Frugal Accomplishments

How We Saved Money at the Beginning of May

I harvested apricots, lettuce, rosemary, parsley, oregano, chives, green onions, a few alpine strawberries, and a handful of cherry tomatoes from the garden.

After many years of trying to figure out the problem in one section of the gardening, I discovered that a main hose line was clogged. I replaced it and ran new lines to several areas, and reused older lines where possible. While this was an expense, I will now have a more productive space in the garden and will not have to wonder why nothing came up or plants were dying (because half of that section was not getting adequate water!) This should greatly help me to grow more!

I ordered some fresh food along with my mom to split the delivery cost and tip. I wanted large eggs, but the least expensive choice was to order 5 dozen medium eggs. They substituted 5 dozen large eggs (a choice that has been unavailable lately online) with no difference in price. I had ordered two packages, so this was a great blessing.

I cut up our banana peels and blended them up with some water. Then I added fertilizer to them and fertilized several fruit trees with the mixture. My 4-year-old asked me what I was doing. I told him that the fertilizer was like a vitamin for the trees and would make the plants happy. He replied, “Are the trees sad?” I hadn’t thought about it like that! It made me grin.

I listened to Daniel Radcliffe read the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone here. Each week a new actor or actress will be reading another chapter of the book. It will also be available to listen to on Spotify. On the video version, they also showed artwork of that chapter done by children and others.

I watched Call the Midwife and World on Fire on PBS.org for free.

I watched the first two episodes of Belgravia on Amazon for free (they’re also on Epix for free). As I don’t have cable, I would need to pay $5.99 to watch the second two. I decided to not do that for now, but to instead request the e-book from the library. I’ll read that when my hold is available. (A few days later, I read online that there would be six episodes. I will check back to see when all the episodes are available and if I can sign up for a free one-week trial of Epix then).

My eldest son is moving up to college this week even though all of his classes are currently online. He negotiated a deal for a lower rent and a single room in a furnished apartment. That should hopefully give him a good quiet place to study as the library on campus is closed.

He had been buying several kitchen items for himself in anticipation of moving to college at the thrift store when he was working there before the shutdown. My mom and I were able to give him several more items from what we had on hand to take with him. She left her items on the wall between our houses for him.

We celebrated a son’s fourth birthday at home. I made him an octopus pizza, which he loved. He and a sister did the work of putting on the olive slices. I gave him a new t-shirt and shorts that I bought last fall on clearance, gummy bears, and some Octonauts books that I had ordered on Amazon. He loves watching Octonauts on YouTube. My parents gifted him 2 pounds of strawberries, which are his favorite fruit.

A friend and neighbor came home from serving a mission. We used paper we had on hand to make him a welcome home poster.

I opened the windows each morning until 9 a.m. to cool down the house. We had a couple of days at 100 degrees last week, while some of you received several inches of snow! I enjoy the fresh, cooler air in the house each morning.

What did you do to save money last week?

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174 Comments

  1. Last week I used frozen peaches mixed with almond milk in the blender. Some of my kids called it peach smoothies and others called it peach ice cream. They loved it and are requesting we do this again. My lettuce is growing nicely! I also started a tomato, eggplant, and cilantro from seeds in pots in the house and they are all coming up nicely. We had a freeze this past weekend so I am going to wait another week to plant seeds outside.

    1. I am looking at an autumn garden here in Phoenix area.Is it still hard to get seeds? Any companies you can recommend?? And, I love that octopus pizza!!

      1. Territorial Seed Company has reopened for orders. Many seeds companies should have additional seeds by fall, and Territorial sends out a fall catalog!

        If your garden is ready to plant now, you can still grow several herbs and squash now!

        1. I am slightly familiar with Territorial Seed from Oregon. I like their catalog. But in my opinion, they have extremely high prices. In spite of their high prices, I have tried to buy from them and tried to get gardening advice from their employees. I drive by their physical store every time I go to see a relative. I am not at all impressed with their store, their employees attitudes, and their lack of customer service. I suppose if one is an experienced gardener, know what one wants, and are willing to pay high prices, great, but I was definitely out of place (ignored and brushed off) during the several times I went to their store. It seems odd to me though that people who live in hot climates are ordering from them. I guess I was under a probably mistaken impression that they specialize in seed for cool climates. A closer alternative for someone from back east would be Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. I think they are located in Missouri. I have not ordered from them, but I have enjoyed reading their catalog in the past, and it looks like they specialize in seeds for hotter climates. Just a thought.

          1. Elizabeth,

            Most of the growers for Territorial Seed Company grow in zones 7 and 8. They have many seeds for hot climates including lettuces that resist bolting and other seeds that have grown very well for me. Missouri is a zone 6, which is much colder (my grandparents and great-grandparents all gardened in Missouri and they had a very different gardening experience from here). I have not bought from Baker Creek, but I have been very happy with what I have purchased from Territorial Seed. They have several seeds that grow well in our hot climate as well as during our cool season (and I appreciate their detailed information in their catalog about germination temperatures; I wish every seed company did that!). One thing I have really liked about them is that their packets are very large; they tell you the weight and often have two different weight choices per type of seed. They have enough seeds to last for several years, depending on the size you buy. Because of the amount in each packet, I have found them to be a good deal. I have paid almost the same price for a packet from some other growers that only had 10 seeds inside. I have also bought some for half the price from other places that only had 5-10 seeds. I have always gotten my money’s worth from Territorial Seed Company, which is why I have recommended them at no compensation to myself. I just did a quick comparison between a few seeds from Baker Creek and Territorial Seed; pumpkin seeds were 10 in a packet from Baker Creek and 18 from Territorial; they ended up being a higher price per seed from Baker Creek by 6 cents per seed on the ones I just compared between. I really don’t find Territorial seed to be more money when you look at that.

            I have not dealt with their store employees, having always ordered online, but I know at our local nursery (where I have shopped for 19 years) that employees and managers do make a difference. The store owner changed the manager (moved him to a different store in town) for all of last year and the new manager practically ran the store into the ground, letting employees go that had worked there for their whole lives and giving them barely any hours. He hired all new people who were just seasonal employees who did not even know the names of the plants that they were ringing up. I know the seasonal employees come and go each year anyway, but this was worse and I couldn’t find the regular, long-term employees to ask for help. In fact, I couldn’t find more than 1-2 employees at the store at any time! I know that if I have a gardening question that the regular employees are the people I need to ask.

            I stopped shopping at my regular store and went to the store where they had moved the manager. I wasn’t the only one; he told me a ton of people came over to the store where they had moved him. I think they all got tired of not being able to get any service!

            This spring, the store owner brought back the old manager, and my favorite long-term regular employee is still there (but two are gone now; one even died last year after he was let go!) The manager told me he had to work really hard to get the store back to the way it was. He is a hard-working person who never stops to rest, and I admire his work ethic. All of which is to say, a store really depends on the manager and employees, and they can often be seasonal (and unknowledgeable because they aren’t gardeners if they are seasonal workers). I’m sorry you had a bad experience.

            By the way, I do buy most of my flower seeds from other places. Wildseed Farms sells in bulk, as does Outside Pride. A few years ago I was looking to add several new flowers to the garden and I did a search to find the ones I wanted for the lowest prices. I already knew about these two companies but I also found a company called Eden Brothers that has a large number of poppy seed choices. Sometimes it just depends on what you are looking to grow and you have to order from the one place you can find it. Sometimes you can compare between multiple companies.

          2. I order from Baker Creek most of the time. Even though they have a “minimum seed count” on the website, the packets I’ve received always have more. Plus, they’ve had free shipping for the past few weeks which has been really nice!

            I’m a new visitor to this blog, and enjoying it so much!

        2. I didn’t write the comment that prompted your reply, but thank you for such a detailed answer that I found quite interesting. For readers who come from cold climates, Denali Seed Company, based in Alaska, carries varieties that make it in cold, short seasoned climates.

          1. You make an interesting point that I didn’t address and should. Though we have a long hot season, the varieties of many things that are recommended here by the extension service are ones that grow in a short growing season. We have a short time before it gets too hot for tomatoes, peppers, and squash to set fruit. It’s so hot that we need ones that will set early before the heat sets in. We need tomatoes that will set fruit April to early June to ripen after that. Once it gets too hot, they will stop flowering until late October, when it gets cooler. Many people here use shade cloth to try to keep their plants from burning in the sun, and to keep them cooler to trick them into flowering longer and growing larger (the heat and the relentless sun makes fruits and flowers tiny in the summer; regular tomatoes are the size of marbles, peppers ripen and then burn at an inch long, and the few roses that produce will be miniature-sized, open in a day, and burn to a crisp).

      2. Madeline,

        I am in Phoenix too and am not having a problem finding seeds at the big box home improvement stores. We can grow quite a bit here over the summer. I have peppers, watermelon and several herbs doing really well right now. If you haven’t checked out the Urban Farmer Greg Peterson then I recommend you do. He lives in central Phoenix on a 1/3rd of an acre and has 30+ fruit trees and a full garden. He also has a podcast and several You Tube videos that I thought were interesting.

        1. Mari…Country Corners Greenhouse/4401 Township Road 606/Fredericksburg,Ohio 44627 330-695-3707 or 330-600-0350…
          No internet website as they are mostly Amish They have small to Lbs. sizes . A lot of the Amish Around us buy from them.

      3. I have purchased from many seed companies and my favorites are:

        Baker Creek (they have been busy this year!)
        Johnny’s Seeds (really great quality but expensive- 100% germination this year for me)
        John Scheeper’s Kitchen Garden Seeds (I love their sister company Van Engelen for bulbs)

        1. I like John Scheeper’s too! In fact, I am considering ordering more seeds this year and if I do, I may order some from them.

          I have not had good germination from Johnny’s Seeds at all, from ANY of the seeds that I purchased. Maybe 10%, if that.

  2. What a wonderful week you had last week! The pictures are wonderful in this post. I love the Octopus pizza 🙂

    We decided to plant a garden – thank you for encouragement. We went big ( just like Brandy suggested) – planting potatoes, onions, peas, sugar snap peas, 3 kinds of tomatoes, green beans, zucchini etc. My husband is running more lines to accommodate the extra food. We fertilized everything with fertilizer we already had. I planted carrots, green onions and spinach in pots. I love what Becky said – treat them like your babies. I’ve been checking on them everyday. I wanted a roma tomato plant and the nursery was out. I found one at my local grocery store. Such a surprise but I’m so grateful. I’m saving my egg shells to grind up and put around my tomato plants. I planted basil and marigolds in the garden as well. It’s been really fun and I can’t wait for things to start growing. We own a tiller and my husband rotatilled our garden before we planted. We had topped the garden with shedded leaves and grass last fall – as we do every year. The ground is so soft and easy to dig. I pruned branches off some of our trees and made wreaths. I like to make wreaths for our doors, but don’t want to buy new wreaths at the store. I wire them together and leave them to cure for several months. My husband bought more wire so that I can make more when I need to. I save all the fake flowers, decorations and ribbon that I run across to make my wreaths. Very inexpensive hobby for me.

    We made all meals at home – taco soup, homemade pizza, chicken rolls, quesadillas, pancakes. Mother’s Day was nice – we visited our moms and gave them flowers and gifts that I had stored away in my gift box. We bbq’d for our dinner and had a chocolate cake. It was a nice day with my kids around. My daughter face-timed me from Oklahoma – they are doing summer sales there. It really was a beautiful day – I’m so thankful to be a mother.

    I made whole wheat banana bread with brown bananas. Froze the extra loaf. Then I made peanut butter chocolate chip banana bread and froze that extra loaf as well. I chopped all unused veggies or steamed them and froze the unused portions. I repaired a ripped seam in a shirt so I can wear it this summer. I’ve been working on cross-stitch that I’d put away for a while in the evenings.

    My husband and I have been watching Blue Bloods on Amazon Prime. Some of my kids have been watching Psyche. My brother has a massive movie selection on DVD and is very sweet about letting my kids borrow anything they want because we are very good about taking care of them and bringing them back. They borrowed 10 movies from him to watch. My brother also gave me gladiola bulbs he didn’t want for me to plant in my flower beds. I love he blooms.

    My husband and I did go out to lunch for Mother’s Day on Saturday. We used a free meal coupon.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful week <3

    1. Congratulations on your garden!

      A lot of people say to start small, but I think that if there’s a way to start big, especially now, it will be a blessing for years to come!

  3. Oh Brandy, that pizza is precious! We ask our children to choose their birthday meal but I am never that creative in its execution. What fun!
    Virginia had a frost over the weekend-hopefully our last. We are ready to get a few things in the ground. My FIL gifted us three tomato plants and I have some herbs to transplant. Not much but something. Our local greenhouse has sold out of seeds and starts and they say they won’t be getting any more. Crazy!
    Thanks to everyone who recommended Wartime Farm. It was wonderful! My husband and I enjoyed watching the episodes together. We also watched 1940’s House. WWII history fascinates me. My pilot grandfather lost his life in the war.
    I really don’t feel like we are saving any money these days. Grocery costs are higher and we are having to drive about 40 minutes North to buy meat with no limit. We went last week and bought ground beef and pork. It would make you gasp if I told you the cost but we are stocked up for months now.
    We are grateful that my husband has had no change to his employment. We have a decent emergency fund (its taken a long time to get it there). We are blessed that we can help others.
    Brandy, thank you for this blog! I have been reading for years and the reason our family of four has such a large pantry is because of you. I believe I read on your blog that having a well-stocked pantry is like an emergency savings account. I am so grateful that I adopted many of your practices years ago, it has made this uncertain time easier.
    Sending you best wishes from the East Coast. Thank you!

    1. Amazon Prime has all three seasons of Land Girls, about British women who worked the farms so men could go fight. A bit soap opera-ish but quite relaxing. Also Bomb Girls, about Canadian women who worked in munitions factories during WWII. Another nice drama.

  4. That pizza is so adorable! And great news on figuring out the problem with your garden.
    We started the week by picking up trash on a stretch of highway with a group we are part of. Each couple had a ¼ mile stretch of highway, so we were pretty far apart, but it felt good to be outside and doing something good. We noted much less trash than previous outings, and theorize it is due to less traffic along the road and because our county has not yet opened to tourists.
    I have been researching local sources for food and found a local rancher who was taking orders for chickens – to be butchered this summer. I ordered 6 for my freezer.
    I made 8 pints of chicken stock from bones I’d saved in the freezer.
    My husband has been shopping for a more powerful generator and found one online for a good price. He bought it, then sold our smaller, very old one for half the cost of the new one.
    I planted more broccoli seeds and a little cabbage outside. The weather is teasing us with very warm days but still near-freezing some nights. I’m carrying tomato, pepper, and squash plants outside to the greenhouse every morning and bringing them back in every evening. We continue to enjoy lettuce, arugula, radishes, and green onions from the greenhouse, and I harvested our first asparagus and rhubarb this week. I transplanted my celery starts outside and they are doing well.
    A park bench on our local trails fell apart and we got permission to take the back. It is cast iron with a floral design framed in cedar and I am using it as a trellis.
    I made sandwich bread, sourdough English muffins, a strawberry-rhubarb pie, and granola.

  5. Loving your bright flowers. Before moving here, I used to have a large stunning flower garden. Do I ever miss it, so I live vicariously through yours ?

