Katy apricot tree in flower

I sowed lettuce seeds in my garden. These were seeds I collected from my own garden last year, so they were no cost to me.

I harvested lettuce, parsley, arugula, and green onions from the garden.

I took 150 cuttings for new hedge plants in the garden.

I signed a contract with the local nursery to work again as an influencer for them this spring. I really appreciate your support in this endeavor last year on my Facebook and Instagram accounts. The person who hired me mentioned my enthusiastic followers, and one in particular (I think I know who, and thank you so much!) as reasons for choosing to hire me again.

I will need to purchase some plants and supplies from the nursery to feature in my postings for the nursery. I purchased several items on Saturday, including two roses on sale. These should be in bloom by the time I need to feature them.

I gave haircuts to my husband and my daughter.

Bells of Ireland

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. Congratulations on your nursery contract!! They are going to benefit SO much from your showing how you garden using some of their plants and products!! So happy for you that you were able to monetize something that you love doing!! Sounds like a Win-Win!!
    On Wednesday, our weather went up to 74 F degrees outside, so we changed our plans and worked outside to take advantage of the warmth! It was also windy, but that didn’t deter us. Last year we had been given around 600 paver bricks that were octagonal with a square at one end by a friend in exchange for us just digging them out and taking them away because they were building a deck in it’s place. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the walkway extended and created because the weather turned cold and rainy. But we decided that this year, we will work on it in bits every time we have a warmer dry day and it will get done! That works well for us too because it gives us time in between those days to rest our weary muscles! Lol! So here’s what we did: https://pin.it/3v01R51 and https://pin.it/4yI2wMy. Hubs is the skilled “engineer” placing each paver after making sure the sand he puts below it is level and using a rubber mallet to even them up! My job is to provide him with the bricks as he stays seated on the ground. Mine is the “day laborer” part of the job! And I’m happy to do it as I see the results of his careful work!! We will continue the walkway of these pavers in front of the chicken coop because it’s hard to fit the lawn mower in that small space between the fire pit and the chicken coop. Problem solved with a nice FREE upgrade to the landscaping! Like the phrase: “Opportunity usually shows up in overalls and looking like work”! The next day we had snow flurries!!

    In my sewing room organizing and decluttering, I found this free pattern for a patriotic table runner and put together this (using just a few scraps) https://pin.it/eMJjkJo and https://pin.it/25ZFa6K. It was easy enough. I may make several of them to give as gifts.
    I also combined my 2 overflowing shoeboxes with 2-1/2” strips (12” or longer) into a large plastic tote and was able to fill it by adding more strips that I hadn’t had room to file away before! From that box, I now have all 25 fabrics cut out to make this https://www.robertkaufman.com/assets/pdf/Bridges-ABAutumnTrails.pdf. It is 54” x 70” so a nice size throw quilt to gift! I love that there are hundreds of free quilt patterns available online at our fingertips!!

    We celebrated our 52nd anniversary on Sunday and I found on Flashfood on Saturday a huge slice of strawberry cheesecake for 2 that was marked down to $2.49 so we treated ourselves to that. Tonight (Monday) we will go out for an early dinner at Texas Roadhouse using a gift card we were given at Christmas. Then, we’ll come home and watch an episode of the new season of Madame Blanc mysteries on Acorn and enjoy a quiet time together! Maybe not exciting to some people but extremely enjoyable for us!

    The chickens have loved their fermented grains that I made last week and rewarded us by upping their egg production to 4 – 5 eggs a day!! Yay!!

    Our great deal of the week were 1.5 cubic foot bags of Miracle-Gro Nature’s Care Organic and Natural Potting Mix with Water Conserve. A local online gardening group member posted that she had just seen them on clearance that morning at Home Depot that is 10 minutes from us. The size they will now stock is 1/3 of the size but costs $15. These were on clearance for only $2.20/bag!! We bought 22 bags for ourselves and came back and bought 20 bags for our daughter. It still left 2-1/2 pallets full of bags at the store. We told other friends who also got some for their gardens! The retail cost would have been over $900 but we spent just over $48!! https://pin.it/5twKnO3 and https://pin.it/1ESALqg (starting to unload and stack them) . So over $850 saved!! We are pleased as will our raised beds and container gardens be!!

    Hoping that everyone is finding reasons for joy in their lives and surroundings even during these turbulent times!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Happy Anniversary to you and your husband!!

      I’m like you, I’m 50 years old & would much rather stay home & enjoy the peace and quiet there. I’m also in Ohio but the Youngstown/Warren area, only about 50 miles north of the train derailment.

      1. Kelly- Hope you’re not overwhelmed with snow yesterday and today! The train derailment looks like it’s been a nightmare! Well, I’m outside now to let chickens out and work on bricks with Hubs. It will be in 70’s today!!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

    2. Gardenpat – I can relate to your description of your day laborer role on projects with your husband. I often call myself the “unskilled but enthusiastic help.” As a daily overall-wearer, I also love your comment about opportunity showing up in overalls. I have heard that one before and it is so true – literally and figuratively. Congratulations on all your accomplishments this week! 🙂

      1. Mountain Mama Dawn- Lucky for us that the weather has been so crazy! That way, we have 1 day to work outside because it’s 72 and the next two or three days, it’s down to 40 for the high so we have time to recover! Lol!! Case in point, today while much of the US is having storms and snow, we will be around 72 again with wind! So, we will be found working outside on the bricks most of the day! Tomorrow? Back down to 39 degrees for our high! 😱

        Gardenpat in Ohio

    3. Thank you so much Garden Pat for mentioning the soil you bought. I just finished buying 20 bags here in Indiana. They have over 500 left. Such a good deal.!
      Thank you Brandy for this wonderful place that we can glean and share ideas. I don’t comment often but read every post, every week.
      Marmee to Many

      1. Debra K Wait- That’s awesome!! I thought it was specific to our one store!! Definitely an amazing savings and glad you got in on it!! ❤️❤️

        Gardenpat in Ohio

    4. Happy Anniversary to you and your hubby! I love your description of engineer and day laborer! My hubby has done the same with pavers and the kids were the day laborers when he put in the patio. It was over 90 and humid and they were rushing to get it in by graduation day. They still talk about that ten years later.😊 I absolutely love your patriotic runners! Funny, hubby literally just told me we have a free Texas Roadhouse dinner we have to use (from Veteran’s Day), so we are going tonight. Yummy! I had totally forgotten about it. We will then come home and watch Murdoch Mysteries. Our idea of a date night. Blessings.

  2. Not sure how this will sound but it is frugal so I thought I would share
    My husband and I decided we really only need 2 meals and 1 light snack daily
    We have coffee and water in early morning then fruit and something like avocado on toast or eggs then around 3 or4pm we have bigger meal like soup/ sandwich or usual protein and vegetables- on Sunday we have pasta. We usually just need a snack of popcorn, yogurt at early evening before 8pm trying to aim for 6-7 range…. I am desperately trying to loose weight and we walk daily but also to reduce so much food in one day both for health and financial savings
    So far I have seen the savings in money 🤭 still waiting for the same reduction in weight

    1. I think it’s great when you can cut back on the number of meals a day if you don’t really feel like you need them, and so smart when food is more expensive! I remember visiting family in Mexico when I was a teenager. They told me that they usually ate a large breakfast in the morning and a lunch in the afternoon, but then didn’t really eat an evening meal. If I got hungry then I could have a sandwich. If I’m not hungry, sometimes I will save my dinner portion (because my kids and husband still like to eat dinner) and save it for breakfast. I have never really like normal breakfast foods anyway :).

      1. Well Jenni if I had ever traveled I might have realized sooner not everyone eats big portions or as many meals as we do in the US
        I started thinking about others countries and how they cope,and it occurred to me how fortunate I have it and maybe I didn’t need as much

    2. This makes sense to me, Pam. I eat this way the vast majority of the time. If I know I am going to be served lunch (a church meal or family/friend’s house) I usually don’t eat breakfast. I started eating this way when my boys were very small (they are 10 and 11 now) and found eating lunch just made me more tired than I already was. A big side benefit is the cost savings. I have never needed to lose weight but have friends who have been very successful with maintaining a healthy weight by making this change. Glad you have found something that works for you on all fronts. 🙂

    3. Pam, I find as I get older that I definitely need less food. I do the two meals and a snack as well. It saves money and time, too.

    4. Pam, I only eat breakfast and lunch, and it has definitely helped on my weight loss journey! We live close to the school where my hubby teaches, so he is able to come home for lunch and we make that the main meal of the day, so any casseroles or such that is when we have them. In the evening, my teen daughter and hubby will eat lightly such as fruit and toast, or sometimes popcorn or muffins. If I didn’t eat enough and find myself really hungry in the evening I will eat some fruit, but for the most part my body has adjusted very well and I am not hungry at all in the evenings. I do not feel deprived, I feel SO much better! I sleep better at night as well! While my daughter and hubby are eating their light supper I will sometimes be making bread or making other food for the next day, so I am in the area and still visiting with them. My doctor friend told me she has seen this work for people time and time again, and really encouraged me in it. There is also a free weight loss program I recommend, fullplateliving.org. This program used to charge, and my health insurance actually paid for me to complete it. But it has since gotten a grant and is now offered free of charge. It is a nonprofit. Best of luck on your health journey! I have lost 50 pounds, and am now ideal weight and I feel So much better than I used to!!!

    5. Good luck with the weight loss, its not easy, I know. I like how you’ve changed your eating habits. I think we get so used to eating at certain times and bigger amounts than we need, most of us don’t do heavy manual work. My daughter who is a farmer can eat huge amounts and stay slim but her job is so physical. Don’t forget that with the walking you’ll be increasing your muscle mass, which weighs more than fat but you should feel more energised. Apart from a pair if shoes walking is free.
      Also It’s surprising how much money can be saved by cutting back just a little.

    6. Hi Pam, In the last year I went to a weight loss center and started seeing a nutritionist. It was very insightful and helped me a lot. I know everyone is different, but I wanted to share what I have done that has helped me lose 45lbs. I was direct to eat 3-5oz every 3 hours to keep my metabolism going. I was also directed to focus on lean protein rich foods, and get up to 70 grams of protein a day. When eating my goal is to eat items that have 1 gram of protein for every 10 calories, or less calories per gram of protein. Only do one ‘cheater’ carb a day which could be a high protein low card small tortilla (about 30 calories), sweet potato, or pasta made with lentils, cauliflower etc (low carb, higher protein). I switched to dark chocolate, and also to high protein snacks. I usually allow myself a small portion of a snack once a day. To meet my protein needs I also take protein shakes. I was told that if you put yourself in a calorie deficit and your body does not have enough protein, your body will feed off of the muscles more or less. So by having a protein rich diet you ensure that your body doesn’t deplete your muscle mass. This is considered a bariatric diet. I am getting weight loss surgery very soon. In addition to this I have started walking 10-20k steps a day, and go swimming a few times a month. I think overall, I was very out of touch with how much I was eating.

      1. Thank you Ahley for sharing what you have learned and I hope to incorporate this into my desire for weight loss, I need to loose 30lbs- I am ashamed I let it get out of control because I am a nurse and try to emulate for people a healthy lifestyle. You are right about the steps- so far I can do 3- 4 miles per day rain or shine but I hope to get to 5miles before may
        Best of luck on your journey

      2. I had bariatric surgery in 2009. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. I lost 100 pounds & have kept most of it off. Good luck on your journey!

      3. Ashley, I am not in the least being critical here, but if you can lose weight to get in shape for the surgery, why don’t you stay on the diet and just keep losing that way? (No need to answer, just something to think about). Life is not always easy or wonderful after bariatric surgery. I know several people who can attest to this. I have a friend who had the surgery and gained back 75 lbs. (All of the people I know have gained back some of the weight). My friend, who tried everything else, started counting calories. She has lost about 50 lbs. eating about 1,400 calories per day and not exercising beyond her job, which includes a lot of walking. She says it was no harder to do than anything else and it was 100% free. The biggest deal was getting the portion sizes down, which she did gradually. Again, I’m not being critical of your plans–“just sayin’.”

        1. Hi Maxine, I have a significant amount to lose despite having lost 50 lbs before surgery. Not vanity weight by any means. I have read that people put back some or all of the weight. Despite that I wanted to do something to really bolster my weight loss significantly so I can have a quality of life that I desire. I did have a lot of friends and family question my decision. I understand skeptics, but without revealing how much I still have to lose, I can just say this was something I needed to do for myself.

    7. This is so much like the traditional fasting Catholics used to do during Lent. It’s only required on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday now but I’m trying to do it the old way for the 40 days (Sundays are mini Easters and technically not days of fasting.) I’m excited to try this. By the way, my in-laws started eating like you do even down to the popcorn in the evening. Yum! I hope it goes well for you and the exercise if nothing else, feels so good to do!

