In this time when so many of us around the world are dealing with reduced and eliminated incomes, making the most of every penny goes a long way towards making what we have last and conserving funds to help pay our bills and to keep food on the table.

I went over our budget for the next three months. I always look ahead three months, and when money is tight, I find that looking over the budget often helps me determine more ways to save money and gives me more ideas on where I can cut, even though it seems like we’ve cut everywhere over the years. We still continue to find ways to cut our expenses, though; we now live on a quarter of what we did when we bought this house in 2006. All of those little changes (and a few big ones, like refinancing our home loan) have kept us here and thriving despite the recession and its long-term impacts on our income.

I covered the seedlings in the garden with empty canning jars and other glass jars (including empty olive jars) to make mini greenhouses. In my past experiments, this has tripled the growth rate of my seedlings.

I planted seeds for butternut squash, basil, and lettuce in the garden. It is early to plant basil, but pots are warmer than in the ground, and I had a couple of Thai basil seedlings come up through self-seeding, so I planted some Genovese basil in pots to get a head start. It’s late to plant lettuce, and it’s likely that it will all bolt before I get much of anything, but we are having a cooler than usual spring, so I planted more. I will plant more still this next week in a spot that gets afternoon shade and see if I can get lettuce to grow even longer in my garden this year. I also finished unloading the trailer full of dirt into my garden and planted several of my tomato plants in the garden.

My husband used wd-40 on all the door hinges (no more squeaky doors!), mended a shovel, organized some in the garage, worked on a project at home, and changed an existing light bulb to an LED bulb.

My husband gave our eldest son a haircut.

We talked to the children about conserving electricity, water, and other resources. We discussed using handkerchiefs, which they all have, but haven’t been using lately.

I continued to collect shower warm-up water and used it to water potted plants. I also continued my evening ritual of dumping any leftover water from our glasses at the end of the day onto potted plants.

I roasted a chicken and divided into two meals; one was chicken alfredo and the other was chicken soup. As I roast chicken covered with the breast down, it makes the broth while it roasts and the meat falls off the bones. The pan is full of broth. This saves time taking the meat off the bones (it just comes off in your hands) as well as time making broth.

I used beans to stretch some pork that we had ground up for tacos. I harvested lettuce from the garden for the tacos. We went without tomatoes and just put on a bit more salsa on top.

I cooked black beans, pinto beans, and Great Northern beans in my crockpot to use in recipes. I used some right away and froze the rest to use later.

I made a batch of white bean dip and some whole-wheat pita bread for snacks one day.

I cooked a little pumpkin that I have had since November and used it to make whole-wheat pumpkin chocolate chip bread. I cut the sugar in the recipe in half and cut the chocolate chips down by 1/4 and everyone still loved it. I had some leftover pumpkin after that, so I made a second batch and substituted home-canned applesauce for the rest of the pumpkin. My family said it tasted like apple cider bread that way.

We made lemonade from our lemons. I zested the lemons and dried the zest for lemon pepper.

I harvested beet greens, lemons, Swiss chard, green onions, snow peas, and lettuce from the garden. I used all of these (save the lemons and lettuce), along with a can of black olives, two grated carrots, and a pound of pasta to make a pasta salad with homemade Italian dressing.

I made a triple batch of laundry soap.

I’ve enjoyed that less advertising is coming in my mailbox now. To that end, I’ve been unsubscribing from advertising emails as well.

I have lost a few blackberry bushes over the years. I ordered some new ones online; these are primocanes, so not only are they thornless like my others, but these ones will produce on the first year wood rather than second-year canes. Hopefully, this will increase our blackberry harvest each year. I also ordered more leek and lettuce seeds. I can plant the lettuce seeds in the fall along with any that I can collect this spring from my own seeds. Both the leek seeds and the lettuce seeds are open-pollinated types so that I can also collect seeds from them to plant in the garden in the future.

We canceled our hotel for next month. We will no longer be traveling to see our daughter get married because of the virus. She will be married in a tiny ceremony outside (legally in that state) with an officiant and two witnesses only (six feet away or more). We will travel to see them sealed in the temple when the temple there is open again (all temples were closed worldwide on March 22nd) and it is safe to travel.

Because of the circumstances, we were able to have our non-refundable rooms refunded completely. She’ll wear a white dress she already has (and made herself), shoes she already has, and she made her own veil. She will carry no flowers (which was her original plan), and the groom will wear the suit he was already planning to wear. Under the circumstances, this is is the safest option for both us, the groom’s parents, and also for them, as they will be together, rather than continuing to live with roommates (so less chance of exposure to the virus). It’s bittersweet for us, but it will be a great story to tell to her children and grandchildren one day in the future!

What did you do to save money this past week? 


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  1. The governor of Idaho on Tuesday put the state on lockdown for 3 weeks. (We had been self-distancing for 10-14 days already). We are the only Idaho county (out of 5) up here in the Panhandle that has confirmed cases, but we are also the largest county and the closest to Spokane. 
    No surprise–we are still cooking and eating at home, like everyone else. Still have plenty of food in the freezer and pantry. We ate a couple of Lean Cuisines the night I wasn’t feeling well but otherwise it has been cooking from scratch. I seem to be putting more effort into cooking, which my family would tell you is A Good Thing. Bought gift cards from two local restaurants to help them stay in business. DH’s parents owned restaurants, so we understand what they are up against.
    I was going to order a Hanes T-shirt on Amazon Prime for $9.99 (it’s a hard-to-find color). I decided to check the Hanes site and found the same shirt for $6 with free ground shipping!
    I cut my DD’s bangs. One of the frugal skills I really wish I’d learned was to cut hair.  
    I am focusing on projects where I already have the materials. (I have my fabric stash and DH has his tools, so this is NOT a problem). I have a to-do list of things I’ve procrastinated on, and I’m working from that. A lot of things are finally getting done!
    I made a heated rice bag out of flannel and muslin scraps for my DH’s cousin’s daughter. She liked the one I made for her mother.
    We got two checks in the mail–$31.50 from the rural electric co-op that served our last house and $190 election worker pay. I will probably deposit them by mail because I don’t have the hang of the phone app.
    Hope everyone here is having a good week. Congratulations and best wishes to Winter and Kade.

  2. Sorry to hear you won’t be able to see Winter get married, but I like your upbeat comment of them having a story to tell their grandchildren.

    We are being as isolated as possible. We took a drive on Sunday just to get out of the house, but had no outside contact. We also did a video chat on Skype with my daughter’s family. I miss my grandkids terribly, but it was nice to at least do that.

    While right now my husband’s job hasn’t been affected, other than him working from home, we are being as frugal as we can right now, as one never knows.

    My frugal accomplishments this week:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and foil and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads the in washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Ate dinner in 7 times. We had turkey, boiled potatoes, gravy and green beans (twice); spaghetti & meatballs; ham with baked potatoes and broccoli; frozen pizza; salmon, baked potato and asparagus; and hot dogs with tater tots and corn.
    • Ate lunch in all 7 days too. We had home canned vegetable beef soup with leftover biscuits; turkey sandwiches and applesauce (twice); leftover spaghetti (me) and salad (him) with cooked chicken from the freezer; leftover beef & broccoli (me) and leftover venison chili (him) from the freezer; cheese and broccoli soup made from a mix I had received in a gift basket a couple of years ago and broccoli stems from our garden (this was not something I cared for that much, but I told myself that if I was starving, I would eat it. I served it with homemade bread, which fancied it up a bit) (twice).
    • I cooked a turkey purchased in November. Then I canned 4 pints of meat, 7 quarts of soup starter (broth and turkey) and 3 quarts of plain broth. I made the broth by cooking down the carcass, along with scraps of carrot peels and ends, celery ends and onion ends and skins that I have saved in the freezer. At Thanksgiving, I had put the carcass in the freezer to process later, so I added that as well.
    • Canned 9 pints of pintos & jalapenos. The jalapenos were from our garden that I had put in the freezer.
    • Hubby worked from home this week again, saving gas money.
    • Hung 3 of 4 loads of laundry.
    • Didn’t use any makeup and wore old clothes and wore them an extra day, since we didn’t get them very dirty!
    • I had gotten some free coloring/activity sheets from the Albertson’s Monopoly a few years ago. I saved them for when my Grandson could do them, which is now. I scanned them and emailed them to my daughter so he has something different to do. Both she and her husband are working from home and this will help keep him occupied.
    • Darned a pair of socks.
    • Since we are stuck in our own houses, my daughter and I had tea together over the phone.
    • Hubby, son and SIL have been playing Playstation together over the internet to help pass the time and also to have contact with the outside world.
    • Forgot to mention last week, when I made the homemade biscuits for our soup, I was going to make cheddar biscuits, but decided to save the cheddar in case I need it for something else. Going as bare bones as possible to conserve what we have here.
    • I have a standing hair appointment every 3 weeks. Due to the necessity of staying at home, I told my hairdresser that I would pay her anyway, every 3 weeks and when she feels like her business is back to normal, she can pay me back. I just sent her the payment via Venmo. She was really appreciative. I’ve been going to her for over 6 years and trust she will keep her word. She is a new mother and I just can’t imagine what she must be feeling.
    • Cut the bottom off my toothpaste tube to get a few more days from it.
    • Made coffee cake for a few breakfasts this week.
    • Found out how to sew a bowl potholder online and realized I had enough material to make one, so I did.

    Hope everyone stays safe and sane!

    1. I had to laugh at your comment about asking yourself if you would eat something you disliked if you were starving. We do that, too, only our version is, “If we waste this and run out of food and go hungry, we will wish we had eaten this.”

  3. Aah – bittersweet is the right word for not being able to attend Winters wedding Brandy. However seeing them at the Temple when this is over will be joyous and everyone’s health is the most important thing. Good that they will be just the two of them after the wedding and not sharing digs – reducing exposure to the virus and starting their lives together. What mixed feelings you must all have. I feel for you all and wish you peace.

  4. Brandy, I found myself a little teary eyed from reading about your daughter’s wedding plans. It takes a good amount of courage for her to proceed under the circumstances and for you to realize what is most important. Please realize that many of us are thinking of you, and her, and pray for your continued strength. We currently have our son and his wife and family living with us while they wait for the closing on their purchase of a house. It has made life interesting and fun. Our 10-year old grandson made a life size cardboard boy and put his own t-shirt and shorts on him, and his watch. My husband named him “Manly Stanley”, and the boy now appears in different areas in the house. Yesterday he was sitting at my computer, with his hands on the keyboard, then on a bed taking a nap; in the living room, on a stair railing, and today when I went to sit down, Stanley was in my chair! Best wishes to all in these trying times!

  5. I was think the story of Winter’s wedding will make a wonderful memory to tell their children. They are starting a new life together facing troubled times but I’m sure they will be stronger for it and the celebration when they are sealed will be that much more wonderful.
    We had good weather this week and spent four days working in the yard, getting the garden and greenhouse ready to plant. We built two new raised beds, using materials we had on hand, and I used sifted compost and some peat moss to fill the beds. I also added compost and peat to all the existing beds. I filled all my flowers pots, where I plant annuals each summer. Everything is ready to go once it’s warm enough to plant outside. I did plant carrot, arugula, and chard seed in the greenhouse, and I have some lettuce, radishes, and pea shoots coming up in there.
    My husband was able to go fishing one day this week. The lake was quiet and I know he enjoyed getting away. He didn’t catch any fish, but that wasn’t really the point.
    I made cupcakes and we delivered them to neighbors, leaving them on porches, then texting to let them know they were there. We called it our “drive-by cupcaking.” I wrote and called several friends to check on them and keep in touch. I have been doing a lot of knitting and reading.

  6. You’ve been so busy! Lots of great food to come from your garden, I trust. I am glad Winter’s plans have got sorted out. There will be plenty of time to celebrate later on.

    I have been staying at home as much as possible, which is what is required here at the moment. I did go to buy groceries. The local stores are limited to customers age 60 and over or people who are at risk for the first hour they are open. There were some people there, but not too crowded, and they have managed to keep more than enough of most items. I had walked to the store because the battery on my car needs replacing. The store is only three doors from home. One of the staff offered to carry my groceries home, which the supervisor was fine with, so off we went, walking single file along the sidewalk, so we could stay two meters away from each other. We still seemed to be able to hear each other, so it didn’t stop us from chatting as we went. Very kind of her.

    My blood pressure monitor needed to be replaced. Amazon was giving a May 6 delivery date, as were other major healthcare device websites. I ordered it through a major electronics store, which has subcontractors that didn’t seem to be overwhelmed. I actually got a sale price of $27 off a good quality brand and model. They promised to ship in two days! We’ll see.

    My municipal utilities bill which includes heating and water was $25 less than last month, which I am very pleased about. We’ll see lower and lower bills as we head into summer now. This is very early for that to start.

    The snow and ice had cleared from the sidewalks, so I was able to get out for some short walks this week. We are expecting 10 to 12 inches of snow tonight and tomorrow, so it will be a few days before I can do that again. I am conscious that early in May, yard work and grass cutting will start, so I want to build up some stamina before then!

    I hope everyone is keeping well, and that you are in good spirits.