    We live in a state that never closed much and, now, is open. What a glorious feeling to be able to (safely!!!) go out and eat. We combined our freedom eating out with Mother’s Day lunch. That way we avoided spending any extra money on foods we don’t have on hand for a special dinner. The timing was good as I wanted to get out when places opened up. We rarely eat out anyway, so I am sympathetic with those who used to. It’s been a struggle to stay home all the time except for exercise, and I like to be home. We keep sharing funny quarantine things and that brightens our days! My daughter returns to work in a week. Thankfully, my husband and son continue to work. I’m home isolating and working on getting stronger. I still avoid all stores for the most part and going out – but for lunch yesterday. We don’t have curbside shopping here, so the guys have to do it. Good thing we don’t need much more than perishables as their frugal shopping skills are minimal…but they are learning fast!

    Frugally…
    -I was able to send a dear friend extra fabric for her mask making ventures. She’s been making masks and giving them away and has made enough for half the population of our hometown! I had the fabric weighed and sent it the cheapest way. The postage is part of our giving, but it also helps me on my downsizing mission. Other than making masks and a couple aprons for gifts, I don’t have a plan for using the cotton fabric. And, I still have enough if I needed to make more masks.
    -another week of no food waste! We’re usually pretty good, but I’m determined to not waste at all.
    -we had to buy some shoplights for the greenhouse and bought LED bulbs. They will not only save money, but do not produce heat. We don’t need any extra heat in the greenhouse over the summer, so win-win.
    -watched free shows and listened to free books on tape. Am still loving Call the Midwife and wait for it each week.
    -my husband noticed a noise in the car and had the brakes checked. He had the rear brakes done saving problems later.
    -we finally found a place to buy dirt by the yard for redoing a small area of our yard (the remainder of it is wooded) and filling the containers for the greenhouse. We also topped off all the flower pots and are not going to plant flowers, but will fill them with food this year. I’ve planted seeds a little early, but maybe they’ll germinate early, or maybe not. I’m might have to line the driveway with pots now that we have a covered deck when the roof was redone. So nice to be able to sit outside without always being in the sun and it has made a huge difference in the winter. What a blessing.
    -my daughter finished her yoga teacher certification. I bought her a membership in the certified yoga teacher organization for this year since she hasn’t been working. She’s going to look to supplement her income by teaching classes eventually. Until than she still is practicing by teaching free half hour Saturday instagram classes at yoga.mbs. I enjoy seeing her each Saturday and joining in. They are on video so I can replay them all week. A half hour is perfect for me and she’s very stretchy.
    -since my immune system is building, we have relaxed our showering and washing schedule to as needed. Much less laundry as we are not washing everything after every single use. This should save on electric as there are not options to hang clothing on the line. I do miss that!
    -I’m still out walking everyday with the dogs. We are back on the wooded trails now that most of the snow has melted away. Much happier not to be walking the dogs on the roads…even if they are not busy at all.
    -without my growlights that I cannot find, my seedlings have stalled, but I replanted them, hardened them off and have them in the greenhouse. Next year will be better as everything will be in place from the get-go.

    Blessings to all!

      1. Thank you, Patricia. I am stronger and just passed the critical stage of revovery. My spirits are lifting with the sunshine. Oh the joys of getting out in the sunshine. Although the road ahead is long, the journey is doable. Praying joy and blessings for you, Trish

  6. My mom went half on my Sam’s club renewal . Saved me $50

    My mom also sent over shampoo and conditioner, popcorn, crunch and munch, and bandaids she didn’t like.

    Attended a vaccine clinic for shots that the 13yo needed for 8th grade. I figured it would keep us out of the doctor’s office for something minor, lessening everyone’s exposure for everything.

    Rented a redbox movie using a .75 off code

    Hubby checked out store inventories and prices online for new work boots that he desperately needed. Saved time, gas, and $110 comparing prices.

    Mother’s day was spent at home. The younger 2 got me a Google Play card for my online games, and hubby cooked what I wanted for dinner (chicken wings and cesar salad).

    Got back $2.10 from Ibotta and Checkout 51

    Our weather is still all over the place…some days you need, others ac. I try to keep both off as much as possible.

  7. The weather turned hot last week and I decided to harvest the rest of the parsley- with bulgur wheat I had on hand as well as onion, lemon and olive oil, I made a large batch of tabouli which makes for a lot of lunches as there are just two of us at home right now.

    We’ve been reading a lot of e books for free from the library. I picked some wild-type tomatoes from the plants that are thriving in the relentless heat here- they re-seed themselves and taste good as well, although they are small.

    I hope to make some more masks using an old cotton tablecloth we were no longer using.

    A relative is graduating college and we wanted to send him a card- I don’t have any graduation cards on hand, but with some carefully chosen words cut out of magazines and pasted on a greeting card I do have, I can create something hilarious and memorable for free.

    I love the octopus pizza! That is so creative!

  8. Brandy, your octopus pizza is fantastic! I love it! Good luck to your son. How exciting!

    My accomplishments this week:

    • Used free toiletries, washed ziplocks and foil and ran only full loads the in washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Ate dinner in 5 times. We had tater tot casserole with cottage cheese; West African curry soup (from freezer) served over rice; little smokie sausages with baked potatoes and zucchini (one of which was from our garden); frozen pizza; and steak, yellow squash and baked potatoes. We did order pizza and wings delivered one night as a special Mother’s Day treat for me.
    • Lunches included leftover pasta salad with tuna added; pintos & jalapenos; leftovers; ham salad sandwiches.
    • Breakfasts have been blueberry pancakes; eggs and English muffins; cereal with bananas and strawberries; smoothies and French toast with bacon.
    • Hung 2 of 5 loads of laundry.
    • Walked for exercise.
    • Continued 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan Peterson.
    • Got 2 pork butt roasts for 99c each. With news that pork might get scarce, I am happy to get them!
    • The stay-at-home rules eased up here this week. I went to a few Goodwill stores to look for teacups for my collection. I wore my mask at all the stores and went straight to the cups section and out again. It was good to get out and I found 3 teacups for under $11 total.
    • We also got together for Cinco De Mayo with 2 other couples from our trivia team who have also been self-isolating. No hugs, but it was great to get together. Our friend who hosted picked up tacos from a local shop, the other couple brought beans and I brought homemade brownies, which I served with lime sherbet, Hershey’s syrup and a squirt of fresh lime juice. This is a terrific dessert to have with Mexican food.
    • One of our friends celebrated her 50th birthday. A bunch of her friends drove by her house honking horns, etc. to celebrate from a safe distance.
    • Filled my car with gas using the GetUpside app. I got $2.40 back in rebate. This is the first time I’ve filled my tank since the beginning of March!
    • Got a few Ibotta rebates.
    • A couple of the fruit trees we planted last year are bearing a little bit of fruit. We harvested about a dozen peaches and a dozen apricots. Also got 2 more zucchini from our garden.
    • Used up the last of some face wash by adding a little bit of water to it, so the pump top would work.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  9. Love your octopus pizza!
    Finished quilting a client’s queen size quilt that she brought over yesterday. https://pin.it/3eLsDVg She gave it to me on Friday and it was finished and trimmed the very next day! She is excited about it and was happy about the price for the quilting, so I’m crossing my fingers that she will be sending more quilts to me in the future to quilt!
    Total masks made: 497 (30 more this past week). Still not a noticeable dent in my fabric stash of scraps!
    Went to my produce market this morning. Haven’t been there in weeks and bought: 20 pound box of chopped onions, 1/2 gallon of heavy whipping cream, 5 pounds of bananas and (9) 50 count packages of uncooked flour tortillas (like the ones at Costco) ! For all that, I paid a total of $11!!! I am stoked!! Sharing tortillas with daughters. Freezing and drying the already chopped onions! https://pin.it/6vgruYy Eating bananas fresh and going to find something to use the whipping cream in!!
    I have another queen size quilt that I made loaded on to my longarm machine Lenni and hope to have it quilted in the next 2 days! https://pin.it/5lJRcsn This is the quilt that I’m donating to be auctioned off for cancer research. I’m hoping it will bring in a nice amount. Hard to say with the economic downturn right now.
    Hubs and youngest son made chicken enchiladas and no bake cookies for Mother’s Day dinner from scratch using home canned ingredients and other staples from my fridge and freezer. Our food budget at the stores this past week, like most of the past 5 (or is it 6 now?) weeks has been negligible- this week the $11 at the produce market but last week under $4 for 2 gallons of milk, the week before that- $0! That has given us flexibility in our budget because I budget $300/month. That amount gives me enough to buy great sale things in bulk when they come up!
    I used some of my extra food budget money for this week to buy an apricot tree and 2 raspberry bushes from the company one of your readers- Juls Owings suggested last week- TyTy trees. I’m really excited to get these!
    Our county is offering the $50 rebate again this year for taking their online course about water conservation and gardening native plants/trees. You take a short quiz afterwards and when you pass it, you get a rebate or voucher towards a rain barrel, composter or plants (only perennials)/bushes/trees . Last year I bought a 2 gallon blueberry Bush and a beautiful 5 gallon hydrangea! I’m thinking more berry bushes this year!
    I made some Butterscotch clusters to share with some friends as a treat to let them know we were thinking of them. They were really delicious (I HAD to sample !!) https://pin.it/4wxDd1T Totally made from my food storage! My reasoning is that if we can’t get to grocery store for a while, then we are going to have some comfort ingredients that I bought on sale earlier and stored! In the meantime, even without a pandemic, we are constantly using those items in our normal routines so when there is a disruption around us, our eating routines don’t need to change.
    It was our daughter-in-law’s birthday on Saturday, so I was able to go to my gift drawer and get out the 18 mini-loaf baking pan that I bought for her months ago at JoAnn’s when I had one of those rare coupons for 60% off regular price! I printed out about a dozen different mini-loaf recipes that I had saved in Pinterest because they are helpful for time and temperature to bake certain varieties. Put the recipes into a school folder I got at back to school sales last year (the 12 cent/folder ones!) She likes to bake and she likes to entertain so I’m hoping that she might enjoy this. But, I can’t ever tell with gifts I give her. ☹️

    So far, we are trying to stay frugal! It’s easy because we aren’t going out much! (Same tank of gas 3/4 full after 10 days!) But it’s hard because it’s so easy to click and buy online! (Fruit trees, quilt book….LOL!)
    Our life through this is so much easier than so many. It’s so hard for so many and not because of something they did or didn’t do! It just is. Stay healthy and keep doing the best you can in really chaotic times!

    1. Gardenpat – I got three of those masks and I must say they’re very nice! I was so proud of my husband for wearing his without prompting or reminding! The same cannot be said for my son – haha! Thank you for such a nice product!

    2. You know, my mother-in-law and I had wildly differing tastes and I think only one gift she ever gave me was very useful. However, I was always thankful of the thought and the trouble she went to and year later I still remember her and her kindness with gratitude. Especially when I know that she found me too liberal—my husband and I once walked into her living room in time to hear her telling her bridge club that I was a “fem-Nazi.” She was embarrassed but I thought it was hysterical, and admired her all the more for trying to have a relationship with someone so different from her. (My refusal to change my last name when I married her son was what made her think I was a crazed feminist. I thought I was being pragmatic. My father had been married five times by then so I figured my marriage was not going to last for long, so why make things more complicated when the inevitable divorce happened. And here I am, 37 years later still married to her son!) I am sure your daughter in law will remember your effort, even if she doesn’t always love the gift.

      1. Mable, thank goodness you had such patience with her! My mother in law could be difficult as well but I loved her and I miss her. I’m glad you’re still happily married!

    3. Garden Pat,
      Here’s another recipe that uses cream. I found it years ago and it was a family favorite.
      6 T cocoa
      2 c sugar
      2 1/2 c flour
      2 teas baking soda
      1/8 teas salt
      2 c cream (sweet or sour)
      4 eggs
      Mix the dry ingredients. Add cream & eggs. Beat well. It makes a large cake (9 x 13). Bake at 350 until done. One version says an hour. My original recipe doesn’t say … that’s how old it is.
      I loved this recipe because I was using fresh cream and it didn’t matter if it was sweet or sour. It’s delicious and doesn’t really need frosting, but you can go with whatever you want to put on it.

    4. I would use that cream to make some rice pudding. I’m sure you have rice in your pantry stash right now. I’ve been making it as a baked custard with 2 eggs and 1 1/3 cup whole milk or half and half. I add 6 tbsp sugar, some cinnamon, a bit of ginger, and citrus zest. It was especially good with orange zest, but I made one with some coconut milk and lime today that was pretty good too. Bake at 325 for 40 minutes. It makes a lovely dessert, but isn’t too sweet for a breakfast dish with fruit.

  10. Strangely, our local Coop store had a butcher sale, and I was able to buy 5 lb of very good quality pork, 4 lb of chicken breasts, and a lb of bacon at very good prices. This is at a time when Canadian meat processors are challenged to stay open. The other store in town warned of short supplies of pork, due to their supplier. On the other hand, they had a full range of pasta, whereas the Coop had just a couple of large bags of orzo sitting by themselves on the shelf.

  11. My garden plans are on hold. It is snowing as I type this. I can’t believe how cold it is for mid May. We are breaking temperature records this week. I even had to turn the heat back on, Temps here are in the teens and are accompanied by 20-30 mph wind. I have been covering my fruit trees but I am not sure it will help. It’s too cold for pollinators and the blooms are already fading on my new trees. I am slowly harvesting asparagus. My rhubarb will need a couple more weeks. Our last frost date is supposed to be May 15th! We will see if it happens or not.

    I have been watching meat prices closely. I am glad that I purchased chicken weeks ago. The meat cases are nearly empty in my town. There might be 2-3 packages of salmon, 1 whole chicken or a few packages of drumsticks. It is strange to behold. There is still burger, but it has gone up to $8.99 a pound! I told my meat loving husband that things are going to change around here in a hurry. We did happen to find 70/30 burger tubes for 2.50 a lb. and purchased two. I prefer 90/10, but this gave us a bit more for things like spaghetti and soups where I make a half pound stretch for 8.

    Our gas prices have jumped up from $1.29 to $1.89 per gallon. Of course my tank is empty! Frugal fail. I just seem to lose track of days not leaving the house except for getting groceries every Friday. I will have to be more vigilant about where the gas gauge is from now on!!

    For Mother’s Day my children made me a wonderful breakfast. My husband took the children to town late Saturday to get me a gift. They got me an orchid and chocolates. It was the first time they have left the house since March 13th when school let out. (I enjoyed that hour to myself very much!!) They all wore masks and used hand sanitizer in and out of the 1 store they went to. I think it was good for them mentally. Just to see that things are still there that they remember doing. How quickly we take things for granted!! My mom and sisters went to see family out of state. I sent texts to them for Mother’s Day. I was invited to go also but chose not to go. I have a 3 year old and the other children cannot watch him when dad is at work. Plus, I just didn’t feel good about it. We zoomed with my husband’s family and it was fun for my children to see all the cousins living in various states.

    We ate eggs, oatmeal, and gifted cereal for breakfasts. Lunches were sandwiches or leftovers. Meals included shepherd’s pie, spaghetti, burgers, nachos. soup, pancakes, and pork loin. I am making a point to serve fruit and vegetables with each meal.

    This week I am reorganizing my storage and pantry. I will also keep a written record of what I have on hand. I will make sure that items are used from oldest to newest. This will help with future purchases. I want to fill in any items I am lacking before prices get much higher.

    My vinyl window shutters are 26 years old. They are starting to break. I wanted solid shutters instead of louvered this time. I also wanted to paint them. I found 3 sets of 57″ shutters for 36.00 a pair on clearance. To have them custom made would have been between 100.00 and 120.00 a pair. I needed 6. That was a great savings for me! I also found a trundle bed for 75.00 versus the 450.00 I was seeing online. I picked that up for my daughter.

