We had a simple at-home birthday celebration for my son this week. He turned five, and he wanted a pinata.

He likes the show The Number Blocks, which he watches on the YouTube Kids app. My older son made him a pinata of the Number 5 character, using a cardboard box. He covered it with blue construction paper and cut pieces of saved blue tissue paper (that had come with a gift in a gift bag that one of the children received in the past with a gift), and made a construction paper face to make the character.

I bought a few of pounds of the least expensive assorted bulk candy from Winco to go inside (I did not fill the entire box; that would have been way more candy than we needed!)

His gifts were Octonauts toys, gummy sharks, a couple of puzzles (one from the Dollar Tree), and a couple of shirts that I found on sale for half off (with free shipping ) that I ordered while I was ordering some clearance and sale items that other people in the family needed.

I gave the birthday boy a haircut.

I mended a pair of stretch pants (trousers) and a skirt for my daughters.

I brought in more garden soil (bought in bulk) and my husband wired the valves for the drip irrigation system we are using. I ran drip lines and started planting in the areas that are at level. It’s already 95 degrees here, so I am having to work in the early hours of the morning and late in the evening right before and after sunset.

The mornings are still cool, so we are opening up the windows in the mornings and late evenings to cool the house, keeping the air conditioner off as long as possible.

I planted grapevines, blackberry and tayberry bushes, tomato plants, and roses in the garden. While it’s quite late to get my plants in the ground (tomatoes are usually planted in the ground a couple of months ago), I am hopeful that we will still have a harvest.

I harvested lettuce, Swiss chard, and mulberries from the garden.

What did you do to save money last week?

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139 Comments

  1. This week we sold $65 in blackberry starts. Gave away on free cycle about a zillion extra lemon balm plants that had spread over the winter. Gave away lots of lilac starts as well. And in the process made several new friends that we plan on getting together with again! One of them, who we discovered lives only 10 blocks away, went home with chives and fresh eggs as well as lemon balm and is coming back with young raspberry canes that have spread in her garden!

    When it gets down to meeting people one by one, it becomes apparent that there are so many wonderful people outside in the world that we can gain so much from as we get to know them.

    I was able to redeem $20 more in credit card rewards to go into our savings account.(Thanks to Hubs’ dental work!)

    Quilt #138 & #139 were quilted for a client so that added some more money into our savings. https://pin.it/4dJMv5q and https://pin.it/1Bv3Hkf. I got a call from a mom in a nearby town who asked if I would quilt a lap quilt for a classmate of her 2nd grade daughter. The classmate’s mom had just passed away from cancer and this mom decided she would have each of the 22 classmates decorate a quilt square and she would sew together the quilt top. She asked if she could hire me to quilt and bind it. I told her I would be honored to donate my labor to this act of kindness by the 2nd grade class. She will be picking it up today! https://pin.it/7lJ1M9a
    I’m loading another king size quilt on my longarm to quilt and on Wednesday another queen size on is coming in. So that’s been a way to help even out our budget after Hubs dental work and fencing materials that we needed to buy. I also started making a lap size scrappy quilt on my own to use up some of my precut scraps. https://pin.it/6ceFix2. I still need to put borders on it but I’ll do that in odd moments.

    A friend that we gave lilac starts to surprised us with a loaf of homemade sourdough bread that we were able to enjoy all week! The timing was perfect because we were on our last two slices of my whole wheat bread! I’ll need to make more bread in a few days and that will last us for 10 days or so.

    Had a nice Mother’s Day with calls and visits from 8 of our kids. Our youngest son that I’ve mentioned before picked up Mexican takeout for us on Saturday for dinner because we were completely exhausted from all our yard work that day. The restaurant that we like is near where he lives and so in trade, I told him to order something for himself too and I transferred the cost into his account to pay for it. About 6 years ago, he learned that it was a nice thing to give a card at holidays and he usually gets a card ready a couple weeks before Mother’s/Father’s Day, etc. It’s progressed over the years to where he doesn’t sign his full name (including surname) on the inside of our cards but he usually finds a humorous card for those occasions and we enjoy them! On Saturday, when he brought dinner, he gave me my Mother’s Day card early and I was surprised because it was a sweet sentimental card expressing his appreciation and love! I was overwhelmed! That was probably the best thing ever!

    Got my green beans, marigolds and tomatoes all planted and finished our squirrel-proof fencing around veg garden. https://pin.it/1Rwkakf and https://pin.it/dKOeUEv. It may look mean but it will keep them from hopping on our fence and then straight into our garden and totally decimating it. I am willing to share, but the squirrels insist on one bite out of each and every veg or fruit and I’m not willing to give up all of our food for them! A neighbor feeds them peanuts in the shell that we also find buried all through our garden beds with holes dug throughout the beds where they are looking for them. Unfortunately, they aren’t careful about anything we’ve planted as they tear up the beds to find their peanuts! Grrr!!!! The spikes along the top of the fence aren’t meant to hurt them, just deter them!

    Hope everyone’s week is frugal, but also joyful and creative!

    Gardenpat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    1. Hello, Gardenpat! Where did you get the spikes? I have a peach tree, and apple tree and a pear tree and the squirrel eat all our fruit before we can get to it.

    2. Gardenpat- The class quilt is so nice. What a special gift and you quilting it is also very very special. These times are tough for so many and a little kindness goes a very long way. Did the class use markers to make the blocks? It’s just so lovely!

      We are having a loooonnng spell of cold and rain but just reading these posts and comments reminds me to be grateful for the rain and for so much in my own life. Brandy works so hard to save water and makes the most of gardening in spite of heat and drought. I can definitely learn to make the best out of some late cold weeks and too much rain! ( My beets, lettuce, and cabbages are loving it!)

      Tonight I was tired after work but eyed my fridge and pantry to find supper. I found sandwich fixings and even mixed up a wacky cake (no eggs) for dessert. I was just being lazy but now have accomplished supper and wiped out the fridge!

      Thanks to you, Brandy, for providing such a blessing in this site. It inspires me so much!

    3. That little second grade quilt brought tears to my eyes. My son is in second grade and I can’t imagine losing your mama at that age. God bless that baby.

    4. I love seeing your quilt pictures each week!. The quilt from that girl’s classmates is adorable, but what a sad situation. You are so sweet to donate your services for that poor girl.

      1. Sabrina- Amazon.com- Valibe Bird Spikes Bird Deterrent Devices Stainless Steel 21.6 Feet Bird Repellent Spikes Critter Pricker for Pigeons Small Birds Woodpecker Cat with Uninstalled Pins
        Price: $27.95 ($1.40 / Count)
        Size: 21.6 feet. They are working great to deter the squirrels. Cats too that we’re using our garden as litter box.
        If you, or anyone decide to get some, please go through Brandy’s Amazon links at the end of the comments.

  2. I love the picture of your two youngest. Such sweet boys! We have been keeping it very quiet. I have only bought minimal groceries of the items on sale. I have definitely noticed an increase in prices and I am trying to buy the front page specials only. We are definitely stockpiling items that keep such as toiletries. I continue to take advantage of items that come up on our buy nothing group. Clothing, cleaning products and food are especially welcome.

    All of my vegetable starts are doing well and my husband is getting the gardens ready for planting. Hopefully by the end of the month the frost risk will be finished and we can get them in the ground. Hoping for a good harvest!

    Our garage door ceased to work and my brother and uncle diagnosed the problem. A visit from a repair person fixed it for minimal cost and fuss. We were also glad to hear that the door and the mechanics of it are in good shape and should last quite a while longer.

    We spent a quiet Mother’s Day both at home and with my mom. I received a couple of gift cards for stores where I can get practical things that we need. I was grateful for these gifts.

    I hope everyone has a lovely week and the sun shines in your part of the world.

  3. We boosted our pantry as we are also reading about coming higher prices a and possible shortages. I was able to purchase a 25 pound bag of garbanzos at Winco for just $20. Chickpeas are a good source of protein and calories and store well. I did an inventory and stocked up on other items we know will last.Paying smaller prices today for food we will eat in the future.. I am going through my vegetarian cookbooks to be sure we are eating a lot of beans and lentils in between the meat meals to stretch our dollars and supplies, and also because we LIKE beans and lentils and they are healthy!

    Healthy hobby: We paid $145 to rent a plot for a year, in our community garden.No room in our own back yard. We’re planting things we can eat and in Az. Should be able to grow MUCH of our produce all year. THEY PROVIDE ALL THE WATER!! Our plot came with the drips already in, and 5 Raised beds..we only had to add some soil to replenish! We’re growing cantaloupes since we’re not having to pay for the water! They had a tool shed where everyone shares tools, wheel barrels,etc. There are music events in the garden regularly, and we’ve met new friends. We will have Squash, beans,tomatoes,eggplant peppers for summer. More in the fall.AND this is a healthy hobby to share with my husband.He has the green thumb and is teaching me as we go along.

    Frugal entertainment: I am hosting our every other week card games for 3 friends who live on my block.No cars, no restaurants, just fun, and laughter and our brains get a workout!We take turns hosting.Everyone brings half a sandwich for our lunch break and hostess provides coffee,water and sometimes some snacks. I made a pie out of some organic apples that were getting soft,for today.

    Looked at my closet before thinking I had to go to the consignment store.I DON’T NEED A THING for summer. Even thrift store shopping is not frugal if you buy stuff you don’t really need!

    Gave my husband a haircut.

    Used grocery “points” to get 20 cents a gallon off gas.Grouped our errands so not too many trips.

    Reading a lot of freebies online through my cloud library. We also got real books AT the actual library. “Library day’ is one of my favorite dates with husband! We found a local Mexican food place that is extremely modest, inside a gas station! But locals love it and we got cheap street tacos for lunch on way home from library.

  4. Brandy, I love the picture of Octavius and Hamish! My son and daughter-in-law visited for most of the week, and that’s never cheap, LOL. But really, really good. I sent them home with a bunch of stuff. It was nice for me…but I’ve noticed the older they get, the pickier they are. Also–

    * We used a coupon for a free deluxe carwash. The car was FILTHY–the inside was even worse. I worked on it and it’s still not perfect, but a lot better (and it never is perfect). I found .11 at the carwash. (I actually found .12, but the other penny got sucked up by the vacuum).

    * I had previously listed two items on craigslist. I listed two more, then put all 4 on Facebook. I sold the luggage for $60, two oil lamps for $40 and a Honda lawnmower for $300. All sold on FB.

    * Huge frugal fail–while cleaning my patio and moving the furniture, the glass top on the picnic table shattered into millions of tiny pieces. Big, awful job cleaning it up. Now I know how I will be spending that $400 I made selling stuff! (It won’t have a glass top, either). 

