Mission Figs

I harvested apricots, figs, two zucchini, two raspberries(!), blackberries, tomatoes, parsley, and oregano from the garden.

I made apricot jam.

I dried the parsley, oregano, and lemon verbena to use later. Last year I had to buy parsley and oregano for the first time in years as I didn’t have enough from the garden; now I can go back to having plenty to use throughout the year.

I buried food scraps in the garden to improve the soil.

 

Falling in Love Poppy

I collected warm-up water from the shower each day and used it to water plants. I also used water leftover in drinking glasses each day to water plants. My husband brought home a plastic pitcher from work that he had used to water his office plants; I used that in the kitchen and rinsed fruits and vegetables over it, and then I used that water in the garden too.

I added water to my lotion bottle to get the rest out, which gave me enough lotion for the entire week.

I took cuttings from my decorative sweet potato vines (these are not actual sweet potatoes), pulled off the bottom leaves, and stuck them in a glass of water. They have already started to root after just a couple of days. I will plant them in new pots in the garden when they have more roots.

I gave haircuts to three sons.

I read an e-book from the library called The French Adventure. I have found lately that I am wanting simple romantic comedy type of books, and this fit the bill.

My husband and I had a date out to see the new Top Gun, which we had planned to see in the theater since it was announced years ago. We had lunch out together first, going to a place where we could get a small pizza for $9.75, which we split. We had water to drink.

When I made rice twice this week, I brought the pot to a boil and then covered it with a lid and turned off the pan. My gas bill came this week, and it was $3 less than last year, but our usage is down by 55%. Even though the rates have doubled, my ways of saving have made a huge difference. I made enough rice both times to have leftovers, so those could be heated only in the microwave, using less energy. We had leftovers several days last week.

 

What did you do to save money last week?

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144 Comments

  1. My big win was a Zojirushi bread maker, apparently new, at the thrift store for $45. I have watched for this brand for years. I tried it out to make sure it worked while I was still within the thrift store’s return window. It worked perfectly. This will be a big savings for us.
    It cost $86 to fill up my old Subaru. $5.99 a gallon at Costco, which is the cheapest place. I have determined to make that last the whole month.
    I brought small green apples home from the community garden after we thinned the apple trees there (necessary for best production). I made homemade pectin from these apples. I also brought home 2 meals worth of collard greens from our demo garden there-we had so many greens that week that these were extra.
    My doctor has new supplements that I’m supposed to take. I have made sure I have tried each of them within the return window. One disagreed with me and has been returned. I returned one other item to a store and found a much cheaper alternative.
    A friend gave me over 100 cans of ginger ale and 7up, leftover from their son’s wedding. My husband and I don’t drink either, but we are keeping them for when we have guests. I’m taking some to my daughter.
    I received a large canning pot from Buy Nothing. I had always made do with my small cooking pot. Now I have the real thing!

    1. Congratulations on your Zojirushi! I bought mine using airline miles, and it is wonderful! I had always bought used cheap bread machines at Goodwill (most spent $8 each), so the leap to a new high end machine was a big deal. I wondered if there really was a logical reason that folks paid $300 for this machine. Yep, there is. I have never had a bread catastrophe with the zojirushi! Plus all the repair parts, if they need replacement, are available. Hope you got the manual for it as well, has lots of good bread recipes…if not, it might be online.

      1. Thanks! I found the manual online. My aunt has a Zojirushi and had always said it was the one to get. It turned out a perfect loaf the very first time I tried it. I was so impressed.

    2. I went to.our local , everything is one dollar store . I purchased several gluten free , sugar free boxed baking mixes for the household. ( these same mixes were $7.00 , at our grocery store ).I found my daughter some hair color at this store also. Her hair is as white as mine . At such a young age I imagine it is due to her genetic defect. She asked for new sandals. I ordered and then returned several pair to Amazon. We ended up buying a pair she saw at Krogers grocery store. It was an odd item to find there , but were marked down to $15.00 . That was so much better than the $60.00 selection of sandals we returned to Amazon. I recently received a $15.00 top cash back reward for a purchase we made at Macys. I bought $20.00 water shoes and got the $15.00 reward. I then used that reward along with a $10.00 Amazon coupon to buy the sweet child a new swimsuit. She doesn’t ask for many items and I was pleased to pay $30.00 total for both items. We don’t go into stores very often. Dumpster diving has a huge impact on us not needing to buy much . This week I happily brought home the most premium of eggs , selling in our store. About 6 dozen . I took baby Henry baby bell cheeses and he is in love with them. Along with yogurts and healthy fruits he is set for the month. My baby is a miniature gorilla . he’s three and huge. I took him more underwear. I’m hoping he will be motivated to wear them. I enjoyed a mini series on HBO. I then googled the series and bought a kindle book to read. I really enjoyed it. By getting the Kindle version and using a couple dollars in Amazon rewards I got the book for $5.00. My summer time budget has already been spent. I’m planning a couple trips to the zoo and to the movies ,while my daughter is out of town with her family. Peacock streaming service invited me in to a preliminary trial of a new service. For $5.00 a month ,you get various upgrades on the streaming channel. You also receive a Fandango movie ticket each month. ( $15.00 value ). I figured for $5.00 ,I could probably go see three of the latest movies released ,while she is gone. That’s basically 3 movies for the price of 1. I’ve tightened my budget and the kids are grumbling. Bless their little hearts. Someone may need a summer job.

  2. I love the poppies these are favourite flowers I grow lots in my garden they seem to seed everywhere.
    We resealed the bathroom window now we just have to do the rest. I bought a new orchid, special buy for £8 ,some of mine have died, but one is 14 years old.
    I collected Calendula seeds and Parsnip seeds, at the end of the year I will share these with friends. I mowed the lawn and used the mowings as mulch. We have had more rain than usual so I have not had to water the garden and the water butts are full.
    I sewed on a button on my cardigan which fell off the other day.
    I have received my rail card ,this will save a third on rail travel for the next 3 years.
    I have been reading books from the library on line.
    All meals were cooked from scratch. I have placed my Asda and veg orders the prices are going up . Milk has gone up by 10%. The veg man has put down his delivery charge to help customers with the price hikes. Nice man. I cooked a Tarte Flambée for the first time, a cheap meal with salad from the garden.
    Have a lovely week everyone.
    Chris

  3. Gas is $4.49 in college town and 4.90 two hours south. When gas is thsr high in one of the poorest regions of the county ( I am talking about two hours south of college town) it is scary financially. I decided to just do something different. I took the middle son out to eat, the first time I have eaten out all year in a sit down restaurant. We both got the special, Fijitas, for $7.95 including drink. It was so much that I was able to get another meal out of it. Son ate all of his in one sitting though…. Lol. I pruned my bushes, went to the farm we’d market that is by the e river where I walk so I was able to get a walk in and pick up strawberries, and tomatoes. I made hamburgers and spaghetti. I found a recipe on line for Turkish baba ganoush, which is without tahini, so I bought an eggplant and made it with ingredients I had on hand. It was delicious. I bought a vidalia onion also. I walked in my neighborhood and the park for exercise. I watered down my dish soap and my washing detergent for clothes. I cannot remember if I mentioned I trash picked two folding chairs last weekend from my neighbor’s garbage pile but nevertheless, I am enjoying sitting in the chairs on my front porch!

  4. Your flowers sure seem to be making the honeybees happy! Last week, I made a mixed berry pie with our berries, and banana blueberry bread, both GF. Trying to succession plant, I planted seeds for three varieties of lettuce, more zinnias and cypress vine in pots. The cypress vine and zinnias are growing fast. My husband noticed some two week old “leftover” Rhode Island chicks, and brought two of them home, to add to our flock. I harvested peas, the last spears of asparagus, lettuce, chard, basil, mulberries, and gathered wild blackberries, purslane, lamb’s quarter, and catbrier tips. Peas, berries, and lamb’s quarter were frozen. A double batch of pesto was made, one for eating now, and the other frozen. A carrot, carrot tops, chard stems with some greens, and peas were dehydrated and added to a mixed vegetable jar, for future soups. All laundry was dried on the line. Though it’s only been 3 1/2 weeks since I canned broth, I already had another 4 gallons of veggie scraps in the freezer. As Sunday looked to be one of the coolest days and nights in the forecast, I began simmering it on the stove, and am canning today. I planted the window box that my husband made an insert for, with creeping jenny I dug up from our patch, plus calibrachoa and angelonia. A batch of alfalfa sprouts were started. Working on eating down the outdoor freezer, I pulled out two bags of butter beans I plan to cook this week, and a bag each of summer and winter squash from ’18 that are being shared with the chickens. The summer squash was mixed with chopped wild lettuce, banana peels, and garlic mustard, and mulberries, and they quickly ate it up. There is an excellent discussion on alternatives to store-bought chicken feed at the Rural Revolution blog. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2022/06/early-june-days-on-homestead.html

    1. Thank you for the link to the article about chicken feed. In conversation with our local feed store owner the other day, we figured out the chicken feed has gone up 50% in the last 2 years. We have been doing many things to control their costs and always enjoy learning something new. 🙂

  5. What a harvest, Brandy! I don’t care for apricots, but I love apricot jam! What a treat! Beautiful pictures, as always.

    The arthritis in my hands is still bothering me, but I’ve regained some of my fine motor skills. I can almost write my name legibly, LOL.

    As a result, I did a little light gardening. We finally had some 70F-plus weather last week! And then the rain started again…! My red peony is in bloom! My seeds are coming up. The marigolds and nasturtiums I planted in decorative pots are sprouting. In the veggie garden, the onions are almost all up…but I planted sets, which any fool can do! The beans are sprouting and the butterhead lettuce is starting to look like lettuce and not just odd little leaves. The stuff I started in the house is doing well. The only thing that isn’t coming up yet is the zucchini.

    The weather is supposed to be sunny and 70-ish tomorrow, after 4 days and over 2 inches of rain. I saved banana peels and will dig them in around my roses–something I learned here.

    I bought a small beef brisket from the markdown bin for 50% off and froze it. The store had 80% lean ground beef for $2.99 lb. in 3 lb. packages. This is a good price, but I really didn’t need any. However, I bought a package, mixed up two meatloaves, cooked one for dinner and froze the other.

    I bought a $14 jug of Zep concrete cleaner for the front porch and walkway and was disappointed with the results. Two tablespoons of cheap laundry detergent in a bucket of hot water cleaned just as well. I returned the rest of the cleaner to the store for a refund. I have used other Zep products that were excellent, but this was a dud.

    I made three other returns for about $53 more back in my pocket. I really try to avoid items that might need to be returned, but obviously I haven’t done so well lately. (At least I took them back).

    I’ve been looking for my bypass pruners for weeks. I found them! The ones I bought as replacements were one of the items returned.

    We ate homemade frozen TV dinners one night when I didn’t want to cook.

    I did “the works” when I cleaned the bathroom, which I’m embarrassed to say really needed it. I used Comet to clean the toilet and homemade Miracle Spray on the other fixtures. I washed the floor with a little Dawn and vinegar in a bucket of water.

    I hope everyone here had a wonderful week!

  6. Your apricot jam sounds lovely, Brandy! That is wonderful that you are growing your own herbs. We have dill growing in a few places.

    Here is what I did to save money last week:

    * I joyfully harvested spinach from our little container garden.
    * It was a blessing to cut my husband’s hair.
    * I carefully saved rinse water from doing dishes to water my flowers.
    * I buried some kitchen scraps and added others to a bag of leaves to compost.
    * I was thankful to be healthy enough to prepare all my husband’s lunches and breakfasts.
    * We enjoyed our meals at home in peace and quiet.
    * It was a joy to re-read two excellent books written a few decades ago.
    * It was a blessing to get my exercise at home by doing housework and yard work.
    * I peacefully ate meals outside to enjoy a different view.
    * We took care to drink good water, eat healthy foods, and take all our vitamins to take care of our health. Hospital and doctor’s visits are not inexpensive.
    * I combined errands to save time and energy.
    * My husband wisely advised me to take his car to a place to vacuum it for free. I brought it back home to wash it and to shampoo the rugs with out biodegradable cleaner!

  7. We are blessed to have a friend who works for a private food delivery company and often people are not home to get their order of a weeks food like tv dinner single serve.. they can not be returned so she brings them to us. Sometimes it’s unbelievable the amount of meals that would otherwise be thrown in the trash. We take what we can use and share with our neighbors. This helps stretch our grocery bill out a lot. They aren’t crappy like the ones in the store full of sodium and additives. We are thankful and blessed. Husband is also a senior with cancer.. the senior place here is helping him with getting a wheelchair ramp put in, getting him Ensure and some other things he needs for free it is income based and we are so thankful. They will also be doing some small repairs around our home a cracked window will be replaced, a electrical outlet that doesn’t work fixed, the caseworker said make a list. Again God is good and we are blessed. I planted Chamomile the other day but not sure if it is the right kind so ordered a new pack of seeds from Bakers Creek that is the right kind. I called Ferry Morris on the pack I had she said sometimes they package for other companies and don’t actually know about the seeds and mine was one of them that they had no idea if it was for tea or just for flowering?? I also planted some onion seeds in a cloth bag just for the green tops clip and use all summer if I get onions out of it thats even better. I tried to grow from bulb last year and didn’t get much but those tops which I didn’t realize were edible. I learn more every day. I’m still using our library a lot for our books and DVD’s and so thankful for all the wonderful choices we have. Anna In Ohio

  8. I usually pack meat in single servings before freezing them, so I don’t waste any. I had a package of four chicken breasts in the fridge freezer, left over from the waste reduction program at the food bank, where the meat comes frozen. I thawed the pack, and baked two pieces, which I diced to put in salads all week. The other two I cut into larger cubes and included them in butter chicken sauce. I had extra sauce and used it as a pasta sauce. I chopped up mini red peppers to add to it for extra color and nutrition. Tasted great, too.

