I’ve found that the difference between keeping my air condition set at 76 and 78 degrees is about $200 a month in the summer on my bill. The electric company recommends keeping the house at 78 here (summers are usually well above 110 and we were at 116 a few weeks ago). I keep my house at 79 degrees on two programmable thermostats. Our house has central a/c with two units. We found at our last house (with one a/c unit) that changing to a programmable thermostat saved us money even though we had the temperature set to the same amount, which was interesting. We took a chance on believing the electric company that it would make a difference, and it did. We do not have the kind that is connected to the internet; this uses bandwidth. We also do not have the kind that can be controlled by the electric company; we are home all day and don’t want the electric company to turn off the a/c in the middle of the hottest part of the day to avoid blackouts, because it can get very hot very quickly inside the house.

Because the drought is so severe in the U.S., many states are preparing for blackouts (no power) this summer as dams are producing less power with lower water levels. Lake Mead, the largest dam in the U.S. (which is where I live) is dropping about a foot a week, and for each foot it drops, it loses 6% of its power output. Lake Oroville in California is expected to be unable to produce any power in a couple of months. Dams in Idaho and New Mexico are at similar levels. (Note: NV Energy, which supplies us, built several solar fields recently. 55% of the power from the dam goes to California customers. Very little ends up in Nevada.)

One of the suggestions that is being made to prevent rolling blackouts is to raise thermostats to 78 degrees.

To be comfortable at 78 degrees, I like to wear dresses in the summer; my children prefer shorts and t-shirts. I have cotton sheets and in summer we find that sheets are plenty on a bed; no blanket is needed. We have installed large ceiling fans in each room (the wider the fan, the more you can feel it throughout the room). We keep three gallons of water in the refrigerator all the time (in half-gallon bottles) that we fill from the tap. The water never runs cold through the tap in the summer and no water is wasted this way.

Indoor water here is reclaimed and reused. This means chlorine is used to make the water safe to drink. Many people don’t like the taste of it, but the water district has said that filled containers can sit overnight in the refrigerator and the chlorine will dissipate. We have found this to be true, so the water in the fridge tastes just fine to us, and we drink water all day (around 12 gallons a day; I fill the containers up constantly). If I fill extra containers and let them sit two days, they taste like well water.

My husband laid drip irrigation lines for the round areas of grass that will surround the merry-go-round and in-ground trampoline in the garden. The drip irrigation will use 30% to 50% less water than regular sprinklers, which is good for both the drought and my wallet.

I cut another couple of pieces from my decorative sweet potato vines to make more plants for my garden pots. These are grown for the leaves; they are an annual plant that does not make actual sweet potatoes. I planted the ones I had cut last week that already rooted.

I planted new seeds for yarrow and roselle hibiscus, neither of which I’ve never grown before, and morning glories (which I may regret growing again! Ha!). Right now the garden looks very sparse and you can see all the soil in the beds, but once everything grows in, it will be quite full.

I pinched the tops of my zinnia seedlings that are coming up in the garden. I had read about pinching and I do it when I cut my basil, but I had yet to try it with zinnias. Within a week of pinching some seedlings that I had planted earlier, I had two new side shoots on the plants Most of my seeds are taking their time growing, so this was exciting to see. As each zinnia gets large enough, I am pinching it to force it to make more flowers than it otherwise would in the future.

I notched a few of my fruit trees to get them to put forth new branches. Here’s a tutorial on how to do this.

My son needed new glasses. I ordered them online from Zenni Optical for $35, including shipping, anti-reflective lenses ($4.95) (which I prefer for photos, as it eliminates reflection in glasses in photos), and a pair of clip-on sunglasses ($3.95) that he can clip to his glasses.

I read several e-books from the library.

For our afternoon snacks this past week, I made smoothies using frozen peaches and blackberries from our garden, and cupcakes from a one-egg cake recipe in an old recipe book that I have that I topped with sifted powdered sugar. We had apples with peanut butter and celery with peanut butter using apples and celery from the school lunches that we picked up. We also popped popcorn that I bought in bulk.

I used a rare $10 off $50 coupon at Winco (a grocery store) to stock up on several things, including 50 pounds of popcorn.

My husband and I each used the Albertson’s coupon app to buy 5 ears of corn (the limit) for $0.05 each. I break the ears of corn in half before I cook them and we had enough for 2 meals plus some leftovers.

I purchased strawberries on sale at Smith’s for $1 a pound! I have not seen this price this year and I was delighted!

I listened to comedians on YouTube while I did some cleaning.

I watched some gardening videos on YouTube to be a better gardener.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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  1. -Bought 10# of butter for $2/lb. Have about 8# left in the freezer. So I am restocked again. I like to keep 12-15# frozen. Also got a large watermelon for $3.50 and cherries for $1.49/lb.

    -Bought 2 quarts fresh strawberries at the farm market and made a fresh strawberry pie for the 4th of July. Yum! Also made sweet ice tea (with honey) and blueberry(leftover blueberries from the lake)kombucha for beverages besides water.

    -Made my own concoction (vinegar, molasses, and water) that I place in 1/2 gallon milk cartons and hang on my apple trees. This attracts bugs and keeps them out of my apples. I change it every 2 weeks. That way it is all natural and I don’t have to spray them.

    -Picked lettuce, kolarabi, onions, and snow peas from the garden. Blanched and froze 2 pint bags of the snow peas. Lots of blooms showing up, so more produce soon!! Can’t believe how much the garden grew the week we were gone!!

    -I dried parsley, sage, and oregano in the dehydrator and used the blender to make powder. It is stored in jars.

    -While at the lake if the wind is too high thus making the waves too high for me to go fishing (motion sickness) I bring things to do. I read 3 books, cut out a quilted casserole cover(for my sister for her Bday), cut out a fabric book and a large flannel receiving blanket (for a baby gift), cut out a flannel shirt (for my grandson’s Bday in Sept), and cut out a jumper for my granddaughter for her Bday in Sept. I will start sewing these when I return home. All fabric and patterns were from my stash. The bugs bunny flannel for the grandsons shirt was from a thrift store-2 yards for $4.00. I don’t like to do the cutting but love to sew. I will set aside a 1/2 hour a day to work on these. I did get the receiving blanket and the soft book done. I got it wrapped and in a box to mail.

    -We caught fish everyday at the lake so much fish was eaten and a few brought back frozen for the freezer. Nothing better than fresh walleye!!

    -We shared the cabin with two sets of friends. One set came for 3 days and when they went home the other set came for 3 days. We divided out meals. When I packed to leave the things left from these friends that I gladly took home were: a roll of paper towels, a half loaf of bread, half a container of blueberries, one can of Mikes hard lemonade, a small jar of creamy horseradish, 3 sticks of butter, 1/2 carton of milk, 1/2 bag of coleslaw mix; and 1/2 bag of tortilla chips.

    -Last night at the cabin was my birthday. We went out to supper at the lodge of the resort we were staying at. I ordered mushroom and onions for my steak and split them with my hubby. We both drank water. Food was awesome and it was a nice time, but what an expense!! Glad we eat out rarely. Not sure how people can afford to do this even once a month!!

    -Meals-fried fresh walleye with leftover German potato salad and lettuce salad; marinated grilled chicken with poblanos and jack cheese, ranch potatoes, and green beans with bacon; sloppy Joe’s with potato chips, coleslaw and fresh raw veggies and dip; fried fresh walleye with leftover ranch potatoes and salads; kielbasa with tator tots and sweet/sour cabbage( rest of the bag of coleslaw mix from the lake); steak with potato packets and salad and fresh strawberry pie for the 4th; and one meal out.

    -I used part of the leftover sausage chopped in small pieces and the tator tots crumbled up and cooked with onion tops to create a filling for omelets with some shredded cheese. The rest was used with the leftover cabbage and a couple of potatoes fried up for a hot dish for lunch. 2 large sausages made 3 meals for the hubby and I. No waste and less meat in meals.

    -Have a great week!!

      1. Brandy: just read a book that I thought you might enjoy. “The Paris Library”. I have noticed how you seem to enjoy the French language and culture. Excellent story . I loved it!

        1. I requested that one from the library three weeks ago! Glad to know it is good. It says it should be available as an e-book in about five weeks!

  2. That’s quite significant, the cost difference between 76 & 78. My husband likes the a/c on 76, but during the day, I keep it on 77, until I begin cooking dinner. I often turn it up again after dinner until bedtime, when we can often open up the house. I do hope you’ll be able to avoid the blackouts. Last week, we harvested our potatoes, which was the best we’ve gotten in several years. I also harvested blackberries, blueberries, lambs quarters, tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, the first tromboncino, lavender, parsley and oregano. The first tomatoes were canned yesterday, 7 pints, though one didn’t seal. I painted the baseboard and prepped the floor of the new workshop, and my husband sealed it. We’re getting very close to being able to move the powder coat oven and supplies in. While moving around summer and winter clothes in my closet, I decluttered 9 things. I found a book by an author my husband likes at a little free library. Our upright freezer failed. Much of it went into the compost bin, but icy things were salvaged, including chanterelles I foraged last year, which were enjoyed in a saute. I gained another B&B for my soaps, which was a pleasant surprise. We got some nice rain, which was needed. I hope those dealing with the heat and drought are getting some relief. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2021/07/taters-maters-berries.html

    1. How nice to be able to open the house after dinner! It’s often 113 at 8 pm here so I don’t do that.

      Our electric company here is not expecting blackouts; they sent everyone a letter last week about how they are prepared with all of the new solar that they now have. We should be good. When there have been power outages here this year in the valley, we have not be affected by any of them, which is nice.

  3. I love those flowers – they look like fireworks!

    My daughter is getting married in September, which she and her fiancé have paid for themselves. Now they are buying a house and needed $1,700 in closing costs. We went through our house and found items that we not longer wanted, and she made over $300 selling on Facebook and at a friend’s yard sale. Plus we got things out of the house! I finally cleaned my own room and gathered up a garbage bag of clothes to donate (after she was done with the yard sale). More things gone! Our Kroger store has been closed for a few months, remodeling after a fire, so my daughter went to the next county over to their Kroger since she had to be in that town anyway – I rode along and used my free Kroger coupons I had added to my account. My husband and I had a day date; $8 to walk through our state wild life center and shared a KFC meal.

    Just little things that add up.

  4. Brandy, where did you get the $10 Winco coupon? Enquiring minds want to know! (Please and thankyou).

    We have been sweltering here for about 10 days and counting. Temps topped out at 109F on Tuesday, but remained in the high 90s for the rest of the week. We’ve saved money by staying home and enjoying the air conditioning, although my electric bill is gonna to be through the roof! (I keep it at 76F). But we haven’t gone anywhere or spent anything in about two weeks. Now that it’s a little cooler, I’m opening the windows in the morning, if only to air out the house a bit. For the first time, in an effort to protect the grid, our electric utility had short, rolling blackouts last week, although my town wasn’t affected.

    I picked another 3 lbs. 12 oz. of strawberries this week, for a total of 15 lbs. 5 oz. to date. I made another batch of strawberry freezer jam. I am a little weary of picking and cleaning strawberries, but still enjoying eating them! And then–the raspberries came on! I picked 1 lb. 4 oz. and there are more to come. (Lots more, actually!).

    I read 3 books from the library.

    I bought 5 more pounds of butter for $1.99 lb. at Fred Meyer.

    I mended pinholes in my daughter’s favorite t-shirt.

    I follow an Australian blog, My Abundant Life, and the author goaled herself to do two frugal tasks a day. I love this idea! I’ll be more than happy to accomplish just one specifically frugal thing each day. So far, I have done the first picking of raspberries and ironed a couple of blouses. It’s true both are among “the usual frugal stuff,” but it is equally true that I am a terrible procrastinator. (Just because I do the usual frugal stuff doesn’t mean I do all of it, all the time). The berries really should have been picked (and dealt with) a day earlier. The ironing has been hanging around for MONTHS. My goal is to get caught up–one thing a day–and then try a few new things. One of the things that I love about this blog is the variety of ideas it gives me. Plus, everyone is nice to each other!

    I hope everyone here has a wonderful week!

      1. Easy! The trick is to put a little piece of nonwoven fabric (interfacing or even dryer sheet) on the underneath side of the T-shirt so the fabric won’t bunch up when you sew. Use a sharp needle, although it doesn’t have to be brand new. Machine darn lightly with thread that’s as close a match as you’ve got. Only go over it enough to cover the hole with thread (2 to 4 passes; you’re done when you have covered up the nonwoven). I usually use a small zigzag stitch. When you are done, clip the nonwoven fabric close to the stitching. If it’s only a pinhole, the thread is a close match and you didn’t sew too much, the fix will be all but invisible…and take less than a minute.

        1. Thank you, Maxine, for that great tip and explanation! I’m going to try this on a yard sale shirt I love that has a small hole in the sleeve. What a great idea!!!

  5. One egg cake! I used to LOVE my grandmother’s cake that she made in a cast-iron skillet, drizzled with homemade chocolate sauce. Delicious! But she never was willing to share her recipes, so I’ve not been able to replicate it. Her (rare) instructions were things like, “A lump of oleo the size of two hen’s eggs” or “three handfuls of cornmeal, then add milk until it looks right.” Well, Grandma — what grade of eggs? What does “right” look like? So, none of us have ever been able to out-cook her, haha! Now I’m inspired to search through my cookbook collection to find a one egg cake recipe, and see if I can revive the tradition. Yum!

    If any of you have a recipe for this, I’d love to benefit from it. And my husband never turns down cake. 🙂

    1. I will try to share a copy. It’s from a vintage cookbook and calls for melted shortening, but I used oil instead.

      Oleo! My mother always called margarine Oleo. I call it “butter” even though it’s not!

      1. Here are my go-to “one pan” and “low resource” cake recipes, both from KA Flour…no eggs or dairy! I love them plain, frosted, or split down the middle and spread with jam then reassembled and topped with powdered sugar. These were a huge hit with friends and neighbors during the height of the pandemic. Also, I mix up the ingredients ahead of time so I just grab the pre-measured baggie and am baking in just a few minutes…it’s like a low-cost, low-effort box cake only it’s much tastier!

        chocolate: https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/recipes/king-arthurs-original-cake-pan-cake-recipe
        vanilla: https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/recipes/vanilla-cake-pan-cake-recipe
        spice (I have not tried this one): https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/recipes/spicy-cake-pan-cake-recipe

        1. Thank you for posting these recipes. Can’t wait to try them— as soon as it’s cool enough to turn on the oven!

  6. I have been trying to keep our thermostat at 80 but my husband and children say that’s too hot. We don’t have a programmable thermostat and the air runs a lot. We are in a cheaply built rental so that may be why. Our new house has a controllable thermostat as well as a basement so I foresee new ways of keeping cool. Yay.

    My husband and I decided to forego our date night out to save money. We did get a couple of drinks on Saturday at sonic for three dollars during happy hour. We know those things add up but it was cheaper than food. Other than those drinks we ate and drank everything at home. I want to clean out the fridge and freezer before our move.

    I finished Grit and now I’m reading How To Raise An Adult. I also just got Caroline Little Houses Revisited. That should keep me busy this week.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

    1. I can do 79 with ceiling fans but not 80. I wear sandals but the rest of my family goes barefoot. We drink water all day long. If I didn’t have ceiling fans, I would not be able to set it this high.

      1. It’s amazing how one degree can make such a difference. I have health issues that make the heat intolerable for me. Seventy-seven seems to be my high point and I can tell without looking when it’s at 78. I have floor fans in addition to ceiling fans and they do help!

      2. You have to keep in mind that my weather right now is 20 to 30 degrees cooler than yours depending on the day. We use ceiling fans as well and that helps. I’ve compromised and have left the ac set to 78 which keeps us very comfortable during the day and I’ve found it doesn’t run much at night.

  7. Thank you for the update on the draught in the west. It is a trying situation. After very up and down weather, our garden is finally growing well. It should yield us some produce that will carry us through the winter. We only have two weeks left of Covid benefits before we will be living off a small disability benefit. I have been preparing for this and we are fully stocked with groceries, cleaning products and toiletries. It will only be a matter of buying fresh food for quite some time. With grocery prices rising, I will be happy to keep shopping to the minimum. We also continue to be blessed by our local buy nothing group.

    Hope everyone has a lovely week.

  8. Apparently, last week I copied the wrong link to show our new planters that Hubs cut from an existing 55 gallon plastic barrel that had been “gathering moss” in our yard-waiting to be used. So here is the correct link: https://pin.it/1j7DWV3

    On Saturday morning, I took advantage of holiday sales to buy a case of fresh sweet cherries (27 pounds)! They were on sale for $1.97/pound. I made cherry “bombs”- a simple recipe where you dip your cherry (holding on to it’s stem) into melted white chocolate and then immediately dip it into blue decorating sugar, so it’s red, white and blue. Fancy, but simple, for a picnic or snack! Amazing taste! I’m will also be canning cherry vanilla jam in half pint jars for Christmas gifts.

    I also bought BLSL chicken on sale to rotate into my freezer (after portioning into bags) while removing and thawing an equal amount of chicken from the same freezer. I pressure canned the older chicken to use it up! We love the convenience of home canned meat! https://pin.it/4lzvr6P- a total of 16 pints done and going on my basement shelves!

    Also at Meijers, I found a freestanding 3 sided shelf with clearanced items located between the dairy department and the pet supplies way at the back of the store. The thing that called to me (I admit it! Lol! ) was a big bag of Red Vines there. There were lots of packages of tortillas, so I picked one up and saw that they were clearanced by 90%! The big burrito size were 31 cents for a package of 8, whole wheat packages of 10 were 20 cents and tomato basil packages of 8 were 35 cents! Now I know that these freeze well and the sell by date was still a couple weeks out anyway! I called 2 of my local daughters, took their “orders” and took my full grocery cart to the check-out! With the box of cherries and all those tortillas, the cashier looked a little confused. I explained and she seemed to understand a bit better. Lol! I had only gone in for the cherries on sale and the watermelon ($2.49) on sale but something just nudged me to wander through the store! I’m glad I did!! Those tortillas became an unexpected blessing and were something that we all use regularly!! Glad I had my eyes open as I shopped!

    At the same time I pulled 7 pounds of uncooked ground beef from back of freezer to cook up and then pressure can with tomatoes, beans, spices, into pint jars of ready to eat chili! https://pin.it/7BfxTY- 15 pints of home canned chili added to basement pantry shelves + 3 quart ziploc freezer bags of cooked ground beef back into freezer, ready to use!

    I do love saving time and money with these plus the comfort in knowing that my storage is “diverse” (fresh, frozen, canned and dehydrated.)!

