I ran drip irrigation lines in the garden.

I replanted roses in the garden that I dug before. I also replanted some small bushes that I had previously grown in the garden by tip layering. I dug them and potted them in the fall when we tore up the garden, and I was able to replant them in a new spot.

I sowed seeds in the garden for butternut squash and Swiss chard.

I picked blackberries from the garden. I also cut parsley from the garden, and the last few leaves of Swiss chard from last year’s plants.

I am carefully watching our electrical usage. The children forget to turn off fans when they leave the room, so I am reminding them and turning them off as I see them. It was 109 on Thursday, and even the pre-dawn morning hours are hot now (low of 86F/30C at 4 .m.).

I marked on my shopping lists for Winco and Sam’s Club what I will need for the month of June. It’s not a lot of items, so I can fill in with sales. Winco doesn’t have ads, so any sales are just once you get to the store, and they don’t always last the same day (I’ve found some deals in the morning in produce that were gone when my mom returned that afternoon).

I went to Winco with my list and an open mind for any additional items. I found broccoli crowns on sale for $0.99 a pound, cucumbers for $0.28 each (an amazing price! Usually, they are $0.79 each anywhere and sales take them only down to $0.50 each, so I rarely buy them and usually wait for mine to be ready in the garden), and the store brand of sour cream (which I usually buy for $1.18, which is lower than anywhere else) marked down to $0.55 each! I bought around a dozen as I can use them in many things, and they will stay good months past the sell-by date, which is soon (and why I’m sure they were marked down). I spent a total of $95 and had a large amount of food when I was done. This leaves me $205 for the rest of the month, which I’ll split between a few items at Sam’s Club and sale items at the grocery stores.

I read another Jennifer Ryan book (the author of The Kitchen Front), this time as an e-book from the library: The Spies of Shilling Lane. I have requested her other novel from the library, The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir. The Libby app lets you read a preview of the book, so I had a head start on it. (It let me read 7 chapters of The Spies of Shilling Lane before it was available). By Sunday, the book was ready, and I read it right away. I’m glad that I can do early returns, so that those who are waiting can get the book early, too!

Angel Face Roses

I took cuttings from my mint and decorative sweet potato vines and put them in water to root to make more plants. These will be planted in the garden. The sweet potato vines rooted in two days!

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. Based on everyone’s recommendations, I also checked out The Kitchen Front from the library and am enjoying it!
    On a hot day this week, I decided to get the binding done on the queen size (78” x 92”) vintage quilt. The quilt top was found at a sale and gifted to me. It was hand sewn and heralds back to a “Use it Up, Make it Do” era with some of the tiniest scraps used to piece it together. I machine quilted it with my longarm Lenni and backed it with a dusty rose fabric. https://pin.it/6ySyX9f , https://pin.it/3RSgKJG. It’s so fun looking at all the tiny vintage pieces of fabric!! https://pin.it/7PR5xPk.

    Needed something different to do another afternoon so I made this Japanese knot bag out of some scraps! https://pin.it/2rOom79. Here is the link to the free pattern and tutorial : https://pin.it/6QYVB9X.

    I saw this free quilt pattern online and decided to make it to use up some of my huge volume of red scraps. https://pin.it/65YOj2S

    In addition to the 4 dozen eggs our chickens gave us this week, they also surprised us with this “monster” egg: https://pin.it/7yNP2T9! I’m thinking it may be a double yolker!!

    I got 5 pounds of Kroger butter for $1.77/pound using a Kroger digital coupon. Taking advantage of their sale prices on butter, I’ve not had to pay over $1.99/pound for butter in the past 16 months and I’ve been able to keep about 20 pounds in my fridge and freezer that I rotate through.
    I “re-created” a dessert we tried in a restaurant. We made ours using apple pie filling (home canned) and cream cheese mixed together and used as tortilla filling. Tortilla was then folded like a burrito and dipped in hot oil. After it came out of oil, I dipped it into a bowl of homemade cinnamon sugar! Oh my goodness!! Just delicious !!! https://pin.it/25WGlY2 and https://pin.it/Wwx4tL1

    It has been over 60 days since we opened our BofA checking account and made the required dollar amount of direct deposits during that time, so we earned our $300 promotion from them! That’s been exciting to add that money to our savings as well as compare features of this checking account with our home checking account.
    We were able to file for the “Homestead Exemption” on our property taxes for the coming year. This is the first year that our retirement income qualifies. It will mean a tax reduction of about $500! We are pleased since our home’s assessed valuation and taxes have gone up considerably in the past 2 years!
    Made more breakfast choices in bulk- Bacon, egg and cheese biscuits and blueberry cheesecake muffins for easy grab and go breakfasts.

    Life is full of opportunities and we are amazed at the possibilities!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. You can take pizza dough and layer it with cream cheese and pie filling and fold in half for a “dessert” calzone . Bake like you would a pizza. My kids used to do the same with tortilla wraps but just warm it in the microwave for their snacks.

  2. What lovely flower pictures!!!
    I have not posted for a month, so I did kind of a catchup on my blog here:
    Among things, I made a plastic canvas tray for my dehydrator, made back packing food, read a history blog, attended my daughter’s string quartet recital, picked strawberries, raspberries from our garden, and flowers also from the garden. May is a beautiful month for flowers!

    Writing from Chattanooga Tennessee. Looking forward to reading what everyone is up to!

  3. Brandy, I used to have a sweet potato vine a few years ago and miss it, but I can’t remember how I got it. Did you have to purchase your first one, or did you sprout a potato, or what? Thanks for the constant help in my garden.

    1. I bought two; one in a light green and one in a dark purple. You can sprout a sweet potato if you want to as well. Mine is grown for the leaves and doesn’t make potatoes.

      1. I bought a sweet potato vine last year to add to a planter. After the first frost, I was surprised to find a small sweet potato growing when I removed the dead plant! In past years, they hadn’t done that. Garden surprises are one of my very favorite things, LOL!

        1. I discovered that a few years ago and now I just take them into the basement to dry and then come spring I either plant the potato or put the starts in water to root and don’t have to buy the 4 plants I need for my pots🙂

  4. Gardenpat….I love reading your post just as much as Brandy’s! I look for you every Tuesday am. I love bank rewards and am going to try to earn $1000 this year. I don’t have a kroger near me…but am staying with a friend who does. Going to try to figure out your butter price and get as much as I can to take home. I’ve been paying closer to $3. Thanks ladies!

  5. My big savings fund for the week was cheap all-purpose flour. Our local grocery outlet had boxes of pre-measured flour (6 one cup pouches per box) in 1.6 lb boxes that were 6 boxes for 98¢! A case of 6 boxes for 98¢ means I got almost 9 1/2 lbs of flour for just under a dollar. I don’t have a ton of storage space and didn’t really need flour right now but couldn’t pass it up! Also picked up a couple cases for a friend.

  6. Hello Everyone!
    I particularly love your photos this week Brandy. The flowers and book are charming!

    I currently have a clothesline full of mint and lemon balm drying on my clothesline. I’ll use the dried herbs for teas. Today I should probably add sage and oregano which are ready as well. My daughter enjoys doing this with me. It looks quite beautiful and rustic.

    My berries are beginning to burst. My daughter and I will make a mixed berry jam today from boysenberries, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries from our garden. It’s time to rev up the canner this year.

    I found a new recipe online for a lamb shawarma soup https://www.recipetineats.com/lamb-shawarma-chickpea-soup/ . It was a big hit last night! I made some savory whole wheat dosas to accompany the soup. They were so-so. Perhaps I’ll try naan bread next time. I just didn’t have plain yogurt.

    I’m hardening off some perennials I started. They seem to be slower growers compared to veggies. Broccoli grew so well while my cauliflower was a bust. Not sure why? I’m finding I need more room for all my plant projects! 😆 This week we used carrots, zucchini, Swiss chard, berries from the garden. Last week I thinned plums.

    Now that my kids are on summer break their weekly cooking lessons will resume. They each choose a dinner, check the pantry for ingredients, write what’s needed on the list, and cook. I’m nearby to help as needed. They’re so proud of their meals! They even add garnishes to make dinner beautiful. I think this year I’ll add comparison shopping to this. We’ll preview the adds together and shop. Necessary skills!

    Have a blessed and beautiful week! 🌻

    1. Julie I did these cooking lessons with my youngest daughter as well. I took it one step further and had her plan a meal first. Then I taught her to ‘shop’ my pantry and freezer or the sales ads to find the ingredients required. I gave her good incentive too. I offered her $10 per meal with every penny she saved as her own money. She got very savvy with recipe substitutions, quickly learned to ask ‘how much did you pay for diced tomatoes? Can I buy a can from you?” etc as she made meals too. She soon had meal costs down to about $4 for 4 servings and sometimes well under that. She got quite smart with those lessons and now runs a tight budget in her own home but pretty much eats what she likes because she learned how to afford it all.

    2. Julie thank you for the soup recipe link. I’m always on the lookout for unusual soups as I eat them 9 months of the year!

  7. I’m glad you were able to take advantage of some good sales at Winco. I’m trying to root a few tomato stems that broke off when training them through the cage wire. Our first blackberry will be ripe any day, and I enjoyed the first raspberry yesterday. Sprouts are popping up in our new asparagus bed. Vegetable broth was canned, and hummingbird food and yogurt were made. Onions, parsley, celery, asparagus, broccoli, oregano were harvested, and lambs quarter was foraged twice. Enough lambs quarter was blanched and frozen for three meals. I used a portion of my amazon credit to watch the movie Far From the Tree, which I really enjoyed. Library books were enjoyed. The company canceled our a/c order without letting us know, but thankfully my husband found a unit through another company for $200-$300 more, but we’ll take it at this point. He’s picking it up as I type. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2021/06/a-couple-of-plant-based-recipes-to-share.html

  8. I love your photos Brandy – such beautiful pinks!
    It has been very hot and humid here – over 30C and I do find that just saps my energy. I try to walk in the mornings and then stay in with the fans running in the afternoon. My work is flexible so I can sit at the computer and do the less physical work when it’s too hot to be outdoors.
    I paid all the bills online with a quadruple payment above the minimum to the small CC and another chunk off the amount owed for the deduction error at the office. There isn’t a lot left for this month but then there still isn’t much to do! I added more money to my transit pass so that amount is building nicely and managed to pay about $150 extra to the large CC bill.
    I don’t need a lot this month – once again groceries are mostly for fresh produce & dairy. I don’t eat a lot of bread so what is in the freezer will last for another week or two. I have started to replenish canned items for my pantry – last week it was baked beans and sliced peaches. I also took a look at my shelf containing condiments, sauces and pickles and noted that it is getting a bit empty so those items have gone onto my list – but I’ll look for sales or loyalty point offers first. I did spend $20 of Loyalty Points for some over the counter meds. I am running low in a few areas so I’d like to ensure that I’m restocked for a good bit ahead before cold & flu season returns and these items might be in short supply.
    Non-essential stores can reopen this coming Friday so I may look at buying some white sneakers – I prefer New Balance but may also check out the Ecco store near my office next week. I imagine available stock will be a bit hit and miss as I have no idea whether shops even bothered to bring in much this year or if they are still trying to sell off last year’s stock. What I want is very basic so it won’t make a big difference one way or another.
    Still no luck with IKEA – it looks as though it will probably be the Fall before the items I need are back in stock so I will just have to live with it over the Summer.
    Brandy, both of those books you mentioned are available at my library but I have just marked them for now – I have a lot of holds coming in during the next week or so and I need to get those read first.
    I hope that everyone’s gardens are doing well and that everyone is well.

    1. No Frills has a good special on (at least here anyway) on Campbell’s Chunky Soup for$1.67 per can. We will be sending some cooler weather your way. My furnace even came on last night.