      1. Thanks for everyone’s ideas! I’m taking the set to a neighborhood yard sale next weekend. The table will be a giveaway, but I’ll try to sell the chairs. The chairs, unfortunately, were never very comfortable…which I didn’t realize when we bought them. They’re OK long enough to eat a meal, but you don’t want to linger afterward. (In fact, you wanna eat fast, LOL). I’m not exactly looking at this as an excuse to buy a new set, but…I’m just sayin’. (Tip for others: anytime you buy outdoor furniture, spend as much time on it as you would if you were buying for the living room).

        PS I really did consider the plexiglass solution, but I don’t think it would be rigid enough. The only thing that held the glass was a lip all the way around the top, no center support.

    1. Hello Maxine!
      My friend purchased a patio table without a glass top, very inexpensive. She had her husband cut to size a piece of exterior cement board that she painted the color she wanted-matched her cushions. It looks gorgeous!!! You may want to check that option out. So much affordable!!!!!!
      Mary of Michigan.

      1. This was our first kitchen table when we were married. My husband had painted the board black.

    1. Claudia, go to one of your big box hardware stores and get a quote for plexiglass. You can get the thickness you need and even get a cut out for an umbrella if necessary. You won’t spend all that money either!!!

  5. I have to say that the picture of your sons pulls at my heart. I miss those days.
    I am continuing to purge things from my house and the storage barn.
    This may not seem to be a money saver. Though I have found so many items that got packed away when I had an extended illness a decade ago. These things have gone for gifts saving me a lot of cash.
    I have rescued many tubs of fabric.
    I have donated many tubs of fabric after looking at them and thinking…”Why did I buy that?”.
    With fabric prices going up (so says the quilt store owner I frequent) getting out all of my fabric is saving me tons of money.
    I’ve read many free books and watched many free movies.
    Jake has brought me dinner twice this week. I always accept free food. I can pass it on if I don’t use it.
    I am making a king-size quilt from fabric scraps. I have mentioned it before since a sewing sister is sharing a pattern she has. I will be keeping this quilt for my bed. I have enough fabric left that I can make another quilt similar to this one for my oldest daughter. She loves this quilt. I will be gifting it at Christmas.
    I, also, have a quilt (that was packed away when it was almost done) that a grandson admired. I will be finishing it and gifting it for his Christmas.
    The only thing I had to buy was batting which I got for 40% off and free shipping.
    We are still planting bits in the garden every few days. We have rain today so no planting, but, also, no watering.
    I am reading up on foraging in Texas. So many abandoned homes have fruit trees and bushes that drop their fruit. You have to ask permission from the owner to pick from land that is empty. It is more difficult than I thought. Road-side picking is okay though…I think.
    Thank you Brandy for your informative articles on shortages. I share that information with my children, grands and friends. It has been very helpful.

  6. Happy Mother’s Day Brandy. I thought of you yesterday. I hope you had a nice time with your family. I love that piñata! Thank you for sharing some of the economy related articles you’ve been reading lately. I am trying to learn more about this, as things in our own economy seem to be shifting. A few months ago we decided to take some savings and pay off both of our car loans and also an old home equity loan that had a variable interest rate. This freed up close to $1000.00 in our monthly budget, but this seems to be eaten up recently by rising food and gas prices. I’m glad for the greater stability of carrying less debt, but I can see that I need to get more creative!

    We did very well with the pop-up food pantry last month. We froze and dehydrated a lot of potatoes, carrots, and onions for future meals. I made the yogurt into popsicles mixed with purred fruit and honey, and also did some marinades, sauce for Greek chicken, and added it to baked goods. My daughter made tuna pasta salad with it, even though it was flavored with vanilla. It wasn’t too bad actually. We hope to find more of these in our area.

    My kids spent one Saturday with a toolbox and YouTube troubleshooting how to repair the lawnmower. Success! And the lawn got mowed. Even better! This was after convincing my husband that we really couldn’t just go out and buy a new one. I think the gas had sat too long in the engine. I know they also checked spark plugs and oil. I was just really proud of them for their practicality and problem solving skills. They also looked like they were having a lot of fun.

    I had an eye exam and got invited by my doctor to “join the bifocal club”. Then I spent a week trying out any other possibilities thinking that he must be wrong. To his credit, he was very patient and helpful. I am trying to update all of our prescriptions and glasses and medical stuff before prices go up. And yes, I did get the bifocals…it so nice to be able to see again.

  7. Graduation is next week in our town. It is common to get invited to 5 or 10 or more parties for the grads. Instead of buying cards to put money in for them, I print my own (cards- not money!) When my daughter got married 2 years ago we bought lovely blank cards and printed up the invites. They had been on sale and I bought plenty in case I goofed up. I have been using the left overs up since then to make birthday cards, thank you’s, grad cards and so on. They turned out very nice.
    It is rhubarb time here. I have made and frozen sauce and cut up rhubarb. Also made jam and and a strawberry rhubarb pie last week.

    1. I too giggled- I envisioned little fake bills shooting out of your printer. Thanks for a chuckle!

    2. Julie you made me laugh with your ‘cards not money!’ I looked at Mother’s Day cards and was not blown away by the less expensive ones and totally not into the cost of a ‘good’ one. I too am planning to ‘make my own’ cards once again. I used to do this and i’m finding with 12 grandchildren, 4 kids, etc. that occasions acknowledged with even just a card are getting very expensive.

      1. Terri,
        As someone who only gets one birthday card in the mail every year, I encourage you to keep sending the cards. My aunt is the last one to send cards and I look forward to it every year.

    3. Julie, I laugh also about your comment. This year for Mother’s Day I decided to look through all my old Mother’s Day cards from previous years. I keep all my cards. I found 4 identical cards, all from the same daughter over a ten year period. I decided to display them on a flower frog. When the kids came over we all had a great laugh. So now I tell them don’t buy me anymore cards just give me the money. LOL.

  8. I’ve been scouring estate and garage sales for a while for a decent bread maker. I had given my old one (which was a hand-me-down from a friend) away a couple of years ago, but wanted a new one. Most of what I’d run across was either overpriced, too small, missing parts, etc. Finally last Friday I ran across one at an estate sale. A Hitachi home bakery, new condition, complete with all parts & manuals, for $12. I was quite excited about my find. I do like to make bread from scratch, but the convenience of the machine is something I very much appreciate. (I have a loaf baking in the new-to-me machine as I type this!) I also picked up a work blouse, a cardigan, and a pair of pants at a garage sale.

    Went grocery shopping at Aldi, Costco, and Tom Thumb. Given the current news regarding supply chain issues and price increases, I went through my pantry and cabinets to see what we might be low on, so I could go ahead and restock now. Restocked several assorted canned goods, dry pantry items including corn starch, brown sugar, bread flour, yeast, grated parmesan cheese, pink Himalayan salt, whole peppercorns, and jasmine rice. We also picked up a large package of bathroom tissue at Costco. We were not really running low, but want to be prepared, and they rarely seem to have it in stock in the store. We figured when we saw it, we should go ahead and get a package just in case.

    We cooked and ate most meals at home, including mandarin orange chicken with steamed jasmine rice, chicken soft tacos with cabbage slaw, lasagna rolls with salad & garlic knots, homemade pizza & salad, grilled chicken filets with rice and veggies, beef tips with egg noodles and green beans, and a couple of others that I just can’t remember. We took our own coffee and lunches/snacks to work during the week (I’m currently working 3 days in the office, 2 from home, husband works 5 days/week in the office).

    I hope everyone has a great week!

  9. What a precious photo of your sons. I know you must be delighted to finally be able to plant some things, and hope everything thrives for you. Last week, I harvested lettuce, peas, asparagus, onions, parsley, arugula and celery. Small amounts of lambs quarter and catbrier tips were foraged for a salad. Several spots were planted in flower seeds, and parsley and cilantro plants were transplanted into the garden. Lemon balm was harvested, and a jar of glycerite started with it. A purchase was made through Swagbucks, for 6% back, and a 15% coupon was used. Just about all of it was GF food, and it was nice to have some savings on it. I’ve gotten pleasure in watching the natural world. One day, while hanging laundry, I watched a bluebird gathering cattail fluff for a nest. Another day, while harvesting carrots, I found an eastern swallowtail caterpillar on one. While my husband and I sat at the pond last night, a garter snake came and kept us and the pups company. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2021/05/nature-on-homestead.html

  10. I’m glad your week went well. The piñata is perfect! And I love the pictures of your boys together. Love is the best thing in a home.

    *My husband brought home more things that no one else wanted from his mom’s house. He brought home a pot that was pretty for me, more gardening tools, shovels, rakes, a very old garden irrigator made of metal. It has handles to hand push, a big metal wheel in front and the metal tool implement in the back behind the wheel. I put it in my flower beds as decoration. He brought home a red metal chair that is very thrashed but perfect for me to sit on when I am planting in my garden and need a break. He found two dairy crates that he brought home. We like to use those for storage. They are very sturdy. He brought several other metal items that he will take to the metal recycling plant for cash. They have taken 10 truck loads of garbage to the dump. It’s sad to see that much stuff that was moldy, broken, cracked that had been in her home. There have been 4 truckloads to the thrift store for donations.

    *I haven’t planted my garden yet. I went to look to see how bad the weeds were growing – not bad! Discovered three lettuce plants, 20+ flower plants and a volunteer tomato from last year. I plan to transplant these flower plants to my flower beds. I’m not sure how they got there and I’m not sure what they are. I’m wondering if they are zinnias or sunflower plants. A mystery.

    *Our stand up freezer stopped working for us. My husband bought a new one for us that day on sale. It is frost free and taller and wider. Maybe not a savings but it will be in the long run as we keep our freezers stocked.

    *Mother’s Day was very nice. My husband and kids made me breakfast and lunch. All items were made from things on hand. It was nice having everyone home and spending time together. That was the best gift.

    Have a wonderful week!