    We continue to work at schooling. Our schedule has gotten a bit lax, and this week I will be creating a better structure. We have about a month of school left. Our summer plans have been severely impacted. No Boy Scout camp, Youth Conference, 4-H, Youth Fair or Young Women’s camp. Our family vacation of a trip to upstate New York (planned in 2019!) has been postponed until 2021. I feel badly for my children. My parents have a cottage about an hour from our home and I am hoping to take my children there when the weather gets nice. I want them to have something to look forward to this summer.

    My husband works in the food industry but is becoming increasingly concerned that businesses that rely on their products may close and he will be out of a job. I have done seasonal mowing for 20 years. My contract was not renewed this year. That is a significant pay cut that I did not see coming. We can live on my husband’s wage but it will be much tighter. I am tracking every penny I spend and reworking the budget. My husband has his builder’s license, and carries insurance, so he is looking to do some side work to supplement this income loss. We are just taking things a day at a time. I have survived hard things before and I know that I can do it again with my Heavenly Father’s help and inspiration!!

  12. I tried to watch “World On Fire”, but it said I needed to be a member of my local PBS station in order to have access. Are you a PBS member, or is there another (free) way to see that series?

    1. I do not pay to watch. You can watch anything on PBS.org for three weeks after it airs. So, the new episodes are available to watch until the three weeks are up starting the day after they air on television. After that, you have to pay.

    2. Becky,
      If you have Amazon Prime then you may be eligible for a free week of PBS through Prime. I started off watching with the free trial but ended up paying for a month since the show isn’t over. It was about $6 for a month which also offers other shows too. I thought I would mention the free trial just in case you could use it and be able to catch up on the episodes. You can always cancel after you watch the available episodes within the free week!

  13. Hello Everyone! With permission, we were able to glean navel oranges and tangerines from a neighbors tree cuttings. This gave us several pounds of fruit, which tided us over until our scheduled grocery shopping day. I used a 50% off coupon for Walgreens for photo prints. I will hang them in frames that I have had for many years. Like almost everyone else we know, our good friends decluttered their house. They offered and we accepted a new to us 42″ flat screen tv. One neighbor over boughed and gifted us a 10 pound bag of flour and a one pound bag of yeast. My husband has been making bread in our bread machine, so this was quite the blessing! We accepted 6 lemons from a neighbor. The school my son goes to had planned a field trip prior to the virus which was obviously cancelled. We had paid the $8 needed in advance. With the state of everything, we did not expect nor were we going to ask for a refund. It was quite the surprise when the teacher dropped of an envelope containing the $8! I put that in our petty cash wallet. In addition to the five days of breakfasts and lunches that we picked up from my son’s school, we also picked up a homework packet for three weeks worth of work; this will save our paper and printer ink. We are continuing to pay extra on all of our utility bills, to create a large cushion. While the hubs and I are still working, you never know. Since we are going out (neither to eat or do activities plus no after school care expense), we were able to put a large chunk into savings. This was such a good feeling! And not usually something we’d be able to do regularly let alone a large amount in the past. I ordered popsicle molds from amazon using a credit I had. The stores here will not usually let you bring your own bags now (if you do, you have to bag your own items). So during my last trip to Target, I had quite a large order and received a good number of bags. We decided to repurpose them as our our kitchen trash can liners. I did my monthly grocery shopping for my parents. They generously paid for our groceries as well. In anticipation of the meat shortage that may be coming, I purchased several packages of meat for them. My mom said, after I went shopping, that she didn’t have room in her freezer and for us to use them. A lot of the restaurants in the city where they live offer reduced priced meals. My parents picked up two entrees for us to enjoy. When we dropped everything off to them, they gave us several paper bags, which we’ll use for recycling. They also have been cleaning out their closets and had a few bags of donations. We will take them this week to the Goodwill. I saw a listing on Freecycle for boys clothes in my son’s next size up. We were able to pick up two huge bags of clothes that my son can grow into. This was very exciting, as they were in excellent condition, including several pairs of pants. In the past, I have tried to look for clothes at the thrift store in my son’s size, but boys pants in good condition are very hard to come by. Had two zoom calls with family and friends.

  14. Cherry tomatoes already? Go, Brandy! The pizza is super cute. It sounds like your life is crazy busy right now getting your son ready to head off to college. Is he going to the same college town as his sister? If so, it will be nice for him to get to see her more while he continues his education.

    This past week was filled with normal household tasks. I’ve been sticking very close to home. So, while home, I have worked in the garden for hours, cleaned many small areas/shelves/baskets, etc., swept and mopped, bleached doorknobs, done homeschool and so forth. I’ve done a little bit of sewing, and we have worked with our nephew for a couple of days, doing homeschool/keeping him useful and productive, busy and safe while his mama works at her home via computer.

    I have the garden fully planted with the first crop except for one small area which will be filled with pickling cucumbers and a little space here and there which I will tuck some little head lettuce plants into.. I will succession plant as crops finish by putting some compost/manure blend on the row where I remove the old plants, tilling it in with the tiny tiller, and then re-seeding. I like to keep snow peas and lettuce going all summer if possible, planting a very short row every 2 weeks or so. I also have filled up pretty much every other area in flowerbeds, my 2 raised beds….even a couple of areas in the front flowerbeds with the extra veggies. I have been thinning the lettuce and we have had salads with a blend from them and head lettuce from the store. I am getting snow peas, basil, chives, artichokes, and cilantro as well. Things are growing well, so it’s only a matter of time before we get much more.

    My Mother’s Day excursion consisted of my husband driving me through McDonald’s for a Diet Coke. It was a small thing, but I enjoyed being with him on a mini-date, and it was fun to leave the house for any reason.

    I cooked at home. I’m specifically targeting odds and ends of gluten-free flour that are in a certain bin in the garage and made a great millet-crust pizza. I am also making great progress on the little freezer over the fridge in the kitchen, removing odd items and using them in meals.

    Pictures are on by blog: http://beckyathome.com

    1. I can’t imagine growing lettuce and cucumbers at the same time! Here, we have very different seasons: cool-season vegetables and warm-season vegetables.
      Yes, same school, but as school is online I don’t anticipate they will see each other much.

      1. When I hear of your tomatoes that are ripe now, I just remind myself that every climate is SO different! Ours is very mild, and I can grow lettuce all summer long, except in rare hot spells, when it promptly bolts and turns bitter. Every climate has it’s pluses and minuses.

        I think you’d get a kick out of a conversation my husband and I had today. He was mentioning a former colleague that was moving to Las Vegas. I wondered why she was, and he replied that her husband was going to attend some kind of schooling there, but he wasn’t sure why they chose that place, as “you couldn’t even grow a garden there.” I said, “actually, yes you can, I read a favorite blog where the writer does just that.” I explained how you did it, and we agreed that it didn’t sound easy in your climate, at all. So, again, kudos to you for all you do grow in that harsh climate. It’s a wonder to me that you get as much as you do, and I admire that! I garden in the famous Willamette Valley–End of the Oregon Trail, and all that….where when they were trying to get people to follow the trail across the prairie, they bragged that you could get peaches the size of watermelons, toss seeds across a field and a crop would grow, and so forth. Well, I’m here to say it’s not as easy as all that, but it is a good place to grow things.

        1. I still kind of believed that story about throwing out seeds and they would grow there . . .

          Good soil and rain are not two things we have here!

          Are you on Instagram? Show your husband my garden videos 🙂

          I sent you an email.

    2. Becky, I would love if you shared your millet pizza crust recipe! My soon to be daughter in law has food allergies and cannot eat many foods, but millet is one she CAN eat!

  15. Good luck to your son at college. I love the octopus pizza. And I think two pounds of strawberries sounds like a lovely birthday present. 🙂

    Our state (Washington) stay at home orders run until the end of May, so I am still staying home most of the time, except for work. My husband works in tech, and his company informed their employees that they can work at home until October, no questions asked. He does not particularly like working from home, but this is the best option for now. Our place is small and we don’t have a great setup.

    My mom had an appointment in the physical therapy office where I work, so I saw her when she came in. She shared some corned beef and veggies with me, a piece of ham, applesauce, and chocolate with me. She also brought me her newspapers from the last week. It was good to see her and talk to her for a bit. We both wore masks of course.

    On my grocery shopping day, I used the rest of my birthday Starbucks credit to get a cup of decaf coffee at the in-store stand. I sat in my car and enjoyed this small treat. I was able to find everything I needed at the store (our Kroger), including rubbing alcohol, sanitizing wipes and Lysol cleaner (for work).

    I made masks for my neighbor’s kids. He brought me some sushi to say thank you. His wife’s family owns the sushi stand in our local Fred Meyer store. I enjoyed this delicious treat! I made masks for a former coworker, and she gifted me a box of her favorite tea. I also made masks for a friend and my cousin and her family. I’m up to 54 made so far.

    Other frugal things:
    – Have had a continued craving rhubarb for weeks now. Found some at the grocery store and made another big batch of rhubarb blueberry sauce. Froze some for later. I have eaten a lot of rhubarb this year.
    – Made a big batch of asparagus soup, from asparagus purchased for $1.77 a pound (Kroger). Froze most of it for later.
    – Potted the petunias and jalapeno starts I had purchased previously. Now my patio looks all cheery. Put some netting up around the jalapenos so the local critters won’t eat my plants. Hope that works.
    – Had a Zoom call with my cousin and a friend.
    – Celebrated Mother’s Day with a Zoom call with my mom and sisters.
    – Sent a sympathy card from my stash.
    – Our weather turned beautiful so spent a lot of time on the patio under the sun umbrella. Took a nap out there one day.
    – Did my at home workout, and walked around the building many times.
    – My washing machine has been acting strange lately. I really don’t want to have a repair person come into our home to fix it. So I had a little talk with the washing machine, asking it to work normally until it was safe for a repair person to come. (Yes, this is an odd thing to do). Now it’s working fine.
    – Did all the things I normally do: cooked from home, ate from the freezer, made water kefir, read blogs and watched youtube/streaming services for entertainment, etc.

    Have a great week, everyone!

    1. Tina, we love making “blue-barb” cobbler and crisps! Much better than strawberry-rhubarb, in our opinion.

  16. I need to be more organised. However, this last week I planted some peas, tomatoes, ginger and I have forgotten which herbs. I have stayed out of the shops but have spent a lot this week buying housewarming and mothers’ day gifts. I am trying to make our meals from items to hand and I am also trying to not waste food. Our fuel dropped in price to 78 (AUS) a litre and I filled the car then saving over 43 cents litre. Our fuel is the cheapest it has been for decades. Life just plods along slowly and surely. I have made three scrub caps for someone and I need to plan out a few more things to sew. At the beginning of the shutdowns here in Australia I was a sent an email that told me the library would be closing until June 30th. I was bale to borrow 70 plus Christian books. I have read about 30 of them thus far. I have bought two books for my mother and one for my granddaughter.If I hadn’t had the chance to set up a mini library at home my reading costs would have been far higher.

  17. The pizza is so cute. I’ll bet the birthday boy had a lot of fun putting on the olives.

    My mini-garden is still coming along. I am most concerned about my cucumbers, since the last time we grew them a few years ago, the beetles gave them the mosaic disease and we lost all of our cucumber plants. I have sprayed with neem oil and I dust periodically with powdered clay. We do have five crookneck summer squashes coming along – we love summer squash so we are happy to see them.

    I harvested some of my chives. I am re-growing green onions and I started a celery end in water to hopefully regrow it as well.

    I hung out all but one load of laundry this weekend.

    I worked some more on decluttering the house and repurposed some things in new ways, such as using one of my aprons with deep pockets to replace my worn out clothespin bag. I’ll just wear the apron to carry my pins with me.

    I put netting over my blueberries — I’m tired of losing so much of my fruit to birds and squirrels. So far, it’s working.

    Counting down the days for grandchild #6. I’m so excited, yet so sad that I probably won’t be able to see the baby for a while, due to the virus issue.

  18. What a fantastic pizza, and very creative idea! I love your little boys question about sad trees. So sweet. We continue planting, weeding and transplanting volunteers in the garden. There was a freeze warning for Saturday night, so we covered lots of plants with tarps, boxes, buckets, leaves and canning jars, and took it all back off yesterday. There’s a frost in tonight’s forecast, so I guess we’ll be doing a rerun this afternoon and tomorrow, hopefully for the last time. I now have many chard and parsley seedlings up, and am happy about that. Fresh pea sup was made, my favorite thing to do with peas. I made bread, yogurt, bird suet and hummingbird food. My best frugal accomplishment was asking my dentist about any remaining amalgam fillings in my mouth last week. It turned out there was only one, right next to the tooth he was working on, and he offered to include it for free. It was a huge savings, as there is a $300 fee in addition to the cost of the work any time they remove mercury, so having both done at once saved me $300+, and my mouth is now mercury-free! https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2020/05/peas-bees-frugal-accomplishments.html

  19. Used a lot of salad fixings from my garden. ?
    It’s still too cold for most of my plants.

    One cold rainy day we spent baking. Low carb strawberry muffins, doughnut muffins, peanut butter cookies. A few odds & ends.
    I smoked some pork, and we have enjoyed that several times. I love my smoker!! I got the pork for less than $1 a pound. With all the limits on meat, we made a special trip to a meat market 30 minutes away. Prices were roughly the same as the grocery store. I was able to get several meats not available at this time. My freezer is full

    We got to see several friends we haven’t seen in 6-8 weeks. All while practicing social distancing. Made for a nice Mother’s Day. My children made me cards too.

    I had a grocery order where they had almost everything I needed. One item was substituted with another, more expensive, brand. My husband enjoyed that.

    My husband’s job is not allowing him back right now. ?
    They are working with about 1/3 of employees presently. They said maybe mid-July ?

    I am making a grocery order presently for Walmart to get items needed for 2 birthdays. We have ordered gifts online for one, still need the other. Perusing to get a good deal on something he may like.

    I love reading about everyone’s week. Have a great one!

  20. What beautiful roses, and a beautiful photo! I love your creativity with the pizza.

    I held off watering the garden yesterday because rain was predicted today. And it is raining! Here in California, that is an enormous blessing.

    I turned an older pullover sweater into an “around the house” cardigan by sewing parallel seams up the front, cutting between the seams, and blanket stitching along the new edges. It turned a sweater that I would have had to donate, into a useful cardigan!

    I sold an item on Ebay. It was a black skirt and I wondered if I should wait and list it in the fall. But I didn’t want to store it, so I thought I’d give it a go.

    I used the Berkley method to speed up my compost (turning the pile daily for about 10 days). It did indeed work, and now I can spread that in my garden this season instead of next. As Brandy commented, everything that we can do to get a good garden going is a good thing.

    I have been so thankful and blessed by this community visiting my new etsy shop and some of you purchasing. Thank you! I have sewed busily this week to keep my shop stocked. My daughter who is home from college has helped me take pictures of items and also start an instagram account. She is a marketing major (junior) and it is fun to see her skill!! I told her that help with my instagram would be the best Mother’s Day gift she could give me. She is studying for finals, so it really was a huge gift of time.

    instagram.com/fabricspeaks
    etsy.com/shop/fabricspeaks Visit my shop for the story behind the name!

      1. Thank you! I love to give a second life to things! And it seems a fitting metaphor for my life right now-we moved to a new place and we are new empty nesters.

    1. Congrats, Kara, on performing a steek on your sweater! Knitters make pullovers and then do exactly what you did to turn them into cardigans. Well done! (My first steek was a disaster!)

      And the fabric always speaks. Always. (I quilt too.)