    I finished quilting another of the 5 quilts brought over last week- the three I showed last week (here’s a photo of one of them bound and hanging outside from my client’s front door- https://pin.it/3m2vvp7) plus another table runner – https://pin.it/1UEj0tx.
    I’m now working on a lap quilt for her and when she picked up the 4 table runners, she dropped off 3 more lap quilts! This client is 85!! That will bring the number of quilts my longarm has finished to #153!!

    The flag quilt I made on a lark a couple weeks ago- https://pin.it/36nd9BK and https://pin.it/bOFLLBb – to use up an abundance of
    red scraps of fabric was sold on our website this past week so that was exciting. Sadly, we had to refund a different order after it came in because our website hadn’t been updated and still had out of stock items on it! ☹️ Hopefully, we’ve rectified that now with updates!

    In the interest of pantry food rotation, I brought up a big can of pumpkin (40 cents/can on sale a few months ago) and made a pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese frosting! It is delicious!! https://pin.it/5tZzqnf. I still had almost 1/2 the can of pumpkin left so I made a double batch of Pumpkin Cheesecake Snickerdoodle Cookies https://pin.it/7oTSb5o! They were also delicious!! Hubs really loves it as I rotate through our food storage!! 😉😉

    On Tuesday, I will buy more ground beef at Kroger’s ($1.79/pound for 80/20). The sale goes through Tuesday. The reason I did it this way is so that I didn’t have too many things to process all at once! I may also choose to get more chicken breast at Fresh Thyme on Wednesday (the final day of their sale ad for $1.79/pound) But I didn’t want to have too many things “waiting” in my basement fridge!! Food going bad or wasted is never a bargain!!

    This has been a great week! Cooler weather until yesterday where we were able to open those new windows we put in a few months ago to allow outside breeze to come in! That has kept us from turning on air con or even our ceiling fans!! Super pleased about that!
    Hope everyone is having a pleasant week filled with peace and joy (and new opportunities/inspiration for saving! )
    Gardenpat in Ohio

  9. I know, right? Since I’m 65 now, you can imagine how long ago this was, and I still smile at Grandma calling it “oleo.” I call it butter too, and actually prefer it in some recipes. The “Southern” part of my heritage is strong! If you’re able to share the recipe, or the name of the vintage cookbook, that would be greatly appreciated. I enjoy research, and would love to know a place to start.

    1. It’s an old Betty Crocker book. Not the red one that had a three-ring binder. I’d have to check the date. I went to find one of these for my daughter once and they were upwards of $75!

      I prefer spreadable margarine on toast. I buy one with zero trans fats and it’s low in calories. It’s also under $3 for three pounds. I use butter for cookies, oil for muffins and cakes, and shortening for biscuits and pies.

      1. I have the 1956 edition of the Betty Crocker cookbook (black cover). It is the cookbook that taught me to cook–we used it in my 7th and 8th grade home ec classes and my sister also bought a copy, which I used at home through high school. Nearly 50 years later, an online friend who owned a used bookstore found one in a box of cookbooks, and she sent it to me. You are right, Brandy…these are real collectibles.

        Page 146 is an entire page of recipes for one-egg cakes. There is the basic recipe, which I’d call vanilla, as well as variations for marble, orange, spice and bit o’ chocolate. I would be glad to post a recipe if I know which one is wanted. Be advised that these recipes all call for cake flour. To make one cup of cake flour, measure two tablespoons of cornstarch into a 1 cup measuring up, fill up the the cup with all purpose flour and sift well to distribute the cornstarch. The basic cake recipe calls for 2 cups of cake flour, so you would first sift together 1/4 cup cornstarch with 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour. Also–typical of the time–the recipes call for soft shortening (that would be Crisco at room temp) and the bit o’ chocolate and marble cakes call for squares of unsweetened chocolate. Since I haven’t used shortening or bitter chocolate for decades, I would need to find substitutes.

        Brandy, my BFF–who is a wonderful cook, much better than I–swears by America Cooks, edited by Ann Seranne and published by the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. (I gave it to her for a wedding shower gift in 1969!). It is available from Thrift Books for under $30. You might consider this for your daughters. I THINK the recipes are shown in a regular recipe format. The one thing I don’t like about the old BC editions is that they have a “key” recipe with variations. I’ve been known to get confused making the substitutions and would prefer a standard format.

        1. Re: Squares of unsweetened chocolate: A decade or so ago, the packaging for the ch0colate squares changed, so they are only half the size. I think. I have to study them carefully when I use them and make sure I have the correct number of ounces, not just the number of squares I grew up using.
          And if you want unsweetened chocolate, make sure that is what you buy! The best brownies I ever made were accidentally made with sweetened chocolate, which I didn’t know existed in that form. The package was the same size and manufacturer as the unsweetened.

          1. Just as good, instead of unsweetened chocolate:

            Use cocoa — the better the brand, the better the chocolate. I like Hershey’s, but will use Dutch cocoa when its price is similar. Two heaping tablespoons, plus 2 tablespoons of oil, equal one square of chocolate.

        2. I have the 1961 (the year I graduated from high school) and the recipe for the one-egg cakes is on page 135. I too learned to cook from that book and the Board of Health would probably condemn it for the spots/stains/etc that are on most pages and I still use it at least once a week.

      2. I’m wondering if the cookbook edition is this: Betty Crocker’s New Picture Cook Book Hardcover | 1961 First Edition. https://www.etsy.com/listing/122687946/betty-crockers-new-picture-cook-book

        This is the edition from which I learned to cook. The recipe for cheese souffle is easy and DELICIOUS 🙂 I, too, wanted a copy to replace the long gone one my mother had, but the prices are outrageous.

        I love the idea of these older cookbooks which didn’t rely on convenience foods or expensive ingredients.

          1. I’m particularly enjoying this thread about Betty Crocker cookbooks because my sister just – several weeks ago in fact – gave me our grandmother’s Betty Crocker cookbook. It is the 1950 edition, the three-ring binder with the red and white cover. (My sister is downsizing significantly because she and her SO are taking their motor home on the road for a while, and she offered this to me.) Every page but one – the very last one – is present. Frequently used, it’s plain to see, but present. I was thrilled! My daughter has my grandmother’s other Betty Crocker cookbook, the “New Picture Cook Book” from the ’60s – so at some point my grandmother acquired the newer edition as well.

            At a small family “reunion” two weekends ago, several of us pored over the older book, and my sister-in-law took pictures on her phone of recipes she’s anxious to try – we had such a good time. I know Gram was with us in spirit!

            1. My grandmother got a copy of the red Betty Crocker cookbook for all the women in the family. MIne was in the worst condition, though, with the cover tearing and almost completely gone. Within a few uses it was totally off.

              The 1960’s version is my favorite, so I decided to keep that one. She had given me a used copy of each.

  10. I use an Excel spreadsheet to do my budget for each month. Last month and this, it didn’t match up with what my bank account balance was. The bank balance was larger than what my budget told me. When I first checked, I couldn’t find the error, but this month I sat down and looked at it several different ways. It turned out that two lines were hidden from view, and two items were entered twice. I do have a reasonable disposable income after all.
    I got through our heat wave without too much trouble, even without an air conditioner: stocking up for cold meals, opening windows in the morning to cool the house off, strategically placed fans. To keep my mind off it, I decided to work on sorting through papers that need to be filed, starting out with deciding which need to be kept and which should be discarded. I did this while sitting in the most comfortable chair in the coolest ground floor room in the house. I made quite a bit of progress, and the hotter hours went by quickly. The only really uncomfortable day was when the construction company decided to pave the block in front of my house, and it was too noisy to open the windows from the time of their 7:00 AM start. Looks nice, though, and it did harden okay, even though it was 100 F that day.
    This week’s grocery flyer has some good sale prices. So far, I have got two two-lb bags of penne lisce at $1.98 each, and half a litre of olive oil at $5.98. I’ll use the olive oil on salads starting right away. The pasta won’t be used until cooler weather menus starting sometime in September. It will last a few months when I do start to use it. There are supposed to be a few other items at good sale prices, but the store wasn’t stocked with them yet on Sunday morning, the first day of the flyer.
    A neighbor dropped off some leftover birthday cake. It was made by a local baker, and was probably overly generous in the butter cream icing, but it was a lovely treat. I won’t be tempted to splurge on her cupcakes at the farmer’s market, now that the urge to try her baking out has been satisfied.

    1. Hello Brandy and all.
      I have been setting my air conditioning on 78 and it has kept the electric bill down a bit. I practice a “do it yourself” budget plan for electricity and simply pay the same amount each month and I am still in credit this far into the summer which means being mindful of unplugging and turning things off is working. I have decided to just buy dairy and fresh produce for the next two months since I am well stocked up and the freezer is so full I can no longer take advantage of good sales or batch cooking. The savings will go toward more stocking up in the early fall. My daughter in law brought me an acorn squash, a spaghetti squash, and a small butternut squash from her first year garden. She is thrilled with how well it is doing. Her herbs died very early on in the Texas sun so I gave her lots of basil and thyme and chives and we were both happy. We have had rain very frequently so far this summer which is unusual but also means I have not watered the lawn one time. My back yard is gravel and raised beds and plants in pots so I only water specific things. I am always way under the average water usage and below the minimum charge but I try to be mindful of saving water…using the warm up water for plants. I found some lovely and appropriate shorts and shirts for my 12 year old granddaughter at my favorite thrift store this week….so many of the new clothes are not suitable for a tall but young girl. I also found a beautiful vintage sheet that will become a summer dress for me. I frequently use vintage cotton sheets for summer clothing or nightgowns. I hope everyone has a great week. Thank you for this lovely place to visit.

      1. Absolutely love the idea of sheets being made into summer dresses. I wish we could see some pictures!

    2. Elizabeth,

      Do you have a No Frills nearby? They have 900 gram bags of Italpasta two for $1.88.
      I cannot use it as it may contain egg but I think nutritionally this is one of the best pastas as it is enriched with folate.
      I think pasta will really go up in price. They also have the lovely boxes of fresh tomatoes 4 pounds for $3,88.

      1. I was thinking about flour but silly me; I forgot about pasta going up. With all the wheat fields in need of water of course pasta will be an issue.

      2. Ann, What a great price! No, I’m afraid I am a very long way from a No Frills store. I have bought Italpasta on Amazon, because their price on orzo is the best I can get. I do like the brand.

  11. Brandy, love the photo, as someone already said, the flower looks like fireworks! How lovely! Frugal things this week, bought 8 pounds of ground chuck at $1.99, split it into smaller freezer portions so we are set for a few months. I did an updated freezer inventory, I am pretty good about using frozen uncooked items, but I lose track of cooked meals and soups. I found two chicken carcasses in the freezer so one is now in the fridge so I can make a batch of chicken noodle soup. With the high summer temperatures, we are having soup since it is a lighter meal. Please post more garden photos!

    1. We aren’t making much noticeable difference in the garden at the moment. We are making changes, but other than putting in the grass on Saturday in the largest area (now that you can see; I posted it on Instagram stories) it looks the same. Plants are just NOT growing, and I think it’s because the topsoil that we bought is really devoid of nutrition. I think the in-line fertilizer will help a ton but still, good soil is important. I need to get some worms for the garden, and I keep burying scraps. I did add quite a bit of manure but my husband thinks I should have probably added a lot more. It will take time to get everything to grow and to really have the soil additions break down.

  12. I haven’t posted in a couple months, so here’s my update. Thankfully we survived the Pacific NW’s extreme hot weather the last weekend in June. It got up to 112 F where I live (just east of Seattle), and it was 106 for two days before that. We do not have air conditioning, so we put on fans and drank gallons of ice tea. Many plants in our condo complex got burned and crispy, but the plants on my patio survived (I had made sure to water them every day during the heat). Although our area is in drought, the nearby mountains had higher than normal snowpack during the winter, so our water supply is not an issue at the moment. Nor did we suffer any power outages during the heat. I am very thankful for this.

    I needed some sleep shorts and a couple warm weather sleep tank tops. I looked in a few stores and online, but could not find anything suitable. So I decided to sew myself the desired items. I modified a tank pattern I already had, and used a remnant from a previous project to make tank #1. Then I found a $3 piece of cotton knit at the thrift store to make tank #2. For the sleep shorts, I bought a $1.99 pattern at Joann’s, and bought some jersey at 60% off. I already had elastic and thread, so no extra cost there.

    I also made a daywear tank top from a lightweight knit skirt I bought at the thrift store a couple months ago. The fabric has a beautiful green and pink orchid print. It turned out beautifully, and I got compliments the first time I wore it. It was quite a feat to cut the pattern out of the skirt fabric, but I managed to do it (with very few scraps). That was a fun challenge.

    Other accomplishments:
    – Our CSA farm share included many zucchini. Shredded and froze 12 cups for later use. Also blanched and froze a huge bag of kale, chard and assorted other greens for later.
    – Did bulk cooking for the freezer: meatballs, hamburgers, salmon patties and asparagus soup.
    – A few months ago, I had planted green onion seeds I had gathered from my plants. Once the plants were large enough, I started cutting off the side shoots and using them in recipes. This has saved so much money! And the plants are still going strong.
    – Took walks at local parks. Worked out at home.
    – Watched streaming TV and read e-books from the library.

    Have a great week everyone!

  13. We have summer temperatures, but not the heat that is in Nevada. We keep our AC at 78-79. I could go with 80, but my husband doesn’t like it that hot. Around 1-2 in the morning, one of us gets up to open the windows, as the temperatures are in the low 70s. We have two ceiling fans we run in the house and a box fan that we put outside our sliding door screen to force the cooler air inside. With temperatures cooler in the morning, we are usually able to get by without the AC coming on until the afternoon. My power bill came for June and it was $83. I think that’s pretty good for a heat wave last month and 1800 square feet of space. I wear dresses or skirts in the house and go barefoot. It keeps me very comfortable.

    I am making a cape costume for my husband. I found a pattern at a thrift store for $2. The fabric and trim wasn’t cheap, but I had 40% off one fabric at Joanne’s and they gave me 20% off the whole purchase.

    I had a credit at Kohl’s so I used it for a new quilt and shams. I have wanted something new for a while. I also got $40 in Kohl’s cash, which I plan to use this week for some other needed things.

    We did go out to eat on Friday at a really nice restaurant. My husband received a gift card for work he had done serving on a board. We didn’t use all the money on it and plan to go back for brunch sometime. We also brought home leftovers and had them for lunch the next day.

    I made a vat of hummus, which I love and it helps me use up the odd vegetables in my fridge as dippers.

    I read Jennifer Ryan’s “The Chilsbury Ladies’ Choir.”

    I worked, knitting, ran, went to yoga, hiked, and helped some family members. I keep counting my blessings.

  14. We watched my sister’s dog for the week. She noticed that our dog was going through lots of toys shredding them. She has so many and her dog doesn’t really play with them anymore. When she picked him up she brought 10 toys with her. She ran a fundraiser while we had her dog. She brought us 4 leftover goodie bags. The each had a shirt, bath towel, coffee, reusable shopping bags that fold up into a small bag, tissues, and a few other items. The plastic bags that it came in will become bathroom garbage bags. She treated us to take out when she came.
    I made a big bowl of dog food at the beginning of the week. It was hot out this week so I made it extra soupy.
    My youngest made homemade hummus. It was a hit. We will be making it again.
    Our cell phones are Verizon. They were offering a free Starbucks drink on the Verizon up app. I got a large caramel Frappuccino and my daughter and I shared it. I also downloaded my July reward, a $3 gift card to Panera.
    My friend and I got breakfast at Panera one morning. I used my $3 gift card. Panera was offering a free bagel Friday, Saturday and Sunday to anyone vaccinated. We all got a bagel each day. I froze some to eat later. I can’t eat a bagel 3 days in a row.
    I have been working 6 days the last few weeks. P treated me to pizza one day and we went to the diner another. Every other day I ate lunch at his house. C treated me to breakfast one morning too.
    Early in the week it was hot for us(NY). Then it rained for 3 days straight. I didn’t have to water anything and I shut off the AC. Fans were good enough. We BBQ when it was hot. I refuse to turn the oven on when it is 90 degrees out. We either BBQ or I use the crock pot. Laundry was hung outside on the hot days.
    I picked our first tomato, a yellow cherry. I picked flowers and put them on the dining room table. I dried more herbs.
    My youngest has been getting lots of cash tips. She works at an art camp and she loves it.
    I have been stocking up with meat mark downs and items on the clearance rack. We also have been shopping sales. I got a watermelon for $3.49. Cherries were $1.88 a pound. Eggs are still 52¢ a dozen. Corn was 5 for $1 limit 10.
    Have a wonderful week everyone.

      1. The Aldi near the school where I teach has had eggs for 42 cents/dozen for several weeks! They cost three times as much at the Aldi near my house! Milk is $1.12/gallon there! I’ve stopped in and stocked up this summer when I’ve dropped by school for different things. My school is in a lower income area. A cashier confirmed that Aldi prices items differently by location. I’ll be making a point of stopping in once a week during the school year as the store is clean, well-stocked, and convenient when I’m working.

        1. WOW! Eggs are often $1.99 a dozen here. I have been watching for sales but the lowest is $0.99 a dozen and there is usually a limit of 2 dozen.

          1. Best deal on eggs here where we live in Canada is $3.75 for a doz double yolks at a local farm. In store they are never cheaper then 3.50

  15. Here are two vintage recipes from the Great Depression — NO MILK, EGGS OR BUTTER IS USED
    iambaker.net/depression-cake/ Baking time is posted for making recipe into cupcakes

    1. A funny memory–When I had an Easy Bake Oven there was a package called Wacky Cake. We wondered why is was called that when it tasted like a light chocolate cake. A couple years later I was looking through one of Mom’s recipe books looking for a cake to make and ran across a Wacky Cake recipe. We couldn’t believe there was really a cake really named that. I had to make it to see if it tasted the same, and it did.

    2. Margaret, my friend with a severe egg allergy introduced me to “wacky cake” – her family has been making it for her for years!

  16. What a LOVELY arrangement with the flags!
    We had a good week—but at the same time it was rather traumatic. I was with my daughter at an orchestra rehearsal, when one of the conductors who was sitting just ten feet away from me experienced a heart attack. Not being a medically trained person myself, I had never seen anyone suffer from a heart attack before. Praise God, the orchestra that was practicing is a community orchestra, and one of the trumpet players is a doctor! With his help, along with four others who rotated doing chest compressions, they saved this gentleman’s life. Literally. Now I am searching and trying to find CPR training that I can afford to take. I hope I am never the only help available for a person in need, but if I WAS the only person there I want to be able to help! At least I was able to correctly communicate the name of the college building that we were meeting in to the singer who called 911, as she knew the name of the college but only knew we were in the music building. I was able to tell her the exact name of the building, and to give instructions for the paramedics to come to the loading dock as the easiest way to reach the patient.
    Other than THAT excitement, I:
    *Picked flowers from our garden
    *Picked a zucchini from our garden
    *Purchased needed new sheets from a discount store
    *Attended a free concert and fireworks—this is the concert that my daughter was at the rehearsal for
    *Read my daughter in law’s History blog
    *Read and returned a library book
    I have pictures as well as a link to the music concert on my blog here: https://chickadeecove.blogspot.com/2021/07/frugal-fridayweek-of-june-27july-3-2021.html
    Looking forward to reading what everyone else is up to!
    Stay safe everyone, and no heart attacks please!