      1. OHHHH Liz what a coincidence and I have always loved being outside
        I am able to sled with granddaughter and hide and seek, nerd gun hoping to be able to keep doing more

    8. Hi we are in our seventies and eighties and found the weight piling on, so now we have 25 grams, no added sugar, muesli fruit and yogurt, and a boiled egg for breakfast lunch is soup or salad and for dinner meat veg and a small starch followed by fruit and yogurt. We have dropped 10 kg., it has not been easy but we did it. Google portion sizes it is an eye opener. Good luck on your journey

      1. Moira this is a great example and we will probably mirror this, it has all my foods I love. Hubby doesn’t need to lose but he will go along with me
        Thank you

  3. -Butter was $1.98/limit 4. This is a per day limit. I picked up 4 Sunday after church, 4 on Monday when I was at church counting offering, 4 on Thursday when I had a meeting at church Thursday evening, and 4 more on Friday on my way through town to go pick up my grandkids for the weekend. So now I am stocked again and I did not go out of my way picking it up. Never thought I’d see that price again.
    -I also bought pineapple for $1.79/each. I bought 5 and canned 11 pints. The grandkids ate about 2 pints fresh. I just used my last jar and was waiting for a sale as they have been $2.99. Last time I canned some (2 years ago) they were $0.99.
    -I used 13 jars of home canned food this week for a total of 32 jars this month so far.
    -I am working on embroidering some flour sack dish towels for gifts. I had all the supplies to work on these so no out of pocket. These have canning jars and produce on them.
    -I made a large hot pad to be used under casseroles, large sheet pans, or to set jars on out of the canner. I bought a large cotton waffle weave dish towel for $0.50 at the thrift store. I folded it over, putting 2 layers of thermal batting inside, zigzagged it on the 3 sides and then made 3 seams through all layers to hold the batting in place. I’m trying to sew a little each day that way I get something accomplished.
    -I altered a summer dress in a bright Hawaiian print that was given to me for my grand daughter. She loved the dress and it was easy taking up the shoulder seams (sleeveless dress) and taking in the sides to make the armholes smaller.
    -We celebrated my grand daughters Bday this weekend when she was here. She wanted ribs and steak. I had ribs in the freezer I had gotten on clearance and we had venison steak from the deer my husband harvested this fall. I also made mashed potatoes (potatoes still from last years garden) and home canned green beans. I made the cake and frosting from scratch and we had lactose free ice cream in the freezer from their last visit.
    -I am pulling meat and frozen leftovers from my chest freezer up to my freezer in my refrigerator. I have a basket I put them in. This is what I am trying to use, as it is bits and bobs and older product. That way it is right in front of me and not buried in the freezer and I have no waste.
    -We are supposed to have 15-20 inches of snow this coming week, 40 to 50 mph winds, and blizzard conditions so I think it will be a quiet week at home for us!

    Have a great week!

  4. So proud of you, Brandy! You are amazing!

    During the week I cooked salmon patties, pinto beans, macaroni pie, corn bread, chicken wings on the Green Egg, green beans, Spanish Rice, fudge, cheesy muffins, meat loaf, creamed corn and mashed potatoes. Trying to behave!

    Went to a local discount store and found lined, leather reinforced gloves for $4.00, readers for .88, and heavy merino wool socks for $3.99. Also found oiled sunflower seeds for my Cardinals @$24.00 for 40lbs. Cost at other stores is $39.00 for 37lbs!

    Fertilized our large trees. Discussed enlarging our vegetable garden. Started lettuce, green onions, cucumbers, tomatoes and celery in pots in the sun room.

    Ordered some drop earrings to go with the gown for my grandson’s wedding! 70% off!!

    We keep having so much rain here! I am not complaining and I know I will be grateful when Spring comes, but the grey and the wet really wears on a Southern girl’s psyche!

    Many blessings to everyone. Onward, y’all, by all means!

      1. Hammers. They have a store in North Knoxville on Broadway. They also have a store in Clinton and one in Pigeon Forge. It’s fun to dig around in all their merchandise!

  5. Congratulations on being rehired as an influencer for your favorite nursery!

    I have not felt well for the past two weeks–just incredibly exhausted all the time. My husband was told by a nurse that there is a virus going around where exhaustion is the main symptom. If so, I’ve had it in spades. I have done very little, thus I have few frugal accomplishments–but no frugal fails–to report.

    I’ve mainly been cooking my husband’s 6 food elimination diet that also must be low potassium. I’ve branched out this week to concoct recipes he can eat, rather than just relying on plain meat, veggies and fruits. Also, during the past few weeks, I’ve made a lot of soup (usually in big batches), two kinds of salad dressing and the latest–sweet and sour sauce which he ate on chicken nuggets breaded with cornstarch, water and cornflake crumbs. (I didn’t think it would work, but it did). Over the weekend, I made fajitas with white corn tortillas and no cheese (for him). This is getting easier!

    1. Maxine,

      If you are eating all the same foods as your husband on the elimination diet, you might want to speak to your doctor about a test of your potassium levels. Fatigue is one of the symptoms of *low* potassium for women; my Nana dealt with low potassium and low sodium a few years back and was fatigued & dealing with brain fog. If the elimination diet has perhaps taken your levels too low, your doc might want you to supplement somehow while your husband is on this program.

      Here’s some basic info:

      1. No, I’m not just eating what he is. We are eating basically he same meals, but I feel free to add and subtract. Excellent point, though–and thank you for mentioning it.

    2. That must be the virus I got!! Complete exhaustion. I’m at the tail end now, mild cough, etc., but I’m still so tired. I’m ready for bed by 7pm and sleep soundly until 4:30am when the alarm goes off. No telling how late I’d sleep without it or Mr. Puppers to wake me. My husband gets up so quietly, I’d never know!

      1. I had this too. I thought it might be Epstein Barr Virus from the symptoms. Soon as I started taking 2500 mg Vitamin C and Lysine the fatigue started to get better. I went to the dentist and my sinuses were so inflamed on the X Rays. The congestion stayed in my sinuses never went into my chest.

  6. Congratulations on the influencer position! This week we planted lettuce seeds in empty dishwasher soap containers and put them on the windowsill in our kitchen. The seeds were free from the library last year. I noticed that they are sprouting today! We are cooking at home. Using a lot of what we have. Although there were some produce sales this week and so we bought some things at the grocery store. I am being careful not to drive anywhere or consolidate my errands when I have to drive. We are entertaining ourselves at home except for the day we went grocery shopping. That day we also got free seeds from our library and spent time reading some books and magazines. I also checked out some books. We are eating leftovers so they don’t go to waste. I am down another size. It makes me happy. I am eating much less and avoiding sugar. Eating veggies and when I want something sweet, I eat a piece of fruit or a couple berries. I am down three sizes in just the last few months. Of course, the pair of pants that I put on today were a bit tight, but I got into them! I didn’t even realize they were the smaller size until I looked at them.
    We are using cloth napkins and I use cloth handkerchiefs. I am using less energy by turning of lights, washing full loads, taking quick showers. I plan meals ahead of time so there is no temptation to buy something out. We did buy a couple hotdogs at a gas station one day. I wasn’t going to buy anything but my husband knew I was hungry and got one for me, sweet man. I entertain myself and inform myself with the internet. I love looking up recipes. I made homemade bread this week instead of buying it. I am letting some rise now to make some for my husband’s lunches. It is much cheaper to make homemade bread. We used leftover mashed potatoes and made potato pancakes. Then we froze what we didn’t eat for later. I enjoyed soups that were previously frozen. I listened to music on YouTube and played the piano a bit this week for free entertainment. We enjoyed playing with the dogs and I wrote down my son’s poetry.

      1. Laura,
        Thank-you. I have a long way to go. I hope I can continue to lose. I want to have energy to walk around the zoo with my grandchildren or walk places I want to see with my husband. Everything I do is exercise at this point. But I imagine it will get easier as I lose more weight and add more activity. I think I feel better. But if I am very active one day, I need a day of recovery the next. I actually was a cross country runner in high school. My high school self never imagined that I would be struggling with weight issues as an adult. I will keep working! It should get easier.

        1. Tammy, I was a gymnast in high school. I also am trying to lose weight so I can run around the zoo with my grandchildren. The last time we went, I did much better, but the time before that it was 96 and lots of humidity. My son looked at me and said to his sister that his son could go another hour but mom was done. Ugh! So, like you, that is my goal.

      1. Yvonne,
        Thank-you! As long as I continue following the ideas, I should keep losing weight. I have to distract myself with things other than food. I try to do things that are relaxing. Like listen to music or clean.

    1. Tammy you are doing so great on weight loss, your going to my inspiration
      When I am craving sweets I will think what would Tammy do

      1. Thank-you Pam! I almost bought two bags of Doritos today. Honestly, I think the cost is what deterred me more than the calories. But together calories and cost, I second thought it and put them back. I love Doritos and probably would have eaten most of them had I bought them. So glad I put them back. Actually, I was thinking that you are an inspiration as well.

        1. Day by day Tammy we will all pick each other up, I know we will stumble but look what you did turning down the doritos….impressive
          The kindness here and understanding is priceless
          I did love you mentioning price discouraged you it gave me such a tickle

  7. Congratulations on your continued work with the nursery. I’m sure your followers are VERY enthusiastic.

    I had my first eye surgery on Valentine’s Day and am thrilled with the results. I read most of the 20/20 line the next day while still slightly dilated and the eye a tiny bit swollen, all to be expected. They fully expect both eyes to be 20/20 within a few days of each surgery. I cannot wait until the left eye surgery on 2/21. Unfortunately, there are restrictions after surgery so I couldn’t do any gardening to avoid getting dirt in my eyes, even though we were around 80 degrees F (26C) for several days.

    My blueberries are in full bloom and the bees are really happy to have some flowers around in addition to one azalea plant, the clover in my yard and some weed flowers.

    Spring has come early which is fine since winter did so as well last November. I wore sundresses a couple days and changed to cotton sheets because the flannel ones are just too hot for sleeping when it’s over 50F (10C) for a low. My electric bill was $75; that’s 27% less than last year and likely due to our average temperature for the month being 7 degrees higher than this year.

    I did a lot of listening to books from the library and on Scribd. If anyone is interested in westerns, Donald L. Robertson was a new to me author where the good guys win and the bad guys get hung from a tree without the benefit of a trial for murdering others, horse/cattle stealing and other crimes; it was different in the untamed west in the 1860ies. I actually really enjoyed the 3 books I listened to and now am in the Hoopla “waiting” stage until March 1 to read more until since I can only borrow five books a month through that app at my library. Through Libby, I read Trsp the Devil by Ben Coes. Using Scribd, I listened to What She Knew by Miranda Rijks, The Island by Ben Coes and Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian. The last book is rather wild about psychopathic college students; I found it alternately hysterically funny and terrifying. Fair warning: there are adult scenes that some here may not want to read. I have a couple of books I want to actually read in written form but they’ll wait until my left eye surgery since it’s annoying to have such a big difference in vision. This is known as a first-world problem.

    Other than that, I stayed home and didn’t spend any money except for treating my sister and I to lunch after surgery. That will change this week when I can go to the grocery store and other places after I’m given approval to drive again.

    1. Mari, I just learned that Hoopla has a Bonus Borrows section that doesn’t cost you any credits to borrow. Also, if you belong to more than one library, you can join with another card — I got a free card from Broward County library and it gives me many more credits than my local library! I read Never Saw Me Coming last year and thought it was weird but almost could see it happening in this day and age.

      1. If you mean the flex borrows, we have those as well but they are for different books. I can join the library for the next county over if I get desperate. However, I pay $85 for an annual Scribd membership which has the own of a free TuneIn membership ($100 annually) and currently have 344 items save, including 117 audiobooks. I think I can Walt another week.

        I agree on the book. It was weird in a “Criminal Minds” kind of way. I still enjoyed it.

    2. Wow, I’m also in the middle of cataract removal/lens change out surgery, and my first one was also on 2/14. My second one is on 2/28. I can now read without glasses for the first time in around 30 years. However, I’m coming from 20 years of monovision, where one eye was lasiked for reading and the other for distance, so my distance vision is not perfect yet. My brain is confused by the whole thing.

      1. I know! They said they usually do surgeries just a week apart when there are special circumstances and apparently 20/20 in one eye and 20/600 in the other is a special circumstance.

  8. I am so glad you get to work as an influencer for the nursery again. So perfect.

    I happily worked in the garden today. I transplanted some arugula from the dense patch that had self-seeded. I picked some parsley, planted a kale transplant and set my seed trays out in the sun. I re-did a bed that leads up to the new-to-me (and free) greenhouse. We strung incandescent christmas lights in the plum and peach trees ahead of the predicted freeze later this week.

    I ordered a few pieces of clothing that I needed. I hate to shop and have to force myself to do this, but do it I must. I am very backward about clothing, I think it’s a combination of being a 6 foot tall woman and having worn a school uniform until I went to college.

    I bought curtain lining at the fabric thrift store and finally braved the job of taking down the large curtains on what is basically a wall of windows, washing them, removing a small panel and replacing it with a larger panel and adding lining and curtain tape. Both sides are now back up, one is complete and one side still needs hemmed. I’m doing the job in stages so as not to wear myself out (I’ve had a nasty cold).

    I’ve cooked at home when I’d rather have gone out, opened the doors and turned down the heat on the couple of warm days we’ve had, hung my laundry on the line outside, donated at the thrift store and got a receipt (for taxes), and organized my paperwork for taxes. Tax paperwork time is always a good time for me to look at income and expenses and do some evaluating. This year I found receipts for 4 items that I needed to return, and I’ve done 3 of those returns already. That felt great!

  9. It’s been a warm dry week so I have spent time in garden, Ive weeded most of the flower beds. Now l am going to start on the lawn. I’ve sown carrots by chitting, taken the broad beans out into the greenhouse, pricked out tomatoes and peppers and killed the weeds in path with salt. I transplanted self seeded lavender, oxeye daisies and verbena. We have only had 0.2mm of rain in the last 44 day so garden water is becoming a problem so I am using warm up water etc for my transplants.

    Re the chitting of carrots I have found that the card would be better if it is a darker colour so the little root is more visible, smaller pieces are easier to handle, that the soil needs to be damp so the holes hold up while planting and that 2 hands are needed to plant the seeds. It would be very difficult to plant them in a bed at arms length.

