least we had some pre-warning it was going to happen (restaurant he works at has been sold). I hope your SO finds a new job quickly.
      If I may offer a great vegetarian option, try BBQ chickpeas. They are very easy to make. Place a can (or desired amount of dried/soaked) drained chickpeas in a pot, add enough BBQ sauce to coat well and a little bit of water tothin out the BBQ sauce a bit (the water is necessary as the chickpeas will absorb it during cooking). Cook on medium heat until chickpeas have softened. You can eat them just the way they are, top a salad with them, or my favourite, use them to make wraps! I make my wraps with greens (lettuce, spinach or whatever you have on hand), a bit of cheese and ranch dressing, but you can be creative and add your favourite wrap fillers that you have on hand. The leftovers keep well in the fridge or can even be frozen for later use. These are so good, my meat loving co-works even enjoyed them and my vegetarian co-workers couldn’t believe they had never tried this before!

      1. Thank you for your well wishes! My SO has a job offer with an attractive schedule, but it’s less than they were making previously by ~$4 an hour, so budget adjustments will still need to be done.

        I’ll have to try that recipe! I’ve done something similar with black and pinto beans (it was delicious on hamburger buns!) but I’ll have to try chickpeas, since I have some of those in the pantry just waiting to be used.

      2. I found several years ago that the trick to getting “bean inspiration” was to stop looking at them as beans, and look at them as “meat substitute”. Black beans can be used in pasta sauces, turned into stroganoff, black bean burgers/meatballs, “beef” stew, etc. Pinto beans make nice tacos/burritoes, sloppy joes, bbq sandwiches as mentioned. Cook pinto or white beans in chicken broth (homemade or from bouillion) and make “chicken and dumpling” with no chicken; I puree some of the beans to thicken the broth. Classic “baked” beans are noting more than pinto or white beans cooked in tomato sauce, with brown sugar, onion, and some spices. (Try the chili, taco beans, or baked beans over a baked potato; this was a staple of my young adult and very poor days, along with oatmeal for breakfast, and I was never hungry). Beans also make wonderful soups and stews- whatever veggies you have around, some broth or tomato base, a starch- potatoes. pasta, rice, some beans, and some spices. Minestrone; chili; potato soup with beans, cabbage soup with beans, tomatoes, carrots, and onion; sweet potato and bean soup; the possibilities are endless. I also have a habit of viewing entre recipes as idea points, and adjust them using whatever I have on hand.

    2. You can do this K! Sounds like you’ve made a great start facing a challenging time. Best of luck!

    3. K, a few suggestions for meals that are budget friendly:
      – make “Crazy Fries” for dinner by making homemade potato fries, then topping with homemade bean chili. Top with add-ons like shredded cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, green onions, sour cream. Or substitute a baked potato for the fries.
      – using leftover mashed potatoes, press along sides and bottom of greased muffins tins to make “cups” and bake til golden. Fill these potato cups with cooked vegetables and top with a cheese sauce. Very filling. Alternatively, fill with leftover bean chili and top with the cheese sauce or fill with leftover meat and gravy.
      – using tortilla wraps, fill with cooked vegetables: steamed broccoli, julienned carrots, shredded cabbage, green beans or snow peas. Then top with thinly julienned pickle spears, red peppers and sauteed onions with barbecue sauce. Or use thinly sliced red onions and smear mayonnaise on the wrap before adding the vegetables . Roll up. Serve with hot sauce if desired. These are delicious and surprisingly filling. My meat-loving son-in-law discovered, to his surprise, how tasty these are.
      – stretch your meals using cheaper carbs as the filler: rice/fried rice/rice pudding; barley/in soup/marinated barley salads/use in place of rice for baked casseroles; potatoes – so many ways and in soups; pasta/with pesto/with tomato sauce/with red pepper sauce/carbonara/with vegetables/with garlic and oil; beans-used in so many different cultures that the recipe ideas are endless.
      – don’t forget to watch for sales on in-season vegetables and fruit and only buy those as they’re cheaper.
      – food/produce on the clearance rack.
      – biscuits are inexpensive to make, as is soda bread.
      – stale bread for French toast, as croutons, stuffing, bread pudding or crushed into bread crumbs.
      – make baked goods that use oil or pureed fruit in place of more expensive butter, such as muffins or snacking cakes.
      – look for eggless recipes, such as snacking cakes or use an egg substitute to save your eggs to eat as a meal instead.
      – use smaller amounts of meat that stretch further such as in stir-frys, fajitas, mixed with noodles; use thinly sliced pork or chicken as a cutlet or schnitzel; ground beef stretched with vegetables and/or beans.
      – soup.
      – make homemade iced tea or have water infused with lemon or berries.
      I’ve used all these suggestions during my “recession years”. They really do save money and fill bellies at the same time.

      1. Thank you for all of your wonderful suggestions! I appreciate them. I’m especially excited to try the potato cup idea- I always love a good potato recipe!

        One thing we’re also doing is eating down our freezer- I usually keep it well stocked with frozen fruits and veggies, so we should have enough of those to last until growing season starts here (and I can get my CSA share that’s already been paid for!)

  20. What an amazing gift your parents gave you for Christmas. The Springs Preserve sounds like a wonderful place to spend time with the whole family. Such beautiful pictures this week, Brandy. I especially love your lion head peaking out from the flowers. I have a similar lion head I bought in Rome years ago, but it is cement cast.