    I froze another dozen eggs. I think I have enough for baking, pancakes and patties this winter, so I will just try to keep a couple of dozen in the fridge for breakfast or a quick supper. Birds are wrapping up migration, so maybe bird flu has peaked for the season. There are still lots of eggs in the store, even after people in the lake properties and campgrounds nearby have their hot breakfasts.

    My lilacs are in full bloom — a big bank of them in front of my house, and a lovely old shrub in view of my kitchen alcove window at the back.

    I’ve been enjoying Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee celebrations. Very cheerful. I was born the year after her coronation (I assume I’m named after her.), so it was a bit of a review of my own lifetime the week before my birthday. I made sliders and poured a glass of wine to have while watching replays of the concert acts and other events on YouTube.

    I’ve signed up to make a regular monthly donation to an international food agency. In spite of concerns about inflation and possible shortages, my circumstances here remain very different than the destitution and famine so many others are facing, and I wanted to be doing something practical to help. I hope everyone here is finding ways to keep a peaceful heart.

    1. Elizabeth, that is so thoughtful of you to support the food relief agency! That very topic has been on my mind as well, and it is heartbreaking. From what I have read, food shortages will be much more dire in other countries.

      1. Thank you. It seems like such a small amount I can do, but I am hopeful it gives some relief to someone.

    2. I also have been enjoying pictures of the Jubilee celebration of Queen Elizabeth. My mother liked her style in clothing. At 19 years old, she had my grandmother create a pattern and style her wedding gown, after a gown worn by Queen Elizabeth in Life magazine.

      1. How lovely the dress must have been! I can sew well enough to follow a pattern, but I am always impressed by true dressmaking skills.

    3. Thank you for remembering the international food agencies! My daughter works for a humanitarian organization. The need is enormous.

      1. I appreciate you saying that. We are so lucky to have people like your daughter, who are willing to do this work. I don’t think we are running out of the compassion we need.

  9. Brandy I meant to mention that is a great idea of burying the food scraps to amend the soil. And Apricot Jam!! Yum.

  10. It has been a very, very busy couple of weeks in our house.
    I finally finished sowing all of the seeds in our garden this past weekend! My goal was to have it all done by the end of May but it ended up being June 4th and I am calling that good. I know that our harvest will be a bit stalled but I am fertilizing and praying for the best possible outcome. Our seedlings for tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, and peppers have been planted for weeks now and they are growing very well. I sowed seeds for two kinds of radishes, golden and regular beets, several different kinds of field peas including white acre, pink eyed, crowder, and zipper. I also sowed seeds for 5 different varieties of green beans, okra, butternut squash, sunflowers, and marigolds. We planted three blueberry bushes and three blackberry bushes. We have already harvested several cherry tomatoes, a cubanelle pepper, a jalapeno and we have two green bell peppers that are almost ready to pick. I can’t wait! Our neighbor has bees and it has been so wonderful to see the bees, birds and butterflies enjoying the garden and pollinating while they are enj0ying.
    I ordered 15 yds of organic topsoil from a local utility company taking advantage of the $16/cu foot price and ordering the max amount to make the most of the delivery fee. We don’t have a truck or trailer so we have to have it delivered. I also took advantage of a holiday sale on mulch and purchased 100 bags. Between putting these two items out in our yard this weekend I am hoping that we can still walk by Monday. Once the dirt is put in the beds around our home I will be sowing seeds for several different types of zinnias, stock, snapdragons, herbs, and more marigolds.
    We cleaned out our garage the weekend before last and organized items to be sold in an upcoming yard sale. I am hoping to have the sale before the end of this month. While out running and errand the weekend before last I stopped by a garage sale. I was able to purchase 3 outdoor light fixtures that were brand new in the box for $5 each! This was wonderful as I priced these fixtures at local home improvement stores for $60-$70 a piece. I have also been looking for two upholstered chairs for our dining room and found two in excellent condition for $5/each. The same chairs are selling everywhere for $200-$300 a piece. I will recover them to match my decor but the savings will more than compensate for a small amount to be spent on fabric and staples. We found some edging material to use in our flower beds and a roll of landscaping material for free on FB Marketplace saving ourselves over $100.
    I have been focusing on trying to make sure that we are eating up our leftovers to reduce waste and help with rising food costs. I made a dutch oven lasagna last Friday and realized I did not have ricotta cheese on hand. I substituted cream cheese mixed with some mozzarella, a bit of plain greek yogurt, and a bit of cream. No one noticed and it was delicious. This recipe helped me use up cheese & lasagna noodles that we had on hand that we needed to use before they expired. I have some college students that I know coming to help us move dirt and mulch. I will be feeding them a meal while they work and it will be a chicken taco bar. A whole chicken will easily cook in the crockpot along with rice, homemade beans, tortillas and some toppings we can feed a lot of people for a minimal amount of money. I am noticing that this is helping to batch cook and then use the ingredients in meals as needed over the week or as simple leftovers.
    I baked an applesauce cake to use home canned applesauce, peaches and cream oatmeal using home canned peaches, and a huge pot of okra and tomatoes using the last of our homegrown okra from two years ago! Planting a garden is a lot of work but the payoff is tremendous and the flavor can’t be beat.
    We have been working to create a space for a fire pit in our yard and our scouting offers for free stone and gravel that we can use from FB Marketplace. I planted lantana behind the location of the pit as this will return year after year, is lush and green and has a very long bloom time here in Georgia.
    Wishing everyone a safe and productive week ahead!

  11. The flowers have obviously made the bees happy!

    I purchased a nice birthday gift for a family member and used Swagbucks to cover 70% of the price.

    We finally started getting afternoon or evening rain most days, after having a dry spell, so I haven’t had to water anything recently. I’m on a well, but it still takes electricity and time.

    I mended a hand towel where about 2″ of binding on a long side had frayed badly. The next time I washed it, a new area on the same side had done the same thing. I sewed it as well, and it seems to have finished with fraying. The towel was purchased at a thrift store for $2 a few years ago, but it is a thick, absorbent, high-quality towel. It’s just getting old – as am I!

    The sweet potato I had planted for kicks, because it had started sprouting indoors, is leafing and vining well. If it doesn’t make anymore potatoes, at least the vine is attractive.

    My cucumber vines are starting to put on a lot of baby cucumbers. I am hoping that the cucumber beetles will not appear. Living in Florida, the beetles strike now and then again in the fall, so there’s no advantage to waiting to plant in the fall.

    Due to the rain, I hung some of my laundry on the drying rack inside. I positioned the rack under a ceiling fan that was going to be running anyway, and it dried the clothes in no time.

    The library auto-renewed my book, which was handy for me and saved me a possible fine.

    I watched “To Catch a Thief,” with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, for free using the Roku on my TV. It made for a nice, light-hearted evening and was super frugal.

  12. So glad your zucchini and raspberry plants are producing!

    My frugal week:
    – i made my easiest-pizza-dough-in-the-history-of-ever pizza (http://approachingfood.com/easiest-pizza-dough-ever/), and topped it with leftover Easter ham, plant-based pepperoni (part of my Christmas gift from my parents), tomato sauce (leftovers frozen in ice cube trays for future pizzas) block cheese that I buy on sale, grate myself, and freeze, plus basil from my balcony garden. So yummy and served for dinner plus a picnic lunch the next day.
    – I made chickpea salad wraps, adapting the recipe to use what I had at home (skipping the canned mandarins in the wraps, etc.)
    – made bread pudding using up bread crusts from my freezer. I skipped the cream the recipe called for and used milk instead.
    – made breadcrumbs from more breadcrusts
    – took advantage of a birthday deal to get dehydrated fruit packs for the price of shipping.
    – picked up my free sephora bday gift (eyeshadow stick and presses powder)
    – bought a mini hand sanitizer on 50% off and a plastic holder, for my daughter when she starts school. I plan to refill it from my bulk sized bottles of hand sanitizer.
    – redeemed a reward for a free large iced coffee, which I enjoyed over two days.
    – gave my mum a coupon for $5 off $20 at bulk barn, and used a $2 of $10 coupon myself
    – cut my father’s hair
    – made rainbow layered fruit popsicles with my daughter
    – got a free photo greeting card from Walmart photo centre using a promo code, that I will use for father’s day
    – did lots of the usual: lots of playing in parks, picnic lunches, splashpads, EarlyOn programming both outdoor and indoor, packing drinks and snacks when out, using the public library for both paper books and ebooks, etc.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

  13. Frugal Accomplishments for last week:

    *harvested more strawberries, chives, and lemon balm
    *a local greenhouse had a deal where if you spent $5 in the cafe, you received a free herb ($5.99). They had stevia which I’ve been looking for so I bought a latte and treat and got my free stevia!

    📍Buy Nothing Group: an outdoor storage box still in original box, owl shaped birdhouse
    📍Facebook Marketplace: free soaps and candle (the family went to fragrance free), free tomato cages, and a free super cool fire pit that’s actually been on my wish list (needs to be painted). We also found a rain barrel in great shape for $30!

    Hope everyone has a great week ☺️

  14. AnnaInOhio, our area’s senior chore service does not do electrical except lightbub changing. But the town’s giant pumpkin grower/handyman was down with a sore shoulder when we needed two new ceiling fixtures (one a fan) to replace ones that were broken and the goofy not-three-way switches in the kitchen rewired correctly for once and he recommended an excellent and very reasonable man whose day job is making sure everything is running correctly mechanically and electrically at a local medical center. I need to call him again to replace a switch in the basement and some worn wall outlets.
    Eventually, I’ll need to move to a cheaper house when mom no longer needs me. Fortunately for me, Michigan is the third least expensive state for homebuying. My older half-sister, who has been a home owner for more than sixty years, wonders why I don’t want to rent like I had my entire adult life before moving back here to help mom. I explain 20%-50% rent increases some years and no absolute guarantees the low income senior complex you are in one year won’t morph into a market rate complex the next are most excellent motivators to decide to deal with the hassles of home owning. Then she raised the issue of maintenance, like her $100,000 roof, siding, and window job necessitiated when a woodpecker tried moving into her bedroom through the outside cedar wall one fine spring day. I pointed out that any house I buy will be much smaller than hers-a house built for a blended family of nine kids, eight of whom were teenagers at one point. One quarter the square footage, one quarter as many windows, one quarter the cost for roofing, siding, windows, floors and about one-quarter the heating bill. Small appliances also are much cheaper, e.g., our new 13.9 cu ft refrigerator/freezer that is ADA certified cost just over $500. My small lawn will be replanted with minature clover to mininize the need for mowing or I’ll fork over the $$$ for a bottom-of-the line robotic lawnmower. My garden will be wheelchair accessible raised beds just in case I need a wheelchair some day. I will buy a house in an area with good, reasonable local senior transportation options and with inter-city connectivity so I won’t be (almost entirely) trapped without a car like we are here and like we wouldn’t be if we lived six miles away in another county with county-wide dial-a-ride and an international airport, bus, and train lines. Living here, it costs $160 (or more) to take mom to a meeting in the evening or on Sunday three miles away via a privately owned wheelchair van service. (We haven’t done that yet because of Covid-19 but might start going a few times a year, not twice a week. Buying a wheelchair van less than 15 years old is out of our budget. They depreciate very slowly.) Next town over, four times as far to the meeting house in that county, and it’d cost under $8. If you are planning to age in place, you need to make sure the place has the supportive services you will need if you are fortunate to live long enough. The cost and availability of those services varies wildly from place to place. There is even one university in Michigan (along with several community colleges) that offers FREE tuition to senior citizens, so if I have the energy for a third act after caregiving, I could return to college for another degree, even a graduate degree, if I move to the right place.
    For short-term savings, I just discovered that instant oatmeal made with a school-lunch-sized juice box and a fruit cup is delicious. No milk needed.

    1. I love your well thought out plans for your next phase of life. And your sister’s story of $100,000 worth of damages from a woodpecker seems a bit exaggerated. Your figuring out that senior transportation in the next town over is a fraction of the cost in yours is also brilliant. Kudos to you for all your research.

    2. Holly, we considered all of those things when we downsized and moved here four years ago. We bought a new build so that we could have 36 inch doorways, door handles instead of knobs, no steps, etc. (We do have steps to a room over our garage for our daughter, but I rarely go up there now, and never will when I can’t). We are only two blocks from the bus line. Our city of 50,000 doesn’t have much bus service, but that’s something that will improve as time goes on. We hope to be able to age in place.

  15. I sent off for $29 in rebates for my children – they like the money, but don’t enjoy doing the rebates, but I find it fun, so I do it for them. I’ve had a few strawberries nearly every day from our backyard plants – sunshine on the berries make them taste better! For our 28th Anniversary on June 4, we just stayed in town and went to a thrift store and to yard sales. We found some good deals – a vintage Boggle game, which we played later that day, a half-gallon Atlas canning jar, a metal shooting target, a picnic basket, plus my favorite find – brand new ice trays! LOL We had gift cards to a local hot dog place that a customer had given to my husband, so that is where we had our anniversary lunch, then had a delicious steak dinner at home. We have been working in our garden and taking walks in the evening when it is cooler.

  16. Hello!

    Last week I picked 11 gallons of strawberries from our patch. We ate them fresh, I canned some as ice cream topping, and froze some.

    I listed and sold 5 items on EBay.

    I enrolled my son in an upcoming children’s research study through a local medical program. He will earn $75, and some small toys.

    I stumbled upon a birthday gift for a relative that cost much more than I wanted to spend, but it was the perfect gift. My mother offered to go in on it with me. I’m going to consider this approach more often, because the recipient is getting a great gift, rather than something most likely later forgotten. It saved my mother and I time and money!