  21. That octopus pizza is so creative and adorable! And there are enough legs for every child at home to have one. Isn’t the birthday boy the son who was once pictured with olives on his fingers?
    I so wish I could garden but I can barely walk. Raised on a farm I had lots of experience sowing seeds and weeding. Maybe I can put a container or two on the deck.
    With all the gardening and changeable weather news here, and especially all the information on groceries and closings/openings due to the virus, it makes me wish I knew at least a general region where people are at. Of course, it’s sort of fun to guess too. Mainly, it is just great to see a new post and also read all the comments. Thank you so much for this blog, this great gift to all of us!

    1. I’m London, UK. I love reading everyone’s post and occasionally post myself ( problem is that by the time I sit down to write up I’ve forgotten what I did.), keep promising myself to be ready for Monday. I recall someone on here was from Guam- I had to look it up. I really enjoy imagining where people are.

  22. My husband made me a beautiful herb planter for mother’s day out of scrap wood he already had. We had a cold snap in Indiana so I have been waiting to put in my garden. Looks like Wednesday this week will be a good day to plant. I had two different doctor appointments by video which saved on gas and time. I froze left over minestrone soup for a quick future meal. I cooked a chicken in the crockpot and was able to spread it out over 4 different meals. I bought too many gifts for my 2 year old granddaughter at Christmas and decided to keep some back for later in stead of giving them to her all at once. Last night I pulled out some play-do and she was fascinated for over an hour. My husband and I worked together to design a trellis for my clematis plant and a matching privacy/windscreen for our patio. It was a fun project to do together.

  23. Hello Frugal Friends,
    Here are my frugal accomplishments for this week:
    – I purchased enough groceries for the week at about $60 at Walmart. Included are a whole chicken, beans, two days worth of chicken breasts and sausage. I think I can stretch it out for several meals.
    – I planted my garden and have tomatoes, zucchini, pumpkins, spinach, swiss chard, and more.
    – I made homemade tortillas and they turned out very well.
    – We had a nice Mother’s Day and hubby had Olive Garden delivered which was extravagant but nice..
    – I signed up for several freebies including a sample of Garnier, a sample of Persil laundry detergent, and a free seed pollinator kit. All these links are on my blog at: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/
    – I have been doing Swagbucks, Ibotta, Field Agent and Coin Out as much as possible for extra money.
    That’s about all I can think of!
    Blessings,
    Liz

  24. Good deal for you on eggs! One of the smartest things I did, a few days before the stay-at-home order went into effect, was to buy a 5 dozen pack of medium eggs for $4. Then, each time I’ve gone to the grocery store over the last two months, I’ve topped up with a dozen eggs. As a result, we always had plenty of eggs. Even at times when other sizes of eggs were in short supply, I always saw 5 dozen packs…and people were passing them by! Go figure.

    Beautiful rose picture, too! My daughter gave me a bouquet of red roses for Mother’s Day.

    Here was my week–
    * I paid my bills online, saving time and $3.85 in postage. I paid two more over the phone, using a CC, and saved another $1.10 in postage.
    * I consolidated two bottles of window cleaner and repurposed the spray bottle.
    * When I bought bedding plants, I looked for multi-packs with extra seedlings. Each planter ended up costing about $6 each, including potting soil (I mix new with old to stretch it). All of my planters cost less than $10 each (some were only $4) and I have used them for over 20 years!
    * My husband took apart our porch swing so I could paint it. I used leftover Kilz for the first coat and bought a tester pot of exterior paint for $5 for the second and third coats. It was originally varnished, but too much work to refinish. Plus paint will last longer, and I like the look.

    Tip for readers in Oregon, Washington and northern Idaho–Miller Paint’s testers are actually one quart of paint. They are $5 each. However, through July, they are FREE on Saturdays! Wish I’d known that last Saturday! (and I wanted to get this done before next Saturday). Miller Paint is the best!

  25. The weather in the deep South has been wonderful and we have not turned on the AC or heat for six weeks, leaving the windows open 24/7. Hoping for a less expensive electric bill. My blueberry and blackberry bushes are ripening and I have planted tomatoes, peppers, onions, lettuce, and basil. I have given up on the garden plot and now just use pots. I did plant the lettuce in a children’s old red wagon! The fig tree my daughter requested for Christmas is doing very well and has several blooms on it. Her grandmother had a fig tree and it reminds her of her. I sprayed the azaleas and hydrangeas. Meat prices at Kroger have gone up and we don’t have many options. I really wish we had an Aldi’s. A new Costco just opened, the only one in the state, and it is in my hometown. I read a great deal about the company as they were building and was impressed by how well they treat their employees. They are also requiring customers to wear masks, which I really appreciate. I bought the limit on meat there and ended up with a lot of fruit too. I hung almost all of the laundry outside to dry and have cooked st home. With fuel points /dollar off, our gas is .49 a gallon. Just crazy, but am happy to take the savings. We received a refund from an oral surgery payment from last year and another small amount for a job my husband did last fall. They will help pay for summer nursing school tuition. Both of our daughters are home, one from grad school who is looking for a job and one who is participating in online nursing school. With three dogs, our house is full! We have spent much time working in the yard, plus watching Carolina wrens and bluebirds build nests in our boxes, grow and fledge. Hummingbirds are arriving and I have six feeders around the house and yard. We continue to shelter-in-place, as our state is seeing much higher numbers of people infected and dying from COVID-19. Although understanding of the need to get out, I’m also quite alarmed at the number of people without masks/not social distancing at the grocery store, as if the pandemic is over. From my reading, scientists are predicting worse numbers are yet to come, especially in the American South. I am in prayer each day for the physical and mental well-being of those who have lost their jobs, for medical personnel/first-responders on the front lines and those who are alone/frightened in nursing homes,

      1. I wondered this too! I imagine some ficus produce blooms—just not the delicious fruit-bearing kind, of course. I’m curious what variety it is.

        FYI to anyone who doesn’t know this: common fruit-bearing figs don’t have blossoms—or rather, the figs themselves are the inverted blossoms. They’re pollinated by a species of small wasp (common name = fig wasp) that crawls inside the fig, pollinates it, dies, and is absorbed by the fig. These fig wasps are not endemic around the world, which would seem to mean no figs for some regions. But, some figs produce two sets of figs in a year, and one crop is ‘parthenocarpic’ meaning it doesn’t require pollination, and the other is pollinated by the fig wasp. This means that even if a region doesn’t have the wasp, the crop that doesn’t need pollination will become figs (and the one that needs the wasp will produce inedible nubbins and eventually drop off).

  26. Can you talk a bit about how you’re paying for college/housing for multiple children? Are your children covering the cost of their own housing? Have you saved up in advance for this?

    1. They are covering their own housing, food, and books. They chose a college that is very inexpensive to attend; online credits are $30 a credit hour and in-class credits are $65 a credit. They applied for and received financial aid that will cover their tuition (two semesters is less than FAFSA’s maximum amount). The school has a trimester program; students are assigned two semesters of 14 weeks on campus and they attend the third one online. There is also a summer term, which any student can attend, that is 7 weeks. My son has been working and saving and paid his tuition and books, and then was awarded financial aid to cover what he had already paid when they allowed him to go to school early (he’s 16). He also took concurrent enrollment classes through the same school this past year as well as free Institute classes, so he has more than a semester of courses completed already.

      Graduating debt-free is important to us and our children.

      1. I assume this is BYU-I and it is a fabulous school! Many of my friend’s children attend there and several have graduated from there. Congratulations to your son and may he be blessed.

  27. -We made sour dough bread biscuits (my husband’s favorite). We used both loaves and a loaf I froze the previous week.
    -My 2nd son made egg-less chocolate cupcakes. My youngest two made an egg-less vanilla cake. I took a cupcake and a slice of the other to a friend who was stuck home alone on Mother’s Day (kids live out of state and doctor husband was sent to another state to help with COVID-19 outbreak). She gave us 7-8 pounds of potatoes she won’t use with her husband gone. These were left alternately on her doorstep so we didn’t need to interact.
    -Made a batch of cinnamon vanilla granola.
    -Attempted to can several quarts of beans and a quart of lentils and quinoa. Unfortunately my canner wouldn’t seal. I’ll have to get that checked out. Meanwhile, I have an excuse for the family to eat bean dishes. I use the lentils and quinoa as a meat extender for tacos or sloppy Joe’s when serving the family, or just seasoned in lunch dishes for myself.
    -I bought an extra head of cabbage when it was on sale in March. I used it this week in a pork stew and to make one of my husband’s favorite cabbage salads.
    -My dentist opened her office back up and they asked me to come in for my cleaning. My husband went along and did some shopping while I was in the office.

    1. The only salad I know to make is cole slaw. If you have something else simple, would you be willing to post it? I grow a lot of cabbage and it would be nice to have some alternatives. Thank you for any help.

      1. Mable, we always use cabbage in stir fry. It is a cheap and easy filler. They kids when they were younger didn’t know they were eating vegetables .

      2. Mable.
        this is a strangely satisfying (and economical) dish: https://www.food.com/recipe/krautfleckerl-hungarian-cabbage-and-noodles-135934. I cut the pasta ribbons into squares (“Fleckerl”) to make it more like the original Austrian dish and omit the sour cream … you may want to add bacon or lardons for the meat-eaters.

        Also: Greek cabbage salad (lachanosalata me karotta) as a riff on coleslaw
        Shred 2 pounds of cabbage very fine, mix with 1 tablespoon of salt, out into a big bowl, knead with clean hands until cabbage starts to draw juice (usually 5 to 10 minutes, do wash your hands beforehand to avoid any unwanted fermentation :-)). Cut 1/2 pound of carrots into ribbons with a potato peeler, finely slice 2-3 spring onions. Make a vinaigrette from 5 tbsp olive oil, 7 tbsp white vinegar, 4-5 tsp sugar, very little pepper. Mix veg with vinaigrette, let stand for 30 minutes. Taste and mix in a big bunch of chopped dill, if you like it (I do!). Serves 4, though you may want to make less, as it doesn’t keep very well …
        Stuffed cabbage: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/stuffed-cabbage-recipe-1920701, use soy mince or the like for a vegetarian option, also good with 1/2 cooked rice, 1/2 chuck or soy mince.
        Greetings from icy Switzerland
        a

  28. I love it how Octavius loves Octonauts and had an octopus pizza for his birthday! Happy birthday with wonderful returns of the day!
    This week was a busy one as I had to work from home and on some other work related projects. I did manage to cook everything from scratch, making sure leftovers were also eaten, I mended an item of clothing and I deep cleaned the children’s room with resources I had on hand. My greatest achievement was baking a foccacia bread yesterday and then making sandwiches using it! I am self taught at cooking and sewing and preety much everything related to homemaking because my mom, who is a very good cook and skilled at anything practical (engineer by training). always did things herself insisting that I should better study to be able to earn a lot of money to pay people to do the things for me. Well, since I studied but did not pick the career that would lead to that because I wanted to be married and have children, I learned by myself how to do things she is very good at. So, baking is something I am gradually learning and this isolation period helped.

  29. I was able to plant my tomato plants in my community garden plot last week. The area has voles, so some of my cabbage and broccoli plants have been removed by them. I may plant other starts or choose something they don’t care for. Another gardener told me that voles don’t like tomatoes, so I am optimistic about that.
    * I continue to declutter and pack my house for moving in 2 2/2 weeks. I sold a water heater and have a sofa, some chairs, and a decorative column listed. I don’t feel comfortable having a yard sale, although I did note one my neighborhood last week.
    * A local thrift store finally opened up in the last few days and I was able to donate a carload of items to them. It took about 20 minutes to get through the line, as many others had also been shedding items and not having a way to get rid of them.
    * I made a rhubarb cobbler, which we shared with neighbors around a fire, bread, cookies, split pea soup, tacos, salad, and more food than I can think of right now.
    * I’ve also enjoyed almost daily walks and calming meditations listening to the free app Plum Valley.
    * Our stimulus check was deposited, and I’m grateful that I don’t have an immediate need to spend it.
    * I finished knitting a striped pullover sweater for me, entirely out of excess yarn. It turned out really cute! I’m calling it my Covid-19 sweater, because I knit most of it while staying at home. I need to weave in a the edges and block it, but it will be perfect to wear in the fall. I have enough yarn leftover to make another one, so I may try a zippered cardigan.
    Thank you for the great update and the inspiration to make an Octopus-shaped pizza next time we make pizza at home!

    1. We had a terrible problem with voles and tried many different things before we hit on something that worked. We did this two years in a row in the spring and for the past two years have had no vole problems — but just in case we continue to do it each spring. This works best in the spring before you plant, but can be done anytime. First, you have to buy something called an underground exterminator. This was less than $20 at our local hardware store. It’s a tube that attaches to the exhaust of a vehicle (We use an ATV. A lawn tractor or something similar would also work.) Cover the bed or planting area with a tarp or plastic. It doesn’t have to be air-tight. Attach the hose to the vehicle and stick the other end in the ground — preferably in a hole that has been used by the voles. Run the vehicle. Basically, you are gassing the voles. We like this method because if another animal eats the voles after they are dead, it does not harm them, as poison does, and as the animal decays, there is no poison put into the ground. It is also a more humane method than traps and poison. And it has worked for us when nothing else did.

      1. Thanks to both of you for the options. I don’t know if I could run an exhaust tube because it is part of a community garden plot. I spoke with the community garden leaders about the problem. They are thinking of digging a deeper subterranean fence around the plots. There are about 60 plots in the space.
        I appreciate you thinking about me!

  30. We’ve been watching World on Fire, too. It’s a great drama, but makes my heart hurt! We just found out last night that it’s a series. We thought it was just a mini series, over in so many episodes. It was a nice surprise, but the waiting for the next set is going to be hard!!

    We’ve had a nice damp spring so we haven’t had to use our sprinklers yet this year. Always cause for celebration. Everything is so lush and green. My Grape Kool Aid Irises have finished blooming and I just noticed my first Peony this morning. The Irises smell just like grape Kool Aid! And the Peonies will smell heavenly, as well.

    My dear friend had a birthday so I made her some Hershey Kiss blossom cookies and dropped those off yesterday.

    I’m making some cloth hanger covers for my gift box. I have several dresses and blouses that slide off hangers and end up on the floor. I figured that I probably wasn’t the only one. I dug out an old pattern I have and decided to make about a dozen. A few for me and several to gift at a later date. I have so much fabric that has been given to me that this will be a great use for it. I’m also going to make some shoe bags for some friends that frequently travel.

    Cold day in Kansas. Not sure we’ll even reach 50 today.

    Did Winter get married? I wondered what happened with so many things in upheaval. My best friend’s dad died (in Los Angeles) and they weren’t even allowed to have a funeral, attend the burial, or anything. Broke my heart for her and her family.

    1. Yes, she did. Just a quick elopement at the park. We did not attend because of the virus. They had already paid for their apartment and they were safer quarantining together rather than with 5 roommates each. It was simple and quick, just like she wanted!