  7. To save money I crocheted a granny stripe blanket using scrap yarns in a rainbow of colors. I also sewed an accent pillow out of leftover duck fabric and stuffed it with shredded tights and pantyhose (saved over the last several years). I’m making a crocheted granny square cover for the pillow to coordinate with the striped blanket.. I cut out 8 inch square pieces from old denim garments – jeans, shirts, etc and will sew together with squares of scavenged fabric – chambray and gingham – to make a winter time cover for the comforter in the master bedroom.

    We are walking everyday and are lucky to have some beautiful walks near us. The low population of Wyoming makes it relatively easy to spend time outside without every getting within 6 feet of other people.

    My church has been streaming services online. Last Sunday we had a virtual coffee hour with those who attended checking in on Zoom and chatting. Of course we had to provide our own beverages and treats in our own homes.

    Stay safe, everyone!

  8. This week, our direct deposit checks came in and so we started our new monthly budget. I scheduled all the expenses that I know the fixed amounts plus put in estimates on the others just to see where we were. While I pay online, I still am a scratch paper and pen budget writer every month. At the top, I write the pay period (this one will be March 25- April 22.) Then I write down our checks that come in through direct deposit. I then keep a running total of all our expenses and I put a dot next to the ones that are scheduled and the date they are scheduled for. That way I can double check that I have actually scheduled each one to be paid online! This week, when I zero-ed out our “leftover” balance from last month, I was able to make 4 extra principal payments on our mortgage! That means that from Jan-March, we made 3 regular payments and 14 extra principal payments and saved almost $1500 in interest from those extra 14 payments! We are over the moon excited!! We also were able to add some extra $$ to our savings account with the “leftover” zero out money. While we are anxious to be mortgage free (our final debt), we also add to our savings at the same kind so that we are ready for the unexpected.

    We were running really low on Pancake syrup so I made some. Then I noticed we were getting low on brown sugar, so I made more! Lol!
    I was able to get some more muffins made for breakfast too using what I thought was a plain muffin mix I made and jarred but hadn’t labeled . So I made the batter into butterscotch nut muffins. When they were out of the oven, we discovered that it had been one of my apple muffin mixes! But my family were willing to eat them anyway, LOL!! Pretty delicious!!
    I’m almost done making the charity quilt to donate for cancer research (Pelatonia) auction! Grateful to have the fabric and supplies on hand to make this and share as a donation for a good cause.
    We have stayed out of the stores since we are not in short supply on anything and we have a stay at home order from governor except for things that are considered essential- grocery shopping is one of those things. People here are adjusting to the changes and I think that because they are, that our state is not having the staggering number of cases here that our neighboring states are. We are finding new ways to give service. I am baking some mini banana bread loaves- I have a pan that makes 18 in one batch. We will go out and drop these off on front porches of people we know that are alone with a handwritten note to let them know that we are thinking about them. I used frozen bananas I had and all the ingredient were here in the house. Hubs made notes that we both signed. Hopefully, these will brighten a few people’s days!
    We are trying to find some kind of service for someone else that we can do each day. Doesn’t take money or outside supplies, just a bit of time (which we have in large supply now!)
    We have been asked by people we know online about making the surgical masks whose patterns are found online. I have hesitated offering these on our business site- for a couple reasons. First, I don’t want to profit from a tragic situation or from someone’s fear. Second, these masks do NOT protect you from the virus. Frankly, they protect others from your coughs, drips, etc.
    That being said, because of the number of requests we’ve had, I will make some of these and charge only for my materials, not my time. I don’t think that I’ll even put up an inventory of them on my site.
    We are trying to cut back on waste and also disposables, so we keep looking at ways we can do that. Kleenex and paper towels were eliminated years ago and we are using our extra mason jars for the homemade dry mixes we make.
    We are counting our blessings and trying to find positive things each day to focus on! Hoping you and your family stay healthy in all aspects of your lives!

    1. Joanne stores across the country have made up mask kits. Call to be sure they are stocked but if they are, all you do is pick the kits up (each kit can do a number of masks and they are in plastic bags) and then give the finished product out to places asking for them—like nursing homes. The kits are free and it is on the honor system that you will donate the finished product. We picked up six kits, each doing five masks, yesterday.

      1. What a wonderful gesture! It’s my understanding that some healthcare workers are wearing the fabric masks over the N95 masks – they indicated that the fabric ones help to extend the life of the N95 masks. What a blessing that your sewing skills are being used to help others!

    2. One of the reasons to wear a mask is to keep from touching your own face while in public places like the grocery store. So you won’t transfer germs from your hands to your nose or mouth. It works good as a reminder. Then you can remove the mask and sanitize your hands, wallet, keys, credit card etc once you get back in the car.

    3. I would be interested in buying some masks from you and I think that you should be paid for your efforts & OOP costs. I applaud your not wanting to profit from this craziness and if you want to devote time to proceeding them for others then please prioritize that work. But – if you or any others on this site who sews and would like to earn some money (since so many are out of work) then I would be willing to buy – say 2 dozen – I really just want them for my very occasional walk or trip to the grocery store – and I can’t sew!
      I understand that they are more for us to protect others and I do think its a good thing to do – it can’t hurt and it will save any of the other masks for the front-line workers.
      Please let me know if this is possible. Thank you

      1. Margie: If no one can help you with sewn masks:
        In its Coronavirus19 information, has instructions for making face masks, specifically how to fold a bandanna to make a mask or how to cut the bottom off a t-shirt and make what they call “face coverings.” My husband found a video of someone showing how to fold one and was quite proud of himself for creating one with a bandanna, a hair tie, and a rubber band, (as we only had one hair tie). The CDC put a coffee filter in the middle of their folded ones.

  9. The grandkids started online school today. I must say it is different, but safe for us.
    I am saving gas since we are staying home. We are not in “lock-down” yet, but we go nowhere.
    We talked to our kids about not wasting food and drink. It is a battle that we are going to win. *laughing* They are used to “doing what they want” about their food. No more. Things are changing for them all around.
    All bills were paid on time so no late charges.
    I have cut my electric and gas bill for the last 3 months.
    I was going to buy a few things from Amazon through Swagbucks and my grandson noticed that Amazon is giving back O%. I decided to not buy at this time. This saved me quite a few dollars.
    We have planted onions, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.
    We have pear and apple trees. We also have one grapevine. The other one died. I will have to buy more. I, also, want to buy some strawberry plants and blackberries. I feel we need to grow more of our own food again.
    I’m not selling anything in my Etsy store at the moment. I think it is going to be a very bad year for my shop. I am letting items “fall off” the list right now. I just don’t see people spending $100.00+ for kids stuff. Not that I ever understood it.
    I am lucky that I have a very good retirement money coming in.
    So far everyone is still working. My 2 daughters are “esential” at the moment. One is a cake decorator the other is a manager. My oldest is in college again to become an RN instea of an LPN. My son can work from home so all is well on that front.
    Life is good here.
    Stay safe everyone.
    Brandy, I am so sorry you will miss Winter’s civil wedding. I am proud of the young ones that they are being so sensible about it. You and your husband have raised a wonderful woman there.

    1. Becky, have you pruned your grapevine yet? If not, you could try rooting some cuttings if it’s still cold there. I really increased my grapevines this way.

      1. We have already hit the 90s here. It is only 60 today.
        The grapevine was dried up and done for. The live one my be something I could do. It is flowering though.

      2. Long ago and very far away…I worked for a winery in the Livermore Valley of California. They propagated all of their grapevines from cuttings. This is standard in the vineyard business. It’s easy and it’s free.

  10. I’m sorry you cannot be at your daughter’s wedding. Still, in these times, I’m glad she can still marry and have that special someone to spend this scary, hard time with. Maybe they could set something up where they film it and stream it to you guys, even on a telephone…who knows.

    We stuck to home, and continued to work with our special needs nephew and niece. I’m so grateful that it is considered necessary work and we can continue. That also opens our world up to 2 houses, because we are all together so much that we are like one small circle, in 2 places. We continue to home-school our nephew 3 days per week, with his parents doing the other 2, plus all math. Hallelujah! I’m using simple craft items, a spiral notebook, the internet and a few books I have on hand, and just learning about different animals, Africa, and one assignment he had from school they sent home with him when it closed. We are also using the library app, Libby, a lot. I’m reading aloud a lot.

    Today, I sent my husband to homeschool Jake, while I spent hours getting my daughter back into routine with her school. It’s been chaotic, between the missed missions trip, the fact that our work hours have changed, the fact that we’ve added one needy little boy to our school sessions, and the mild cold she caught (with me taking her temperature every little while to make sure it wasn’t worse…)…anyway-routine is our friend, and it’s time to get that re-established in the new normal.

    We watered and worked in our greenhouse. The little plants we planted last weekend in the garden are doing well.

    My daughter spent quite a bit of time entering Safeway Monopoly tickets on-line and won a few grocery items, a $25 Safeway gift card and a $15 Visa card. Most of these tickets were from people who didn’t care to mess with the game while stocking up at Safeway, and gave them to her. I have spent a little more than usual on groceries at various places, though. Around here, if you see it, you grab it–it won’t be there later. It’s crazy, and I know it will regulate back to more like normal in time. After all, soon everyone’s cupboards will be full, right? :). I’m already noticing more items have returned to stock. Since we are getting things older or immune compromised relatives need, we are at the store more than usual.

    We have used bleach and water and gone over a lot of our house again, especially the bathroom and kitchen, doorknobs, and so forth. I’ve decluttered several messy areas.

    We had a simple celebration for our daughter’s birthday–she spends her long weekends here, and stays home during the 4 days she works, disinfecting and changing clothes a lot. We want to keep her in our “small circle” since she would be very lonely if left alone for half of each week. I found flowers at Safeway. Much to my surprise, they were all 1/2 price, so she got a bigger bouquet than I planned.

    Pictures are on my blog:

  11. Our savings for the week have mostly been kitchen-related.
    *My husband’s co-worker was given too many pinto beans and potatoes for her and her husband to use, so she shared a big bag of potatoes and five pounds of pinto beans with us. So far, I’ve tried a new recipe, Pinto Bean Tacos, (which was delicious!), and we’ve had a baked potato bar. Tonight we are having salad and baked potatoes for dinner.
    *I’ve been focusing on using up any and all leftovers, or at least being sure things that can be frozen are put into the freezer if they aren’t going to be eaten soon enough. I made rice pudding to use up a little bit of rice
    *I’m usually home a lot anyway, but staying home even more has given me more time for projects. I have many, many projects in mind for our home. But in the interest of saving money, I am focusing more on tidying, cleaning and organizing for the time being, rather than major changes or anything new. It’s amazing how a good scrubbing, a bit of organizing or rearranging or re-purposing things can make your home feel beautiful and fresh (with no money spent!)!

  12. I am glad to hear that Winter is still planning on her wedding, however small it may be, and that you soon will have the chance to see her sealed in the temple.
    I’ve been working from home a little but my part time work will dry up soon as it includes working with schools.
    I finished knitting a cowl and have started a striped sweater for me, using leftover yarn from other projects to make the stripes.
    I made 13 pocket masks and donated them to a local collection center, then made six masks for my husband and me to use, if needed.
    I washed my hands a lot…..
    We watched a concert via YouTube last night featuring one of our favorite local performers. We made a small donation to her.
    We are eating from the pantry, like all of you.
    I’ve had a chance to sort through binders of papers that I have collected over the years, culling the binders by half. I’ve wanted to get to this project for years, and now have the time. I’m planning on tidying the photo albums next.
    Thank you for the recommendation of “Wartime Farm” on YouTube. I watched it all week while knitting. I loved it–and it really brought perspective into our current lives.
    Walking has been a positive thing to do each day, as has been listening to classical music or uplifting podcasts.
    My weekly knitting group has met via Zoom the last two weeks and friends in the group who live out of town have been able to join us!
    I am grateful that I have been able to reach out to friends and others that I haven’t connected with in the last few months, that having the chance to interact with them has been a blessing of staying in place.
    I made some cookies and took them to a family who lives near me–they have three generations in their home right now. When I handed them the cookies, the grandfather handed me a small wooden bowl that he had turned the previous day. It’s a lovely piece and very thoughtful of him.
    Blessings of peace and health be to all of you right now…

  13. I cut my husband’s hair with clippers last night. He is going into work 2.5 days and working from home 2.5 days. I have been taking his shirts to the cleaners. I have washed and ironed his shirts instead. ( Man, I miss that luxury!)

    We moved into a rental in January and are renting while we build. So I will not have a garden and got rid of the cheap plastic pots and all garden soil before moving. I want to plant in pots, but do not want to go to the store right now, and they closed nurseries as no. essential businesses. I have started tri colored peppers, spaghetti squash, and lettuce from grocery store foods. My lettuce is growing so well! I told a family friend I wish I had gotten some plants before they closed the stores and she put out two packages of tomato seeds, and 2 packages green beans. I didn’t have another larger pot to do green beans on a pole and on the always home someone had put three pots with soil at the street. They arena large, a medium, and a small pot. God is so good. So, I planted the green beans every 3 inches around the perimeter. When they come up I will train them on string to a pole. I took 32 liter bottles and cut to make green houses. I had planted the pepper and tomato seed in KCups so I placed 3 in each 2 liter bottle and put them against the brick wall on my covered porch. I may have to bring them in if it cools down any. I have another lettuce from the store I will cut off the stem and plant in a pot this week.