    Laura S : John Harrison who runs the allotment garden website has books on WW2 on https://www.allotment-garden.org/book/
    and they are on offer this week with the code SPRINGMADNESS some of them are ebooks. I have never purchased anything from him so have no experience of his service. Your library may be able to get them. https://dig-for-victory.org.uk/ has all the gardening guides issued by the government.

    I am eating down my food stocks to about enough for 6 weeks to make space it the freezer and making jars for canning this years fruit and veg later in the year. I have not been shopping this week. I have made yoghurt and dried the laundry on the line. I’ve read books from the library via BorrowBox.

    Have a good week everyone

    1. Chris, I started purchasing pellerted carrot seeds years ago from Johnnys. Perhaps a seed company in UK sells them. They make planting very easy allowing me to space each carrot. Once planted, I put a piece of burlap on top and keep that moist. Germination is close to 100% and carrots grow long and straight. I grow Bolero for their long term storage.

    2. Chris, thank you for the information! I am excited to explore these books and the website! When I read about your frugal ways, I often recognize much from that era. Best to you!

  10. Hi Brandy and everyone
    It’s great that the nursery has hired you to be an influencer again, this seems like the perfect fit for you and the nursery.
    Seed sowing is starting in earnest. We’ve sown more sweet peas and broad beans and started blanket flowers which my husband says are a North American flower.
    I picked leeks from the garden and we gave some to a daughter too.
    I inventoried the freezers.
    Inexpensive meals were veggie soup for two days and jacket potatoes with homemade coleslaw, pickles etc.
    I met friends in town for coffee and the waitress said they were testing a new cake supplier and would we like some free in return for feedback. We enjoyed St Clements sponge and coffee sponge and fedback that both were delicious.
    A member of my flower arrangers club brought along several cakes this week to have at teatime and we were able to bring leftover cake home for husbands. Rather a lot of cake this week because I made one too for guests!
    Our water bill has increased by £3.50 a month, in view of other much larger increases in utilities this feels like a relief. We do not have a water meter.
    The government support of £200 for heating oil users has landed in our bank account. We are grateful although it’s nowhere near enough to cover the cost increase. The price of oil has dropped back a bit but is still much more than a year ago.
    Instead of buying bacon lardons I bought cheaper smoked streaky bacon, cut it up and froze it in small packages.
    I inherited some ceramics from my parents and after choosing what I wanted to keep and offering some to our daughters I decided to sell the remainder through our local auction house. This wasn’t an easy decision ( it took two years to come to it) but I’m glad I did it. I received some money and made more space.
    I shredded lots of old paperwork and added it to the compost heap.
    I made a list of all the greetings cards we would need this year for birthdays, anniversaries etc and added a few for baby congrats, sympathy, new home etc. I keep the list in my trusty handbag notebook and this week was able to tick some off as I found nice cards in our hospice charity shop. I keep postage stamps at home too so I don’t have to scurry around buying cards and stamps at the last minute.
    Stay safe everyone.

  11. I’m glad you get to be an influencer again – we have a local nursery that’s hiring and if I had time, I would work there, just to learn more about plants and everything that goes into them.

    For the first time in a very long time I came back from the grocery store encouraged. Egg prices are falling, although they are still much higher than they used to be. I found a few deals on meat that had been marked down – chicken breasts in a family pack for $1.22/lb, ground beef for $1.39/lb, that enabled me to stock up a bit and replenish our freezer stores.

    Other than that, I am just trying to finish projects which I already have supplies for and need to be done. We began a kitchen renovation almost 2 years ago this summer, and while we hired out the trades (electrical and plumbing), we did most of the rest ourselves in terms of labor to save money. It is a great way to save, but there are periods I have gone through since then where it’s not always easy learning a new skill (the time is also a challenge). That being said, we are nearing the finish line – I am almost finished with trimming out the kitchen island and re-finishing the bar stools I got off of Facebook. All that is left now is baseboards and backsplash, which will be a simple subway tile.

    I spent some time yesterday morning re-reading parts of “Thrift” by Samuel Smiles. It is such an encouraging book written in the 1800’s for those who are trying to be wise with their money. He has two other books, Self-Help and Character, which are also equally good, and of course, all are available free in the public domain.

  12. We had snacks at work…cupcakes one day, then sandwiches, chips, and cookies another, along with a pen and a cup.

    I signed up for the Ace rewards app to get a $5 bonus

    I used my $15 off 15 or more q at Ace coupon. Hubby needed some things, and then I picked up a larger flower pot for a succulent I managed to keep alive.

    A candle burned as far down as it could with the wick, so I used it on my warmer to finish using it up.

    A book I need to read for one of my classes is free on Kindle. I’ve already read it multiple times(Frankenstein) but a refresher won’t hurt.

    Ate breakfast and lunches at work

    We have been maxing out our internet usage for the month. I told hubby he has got to stop watching something on streaming while he’s playing video games. I’m hoping once he’s back to working more, it’ll go down, so I’m going to hold off adding more data to our plan.

    We don’t have recycling pick up here unless you pay extra (and then, not all waste companies offer it) so I took advantage of nice weather on Saturday and drop a bunch of stuff off at the center.

    I was off yesterday because of Presidents day, and since I was caught up with school work, I deep cleaned to house.

  13. I wanted to say a huge “thank you” to everyone for their encouragement in my thrifting with my teen daughter for her college wardrobe, as well as for all the suggestions on adapting her current long dress and the suggestion about reselling her current one if we need to purchase a new size for her. I read each suggestion to my daughter, and we are going to have her try on her dress while we evaluate it while thinking of each idea. I appreciate this community so very much!
    This past week my best savings centered around food savings. Banana prices in our area have doubled recently, and so far have not shown any signs of coming down. We eat a lot of bananas in our family! My teen and I eat a smoothie almost every day which heavily uses frozen bananas, and since I no longer use any sugar I often use bananas along with other things such as applesauce and dates to sweeten my home made granola or any muffins and quick breads that I make. I have discovered two stores in my area that actually will mark down their produce, and was able to get quite a few marked down bananas and add them to my freezer stash. Prices are still higher overall than they used to be, but at least by less of a sharp increase. I have also been able to find marked down lettuce—another produce item that has soared price wise in my area, and some huge mark down tomatoes. We have been enjoying lots of salads with that lettuce and tomatoes as a base!
    At one of the stores that is rather new to me, I asked an employee if there was another area in the store where they put marked down items. She directed me to the place, and I found five loaves of whole wheat bread for .89 cents, plus whole wheat pita bread for $1.20. I normally make all of our bread, including pita bread, but it is nice to have a stash in our freezer now for when I am super busy!
    I started some of my seeds inside, under lights for our spring garden. So far I have planted peppers from seeds I saved out of peppers from the grocery store—I have many coming up now! I also have oregano and basil coming up, from seed leftover from other years. I would like to try and collect seed from the garden for both of these this year. Then I have kale coming up, also from seed left from previous years, and four kinds of tomatoes, one from seed I collected last year and three from new types purchased this year. I “had” been not going to purchase any new seed this year, but when I saw Baker Creek seeds had a one day where all profits would go to an organization to help with earthquake relief in Turkey, well there went my resolve to not purchase any new seeds! 😉 I did, however, choose carefully only seeds I knew I would actually have room for in my garden! Half credit for that, right? 😜 In addition to the three types of tomato seeds, I also purchased an heirloom squash that the Cherokee used to grow. Since I live right where the Cherokee used to live, I am excited to try this squash and it should like my climate. And I should be able to easily save seeds from it for gardens in the future.
    Looking forward to reading everyone’s comments! Thank you all for being kind and supportive!
    I am writing from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

    1. Susan,
      What a deal on the bread! I would a bought it at that price too! I’ve just started making all of our bread as well. Mostly for my husbands lunches, because I am trying not to eat bread so much. The first loaf I made was too hard to pass though. I ate some. I need to find a good recipe for Gluten free bread for my son.

      1. Thank you, Tammy! I, too, try not to eat a lot of bread, but more whole plant foods—but my teen and hubby eat quite a bit! I actually have a wonderful gluten free bread recipe that I discovered after searching a long time. It is millet based. My daughter in law has many, many food allergies, and I was bound and determined to find a recipe that I could make (therefore cheaper than purchasing) and that she could eat! This recipe succeeded, and it tastes pretty good as well! I will dig it out and try and share it here, maybe not this week but soon!

        1. Susan your daughter in law must be so grateful that you thought of her in your baking! I’m a vegetarian and I have been blessed to have a mother in law who goes out of her way to make sure I have something to eat when I am at her house. Your post was a good reminder of how lucky I am that she has always done the same for me.

    2. Susan, I’m replying from a Kindle and so will be brief as it’s not the best with autocorrect… I just wanted to say thank you for coming back to comment here. I remember reading your positive, thoughtful notes as your daughter was securing many scholarships and your notes on your time together walking and working on her education. I have been glad to see you back and perhaps I missed weeks/comments and you’re like what?? I’ve been here all along 😉

      I appreciate the link to the weight loss org and will check it out. My healthy eating has hit a bump in the road and I need a nudge – thank you!

      1. Thank you Bonnie! I have missed some weeks reading the comments, but when I miss reading them, I miss them! Have just been really busy with my daughter. Even though she is still going to live at home during college, I am REALLY going to miss spending every day all day with her, so trying to really concentrate on her right now. Hikes, shopping, music festivals, and just really being present and listening to her chatter.

  14. Brandy, I’m so happy for you being asked back as an influencer for the nursery again!

    *Celebrated Valentine’s Day with my husband on the day after: lunch out using a gift card. I also stretched that 1 meal out to 3 lunches 🤩
    *Made some more of my frugal, all purpose cleaner.
    *We were treated to lunch out after church. Dinner that night was cereal or leftovers.
    *Most of my savings this week was simply limiting my spending and not purchasing things I wanted to.
    📍Grocery Store: went to Aldi for first time in awhile and found some things were cheaper there than at Dollar Tree (cake mix, tortillas). I’m starting to really look at ads and getting to know my prices.
    📍Buy Nothing Group: 4 boxes of Spanish rice, a box of Jiffy pizza crust, and 2 chicken ramen

    Have a great week ❤️

  15. The nursery couldn’t choose a better person – congratulations! What you accomplish in a desert climate still amazes me after all the years I have read this blog.
    *Last week contained St. Valentine’s Day which already seems long ago (time seems to be going by quickly for me. Can’t believe it is almost officially Spring!) Took my youngest son to the movies that day which was the 1/2 price day. He was really wanting to see the new Avatar movie on the big screen. It was in 3D and he was enthralled with the glasses. They have come a long way since I was young. They just look like a cheap pair of sunglasses – no paper frames with red and blue lenses. 🙂 We never go to the movies so this was a real treat.
    *Enjoyed working in the garden a bit (just some clean up, too early for much else here) and the bee yard. Preparing now makes the busy time of Spring go more smoothly.
    *Worked on mudding the drywall going down the stairs to the first level of our house. Drywall is our least favorite task but a skill that is valuable to have. We watched a few YouTube videos to see if there are any new-to-us techniques to make the mudding process easier and did find a few pointers we did not previously know. Just when I want to give into my Luddite-leaning ways, I remember how useful technology can be when it (a) works and (b) is used for good – like access to this community. 🙂
    *Sold a few dozen eggs we could spare. Younger son who does all the collecting gets 1/2 the money and is a very good saver.
    *Made blueberry muffins for a neighbor’s birthday – apropos as the blueberries in my freezer came from his bushes. My oldest son worked for him helping to trim those bushes last week so he can look forward to more in the years to come.
    *Gratefully accepted a Wedgewood platter from another neighbor. She is cleaning out some of her things and thought I would like it, which I do. Grateful for the informal system we have among neighbors where things are passed around to homes where they are needed or will be useful. I don’t think any of us ever leave each other’s house without taking and/or coming home with something.
    *Along those lines, I have a blue bird house made for me by another neighbor 3-4 years ago. He makes them out of old lumber and sells them but gave me one as a gift. They are supposed to be put up in February and we keep missing that chore every year. I declared that this is the year I would not forget. My husband mentioned an appropriate post for the house was the one thing he did not have in his stockpile but that he would come up with something. I off-handedly mentioned my plan to remember to put the house up this year to yet another neighbor and, the next day, had a suitable post appear on my door step. Said neighbor had gone to his stash and brought one over. I use the word grateful a lot in my posts but that is exactly how I feel about the community we live in. This kind of thing happens daily in one way or another and it just makes life richer for all in so many ways. Sometimes, I think our single greatest frugal “strategy” is having wonderfully kind neighbors who we would do anything we can for and know they feel the same and have, time and time again.
    *I am about 3/4 of the way to completing our bedroom curtains made from fabric I purchased at a tag sale at least 15 years ago. Slow and steady wins the race, right? Not only was the cost of the fabric negligible (especially after all these years) but the thread is from a stash given to me when my grandfather passed away several years ago. So, the real cost is time but, by exercising patience, I will end up with something I love and will serve us many years.
    *On the library book front, I am reading the second installment of the Inspector Gamache books by Louise Penny. So good! Also continuing to read “The Beekeeper’s Apprentice” which is also wonderful, just for the language. This author sure knows how to turn a phrase.
    *Wishing everyone a wonderful week and meaningful start to the Lenten season (if you observe.) Everyone’s contributions to this space bring me a lot of inspiration and enjoyment each week. 🙂

    1. It sounds so nice the way you and your neighbours help each other out! We try to do something similar, but it can be hard to make it work, as we live in a big city where people move in and out all the time… Very nice to hear how it can be done and that it works so good!

  16. I took a bunch of books to the little free libraries in our town and only brought two new ones home, which may be a record for me!