  11. I somehow hurt a knee a few weeks back and, since it hurt a lot and I was feeling quite sorry for myself, I’ve had a hard time getting motivated for a while. However I finally had X-rays and ultrasound and will find out if there’s anything truly out of order or if it’s simply goofy and old age.
    I did go for an eye appointment and was told that “yes” I need a new script and that I have the start of cataracts. Won’t have to do anything about them for a long while unless something drastically changes. I ordered new lens from Costco for the first time ever. Will see if I enjoy them or not.
    Our huge Oak trees were due for a check up and trimming so I phoned around for estimates. I went back to a company I’ve dealt with before. Today I have multiple guys hanging from trees and chain saws buzzing away.
    I finished reading a couple of books including one that was on my DD’s library card. Finished it before it was due back even tho’ library isn’t charging fines right now. I picked up a “surprise bag” of books from the Library of new releases to read. There’s 4 books and the regular time limit to read them.
    I finally made menus for May…just couldn’t motivate myself before. I don’t always stick to the menu but use it more as a guideline for days that I just don’t want to think about what to make for supper. And then made a grocery click and collect. I included two of my kids on the grocery run. They often run errands for us so it’s a way to make things even. Most days for breakfast my DH eats some sort of cereal and I tend to have a slice of toast and coffee. Lunches are always whatever is leftover in the fridge. We sure don’t have much in the way of waste anymore. I’ve been chopping up things like peppers when they get a bit wrinkly and stuffing them in bags in the freezer. It’s quite handy to break a bit off to put into things like egg white bites etc.
    One child’s birthday was early in the month so we sent him a card and gift certificate. Another child’s BD is coming up plus a DGS. We sent books via bookstore for the DGS. He turns into a teen so we sent books a bit more adult. I hope he enjoys them.
    My DH’s brother passed away last year and we haven’t managed a funeral yet. He has very specific wants. We held an online memorial type get together last week and it went quite well.
    I haven’t done a lot of work in the garden yet since it’s cold, wet and we’ve had some frost warnings. Plus with tree guys coming I didn’t want to risk damages. I have put in some things to pots and dug out a couple of plants that multiplied for a neighbour.
    For Mother’s Day a child who lives out West did an UberEats order and I got breakfast delivered to my front porch. Later on we got take out from a favourite BBQ place and did our backyard bistro with two kids that live in town and one GF. I think the GF is a keeper as she seems to want to spend a fair amount of time with us. She got me a Mother’s Day gift (crossword puzzle book). Another child got me the Sunday NYTimes and DS got me a Calla Lily. We had a good time. I made dessert in mini preserving jars that keep in the freezer (frozen pink lemonade pie). I find it’s a just right serving size.
    Not much else to report on this week but I do hope to pick a bit of asparagus from the front garden and plant some seeds if the weather warms up a bit.
    Take car everyone.

  12. + Crazy weather here in Indiana. April – snow/hot 70 degrees/ back to freezing cold and lots of rain.
    + I killed ALL my starter plants 🙁 but grateful to have found a local homeschool mom that every spring sells plant starters. I bought cucumbers, tomatoes, lemon balm, mint, and many new to me plants. Much more afforable than a local nursery and happy to spend $54 to a fellow local family! She said to contact her if I have any questions with how to use my new plants.
    + we decided to go ahead with many house projects- new hard floors (we decided to extend into the library and instead of throwing the carpet away {we put it in 2 years ago} we are saving it for the one bedroom we have not remodeled/refreshed}
    + we found a large stand up freezer! what a blessing. we have been looking for a couple months but everything bigger than ours was a chest freezer and we don’t have the space. and just in time to pick up beef from my uncle next week. This also gives me more space to buy ahead for our family!
    + I used my old navy credit card to make gas and grocery purchases. I saved up enough to do a large spring clothes haul for the family combined rewards, sale, and only used 2 months of our clothing budget.
    + I signed up with a skincare company after falling in love with the product (for a personal discount) only to share with others and my “affiliate” sale PAID our utility bill this month. grateful!
    + our littles has been sleeping through the night most days and I have been able to get up before the kids to have quiet time and it has been so refreshing.
    + decluttered toys and clothes. donated the next day while doing errands.
    + used rewards to get a smoothie at Red Mango almost free
    + changed our auto insurance; saving $45ish dollars a month! eek. now, to look into house insurance, ours is up for renewal this month
    + propagated one of our house plants
    + online bill payments – I now send out zero payments via the mail!
    + did pinecone surveys — I’ve been holding on to my points and now I don’t know how to spend them wisely :/
    + went through Rakuten while online shopping

  13. It was a great, frugal week in Heavenly Houston!
    I put together a birthday gift for a party the kids were invited to, using things from my gift closet and a reused giftbag. The hosts generously sent home party favor bags for everyone, not just the two kids invited.
    One son is taking swimming lessons from a teen in our neighborhood whose family has a pool. It adds up, but it will be so great this summer if he can swim.
    I found 3# chubs of ground beef for $2, which I cooked and seasoned several as taco meat, then froze.
    My aunt gave us eggs from her chickens, which was very generous.
    I had the kids write (or helped them write) handwritten thank you notes to their teachers for teacher appreciation last week.
    I returned a filter that was the wrong size to Home Depot.
    One day, I fed the kids their snack before swim team practice (we have 3, back-to-back practices). When I take the snack to swim team practice, I am swarmed by other kids also wanting a snack. I don’t like to refuse to give them some, but snacks can add up quickly. I know their parents and there’s no $/allergy issue, it’s just kids seeing other kids getting a snack and wanting some for themselves. Maybe I need to start dividing it into containers, but sometimes it’s easier to take the whole box/bag, since that’s what my kids will eat, anyway. Swimming makes them so hungry.
    I caught an error at the cash register, and the cashier corrected the price. It pays to pay attention, if you can!
    I removed some stains using Dawn, peroxide, and baking soda paste.
    I mixed oyster crackers with the Goldfish crackers to help them last longer.
    I continue to sell outgrown clothes and shoes, on FB Marketplace and Mercari. Small amount add up.
    Have a nice weekend, everyone!

  14. What an adorable picture of your two youngest boys! And what a lovely pinata! I used Dino kale from my garden and the carcass of a Costco rotisserie chicken to make Zuppa Toscana. I tore up some t-shirts I was going to donate and instead, made some long strips to tie up my dragonfruit and grape vines. My grandmother’s and mother’s hankerchiefs were sitting in a box in my closet and I decided to wash them and start using them- they are so much nicer than tissue! Thanks to your news about rising food costs, I bought a year’s worth of coffee and stored it in my guest room. I am getting a new roof this week and found some apple bread, banana bread, and lemon brownies in the freezer so I pulled those out for their morning break instead of getting them donuts. I am going to try to use up some of my pandemic “hoarding” pantry supplies to make them snacks and keep them happy.
    Thank you for this community and all of the wonderful ideas and community connection of like-minded folks from your blog!

    1. Do you have a recipe for the zuppa toscana soup you made? Even just the ingredients would help. Thanks.

      1. I have a recipe that is super easy and low carb. It’s Italian ground sausage, kale, cauliflower, minced garlic, heavy whipping cream, and chicken broth (I just use chicken bullion) and red pepper flakes. Brown the sausage with the garlic and add the kale until wilted. Add about 5 cups of water and the broth (or bullion) with the cauliflower and cook until cauliflower is tender. (The cauliflower takes the place of potatoes, but you can use potatoes if you prefer, just cube them before adding). Once the cauliflower or potatoes are tender, add about a cup of heavy whipping cream (or milk if you don’t need a low carb version) and some red pepper flakes, adjusting to your desire of spicy. Bring to a simmer for a few minutes. My family likes this version better than Olive Garden and it is inexpensive to make.

  15. The pinata is lovely! Even though it is still chilly the snow is melting today so DH dug up the garden and I am planting strawberries, potatoes, red onions and shallots. Flower and tomato plants will be in a couple of weeks. I just temporarily blocked the gates where the rabbits have dug under for now-hopefully DH can find some wood to block it better when he gets home. Just the usual frugal things this week-nothing special other than applying for a credit card with no charge for the first year-comes with $350 airline dollars once we are able to travel more.

    1. Hi I,

      It’s amazing the soil isn’t too wet to dig! I’m not sure whether you saw my post suggesting that you consider grafting different pear varieties onto the pear tree. It’s almost too late to do it this year. I heard Canadian Tire garden centre (Macleod Trail) is selling pear trees. Ann

  16. I LOVE the pinata! How clever!

    I saved $100 by canceling my TuneIn radio premium subscription (used mainly to listen to MLB and NFL games when I used to follow those sports) and instead signed it for it as one of the perks of my Scribd subscription. I also signed up for Curiosity Stream, which streams documentaries online, as one of the perks and will probably sign up for a Pandora account as well. My Scribd annual subscription is $85 and I listen to and occasionally read 8-12 books, sometimes more, a month, including new books that are wait listed at the library. Since multiple people can listen to the same book at the same time and I don’t mind electronic books that I don’t own, it’s worth the cost to me. I’m currently listening to Bill O’Reilly’s Killing the Mob, which has a 12 week wait at the library. They do offer a 30 day free trial for anyone interested in trying them out.

    My other big savings was paying $18,900 in principal on my mortgage. I want to pay it sooner rather than later and after doing the math, I found it saves me about $6,000 in interest over the life of the loan and, more importantly, 18 payments while costing me $4,600 in state and federal income taxes using money from my IRA. I’m nervous about what the markets are going to do anyway so for me this was a good, comfortable use of my money. I plan to do it again in 2022, 2023, and 2024 to pay off the loan at the beginning of 2024 rather than the summer of 2029.

    I picked my first few cherry tomatoes and will be pulling the spinach today because it’s starting to go to seed. The description said it was heat tolerant but apparently not. I made a rich chicken broth using a carcass from dinner last week, some celery ends I had frozen for this purpose and onions I dehydrated last year. Honestly, I’m surprised I remembered those! I’m already planning what I’ll plant for the fall.

    I stocked up on toiletries doing a curbside pickup order with Walmart and I’m planning a food stock up run later this week after I inventory what I already have. Other than that, life has been going along as normal with volunteering, gardening, doing small projects in the house and yard and a weekly lunch out with friends I’ve met through a Nextdoor group (nothing like sitting with nice people on the wrap around porch of a local public golf course’s clubhouse while having a bacon, lettuce, and fried green tomatoes sandwich). I’m truly blessed with all I have and my simple life.

    Brandy, I have a quick question. How is the housing market in your area? I keep hearing stories around here about price bidding wars, even for lots in one area, and I’ve gotten a bunch of cards from real estate agents asking if I want to sell because they have interested buyers.

    1. The market is the same here. My husband has been working with a buyer who has struggled to get a house lately. People are offering $40,000 above the appraised value. If the buyer doesn’t have that much cash, they cannot compete. Most people do not have that much cash and are willing to pay so much above the appraised value. There can easily be 80 offers on a house in a couple of days. Lots of people are moving here right now and there are half the houses on the market as there were in 2019.

      1. Here’s hoping that some of those sales are made by your husband! I’m happy I bought my retirement house in 2018 and don’t need to deal with that.

      2. We got $40,000 above asking price on our vacation home. I don’t know how much it appraised for, but it was enough that the loan went through. (They were willing to pay up to $40,000 in cash to get the house). Mortgage companies require that any amount above the appraisal is paid in cash.

        I live in one of the hottest real estate markets in the country. It’s great if you’re selling and don’t have to buy another house (like us), but very bad if you’re a buyer. Wages aren’t high here. Young people that grew up here are being priced out of their hometown. This saddens me.

      3. My parents are closing on their house sale Friday (hopefully – it’s been pushed back three times already due to slow paperwork). They had 12 offers in the first 24 hours and the realtor pulled the house off the market. They received $30,000 over their asking price. Crazy! They had already put all their possessions on a moving van on the 30th of April so they have been living in a hotel. At 84 and 89, sleeping on the floor just isn’t an option anymore! And the card table and chairs are already here at our house.