    My Father in law is on hospice. He lives 5 hours away. So far they called with a backed up toilet. The sitters called a plumber before notifying us and he found and repaired multiple things like a small leak under the sink that could have waited. His bill was $1000!. Then we got called his air isn’t working and it. needed freon and was $110. My husband went last weekend and has done a lot. His place was a disaster. He hasn’t ben taking care of it for years. Bushes overtaking front porch, dirty dirty inside, 4 wheelers left out and squirrels built nest in the engine compartment and chewed wires, car had a leaky window and is mildewed inside. My point is to say take care of things before they get to be bigger things. He has had the personality when we visited for years you don’t touch his stuff so husband couldn’t help him..

  14. I am a long time follower, but rarely comment. I am in the mortgage lending industry and I would encourage you all to look into refinancing. Rates are the lowest I have ever seen them in my 20+ year career. But rates are volatile. They are ranging anywhere from 2.5 to 4.0 in the same week. So stay in close contact with your lender and lock when they are low. Refinancing can either lower your payments or shorten your maturity date. Shop around too because closing costs vary among lenders. PS. Please pray for those of us in the Banking industry. We are “essential” workers. We’ve closed our lobbies, but I still have 80 co-workers in my office every day.

    1. Diana, I agree about refinancing, if one is able! It’s a GREAT time to do so and a HUGE money saver!

      I am surprised you cannot all work from home.

      1. My son and DIL are in the process of refinancing the town home they bought a year ago for $295,000. New homes in their community–just like theirs–are now $335K. As a result, they had enough equity to get rid of PMI insurance, saving $45 month. I don’t think they were charged for a new appraisal, either, since it was less than one year. The new loan is 1% lower than the old. I asked him if they were still going to be able to close on April 1 (I warned him about that!!) and he said yes, although the actual closing will be somewhat different because of social distancing, etc.

        1. Their new payment is $172 lower each month! And the first payment isn’t due until June 1! To close, they went to the title company where they picked up their documents from a locked box outside; drove home and signed them; then drove them back to the title company’s locked box. A lot easier than any loan I ever closed!

          1. Maxine, here people can sign digitally. My husband has done this for years with his clients.

  15. I know it’s disappointing that the wedding will have to be so limited, but as you say, this will be quite a story to tell later.

    I’m still working from home, which reduces my car’s gas consumption a lot.

    I wanted to try grocery pickup for the first time, but they are so busy, the earliest I can get groceries that way is tomorrow, and some things are needed today, actually. It’s my fault for not looking into it before today, I realize, but everyone had been telling me how they get their groceries in 2 or 3 hours, so I assumed a delay of maybe 2 or 3 more hours — not the entire day — because of the virus precautions. It looks like I’ll be going in person. So that’s going to be a failure today, but I know for next time.

    We are very warm here, and have been for weeks. I saw talk of a record warm March for this area. I have kept the a/c off, though, one reason being my husband gets chilled easily, the other reason being that I don’t want to start with high bills in March, which is usually a very low electric usage month. Normally, March means we turn off the heat but don’t turn on the a/c yet.

    I’m making tortillas for tacos, rather than buying them.

    Since I’m home, I can do my laundry during the day instead of waiting until the weekend, allowing me to hang out all of it so far. The weather has been relentlessly sunny lately.

    My uncle is turning 100 soon. He’s in assisted living, and can’t have visitors. He also can’t hear well enough for the phone to be a good option. The family is all going to send him their best wishes in the mail, and a family member will assist in getting it organized. Instead of a card, I plan to write to him on the stationary I already own. I find that a letter giving some pleasant memories, maybe a funny story, and a sincere expression of love and appreciation is very well received. It’s thrifty for me not to buy a card, but that’s not the main reason I do that!

    I’ve been working on home projects in the two hours per day that I gained from not commuting, but except for about $12 in organizing bins, I’ve spend nothing on the projects. The bins had been on my list to buy for a while, but I’ve just now reached the point in my project where I needed them. Everything else, like paint and fasteners, I already had.

    I pray that everyone stays well, safe, and supplied with what they need.

    1. Her original plan was just four guests: parents. She did not want a reception. It was going to be small, but now it’s different altogether! Such is life; at least they can get married.

  16. Not a whole lot of frugality here. Our schools are closed until April 24th(at least, online learningstarted today) and my 13 to opted to stay with her grandmother (honestly, I’m glad she’s there so my mother in law is not alone, plus hubby, myself, and the 20yo boy are still working, so she’s not exposed to many germs). I had to scramble to purchase her some reeds for saxophone since music stores were closing for being non essential. Then my mother in law sent me a list of items she couldn’t find in her very small town stores. I had to spend $12 on the reeds, then $70 on food and items to take to them. I ran all the stuff to my mother in laws on Saturday (a good hour and 15 minutes one way, about a 1/4 of a tank of gas round trip)

    I continue to declutter in my spare time. I worked on the storage cabinet in the bedroom. I found several samples of lotions, which come in handy now that my hands are dry from more than usual handwashing. I also shared some of my school supplies on a local buy nothing site, since many parents didn’t count on not returning to school after spring break. When the thrift stores open up, I’m going to have a truckload of stuff.

    My mom sent over a bag of chips she didn’t want. I took them up to the kid Saturday for snacking.

    Using up sample size products before I open up anything full size.

    Rented a redbox movie using a code.

    I received a check for $2.32 from the state treasurer for an unclaimed property.

    Made sure we continue paying bills even though several places are deferring payments right now.

    Hubby is taking coffee just about every day instead of stopping for it.

    Had hubby grill half of 10 pound pack of chicken legs and thighs. What we didn’t eat for dinner he can use for lunches.

    Eating mostly at home but we did get food from our favorite chinese restaurant. Both of us had enough leftovers for lunch the next day.

    Made sure to finish the laundry all in one day so the dryer doesn’t have to continually heat up.

    It was very nice for several days so the windows and doors were open.

  17. I am the one person in our family who is going to the grocery store, but even with that I am going as little as possible, just to get some fresh produce. I may even stop that for a few weeks, as the illness is increasing in our area.
    We homeschool, so much of our daily life continues as normal, but no music lessons are the big change and my daughter misses them greatly. Fortunately, both her piano and violin teachers have started doing online lessons. The sound quality is not great, but it is much better than nothing! Unfortunately, her quartet does not yet know of a online platform that the sound would work well enough for them to practice together.
    I have been spending time in the garden. It is time anyway, and the fresh air and sunshine (on the days it isn’t raining!) have felt good. And nothing like taking your stress out on pulling weeds!
    I have some seedlings growing in the basement under shop lights—mainly lettuce, tomatoes, flowers, and collards. I hope to move some of the seedlings outside soon, but will keep the tomatoes inside for a while yet. We have not passed our last frost date, so whatever I do move outside will be a gamble.
    I have been processing things emotionally. It has helped me to think more clearly. I did not get a frugal post written up on my blog recently, but I did write up a devotional thought as I pondered all that is going on. If anyone would like to read it, you can find it here:
    I hope it is a blessing to whomever needs one!

    I appreciate this community here so much! God bless you all—you are in my thoughts and prayers!

    Susan M.
    Chattanooga, Tennessee

  18. I am also glad that Winter is able to get married and I am glad that you will be able to see her on another special day with her husband.
    We have been saving money eating all meals at home.
    We enjoyed a wonderful church service from Fellowship Bible Church online this past Sunday. The music was beautiful and the message was great.
    We are turning of lights and opening windows. We are planting a garden. My husband is fixing our water pipe today himself. Not all of my seeds have come in through the mail. I may have to use some of our old seeds. I am hopeful that they will sprout. We are also eating what we have.
    I am enjoying spending time with my husband. It is nice having him around. I also am giving him space sometimes to enjoy time doing some projects on his own. He doesn’t say he needs time to himself. But I think some alone time is nice for most people sometimes. I miss my grandchildren and miss hugging my other son. Glad my son that lives with us has a dog. I did enjoy talking on the phone with my family. I even got to do math with my grandson on the phone. I used to be a teacher and truly enjoy teaching very much. So spending time with my grandson, teaching him, made me very happy. He seemed happy too! Called my granddaughter on her birthday, She was eating cake and told me that at 6 she feels much older. Called my great – nephew as well and he also told me that he is a big boy now. He had a birthday too!
    Even though the world seems crazy right now, God is providing. We are not going hungry, we have a home, and we are well.

  19. I loved seeing the video of your garden on instagram, which I just joined last week. We were on the same page with pumpkin, as I used some of mine for chocolate chip squash brownies. We had temps in the mid to upper 80’s over the weekend, so the greens are bolting. I gathered kale, swiss chard, and lettuce on Saturday before it got very hot, so at least we have that. I planted lettuce and swiss chard seeds in the garden, as well as more flowers and herbs in recycled mini “greenhouses”. Pumpkin was canned, and a #10 can of black olives was recanned into jelly jars. I made hummus, yogurt, and suet for the birds. I enjoyed several free online concerts, though I did give a couple of donations to help the musicians, while they’re out of work. It’s been a bit of a wild ride lately, and I’m grateful for peaceful and inspirational places, such as yours, to visit when I’m feeling scared or overwhelmed. Thank you, Brandy, for this light-filled space, always appreciated, but now more than ever.

  20. Our big saving was my husband cutting my hair. It’s not a simple cut and we watched a detailed YouTube tutorial and he did each step after it was shown. It turned out very well and gave such a lift to my day.

    We have been on statewide stay-at-home for 2 weeks already. We have worked a lot in the garden. I have done some sewing and mending. My husband is working from home (public school teacher). I’ve been walking and talking on the phone with friends quite regularly. That is uplifting.

    I asked for free shipping on an item I was ordering online, and received it. I am hanging laundry on racks inside. I have been ordering a few necessities on sale online, remembering to go through Swagbucks.

    My husband mended a long handled shovel. It belonged to my parents when they first married, over 50 years ago. The wood handle broke off from the shovel head. My husband got the broken stump out, sanded the remaining handle to fit into the head again, and put a new bolt in. That shovel has had a loose head since we got it 20 years ago. Now it’s as good as new. We already were a ‘make do and mend’ kind of family, but this has inspired us to see what more we can save/mend/repurpose.
    Blessings to your young couple. I’m glad you see the good in the situation. My husband’s parents were not in good enough health to travel to our son’s wedding. But they got to ‘attend’ on FaceTime. It was really special. My sister took the phone around and they spoke to all the relatives. And she held the phone for the whole service.

  21. I wanted to share that Dave Ramsey at gave an excellent message of hope including if your income has stopped. Also, for the only time in 30 years, they are offering Financial Peace University for free for a 14-day free trial. It is an excellent finance program. I wanted to share in case any of you or any member of your family would like to complete it. I did it a number of years ago, but I’m going to go online and do it again.

  22. I have been blessed to be able to have employment but logged into work to find that our CEO has taken a 100% pay cut and bonus cut for the remainder of the year, senior execs taking a 50% pay cut and 100% bonus cut, board members taking 100% cut and salaried employees taking a 10% pay cut. I was glad I turned down a salaried position a few years ago! Hiring freezes and no merit raises. I was talking to my boss, who is of my faith and mentioned that he was now living on 80%, lol. He said, we have jobs. Yes, we do! And I am so grateful. I am not sure about my husband’s employment but he has some resumes out and people want to see him “when this is over”. Who knows what kind of shape we will all be in once this over…over is such a relative term. Still, i know a couple of things…I know how to survive. I have storage and know how to use it. I know how to make do and do without…as my Gram would say, “make do and mend” <3 This week I cut my son's hair. He hates "homemade hair cuts". He has Autism and is firmly entrenched in his routine and lifestyle, lol. Still he made the best of it. I"m so glad I bought clippers for just such an occasion. I tuned off our heat. It's Utah but right now it is warm enough to get by easily in the day and with a blanket the nights should be just fine. I"m using dry milk for all of our non drinking…except for my son who WILL drink dry milk. I don't do dairy at all. We have a good storage and are eating from our pantry, freezer and basement store. We only store what we eat, so this is really nothing new. We don't eat a lot of processed or packaged, so this is helpful. I've been faithfully watering my houseplants so i don't lose any…I don't want to pay to replace them! We hang our towels to dry and use them several times. We turn off lights, consolidate trips and don't order food. We have a night a week that we eat leftovers, I bake our bread, and regularly eat dry beans, cooked in my instant pot…which i bought with walmart savings catcher money online on black friday a couple of years back…which meant it was free! I have a scrap bag i keep in my freezer in which i place all of my onion ends, peels etc and the occasional chicken carcass. I cooked everything in my crockpot over the weekend and made an wonderful veggie/chicken stock that I will use this week in a meal. My husband made homemade spaghetti sauce so I have a new start in all those tomato peels! I'm dying for a haircut…i have a pixie cut so it gets cut every 5 weeks. i let it go "natural" so it is silver, so no other expenses. I am recovering a vintage chair i thrifted with leftover fabric, some foam and batting i had in my stash. my only expense was the krylon version of black lacquer. it will look terrific in my front entry. i haven't left my home in 16 days except once to go to the drive through pharmacy and once to drop a surprise (and calling after driving away) for our 4 year old granddaughter. Board games, free movies and books, home cooked meals, home and yard projects have made this time really good for our family!