    Our frugal accomplishments for my 1st week back at work:
    *Meals made at home included crock-pot meatballs with mashed potatoes and leftover mixed veggies, tacos, spaghetti with meat sauce (family ate this as I couldn’t eat with a frozen mouth after having a root canal), BBQ grilled chicken with baked potato and green/wax bean mix, homemade macaroni & cheese casserole, and BBQ hamburgers & hotdogs with pickles and potato chips.
    *Baked a batch of Maple Oatmeal Muffins ( minus the walnuts so they were nut free for school, and a batch of Pumpkin Bran Muffins ( with dried cranberries instead of raisins. All ingredients came from my well stocked pantry. The muffins will be used for school/work lunches this week as well as for snacking on at home.
    *Cut some chives from the garden and dehydrated them in my dehydrator (some people can dry them on their counters, but we have had so much rain I’m sure it’s too much moisture in the air to try it here). I placed the dehydrator outside on a nice day, so the whole house didn’t stink of onion smell. Dried chives in the pantry makes them handy to put in or sprinkle on dishes anytime, including during winter. I hope to do more batches throughout the spring/summer as our chives grow more shoots.
    *Started back to work this week. This was training week, so a lot of info I’ve heard year after year. It’s a paycheck, regardless. We were given free treats each day and on the Friday we had a potluck lunch. I made black bean taco wraps and BBQ chickpea wraps from supplies I already had in my pantry. They were well received by my co-workers.
    *Unfortunately, a tooth I had fixed before my trip required a root canal. I’ve been living with the extreme pain to hot and cold the entire time I was on vacation. Happy to get it fixed, but it was an unexpected expense. They did 1/2 the procedure this week, packed the tooth with antibiotic wraps, then will finish the root canal in a week or two.
    *Celebrated DD’s 16th birthday this week. Wish I could say it was an elaborate event, but it was probably the least flashy birthday we’ve done for her. Too many things on my plate that needed attending to at the moment and I just couldn’t get myself organized, unfortunately.
    *My husband keeps coming up with “plans” of things he wants to do. I keep reminding him that he is about to loose his job. So until he tells me he has a job lined up, I’m closely watching how much money we are spending! We have a nice sum of money in the bank and should be fine, But I don’t want to be reckless with it either.

    Looking forward to reading all the comments, as I have time. You all inspire me every week!

      1. Our trip was AMAZING! Wish I was still there. I was just saying to someone yesterday, I didn’t know if I would like moving around to so many different cities with only a couple days to explore each. But it felt like each place was a mini trip, where we learned something unique and different from the last. Would definitely do that again!!!

  21. Wow, Brandy! Seven hours is much too long to upload pictures, unless you are using dial-up internet. 😮

    Here is what we did last week to save money:
    * I met two clients in one location to deliver their orders.
    * I was introduced to a potential referral partner and offered to meet her halfway to save time, gas, and money.
    * I went grocery shopping very close to the location where I met the lady mentioned above (same store, different location to save time, gas, money, and stress. 😉 )
    * For an excellent workout, I volunteered to clean the church. To make the cleaning more frugal, I used my multi-purpose cleaner for everything that I cleaned.
    * I took a walk with a friend for free exercise.
    * I took advantage of inter-library loan,, and free ebooks from Amazon to unwind and de-stress.
    * For more exercise, I continued to spring clean my home. Yes, it’s taking longer than I wanted it to take, but I am making progress. 🙂
    * Since my husband’s favorite salsa was on sale, I purchased several jars of it. 🙂

  22. Biggest frugal saving: I got the main portion of my root canal done at a sliding scale dental clinic. I saved a great deal (more than $1000) by going there, but I pay in patience. My next appointment is not until July and there will be a third appointment after that to finish the tooth.

    I got an oil change for just over $20 by mentioning the existence of an emailed coupon at my favorite mechanic’s shop that included a car checkup. I was disappointed to learn that mom’s car has several issues with its steering and suspension and aging tires. This weekend I took the car to a tire store and they informed me that the right rear tire was 19 years old. What?!? It must have been the spare that got put on the car a few ysars ago after we had a flat driving home from a tire store on New Year’s Eve during a miserable snowstorm. After I finish emptying the trunk, I will be going to another tire store to have them carefully check the spare. The other 3 tires are 6 years old, which is the point at which tire stores start recommending replacement. I am hoping that the current spare is the fourth 6-year-old tire that we can put a few more thousand miles and months on. We had hoped to replace the car this year until I checked used car prices and had sticker shock. Now, I am pricing and prioritising the repairs needed to safely keep the car on the road for another year or year and a half. That car is staying off expressways until the 19-year-old tire is replaced.

    Biggest frugal fail: I had a $20 bill in my hand when I stuck my hand out the car window to enjoy the balmy weather we had this weekend on the way to pick up a $5.30 pizza. The wind took the $20 and left it dancing in the middle of the road. Mom wanted me to go back and find it. I turned around as sopn as I could and drove back home, looking for the bill on a road where the speed limit is 50 mph. We didn’t see it. I felt like an idiot but also felt like I was passing on the $20 I found blowing by on an empty street on a very windy early spring day over 30 years ago. I hope somebody finds the money while mowing a lawn.