    I was given a sewing machine and some leftover fabric, so I made a couple book sleeves, including one for a book club exchange gift.

    For the book exchange gift, I bought a book and some fancy snacks, but other than that, I shopped my house – stickers that I already owned, an extra bookmark, and a bookish thingamajig that I’d never use. I put them all in a reused gift bag and made a tag out of a library card that I was given.

    For a fun day date, my husband took me out into the country to an old homestead place – he metal detected while I read and enjoyed the sunshine, then we took a walk around looking at the old buildings. It was perfect.

    I actually returned items to the store that didn’t work out instead of just donating them.

  17. Hi Brandy and everyone.
    Congratulations on your influencer job!
    This week we stayed some days in the summer cottage, that we borrow for free from some of our family.
    We noticed several very big glazed pots by the bins at one of the houses close by and wondered if they had been thrown out. I tried to knock on the door several days in a row, by nobody was in, until the last day before we had to go back home – very lucky! I talked to a friendly man, who let me take a couple of pots, as he just wanted to get rid of them! The pots are white and very heavy – good quality, and I imagine, that they must have been quite expensive! I will use them for tomatoes, chili and snack peppers this summer, and the big size of the pots will really benefit the plants. My husband brought both pots home on our cargobike, there is no way I would have managed to take them home by train!
    When we stay at the cottage, we always go to the local thrift shops, and this time we found a jacket for my son. I’ve been looking for a light jacket for spring/autumn the next size up for more than a year, so I was very pleased! Spring is here soon, so it was just in time. Everything in the shop was 50% off, so a very good price as well.
    We packed all leftover food and took it home with us to avoid food waste.
    My husband has improved our homemade rye-bread to a point where it tastes a lot better than the store-bought. Big win, and is going to save us a lot of money. Now we just need to find the best prices and make a bulk order for flour and whole grains. The most expensive ingredient is malted rye flour, but it appears to be much cheaper bought in bulk online than in the shops, so we are going with that option.
    The weather is so nice here today, you can really feel that spring is just around the corner. Wish you all a pleasant week!

    1. Homemade rye bread sounds wonderful! I love rye bread.

      Large pots ARE expensive. SO glad you could get a couple and your husband could haul them back all that way for you!

    2. Rye bread is my favorite as well! I love it! Every once in awhile I treat myself to some. I should try making it as well. I never have.

    3. Rye bread is the best! Here in Denmark it´s a stable and people eat it all the time, mostly for lunch, but also for breakfast and dinner! It’s the food item I’ve always missed the most when I’ve been abroad.
      Our bread is made with sourdough and is heavy and quite dark with sunflower seeds and a lot of whole grains. We have combined two recipes and made a lot of adjustments so we are very proud that it has turned out so well in the end! My husband has made most of the work, we have talked about the adjustments along the way, and I’ve used my knowledge from baking sourdough wheat bread to guide us.

  18. Great news for you about the new nursery contract. Lovely to have work that involves something that really interests you.

    Sadly, my week was very expensive. When I woke up Friday morning, the furnace was blowing cold air through the house. The furnace repair person didn’t get to me until 5:30 pm, right before a long weekend started. He got a partial fix done, so I have heat, but it looks like I will need a new furnace. I’ll find out more this week.

    The cat was very upset Sunday morning, and was calling me to get up before I was ready. It turned out there was a double semi fuel tank truck parked in front of my house. My house is very close to the street, so it blocked her view of the street. It had been there all night, with the driver sleeping inside. It wasn’t the first time, on a street where heavy vehicles are not allowed to park. I got the emergency number for the village office. The village told me to call the non-emergency number for the police, which locally is the RCMP (the Mounties). The RCMP central dispatch was unimpressed by me calling about a parking violation, but a local constable did call me. He said someone else had called the night before because the truck was running and the noise was disturbing them, and the owner-operator did shut it off. The constable was unaware there is a bylaw against parking on residential streets in our village, so he followed up again, and the driver apologized and said it would never happen again. By 10 am, the truck left, which I’m sure is exactly when his mandated break in driving was finished. The RCMP did give me the number of the bylaw officer for the village, which isn’t posted anywhere. He doesn’t work evenings or weekends, but he can follow up using the police file number. I’d just like him to tell the driver where the heavy vehicle parking is in town. When the truck left, the cat stopped telling me the truck was there. (Mrow. Mrow. Mrow.) It was a long couple of hours.

    We have a few days of very cold weather in store for us this week — highs of -21 C (-5.8 F), daytime windchills of -30 C, and nighttime real lows of -31 C (-23 F). I decided to buy just what I needed to get me to the end of the cold spell, which is a couple of days after the pension payments that normally trigger my grocery shopping. I stayed well within my month’s grocery budget by not doing a full weekly shop when it wasn’t really needed. It will warm up again on Saturday to a balmy -7 C (19.4 F) and stay that way for at least 10 days.

    I spent the last few days doing things to keep the household ticking along, after my enforced break due to overlapping illnesses and injuries last week. Got some cleaning and laundry done, got a good start on my taxes, shoveled snow on a lovely sunny and relatively mild day, got the very full garbage wheely bin out to the curb in time for Monday pick-up. No spending and better living conditions! The cold weather will give me a chance to continue to focus on the household to do list.

    I hope everyone is managing to stay warm and dry, and coping well with life’s challenges as required!

    1. Elizabeth M.

      A new furnace may be costly. I have two furnaces which had to be replaced within a year of each other. I financed the second
      furnace over 10 years. Yes, it cost me some interest but I could only afford it that way. I paid it off this year. If you have to get a new furnace,
      I suggest you spend the extra money and get a ten year parts AND labour warranty. On one of the old furnaces, one of the parts had to be replaced. The part was $800 but the labour was about $900. Of course, only the part was covered. When we got the two new furnaces, I bought the ten year parts and labour warranty. I was so glad when, within about three years, the control board went. No cost to me. Then the motor went on the other furnace. Again no cost to me. For safety reasons, one should have a qualified, accredited furnace serviceman do maintenance on the furnace annually – another reason is that the warranty is otherwise void. I am not sure but there may be a bit of help through the Alberta Seniors program. Furnaces just are not built to last 20 or 30 years as in the good old days. The warranties on my two furnaces more than paid for themselves. Now that they both have expired, undoubtedly something will happen of an expensive nature. Also, if you have a high energy efficient furnace that vents to the outside, make sure in subzero weather that the vent is not blocked totally by ice. Good luck! (P.S. Bothe the newer furnaces are from a reuptable manufacturer even though they needed parts replaced early on).

      1. Thanks, Ann.

        I have the quotation in, and it was pretty much what I thought it would be, given it’s being installed in a rural location. Fortunately, I have a small house, so I didn’t need anything too big or fancy. I hear what you’re saying about the parts and labour warranty. I can only get 10 years on the parts and one year on the labour. I’ll be applying for an Alberta SHARP loan, which has a low interest rate, simple rather than compound interest, and which does not have to be paid off until the house is sold. We’ll see how it goes whether I want to pay that down.

        They did want to install a chimney liner for the venting of my hot water heater to meet code, but I suggested that an electric water heater wouldn’t be venting through the chimney!! He looked at the pictures of the water heater, and agreed that it was a mistake to have included it. $500 saved.

        1. Sounds like everything’s under control. It was SHARP I was thinking about so glad it still applies. Is the parts and labour warranty tied to the maker of the furnace? Would a ten year warranty for both be possible from a different maker ? Anyway, glad to hear
          you can get financing.

  19. Congratulations on renewing your influencer contract! Your gardening posts inspire me from 1600 miles away.

    The Fight the Funk with Frugal February Fun continues:

    Our book club visited the Sherlock Holmes exhibit at the MN History Center. The admission, which included the entire museum and the special exhibit, was free for the teachers in our club and $12 for the rest of us. The exhibit was a fun blend of clues and experiments, similar to an escape room.

    Met college friends at our alma mater to attend a Dance Theater performance. One of our friends choreographed a number in the production. It was beautiful! The production was free but had a suggested donation of $5 which I happily contributed.

    Finished a Study in Scarlett by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the Libby App, Four Souls by Louise Erdrich from the stack of unread books on my nightstand, and Embracing Diversity: Faith, Vocation the Promise of America by Darrell Jodock and William Nelsen in the Scribd app.

    Joined neighborhood friends for lunch. Fortunately, they chose a restaurant for which I had an old gift card.

    Shopped the post Valentine’s Day clearance racks for valentine and advent calendar gifts. I found cute multipacks of pens, notebooks, and earrings. I will break up the packs to give individually. I also bought pink and red m&ms on clearance and stored them in the freezer until needed.

    HH was on business trip most of week. I did very little cooking or grocery shopping.

    In the not-so-fun department, I received the second dose of the shingles vaccine. Preventative medicine is frugal, and the vaccine was fully covered by my insurance.

      1. Margie, I would love to attend, but I live in Illinois.😊 I was the one that mentioned Murdoch Mysteries. My cousin’s husband is a direct descendent of the Ogdens (great grandfather and great great grandfather) on whom they patterned Julia Ogden (though the ancestors were male). I have seen the article tying her to them. I know streets and buildings are named after them. Pretty exciting!

  20. Wonderful on the nursery! Gas was $2.87 gallon in university town but I noticed that it went up to $2.89 yesterday. I brought my lunch to work. I wore out my pants for work and bought a new pair in January, but needed one more pair, so I went on line and pulled up a 20 percent off coupon for J.C. Penney’s and went and bought one pair in university town. They were already slightly reduced, so with discount I got them for $29.00 including sales tax. Sales tax is high in university town. I always wear either gray or black pants at work. I made pumpkin soup with the pumpkins I got on discount after Halloween. I have one left. I also used milk I had frozen. Walked at local park. It is in the 70’s this week and supposed to climb to the 80’s later in the week.

  21. I am so pleased you have your influencer job back – congratulations, Brandy! It was mild yesterday but it had snowed a lot overnight. I tried out my cashmere $10 gloves. They are indeed warm. They got wet but dried quickly. It took me about an hour and a half but, with rest periods, I managed to shovel all the snow on the driveway. I am trying to do it all by myself as my usual window washer/snow shoveller cannot do it. I save about $30-50 each time. When I rested, I watched the birds. Today (Tuesday), we had more snow overnight. The temperature is plunging this afternoon. When dawn arrives, I’ll go outside to shovel again. I bought 2 five pound bags of potatoes for $5.99 so I need to do something with them. I think lots of soup! I have carrots, potatoes, beets, onions, broth. I have been eating the fruit that I froze in the summer. I only had about a cup of sour cherries from my trees but oh how good they tasted when mixed in with skyr yogourt. We had such lovely mild weather for two weeks that it is hard to feel that bad about this polar freeze. It may be good to kill off injurious insects like the pine beetle. It is hard to believe we are almost at the end of February. In another 5 weeks, the bluebirds and swans will be returning on migration. I think between my two friends who grocery shop for me that one will pick up a supply of Campbell’s chunky soup which is on sale for $1.88, half price. I watched a very moving film on YouTube called Pursuit of Freedom. It is a true story based on a woman captured into the sex trade and the search for her children. A tear jerker. If it is still snowing outside, I may take a photo of snowflakes – it is something I’ve wanted to try. It will be for my poetry collection.

    1. Just a note to mention that the best deal on Campbell’s Chunky Soup is actually at Save On Foods for $1.49 (I’m paying $1.88 still 50% off).
      Save On foods deal is limited to 6 cans. And only valid on Tuesdays. Of interest also was its packages of ground beef usually $7.34 each (average price) reduced to $1.74 each (529 grams). That is a superb deal and I am going to watch for Tuesday specials in the future. On the whole I find
      their prices rather high – even their sale prices but obviously these Tuesday specials are something to keep an eye on.

      I got some of today’s snow shovelled but will probably hire someone to finish it. The snow is heavy. I think I won’t push my luck
      because of not wanting to aggravate the knee problem.

    2. that should have read only available this Tuesday but apparently Save on Foods regularly has $1.49 day on Tuesday.

    1. Our local nursery doesn’t have David Austin roses. I bought 2 Double Delight on sale and 4 Lavender Crush climbing roses (not on sale, but I have been eying these since last fall, and decided to get them now while they are still available and while it is cool to plant them). They should all bloom by the end of the 10 weeks when I am doing my last posts for the nursery.

  22. I’ve been continuing on with sourdough experiments! It’s been a fun hobby that we all get to benefit from! My son wanted to make muffins for a school fundraiser for orphanages and feeding centers in Ethiopia. We found a recipe for sourdough pumpkin muffins, we had all the ingredients in the pantry, and he sold them to the neighborhood and made $54!
    I have green onions, spinach, cilantro, and chard in the garden. I need to sow more spinach and kale this week! I had braces put on my teeth a few weeks ago and have been living off of green smoothies and mashed potatoes. Haha!
    We’re going to be way under our grocery budget this month which will give me room to stock up on some basics like oil, flour, brown sugar, and pasta. A new store opened in our town, US Chef Store, which I believe is a bulk store open to the public. I’ll go check out the prices this week when I’m over that way anyway.
    I’m looking forward to this new year with a new desire to get it together, declutter so many things, and mark the space we have peaceful and an oasis from the world!

  23. Congratulations on the influencer role! Very exciting!

    We had great weather here this past weekend so I planted some things in the garden. I went with cabbage, potatoes, beets, and peppers. Wish me luck! We are scheduled for rain the rest of the week so that should help significantly. My peppers that I planted in the fall in a container are doing great and just now flowering. I just kept watering them 🤣

    Found some great deals at Safeway this week. I got chicken breast for $1.67 lb with no limit so I grabbed 12 lbs. What was even better was each piece of chicken was so large that I cut them in half to make 2 servings for us. Ground beef was $2.47 lb so I stocked up on that as well. London broil steaks were on sale for $1.97 lb and I usually make those stretch into two meals, grilling it the first night and then putting the remaining in the crockpot to have with mashed potatoes. Also got apples for .87 lb so I made cinnamon applesauce and canned 8 pints. How can 2 big bags of apples only result in 8 pints? Oh well, so worth it!