        I’m so grateful that I don’t have to deal with selling a house right now.

        Lea

        1. In our city, houses are getting offers of at least $ 100,000 over asking. Some have even had 2-300,000 over asking. You can probably imagine that the average house price is extremely high. And yes, our children are certainly not able to purchase in the community they live in ( renting) and grew up in.

  17. The picture of the two boys…heart melt. It did my spirit good. Thank you, Brandy.
    Patricia/Fl

  18. Brandy, That piñata has to be the best piñata, ever! What a nice gesture and he’s as talented as you! And, i LOVE the picture of the brothers! Just wonderful!

  19. Hi Brandy and everyone
    How kind your older children are to the younger, the pinata your older son made looks amazing and must have been great fun to break open.
    We had an opportunity to earn some extra money this week, I was the Presiding Officer at a polling station and my husband took part in the counting of votes the next day. This will go into savings and my husband won some money on the Premium Bonds which he also saved.
    A friend gave me some lovely handcream and one of my husband’s gardening clients who is a farmer very kindly gave us a joint of pork and some sausages from one of their own pigs.
    Another friend gave us a tiny lemon tree she grew from a pip and we have researched on the RHS website how to care for it in the UK. I’m aware that the kindness of others enriches us.
    We picked rhubarb and leeks from the garden and continue to eat down the freezers, I had them stuffed full because they’re not empty yet!
    I met friends for the first time in 9 months. We met in a public park, took our own picnic chairs and took a contribution towards afternoon tea, I made chocolate crackle cookies and the girls asked for the recipe.
    Our son in law had a birthday. We used a card we already had, bought T shirts he needed in a sale and surprised him with a Cornish ware jug ( blue and white stripes). He likes that pattern and they are collecting pieces, we remembered my husband’s late mother had two big jugs in that pattern and we’ve had them hidden away in the larder so we washed it and wrapped it up. Better they should have it than it languishes in our house.
    We have been gardening, reading books we already own, walking and I am doing cross stitch in quiet moments. Simple things.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. What a lovely gift of your mother in law’s jug to your son in law! These are the kinds of gifts that are the most thoughtful and the most appreciated.

  20. That pinata turned out so cute. Your son is very talented. It sounds like your son had a wonderful birthday.
    We were away camping all week. The first half we spent at a state park and used my husband’s lifetime senior pass for free daily admission and a discount on camping fees. The second half we camped at a free BLM campground. I took all food from home and we didn’t spend any other money other than gas. After a week away, I came home and transplanted lettuce, peas, and cabbage into outside beds. We have a bumper crop of lettuce and have been eating it and sharing with neighbors. We also enjoyed the first harvest of asparagus from our garden. Last year was the first year we were able to eat much from it and this year it is producing even more.

  21. Happy Mother’s Day to everyone here! I hope all women were able to relax and enjoy family in whatever form it takes for you! We all mother in our own ways. We went to our son’s for aebleskiver–Danish pancakes made in a special pan which makes a golf ball sized pancake with applesauce in the middle and rolled in powdered sugar. It takes a lot of time, especially with grandchildren eating along the way!
    Our snow is finally almost gone in Fairbanks. We have plant starts that we are hardening off. We need to start many more. Our house doesn’t have anywhere to start plants, so we buy a lot of starts. We also plant beans, peas, kohlrabi and others now to give them a good start, then transplant them into the garden. We have 2 community garden plots and beds in our small front yard. I would rather have food growing than grass! We will do the major planting at the end of the month. We are sp ready to begin and are looking forward to truly fresh vegetables this summer.
    It has been 15 months since we have been out of town. Fairbanks is a city, but it is not uncommon to run into people we know when we are shopping or doing anything beyond home. We had hoped to go to Anchorage for a few days last week, but found the motel we prefer did not have the openings we needed. We will probably wait now until fall when prices drop again after September. Summertime here is short but enjoyable.
    April is a meaningful month for us. We had our second covid shot, hoping to enjoy more freedom. It was our anniversary (50 years) and my birthday a few days after Brandy’s. Happy belated birthday, Brandy!

    1. Hi Alaska gram,
      Just had to reply as April is our 50th anniversary, too. We met on April 27th 1971 and knew we would be together forever. Actually married two years later as we were only 18
      at the time. But we consider April as our true anniversary.

  22. I love that pinata! What a nice picture of your little boys! It is so cute!
    We’ve been opening windows as well. I planted beets seeds, spinach, marigolds, cucumbers, and cantaloupe seeds. We harvested some kale, lots of asparagus. Tomato a and pepper plants are growing but too small to plant outside yet. We were blessed with rain, so I didn’t have to water. Electricity went off one night for a few hours. Again today for a few minutes. Not sure why. But glad it is back on. Hopefully that doesn’t become a regular event. I cooked asparagus soup. Bought ham at 95 cents a lb. We had a picnic for entertainment. Used internet for entertainment. Paid bills on time or early. Did taxes ourselves. I had a wonderful mothers day with family. I want to plant watermelon, okra and sunflowers soon. Oh yes and corn squash and beans. My husband will use the tiller when he has some time. He has been getting overtime which we will save for when he gets less hours on rainy or winter days. Today I am listening to my son’s music. It is absolutely beautiful. It is a channel on the internet. I think the name of the a capella group is Patonics. They are very talented. I love listening to beautiful music. I’ve been practicing the piano and harp. My husband can play my harp by ear. He does the same thing on the piano. I was able to give some asparagus and kale to my other son and the son that lives with me picked some for a friend. He had also picked some on his own on days that I was tired. He surprised me! I was so happy when I didn’t have to pick it when I was tired! I bragged on him because I was so happy about it to my dad. Then he surprised me the next day! My other son bought me a beautiful flowering plant in pink. My favorite color. He also gave me a large frame for a wedding picture that we never put up but have wanted to. I colored pictures for my grandchildren with a note telling them I love them. They loved them! I have curbed my desire to thrift shop. I don’t really need anything. I will wear what I have. We have been seeing lots of cardinals lately. I absolutely love cardinals! We also saw a bald eagle. Which was pretty cool. Ann, I thought you would appreciate the birds. We also have seen deer and foxes twice this week.

    1. Hi Tammy,

      I loved hearing about your cardinals and the bald eagle. Alas, we only rarely get a single sighting of a cardinal in my province although they are relatively common in Ontario. I love them so much! Ann

      1. The cardinals have been especially abundant this year – I see lots of them from my kitchen window and there are masses of them down near the local bird sanctuary by the lake – in fact I’ve never seen so many all at one time!

        1. Margie from Toronto,
          I would love to see them form my kitchen window. We usually see them when we drive somewhere. I’ve been amazed by how many beautiful cardinals I have seen this year! I did see a beautiful one outside my son’s window on Mother’s Day!

  23. Hello Everyone!
    The piñata was a fabulous gift and well made. The photo of your sons is adorable!

    This week I saved by baking two loaves of seed bread, 16 sourdough sandwich rolls (1/2 to freeze), granola bars, and lemon sugar cookies. My daughter baked a beautiful cake from scratch for Mother’s Day. 🥰It was perfect!

    I direct sowed seeds in my flower pots and hanging baskets. I re-sowed indoor seeds that hadn’t germinated. I suspect the soil was too damp because I pre-moistened it. Last time I planted dry and spritzed with a water bottle. I had 99% germination that way. I did order some vertical towers for my veggie garden. I’m trying to grow more vertically. I will make a wall trellis rather than spend $180 on some from a garden catalog. 😬

    I filled up my gas tank at the least expensive station. The highest price in my area is $4.35 and I paid $3.98/gallon. Here we go again! 💲💲

    I ordered two gifts for my daughter’s upcoming birthday. I used a Target gift card from a shampoo promotion and Target Circle rewards to reduce OOP cost.

    I began watching You Tube videos on rainwater harvesting systems. I’d like to devise a system to collect from our house and garden shed. Fortunately, it’s legal in my area.

    My son is planning to sign up for dual enrollment his senior year. He has chosen a couple classes from the local junior college. This will give him both graduation and college credits. It’ll give him a better idea about choosing a major and experiencing what college is like.

    Happy Mother’s Day! Have a blessed and beautiful week! 🌸

    1. Hi Julie
      Please can you explain why collecting rainwater is legal/ illegal? I live in the UK and I’ve never heard of this. Thank you!

      1. Hi, not sure about her particular state but someone commented once that some states consider water from the sky as state owned…so people aren’t allowed to intercept it and use it. Very odd logic indeed. I guess one could argue water would go into the ground water and therefore support the entire community. I have also heard that some states, during times of drought, made using your own well illegal since theoretically you could use “too much” of a scarce resource.

  24. That picture of your boys is so sweet!
    My lettuce, beets, chard, and radish seeds are coming up. The community garden plot where I have my space has a sale on plants on Mother’s Day weekend. They usually have leftover tomato plants that they bring to the garden. I hope to snag a few this week, then add more vegetables once I know what I need to buy. It’s rained a little this last week, and I am grateful for the water.
    I was invited to a dinner party. What a luxury to sit around a dinner table again with people! I brought dessert–vegan brownies and fruit. I was delighted to find black grapes for .49 a pound!
    While at the market, I found about .60 in the parking lot. A homeless man came up to me asking for change, so I gave it to him.
    We are starting to sort through my mother’s belongings. I am trying to only take what I will use, plus a few small things that bring a smile to my face.
    We had a nice mother’s day celebration with family. I ended up bringing extra dessert home, so that will keep me for a few days.
    I also hiked, did yoga, read books from the library, and knitted items to donate using my stash of yarn. Sometimes I get discouraged, but life seems so abundant that I just have to remind myself how blessed I am, and I have the motivation to move forward.

  25. We got our second Moderna shot early evening. I slept off and on the next day and may have had a slight fever. DH went to work but was slow and sleepy later on. He slept when he came home also. DS took care of dinner and getting us something to drink. He said he guessed we knew what to expect from him in a couple weeks.

    I washed an electric blanket and other winter bedding and put away. We also put up other seasonal items. I deep vacuumed most of the main floor and soaked shower curtains in bleach. Tip my sister gave me a long time ago. You don’t need the shower curtain and plastic curtain. Use just the shower curtain only in place of plastic one. It doesn’t stick to you or make shower stuffy and you cannot see through them.

    I took the leftover chicken from the first bag and added carrots, chopped spinach, leftover black eyed peas, a few grape tomatoes cut up, chicken broth, pepper, bay leaf and water and made soup. It made a very good and cleared things from the refrigerator. I also cooked the other bag of chicken legs and froze them. I washed and chopped a lot of vegetables and fruit. On movie night we had chicken strips with grapes, grape tomatoes, celery, carrots, cucumbers with homemade dip, wheat thins, and club crackers on pretty trays. The tomatoes were from Aldi. They tasted like fresh from the garden. I would have bought more if I had known how wonderful they tasted. DS has talked about them since then. I shopped current needs only this week. DH made French toast on Sunday.