    I am so glad I asked my primary care physician for a referral to physical therapy. I just wish I had done so years ago. I become so deconditioned after a nasty fall, arthritis, and years of keeping up with my very elderly mother. But in a few weeks, I no longer feel like I am staring down the side of Mount Everest when I am at the top of the basement stairs heading to the washing machine. Insurance covered the first 9 visits and, depending upon my progress (or lack thereof), I might get as many as 27 more covered. I will find out Wednesday. I’ve been sore and completely exhausted after each therapy session but I don’t feel anywhere near as stiff as I used to. A very good thing.

    I just heard the snap of a mouse trap. We didn’t have just one mouse in the house last week. Sigh. It has been frustrating this week to see the bait gone and the mouse trap still locked and loaded. Small, smart mice are incredibly irritating.

    1. Holly:
      Best wishes for your roller coaster of life to slow down a little! It is amazing what good physical therapy can do.
      Crackers with artificial cheese, (like Combos, or maybe Cheez-Its), make excellent mouse trap bait.

  23. Brandy I am glad you were able to sort out your internet problems and visit the butterfly exhibit and have a wonderful family time together 🙂 . It must have been a week of technology problems as my computer’s hard drive just gave up the ghost. I am currently working with another one that has a faulty battery but I have purchased a new one that will be here in about 3 – 5 days at a discounted price 🙂 .

    Been a busy gardening week here this week tilling up the garden beds and getting amendments for the soil here for the raised garden beds.

    Our savings last week added up to $374.47 in savings 🙂 .

    Internet listings –
    – Listed 10 items on a free listing promotion saving $16.50 on usual listing fees.

    Purchases –
    – Bought an RACQ e-gift card to cover fuel and groceries for the coming weeks saving 5% or $12.55 in total.

    In the kitchen –
    – Made 3 loaves of bread in the bread making machine saving $10.47 over purchasing them in the stores.

    In the gardens –
    – Our neighbour who is selling her property 🙁 , gave us 4 dwarf apple trees in pots saving $128 over buying them.
    – Picked up 3/4’s of a cubic metre of cow manure from a friends farm free saving $ 206.95 over buying it in bags from the local hardware store.
    – DH dug 3 garden beds with the rotary hoe and together we shovelled and removed lots of wheel barrows full of soil to add amendments to that we will till through the soil and put back in. I cut and added weed mat and composted grass clippings to the bottom of two garden to prevent weeds.

    Hope everyone else had a wonderful week also.


  24. My biggest savings this week came from shopping. The local consignment shop had a sale where for $10.00 you receive a bag & fill it with whatever clothing you want. I bagged 10 items: a vintage full length winter coat, gray dress pants, dark denim dress jeans, summer dress, lightweight spring jacket, and 5 tops. The pants & jeans alone would have cost over $100.00 retail as they are both higher end brands. $1.00 an item is a great price point for me! I rarely purchase clothing from retail stores, I shop consignment & thrift stores instead. I always find nice pieces that I can mix & match into outfits that are work appropriate as I work a corporate job and have to “dress up” daily.

  25. Love your photos Brandy, especially the gorgeous butterflies. Thanks for a wonderful blog and comments as always. Warm good wishes to everyone. Wendy (NZ)

  26. 1. We were delighted to find out that the shoes my daughter picked out on the clearance rack rang up $15 cheaper at the register.
    2. My mom gave me a ham that they did not want when she was rearranging her freezers.
    3. Took my son on the cheap day to see Detective Pikachu. I was amazed that he knew every Pokemon character’s name and powers. He of course wore his Pokémon hat, shirt, watch and brought a Pikachu to watch it with him…adorable:)
    4. Earned $44 in reward points on my credit card
    5. Spent $17 to outfit the four of us for my niece’s wedding. The only things we had to buy were a white dress for my daughter and a white shirt for my son.

  27. We have had rain almost every other day or every 3rd day here in our section of Ohio. I’m to the point of mudding in the last of the garden. It was 48 degrees this morning, not good on the tomato and pepper plants at all.
    I started working on the summer curtains. Found a some that I am hemming for the French doors. Found another pair that was for my son’s 1st apartment 20 yrs ago that will work nice this winter for the bathroom if I can find some edging to make it long enough.
    We had a warm spell so took off the winter storm windows and repaired screens. I had some patch that was suppose to stick to the screen but wasn’t. Hubby told me to pitch and he would buy new. I used super glue to make it stick.
    We have been checking in with the Amish neighbors when we go to town to see if they need anything, local Walmart had arson and is closed and they get baby formula for little A there. This morning Daddy E stopped to let us know they were almost out of formula (Mommy M like Brandy and has problems nursing) and he remembered we were going to a doc appt today in a town where there is a Walmart. Gave us gas money even though we were already going.
    I’ve been fighting bronchitis and trying to get well to start my biologic… thank you to all the ones that told me to call the company and apply for assistance. A $2,200 a month bill is now $5.
    We have scrapped up another month’s money to pay June bills and July bills without pulling from the retirement.
    Blessing to you Brandy, and blessing to all that comment and or ready this blog… times are getting hard but I am have a community here for support

  28. I have an “almost free” garden this year. Started plants from old seed, not expecting to have very good germination but I had better than I expected! I also had free raspberry plants offered to me–all I had to do was go dig them up! Have been having great fun with my garden this year. I have a picture of it on my blog. We also had a very frugal home school graduation ceremony for our daughter. We made our own invitations, had pictures done very inexpensively at JCPenney’s, and she wore a hand me down graduation robe! More details on my blog at:

  29. *Organized the freezer allows me to see what I have easier and speeds up morning breakfast smoothies.