    -Susan M. in Chattanooga, Tennessee

    1. Local hospitals and fire departments often offer CPR training to the community. They have to update their own certifications on a regular basis.

    2. Hi Susan
      So glad the person who suffered a heart attack was saved.
      Well done for seeking CPR training, you could literally save someone’s life. There is no substitute for in person training but I can recommend http://www.resus.org.uk and their Lifesaver learning game. This also guides you through how to use a defibrillator. It would be sensible to know where the defibrillators are in your locality- perhaps you could find an online map showing which public spaces have them? I am trained in First Aid and Paediatric First Aid including CPR and I still look at online videos as quick reminders between training updates. There has been a huge push in the UK for defribs to be available in every village no matter how small as well as the usual places like supermarkets etc and community training equips lots of people to be first responders. Good luck, hope you find a training course!

      1. Hi
        My hubby has deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s which is run by a box and battery in his chest. If someone uses a defibrillator on him it would fry his brain. The box can be seen in his chest so if you see one don’t use a defibrillator do manual cpr. Insidently he can not go in a room were an induction hob is being used

    3. Our local community education program offers certification for both CPR and first aid. In our area, many employers do on site training to those who require it. The community Ed program has become our only other alternative due to this trend. A class can be expensive ($100-ish) but the certification is good for 2 years.


    4. If you have one close, check at a local college or community college. In my state, first aid was required for all Physical Education majors, though that might be expensive.
      A county health department or health nurse might have some leads.

      1. This incident happened at out local college music building. I am thinking of contacting the nursing department to see if they have a class the community can attend.

    5. Well done on staying calm enough to lead the EMT’s to you! THAT was also part of the life saving measures! I have not been recertified in 13 years but once you know it, often the only thing that changes is the breath to compression ratios. Thank you for the reminder – I need to check what’s been updated as my husband has a damaged heart from one of his chemo drugs!

    6. I know firemen will also do classes. We had them do one for our kids in our home school group

      1. I took a CPR class years ago when we were in the middle of having babies, just so I could use it if needed. I have to say that what really stuck out at the in person training was how hard you had to press to compress the chest on the dummy! I actually had a bit of a hard time doing it. I told the teacher I felt like I would break someone’s ribs, but apparently it is necessary to do it hard enough. I would never have realized the force that was necessary had I not gone to in person training.

        1. CPR is exhausting to do on an adult due to the bones being hardened and the cartilage is not as flexible. Often ribs are cracked during the process. Doing CPR on a child is not as difficult (physically – mentally it is a whole ‘nother level) since their bones are softer and cartilage is more flexible. Also, just as info, the person may make noises as the air is forced in and out past the voice box.

    7. Hi Susan M.,
      You may want to investigate if your local school district provides CPR training. Our district offers this with a qualified instructor. Every senior student must complete CPR training as a part of their graduation requirements. Our staff are also required to be trained. How fortunate that there was a doctor and several skilled helpers close by!

  17. I ran out of milk this week so stopped today when out for other reasons and was surprised that the regular price is now $3.49 a gallon–however the store always discounts it for card holders so I saved forty cents. I think last time I shopped alone it was $2.69 a gallon. My daughter has been shopping for me since March of 2020. Every once in a while she gives me our combined receipt so I can see what prices look like. She is still shopping for me, because my list is about 7-8 items per week–I have a lot of meat in the freezer. And it lasts a long time now that I’m cooking for one. I will shop differently when I clear the backlog. I cooked one large chicken breast this week–I had sweet and sour chicken the first night, then the next two nights had a fresh tomato stuffed with chicken salad and crackers. One night I finished up the 2 LBS of grapes she bought about 3 weeks ago when I had them on my list. I am going to insist that she NOT buy 2 lbs at a time for me. It was a real effort to eat them all but they were especially good so I managed.
    I still have a bit of chicken left despite giving some to the cat a couple times. Tonight for a change of pace, I ate eggs!
    DD says I spend more on cat food than I do on my food. Probably true right now. I have a cupboard full of canned goods too (I don’t enjoy canned vegs but I keep some for “emergency food.”) I also ate 4 or 5 quarts of strawberries and 2 pints of raspberries during the grape period. So I lost a couple pounds, needing no desserts, but I fear I’ve gained them back since July started.
    I also had carrot raisin salad a couple nights, from some long in the tooth carrots. My husband did NOT care for that but I love it. Actually he prefers green salad only but I like several others. So now that he’s in memory care I can have more salad varieties.
    It is discouraging to see him because the dementia progresses. He listens with apparent interest if I talk about family member’s activities, but he contributes nearly nothing to a conversation other than “I can’t remember.” I have to ask the nursing staff if he needs shaving cream, toothpaste, etc. because he can’t remember either. They don’t seem to shave him every day but do manage to make progress. He has a very heavy beard and I’ve tried to help him too and he doesn’t want to be still long enough. He is also unsteady on his feet and I even noticed a tremor in his hand today. We took him out for a ride today because it was a nice day. He wanted to go but he wasn’t all that interested in looking at the scenery. We drove around in the park for a while, and then stopped for a doughnut.
    We are thinking of moving him closer to home–we are not entirely happy with the facility he is at now. Their visiting policies are VERY limited and have to be scheduled 24 hrs in advance. He is also always wearing at least one item of someone else’s even though I carefully marked everything with his name. I know it’s not the admin’s fault because the whole facility is memory care and people pick things up that don’t belong to them. The facility doesn’t do a lot in the way of returning things to their rightful owners. We’re thinking about it, anyhow.
    I noticed my DD was freezing corn last week–she is learning more frugal ways now they they have a freestanding freezer. I like it.

    1. One of the things we did with my grandfather with dementia was sing songs (or play songs and sing along to them) from the era he loved. It made visiting him less frustrating and was probably less frustrating for him because his mind remembered old time music but not non-music facts. He always seemed in a better mood when we left after an hour or so of singing WWII songs. Just a thought…

      1. Mable, we did the same for my dad. The music from his younger years cheered him up and engaged him.

      2. A friend of mine – whose aunt was in a nursing home with dementia – actually worked with a group who were studying the effects of music on these patients and she ended up making a documentary film about it that was shown at a film festival up here. Watching the change that came over them as theye listened to and then began singing songs from their youth was very emotional.

    2. Marcia, I am so sorry for what you’re going through. My grandmother has dementia, and she’s in the later stages. She no longer recognizes me and thinks I am one of the employees. We’ve found the same things as others – singing songs from the 40s and 50s, talking about my grandpa (he passed in 2014) when they first met, reminiscing about her sisters – those are things that make her happy and things she can remember. We’re also on her fourth facility. It takes time to find the right one, and some are definitely better than others. We got lucky that a wonderful facility opened up around the corner from my house, especially since my uncle and I are the only local family members. Even though your husband can’t remember much or contribute much, I am positive that he still remembers that he loves and cherishes you.

  18. It will feel like around 95F here for the next couple of days and that is way hotter than I like it so can’t even fathom your regular temperatures Brandy. The drought and the state of the dams must be such a worry and with all our lives being so inter-connected these days we will feel the consequences up here throughout the Winter months when it comes to fresh produce.

    We have been luckier than those out west as we will have a couple of days of really high temps & humidity but then it will come down to around 25C or even lower for a couple of days which means you can get some fresh air in and walk outside without melting. There are warnings out for severe thunderstorms and hail at the moment so hope the power lines will be ok. I have a window A/C in the bedroom and I make do with a couple of tower fans in the living area (plus I keep the blinds closed as I face west). I keep a Brita water filter going, along with extra bottles that I pour the filtered water into in the fridge so lots of lovely, cool water.

    I paid all the first of the month bills online to save on stamps and I paid extra on the small CC – should now have this plus the money owed to the office all paid off by the end of Sept. I added $50 to my transit pass so that continues to build up and I had enough money built up on my cell phone that I didn’t need to add any this month. I have kept some money aside this month as I am getting my hair cut on Thursday and it is expensive – but since it’s been nearly 10 months I won’t begrudge it.

    I spent $150 at NO Frills last week (like an Aldi) in order to collect $15 worth of Loyalty points. I made sure to purchase items on my regular weekly offers so this combination meant that I ended up with $30 worth of Loyalty points which I will spend later in the month. I spent about a third of the money on paper and cleaning items as I am stocking up – I have close to 6 months worth of most items now but will watch for any deals to add a bit more. I noticed that my favourite tea has gone up in price – but not quite sure how much…. The price on the shelf indicated that it had gone up $1.50 but when it scanned it was only 50 cents more so not quite sure which is correct. I’ll check again next week as I’d like to add some more to my pantry. I was also able to add some more canned and bottled items for the pantry along with some more fresh fruit & veg. I didn’t add any meat but did add some sole, cod and lobster tails (yes, an expensive treat but I got 3 tails for the same price as a favourite restaurant charges for one lobster roll here – seafood is very expensive). Next week I will have an offer on fresh pork plus an offer on a fresh meat cumulative amount so I will combine the two to build up more loyalty points.

    I got my second vaccine last week so will be fully vaccinated a week from now – and that is a relief! A friend and I got to go to an art exhibit that we originally booked for last December but with all our lockdowns the date kept getting moved. It had to be a drive-in experience as they can’t open the walk-through option until the end of July – but – we are allowed to go back for the walk=through so really two shows for the price of one! It was amazing and it was so nice to actually have something on my social calendar! It is the Van Gogh exhibit which is on down at the old STAR building at 1 Yonge St. for any readers in Toronto and I highly recommend it.

    Lots of rain due this week so I won’t be able to get out to do much walking but I won’t complain given how so many areas out west are in drought and in danger from forest fires. I will work on some history bits for upcoming online Sunday services so I will be ahead of the game and ablle to get out for walks once the weather improves. I hope that all of you stay safe and well and that those areas in need get some rain very soon.

      1. I honestly don’t know how you manage in those temperatures – I would not be able to think straight! What I really hate is that I get so lethargic and everything seems to take double the time to finish – I have much more energy come the Fall. Take care in that heat!

      1. I went to the Van Gogh exhibit in San Francisco in the early 1970s and I still remember it! When you see really good art (I’ve also been to a Monet exhibit and seen the Mona Lisa, as well as Michelangelo’s David in Italy), you never forget it. It has really enriched my life, and I’m not even a big art fan. Funny thing (seems that way to me, anyway), David is in a museum about 2 blocks down the street from the hotel where we stayed!

  19. Greetings everyone! And happy 4th of July for those celebrating.
    This has been another busy week in our household managing full time jobs, school, caring for our son, household chores, laundry, the garden, cooking. Cleaning. The list is long but I just keep
    Chipping away as best as I can and that is all I can do.
    We harvested a bushel of tomatoes
    From the garden this week. Some are beefsteak, some are early
    Girls, some are better boys, some
    Are cherry tomatoes. All are looking lovely and will be processed this week to make Italian tomato sauce, chili tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, & salsa. I saved some strawberry jam that I made a couple of weeks ago as it was too runny. More pectin and another rolling boil and it was all set.
    I used a 32 oz bag of frozen cranberries that I still had from last year to make a batch of cranberry mostarda. This is a savory sauce that would be great with pork, Turku or chicken…even on sandwiches. It was super yummy and best of helped me
    Avoid losing all of the cranberries.
    I made an El Pastor marinade for a pork shoulder roast pulled from the freezer and then braised it for several hours on Sunday. We pulled the meat and added it to tortillas with pineapple
    Cilantro, home-pickled
    Red onions and a squeeze of limes. So good!! I also made a large batch of black beans and a large batch of Spanish rice. This will give us some
    Leftovers to enjoy and I will use leftover rice and black beans to make burritos for the freezer. These are great to have on hand for easy meals. I also put up 8 pints of pickled banana peppers
    And several gallons of green Beans.
    Our crowder peas are beginning to flower so I expect that they will be producing quite soon. I have a lot of weeding to do in the garden this week so I am Hoping that my
    Energy levels will allow me
    To do so.
    I went to have my son try
    On new school
    Uniforms and see this was a wise choice. Nothing fit and we had to completely Redo the order. The good side is that I need up with some less expensive pieces that fit him well and we wouldn’t have found them otherwise.
    I used the 10% coupon for shopping early and I will
    Attend the school consignment sale
    To see what other items we
    Can purchase in order save as much as possible. I am finding that sending our son to kindergarten is going to be very costly. They are required to wear uniforms and the list of supplies is quite long. We will try to cut corners everywhere we can.
    I purchased two needed bras during a sale saving over 65% off.
    We continue to run full
    Laundry loads and dishwasher loads to conserve energy.
    We stayed home over the holiday weekend playing board games, doing puzzles, playing on the playground, and resting.
    Also the most wonderful thing is that the baby birds nesting in a tree at the bottom of our driveway have hatched and they are so adorable and tiny.
    Enjoy the week ahead everyone!

  20. Brandy,
    My prayers are for all of you in the western states to get enough rain to counteract the drought! That must be such a worry for everyone!
    My small garden is starting to produce. I only have lettuce, spinach, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers. I also have an herb garden and I am drying lemon balm and oregano by hanging them upside down in my kitchen. I’m using chives, sage and dill in several recipes.
    I finally got Hoopla through my local library and am enjoying reading several books. Two of my favorites were The Girls in the Stilt House by Kelly Mustain and The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate. That started me reading many more of Lisa Wingate’s books and they are all good!
    I have been cooking just three meals per week and then eating all the leftovers. I’m trying very hard to have zero food waste!
    My pullets should be old enough to start laying eggs in a couple of weeks! That’s very exciting!
    Our local Ruler store ( a Kroger affiliate) sent out coupons for $10 off $70 of groceries, once for June and once for July. I used the June coupon for lots of meat including a ham to put in the freezer. I’ll used the July one to stock up on pasta, canned goods and dairy items. That should mean I’ll only need to buy produce in August.
    I cooked a huge crockpot full of pinto beans and portioned them into the freezer for meals, soups, or refried beans.
    I made 5 pints of gooseberry jelly from my gooseberry bush.
    I hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead!

  21. I grew up in a desert state and blackouts were common. Air-conditioned homes were not a thing and we relied on desert coolers(I am 35) to get us through 40C+ temperatures.
    One of the things that served us well with a combined fridge freezer was to have big bowl of water frozen and later put into a big water dispenser.
    We had a pleasant week but the rains have been relentless and the little one is itching to go out. We cooked most meals at home and I took out some £20 from two sites earned through surveys and consumer scans.
    The chillis are coming in on the two plants I have in a tiny container. Now that I have proven to myelf I can grow something, I have to plan on what next, but that would have to wait till we know if we are moving.
    Thanks for all the advise and encouragement.

  22. I decided to not get a grocery order this week. I feel we need to pause and use up some of what we have. We have plenty in storage and this will save some money for this month.
    We went to my daughters for the Fouth and had a nice cookout. I brought Italian pasta salad, and used things I had in the pantry. We just ate and enjoyed each other’s company (especially enjoyed our granddaughters).
    I went to the library to pick up some books I requested. One I picked up was “The Ragged Edge of Night” which was recommended here. Excited to read it. I always appreciate when someone here recommends a book.
    Our stretch of high temps is suppose to break tomorrow and we are looking forward to turning off the A/C and opening the windows for a few days.
    A gal from church just dropped off another big bag of yarn! oh boy! I won’t have to buy any yarn for a couple years. I feel pressure to get busier. But, it is a blessing.
    Meals at home included chicken and ceasar salad, baked potatoes with sausage gravy, ravioli with leftover mean sauce, egg roll in a bowl. We ate out once but got free pie with our meals.
    I kept working on knit dishcloths for Christmas with yarn I bought on sale plus a coupon.
    I hope everyone stays well this week. Thanks again for all the contributions. I enjoy this thread so very much.

    1. I recommended The Ragged Edge of Night a few weeks ago. I really hope you enjoy it. It is one of those books that has stayed in my thoughts which is a hallmark of a great book, I think. Her other books are wonderful, too.

    2. Have you read The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio? I definitely recommend for a frugal-minded reader!

      1. I have seen that one recommended before but have not read it. Thanks for the reminder!

        1. I love the Prize Winner of Defiance! It is a true story and was written by one of her daughters. That mother is such an inspiration to me when I think of how she was mostly positive and cheerful in the midst of raising a large family and having other significant challenges. It has stuck with me too. See the movie if you can!

  23. Brandy, I cannot imagine the water situation nd heat you live with. We get an average of 57″ a year. I love that the flowers look like fireworks! you are so creative.
    *My husband dug a trench about 10 inches deep from our fountain to the house, even tunneling under a flagstone walkway. He put the electric wire into PVC pipe and buried that. I was impressed with his tunneling under the walkway and then he tied a rope to the wire and used a shop vac on one end while I fed the wire into the other to get the wire through the pipe.

    * We needed to just get out and have some alone time so we drove to Fayetteville and then Lynchburg, TN. It is just an hour and 15 minutes from us, through the rolling hills of North Alabama and Tennessee. Beautiful views, past farms, and we went to Tim’s Ford Lake to ride by it. We had a deer cross in front of us along the way. Both towns are a center courthouse with shops around the square. We took our goldendoodle and everyone was petting him. We didn’t buy a thing, except we tried chocolate cherry icecream with Jack Daniel’s whiskey in Lynchburg. It was surprisingly good. We stopped at a garden place that had pots and stuff out. They had a free box with peppers so I got 6 jalapeño peppers free. We passed a house with a corn sign, they were surrounded by corn. We only had $5 cash so we got 13 ears of peaches and cream corn for $5. It was just picked and so good!
    * A friend gave us about 8 squash, a basket of cherry tomatoes, two Cherokee tomatoes, and about 10 cucumbers.
    *I made a new dish where I sautéed onion and garlic, added cream, let that cook a few minutes then added parmesean and cheddar. Then added sliced squash with cheddar on top. Then I put the iron skillet in the oven to bake. It was good.
    * I had a frozen butter container of the juices from cooking a roast, and an open jar of spaghetti sauce where I had taken out about a half cup. So I got out frozen stew meat and frozen vegetables and cooked it in my Instant Pot. I then added leftover butterbeans to the soup.