      1. I’ll look forward to the cooler weather – thunderstorms have rolled in this afternoon!
        I have a few cans of Chunky soup in the pantry but it wouldn’t hurt to add a couple more.

  9. My mom sent over Red Baron individual pizzas, dish towels, strawberries, bananas, and a mango.

    School ended for the 14yo and she was sent home with a beautiful certificate and photo(she finished 8th grade)

    Cleaned up our yard ourselves. took 2 hours of mowing by me, almost as long for weedeating by husband, and the 14 yo was in charge of trash(half our garbage dumpster filled), leaves, and sticks. ended the job with burning the sticks and having smores.

    Upon clearing overgrowth, we discovered a tree we knew was long dead was splitting. My husband and his friend cut it down themselves. It only took about an hour, then we cut and stacked wood for the fire pit, and the 14yo spent 3 days burning the sticks. Saved several hundred dollars doing it ourselves.

    Earned $10.25 in Amazon shopper rewards.

    Earned a $10 Amazon gift card from Verizon rewards.

    Had enough Amazon gift card credits to order a phone charger cable and cover my Subscribe and save order for the month.

  10. Greetings everyone!
    Much of the same money saving measures going on in our household this week.
    The garden is lush and full and we are looking forward to, if not a little nervous about, the bounty that it should yield. We harvested several zucchini and squash this week along with several batches of new zealand spinach and various herbs. We harvested our first banana pepper, a cubanelle and we have two small green peppers that should be ready to pick later this week. I have over a dozen cucumbers ripening this week that should give us some lovely salads & relish. We have had a couple of days of abundant rain which is such a blessing for the garden at this time of the year. I sowed seeds for another full row of spinach, pink-eyed peas, green onions, and a bit of okra so that we have crops growing in succession throughout the summer.
    I cut fresh flowers to make arrangements in our home. We enjoyed three different colors of hydrangeas, gardenias, purple coneflowers, daisies, bee balm, and greenery. I love the flowers that we get this time of year! I am rooting a cutting from a gardenia to hopefully be able to plant another bush on the opposite side of our home. These are one of my favorite flowers so I am hopeful that it will take and do well when transplanted to the ground.
    I purchased just over 30 lbs of strawberries from a local farm and put away 27 pints of jam. Working out the cost for all the ingredients we are at a little less than $3/jar. This is about what I would pay for Smucker’s and the taste is so much better – I consider this a frugal win.
    I made a chocolate cobbler to kill a chocolate craving that hit our household yesterday evening. This is a wonderful recipe and with the exception of 1/2 cup of milk and 3/4 cup butter, can be made from pantry ingredients. You can find the recipe if you google Southern Living Chocolate Cobbler – give it a go if you need a really yummy chocolate dessert. It is a cross between a brownie and a molten chocolate cake – Yum!
    We enjoyed baked chicken, rice with pico de gallo, black beans, fried zucchini & ranch, jam, squash and onions, beef stroganoff and deviled eggs. I purchased all purpose flour from Costco when I noticed that they had King Arthur flour available – this is my favorite flour to use & we were out…$6.89 to replenish my pantry. I also purchased 25 lbs of sugar ahead of canning and pickling season to come. I may pick up more sugar as well as some spices, vinegar and freezer bags this week to ensure we have all the necessary items to preserve what we are growing. We have gone over our canning plans for the season and come up with a list of items based on what our family likes to eat in order to take maximum advantage of the summer harvest ahead. I’m excited to try some new recipes and put away some old favorites as well.
    I hope that everyone enjoys the week ahead. Blessings to you all!

  11. I picked blueberries and a few blackberries in our yard. I still have a few lemons on the tree from this winter, so I picked a couple and made lemon custard ice cream – it’s so good.

    Our elderberry bushes are putting on more berries this year. I hope to make some elderberry syrup-elderberry tincture mixture for medicine. It’s expensive in the stores, but works well for me when I take it for colds, so I like to make my own.

    I had to do it three times – ! – to get it to quit backing out on me, but I believe I got a birthday gift ordered through Brandy’s link on Amazon. It was my phone, I’m sure, causing the issue. I had a gift card balance on Amazon, so it made the gift cheaper as well.

    My bath mat edges were unraveling. The edges are woven, not hemmed, so I zig-zagged up and down the edges on my machine. I’d rather not hem the edges if I can avoid it, as thick hemmed terry cloth edges often mildew in our high humidity, if I don’t get them absolutely dry.

    I’m using Swagbucks to pay myself back for a purchase. I’ll use them to buy a Paypal card, then transfer the money out of Paypal to my bank account.

    I made another jar of ranch dressing, using a dry mix I make in bulk at home.

    I used our tomatoes to make tomato sauce. I roughly cut them up and cook them till soft, then put them through the Foley food mill I found at Goodwill, to get rid of the skins and seeds.

    I was gifted with fresh grouper fish, which made a delicious meal. My boss had gone fishing in the Gulf this past weekend. He was generous to give so much away, but what made it really nice was that he cleaned it, first.

  12. This week is a spend money to save money week for me. We purchased a year long subscription to prodigy, which is a computer game somewhat in the style of old Mario RPG games that teaches and challenges your child on math. We have a child who understands the concepts but struggles with distraction and has not been able to get in the practice with problem solving that we think is necessary. In this game your child picks a character and has to fight an evil wizard to save little animals. They get a math problem and if they get it right they can cast their own spell and win, but if they get it wrong the evil wizard wins and they don’t get to rescue the animal. There is a free version which we started with but the subscription allows us to track grade level and types of problems that are the most difficult for your child as well as send them rewards in game for meeting goals. It was $84 for a year. My child who had struggled to accurately complete 20-30 questions a day did 430 in 3 days and loves it.

    I found the answer to my consistent hip pain I have been dealing with for the last 18 months. I have a torn cartilage band that is supposed to hold my hip in place. I’m going to have to have surgery for that in a few weeks. I will have to be on crutches for 6 weeks after that so I will have to be out of work for several weeks. After that I will be desk bound for a while. I have both short and long term disability insurance through my job and will not lose too much income through this. My boss is understanding and will work with me. It will be lovely to not have pain when I need to get something from a lower cabinet. I’m only 35 and I used to cycle 5miles to work and then back again each day.

    We are going to get our deep freeze fixed as it runs but does not cool and new ones are so expensive. I will spend the next two weeks filling it with easy dinners and foods that will be pull and eat meals.

    I’m thankful for a husband who works from home and for health insurance which will cover my care.

    1. My 6th grade students (and my own son) love Prodigy! It’s a fun way to get them to practice math skills. I purchased a subscription for my son when he was in 4th grade, and he has played it for 3 years now.

  13. –Brandy, how exciting to watch your garden come together! What is tip layering? Also, do you get bare root or what kind of rose bushes from David Austen? Is now still a good time to plant?
    — I have my grandson for the month. We swim at our neighborhood pool, walk the dog, play with dog, water plants, read, ride bike I got for $10 at a garage sale for $10, I have collected Little People sets and matchbox cars, Legos, books, and Dominoes and games.
    –We went to the Huntsville Depot Museum. It is still closed, but we were able to walk around and climb on trains. He LOVES trains.
    –He gets excited everything we ride by the rockets at the Space Museum. I haven’t decided if it is worth a visit at his age. He is free through the month, until he turns 5, but an adult is $25. The welcome center at the rest stop has a big rocket, maybe I can just take him to the bathroom and let him run see the rocket, haha.
    –All the towns around us have started back concerts in the park. That is a great activity that is free if you don’t buy food at the food trucks. We can pack a picnic and walk around.
    –My daughter found 4 chairs on Marketplace to replace her two, so I sold her 2 for $60. I also sold a vase for her for $5. I had picked up two chairs off the side of the road and sold them for $20.
    –I am planting bulbs and zinnia and Sunflower seeds between the 38 Arborvitae trees. Eventually the trees will grow together, but will be years, so I thought I would grow flowers for now. I can dig up the bulbs in a few years and replant somewhere else.
    –we moved 2 whiskey barrel planters to the back patio. I couldn’t get water to them down the back yard, so now they are close to my water source. I planted squash, zucchini, okra, and green beans. I gathered all my pots to the patio and planted flower seeds and herbs in them. I have had 3 ripe tomatoes, and have 7 growing on my one and only plant this year. I ate a BLT last night.
    –I had bought 9 lbs of ground beef the day before the cyber attack. The next day I got 10 lbs in case beef was unavailable or went really high. I am mixing it 50/50 with venison so I have 38 lbs or 38 meals from this, but I have more beef and venison so actually have more stored.
    –I went to Sam’s and stocked a bunch of things. I can’t seem to get too far ahead. I keep stocking and using and feel I need so much more.
    –I had found gluten free manicotti shells at the neighborhood Walmart store that is on the other side of town. I haven’t seen them at any other Walmart. I made manicotti and added beef to the marinara sauce because my husband does not want meatless meals. He loved it.
    –I found my tub of Oxyclean so took off a soiled slipcover and the 4 slipcovers on dining chairs and soaked them. Then put in dryer 10 minutes for wrinkles and layed out on the patio furniture to dry. I then filled my bathtub and put ozyclean and took my comforter and soaked the top half. Where we touch it and it gets oils from our face and body the underside that is off white had yellowed. It is too heavy for my washer and I had it cleaned last August ($40!) but it was still yellowed. I let it soak 5 hours, the water turned yellowish brown. I then rang it out as best I could and rinsed a few times ringing it out. Husband had to help me get it to the patio to lay over the furniture to air dry. It is so clean now! I am going to take my towels next and soak them in Oxyclean before washing again
    –I read in Southern Living years ago to buy white towels. You can always bleach them and make them look fresher and clean, where colors will fade and get dingy. So a very practical purchase.
    –I have a whole stack of old towels both bath and hand towel size that I use for spills, wiping dog, as napkins when we eat on the couch, etc. My MIL that lives with us uses paper towels and goes through a roll every few days.
    –We went to a nursery about 40 minutes away and I found 2 large planters, 4 white hydrangeas, and plants for my front planter. I have planted hydrangeas all along the house on the back as it is shaded most of the day. I have blue, pink, and white. I am making a bed outside the breakfast nook with a small fountain, hydrangeas, hostas, and will add more shade loving plants. In the fall I will start cuttings.

    1. I ordered potted plants this year from DA as I was not ready for bareroots in time. They are sold out of most everything and planting really depends on your zone. Here, bareroot needs to be put in before Valentine’s Day.

      I have white towels. Bleaching makes them look worse; they are dyed white, I believe. Oxyclean helps more.

      Tip layering is when you put a cane or branch down in the ground and cover part of it with soil (say, halfway through, leaving the end out and still growing). The plant makes roots under where it is buried. It seems to take a year for me, but then I can move the plant and plant it somewhere else.

        1. White Revive by Oxyclean suggests soaking for several hours, so I do that with whites, then wash them on hot, then hang them in the sun. It helps a LOT. I use vinegar as my fabric softener as well, and my laundry detergent is homemade. I must add though, that my well water isn’t really very hard and is not at all rusty, which is unusual here in my area of Florida.

    2. Holly, I bought into the white towel idea for our vacation home, and to some extent I was pleased. However, I noticed in a few years (and remember they were not being used often, so a few years was like a few weeks or months) that they became dingy, and even chlorine bleach didn’t erase it. I posted above about wanting to soak some dingy items–some of those towels are among them. If I were buying again, I’d choose a medium color.

      1. I have kept my linens and towels white soaking in Oxyclean for hours in HOT water. Then washing. It has worked for me.

    3. I just picked up my winter bedspread from the cleaners and it was $45! But my laundry room doesn’t have the larger machine that I would need so I just had to grit my teeth. Luckily my summer spread will be able to go into the washer at the end of the season.