  23. also, i forgot to mention!!! Congratulations to your daughter. YES this will be one for the books! A great memory to add to their family history. My husband and I traveled 3 days to Arizona to be married…the nearest temple. Sealed in a tiny room, just 6 people in total. When it all comes down to it, it is really about just those two making their promises to each other. Still it must be hard to not be able to share it but easier to take since everyone is in the same situation…maybe Zoom would allow you to “be in attendance”…

    1. She doesn’t want to zoom it. It’s more an “unplugged” ceremony 🙂 It’s just a quick walk to the park, simple vows, and continuing on with life. It sounds rather fun in many ways!

      1. We had a private ceremony as well..just the two of us, the judge, his secretary and a friend (two witnesses). My only regret was that no one took a picture – not one. That may be something to think about.

      2. Brandy, I hope they at least let one of the witnesses take a few pictures! (Especially if everyone is wearing masks! Their grandchildren will definitely want to see that!)

  24. Hello Everyone! After a few days of rain and a few days where it looked like it was going to rain, the sun is shining. For this I am grateful. With all that is going on in the world, gloomy weather, adjusting to working at home, etc., it was getting me a little down. So today is a better day for sure! My mother in law gifted us three packages of cream cheese and a bag of coffee. We also enjoyed five days worth of breakfasts and lunches from my son’s school. We had an over abundance of pears because of this; a good problem to have. My husband took 9 of the pears and turned them into a low sugar pear crisp, for which we had all the items on hand. My husband was also offered a third day of work. He had been cut down to two days per week, so getting the extra third day was very exciting. He also found out that he will be able to keep his health insurance (my policy covers the rest of the family) which was my main worry with the reduction in hours. The company is also going to offer a hazard pay bonus. Basically if you are well and come to work when it is offered, you will get a 10% bonus. I agree with Judy who posted about the Dave Ramsey message. We are FPU alums, so we are very familiar with the program. The message was so helpful to us. We really needed the inspiration. We recently refinanced our house and are waiting for funds that will be coming. We were going to pay off debt and remodel a bathroom. We decided to bank all the money (as well as any stimulus checks and tax refund we get). As things are uncertain, we are being very strict about our budget and are saving as much as we can. Any food that can be eaten will be eaten and not wasted. I also started saving water from when I’m washing dishes and also when warming up water in the shower. We will use this to flush toilets and also water the garden. I read Brandy’s post about cutting more when you think you have nothing left to cut (super inspiring!). Now, we only turn on lights if we absolutely need to. I am also going to order a garment rack from Amazon (using gift cards from swaybacks) for our garage. We get hot weather here 6 + months out of the year. When it turns warmer, I will be hanging all laundry in garage to dry instead of using the dryer. When I’m I cooking, I also turn the stove (or oven or grill) off a few minutes early. Every little bit helps 🙂

  25. Brandy, Winter will be among the happiest of brides because her original plans are still able to be used with a few alterations! Thinking maybe she had some inspiration regarding her plans. My girlfriend (79 years young) and her beau got married almost two weeks ago in a civil ceremony. She asked me and one of our mutual friends to be her witnesses. We were able to take pictures for them and to record the ceremony. It was small and perfect for them! We celebrated with lunch together at a local restaurant, just shortly before dining in ended. Best wishes for Winter and Kade as they begin their married adventures!
    We have stayed home and I have to admit I have enjoyed not having to set an alarm to get up each and every day to meet the bus and I’ve not missed ferrying children to extracurricular activities. I’ve had to work my weekends, but I’ve tried to combine shopping after my shift so I don’t have to go out again. I work for a major grocery chain and have had to enforce the limits for buying certain items. Most customers have been gracious and understanding when I’ve had to remove items from their carts. I’m hoping things will return to normal soon so that flour, eggs, milk, yeast, paper towels, cleaning wipes, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper are readily available to all, along with all the other things many of us have taken for granted.
    I’ve been baking bread and sharing with neighbors. Bread has been limited, too, and I frequently hear, “I have six kids.” Um, I’m in Utah and many families are large. I figure I can bake a little extra to share, especially share with my neighbors who have growing, hungry teenage boys! This is also an opportunity for me to learn to create and use a sourdough starter. I’ve got my first loaf of bread mixing in the bread machine right now. We’ll see how it rises. One of my goals for the year is to learn sourdough well. This crazy situation is the motivation for learning now.
    Last year my son gifted me with chicks. I was sure I didn’t want chickens. Fast forward a year and I am grateful for them because we have fresh eggs. They also provide a lot of entertainment. Fortunately they are mild-tempered and tolerate the grandbabes taking them for a swing.
    Have a fabulous week, everyone. I hope you are able to find the things you need to take care of your families.

  26. Thank you, Brandy, for your beautiful and uplifting photos. I am thankful for this wonderful community of like minded people.

    It has been a tough week. Last Tuesday, I found out an elderly family member had COVID-19, and he died on Thursday. Our state (Washington) had banned all funerals, but this ban was relaxed last Saturday to allow for some services. So now, thankfully, a burial may be held with immediate family members and spouses, while practicing social distancing. I unfortunately am not allowed to attend, but I can be there in spirit. In addition, this past weekend, my extended family was touched by violent abuse and a suicide attempt (two different families). This is heartbreaking but all I can do is offer support and send prayers from afar. Both families were already in difficult situations which were exacerbated by the current situation. Times are difficult for people in many different ways.

    Still, I managed to keep my spirits up and do some frugal things:
    – The medical office where I work is considered essential so I continue to go to the office, wearing a mask. I am happy I have a job to go to right now. My husband is working from home.
    – Shared several masks with my acupuncturist because none are available to purchase.
    – Sewed fabric masks. Mailed some to one of my sisters.
    – Found an old container of shea butter in the cupboard. Melted it and added a little almond oil I had on hand. Makes a wonderful hand lotion after all the hand washing.
    – Continued to write down at least 5 positive and joyful things that happen each day.
    – Exercised at home and walked on several nature trails.
    – Checked on older neighbors. Bought groceries for one. The other one asked if I had an old webcam lying around, but I did not. I managed to find him one on Nextdoor, which I picked up and brought to him. Unfortunately, it was so old it didn’t work on his computer. But it was worth a try!
    – Made a gallon of tomato soup (similar to Brandy’s recipe) from freezer ingredients.
    – Made pineapple vinegar from the skin and core of a pineapple.
    – Over the phone, I managed to explain to my mom how to set up Zoom on her iPad. She was able to do it. And, on Sunday, we had a family get together by Zoom with her, me, and my two sisters. She told us all about her life on the farm when she was growing up. It was wonderful, the highlight of my week!

    Not frugal but worth it: On Sunday, my husband and I got Thai takeout as a special treat. We enjoyed every bite!

    Looking forward to reading everyone’s comments. Take care and stay safe.

  27. As always, your list of accomplishments for the week is inspiring! I’m loving the extra fb and IG posts. You had written on your fb post that you baked 12 loaves of bread this week; how do you do that? I think you have a standard mixer like I do, and I can only mix up a two-loaf batch at a time. Do you mix up two two-loaf batches, and then bake? Am curious how you bake such large amounts while being maximally efficient with your time and stove use.

    My frugal accomplishments this week:
    – I baked a ham and made several dinners out of it: a ham dinner, mac and cheese with ham, two Hawaiian pizzas (using this dough, and then I sliced the rest on my meat slicer and made 5 large ham and cheese sandwiches for my husband’s lunches, using some loaves of white bread that I baked.
    – I sewed several face masks from the fabric in my stash. They’re not as tidily sewed as I would like, as I had to sew them with an inquisitive toddler on my lap, but they’re sturdy and useful.
    – I made a batch of alphabet soup ( which my toddler loved, and served it with fresh bread.
    – I baked a carrot cake sheet cake with cream cheese icing (from my fridge, bought on sale many weeks ago), a batch of brownies, some no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies, and made a bowl of potato salad.
    – I cooked up a bag of white beans, made Brandy’s white bean dip, and froze the rest in two cup servings.
    – I arranged for a produce box to be delivered weekly, to reduce our social contacts so we won’t have to go out to grocery shop as often (with fresh produce, I can make a ton of meals from what I have in my pantry). There was a mix up and delay with the delivery, so the company gave us a credit for a free box. One of the items in the box was a container of living lettuce, so I’ve been picking a few leaves each day, and letting it continue to grow.
    – I’ve gone through the seeds that I have at home for my balcony garden. The dirt currently in pots on my balcony is frozen, but I repurposed an egg carton and some dirt from a now dead $3 pot of tulips I had bought a month ago, to plant some tomato and pepper seeds. I don’t have high hopes for good seedlings, as the only place that gets good light is right where my toddler would happily grab them, but it’s worth a try!
    – I sold a pair of shoes that didn’t fit me properly (and then disinfected the cash that I was given using bleach water – it’s a good thing Canadian money is now plastic!), and purchased another pair online using those funds, with some money leftover.
    – I made a bird feeder with my daughter as a keep-busy activity, using an empty tp roll, two popsicle sticks, some recycled string, a smear of peanut butter, and some dollar store birdseed. I try to do one activity a day using items from around the house, in addition to one free online music class a day, and one to two walks around the neighbourhood. It provides some routine with no OOP costs!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

    1. My brother mentioned a company that has imperfect produce that delivers a box. It sounds very interesting. He signed up a couple of weeks ago.

      I don’t mix my bread in my mixer. I mix it in a large bowl and knead it by hand. My French bread recipe makes four loaves at a time. I usually make that after lunch and have it rise while I do other things.

      This past week I also made a variety of breads, including some odd quick bread mixes that I was given. They called for beer, which I don’t have; I used vinegar and water instead and they rose just fine. One night I mixed up three different ones after everyone had gone to bed and then put them on to cook while I washed a load of laundry and read the news online. I made the pita bread in the afternoon one day, let the first rise go extra long, and then did the second rise before dinner. I then rolled them out and cooked them after dinner.

      1. There are lots of imperfect produce/ugly produce companies delivering in the U.S.! It’s great, especially now when people are trying to social distance but also watch their spending.
        I appreciate you telling me about how you bake so many loaves of bread. I often make Irish soda bread as a quick bread, but as the recipe I use uses milk, it’s not as economical as basic yeast breads, and the same applies to cornbread. I currently bake a two loaf batch of white sandwich bread every weekend to use for sandwiches in the coming week; however, I will be returning to work soon and need to provide premade lunches/sandwich fixings for my husband, myself, and our childcare provider, so I was wondering how to scale up without increasing the amount of time spent in the kitchen. And thanks for the tip about vinegar and water instead of beer in beer batter bread — very clever!

        1. You can use powdered milk or UHT milk if you don’t have pasteurized milk, but yes, it is more costly than a simple French bread recipe. I try to break it up some interest.

  28. Brandy,
    I loved the garden tour on Instagram . You have done a beautiful job. .
    Congratulations to the happy couple!
    The governor issued a shelter in place order until April 10th. . Both mine and hubby’s job are considered essential. We go to work and back, with one stop at Aldi last week for a few things. Gas consumption is done without all the extra traffic. For exercise I’ve been walking outside when the weather cooperates. We cook everything at home and take our lunches to work. We spent the weekend going through stuff for the city’s cleanup day. I also went through my clothes and have 2 bags to donate when the thrift store reopens.
    Be safe and healthy everyone.

  29. Another strange week has come and gone. I’m sorry that this has affected Winter’s wedding plans and your ability to see it but I’m happy that Winter and her fiancee will be able to marry in a civil ceremony, be together, and keep their housing. I’m also impressed by Lake Mead’s water level. Another storm or two and it could hit 1,100 feet. Wow!

    I stayed at home most of the week, going out only twice. On Saturday it was to buy strawberries at a local farm market, buy a sandwich to support a local stand at the market, drop off some toiletries and food at an assistance center asking for them, visit with my sister, and stop at Publix for some groceries to fill in the holes from making the donation earlier in the day and pick up a few extras. I gave my sister half of the large container of strawberries and the first stem of lilies from my garden. On Sunday, I went to Petsmart to pick up two containers of cat litter and a few cans of cat food with curbside pickup after I ordered and paid on line followed by a trip to the food trucks in a nearby neighborhood to purchase dinner and dessert to support them.

    During my two trips, I noticed that traffic is WAY down. I had to drive a couple interstates and they were wide open; even the rest stop had only 6 or so cars parked, although there were some 18 wheelers (12 on Saturday and about 20 on Sunday). This place is usually quite full. I also had to pick up the cat litter because 3 online places from which I normally shop for delivery were all out of the brand my cats use (and you don’t change litter brands on cats that like what they are using). We don’t even had a mandatory stay at home order in place, although various government officials are pushing our governor to do it. I also found out that our farmer’s market will not open this Saturday, even though the signage is still up. I don’t think it’s any different than having grocery stores open, is outside, and is optional for buyers to attend. I’m not sure how the vendors feel but I think most of them would like to sell their perishable produce and foods.

    I worked more in the garden, mostly weeding the vegetable and herb planters, planting the azaleas, tomatoes, catnip and other items I bought last week, and mowing the lawn. It was hot the day I mowed, but I think I can take the heat since it means saving $60 per mowing.

    I baked with puff pastry for the first time ever. I made a cherry strudel with one sheet, using cherry pie filling. The second sheet was used to make 2 carmelized onion, spinach, mushroom, and goat cheese tarts and 2 heirloom cherry tomato, carmelized onion, and cheese tarts. Everything was amazingly good and I don’t know why I always hesitated to use puff pastry but I won’t in the future.