    I’ve read about Miracle Gro water storing crystals on a few gardening websites that I follow. They have good reviews. For those of you in drought prone areas, maybe these would be a good aid? I like the idea of using them in my containers for when we travel.

    Have a great week!

    1. We split costs of presents a lot here. I’d rather a person end up with the one thing they really want, instead of half a dozen of something just ok

    2. Another trick to make hanging pots hold more water is to rip open diapers (I had some leftover from my grandfather) to take the absorbent crystals out and mix with potting soil. I’m not sure I would do it with food plants, but it’s fine for flowers and a good use for diapers that can’t really be given away-like if the elastic is worn out or they are torn or otherwise unusable.

  17. Great picture of the busy bees. Thrifty actions this week is continuing salads from the garden. This week trying a new combination of arugula, beets, toated pecans, a little feta with balsamic, Dijon mustard vinaigrette. Also, composted all kitchen scraps. We celebrated 2 family birthdays with an ice cream cake, swimming, and beach activities. Enjoying cut lilacs ( in full bloom now) in the home, from our yard

  18. Hi Brandy and everyone
    The bees really love those poppies, what fabulous photos. You had a busy week making jam, giving haircuts etc. Great work on keeping the energy bill down even as prices increase.
    BBC news today showed Lake Mead as an example of extreme heat affecting the planet, I was shocked at the pictures, it made your drought very real.
    Lidl had rationing of cooking oil this week, fortunately I’m stocked up for now.
    I picked elderflowers and made 7 bottles of elderflower cordial. I had all the ingredients in the larder except for lemons.
    We picked peas, strawberries, mint, roses, sweet peas and a bunch of Sweet William which we gave to a neighbour.
    We planted out trailing sweet peas, zinnias, more squash, gherkins, calendula, pricked out Swiss Chard and sowed seed for next year’s snapdragons, Sweet William, delphiniums etc. I can’t remember all the seeds!
    Well, what a weekend of celebrations for The Queens Platinum Jubilee! If you haven’t yet seen the short video of The Queen with Paddington Bear I urge you to watch it on YouTube or wherever, it’s adorable. She is a very good sport.
    It was a four day holiday. The first day we watched Trooping the Colour on TV and in the afternoon gave a small BBQ party to celebrate, I decorated the tables with pretty tablecloths and damask napkins and made a small arrangement of red and white flowers in a blue jug. We cooked the meat we bought at cost price a couple of weeks ago and used bread rolls we received free and I froze, I made coleslaw, green salad and new potatoes followed by strawberries and cream.
    Next day we went to Lords Cricket ground in London to watch England play New Zealand. We had all been asked to wear red, white and blue and we could do this with clothes we already had. The crowd looked very festive. Not frugal but we kept costs down by using our Senior Railcards to reduce the train fare by one third and booking tickets well in advance. We managed to pack and carry enough food for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and supper on the trains and at the match. We carried water bottles too.
    We spent the remaining two days of the holiday at home, we were too tired after London to attend the community events but enjoyed pottering in the garden and watching the Thanksgiving service, concert and parade on TV.
    It has been a momentous few days, now back down to earth. Stay safe everyone.

    1. It’s the largest mad-made reservoir in the U.S. and it is only 30% full. It’s very concerning. We redid the garden knowing more cuts were coming.

      Though it has not been announced on the water district’s website, my husband received a letter sent to real estate agents here announcing that builders of all new homes may not install real grass in the gardens at all. Grass was banned in front yards of new homes in 2004 but this is new; so new they aren’t telling anyone yet. They may only install faux grass.

      Drip irrigation is standard here. That is still permitted. Most people have a tree, a few bushes, and rocks.

      1. I found your comment very disturbing, Brandy. I read an article years ago that said he who has water wins in the end. We are all consumed with the insanity of the wars, skirmishes, borders, etc. that we have taken our eyes off the most important thing: fresh water. Without that, the rest doesn’t matter. I keep thinking about the saline evaporators that the Navy uses on it’s ships and wonder why that technology is not employed in costal areas. Seems that would be a partial solution.

        Harvested tons of squash this past week. We love it and can never have too much. My tomato plants are 5ft tall and ladened with fruit! For us Southerners, a tomato sandwich with Duke’s mayonnaise is the equivalent of caviar on toast points for the Swells!

        Lots of repotting to be done this week. Concerned about my citrus trees which are dropping fruit shortly after it appears.

        As, always, Brandy, your photographs are amazing! My husband enjoys looking at them—which is the ultimate compliment! Also, what was your take on Top Gun?

        Onward ya’ll, by all means!(Ryan)

        1. Top Gun was excellent! We only go to the theater to see movies that we think really need to be seen on the big screen, and this was definitely worth it!

          Desalinization plants are what give water to Israel, Qatar, and other places. The U.S. has fought them; California just turned down another one.

          There are several things we need to do, water-wise. Water reclamation is huge; it’s been done here for several decades but most places in California are just now looking at it. Snd Diego employed it years ago.

          1. We have a desalination plant here in Sydney too. It came online just at the end of our “Millennium drought”. Unfortunately the water from these plants is very expensive to produce. We are on the other side of the Pacific from you, and are now receiving a lot of rain courtesy of La Niña and our East Coast dams are full again. But this won’t last forever – we will tip back into severe drought eventually. It is a heartbreaking cycle, especially for farmers.

            1. Australia has the wisdom to allow people to collect water at home in cisterns when it does rain, which I think is wonderful.

              Here in the western U.S., La Niña means a dry year and El Niño means a wet year. We have not had an El Niño year for many years.

              1. Have you checked to see if state regulations on cisterns have changed? Washington State used to not allow cisterns, but my understanding is that it now does.

              2. I don’t think they are prohibited here. We just don’t get any rain. Houses aren’t even built with rain gutters here. Our official average is 4 inches a year. We haven’t been getting even that much. Last year we had over 200 days in a row without any rain.

        2. Cheryl loved “the equivalent of caviar on toast points for the swells”. Great expression.

          Also, I’m a 73 year old woman who is not into any kind of action film and I loved “Top Gun”. Also highly recommend “Downton Abbey.”

      2. How do you keep your yards watered on so little water? It doesn’t seem like watering one day a week would be enough. I’ve been teaching some of my friends about using warm up and leftover water, saving pasta water, etc. They already have drip and no lawns and they really think the latest restrictions are going to be the end of their yards. They’re in SoCal.

        1. One day a week for 20 minutes when it’s over 100° will not be enough. Yards will die.

          But if they do not reduce their usage by the end of August, all outdoor watering will be prohibited in parts of Southern California.

          They have failed to make rules earlier like Nevada did, and now it’s panic-mode.

          San Diego is an exception. They spend the money and prepared years ago for what was coming and was a problem before.

          Water reclamation plants need to be made and paid for by increased water rates. It’s no fun to pay more, but it’s important. We had to pay more here for a lower water intake pump to be built in Lake Mead over 10 years ago. Well, now the water line is below the first intake pump (there are 3).

          California uses most of the water from the Lake, but Nevadans paid for the pump.

          We’re also paying to pay Arizona farmers to not farm fields this year.

          All new houses built here will no longer be permitted to have real grass. They can only install fake grass or none at all. That’s how strict our water rules are.

          The west has to make major changes.

          Utah is in trouble too. I read an article yesterday saying that Salt Lake City will be out of water by 2040. Yet, when they tried to override HOAs to prohibit HOAs from requiring grass in the front yard, it was voted down. Grass uses the most outdoor water.

          It’s a really serious issue and lawmakers and city planners need to make changes. The drought has been 22 years in a row. They have had time, but many are still sticking their heads in the sand.

  19. Hello, Frugal friends! Another gorgeous week here in the mountains. The temps have been in the mid 70’s for the past few days with very low humidity. I have been able to get out and work in the gardens. The birds have been particularly vocal this past week. Lots of song birds singing their little hearts out. Most of my vegetable garden is struggling. The beans seem to be doing ok, as are some of my tomatoes. I usually have a ton of lettuces, green onions and other greens by now, but I only have a few small lettuces with just a few leaves and the deer or bugs are consuming the onions and other greens.
    *I did harvest 8 pounds of turnips this past weekend. I cooked, mashed and froze most of them. Now I need to learn to like eating them. I did mix some with instant mashed potatoes and a little sour cream. My husband said he really liked the mashed potatoes. He was surprised to hear they were mostly turnips. I will admit I enjoyed them as well. It tasted a lot like mashed cauliflower. I will probably fix them this way from now on.
    *I made sun tea. this week.
    * At the grocery store I found 4 packs of canned corn for $1. I bought 3 and shared one with my son’s family. I also found sugar free mandarin oranges in individual cups (4/ pack) for $1. I bought 6 packs and shared some with son’s family.
    *A missed frugal opportunity came when I did not buy any of the number 10 cans of diced tomatoes. They were on clearance for $3/can. I already have a year’s worth of canned tomatoes so I thought I did not need the big cans. After thinking about it I realized I could have turned the diced tomatoes into homemade salsa and sauces. Of course, they did not have any when I returned to the store a few days later. Lesson learned.
    *I harvested 7 strawberries from my garden !!! That is more strawberries than I have harvested in the past 10 years collectively! The difference is I moved them last fall to one of the new raised beds inside the garden fence and I covered them with cloth. There are more on the plants. I am so excited. I won’t get enough to preserve but we will be able to enjoy a few fresh berries every few days.
    *My husband caught an infection (not COVID) last week. I had to take him to urgent care over the weekend. His prescription was only $2 with insurance. I do not think it will be much for the visit.
    *We continue to do things like drying laundry on the line, washing clothes in cold water, turning off lights when not needed, using the solar charger, and keeping windows open versus turning on the a/c.
    I wish everyone a blessed, safe and healthy frugal week.

  20. We had a decent frugal week.

    The weather was nice not getting above 85 so we turned off the air conditioner and opened the windows. That saved a little electricity.

    We baked a double batch of pumpkin muffins for breakfasts and snacks.

    My 14dd made homemade snickerdoodles for a young womens activity instead of buying a treat.

    We made all of our meals at home except for one. Wow have restaurants gone up in price even fast food. So that will be rare.

    Wanted to go see top gun but will wait for a cheaper option for viewing.

    Hung out our clothes to dry most days. Had to work around the rain. We are grateful for the rain but it makes doing outside work a challenge. But we need it for the crops and our garden.

    Planted melons, squash, and peppers. I’m really hoping they grow.

    I hope everyone has a great week!

  21. We had a nice two week visit with our daughter’s family from out of town. Because of the visit, we had all of our four grandchildren here in one place and it was wonderful! They had fun going to the zoo, parks, and swimming. My husband took some vacation time to be able to play. I cooked from home and did ok with it…I’m not used to cooking for a lot of people every night anymore. But, I meal planned, shopped from the list and did it! During their time here we were able to celebrate two birthdays. We used decorations from home and ate at home. It was nothing fancy, but it was so nice to have some of the family all together.* I’ve noticed huge price increases here too (Minnesota). We are trying to eat less, use up leftovers, and cook more simply.*Weather has been cool here so we’ve thankfully been able to keep the A/C off * Planted our little container garden finally. I have five containers: three tomatoes with some herbs planted around them, one of lettuce varieties and one with two varieties of basil. Not a lot but it should help. I held back seeds so I can plant some lettuce and herbs every week for a few weeks so it doesn’t all need to be picked at one time.*Enjoying library books. Currently reading “The Forest of Vanishing Stars” which was recommended here. I’ve never been disappointed with the book suggestions here so thank you!!* Finished another lapghan for the nursing home crocheting with yarn donated to me. *I’m trying to stay home most days a week to save gas money. * I ordered something from amazon using prime that didn’t come in time so I cancelled it. It arrived seven weeks later (yikes) even though I cancelled it. We went in to do the return and they refunded our money but said to keep it. It was a pack of color card stock. So that is nice to have for free.* My basketball crazy son is so excited for the NBA championship games. He likes the Celtics, so I pulled out some shamrock decorations from my St. Patrick’s Day box and surprised him for Game one. He was happy. *Hope everyone has a nice week. I appreciate all of you and your frugal efforts so much.

    1. I grew up in Los Angeles in the days of the great Lakers-Celtics rivalries (my HS boyfriend played basketball so it was inevitable I got sucked in since he never missed those games). So, you know I’m no Celtics fan! But I LOVE your putting out shamrocks for your son!! That’s great!