      1. Margie you might want to consider buying some thinner blankets and layering in the winter so that you can wash your blankets instead of having to take them to the cleaners. We got rid of all our comforters but one or two and only use those if the temp gets below zero. I know you’re in Canada and in places your temps get low but if you can I’d go with layering instead. Best Wishes. Anna In Ohio

    4. Your grandson is probably too young for inside the US Space and Rocket Center. I believe behind the big rocket over a fence is a small children’s play area with rocket equipment. There may have been picnic tables there also. He would probably enjoy that if its free for you. Our son was 13 when we went, and we all loved it. I had never thought about how the long underwear they wore under the suits needed cold water running through it or how they casted them for their helmets long ago. It will be very interesting to him later. It will amaze him how tall the rocket is when you look up through it if you go to take a picture. We were! The big rocket was before the entrance so you didn’t need to pay anything to see that when we were there. I don’t think you could get as close to the smaller ones. The price has definitely gone up.

      1. We used to have a family pass when my kids were younger and would go climb the climbing wall weekly and ride the rides. I didn’t remember much he would do since he is younger, there are a couple of smaller rides. Not worth $25 for sure.

    5. For those who have an issue with white items getting dingy – if you live in an area with “hard” water (lots of mineral deposits), you might try out putting vinegar in your fabric softener cycle or a Downy softener ball. The vinegar breaks down the minerals and helps whiten things back up. (A baking soda soak beforehand can help as well.) Bleach doesn’t dissolve the minerals so it may not be as effective in some areas. Works so well, my Nana saw a picture of my white clothes on the line years ago and wanted to know how I got them so white – vinegar. 😀

      Same for those having issues in your dishwasher with glasses – distilled white vinegar in the “rinse aid” tubby.

      We’ve lived in three duty stations that had VERY hard water and I use distilled white vinegar to tackle all that build up. Works great on kettles, too – I just boil up 1 part vinegar: 2 parts water and then do two boils of plain water after (to rinse out any vinegar taste). The water and vinegar don’t go to waste, either; I put baking soda in the kitchen sink drains/disposal and then run the boiled water through after to help clean and eliminate odors.

      I hope that helps some of you. 🙂

      1. We have very hard water here! I have used vinegar for odors in the wash but not for whitening. I will try today! Thanks!

          1. I didn’t see any noticeable difference but I will keep trying it and see if it makes a difference over time.

      2. Melonie, thanks for the dishwasher tip! I’m going to try this in place of the “rinse aid” and see if I can get by without that particular expensive toxin. 🙁

      1. We just moved from Madison to East Limestone last fall. Someone else in here was in Decatur. We need a lunch group!
        I bet Brandy would like some of our rain 🙂

        1. The drought situation is quite dire. Lake Mead has fallen 1.86 feet in the last 9 days. Mandatory water restrictions are going to take place in the west. Only some places are doing them. For every foot the lake drops, the dam’s electric output drops 6%. They expect it to continue dropping at this rate until the end of November.

          1. California is facing the same fate. They are talking about shutting down a Hydroelectric plant by Oroville, CA. Sacramento Bee published an article how to improve the taste of tap water. Levels so low all the sludge is being brought up. My daughter got a coupon from our power company to purchase a generator at a reduced rate. We our to expect rolling blackouts with fire season and hot weather.

            1. Yes, I have read about these. They expect the Lake Oroville Dam to shut down in two to three months. That’s a lot of power and water that the area will be short.

              We were talking about the Sacramento water this morning. The taste will certainly show residents how important it is to conserve.

              My husband and I have been talking about the loss of power from Hoover Dam. It loses 6% power for every foot it drops, and it has been dropping a foot a week. Thankfully, the power company is also in the middle of three large solar projects right now that will be completed soon. Nevertheless, we would like to add some solar at some point in the future.

              I read around five articles a day on the drought. This morning I was reading about several cities and what conservation requirements they are each telling residents to do. It’s interesting to see each city’s approach. I’m thankful that permanent changes were made here over the last 20 years; Las Vegas is well prepared to weather the drought.

  14. I’m home again and typing this on a laptop instead of my phone, which feels quite luxurious! The laptop in use was dead when I got home, and even after several days of charging, it would not turn on. We have had much trouble with this laptop all along (HP Spectre, would not recommend). We browsed online and chose a replacement laptop, and then decided that we’d try a diy repair. We had to look up how to remove the bottom (tricky hidden screws), removed the battery, discharged the battery static, did a very light dusting with compressed air, put it all back together and it works!!! So that’s $600+ saved and we are so happy!

    Harvested abundant lettuce, collards, kale, zucchini and herbs from the garden when I returned. Continued watering the trees with washing machine water. I even carried my used bathwater out to water some plants. I normally shower (less water), but needed a bath that night. I had left a couple of berry cuttings in water while I was gone. They had rooted and I planted them out.

    My husband continues to paint the outside of our house by hand. It is looking really nice. I’m working on a denim bathmat for our son and DIL. If I get it finished by this weekend it can go to them with the next person visiting them, saving me the postage. So I’m making a fair effort to get that done. This same chevron pattern denim bathmat has lasted us for 8 years and is still looking great. Not bad for something made from worn out jeans and an old towel on the back!

    I got a like-new wooden rocking horse from my Buy Nothing group. It retails for $65 on Amazon. It will be for our grandson’s 1st birthday. I picked up a roll of new quilt batting (queen size) from a free pile in our neighborhood. I will list it on ebay.
    All in all, a pretty satisfying week! Best to all of you!

  15. Gardenpat,
    BOA has a program called “museums on us” which gives free admission to hundreds of museums the first full weekend of every month. Check their website to see if any in your area are covered. I spent a lovely afternoon last weekend at a wonderful art museum….took my drink and snacks and sat outside in a beautiful courtyard. Cost absolutely nothing…just showed my BOA card at the desk. I wouldn’t open an account just for that but it’s a nice benefit if you already have one.

  16. Well…it has rained almost every day for the last 3 or four weeks so we haven’t had to water our garden.
    We were in drought when it started to rain. We are not now, but will be again before the summer is over.
    We are lucky that we have been cooler than usual. We have only had 4 days in the 90s so far. Because of that we have used the A/C only a few days.
    I listened to The Kitchen Front on audible. So many of the things mentioned in the book were also in “War Farm”. This series is on PBS. I have watched this a few times and learned so many things about that time. One of the things I had been interested in was the “hay box”. I wondered if you could really cook that way. I may have to try a small bit of soup to see.
    We added more pumpkins to the garden. They should be ready when my daughter gets married. They will be used as decoration at the reception.
    I continue to go through things. I feel I must get rid of my excess.
    I am also still sewing and crocheting for my Etsy shop.
    I am working on a unicorn costume, a bat costume and a quilt. As I get bored with one thing I work on another. This keeps me more productive.
    Life is busy.
    Not much to add this week.

    1. Hi Becky,

      Not sure if you saw my post late last week. I was given something I just adore. It is called a mug hugger. It is about 8 inches long and 4 inches wide. It is quilted. You place your mug on it (maybe folded in half or doubled) to protect the furniture. It’s used instead of a coaster. I also saw that Amazon (.com not .ca) has little wicker baskets. called mini woven baskets with handles — 24 for $11.99 that would be perfect for a few after dinner mints or chocolates. It has an interesting idea about using them as the bases for tiny hot air balloon decorations. Also, Amazon has acorn twinkly lights. I was looking for something else and saw these items and thought of you! You’ll have so much fun!

    2. Hey Becky-
      If you try the hay box, please post your results. I’ve also been curious about them since watching Wartime Farm.
      Good luck!

    3. Becky, I’ve used something similar to the haybox many times. Instead of hay, we used foam insulation, which molded around the pot we used in it when it dried. I don’t remember it being hard to get the pot out the first time once it dried, but it’s been 20 or so years. We built a wood box for it. It worked really well for grains like rice and cut up potatoes, and I may have also cooked beans in it. I just brought it to a boil, then placed it in the box. I’m pretty sure the original instructions were from Backwoods Home magazine. There’s also something called a Wonder oven. It uses fabric, which may be right up your alley. Now that I have a/c, I’ve gotten lazy :o).

  17. It was a week of just the usual frugal stuff. No real savings to report–just livin’ the dream, LOL!

    Two ladies posted late last week about planting a lot of bulbs, so I decided to comment this week. You can buy a big drill bit for planting bulbs (that’s a good search term online) that is fast and easy if your soil isn’t too rocky. Under $15 and more than worth it.

    The zukes, chard and beans have come up (I was beginning to worry). Enough have emerged that I believe most will sprout. The tomatoes I started from seed aren’t blooming yet, but the plants are strong and healthy. I am taking an inordinate amount of pleasure from this, although I have started tomatoes from seed a few times before.

    My son, who lives over 500 miles away, was in this area for continuing education. He stopped here overnight on his way home. He took home two of my tomato plants and three baby raspberry plants that will bear next year.
    My daughter has lost about 30 lbs. and looks fab! Everything she owns is too big! I bought her $100 worth of clothes online from TJMaxx and got free shipping (saving $9.99). I can return anything that doesn’t fit to the store near me. We didn’t just go to TJ Maxx in the first place because the store is not yet well stocked after the pandemic. I don’t usually shop at thrift stores with her because she is not good about trying on clothes. I ordered through an airline shopping portal to keep my frequent flyer account active. 

    My library card is still getting a workout! In 4 days, I read 1,500 pages! I finally got The Rose Code by Katie Quinn. I reserved it two months ago after someone here recommended it. It’s about the Bletchley Park codebreakers during WW2 and I absolutely couldn’t put it down! I’ve read several books about the BP codebreakers and this was by far the best, and probably the best researched. If you start out (as I did) thinking Osla’s romance with Prince Philip (pre-Elizabeth) is a cheesy plot device…there really was an Osla who worked at Bletchley Park and dated Prince Philip for 4 years. Although the book is fiction, the character was based on her. Brandy, I took the book back after 3 days–I try to keep the reserve list moving fast, too.

    Also, we are planning a family trip to Hawaii in November. A former co-worker of my DIL’s is renting us his condo on the Big Island for a hellacious price (about what we would expect to pay for 1-2 days, if you can believe it). I created price alerts on kayak dot com for tickets. I’m assuming/hoping there will be some fall travel sales between now and November. Kayak also told me the average prices for tickets…good to know when looking for a deal.

    1. Maxine, our nursery had zinnias in 6-packs for sale yesterday, and then there were several posts from a flower grower on Instagram who started them indoors (she’s in the U.K.). She had some great posts recently about pinching them to get more flowers and how to plant them in pots: https://www.instagram.com/anya_thegarden_fairy/

      I will request that book; I am out of novels at the moment.

      1. Thanks for the zinnia tip! Now I have a question for your readers (or yourself!) that I can’t find online.

        I have some white cottons that are beyond dingy and have old, faded stains. AmyD had a killer recipe for last-ditch stain removal–soaking whites in a bucket of hot water with chlorine bleach and dishwasher detergent. I have forgotten the measurements. Does anyone have this recipe? I believe it is in her books. I kept her newsletters in binders for years but finally got rid of them when we moved. Now I wish I hadn’t!

        I have Googled this with chlorine bleach and dishwasher detergent in the search term (and even Amy’s name), but the best I came up with was an old Heloise recipe that uses 1 CUP of DW detergent, which is way more than the recipe I had (and I use tabs, anyway). Very few recipes use chlorine bleach anymore, but I’m interested in whitening and these fabrics can handle it (or are no great loss if they can’t). If anyone remembers the proportions, or can look it up for me, I would really appreciate it! PS I don’t think any recipe with Oxyclean will cut it, and I’m not afraid of chlorine bleach.