    * I reseeded green beans that didn’t come up in one spot. I also reseeded my zinnia where my husband thought they were weeds and pulled them up. I am planting the zinnia between the Arborvitae trees along the fence. I also planted 4 areas between with sunflower seed.
    * A friend had me come dig her daylilies she didn’t want. I think I got about 20 and they need to be divided. I also got about 10 coneflower, lambs ear, 2 perennials with a purple flower, and a container of creeping Jenny. And then she had 8 tomatoes plants she got off her plants and had in water that already had roots all over the stem and she gave me those. I got every small pot I had and planted the tomatoes and will transfer later. I had taken 6 suckers off my one tomato plant the day before and put in a cup of water.
    * I added water to my shampoo bottle to get a few more washings.
    * OK, gross alert, my feet were getting bad. I found I could take a cheap single blade razor and shave the heel callouses off. I know TMI, but it may help someone. I have been putting on Vaseline and socks at night.
    * I splurge on the Olay Reginterist moisturizer. I have the day and night with Retinol. I buy it in a 2 pack at Sams. I get a lot of compliments on my skin and that I don’t look my age. Maybe it is all lies, haha. I make sure to apply to my neck and chest and back of hands. When I get a haircut they do a hand massage with lotion and they always comment how soft my hands are.

    1. 57 inches a year is unfathomable to me! We have had seven days of rainfall this year for a total of 0.99 inches–less than an inch.

  24. It has been a quiet week for us.
    I did use some of my Walmart spark reward gift cards. One grandchild used $10. (2 gift cards) to buy some art pencils.
    We buy food grade 5 gallon buckets with lids for a dollar each.
    I use these buckets for storing food.
    I use some of them for trash cans in my room. I line them with the plastic bags from Walmart and other stores. I know that seems a very small thing, but when the price of trash cans is added up it is a substantial savings. I love sweetgrass trash cans, but they cost over $60.00. If you need to make them pretty you could paint them.
    We are eating down the freezer again so we can fill it up with fresh foods.
    We are working towards being more self-sustainable. Researching information is bogging me down a bit. In the long run it will be worth it for many reasons.
    The garden is starting to give a little food. I have a tomato plant that is going gangbusters and one that is growing and just looking at me with no fruit. They were bought from different stores…it had one flower a few days ago.
    We are planning the fall garden. This is really a first for me so I hope we get something.
    My daughter, Lyric, is thinking of gardening on her apt. patio. I’ve brought another child to the green side. *smile*
    Brandy, your photo is lovely. I would buy it for decoration. Hopefully you will sell your photos one day.
    Thanks for all you do.
    I learn something every week here. Thanks ladies.

    1. Lyric is a beautiful name! I am sure she is as lovely as her name. Just had to comment as it is such a wonderful name.

  25. I hope some of the seeds you planted will grow. I know how challenging the heat is. We lived in the Central Valley of CA and it hasn’t been under 100 there for several weeks. So many plants just can’t survive.
    It’s been a good week for home-grown produce, harvesting kale, collards, green beans, strawberries and tomatoes. There are butternut squash, crane melons, and cucumbers all coming along on their respective vines. A neighbor offered me plums from her tree. I gladly accepted, mentioning that I would make my favorite plum jam. She asked if I would teach her, so she came over last evening when it was cool, and we each made a batch. 6 half pint jars each. Our other neighbor returned our kayaks which she had borrowed and told us to pick figs from their tree out front any time at all. I offered her zucchini, which she actually wanted since her plants weren’t growing. I made zucchini bread for my husband.
    I am about 1/6 of the way through the long task of scanning 26 years of family photos to save digitally. I’ve already organized all of them chronologically. It has taken me a whole year to gather the motivation, so even starting feels like a big win!
    We bought only the loss leaders at Safeway, including a pack of 3 rolls of paper towels.I use these extremely rarely, but they are nice to have for really unpleasant messes. I picked up a free donut at Krispy Kreme with my covid vaccine card (done while I was passing on another errand) and gave away some things on Buy Nothing. We waited until after the holiday weekend to put gas in the car-not sure if this helped since I didn’t look at the prices last Friday, but I’m guessing it’s cheaper now than it was then.
    Best wishes to you all!

  26. I agree with the AC’s. Living on Guam it’s 80-100 year round and the nights only get to 76 at the coolest. We have split AC’s in every room. They have inverters on them to be highly efficient. I keep the house 78 if I’m working. If I’m sitting reading, or working at the computer I have the one in that room shut off. My husband just came home after being at sea for the last 18 months so he’s still acclimatizing. We set the bedroom one at 72 and I sleep with an extra blanket and he just has the sheet. I was so excited this week he built me my first 2 dragon fruit trellises out of 4×4’s and 2×4’s we had left over from a concrete project. Each pot has 1 trellis, and each pot has four dragon fruits. The design allows for maximum spread of the branches which offers the most chances for the fruit to develop. They are $6.99 a pound on island but the cuttings are very easy to grow. I have 8 more pots planned. I also potted up 2 banana trees that fell over in the yard during a storm. I haven’t decided where our 3rd banana grove is going to go yet. I also made 7 loaves of banana bread. When our banana stalks ripen it’s all at once. So I freeze what we can’t eat. We have several new neighbors so I made them a welcome loaf and gave them handouts with resources for local produce and how to container garden on Guam. Picked lots of cherry tomatoes, and Japanese eggplant. We’re at the end of our dry season so they will be hard to grow in the coming months. I started two more pineapples to root. Our pineapples we buy are local and haven’t been refrigerated. I twist the green top off and set in water to root. When it roots I put it in the yard outside. They make for a beautiful shrub like plant. They do take 14-16 months to grow a pineapple and little pineapplets. My goal is to have a continuous rotation in the yard to provide us with 1-2 a month. It’s also Mango season I’m picking up 8-10 Manila Mangoes off the ground every day. I wait for them to ripen and I peel slice and freeze. I also can mango jam and mango salsa. I have such an abundance of star fruit this year they have become extra chicken food. In previous years I have pickled them and made a pepper jelly out of them. I’m thinking of trying a Mango/Starfruit jam. We also eat them for breakfast and on our salads every day right now. Our Avocado tree has finished for the season but I’m still getting some local ones from my local farm co-op. I freeze what we don’t eat. American avocadoes don’t transport well here. So after I go through our frozen ones we usually go with out 4-6 months of the year. I started making Rye bread again this week for sandwiches. I buy a 25 pound bag off of Amazon and repackage it in to 8 cups servings so it doesn’t get filled with pantry bugs. Have a great week. Love the wrap dress by the way that you listed I bought one for my husbands upcoming Change of Command. Thank you!

    1. Your garden sounds wonderful!

      People grow dragonfruit here (they are $5 each at the store). They definitely need support.

      How nice to have your husband home again!

    2. I enjoyed your post so much! It took me for a little summer vacation in your lovely garden!

  27. A friend gifted me with a huge box of apricots. They are ripening well and I will make jam or as I call it, sunshine in a bottle. I will dehydrate some as well because the grandbabes love them. I think I need to bottle some to use for my apricot chicken recipe, but gotta check the storage first. I really need to inventory my pantry well. That’s a project for another day.
    The grands and I continue to declutter a drawer or closet shelf at a time and put stuff out on my blessing table for others to enjoy. We’ve also dejunked another load for the dump and will offer to take garbage for the neighbors when we go to fill up our trailer and the truck bed so that we get our money’s worth for the trip.
    I keep the thermostat at 79 during the day and open the windows at night when the temperature drops below that. This has been an unusually warm June and July doesn’t look any better. I’m hesitant to see my electric bill! My lawn is kind of crispy, but I am doing my part to conserve water in our drought. I still water my flowers, but didn’t plant nearly as many this season. Hopefully there will be sufficient rain and snow so that next year can be different. My youngest granddaughter was so pleased to see the rain a couple of days ago and ran outside to play in it for a bit. I keep hoping for more so I can watch her enjoy it.
    Here’s to a productive, frugal week.

  28. Brandy, thanks for the information on how you deal with the extreme heat in your area. The blackouts that happened in the Seattle area during the recent extreme heat wave were mainly caused by damage to the underground power lines. Our power lines were not made to withstand these temperatures. The workers can only work to repair the lines for a few minutes at a time because the underground metal vaults are even hotter than the above ground temperature. Now, I’m going make sure to be prepared to go without power during summer, as well as winter.

    *We watched our local AAA Baseball Team, the Everett Aquasox, on the 4th of July, great family fun! We purchased discount tickets that included a fireworks show after the game. We saved money by bringing our own water bottles, parking was free, and we received free team baseball hats.

    *Took my 15 year old boys on a road trip for a few days. We stayed at our vacation condo in Port Townsend, WA. It is not luxurious.. .all original 1979 in need of repair interior, but it was fun. The stove is broken, so I cooked with a microwave and hot plate. We brought most of our food with us. I took the boys to the grocery store to pick out ice cream one night. It was half the price of going to the ice cream shop, and we still have most of the box of treats left in the freezer for next time. We ate out once at a restaurant where we know the people who run it, and we really want to help keep them in business. I had sticker shock when I saw the bill. I forgot how expensive it is to go out to eat, and this is not a fancy restaurant, just a small town diner kind of place. The boys enjoyed free fun at the beach and local parks. We checked out the thrift stores in that town. They played video games and board games. They found a book of Mad Libs from when they were little and were entertained by those for hours. It was hilarious! I made sure to prep easy to grab food for my husband to eat while we were gone. I made pre-made Hawaiian Roll Sandwiches, salads, hard boiled eggs and quiche. I wrapped these individually so he could easily grab them or take them to work. This kept him from hitting the vending machines at work and picking up takeout!

    *Harvested lettuce and sugar snaps from my garden. Thank you to whoever it was last week who suggested adding seaweed to your garden soil! I have beaches full of seaweed 2 minutes from my house, so I will now be collecting it whenever I go down there. When you live near the beach, you get used to the smell.

    *We really need to replace some shelving units that can no longer be repaired. After having no luck at the thrift stores, we went to Ikea. Well, no luck there. I couldn’t believe how empty the shelves were, some sections were totally empty. When we got to the end of the store where you pick up the boxes of furniture, every reasonable price shelving option that would work for us was sold out!! Wasted gas to get there and a lot of time looking!

    *Hope everyone has a safe and thrifty week!

    1. The IKEA issue seems to be everywhere at the moment. I’ve had bookcases in my Online Cart for months now and they are still not available.

      1. Egypt is still holding onto Ikea stock from the ship that was stuck in the Suez Canal, too.

      2. Thanks for the info! I was going to try ordering online for pickup in the store, but maybe it’s just a waste of time right now!

    2. I have gotten lucky in my local neighborhood Facebook group finding shelving units for my laundry room for storage. I have also lucked out on market place buying new to me items from other people locally. The prices are typically good, and the item will be there when you pick up. Maybe another option if you still cant find shelves through a store.

    3. How wonderful about your vacation condo in Port Townsend. I love that town – my husband and I would go to a spend a weekend there every year. Now you have inspired me. As we live in Anacortes I think we will take a nearby ferry that goes directly to Port Townsend for a day trip. I love all the little galleries and artsy stores. One of the thrift stores you referred to might be the Habitat for Humanity Store?
      The idea of picking seaweed intrigues me but I’m not sure which type are good to pick.

      1. We love Port Townsend! We would live there if we could figure out a way to make living there! Yes, we go to the Habitat for Humanity Thrift store and also the Goodwill down the street. There is also another small thrift store on the highway into town, by the turn off to Port Hadlock, can’t remember the name. Sometimes I drive up to Sequim from Port Townsend because I have found really nice clothes and toys at the Goodwill there and the thrift store across the street from the Goodwill. There is also a Habitat for Humanity thrift store in downtown Sequim if you like thrifting.

  29. Brandy, what a fun arrangement for 4th of July table! I guess the fireworks are from Allium family?

    Did you plant yarrow for making tea/tisane? It is a very beneficial plant, and young leaves can be added into salads.

    We begun collecting water full force again (my husband had a surgery and lifting anything was prohibited) which means there is a bowl in every sink and a bucket next to it. We use it for flushing the toilet and watering the plants, as we have had hot weather for 7 weeks now (in summer, we can have anything between 41-95). It is heartbreaking to read about the problems too much heat and too little rain make around the world – but for us weather like this is like a rare treat.

    I made a batch of raspberry leave ”tea”, as we have an overgrown raspberry patch on our yard. It is a little too late to make it but there a new shoots everywhere so I take advantage of those. We also found two handfuls of wild strawberries in an unexpected spot along a trail we use to walk our dog. We ate them on oatmeal.

    I cut up an old cotton knit cardigan to make more no-paper paper towels.

    I begun to wash and collect milk cartoons (milk is sold in 1 liter cartoons over here) in order to have enough containers for freezing season. The said raspberry patch looks very promising to have a lot of raspberries for winter.

    Few weeks ago I made a stricter budget for our groceries so I’d be able to save for electric bills next winter. I’m quite pleased to see the progress 🙂

    I guess the one-egg cake is a thing in the US 🙂 If you can’t afford/eat even 1 egg you can bake cakes, muffins etc with vinegar (and baking soda).

    I have found out that drinking enough water in hot weather is easier if I add a tiny splash of apple cider vinegar in to it.

    Wishing everyone happy July!

    1. They are leek flowers.

      I planted yarrow seeds for flowers. I didn’t know it was edible.

      The roselle hibiscus seeds I planted are for herbal teas. I hope they come up. I may have to try planting everything again next year. It’s late and hot but with the new garden plan I am trying anyway.

      1. Yarrow grows abundantly in the wild here, but it is a very useful, as well as beautiful plant. The dried flowers make a lovely tea that has a nice floral taste. The leaves will stop bleeding. Many times when my husband or I have cut ourselves working outside, I have grabbed a handful of yarrow leaves and wrapped them around the wound. It works as well or better than styptic powder. I dried a bunch of leaves and powdered them and keep it in a jar to use as styptic powder. It works very well. My husband once cut himself deeply enough that it required stitches. I packed the wound with yarrow leaves and wrapped it in gauze. At the doctor’s office, it had completely stopped bleeding.

    2. Can I ask what you freeze in the milk cartons? I used to be able to return them for a deposit to the bottle depot, but the recycling pick-up service doesn’t take them, and I have a supply.

      1. Hi Elizabeth!
        I just freeze what needs to be freezed, ie fill the carton, fold tightly, and secure with a piece of strong tape. I learned this from my frugal aunt as I saw her doing this in the 60’s. I don’t know if there is a difference if you use those cartons with ”metallic” liner, which are mostly used here for acidic liquids (juices etc). Of course I wash the cartons thoroughly first and let them air dry. Usually we recycle cartons but now I can see I am definitely going to need more 🙂

        1. I’m going to try that. I have mostly 1/2 litre milk cartons from cream (actually 1/2 and 1/2) for my coffee. The cartons don’t have a lining. They’d be the perfect size for freezing for a recipe for one person.

          1. When I lived on the coast, a lot of fishermen used milk cartons to freeze a whole fish. They would put the cleaned fish into the carton , then fill with water and seal it up. It seemed to keep the fish fresher.

  30. Hi Brandy and everyone
    It’s interesting to read the adaptations you make to cope with the heat and drought, I hope you dont have too many power cuts and that your parents stay well, I know how difficult extreme heat can be as you get older. In our part of the UK we have had torrential rain on and off for the last week and it’s already affecting our raspberry crop as some of the berries are going mouldy in the damp. There are still some to pick but the yield this year will be reduced. That’s gardening for you!
    My husband went through our insurance quotation and altered cover in some areas saving us 150 pounds a year and he researched pet insurers and moved to a different company, the premium is the same but the cover offered for vets bills is much greater.
    We ordered 2 large plastic water barrels to catch rainwater run off from our roof and when they arrived one was defective. We sent a photo of the defect to the company and they replaced the barrel and said they didn’t want the other one back. My husband thinks with a bit of work he can repurpose it for something else in the garden.
    I made sausage rolls for eating fresh and some for the freezer and it was my turn to take cake to our monthly sewing group so I used ingredients on hand for chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing topped with homegrown strawberries.
    We picked raspberries, strawberries, broad beans, lettuce, sweet peas and sweet William from the garden. My husband planted more climbing beans because the rabbits have eaten them along with the zinnia plants. Grrr!
    I saw small bunches of Sweet William for sale in the supermarket for 3 pounds each. I have picked lots for the house and other people and this week gave a big bunch to the friend who hosted sewing group and to another friend who asked us over to see her new house. For the cost of a packet of seed they have been great value.
    A daughter came home to visit and as a delayed Father’s Day present she offered to buy a takeaway meal for us all, Dad’s choice of food. He chose Chinese and we enjoyed a lovely meal and there were enough leftovers for 2 more dinners.
    Stay safe everyone, particularly in the extremes of weather out there.

    1. Hi Penny. From all the photos I have seen and the comments on many blogs I have read, the English are famous for their abundantly producing gardens. I live in north central Illinois, USA, and we have good soil and usually enough water, but I have never seen a garden like the English garden here, even though I get quite an abundance from mine. Your gardens don’t seem as structured as ours…maybe that is why. I would love to see them firsthand.😊

      1. Laura, I follow a number of English gardeners on Instagram. You may find a lot to visit virtually that way. I love when gardeners share video and I can hear the birdsong in another garden somewhere else in the world.

          1. Not right now. They disappear when it gets hot. Since I have changed the garden, I see even fewer.

        1. Thank you, Brandy! I guess I will have to join Instagram to enjoy these as well as your photos!😊

      2. Hi Laura
        Gardening is a national obsession here and I think it’s our national art form. We are blessed with our soils and climate, neither too hot or cold and plenty of rain. English cottage gardens ( like ours) often mix vegetables amongst flowers. I’m not sure why we appear to have an abundance – maybe it’s a mixture of fertile soil and a cultural thing, it might even date back to the war when all available land was put into production to feed the nation and they dug for victory to overcome the shipping blockades.
        As Brandy says you can follow many English gardeners on Instagram, you might be able to access Gardeners World on the internet and our go to reference for help is the Royal Horticultural Society. I hope one day you will be able to visit the UK and see the gardens, both private and the many world famous ones. Maybe one day I’ll get to Illinois!

        1. Thank you Penny! I think Illinois would be a disappointment after England. Other states are much more beautiful. I read everything I can find on how the English homefront coped during WWII. I loved Wartime Farm, and have watched many other programs.