    I volunteered to replace the worn out elastic on 70 N95 masks for a local hospital. They had a LOT of people volunteer after it was on the news and I’m just waiting to be assigned a date and time to pick my batch up. I say local but it’s really about a 90 minute round trip to get them and then again to return them. I don’t mind because I LOVE to drive and with the current price of gas at $1.70, it won’t be that expensive to do good by removing the old elastic, cutting the new to size, and sewing it to the mask. They are supplying both the masks, which they recently found or were given, and the elastic.

    I found that, a free streaming service, has a binge watch channel devoted to MST3K (Mystery Science Theater 3000) and I love the snark in that show so Iwatched a few of the movies.

    I listened to several books, mostly escapist romance novels, through Scribd. I’m now listening to Journal of the Plague Year which Daniel Defoe (author of Robinson Crusoe) wrote about the plague in London in 1665 based on his uncle’s journals. It’s quite fascinating and has many parallels to our lives today. I think older teens and adults might really enjoy it and learn that things have not changed much in 355 years, starting with a disbelief that this was/is really happening.

  30. Winter sounds like a young woman who knows her own mind! We stood before a judge and two witnesses. It cost 15.00 and took about five minutes. It was the best money we’ve ever spent!
    This is day nine of staying home. All meals have been made and eaten here. I’m still working on eating everything with nothing thrown away. We will have several small bits for the next two days. I am determined!
    Our electric bill has been smaller than last year for the same month. Very happy about that!
    Both my husband and myself have been laid off from our jobs. Neither of us worked full time. My husband is waiting to hear about his disability filing with social security. I applied for unemployment this week. My husband will apply tomorrow. We have savings, a stockpile and a bit of money coming in. We will be fine. Our children are still working. Our youngest feels his job may end. His hours were cut. He only has a house payment and about a years living expenses in savings. He even has a stockpile. So, he should be fine, too.
    A friend was lamenting about being out of chocolate after one week. So, i made up a bag with chocolate chips and muffins i had frozen. She insisted i take some of their homemade potato sausage and a bowl of fish soup for my husband. He loved it! It seemed a fair trade, although i hadn’t expected it.
    I did spend money on vegetable plants. I ordered on line. I tried several places before i found a company that still had plants available. They will be shipped in late May, after our last frost date. I also spent the last of a gift card to order a book about sourdough and recipes, my nemesis. I tried to go through Brandy’s site. I hope i pulled it off.
    I’m still saving water when i can, recycling cereal bags, walking and exercising at home, phoning and face timing our children and grandchildren.
    I wish you all a peaceful week ahead.

    1. Thank you for using my link! I appreciate it!

      Sorry you are both laid off. I’m glad you are prepared.

  31. Congratulations to your daughter and future son-in-law! I’m glad that they will have another celebration at a future date.
    The weather here has been mild, so I opened the windows for fresh air. There have been a lot of leaves and pollen falling, so I fill up the trash cans each time before garbage pickup, to avoid using trash bags. This makes the raking a little more manageable, anyway.
    I picked up things from the store for a few different neighbors when I went, saving them a trip. Two of the three paid me back after leaving the things on the doorstep; I’m hoping the other neighbor does, too. Sometimes it seems uncomfortable to ask when it’s a small amount, but I know that she did receive the groceries, as I called and let her know after I left them on her porch.
    The kids have been eating a lot, but we’ve enjoyed inexpensive snacks like popcorn, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pretzels, and apples. I have enjoyed not packing school lunches, but I have been cooking more during the day.
    Gas is very inexpensive, but we’ve been staying home, and haven’t used much at all. We’re planning to buy a minivan once things settle down, and I’ve been casually looking at used ones online.
    I sold a few things on facebook marketplace; junk out, cash in!
    I feel fortunate that we have never done “gifts” for Easter like some people do. It’s one less thing to stress about, with everything going on. There’s no pressure to continue a tradition of a basket full of presents from the Easter bunny when it was never started in the first place. Same for unreasonable expectations from the tooth fairy, Santa, etc.
    We’ve been eating lots of leftovers and avoiding food waste.
    We continue to eat at home, but many restaurants are closed or carry out only, anyway. We may do the Burger King deal where you get two free kids meals with adult meal purchase for one son’s birthday next month, but we’ll see.
    We rearranged some furniture, changing things up a little. We’re not going to repaint at this time, but it did give me a chance to clean some areas that were hard to access before.
    I loaned a ladder to a neighbor who is painting his house.
    I watched a haircutting video to see if I can learn to give my boys a different style.
    It has been a good, frugal week.

    1. We don’t do Easter gifts either. My parents did not and I see no reason to start doing them either.

      I heard that Burger King may end up going out of business from all of this (also Cheesecake Factory) as they cannot pay their rent next month. I think we’ll see some long-term changes to things, most notably being the final blow to many brick and mortar retail stores.

      1. That is interesting about Burger King–I hadn’t heard it. BK has never done well in this town and two have gone out of business recently. Yet they are in the middle of building another one near where I live. It is a growing area with no other fast food places, so perhaps they think it really is location, location, location. (Personally, I think it’s food and the ability to run a drive-up, too).

  32. I tend to worry so I am really trying hard to focus on the good things in life. We definitely are affected by the current situation. We have immediate family members working in the hospital. One son is blessed to be caring for a hospice patient 24\7 . I’ve had my other son leave his medical job due to extreme safety risks. College girl has not been required to provide medical service. Most interns and residents are serving hospitals although unlicensed. I’m happy to have mine home. I’ll just pay the bills. In a real world crisis here , a cousin is dying w the virus. It’s a fact as of now and we have accepted it. I’m preparing for our Easter holiday. I have a ham and everything else will be prepared from scratch. I’m trying to keep things as close to normal for sugar cookie. She’s greatly alarmed and no amount of soothing seems to help. I’m keeping her entertained and busy. She’s watching Harry potter world on you tube and is mapping out her wish vacation to Universal Studios . She also has created a wish list on . It occupies her time and reminds me of looking at the old Sears catalog in my childhood . I redeemed Swagbucks for a gift card that college girl and I shopped with. We snuggled up in bed with our needs and want list and searched the internet for hours to find the greatest of deals. She bought new bras , a ham for a needy relative and groceries for another family. We used coupon codes and free shipping to really stretch out that money. We signed up for a free 90 day Rosetta stone course. The whole family will refresh their Spanish. She signed up for a free music service. She found sugar cookie several age appropriate school activities to work on. I made careful notes of all subscription s so after the 90 day trials they could be canceled. I used swagbucks to buy me a steam mop from Amazon. I hope and pray that everyone has leave of mind and bright days.

    1. I am glad you can show your college-aged daughter some of the ways you stretch your funds. I’m sure she is going to learn a lot while she is home with you.

  33. Brandy, you wrote: I covered the seedlings in the garden with empty canning jars and other glass jars.
    Do you remove the jars for the day?
    Thank you!

    1. I leave them on during the day. But it’s warming up quickly now, so I’ll be taking them off soon. I overwinter some plants covered in glass for months so that they don’t freeze (my lemon verbena and usually a tarragon plant, but my tarragon died this past year during the summer).

  34. All the best to the bride and groom!


    I was itching to get a new dress for spring, and took eventually a pair of curtains and got sewing: a new dress Sound of Music Style!

    Tried a new recipe of sushki (hard Russian cookie loops) for snack, also turned a load of homemade bread into ”rusks” (according to Google Translator) by slicing it, adding butter, cinnamon and sugar on slices, and drying them in then oven.

    This is the time of the year when I make carrot jam, as the winter weary carrots are the best for it (fresh carrots in fall are not good for that). Spring time here in Northern Europe is long, as rhubarb will appear in early June and strawberries usually in the beginning of July.

    1. Oh, “rusks” were a favorite of mine as a child and I had completely forgotten about making them! Thank you so much for the reminder.
      With the children doing school from home, we need more snacks in the house and those will be perfect.
      I live in Minnesota in the US and our rhubarb just started coming up – I am SO excited about that! It will be about a month (May) before they are grown enough for use but it is still exciting to see the sprouts coming out of the ground.

  35. Winter’s change in plans reminded me of LIW and her marriage to Almanzo. In These Happy Golden Years Almanzo finds out that his sister (the teacher) and his mother are coming out for the wedding. Laura, and Almanzo, are concerned that the sister will push for more of a wedding than they wanted. They decide to pull up the date, Laura wears a black dress that she had just made and Rev. Brown marries them in the front parlor of his home. Her good friend and her fiance are the only witnesses. Not even Ma and Pa attend. I am sure that Winter is just as grounded and sensible as Laura was – knowing what is the prudent thing to do.

    Like everyone else – staying at home. Did place a large order for pickup at Walmart – should last us for mot of April. We’ve bought some things online as well.

    Cousins came by and dropped off a sausage roll – his homemade Italian sausage rolled up in a dough and baked. It was delicious and just what I needed for a morale boost. SO has a cold – probably the annual reaction to allergies. Taking temp several times a day, lots of fluids, steam inhaling, etc. I have felt like I don’t know if I am coming and going – from sick bed/chair to doing stuff all around the house. Thank heaven for a well stocked medicine cabinet!

    When I go out tomorrow I am going to do all the errands that I can think of – get gas, pick up furnace filters, the Walmart order and get some specialty meat at the local butcher that has been in business for 60 years. There are businesses already saying that they probably won’t reopen – small businesses are the lifeblood of this country and it really is concerning. One blessing is that the farmers are really getting with it here in the Arkansas River area of S. Colorado. The amount of water is looking really good this year so all are hoping for a good season.

    Think I am going to watch Foyle’s War again. Help put things in some perspective. I am already watching Father Brown all over again.

    Stay safe everyone.

    1. I had forgotten that about Laura, though I have read it many times.

      I loved Foyle’s War. A rewatch would be wonderful if I could find the time.

      1. We’re watching Foyle’s War, as well. I only took out the first two seasons from the library, and I regret that. It;s so well written and acted!

        I can’t say it enough: if they have drive-up service at restaurants, they should have it at libraries, especially since here, the librarians are working in the buildings anyway!

  36. Hi Brandy an occasional poster here. I hav ebbed in a similar situation to you with Winter as my son and his now wife married in a civil ceremony when they first arrived in the USA so that he could take up a post doctoral position in a government laboratory ( we are from New Zealand). His employer only offered health insurance to my daughter in law if they were legally married so they wed in a quick ceremony one afternoon and had a “proper “ wedding here in NZ 6 months later. Yes it was hard and yes it still stings if I think about it….so I don’t think about it, and feel happy they are married and very happy together. I was there for their religious ceremony as you will be for Winter and Kade, and that was lovely. I think your attitude is great.

    Actually what is worse is that I was due to fly to the USA this Sunday to meet my newborn granddaughter and now I really don’t know when that will happen. However she is healthy and beautiful and I will get to meet and cuddle her one day. I am very conscious of the tragedy that is going on around the world and so am grateful for the good things in my life as I’m sure you are too. As you say Kade and Winter will have a great story to tell one day. Best of luck to them and may they have every happiness..

  37. Brandy I am so sorry you cannot attend you daughters wedding due to current circumstances but as you have said you will see them in the temple when it reopens. You have done so well in stretching your resources, saving money where you can and using what you have and I hope that your family’s income increases shortly. Buying and planting more seeds and seedlings for a continued food source is fantastic and thinking ahead which you are fantastic at.

    Like yourself we are working on more ways to cut expenses and save more where we can. Here in Australia we are on voluntary lockdown with suggestions to only travel for medical care or compassionate needs, shopping for essentials, exercise or for work or education. Social distancing is required at a distance of 1.5 metres away from another person, only 2 people in a home at a time or family with no limits or whilst exercising or going out, non essential services such as pubs, clubs, eat in dining are all stopped but you can get takeaway if you wish. A lot of groceries are hard to get due to shortages here so we are very glad to have our food storage. We are still going out to top up on some groceries such as fruit and things used from our stockpile but shopping way less than we used to.

    Service to others –
    – We had our NBN installed here today finally and the two men who were here said they and their families were almost out of toilet paper as they worked and when they got to the shops it was all gone. In our stockpile we had two extra packets we offered them and they insisted on paying us for them. We at least know that two other families have toilet paper to get them through for a while :).

    In the gardens and around the home –
    – We have been concentrating on all the little jobs that needed doing and today cleaned the inside of two kitchen windows and DH mowed all the lawns on the property. DH is still recovering from his back surgery so we are doing little tasks each day.
    – I weeded two vegetable garden beds and around the base of two fruit trees.
    – I dusted the rumpus room and deep cleaned the two bathrooms and a toilet.

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    Purchases and groceries –
    -Bought a grocery Wish e-gift card saving 5% or $3.35.
    – From IGA purchased on markdowns 4 x 6pks of white and wholemeal bread rolls, a packet of fruit buns and some cheese and bacon loaves saving $7.60 on usual prices.
    – We managed to find 6kg of plain flour and 2 kg of mince to buy to top up stocks we had used for bread making and meals. I viewed this too as winning the lottery :).
    – From BigW we purchased on 50 – 90 percent off`markdowns 2 pairs of summer sandals for $3 a pair for me and a large kit kat share pack saving $40.25 on usual prices. I had worn out a few pairs of sandals and was super excited when I saw them at such low prices.