    We are doing the same things each week, taking our lunches to work every day, turning off lights when not in use and I have started to unplug some of our appliances at night. We cashed in our Kroger points to get .80c off each gallon of gas. It all adds up. I noticed on our water bill that it went up 2% across the board this year. Our rates are determined by what you use in 1st Quarter, that sets your rate for the remainder of the year.

    Just sharing some of the prices that I am seeing here in the greater Phx area. Gas is currently running about $3.59 on average but you can get better prices if you go to Costco. Eggs are $5.99 a dozen at our Kroger store. And this one made me almost fall off my chair. Ice cream on sale was $5.99 a half gallon. Needless to say, my husband didn’t get ice cream.

    Hope everyone has a great week.

    1. Amy, thanks for those general prices. I like knowing that kind of stuff. Not that it affects anything I do lol, I just like to know lol.

  24. That’s great the nursery hired you again as an influencer. Last week, I canned vegetable broth, adding more pints to the shelf. I continue deep cleaning the house, between the rest of life, and my husband helped on Saturday, by taking down many of the light shades, washing them, and putting them back up. He also repaired the string on a blind that had broken. I went through a large pile of magazines. Some will be given to an acquaintance who expressed interest in homesteading-type magazines. The remainder will go to the sharing basket at the local library. A thrift store had their clothes at 50% off. I needed groceries, and it happened to be close by, so I stopped and found J two shirts, and myself two tank tops and a pretty skirt for $1.50 ea. On another day, I saved $12.99 total on sale prices at the grocery store, and another $5.99 discount for shopping on senior day. I hadn’t had luck finding lentils at the local Dollar Trees, so I checked again at the one I found them after my once a month appointment last month, and they had them, so I bought 6# to can. I was also happy to find a 100% cotton tank top there. The thrift store prices have gotten really high for such a simple thing, I think $4.49 at Goodwill. I wear these daily as an underlayer in the cooler months, and several are wearing out. In the same town, I stopped by Hallmark, found some 90% off Christmas cards, got my free greeting card, and used a $2 coupon. I finally got around to pulverizing all the dehydrated tomato bits into powder, which will be useful to have on the shelf for cooking. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2023/02/mid-february-days.html

  25. Brandy that is so exciting about your contract! Good luck!!

    I made banana bread with some overripe bananas. I also made zucchini bread with a surplus of zucchini I found in the fridge. I froze half of what I baked for later.

    At work last Monday they provided breakfast for a training and I ate some of the leftovers Tuesday for breakfast. There were leftover Buffalo wild wings from a lunch last week so me and a few others enjoyed this for lunch on Monday. At the training I attended they gave out nice journal type notebooks. My daughter enjoys making operation Christmas child boxes so I tucked it away for that. We get lots of random freebies during the year and we’re trying to remember to tuck them away for that so we don’t have to buy much when it comes time to pack the boxes.

    My husband and I put all our birthday money into our retirement account. We haven’t had conventional jobs so we’ll need to fund our own retirement and every bit helps we believe.

    My mom cooked my birthday dinner on Friday then invited us over Saturday for the leftovers. Sunday she made a turkey and said to come have dinner again! I appreciated not cooking for a whole weekend!

    I hope you all have a great frugal week.

  26. Congratulations on working as influencer for the nursery. They are smart to hire you since you know so much about gardening. I have a knot on my rotary cuff and have been to the chiropractor. My wedding is in 17 days and I am excited/nervous/stressed all at the same time. My family/church family/friends have given us two showers over the weekend. We were blessed with so much. God has been so good to us. I am moving this week out of my house, so I don’t have to pay another month of rent. Moving in with my sister to save the money. I have been going through all of my things and donating to different places.

    1. Wow! People have been very generous with all the showers – they must all be very happy for you. I hope this means that you are all set for your new home. Can’t wait to hear all about the wedding.

  27. Congratulations on the job Brandy.
    My friend’s aunt volunteers at a local food pantry. She dropped off 4 large boxes of perishables and soon to be expired food. My friend offered me some. I got 3 dozen eggs, a dozen mini muffins, 5 pounds of red onions, 3 pounds of pasta, 2 small peanut butters, and 6 packs of instant potatoes.
    I called about a medical bill error. It took 41 minutes but I will be getting $143 back.
    Friends invited us over for dinner and a movie. They have a little theatre set up in their basement. We watched Glass Onions. It was a fun night. We brought a bottle of homemade wine.
    Hubby and his dad made homemade wine last fall. Now that it is all ready we have 25 bottles. Each bottle cost us $2.52. My FIL has been making it for over 40 years. Hubby wanted to learn so we only did one batch.
    I cut up paper bags to use when I fry bacon and other greasy foods. Both of my clients save them for me. I also get plastic bags to use on poop patrol. I refuse to buy bags for poop.
    Hubby and I grabbed lunch one day. We took it to go to save on drinks and tip. I used a gift card I had to pay. It cost us $6 OOP.
    One of the ladies I helped offered me an unopened popcorn tin that she was gifted. She doesn’t like popcorn. I was happy to take it.
    I love my bread machine. I made 2 pizza doughs and a batch of roll dough this week. I only cook a few rolls at a time because they are so much better fresh. We were having pasta one night so I made bread sticks with some of the dough. It was a hit. I don’t know why I haven’t done this sooner.
    I worked 4 days this week and lunch was provided all 4 days. My son works Saturdays and his boss always treats to pizza on Saturdays.
    My sister is away for work. She dropped off her dog and treated us to lunch. It was delicious. There are leftovers too. She also brought some clearance Valentine’s candy, an open bag of brussel sprouts and chocolate cake.
    Dreaming about my garden. I start planting next month.

  28. We celebrated my step-daughter’s birthday this week. I had knitted her a shawl in colors she likes (I bought the yarn from friends who weren’t going to use it and got it for a discounted rate). She was thrilled with the design and colors and wore it home! I am continuing to finish two other knitting projects–a sweater for myself and a scarf for a gift.

    I made a lemon meringue pie yesterday. My dad used to make it when I was a child. My community is having a bake off for Pi day in March and I wanted to practice a bit. The recipe called for lemon extract, which I didn’t have, but increased the amount of lemon juice. I turned out nicely.

    I have developed some wonderful friendships in the condominium building where I live. The last two weeks, my city has offered free public transportation. We have taken two field trips on the trains and it has been a lot of fun. Last week we took a trip and I introduced them to a thrift store that sells craft items. I bought a knitting sweater pattern book for $2 and my friends bought other books or yarn for projects they needed.

    I borrowed and read “Meredith, Alone” from the library. It’s about a women who hasn’t left her home for more than 3 years. It has some distressing themes, but I enjoyed reading it.

    My husband belongs to a group that has an event each year called a “Sweethearts” night. It includes dinner and tickets to a theatre production. It’s affordable and always a nice night. The group met at a Chinese restaurant and there were lots of leftovers, which we were able to share and bring home for another meal. The play was “39 Steps” based on an Alfred Hitchcock movie, but it’s a mystery comedy. Very funny! I also won a door prize of a home camera and a box of chocolates.

    I am grateful for friendships and good people who open their hearts, for Brandy, and for all who share on this site!

  29. Not that you are terribly old, but being an influencer for a garden center was probably not on the list of possible careers when you were studying art or photography in college. How wonderful you get to do that again!
    Just a comment on the lovely tulips from your son as you pictured them on facebook, in case people don’t know: When tulips are cut and in water, not only do they turn toward the light, they also grow taller. Most flowers do not grow after being cut. Thus, tulip bouquets won’t hold to a tight arrangement for long.
    In some Eastern European countries, an old tradition is to cut branches from (seemingly dormant) flowering trees on Ash Wednesday (tomorrow) and force them to bloom in vases of water inside.

    1. Thank you Heidi!

      It’s 10 weeks of work, so not full-time, but I would love to do it for other gardening companies online if that becomes possible in the future.

      1. You are probably familiar with the Garden Answer shows on You Tube. They got a deal with Proven Winners because PW contacted THEM. Laura, the “star” of Garden Answer (singular, not plural) grew up in the retail nursery business and started making videos when her husband bought a video camera. Now he has left his job and they do this fulltime. They live in a small town in Oregon on the Idaho border. Contacting name-brand plant companies with your resume might help you get more work of this type.

  30. I’d also like to congratulate you on being rehired by your garden nursery. Well done. As a reminder to others – I go through your Amazon link as often as I can to order. I’m still replacing items that were left at my old apartment when I moved.

    I forgot to mention on my last time commenting that I made yogurt in my Instant Pot for the first time. It was a very easy process and I loved the results. I drained the yogurt overnight in the refrigerator to make greek style yogurt. I used the whey in smoothies. Nothing was wasted.

    Last week, two huge boxes of bread appreared at our ‘free’ spot. I was able to get 2 loaves of wheat bread, 2 packs each of hamburger and hotdog buns and 2 packs of sourdough rolls. I felt very blessed as I was either going to buy bread or make it that week. I had finally unpacked my bread maker but didn’t need to use it.

    I went to my new dentist for the fist time. I am very excited to have a better dental plan and paid very little out of pocket.

    I made soup using some items from the freezer that needed using up. And added a can of pinto beans to bulk it up. It was quite yummy and was used for 4 dinners along with toast as the side. I also bulk cooked 5# of russett potatoes that were on sale. I made twice baked potatoes. And I also cooked up some meatballst while the oven was hot. The potatoes and the meatballs were frozen on cookie sheets and will then be bagged up for easy meals.

    Most of my savings was the same old same old. I stayed home most days. I use cloth napkins but do need to find my handerchefs. I wait to use the washer until its full and then fill up my clothes rack to air dry. I turn off the lights when not in the room. I turned down my thermostate when I got my last natural gas bill. So far, I’ve been ok with the change. I cook all my meals at home including coffee. Treating myself to coffee at a coffeeshop was a very difficult habit to break but a choice I make given my limited budget.

    Wishing everyone a great week.

    1. I love a good coffee from a coffee shop like you, but I know it’s cheaper at home. A few tricks I’ve found to make it feel more special at home: 1)a good pretty mug. I love handmade pottery, and this makes it feel like a real treat, especially on a Saturday morning when I have a little more time to enjoy it. 2) flavored creamer, coconut milk, or adding cinnamon or cocoa powder to the grounds when I brew the coffee 3) a handheld milk frother/blender. This has been a game changer. My husband bought it for me as a gift a year or so ago, and it just makes the coffee at home feel like a coffee shop.

  31. Congratulations on the influencer contract renewal, Brandy – that’s wonderful! Speaking of Instagram posts, thank you again for the information on the sealant for block walls. We were able to get a bottle and get the area for our first two beds finished, with some left over for the additional two beds we will put in later.

    On that note, we finished re-configuring the garden beds (original plan had to change due to finding a telecom stake under the xeriscaping rocks). Using the retaining wall blocks from my folks’ house, we ended up needing to purchase ONE brick. Not bad, two 8’long beds for $2.50! 😉 And now we know how many we will need for the additional beds, so I can budget accordingly. We will put in soil after the next payday, starting with one bed as I have to get the asparagus crowns in that were purchased this month. I have four bags left from prior projects, so that’s a start. (And will also help budget for the other beds as we learn how many bags are needed for that size.)

    We got a little bit of rain over the weekend and some snow flurries/frost, gratefully counting every drop that has gone into the cisterns. I saw a video of a DIY cistern a gentleman in Puerto Rico has made, with a trash can & drip irrigation at each of his garden beds. We are going to incorporate something similar between our beds; as they are on the opposite side of the yard from our cisterns, at first I will just fill them with the hose for when I turn them “on” for watering. Ultimately though I will have a greenhouse along that side and will run gutters to help fill them and catch as much as possible.

    My mother is still unpacking and has passed on more items such as pots/cast iron from my grandmother & great-grandmother and some organization totes. We also pass magazines back and forth as we subscribe to and purchase different things; so we each have a new stack to read and she gave back one that I am going to give to a friend as well. Our friend loaned us a ladder for some projects, as my husband can’t safely get to the roof with ours. I am sorting through some purses and offered them to her, she chose two to look at before I donate them. It feels like a big circle and we are all saving on things.

    I was chosen to be a beta reader for an author I recently discovered and received the first book to look over; slight savings as now I won’t “need” to buy the books on Kindle, but as an author & editor myself, it’s a little something to add to my portfolio as well.

    When my son started college, a friend told us we were unlikely to qualify for any financial assistance, but the college folks suggested he apply anyway, stating that if no assistance is received, it opens up other scholarships for him. We had a terrible time getting the FAFSA site to work and ended up making an appointment to have the financial aid folks at his school help. After two hours of additional troubles there (but at least now we know it wasn’t on our end LOL), we were told he is not eligible for Pell Grant, but they gave us suggestions of a scholarship specifically for homeschoolers and confirmed that yes, denial would mean other options. They also mentioned that his school plans to offer Bachelor’s degrees in his field starting in 2024 or 2025 (last year, our state approved community colleges to create four-year degree programs), which means that near the time he’d planned to transfer to a larger, more expensive school, he may not have to. This would be a huge savings, they charge 1/4 what the university nearby charges per credit, and are still an award-winning school in his field of study. He has decided that if the timing isn’t quite right for a direct transfer to the new program, he will take a “gap year” and work a bit instead, to build his resume and his tuition account. Considering he is 15.5 now, even taking a year off will still give him a BS much earlier than if he had graduated high school at 18. That was exciting news for future frugal steps. 😀 Now to find scholarships to help his savings stretch even further.