  31. Hello Brandy and that makes a huge difference in a $200 saving having your air conditioner set slightly higher in temperature and a great way for your family to save on those getting ever higher power bills. I am glad you have the air conditioners that don’t have the DRED feature in it that allows the power company to turn off the units in times where the power load needs to be reduced for the grid. In your temperatures it would be so uncomfortable no doubt without the air. Wonderful that you reuse all your water around the home to save on water costs and fill up containers for the chlorine taste to dissipate from the water. The corn and strawberries were a great price to stock up on as well 🙂 .

    We also save water here and reuse it where we can with most of the home running off rainwater tanks. Our grey water from the shower, bath and bathroom vanities run into a grey water tank attached to a pump so when it is full the pump pumps it out and we have set up hosing to water all our fruit and mulberry trees planted in the yard. If we have extra water apart from watering the trees we also use this water to water our house paddock lawns with. We also save our shower warm up water and warm water from the taps in summer to water potted plants and also to clean and wash hands in our bathroom or to clean the home with. Our rainwater tank shed has no gutters on it so we collect water runoff from that in rainwater tubs and also use this to water our potted trees or gardens with. The outside garden taps and toilet run off town water on the property. Our last water bill for water was only $34 odd dollars for the water we used which we are pretty happy with.

    Our savings last week added up to $698.77 🙂 .

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked 3 loaves of wholemeal white bread in the bread making machine saving $10.47 over buying them locally.
    – We cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    Home spring (winter) cleaning and organising –
    – Damp dusted the entertainment unit in the lounge room ,all the skirting boards and stair bottom rails to get rid of the fireplace dust and dust from high winds here that had blown in.
    – We also cleaned the furniture on the back patio and got rid of spiders and webs underneath them and swept part of the cemented area that was dirty.
    – DH sorted out his summer clothing and packed it away in vacuum seal bags and replaced them with winter clothing.
    – I also sorted through my summer clothing and packed it away in vacuum seal bags and swapped them in the wardrobe with winter clothing.

    Purchases –
    – On special at BigW we purchased 2 x dvd’s & used $10 off rewards points to save $26 in total.
    – From EB games we purchased 2 x PS4 games on special saving $29 on usual prices.
    – From Rivers for $3.60 ea we purchased 5 pairs of thick cotton military pants and a black skirt for me saving $303.30 or 93.35% on usual prices.
    – On eBay we purchased 20 pairs of wool blend socks for DH and 10 pairs for myself saving $276.30 over buying them in local stores.
    – Saved $4.50 or 3% on usual prices buying a grocery e-gift card through RACQ.
    – On half price special for Woolworths we purchased Old Gold Chocolate saving $30 on usual prices.
    – From IGA on half price special we purchased 4 x 1 kg Epsom salts and 4 x 500g harvest cauliflower, broccoli and carrots saving another $19.20 on usual prices.

    Hope you all have a wonderfully productive and frugal week ahead :).


    1. Here they can control it by a “Smart” thermostat that the power company supplies. It doesn’t seem very smart to me to allow the power company to turn off the air conditioning during the hottest part of the day. It also uses bandwidth. I prefer to just have programmable ones that aren’t internet-based. If the internet goes down (and it does, too often here, even though it is cable) my air conditioner and irrigation (because now they have ones that connect to your phone) will still work–AND I don’t have to lose space on my phone from unnecessary aps.

      1. Brandy I agree it is not “Smart” if it allows the power companies to turn off your air conditioning so I am glad you have avoided that. There is something to be said about the older style technology that makes us far more self reliant in trying times. We do unfortunately have the DRED feature on both of our air conditioners here.

        Another question I had Brandy is are you allowed to have solar electricity connected with roof panels there in your homes where you live ?, I do know that there are a lot of things that are allowed and not allowed there in certain states. I know that solar power is a big initial financial outlay but with the sun and heat you get there it would reduce your power bill hugely with the amount of electricity the solar panels could produce.

        We have put in a 6.6KW solar system here and had our electric hot water system connected to the solar to heat during the day with a timer switch we paid slightly extra to install. Our power bill here was anywhere between $250 in winter to about $400 in summer per quarter with the air conditioning running as is needed due to the heat here. Now our power bill is in credit by $20 in summer months and we pay about $39 in winter as the solar panels produce less power.

        How it works here in Australia is we get permission to connect a solar system from our power company which all of the companies accept as standard, and they pay us a certain price per KW of power our solar system produces with those earnings comes off our bill as a solar rebate each quarterly bill.

        May be worth looking into for yourselves if it is allowed in your area to reduce your power bill to almost nothing. A good solar company would look at your power bill and set up a system to suit your family needs. Of course you try and use most of your power in the household during the day so the solar panels power production pay for the electricity on everything you use.

        I hope this helps even though you probably were aware of how solar works.


        1. Solar is permitted here, and homeowner’s associations are not allowed to stop them.

          The tricky thing is that my roof faces east/west, not north/south.

          We have looked into it before but they take so long to pay off when you have a company do it (like 20 years). We’re looking at the numbers of doing it ourselves for a lot less.

          The way it works here is that you sell it to the grid and buy it back from them.

          They had all kinds of deals before but then the power company decided not to honor them any longer, which made a lot of people angry, and made it much more expensive.

          1. Brandy good that the homeowners association can’t stop you having solar panels on your home but not good that the power companies have no deals for paying off the solar system and it takes 20 years to do so 😮 , here it will take us 5 years to pay ours back with the savings on our power bills . Also not good that all the power is sold to the grid of the power company and you have to buy it back. I am assuming that the power you buy back off them is hugely subsidised in price compared to the normal prices you pay for power ?.

            Here the power we use during the day is used from the power the solar panels produce and anything other than that goes back to the grid for which we get a credit on our power bill for. We of course watch what load of power we are using (not 10 appliances on at once for instance) at once so most power comes from the solar panels and not the grid.

            For your information we have our panels on the west and north in the southern hemisphere on our home. You can have your solar panels on the east, west or south sides in the northern hemisphere.

            I think by the sounds of it it will be a lot cheaper to install it yourselves or have a qualified electrician with experience with solar do it for you once you have purchased the parts, if that is allowed there 🙂 . Incidentally for the panels and inverters get German or Japanese designed ones rather than the cheaper versions (if you know what I mean). The cheaper version panels the coatings turn white and do not last long enough to pay for themselves and also there have been many incidences here of the systems catching fire which is not good at all.


          2. It really does make a difference what power company you are dealing with. Where we lived before, they didn’t want to do anything to encourage solar. Where we live now, the company offers rebates, and we were able to get a low-interest, no down payment loan from the state. Our payoff will be about 10 years. Still a long time, but we only pay the minimum $22 a month for electric now and are banking credits to use in the winter, so we hope to only pay the minimum then, too. We don’t have air conditioning, so our system is perhaps smaller than you would need, and of course, we have that monthly loan payment to the state, which we had to figure into our budget. I hope the cost of solar will continue to go down. (I have seen houses where the panels are on frames that face the correct direction. Not as nice as if they can lay flat on the roof, but not too obtrusive.)

            1. What a deal there!

              The rebates are GONE here; they no longer exist (I double-checked on the electric company’s website a few days back). The standard time to pay it off is 25 years and you only save about $20 a month. The rest of the savings goes to the solar company. My husband has to deal with them a lot when selling houses, because the buyer has to agree to take over the contract with the solar company.

              I have seen the roof panels made to face the other way, and we may have to do that, but we may not. We have a one-story house so lots of roof space, and of course, loads of sun, as cloudy days are rare here. We use the air conditioner April through late October, so even if they only helped during the day, it would be wonderful. We use ceiling fans all that time plus several more months.

      2. We have ours under control by the electric company since it is supposed to reduce our bill – what we have had a problem with is them turning it ON when we are still plenty comfortable. We just shut the system off. We do not get anywhere near your temps but do have to deal with high humidity. We are less than a mile from the shores of Lake Michigan (Michigan side). We rarely get above 90*F (Muskegon, MI). It does give me peace of mind that if we are out and something comes up, our pets would not be baking in a hot house!

  32. I haven’t read your blog for a while and I had forgotten how inspiring you are.

    We are having a much cooler winter than we usually do in this part of Australia. I am enjoying it but I am not looking forward to the reverse cycle air-conditioner part of the electricity bill. Even though we have solar panels the days have been grey so we won’t have produced as much power. The big difference is that my mother is feeling cold all the time. The main system is set at 21 C.

    In summer we set our system to 26 C. We live in a very humid area and the dehumidifying is the main value of cooling our home. The house has a lot of insulation etc but that does not help with the sever sticky weather.

    I pray you have adequate rain soon. That is something we know all too well.

    1. We would like to have solar panels in the future. I think it would be wonderful. I do wonder whether or not it would stop the daily phone calls trying to sell us solar. I doubt it. It would stop the door-to-door people, though; the last one came with a map and was knocking on doors based on looking at roofs from Google Earth to see who didn’t have solar.

      1. Hi Brandy,
        We have solar and get calls to buy it all the time!
        I agree about the smart meters; we elected not to have them, but it costs us $12 per month. I don’t want to be exposed to the EMFs they emit and also figure FPL can’t be trusted. What if they advanced everyone’s meter by $1.00? No one would notice and they’d make a fortune. I don’t trust them one iota.

        I was wondering if your thermostat reading is the same as the ambient temperature in your house or if they are different. Especially because you don’t have humidity and do have fans I’d think 80 would still be comfortable.

        1. We have smart meters. There was no opt-out option on that. It’s the thermostat that is different. The meter has been okay; I can see how much electricity I use each day and I like that. It also shows me cost per day.

          I am not comfortable at 80. 79 is our max. After that everyone complains and I start to feel sick.

  33. I love love love the sparkler effect of the floral arrangement. Ingenious!
    While on a great family vacation, the Free Little Library had 2 books I have been wanting to read. I borrowed them and will add them to the back to the Free Little Library here.
    While on vacation, I did watch other family members and what they did to stay frugal to see if there was a new idea to glean.
    We rented a house and opted not to pay for the bedding/linens supplied by the rental group (that saved everyone a total of $700). When we came home, I washed and pressed the extra bedding/linens and added towels to a tote bin ready for our next family vacation. We are going to try and do a few more until the elders of the family can no longer travel.
    My garden produced peas (late bloomers), cucumbers, and zucchini ready to be picked while we were away.
    I will need to leave a contract (PT) job by the end of the year to be able to help take care of my parent’s needs. I will take the next few months to develop a hobby side hustle to bring in some of the money that will be lost. I have a few ideas.
    I will continue to plant green bean seeds for the next week (after that it will be too late to continue).
    Hoping everyone has a calm week!

  34. Brandy, Which comedians do you enjoy on YouTube?

    This week we have been busy preparing for my parents to move in with us for awhile. They are retiring and moving to live near us (we are over the moon excited!). I have been cleaning with cleaner that had slipped to the back of the shelf and were forgotten about instead of buying new.

    Our electric company raised rates between 2-7pm each day. The cost is 1.5 times the normal rate. We are avoiding doing laundry and running the AC during those times.

    I mended a pair of my shorts and a replaced a button on a pair of my husband’s shorts.

    We are eating from the garden daily. I am picking swiss chard, kale, peas, herbs, potatoes, and beets. My tomato plants are putting out fruit and I look forward to lots of red tomatoes. We have 2 apple trees that haven’t started to give apples yet. I had almost given up on them and noticed a single apple forming. While nothing to write home about I am very excited for our single apple. I hope to learn more about how to care for them this year in hopes of a larger harvest next year.

    I have been using the flashfood app. I highly recommend it if you live in an area where they are active. They give lots of incentives often making the food completely free! We’ve received free vegetables and meat so far! If you want to sign up you can use this link for $5 free (Full disclosure I get an incentive too). https://flashfood.app.link/Dbel1XiMxhb

    I hope everyone has a great week!

    1. Look up Dry Bar Comedy. I have found a lot of funny (and clean) comedians that way.

      1. My friend from high school Rik Roberts is a clean comedian. I believe he is on Dry Bar. I know he’s on one of the Sirius channels. He’s known for his Barney Fife impression.

        1. I like Jeanne Robertson’s videos on Youtube – the southern accent is a delight and she makes me laugh out loud. Very G rated.

          1. I love her! Have you heard her tell about the time she and Left Brain went to Hawaii?

  35. We had some rain and cooler temperatures this week, so I was able to turn off the irrigation to the outside garden beds all week. That will save us on our water bill, plus the plants like it so much.
    I harvested cabbage, chard, lettuce, the last of the peas, a handful of strawberries, and some herbs from the garden. I have been harvesting enough basil once a week to make a batch of pesto. I freeze this in ice cube trays and store the cubes in a jar in the freezer. I did this last year and it was so nice in the middle of winter to be able to thaw a few cubes to serve over pasta or as a pizza sauce. My husband went fishing and caught a bass, so I made fish tacos with it and some of the cabbage.
    I sewed a jumper from the embroidered denim I purchased on clearance last week.
    We ordered a ¼ beef from a local rancher. I paid her the hanging weight, and I’ll pay the rest to the processor in three weeks when we pick it up. This meat will last the two of us almost a year. It works out to about $4.50 a pound for grass-fed beef.
    I made whole wheat sandwich bread and rolls. For the Fourth I made a half gallon of strawberry ice cream – a real treat.

      1. No. I keep it at 79. 76 would mean $250 more per month in the summer. The electric company recommends 78, but we do fine at 79.

      2. Deb, I know many people here who keep it at 72. They also pay $800 a month in the summer on their electric bill.

  36. Thinking of all of you in high temperatures and drought. We are on the opposite side, as we are preparing for a tropical storm with wind, rain, and flooding.
    We also are a 78 degree thermostat summertime household, too. It is good to know the difference of money saved between a degree or so on the thermostat settings. Thrifty actions this week included stocking up on baking supplies such as flour, combining trips while taking husband to physical therapy (after knee replacement), selected a few vegetarian recipes to try from America’s Test Kitchen Vegetarian Cookbook from the library, planted flower and plant cuttings from neighbor, adding homemade compost to give them a boost. Like your patriotic picture!

  37. My neighbor gave me cucumbers and tomatoes, which I promptly shared with others because I could not eat all of them. I cooked hamburgers and bratwurst, made simple potato salad, and we had watermelon for dessert. We ate this all weekend. My new motto is three things, at most, for dinner. I walked to Aldi when up at my son’s house. thirty minutes one way. I have to do this right when they open at 9, because of the heat. My goal is to walk an hour a day so that took care of two things. I also walked at the local park. another day, around the corner from his house. I fly next week to see my daughter’s family and I am trying to figure out how to save money on food at the airport. I cannot have anything with eggs or peanut butter, at the moment.

    1. I believe you can still fly with sandwiches, salads, and cut-up fruit. You just have to have an empty water bottle.

      1. You are correct, Brandy. As long as the water bottle is empty, food seems to be ok. I even took 2 ounces of sourdough starter in my carry on. That sort of thing can be iffy though, it can be considered a liquid, which is why I made sure to stay under 2 oz. I took cake, fruit, carrot sticks, chips, cheese, dried fruit, fruit leather, and the sourdough starter in my carry on last month and it was all fine.

        1. Good to know that’s still the case! My husband and I will be flying to visit our children in college and I may just end up packing us something to eat. There is only one flight that day and it is VERY early.

          1. Words of advice for summer airline travelers:
            1) Book your flights for the earliest in the day that you can. Many flights are delayed or cancelled in the summer due to severe weather in parts of the country. Mornings are usually calmer and the chance for a delay is much reduced.

            2) If you have a connecting flight to another city, having at least an hour and a half (90 min) layover in the connecting city takes away some of the stress of making the next flight if there is a delay in the first leg of the flight.

            3) Be prepared for delays by having snacks and a water bottle with you. Sometimes food is hard to find/too expensive in the airport concourses or the lines are really long. You can sometimes find a quieter empty gate nearby to sit and relax with your food from home until your flight boards.

            4) Some airlines are not allowing flight attendants to help with putting carry-on luggage in the bins above the seats (?? germs ??). If you are short like I am this can be a problem. I don’t like to hold people up getting on or off the plane because I can’t easily reach the overhead bins. Sometimes a nice fellow passenger will lend a hand, but not always. So I choose to “pink tag” my carry on bag at the gate for free when I’m boarding. You get a pink tag put on the bag and then wheel the bag down to the end of the ramp by the plane, and it is sitting there when you get off the plane at the other end. I then just take my big tote bag on the plane with me which fits under the seat in front. Be sure to remove anything from the carry-on first that you might need on the flight.

            1. Thanks Kathy. I haven’t flown for a long time.

              There is only ONE flight per week to where we are going to visit our children, and it’s an hour and a half flight. It’s super early, so I definitely want to bring food. My husband isn’t convinced we will need it but otherwise we will miss breakfast and have nothing to eat until afternoon.

              1. I think you are wise to bring some food. There is no knowing what kind of delays you might encounter, and how little opportunity there might be to get something to eat, even on a short flight. I was once stuck in a terminal for 10 hours after clearing security, where they wouldn’t let us out and where the passengers ate all the food in the concessions and stores. It is a lot easier to be patient and solve problems when you know you can have a little something to eat along the way.

              2. You will need the food. Even if you don’t get hungry enough to eat it, it’s the epitome of the Boy Scout motto, Be Prepared. Anything can and might happen at an airport or on a flight, and most flights don’t have food aboard (or wouldn’t serve it if they did). Even if I only had a banana on a flight, I’ve been glad to have it more than once. You never could really depend on getting food at the airport, and I’m sure that is more so now. You don’t have to take a whole feast with you, but you may be very glad to have a sandwich, piece of fruit and a water bottle.

              3. A flight attendant friend also gives the following advice:
                1. Don’t be in a hurry to board the plane. The air circulation is not on until the engines are running so you are more likely to catch airborne illness before then.
                2. sit as close to the front of the plane as possible or in the exit seats so you don’t have as many people around you plus you can exit quicker so you aren’t jammed in with too many people not social distancing.
                3. Try to avoid the washroom as folks don’t wash their hands, they remove their face masks and the air isn’t circulated in there either even during the flight.
                4. If you have checked baggage, try to wait in an outdoor area until your bags start to arrive on the carousel again to avoid the lack of social distancing.

              4. Good to know. We have both received our shots or I wouldn’t even want to attempt to fly.

                I think this airline assigns seats. They make you pay extra to sit together (ridiculous) which we are not willing to pay for an hour and a half flight.

        2. So glad to know that I can take cut up carrots. That is kind of my go to every day. After reading everyone’s comments, I plan to take several apples, bananas, carrots, vegan cookies or cake, chips, cheese and crackers, or a cheese sandwich. I fly out very late, but I am going to airport very early because it is Atlanta, and I have heard of horrendous lines. I do not do lines well, so I am going to get through security and just hang out near the eating places, which are abundant in this airport. I will not be so stressed coming back, but I am stressed getting there.