    I will say I am so grateful for our grocery stockpile here and the ability to be able to eat and make nutritious family meals too of our choosing.

    Have a wonderful week ahead everyone :).


  38. I don’t normally post here. But I do have to tell you I feel for you about your daughter’s wedding. I am glad you will be able to attend her sealing at a later date. Both my girls plan to marry this year. One is moving forward with their plans but thought she was allowed five guests and it broke my heart to tell her that the Australian laws now says five only. They are p planning to have a huge party for their first anniversary. My younger might just wait a little longer.

    God bless. Stay well and safe.

    1. I think first-year wedding anniversary parties are going to be a real big deal! In some ways, those might be more fun for the bride and groom, because they can still put in their choices of the traditions they like, (first dance, toast, cake, whatever), but without much of the stress and at less cost. They might even include ceremonies of renewing their vows, and I think after the first year together, a couple understands what those commitments mean much more. Blessings to your family in this hard time, Suzan!

  39. Although our schedule hasn’t changed much (my husband and I are still working full time as the industries that we work in are considered “essential”), we are watching our funds and only spending money on necessities. We have only gone to the store for groceries and toiletries. We also dropped our tax information to our tax lady. We put everything in her mailbox, let her know they were there, and she went out to get them.

    I made laundry soap and facewash.

    We are in the process of prepping our back hall for painting. We should have it done in the next couple of weekends.

    I made 2 loaves of bread. We don’t have a lot of pantry space so we are storing some of the canned goods in a box under a bed.

    I mended my husband’s coat.

    I started some seeds indoors, mostly herbs. I would love to not have to buy any herbs in the next few months. I plan on using them fresh and drying some, too.

    I wish your daughter and soon-to-be son-in-law every happiness! God bless you and your family, Brandy.

  40. 1. My husband has finally returned home from a month long business trip. I always tease him that we save so much money while he is gone! While he was gone we ate easy meals, cleaned/organized the house, and used less than half the amount of electricity we usually do. **I can understand the food savings, but not the electricity part?? We are so glad to have him home:)
    2. We have been enjoying so many great books at home. Our library increased the amount of books we can check out on both their ebook site and Hoopla, so we are loaded down. My sister and I also swapped out a dozen books that we had on our personal shelves, so the kids are enjoying fresh books that way as well. One perk of this whole quarantine time is that my son is reading more willingly on his own.
    3. I swear I am a leftover magnet! My mom sent over some smoked meat and goodies that she was trying to get out of her house, one of my sisters sent over a huge bag of pork chops her husband did not like (they were already grilled!), and my other sister had some leftover Mexican takeout they were tired of, so I took it home for my lunch. **We received all these leftovers when my kids and I took everyone some baked goods as a moral booster. We made sure to follow social distancing guidelines so hopefully no germs were spread.

  41. Hello everybody , so…..corona virus everywhere….who would ever have thought it should get this big! Dindn’t we al think, oh…those chinese, they have something going on there, far far away. And before we knew it hit us al. Well we have to keep our minds together right now.
    I still go to work, as I am a cleaner in the food industry, my husband and one of my sons work at Aldi ( so no going to the store for me), my other son works in a hardware shop and in a laundry-cleaningfactory (and yes they also wash corona linnen from the hospitals, there is a very strict set of rules for that washing. They kill the virus though a chemical procedure, but he does not work in that section) and my daughter work at a farm, milking cows a few days per week. Al three kids do on-line classes as wel, that is new for us, I must do some helping here and there, but we are doing oke.
    So sorry you can not be at your daughters wedding, it is a very speciall day even they keep it smal.
    I have a pot of pumpkin soup on the stove right now, and I just made your white bean dip for the first time,….it is dellicious and so easy to make. I had a jar of whitebeans from the store. ( have dried beans in my pantry still. Must cook them this week because this dip is one to make more often)
    I had no tabasco but used pepperflakes instead and some currymasala powder, …tasting great.
    Goodbey everybody, stay healthy and stay at home as much as possible, this is not gonna be over soon…..but it will get better one day.
    Greetings Tanja Brattinga from the Netherlands

  42. Brandy,
    I’d imagine the religious ceremony you’ll be attending for Winter is the more important ceremony, and I’m sure she’s glad you’ll be there for her.

    If anyone’s interested, David the Good, is giving away an eBook. Here’s the info
    “Instead of sending you out to buy my book Grow or Die: The Good Guide to Survival Gardening, I have decided to simply give it away in epub format to anyone that wants it – and my publisher has created links so I can do so.

    To get the book, add it to your cart here:

    Then enter this code to get it as a free download:



    He’s from Florida, but I believe people from elsewhere will find some good information in the book, especially his attitude is inspiring.

    I planted bush limas, pole limas, okra, poona-kheera cucumbers, jelly melons. I pre-sprouted the beans. All are up! I need to find out if I can pre-sprout okra because only one of about 7 seeds has germinated in direct-seeding. I also bought vitamin green (tatsoi) seeds, but I think it’s too late in the season. I sent away to Baker Creek for seeds, and also EON seeds, both are really good companies, and EON seeds is here in South Florida. My collard seeds (2 years old) did not germinate, so I’m getting 2 different types from EON, as well as purslane seeds, although I’ve never had any luck growing purslane, even though it grows wild.
    I bought pigeon pea seeds at the grocery and soaked and planted them , and they’re up. I collected and planted cranberry hibiscus seeds and they are up, as well as moringas!
    Patricia kindly sent me exotic pepper seeds, too, which was an unexpected bonus!

    Thank you Brandy, for inspiring me!

    1. Thank you Cara for the info. I downloaded the book for free and just started reading it. I love reading gardening books!

  43. I’m not sure if it has been suggested… You can have someone at the wedding (either the couple or the 2 guests) livestream the wedding for you. All it takes is setting up a zoom meeting (free) or just doing a facebook live for you.

    1. Yes, it has; she wants an unplugged ceremony. Just a quick exchange of vows and then they can leave. It keeps people safer that way.

  44. Mom had $5 and Daddy had $10, they only had the preacher and preacher’s wife. Both my grandparents told me they thought my parents were rich to be starting marriage with that much money. Daddy’s parents had $1 and Mom’s had $2 .

    Thank you for all the free things and things to do that you have shared on FaceBook. My adult son is now sharing them with the soldiers he is over and several of the elderly in his VFW . Here in Ohio we are on STAY AT HOME.

    I placed an order thru your site at Amazon., okay more than one order. We can’t find plants or seeds around here.

    Hubby is essential, he hauls pallets the Amish make to transport products to the stores. He gets the milk as that is the only thing we NEED. The other day he got calzones from a local pizza place that is giving kids free lunches. We decided we could afford one time a week to order from them so they can stay open to feed the kids.

    I started seeds, transplanted some to bigger pots. Found some of Daddy’s old glass mayo jars and put them out in a pot to plant some kale and spinach under. Thanks Brandy for that idea.

    We had planned to be come self sufficient with in 5 yrs when we bought this place. With how things was going Hubby said get what I wanted here NOW. I am still working where to what of the perennial stuff including several fruit trees. Because we ordered through a friend of the neighbor, he gave us family discount.

    We pulled 1/4 of our invested retirement and put it over into CDs… our finance guy tried to talk us out of it. The day after he transferred it he let me know that would would have lost what we pulled if we had listened to him.

    Side benefit of having the money, We FINALLY found a new to us dog truck. We have 3 large dogs and they can’t fit in my small car and Hubby’s work truck (we don’t use for personal anyways) has leather seats. We have been looking for 2 yrs. Everything was running around $20,000 WAY more than I want to spend on a truck that is for transporting the dogs and stuff on the farm. I was having cabin fever so pushed for Hubby to take us for a ride in the old dog truck (that really isn’t reliable) . He noticed a four door truck at the used car dealership. Weird doing social distancing while test driving a truck and then buying it… BUT we got 1/3rd off the asking price and will transfer the tags saving more money. Ins is the same as the old truck. Old truck is going to be hauled away by a buyer… we wore gloves and masks to sign papers that was done in another room so the one person was near us and that was 6 ft away.

    Blessings on you and yours…
    Blessing on all that read this blog and those that have shared

  45. To Brandy and the rest of this community, sending you all love, encouragement and much grace during these difficult times. You all have provided a life line for me in the pasts years as I adjusted to widowhood. Thank you.

  46. Hello Brandy,
    Thanks for mentioning the three month budget review. Excellent idea. I had looked at our budget for the whole year but doing just three months makes it easier to define specific changes. We had a series of hugely expensive home repairs this year and so I am looking for offsets.

    We have been at home since March 10. We do take motorcycle trips around the state but only for the day, and we eat before we go. With DH health issues, we won’t take any chances these days. The house has never been cleaner nor the freezer so filled with soups and other leftovers ;).

    I have found that I used to go to the store much more than I realized. I now put in a pickup grocery order once a week, so I am learning to plan meals out much more logically ;). I did have a reasonably well stocked pantry (well stocked for me but still nowhere as wonderful as yours;).

    I trust that this virus will bring new things into our life (skills, changes in behavior) that can help offset the awful things it brings.

  47. Brandy. My sister got married on Saturday. They too had to do a cicil ceremony and will be sealed when the temples reopen. My family stayed home and watched the wedding live on facebook. Maybe this is an option for you and your family to watch Winter’s wedding.

  48. Our county is Washington still has cases on the rise, even though we have been on a mandatory stay at home order. A lot of people just don’t get it. A friend of mine sells appliances at a large home improvement store, which are an essential item, so she is still working. She posted that whole families are coming in the store for entertainment or to pick up something for a non-essential home improvement project. When I went for a walk on the main street in our neighborhood, people were jogging past me and getting right up to my face all huffing and puffing as they passed. It made me really upset. I think it’s best to just stay in because I can’t control other people’s bad behavior that could endanger me.
    -Happy to report that my pantry is still holding up. The last time I went grocery shopping was almost 3 weeks ago. I will have to pick up a prescription for my Mom next week, so I will do some shopping at that time.
    -One thing that my Mom and I didn’t stock up on was stamps. Never though of it. I do most of our bill paying online, so I don’t usually use many. My mom does not use online banking, and she is quickly running out of stamps. We both would like to send out cards to family and friends at this time, but did not stock up on stamps. That will have to wait until next week when I have to go out.
    -With everyone home all the time, we are running out of snack foods. I am having to limit what is available to snack on and label foods in the refrigerator that I am reserving to use for making meals. Luckily, my family has been happy now with the snacks and baked items that I am making. I would love to hear ideas and recipes for snack foods to make that are not cookies or cakes. Popcorn has always been a big snack for us, but my son has braces now and can’t have it.
    -We have packed many of out household items in storage because we are in the process of putting our house up for sale. I am very thankful that I kept enough baking and cooking items, although I really wish I had access to my dehydrator!
    -Our board games, DVDs and puzzles were all packed, but I was able to borrow quite a few games and DVDs from my mom when I brought her some food. So thankful for that!
    – My mom and I have both been stocking our pantries for several years. Now, we are finding that we can trade items and shop from each others pantries! I traded some hamburger for her extra Chex cereal so that I can make more Chex mix! Trading is also allowing us each to have a bit more variety.
    -So thankful that we have a meat slicer! We always buy the ham and turkey at Business Costco, slice them and freeze in 1 pound portions. It has been so nice to know that I have almost 15 pounds of sandwich meat in the freezer, husband and son are big sandwich eaters!
    -We are bracing for my husband to be laid off in the next month.
    -I’m busy sewing masks for our local urgent care provider. It’s slow going, as the approved pattern requires lots of clipping, pressing, top stitching and has a place to insert a filter…but I’m so glad that I can use my skills to help others!
    Stay safe and healthy!!!!

    1. You can order stamps online! I always order them online so that I can get the ones I want. Shipping is $1 but I always found it was worth not standing in line. Also, many grocery stores sell a roll of stamps, if you don’t mind getting the basic flags ones. Just ask at the register.

      1. Hi Brandy and Susanmarie=
        I tried to orders stamps for my mom and USPS was not selling them at that time (about a week and a half ago); perhaps they have resumed. I was able to order stamps from Office Depot/Office Max and they shipped them to her so that she received them the very next day. There was a slight surcharge for the stamps, just a bit more than USPS, but shipping was totally free .

    2. Susanmarie, I hear you on the bracing for a layoff; my family is the same boat.
      Re a healthy snack that’s easy on the braces: homemade frozen yoghurt! Yoghurt + jam in an ice cream maker ( I use homemade yoghurt and homemade jam so it’s quite frugal. Or what about nice cream? ( As long as you have frozen bananas (a relatively cheap fruit), you can make all sorts of flavours!

      1. Margaret, thank you for the frozen yogurt idea. That sounds delicious…I packed my ice cream maker, deep in storage that I can’t access right now, but I still have the insert in the freezer. So, I might see if I can use the frozen insert tub to work up some frozen treats? It’s worth a try! Thanks!

    3. Susanmarie. Is it possible for you to post the approved pattern for healthcare providers. There are so many patterns out there, I’d love to see one that healthcare providers have given the go ahead on.

      1. Hi Jude,
        I would love to post the pattern and instructions, but I am having problems making it shareable without showing all my information. I will share it as soon as I can figure it out!