    I took the flaps (never liked) off the back pockets of some jean shorts that fit better and DH removed the rivet button for me. I got rid of some summer socks that the bands were too large now; new to me with my narrow feet. I read some of the blogs about redoing clothes and have added a redo on a top collar and taking in some tops on my list now. I already have to hem them. I may as well make them fit better until I get to the weight I need to be.

    I looked for a small pocketbook and summer gowns. Stock is low in both, and I will not pay prices I saw, even with a discount. I will use the small leather backpack with a handle for now, and put gowns as urgent on my sewing list. I have one I like I think I can use to make some without a pattern. DH had a great postop appointment. A medication change made a slight improvement the first day. I think things will move faster toward normal for next appointment. Doctor told him the exercises I found for him were very beneficial.
    I checked the Wild Seed Farms website and found some that would work well in some areas of our yard. I forgot to write the person’s name down who contributed this, but I thank you. Our car is using oil but not leaking and I found two things that can be checked that aren’t expensive fixes if that is all that’s wrong. I would rather not buy a car for at least another year or more if possible.

    1. Linda- Often I am wearing something without pockets when I’m outside and I need to keep my cell phone with me . Here’s a pattern using fabric scraps that I’ve decided to make myself for outside times that I need my phone or wallet but don’t have a pocket for: https://pin.it/4Ijy84W.

      1. Thank you Gardenpat. It looks wonderful. I am pretty sure I could get my glasses and phone in it, and I have plenty of scraps. I have been thinking I need to go into hiding to sew for several days like I did in years past. It would be good for my guys and I could get so much done.

  26. That photo of the two boys is darling, and the flowers are gorgeous. The pinata is amazing. What a great job he did!

    We reached 90 one day here, but we are back in the mid-80’s. I had the air conditioning on for the couple of days that we reached 88 and 90, because the humidity was so high, but I have it back off, for now. Since currently no one is home during the day, I only open the upstairs windows for security reasons, but we have a cathedral ceiling in the great room, and the hot air rises, helping to keep the downstairs cooler. The dog and cat appreciate it, too. They are free to go in and out through the pet door, but they normally can be found inside, snoozing on the cool floor under a fan. I’ll keep the A/C off until I can’t stand it.

    I applied for assistance with my medication that I take every 8 weeks, and which costs over $22,000.00 per dose. I was denied, but I appealed. After a month-long wait, I discovered they didn’t get my appeal paperwork, which I had faxed AND mailed, so I re-appealed, and on April 30th, was approved. The foundation will cover most or all of the 25% co-pay that I’m required to pay by my insurance, and that means I can start my medication again.

    I visited the new Aldi grocery store in our area. While a number of their foods have ingredients that are on my “no” list (such as most preservatives, soy, wheat), I found a few items I can use. It will be a useful supplemental grocery store. I bought a few items for less than I normally pay, such as peanut butter, avocado oil, and medjool dates.

    On that same shopping trip, I went down the street to the food co-op and bought a couple of spices in bulk among other things. It’s incredibly cheaper to buy them this way. I sometimes make seasoning blends as Christmas gifts, which are affordable to make in nice sized containers, when using bulk-purchased spices. While at the co-op, I used the “buy 2 get 1 free” coupons I had for my husband’s favorite yogurt, a local brand not found in most stores.

    My kids took me to a quaint shopping district in a nearby town for early Mother’s Day, where we looked at many interesting stores. I’m proud of all of us — the only things bought were a couple of books for presents for later. I personally bought nothing, but we had a fun time and enjoyed a delightful meal at a reasonably priced restaurant. We do this kind of thing maybe once a year, going to different towns. We normally include thrift stores in our day out; I think this was the first time in years that we didn’t locate a thrift store.

    I had luckily been chosen to do a series of food surveys for a food producer last year. I recently got notice that the survey period was nearly over, and I still had a few points left. I had 9, it turned out, after having redeemed my other points for gift cards over the past few months. Each point is worth a dollar, so I took the time to buy one $5 card then four $1 cards, to use up every last point. Only a very few retailers allowed one dollar and five dollar cards, so I ended up putting them all on Amazon gift cards, which I loaded onto my Amazon account. It was a little tedious, but $9 is $9.

    Here’s wishing everyone a good week.

  27. Such a sweet pic and I love the pinata!. It has rained a lot here, with wind, and I have purple mulberries all over my ground, and my yard is a soggy mess. I bought potting soil, this time at Dollar General instead of Dollar Tree and my mustard greens are coming up in the new bag, thank goodness. Now if I can just keep them from being drowned. I wish I could send some of my water to you, Brandy. I brought my lunch sandwich to work, as usual. My middle son and I went to my mom’s grave and put flowers on it for Mother’s day. The flowers were from Dollar General and we were laughing because that is exactly what she did for other relatives when she was alive. Momma was frugal also. Momma would have approved! One son owns a painting and repair business and he is painting his brother’s older home, that was just purchased, and making repairs. All the kids want me to stay there on weekends and during retirement, due to so much increased gunfire in my neighborhood. The gunshots do not seem to happen during the week, so I am safe during the work week. It is too far to drive to work from this house every day but will be nice on weekends. It is also very close to a hospital, Aldi, Target, a major university, a river to walk by etc., so it will be nice in retirement. Son has been begging me to move in, so I will on weekends. It will certainly be an adjustment, but hopefully a slow one as I get used to it on weekends. I sure hope to be able to work about 3.5 more years but I am showing signs of aging. My family tends to not have a long life span but who knows? Anyway, I am happy, and my room was painted just the color I wanted, a deep lavender! I hope everyone has a beautiful week!

  28. What a sweet pinata! You have raised creative and resourceful children!
    I had been watching the price on a mattress topper that we need. After a year of watching, the price went UP, and there was never a sale. I contacted the company directly and they gave me the old price, since I had been watching for so long. I was very grateful, and told them so.
    In the garden lettuce, kale and collards are coming a bit faster than we can eat them, but I keep them organized in the fridge with the oldest at the front, and we haven’t wasted any yet. My favorite recipes are kale and date salad (I use raisins), melted collard greens with pancetta, and plain old green salad. We have some peas ready. I stripped the apples off our little tree, it is only 6 months old and had 10 apples on it. This year its energy needs to go towards strong roots. I’ve planted more seeds for kale, lettuce and arugula. I’m taking about a dozen seedlings to the seedling swap tomorrow, I hope to get some other things for my garden.
    I’m making a “Celebrate” banner for our youngest daughter who is graduating from college this week. She can use the banner for many occasions to come. I also sewed a blouse with vintage fabric I bought very cheaply at the thrift store (pre-Covid). It turned out beautifully and was so quick to make. It’s the Belcarra blouse from Sewaholic Patterns. I will be making more of these as I find thrifted fabric.
    This is the week I fly to see our new grandson! Half of my suitcase is nursing tops (from Buy Nothing), thrifted baby books, glass baby bottles (Buy Nothing again), and a baby blanket I made. I lot of treasure for under $5. Mom and baby are doing well, milk is flowing abundantly and baby is content. You can’t ask for more with a first baby!
    I’m soaking my old sun hat (cream colored) in Oxi clean. It was looking rather dirty but it’s such a good hat. I hope it looks good enough to take with me on my trip.

  29. Happy Mothers Day to all the mom’s! My two that are in town came over and we grilled hamburger. I picked up some already shucked corn and tomatoes from the farmers market. We cooked it in the Instant Pot 4 minutes and it was the best corn on the cob I have ever had. I melted half a stick of butter and rolled the cobs in it. My son and daughter sprinkled on dry Ranch and chili powder. I tried a little ranch.
    * I got 7 hydrangeas and a peach tree for Mothers Day.
    * We went fountain shopping and found the one we want, but wanted to see if anyone else had any so we haven’t purchased it. We set aside money for our back yard when we built our home. We have already had two stone patios and a walk done, adding a fountain to one of the patios. Then a lot of landscaping that will take years to do. One day we will put a pergola over the patio that has an outdoor fireplace, but prices for lumber are so high we are waiting.
    * We had a few lightening storms come through du.ping rain. We made sure we had gas for the generator.
    * We cleared a metal shelf from the garage and moved it into the pantry. I have food on one side of the laundry room and serving dishes, canning jars, vases, dehydrator and stuff like that on the other.
    * I have been unsubscribing from e-mails, leaving groups on Facebook that aren’t active, and unfollowing people on Facebook. I had a lot of people that don’t ever comment or like and I don’t want to cause issues with unfriendly, so I unfollowed them and now my feed is not cluttered as much. Shhh, don’t tell!
    * I sold the last group of embroidery blank shirts today. I made $50 minus PayPal fee. Made space in craft room, too.
    *My bulbs are coming up and I went through deck boxes where I put my pots when we moved. I have 2 bags of soil and some pots. I didn’t pull them out because the storms were coming, but this week I will get all the pots and plant some things in them. Until we can fence the garden area I am stuck with growing in pots. I have all the seed. I am going tomorrow to see if I can find 2 dwarf apple trees and I may get large pots and do Satsuma and lemons in pots where I can roll them inside during the winter. I am going to a giant nursery about an hour away tomorrow to look.

  30. What absolutely terrific pictures! I always enjoy them but especially this week. My boys love Number Blocks also, and had triangle and square cakes for years three and four, and a sandwich-board costume for number three one Halloween. If you haven’t found it already, the season 5 episodes are great for multiplication and division. And the picture of your two little boys is so sweet. I need to remember when taking pictures to not just focus on faces.

    We followed your inspiration this Mother’s Day and brought the tripod and remote clicker to take family photos with the grandmothers. I definitely need to learn more about posing with small, energetic boys, but we got some sweet pictures. Thank you for the idea!

    This week, we ate more salad from the greenhouse. We were able to set out the rest of the vegetables in the garden, knowing we could put down covers if we have a cold day. We also tried moving our unhappy lemon and fig out into the greenhouse. I am not very good, in fact decidedly bad, with indoor plants, so I hope they’ll do better with more light out there. We just don’t have good, bright spots in our house that are out of the way of running boys. I use a lamp downstairs to keep the star jasmine, rosemary, and pelargoniums alive through the winter – it works sometimes!

    I’m sorting through our bins of childrens’ clothes and shoes before size and season changes. It does feel crazy sometimes to save so much, but we usually do have what we need that way. And with four boys, one of them will use it. Now to find a good routine for changing sizes!

    I potted on a huge number of cosmos, larkspur, nasturtium, and rudbeckia seedlings and look forward to sharing with family and having them in our garden.

    I repurposed a couple of maternity tops into my regular wardrobe to give it a little lift. My mom also found me three $15 cardigan, two $10 t-shirts, and a pair of $22 jeans at the Talbots outlet sale. I do miss thrifting, but I’ll go soon when I’m vaccinated. She also found me two $2 Talbots t-shirts at Goodwill!