    *We’ve eaten all meals except one dinner at home. Due to health reasons, we are cutting gluten, dairy, and too much meat from our diet. We still eat meat but in smaller portions and only at lunch. This has changed the way I shop and cook which is a learning curve. I’ve tried several of Brandy’s soup recipes which were a big hit. We eat lots of veggies.

    *I shopped for groceries online and picked up my order on the way home from work. This saved me a lot of time and an extra trip to the store. The shopper gave me a free water bottle, hand sanitizer, and a granola bar as a thank you gift.

    *I learned to mow the lawn so I can help my husband when he is busy or unable due to health. I ran into the electric box (whoops!) but there was no damage.

    *A friend from church is coloring my hair for me tonight, saving me the cost of a professional hair dresser. And we always laugh together which feels good!

    Diana in Indiana

    1. Diana In Indiana- Last year I learned how to mow and weed our yard. My husband for health reasons should not do it and we don’t have the money to hire it out. My sweet neighbor told me she likes mowing because she prays for people as she mows. So I started praying as I mow and it does make it so much more enjoyable. This year I am excited to see how much easier and quicker it is. You will get faster.

  30. What a good photo of you, Brandy, in fact, the photos are all lovely! We’ve visited the butterfly house at Callaway Gardens (Georgia) several times, and can’t resist taking photo after photo of the gorgeous butterflies. It’s always fun when one lands on one of us and “rides along” for a while. I’m glad you got your computer issues worked out — seven hours, goodness.

    With our steady hot weather now (90’s during the day), I’m partially draining/refilling the fish “pond” outside, each weekend now, to clean and oxygenate their water. Obviously, I couldn’t do that if we weren’t on a well. I save the drained water to water our potted plants, berries, herbs, fig tree and lemon tree.

    I made a small pot of bean soup using the ham bone from the freezer and bulk dried beans. It will feed us for three meals and some lunches.

    I used the last of some frozen pumpkin to make a side dish of spiced pumpkin to go with a couple of meals.

    I caught some “flash sales” at my local food coop. I know the regular prices on the items I bought, so I know these were truly good prices.

    I found a nice wooden 3-opening picture frame at a thrift store, but the bottom corners were scratched a bit. I bought it and used one of my wood stain pens at home to cover the scratches. It looks really good now. I’ve had a light stain pen and a dark stain pen for years, and they still are good. I used the frame for some family photos I had wanted to hang.

    I harvested some more longevity spinach, and picked a few more blueberries from my plants. Blueberry season is very nearly here, yum.

    I brewed another double batch of kombucha.

    I renewed my twice-weekly local newspaper subscription before it expired, but my papers stopped arriving. I called three times to get that corrected. The last time, the office apologized for skipping me yet again, and offered to extend my subscription, so that I will get an added month for free.

    I bought a new-with-tags multi-colored blouse from ThredUp on clearance, thinking it would go with a pair of slacks I already own. It does, hooray, plus it goes with another pair as well. I had been struggling to find shirt matches for the second pair of slacks, which had been given to me and fit well, but are a tough color to match, so this was a happy bonus. I used my selling credit to buy the shirt.

    I’m spending a few minutes at a time pulling weeds, deadheading and trimming, rather than trying to do a marathon session in the heat on the weekends. I fertilized my fruiting plants. The perennial flowers I planted a few years ago are back up and some are starting to bloom. The wild petunia and the four-o’clocks changed containers this year. They were growing next to each other, and seeded the container next to them instead of their own.

    I’m two years into the no-plastic wrap life, and I’ve managed to do without it. I’ve cut down on the plastic bags a good bit, but I still find them useful for freezing some things. I wash and re-use the bags that are not greasy and have not held meat.

    Thanks for the inspirations, everyone!

    1. Does anyone know what to “feed” a living lettuce. I bought one at the Farmer’s market last weekend, but I ‘m not sure what to do with it besides plant it.
      It is I the mid 80’s here, so I’m not sure how well it would do in my raised garden bed. I am leaning towards planting it in a pot so I can move it into shaded areas.
      Thanks for advice.

  31. Lovely pictures as always, and your cooler weather sounds fantastic! We have had slightly cooler than usual temperatures here, but it’s been very rainy and humid. We’ve had it be 100 degrees on Easter before, so upper 80s at the end of May is not bad at all for us. I also completely understand what you mean about necklaces feeling like a winter scarf in the heat. Haha!

    We had a pretty decent frugal week. I have a procedure scheduled next week that will be pricey, even with insurance, but I’ll be glad to have it completed. I am so very thankful for insurance through my employer and paid time off. Last weekend was our annual neighborhood garage sale, but severe thunderstorms were predicted for our area. We got out early to hit a few of the sales before the weather got bad. I bought some nice throw pillows for my living room sofa, a small antique table for our guest room, and a beautiful wool area rug that matches our dining room. My husband found several pairs of brand new boots in his size, which was perfect since he has been eyeing new boots. We sold an antique sewing machine table that we no longer use on Craigslist. Spent $5 on a Costco rotisserie chicken for an easy dinner one busy evening instead of eating out, and it ended up making several meals for the two of us. Brought lunch to work most days, and several days we had catered lunch meetings so I ate for free.

    I hope everyone has a great week!