  22. Brandy your pictures are gorgeous as always, what a talent you have!

    -I made maple oatmeal scones. I just made 1/2 of the batch so we hade enough for 2 breakfasts. Very good!
    -Got the yard cleaned of branches and the tree cut down and cut into usable wood for the wood stove. We had very bad storms last weekend with tornadoes in the state, we got 1 and a half inches of rain.
    -I dusted off my knitting needles (haven’t knit for 20 years)and I knit a pair of slippers this last week from yarn bought on sale from Hobby Lobby. I am going to start a pair of mittens next. These are prototypes, I hope to make some for Christmas gifts.
    -Daffodils are done, now I’m cutting lilacs for my cut flowers for the house. Smell is heavenly. Lilacs are one of my favorites, wished they lasted longer than a couple of weeks.
    -One of my kitchen cupboards appeared to be pulling away from the wall. Since I had to unload it for hubby to fix. I unloaded all cupboards, washed them out and reorganized, getting rid of several items we don’t use anymore.
    -We switched my husbands phone to a new company to see how it worked. We don’t have a land line and being in the country we are in a bit of a dead zone for reception. It is working well and we will be switching mine. We are going from a well known corporate carrier to a smaller nationwide company but there are much less extra fees and our bill will be half of what we are currently paying. We own our phones so we are able to do this.
    -My goal this week was to weed an hour a day until done. I was able to get the front flower beds done and the garden. Plus I mulched the tomatoes and pepper plants with grass clippings.
    -No need to water flowers or garden. Everything is up in the garden except for the lettuce so I replanted that.
    -Asparagus made into 4 quarts pickled asparagus spears.
    -Got some good buys at 2 garage sales. A bolt of off white printed cotton fabric with 4 yds on it for $2, a bag of yarn, brand new full skeins (8) for $2, a gallon bag of scrapbook embellishments for 75 cents (most will go into my grand daughters stash for when they are at my house), a quilted runner for $1 (I will make this into a tote bag), and a small Longaberger basket for $3.
    -Used the white fabric from above, my grand daughter spent the weekend and we made her a summer dress. She had fun learning to sew. She’s ready for the next project!
    -We went fishing and got enough fish for 2 meals. We had one for supper on Saturday and froze the second one.
    -Large June grocery shop done. I do a large shop once a month and then just pick up produce and milk as needed. No great deals but bought the cheapest produce and fruit. We are wasting nothing! I am reading books on using and reusing what I can. I mostly purchase at garage sales, thrift stores, or if retail on a very good sale or reduction, but I am now being purposeful at this. It is like a treasure hunt. You never know what you can do without, repurpose to fit your needs, use something you already own, or find for free or very little. That’s why I love this blog as many of you are doing this and there are so many ideas!

    Have a great week!

  23. I love the poppy pictures. I have a few volunteer poppies blooming right now, mostly red. My husband planted a few from seeds he saved, and I’m not sure what color those will be, but I will find out soon, as they are going to bloom before long.

    We volunteered at an Oregon State Parks 100th anniversary celebration on Saturday. My husband was asked to barbecue. I helped with the food. We had a lot of fun, and it felt great to be able to give back a little to an organization that we have enjoyed so much, for so long. Pictures are on my blog: http://beckyathome.com

    I worked hard at using up the leftovers from my daughter’s party last Saturday. We were very hungry for plain food after such a rich array of goodies, so I made chili, a huge batch of refried beans, chicken-rice soup, and my husband made a pan of cornbread. To be able to give a large party with so many lavish foods, we really didn’t buy many “regular” groceries last month, but instead ate from the canning, freezing, and pantry shelves. When I did go to the store this past week, I found that I had to stock up on things like potatoes, a certain sauce we like, cheese, tortillas, veggies, a few things for the baby grandsons, milk, etc. I downloaded coupons, used a $10/off $50, and so forth, and it still was over $90. I was able to get some good bargains, such as 93% lean hamburger for $1.47/lb. I got all they allowed, which was more than I had planned for as it was in value (large) packs. Lucky me:). Other items were double or more than what I had paid for them the last time I bought them. I’m glad to be restocked on the basics, though, and we are good to go for many, many meals again.

    I worked in the garden. I replanted some seeds that did not come up, moved some plants here and there, and hoed and weeded for hours. Then it started raining again, so I’m on hold with that project until it dries up again. I’ve already been able to put a few things into our meals, such as lettuce, spinach, boc choi and herbs. My husband has some little baby broccoli, cabbage, and head lettuce in the greenhouse, growing to be succession planted. When the English peas are finished, the broccoli and cabbage will take their place. I have small plantings of lettuce in every corner of the garden and anywhere there is a gap in a row, I plant another plant. My goal is always to have lettuce from spring until fall, but sometimes have gaps in my production. It’s not for lack of trying, though….it depends on how hot it gets, usually.

  24. Your savings week sounded impressive Brandy! And I love the pictures. Amazing to see so many bees on your flowers.

    We left Sunday for a small getaway in Park City, Utah. We wanted to go to Oregon again, but with gas prices we decided to stay closer to home. It’s about an hour away from home. It rained the whole time we were there, but the views of green mountains and wild flowers were stunning. In between rain there were amazing sunsets and we enjoyed walking around the complex – the landscaping was lovely and trees were blooming still up there. We brought all meals with us to eat at the condo, except for one lunch. Meals were taco soup and hamburgers. Lunches were sandwiches and breakfast cereal, toast, cereal. We had plenty of fruit and veggies to snack on if needed. My husband and kids enjoyed seeing Maverick in the theaters as well. The theater was 2 minutes from where we stayed. I stayed back at the condo and read a book and listened to the rain. There was a hot tub outside the back door that worked perfectly. It was a nice getaway for a few days. One son is working in Park City this summer and would come eat lunch and dinner with us everyday. Wasn’t that nice of him to grace us with his presence so he didn’t have to cook his own meals? 🙂 Love my kids.

    We brought our grandbaby home with us from the trip so our daughter could get away for one night/day with her husband to celebrate their anniversary. We had fun with that darling girl. We went on several walks around the neighborhood and smelled flowers, waved to neighbors and she blew kisses for whatever reason she did it. I fed her snacks and food from our home. We played in the backyard and watched the trees. I showed her my garden and flowerbeds. She’s only 17 months but seemed happy. We got a sweet baby kiss on the cheek when she left for home. Totally worth it.

    I swept the front porch, hard boiled eggs for snacking, sent home leftovers with one daughter who helped me with the grandbaby. I exercised at home with walking, gardening and house work. I took a few naps – that was very nice. I stayed home to reduce my gas usage – it’s $5.11 here at home. If I went out to the library, grocery shopping, bank, dropping daughter off, etc – I would combine errands. I planned out my menu for next week using up leftovers from the week.

    My oldest brought his RC car he won from a work raffle to our home. He’s added things to it and now it looks exactly like his work truck. We enjoyed a nice hour taking turns driving it around and trying to get the perfect “drift”. Evidently I did get one but I didn’t even know what it meant until my son showed me.

    I waited to go grocery shopping until after the weekend. I usually go on Fridays. This time I went on Monday and didn’t have a problem finding sale items in stock. Before they would be out of stock. Our 18 count eggs are $4.39 and I used a 50c/off digital coupon. I got milk for $1.25/half gallon, strawberries 2#/$4, shredded cheese 90c, cereal for 75c, whole watermelon for $3 with coupons and Ibotta. I stayed under budget by $25 dollars.

    A local hardware store is going out of business because the landlord is raising the rent by 300%!!!!! I’m sad because it’s a small local store and we would run in there all the time so we wouldn’t have to drive farther for hardware items. Everything is 20% off right now and I bought some potting mix, flower seeds, garden gloves and bug spray for the plants. I went to the bank and deposited my Rakuten rebate. I dropped off a return to CVS for Amazon. I let my daughter drive so that she can continue to practice driving.

    My HS daughter is still looking for a job. I was up at 4:30am for some weird reason and had the thought to talk to the dog groomer. We had appointments for our dogs that morning. We went in and my daughter asked if she would need an assistant. She would like to learn more about grooming dogs and did she need any help? The groomer was thrilled! Said she would love to work something out if possible with her budget. She’ll call us in a week. She said that dog groomers in our area are retiring/quitting in large numbers and every groomer is booked 3 months out. She was intrigued with the idea of my daughter helping her and then being trained to groom dogs. She said she would start her out bathing the dogs and then start showing her things. I hope it works out. It’s close to our home, not open on Sundays or late evenings. It could be huge blessing if it works out.

    I just finished The Darling Dahlias and the Red Hot Pokers. It was delightful and such a fun read. Somehow my library got it before the release date of 6/6/22. I love the series. Now reading a new to me series by Aimee and David Thurlo. The main character is Ella Chah and is set in Navajo country. Thoroughly enjoying it so far.

    My husband is looking at buying a CNG car for driving back and forth to work. We had one in the past, but had sold it. He’s been looking online. Natural gas here is currently $2.69/gallon. His work is 40 minutes from our home and he drives right by 2 filling stations on his way home.

    I’ve checked the garden daily and everything is growing. I even see little carrot shoots coming up in the garden bed. I need to replant some potatoes that survived the winter and are trying to grow by my tomatoes. Evidently they don’t make great garden friends so I will move those to our buckets.

    My allergies have been going crazy. I’m glad I am stocked up on allergy eyedrops and allergy meds. I love to have the windows open but need to medicate myself with allergy meds. If fact, my daughter insisted we were out and I showed her my stash. She said, “Nice job, Mom.” It’s the little things.

    Wishing you all a wonderful week of frugalness and ideas to use what you have already.

  25. The big dog’s dry food was on sale and I used $10 pet perk. $30 versus $47 for a big bag

    I switched their can dog food, going from $18 a week to $6

    I had 4 chicken carcasses in the freezer. Since I was off last week, I decided to make broth. I ended up with 25 cups chicken broth and 1 quart bag of chicken meat.

    A friend had a yardsale and I found jeans for $3(brand new!) They are still a bit snug, but I was a size 26 a year and a half ago, and I can get those 20s on and zipped and buttoned! Also, a beautiful duster for $3, and $1 rings for the teen.

    I earned $10.75 Amazon rewards

    Mended a pair of the boys work pants.

    Dog #1 had his check up and yearly vaccines (not cheap, but he’s healthy, with no signs of a reoccurring malignant tumors like he had removed in November) next month #2 will go, then #3(cuts down on a great expense at once spreading them out)

    Only minimal grocery shopping last week.

    The teen made pizza and cookies one night.

    Made sure to eat leftovers, or get them in to the freezer.

    Our coffee pot bit the dust, so my mother in law brought one of her several spares she has when she spent the night(she has to have her coffee, lol)

    Put in about 4 hours of yard work ourselves. I have a feeling we’ll need to do a lot this summer, it’s very rainy so everything is growing constantly.

    I upgraded our internet speed. It’ll double, for only $5 more a month. It’s definitely needed with gamers and lots of streaming in the house.

    Finished the laundry in one day so the dryer stayed warm.

    1. How nice to find jeans in your size for only $3!

      Congratulations on your weight loss.

    2. Congratulations, April! I’ve been working on getting to a healthier weight, too – am greatly enjoying pulling some formerly too-small clothes out of storage.
      In slimming solidarity. 🙂

  26. Gorgeous photos as usual Brandy – the closeups of the flowers and the bees are just amazing – they must really love your garden!
    Not a lot to report this week as I have once again limited my weekly shopping to milk and a bit of veg – any other shopping was for long-term pantry needs (including toiletries and TP – which was on for a really great price)! I also got two packs of chicken legs (backs attached) that were on for 3 for $4 – which is a good price for here – and they are huge. I repackaged them all individually as each will do two meals and I have double-bagged them in ziplocs to protect against freezer burn as these will be kept for the Fall. I have stayed within budget for both weekly and long term grocery purchases and haven’t found any shortages in the shops – things are pricy but all the grocery stores seem to be fine in terms of stock. Now clothing stores are a different matter – many friends have reported the same frustration at the lack of options, especially for those of us of a “certain age”. Everything seems to be geared to a 20 something who is a size 2 at most – and don’t get me started on how lowcut things are! I’m not a prude – but seriously – I don’t need to be flashing the ministers at the office!

    I have been eating a lot of salads so meals have been very simple and easy to pull together. I made tuna salad for a couple of days, had pea meal bacon twice and cooked some sausages for another day – then it was vegetarian options, cheese and hard boiled eggs, along with some canned beans. I’m eating out on Thursday and going for fancy coffees and dessert on Friday so need to watch what I’m eating for the start of the week. Even when a friend and I went for a long walk on Saturday we stuck to small salads. We had stopped to check out one restaurant – too expensive & crowded , went to a Starbucks but their choice was very limited and noticed one server who seemed to have a bad cold and wasn’t wearing a mask so we left. Ended up going into a Fortino’s – which is an upscale supermarket here (part of the Loblaw empire) and discovered that they had a huge prepared food section with all kinds of choices. We chose a salad and a large coffee each and then shared a piece of carrot cake for less than one meal (without the coffee) would have cost us at the restaurant across the street. We were going to eat in the car but then discovered that they actually had a very large and lovely eat-in area with plastic dividers between tables and one lovely young women who was there to monitor and clean up after each person. It was great and we will definitely head back there on days that we don’t take anything with us.

    My super came up to change some lightbulbs for me as I don’t trust my right knee on a ladder. Discovered that some of the LED lightbulbs are VERY large and that my kitchen overhead light requires some very old type of bulbs. The super went and got bulbs for me and she is going to send in the electrician to redo the kitchen so things will be a lot easier in the future. I tipped her but she still ended up saving me nearly $60 as I will be able to return two boxes of the VERY expensive bulbs! When did it get so complicated just to install some lightbulbs!

    I also enjoyed watching much of the Queen’s Jubilee celebration – the Brits certainly know how to put on a show! Loved the bit with the Queen and Paddington Bear even more than I did the James Bond segment for the 2012 Olympics – she certainly has a great sense of humour! The look on the faces of the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge, along with little George & Charlotte was priceless!

    Take caare everyone – hope that it’s a great week for all you gardeners.

    1. One thing I have learned from photographers’ groups is that there are some great online stores that I didn’t know existed. I don’t know who to find more stores like the ones I have seen recommended but this has been very helpful in finding dresses.

      That said, I agree that things are cut appallingly low. I ordered a dress that arrived today and I will be adding a piece of eyelet lace (the dress is eyelet) to the cleavage; it comes lower than my slip and my bra in front. I will stitch it on one side and either put a snap on the other or put a button with some elastic.

      For wrap and faux wrap dresses, I sew one and sometimes two snaps to make them higher and keep them closed.

      1. My mom sewed inserts like that on our clothes, as well as adding the snaps on wraparounds, and that was in the 70s…nowhere near the low cleavage today!