  31. I went a bit crazy squirreling away food and other supplies during the first weeks of the pandemic. My credit card bills showed up but the $1200 from the IRS didn’t. I am now back to spending what I have and waiting to place my online orders until I have the funds.
    My most thrifty score started out as a not-thrifty-at-all purchase. In mid-April, watching our hand sanitizer supplies dwindle, I ordered a half gallon from an Amazon vendor for $43 while wishing I had stocked up at Dollar Tree in very early March. Then several distilleries started selling it for $25, including shipping or $120 for 6 half-gallons. I ordered a second half-gallon and it arrived quickly. This week my Amazon half-gallon bottle finally arrived but it was missing a pint because the bottle had been tipped while being shipped. I wrote to the vendor and asked for a refund of 20% to 25% so I didn’t have to pay for air. They refunded the entire amount so I have 3 free pints of hand sanitizer. Score.
    Mom has recovered from the bug she caught in March and now eats and drinks like she did before she broke her hip. Such a relief and a blessing.
    I’ve harvested my first crops of microgreens. Baby sunflowers are delicious and quick growing.
    The doctor placed orders for a wound care nurse now that some of the eschar on mom’s bedsore on her heel is flaking off. I am so glad to have an experienced nurse to keep an eye on that heel to reduce the possibilities of complications. When I first saw that the gauze was discolored, I feared the absolute worst, but the first couple of pieces that flaked off revealed normal skin. Time will tell. The nasty cuts she got in the nursing home in February when her shin was trapped between sections of the bedframe as two aides were transferring her into bed are continuing to heal as is the wound on her left shin she got when her bed at home started to slide away while she was transferring to or from it. The nurse will be supplying the wound care supplies so the supplies I am patiently awaiting from Amazon will end up as emergency supplies.
    My laptop turned into a brick. I have ordered a new charger and battery but if they don’t fix the problem, I can find out how good my extended warranty is. The only thing is, my passwords are on that laptop and I used it for taxes and some other financial stuff and I don’t like the idea of sending the laptop to the repair depot without reviewing and deleting personal information. My older laptop has a broken case by its power plug and doesn’t work the last time I checked. I’ve thought about buying a little case for the hard drive but I am not sure what to do about getting a system to access that hard drive to clean it up before putting it back into the laptop and shipping it to the techs. Getting it to the shipper is going to have its own set of challenges given mom’s hip, age, and covid-19. Lesson learned, don’t store passwords and personal files on your computer. Multiple copies on password protected thumb drives would have made things much easier. Maybe, for a fee, they will accept the laptop without the hard drive and put a new one in it.

  32. *Found some bulk spices in the cabinet and refilled all my jars. Trying to organize my food supply a bit better.
    *I was looking to buy a few storage jars. Then remembered the canning jars packed away. I have some plastic jar lids and a couple of peanut butter lids that fit. No money out of pocket.
    *I make pizza on a lodge pizza pan. I roll the crust on parchment paper then put it on the preheated pan. I saw online a pan you use to slide it in the oven. I ended up using a cookie sheet that had two open sides. Worked better than just picking up the paper.
    *Changed out some incandescent bulbs for led. Hope to get some saving in the electric bill.
    *Fixed a smoker fire box that had some holes. Used a metal sign curved around the bottom and screwed in place.I
    *Made waffles using up some buttermilk, froze most to have for quick breakfasts later.
    *It’s nice to hear about everyone’s gardens, you all have been working hard.I

  33. Good luck to your son going to college! I do hope that he makes new friends with the social distancing situation. Makes that part of this transition a bit different than it normally would be! I think that having a single room is a very good thing. It is good to have a little quiet, personal space in this world.

    The weather has definitely been on the cold side with flurries here and there and having to run out and cover everything that you didn’t want a good frost to get. When May behaves this way I just want to throw a bit of a temper tantrum! We did have a few nice days where we got some gardening done. I am continuing to split some perennials. I was surprised at how much I am saving when I looked at the price of these same plants at the nursery. We planted a few more lilacs and this week and I have 3 more coming. Our elderberry bushes should be arriving any day now too. The weather is supposed to turn warmer starting tomorrow so I will go ahead and plant more now. I am so glad that we compost our food scraps all year long as it gives us a lot of free fertilizer.

    We got a large order from our natural food co-op, Azure Standard. They had more in stock this month, but I still didn’t get any yeast or brown rice. My husband went to Costco too so we should be set for the month except for one more quick stop for fresh produce. I made turkish flat bread this week to use for chicken tzaziki and it was a hit. I cut up the leftovers and made pita chips which went so well with hummus. It’s a good snack that can be made with mostly pantry ingredients, except for the yogurt. I am going to start making my own yogurt again. With berries coming into season, we eat more of it. I made cookies too, but with the bad weather I haven’t been walking much to balance the cookie eating!

    I packed up two care boxes for my parents/sister and niece and my 19 yo son in Nebraska. We haven’t seen our 2nd oldest since Christmas I am missing him very much. I also packed up my cured soap bars and my 18 yo son made me some labels for them. I will donate the bars to our local food pantry. I made two batches of soap this week and will continue to make soap once a week to donate.

    Have a lovely week ladies!

      1. Haven’t seen our one and only since Fathers Day last year. I’m reminded of the quote about how being a parent takes great courage because it means walking around with your heart outside your body for the rest of your life.

  34. Great eight-legged pizza? I wondered if the birthday part was on the 8th for the 8th child with the 8th name turning half of 8 years old and reading Octonauts books.

    Waiting not too patiently for the frost warnings to end so I can plant stuff outside, probably in the next day or two.
    The battery in my computer mouse died, so I replaced it with one from the “tv remote mostly dead batteries” baggie. Those usually have a little charge left in them even when they can’t power the remote. I save them for things like the mouse or wall clocks, where they generally last several months. When the county has hazardous waste disposal time once or twice a year, I can give them the dead ones of the few batteries we use.
    I had to buy a new battery for the smoke detector; My, those “square” ones are expensive now, especially when one isn’t waiting for a sale! I quickly went through the whole display to find one with the latest expiration date. Our smoke detectors are old, though certainly still work, (ask me how I know about the one near the kitchen), and I wonder if newer ones use AA or AAAs.
    I’m having trouble typing because my eyes are still dilated from an optometrist appointment today. It was the first day she had reopened after the state closings, and the first time I had to wear a mask for any extended period of time. She said if I could breathe through my nose, my glasses wouldn’t fog up as much. We had to pause a few time during the exam as the equipment lenses fogged over.
    Still eating at home, making no leftovers, or only things that will be eaten the next day. I sprouted celery bottoms in water, which look very healthy.
    Husband has found things to watch on YouTube on our TV, including “Jeeves and Wooster” and “Poirot”.
    I look forward to reading what other people are doing this week. It is a comforting ritual for me!

  35. I love the octopus. When my son was little, he won a one topping pizza from a local pizza place for having good grades, and asked for an olive pizza. Kids and olives. Your roses are gorgeous. My father grew beautiful roses, but I can’t seem to do so.

    I made broth with a chicken carcass I had, some shriveled onions and some lovage from the garden. Ended up freezing 3 1/2 quarts.
    Made homemade coffee cake and orange rolls this week for breakfast. YUM. The orange rolls were a little too sweet for me, but DH loved them.
    Finished decluttering two rooms upstairs. One is now an office, with my computer in it, and the other a pantry/sewing/craft room. But it is well organized.
    Went through the items in the pantry, and now am organized. Like with like so I know what I have. No need to buy pasta for quite awhile. Also I have quite a few canned artichoke hearts, which I love with pasta, on pizza or in salads. YUM!!
    Picked chives, green onions and lovage from the garden. That is all that is available right now.
    Went through more boxes of old paperwork. Sat at the shredder and shredded old stuff.
    Planted cauliflower, broccoli, red and yellow onions and chard in the garden. Still too cold for peppers and tomatoes. Usually around Memorial Day.
    Got shredded cheese at Safeway on the Friday $5 special. 2 pounds of Colby jack and 2 pounds of mozzarella for $5 each.
    Only had to do 2 loads of laundry this week. Not working, means I don’t change out of one set of clothes into another once or twice a day. Half of each load went on the clothesline, so only dried one load in the dryer. There are only two of us. We don’t wash things other than underclothing each time they have been worn, unless they are dirty.
    Made tacos, enchiladas and Spanish rice for Cinco de Mayo. Had leftovers quite a bit this week.
    Had popcorn for a snack.
    DH made steaks and shrimp on the BBQ for Mother’s day. YUM!
    Heard from both of my sons and one son’s girlfriend for MD.
    Took my Mom some clemantines, sugar free chocolates, a jar with three branches cut from a flowering tree in my front yard (which she dearly loves) and a couple of hand made dish cloths, in case the water from the jar spilled and a MD card. Dropped it off at her facility. I wasn’t able to see her, but know she loved it.
    Hope everyone has a fruitful week.`

  36. Brandy,
    I would love to hear how you survive and thrive in the Vegas heat. It is getting hotter where I live and I really struggle with the oppressive discomfort of the heat. I need an attitude adjustment!

    1. 1. Air conditioning. 2. Ceiling fans in every room. 3. Wear light clothing. I find that a dress with sandals is cooler than shorts for me. I choose lightweight fabrics. I also open the windows in the mornings when it is cooler than 79 degrees. That will work for a while, but we have had many years where it is much hotter (summers are usually 110-115 and they can get hotter) and then it doesn’t cool down enough to open the windows. Consequently, our electricity is highest in the summer. I like to make cold foods as well. Many people (in cooler areas) grill in summer but I’d rather be inside where it’s 79 than outside where it’s 113 at 6 p.m, so we will grill in spring and fall.

      Come summer, friends are always posting the temperatures that their cars are showing on Facebook (anything above 110 gets posted) and making jokes about wearing oven mitts to drive because you will burn your hands on the steering wheel! (my mom checked with a room thermometer and her car got up to 140 inside in summer).

      I go shopping for food as little as possible in summer and go in the early morning hours (when it’s 90! ha!) or at night after the sun goes down (when it’s 113). I remember coming out of the store years ago and getting into my car. It was 8 p.m. A very little girl was getting out of the car next to me and said to her father, “Daddy, it’s hot.” He replied, “It’s not hot. Just warm.” My car at the time showed the outside temperature. I turned the car on and it said it was 113. I giggled to myself at his response, teaching her to not complain.

      We also carry water with us everywhere; you cannot leave it in the car or it will be very hot when you return. We drink water all day long at home. I keep several jugs in the refrigerator and refill them up all day long. The water pipes here run through the rafters, and the water never turns cold even on the coldest setting–even if you let it run for 20 minutes, which would be very wasteful. Having cold water to drink makes it easier to drink all day.

  37. Several years ago, I grabbed a 50 ounce can of chicken instead of the 5 can pack I meant to buy. This week, I made barley chicken soup with chicken brother, carrots, frozen celery and French style beans, and an onion. So far we have had 5 meals for the 3 of us with more left. I’ll probably freeze some too for my husband’s work meals. He’s been working at home but may try going in to the church office one day this week. I was thrilled that the soup wored out well and made a hearty soup for supper! I’m hoping Costco will have a sale on canned chicken before winter.
    We went to our favoritek nursery for more plants this week. 2 trips to the nursery ate the only time I have been even outside the house in 2 months. I’ve been doing a lot of knitting to increase my supply of hats to donate to Native villages. It has made a small dent in my yarn stash. My daughter-in-law bought me 6 packs of zinnias and impatiens for my hanging baskets under the eaves of our house. I got more plants for that as well as marigolds to mix in with out garden beds in our front lawn. It’s 80 here today so we can soon plant. Fairbanks has long winters and short, hot summers.
    Blessings to all and thank you Brandy!

  38. The octopus pizza is a wonderful idea. It made me think that octopus pancakes might also be fun for children. They could stuff raisons in for eyes, etc.

    There are many, many ways to be frugal as all of the contributors to this blog are always showing me. This week my husband and I made a big decision to put some of our IRA’s and investments in much safer places. Since we are in our 60’s now, we both are feeling insecure about the economy. This is something we started doing a while back. We won’t make as much but just didn’t want the risk anymore.

    Once again, cooking all our meals at home. I made a large amount of chicken stock to freeze. We are keeping up with only grocery shopping twice a month. I am still watching free tv, reading books and made my first afghan. I taught myself to crochet a scalloped edge by watching YouTube.

    Yesterday for Mother’s Day, my husband and I went for a drive through farmland and up into the mountains. A beautiful sunny day for it and on the way home we stopped to buy a quart of ice cream. I hadn’t eaten any ice cream for a good two months. We gobbled up the entire quart when we got home!
    My daughter gave me a unique gift. It is this site where you write a book about your life. Every Monday thete is a new question to answer/write a story about. You can add photos, etc. At the end of the year they will send me a bound book (and one for my daughter, too, if I want). I thought it was a great
    idea.

    Thanks Brandy, for the congrats about the house. It will be closing soon – start to finish in only three weeks. I know that fewer homes are being sold in our area so, perhaps, the escrow people needed something to do. It did help, I think, that all the inspections and appraisal were done quickly without any issues.
    I feel happy to help our agent because she has had few sales lately and her husband is down to working half time.
    We have no furniture for the new place so we will probably order some online, sticking with inexpensive necessities. It isn’t like there are garage sales right now or, even. furniture stores open. It should be interesting. We do have kitchen supplies and our realtor is gifting us some stainless steel flatware.
    My cousin in England did so well in his recovery that he got to go home. He went above and beyond in his physical therapy. His wife sent me a sweet photo where they are hugging in the sunshine. A news station in the UK even did a short feature on him because his recovery from coronavirus was quite miraculous. Four different times they thought he would die. I know many stories are very sad right now and I feel for everyone.

    I guess that is all for now. Have a safe week everyone,!

    1. Why have I never thought to look up a scalloped crochet edge on YouTube?!?!

      I can never remember how to do it. Thank you. I always have to be reminded that there’s a tutorial for things I want to learn!

    2. When the kids were younger we always made faces on the pancakes. We have used blueberries, chocolate chips, strawberries, raspberries apples and bananas. Basically what fruit we had on hand. They loved playing with their food.

      1. We did this with fruits and vegetables, too – made silly faces and characters, Kids who help prepare vegetables are more likely to eat them.

  39. Congratulations to your son – how self-sufficient your children are and how well they have planned out their education – so impressive!

    I love the Octopus pizza – Happy birthday to Octavious!

    For the Harry Potter fans – if you go to the website of the British Library one of the exhibits they have opened up again – with lots of info – is the one from a couple of years back about Harry Potter and how J.K. Rowling came to create the series.

    Since we’ve still been getting snow flurries and cold winds here (even though the garden centres were allowed to open this past weekend) I made a pot of beef, mushroom & barley soup using up a lot of leftover gravy from the previous week’s pot of stew. I also made a meatloaf and roasted a lot of veggies that were getting a bit past their prime. I had smoothies twice, using up bits & pieces of fruit that I had popped into the freezer over the past few weeks.

    I went into work for a few hours last Thursday (wore a mask and gloves and saw no one else at the office). Had to drop off a document on the way home so took the opportunity to go into a grocery store that is a favourite but not in my neighbourhood so haven’t been there in 9 weeks! It’s fancier than my grocery store so there were cuts of meat that I haven’t been able to get (no limits) and I even bought a BBQ chicken! The rest of the deli – prepared food counter was shut down but it was just too tempting to pass on the chicken. I made a few meals and put the rest into the freezer. I was also able to cash in $40 worth of Loyalty Points so that helped a bit.

    On Saturday I had a virtual tea party with a group of women that I go to the theatre with (we also go out to fancy teas about 4 times per year). I made chicken salad and fancy egg salad sandwiches and baked a poppyseed loaf – I also opened a small bottle of “bubbly” and toasted all my friends. I need to update things before I can get Zoom to work but my friend has Webex through her office so I was able to get connected using that. We chatted for 2 hours!

    All the month’s bills have been paid except for VISA which will be paid this week (I’ve tried to stay ahead of the game with ordering more things online) so if I know that I’l be buying something and using my card I pay ahead.