  32. We got through last week without needing more car repairs, although it does need an oil change soon. Also we were going to meet friends at a restaurant and the brake light and the ABS light came on. I worried the rest of the way to the restaurant. We had a nice dinner–our friends just returned from their winter home in Arizona–and on the way back to our home, the lights went off again and the car has been fine since. I think I will have someone check the level of the brake fluid because I just had the brakes worked on–can’t imagine what else it could be.
    Meals were all eaten at home last week except for that Sunday dinner in the restaurant. I have been advocating new places to eat as our friends don’t seem to care what they spend, but I do. Almost no meal there was under $20. I drank water (can’t have alcohol with my meds anyhow and don’t care much for soda these days) but husband had one draft beer with his meal. Our bill was just under $50, plus tip. The other couple had two alcoholic drinks each–which is what I used to have before I had to take over all the driving. So I saved $11 right there! We don’t go there that often any more, but the Maitre’D does know us by name! We meet them for dinner frequently when they are here in summer, but the summer months they are available are getting shorter. I think they like Arizona as home–this year they didn’t return until May, and they left earlier last fall also. I don’t begrudge the money for dinners out quite as much though, since people our age are more often in the obits these days and we don’t go out nearly so often in the colder months any more.
    This morning I made a new batch of “biscuit mix” from scratch. I only use it in a couple recipes but I depend on it being available when I want it. Yesterday I made our weekly double batch of granola, and on Saturday a loaf of bread in the bread machine. My next baking will probably include some cookies for the young neighbor who manages to mow our grass quite often and also spent nearly a whole day cutting up trees of ours that fell into their yard during one of our many wind storms lately. They won’t take any money for the trouble but I don’t know many who can refuse chocolate chip cookies. That’s what I have in mind to thank them with! He let us know as soon as the first tree fell that we shouldn’t try to cut it ourselves, that he would be glad to do it when the weather cleared up. He also offered to trim some bushes back—we had started it last fall but just can’t do more than a couple hours at a time of yardwork. I know he was out there at least 6 hours on Saturday.
    I feel like I’m playing hookey today, but I’m really not. Our friend came and took my husband for a ride and lunch—so I have had some time for myself. I emptied the dishwasher after making the biscuit mix, but then had to sit because my back hurts when I stand up for long. I am going to get back to work soon, too. It’s great to have a little quiet time because we are together 24/7 these days. (He has dementia. I am learning to be more patient but some things are more difficult for me than others. I spent an afternoon last week labeling key rings because I am so tired of sorting them out for him. He puts them down and doesn’t remember where! I know he can’t help it, but I cannot let it annoy me so much. I just have to let it happen and straighten them out when I have time. ) Other aspects don’t annoy me at all. I have to be even tempered as possible because he feels bad enough about losing his memory without me making a big deal of it. I just hand out the pills and cook a lot and try to keep up on housework.

    1. Marcia, I understand very well where you are coming from in respect to you and your husband being together 24/7. That’s the way that it is for my husband and me-and he has a touch of dementia too. I try very hard to be patient with him also.

    2. Hi Marcia,
      Being a caregiver for your spouse 24/7 is challenging! I wondered if you might want to consider getting a “tile” for your husband’s keys. This, plus an app on smartphone will help you locate the keys wherever they might be. If the technology seems intimidating, perhaps you have a family member who might be able to help you sort through the various options and get it ready to go. There are several brands and options. Search on … “finding your keys” and several options should come up. Good luck with this.

  33. Been a while since I have posted, just doing the same most others do to be frugal, Did go to grocery store this morn, bananas were .29 # then found bags of over ripe ones for .99 for a bag, so got some of both home and made a banana cake for lunch and will make banana choc chip cookies and also banana bread for the freezer. Last rump roast was on sale l.99# had been quite a while since it had been that price, Limit ten pounds, so I got ten pounds and also had son get me the same amount, Cooked a nice rump roast for Sunday dinner, with mashed potatoes and gravy, a favorite at our house, had quite a little meat left over so plan to make a pot of veggie soup tomorrow, while it is still chilly and rainy outside. Garden is slow, too wet and cold for it but been having good asparagus, put several bags in freezer for winter.

    1. sometimes I peel bananas and put them in baggies in the freezer. Don;t let them defrost but eat them like popsicles. oood

  34. Lovely photos. One of my favorite looks is white with denim.

    I’ve done a ton this week. Unexpectedly as I had quite a shock and just shut down to autopilot. Good thing I’m in frugal autopilot!

    – I needed a few more vitamins so I ordered them and some stocking up items as there was a great deal with free shipping added in.
    – Went to the free library showing of The Green Book which I’ve wanted to see. Avoided all candy.
    – bought the rest of the mulch and saved in getting it all at once.
    – mailed all the clothing and linens to my real house. The postal costs have gone up. It was double what I expected, but still cheaper than anything else. That’s the only shipping home I’m doing, thankfully.
    – had my son’s wisdom teeth out with insurance. Still expensive, but not as much. And, it will save in future dental problems. I saved the extra unused gauze and such for the first aid kit.
    – my son and the dogs are driving back home and I packed the car with lots of things that belong there. Feels great to finally get life sorted out and things in their place.
    – I sent a lot of food to my daughter with him. He visited her on the way for a couple days (and to rest with his recent surgery).
    – dehydrated 5 bags of frozen peas and 5 bags of frozen corn from a super sale. I already had jars for storage, do there wasn’t any storage costs.
    – planted bean and pumpkin seeds to see if they will just grow until I return.
    – Went to my parents garden and thinned some perennials for my place.
    – eating down the little freezer food that we have since I’ll leave in less than a month
    – ordered some formal photos from the big, expensive event last April that were taken by a professional photographer. I ordered them at 50% off per photo and free shipping. Professional family photos for very little. A nice bonus.
    – the jeep tires needed replacing, so I took all of them to the shop and they found 4 that are good! Yeah! When we bought the jeep, it came with number of used tires. Now the barn is cleaned out and we still have tires on the jeep for a few more years.