        1. https://www.food.com/recipe/stain-remover-for-clothes-194639


          Laundry Soap Booster
          Dishwasher detergent also makes a great laundry soap booster because it typically contains chlorine bleach to help it break down food particles and stains. Treat dingy white fabrics by filling a plastic container with 1/2 cup of dishwasher detergent, 1/4 cup of chlorine bleach and 1 gallon of hot water. Combine the ingredients, place the garments into the solution and soak them for at least 15 minutes before running them through their usual cycles in your washing machine. Allow the solution to cool down first if you’re treating knit or delicate fabrics. Avoid using this solution to treat any kind of fabric that bleach can damage.

        2. If you’re on Facebook, search for the Tightwad Gazette Fan Club group. Someone in there will know!

        3. I read Kate Quinn’s book The Alice Network. I placed a hold on The Rose Code. It’s 11 weeks out.

        4. Found it! 1 cup of powdered Cascade and 1 cup of powdered bleach (Clorox II) to five gallons of the hottest water to come out of your faucet. Soak several articles over night and launder as usual. She says will remove 90% of stains but does not use on delicate fabrics or non-color fast items. BTW the recipe is on page 272 of The Complete Tightwad Gazette. It was actually published in the first book but don’t know if page number would be same.

        5. I only have a anthology Tightwad Gazette not the regular books. I looked and found a recipe. I don’t think it is the one you’re looking for, but here is the one I found. Add 1 cup each of powdered Cascade and Clorex II to 5 gallons of hot water and soak overnight then launder as usual. Hope this helps.

        6. I’ve had great luck with just straight Dawn detergent I apply straight to stain, no water. Let sit for free hours or more and wash as normal

      2. Brandy and others,
        Have you read the Elm Creek Quilts series by Jennifer Chiaverini? Some of them deal with history, some are contemporary. Also, the Mitford books by Jan Karon were soothing and lovely.

    2. My husband bought me a bulb planter–not a drill– for a gift once as a sort of loving joke, and it works quite well. This is very simple and old school, a cone shaped tool with a handle on top. Put it on the ground and twist. The soil fills the cone. Lift it, put the bulb or small plant in the hole and arrange the dirt back on top.

      1. I actually have both. I found the drill to be faster and easier when I had hundreds of bulbs to plant. There are definitely are tools to make a back-breaking job easier!

      2. I have wanted to try one. Our soil is red clay so sometimes you can barely dig 6 inches with a shovel, it is so hard. I have wondered if it would work

        1. Rocks seem to be the big problem for the drill. If your soil isn’t rocky, I’d order one from Amazon, give it a try and return if not satisfied.

    3. I’ve seen a story about extremely high prices for car rentals in Hawaii, because the rental companies sold all their cars when things were so quiet. Maybe it is worth checking out any cars you want to rent for your trip? I have been a few times, and I’ve always found it wasn’t all that expensive once I got there, because so many days are spent exploring beaches and trails, and eating supper at home after a day outside. Hawaii’s just one of my favorite places.

      1. I agree! I am intrigued by car-sharing businesses that do for car renting what Uber did for (or to) taxis, but I still want to learn more before I leap. My son works in a pricey resort area (Jackson Hole WY) and was approached about this. From his end, since he really values his vehicles, he decided the money wasn’t worth the risk to his cars. From the other end–actually renting–I’m wondering if it might be a really good deal. In a gig economy, I think we are going to see more of this in the future.

        1. It is an interesting idea. In Hawaii, so many people have part-time homes that they rent out most of the year, that it makes sense that they would have part-time cars to rent out at the same time. There have always been creative economic ways to get a car to use there. There are companies that sell you a beater when you get there, for example, and buy it when you leave. Possibly not suitable if you want to go to a nice restaurant with valet service, but good enough for people roughing it!

          When I stayed in a small cottage on Kauai the first time, I was surprised that the main house on the property was the vacation home of a family that lived on Maui. My northern Canadian mind couldn’t grasp that anyone who lived on Maui needed a vacation home on another Hawaiian island!

        2. Hi Maxine,
          If you are staying near Kona on the Big Island, I recommend visiting the Good Will and other local thrift shops for souvenirs. I was able to find Hawaiian print clothing and water bottles from the Ironman race at bargain prices.
          There is a Costco and a Wal-Mart which helps keep food costs down. We bought a cooler and packed drinks and lunch/snacks for our day trips.
          If you are traveling with a Senior Citizen, and visit Volcano National Park, they are eligible to purchase a reduced or free Golden park pass which will save you on parking fees.
          Wishing you and your family a wonderful visit to the Big Island.
          Ellie in Arkansas

          1. Ellie, thanks for your comments. I was just wondering if there is a Costco on the Big Island and you answered my question. I plan to use a soft-sided cooler as my carry-on (I have done this before). The last time we went to Hawaii (Kauai) my son and daughter-in-law did all of the cooking as a gift to me–plus they really enjoyed it! (Hope they offer again this year!). They bought over $200 worth of groceries at a fabulous Safeway in Lihue and I told them I didn’t mind spending the money IF all of the food got eaten…and it did! Which for 5 people, and only eating two meals out, was a good deal! When we stay in condos, we usually throw together a simple lunch while cleaning up from breakfast to reduce kitchen time. We will be staying at the north end of the island (left turn out of the Kona airport vs. right turn to Kailua-Kona). I already have the National Park senior pass, bought when it was still $20.

            Elizabeth, thanks for the good ideas for saving on transportation. I was intrigued by the concept of buying/selling a used car, but I think it would take up too much time from an 8-day visit. Also, for such a short visit, it might not pay. I did a little more research on Turo and booked a 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe from a private party for $101 per day–more than we’ve ever paid for a car in Hawaii, but way less than the rental agencies are charging this year. Also, there’s free cancellation until the day before, so if I find a better deal, I can jump on it.

            1. That’s an amazing price. I just looked to rent a car for a trip later this year and it was $400 per day in Idaho Falls. There were no lower prices available nor small cars. I will check out Turo.

              1. Just assuming, but….flying into IF and driving to Rexburg? I’d see if there are any BYU kids who want to earn a little money driving you–$400/day is nuts!

              2. We’ve been asking around but it’s the break time and most students won’t be there. We’ve asked our children to ask around; they don’t even know who will be there, they said. We are definitely going to look into Turo; I’d love to hear more from those who have tried it.

              3. Car rental prices have skyrocketed! My 3 day trip in august was a package (airfare, hotel & car that turned out to be about $100 a day). We have another 3 day package booked today (same destination) but the car alone is $150 a day.

              4. We expected $100 to $150 a day. $400 was not at all what we expected. We were shocked.

            2. Maxine, I’m so glad you have something booked at a relatively reasonable price. I like your idea of keeping an eye on the car rental prices as you get closer to the date. I imagine the rental companies will invest in a new fleet with the new model cars, and have more availability, and therefore lower prices. Whether it matches your Turo price is a different matter!

              Santa Fe’s are lovely for driving, so I think you’ll be pleased with that.

        3. Hi Maxine,
          Here’s a free, fun Big Island a activity. My favorite Hawaiian dance demonstration is put on by a hula school on Friday nights at the Keauhou Shopping Center at the corner of Alii Hwy and King Kamehamdha III road.
          (Check availability due to Covid restrictions).
          I had more fun watching ages 4 thru Senior high dance than I did at the expensive luau!
          They take an offering at the end that goes towards dance competition expenses.
          The “show” is in the court yard of the shopping center.

    4. Hi Maxine! I’m glad you enjoyed The Rose Code…I think I recommended it. Loved that book! Couldn’t put it down. Brandy, I read The Kitchen Front, then the Spies of Shilling Lane. Very different than The Kitchen Front, but so good! The mystery of it! Next is The Chilbury Ladies Choir! Your photos are gorgeous!

    5. Maxine, when we went to Hawaii with my husband on a business trip we bought the Go Oahu card which allowed us to enjoy the attractions at a discount.

  18. Hello, everyone!

    We took a short family getaway part of last week to an upscale resort. We rented a cabin, which allowed us to cook nearly all of our meals there. We found plenty of free activities to do on site, so we had a great time. My husband and I did enjoy one meal out, just the two of us. I was a bit worried about what to take to wear, because the restaurant seemed very fancy, and I have few formal clothes. I ended up wearing a dress from my college days….26 years old!! It is from J Crew and still looks modern today! Furthermore, I “thought” I needed a new pair of sandals, but I had a pair of very comfortable ones that weren’t getting worn because they were a color that didn’t go with much—not smart, I know! I ended up using fabric paint to change them, and they turned out wonderful! I was relieved that I didn’t purchase anything new beforehand, because to my surprise, people were dressed very casual.

    I made several batches of taco seasoning. We have discovered we love lentil tacos. Some recipes say to add salsa to the lentils, but we prefer them with just plenty of seasoning. I also made batches of pancake mix.

    I signed my kids and I up for our library’s summer reading program (you win prizes). The kids are also participating in Barnes and Noble’s program. I have several books on my nightstand that I’m looking forward to reading. I will report back if there are any “standouts.”

    Late winter, I started petunias, impatiens, and dwarf zinnias from seed. I was very discouraged recently seeing my neighbors come home with flats of flowers from nurseries. I kept asking myself, “why do I go to so much trouble?”—since mine were slow growing. Now they are all flowering, so I am enjoying the rewards!

    Have a great week!

    1. How do you cook the lentils for tacos? We LOVE tacos, and I have a favorite taco seasoning recipe, but I’d love to cut costs by substituting lentils for our usual ground turkey!

      1. We make lentil tacos. Boil lentils like usual. When they’re done, add taco seasoning and salsa in a pan and warm them.

  19. -I reached the end of the first month of having someone to do the yard work. The hours each of us recorded matched, so it was a relief to know there were no surprises cost-wise. The work continues, with some extra pruning in the front yard, and some other details in the backyard, so I am really happy with the progress. It is not entirely smooth sailing, but I’ll just have to work it out.
    -In any case, we had a week of warm and sunny weather, and I was able to sit outside before dinner a couple of evenings with a glass of wine and enjoy the yard. I have a bank of lilacs in the front yard and a large lilac in the backyard, all in full bloom, so it smelled wonderful. I am thankful to the person who thought to plant them years ago. Free enjoyment to the people who have lived in this house over all that time.
    -I had paperwork to sign and have witnessed related to my sister’s estate. I would normally go to the village office or library and get the documents printed and witnessed. This time, I asked the lawyer’s office to print them and mail them to me. I then asked a loan/investment officer at my bank to witness the documents and then took them over to the post office to mail. I saved $1.00 for printing and $12 or $20 for the senior’s bus or taxi, since the bank is just a couple of blocks’ walking distance, and the library and village office and library are not. The lawyer’s office was already printing and mailing the documents to my fellow beneficiary, who has no computer, so no extra cost there.
    -I have decided to treat follow-up with the lawyer as a job that will have a long-term pay-out. I find it less irritating if I have to repeat myself, proof things very carefully, or wonder when they are going to get back to me. I have started to use return receipt on my e-mail, so I get a response more quickly. I am putting reminders in my calendar for when I will check with them on the next step. I have to say that the lawyer’s office gets responses and cooperation from the authorities 100 times more quickly than I ever did, as well as knowing the steps and paperwork needed, so I think the estate is getting its money’s worth.
    -The price of my favourite kind of wine has gone up 50 cents a bottle. I found out that I could get a 5% senior’s discount, which more than offset the price increase. I’m annoyed that no one mentioned this before (I’ve been over 60 for seven years this week), but I will faithfully request it from this point on. The lady behind me in line was also over 60, and it was news to her as well. I imagine if too many people know, the prices will just go up, so I guess I won’t tell too many people in town. Maybe they know?
    -I wanted to order chocolates online from Purdy’s for my birthday since I skipped them at Christmas and Easter. When I was checking out, I noticed they had a $20 shipping rate for hot weather shipping. (It is normally $10.) Since it had snowed the day before, I cancelled the order! I am thinking fresh strawberries and whipped cream as my birthday treat on Sunday.
    -I am watching Downton Abbey and Line of Duty episodes from the beginning. (Not recommending them, but I am enjoying them.) They are both free in Canada on CBC GEM online. I am reading online mysteries from the library as well. I’ll need to search some other sources soon. I have some freebies due me from a loyalty program with Indigo, so that will be a treat to hold a book in my hands. If I want to read outside, I’ll need a few paperbacks.
    – I went to the grocery store to buy food this morning, but the only cashier on was serving a customer who wasn’t wearing a mask. We still have quite a few cases in town, and the law and the store policy are to wear masks. I asked the customer if she had a mask, and she said no, and asked the cashier if she was going to serve the customer, and she said yes, so I left without buying the basket of groceries, taking a different route than the other customer had come in by. I stopped in at the manager’s office to explain. I’ll need to take the seniors’ bus or a taxi if I want to go to a different store.