          1. Yes, get to the airport as early as you can. The Atlanta airport is huge — like a small city almost, with several different concourses. They have a moving sidewalk you can ride from one part to another, but I have also seen people being transported on golf carts (not sure how they get those rides, though).

            1. If you have mobility issues, you can sign up for airport assistance when you reserve your flight. If you’re online, it’s usually during seat selection. Usually, it’s a wheelchair, but some larger airports have carts and some have both. They are only for seniors and people with disabilities. My husband is an amputee and my daughter, who is developmentally disabled, moves slowly and is unsure of herself on stairs and slopes. I can’t help both at the same time, so we usually get airport assistance for my husband at larger airports, especially if we have a tight connection. We also usually pre-board so we don’t hold up the line (and it’s nicer for us). We’ve ridden carts a few times, but mostly he gets pushed in a wheelchair. There is no charge for this, but we tip the pusher.

              Incidentally, we usually reserve seats at the back of the plane. They are close to the bathrooms, sometimes there are exits back there, and they don’t charge extra for the seats (as they do for most other seats). Also, on 747s (which we’ve flown internationally), the plane narrows in the rear and there are several rows of only two seats at the very back of the plane. There is a lot more space. Usually no one is behind you to complain if you recline the seat. On long hauls, once the pilot turns off the seatbelt light, everyone from up front heads to the back to find empty middle rows to stretch out and sleep. If you are already sitting in the back, you’re first in line.

  38. I combined the jar of spaghetti sauce my mom sent over with sauce I had made previously. It made just enough for dinner and two lunches

    Earned 13.25 in Amazon shopper panel rewards

    Earned $10 Amazon gift card from Verizon rewards

    Disney Advisory Insight survey is changing so had to cash out rewards. Redeemed points for $10 from Amazon.

    Tuesday was our last league volleyball game of the summer and the gym is 2/3 of the way to our vet so I just picked up the dogs flea meds after we were done, saving a trip this week to do it.

    My mom sent over grapes and koolaid packets.

    Fourth of July was kind of low key. I’m not a fan of fireworks, and neither is my 140 pound dog, lol. We let the 14yo buy $20 worth of stuff for a bit of fun, and she went to a church BBQ with a friend. We grilled pork butt, and turned most into pulled pork(I froze most of it), country ribs, then grilled corn on the cob and random vegetables from the crisper.

    We had a few cool times so the ac could go off for a bit.

    Returned a library book on time to avoid late fees

    Sold an item on Marketplace and made $8

  39. My garden plot is not huge but this year we had 4 extremely large Oak trees cut down (that caused too much shade and were dangerous over the house) and will be expanding the garden this fall. I am extremely excited for it to be expanded! Hubby is doing all the cleanup and we have a huge amount of wood now. It has been a lot of work but saved us over $1,000. We are working on the last and largest tree now. It was almost 3 feet across at the base of the tree.
    This week we picked yellow squash, tomatoes, our first batch of yard long oriental beans, more dragon tongue beans and purple beans. Even with our heat I have been able to still pick lettuce daily for salads for lunches, along with chard and spinach. Normally these would have all gone to seed by now but this year I tried different locations for shade and they are all doing great. I have large cattle panels (hubby cut in half and connected them on one side) that are about 8 feet tall in an A-frame shape with my beans and cucumbers planted on them and am growing greens underneath. I also planted more carrots and lettuce in the spring that is shaded by my corn and as a result have only lost a few spinach plants that have gone to seed. My okra is putting on and should be able to be picked in a day or two. My herbs are doing great and I have plenty of sage, dill, rosemary and thyme. I am starting to dry some and will continue throughout the fall.
    With the humidity we have in the South, I can’t handle 79-80 degrees in the house even with fans on. Previously my husband would want the house at 69-70 degrees when he would come home from work. He has been working from home for several years now and slowly he has acclimated to it being warmer. We now keep it between 75-76 degrees. Our house has 3 different zones and we turn up the zones we are not in, which helps. The electric bill is still much higher than I would like, but happy he has adjusted.
    A friend invited me to take my children out to their farm to pick thornless blackberries. We were able to pick about 2 gallons. My children would eat them all fresh if allowed but I did put up some in the freezer and made a blackberrry cobbler. It was delicious! I also picked garlic bulbs and some seed garlic to plant in my garden. As we were getting ready to leave they asked us to stop off at their house and had left us a bag with squash, tomatoes and new potatoes in them. It was a great outing and so nice to have a socially distant visit with friends.
    After a little break, our hens are laying again and we are getting 4-6 eggs daily. My youngest who is 5 calls it our egg exchange. We feed them and they give us eggs in exchange. I have been gathering manure from the chickens and our rabbits and been using that to fertilize the garden with leaf mulch and compost, it is much happier this year over last year.
    My zinnias are finally blooming and my first Queen Lime bloomed yesterday. It is a stunning lime green color. I am beyond excited for more to start blooming. It certainly makes waiting worth it. I am always tempted to add color with store bought plants, and do buy one or two each year, but am trying to develop patience waiting for my seeds to bloom. For the cost of a 6-pack of annuals I can purchase a whole seed packet and have so many more flowers.
    All bills were paid online and we started the process to try to refinance our mortgage with a lower interest rate.
    During the summer months we pre-pay for propane for during the winter months and we found out we used a great deal less last year than the one previously so we have enough of a credit on our account to cover the full amount we used last year for the upcoming winter. It was a very unexpected surprise!

    1. Yes, it is harder to be that high when it is humid.

      A friend of mine lives where it is now 120 degrees and they have 95% humidity. They run the air conditioner year-round but the summer months are definitely the hardest. We both garden so it is interesting to compare how things do in the heat.

      I am planning to try to make some shade in the years to come and push my ability to grow lettuce and spinach further into the year. Reading that is working well for you gives me great hope. I also am experimenting with some lettuce in a shady spot now. I think it will all just bolt, but then I will collect the seeds to plant in the fall if all goes well. It may just end up burnt to death.

    2. It’s always a shame to cut down huge oak trees but if you considered them a danger I understand. Did you consider contacting a woodworker and selling the lumber? If one tree was 3′ across, there was probably a lot of useable wood for cabinet making etc. That tree would have been growing for over 150 years.

      I have 3 huge red oaks on my property and get them trimmed regularly. and I’d have to apply to the city to get permission to cut any down. The white oak trees are disappearing from all over the world as they are getting too old to set acorns to reproduce.

  40. If more blooms are your goal, you should pinch nearly every annual plant between 6-9″ high. The only exceptions are plants that just produce a single stem, such as single-stem sunflowers (like the ProCut series), cress, bupleurum, and single stem stock (which I think I remember you saying that you grow in winter or very early spring). Nearly everything else really benefits from a good hard pinch early in the season, such as marigolds, celosia, snapdragons, dahlias, etc. It’s kind of a hard concept to do at first because you’re so worried you’ll kill your plants, but once you see how many side shoots you start getting (with much longer, taller stems), you’ll never go back!

    1. Yes, I think so. I had read about it before but this year was the year I planned to try it!

  41. Brandy, yarrow leaves can be used to stop external bleeding as well.

    Like Nancy in Florida said, we are experiencing lots and lots of rain. As of the last tracking report I saw, the storm was expected to come to land right over my exact area. That can change, but we are trying to be prepared. At least this is a storm, not a hurricane.

    I had no idea so many people keep their thermostats at 78. We do as well, but my husband is always cool, since he moves very little and has slowed circulation, so it was set that high for him, not for frugality. I do believe it lowered our bill when we started setting the thermostat at 78, though. I use ceiling fans, but have to turn off whichever one he is directly under.

    I had to use the dryer a little in this 100% humidity, but I managed to hang dry most of the laundry inside.

    I made “baked beans” for the holiday, by soaking and pressure cooking dried beans, then simmering the drained beans in the molasses-based sauce till it was thickened. That kept me from needing the oven.

    I thawed some of our lemon juice from the freezer and made a pitcher of lemonade.

    I picked ripe domestic elderberries from our plants, and have more getting ripe. The beautyberries are blooming and I hope to have a lot of them to pick. They are wild, so they are free. They make a tasty jelly.

    I used Swagbucks to help me buy a bed tray for my husband to use when he eats. It’s gotten too hard for him to come to the table, so he eats in bed or a recliner.

    I found a penny on the ground and picked it up.

    I checked on car insurance and found I needed to stay with my current company.

    I hope everyone has a good week.

  42. *I appreciate all your tips on A/C usage. We have started keeping water in our fridge as well. My husband and I are looking at generators to use for our home. We worry about the blackouts. We also have a programmable thermostat and set it at 74. Our house is 3 levels and the upper level where our bedroom and kitchen are at get so much sun and heat. We’ve planted trees that will eventually help shade the house – but only 1 out of 3 are big enough right now to help. Right now it says the temps in the front room are 76 with the fans going and the temp at 74. Our multi level house makes that a bit difficult with the temperature. Our state has us watering 2x/week with no watering to be done on Thursday and Sunday. Heavy fines will be given if anyone breaks the no watering days. Several friends have mentioned they’ve received warnings and fines. I’m not interested in paying $500 in fines. We have adjusted our watering to the times recommended.

    *I’ve been hand watering things in the garden as needed because of the heat. My pepper plants have needed extra water. I have one flower basket that I hand water in the garden. The blooms cheer me up. I’ve also been hand watering my lettuce. The heat has been so extreme – I’m surprised my lettuce is growing. It does sit in shade for most of the day but it’s been right at 100 most days. I have tomatoes coming, but nothing else has food growing yet. Except for my potato plants. They look very healthy. I transplanted some cantaloupe plants into a raised bed and they are struggling to come back. I’ve been watering them like crazy to keep them from completely dying. Fingers crossed they will be ok. My husband put the grass clippings in the garden to help mulch. I had no weeds to pull when we got back from our trip. Woohoo!

    *We went on a camping trip Monday-Friday and invited our children to come up. We cooked all meals but one at our trailer. We did dutch oven blueberry cinnamon rolls, homemade pizza, sandwiches and hamburgers. We went swimming at the local swimming pool one day and brought our lunch, chairs and towels. The other days were spent with my husband and kids running the river in tubes. We purchased our own tubes last year so we didn’t need to pay for rentals. My husband and kids haul the tubes up and down the street instead of paying for a driver. I stayed in the trailer and either sat by the river, babysat my granddaughter, made homemade cards or read a book. It was very relaxing. We had one slight injury with a cut. We used our supplies to wash and clean the wound. I brought an ice pack from home to use on my foot. The river also has some “hot” spots that anyone can sit in and enjoy instead of paying for the hot pools. The water is quite warm in these spots. We also enjoyed the ducks that quack around the river. We met several nice people from Las Vegas and Oregon. It was a very nice trip. One of our sons stayed at our home while we were gone and watered the plants and got our mail.

    *I discovered I had several bags of peppermint epsom salts in the bathroom closet. One son had bought them to use for soaking when he had his toenail removed. He didn’t use all of the bags. I will use these for neighbor/friend gifts this Christmas. I’ve been saving glass bottles of salad dressing. I pull off the clear sticker of the manufacturer and wash them really well. I will add some candy canes and use some of my red ribbon. I have enjoying making cards and will make a quick Christmas card to go with the gift.

    *I had a credit from Amazon because of recall item. The item they recalled was recommended to thrown away and not returned. My daughter had never used it and didn’t want a new one. I ordered an air fryer that was certified used from Amazon for much less than the new one. I’m excited to try it out. It had over 30,000 reviews and mostly positive comments.

    *We bbq at home for the 4th. I used hot dogs/buns that I had in the freezer. I also had my husband bbq chicken. I made a potato salad and we bought a watermelon. Dessert was doughnuts that were B1G1 Free. I cut up veggies and used homemade dip as an appetizer. The day was spent doing things around the house and then watching National Treasure with Nicolas Cage. It’s a tradition. We all have our favorite lines and love to quote them during the movie. Our neighbor had purchased movie theater popcorn and brought us over a bowl. We all went outside and enjoyed our neighbors fireworks.

    *My husband replaced two sprinkler heads with supplies he had found at the dump in the salvage area. No out of pocket cost.

    *I visited a neighbor and her husband. She had surgery recently. We had a very pleasant chat. I took them over some homemade bread.

    *Was able to keep my shopping bill down this past week, read library books, exercised, enjoyed quiet time and combined errands.

    Have a wonderful, frugal week!

  43. I updated my price book. I received a round watermelon, pineapple, onions and apples from a friend and shared the bounty with another friend.

    I was surprised to find the meat section and the frozen vegetables section at several stores almost completely empty. When I inquired I was told it’s because of “supply chain shortages.” I was shopping for a friend with mobility issues. I’m thankful my freezer is filled with frozen vegetables and quite a bit of meat. Is anyone else experiencing this? I live in Minnesota.

    I enjoy reading all your comments and tips.

    1. Yes. I saw a lot of empty sheleves at several places recently. Sam’s CLub lost 2/3 of their cheese department; Walmart had empty shelves in several dry goods and cleaning items.

      Expect more. Farmers across the nation (including in Minnesota) are dealing with drought too. Unwatered fields are going to mean a huge jump in prices come fall as well.

  44. Having a free lifetime warranty on my 2018 Honda didn’t stop the extended warranty calls, Brandy. Just sayin’!

  45. I dehydrated passion fruit leaves for tea. Those vines are growing out of control with all the rain we’ve had lately and they’re being aggressive to my mint shrub as well as my tropical yam vines so I had to cut them back. I gave bags of the dried leaves away to friends.
    We sold the last claw-foot tub in the house next door that was so neglected that, by the time we bought it, that the house will have to come down; it’s sad. We’re getting out everything that could possibly be used including MANY solid doors, old tiles and some cute bed heads and feet that were in the attic. There were lots of small-mouth canning jars up there as well as books.

    Brandy, in Jamaica, where I grew up, they make a drink called sorrel with the roselle calyxes https://jamaicans.com/sorrel/. I’ve never had luck growing it here, though. I do have luck with false roselle (Hibiscus acetosella) the leaves of which we use in salads.
    Do you know about Chaya (www.eattheweeds.com/chaya-the-spinach-tree/)? The leaves are really good but you must cook them and though it’s not good in cold, it grows very quickly from cuttings and it extremely nutritious. I’d think it would be a good plant for dry places.
    Thanks for this site!

    1. Yes; I know it by the term Aqua de Jamaica. It’s also grown in Nigeria where it is mixed with ginger. I read several recipes this morning that are very different from the way I had it the first time. I had bought some in bulk from San Francisco Herb Company and I finally made it on Sunday.

      Someone in a local gardening group is growing it here, but she started hers months ago. I watched a man in Australian on YouTube this past week. He said it takes five months of growing times, so I might just make it. I could be too late for this year and it could be too hot for seeds to germinate. Next year I will start some earlier for certain.

      1. Hibiscus sabdiffera or roselle is used in all the Celestial Seasonings ‘Zinger’ teas. It is what makes them red. It is also great for high blood pressure. I saw a study where 2 cups of roselle tea a day can lower BP up to 15 points.

    2. Cara, I know homes in Florida often use materials that are different from what we commonly see in the Northwest, but is there lumber that can salvaged and sold? I noticed that a house in the city next to ours is having all of the siding, which is probably cedar, removed before being torn down. Also, older houses often have shiplap under the roof. Of course, salvaging the lumber might be more work than you want (it would be for me!), but it is just a thought. You might be able to sell the salvage rights to someone willing to tear it down.

    3. We have some ladies at my church who are originally from Trinidad and they brought sorrel to one of our Sunday potlucks and it was very popular – delicious and very refreshing.

  46. I love your idea of using onion flowers as ‘fireworks’ in your flower display! What a great idea!

    My frugal week:
    – did some pantry stock rotating, and made Shortcut Cranberry Crumble Squares (http://approachingfood.com/shortcut-cranberry-crumble-squares/), using a can of homemade cranberry sauce
    – picked mulberries from a tree in my parents yard and froze them to bake with at a later date.
    – picked raspberries from my condo balcony garden
    – redeemed Swagbucks for $10 to my paypal account, and then used most of it to buy a crustless sandwich maker from wish.com. I price-compared on different sites to get the best price.
    – I made homemade enchilada sauce and then used it when making enchilada rice bowls.
    – I made homemade cheddar bagels (http://approachingfood.com/preservative-free-shortcut-everything-bagels/ – but topped with cheddar cheese instead of brushing with egg white and an everything-bagel mixture)
    – made several meals of omelets (plain or with cheese) and rice dishes as inexpensive meals
    – made brownies using leftover Christmas chocolate (http://approachingfood.com/gluten-free-brownies/), as I felt the chocolate was getting older and wanted to use it up. It had some bloom on it, but was totally fine to bake with.
    – my mother received a super-fancy boxed lunch and couldn’t eat it all, so I turned it into snack for me, breakfast for my toddler, and part of lunch for husband. (It was a huge boxed lunch!)
    – made rainbow rice for my toddler’s sensory play, using some rice that I wanted to rotate in my pantry, plus a dash of vinegar, and some food colouring.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as usual!

    1. My youngest son was super allergic to rice so that sensory play rice and the coloured rice tables at daycare were a huge problem for us! It’s really surprising what rice and rice flour turns up in….like cornstarch (so no loose candies) or pancake mix and even some medications.

      1. Patsy,

        I’m also allergic to rice and it is in everything these days — even ice cream sometimes! Ann

  47. I wish I had heard of drip irrigation when we first moved here (or thought of it). It would have been easier than dragging a hose down to water the garden during the hottest times. We have more rain so it is not done here, but it has been changing the last few years so I think it will be common one day. Some larger farms have sprayers to run if they think its going to frost overnight. My Mom did teach us when we were young that if you planted a new tree or large bush in the yard to put the hose at the base and turn it on to the slowest drip you can for an hour when first planted or when there has been no rain the first year. I have always done that and they grew beautifully.

    DS finally got his glasses, and he could tell a difference right away and loves them.

    I stocked up on toiletry items at Aldi. I bought some canned vegetables and meat for sandwiches/salads, reduced bakery items that we enjoy to put in the freezer, and fresh vegetables at Walmart. Ollie’s was having a customer appreciation 15% off sale (almost missed it). For $28 I stocked up on nuts and sesame sticks to eat for six months or more, probably a year on peanuts. The larger container of peanuts that was only $2 more so so it made sense to buy it. We stopped by Kroger one night to get some items on the way to another errand. The 3 lb. 80/20 hamburger was $7.99 ($2 lower than usual sale price). We decided to get it in a couple days since we weren’t going straight home and I needed to check freezer space. When we went back the sale sign was gone and it was $11.99. I went to the office to check the price after I told her what it was the other evening. It was ringing up $11.99 but she said she would give it to me for the $7.99 price so I went back and got 3 more like I intended.