    That’s about all for this week. Happy frugal-ing friends

  35. I’m still contemplating what to do about the dandelions that are growing up through my new asphalt driveway. As we’ve had a lot of rain, I thought they might come out easily but no such luck.

    I planted nasturtium, sweet pea seeds in flower pots. I bought 2 baskets of petunias on sale. I’ll plant the petunias in the pots, too. Total cost for about 5 pots is $15.00.

    I discovered how to use the tilt screen on my camera which means I’ll be able to take flower photos without getting down on my belly. Getting down is not the problem but getting up with one still-broken arm is a problem. Not enough leverage.

    I like the idea of the chickpeas with barbeque sauce so I’m going to try a version of it with what I have for dinner tonight.

    Tomorrow I’m finally sorting the 2100 family photos into sets of 7 in prepartion of putting them in albums.

    Brandy, your butterfly photos are exquisite! Ann

    1. Have you tried spraying the dandelions with white vinegar to kill them?

      1. That’s what I was thinking! You could also salt the earth since it’s under asphalt and you don’t want anything to grow there. Just don’t super-saturate it as that might wear down the asphalt. Best of luck!

        1. Thanks, Margaret,

          first I’m going to try the white vinegar, then put a heavy brick on each spot to flatten the asphalt. If that doesn’t work, then i’ll try the salt.
          thanks for the suggestion. If the dandelions weren’t next to and in the asphalt, I’d eat them. I had a couple of mallard ducks in the yard today and I suggested they eat the dandelions but they preferred not to.

    2. Ann, I hope you have better luck with stuff growing up through your driveway than I did. I killed the up-coming weeds repeatedly, but they always came back. Asphalt is porous and the place where the weeds came through eventually crumbled. I wish I could be more encouraging. Call the asphalt people?

    3. Ann, we had asphalt layed down on our driveway at our old house. Shortly afterwards, half the driveway had dandelions pushing through. We were very unhappy! We called the company, and someone came to look. He used a blow tourch to kill the weeds then stamped down the asphalt with his foot. They never returned after that. If you want to do it yourself, by all means. But in my opinion, they put the asphalt down and you paid good money for it to be done, so they should fix the problem.

  36. It’s been a good week!
    I got to go to the used uniform sale, and found some of the things my kids will need for next year. I went early so there was more of a selection; I’m sure things are more picked over later in the day.
    I’ve been enjoying the break off work between classes.
    My parents are going to babysit for me so that I can volunteer at a field day at my kids’ school.
    The two older kids got pizza at the swim team swimathon fundraiser (only for participants), but I brought some leftover pizza from home for the rest of us to eat. Everything was room temperature anyway, so it wasn’t a big deal.
    I’ve continued to sell items on facebook marketplace, and listed a few more things on ebay. Sales seem to come in spurts.
    I found a lot of great markdowns at the grocery store.
    I’ve been trying to drink less soda. This is tough for me as the caffeine helps when I’m so tired.
    I loaned the secondhand shoes my daughter wore for a few hours at her first communion to a friend, whose daughter will be able to wear them for a few hours next weekend.
    I used leftovers to make an “interesting” casserole, that tasted ok anyway. Spaghetti, zucchini, cheese, and corn went in it, but at least we didn’t waste food.
    We’ve been putting together a list of items on our summer bucket list. Here are some of ours: breakfast picnic at park, swimming, fishing, movie at movie theater, make ice cream sundaes, go bowling, snow cones, sleep in living room overnight, Chickfila dress like a cow day, July 4th fireworks, carousel at the mall, splash pad, nature walk, beach, water balloons, pajama day, library activities, star gazing, and there are more that I’m forgetting right now. Many of these I’ll find a way to do for free or very cheap; there are a lot of great things in our area.

    1. We have the absolute fondest memories of family sleepovers in the living room. And my children are now in the or 20’s! They enjoyed lots of things that we did as a family, but it is these seemingly insignificant inexpensive things that have left the biggest impact. Love to see your list.

      1. This weekend a freezer I have had 26 years died. When I was telling my children about my need to purchase a new one they all told me happy stories of the imaginative play they had experienced with that freezers cardboard box. I remember in the Tightwad Gazette a suggestion to ask an appliance store for a appliance box.
        I used to do themes through the summer. One year about the Second World War. We watched movies about Anne Frank and Life is Beautiful.
        Some themes I did as birthday parties which then could be used as a day during the summer was Space, backwards party, pioneer, mini Olympics, longest day of the year ( June 21), twins, mystery, magic. These are just some suggestions. You can decide if you want to expand these topics with games,crafts,food.

        1. What a great idea to ask an appliance store for an appliance box! I always loved those as a kid as they make great pretend kitchens, pretend playhouses, pretend storefronts, and so on. I’ll have to remember that!