    1. Here, masks are no longer required since June 1st for those who are vaccinated. Of course, many just go maskless now anyway. Having received my shots, I must admit I feel a lot more comfortable now while out shopping.

      1. We are getting there. Our numbers are improving, but it is only in the last two or three days that that has happened locally. A week ago, local cases were higher than they had been the whole pandemic! They are projecting that restrictions will be relieved at the end of June, or thereabouts, depending on how many people are vaccinated.

  20. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Loved the quick garden tour on Instagram and your photos this week are lovely, very vintage and atmospheric.
    We have been away for a few days holiday in our caravan (an oldie but goodie).It amuses us that we leave our life in a rural county where we walk dogs, sit in the garden with a cup of tea watching wildlife etc and travel for a couple of hours to an adjoining rural county where we walk the dogs, sit outside the caravan and watch wildlife etc. It did feel like a lovely holiday because the phone didn’t ring, I didn’t do household chores and my husband didn’t work in the garden. We enjoyed different walks with the dogs on footpaths through old fashioned hay meadows full of flowers. I took all our food for breakfasts, lunches and dinners although we did treat ourselves to takeaway fish and chips one day. The only other money spent was £2 for all day car parking at a lake and nature reserve.
    While we were away our daughter and son in law stayed at our house for a short break themselves and they kindly left some treats in our fridge on our return – smoked salmon pate, local cream, bacon and nectarines amongst others.
    We gave away homegrown plants to both daughters and a friend.
    My husband and I both won £25 on the Premium Bond draw and put it into savings.
    I’ve ordered heating oil to top up our tank at summer prices. I paid a little extra to offset the carbon emissions on our order but I’m happy to be able to do this.
    That’s all for this week, stay safe everyone.

  21. Life has been busy at our house with my daughter, SIL and 3 grandkids here for 2 months. We have been trying hard to use up leftovers, line dry the laundry, keep the ac off, use the house fan, utilize the library weekly, and play with the cousins.

    The garden is looking good. Spring crops are about done, although I planted more radishes in the shade of the cukes. I have picked several zucchini and a few cukes. We made zucchini pie last night and have fermented cukes and zukes, they turned out really good. A neighbor moved and still hasn’t put up her farm for sale, she said I could have her last bit of hay for mulch. It is clean hay with no pesticides, and I just need to make a few more trips and the hay and cardboard under it hopefully we keep the weeds more at bay. I have rooted a near dozen batch of tomatoes and will plant them shortly. We have had two good soaking rains the last two nights and it was much needed.

    We went to visit a son and his family who just bought a house about 50 minutes from us. He ha 4 organic apple trees, a Hawthorne and several hazelnuts. I am so excited and we are going to swap produce later this summer. I can use the apples to make apple cider vinegar and Hawthorne for medicinal purposes! He was so excited to show me the yard and trees and I promised to come bring flowers for the flower gardens.

    Hope each of you have a lovely week and Brandy, the garden is coming along beautifully and you must feel so good about all the hard work you all have put into it!

  22. First off, thanks for the book recommendations. I need something new to read.
    Maxine, “The Rose Code” sounds really good. I’m looking forward to it.
    I worked three days last week and brought breakfast and lunch all three days.
    Cut DH’s hair. Luckily, he likes a buzz cut. That’s about the limit of my skill set. But, once a Marine, always a Marine, I guess.
    Planted the rest of our tomatoes. We have 2 1/2 rows in our row garden.
    Planted 2 1/2 rows of peppers, including 15 jalapeno pepper plants. Not only do I want to make salsa this summer, but also dry some, use some in my dill pickles, and also make “cowboy candy.” My DH will but a small jar of that for $5.00. He bought three last year. At least I kept the jars, so I can reuse them. Now I just have to find a recipe.
    “Hilled” the potatoes. We have never had this good looking of potatoes before. Hopefully there will be potatoes underneath, and not just gorgeous greenery above ground.
    Weeded a raised bed of candy onions.
    Planted a second planting of snow peas.
    Made 4 batches of rice pilaf mix, after using the last one for dinner one night when we made French dip sandwiches for dinner.
    Planted the final 3 rows of corn.
    I poured kettles of boiling water down all the drains in our upstairs. This really helps with slow drains. I do this every couple of months.
    Made homemade focaccia bread, and then homemade pizza.
    Helped my son and his new wife pack up her house. She was living in Spokane and he in Moscow, Idaho, prior to their wedding. They each own their own home, but her job is portable, and his is not. (He works for WSU). So she is selling her house. We helped them on Saturday. My DH and son got a U-Haul, and loaded the big stuff, while I packed the kitchen and she packed the craft room. They hired professionals to move the grand piano. I was very glad about that.
    Hope everyone has a good and productive week.

    1. My husband is a plumber and likes the use of hot water to keep drains clear. For added declogging, put a squirt of Dawn dishwashing liquid because of its grease-cutting capabilities, then follow up with hot water.

  23. I had a 15% off anything at Ollie’s. I usually have a list of some things to look for or that I have put off buying until coupon time. For $48 I bought:
    Cashews16oz. $4.24
    Almonds 16oz $4.24
    Sesame sticks 11oz. $2.54
    Emeril 12×18 cutting board with drip edge $11.04
    Peek a Who book–hard book with textured places every other page $2.54
    Wheat spaghetti noodles 14oz. 3-$0.67 ea.
    Chocolate chips 2-$1.69 ea.
    Fig bars 21oz. $l.69
    Oil of Olay complete pkg. with 2 6oz. bottles $5.94
    Heavy duty push button Binders 2” $2.54
    1” $1.69
    Double zip snack bags 100 ct. $l.69
    Peach pie fillings 21oz. 2-$1.52ea.

    Meals included:
    Grilled hot dogs and chips with dip with banana bread for later
    Spaghetti with Asiago sourdough bread (Bread was good but would like cheese throughout instead of on top only)
    Cheeseburgers with little bits of everything for sides from the refrigerator (I added some store brand Velveeta into leftover chili for dip with tortillas.) When dinner was over there was something in two small containers left.
    Breakfast for Dinner
    Cooked vegetable and served with leftovers
    Carnitas with vegetables/fruit (Cooked carnitas again and froze the rest).

    DH and DS trimmed a couple branches on a two story high Dogwood that were too near the carport. It was one of 10 trees for $10 from the National Arbor Day Foundation years ago. The birds were afraid to land on it at first as we sat nearby at times but now realize it is safe to do so.

    DH has continued spraying the weed killer. It kills the long grass and wire grass also. I wish we knew about this when we moved in. We fought wire grass also and put out Kentucky Blue Grass on the lawn each year for a while as it grows shorter, is very soft, and will slowly overtake other grasses. I was skeptical at first (cool weather grass) but it grew in our temperate climate with hot, humid summers.

    I sat down at my desk to sort some recent papers to file and found my medical file too hard to get out. I had gone though it a couple years ago and purged most of it. Unless for taxes (or something like that) no one needs to keep every time they get their teeth cleaned, etc. or all the info papers from prescriptions. I save one of the papers for each prescription and file it in the back and recycle any others as I get them refilled. I also turn more than the older half of the file papers upside down so all the staples are not together. When I got something out recently I noticed some papers from the physician’s offices had two pages at the end with pretty much duplicate info with most of the page blank. I decided then one day I would go through the file sometime and pull one page out and cut the blank part off the other and any other pages I found like that. That day arrived. My file looks better and I cut up the excess pages for note papers for the kitchen and office. I will file the older things that need to be kept electronically soon. As soon as DH and DS do the same thing there will be a lot more room. There are other files that can be mostly thrown away. I am asking that one or two be done a week until finished after medical files are done.

    I found recipes for pork and roast salads for sandwiches/crackers to try. I mended a top. We walked as usual. I wasn’t sleepy one night and read almost all night. I haven’t done that in ages. Have a wonderful week!

  24. My mom turned 75. The family celebrated at my sister’s house which is about 1/2 way between my house and my parents. She loved the 75 things we love about mom/grandma poster. There was tears. I also framed 2 of my daughter’s wedding pictures for her. She loved it. My youngest made her some banana nut muffins. I brought a chick pea salad and a dairy free dessert. We had a wonderful day swimming and talking. My oldest surprised my mom by coming. She took the train(5 hours) and spent the night at my sisters.
    There was way too much food leftover. Everyone took what they wanted and then my sister gave me the rest. There were a lot of ribs left. My sister had ordered them. I don’t think they were cooked enough. I like when they fall off the bone. I washed the excess sauce off(not the best) and put them in the crock pot with sauce we do like for several hours. They were so much better. We ate them for dinner with sides leftover.
    I gave my younger sister her birthday present and my dad his father’s day present. My oldest sister gave me a bag of clothes. She has lost 50 pounds this year so she passed them on. We brought my other sister’s dog back. We had been dog sitting the last 2 weeks. She gave us some food souvenirs and some hotel shampoos and soaps.
    My garden is coming along nicely. The beets, carrots, tomatoes, lettuces and potatoes got planted this week. So far I am only picking strawberries and kale. I have been freezing some of them for later in the year.
    Hubby washed my car and his truck. He also vacuumed the inside and cleaned the mats.
    I got 10 pounds of ground beef on sale. I made 5 of it into burgers for easy dinners. The rest got frozen in 1/2 pound baggies. I got 2 roasts 50% off so $2. 29 a pound.
    My daughter trimmed the dogs nails for me.
    My son took Hubby’s truck to work. He is a mechanic. He did his oil change for him. It saved us $25 dollars.
    Brandy the sour cream was a great deal.

  25. I did pretty well with the new grocery budget last month, no overage for the first time in forever so that was really nice.
    I did a freezer inventory and find we’ve enough meat to last us a good three months, longer if I extend with beans and meatless meals and I can easily do that. My plan is to do a pantry freezer challenge next month with fresh produce bags from a local farm. I will use my grocery budget to try and get empty spots filled in the pantry.
    I picked up my first produce bag this past Friday. I had carrots with tops, zucchini and squash, fennel fronds, kale, new potatoes and sugar snap peas. I’ve used all but the last half of the zucchini, carrots and kale. I am using the carrots along, put the kale into the freezer. I plan to use the zucchini and carrots to extend some ground venison for spaghetti sauce that I want to put in the freezer. I put the smallest carrots aside for my husband so he can eat genuine ‘baby’ carrots. I dried some of the carrot leaves and froze some too. I read that they are a good substitute for parsley in soups, and other dishes, and for stretching basil when making pesto. Now for the basil to get busy and start growing.
    I made bread, bagels and have English muffin dough on the counter. It’s a slow rise, sour dough type muffin recipe from Better Baking that I’ve had some success with.
    I repotted a purchased coleus today and noted that some of the cuttings I’d rooted and planted were the right size to grace that pot, too. They contrast as they are lime green and the purchased coleus is deep purple with green edges.
    I made new pillow covers for the living room chairs. Not happy with how they turned out but do like the fabric. However, it was barely enough fabric so there won’t be any adjustments made to these.
    I set aside some money to put towards yard work at the house in town. I now have all the insurance and taxes for the coming year saved up so I can now turn my attention to getting the borders about the house in order.
    I bought a few new pieces of clothing. I’ve been enjoying Stitch Fix quarterly and just received my second box. I pay for these pieces from my allowance which I save over the quarter. I won’t buy anything more now as I am saving for the fall box. The pieces are good quality and I’ve been very blessed to get a stylist who apparently actually reads my notes and has done well choosing items for me. This averages out to about $50 a month but I think it’s worthwhile since I don’t have to go shopping and everything is very versatile and will move from one look to another easily. I suspect that by winter I’ll be finished getting a wardrobe together as I am thinking these pieces are going to last me years.