    We had to go to the city for a store not available in our area, so we made it a day trip and went to Barnes & Noble and the air museum (on our membership) while there. If the gas has to be used, might as well make it a fun day too.

    Hoping all stay safe and have a lovely week!

    1. What a big savings that will be on school!

      Is the homeschool scholarship specific to his school/your state?

      1. Yes, a huge savings!

        The scholarship is specific to the school, eligibility is for students who graduated from homeschools in our county. It appears that it’s brand new – I just looked it up in their college Foundation document and the amount still says “TBD” for the 2023-24 school year. Now I’m even more grateful she told us about it so we can keep an eye out for further information!

    2. Your son might also consider CLEPing some classes to save money at college. Our daughter was able to get a free CLEP voucher by completing the online study program at http://www.modernstates.org. The study program was free, and the voucher saved us $90 we would have had to pay to purchase the CLEP exam. She just passed the CLEP for Calculus, which gave her 4 college credits at our local university—we paid zero! Modern States is even reimbursing us the $20 exam fee the university charged us for proctoring the exam. She had such a positive experience taking the Calculus exam, that she went ahead and did the study course at Modern States for the English CLEP exam. She just completed taking that exam this week. The English exam will give our daughter 3 college credits, so she will be up to 7 college credits. The university she is going to start at next school year has a limit of 12 credits that they will issue due to a student CLEPing, so she is planning on taking at least one more exam.

      1. Susan M – can a student transfer in with both CLEP and AP credits? It’s been a while since I was a college students but have family who are homeschooling their kids and will need to know this information soon. TIA

        1. I think EVERYTHING depends on the individual college or university. They are not required to accept anything, so your family members really need to check with that particular school.

  32. Congratulations on the influencer opportunity! Thrifty actions this week: visited budget and made adjustments, buy nothing week from the grocery store, as we stay within our monthly budget, accepted a lot of greens from a neighbor’s garden that lasted for over a three weeks. Pollen Season is here in our section of the country.

  33. Congratulations on being hired again by the nursery. I always enjoy your garden posts. *Quiet week here. We are expecting a huge storm so will stay in again this week. My husband is on a business trip and his flight is supposed to arrive home right in the thick of the storm, so hoping he can land. When he is home safe, then I’ll relax. But, I’m thankful for our warm home and my 20 year old son who will keep us shoveled. I’m always so grateful to my deep pantry when a storm is coming. I don’t ever have to rush out for supplies. * Had quite a bit of a cheese ball left over from our Super Bowl snacks so I added that to some chicken breasts in the crockpot for a variation of “Crack Chicken”. Turned out a little thick, so I added a splash of milk to loosen it up and we enjoyed it over rice. Other meals included leftovers, soup, tacos and pot pie. *Finished reading a few library books – one hard copy and two e-books on the free Libby app. I had four more books delivered by mail. So grateful for the outreach program. *For fun I finished up crocheting a baby blanket and knitting two more hats. * FaceTime’d the grandchildren. Grateful for technology! * Hope everyone has a good week. I saw on the news this storm will effect many…hope you all stay safe and warm.

  34. Congratulations, Brandy! That’s great that you will be working with them again.

    I placed an order with Azure Standard after checking prices against what I pay in stores, to see which items will save money even with shipping costs.

    I made sure to save leftover soup, the remains of a large bag of frozen vegetables, and some leftover meat, putting it up in the freezer.

    I will be having a stack of homemade pancakes today for Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras), using maple syrup that was given to me, and sale butter. Pancakes are cheap to make and they are a tradition in my church family.

    I have been eating greens and lettuce from my container gardens.

    I used a trick from Instagram to clean dried food spills (grandkids!) off one of the fabric covered kitchen chair seats that I can’t wash and which wasn’t coming clean with gentle cleaning. I put shaving foam all over it and let it sit a few hours, then wiped it off with a damp sponge. It worked. The upholstery cloth on the chair seats had been purchased as the end of a bolt and with a coupon for $7.99/yard about four years ago. To buy more of it right now at full price, I would pay $39.99/yard; with their sale, I’d pay about $20/yard, so I was glad the chair seat came clean. I will spray protector on it again, as it clearly had worn off.

    I found a perfect pretty pillow to use in my office/craft room. It was $5 at a thrift store, and looks new.

    I was gifted a petite desk with lots of drawers for my office/craft room. It’s old but solid wood and very sturdy. The office/craft room is only 10 x 12 feet, so I couldn’t use a big desk and still have room for the pullout bed/loveseat and sewing table.

    1. I found on my last order that from Azure that I saved a LOT of money on bulk cocoa powder. It keeps well, so I got 5 lbs. At the bulk restaurant store, it was about $60 when my hubby priced it, Costco had none the day we were there, and other places were very expensive as well. Not sure why, but was thrilled to get it for mid-$20 mark for 5 lbs. I also got 10 lbs of organic raisins. My grandson eats them like crazy. They were only $7 more than 5 lbs.

  35. Congratulations on continuing your work with the nursery!
    I made a chocolate Italian cream cake for Valentine’s Day. I was going to make this cake for Christmas, but we had so many other sweet things in the house I decided the cake could wait. Since there are only two of us, I only made half a cake. I made it in two 6-inch cake pans. I don’t actually own 6-inch cake pans, but fashioned these from 6-inch cardboard circles and lots of foil. They worked great and are perfect for a half recipe of cake.* We had steaks and a bottle of Costco wine with our cake for our Valentine’s dinner. While I enjoy going out occasionally, we both prefer eating at home most of the time. Out of curiosity, I checked online at our favorite restaurant (where we went for our anniversary dinner in December.) The dinner we enjoyed at home – steak, baked potato, broccoli, chocolate cake, and wine – would have come to over $180 by the time we added in tax and tip! We figured that our dinner might have come to $25, and half of that was the wine. And we didn’t have to go out in a snowstorm to get it.* I finished the pajamas I made from a floral sheet. I’m looking forward to wearing them when the weather is a little warmer.

    1. Cindi – I was so intrigued that you made your own cake pans. Wow-Brilliant! I can add this tip to the many that I have learned here! (I was curious how a person might MAKE a cake pan with foil and so I “googled” it and these are the first two videos that I found on how to do it (in case anyone else is curious). Both different ways, but both would certainly work well! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTJ_yD0rsNo and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gv7h4_P-xuY

      Thank you Cindi for sharing this amazing idea! Sometimes in the summer I want to use my crockpot instead of my oven and this tip will help me customize the size of vessel that I can use in my crockpot and/or air fryer. Way cool!

      1. I made 6” pans, but not from sheet foil (what a great idea!) I used foils grocery store 8” pans into 6” pans and reuse. I also reuse the foil mini loaf pans for quick breads. They really hold up. Mine were handed down from mom and are at least from the 1970s!

  36. Yay, you got the influencer gig renewed! As you should, with all your garden knowledge and media skills! And wow, another week another hundred plus cuttings for the garden. Truly impressive!

    My frugal week:
    – the most frugal thing I did was try to make meals at home without ordering out, as my whole family got sick with some sort of flu. So all the homemade soups I had canned were used, any items in the freezer such as fries purchased on sale with a coupon and therefore very inexpensive, those were also used. Lots of sandwiches and “kid charcuterie”, and just plain not eating due to illness. We did order in food twice, but I was able to use leftovers as another meal or in another meal. Given how sick we were, I was pretty pleased with that. But we’re on the road to recovery now, so more energy and chances to be frugal!
    – I did bake mini chocolate chip banana muffins last night for school snacks this week, which was a hit with my kids.
    – I glued a Valentine’s Day headband back together for my daughter with my glue gun.
    – before I got sick, I had baked Valentine’s Day cookies for my daughters, and made cookie pops with some lollipop sticks I had. I drew on them with food colouring markers I had, and wrapped them up with a few candies I happened to have lying around, and used some heart themed gift bags I had traded for years ago. That’s what I gave them for Valentine’s Day, along with a card, and they were sooo excited. Nothing fancy, but still a treat, and I made up another one for my eldest to give to her BF. For my parents and sisters, I had the girls make homemade valentine’s and mailed them to them, and that was appreciated. All frugal and all homemade.

    And that’s pretty much all I did. Here’s to a new week, and I look forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

  37. Congratulations on being named an influencer for your nursery again. Hope it is very successful for you this year. I am not on either instagram or facebook, but do wish you the best.
    Worked three days last week and took breakfast and lunch all three weeks.
    My DH BBQd hot dogs at the same time he did ribs, so I made some chili, so he could have chili dogs. Used onions and black beans from the garden, and homemade chili seasoning mix.
    Poured boiling water down the bathroom and bathroom sinks. Also put some Dawn down the kitchen sink to cut the grease also.
    Made homemade pizza hot pockets. Used sausage, onions, peppers and olives as the filling. Put them in the freezer for quick lunches.
    Had 4 zero spend days during the week, and three days where I did not even leave my house.
    Shelled some of our black beans from last year’s garden for about 2 hours. Got about 6 cups. Still have a lot to go.
    Best deals were baby back ribs for $1.99 per pound – got 4 racks for the freezer; and bacon for $2.77 per pound, in three pound packages. Got three packages.
    I did my son’s taxes, and after reviewing with him, filed them on his behalf. (I’m a CPA).
    Made a focaccia bread pizza, without tomato sauce, using sausage, cheese, mushrooms, peppers and onions. It was yummy.
    We had a nice day last week, so the DH mowed the yard, mainly to pick up the leaves from our trees. They stayed on most of the winter. They are now mulched and in the garden.
    Hope everyone has a great week.

  38. Congratulations on getting resigned as an influencer!
    My husband had his 1st appointment for applying for disabilities superiors are appreciative on that.
    I started winter sowing this year and peas are popping up already in February. We will see how the experiment goes.
    We had end seasonably warm weather yesterday so I worked in the garden. Turned some compost in my large pile but it’s going slow. Started some trench composting with some partially composted material. Hopefully that will speed things up a bit. We don’t do much planting here until Mother’s Day so I still have time.
    Learned soccer cleats with aerate your yard.
    Set financial aid appeals to both colleges my daughter’s looking at. Also found information on a program through the community college if that doesn’t work out.
    Admittedly did the soda subscription at the gas station and will get a diet coke this month paid for while running errands.
    Made meatless dinner last night.
    Used a gift card to get a dessert for my birthday buddy at work. I am not confident at making cheesecake and am busy this week so it was worth my time to have someone else do it!
    Used points to get a discount on gas.
    Have a great week!

  39. Last we went to a free program at the library with live animals. My oldest son has a birthday this month. He has been saying he would like to go bowling. Our homeschool group has a bowling event each February so my husband took him as part of his birthday present. The group rate was $8 for shoes and bowling. At a vendors mall I got a couple of the kids their birthday gifts. All of our kids have birthdays in a 3 month span. I said yes to clothing. We have been rotating our pantry/freezer making sure to eat the oldest food first.

  40. Getting back to normal, but very tired. I started reading again and had to glance back a few pages to see where I was!
    I really tackled a good area of my craft room. I moved some drawers around to make them more convenient. (I bought an entire lower kitchen cabinet for $40 at a garage sale 2 yrs. ago and painted it all white. It makes the most wonderful sectional in a craft room! 17 drawers and 2 cabinets. The counter spans the entire wall.). It always takes time to see how things work so the update was welcome. Now the closet and other side of the room lol.

    We haven’t bought much in the way of groceries because we’ve been low on funds. Too many bills have gone way up. Just adding some mandatory things of about $15 per week. Fortunately, the pantry and freezer are still okay so we’re toodling along okay.

    These might be the same books I listed awhile ago…
    On my nightstand – The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner. (I read The Bloomsbury Girls before I realized it was a sequel)
    In my craft room CD player – Music! I can’t listen to books while organizing. I read too much.
    With my Bible study – Ash Wednesday is tomorrow so I’m starting a Lenten study.
    By my reading chair – Executive Power by Vince Flynn.

    Hopefully I’ll have some accomplishments by next weekend!!

    Brandy, thank you for the beautiful Bells of Ireland pic. I just love them!! And nicely done in staying the local nursery’s Garden Lady!

  41. We are finally beginning to see signs of Spring and I just cannot wait!
    I have started working in the yard to prepare for Spring and all of the planting I will do. I did a big yard clean up clearing branches and such and cleared my patio. I sprinkled several anthills with grits to try and remove them before Spring arrives.
    I sorted through all of my seeds so that I am aware of what I have on hand and what I need to order or buy. This will save me money as I won’t be purchasing items that I don’t need. I plan on sowing lots of seeds for cut flowers in my yard and am excited for the harvest during the Spring and Summer. I just love fresh flowers in my house.
    I pulled a whole chicken in the crockpot and froze 6 quarts of chicken stock. The meat fed us several meals for a few days. As a new season begins I am loving having a clean home and taking on extra projects to organize. We cleaned out the garage and purged another carload of items to Goodwill. I washed windows and washed all of the bedding in our home. I wash our sheets weekly but this time I washed all of our duvets, quilts, blankets etc. it is lovely to have everything clean and fresh!
    I purchased seven warm season clothing items for my son at a consignment store spending a total of $31. All of the items look brand new.
    I will be spending the extra money for quality composted diet
    For the garden as well as adding peat moss and manure to the soil. When I planned out my garden space it seemed wise to do all we can to ensure the best harvest possible given the current cost of food.
    I made a batch of homemade yeast rolls using pantry ingredients and stocked up on canned tomatoes when I found them on sale. I will definitely be canning lots more tomatoes this year…we use them up long before the next summer
    Enjoy the week ahead!