    Some things I made were fried cabbage with corned beef, slow cooker minute steaks, and baked chicken breasts. I sliced and froze most of the chicken breasts and half of the raw hamburger. The other hamburger will be cooked before freezing. I told DH I think we could use another freezer. I am eating fewer carbs and for breakfast I had leftover cabbage and corn beef with an egg and cheese on it and it was good.

    DH made soft tacos with a different recipe. He used 6” round tortillas and spaced 12 of them in a 10×13 pan with 2 on the side and baked them 5 minutes and they stood up but were soft. He decided to go ahead and fill them so all we had to do was pick them up. They were very good. He served them with grapes. On July 4th he grilled hamburgers for us. He hadn’t done that in a while.

    We met with someone re: Medicare. After DH, I am not far behind getting it. I learned a few things I didn’t know which was helpful. I also found she didn’t know some things that I did. She wanted us to plan how and when we will do everything regarding retirement right now and we do not need to do that yet. That is what life event changes are for. There is a sale in there that was hinted at to keep everything safe so I asked the name of it twice, and it is not in my best interest. She was not a financial planner.

    I had to change my retirement from the hospital I had worked at when it was sold. The guy was trying to sell a new fund they had just started, and I told him I liked things the way they were. He told me it was too aggressive (not) for my age (a long time ago) and he would have to check to see if they would let me do that. I told him to let me know if there was a problem, and I would move it somewhere else. I never heard from him again. Don’t let anyone bully you into something that is not right for you. Your retirement is yours, not theirs.

    I finally got my 2 gallons of blueberries! Have a wonderful week!

  48. Last week I had to run errands and dropped into a local grocery, where I seldom shop. I did so in the interest of research and to see what products they carry that might be worthy of my pantry. I found a few items to try and a really good sale on Sirloin steaks so I bought all they had of those, but mostly I just went away sad to think of the people of limited means who must shop in that store because they cannot drive 30 or 40 miles to another area to shop.

    It was my plan to do a pantry/Freezer challenge this month and use my grocery funds to stock up our pantry and restock the freezers. Then we had an unexpected financial strain come up and it looks like my cash will go towards the bill instead. Such is life. Story doesn’t quite end there. Yesterday a child texted me that she has an overabundance of things and would like to bless us…So there we are. I’ll have groceries to put into my pantry and can pay my budget this month towards the bill.

    We had a lovely July 4th holiday, though it was just the two of us. We went to church and on the way home stopped to pick up hamburger buns and came home to grill. I thought that was going to be the extent of our day but later my husband asked if I’d like to go to our church sponsored July 4th celebration. I said “Yes!” and we spent a lovely evening with cooler than expected temperatures watching people and greeting friends and watching a really good fireworks display.

    I’ve cooked all meals at home, kept tabs on what is in the fridge and made sure to use up all that we have rather than let things linger and spoil. I’ve hung clothes to dry, saved dishwater to water plants, made sure buckets were positioned to catch rainwater coming off our roof when it does rain. I’m still cutting bits and pieces to try and root. We’ve been working hard in our yard and in our home to do all we can which is a savings. I went through my wardrobe and pulled things that were looking worn. They don’t get tossed…They go into a my house clothes drawer and I wear them here at home.

    We keep our AC set at 76. I’ve tried taking it higher but it gets really warm. To offset when the outdoor temperatures are nearer 100 and the AC will go up to 80 (I’ll edge my thermostat up to 78 or 79) when it gets that hot but the AC doesn’t keep up, I have black out curtains as well as room darkening shades in every room which we pull shut. It really does help a lot and though I hate the dark I know I’m saving us money. I don’t use my oven but a toaster oven or the microwave or a crockpot to avoid heating the house still further. We too have ceiling fans and floor fans (our floor fans are from 2004 and still going strong because we routinely clean them) that we utilize and drink LOTS of cold water. So far our summer has been pretty mild.

  49. I have been looking on the internet, to no avail, so I want to ask your readers if they know of a company that sells dresses that are almost 50s style. Not mumu styles, but like what they used to call housedresses. The Vermont company used to sell them but lately I have not seen them. Thank you for any help.

    1. I haven’t seen housedresses but I linked a few vintage 50’s styles at the bottom of this post from Amazon!

    2. Roses Discount Store used to have them around twenty years ago. That was the only place I found some for my MIL to wear after her mastectomy.

        1. It is a dollar type store with more items. It is based in NC according to website but I don’t see any online ordering or complete inventory.

          Type housedress elderly woman on Amazon and you will find some. I just checked.

    3. Kohl’s and LL Bean often have that style of dress, as do most larger department stores (JCPenney, Dillard’s, Bergdorf). Try looking for “shirtwaist” dresses or “shirt dresses.” That is what I have seen them called.

    4. Go on Amazon and look up “dusters for women”. These are the type house dresses my grandma wore and may be what you are searching.

  50. I love visiting your blog each week, I always learn something! I’ve grown zinnias for years but never knew about pinching the tops. Like others have mentioned, that floral arrangement is so creative and pretty. I can’t even imagine that type of heat, Brandy! We went to Florida a couple of times during the summer months; that’s the hottest I have ever been. I feel so un-frugal when I read about your thermostat settings. We keep our house at 68 almost all of the time; sometimes I will nudge it up to 70 to try to get by with it, but we prefer it at 68. Tennessee humidity is terrible so that’s my official excuse, but the real reason is that we just like it cold. We definitely pay for it in the electric bill which runs around $270 during the summer months. We are not currently experiencing the drought, but I am trying to be more aware and intentional about water usage since reading about the situation in the western US. What we do with our water affects everyone.

    I’ve been keeping up with foliar spray fertilizing to boost harvest in our small garden. I alternate with a different one each week — Spray N Grow, Nature’s Harvest, and Organic Rev. Being rewarded with lots of garden goodies! We’ve had many days of visitors — my kids love inviting their friends to come swim at our house, and I’ve used our garden bounty to make zucchini brownies (no eggs —> https://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/chocolate-chip-zucchini-brownies/), zucchini cake, sauteed squash and chard, green beans, salad. I have a couple dozen jars of very soft jelly from last summer that I need to figure out how to use up so I can reuse the jars.

    Saved styrofoam takeout cups to start seeds for a fall garden. This is the first year I’m trying a fall garden, after reading Brandy’s post about it and listening to some gardening podcasts. Usually I stop working in my garden in August. Crossing my fingers!

    Had so much fun at yard sales this weekend. I found a new, unused small crockpot with a removable crock $5, several clothing items for my daughter, new-with-tags leather sandals for $2, new Lipsense $2, and a few more items. Each week I watch for a dorm fridge, microwave, and storage containers (baskets, pretty tubs, etc) that my daughter can take to college next year. We still have another year to look, but I’d like to start getting things ready so there’s not as much to purchase when the time comes.

    1. My bill will be about $300 this month. I am just glad it won’t be $600 or higher like many people I know. It’s 112-116 here this week so I am glad the house feels cool at 79 to me, especially after working outside all morning laying new sod! It’s a risk to do it when it’s this hot but the children miss having grass to play on.

      1. Dianna, about the soft jelly…..I was raised by my (very frugal) grandmother and learned a lot! One year our grape jelly didn’t set well, so Grandma used it as a syrup on our pancakes! It was delicious and way before the fancy syrups you can get now!

  51. Well, Last week almost did me in! The alarm system failed and the sound (every two minutes) could not be turned off
    –we could turn off the monitoring but not the sound. After two sleepless nights in very hot weather, it was finally repaired with a new wired-in smoke detector and a new battery. (I still hear the alarms in my mind). I was lucky to be home when it happened so didn’t get charged for a false alarm. It is an old basic system. The repairman advised against a wireless system because they need. new batteries every two years and are expensive. The external phone line went (and was fixed no charge); the back door lock broke; etc etc — all in the same two day period. I felt ill so phoned our free 811 service to talk to a nurse and she advised me to go to the hospital immediately by ambulance. Fortunately, the ambulance is free for seniors. I realized that I had no money to pay a cab since I could not remember my debit card pin — I haven’t used it in more than a year so got a free ride home. I had to go into the house at 3:30 in the morning but the nurse had shown me that I really do have a flashlight on my cellphone. I am ok but feel as if a truck ran over me.

    It had cooled off so much that my furnace came on in the middle of the night.

    For bargains, I am buying 8 boxes of Breton crackers for $1.47 each (usually $2.50 on sale) from Safeway, plus a big package of lean ground beef. A 2 kg box of avocadoes for $8.99 (I’ll split it with a friend). I’m going to buy some boursin cheese to get a free container of laughing cow red bean and cheese spread. A big bottle of Heinz ketchup for $2.97. And I’m saving electricity by giving up cooking. I’ll have a rotisserie chicken instead.

    A friend is volunteering giving out school lunches during the holiday so I mentioned to her that Safeway has boxes of Compliments granola bars on sale for $1.47.

    I bought a dress for $39.99 regular $89.99 from London Drugs (made in Canada, not China).

    1. What a time you have had! Very glad that the nurse convinced you to go to the hospital – better to be safe than sorry. I hope that you are feeling better now and that the cooler temperatures will help. Take care.

      1. thanks Margie. I still have repairs to be done to the house. I didn’t dare not go to the hospital. I still feel as if I’ve been run over by a truck but getting better.

    2. Anne, prayers that you are restored to good health soon! I wonder if the incessant alarm had anything to do with it? Sounds like you did get some good deals. It always brightens my day when I see you post. 😊

  52. When I was head custodian of the church and daycare, we were told to only have the AC 10 degrees cooler than the outside because a “big” change in temp could negatively affect children. The daycare was in the basement so it was either the coolest in the summer or warmest in the winter. Cafeteria was a nightmare. We took the meals to the basement.
    I don’t run the AC until it’s 83-85 in the house. Or Wilbur our 13 yr old boxer starts panting hard. We set it at 78. It gets turned off at night unless we can’t open windows due to storms. Past week it was still 90 at bedtime so it stayed on.
    I turned down our electric company for allowing them to control our electric. Never made sense to me. I do my laundry in the morning or late at night. Dishwasher is ran early morning or late at night. Our electric according to the company is about 1/2 of what they consider normal usage to begin with.
    I need bigger ceiling fans LOL.
    We got some great deals yesterday at Menards. Hubby was replacing his socket set and drill set while I checked out canning and cleaning supplies. Zip on canning… no lids (I do not need them but checked for others) no wide mouth pint or quart jars and few regular mouth pints or quarts. I found a replacement dust mop. I have been using Son 2’s that is now 8 yrs old. The extension handle won’t stay up so I am “moving” it upstairs to clean the low wood ceilings and got a new one for the floors. It works perfect for the ceilings and walls that are all wood. I found bacon for half the price of grocery store. It’s was in the freezer section. I found raspberry jam 24 ounces for $3…. our raspberries are not making (unlike the blackberries that are running me over) and now one has any extra to sell. So I figured no jam or pie filling or frozen raspberries this year. Red raspberries are selling for $9-12/ lb. I just am not paying that price. I bought 3 jars…. we can have some every 4 months.

    I found cherries for $6 off a pound paying $1.25/ lb.

    I am working on resetting the budget with the closing of the refinance of the home. We set our goals for projects to be done. Cement for the basement ramp/entrance walls will be delivered Friday. we saved 20% on having it delivered premade than buying it to make and 50% on labor. So the total project is coming in under budget by 65% as Hubby did the clean up by himself.
    Blessed be everyone

    1. I just read about the raspberry farmers in the Pacific Northwest having their berries burn (like they do here) and those that make it are tiny (like here) because they having our same temperatures there. I have not had any success with growing them here because the canes just burn and die.

      I agree with acclimatizing and see no need to make it in the 60’s in the house (that’s where it is during the winter!) but if I were to set the thermostat only 10 degrees cooler today I would have to set it to 104 in the house because it is 114 here today. It was 91 at 4 a.m. That’s too hot!

      1. I just read that the orchards in B.C. had major problems because of the heat — the cherries and blueberries were “cooked” while still on the plant. Other fruits, too. What a disaster!

  53. My heart goes out to all dealing with the recent extreme heat. We live at about 3200 elevation so 80 is a really hot day for us and it always gets down to the 50s or so at night so we have no need for air conditioning. So interesting to hear how other people live and to realize that there are some commonalities to the frugal life – when a need arises, you get creative and save elsewhere and things work out. Hope you all get some relief soon!
    I have noticed gas prices rising slowly here ($3/gallon.) We live in a very rural area so, if we go anywhere, it is a minimum 30 minute drive. We love it and wouldn’t have it any other way but we do plan your trips out into the world to make it worthwhile. I took my boys and 2 of their friends to a lake yesterday to fish and swim and we had a great time with no money spent but the gas. My oldest son, who never meets a stranger, struck up a conversation with a gentleman originally from Essex in England. He was very kind with offering fishing advice and gave my son a couple of lures as he left. He told me old fishermen like himself like to help young people interested in the sport. He said, “If a lad likes to fish, he will stay out of trouble.” I loved that!
    My children have continued to do their job of yard maintenance for my parents and donating their pay to the upcoming vaccines and spay of the kitten we rescued 2 weeks ago. I am so glad they came up with the idea and have been following through with their goal. And we have all enjoyed having this little ball of energy bouncing around the house. She is so silly!
    The chargers for our electric fences which protect our bees and our chickens have been giving us trouble and not working properly. With the predator possibilities where we live, it is something we must correct and are working on that – hopefully without spending a ton of money.
    Our garden is really coming in and we continue to harvest Swiss chard, several varieties of lettuce, summer squash, strawberries, black raspberries, herbs and more. Our carrots, onions and potatoes are doing well. We grow pumpkins and corn at our neighbor’s house as it was originally a pet project with my children and our neighbor and we enjoy doing it with her. My children sell the pumpkins in the Fall and have made around $100 on average per season without really doing more than selling to neighbors word-of-mouth. It is a fun project for all of us and promotes good times together.
    I continue to be the very fortunate recipient of plant cuttings and divisions from friends and neighbors and am enjoying tucking them here and there in the various gardens I am creating. I love a kind of wild mountain version of an English garden and am fortunate to have so many native things blooming all season long. The milkweed is just blooming now and I love to see the butterflies flock to it. I read a fun book a while back that speaks to this aesthetic – “A Gentle Plea for Chaos – Reflections from an English Garden” by Mirabel Osler. She especially promotes country gardens looking like country gardens – a bit messy, not so controlled, etc. which is right up my alley. A fun read, if you enjoy garden books.
    I enjoy reading everyone’s strategies for living their best lives. Thank you all for always being so generous with your stories and suggestions.

    1. We won’t see those temperatures until November here. It’s going to be 116 this week; it’s 114 today and was 91 when I was up before 4 a.m., so even at night we have to run the air conditioner.

      Gas is $3.50 a gallon at Sam’s Club, and they’re usually $0.25 cheaper per gallon than most places around us. I heard gas is going to go up again this week.

      The pumpkin selling is a wonderful idea! I was thrilled to be able to grow two pumpkins last year, but to have enough to sell would be wonderful! If mine do well I plan to make pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie this winter.

      I like both English gardens and also more formal French and Italian gardens. I have limited space in which to grow, so I keep things fairly formal, but allow some wildness within the beds themselves. Because I have to water on drip irrigation, I can also easily make things formal, as the drip irrigation emitters are already 6 inches apart.

        1. Anne – Yes. It makes me cross-eyed. Thank goodness neither of us is driving very much at this point (we both work from home).

  54. I can’t say it has been an overly frugal week as we had company all week. This morning I took advantage of Wilderness Wednesday( free admission to Kananaskis mountain park) on the first Wed of each month-this saved me the cost of the 1 day $15 admission fee. I was hoping to see bears but instead I saw a wolf which was totally unexpected. Also deer, bighorn sheep etc.

    I had planned to go to Vancouver this week for a little getaway-but as I have been having back issues my physio advised against the 11 hour car ride. So I guess things will be pretty frugal just staying at home and resting. Hope everyone has a good and frugal week.

    1. Thanks for mentioning about Wilderness Wednesdays — I had not looked into that or heard of it yet. Kananaskis is my favourite place and you are so lucky to have seen a wolf! I don’t yet have a way to go there but I am hping to get out as soon as 3 weeks pass after Pfizer#2.

  55. One of the most pleasant and frugal things we did this week was stay home when we thought of going out. On that day it rained, a gentle warm rain. And we had a double rainbow! It was absolutely beautiful. My husband played the song from our first dance at our wedding and we danced to it in the rain! We had a rainbow on our wedding day as well, almost 11 years ago. We also took pictures of the rainbow and of us in front of the rainbow! It was a lovely frugal time! We were so happy that we did not go out for dinner that night! We have also seen deer , foxes, raccoons, rabbits, squirrels and some beautiful birds including cardinals this week. We are still gardening. Our tomatoes and peppers are not doing as well as last year. We still don’t have them in the ground. They grew so much better last year. I am hopeful that we will still get some tomatoes. We continue to cook at home. My husband packs a lunch to go to work. I love using the internet for entertainment and information.

    1. Forgot to mention that we ate mostly veggies and beans for almost every meal. My husband made a quiche one day with what we had on hand instead of going out to breakfast for quiche and it was excellent! I made soup several days and used some frozen soup another day. Bought food and cooked for family instead of going out. My grandson has requested I make a vanilla cake with vanilla frosting for his birthday coming up. My granddaughter put her request in as well. I told her I would ask her when it comes closer just to make sure she wants the same thing. I trying to use what needs used first before making other things for meals. I’m blessed that I have a husband that is not picky. So I can cook about anything. I know he has some favorites though. I am cooking chicken to make chicken salad rather than buy sandwich meat for my husbands lunches this week. I will probably also make tuna and egg salad as well.