  26. Hi Brandy and others,
    I really enjoy reading this blog but don’t post my own stuff usually because it’s all the same every week and I don’t want to bore you! We make our meals except for going out to brunch every 2 weeks, work on the house and garden, reuse water from the sinks (including the kitchen sink because we don’t have or want a dishwasher) and tub, make compost, take things we find on bulk trash night to the thrift store, sell unwanted things, don’t use AC… so please know that my not posting doesn’t mean I don’t care to participate!

    Thanks for Brandy’s making this blog and others for posting interesting items.

  27. This was a wonderful week of receiving things. I offered to cat sit for a friend and water her lawn a few times and she gave me a $60 gift card to a restaurant. My husband also got a gift card to a restaurant for his work on an advisory board and a $50 gift card to Great Harvest Bread from an appreciative client. He also brought home three box lunches from his board meeting.

    A friend gave me a bag of lettuce from her garden and I was able to pick rhubarb from a community garden plot. A friend gave me two chive plants for my garden. Another friend dropped off a loaf of bread as a thank you for my husband’s help in an emergency.

    Another friend gave me a box of Bounce that she didn’t want. It will take me a year to use it, as I only use half sheets. Another friend was getting rid of knitting books and I took one that I think I will use.

    I sold a piece of art! I dropped off two end tables at a consignment store.

    I made two cowls to donate using yarn from my stash.

    I also recently read “What the Wind Knows” by Amy Harmon and “In Times of Rain and War” by Camron Wright. Both were enjoyable!

    Have a wonderful week, everyone!

  28. Thrifty actions this week as follows: with reward bank card dollars from grocery & gas purchases took daughter to her favorite restaurant for birthday lunch for zero amount, finally found a croquet set on FB marketplace and enjoy playing with grandkids, read Eternal by Lisa Scottoline ( W.W.II- Italy) from the library along with America’s Test Kitchen Summer Cookbook for inspiration.

  29. Amazing prices on food, Brandy! Glad you were able to stock up.

    My frugal week:
    – I made vegetarian meatballs using some veggie ground round and my grandmother’s recipe (http://approachingfood.com/german-meatballs/)
    – I used a coupon code to get free delivery on a baby item
    – I bought toddler shoes for $15, and did curb pickup to avoid a delivery fee
    – I used a coupon code to get 3 free prints of my daughters to share with family
    – I received a few plant-based meat products to try for a survey. My daughter helped me taste test them and loved them too!
    – I arranged for a few virtual playdates for my daughter. Also functions as social time for me!
    – I redeemed some loyalty points for a freebie from Starbucks
    – I redeemed Pampers loyalty rewards for a gc to Starbucks
    – I made 3 ingredient peanut butter chocolate chip cookies
    – I borrowed books from the library, both hardcover and virtual, for both my daughter and I
    – I made pizza using 2 ingredient pizza dough (yoghurt and self-raising flour), leftover pasta sauce for pizza sauce, and topped it with what I had in the fridge: kalamata olives, frozen chopped spinach, some marbled cheese. It was so delicious!
    – I made spinach pancakes (“green pancakes!”) for my toddler, using self-raising flour, egg, milk, and defrosted spinach in a blender.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

  30. School holidays commence soon, so I’ve been researching free and fun local activities for the children to do. I’ll also include a beach day, pool day and many bike rides.

    I received a $200 gift card I can redeem at most shops for taking part in some market research for approximately 3.5 hours. I will redeem it on grocery shops and put the saved money into our savings.

    I went to the second hand shop and got three brand new Roald Dahl childrens novels for $5 (for a gift), a pair of almost new shorts for $2 and a brand new boxed tea cup, beautifully designed for $2 (also a gift).

    Have a wonderful week.

  31. It was a quiet week around here. Our frugal accomplishments were:
    *Meals made were steak and shrimp with twice-baked potatoes and tossed salad, crispy pollock with corn on the cob, pork with peppers and onions over rice, salmon with rice and green beans.
    *Made homemade bread several times, used strawberries and bananas from the freezer to make sorbets.
    *Re-painted a candle-holder and a patio chair with white spray paint.
    *Planted tulips my son had given me for Mother’s Day. Also weeded our flowerbeds.
    *Went to the thrift store and bought 2 pairs of capris, 3 shirts, a pair of tennis shoes, a stamper and a container of Mop and Shine all for $23. I also received a punch on my frequent customer card.
    *Accepted 1/2 chicken salad sandwich from a coworker one day and a free lunch another day.
    *Went to a new antique store with a friend and then for ice cream. Fun and frugal!
    *Watch college baseball with friends.

  32. My garden of green beans and tomatoes and cucumbers are doing wonderful however yesterday morning my friend who lives next door caught on her security camera a deer at her back door.. we live in the inner city so this is quite unusual. So I started looking at what I could do alot of suggestions are for deer netting which is quite expensive. I started calling our local grocery stores and asking if they had large bulk onion/orange net bags several gave me them free with more to come. I will cut them open attach them long wise and cover my plants at night. I also bought deer deterant spray. Hoping this helps with her coming back (female) and not munching on my plants. Now that it’s summer I have started getting books and DVD’s from our library instead of buying them. I buy used books and stock up for the winter months so that I don’t have to go out in the cold and snow to return due books/DVD’s. When I’m at the grocery store I look at new releases and if they look good I snapshot them and order them from the library same with new released DVD’s. I’ve been watching alot of you tube videos on Zero Waste living one thing I learned is how to make my own toothpaste.. I’ve ordered all the ingredients from a trusted supplier I’ve used for years. I won’t know how the cost equals out till I put it together but it is a zero waste product.. coconut oil, arrowroot powder, peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils thats it melt in a pot pour in a glass jar and use. I also bought a bamboo toothbrush that is `100% compostable I made sure to get one that didn’t have nylon bristles. The cost was no more than the cost of a plastic toothbrush buying it locally. So no more plastic toothpaste tubes or toothbrushes that are not recyclable. Oh on that note I also have a good compost going this year and rain barrel they are both close to the front porch making it easier for me to put scraps in the compost (plastic trash can with holes in the bottom and a lid) and rain barrel which I put my dishwater in if we haven’t washed anything with oils in it. It also gets good drainage from my metal awning roof. I add bleach to it every so often to keep algae from growing. This water is to be used for watering my garden or flushing toilets in a emergency. We have given up bottled water 90% now using Brita Water Pitchers and steel water bottles for husband to take to work instead of bottled water. Savings $20 a month.

  33. I finally got my petunias planted. A friend is giving me 5 geraniums on Thursday. They are most appreciated since my small ones suffered in the wind. Most of my tomatoes survived the high winds.
    I am restocking my pantry gradually with canned soup. I want to have about 50 cans (including canned chili) (I already have about 20 from last year) for next winter (and in case the Delta variant of covid is really bad here — two hospital units have outbreaks already). Fauci is urging everyone in the U.S. to get their second vaccinations because he knows that the Delta variant has become #1 in the U.K. One only vaccination offers only about 33% protection whereas it goes up to 88% with two.
    Now is a great time to stock up on soup (the prices have been as high as $3.50, today I paid $1.67 for the big cans). I got a case of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup for 12 cans for$7.95. Usually $12.95. I still need to get carrots, beans, etc. planted as well as my nasturtiums. I watched The Tenth Man on You Tube last night. I’ve been watching programs on CBC Gem. Everything free. After the book is finished, I plan on sewing with the Bernina sewing matching a friend has given me (a gift from her will). I have been eyeing the fabric supply in the basement. I have not sewn since I was a teenager — how hard can it be? I am really happy because the new never-worn pair of jeans which were a smidge too tight stretched just enough so I now can wear them. Most of my fruit trees are not having spectacular results except for two: the apple crab was loaded with blooms and my pear tree also is loaded with little pears that are forming. I’ve never had that many pears. I’m wondering if I should thin them out a little bit. I took photos of hover flies. I was amazed because I held my hand out and one landed for a visit. I found I’d taken a beautiful photo last year and played around with it and found it was stunning in black and white. Since hover flies eat aphids, they are great to have around. Also they are great pollinators which may be why there are so many pears this year! They are interesting to watch –they are skillful at aeronautics and fly like helicopters!

    In the meantime, about two months ago my friend’s dog suddenly died of a heart attack. He was an elderly rescue dog and deaf but a sweetheart. She’s been pretty devastated. In looking at the ads, it’s been really hard to find a small, older (but not too old) dog. The prices have tripled since the start of covid and one could easily pay $2,500-$3,500. We think we have found a dog — it is a placement for a breeder — the dog would come free of charge, my friend would pay all vet bills and costs just like it’s her pet, the breeder would retain ownership for a few years and would transfer ownership at the end of the contract. My friend meets the breeder and dog in two days. Ironically, about 30 years ago, she lived where my friend lives now. Fingers crossed it works out!

    1. Definitely thin your pears! The ones you get will be larger and you will prevent branch breakage from branches that are too heavy when the pears are larger. Pears produce in the same spot each year, so preventing branch loss is extra important!

      1. Don’t the shelters or rescue organizations (almost every breed has a rescue organization that finds homes for dogs) have dogs that need homes? That would be much less expensive and she’d be saving a life instead of supporting breeding.

        1. Hi Cara,

          There has been, and is, so much demand here that there are very few rescue dogs available and almost never a small dog (her condo board has weight restrictions). Pre-covid, she adopted a rescue dog — elderly and deaf from California (a lot of our rescue dogs are flown in from California). He was well loved but died of a sudden heart attack. Plus the rescue organization was not forthright about the dog’s health problems until after she signed a contract. Various rescue groups charge different amounts but it can still be about $450 for a rescue dog not including licensing fees. So if a small dog became available on a rescue basis she would gladly take it no problem but there is no hope as they just don’t come up. I looked at about 5 rescue operations and each had only about 10 dogs, all too big. We saw one small dog and applied for him but were told he has a lot of problems and bites people — and wasn’t suitable for my friend. It took her forever to get her deaf rescue dog but now with covid the situation is much worse. To buy the equivalent dog that she will hopefully get from the breeder, would cost her $3,000 to $3,500. Prices have tripled in 3 years or less. The breeder wants no payment so the upfront charge is nothing; other so-called breeders we’ve encountered (read “scam” for other reasons) want $1,000-$1,500 plus vet bills, licencing etc. Depending on the contract, after 3-5 years the dog will be my friend’s outright. If my friend cannot for any reason keep the dog, like health, the breeder takes him back. This way she will pay vet bills as she would if she owned the dog straightaway. It’s not supporting a puppy mill and the breeder has 25 years of experience. You would not believe how many scams there are…! Even outright purchasing a dog, there are scams… So, hopefully the guadianship will be ok and eventually the dog will be hers.

          I myself felt sad and wistful this week because I saw a female scottie that needed rehoming — I would have given anything to have been able to have that scottie. To see a scottie that needs rehoming really almost never happens. My mother bred scotties but I am deathly allergic to them now. I am not the type of person who psychologically has to have a pet but it would have been lovely to have that scottie.

          1. Ellie’s friend, there’s a rescue in Costa Rica that has loads of dogs, and they often can find someone who is flying back to the states who can bring the dog with them. Pet Rescue Santa Teresa is the name; they’re a tiny org (just two people, one American and one Tico) and they have firsthand involvement with the animals there. If your friend doesn’t find success with the current plan, perhaps this is worth a try.