    Wishing you all a wonderful week! Thank you so much, Brandy, for all the inspiration and encouragement.

  31. I’m glad you could get some planting in! And what an adorable photo of your youngest two!

    My frugal week:
    – I made Extra-Chocolatey Nanaimo Bars for my week’s desserts (http://approachingfood.com/extra-chocolatey-nanaimo-bars/)
    – I made homemade tortillas, with my toddler’s help. She’s so used to helping me make dough, that when my sister asked what we were making, she said “pizza dough”!
    – I cut my husband’s hair
    – My daughter had lots of fun in the garden this week, “digging for earthworms” and digging out dandelions. Fresh air, exercise, and completely free!!!
    – My mum gave me two tomato plants for mother’s day, so my daughter and I planted them in “our” veggie patch.
    – I bought a gift card for my mom for mother’s day and went through Rakuten to get some money back.
    – I used the Checkout51 app to get some money back on groceries I was planning on buying anyway.
    – I went through my pantry at my condo and brought over to my parents place some groceries that had due dates coming up.
    – I made another batch of chocolate granola, this time cutting the brown sugar in half. Healthier, and cheaper!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

  32. Your son did a great job on the piñata. I never filled them all the way. And I counted the candy as the goodie bag too.
    I had a great week with Ibotta rebates. I got $30.25 back. They had several free offers this week. It does help that I shop for P and C. They are both brand loyal on certain items. I also earned $5 in Stop N Shop go rewards. Some of the free items were hummus, Sweet Earths shredded Korean BBA and sausages. The clearance wrack was full at the store again. I got a large Zak insulated cup for $3.24. I also got 2 Contigo insulated travel cups for the same price. They went into my gift box. I bought several BBQ sauces, marinades and hot sauces all marked to 72¢ each. We are good for the rest of the year on them now. I also scored 2 packs of pork chops marked 50% off so 99¢ a pound.
    My drivers side window stopped working. Hubby had an online coupon but did store pickup to avoid a delivery fee.
    The heat is off at the house and we haven’t turned on the AC yet.
    I found $1.13 in change this week.
    I gave my mom her Mother’s Day gift at the wedding last week so I didn’t have to ship it to her. We Facetimed on Mother’s Day.
    I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother’s Day. My son made us all breakfast. My youngest daughter made my favorite chocolate cake. Hubby and my son built me a new raised garden bed. My daughter helped me with garden work. Hubby cooked us a delicious dinner. All of my cards were homemade. I don’t like to eat out on Mother’s day. I feel they raise the prices and everything gets very crowded. I would rather be pampered at home.

    1. We just do parties at home with immediate family, so I don’t have to worry about goody bags. The children decided the pinata should be equal, so they split up the candy equally among one another afterward.

      I have only one sibling myself, but I remember he was always concerned about making everything equal too–even the size of a scoop of mashed potatoes!

  33. I have not written in about three months. It has been a tumultuous time in my life. My dear Mother turned 98 years old on March 5th, and my sister and I were able to take her to lunch for her birthday. The next week she had a doctor appointment which resulted in a hospital stay for four days. On March 21st I received a call that she had collapsed and was unresponsive. She passed away the following day. I was able to spend quite a bit of time with her during that last month of her life, for which I am very grateful.
    My son’s wedding was planned for April 10th, and the song that was going to be dedicated to his grandmother, “Stardust”, ended up being the mother/son dance. It was the first song my parent’s danced to when they met, was played at their wedding, and has been played at all of their grandchildren’s weddings thus far. After the first minute or so I had all three of my sisters and their husbands come and join us in the dance, as a salute to our parents. The wedding was beautiful, simple and sincere. They planned everything so carefully. They got the flowers and food from Costco. Just had meat and cheese trays, veggie trays and breads. They had cupcakes, instead of a regular cake. The flowers were arranged during the rehearsal dinner. The wife of one of my nephews loves to arrange flowers, so she was put in charge of that, and instructed everyone in what needed to be done. My new daughter-in-law is a lovely young woman. My son chose well.
    As far as frugal things I never truly abandoned being frugal, but at times it is hard, with all the emotions going on. I have chosen to give myself grace and not to beat myself up over it.
    My retirement, which was supposed to be at the end of March, has been delayed a year. My office stood by me through all of the above, plus when I was going through cancer treatments, and they are short-handed. I will only work about 2-3 days a week beginning in June. With tax season extended, I am still working 5 days, if not 6 days a week right now.
    So, I am bringing breakfast, lunch, drinks and any snacks I might want to work. That has not changed. I am still getting good deals where I can, such as King Arthur Flour – 5 pound bags for 99¢ and red bell peppers for 33¢ each. I won a loaf of French bread from the Albertsons/Safeway giveaway. Some of my garden is planted, and the rest will go in over the next two to three weeks, as the weather warms up. A friend is giving me some thornless raspberry canes. She has way too many.
    I am going to try and get back on the frugal band wagon, and keep track of everything. We shall see. I hope everyone has a good week. Give yourself and others grace when needed. No one knows what others are going through at any given time.

    1. Nancy, I was wondering where you were! I’m sorry about your mom, but it sounds like she left you all a wonderful legacy. I’m glad you were able to spend time with her at the end. “Stardust”! My mom’s favorite song. She was a compulsive whistler and whistled the same couple of bars all day long. Drove me crazy when I was growing up! But I know most of the words, and occasionally I find myself singing it! (For those of you that don’t know “Stardust,” it was Hoagy Carmichael’s biggest hit, and he was the biggest singer/songwriter of the 1930s and ’40s. A great slow dance!).

      Since Nancy and I are local to each other (although a state line divides us), I need to ask her: where do you find KA flour on sale for .99, and does this happen often?

      1. Maxine – Thanks for your kind words. You are right about “Stardust.” I will say the DJ had a hard time finding it, but he persevered, and we were very grateful. The King Arthur flour was a couple of weeks ago, at the Fred Meyer in the Valley. The other FMs had it for $1.99. Just hit the right one at the right time, I guess.

    2. Sorry to hear of your mother’s passing, Nancy, she was a good age and hopefully it was a life well lived.

  34. Finally got all of our girl scout cookie credits converted to digital credit to use online(my daughter decided quit at the end of 7th grade). I used them all up on a solar charger, ring toss game, and stepping stone craft.

    My mom sent over chili beans, nacho cheese, ritz cheese and crackers, bananas, Kelloggs pastry crisps, taquitos, and cheetoes.

    We went to my mother in laws for mother’s day. My husband picked up a dozen fancy cupcakes, we ordered Casey’s chicken wings(her favorite), and played Uno for a couple hours. I took my mom one of the cupcakes this morning.

    My mother in law sent home some extra groceries…2 boxes cereal, the biggest bag of chocolate chips I’ve ever seen, pancake mix, a box of hot chocolate, kettle corn popcorn, and
    dried pineapple.

    Returned 2 library books on time.

  35. We filled up both cars and all of our gas cans ahead of rising fuel prices. We recently started a farming operation so purchasing fuel at a lower rate will help us weather the rising costs. I am thankful we have a hefty food storage which I built up last spring, and a big garden this year.
    I could really use new clothes, but decided to just make what I have work for now. I’m going to work, not a fashion show. I’ll survive! 😂
    Instead of spending a large amount of money on a fence for our garden, I recycled some t-posts and ran baling twine around the outside. It won’t deter rabbits, but it will keep the dogs from trampling everything and will keep deer out. I’ll plant a little extra for the bunnies. Next year I hope to build my dream garden space, so the more I save now, the more likely that will happen.
    We recently switched to a mostly vegetarian diet. I have been feeling really good over all and am hopeful my cholesterol numbers will reflect my efforts when I go back next month!

  36. I picked some of the abundant wild fennel that grows around here and used it in potato,cod,and cheese chowder.
    Our small local fabric store is
    open almost every day now. They have a wonderful selection of cotton, some for half price so I bought several yards. I also visited Jo-ann fabrics this last week. They had a deal where if you bought 2 yards of fabric you could get a discontinued pattern for 1 cent. So I did that. I am getting a new sewing machine this week and am preparing! Also, I don’t know if all Jo-ann fabrics are like this but the one I go to will give you 40% off if you purchase the end of a bolt.

    I made everything from scratch this week although we did go out for lunch with a friend this week. We went to a Thai restaurant and nobody else was dining in, plus we got our own little room. That made me feel secure from a Covid perspective. Two of my grandsons have Covid right now but they aren’t really sick and are isolating. I haven’t seen them for months.

    I finished crocheting a wool blanket that I have been working on all winter and spring.

    For Mother’s Day both of my kids called and my daughter sent flowers. We went for a long walk on Mother’s Day just looking at all the incredible flowers in bloom.
    Quite a few people in town have the classic English garden type front yards. The weather was nice and I felt like I was on a garden tour. One person had a table set up in front of their yard. They had made up baskets, lined with lovely paper napkins and filled eith items like handmade soap and lotions. They were there for free for whatever mother would Iike one. I thought it was so sweet of that person to think of such a thing as I imagine Mother’s Day isn’t great for everyone.

    A few months ago many people expressed condolences about my brother’s passing and I don’t think I ever thanked you. I appreciated it greatly.

    Brandy, the piñata is adorable.
    Homemade items are always so much cuter. And, of course, like everyone else I love the photo of your two youngest. It is so sweet and innocent.

    Guess that is all though I tend to think of something I should have said later.