    I did have an A/C window unit installed in the bedroom, (summer is supposed to arrive this weekend) – I was a bit nervous about having people in the apt. but they wore masks – we stayed well apart and they were done in 10 minutes. After they left I wiped down everything with Lysol and washed the floor. I did not have a unit installed in the living room this year but have bought another tower fan – saving about $250 overall. I’ll have 2 tower fans for the living area and if it gets really bad I can always turn on the bedroom A/C and read in there for a bit of relief.

    They have just extended our lockdown order until June 2 although they have opened a very limited number of things – including stores with curb side access where you just go and pick up items. But really, I need shoes but always have to try them on – and its the same with clothes so no point – I really think I’ll just muddle through with what I have for this summer.

    I’m finally back in reading mode – it has taken a while and even though I have cable and Netflix I’ve found myself watching old Hercule Poirot programs on Youtube. I love those gentle mysteries and love the clothing & furniture etc. from the Art Deco 1930’s so it was strangely soothing.

    Stay well and safe everyone.

  40. Gorgeous Flowers and the pizza is adorable.
    This week I mended 2 pairs of my husbands “outside work” pants, and 1 pair of pj pants. I also sewed a mask for my Mum.
    I made 2 mothers day cards from supplies on hand.
    I took apart a sweater that my daughter had damaged to use for future projects.
    I planted a final round of seeds as some did not germinate. I still managed about a 50 % germination rate on seeds that were 10 years old. I transplanted a few seedlings into bigger pots. I try to move them to the sunniest location throughout the day as they are still indoors….still too cold to plant.
    My MIL left out some clothing that she had wanted to donate. As we are still under state of emergency there is no where to donate presently. I picked up the boxes and I found 1 sweater for myself and listed the rest on my Buy Nothing Group. It was all picked up from my porch. I was able to obtain a free pair of pants for my husband from another member.
    My Mum had wanted some flowers but has been self isolating for 2 months due to medical concerns. I told her I would go to garden center to send her pictures through text and she could shop that way. I went early in the morning and picked up some hanging baskets for her and delivered to her front deck. I paid for 1 of the baskets for her mothers day gift and left her a homemade card.
    My children are both presently in different provinces going to University, they both have full time jobs working from home. We did a big family group Facetime on Mothers Day. They sent me a box of wonderful chocolates that were wrapped in beautiful pink tissue that I saved for an upcoming Flamingo themed party (hopefully in October) .
    We have been in isolation here for almost 2 months and I anticipate it will still be so for some time. I really appreciate coming to this website every week. Thanks to Brandy for all the work she does and all the readers who comment. Have a safe and happy week.

  41. Here in North Carolina our frost date is April 15. Today our temps are going down into the mid 30s so I have just brought my potted Meyer Lemon tree inside for the night and covered my cucumber seedlings and newly planted hydrangea. In the 20 years I’ve lived here I have never seen temps this low in May. On the bright side we have not had to use our A/C yet. Usually I am lucky to make it through April without turning it on.

    Today I harvested lettuce and a few small swiss chard leaves and washed them to have on hand for salads and sandwiches. I snipped chives and added them to the potato leek soup I had for lunch. It made the white soup look more appealing and also added a fresh taste.

    I had asked in comments recently for dehydrator recommendations. Many of you responded and I appreciate that. The Excalibur seemed to be a favorite so I have noted that for possible future needs. In the meantime I discovered that my countertop oven has a dehydrator feature. Although you can only do one tray at a time, I tried it out today with some rosemary from the garden. I often use my rosemary after chopping it finely. At times I would prefer it in a more powdered form. So after dehydrating the tray I put it through my coffee grinder and it is the perfect consistency. I sprinkled some on the roasted potatoes we had for dinner. Since dehydrating is new to me I am going to try it out this way and then if I find I need to do greater quantities, I will look into purchasing an Excalibur.

    My husband frequently makes large batches of buttermilk pancakes and freezes the leftovers in freezer bags. He was going to run to the grocery store yesterday for buttermilk and I said no way. Instead he made buttermilk by adding vinegar to milk and the pancakes were just as delicious as ever.

    I completed one Pinecone Research survey.

    Yesterday was both of my son’s birthdays as well as Mother’s Day. I was able to make a nice meal with things from the freezer and pantry. I found a recipe for a chicken and shrimp skillet rice and made a batch of brownies. We topped the brownies with vanilla ice cream and hot fudge sauce. Found a few birthday candles and napkins from past years and we had a simple celebration. The food was well received by all. Because I hadn’t bought them birthday cards before the lockdown, my grandson and I made birthday cards for them and he made a Mother’s Day card for his mommy.

    An ad showed up on my Facebook feed from a store I once bought clothes from. I had forgotten all about the store, but remembered I did like their clothes so I peeked around. I followed their IG page as I enjoyed seeing some of the styling techniques they share. A few days later an ad popped up featuring a doorbuster sale. I purchased 3 shirts and one necklace for $60.

    We have been taking walks for exercise around our neighborhood. Last week I used the Plant Snap app while walking through the woods. It was so interesting to learn about the many different trees, vines and shrubs that we normally don’t pay that much attention to. Some of them will be flowering soon so I look forward to keeping up with how they change as the seasons progress.

    I finally broke down and ordered a root touch up kit. I applied that to my hair. It turned out a bit darker than I wanted so now instead of white roots it looks like I have black roots in my brown hair. Ha! Oh well, things could be a lot worse.

    Other than that we continue to work from home and go out only for an occasional grocery store trip wearing masks and sanitizing everything upon returning home.

    1. In the summer, my mom would dry the fresh herbs my dad grew by putting them on cookie sheets and putting them in the windshield of the car. She would make sure the car was in a sunny spot. It always worked great.

  42. I love that pizza! We didn’t have huge savings this week, just lots of little things:
    -Used baby greens in a salad
    -Made and actually used my meal plan all week
    -Accepted a bag of snacks from a co-worker of my husband’s (little snack sized packs of crackers which I never buy)
    -Repaired and painted some items in the yard with parts and paint that I already had
    -Started squash, okra and flower seeds from packages of seeds I’d been given last fall
    -Accepted some iris bulbs and geranium cuttings from a co-worker
    -Received a bag of clothing for our granddaughter, and a friend made her several beautiful little summer dresses. A photo of them is on my blog at http://thebudgetinggranny.com/saving-and-goals-journal-3/
    Hope everyone has a good week!

  43. Hello All-
    I love the octopus pizaa., so clever!
    A question for y’all.
    I recently purchased 5 gallon buckets with gamma lids. For storage of flour and pasts, do you store in original packaging or seal in vacuum bags?
    Thank you.

    1. Sue,

      I really don’t know the answer for you and your climate as how to best store. The internet abounds with answers and that’s where I look. For us, everything is sealed in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers inside the buckets as we deal with rodents and are down to only 3 of us.

      Trish

      1. We run HVAC metal tape – think aluminum duct tape – around the lid edges of the buckets that the rodents appear attracted to. That discourages their chewing.

  44. Good luck to your eldest son in college! I’m sure he’ll do well. And I loooove that octopus pizza! I’ve noted it away in my memory bank to do sometime with my daughter.
    My frugal week:
    – I made Shortcut Nutella-Stuffed Beignets (http://approachingfood.com/shortcut-nutella-stuffed-beignets/), covered in cinnamon sugar and drizzled with more Nutella. They’re similar to a pastry sold at Tim Horton’s (a Canadian coffee chain), but obviously way more frugal to make at home, especially since I used all pantry ingredients that I already had (also easy to make, because I used pizza dough as a base).
    – I baked Hawaiian calzones for lunches for the week, as well as baking a batch of banana muffins, and a batch of carrot muffins filled with homemade blood orange marmalade (http://approachingfood.com/healthy-carrot-muffins-with-blood-orange-marmalade-filling/).
    – I baked a ham, had 3 ham dinners for my husband from that, along with several lunches for my daughter, then made mac and cheese and added in ham for my husband and daughter, and froze the remaining ham bits to make more calzones next week.
    – I made meals this week that I could easily throw together after work while taking care of my daughter: quesadillas with sliced veggies drizzled with the last of my balsamic vinegar, breakfast burritos with side salad and homemade dressing, several ham dinners using a ham I had already cooked, and potatoes cooked in the microwave, served with salads.
    – I sewed some holes in socks, glued an earring back together as well as gluing my iced tea pitcher back together after it broke, and am re-growing some green onions in water.
    – I made several pitchers of iced tea using tea gifted to me.
    – I gifted our child care provider with some high-end Pumpkin Spice Tea (in a reused jar) that I received from a client at work.
    – My sister gifted me some flour as a mother’s day gift! My family knows me well!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone as always!

  45. Brandy hi! I wanted to ask you, if you have too many watering lines on the one water faucet, does this mean there is less water going to the plants?

    1. If there are too many, you can have less pressure, but usually only if they’re too long. I tested that by removing about 1/3 of the lines and it made absolutely no difference. I ended up cutting the end of the main line off and no water came through; it should have shot through like a hose on full blast. Nothing but a drop! Our water is very high in salt and the small lines can get clogged with it over years at the emitters and then no water will come out of those emitters. I was very shocked to see where the main line was clogged, but I could see where the water was coming and where it was not, even after I cut the end off. I found the spot where it was clogged, cut it off, and attached a new main line. Then I plugged in new smaller lines with drip emitters and a few older ones that were not too old and still worked well.

      I do have multiple stations as you don’t want the whole garden on the same lines. There is a valve for each station.

  46. I ordered some sweet pea seeds last fall from a local grower. She made a mistake in my order so she then gave me a free parcel of Nigella damascens, an old-fashioned annual flower and extra sweet pea seeds. Then as a freebie, the nursery where I ordered the vegetable seed from included two free packages of sweet pea seeds so I will be planting lots of sweet peas, and giving some seed away. I am also planting nasturtiums and mimulus. My gardener (who I only get twice or so for the season but give lots of referral business to) planted my garden plot at the community. She grew beautiful strawberry plants that have already set their first strawberries. I am planting them in hanging baskets. I tried the ultra filtered milk that somebody here — it is really good. It was a great suggestion as it lasts unopened in the fridge for 2 or 3 months. It is still a bit too cold to plant bean seeds. It felt like snow here. As soon as my cabbage and turnip seeds arrive, I’ll plant them in the yard. Last night, I heard a Great Horned Owl. Ann

    1. Hi Ann – you don’t need to store the UHT milk in the fridge until it is opened – it is shelf stable so doesn’t need to take up room in the fridge.
      Your gardening sounds as though it is really coming along – good luck with it all.

      1. Hi Becky,

        That is impressive to hatch chicks from store bought eggs — especially considering most of the eggs aren’t fertilized!

      2. Hi Margie,

        That’s what I thought but the Co-op said I had to and it’s labelled “keep refrigerated”. The bottles aren’t huge so I have room for them in the fridge.

        1. Ann – I’m not sure we are talking about the same thing. What I know as UHT (extended Shelf Life) milk (and what they use in Europe) is in a tetra pack and you find it on the shelf next to Soy Milk/Almond Milk/Evaporated milk etc. I know there is some milk called “long life” that comes in bottles and is refrigerated but this is different.
          Some of the UHT milk I have at the moment is good to the end of this December – they last for months and you only refrigerate after opening.
          The brand I buy is Grand Pre and it is a blue & white sealed tetra pack container and has the Dairy Farmers of Canada seal.
          Hope that helps.

          1. Hi Margie (from Toronto),

            I realized after I wrote this that we are talking about two different kinds of milk. Mine is not UHT (ultra high temperature) milk but UHF ultrahigh filtered milk. If it’s refrigerated it last for about 3-4 months. It has no lactose, fewer sugars or carbohydrates, more calcium and more protein than other milk and more protein. I haven’t seen any UHT milk in our stores (but then again I haven’t been in a store since January). I think someone here previously suggested I get UHT milk but I didn’t find it but happened upon the uhf milk instead. Thanks for your reply!

    2. Like Margie, I was thinking your garden plans sound well in the works. All your favorite things, I imagine. The only thing I am planning to plant other than the container of herbs I grow every year, are turnips, since I couldn’t find them anywhere last year — not at the stores or the farmer’s market. They seem to favour rutabaga instead. I am glad to see you growing turnips as well. I love to roast them.

      1. Hi Elizabeth,

        My gardening has mostly been done by my gardener. My eyeglasses broke, can’t see enough to walk to the plot. My other seeds came today — I will be planting them at home. The turnips I’m going to try are Hakurei which in the photos look like big white radishes. They are supposed to mture in 38 days from planting and are supposed to be sweet. Ann

  47. So far my husband has been able to keep working, and a client paid him a small amount of a larger amount owing. This is a blessing.

    We reworked our budget last week. We are huge fans of YNAB, and instead of just going and topping up with all the usual amounts we allocate to each category, we only allocated what was absolutely necessary and allocated all the rest to our emergency fund.

    I worked several meatless meals and soups into our menu last week. For our salad I made a delicious dressing using fresh lemon juice from our own lemons, olive oil, and fresh herbs from the garden. We snacked on oranges purchased cheaply in bulk.

    My husband gifted me a tray of assorted seasonal vegetable seedlings for Mother’s Day. These have been planted with loads of compost that we make ourselves into our grow tunnel. The seedlings are a new business start-up by a woman who cannot run her events management business under lockdown for the foreseeable future. They are healthy and extremely good value for money, and home delivery is included in the cost. I contacted her today to order more. It’s more expensive than seeds, but we’ll have food sooner than if I plant from seed. It also feels good to support someone being creative to meet her needs during this unprecedented time of uncertainty. I am going to plant another garden on the pavement verge outside our property. This is a large space, about 1,5m x 12m, and protected from frost. We will harvest from it but I also want others, from our neighbors to the homeless people who live in a nearby park, to be able to come help themselves to fresh, healthy, free food.

    In addition to the seedlings, I planted seeds for leaf lettuce, Swiss chard, cabbages, salad onions, baby spinach, curly kale, and a few green beans. We also harvested lemons, grapefruit, herbs, and green salad onions.

    The dogs chewed our hose pipe (I don’t have an irrigation system). Instead of replacing it, the children and I have enjoyed some extra exercise watering with watering cans! This swill save on the water bill too.

    I’ve been hanging our bath towels outside in the direct sun every day. This freshens them up and has drastically reduced the amount of times I have to launder them/replace with fresh towels. This saves water, detergent, and electricity.

    I continue to leave the children’s bath water in the tub instead of letting it go down the drain, and use this to flush the toilet.

    I used sales last week to buy some socks, slippers, and baby onesies.

    For Mother’s Day lunch, I took a ham from the freezer rather than buying something nice to cook, as I would normally do. It was a large ham and we’ve eaten lunch with it yesterday and today too.

    Winter has arrived in Johannesburg. Our evening temperatures are dropping to around 3 deg Celsius (I think this is about 37 deg F), but we have resisted using heating! We’ve added layers to our bodies, blankets to our beds, and one daughter has used a hot water bottle.

    I finished a knitted jacket for our little boy. I will probably take a break from family knitting for a while and work on some scarves for a service project my daughter, sister and I hope to do in July. I didn’t get any more sewing done, but did bottle some fig jam using figs I purchased cheaply. I also got plums and am hoping to make jam with those tomorrow.

    Tonight I am cooking up a HUGE pot of spaghetti sauce (we call it bolognese sauce). I’ve had a large pot of lentils cooking in my Wonderbag all day, and have 1kg each of carrots and zucchini to shred and add, together with onions, tomatoes, bullion, etc. Stretching the meat like this, I make a HUGE quantity of sauce that I then divide into meal size portions and freeze, and I can feed my family 10 spaghetti meals using just 2kg (4 pounds) of ground beef. The funny thing is, when they eat sauce that other people have made without all the extra lentils and veggies to stretch the ground beef, they don’t like it!