    2. Hi Margie
      I agree about the annoyance of low cut clothes. I have a small brooch which I use to pin together wrap or faux wrap dresses to make the neckline better and like Brandy I have a small lace insert to pin inside. I also have a couple of camisole T shirts with a pretty lace top which I wear under the dress/ top but it wouldn’t work in Brandy’s hot climate. It also drives me nuts when necklines are cut too wide, I avoid boat necklines but even scoop necks can be too wide and show my bra straps.

      1. And don’t even get me started on many current bathing suits. I cringe and blush when I see them on women. Thank heavens for my Boy Shorts suits which I have been wearing now for a couple of decades.

  27. I love this time of year with all of the bees buzzing around. They love my raspberry plants.
    Grocery store deals this week were chicken cutlets $1.99 a pound. You can only get 2 packs and the packs are getting smaller and smaller. Asparagus was on the clearance rack for $2.50 for 4 pounds. I cooked and froze them. I got 6 packs of San Pellegrino for $1.62. The dates are for next year. I am keeping several of them as gifts to add to the food baskets I make for Christmas. Chocolate Dove bars were marked down to 59¢ so I bought the 3 that were left. Mozzarella blocks were marked down to $2.84 a pound. I shredded and froze them for pizzas. I got a 16 pound bag of charcoal that was torn open for $4. Eggs are back under $2 a dozen.
    NY took the gas tax off until the end of the year so I paid $4.64 a gallon. They also sent us a rebate on our property taxes. That went right into our savings.
    I shipped 2 boxes of clothes to Thread Up and a box of books all from college move out.
    I got a few more birthday freebies, I got a pastry from Panera, and a skin care set at Sephora.
    I bought a Build a Bear gift card as a birthday gift and they were having a bonus so got more for my money.
    I helped D’s mom plant her first real garden. She bought way too many plants and seeds. She sent me home with a bunch of extra plants. I tucked them into my garden wherever I could find a spot. She treated us to lunch (tacos) and Mr. Softie came around so she treated to that too. I was also given dragon fruit and ice cream bananas. She orders fruit boxes and gives us items they won’t eat. My son loves dragon fruit but they are $5 apiece. On a different day she got us pizza and sent me home with the leftovers. They don’t eat them.
    Hubby’s boss bought donuts for the office on Friday. Hubby was one of the last to leave that night. His boss told him to bring them home. Yummy.
    I attended my niece’s bridal shower. It was in her parent’s back yard and it was a brunch. My sister in law has a beautiful garden and really went all out this year. I used a coupon on the gift. They asked that nothing be wrapped. The favor was a bar of lavender soap that smells wonderful. My sister in law threw several bags at me as I was leaving. One had muffins and the other had bagels. Easy breakfasts.
    We went to Connecticut for my families’ joint birthday party. There are 4 of us in 3 weeks plus my parent’s anniversary and Father’s Day. I made a chick pea salad, a pasta salad and a dairy free Danish ring. I was sent home with so much food. I will not be cooking for several days. Sister#1 gave me some clothes that are too big on her now. She has lost 50 pounds since last summer. I am so proud of her. Sister #3 gave me 2 bags of dog food that her dog no longer eats. She also gave me several planters, a Frisbee and some dog clothes and toys that her dog doesn’t like.
    It was my oldest birthday. We sent her a check. I do have a few small gifts for her but she will get those when I see her next month.
    My garden is all in. We are picking strawberries every day. It is a fight against the bunnies. I froze another quart bag. I have lots of baby peas so I will be picking them soon. Lettuce is ready to start picking too. Everything else still has a ways to go.

  28. The center of your pink flowers look like a Starlight Mint!
    1. I did a survey on elder care. I earned 17$ of Amazon bucks. (Most of the time I don’t meet the criteria for a survey but this time I qualified.)
    2. I got and used a 69$ ticket (one way) to travel from Texas to Florida. My return fare is twice that but it is still cheaper than driving a car.
    3. I’ve been eating from the freezer here in FL. My sister will visit later in the summer & likely she will want to eat out. I’ll save my eating out for when she arrives.
    4. I found a small personal fan in the dumpster behind a Walgreen’s here. It runs off a USB port like a cell phone when plugged into an electric outlet. I just happened to have a spare USB port that fit. It is very quiet & blows gently. I enjoy using it at night.
    5. The senior center here gives away day old bread from the local grocery store. (Lots of old people here in FL.) I got several loaves & the center allowed me to take extras to give to my friends here.
    6. I hang up my laundry in my closet to dry after I use the laundry mat. I think clothes last longer when drip dried. Also it is an additional cost to use the dryer.
    7. My neighbor allowed me to use her BJs card to purchase gas. (BJs is like Costco.) Gas is 4.67$ a gallon here. I saw some stations where it was 5.19$ a gallon. I’m glad I have an economy car.
    8. Used part of a gift card that my stepfather gave me 10 yrs ago or >. I wanted to go to Bath & Body Works to get lotion but remembered I had a GC to another store. I got my lotion using the GC.
    9. Prior to my departure to FL I found 2 metal patio chairs & a patio table w/ a tiled top. She spray painted the chairs & table legs after cleaning them up. They look very nice on her patio. I washed the cushions that came with the chains. She spray painted them with fabric paint. Those came out nice too.

  29. I love that poppy photo!

    I made a double batch of egg-free muffins. It usually calls for mashed banana, but I didn’t have any that were ripe enough to use, so I substituted canned pumpkin instead. They turned out great and now I have another option for making that recipe.

    I also made both white and wheat bread.

    I made a batch of hummus and first made tahini to use in it. It was my first time making the tahini and it was very easy. Tahini is getting expensive at the store!

    I also made a batch of brown rice and black beans to use throughout the week.

    We went to two concerts this weekend. One was free–a 17-piece jazz band and the other a husband and wife duo. We made a donation for the duo. Those at the concert brought potluck food to share, so we ended up with a nice meal as well.

    My garden is growing! Not much to harvest yet, but it’s nice to see the progress.

    I’ve also been cleaning through my pantry and pulling food that I know we aren’t going to eat. I bought the items on sale or at a discount store. There’s a local food pantry that I will donate it to.

    I have someone interested in buying one of my paintings! I hope it comes through.

    I am grateful for each of you and your comments that help me live a better life.

  30. Your pictures are beautiful as usual Brandy!

    To save money we are driving as little as possible, enjoying pot luck meals with family, staying out of the grocery store, and harvesting lettuce and radishes from the garden. I’ve also been feeding our pet rabbits vegetable scraps to save on their feed bill. We’re enjoying many books from the library including cook books. I love looking at cook books and getting new recipes.

    I hope everyone has a frugal and peaceful week.

  31. I transplanted 11 tomato plants. and 8 pepper plan5s. My okra has not come up so I planted more seed. We got 5 scoops of mulch and put around all the front beds, and some of the back.
    *I got two peck baskets of peach seconds for $10 each. I made 9 jars of peach jam and chopped the rest and froze in bags of 2, 3, and 4 cup portions to make pepper peach jelly, bourbon peach jam, and peach ice cream later. I also got 4 green peppers and a cucumber for 25 cents each as they were un the discount basket. Peppers are starting ti shrivel. so I sliced and froze.
    *Used all the cooking and warm up water to water plants
    * I fried squash and usually throw out the little bit of oil. This time I strained the oil and poured it into a glass jar. I also had battered the squash in cornmeal and had some left. I put in a bag in the refrigerator to batter other vegetables.
    * I’ve eaten a lot of prefrozen meals to clear out the freezer more. Beef in mushroom gravy, roast, pregrilled chicken and pork chops.
    * I took all the canning jars left in totes and put them with the ones on the garage shelf. I didn’t know what I had in the totes.

  32. Apricot jam is my favorite jam! I do it French-style, which is like a soft preserve. And the poppies are lovely! Mine always revert to yellow poppies after a generation or two of self-seeding, which is both amusing and annoying.
    We are on vacation this week, in Quebec City and Montreal, which I thought wasn’t frugal at all. But then I realized that it is because we are frugal, we can do a bit of travelling now that we are retired.
    And of course it isn’t a decadent splurgefest! Travel plans are made with books from the library. We carefully balance the cost of staying close to the town centers versus using local transportation to go to see the sights. Lunches are usually picnic affairs after finding a local grocery store. We travel with carryon luggage only, to avoid checked baggage charges. We do not travel in the “high season” when everything is more expensive. And — this goes without saying — we saved for our trip, so as not to go into any debt for it.
    Quebec City is a pretty heritage walled city, with friendly people who have been kind about our limited French. Then we go to Montreal tomorrow via train. I’ve not been to Quebec before so it’s all exciting!

    1. I still haven’t made it to Quebec City but have been to Montreal many times – it’s about 4 hours by train from Toronto. I usually stay at the downtown Westin Hotel – you go out the back door and Notre Dame cathedral is right there and then you are in the old city and not far from the harbour (you can walk). I hope you enjoy yourselves. If you are staying further away from the city centre the Metro is very easy to use.

    2. That is exactly right. We are frugal so we can afford to enjoy to do the things we like, and each person’s interests are different. Frugality is freeing! I see people so stretched and stressed about money and we sometimes have some worries (like once when we got a chance to adopt the sibling of some of our other adopted kids) and only had four months to raise the funds. Adoption can be so expensive too. Then he was born 5 weeks early. Yikes. But still it wasn’t long before the stressful part of it was all over and life calmed down. We even bought my mom’s used car shortly after that. (Dad didn’t charge too much and he let us wait a couple of months to pay for it.)

      1. Liz – Your comment just brought tears to my eyes and made me smile all at the same time. God bless you and your family! 🙂

    3. C’est magnifique! I went to university in Montreal and had so much fun it’s a wonder I passed
      my courses! I regret never having been to Quebec City but I did make it to the Laurentians for a long spring weekend.
      Spring is a wonderful time to be in Montreal. I worked for a company which had a lot of expat Montrealers — when they learned
      I was going for a long weekend to see my friends, they all put orders in for Schwartz’s smoked meat and St Viateur bagels. My luggage
      was over weight and when the check in person learned why she waived the charge out of sheer pity for the YYC ex Montrealers! I love Montreal, second only to YYC in my heart! Bonne vacance!

      1. I went to university in Montreal as well, and we are the same age. I wonder if we crossed paths then. I agree it was a wonderful place to be, and I have many happy memories from my time there.

  33. Well, last week was expensive for me regarding gas because it was my son‘s last week of high school.

    On Tuesday, we drove 2 hours round-trip each time for his senior night recognition and athletic award ceremony on Tuesday, then the following night we made the same trip again for his academic award ceremony where he received an academic letter & plaque for having over a 3.5 grade point average for his entire four years of high school. He actually graduated high school on Saturday with an overall GPA of 3.9. I also gave him spending money for his senior class trip to Cedar Point amusement park in Ohio. Cost $40 & his father and I split the cost (we are divorced).

    He’s my one and only child. He did over 50 hours of community service (beyond the required 25) for which he got an honor cord to wear at graduation.

    This weekend is his grad party/open house. No hall fee as it’s being held at a private residence along the shores of Lake Erie. I won a $250 GC to a local catering company in Dec 2020 & they told me I could use that this year so that’s a huge savings!!

    My mom is supplying a large anti-pasta salad, my ex is supplying beverages.

    Now I need to print off all the pictures I’ve taken over the years. And compile them onto poster board.

    They only graduate once!

    1. How exciting! I can hear your excitement in your post! Congratulations!

  34. I love the photos of the bees on the flowers. Thanks for the book recommendation…in this busy life, a simple, relaxing book is sometimes what I need.

    Our week has been very much the usual – harvesting, eating frozen meals I cooked some time ago, burying scraps in the garden, limiting car use, biking when we can, reading library books and fishing for our dinner (was able to freeze some of our catches this week as they were abundant).

    I purchased a hair brush at 40% off, as I have been borrowing my daughters for over a year.

    I was extended in my relieving job which means 19.5% extra pay for a bit longer.

    I sold an item for $100. I bought it approximately two years ago for $40 and well and truly got great use out of it.

    I am still selling a few more items and have had some enquiries so far.

  35. I noticed Gardenpat, a regular commenter has been absent. I hope all is well, Gardenpat.
    Patricia

    1. I was wondering the same thing – it’s not like her. I just checked her last comment from two weeks ago and everything seemed to be fine with no plans for travel listed. Has anyone heard from her?