  37. I love the pinata! I remember when I was a child, my mother had a pinata for my birthday. She had gotten it (used) from one of the parties she’s attended. For the next two years I had a peacock pinata….with various holes taped together with newspaper….hahaha! When I became a teenager, I looked back on that time and thought my mother was crazy. Now looking back at it, my mother was ingenious! Frugal savings for the week…..I signed up for three free Hallmark cards and they came in the mail this past week. I had to do a big shopping for my parents at our local grocery store and Trader Joe’s; my parents generously paid for our groceries. It was my father’s 85th birthday. I gave him the few items that I had picked up at the Dollar Tree and he was delighted. I also made a salsa bar for him with tortillas chips as part of his present. I had picked up the salsas and chips at Trader Joe’s. I go there once every couple of months. I researched a lower phone rate for our family. I also negotiated a lower car insurance policy. We decided to stick with the same carrier but a few changes resulted in a $30 per month savings! Our rates kept going up and it was annoying, as we work from home now and don’t really go anywhere. The next bill to tackle and see about reducing is our cable bill. I’d be more than happy to ditch it all together and just keep the internet for streaming, but the rest of the family is on the fence about it. We enjoyed another weekend at our neighborhood pool. We bought a snack card for our son for $10. We told him we would buy one for him every month to get treats at the pool, so he had to choose wisely. If he wanted anything after when the card ran out, he’d have to buy out of his allowance. We are also teaching him about the prices so he can decide what’s worth it and what isn’t (for example, if you want cup of noodles, it’s $1.50 at the pool but you can buy 3 for $1.00 at the dollar store). We also took sandwiches and drinks to enjoy a pool deck dinner. We celebrated Mother’s Day at our house. My mom decided after all the trouble I went to (which I really didn’t) on Easter, that she wanted take out. My father treated for all of us. When I unpacked the food, I found out that one item was missing. So I went back to the restaurant (which is like two minutes away). They gave me the item and then refunded the cost to my dad’s credit card. I didn’t buy any Mother’s Day gifts for my mother nor my mother in law. I resisted the urge to buy them flowers. My mother had told me in advance that she didn’t want anything, as she’s trying to get rid of stuff :). And my mother in law is a hoarder. I was looking at small plants and small bouquets, but they all looked tired. So I skipped it all together. It was a nice surprise when my mother in law brought over three bottles of lemonade and a huge watermelon for our Mother’s Day dinner. We had so much food, that we didn’t even use them. I bought some paper cups and bowls at Target using my Red Card to save an additional 5%. I resisted the urge to buy summer themed items that were low quantity and bought the plain Target brand instead. Cooked up four acorn squash and one spaghetti squash that I had had for quite a while and were going to go bad if I didn’t cook them soon. I organized the fridge and made a list of things to organize this coming week. Last time I was at Costco, they had a huge display of those water balloons that you hook up to the spigot. Naturally every parent who had a child with them had a box of these water balloons! We were no exception and my mother bought them for my son; they were a really good deal for a really good price. I decided the other day to go buy another box. Sadly, they were sold out. When I went to Costco today, they had water guns on sale. It gets hot during the summer where we live, so I bought two sets. My son and the neighbor boys can play with them when it’s hot and no dead water balloons to pick up! I am almost at my goal of getting an Amazon card through Swagbucks this month. I just want to take the time to thank Brandy and the others who post here. You all are an inspiration to me to be more frugal and that there are always areas to cut the budget and make your money go further 🙂

  38. It is a bright beautiful day here. I am looking out the window — they leaves are just coming out on the trees.
    I wish they would hold off for a couple of days — maybe even a week — because this time last year I watched Western Tanagers
    as they stopped over on migration. They are hard to see once the leaves are on the trees.

    I have worked all day on the non-ending book. I will have to get a locksmith here so that is an unexpected expense. there’s always something!

  39. Like everyone else, Brandy, I love the photos of your two youngest! has put a smile in my mind’s eye!

  40. Love the piñata and the photo of the two little ones – very sweet.
    I have paid all the monthly bills online so no stamp costs. I paid 4 times the monthly payment on the small CC so getting closer and closer to having it paid off. I had mentioned a couple of weeks ago that there had been an error made in my 2020 deductions so I would need to pay back nearly $2000 – but – when I got my amended T4 the amount was about half the total I’d been told. When I questioned it my manager went back again and then realized that half should have been paid by them so that means what I owe is just under $1000 now. I have already started paying this back and hope to have it finished by Sept.
    I also managed to top my emergency fund back up to $1000 and I’ve been putting a chunk of money on my transit pass each money even though I don’t use it much at the moment. By the time I can move about a bit more I should be able to cover about two months worth of travel before going back to a monthly pass. Not being able to do anything or go anywhere certainly helps to save money!
    Groceries purchased were mainly just fruit & veg and dairy. The one meat purchase was some sausages from a new upscale shop that has finally opened an outlet close to my office. I have to say that they were delicious!
    I did manage to find toothpaste, tooth brushes, panty liners and my laundry soap on sale so I am stocked up now for the next six months at the least and all at about the best prices I can expect up here. I try never to buy any of these items at full price.
    I continue to eat down the freezer and the pantry – but don’t see many dents so a long way to go! I also baked a couple of tea loaves, all from contents on hand.
    I walk for exercise and to socialize (one friend, outdoors, wearing a mask), we treated ourselves to a takeout lunch one day but we just shared a sandwich and fries and that was more than enough as the portions are huge and both my friend and I are trying to lose weight. I have been watching “New Tricks” on Amazon Prime, using the library and working on a new puzzle for fun. Working from home takes up a few hours each day and I’ve been catching up on housework, laundry and paperwork so the days certainly goes by quickly.
    Have a wonderful week everyone.

  41. Hello,
    I enjoyed the pictures of your little sons and the pinata. What a fun birthday party that must have been! Your flowers are lovely, too.
    I have not been saving much money other than staying home trying not to buy much. Last week I did get a wonderful, for me, buy on King Arthur’s flour at what would be Kroger’s for you. It was $1.99 for five pounds with a digital coupon. There was a limit of five. I like that kind of flour for washing out to make gluten because it has 4 gm. of protein in a 1/4 cup. I seldom use white flour in baking anymore, since I found Prairie Gold white whole wheat, but I have been going to try your recipe for French bread. Prices for everything are going up here, also. I had an opportunity to go to WinCo’s, so I bought enough twelve bean soup mix to fill my jar, but the price was $1.49 per pound. The last time I bought it, not on sale, it was either 64 or 68 cents a pound. My husband took a picture of the label of the bin that listed the ingredients. Beans and lentils, etc. are cheaper per pound by themselves, so I may stock up on those and make up my own soup mix. I really like the mix. I put one cup washed into the crockpot with one can of diced tomatoes that had been whizzed in the blender and a little water and cooked them on high for about six hours. Then I added one pkg. of dark G. Washington broth and 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder at the end. It made enough soup for about three people. I need to find another vegan broth recipe because G. Washington has MSG, and I guess that’s not good. I was all out of wheat, too. Since we have a grain grinder, we grind flour for two other people besides ourselves. Another way I have been trying to save money is by reminding myself not to buy prepared/overly processed foods because it seems like they tend to be more expensive. I am trying to focus on trying to get the best nutrition for my money. We were able to save up a little more money to put toward large bills, so that makes me happy. My husband had surgery to remove cancerous lesions, so we have had some extra expense because of that. Pasture grass has done a takeover on our little garden plot. Potatoes should do well here, and the golden-colored ones seem to keep well in the garage in the winter, so I am thinking of planting potatoes in the pasture grass. I am thinking the potatoes will grow underground below the sod. The dirt should still be fairly loose because some years back my husband and son dug this plot up and screened all the rocks out of it. I wonder if anyone here has any experience with this situation. I would like to grow our own food, in spite of the fact that our climate isn’t the best for food gardening. I enjoy reading everyone’s comments so much, and I always learn new things and feel inspired. Oh, one thing you all have probably already found out is that Craftsy is selling a yearly membership for $3. I got a membership last year, and my granddaughters and I really like it. Before I signed up for it, I looked up how hard it would be to cancel it, since you have to give a credit card number, etc. It looked okay, so I went ahead with it. I have had to block two other “services” from charging on my credit card because I was unable to access my account to close it after I signed up for it. One was ClipChamp, and the other was Screencastify, if you’re interested. That may have been just my experience. Anyway, I hope everyone has a nice week of saving money:)

    1. Hi Elizabeth,
      I used to make my own seitan and found it a lot of work and waste. Then I found out about vital wheat gluten and found using it much easier than using whole flour. Just fyi in case you weren’t familiar with vital wheat gluten.

  42. Alaska Gram: Happy Anniversary! And Happy Mother’s Day to everyone! You are all so inspiring. I love visiting this site and reading what you’ve all done each week! Not sure if this is permitted (just delete my comment, Brandy, if not!), but I think some of you might enjoy my blog, too. It’s about taking good care of things so they last; we’re at CaretoKeep.com. Would love to have you join our community, too!

  43. Happy Mother’s Day everyone!! I hope everyone enjoyed the day with family.
    Brandy the picture of your boys is just so beautiful. The days are long but the years are short. And the piñata….oh my goodness it is perfect!! I’ll have to remember this for future birthdays at our house.
    This week we are at the beach on family vacation. I am delighted that I brought so many items from our pantry to create frugal meals with! Groceries are super high here. Grapes for $3.99/lb, strawberries for $5.99/lb. I can’t understand it….they grow both of these fruits in state. We packed food and snacks for our trip so we only had the expense of gas while traveling. I made a large batch of meat sauce that we used to make a lasagna last night which was a huge hit after every came in off the beach starving. I made a lovely Italian pasta salad with home canned banana peppers, black olives, frozen peas, grape tomatoes, onions, salami and some mozzarella cubes. I covered the ingredients with homemade Italian dressing. We packed this for lunch on the beach which was refreshing and light.
    My husband finished and sold an entertainment cabinet he has built for a neighbor so this gave us some extra cash for our trip.
    We finished planting the second stage of our garden last week and all of the seeds sowed have germinated so we have rows of spinAch, sugar snap peas, cucumbers, crowder peas, Ferrari green beans and Kentucky Pole beans. When we return home I will sow seeds for zipper cream peas as well as so more herbs. I also have some peppers that are struggling so I’ll amend the soil with a nitrate soda and water it in very well.
    Many of our tomatoes are already beginning to set fruit but I don’t know if it will turn because the heat hasn’t set in just yet. No matter as of the remain green I will pick them up and use them to make a lovely batch of spicy green tomato pickles. Sounds weird but oh so good.
    We shared several meals and snacks with a neighbor who just had eye surgery. I will begin stocking up as I see sales…prices are soaring. I have seen a fruit stand here locally that sources from farmers and I plan to stop buy and see what variety and prices they have to possibly bring some home to can. We are stocked on dried beans but there are some other items that need to be replenished as we are able.
    We are visiting free beaches, bringing lunches and snacks, and water with us and cooking meals in our condo. There are lovely walking trails and wildlife all over give us lots of free entertainment.
    I hope everyone has a lovely week be well my friends!

  44. I’ll bet you’re getting those gummy sharks from Amazon!
    https://www.amazon.com/Ferrara-Gummy-Sharks-Candy-Pound/dp/B01AP9EF88/ref=sr_1_8?dchild=1&keywords=gummy+sharks&qid=1620700649&sr=8-8

    We’ve been traveling, pulling the fifth-wheel (we live in) through New Mexico and Arizona, on our way up to Michigan to celebrate Mom’s Mother’s Day. Staying in Walmarts and rest areas for free works just fine, when you’ve got solar power to provide your electricity, and propane to cook and keep warm by. We’ve had plenty of company there…RVs and semis, as well. I enjoy this life…but I miss our garden space. Please tell us more about your new garden, including your goals for this summer.

    1. Actually, the gummy sharks came from Winco! He has been asking about them for months and Winco stopped selling them in bulk last year for a long time because bulk shut down at the beginning.

  45. P.S. Your many photos and videos on Instagram are a help, garden-wise…it would be nice, though, to see your overall planting as you go.
    P.P.S. Won’t you tell us more about Winter’s current doings? How is she doing as a young wife? Is she still in school?

    1. Cindy, we are not planting much yet; literally just a few plants. Right now we are still bringing in dirt. When I have more to show I plan to take more pictures to share.