    Wishing everyone a good week ahead! Keep looking for ways to keep your heads above water – every little bit really does add up!

  48. So much is going on, I cannot remember if I commented about my Uncle’s funeral over Zoom, the tragic death of my son’s 32 year old friend, and just the first just dealing with the virus in general. I am still working and everyone who enters the Courthouse now has to wear a mask, thank goodness. We are doing virtual hearings as much as possible. I ordered beans and oats for my daughter and sent it to her, and I discovered my son was low on food, the son who was laid off from his job, so I sent him tuna and rice. I am so grateful for the internet and being able to order stuff on line. The good news is that my son was called back to work part time! So grateful! Another son graduated from college with honors ( of course graduation ceremony is delayed until August but he said he was not gonna bother…lol. My boys are laid back and just don’t care about ceremonies), and another son is still working, thank goodness. In this turbulent time I am grateful for food, electricity, shelter and being able to help family members out.

  49. Mable Daughter 1 makes a cabbage salad that is Asian style of peanut dressing and Asian veggies with the cabbage. I make slaw with Italian dressing or creamy dressing. Daughter 4 uses cabbage leaves on sandwiches or tacos instead of lettuce.

  50. Brandy thank you for being here for all of us. You help far more than you know.
    I had to order several things in the past week. We always wait 3 days, look to see if we can make something we already had do. Anything that comes from Amazon it ordered through Brandy’s site.

    It is FREEZING HERE IN OHIO in the mornings. Still am to get another one tomorrow morning and then look at being close to 80 within a week.

    I decluttered the first floor… found over $20 in change laying around. In to the kitty it went.

    I decluttered the freezer room in the basement, found 4 cases of mixed size jars. Washed them up and stored them with the jars.

    Laundry is done on quick cycle and dried on the clothes line or drying rack.

    My granddaughter graduates this week (they are doing 1 senior at a time to walk across the stage, her parents are the only one’s allowed no siblings.) She got 3 yrs grant at the college she has been taking classes from for the past 3 yrs.
    My grandson that is graduating said his school wasn’t planning much of anything. He is going to ship out to basic in the Army in late June. He wants to follow Son 2’s foot steps as he is the only one that has did well.

    I sorted out my seeds, will divide them by how many years I can use them to plant. With the weather like it is , I didn’t get any peas or snow peas. I did get asparagus out my ears until the neighbor offered to take it over as her’s didn’t do well. We gave a couple meals to another of her family members.

    I got enough rhubarb for 2 meals,,,, I have 18 small patches This cold has hit everything hard.

    I love reading everyone’s comments.

    Blessed Be
    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2020/05/can-anything-else-need-replaced-or-fixed.html

    1. You must have a very large asparagus patch! How wonderful! We love asparagus but I don’t have enough room for all that we can eat.

      Thank you so much for using my affiliate link!

      1. Brandy. The Amish couple that lived here planted asparagus. 5 ft by 80 ft. …We changed the house to “Englisher” and installed electric, propane and plunbling. Next spring we will be splitting the crowns .

  51. Yellow roses are my favorite, Brandy!
    Thanks for sharing the photo.

    Congratulations to your son as he heads off to college. I am sure he will do well!

    We had a frugal week last week and our twins turned 15 years old. I love your octopus pizza – my twins thought it was pretty neat too. We did not have pizza for our birthday – we purchased chicken from one of our favorite local restaurants. Hopefully that will help them too. Our children had a fun birthday and even extended a bit as a few friends came by and dropped off gifts (social distancing, of course) and a friend mailed a box of homemade “rice krispy” treats (a favorite of our daughters). It was a lot of fun! We had been hoping for a bonfire that night, but we’re under burning restrictions right now, so that will have to wait.

    Other frugal things included continuing to clean out and lots of yard work. I picked my first bouquet of flowers for the year – dwarf iris in two different colors. It was a small bouquet but that’s fine. It was a lovely treat! You can read more about my frugal “exploits” here:
    http://lea-intherefinersfire.blogspot.com/2020/05/frugal-friday-week-of-may-3-2020.html

    We will be harvesting lettuce and rhubarb this week. I am SO excited!
    Have a wonderful week everyone,
    Lea

  52. Hi Brandy and everyone! I’m from Solihull in the UK. I’ve read this blog for years but have very rarely commented in the past, I’ve decided given the lockdown to start sharing my frugal accomplishments as I find all of your comments so inspiring and helpful!

    My frugal accomplishments for the past week –

    – Celebrated VE Day at home with a socially distant street party with our neighbours
    – Given 4 cupcakes, 2 scones, a Banana and honey cake and half a fruit loaf from a neighbour
    – Planted seeds for tomatoes, spring onions and lettuce
    – Gifted pak choi, cabbage and lettuce seedlings from a friend
    – Cooked from scratch for dinner, meals included nachos, tuna pasta bake, pasticio, butter chicken and stuffed portobello mushrooms. Took leftovers into work when my husband and I have worked late shifts
    – Made rocky road ice cream using up the last of a pot of double cream, some mini marshmallows I’ve had forever and some elderflower fudge pieces I bought from Aldi last year for 9p a packet! It’s absolutely delicious
    – Sent several birthday cards from my stash
    – Free exercise jogging every other day
    – Reading my library books taken out before lockdown
    – It’s been glorious weather here up until this week when it’s got a bit chilly especially on a night time. Avoided the temptation to put the heating on and instead used a blanket and hot water bottle in bed
    – Had a virtual book club meeting on zoom with my book club friends! Last month was The Power by Naomi Alderman and this month is Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
    – Gifted some cooking apples from a neighbour which I’ll use to make a Dorset Apple cake using this recipe

    https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/dorset-apple-cake

    Looking forward to reading everyone’s comments!

      1. Thank you Anne! It was a really big day here in the UK with most people celebrating in one way or another. Lots of street parties and the BBC dedicated the whole day to coverage of it including broadcasting Winston Churchill’s speech to declare victory. The Queen also gave an address to the nation sharing her memories of VE Day. Amazingly she and her sister Princess Margaret apparently went out onto the streets of London mixing with the common folk celebrating and weren’t recognised! Was a really special day and quite right we honoured those who made it possible. Will be doing the same for VJ Day too!

    1. It’s wonderful that you celebrated V-E Day. My parents apparently celebrated the first one a bit differently…I was born 9 months and 9 days later! 😉

    2. Hi Lucy
      I live in Dorset so Dorset apple cake is a favourite here. The VE Day celebrations were special weren’t they, also the tremendous fundraising by Captain Tom. Stay safe.

  53. 1 lb of butter was $3.69 (cnd) at Shopper’s Drug Mart this week in my area. Normally I would get 6-12 at this price, but with covid limits I bought 2. I made my favourite peanut butter granola bars. Accepted 3 little baggies of poppy seeds from a friend this morning and now looking forward to planting.

  54. To be honest it doesn’t feel like I am doing much to save or spend.
    I am doing all of the things I usually do.
    I open the house in the morning and close it up when it gets too warm.
    I keep the curtains closed on the east side of the house in the morning and close the west-side curtains when the sun gets to that side of the house. This helps more than you can believe for keeping the house cooler longer in the day.
    My cable company is giving us a discount of 30 dollars. I may have mentioned it last week.
    We have lost 3 fruit trees this year. I decided not to replace them for a while.
    My daughter, Lyric, has gifted me with some hand sanitizer. I still can’t get any where I live. So many things are unavailable still. I haven’t found any yeast yet.
    I fear this may be our new normal for a good while yet.
    God keep us all safe.
    Thank you Brandy.

  55. My kids think your pizza is Amazing! I propagated geranium clippings in March and this week I got to put them in pots, i got 24 total! We also started your homeschool program for the kindergartener. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Tell me about your geraniums! Were they simple to propagate? What a fantastic success you had!

      Enjoy having kindergarten at home!

  56. It has been unusually cold here in Toronto for this time of year. Although the provincial govt. said the garden centres were opening up it’s really only doing online and pick up like they have been doing for the past several weeks. However the local grocers have garden centres that are open. Most don’t have annuals yet do to the freezing temps but I was told today the veggie starts, herbs and annuals should arrive by Friday. The seed I have planted doesn’t seem to want to germinate; I’m hoping it’s just the cold weather. I’m picking a bit of asparagus as it comes in and storing it until I have enough for a meal.
    I have finally found a bread recipe that I like and have made several loaves. One batch I made into cinnamon swirl bread. I used some mushy bananas to make peanut butter/banana dog treats. I just couldn’t face another banana loaf so this was an easy solution. I’ve given out lots to neighbouring dog owners and my dog and grand-dog love them.
    We re-arranged the furniture in the master bedroom and it’s made a big difference. The room looks a lot bigger now. Plus I can open the windows on my side of the bed wide at night and my DH doesn’t complain about being too cold.
    I’m managing to only do laundry once every two weeks but I do like the launder the towels every week and did dry them outdoors this week.
    My BIL passed away a week ago. He had been ill for several months and really didn’t have any quality of life. The really hard part is that none of his family could be with him and of course, there’s no funeral or visiting the family to help grieve. When we can all get together again, there’s going to be a huge celebration as he loved them.
    We’ve managed to get a grocery “click and collect” time slot a couple of times. Although it’s not my favourite thing we did do some shopping with it. Two of my kids add stuff to the list and when they get spots, I add to theirs as well.
    I had to go and get some bloodwork done today. I was not looking forward to the event but wore my home made mask and was pleasantly surprised to find no one at the office. In and out again in under 10 minutes. Lots of protocols in place to keep everyone safe.
    Did most of the cooking at home including chicken fingers, sloppy joes, lasagna rolls, red lentil soup, sausage/cabbage/potato bake and a roasted veggie/goat cheese/filo tart. For Mothers Day we had BBQ takeout ribs from a local place. My kids gave me different types of flowers and since they hadn’t managed to get appropriate cards, the cards were birthday cars repurposed. Quite funny.
    I hope your young son adjusts to being away from home easily. He will find it very different from being with all his siblings especially if he’s in a single room. Does he have to do any 14 day isolation? And hope your Daughter is adjusting to being married. Sometime, can you explain what is different about the Temple ceremony? I’m always fascinated by different marriage ceremonies and all the events within them.
    Take care everyone.

    1. Patsy,

      He is moving to a state that is reopened. He’ll have to get food and some household supplies, but otherwise, I imagine he’ll mostly be at home attending classes online and studying, as he is taking such a huge course load right now.

      He needs the quiet in order to study and attend class; not sharing a room is going to be a great help to him at this time. A big family makes a lot of noise!

      Here is a little about the purpose of the temple: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/families-and-temples/what-is-the-purpose-of-the-temple?lang=eng

      Here is a simple definition for the temple sealing: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/families-and-temples/what-is-the-temple-sealing?lang=eng

      The bride and groom both dress in white and kneel across the altar from one another. You can see an altar here on the Paris France temple if you scroll down to the photo of the sealing room: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/church/news/see-inside-the-new-paris-france-temple?lang=eng

      The ceremony itself is simple and short. The officiant generally gives their own personal marriage wisdom for a few minutes and then the couple makes their promises to God and to one another over the altar.

      1. Thanks for the pamphlets and information. So, will it be only immediate family that attends the ceremony? And I see there is a Bride’s room…Will Winter use that room or is it only for those that haven’t yet had a civil ceremony?
        I’m not sure I totally understand the whole “sealing” concept.And I do have other questions about it. But will save them for another time/person so I don’t offend.

        1. It depends on the couple. It can be family only, aunts and uncles if one wishes, close friends, etc. It is only adults.

          Yes, Winter can use the bride’s room when she is sealed:) It is a place to check how you look before you are sealed and again after the ceremony before you exit the temple for photos.

          I don’t mind you asking at all! Feel free to email me if you prefer!

      2. Brandy,
        thank you for providing the link to the Paris Temple! What a beautiful building! And the oxen under the Baptistry made me smile. What a beautiful tour,!

      3. That was so interesting and the photos are beautiful.
        I know that there is an LDS store not far from where I live but I didn’t remember ever seeing a temple so I checked. Apparently there is one in Brampton – that’s a commuter community just a bit west of the city proper – I think it was only the second one ever built outside of the US.

        1. Tammy
          I think strawberry plants can be propagated by the runners. They need a lot of nitrogen in the spring. Is there any sign of life? Sorry to hear about your tomato and pepper plants. My tomato plants are being delivered either this weekend or next — I’ll probably have to bring them in as the temperature is
          too cool at night still.

          cheers
          Ann

          1. HI Ann,
            Thanks for writing. There was no sign of life so we got some different roots after all. These look so much better and there is some green coming up. Tomatoes are the best. Enjoy them!
            Tammy

        2. There is a very old temple at Cardston in Alberta — it was the first temple built in Canada, the first built outside of the US. The LDS community there goes back to 1887. Construction started in 1913 and lasted until 1923 (delayed in part by WW I). Today there are several stakes in Alberta.

  57. That octopizza is fantastic-what fun! The past week didn’t have any special frugal savings except that we are going to be able to pay off a credit card earlier than anticipated. We will then apply that payment to another card balance, what Dave Ramsey calls the snowball effect I think. Slowly but surely we are paying off our debt! This weekend it will be warm enough to finally plant our garden, We are expanding and adding lettuce and green beans this year along with our usual tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and zucchini. I had some positive work news-our hospital system started to reopen certain services which means I was able to call people back into work at some of the offices I manage. It’s nice because it feels a bit more “normal”. As always, I look forward to Brandy’s blog & all the posts every week. This is such a helpful, positive, kind group, I feel like I know so many of you & eagerly await your frugal accomplishments! Have a great week!

  58. So are the trees sad??? That made my day! Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were grilled chicken sandwiches, lemon garlic chicken thighs with roasted red potatoes and asparagus, pulled pork bbq sandwiches with chips, pot roast with potatoes and green beans, frozen pizza, garlic shrimp with green beans and baked potatoes, corn dogs and cheese fries.
    *Helped a friend figure out how to make a spreadsheet that would work for her.
    *My husband borrowed our neighbor’s tractor and bush hog and cut an overgrown area of our land. He also cut our neighbor’s land as well.
    *Received 3 free cards of encouragement from Hallmark and mailed one off to our worship leader who has been working so hard at our drive-in church services.
    *Printed a free Mother’s Day card for my mom.
    *Received a rose bush from my daughter and SIL for Mother’s Day. My kids know I like flowers that I can plant and continue to enjoy. ?
    *Made my son homemade granola bars when he came home to visit.
    *Took part in a Facebook Messenger video call with friends and a zoom meeting for women’s ministry.
    *Went over our budget to make sure we were sticking to it. This will be important since my husband lost his job and we are launching a small business.
    *Paid bills online to save checks and stamps.
    *We haven’t used heat or AC in several weeks. Our electric bill was lower than last year’s at this time.
    *Colored my roots using 1/2 a box of dye.
    *Bought my step-mom 2 carnation plants for $2.99 each plus 10% off for Mother’s Day. I put them in a basket I already had and tied a ribbon on it that I already had. I also made a bouquet using silk flowers I already had and put them on my mom’s grave.
    *Shipped my son’s rental textbooks back to Chegg and returned a shirt I had ordered for his birthday that was too large.
    *Bought summer sausage and corn dogs at the Amish store on sale with an additional 10% off.