  42. Hello, frugal friends from beautiful southwest Virginia! It’s a beautiful day here with abnormally high temps and a sunny blue sky. It does wonders for my morale. Today marks 1 week out of the hospital post open heart surgery. Things seem to be going well. I’m up and about multiple times a day and I did 3 stairs today as well! In frugal ways the biggest thing has been the amount of food people have shared with us. We literally have 3 gallons of chicken soup. We have frozen it in pint jars for future use. We also have a gallon of vegetable soup and 2 rotisserie chickens divided up and frozen. We have lots of fruit, vegetables and breads, most are in the freezer. My appetite is slowly returning but I’m not eating a lot in a sitting. With our wonderful neighbors picking up a half gallon of milk this past week we have not spent anything on groceries. Since I’m home no gas has been used either. Unfortunately our heating bill will be higher as my blood is thin from medication so we turned up the heat to 69 from 67. I’m using the heating pad to try to warm myself up as well. Hopefully the majority of the medical bills including the life flight will be covered by insurance. All the lonely times when my husband was on deployment are going to reap us some benefits with the military medical insurance. Thank you for all the prayers. I truly felt them.

    1. Great news! Glad that you are healing well, and I’m glad that you have good neighbors. Continued prayers for healing.

    2. That is good news Marley. I am glad you healing and feeling a little better. It’s nice that have such great neighbors.

    3. I pray for you several times a day and will continue. I am 2 months out from my quadruple bypass and in cardiac rehab. Every week you will feel better. I am so glad you have lots of support. Hugs.

      1. Thank you for the encouragement and prayers. I needed to hear this. You will be in my prayers as well.

  43. So glad you are continuing with your influencer position. It is perfectly suited to you!

    We have had a very quiet couple of weeks. It is lovely to be home most of the time. I have done very little shopping and only gone out to get essentials like milk when we need it. The prices have been very high so there really has been very little on sale at great prices. Anything I have bought has been paid for in cash using money from collecting empty alcohol bottles and returning them. I had $15 in Amazon codes from a survey so I ordered some food items for the pantry with this.

    We have been blessed from our buy nothing group in the past couple of weeks. We have received an unopened bottle of salad dressing, an unopened bag of Starbucks coffee, a new small calculator for my purse, unopened jar of jam and carton of juice, a pair of men’s trousers new with tags, an unopened DVD of a complete series of a show my husband watches, a warm sweater and summer dress for myself and two plant cuttings to add to my collection.

    Our books and videos have come from the library and the few trips out we have made have been combined to avoid excess trips. It has been fairly mild with little snow this winter and we have kept the heat set lower than last year and our usage has been down. With the increased costs, this has kept things manageable for us.

    For all those across Canada and the US expecting poor weather this week, stay safe and warm.

  44. Congrats on renewing the influencer job! We have been having crazy high temperatures, it made me think of your garden. I should have started planting in January because we’re going to hit 79 this week here in northeast TN! I typically don’t plant anything until radishes, snow peas, and lettuce in March. Maybe I should go ahead and do it!
    –Lately we’ve been ordering a few pre-made small batch meals from a local place. Each main dish is about $20 and feeds us well with enough leftovers for one person to take to lunch. I have been spending less than if I went to the store, and the time savings is incredible — just pop it in the oven and dinner is done while I’m doing laundry, being a chauffer, or just reading a book. No prep or cleanup. We tend to eat out due to busy schedules, and I am not consistent about batch-cooking meals, so this is a great alternative for us. It also keeps me from running to the store every few days for missing ingredients or fill-ins, which has saved a surprising amount. I also like that it supports a local small business, instead of a fast food chain, and the food is better.
    –We traveled overnight for a wrestling tournament and saved money on our hotel room (and earned points) by going through Hilton Honors.
    –I used apps for a couple freebies while we traveled — free pretzel nuggets at Auntie Anne’s, free ice cream cone at McDonald’s, and a few other goodies.
    –We are finally going to get a few chickens! I have been borrowing library books to read everything I can before they arrive in a few weeks.

  45. Congratulations on your continue work at the nursery.
    Been sick here for about three weeks going to the doctors on Friday. Having been spending much really don’t have the funds. Growing lettuce and onions. Planting my potatoes soon and other seeds.

  46. Brandy, I’m sure I’ve missed this in other posts, but how much do you cut back your current bushes when you take the cuttings? I tried to take cuttings (longer ones) from in-laws’ white lilac but they straggled on a few weeks and then died, despite starting in rooting powder.

    This month has not been great; my brother passed away but I am thankful I was able to be with him, having flown in on a regularly scheduled trip the day before. We thought we’d have longer, he and I were both talking about plans to enjoy that week but his cancer just took over. We ate out a few times down there, treating and being treated by my SIL. After getting home, I just didn’t feel like cooking much, though eating was certainly on my mind, and went for some convenience expensive vegan meat replacers for quick meals – impossible nuggets, etc. Not healthy and not frugal. Have been working on buckling down and cooking healthier but I’m struggling with overeating this month. (BREAD!) We celebrated my husband’s birthday with two separate pasta meals with impossible meatballs and roasted green beans as his daughters couldn’t come on the same evening. But that saved us going to a restaurant both times.

    Frugal meals include black bean soup and lime rice (forgot cilantro) with pico, black bean and sweet potato burger patties with potato chunks in the air fryer and cabbage and again leftover with sweet potato hash; chili and roasted carrots; red beans and rice; and loads of green beans since I got on a kick of making them a way I’m enjoying. A couple of nights it was a variety of roasted veg (broccoli, sweet potato cubes, carrots) which was plenty filling.

    1. Cut the tips three to four inches long. Rip off all bottom leaves that will go below the soil. The cuttings need to be wet and dipped in rooting powder.

  47. Hello, I think it’s wonderful that you are getting some work that you apparently really enjoy. What kinds of things will you do as an influencer? About the drought situation–I was talking to a relative who lives in northern Nevada who told me that the entire state cannot have grass “that no one walks on.” How are you holding up with the water situation? We have plenty of water but not enough sun. I haven’t figured out how to manipulate that yet, although the ceilings in our main rooms are painted light blue, and I think it makes a difference in my outlook. My frugal lesson this week was that when we change Medicare supplement insurance at the beginning of the year, I need to not forget let our medical providers know about our new insurance. We went to see, Corrie, our insurance broker, in December and checked out which insurance was be best for us. Our new Medicare supplement insurance is a little less, but the company did not send out proof of insurance cards for our wallets right away; we just barely received them after calling the company a couple of times. Now I have several medical bills that I will have to ask the providers to rebill which is a hassle for me and not nice for them. When I realized my mistake, I called one company and gave them the insurance information over the phone. Next time we change insurance I will take a billing statement with me to the doctor’s office, so they have my new proof of insurance information. We are thankful our insurance costs went down this year. We are especially happy with our new prescription plan that costs $1.61 per month each and pays for all but one of the monthly prescriptions. We use a GoodRx online coupon for that one. Our only other savings this week were a few food items like 99 cents per pound for grapes. Some of those are going into broccoli/cauliflower salad. I hope everyone has a pleasant week.

    1. I post ads on my Instagram and Facebook pages covering the nursery’s products.

      Grass that no one walks on is a big deal here. Front yard grass was outlawed in new homes in 2004 here, but houses that were built before that can still have real grass in front. However, the new law here prohibits grass from being installed in backyards too on houses built from April 2022.

      We have had water rules and restrictions here for 23 years.

      Additional water restrictions started last month, and a per-household amount has been established. Anyone using over that amount will be fined. The amount does not look at the size of the household nor the size of the property. Many people I know were fined last month, including me. The amount that they figure is indoor only use is less than I know several people with only 2 people in their house used. I had my outdoor watering off for all but one time last month–with a larger household that is home all day, we are going to wash more dishes, flush more toilets, wash more clothes, and take more showers. We will definitely be fined.

      I am grateful that I saw what was coming and we relandscaped the backyard to remove 75% of our grass and to cut our water usage by 33%. I’m also glad to have more food growing in the garden, something I figured would be needed too. At least some of those water expenses will be recouped in hundreds of pounds of fruit.

  48. Brandy so pleased for you getting that influencer position once again. Not at all surprised. You do such beautiful landscape and gardening work and I love following you as much for that as your frugal sense.
    I am happy to say that I am apparently on the backside of a bout of depression of sorts that lasted nearly five months. I finally feel like ‘me’ once more! I am so grateful for that. Not a thing in our lives has changed, still got the same troubles, but my whole perspective and outlook is a 180Degree turn from what it has been.
    I just finished making up two smaller French Toast Strata for future breakfasts. That’s been my goal this week: to make breakfast meals ahead so that I can have coffee in peace each morning, lol. So far I’ve made breakfast sandwiches which salvaged a Quiche gone wrong, two breakfast casseroles, will make waffles tomorrow and biscuits the day after and then pancakes another morning. Each time I make a meal, I make extra to go in the freezer. I put Banana Nut muffins in the freezer this morning.
    Meals have balanced out quite nicely. I gave my family the option of planning menus two weeks ago and I’d have told you not a meal of it was a frugal meal, yet each came out fairly economical simply because I had all the ingredients on hand, we had leftovers, etc. I made a big pot of soup yesterday figuring it’s likely about the last time we’ll want it for months. We’re hitting mid 80’s this week so these cold days are dwindling for us. I used the remainder of a Mississippi pot roast including the vinegary broth. That was a really good pot of soup! Tonight we had leftover chicken and broccoli. I plan to make rice and then will make up Broccoli Chicken and Rice Casserole.
    I am determined to find the lowest possible costs on all items so am triple and quadruple checking prices on items as I require them at various sources. For instance, I found I could buy a 90 supply of a Probiotic I use for $5 a box less than I am paying at present. I’ll be ordering from that source instead of my current provider source.

  49. So glad you are getting so many cuttings for your hedges and for the nursery job! * Easy to be more frugal when you’re sick- whatever this is it’s hanging on. Four hour naps are not unheard of lately. I did make it to Costco finally to get the cat meds, but I made it out of there without buying anything inside. The prices on food I could do better at grocery outlet, Trader Joe’s, or Walmart. They seem very high. I’d wanted a lime tree, but they only had meyer lemon (which I already have) and it was $75! I was expecting $25. Turns out a friend told me she had two, but only needed one. A mutual friend is driving to her town in April and agreed to bring it back for me, so free to me lime tree and no long distance to drive, so saved gas. Speaking of gas, I topped off at Costco for $4.34 g. Best price for our area. Then went by grocery outlet for groceries given I was running low since being sick/home. I alway try to group errands. The weather has been gorgeous, but too sick to garden. Today I visited a friend at her dad’s down the street, so saved gas. When I walked down it was beautiful, when I walked back 30 minutes later the wind nearly knocked me over. Trash cans rolling down the street and I moved my car out of the driveway in case neighbor’s tree comes down. Temps dropped and they are saying the hills might get snow. Between flickering power. I watched all quiet on the western front (because it’s up for a best picture Oscar) on streaming service my sister and I share to save costs. Heart wrenching the whole way through, but I can see why it won best picture at the bafta awards. Listened to a free podcast. It’s suppose to rain this weekend, here’s hoping, because that will soften the ground so I can work on taking out overgrown berry vines without having to water to soften the clay soil. I’ve cut back on using water a lot and hoped to see a lower bill now I’ve put in new pipes, but the bill is still higher than I’d like. Watching a neighbor’s pets while they are traveling and was able to get photos from their side of our damaged fence, looks like I’m going to have to put in a homeowners claim for that and some roof damage from our January storms, so not frugal, but needs doing. I’m just glad to have insurance coverage.

      1. There is a 1930 film version that won the best picture Oscar (and several others), a 1979 made for tv version, starring Richard Thomas (John boy on The Waltons) won a golden globe, and the current 2022 German version up for this year’s best picture (and several other oscars) currently streaming on Netflix. I fully expected subtitles, but it defaulted to a dubbed version (though one could chose subtitles).

  50. I started reading the Harry Potter book series and just finished book one. I am getting the books from the library. A friend offered to loan me all the movies on DVD. I will take them up on this offer after I have finished the books.

    I found quite a few meat products on mark down. Sausage meat, turkey mince and extra lean mince meat packs were under $3.90 each so I got a stack of each.

    We harvested an abudance of fruit and vegetables from the garden, went fishing (ate the fish for three nights), made and ate fruit smoothies and posicles, made a large batch of fried rice, boiled eggs, toast, wraps and had lots of salads and vegetables with lentils or penne pasta.

  51. I am in Hawaii this week for a planned vacation. The prices are incredibly high as most everything is imported from the mainland.. Staying at a hotel so have a mini fridge but can’t cook. I budget about $30 per day for take out food from a local market and convenience store. Brought 1 box of cereal for breakfast and bought a gallon of milk( $8) for cereal and in room coffee. Sandwiches range from $3-10. Dinners are rice bowls or plate dinners with 3 generous side dishes per meal( $10.99-17.00). Big mac meal is $9.49. Bag of Lay’s chips is $6.49. Bus per trip is $3 or $7.50 per day vs the tourist trolley at $45 per day-no thanks. Bananas are $1.39 per lb and a large fresh pineapple at Costco is $4.00. Gas is around $4.50 per gallon and I am told your average house is about $1.2 million which is crazy high. Of course the views, the beach and the sun and turtles bobbing their heads up between waves are free. Definitely paradise but the cost of living is about double that at home in Canada. Food is also taxed here.