  36. I, too, love the photos – especially the bees on the poppy. A fun honey bee fact – those little spots of yellow on the bee’s legs are pollen. Honey bees have pockets alongside their back legs appropriately called pollen pockets where the store the pollen until they get back to the hive. People I have told this think its fun to think that honey bees have their own “cargo pants.” 🙂 I love our bees and could just sit and watch them for hours. It is a fun challenge to train my eye on just one bee in the garden and try to track where she goes. And seeing them deposit the pollen in the hive is so cool!
    *Speaking of bees, our apiary is doing very well. I was able to split another hive making for free bees. At the going rate of $175 per nuc (short for nucleus which typically means 5 frames of bees with a laying queen), splitting your own and/or catching swarms is the time-honored way of increasing your apiary inexpensively. I so enjoy spending time with the bees – inspecting the hives, trying to anticipate what needs they will have, sharing what experience I have with my family – I consider the stress-reduction to be one of the best parts.
    *My husband gets the frugal win for the week. His company has a rewards program where employees can give one another points for being extra helpful when they had a problem, etc. These points can then be cashed in for specific items or gift cards to various stores. My husband typically cashes his out for Lowe’s Home Improvement. With his cc reward of 10%, it makes those dollars stretch a bit farther. He had been wanting an electric power washer. We have a gas one but it is too powerful for some jobs such as washing the vehicles (especially the salt after winter), dirt bikes and other smaller jobs around or property. He found one for $89 on sale and had it shipped. It worked great for about 3 weeks and died. He tried everything to fix it to no avail. It came with a 1 year warranty so he called the manufacturer. And….there he sat….for 2 hours! He was working so it was not too much trouble to keep the phone close by. When he finally got hold of someone, they were very apologetic. They are short-staffed like everyone else and summer is their busy season. After some discussion and more trouble-shooting, the man said they would send a new one. Two days later, a new one arrived but it was the next model up – priced at $150. My husband is very pleased with it so far. So, for a bit of patience he got a $150 power washer for free.
    *My husband also found a deal on-line for our pantry and landscaping needs. We are firm believers that (most) weeds are just plants no one has found a use for and do not spray chemicals anywhere on our property. However, we do like to keep the plants out of our gravel drive near the house and some are too tough to pull. He uses a combination of vinegar, salt and dish soap to spray on them which works well. We noticed gallon jugs of vinegar going for $5-$6 locally (this is regular vinegar, not the super-strength kind many use for outdoor tasks) so he looked online. He found Heinz vinegar for $3/gallon shipped on Amazon. We thought it might be an error but two days later here it is and we were charged appropriately. We have always done our research but this is yet another occasion which reinforces the value of comparison shopping, especially in this internet world.
    *The women’s group at our church meets monthly for a potluck, meeting and service project. This month’s project was collecting toiletry items for a women’s shelter. I was able to find several full-size items at Dollar General for $1 each. I wanted to give something more than travel-sized items (I have heard they get a lot of those) so I was pleased to be able to participate within my budget.
    *We have many wonderful opportunities for swimming and enjoying water here including a couple of lakes with beaches – all for free. Those open after Memorial Day so we went to our favorite one with friends and had a lovely time.
    *I am in need of new contacts. My eye doctor went over all the option and give me 6 pairs of various kinds to try for free along with a complete cost break-down of what a year’s supply will cost minus my vision insurance coverage and rebates. Again, research is most helpful. I wear my glasses mostly in the winter so am able to stretch a “year’s” supply into two, typically.
    *Mending, mending and more mending. 🙂
    *I am almost finished with “The Forest of Vanishing Stars” which was recommended by one of you lovely people. I have enjoyed it so thank you, again! I am also reading “The Final Day” by William Forstchen. It is the third and final book in a trilogy about a USA-targeted EMP attack and follows characters in these mountains of NC I call home (but further south.) I read the first two a couple of years ago (borrowed from the library) but, at that time, the library system did not have this last one. I am glad I waited and looked again as they now they do. The author was asked by associates of his in politics to write about an EMP attack back in the late 1990s in the hopes that the possibility of such would be taken more seriously by those in charge. That has not turned out to be the case, unfortunately. Whether or not you are concerned about the possibility of such events occurring, it is a great series for considering what you would do without access to electricity and learning (or relearning) many of the skills we discuss here every week. I highly recommend these books. The first one is called “One Second After.”
    *As always, I so appreciate this blog and the comments. It is comforting to know the world really is filled with caring and supportive folks. We have something special here. Wishing you all a lovely week!

    1. Thank you for mentioning “One Second After”. I never read the second book the following year and it wasn’t added to my list. We had stayed a night in Black Mountain and went to an Arts and Crafts Festival the next day after we inquired about the name and location of a place my son had heard about in Science Class (Mt. Mitchell). We were familiar with some the places he wrote about in the book after a little exploring.

      1. If you benefitted from reading “One Second After” you will get just as much out of reading “One Year After.” “The Final Day” is proving to be just as interesting and very realistic as to how things might go and how people might respond after such an event. Can’t say they are “enjoyable” reads in the traditional sense but I have long been drawn to apocalyptic-themed novels as part of my research. It is a fascinating exercise (and one that is becoming more and more relevant) to read such things and ask, “What would I do? Am I as ready as I can be in the event such a thing occurs?” Glad you enjoyed Black Mountain, too. It is a lovely community.

    2. We used to live in Black Mountain and were colleagues with Bill, the author of the series. He used names of several colleagues in the books (and the World War II series written with Newt Gingrich)and it’s fun seeing names we know (although the character named after my husband dies 😂). The Black Mountain/ Swannanoa Valley/Asheville is beautiful and worth a visit!

  37. A am concerned about the rolling blackouts. We have five fridges and freezer stuff with on sale meat and cheeses and other things. We don’t know how to pressure can meat but I’d like to learn. We did do chicken broth and that frees up some freezer space. I want to learn other ways to preserve meat. A few weeks back at Walmart I was amazed at the price of canning salt (so much cheaper than a lot of kinds.) I just learned it up on Walmart.com and it was like $25 for four pounds! I couldn’t believe it. I will go check in person but I wish I had bought way more. (I heard this kind is good for salting meat.) p.s. I’m trying to clean out the freezers and cut down on them anyway so as not to have as many to run. Then we could sell one maybe. We have a generator that could run a couple for a time. I suppose if things got back we could start smoking meat in our smoker (some of it) and trying to cook the rest in our propane fueled over but you still would have to preserve. Can you tell I’m trying to brainstorm as I type? Do any of you have this issue? Do you have ideas? Even pressure canning takes energy and it’s so hot in the summer.

    1. Canning salt is salt without iodine.

      Sometimes I have skipped the big box labeled canning salt and bought the smaller cylinders of salt without iodine and used that for canning instead when it is less expensive. Just compare the two and buy the cheaper one.

      1. Oh interesting. I was going to research that. Thank you. We stopped by Walmart on the way home today (yikes gas. We tried to think of all of the things we needed to do on our way. My poor husband ALWAYS has tomatoes in his garden but this year varmints got to almost all of his plants so we stopped by a nursery and my daughter got him some for Father’s day. We often have dozens and dozens of plants…not a dozen! He has some volunteers but they will be late since they are small. We can so much: tomatoes, salsa, different sauces etc.) Anyway, it was only $1.72 for 4 pounds of salt, and I got excited until I realized they only had two. I grabbed them but I did note that the Great Value salt (iodinized and plain…I wondered about the plain) were only 56 cents a pound so I can do that next time we are out. That helps a lot. Thanks.

    2. Hi Liz, I love my All American pressure canners! I feel safe with them. I taught myself (they come with books and I also have the Ball Canning Book, as well as look things up). I can many things, and find many more I can can as I read. I also belong to several Facebook canning sites, including SOS’s Canning Recipes…they follow only safe ways. There are others that can like grandma used to do as well. These posts expand my knowledge far beyond the books. Canning meat is not that difficult at all. The best feeling is knowing I have shelf stable foods even if we lose power. I used to freeze most everything, but the thought of losing it if we lose power or having to try to can under those circumstances egged me on to canning more and more. I can all year round now, harvest veggies and fruits as they come in, mostly, and the other things like potatoes, meats, soups, spaghetti sauce, sloppy joe and chili during the winter months. Gardenpat, who is usually on here, is a pro, as are some of the other ladies here, like Bama Holly and Mountain Mama Dawn. Start out small, you will be addicted before you know it! Such a satisfying feeling!

      1. Thank you, Laura. We are blessed to have an all American canner (we got it back when they were pretty inexpensive) that my husband uses to can green beans and corn. (He grows a whole field of corn. I’m not kidding. We can so much and give so much away.) He is trying to teach me about it. We did the chicken broth together but have yet to try meat. We should. I like what you said about using it all year and using the winter months to can other things. We really need to branch out! Thanks so much! 🙂

      2. Oh, my goodness, Laura – you are sweet to say so but I am no expert. I just try really hard. 🙂 You sound like you can put up food like a champ. Keep it up!

    3. Liz, actually pressure canning is less hot in the house than regular canning because by design the steam is trapped in with the jars. Also, many people rig up a canning kitchen outdoors on a porch or patio for their summer canning.
      I have an All American pressure canner that I was too scared to use for years. But I value shelf stable foods (and got rid of our freezer), so I too taught myself by following the instructions in the manual. I now have at least doubled my canning output with broths, meats and seasonal buying on vegetables.
      I’m in Canada where we do not have extension agents (if that’s what they are called) to check gauges for safety so that’s why I opted for the All American which has a weighted gauge and thus needs no checking. These canners are expensive, but probably no more than a new freezer plus it is a lifetime tool purchase the same as a man’s workshop tool purchases! (But if you put the word out, sometimes someone has one looking for a good home.) Remember too that pressure cookers are not the same thing: if it doesn’t have a steam vent, it cannot be used for safe pressure canning.
      Sorry to be so long winded, but given the current concerns about possible food shortages and skyrocketing food costs, I know many ladies are contemplating learning to pressure can safely and wanted to reassure them they can do it!

      1. That is a good point about the All American brand canner.

        We think tools of all kinds are important investments. They make a difference later!

      2. You can get a weighted gauge for another brand of canners that comes with a dial. BUT mine requires a gasket that needs to be replaced occasionally which I don’t think is true of American.

    4. I am like you with two freezers and two refrigerator freezers stuffed. I have been trying to convert my frozen things to atleast some canned meals. I have done a lot of soups and stews. I like that they are a meal ready to go. I know it seems intimidating. but pressure canning is really not scary after you read through and follow instructions. I follow only safe tested canning recipes. I feel if I am going to put my time and money into it I want to know it is safe and not going to make people sick or die. From what I have read in canning groups canned ground beef is not the same texture so I have not canned it alone. I have canned ground beef in Chili con Carne and in soups. I like the roast beef and pork I have done, the canning seems to make those cuts tender. I would suggest joining some groups (the “original” safe canning group is one) and reading comments as people post to see what people recommend as the recipes that turn out well.

      1. Bama Holly, did you raw pack your beef and pork? I have read the same about ground beef, so canned it in chili, spaghetti sauce and as sloppy joes so far.😊

  38. Lovely poppies! I’ve never had any luck growing them. Maybe our soil is too heavy or something. My mom always had them self-seeding everywhere.

    I spent most of the week in my community garden plot. I’ve had this plot for several years and the work on the soil has really paid off. Weeds pull up easily and it’s full of worms. Unfortunately, the plot next to mine has gotten very overgrown. I asked the garden coordinator about it and was told it hadn’t been rented this year. I offered to pull the nastiest weeds, like thistles, out until someone could mow it. In exchange, I harvested several dehydrator trays worth of chamomile from the neglected plot, and best of all, found an abandoned soaker hose to use around my peppers and tomatoes!

    A neighbor who is moving was giving away several items and I was able to get a free Worm Factory worm bin! I used to do worm composting and am really excited to start again. Back in the day, I used newspaper for the bedding, but no one gets print newspapers anymore. For those of you who have worm composters, what do you use for bedding? I’m thinking maybe a mix of coir and corrugated cardboard, but coir is so expensive.

    Finally, be sure to watch the prices when you check out at your grocery store. I’ve caught three mistakes in the past two weeks at three different stores. The prices on the racks didn’t match the prices at the register (and always in the store’s favor). Around here at least, it seems like sale prices aren’t always getting updated in the systems.

    1. I have read that they prefer cardboard! You can also use shredded paper, but shredded cardboard is their favorite. Uncle Jim’s Worm farm website has lots of info.

      1. Thank you! I found a lot of information on both bedding and food that I didn’t know. Their blog is very helpful.

  39. I love the photos with the bees and I enjoyed the tea party pictures last week and on IG.
    I am back home after a restful vacation.
    Instead of going to the grocery store, I placed an Amazon delivery order for mostly fruit, vegetables, eggs and milk. I used a $10 off $50 code. Delivery is free so, even with the tip, it is less than a trip to the store.
    It’s a quiet week back to work and catching up on gardening. My husband worked all weekend on the yard.
    Dear nephew is on a mission trip, staying in the Bronx on the Grand Concourse which is not too far from where we live. He will join us for dinner this weekend and, I hope, some activities during his trip. He is very frugal and environmentally conscious so I have learned much from him.
    I enjoy reading all the posts and responses. Wishing everyone a great week!

  40. My husband got our tomatoes and peppers in the ground. Then we actually took a vacation! My mom stayed with my son. We stayed within the budget that had established. We have been keeping track of everything. We had never been to Minnesota. So we Went! I love being by the water. We went to grocery stores for food some of the time. We had smoked fish. Lake Superior on highway 61 is beautiful. I even walked to High falls. Quite a feat for me. But I love waterfalls . I knew my husband wouldn’t do it without me. I was happy for the benches along the path.
    I recovered the next day. More excercise is on my Agenda! I want to be able to do more and I need to for my health. The area was so beautiful I’ve been inspired to write a novel. I already have the storyline. My husband may also write with me. I don’t know long it will take, but I’m having fun with it! We also went to Leno Lakes and visited a music store. We like libraries and music stores. We had the opportunity to meet an amazing musician and have a session with Him! I’d been praying that God would guide us and I believe he did. Now we are working on a demo to send out. I’m hopeful and so happy we stopped in instead of going to the mall. God is Good! Now I am refreshed to be back home. We are still in budget. I’m so happy!

    1. Tami,
      I absolutely love the lake Superior shoreline. So beautiful. I have fond memories of childhood vacations there.
      I’m glad you enjoyed your visit to my state.

      1. Thank-you Ann! I was so close to Canada, I thought of you and the other gals that live there. We could see the border! So pretty!

  41. We had a couple of days of heat that required the air conditioning for a few hours one evening but it quickly cooled off and looks like we won’t need the air conditioner over the next couple of weeks. It has also rained enough that watering the vegetable garden isn’t necessary. Both of these are big savings for us.