  37. Well, we made the decision this week for me to step away from my 30 hour a week job in a very stressful office to come home. The money is nice, but I have been burning the candle at both ends trying to work, be a mom, and homeschool all at the same time. My husband and I work different shifts, but my goodness it’s been exhausting. My last day will be June 28th. Thankfully we have always kept our bills low, and this will be a fairly minor adjustment. I have to say thank you so much Brandy for your website. You have been a constant source of encouragement for me over the years. 🙂

  38. For Gardenpat: Good for you for supporting your sons in their colonoscopy testing. I had a colonoscopy at the end of March and was diagnosed with early (Stage One) colon cancer. This diagnosis was completely out of the blue as none of my relatives (going back several generations) has had any kind of cancer whatsoever and I don’t smoke, drink or take illegal drugs. I was on the operating table within a week and am now cancer-free. I encourage every reader to get screened, not only for colon cancer, but also with mammograms, pap smears, etc. I now tell people that I “get” to have a colonoscopy next year, rather than I “have” to have a colonoscopy–a change of verbs that reflects my blessings!

  39. I have a question this week. Does anyone know how to get rid of bats in an attic space? We tried blocking them out; they eat caulking. We tried a noise-making device that was supposed to drive them out; they seemed to be totally unaffected. We tried mothballs; very effective, but the odor drove us out of the upstairs of our house, too.

    1. Elizabeth, when no one answered you, I thought I’d look to see if there was something on the web. I found this website: It has some good information and suggestions on how to deal with bats. I suggest reading it over and deciding if you want to tackle this probem on your own, or call for professional help. If the infestation is large, it might be worth getting a professional in to deal with it, especially the clean up! The web does say that home owner’s insurance may help cover some of the costs involved with dealing with the problem. Perhaps a call to them would be advisable as well, so you know what they will or will not cover ahead of time.

    2. Elizabeth we had an infestation after a church was torn down, that was a lock from our house. We went out at dusk and sat in,our car and counted them coming out. There were over 220!! My husband went up and mailed the tiny slover9& a hole shut and they did not come back. They had come into our bedroom one night and the living room another, it was an old house. We could not have them indoors and knew we had to get rid of the,! It worked!

  40. We tried to keep focused on frugal doings last week, but I think I’ve been having so much fun decluttering and cleaning so I haven’t remembered to write much down!

    *Repurposed an old binder into my new homekeeping binder. I’m looking for some free vintage artwork to print to slip into the plastic sleeves on the front and back to make it pretty.
    *I had a good laugh at my husband’s resourcefulness. He was trimming some small tree limbs that were blocking light to our new garden. I thought he had bought a long-armed pruning saw, but when I went out to help pick up branches, I saw that he had used tape to attach a regular hand saw to a long pole. His cleverness constantly saves us money 🙂
    *Used a cat food bag in place of a trash bag
    *Sold an extra essential oil product to someone so another $10 to the focus debt
    *Washed ziplock bags to reuse
    *Used water in dishpan for rinsing dishes and used that water for watering plants
    *Combined trips with my mom to save on gas
    *Used up assorted vegetables and leftover rice in a stir-fry dish
    *Kept lights off during the day when possible and used crock-pot and instant pot on the back porch. The weather is starting to get warm here in southern Missouri and we haven’t put in the window AC units yet. Hoping to hold off until the end of the month at least.

    1. Jenny R: For your binder cover, The Graphics Fairy website has a huge collection of old fashioned free images that can be printed.

  41. We’ve had a lot of frugal blessings over here! Brandy, you’ve written to always say “yes” to free things and as I’ve tried to do that, I have found that friends are more willing to offer us things. I received a lot of books and curriculum items today from a friend who is moving soon and wants to purge her homeschool stock. She uses the same curriculum we do and had several books we will need for this coming year. I had some in my Amazon wishlist, so having them given to us was great! I took leftovers from family for my husband’s lunch. He takes lunch lunch from home everyday and saves hundreds by not going out to eat with his co-workers. He would rather eat alone and have some quiet time then join them for lunch. We put in some work order requests at our apartment and had the maintenance team come fix them, saving us time and money. That is a great renting perk ? Our complex pools open this weekend, so I need to go through our swimsuits and make sure we have enough sunscreen. We’ll be able to enjoy the pool for two weeks all to ourselves before public school is out for the summer!

    1. I almost always accept free things that are offered to me. If I don’t need them then I find someone else who does. I am known for gratefully accepting things and I do get offered a lot. We are eating free organic blueberries, I just made a pie with free blackberries picked last year, and I’m in the middle of restoring 3 wooden bowls (which I may sell) that were given this week.

  42. My PT work may be ending in a couple of weeks – but – I have made them an offer that they are going to think about. I don’t really want FT but I am willing to go up to 30 hours per week as long as they offer a bit of flexibility as to the occasional four day week instead of five. We’ll see what happens.

    Got an unexpected $5 bill in the mail for an online poll that I had completed last month. I had completely forgotten that there would be some renumeration!

    Had a couple of very small loads of laundry that really needed to be done separately so decided to do them by hand. These probably would have had to go into the dryer as well as it has stayed cold and wet here. This saved me $5.50 at the laundry mat.

    I did spend some funds on my Amazon GC on a set of mesh bags that I will use for fruit & veg, plus some other items so that I won’t have to use the plastic ones that the stores offer.