            1. Hi Viola,

              Thanks for the information. We’re in Canada so the info might be more useful to someone in the States but good to know. An update on the dog (not puppy) search.

              The breeder brought the year-old dog over for a visit on Thursday. It is a poochon — 3/4s miniature poodle and 1/4 bichon. Contracts were signed, care was discussed. The breeder left the dog who has not missed a beat fitting in. It is house-trained and doesn’t bark which is good for my friend’s condo. A very bright but gentle dog. No money upfront to the breeder but my friend pays all vet bills, etc. The breeder waived the requirement that there be a fenced yard — my friend has an unfenced courtyard. Some people (such as I myself) can live happily without a pet (although I like dogs and cats) but some cannot — my friend has perked up so much it is unbelievable.

              As to supporting a breeder as opposed to “saving” a life of a rescue, I see no reason not to support a reputable breeder. There are disadvantages sometimes in dealing with rescue organizations — the last time, the org. did not make full disclosure about the dog’s health problems until after the adoption contract was signed.

              I think it’s a perfect match. Thanks again for the info.

              1. That’s great, Ellie’s friend. It sounds like it is working out well for your friend.
                I think I misunderstood something big from your note—I only made the suggestion because about the rescue because I thought you were saying your friend would have to wait (years!) to actually have her dog at home, and I felt bad for her (and I know there’s been a ‘pet shortage’ due to so many adoptions in the pandemic, so I wanted to make sure to share info about this org). But on reread I think what you’re saying is your friend gets the dog and it is just the technical ownership that transfers down the road. That sounds so much nicer for your friend. Also sorry for not catching that you’re in Canada (though for anyone else reading, if you’re interested, they do bring animals to Canada as well; how they work is that if someone expresses interest, they work to find someone who is flying that direction).

      2. Each group of pears has 4 or 5 pears. Would you think it group so there’s only one or two left?

  34. That should read “sewing machine” not “matching”. (spell check ghost in the computer). The dog breeder keeps ownership and can use the dog as a stud for breeding about 4 or 5 times a year. So the dog would go back to the breeder for 3 days each time.

  35. I am in love with your photos this week! The colors are beautiful!

    *Stocked up on peanut butter on sale for our food storage. Used Ibotta and Fetch. Made all meals at home and tried to cut back on my grocery bill again but it’s staying the same for the past few weeks. Meals made were tacos, hobo dinners, eggs & toast, grilled ham & cheese. Lunch was leftovers or sandwiches. Breakfast was oatmeal or cereal.

    *Enjoyed time outside weeding, watering, checking the garden, planting more seeds, picking a few strawberries, enjoying my large shade trees and rocking chairs on the back patio. I picked the last of my peonies that were blooming. I love their delicate fragrance and beautiful petals.

    *My husband and I used a gift certificate to go away for a night. Breakfast is included. We brought a movie from home and enjoyed the peace and quiet. We brought snacks and drinks. We used another gift card to get dinner. We brought home leftovers and ate those for lunch the next day.

    *I went to the library and picked up more books to read. I exercised at home using Walk at Home and hand weights. My kids want us all to split a streaming service membership. Much cheaper to split that 3 ways and opened a whole new world of shows for me. We had family stay over the weekend and enjoyed our time together. We attended church through Zoom. I repaired 3 pairs of shorts that had elastic waist and were too tight around the waist.

    I hope everyone has a frugal and good week.

  36. My recent frugal event came from heaven. I was alone in FL last week at my condo. The old car we have there is finicky. I had gone to a thrift store to drop off unneeded clothing. The car would not start when I came out of the store. I called my husband & he said let engine rest for 10 min. I went inside the store to cool off. I sat down in a chair, bowed my head, and said a prayer asking for help. I went back outside & of course the car did not start. It was hot & I was upset. Then a young man with an African or Carribean accent came to my rescue. He worked w/ jumper cables & jiggling the battery cables for 30 min or > in the hot Florida sun. He was finally able to get my car started. I’m sure a tow truck would have charged several hundred dollars to tow the car 3 miles home. I gave him 20$ for his trouble. He did not want to take the $ but I encouraged him to do so. I prayed for help & God sent me an angel. (My mechanic husband is going to FL next week & get “Old Bessie” repaired.)

  37. Happy Summer everyone! Even though it’s HOT where we are (almost as hot as Brandy!) it’s nice to have a break! We do our homeschool until middle of June (the 22nd will be our last-day-of-school party!) take July off to swim, play with cousins, do the library reading program, etc. and I can organize all the material for school to start back up at the beginning of August. I have most of the curriculum as PDFs and need to print and bind them, get reading books organized, throw away old papers, so July will be a good month to do all that during the afternoons when it’s too hot to play outside.

    We’ve gotten a lot of food this week from neighbors leaving town or starting to ripen trees! We got about 10 grapefruit, a bunch of bananas, tomatoes, bags of cilantro, green onions, little bottles of smoothies, a can of crescent rolls, some chip dip, and a bag of apricots! It was heaven! I ended up juicing all the grapefruit since they weren’t too sweet and didn’t have a great flavor. I used the juice in a cake (I’ve made an orange cake before using orange juice instead of water) and the grapefruit cake was…. okay. I probably won’t make it again. So, the rest of the juice, we’ll use in smoothies.

    We’re just chugging along with putting our student loan payments into a certificate account. So far, since February, we’ve made $41 of interest! In October, we’ll be able to use most of the money to pay off a large chunk of student loans. We decided to use some of it to help my husband’s career (buying some shares in his clinic and receiving a yearly dividend) and not take out a business loan.

    We’re being extra careful with our electrical usage and AC usage. There’s talk that if an AC goes out it may be hard to get replacement parts. Our area is anticipating some brownouts to conserve electrical usage. I’m not exactly sure what that will look like, but we’ve been running our dishwasher and clothes washer only at nights, raising our AC to 80 for most of the day (79 or 78 for the hottest part of the day, around 5 pm) and keeping the windows and curtains closed from about 11am – 7pm.

  38. I don’t know if it’s win for thrift or a failure. We are refinancing the home ( dropping about 50% of interest rate) and there might be an appraisal done. Love that might be. So I decided to go to get some of the smaller projects on the punch list done just to maybe push the value up. I decided to declutter the front bay of the barn where we basically dumped everything that came from Daddy’s house. I’m only half way through after an 8 hr. day. BUT when going through his stuff I moved the ceiling fans that will go to the kitchen porch when that project is done and found 3 boxes that were marked for the bathrooms/kitchen buried under some small furniture (that are now in use). Opened them up to find 6 months of toilet paper, paper towels, different bars of soap and scent spray cans for my automatic sprayer and the warm weather bedding. We are both clueless of why boxes was put in the furniture area to begin with.
    After being over ran with asparagus, it’s now the strawberries turn and I know the blackberries will be turning ripe before the strawberries end. I froze spinach ,garlic scapes and strawberry freezer jam. Canned strawberries and strawberry pie filling. I need to can the two kinds of turnips and freeze the snow peas.
    Hubby did fail to use the Menards rebates for the basement ramp supplies. SIGH … had them in his back pocket instead of with his phone . So he decided to use them for the greenhouse we hope to build this late summer.
    Blessed Be everyone

  39. Thank you Brandy, for your lovely blog and website, and thanks to each of you who leave such encouraging comments!
    For those who enjoyed “The Kitchen Front” or other WWII-themed books or movies, you may enjoy watching “1940’s House,” a PBS program that is available on YouTube. It was made around 2002. A British family was “transported” back in time to a 1940’s wartime existence – they lived in a home that was remodeled to reflect 1940s-era furniture, decor, appliances, etc. They also received letters, projects, and assignments tailored to the time, and even experienced (simulated) bombings, etc. Our whole family, kids included, loves this show and others like it, themed to other time periods (such as “Colonial House,” “1900’s House,” etc.).

    1. I love 1940s House! I used to have it on DVD but sadly gave it away to a friend. YouTube has the entire series for free (look for a user named William Aucott – he has all of the episodes full-length, not broken into segments). There is also a companion book (very cheap on Amazon or Abe books) that is fun if you enjoy the series.

  40. Love your photos — is that soft-pink/peach flower calendula? My wildflowers are growing but nothing is flowering yet. I’m so impatient for a bouquet!

    Last week was my birthday. I took some time the week before to update my email and birthday on several apps, was rewarded with lots of freebies that I was able to enjoy on purchases I was already planning to make. $10 to Kohl’s, $20 to Lane Bryant, free burrito, and more.

    Made several meals from the freezer. We have family coming this week (in-laws staying for 10 days — eek!– and my mom/stepdad at end of June). It always costs us a fortune when we have company. I’ve made lists of some meals I can make and am checking out the store flyers to see where to shop for ingredients. My in-laws are very particular about meals, so I don’t want to buy too much before they come if they won’t eat it. But I also want to avoid going to the store when they’re here because it always adds $$$ to the bill (either with their lists of requests, or if they go along with us). It’s a catch-22. We haven’t seen our either of our sets of parents since before Covid, so we’re going to enjoy seeing them.

    I redeemed some of my Reader Reward points for a free book. Here’s the link if anyone wants to join using my referral — http://www.myreaderrewardsclub.com/login?pc=qmbi-ctls-klbx-tmcf You will get 25 points for joining, then do a few of the easy activities for more points.

    I received some grow bags to review on my blog, so I planted strawberries and some seeds for cucamelons. https://www.savingsinseconds.com/gardzen-grow-bags

    We had lots of good finds at yard sales over the weekend. My 2 favorite items were a sturdy plastic bench with deep pots on the end (putting that by the pool) and 2 wrought iron planters that we’ll secure to the wooden fence. I also found 4 louvre closet doors by the side of the road and convinced my husband to cart them home, with the intention of making a raised bed with them. We were a bit worried about the paint leeching into the raised bed, so he suggested that we put them along the fence line for decor. It looks weird but he has a vision — he wants to hang flower pots and cute signs from them. We’ll see how it ends up!

  41. Late this week-vacation bible school every morning.

    -I harvested a bunch of rhubarb. I froze 4 packages of chopped, made a strawberry (frozen) and rhubarb crisp, and canned quarts of rhubarb citrus punch.

    -We continue to eat fresh asparagus. I also canned 4 quarts pickled and have shared some with others.

    -Memorial day we traveled to the cemetery my mom was buried in. I packed a lunch of cheese, summer sausage, crackers, watermelon, and chips. It was 8 hour drive round trip. We were able to see the headstone as they had just placed it. All my siblings met there together and we brought my dad. Nice day to be together and only out of pocket was gas.

    -Meals were: spaghetti with meat sauce; ham with hash browns and green beans; fried chicken with mashed potatoes, gravy, and corn; barbecue pork ribs with coleslaw; and leftovers.

    -Made my homemade bug concoction for the apple trees. I put it in 1/2 gallon milk jugs and hang on a branch. I had the milk jugs saved from last year. I change it out twice a month. It really does keep the bugs at bay and out of the apples.

    -We are so dry!! And it has been in the 90’s for a week! Unheard of in June in central Minnesota. Having to water the garden every three days or so. I am out in the garden at 6am weeding before it gets too hot and humid. Garden loves this weather!! Plants growing by leaps and bounds.

    -No groceries bought. Continue to eat out of freezer and canning so I have room for the new garden produce.

    -Sweet Vidalia onions in the crockpot with butter-cooking down. I will then can some French onion soup in quarts and freeze the remainder.

    -Have a great week!!

    1. There is increasing drought across the nation. I read around four stories on drought daily right now and the plains states have quite a bit of drought.