    4. Susanmarie,

      I know what you mean about snacks. I didn’t really think about needing more snacks at times like these until I sent my son to the store for milk and salad. He bought those and also snack crackers, cheese, chips and icecream! We are set for quite some time. 🙂


    5. Susanmarie – The situation is the same here and it is so frustrating. I live in a major city under a stay-at-home order. Just yesterday the city had to take down all the basketball hoops in public parks and close down other areas because so many people were crowding together and ignoring social distancing guidelines. A local news reporter had filmed video of a 10+ person full contact basketball game being played on the weekend! I had to run to the grocery store and saw many large families wandering around aimlessly shopping for clothes and accessories like nothing is out of the ordinary. The city had already advised people to send 1 person to the store once per week – not take your entire family with you to stroll around for entertainment purposes. I’m sure these people are thinking, “I’m fine, it doesn’t impact me” but they don’t realize that they are the ones who are going to prolong this situation by not following the rules.

      1. Hi Pam. What part of Texas are you in? We just moved to San Antonio from California in January. I love it here. Just so tired of being cooped up. I have a compromised immune system, so hubby does all the shopping. I miss grocery shopping. He is an essential worker, so he’s gone all day. Even our dog seems to be bored. And these thunder showers and gloomy weather aren’t helping much.

    6. I mix canned pears, (squished with a fork), frozen raspberries, juice from the pears and a little sugar and freeze into popsicles. Any fruit would work and its practically free when I use my home preserving.
      You could make bread, muffins, pumpkin bread, dips for veggies, ants on a log (celery, peanut butter and raisins), low-sugar free crisp.Right now, my crew is stuck on lemon-poppyseed muffins. My husband found a lot of poppy seeds at Cash and Carry, so we have lots!
      We having been making gallons of sun tea to stretch the drinks.

    7. For her very-hard-to-shop-for mother for Christmas, a friend of mine ordered stamps with her daughter’s picture on them. Her mom loved having customized stamps with photos of her granddaughter.

      1. Oh what a fun idea! I have seen these, but never thought of them for gifts.

  49. Brandy,
    I am glad that Winter has found a way to go ahead with the wedding plans.
    I am so very happy for the all the things you and the others here have taught me over the years.
    Last evening for dinner, I was able to make a homemade Canadian bacon and tomato pesto pizza that fed myself, my husband and my adult son with leftovers for lunch today for my husband- it cost maybe $3 total.

    My dad is currently in the hospital with a very serious life-threatening condition. We live in Washington State so no visitors in the hospital. He needs surgery and will be transferred to a hospital in Tacoma or Seattle for the surgery which is very concerning. My mom has to stay home by herself because we don’t want to expose our germs to her. These are very difficult days as my sisters and I cannot even come physically together to hug it out!

    This community is a very bright, comforting spot for me and I greatly appreciate it!!

    1. Kim, I will be praying for your Dad and your family. The hospitals in Seattle and Tacoma are excellent. I hear that they are doing a very good job at keeping the Covid-19 patients separate from the rest of the patients. Stay strong and know that others are praying for you!

  50. I am still working on our book. I’m re-reading chapters that are going to board members to proofread and then to the designer. All by email of course! Did I mention that I cut my own hair? Had a bit of trouble when I was looking in the mirror (hard to reverse the image in my mind’s eye). I cannot believe how well it turned out. I think I missed my calling — of course I don’t see the back so maybe it’s not totally great. Some wonderful university students have started up a free delivery service to deliver food to seniors and others at high risk. I want to keep my pantry in reserve in case we get a surge and everyone gets sick. In case you know of anyone in Calgary who needs this service here is the link: I don’t have a huge pantry but fairly well-rounded.

    I have now been totally isolated for 19 days and somehow have caught a cold — at least I hope it’s a cold. I hope everyone is safe. Prayers and blessings to everyone.

  51. Thank you to Brandy for continuing to host this wonderful community. I so appreciate coming here every week.
    This past week I have saved money just by staying home 7 out of 7 days. No gas used, no money spent. I am trying to use my time at home wisely while I am not working. I planted seeds indoors for geraniums, cilantro, catnip and green peppers. I still have lots of snow in my yard but I like to get started. I made several cards; some for future dates and some to mail now. Real mail is a fun thing right now. I have found supplies for several gifts that I will work on. I used an app to video chat with family and friends. I went through my books and pulled out the ones I want to read, happy to have some at home. I worked on surveys on Swagbucks. I snuggled my cat and watched Netflix. I have a full pantry and fridge and I am counting my blessings. Wishing everyone the best for the week ahead.

  52. It’s almost impossible to spend much money when everything is closed! All restaurants and bars are take out only. My daughter, being the least compromised, is doing all the shopping for us as well as them. She won’t even come in my house–she drops things on the porch and we get them in after she drops them there. The pharmacy brings your order to the car now, so she has allowed me to drive over there and back–they prefer not to take cash at the moment, so have been charging everything to a credit card. Very little risk there. That is the only ride we have taken but once the sun comes out again I will take my husband for a ride in the car–without getting out anywhere. It’s been very boring for him but he has been taking short walks between the raindrops! He has been pretty patient for him about the whole situation.
    Besides drug co-pays and groceries, the only things we have spent on have been a car repair and replacing two humidifiers in the house with new ones. My husband has suggested several times that we go out to eat but I consistently reminded him that no restaurants are open. Take out would be cold by the time we got it home as there are no close restaurants that we like.
    I do miss seeing my grand-daughter. We have three birthday that have been postponed so far, and another one coming up on the 13th which will probably also have to be postponed also. My daughter is hoping we can celebrate them by Father’s Day.
    Most school are remaining closed and some are announcing closing for the semester. It’s leaving student teachers and a class of x-ray technicians with not enough hours under normal circumstances to graduate. We are waiting to see what will happen for these students. (My nephew is in the x-ray tech class.) Lots of anxious hours for these kids!!
    Wondering when the peak will actually get here and thinking it’s not going to be for a few weeks yet.

  53. Blessings for Winter as she starts her married life. I do wish you were able to be there, Brandy, but needs must. Oh, the interesting times we live in.

    On the frugal front:
    -found change for the change jar when washing winter coats
    -have been watching free gardening classes to help setup my greenhouse when this snow clears
    -started sprouting again
    -pulled out a windowsill planter and planted 3 herbs that we use. They are just coming up.
    -am trying my first canning jar sauerkraut using red cabbage. Slow going. Not sure why.
    -am working on sewing projects and mending that need to be finished up…eventually I’ll get them finished
    -continue to exercise for free. Our local pilates studio streams a free class each day. I do what I can. My daughter sends short stretching and balancing yoga videos she makes for me so I can regain my strength and balance.
    -no food waste this week
    -continue to use foods from the freezer and pantry. I have realized that eventually we will run short of meat and I’m not sure how the prices and supply will be. I’m starting to think of some of the vegetarian dishes I used to make that I haven’t in years, and will be adding them into the menu. (Lentil bake, carrot loaf, tofu parm)

    The fatigue is slowly getting better. I’ve not anywhere to go, so I just keep resting. It’s not so lonely anymore with the entire world staying home. Lots of humorous posts abound (my favorite new one is Dogs Working from Home on instagram), and I appreciate everyone’s good attitude. I’m in my 10th month of isolation and still going strong.

    Very, very thankful that the family is still working. Be well and stay safe. Blessings.

    1. Did you hear about the leader of Kashmir? He was placed on house arrest for 9 months. The day he got out, India went on complete lockdown for 21 days. He made his own meme about it.

      Make sure the sauerkraut stays submerged. A weight of some kind on top helps, but gas needs to escape as well.

      1. I looked him up. He has a good attitude for sure! After reading my blood results, I was off isolation for about 3 seconds – as long as it took the doctor to draw a breath before putting me back on. I’m in good company 🙂

  54. I just wanted to make everyone in the UK aware of the Nextdoor app. I think it is nationwide ( or trying to be). Very useful community resource. People can post on there asking for help for themselves or friends ( someone from 100 miles away posted on ours asking for help for a vulnerable friend). Local companies are also mentioned on there- just had a fruit and veg delivery as could not get any supermarket slots.

    Not sure what other counties it covers but probably worth checking.

  55. Your garden harvest looks delicious! You reminded me I can make a pasta salad with the odds and ends of veggies in my fridge. Thank you.

    I mended 2 bras successfully – first time trying that. Thankful for all those here who commented in the past on doing so.
    Decided a good way to keep my mind off of things is to make little gifts for friends. One week I will make and mail a hair scrunchie to each, the next I plan on making mug rugs of the friendship quilt block…small things like that which help me keep my sewing skills sharp and hopefully adding a smile to someone’s face. I signed up to sew masks for the hospitals, but at the moment thankfully they have enough volunteers.

    Using 2 acorn squash that grew from my compost pit to make acorn squash and leek soup. Found an Asian slaw recipe using pantry staples. to serve with a small portion of fish. Made a great depression chocolate cake for snacking. The great news of eating in for all the meals is my waistline is shrinking. I honestly didn’t think my few times a month of junk food had that much effect on my waistline.

    Has anyone power washed their area rugs, if so, was it successful?

    Hoping everyone has a productive and healthy week!

  56. I’m so proud of the sensible young woman that Winter is…and I don’t even know her. I pray many blessings on the couple as they begin their life together. If one must be quarantined, how wonderful to be stuck together as newlyweds!
    -I made applesauce twice. I also diced and froze a few apples. We like to use the frozen ones in muffins or oatmeal.
    -Our kitchen project is almost finished (you can see pics on my Instagram @ ). We still need to finish the floor, hang a new light, and add trim. I’m glad we bought all the supplies more than a month ago. Now we have no need to go to the store.
    -My peas, radishes, and spinach are growing well. An acquaintance allowed us to pick up two truckloads of manure for our garden for free. He will come plow the plot when the weather cooperates. It’s much more economical to pay him a small amount than to purchase and maintain a rototiller. I found more seeds that I’d purchased and forgotten about.
    -My sourdough starter wasn’t doing well, so q friend shared some of hers with me. I was also able to purchase yeast, toilet paper, and milk.
    -We continue making our own fun. We had a hotdog roast one evening and spent several evenings doing Mad Libs. That’s not unusual as we’re not an overly social family.
    -We have chickens ordered and we’re buying the rough cut lumber needed for their coop from a local friend who has a saw mill. We will still practice social distancing even in this purchase.
    -I’m hoping to get some more organizing and sewing done in the coming week. Even being at home all the time, the days seem too short and I don’t get everything done I’d like too. ?
    -Blessings to you all this week…sending lots of love from Maryland!

  57. I’m sorry you won’t be able to attend Winter’s civil ceremony, but it will definitely be a good story for them to tell in the future! And, wonderful that you will be able to attend the Temple sealing at some point down the road.

    I’m in a large city in Texas, and we’re under a stay at home order currently, expected to extend until April 30. Yesterday, Texas extended the social distancing/non-essential business order through April 30 so assume our local stay at home order will match that when the city votes on it. I work for a church, so I’ve been working from home for over a week now. Looks like that’s going to extend at least another 4 weeks. I’ve never worked from home before, and while I’m enjoying the time here, it definitely has challenges. I am staying caught up on laundry, cleaning, and cooking while I am home. I am very grateful to my employer for their benefits and financial management over the years – even the employees who are not salaried or working from home are being paid for the duration. I am grateful that I still have a job and will (Lord willing) have one when this is over. My husband’s job is considered essential (industrial manufacturing for the government), so he is still working regular hours. We are currently down to one car after he was involved in an accident, and his repair is taking an extended length of time because of all the shutdowns and having to order parts. Between that and me being at home, we’re saving gas (which is ridiculously cheap here anyway – today Costco has regular $1.39 and premium $1.65). I bought a drying rack to hang dry laundry indoors. Also planted tomatoes, peppers, and some herbs in porch containers. I debated planting lettuce even though it’s late. I do have a shady spot I think would work, but I decided against messing with it. Our weather has been a mix of warm and mild. I’ve been able to keep the windows open quite a bit, which always helps with the electricity bill. Non-frugal things: I needed to buy a new laptop and a new vacuum cleaner.

    Sheena – we have Nextdoor here in the US, but at least in my neighborhood people use it primarily to complain, gossip, or social media shame other neighbors about the state of their lawn or their home maintenance. Heaven forbid a family member or friend visit and park their car nearby because there’s always someone in a panic to post a message, “a blue sedan has been parked on my street for 2 hours now and I don’t recognize it so it must be a criminal, should I call the police?” I wish it served a more useful purpose but at least in my area that’s not the case.

    1. Pam B.

      I had a similar experience w/NextDoor. It devolved into people reporting people to the app administrator for simply telling the truth about situations, and there were lots of snarky comments. It’s too bad because it did have its uses, especially, it was helpful in locating lost pets. It’s unfortunate.

      1. Cara, same experience. I did see some helpful posts about lost pets or similar things, but those were maybe 1 out of every 10 posts. It basically devolved into a neighborhood gossip/complaint group so I ended up leaving.

        1. Nextdoor in my current area of South Carolina and where I used to live in Maryland is the same. There is one neighborhood that airs a LOT of disagreements publicly and I keep wondering if they realize how much they are hurting their property value because no one reading their posts will want to move there.