    I have kept grocery shopping to milk and veggies. I did stock up on tissues and toilet paper as they were on sale at a really good price and I had coupons on top of that. I have really been trying to maximize coupon usage and produce clearance racks. Last week I got a pineapple for free as it was on the clearance rack and the store had an additional amount off the cost with their loyalty program.

    All meals were eaten here at home with what we have on hand. All laundry was dried outside to keep dryer use to a minimum. My husband cut his hair and I just assisted with cleaning up the back.

    I was gifted a package of sliced mushrooms, a Contigo insulated glass with straw, some mugs including a nice David’s Tea one, three bean plants and some DVDs for my husband through our local buy nothing group. I also found a lovely wreath that someone had set out at the curb.

    Hope everyone is having a lovely week!

  42. Your poppies are just gorgeous. Love the picture of the bees.
    I harvested lovage and dried 9 trays of it.
    I planted carrots, beets, kohlrabi, red onions, bunching onions, black and white beans, corn, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, and bulb onions. I have been planting between raindrops, as we have had one of the wettest springs in memory. I still have to get my peppers, more tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, zucchini and more corn in the ground. Am hoping to do that today and tomorrow.

    My best deal at the store, was while I was at Fred Meyer (our Kroger affiliate) to get a 1/2 gallon of milk for $1.27 (we were running an errand in the area) I went by the markdown meat counter and saw split chicken breasts for 49¢ a pound!!!! I couldn’t believe it. Their sell by date was the next day. I bought 6 packages – about 25 pounds. I came home and took them off them off the bones and took the skin off, then put them in the freezer. Put the bones and skin in two crockpots and made a bunch of chicken broth. Put some in the freezer, and made chicken tortilla soup with the rest. The soup had onions from the garden (we have a few left from last year), corn and black beans from the freezer, and some of the 49¢ a pound chicken. Made a chicken pot pie with the chicken I picked off the bones after the broth was done, two cups of the broth, mixed vegetables from the freezer that I put in from the garden last summer,
    and pie crusts from the freezer. Made chicken fajitas for my nephew, while he was visiting us, using some of the 49¢ chicken, peppers from the freezer, and onions from the garden. My sister makes batches of fajita seasoning mix and gives it to me for my birthday and Christmas each year. I love it.
    I have had six weeks off work, and go back next week for 3 days a week – just a little over 1/2 time. I do not work 8 hour days anymore. I will then work pretty much full time during tax season, and then take stock of how I feel to decide whether or not to continue one more year. I would like to keep working until I am 70 to max out my Social Security. That is in less than 2 years, and I feel good, so we will see.
    I have to go up to my mother’s house one or two more times this summer to get it cleaned out. Am hoping to put it on the market this fall. I already have 3-4 people interested in it.
    Hope everyone has a good week.

  43. Brandy well done on getting your gas usage down by so much it certainly helps and to keep lowering your bills despite huge gas prices is a huge accomplishment 🙂 . Your poppies are so beautiful and the bees love them too by the looks of it and the harvests from the gardens and drying the herbs will also see your grocery bill go down as you are not buying as much. So glad you and your husband had a wonderful date night together too.

    Like most other countries we are seeing a huge jump in mortgage interest rates due to a rise in the cash rate and so far in the last 2 months it will be a .75% rise in our variable mortgage interest rate. DH and I have carefully gone over our budget and have worked out ways to cut back and also delete budget categories we don’t need to keep so we can meet our goal and continue to pay double mortgage payments as we have to date since we got our loan. Fortunately we had stocked up most of our food storage to a level where we are happy with and can now use that pantry budget we kept aside to pay the extra on the mortgage payments. Our variable interest rate is still way under the fixed rates currently offered so we are best to stick with the variable loan payments.

    In the kitchen –
    – Washed and diced the capsicums we picked from the gardens that made 6 double meal sized portions for the freezer.
    – Made all meals from scratch.
    – Baked 4 loaves of wholemeal white bread in the bread maker saving $13.96 over buying them locally.

    Purchases –
    – Bought a combination of 8 Sistema and other storage containers for the sewing room to organise the room better on mostly half price specials saving $57.75 on usual prices.
    – Purchased a 2lt of dairy farmers chocolate milk on markdown from $4.40 to $2.60 saving another $1.80 on usual prices.

    Finances –
    – Paid 2 extra part payments off our mortgage.
    – Added a little extra to our home emergency fund.

    In the gardens –
    – Harvested 1.155 kg of capsicums from the gardens saving $10.00 over buying them in the local supermarkets.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead 🙂 .

  44. The footnotes for the book were all scrambled so I’ve spent about 100 hours sorting them out. I’m glad I realized it when proofreading
    and before it went to press. While I was outside proofreading at my patio table, an older couple walked up my driveway. It urned out it was my first date (Grade 9 dance) whom I have not seen in years. He had a white beard and looked like Santa Claus! I never think of myself as old but I do now! It was great seeing him. He has lived in the States for many years and is on his way back o Alaska.

    I also enjoyed watching all of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee events. I am named after her plus another royal. I have seen her in person three times — once when she came to YYC when I was a child — I had a yellow voile dress with crinoline petticoat. Once at night in Kingston when her limousine passed by me in the dark — it was all lit up inside and I saw her clearly. And once in YYC about 20 years ago . Kate has her hands full with Prince Louis but she was so patient with him. It was inspired not to have the Sussexes sit in the row behind the Cambridges not only because they are no longer working royals but because it prevented all the media spin of juxtaposed images like happened two years ago at the Commonwealth service. Fewer media-imposed interpretations this way. I’ve enjoyed seeing the new photos of Lilibet.

    I saved money by buying Safeway’s big package of chicken thighs — buy one get one free so the per pound average price was $2.25 per pound so I saved 8 lbs times $2.50 pr pound = $20.00
    Ice cream (Chapman’s) usually $5.49 was $2.49. As I have not been well, I’ve been eating ice cream. I saved $2.50 per 400 gr block of cheese — I am buying 3 and putting 2 in the freezer.

    A squirrel or mouse or rabbit cropped off the buds on my new roses.

    A robin has built a nest over the outside light so I’ll be keeping the light off (saves energy) until the babies fledge.

    1. I just love that you remember the dress you were wearing as a little girl, when you saw the queen.

      1. Anne,
        My mother used to sew lots of clothes for me. I recently found doll’s clothes
        she had knitted, too. Although I loved the clothes she made me at the time
        now they are memories I hold dear…

        I think the crinoline petticoat was as memorable as the dress.

    2. So sorry about your roses Ann – how annoying!
      Good thing you caught the errors before you went to press! I had to once actually call and say “stop the presses” to my printer. We were doing a programme for a big event at the University and the programme included the dinner menu. It was in Hindi and we had hired a translator to ensure everything was correct – we thought – had a call from someone at the printers who happened to speak Hindi and he asked me if I was sure that I wanted to “thank the buttered chicken”! No I did not! I can laugh about it now but I was not best pleased at the time.

      1. Oh, that’s hilarious!!! Translation can be such a funny thing! My husband is fluent in ASL( American sign language) and his work had deaf visitors from Japan. He spoke to them in English while signing. Their translator spoke in Japanese while doing JSL. After a busy morning, he smiled at his visitors and asked, “Are you all hungry?”. The visitors froze in their tracks and the translator smiled as he signed to them and they all burst into laughter. The translator explained to my husband that the visitors thought he was asking if they were all horny!!! It seems the ASL word for HUNGRY is quite similar to the JSL word for HORNY!! Oops!

      2. Hi Margie! Oops “thank the buttered chicken” LOL! I once had a problem on a share certificate.
        A Quebec anglophone had translated into French the word “assignation” and he/she thought it meant assignment in French.
        Fortunately, I picked up that it was not a cognate word but a “false friend” and meant a tryst or meeting between lovers.
        It wasn’t my job to proofread the French but I was so glad I picked it up.

        I do worry that in our book we haven’t had a second person who can proofread the Blackfoot, Stoney or Tsuu’ina stories that we include but it was hard
        enough to get translations to begin with.

  45. Brandy,
    The photo of the poppy was beautiful, thanks for sharing!
    I enjoyed reading everyone’s comments. I always learn so much.
    I learned from this blog to use up bits and pieces of food in the fridge. I had 3 stalks of rhubarb, some past their prime strawberries and a handful of cherries. I chopped them all up and made jam. It was the best tasting jam I have ever made! It made one quart size jar. In past years, I probably would have put those items in my compost bin. My husband got a dozen tomato plants from his friend that starts them in his greenhouse. It has been cool and rainy here so they will probably be potted and grown in our greenhouse. We have gotten a handful of ripe strawberries here and there from our garden and they are delicious. We cleaned out our garage which was a 3-day project. We took a pickup truck load to the dump and then we organized everything so we can now easily see what we have and what we need to purchase. We also had to do a few minor repairs on the back door -the frame and threshold needed work. It was a lot of work and we were both sore for a few days but it looks so nice now. I still need to purchase a new welcome mat for the backdoor as that helps keep things cleaner. We purchased a large bright orange playball and a bag of bright neon green whiffle balls for our grandson to play with when he visits- that was a total cost of $5 for a summer of fun. We also took out his blow up swimming pool from last year and cleaned it well so if we ever get warm, sunny weather we will be ready.

  46. Gosh, I got so busy last week, I forgot to post. And now, it’s already Wednesday. Well, I’ll try to remember some highlights.
    * Found nearly $8 in errors on my market receipt. Got a refund. I never leave the store without reviewing it.
    * I’m primarily marketing for only the very best in sales, which are few. Also, milk, eggs, and some produce.
    * Husband attended a work luncheon and brought home a people bag full of crackers, diced cheese, and trail mix.
    *My idea to use 4 drapes on my slider turned out to have a great benefit. Since the extra fabric gathers, it works great for keeping the heat out. And 4 regular panels from Home Goods was less than half the cost of 2 heat blocking kind. And way prettier! I originally used 4 for privacy.
    * Found a pretty succulent arrangement in clearance marked from $19.99 (seriously??) to $3.99 and the container matches perfectly in my master bathroom.
    * My homemade laboratory was very busy! I made overnight oven cleaner, shower cleaner, toilet bombs, laundry soap, and orange vinegar. My oven is clean for it’s summer vacation!
    * Bought a beautiful cotton Easter tablecloth for $1 at the thrift store… still in the package! It’s perfect.
    And all the regular stuff like hanging laundry, catching water, and combining driving trips. The weather has been great so the AC has been off half of the time. Windows wide open until 3 or 4 pm. And we haven’t even used our sprinklers yet. Weve had something like 21″ of rain. Just this morning we got another inch. We won’t talk about the mosquitoes that will certainly be next.
    Reading:
    On my nightstand – When the Soul Mends by Cindy Woodsmall (this is 3/3 in a series. The first one was by far the best.)
    In my craft room CD player – First Family by David Baldacci.
    With my Bible study – Beautiful in God’s Eyes by Elizabeth George.
    By my reading chair – Reader’s Digest and Midwest Living magazines.
    I also finished The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard. Very good.

    Love reading how everyone is coping and conquering these days. In honor of the Queen, Keep Calm and Carry On!

    1. That would be 6 or 7 years’ worth of rain for us.

      That’s very hard for me to imagine.

      I am glad there is rain somewhere on the plains. The wheat and corn crops need it.

  47. Hope all are having a great week. I am always inspired and thank you Brandy for your gift of creating this community.
    My husband caught enough fish for a meal that our family and extended family enjoyed when they were visiting us. Added more stakes to our tomatoes and small buds are forming -can’t wait to taste those first cherry tomatoes. Husband reattached the hand of our watering can-it’s over 40 years old and is a family treasure.

    Have started tracking mileage and even trying to tighten our trips more. My husband rode his bike to help a friend rather then taking the car. We are planning all driving and try to use any deals and coupons to fill up.

    I repaired a garden flag and sewed a new hem so I can use it again.

    A dear friend lost her brother so we took her a meal thus did some batch cooking and added meatballs and a meatloaf to our freezer.

    So grateful for all of your ideas. Hope this is a week of blessings for everyone.

  48. We made it another week without turning on our downstairs air conditioners. I think this is the longest we’ve ever made it into the summer!

    We’ve been eating strawberries, rhubarb, and asparagus from the garden. The asparagus is about done, but we’ve really been enjoying it.

    I am hang drying some oregano.

    We carpooled with my parents to my nephews baptism.

    I checked out two books from the library. One was the downton abbey cookbook. It’s beautiful! I’ve found several recipes to try.

    I also stumbling across a YouTube channel called Julia Pacheco Cooking. She has several videos highlighting cheap meals. I’m going to try some of them.

    I am continuing to use Upside and Fetchrewards to get cash back.

    In my quest to reduce clutter in my home, I’m finding myself returning things that I don’t need rather than saving them. That’s added a few dollars to my pocket.

    I am making a farm mat for my son. I’ve been able to scrounge up most of the materials for it. I think I’ve spent about $10 on it total. I already had some of the felt and all the embroidery floss and ribbon I needed. I am also using a scrap piece of some carpet my husband installed and some yarn scraps my sister saved for me. I had to buy a few pieces of felt, some buttons, and some elastic. Overall, I’m pleased with it so far. I’m getting ready to start on what I think will be the most challenging portion though. Pray for me please!

    1. I recently stumbled across Julia Pacheco Cooking too! The recipes we have tried are all delicious – plus she’s so practical with her prep and meals.
      Even the more expensive ones are easy to make and would give our family leftovers. She has a website with all her recipes – after trying a few, I bookmarked the site on my browser for future reference. Her cheerfulness and beautiful kitchen are a fantastic bonus!