  59. Hope everyone is happy, healthy, and had a great, frugal week!
    I listed and sold a few things on Facebook marketplace and Mercari. Every little bit helps!
    I used the GasBuddy website to find cheaper gas, since I was driving by several stations, anyway.
    My aunt let the kids swim at her pool, and offered all of us popsicles after swimming.
    I mixed oyster crackers with the goldfish crackers, to stretch the snack with something a little cheaper.
    I made room in the freezer for frozen blueberries, which I hope to find on sale for a good price and freeze.
    I made cornbread with bacon grease instead of butter or oil.
    I made a French toast casserole with miscellaneous bread pieces.
    We miss the library, but they are about to partially re-open with curbside pickup.
    I also miss garage sales and thrift stores, but those are wants, not needs.
    I took the kids to a park that was open in a different area. We took a picnic and had the place to ourselves.
    I wanted to take them to the arboretum, but parking is free on Thursdays, so we will wait and go on a Thursday with nice weather.

  60. FRUGAL
    * Harvested artichokes, chives, rosemary, oregano and a handful of berries (goji berries, blackberries, strawberries) from the yard.
    * Planted out a bunch of seedlings: orangeglo watermelon, sugar baby watermelon, pigeon pea and choggia beets. I don’t know how the beets will do in the heat but I’m doing lots of experimenting this year. We’ll just see what works with the weather, our climate and microclimates in the yard.
    * Made teepees for scarlet runner beans from last year’s fig prunings and jute twine. I’m using the front yard for growing annuals for the first time in years. It has a big shade tree on the parking strip but parts of it seem to get more sun than our backyard and in the spirit of the times I’m trying to use all available resources.
    * We can’t get chickens in our county right now but we got an incubator and I was able to hatch some grocery store eggs. We’ve had chickens before but this was our first time doing a hatch.
    * BUY NOTHING GROUP: Received a bag of adorable T-shirts in my daughter’s size, two bale-wire bottles and several plastic pots for plants. The group also tipped me off to an aquarium that had been abandoned by the dumpster at the park; I picked it up and it’s holding our baby chicks right now.
    * Canceled our Starz subscription now that Outlander is over for the season.
    * Our area having a “red tide” that results in blue bioluminescent waves at night; we drove down there one night in our minivan to take a look. It was our first “outing” in ages. We stayed in the car away from other people. The kids were impressed and hopefully we made a memory, with no cash outlay other than gasoline.
    * Planted ginger last year in a shady part of the garden — I thought I’d harvested it all but I found a few rhizomes recently and turned them into ginger ale, but now I’m seeing other new shoots, so I will leave them to grow.

    1. I’m amazed you actually hatched grocery store eggs! That’s impressive. I really didn’t think they would hatch after all they go through to get to the store.

    2. Hi Becky,

      That is impressive to hatch chicks from store bought eggs — especially considering most of the eggs aren’t fertilized!

  61. I loved your 4 -year olds comment about the sad trees! How adorable! I have been busy tutoring my grandson and getting ready to teach him this year. I am looking forward to it and feel so happy that my son and daughter-in-law asked me to homeschool him. I’m having fun looking at curriculum and reading about homeschooling.
    Our Asparagus has been growing. Although it has been cold here. Our tomato plants and pepper plants froze. Luckily, I had planted some by seed and those are fine. Just not as big as the other plants were that we had already put in the ground. Our strawberry plants are not doing anything so we are going to plant some better roots. I think the first set we bought are dead, I just don’t know.
    I have been doing the usual turning off lights. Washing full loads of dishes or laundry.

  62. Brandy,
    I loved the birthday pizza. That was so creative of you.
    Congrats to your son-he is very ambitious.
    I has a few frugal wins this week. My adult son needed a bigger pot for a clematis vine he has growing on his deck. None of our stores are open in our area so my husband made a planter from re-claimed wood he had.
    Since no stores are open and I don’t shop on-line, my wardrobe is suffering. I made over two of my tops. They now have a new look and will re-fresh my spring/summer wardrobe a bit.
    Our parks are closed so my daughter has been bringing over my 7 yr old grandson and we all play pickle ball in our drive-way using a chalk line for the net. It gives him some outdoor time and gives us a bit of exercise in a safe, social distancing way.
    We had a few days of nice, warm weather so I line-dried my laundry but the rain is back now.
    Good to read everyone’s comments- it helps keep me going in these difficult days.

  63. Brandy,
    I saw the Paris, France temple — how beautiful! And I loved your octopus.
    I haven’t done anything to save money but I am only buying food and paying for utilities. Unfortunately, the arm of my eyeglasses fell off in my hands — it is not a simple case of putting the screw back in. Tape doesn’t hold it together. I’ve emailed the place where I bought them online in Montreal –Bon Look — and hopefully something can be done. It is beyond the warranty. It was my two hour slot to garden today but I didn’t go. I can’t see well enough to avoid hazards when walking on unfamiliar terrain. My allergies are wicked but I did manage to cut off some of the dead peony stalks. The peonies are all coming up. They are all Itoh peonies and I think this is their 3rd year (or 4th?) so there should be some prolific bloomers this summer. Each plant will ultimately have up to 80 blooms each. I’m wondering if that will happen this year? I found an old wooden box without the bottom but deep — I am eyeing it — it must have some use! A miniature garden planter!

    I am trying to figure out how to get my outdoors tap turned on since it is high to the ceiling. It is a lever and I am hoping to be able to push it with my walking pole. I am prohibited from climbing on a ladder.

    As I write this it is just dusk but I can see a little warbler going from tree to tree catching insects. I wish they had come during daylight. I hope they come back tomorrow. It was a beautiful day here today. My tanager photos turned out well but the best are trapped on a card for which I can’t find the card reader.

    I haven’t done any planting yet — my gardener has done it all but tomorrow I’m going to cut up the sprouted organic potatoes then let them dry for a day and then plant them in the yard in my big pots. My gardener is doing well selling worm castings.

    It is hard to believe that the hummingbirds will be back any day now. It is a bit too cool for them.

    So much of my lifestyle is free of cost. I do wissh I’d had a chance to go to Winners to buy spring clothes but I’ll survive! Ann
    I’m hopig that the balance of my seeds will come soon.

    1. Ann,
      I’ve had success with Zenni for glasses. I think it is zennioptical.com. They are inexpensive compared to many other options and I actually see better in my glasses than expensive ones that I have bought with the same prescription.
      Tammy

      1. Hi Tammy,

        Thanks. I do know people who have used Zenni but Bon Look is also about half the price as glasses at a chain eyeglass store. I was very pleased with the eyeglasses and want to get the same style. Also I’ve had bad luck when companies use other brands of lenses — Bon Look uses essilor lenses and that is one kind that works for me. Also Bon Look has my prescription which I think would be hard to get from my ophthalmologist as I think his office is closed and it’s not computerized. In certain provinces such as Quebec it is illegal for an eyeglass company to fill a prescription for multi-focals without the patient/customer first having been seen by an optician or optomotrist. well I’m beyond the warranty period so we’ll see what happens. Congrats on our asparagus crop.

    1. You can keep it in water until it roots and then move it into the garden, or just plant it in the garden and keep it wet. Mine did not take this time (celery is really a cool-season vegetable, and it’s been 100 here) but I have success in the past in the fall. You’re mostly going to get leaves from it, but I don’t mine that. I have never had celery seeds germinate, though I have tried and checked germination temperatures when planting.

  64. I teach at a community college in Texas. Our tuition is 64$ per hour. That is before the school tacks on all the fees or you add in the cost for books, I am helping my goddaughter finish her degree at a state university in Texas. I paid 2400$ for 6 hours in the fall of 2020. The university tacks on all kinds of fees like parking fee (she is an online student), student health fee (she already has health insurance), athletic fee, etc. If BYU Idaho charges 30$ her semester hour then that is a deal. I would be curious to learn what other fees they tack on. In Texas all state university students pay these fees even if they do not use the service. However most residential universities & college have a student health clinic with a doctor , PA, or NP that the students can use. If your son does not have health insurance & he paid a health service fee then I think he could be seen if he got sick. (I did this when I was a school in Texas when I got sick. It was free & covered by the student health fee.) I wondered what your son was majoring in. Of course for the 1st 2 years there are plenty of core classes to take before you get to your major at a college of university.

    1. Most students don’t have a car there. They are required to have health insurance and can purchase it through the school (I can’t remember the exact amount but it is around $535 a semester). There is a charge to visit the doctor as well (like $10). My eldest received a university scholarship that covered the health insurance cost for her first two semesters. I know the school gym doesn’t charge her to go there but she said she is required to wear a university t-shirt (so she bought one) while she is in the gym and black stretch pants, which she just bought at Walmart. There are some free classes that you can take there as well (not for credit; just for personal exercise/enrichment). Tuition, books, and health insurance were it for my eldest, and she rented some books off-campus from a place nearby for less than buying them. She also has had a job at the university as a janitor.

  65. Thank you Brandy for the work it takes to make this blog that we all enjoy so much! What a sweet birthday.

    I realized that we bought absolutely nothing different or extra during this couple of months: I was happy about that. We’ve spent so little money because almost everything we ate was from our storage or free from donations the charity we volunteer for couldn’t use. Nowhere to go , so very little gas used. I have many containers of perfectly good items that people in my neighborhood put in bulk trash, but I haven’t been able to donate them and having them hanging around is annoying me. Fortunately, I think the thrift stores will be opening this coming week and we can get rid of them!

    I made $22 selling dragon fruit cuttings and Piper lolot plants. The garden is going well; we have the first Poona kheera cucumber and the beans are beginning to flower. We found 2 wooden trellis towers someone was throwing away and will anchor them with rebar so that yam vines can climb them.
    When the parks open up, we’ll be able to get some more mulch for the cassava, pigeon peas , and moringas.

    We haven’t been going anywhere, so there’s very little laundry to do and we always hang everything. But Saturday we’ll be going to our favorite restaurant where we always sit out side, and also we’ll visit friends we haven’t seen in months. I’ve missed both activities. The weather here is lovely, which is nice considering we had some very hot days that made us worried the nice weather was over. Tomorrow we’re supposed to have rain and that’s good because we need it!

    Happy weekend to all.

  66. I have not written in weeks as spring has sprung more or less here in NC and we have been doing lots of yard work, gardening and repairs. My son and husband repaired our garage door on our unattached garage. It was very heavy and I was worried it would hurt our backs one of these days. They also added some lighting so it is safer all around! My husband also put a functioning doorknob on our basement door. It was unable to close properly and I walked in one day last summer to find a 6 ft black snake between me, my washing machine and the door. I feel much better knowing they can’t get in!

    We have cut tons of brush to help bring light into my various garden beds, plus cutting ivy that is out of control and killing lots of the trees behind our house. There is a lot to do and my husband has been tackling some every weekend and we are burning it when it is dry. I took a load of ash to put on my weed/ compost pile. I am trying to turn the three of them at least every week to speed up the process.

    I have been slowly extending my beds with the lasagna method in foot increments. The rolly poly bugs and chipmunks have been in my beans, and squash. I am covering what is left and will replant again. My daughter is faithfully bringing her compost and I give her greens for now and more produce as it comes in. She just told us she is pregnant with #5, due in early January. This will be grand baby number 14, I am so excited as they are wonderful parents and the closest grandkids. I am making her a meal a week , statting next week as she hits the morning sickness stage, for her Mother’s Day gift. I gave her six meals to choose from for the four weeks. I have next more squash, cakes watermelon and tomatoes to plant this weekend.

    I have been saving spple parts to make apple peel vinegar, pineapple skin to make a drink called Tepache, and orange peels to make citrus cleaner. I even save my bread bags to cover my arms to pull poison ivy. I am trying hard to have no waste. We do laundry less and line dry our clothes. Nothing better than line dried sheets!

    My three day a week care for an elderly client is ending as she is going to live with a different family member. So far every time a job ends something new pops up, so I am praying for guidance as what to do next. I still have a client one day a week, who is a dear 91 year old!

    Hope everyone stays healthy and thank you Brandy for this lovely community you bring together each week. It is the highlight of my reading time!

    P.S. I am so impressed with your college age kids and how they are so self sufficient and making excellent choices in financing their education. You have taught them well, and showed them a noble path!

  67. Octopus pizza! He must have been thrilled – clever and adorable! Our main savings here has been not driving ANYWHERE except around the block to keep our batteries alive and staying at home LOL.

  68. I’m finding it more and more difficult to save money while living overseas in Germany right now. But here are few things I have done.:
    1. I made myself a new shirt from knit fabric I found at the thrift store on base.
    2. I made myself a dress from fabric I bought last year visiting the states last year.
    4. We’re not eating out , however our grocery bills are sky rocketing- so I plan to eat more from our food storage for the rest of the month and eat less meat as well.
    5 . Our vegetable and herb plants will be going into the ground this weekend. While, it’s not saving money for us now, it will by the summer. We’ve gardened every year for the last 6 yrs.

  69. For those readers who live in Calgary and who have not been able to get baker’s yeast, my grocery pickup and delivery volunteer was able to pick some up for me today at Safeway at Westhills. There is a sign on the shelf where it normally is saying to ask at the bakery and the bakery has portioned it into individual containers! My volunteers have tried to buy it for about 3 months but it was always sold out. You should phone to your individual store first to see if that store has it.

    My volunteer was also able to do a curbside pickup of meat products from M and M’s. They had their boxes of 16 fully-cooked frozen beef burger patties on sale for $15.99 (saved $6.00) I also got turkey meatballs and a tray of chicken lasagne (the latter is a treat). I spent about $60.00 but that should be meat for about a month or longer. I also got the decadent strawberry juice bars which will be a treat after gardening in the yard.

    It is an absolutely beautiful day here today. My last seed shipment has arrived so I hope to go outside and plant those (not going in my community garden plot). I may see if I can walk as far as a neighbour’s up thestreet as she has a woodpecker making a nest hole and I’d like a photo. I may wait a few days though.

    1. also for those living in Calgary and area, Camp Evergreen is cooking meals that you can order and pickup or have delivered. The food is excellent and plentiful. Of course, there’s a charge but it’s keeping the camp cook staff employed in these difficult times. One of my kids lives in Calgary and has ordered several times. The cinnamon rolls are something special I hear.

  70. Hello everyone.
    This week I was able to pick up a big wooden playset for free. I used sandpaper and stain I had to give it new life. I’m working on getting it set and safe. I bought some bolts and concrete to get it done. $30 for those materials to have a nice playset seems like a good deal. I will make a new shade cloth for the top tower with a canvas paint cloth I found.

    Shading the garden helped it to live. Lettuce is looking good even with 100+ days. The soil was washing out around my melon plants, so I made a rock ring around them, added soil and some compost. I wanted to buy bark to mulch around them too. I realized there was lots of bark around the yard from my eucalyptus tree, so I used that!
    We are building an outdoor kitchen to keep the cooking heat out of the house. We used scrap wood and wood we got for $50 on the FB swap. We started putting the rock veneer on today, which was a big splurge for us. I got it on sale but it’s not a need, but it’s beautiful!
    I bought live herbs from the 99¢ Only store and planted them in the flower bed.
    I’m boiling chicken I got for 99¢ a pound to shred and freeze. This will save time and heat in the house. Also my freezer is small so it will help me stock up.
    Lastly, the evaporative cooler has worked to keep the house at 78 in 100+ days. One more humid day it got up to 81, but I’m interested to see the electric bill.

  71. I was able to get watch all the Belgravia episodes on for .99 cents. Amazon Prime Video was running a promotion on an Epix subscription. It’s. 99 cents a month for the first 2 months and 5.99 thereafter. You can cancel at any time. You should check and see if it is still available.

    1. Thanks! Epix says it also has a free one-week trial. I would need to watch all four episodes in a week but that would be worth staying up to do.

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