  56. We’ve had very hot weather lately but nothing like you, Brandy. We have had some thunderstorms and hail and now for the next 2 days it will be in the mid ’60’s and raining – then back to the mid 70’s for a stretch. Luckily, when the hot weather arrived, we escaped the city to our cottage on the Great Lakes. It was considerable cooker there which is a good thing since we don’t have AC up there. Here in the city, when the house gets to be about 80*f inside I turn on the AC both downstairs and upstairs and run it overnight. That’s usually about 8pm to about 7am so not too long. And it helps control the moisture in the house as well.
    Being at the cottage was fun for a few days but, oh my, the mosquitoes are huge and travel in massive hoards this year. There wasn’t a lot of time spent around bonfires. I had saved the bacon grease and paper egg cartons to make fire starters with. We didn’t let off fireworks on Canada Day this year being mindful of the Residential Schools issue. We waited for a day or so and gathered with cottage neighbours who each contributed to the display. And we had no special menu planned for the day either. I had made pizza dough to take with us and made a usual pizza with pepperoni, green olives, red pepper, onions and cheese plus another pizza with pesto (home made) sliced pear, carmelized onion and gorgonzola cheese. I had gone through our chest freezer before heading north and discovered a package of frozen lobster meat from last years celebrations. I took that North and we had lobster rolls and salad one night for supper. It felt terribly decadent. My youngest DS and his GF brought up steaks and all the sides as well as various libations. And he has learned to take his sheets, towels etc. home and launder them himself rather than leave it to me to do. I guess having a steady GF is a good influence and he wants to keep her around. (she is delightful and we’d like her to stick around as well)
    My garden is doing ok but not great. The lettuces are producing and I’ve picked several times. The zucchini are blooming but I see no sign of setting fruit, the same with the cucumber plants. I had to replant beans and this time they are coming up, the tomatoes are blooming and I see some signs of fruits . The lavender is blooming now and looks and smells fabulous. Meanwhile most herbs are going gang busters except the dill that seems to mostly have died off and there was only 1 swallowtail caterpillar eating the remaining plant. I have heard the gypsy moth invasion this year is killing off our swallowtails.
    Last week I was amused by how many men were excited to get haircuts. That included my DH and the youngest DS. The DS is a reporter and his hair hadn’t been cut in 10 months; he looks like a new man now.
    DH has had a sore hip for weeks. He is on special medication that he had to stop taking in order to get his second Covid vaccine. Now he just has to wait another 2 weeks and then can go back on the medicine. Then, both he and I will get a decent nights sleep. All the people in my family who are eligible have now had both doses of vaccines. But we are continuing to be extra careful with masks etc. due to the Delta variant.
    I made freezer strawberry and freezer strawberry/rhubarb jam and will probably only do raspberry jam next. If I can get any zucchini I’ll make more relish and maybe I’ll do some pickled beets later in the Fall.
    I did manage to dry several loads of laundry on my back deck over a portable drying rack and the patio table chairs. My neighbours think I’m nuts but I love to do as many loads as I can especially sheets and towels.
    I’m feeling a bit in a rut for making menus but will force myself to go through the freezer and pantry and make lists of all the meals I could make. I’m sure we all feel like this sometimes when trying to decide what’s for supper every single day feels like an unwelcome chore.
    I did make both blueberry muffins and bran muffins with dried cranberries as well as two kinds of cookies recently. I just used a basic chocolate chip recipe but substituted Smarties (M&M”S) for the choc chips in one recipe and for the other I used less chips and then stuck a mini Rolo on top of each cookie.
    Has anyone noticed how tasteless the Watermelons have been? I haven’t found a good one for so long. Maybe it’s just what is getting shipped to Southern Ontario but…yuck….
    I’m waiting for my doctor to call me with results of blood tests as well as an ECG she ordered and I’m not sure why that was ordered.
    A neighbour of mine and I are trading/sharing books rather than us both buying the same ones. I have our bookclub lists for the upcoming year and have order a few so far. And I just ordered a couple of games for the DS’s upcoming birthday and a book to match one of the games. They are board game type things as we do like to get together. There were several games of Catan played last weekend.
    Now I’m soaking dried beans to make baked beans for both supper and the freezer and I have a request from DH for more muffins. Guess I’d better get to it soon.
    I’m envious of the USA prices for butter and eggs and milk. we never, ever see prices that low.
    Take care everyone.

  57. Here in Louisiana we use workable shutters to try to keep the some heat out of the house and help with the air conditioning. Is it possible for you to use outside shutters that you could close when the sun is shining on that side of the house or when the heat is especially intense? Perhaps you could use the shutters on the windows of the children’s bedrooms while they are busy with school or other activities. We use regular workable shutters on many windows and we also have bermuda/bahama shutters on bathroom windows downstairs and upstairs bedroom windows which let some light in but prevent the sun from shining on the windows. They are the shutters that hang from the top of a window and are propped out at an angle at the bottom of the window by a rod.

    We have high temperatures and high humidity in Louisiana but not the temperature extremes that you have in Nevada. The shutters have really helped our electric bill.

    1. Our last house had solar screens that darken the rooms and some people here install plantation shutters inside (which are rather expensive). Personally, I found them to be very dark and depressing. I really like natural light. We have curtains in the bedrooms that are closed during the day, the kitchen is in the middle of the house with no windows in it, the library has two tiny windows and curtains that are often closed (the children close them), and the living room has really good double-paned windows that we installed before we moved in.

      Our electricity use usually comes in as less than other people near us with the same size and age house nearby, according to the charts that the electric company mails out.

      1. About 5 years ago we had argon double pane windows installed. Expensive but so worth it. We are rural with no close neighbors. The only window with a blind is our bedroom. Sun shines in the window but not the heat. Can stand in the sunshine and feel NO heat!

  58. I meant to mention that unfortunately I will not be having any sour cherries this year. I will have a few pears — after
    thinning them out some are growing well but some have stems that are turning dark brown and withering. They did not like the heat. The apricot tree that was half eaten by a deer is thriving. An azalea (Northern Lights variety) that had a lot of winter kill is making a great comeback. Fortunately, we’ve had quite a bit of rain this week (I could do without the lightning though).

    There is a very beautiful peony that just came into bloom. I had planted 4 Itoh yellow peonies in the backyard and they have finally got buds on them. One is opened and the pale yellow is exquisite against the dark background.
    It has been a great summer for butterflies — it was unusual because none of the swallowtails were landing and basking for about a month. Finally about a week ago one landed right in front of me and I got a lovely photo.

    I read that the intense heat is thought to have killed off a million sea creatures offshore of Vancouver Island. What a disaster!

  59. Hi Brandy – May I ask you whether any of your young children have ever gotten the Zenni Optical glasses? My first time with a 4 year old who needs glasses! I am looking at their flexible glasses with the strap in back and was just curious whether you’d ever tried Zenni with young children. Many thanks!

    1. I have never had a child that young need glasses yet. So far they have all been fine until they are older, so I haven’t bought that kind. I would certainly try them, though!

  60. Hello friends! Let’s see what we accomplished this week….
    The horrific heatwave has passed here in the Pacific Northwest, so my A/C has had a break thank goodness. Overnight temps have been in the high 50s and low 60s so I open all my windows when I go to bed and it makes the house feel so lovely. I have been watering my garden early so that it can soak before the sun heats up and causes evaporation. My little tomatoes are blowing up and the big ones are starting to grow too. I have been sharing them with neighbors and they share their different produce with me as well!
    I made a couscous salad today to use for lunches for the next few days. I used carrots and cucumbers from my garden! It just made me so so happy. Food I grow myself just tastes so much better. The chicken stock I used to cook the couscous was stock I had made from scratch with a chicken my mom had brought over and stashed in my freezer.
    I drank primarily water. I rarely buy anything to drink and overtime it saves so much money.
    I repotted some of my plants that needed different size pots. That isn’t necessarily frugal but my houseplants (well all my plants, inside and out) make me very happy. I had taken cuttings from a few and they successfully grew roots in water so I was delighted to put them in proper pots and now I have three more plants to add greenery to my living space. Along those lines, I have a brita filter that I use specifically for my houseplants (I’m happy to drink my tap water). My parents moved and no longer use their brita pitcher so they dropped off the extra filters they had so I won’t have to buy any for over a year.
    For dinner I ate the last of my leftovers from the week. My fridge is looking pretty bare and that makes me happy! It means I used up all the odds and ends, nothing went to waste. I like to use it all up before I buy anything new.
    My mom is coming to stay over tomorrow night and will bring ingredients to make dinner for us. I am very excited to have that extended time with her as she is really my very best friend. We will cook dinner together, watch Netflix, and just enjoy our time together. My dogs will love the extra spoiling attention too.
    Thank you all again for being such a wonderfully kind and supportive place to visit regularly. This website and all the comments bring me such joy every single week and I really look forward to all the knowledge that I can glean from all of you.

    1. Thank you for reminding me to make tabouli. I am the only one who likes it but all I want right now is cold food and I will enjoy it!

  61. I have been reading your blog for years, Brandy, but am a very infrequent commenter. I wanted to comment this go-round, though, because I haven’t seen many people talking about used cars. A few months ago, my husband was telling me that new and used car prices were skyrocketing here in the States. People were returning to work, and there was also a shortage of semiconductor computer chips that are used in vehicles. He had done some research online and thought we might make about $4,000 selling our 2010 Mazda. We used to be a two-car household – he had a 1-hour commute to work for several years. He has been working from home since a few months before the pandemic, and his newer hatchback has mostly sat in the garage for the last two years. Fast-forward two months and several hours of deep cleaning and polishing, and we sold the Mazda today, after listing it just two days ago, for $6,000. I was astonished. It’s going off to college with a very nice young man, and I hope he gets many years of use from it. We are so thankful for such an extraordinary windfall. The computer chip shortage is expected to last for years, so we will be taking *especially* good care of the hatchback from now on 😉
    Other than that, we’ve just been up to our usual frugal habits. I like to compare food prices here to what your readers post from other areas, so I will just add that here in the Florida Panhandle, eggs are $1.24 a dozen, spaghetti was “on sale” (ha) at 82 cents per pound, and I can no longer find meat for less than $1.79/pound unless it’s been marked down for being too close to its sell-by date. I was able to get a 14-pound ham shoulder for $1.29/pound right after the 4th, and the Magic of the Crock Pot has transformed it into pulled pork for BBQ sandwiches, burritos, and more. I don’t buy these personally anymore, but I was surprised to see during that grocery trip that plain bagels are up to $3.24/6, Sara Lee bread is $2.68/loaf, and pre-packaged store-brand lunch meat is now $4.98/pound. Holy smokes! Time to double down my efforts on my kids’ “home ec” lessons 😉

    1. The prices are like that all over for used cars. How wonderful that you were able to get more for your old car!

    2. Our daughter needed a new vehicle, especially since she at times travels 3-4 hours to and from wedding venues alone. She wanted a Subaru – the cost of a brand new vehicle with all the extras (free oil changes as long as she owns it, better warranty, road side coverage) was only a $900 difference and her payments are cheaper on the new vehicle than if she had gone with used. She also got a whole lot more for her trade in than we thought the car was worth. Also, going in on the last business day of the month and with her Dad (who has sold used cars before so knows what the markups are like) probably helped get the deal as well.

  62. I really enjoyed everyone’s posts this week. We are also experiencing a heatwave here in Norway. The temperatures go as high as 34C /92F also very high up north. It may not sound like much, but remember that we don’t have night right now, so the experience gets a little intense. My husband got a heat bite last week and was nauseous and had to lay in a dark room. It is not so easy to get really dark room when you also have to make a draft to create cool effect. I was so worried, but somewhere I read that the heat pump can also be used for cooling. So it’s like AC! I started clicking on the programs and it worked! I could cool the house(I only cooled one room) down AND keep all sorts of blankets over the windows for darkness!!! I loved it! My hubby got better the next day and now is all right again!
    We have lots of rain and heat, so the garden should be jumping, but my local varieties seem to be discouraged by the heat. However, the berries are doing amazing!! This week we had tons of strawberries from the garden. My currant bushes are bending under the weight of ripe fruit. I have red, black and yellow currants. Red and yellow are very sweet this summer. Wild blueberries are ripening in the forest, many being ready. My Kamchatka Blueberry bush still produces in the garden, which is exceptional.
    This is also the time for us to go after the wild picks. My husband already picked and dried a yearly supply of st John’s Worth, which he uses to curb that winter blues. I have a good stash of yarrow (one of my favourites! I hope you try it Brandy!) and Horstail secured. Just today we went for a walk to the bog near by to see if cloudberries are already ripe (they aren’t). On the way we picked enough chanterelles and blueberries to make a nice supper of butter fried chanterelles on slices of bread and then some yoghurt with blueberries and agave syrup, mniam! After jumping in the bog (the wet carpet of moss), we went to wash ourselves in the sea. I am determined that this will be an awesome summer and it will cost us nothing.
    A few small wins: * I mended a set of bedsheets for my older boy. * I got some nice and cheap system for hanging the curtains. I still didn’t manage to sew curtains for downstairs which is ridiculous! This is my number one goal for the coming week. I will come back here next week and brag about sewing new curtains for my house! * I gave my fridge a good clean up, which resulted in couple of less exciting, but good enough meals. I didn’t expect that surplus (we are less hungry with the heat, I guess), so I now have a few meals from the meal plan ready to go (I will skip one trip to the shop).
    *I went to buy materials for our art curriculum(Artistic Pursuits) and was surprised to see everything on a discount in my craft store. I bought all on my list at -30% or -50% and (and this is what was best) I managed not to buy anything which was not on my list!!! I don’t know how I did it, but I feel nice about it.

    1. What a great idea about cooling the house! I never thought about the heat and it not cooling down at night. If it is any consolation to you, your high is our current night-time temperature. It will be 47 C here tomorrow. My poor plants are burning and it looks like I have lost four trees, and may lose more. Three are looking stressed.

      The yarrow has not come up; it may have dried up/cooked in this heat. I only planted a few seeds because of the heat, just to test it.

      I have had curtains for my bedroom on my to-do list for 15 years. I finally stopped posting my goal list (haha) because it was embarrassing. I had hoped to be done in the garden by now and working on them this year, but we’re still working outside.

      1. Thank you for saying this, Brandy! Those curtains give me a major bad conscience, especially since my husband asked me to sew them and he doesn’t always care for such things.
        The heatwave here was just a curiosity. A strange week so as to include us in the global struggle. However, when we take our yearly walk to the glacier, we see that this is no joke. It literally disappears in front of our eyes.
        We watched a program about the heatwave in North America and one place that they mentioned was Lake Mead. It made me think of you so very much! You have no idea what influence you had on my life! Isn’t that strange? Thank you.

        1. It’s odd; Lake Mead is the largest reservoir, so it is a concern. The more I read about the other reservoirs in the western U.S., though, the more our situation in our city looks better than the others. We have had permanent drought restrictions for 20 years. We reclaim 90% of the water we use and recycle it. We just passed laws to get rid of all median grass, and front-yard grass in new homes was outlawed years ago. Water-saving is normal here for most people. We’re not trying to hurry up and make up for what should have been done years ago like other places, because we already did. I think it will serve us well in the long run.

          Our electric company also just built three huge solar farms to supply us with electricity.

  63. Brandy,
    Just saw your instagram garden photo, comparing the area to last year! It looks so beautiful and so much better! What a great design, reminds me of European gardens where everywhere you look there is something interesting to see.

  64. Brandy, We are trying to drop cable, which is hugely expensive, and still get some of our favorite shows through various methods, usually cheap streaming services, if we can. We have hit an impasse with my favorite PBS shows. I have heard you speak of getting them another way, but I can’t now remember how you did it. We live in So Cal and there are a number of different PBS stations in the different counties. Can you give me any advice on how you are doing it? And are you only able to get one PBS station or more than one?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Pbs. org when the shows are new. When the shows come out, you can watch online the day after it airs for three weeks per episode.

  65. 110 degrees fahrenheit with 70% humidity is our normal in summer. We line dry everything all year round (no dryer), avoid west facing rooms and places in the afternoon and seek out breezes, use bamboo or cotton sheets, don’t open the fridge often, don’t run the oven often, keep the TV off (heat from screen), go out early morning or late afternoon only, eats lots of salads, fruits and yoghurts, have backyard dinner barbeques often, cool floor surfaces with not much carpet/mats/rugs, cross ventilation, cool inside house colors as opposed to a warm interior which makes you feel hotter. Our hose and taps run boiling hot when they are set to cold but we just fill our water bottles up early AM and keep them on the bench year round. Dry sand at the beach burns your feet and slippery slides and swing seats burn the childrens bums. Leather car seats will also burn you so we have fabric seats. The metal of the seatbelt must not touch your body or it too will burn you. Cars heat up quickly, so we don’t buy dark coloured cars as they heat up faster.

    We are frequently in a drought so plants need to be tough to survive. We can’t afford to water them often as water costs a lot of money.

    We don’t have air-conditioning or ceiling fans. I frequent the library in the middle of a very very hot and humid day as it’s lovely and air-conditioned. My children and I spend a few hours there reading books and chilling out together.

      1. Australia ⭐!

        I always type out my posts and change jewellery to jewelry, degrees celcius to fahrenheit, kilograms to pounds etc. Love following along here and learning.

  66. Here in the humid subtropics, we just open the windows, stick box fans in them, and get air moving through the house– blowing in one end and out the other. Last electric bill was $86 Not sure that would work at 116F, but it’s OK at 95F and 90% humidity, here. You can’t do it if you’ve acclimated to A/C though. We made the decision (once again– we re-evaluate each year) just as spring was ramping up into summer and getting really uncomfortable: there are advantages beyond just saving on the electric bill: it’s easier for the kids to play outside (they don’t come whining back after five minutes going *I’m sooooo hoooot!*– instead they just come in, chug water, and go back out again). When the kids are outside and I’m not, I don’t spend all my time worrying about them, because the windows are open and I can hear their voices. The house smells better– it never has a chance to get stuffy (and this is big, because the place was previously inhabited by serious smokers, and when it’s closed up that nicotine smell kind of exhales from the walls). And it may be my imagination, but I think we all suffer less from colds and stuffy noses when the windows are kept open. It just seems healthier. The first summer in this house, we ran the A/C because we had a new baby, and just couldn’t *not* do it. Now… it’s not always comfortable, but we keep ice in the freezer for drinks, the well water is always cool, and we take cold showers before bed. It works, and it saves us a bundle.

    1. That’s what my grandmother did. Once it gets this hot, though, that’s just too dangerous. It was 119 here on Saturday.

      1. I apologize if this is coming through as a reply on someone’s comment; I’m too “out of it” to figure this out right now! First, Happy Anniversary, Brandy! You guys have built such a lovely life and family together 🙂
        So this isn’t so much a saving money post as a suggestion seeking post. Despite the three of us eligible for vaccines being fully vaccinated for months, all five of us came down with Covid last week, and it is brutal (at least for the grown-ups). After several days in bed we are finally “coming to.” Books are too much of a mental stretch right now, but I would love any children’s audiobook suggestions and also grown-up movie/tv show suggestions, because we are getting bored pretty fast! We’ve loved Poldark and Downton Abbey in the past. My sister-in-law suggested Home Fires, and we are loving that. But we are going to be quarantined for a bit longer and need something to get our minds off of things in-between shots of NyQuil 😉

        1. Foyle’s War! I think Amazon Prime has it, but if not, you should be able to find it somewhere. There are several seasons.

          Charlotte’s Web, read by the author, is a beautiful audiobook.

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