  58. Our largest money saver this past week has been taking out our garden pond ourselves. The thing was 3 foot by 6-7 foot and at least 3 foot deep at the center. The price I was quoted for removal was $1100. Nope! I filled it in with the rocks, and I will purchase fill dirt from the local store to fill it the remaining way. It will be considerable less than having a load brought to the house. I will also be able to reuse the flagstone in an apron around the patio. I sowed lettuce and spinach seed, planted potatoes, bachelor buttons, larkspur, and accepted some shared lilies from my neighbor. Staying home always saves money, so I have been cooking a lot more as well as doing my own ironing instead of using the dry cleaner.

  59. I’m having a rather worrying day here, so I came over to see what is encouraging with the rest of you! I try to ration my frugal-blog-reading a bit, as several new pages are posted on Mondays and by Friday, little new is left to read.
    We don’t normally go out a lot, so in some ways, isolating ourselves is not a problem. Yet knowing I can’t go out when I want to gets hard! One of my hobbies is checking for grocery bargains every few days, and that is clearly not an option now. We go for walks, and in another week, I will pull the winter cover leaves off my flower gardens. I’m not sure it is quite warm enough now to trust that we won’t have another freeze, though none is forecast in the next two weeks. It seems later than April 1, and our last frost date is the 28th.
    The neighbors took down the shelter for their wood pile that is right at our east property line and might tear down a shed there as well. That would open up one of my flower gardens to much more morning sun.
    We are using up leftovers even more diligently than usual; that is my husband’s isolation occupation. Currently, he has ham, potatoes, and cheese with the last of a bag of tater tots on top cooking in the crock pot for supper. I used up some berry jam we received for Christmas from a friend whose in-laws make it. It is very tasty, but we weren’t using it, so I made jam crisp, sort of like apple crisp with oatmeal but with jam. It is very good.
    Because we needed more freezer space, I pulled all my broth making bags out, (celery and onion ends, chicken bones, bones from a smoked turkey leg), and put everything in the crock pot with a few carrots, spices, water, and the drippings from a crock pot chicken. I’ve done that before with no problem, but this time, it made about three cups of gel instead of liquid. Perhaps I didn’t have enough water, or the drippings had more grease than I realized. It doesn’t separate when left to sit. It sort of melts when heated and works as broth when mixed with water, just is not what I expected to happen.
    We have to fill out our 2020 Census forms yet, will do so today. Lots of daffodils are blooming in my yard, and rogue tulips are coming up in strange places in gardens and yard, for which I will of course blame the squirrels. Wishing you all well!

  60. Thought I would pop in ( for the first time) and say you have really inspired me to rethink my garden. We’ve made some very good changes this year, and with everything going on I’m thankful.
    I also, kind of, know what you are feeling about your daughter’s wedding. My brother had to do the same. He got married last week without family ? I’m happy for him and his new wife, nevertheless. They hope to have a ceremony later this year.
    Please keep the helpful post coming. Thanks

    1. I’m glad your garden will give you more food this year! Sorry about your brother’s wedding.

      Keep commenting!

  61. Thank you for those beautiful photos – and so glad to hear that Winter will still be able to get married. Weddings are now banned here – only funerals can proceed with a bare minimum of people in attendance. We keep checking on the congregation but so far – so good. The ministers would have to do a service at the gravesite rather than in church so they are trying to prepare.
    I had a very quiet week – no shopping or going out aside from taking out the garbage – Whoopie!
    I did get a lot of cleaning done but still about a third of my apt. to go.
    I can’t seem to stay out of the kitchen – meals are what break up the day – but I am definitely eating too much – got to get a grip! I eat when I’m bored and/or stressed so not a good time.
    On the plus side nothing to spend on – wearing the same casual clothes over and over and only wear makeup on the days where I have a Zoom meeting for work. 🙂 I even stretch the hair washing for one extra day! While we are on the subject of hair – I was wondering how it would look a couple of inches longer – now I’m going to find out!
    My office shut down on March 17th but I’m luckier than most since technically I’m retired so I get my pension money – my office (where I work PT) is paying us for at least the next two months (and now we are covered under the govt. aid plan which will cover 75% of what they pay us) – plus I have a wee bit of investment money due in on April 15th so that would also help keep me going for another few months if needed. The hardest part for me is not being with my friends and just being able to have a wander around the city when I feel like it – so – not much to complain about.
    Take care everyone.

    1. Margie, I had to laugh about your hair comment! I too am working from home and extending the wash days (and makeup-free days), but I normally get my hair cut every 4-6 weeks. I was about due to schedule my appointment, and now salons are closed until at least May. Guess I’ll find out how it looks with a little more length!

      1. I went the other way and decided to cut my own hair. It’s a bit funny looking but I’ve actually had worse cuts that I paid for.

  62. I work part time in a hospital laboratory. Theses are odd, stressful days as we prepare for the surge to hit. Here in Ohio, things aren’t as bad as other areas of the US, for which we are grateful. I’ve noticed another thing for which to be thankful – the flu season, which was severe around here this season, ended as if a door suddenly closed. People staying home, carefully washing, etc, most likely has made a very big difference.

  63. Brandy, I don’t know if she has any interest, but I think most of us would follow a blog written by Winter. We’d love to see how a young woman, raised by you, would handle homemaking and finances.

    1. She has neither the time nor the interest. She’s taking a huge course load and working.

      1. I was wondering the same thing about the Flu. With all the precautions and isolation it should vanish? I ran to the store for my daughter yesterday (she is autoimmune)
        the cashiers had plexiglass up. I hope it helps them? Thanks for the idea of using mason jars in the garden! We are looking over our budget as well. My kids are in Agriculture and the farmers are taking huge hits right now with all the restaurants closed. Milk is being dumped into manure ponds all around the country and crops being turned under too. The creamery and processing plants aren’t accepting them. This means food shortages and price increases in the future. If you don’t have a garden now is the time to plant one. Praying everyone stays healthy and safe.

  64. I have been thinking of you often, Brandy, as these strange times have unfolded. We are fortunate that my husband has been off work since March 18th but has continued to be paid. He has now found out that he will be paid until April 26th. After that, we assume he will be on unemployment but it is full pay much longer than we expected. I have been stocking up for quite some time now and am really glad that I have. I have grocery shopped for essentials since the crisis started and it has been tense being out in the stores. I am being very conscientious about using everything up and I’m aiming for no food waste. Since we homeschool, we are used to being home and have kept to our routine as best as possible. With the arrival of the nice weather, we have been out walking every day. This more than makes up for the fact that we are missing our twice a week swimming. My husband and I have also been working in our basement on sorting and tidying. It is already looking much better and we still have a way to go!

  65. I’m a regular reader, but a rare poster. I appreciate all the lovely comments and inspiration on this site (it’s the only one I read). Our state is finally on a lock-down order, but our family has been physically distancing for three weeks. My husband is a community college instructor and is conducting classes at one end of the dining room table. Our youngest daughter is in nursing school and is taking her classes at the other end of the dining room table! We put two leaves in the table and it gives them lots of room. It also keeps them out of the kitchen. My other daughter just got home from graduate school, so I’m relieved everyone is safe and healthy under one roof. We expect the surge to hit in 1 1/2-2 weeks, according to the big teaching hospital located in our capital city. My husband ventured out this morning, wearing a mask and gloves, to a big box store and found many people casually shopping without any PPE. Most were physically distancing, but it indicates too many in our population are not taking it seriously and exposing themselves and others to the virus. I am doing online grocery ordering for pick-up for the first time. I placed the order on Wednesday and cannot pick it up till Monday! Six days between ordering and pick up! Our NextDoor site also has complainers, but actually has quite a bit of useful information and someone on it noted that her order was completely cancelled on pick-up day because they were severely short-staffed and could not fill orders. I hope mine is filled. Although I have a well stocked pantry and freezer, I am in need of some things after a long absence from the grocery store. We are being careful with left-overs, trying to eat everything cooked. We celebrated our youngest daughter’s birthday with a bonfire last night, but only our family-no extended family or friends. Both daughters are very active on social media, which helps them connect with friends. The last of our cool nights are almost gone and I have mowed the yard four times already. Will plant the tomatoes my husband bought today and harvest the lettuce. We walk our dogs and try to give each other space and enjoy our backyard as much as possible. I pray for the medical staff in New York, New Orleans, Washington State and other hard-hit places who are risking their lives to care for sick strangers.

  66. I discovered that except for work, church, and the occasional trip to the store, social distancing is my normal way of life! As DH and I are both considered “essential”, we are both still working. We ate from the pantry and freezer for several weeks before moving last fall, and gave some things away to our adult children. One of the first tings I did after getting settled was start replenishing the pantry with sale items, and also bought a side of beef directly from the farmer- and now I’m glad I did! We’ve been able to avoid the “panic buying” and shortages. It odes help that one of our local chains has instituted preferred shopping hours for medical employees, so I have been able to get the few things I need fairly easily. It odes seem many more people are taking up gardening, as 2 stores were out of potting cups. I substituted plastic condiment cups for seed starts, and also pick up some started tomato and strawberry plants, and seed potatoes. One of pur frineds has given us cuttings from his blackberries, blueberries, and cherry bushes. I’ve also planted 2 apple trees, but I expect it will be a few years before much of our fruit plants produce,

    Church has moved to facebook, and some of the larger ones are doing “drive in” church- they put the stage/pulpit int he parking lor, and broadcast over an FM band, just like a drive in movie.

  67. What a story for Winter’s children – I wish her and her groom to be the very best – there will be time to celebrate aplenty in the future.
    I have been spending far more than usual on groceries since my two college children are both home, and here in NY [we live on Long Island right outside NYC] we have been on lockdown for quite some time] and we have chosen to get our groceries delivered rather than attempt venturing out. There are often things that are not available and we are doing our best with what we get [for example, my delivery today had chicken, but no dairy products of any kind, and unfortunately no eggs either] but are placing orders once or twice a week in hopes of hitting ‘in stock’ items we need [mostly produce].
    On the other hand we are spending nothing else, no gas, no shopping or entertainment for anyone, so we will probably come out way ahead despite the increased prices from delivery. I’m also supplying my mother in law with groceries as best I can, so that she can stay home safely.
    I was well stocked before this hit, as is my normal course, so it is really just fresh things that we’re after anyway, I do have alternatives if this stretches out far longer than we’re hoping.
    Best thing is that I had taken advantage of an amazon special on toilet paper just last month, so we were already embarrassingly well stocked [but it all would get used, so I bought more than I would normally because of the extra savings] and of course now it’s impossible to find anywhere here LOL!

  68. There are blessings in these time of great challenge and change. This community is a blessing.
    We create a daily “to do” list to keep ourselves on task and feeling accomplished.
    *Snow is melting here and we raked and burned leaves. (This will be on the project list for some time)
    *There is still ice on our lake and earlier in the week it was safe for my husband to ice fishing.
    *Cleaned, organized and installed insulation in our attic.
    *I blanched and froze extra asparagus.
    *Voted by absentee ballot.
    *Started some lettuce, basil, and marigolds in recycled cans/plastic and have them in a south facing window.
    *Used old tent tarp to move branches across our yard.
    *The fabric camper cover has seen it’s better day. I cut it up into large sections and plan to use as drop clothes etc.
    *My husband helped tune up a bike for a friend.
    *Had a “virtual” birthday party for my husband our son, daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter all joined in. It was fun-I made him a cake, hung up decorations that I save and reuse, and he said the day felt special.
    Be safe everyone-

  69. Brandy,
    I love this page and all your readers/commenters. Everyone is so kind and thoughtful.

    Congratulations to Winter and her soon to be husband!

    We live in Washington State so we have been staying at home for several weeks. We actually took my 11 year old out of school a couple of week early. I saw the writing on the wall and felt pretty confident we had more cases here that the media was telling us.

    My sons teacher gave him online work so we saved $$$ computer programs for his education. The school district lent us a laptop, so I can still work while he is doing his work.

    Thankfully my husband job is still essential to his company. They laid off many, but he had to take a 40% paycheck. We immediately went to work going through every single non-critical subscription and cancel them. Since we are driving very little we changed coverage 2 of our cars insurance to ‘park’ and are now only driving our electric car. My daughter’s bio father is taking over her car insurance. We have paid for it her first two years of college. All those changes and no gas we are saving about $1000/month.

    Cooked every single meal at home. Grateful I have been a long-time reader and learned have a very well-stocked pantry and brimming full refrigerators and a deep freezer.

    A couple of weeks ago I had a hair appointment, the state of Washington closed those businesses down, so I Venmo’d my hairdresser the tip that I would have given her. These are tough times for them, even with unemployment.

    Cooking from my pantry has been a huge lesson for me. I realize that I was going to the store far to often. I will save a ton of money by just staying out of them.

    The last two times I have shopped for groceries, I decided to the use the option at Wal-Mart for pick-up. I am also shopping for my 88 year mother so I need to be extra careful about not getting Covid-19. We were able to drive the Leaf so it cost us less than $1 to run this errand

    My FIL and MIL were living in an assisted living residence, my FIL had terminal brain cancer. Unfortunately both got it and my FIL passed just over a week ago. My MIL is still in quarantine, improving but still testing positive. Sadly, no in-person funeral so we are going to have a Zoom funeral. I am sad we cannot go visit, I know that she is lonely.

    Using the freezer-burned bananas to make pancakes. They tasted as good as fresh bananas and they didn’t go to waste.

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