      Here, it cooled down into the 90’s this week and we are so grateful. It’s going to be 114 a week from today. We have to water daily (humidity level here is only 6%) and I am still working on installing drip lines. It takes me 2 hours a day right now to water the garden!

      1. Brandy it was 100 degrees today with 70% humidity! Like a sauna.Ugh! We did have 1/2 inch of rain last night but we need much more.

        1. I wish we had that much! Less than an inch of rain this year and only 2 inches for all of 2020. The news is reporting about Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the U.S., and how low it is. The water levels are very concerning.

  42. I’m so glad your replantings are doing so well! That’s such a good feeling. I moved some perennials into better spots this week and enjoying having color where it’s best needed.

    Right now, the kale and radishes are the best things in the garden, besides the strawberries. We’ll enjoy the peas next week. My husband made a wonderful tartine with French bread (home), goat cheese, thin slices of radishes, apples, and arugula. It’s cool and delicious.

    We managed to entertain friends five times in the past week, which feels lovely and insane after the past year. Vaccinations among friends have definitely changed things a lot. I stirred up some shortcake and paired it with whipped cream and strawberries that were on a lovely sale at Shaws. I also made some homemade pizza for a lunch together. We let the kids run in the sprinkler during the heat wave and gave them ice cream cones. We also managed a family illness, happily resolved, and some interrupted sleep – so I was grateful to have simple meals ready, homemade bread in the fridge, and paper plates.

    We did home haircuts for the 5 guys at home.

    I potted on and shared some seedlings for herbs and flowers.

    Thank you for all the good ideas and inspiration!

  43. Hi Brandy and everyone,
    I loved your photos this week and enjoyed reading about your gardening.
    We have been enjoying strawberries from our garden. I love fushia hanging
    baskets but I can’t spend the $45 they want. At the beginning of May I purchased $5 worth of starts and now I have a beautiful hanging fushia basket.
    I fixed a top I had bought that was too low cut so now I can wear the very nice linen top all summer.
    My peonies were blooming and rain was coming so I picked a bunch before the rain beat them down. I then dried 3 of them in the microwave and used a piece of scrap linen fabric I had to frame them in an oak frame I got for .49 cents at the thrift store. It looks like a beautiful piece you would pay a huge price for in a boutique shop. It turned out really well and will be displayed in my bathroom- the pink blooms match the light pink color of my bathroom.
    I enjoy reading everyone’s comments- so helpful!

    1. That sounds so pretty! And I love your basket! Fushia doesn’t grow well here in our heat but I can picture how pretty that must be!

  44. We have been having hot and humid weather but with very little rain. My vegetable starts have had a rocky start with hot and cold weather but the ones that lived are finally starting to grow well. Our strawberry plants are loaded with berries but the bugs and birds seem to be enjoying! If anyone has any suggestions to help with this, I would be grateful.

    I have been stocking up when I see good sales. Prices are definitely on the rise and I have been diligent in reading the sale papers to get the best prices possible. I have continued to be blessed by our buy nothing group and have received some practical items again this past week. My mom bought us some chicken breasts from the store she usually shops at. We are grateful for all the things she buys for us.

    I have been using the library regularly and my husband has been watching videos and completing puzzles received from the buy nothing group. It is all free entertainment.

    I hope everyone is having a lovely week!

    1. Hi Andrea
      I live in the UK so our bugs etc might be different but we mulch around our strawberries with clean straw which lifts the berries off the ground and makes it harder for slugs and snails to reach them. We suspend netting over the beds, high enough over the plants that the birds can’t peck through. We hold the net up with tall sticks at the corners with small plant pots over the top of the stick so no one pokes an eye out and the edges are held to the ground with old bricks. Hope this helps.

      1. Thank you for the information. I put straw around the berries over the winter but took it all up in the spring. I will put some more down tomorrow to lift the berries off the ground. I read that spraying the plants with a diluted mixture of dish soap and water helps with bugs so I have tried this. I am hoping to avoid netting so I have put some crinkly shopping bags on poles around the patch. Apparently birds don’t like the sound. I am hoping these suggestions give us a good crop!

        1. I have covered my berries with nylon net bought on sale at JoAnn’s. It is 72 inches wide. Although I’m trying to keep the birds out, my little boy dog is the biggest offender. He harvests strawberries and raspberries, so I’ve stretched out a baby gate to keep him out of the area altogether!

    2. For the birds in the strawberries. I read on line last summer to spray or paint rocks red. Chose rocks that are a similar size to a strawberry. I used spray paint. Then put the red painted rocks around your strawberry plants after the fruit sets but before it ripens. The idea is that the birds will peck the red rocks and will ignore the ripe strawberries. I was very skeptical but it works, YMMV.

      For the slugs, I sprinkle used, dry coffee grinds around the plants. Reapply after it rains

      1. I think both these ideas are great. I am definitely going to try the coffee grounds and see what we get!

    1. I do know it can, but thanks for sharing! I also know it can keep for months past the expiration date in the fridge and be perfectly fine as well, so I am sure it will be fine. I usually go through about 15 a month so we’ll go through it quickly.

  45. For bargains of the week, No Frills has a 4 pound box of Canadian grown tomatoes for $3.94, tinned flaked ham for $1.27. Superstore has cans of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup or tomato soup for $0.78 cents each, limit 6, Royale paper towels for $5.97(save 3 or 4 $), Vienna sausage $1 per can (limit 4). Sunterra has my absolute favourite canned lentils (Scarpone’ for $1 each (save 0.39 centts each). I’ll be stocking up on those and other canned scarpone’s beans. My aim is not only to stock up on soups but also canned lentils and beans for the winter.

  46. I’ve been eating oatmeal every morning- this is new for me but so many of you do that I thought I’d try. I like it, I don’t have to think about what to eat and it’s healthy/frugal. So, thank you! We have had such a busy week here. One daughter got engaged (!!) and I moved a son home for summer from his university. I found some great deals at Grocery Outlet, but overall my food budget has gotten out of control. This weekend I cleaned the pantry and did a huge inventory, and am determined to keep it within check. I made breakfast sandwiches, banana bread, and a new meal which I absolutely loved- SW chicken salad. I marinated the chicken in a blend of paprika, olive oil, lime juice, chili powder, garlic, and a couple other things, then seared in a pan and cooked it. Sliced it up and topped two 9×13 dishes that I had filled with: shredded lettuce, corn (off the cob), black beans, red onion, tomato, olives, avocado, and then added cheese and crushed tortilla strips on the side. I made one for dinner and one for two nights later for another dinner. SO nice to just pull out of fridge a huge, hearty salad. Love reading all the comments each week! Brandy, I loved your photos of the flowers this week so much.

  47. I finished The Kitchen Front. I enjoyed it. Shopped bargains at the grocery store and actually got some good prices on some things. Picked strawberries, asparagus, cilantro, oregano, and green onion. It has been hot here. 98 degrees Fahrenheit today. I hope it rains tomorrow. It just might. Used potatoes my parents gave us. Cooked lots of beans. I’m sort of trying The blue zone diet. I talked to someone that helped a family member overcome type 2 diabetes with this diet. So, I thought it might help. I want to check out the book from the library then possibly buy it. For now I just have gleaned some ideas from the internet. My numbers are doing better this week. I am feeling much better! My mother-in-law said I glowed and looked energetic. Must be all those vegetables and water I’m drinking! I do feel much more energetic. I have put Jennifer Ryan’s other books on hold for me at the library. I look forward to reading her other novels. Now when I go visit someone, I try to bring something that is ok for me to eat. It makes me feel better. Then I have more energy. I try to bring a piece of fruit that I enjoy for dessert while everyone else eats pie or cake or cookies. It is working for me. Besides I don’t want people to worry about what I can or can’t eat. But at he same time I want to feel good. Bringing something that I can share works. We have been using our air conditioning a lot lately. I’m not looking forward to the bill. I have been careful about turning off lights. So that helps. I enjoyed lunch one day with both my boys and grandchildren. It was great! I have a son and grandson who love Sushi. We went to lunch, cheaper than dinner. It was totally worth it to enjoy time together doing something that everyone truly enjoyed. A favorite breakfast of mine has been oatmeal with almond butter and cocoa powder and blueberries. Yum! It is like dessert with no sugar added. I’m trying to eat up what we have before I shop for more veggies or fruit. We are trying to utilize our garden produce.

    1. Tammy,
      The Plant Paradox book is also good for diabetics, as is Dr. Gundry’s other book, The Longevity Paradox.

      Hope it helps.

  48. Last week was definitely the peak of young nettle season over here so we ate nettles in some form every day and I even got some of them into freezer. I cut down the growth I used so I will be able to enjoy a second harvest at some point.

  49. Hello friends! I just love reading everyone’s comments weekly and they encourage me to chime in with my own accomplishments!

    I did only one grocery outing this week to get a few things that were missing from my pantry. I also added some couscous as it was on sale in Winco’s bulk section. Now I have enough for easily 6 months.
    I picked up 8 large flower pots from a neighbor in my Buy Nothing group. I have wanted to add some flowers to my vegetable garden to appease the bees but I needed somewhere to put them. So grateful for that group of people as well!
    Speaking of my BN group, I picked up green bean seeds from someone in the same group a couple of weeks ago. As of this morning all of them have popped up! I think there are 12 bush plants, so I am really looking forward to fresh green beans this summer! I am hoping to be able to preserve some of them for the cooler season, but I may just eat them all fresh!
    The rest of my garden is doing well also! We finally got some rain today (I’m in Portland, Oregon) after a dry couple of weeks. The tomatoes are poppin’ off! Strawberries are doing alright, some of them are getting eaten by bugs. Carrots, blueberries, raspberries, sugar snap peas, armenian and lemon cucumbers, tomatoes, they are all growing! And potatoes. This is my first time growing anything (seriously) so I’m so excited to see things coming up!
    For exercise I walk my dogs twice daily around the neighborhood.
    A neighbor invited me over for a drink the other evening after work. It was nice to meet and get to know another neighbor. I love the sense of community as living alone can occasionally be lonely! My neighbors all look out for one another and share with each other, I feel so lucky to have landed here!

    I hope you are all well and safe, have a great weekend!

  50. This past week I finally made the switch from one phone carrier to another for a lower price. I’ve discussed it with so many people I am starting to feel like I’m advertising for the company. However, I am so happy that I went from $115 with the first carrier, to $45 with the second, to now $15 with the current carrier. From a year ago I am saving $100 a month on that one bill alone. Research and digging for better prices can really pay off.

    It’s getting exceptionally hot here in South West Florida and I am leaning toward turning the AC off at night because the fans keep us cool enough at night to have temps in the upper 70’s in our room. I have also gotten back to mowing my own lawn. We have two yards so this has been a challenge but also a savings. Previously we payed $30 a mow times two for the two yards, and they were mowed once a week during the Summer without fail. This is also a huge savings to our family – and a free additional workout.

    I continue to cook at home. In the last month we have only eaten out twice, which is very low for us. My son and I have also been walking more. I weighed myself and my weight is down 10 lbs from when I had my yearly physical over a month ago. Things are well here. Hope they are well for you as well!

  51. We are dealing with a drought in Iowa. I have seen in many of your posts (including this one) that you use a drip irrigation system. How do you set one up? What are some other ways to collect water for our garden and fruit trees (we have two rain barrels and they are empty due to the drought)? Any ideas or recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thank you 🙂

    1. I just read about the water restrictions in Iowa yesterday.

      I will be posting very soon about water conservation and drip irrigation. Drip irrigation is set up like a sprinkler system, but instead of putting in sprinklers, you attach hoses and drip lines. I have mine all set up to an automatic timer so it waters early in the morning before dawn.

      Water does not usually fall from the sky here, and our humidity is usually 5%. The houses here are not built with rain gutters because they are simply not needed. Last year we only had two inches of rain all year. Our normal rainfall is four inches a year. This year we have had less than one inch and I don’t know if we will even make it to two.

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