      Enjoy those new recipes,
      Lea

  49. It’s been incredibly busy around here what with the DH going off to sit on a panel for a convention in town, various doctor appointments and sundry other things. Just catching my breath for a few minutes to post this.
    The weather is still quite cool here so the garden is doing fine with lettuce and Kale. The cherry tomatoes don’t seem to be doing much but at least they are alive. I planted out a 4 pack of pak choy but I think it was a bit long in the tooth and will simply go to seed. Oh well…it’s an experiment. There’s lots of dill and cilantro coming back for the 4th year in a row but I seem to have lost a mint plant (who knew they would suddenly die off?) and a sage. The rest of the herbs are doing fine.
    I have cut lettuce, kale and mesclun and arugula a few times already and it’s ready to be cut again.
    My oldest DS had meetings in town so came a couple of days ahead to stay with us for a visit. We all gathered with other family and friends for a memorial for my BIL who passed 2 years ago. A lovely gathering with lots of stories in my SIL’s beautiful garden.
    While DS was here I made a Turkey Shepherd’s Pie and for the topping I mixed in a leftover sweet potato with the mashed potato. There was enough leftover to freeze for another meal at some point. I served it with baking powder biscuits. The leftover biscuits were left to dry and will be turned into crumbs. On his last night with us we ordered chicken dinner from Swiss chalet. The leftover veggies will be turned into a quiche today.
    We had our provincial election and we are all disappointed at the very low voter turnout. Because of the low turnout, it means only 18% of the voters managed to get a majority of seats. Not many are happy with the situation.
    A friend’s DH died recently and I sent a sympathy card in the mail from my stash. I hadn’t realized he was ill. I did not manage to attend the funeral.
    I took another friend out to lunch. She’s dealing with a lot of stuff and needed a break. We later went to another friends yard for a Jubilee Tea. Lots of fun and visiting with former neighbours. Now I need to make some scones again to continue the celebration.
    While I was out with my friends, DH took the husband out for lunch at another place. He’s been in and out of hospital recently and needed a distraction.
    We bought a rotisserie chicken to make supper quickly one night. The leftover chicken made several lunchtime sandwiches, and a container of enchiladas for the freezer. The last bit of chicken is now chicken salad for 2 sandwiches tomorrow.
    I’ve been getting things organized for the big “open the cottage” weekend. Since we are on an Island, it’s a lot of preparation. I’ve found most of the bedding we brought home for the winter, the foodstuff from basement storage like rice, sugars, etc. I’ve also made up menu for the weekend as well as the first night supper (home made mac and cheese) that can just go into the oven while we clean. An extra pan was made for the freezer while I was cooking. Now to make a couple of types of muffins for quick snacks (cranberry/bran and lemon/poppyseed), a couple of salad dressings and I should be just about set. I hope the weather holds while we get the shutters down and the water on.
    I signed up for a book give away on Goodreads and won. The book arrived this week. And when I was returning 2 books to the local library I picked up the latest Nora Roberts book. Can’t say I’m thrilled about it so far. A cute book recently that was an easy read was “The Book Lovers”. I’m also currently reading “Miss Eliza’s English Kitchen” which surprisingly is NOT a cookbook. I also read “Bluebird” by G. Graham, a canadian author about rum running between Windsor and Michigan. It’s something I knew nothing about. I didn’t think it was particularly well written but it was interesting.
    I need to call the Vet to order the hound flea and tick meds soon.
    It was our 47th anniversary this week. We decided not to go for supper until next week as it was just one thing too many in a week. I made an Osso Buco for supper and we had a bit of decadent cake for a celebration at home. I also got a lovely bouquet of flowers. Of course, I had already bought myself some peonies but you can never have too many flowers in the house in my opinion.
    Now I need to get myself in gear and finish the cottage preparations.
    Take care everyone; hope to hear from GardenPat next week. She inspires me to do more.

    1. Thank you for mentioning the book “Bluebird”. I’m going to request it from the library. I grew up on the Michigan side of the Detroit River and apparently my hometown was a hotbed of rum runners. There were lots of marshes and bays for boats to hide in. When I was a kid, people occasionally found secret rooms or passages in their houses or boathouses that had been used to hide smuggled alcohol!

  50. Bandy I have so enjoyed the pics of all the produce you have been harvesting- and the lovely tea you hosted, I am finally starting to feel better after several weeks of illness-which means I can slowly get more involved in shopping and cooking for the family again, looking for sale prices etc. This will save us dollars as the price of things has not been the biggest consideration of late since we were simply in survival mode. I must say I was in shock popping into a local grocery store briefly today to pick up one item- 4 peppers were around $8 and a large container of blueberries was $9!! I honestly thought I must be reading the signs wrong!!
    Our daughter received her university degree in the mail today so we are very proud of her-she is working in another province so none of us were able to attend the ceremony in person. It is especially poignant as we adopted her just before her 5th birthday and her first 5 years of life were not the easiest. Even though not initially frugal, this investment should earn her extra money over time.
    Our Ukrainian guest is working hard, saving even harder and poised to move out on July 1 into her own apt-so we are very proud of her too. Seems fitting she will officially start her new life in her new home in Canada on Canada Day and turn 19 the day after-so many reasons for her to celebrate. Two friends with larger vehicles have kindly stepped up to help her move in, as our car will not accommodate her donated furniture. So she is saving on truck rental etc.The Canadian government is also offering Ukrainian refugees a re-settlement allowance of $3,000-once it arrives it will help offset many of the costs of setting up a home. She also received some donated office clothing last night from an agency supporting young women entering the work force-who do not have the funds to buy a work wardrobe when getting started. She is thrilled and she is blessed.

    Savings this week involved DH and I ordering new glasses online from Zenni optical-most of the cost of eye exams was covered by our Blue Cross plans thankfully and at least part of the reasonable charge for glasses will also be covered once we submit the receipts. We were also able to reinvest some retirement dollars/savings at higher rates of return. Refunds were received for some travel I needed to cancel due to illness.
    Meals prepared included hamburgers with side salads, cauliflower and cheese soup with homemade bread, and beef stroganoff with noodles. Meals planned over the next few days include perogies and sausage, lasagna, Thai chicken and rice. I also have my eye on some rhubarb coming up in the garden so a homemade crumble will be a nice addition to the menu. I have been trying to show our guest how to batch cook and freeze meals for quick grab and go lunches or dinners-the cook once and eat several times concept for a single person. She is keen to try any dish and says she has learned some important life skills here in our home like budgeting, saving and packing a lunch the night before work. I can also teach her some vegetarian options to prepare that will be easier on her budget once she starts to purchase her own groceries next month.
    Wishing everyone a great and frugal week.

    1. So glad to hear that you are starting to feel better – you have had a time of it! You must be very proud of your daughter and of your Ukrainian guest – how well both of them are doing. Take care of yourself and don’t overdo it as you recover.

    2. so glad you’re feeling better, I. I’ve been worried about you!
      Congratulations on your daughter’s graduation. Great news and also about
      D from Ukraine.

      1. Thanks to Ann and Margie for your kind words- you are right that I have had a time of it. I did not write all of the details of the last week as that could have filled up the whole blog-haha! Anyway long story short, I did spend some time in the ER last weekend and the docs have figured out a little better what has been going on-and I should continue to improve with time! Then I can get back to my usual frugal ways while still enjoying reading all of the frugal ideas posted here.

  51. Love your photos of poppies. The colors are just spectacular! I’ve never thought to add water to a lotion bottle, although I do it for other products (shampoo, face wash, etc) all the time. A couple of days ago I used the last squeeze of my eczema lotion and added a bit of water to the large tube…worked like a charm. I’ll have enough for a few more days. Thanks for that!

    Last week my husband’s parents came down from out of state, bringing Covid with them. Apparently they were both already sick, and tested positive in just a few hours after arrival. My husband and I are now positive. Insurance covered several at-home tests which I added to the ones I received in the mail. I spent a small fortune on medicine and supplies when the parents got sick, and then needed to buy more when we also came down with it. I had one box of Mucinex in my medicine cabinet already, and they went through it in 2 days so I had to restock. Thankfully, I was the last to get sick so I was able to go shopping and get what we needed before I tested positive. I have spent over $100 on Mucinex alone in the past week. Mucinex does seem to help trememdously — we have been taking both the Cold/Congestion Fast Max and DM versions. We’re all still under the weather, but more like a bad cold instead of requiring hospitalization, so I’m very very grateful. I popped on here to say that if you see coupons or sales on Mucinex, consider getting some for your household. This was the first time any of us have had Covid at all, so we are counting our blessings that it hasn’t been worse. I was very concerned about how the in-laws would fare, both of them are in poor health, and am glad they were here where we could help care for them if needed. We’ve spent hundreds on groceries…they are very particular about food, and have not been super happy with what we’ve served. Please pray for me to have patience and give grace! It’s been a trying time. They are staying for one more week.

    So far our kids have been okay and testing negative. I’m most concerned about my daughter catching it — she is going on a Europe trip in 11 days and we definitely don’t want to risk her missing that. She was supposed to go in 2020, and it has been postponed 2 years in a row. To keep her from exposure, she’s staying in the walk-out basement for the time being. It’s miserable and stressful! I’m looking forward to having my house to myself again.

    There were some frugal moments last week but I can’t remember any of it in my current state of exhaustion. Will catch up next week. Take care everyone!

    1. @Diana
      My husband has come down with a nasty head cold and is testing negative.
      My next door neighbour said she also presented like this for 11 days as negative.
      Once she was recovering and planning for a trip she was departing on shortly she tested positive on the 13th day. She had dated and kept all the negative tests.
      She phoned her doctor who gave her a letter stating she had already had covid and was in the non infectious phase even if she was testing positive. It appears you can test positive for weeks afterwards but not be infectious. Maybe documentation prior to her leaving in case she did get it while your in laws were visiting hut would be not transmitting when she leaves for her trip?

    2. Hoping you feel better soon. Caring for others is so loving but also can be wearing, especially when one isn’t feeling well themselves. Keeping you in prayer.

  52. I am impressed with those energy savings! You should be very pleased. I learn so much from reading your blog and the comments, but I don’t comment often.

    I’m commenting today because I am quite down and could use encouragement from the lovely women who often comment here.

    My pantry became infested with what I thought were flour weevils but turned out to be another pantry pest called a merchant grain beetle. I suspect they hitched a ride in a free box of pancake mix a family member gave me when she was reorganizing her own pantry.

    I started noticing some very small, long, reddish-brown bugs on my pantry shelves. I found them in a large canister of oatmeal, an Anchor Hocking jar of White Lily flour, and the box of pancake mix. I threw away the infested items, cleaned the shelves, and thought I had dodged a bullet.

    I was wrong. We left for a few days and came back to a full-scale infestation. The rest of my flour, rice, and cornmeal were sealed in various clear glass and plastic containers. When we got home, you could see the tiny beetles in almost every container.

    I have now spent hours carefully inspecting each item in my pantry for beetles, larvae, or webbing; vacuuming shelves; and cleaning them. This was a very hard time to have to throw away so much. As grocery prices in Florida are rising every week, there were moments I wanted to cry over the sheer wastefulness of it all.

    I am white-knuckling it a bit at present. I keep having the niggling thought of, what if I missed something and have to do this again in another week or two?

    I am trying to learn from this experience. I have certainly learned which brands of containers I can count on, LOL! And we will be alright, even though we took this unexpected hit.

    On the bright side, I harvested grape and cherry tomatoes from the garden this week, and my pepper plants are fruiting well. We had many “volunteer” flowers that my daughter and I transplanted into our front garden bed in the mornings, while it was shady. Publix, a grocery chain here in the Southeast, offered a coupon for $10 off the price of gas with a $50 grocery purchase. And finally, I have mastered the art of driving stick and am enjoying the gas savings from driving my husband’s small manual car as well as plotting the best path for running errands on Saturdays.

    I, too, have missed GardenPat and hope she is alright. I enjoy her comments and her quilting projects each week.

    1. I’ve been there as well; we ended up with pantry moths. They ate right through double plastic bags and I had to throw a lot out–and then deal with them a year later when it got warm again. Webs are a common problem.

      I found that fly paper was much cheaper than pantry moth traps and it helped a lot as well. I have a lot more things in glass now and not in plastic, but not everything.

      And then last year I ended up with some type of weevils (I think they came in one of the bags of oats I bought at the store) and had the throw out 50 pounds of oats and at least as much flour. Oats then doubled in price; it was devastating. I feel your pain.

      1. Oh wow, I did not realize those little beasts could eat through plastic bags! Yes, devastating is the right word for it. Thank you for the tip about fly paper! I have some left over from when we had some fruit flies we couldn’t seem to get rid of. I’ll try that 🙂

        1. They love chocolate. They got into my chocolate chips and cocoa powder, my herbs, my dried fruit, under the paper labels on cans (but not into cans).

    2. I have had those critters too, or something very similar. And yes; really, really tight seals on all containers was the eventual answer. I am wondering if freezing all new cereal products for a few days before putting them in containers would be a good idea? Maybe someone here knows? And I would only buy small quanties until you know you have them beaten.

      1. Thank you! I looked up all the little pantry pests on the Orkin website, and freezing (1 day for weevils, 6 days for flour and grain beetles) will kill any eggs that might be in new products. I’m going to try buying smaller batches and freezing them in their original containers for a while, just to be sure!

  53. I read your blog every week also but do not comment often.
    Like you Brandy, I own a Nutramill grain mill and mill some of my own flour. I purchased it, along with the grains from https://Pleasanthillgrain.com. I also purchased their special storage pails and have never experienced pests. They sell, or I think they still do, Mylar bags for storage.

      1. Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers will keep the pests out. Also freezer for three days. I have always put bay leaves in my flours and it works. So many of us can empathize.

        1. They got into my bay leaves, lol.

          I don’t have room to freeze 25-pound bags of grains, unfortunately, or I would.

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