    1. But its Hawaii, I, its Hawaii. I’ve been there a few times. I was always able to rent a place with a kitchen, so I could cook. Even without that, though, I could just spend the whole day outdoors, with a sandwich or a milkshake. I always ran into Hawaiians spending their free time doing the same thing.

      I can remember saying to my Dad that I didn’t understand how people could afford to live there. He said that noone can, they just do it anyway because it is so fabulous. The highs are -21 C here in northern Alberta, lows of -30.

  52. Hi Brandy,
    Glad to hear things are going well with you and your family. Congratulations on your second year as an influencer for the local nursery, you seem like a prudent choice for anything plant and garden related. Very happy for you.

    Things have been interesting lately. I seem to notice a trend with all of my bills rising. My internet went up by $5 a month, my home payment has raised by about $250 due to projected raises in insurance in the state of Florida (I’m really bummed about this), my electric bill has also gone up as the charge for electric was increased this past Summer, my car insurance is also very high and there seems to be nothing I can do to get it lower. I am considering un-insuring one of my vehicles for a few months as the newer car is almost $125 a month to insure and the older vehicle is about $50 a month to insure. The idea of one car sitting in the driveway doesn’t bring me a great deal of pleasure, but I need to sit down with my finances and really consider what can be lowered or cut.

    We have only internet, cell phones through Mint Mobile ($15 a month each), and then water, electric, mortgage payment, and every six months the car insurance. We don’t have a lot of extra expenses, so trying to think of how to cut them is a bit unnerving to me. It also seems I always have some kind of surprise payment or need to take care of like new tires for the car etc. Gas is hoovering just over $3 a gallon here, and groceries seem to continue to climb.

    I’m trying to find some optimism. Very thankful for your blog and others who comment with encouraging and positive things they are doing. Hope everyone has a nice week.

  53. It has been an interesting 2023 so far. I have had a string of medical issues that have kept me sidelined. We are currently enjoying sinus infections coupled with ear infections in my children (even teens!) It has just wiped me out. I had to get some groceries last Friday so dug out an N95 mask, drove to Aldi and stuck to my list. At Aldi eggs are 3.17 a dozen and milk is 2.77 a gallon. My husband had cut open a pineapple and it was white. Returned to Aldi for a new one plus money back. I found artesian bread marked down from 2.69 per loaf to .69 per loaf. I bought 17 loaves and saved 34.00. I was able to buy 5# hamburger with the rest of my grocery budget. We had a 4 day weekend this past weekend; coupled with sickness, and now a snow day, resulting in my gas tank being 3/4 full! That was a nice savings as some unexpected medical bills arrived and needed to be paid. With all the illness I have cooked less. We have eaten leftovers, soup, and my husband baked a ham one night. Tonight will be pancakes. I am noticing that my family is not enthusiastic about leftovers. It is hard to get anyone to eat them. I have to change from large family cooking to smaller amounts. It is hard.
    I was on the hunt for butterscotch discs and stopped by Dollar General. Found Valentine’s candy and cards for youngest for next year. It was 25% off. We are not seeing deep discounts after holiday clearance anymore; particularly chocolates. I eventually found the butterscotch discs at Dollar Tree. None of our grocery/convenience stores carry or had them in stock! Sometimes I am still surprised at random items being unavailable for purchase.
    Almost 2 years to the day since his last deer incident two deer ran into the driver’s side of the truck as my husband drove to work and took out the driver’s side door handle and rear lights along with denting the door and side panels. The truck is drivable but hubby has to open the passenger door, lean in and open the driver’s side door, then go back around to get in the truck. It is totaled, but we will most likely buy it back and repair the most necessary safety features. We cannot come close to replacing this low mileage truck with the payout they are offering. Earliest repair date is May. I am happy that my husband was not injured. This has been a regular occurrence throughout our married life. We live in a state with an extremely high deer population.
    Brandy I have been loving your Instagram posts of all things blooming and growing. So much color and life! We have gone from winter brown to winter storm white today. Glad to be snuggled in at home. Even though February is short it sure feels long this year! Overall feeling grateful and blessed!

  54. This past week, we struggled with sickness in the house, as it seems many are these days! Thankfully, it wasn’t severe, or long lasting in our case. We were still able to get some things done. My husband has been planting seeds in the greenhouse, and even started transplanting a few things for the first time today.

    We were given a lot of apples this past fall and winter from a couple of sources. I’ve been working on processing them as I feel we are not going to get through them before they rot if I don’t–there were several boxes. Yesterday, I finally finished! I canned 18 more jars of applesauce and dried other dryer full. I also made apple fritters the other day. Pictures of apple projects are on my blog: http://beckyathome.com
    I am excited because this will reduce my workload next summer because I got so many canned. We don’t grow apples and often buy some for applesauce, but I won’t do that next summer, now. I tried the 4Jars lids everyone is raving about on the internet and every one sealed. I ordered mine from Azure. It took a lot of bravery to change from the Kerr/Ball kind I’ve been using for my entire life, but with the shortages and huge price increases, I thought I’d give it a try. I still have a lot of the Kerr/Ball ones, as well. I have enough of the 3 kinds combined, now, to do my canning next summer, and enough for my Mom as well. We rely on canning so much that I just feel better knowing I will not have to risk running out this coming summer.

    I continue to use up little bits and things that are getting older from the fridge/freezers/canning shelves. It’s not glamorous but it is what I use quite a bit of energy on these days–cooking from scratch and cleaning:) Prices are up in our area, but there are also bargains to be found. Beef and pork were both $2ish a pound this past week. My husband was tasked with getting groceries for someone else, and he got both roasts for them, plus the ground beef for $2.97/lb. Although we weren’t paying for their groceries, he used a coupon for $20/100 I had on my card and other coupons I downloaded for what very few things I needed, with the rest of the discount going to them, and any other coupons I could find for what they needed, so we both benefitted. Plus, I got the rewards on my card, which will translate into at least 1 free item eventually.

  55. That’s great the contract was renewed. I love seeing photos of your garden and what you have done. I follow a garden centre on Facebook and the owner often walks around his local area and other parts of his city and posts photos of what plants are doing well and what plants have been planted in the wrong spots (with links to plants in his own centre of course). He has a lively sense of humour as well.

    I have enrolled in a free two year certificate course offered by our state’s tertiary college in horticulture. I’m not sure what I will do with it but I feel so happy to be learning again.

    I was able to buy an ebike and salary package it last year with my workplace and planned to ride it once a week to work. This has grown to the three days I work and my commute on my bike is now one of the best parts of my day. I’d like to say I had lost weight.. but can’t see that has happened but I am sure my mental and physical health has improved.

      1. You might check with your local master gardeners. Here in California it’s free to get a university certificate to become a master gardener if you agree to do some limited volunteer work for the local chapter the following year. My friend in South Carolina has the same deal and is currently enrolled. I’d been accepted, but it was during the period I had long covid, so need to re-enroll.

        1. I took most of the master gardener classes here when they were free 22 years ago. They are no longer free but cost over $350 the last time I checked; it is probably much higher now. In order to keep your master gardener status, you have to volunteer around 72 hours per year every year, so I chose not to go that route. Thanks for the suggestion, though! The classes themselves were very helpful.

  56. Last week we made Valentines cards and cookies at home, then hand delivered them to the grandparents.
    I had some success with staying out of the stores. When I did shop, I was able to keep to my lists.

  57. I saved money by not buying anything last week. I am trying to eat down the pantry and freezer, especially the freezer because it badly needs defrosting. I have tried several new recipes to use up what I have, and luckily they all turned out well. I gratefully accepted a few groceries from my parents in exchange for watering their plants while they’re away.

    I took part in the Great Backyard Bird Count last weekend. It was free entertainment and I learned so much about the birds in my area.

  58. It was another great week in heavenly Houston.
    I brought home leftovers from the Cub Scout blue and gold banquet; I helped clean up and got to take food home, so it made the expense worth it. The kids I left at home (so as not to pay for their meal) were excited about the leftovers.
    Last minute, a child came down with a stomach bug (he’s fine), but him missing his scout meeting will save us the $15 fee. We can do the badge on our own for free. It gets pricey when the leaders outsource the meetings to different activity venues. This one would have been at a coding place that does parties and enrichment programs.
    I bought lots of markdowns and loss leaders: $2.49/# cheese, .24 cornbread mixes (actually cheaper than buying the bag of cornmeal at my store), .97/# grapes, etc.
    I caught an error at the store where a BOGO item didn’t ring up correctly.
    My oldest cooked dinner one night, giving me a break.
    I bought a $3 king cake the day after Mardi Gras, which I fed to the kids for breakfast the next day. It was still fresh.
    I found a vintage Pyrex bowl ($1) at Goodwill, which I didn’t need, but bought anyway. It’s a collectible pattern that I’ll sell on eBay.
    My frugal friend bought some marked-down diapers for me, and even dropped them off. So kind of her!
    Tomorrow is Go Texan Day, and I’ve cobbled together enough boots and western clothes for my gang. I love buying clearance and second hand throughout the year, to prepare for things like this.
    I paid bills online.
    I stretched a rotisserie chicken.
    I do have the AC on. It’s in the 80s outside now, with the regular humidity.
    I gave away some wine glasses that I never use. I probably could have sold them, but my free ad got rid of them quickly and easily.
    I made a little money at the consignment store.
    I made oatmeal bars and oatmeal for inexpensive breakfasts.
    Hope everyone has a nice, frugal week!

  59. Congratulations Brandy on being rehired by the nursery. You are the perfect spokesperson for that job, the way you grow food/flowers so successfully-in a desert!

    For Valentine’s Day, we ate at home with a non-traditional meal: BBQ ribs, baked sweet potatoes and slaw. Homemade chocolate covered strawberries were dessert. Eight choc dipped strawberries were 12.99 at the store. I got the berries for 2.50 for a pound and used chocolate from the pantry, so quite a bit more frugal to make this dessert than to purchase them, and they were very good.

    Traveled to be with my mother on her 92nd birthday. I found her a lovely top on sale for her birthday. We went out for her birthday to the restaurant of her choice. Then, to her delight (and ours!) we traveled to visit our new little granddaughter again. It was my mother’s first great grandchild and her first chance to meet her at 11 days old. My daughter and SIL traveled to meet us. It was a wonderful 2-day visit, and we were very sad upon leaving 🙁

    The hotel wasn’t frugal, but we did check for the lowest price available and used a card that provided rewards. We ate breakfast there in the mornings. We availed ourselves of the beverages they provided in the lobby. I had taken a breakfast casserole made from items on hand for my son and DIL, which they seemed to enjoy. I took the rib eye steaks I had previously purchased on sale, the remaining strawberries from Valentine’s that I sliced, asparagus I bought for .99/# and twice baked potatoes I had made and frozen. For dessert we had leftover cupcakes and cookies from the baby shower that were also frozen. The steaks were thin, but delicious and very tender. I figured the 7 of us ate a nice steak dinner for <$6/person, which I could hardly believe. It was a great way to celebrate the birth of our granddaughter together. Some of the potatoes were left over for my son and DIL to eat in future meals. My strict pantry challenge in January easily covered the cost of the meal.

    During the trips (a total of 4 segments) we ate homemade sandwiches (egg salad or pimento cheese) ¾ segments. We used fruit from the hotel breakfast to supplement the sandwiches for one segment. We did have to buy lunch on our trip to return home. We used gas we’d gotten for .23 off per gallon promotion for a price of 2.99/gal. Another fill up we used a .10 discount for 3.09/gal. Prices varied throughout the state.

    I purchased 2 loaves of bread-one to make our sandwiches and one to bring home- at Aldi. I purchased some oranges, also at Aldi, which was on the way during our trips. We don’t have one where I live. I continue with a more liberal pantry challenge this month but am still trying to use the food items I have and not add more to the larder until I have eaten it down a bit. I still haven’t emptied my freezer to my liking.

    Continue to pick lettuce from the garden and the broccoli has flowerets that are almost ready for harvest.

    1. I wouldn’t consider taking your mother to see her grand grandchild an expense but rather an investment. Those memories are priceless.🩷

  60. -We have also struggled with illness and an ice storm. Thankful to have a nebulizer at home for my kids. Finally everyone is on the mend. I did break down and buy coffee and soup one day I was on the struggle bus and had a long day at work. Used a gift card for a date night. I resisted paczci on Fat Tuesday which saved money and calories. Made sourdough bread for some friends.
    -Found sales on cereal, which I don’t often buy, markdown lettuce, BOGO pork roast, and organic eggs for 2.99/dozen, I bought all 6. Also got some staples at Aldi like tuna pouches, which are half the price of Kroger. I was gifted a lot of extra flour. Made bone broth from leftover bones and veggie scraps, roast chicken, falafel rice bowls, pulled pork rice bowls, fruit crisp, pumpkin muffins and sourdough.
    -Preparing book work so our accountant can file taxes. This probably saves us thousands of dollars, although it is so tedious.
    -Sold some stuff on FB marketplace. I got some free like new yoga mats and I’m throwing away my old ones that are falling apart.

  61. I bought 12 pounds of chicken legs at .79/lb. They were huge and will supply the two of us with 14 meals for less than $9.00. Our food pantry had a surplus of fruits and veggies and asked anyone to come shop so I got 10 lbs of various citrus, onions, garlic, sweet potatoes and five lbs of bananas. Such a huge blessing. We will eat what we can fresh and I will can or dehydrate the rest. I have several plant rootings in my kitchen window to pot up this week. I baked peanut butter cookies and dinner rolls from scratch. My failure was my attempt to sprout lentils. I bought my seed starting soil to get seeds started in the greenhouse soon.

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