    Completed some more online surveys – have to check my point level on one and the other just goes towards points for train travel. Have to try to build up more points on that one as I’ve got a couple of trips coming up in the next few months.

    Didn’t do a lot of grocery shopping this past week but did manage to purchase items that gave me quite a few Loyalty Points.

    A friend treated me to movie and in return I bought us some coffee and pie – I think that I still came out ahead this time. We take turns.

    Still need to get better organized so that I don’t waste food – had to throw out some salad mix and a mango that had gone bad before I caught them – very annoying.

    Can’t believe it’s Wednesday night already – where has this week gone?

  43. I had a good week. I’m so busy right now with the gardening outside that I’m having a hard time reading blogs, or even working on mine as much as I want to. However, my yard and large garden is starting to shape up! Garden pictures are here:

    I finished homeschooling my niece, turned in all her work to the satellite school where she will receive her diploma from and gave in 3 large bags of books to the homeschool used/new book store. I got a lot of store credit, as that is what they give there right now. Since I am done homeschooling, I purchased some extremely nice adult coloring books for my daughter’s and niece’s birthdays and even a couple to put aside for Christmas. I still have credit there, but will spend it later.

    I have been landscaping my yard with a shovel, hoe and some pruners. As you can imagine, this is giving me a lot of good exercise. I’m slowly getting it whipped into shape. I’ve been able to fill the yard debris bin up every week, along with 3 compost piles I’ve got going in various places. Yesterday, I finished pruning a large Oregon grape bush that was taking over an area. It’s taken me 3 sessions to get it done, filling the debris bin each time! My husband’s hip is getting worse and worse, so he can’t do much of the outside work anymore. But, he was able to reach up and snip off some branches my short arms just couldn’t reach! So, that was awesome.

    We’ve had 2 extremely unexpected blessings in the past week. First, our daughter that lives in Hawaii sent us tickets to come visit her. So, we are planning a trip in a few months. Second, there is a person who anonymously gives out money in our local Fred Meyers. He/she sneaks $100 bills into people’s carts, signed “Bernie” or “Bennie”. Last night, it happened to me! I have no idea when they did it–but there it was, just in my cart, near my purse. I was shocked, and thankful, but have no one to thank. The checker suggested I send up a prayer of thanks for the person, and that’s just what I did!

    I organized myself for picnics, to make it easier when we go. I baked and froze items, and also bought some snacks for that purpose. We save a fortune by taking food with us, but since we are always taking piles of kids/young adults with us, it takes time to organize. Now, I’m in a good place for a while anyway.

  44. I’m busy collecting and bagging leaves from the trees around the building where I’m working which are all dropping their beautiful autumn leaves and I’m bringing them home for mulch for my garden.

    After many years of saving my daughter and I are off to Italy for a month at the end of June. We have just finished booking our accommodation through Airbnb and for a few places have decided to stay about 45-60 mins away eg our three days in Venice will be spent staying in Padua which makes accommodation and probably restaurants cheaper. It will be so nice to have a kitchen to use and most places have a washing machine as well. I can’t wait. I have had my bag packed for weeks!

    1. Enjoy your trip of a lifetime, Lynne! I hope you have planned in a trip to Pompeii (there are day bus trips you can get from Rome, if that helps). After everything we have seen on all our trips, it is still the coolest place I have ever visited!!!

    2. Enjoy your trip, Lynne! I also saved for several years with a side hustle to be able to travel to Italy and Venice! In Venice, you can take the vaporetto if you aren’t able to do all the walking, and definitely instead of a gondola, take the traghetti across the grand canal (SOOOOO much cheaper, and such a similar experience). Oh, and my best tip? Make sure you have a refillable wine bottle with you, such as a cheapo one with a attached lid that you can get from IKEA or so, and you can buy wine at the vitner’s for SUPER-DUPER CHEAP, just like the locals! It’s unbelievably cheap to do it this way. I highly recommend drinking all the prosecco you can! A day trip to Murano island is worth it for all the free glass-blowing demonstrations that you’ll see. I wanted to buy a vase but managed to find a ‘second’ on sale on the top shelf tucked away somewhere, and only spent 25 E as opposed to hundreds, for a high-end murano glass vase that I will use forever.
      If you go to Rome, don’t bother to buy bottled water, just use the water fountains in the streets like the locals. Good quality water there.
      I also enjoyed a lot of walking tours in Italy.
      And like most places, the further you go away from the high-traffic tourist areas, such as the train stations, the cheaper the restaurants often are, even the sandwich shops.
      Enjoy your trip! Let us know how it went when you come back!

  45. So nice to come here today to finish reading comments and to see so many awesome ideas for our summer! Thanks to all of you who gave suggestions. I anticipate our summer will be quite full and very fun!

  46. Brandy, Quick question. When you are gardening how do you avoid getting bug (mostly mosquito) bites? I’ve been gardening in the morning and trying to avoid wearing bug spray with tons of chemicals every day.

    1. I live in the desert. 🙂 We don’t have many mosquitos here, nor do we have chiggers.

      I do still get some bug bites while gardening. I have a long-sleeved linen shirt that I wear over a t-shirt while gardening, and I find that if I wear long pants that helps too. I also wear gloves and boots.

    2. I have been told, but never tried because I don’t use dryer sheets, that putting a sheet from a particularly smelly brand in your back pocket while you work creates a field that mosquitoes don’t enter. They are attracted to carbon dioxide, so exhaling is what gets you.

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