      Winter is currently working on her senior project. She is doing hand-embroidery on tulle to make her own lace. The project requires it to take at least 50 hours; it will be much more than that from what she has told us that she has done so far.

      1. Wow, your daughter is a senior already? She must be working very hard indeed! You mentioned in the past that she started with a ton of college credit, but still….. That’s really impressive.

        1. Yes. She is 19 now. Our main reason that we chose to homeschool was so that our children could graduate early. There are other reasons, but this was the first reason why we started. She didn’t have a ton of credit to start; she had some as we had her take college classes online at home first. I started her in school early as well because she has a December birthday. She is going through the summer as well. They have a three and a half trimester system at her school. The half one is optional and students are assigned two tracks of in-person classes and one of online classes so that they can graduate even earlier. We did not know that when we chose that school, but it is a great bonus! She is finishing her senior classes this trimester and then is splitting the rest of her classes into two over the next two trimesters so that she can graduate with her husband. She will take the half-term in summer off. She has electives left for those two trimesters and not as many credits left so it should be fun! She could have done it in one but this way they will both graduate together.

          1. Our son graduated college at 19. He went in with almost a year’s worth of credit from taking college classes during high school. He was also young starting school, with an end-of-November birthday. It has turned out fine, despite many people telling me that that is just too young.
            Well done to you, and to Winter.

          2. That’s a wonderful story; much respect to all of you. And graduating together — that’s a lovely memory they are making together.

          3. Thanks so much for the update on Winter! I wondered how she was doing ;). And how marvelous she is so close to graduating. And I too would love to see her lace when complete.

      2. Will you please ask if Winter would share a photo or two of her project when it’s done with your readers? I’m seriously intrigued!

        Lea

          1. Brandy: Thank you for the update on Winter, I have thought of her often, and wondered how she has been doing.
            Patricia/Fl

  46. That pinata is so cute! My son turned 15 on Mother’s Day, which made the day so sweet! We re-used decorations that we have had for years and made balloon bouquets. We used our nice china plates. I wrapped his presents in giftwrap that I already had. I baked him a cake and decorated it. My frugal fail is that I spent extra to buy Wilton canned cake frosting. I assumed it would be more like the frosting on cakes from a bakery, and that it would be made for cake decorating ……nope, I’m pretty sure that it was Pillsbury frosting with the Wilton name on it. The frosting would not set and was so soft (ordered medium, not soft) that it was almost impossible to use for decorating. Didn’t taste great, either! Going back to homemade butter cream frosting. Now, I’m motivated to find a homemade frosting that is like a bakery frosting.

    *My husband bought a couple really cheap balloon bouquet kits on Amazon last year for Valentines day. These have heavy plastic round base pieces and different sized sticks that can be put into the base to make different configurations and can be re-used. There are connectors that hold a balloon on the end of each stick, the results are beautiful table top balloon bouquets. We bought a bag of assorted color balloons and have already used the kits many times in the last year for different occasions. I also bought very inexpensive yard sticks on Amazon that hold balloons last year to decorate yards for my son and his best friend’s middle school graduation. You can re-use the sticks over and over. I will be using those this spring to decorate a friends yard for her high school graduation.

    *My son and husband made me homemade Mother’s Day Cards. My husband made Patty Melts for dinner for me (my favorite!!!) with what we had on hand.

    *Thrilled to see tiny green plants popping up in rows in my garden! Hoping to also get some pots to plant with veggies.

    *I Dehydrated mini marshmallows! I am now addicted to this sweet crunchy treat! They come out similar to the Lucky Charms marshmallows. Such an inexpensive, easy and fun treat to make. Making more tomorrow. Now I’m on the lookout for marshmallow sales!!!

    *Made Parmesan Garlic Toasts with leftover hamburger buns, egg and vegetable frittata, snack tray dinner to use up bits of cheese and meat from the fridge, baked bread, grilled hot dogs and made chili dogs with the leftovers, I decided to take Wednesdays off from cooking dinner. It is now “make Your Own” night. This is my secret scheme to use up leftovers because everyone just heats up the leftovers that are in the fridge instead of actually cooking their own dinner. It’s working great, and I get a night off!

  47. I have saved and spent so far in May. I found a new comforter for the bed which goes well with the new paint color. I have in mind what I want for curtains but haven’t had a chance to order them yet. The bedroom looks more cheerful already–20 years of dark, dark green have made me happy to move to a medium coral color with white accessories. I’m only planning on the comforter and curtains for now. My grand-daughter suggested a couple additions but I quickly told her that I just want to brighten it up, and didn’t intend to spend any more than necessary to do so. The comforter was on sale, but not cheap.
    I have been trying to cook more from scratch and it’s been successful. I re-checked sodium contents for some products because my legs have been swelling far too much. Home made meals, and homemade baked goods help quite a bit. I have re-stocked the freezer with some sale meats, making another round of mini-meatloaves and a few meatballs from the same sale. My daughter brought me some sweet and sour chicken today from their dinner–her recipe makes quite a lot. I had been thinking of making a batch for my freezer, but there were no leftovers from today’s meal!! It was so good.
    My dd and I swap some baked goods as we are both small households. Last week she brought me a mini loaf of banana bread and two pieces of cake. I am planning to pay her back with some peanut butter cookies this week. For mother’s day they were here (my grand-daughter’s two dogs are not welcome in my DD’s apt building, but I don’t mind.) I made a gingerbread with lemon sauce. Unfortunately I took it out of the oven a bit too soon, so the center is headed for the trash, but we had enough to serve just using the edges, and made the fresh lemon sauce. My son in law swears he has never had homemade gingerbread before. Well, he has now!! He is lactose intolerant so the lemon sauce was a better choice than whipped cream. And lemons are in season and I bought a bag full last week.
    I managed to find a nice but inexpensive swimsuit for my sister’s birthday at TJ Maxx today. They had quite a good selection in her size, and I did check to make sure it can be returned if it doesn’t fit. She has, like me, been wearing the same one for a while now. One of her daughters is moving back to Virginia Beach area soon, so she will need more than one. Our swimming season here is limited to three months of the year, and no more!!
    I am so jealous of all your planting –it’s another three weeks before we can plant tender crops but it’s certainly not too soon to pull some weeds. I have some new ones that are appearing but I’m not sure where they came from. I didn’t add any new soil or mulch last summer but I have new weeds anyhow!!
    I love the pinata your son made–I’ve seen worse for full price in stores! And the picture of the boys is sweet too. I’m so thankful for the internet so that I can see pictures of my grand nieces and nephews more than I see them in person! Many live out of state. My sister was visited for Mother’s Day by her son and family who live in Vermont and because of covid they had not seen each other in person in a year and a half. A precious photo of her hugging the youngest in the doorway of her home!! Very sweet.

  48. I’m so happy that you are able to plant some things at long last! I hope it grows for you. This is such a strange weather year, who knows? Maybe this is the year for your garden to grow at times it usually won’t. I sure hope so.

    Our garden is still at a standstill, due to the store not being able to get the tiller they ordered, due to Covid-related problems. Most stores are saying the same thing. Tillers are tough to get right now. We are about to go rent one, if we can find a way to get it home, and still get that elusive tiller when we can.

    My husband did have a wonderful “score” on jar lids, though. He was able to find some after looking in literally every store in our area that he has visited, on-line, and has also made numerous phone calls over the past few months. Occasionally, he has found a few boxes and snagged them up. Today, he came upon a place with cases available, with no signs posted about limits, so he got enough to finish up our supply for this summer’s canning, along with both my sisters’ and mother’s remaining needed boxes. We are not jar lid hoarders. Last summer, I canned over 1,000 jars of produce, though, and I need a large supply for this summer. I have some left over by design so hope to have a little easier time of it this summer.

    Are all of you finding jar lids at last?

    Mostly, though, I saved money by what I didn’t do. After working 10 days straight, including 4 overnights, I tore into a flower bed with too much enthusiasm and severly pulled a muscle in my leg. As in: I sat on the couch all weekend while my husband and daughter did all the work for the Mother’s Day gathering we had. Oops:(. Thankfully, the gathering was small, people brought things, we kept it simple, and all the sitting around is working. Today, I’m much, much better and think I’m headed in the right direction. But, I didn’t buy groceries. I bought a lot last time and hoped it would last for 2 weeks, and it’s lasting. Thankfully, my aunt texted about some eggs on sale, and my husband stopped in to grab a few of those today, or he wouldn’t have seen the jar lids. But, we didn’t buy decorations or extra food for the party except some sugared soda pop, as some guests drink that and we only keep diet here as a general rule.I didn’t go to JoAnn’s and buy the pattern I was going to, and therefore didn’t buy anything else there either.

    Last week, a freezer unthawed. I spent days sorting things out, arranging them in the other freezers, testing water to see if it was broken, cooking food that started to thaw out, and pressing meals on anyone who would take them. Thankfully, I have willing friends and family.

    I’ve been able to pick lettuce and artichokes and a few snow peas. There is more to come. We are really grateful for the new raised beds Rob built last fall. Pictures are on my blog: http://beckyathome.com

    1. Burpee.com I don’t know how it will do here; it’s a risk for certain. I can only hope it won’t burn to a crisp.

  49. Celebrating my 40th year as a mother, I decided to order some plants/seeds off Etsy. I got Achimenes rhizomes, Balsam, a variety of Zinnias and some Roe Campion. I spent a nice amount on myself but it all comes from my personal allowance. My family acknowledges me every year but cards or flowers are not a thing with them so I have accepted their well wishes happily but it did seem that 40 years as a mother ought to be marked in some way so I chose flowers I can hopefully grow, gather and multiply over the coming years.

    I’ve been busy looking at government guidelines for grocery spending and realized that my own grocery budget which was generous a few years ago is sadly behind times with rise in costs. I knew I was over budget many months this year and while I do continue to stock up in my pantry, I’ve changed my shopping habits considerably over what it was even 5 years ago. There’s a great deal I am either making myself or simply doing without! Thankfully, I have room to adjust my budget slightly higher and so I am going to do that for now. Still not quite at government thrifty meal plan levels but I think any ‘raise’ I give myself will be helpful in that area.

    My husband continues to repair our riding mower in the hopes of making it last one more season. His theory is the motor is still good and so it’s worthwhile. I don’t know. We’re averaging about $200 a month right now on repairs and sometimes higher. Given that he’s mowing two large yards and that our mowing season here runs from April through November….I keep telling him we might ought to just buy a new one, at least get it ordered right away since I hear they are hard to come by lately. But then at the rate we’re going. all but the motor will be new in a few weeks more…Does that mean the year model can be changed? lol

    Lots of looking at savings in various areas, doing my best to waste nothing and making all possible changes to keep the savings going.

  50. Impressive piñata and always enjoy your descriptions on celebrating birthdays. My daughter tells me of the expensive birthday parties that her girls attend…petting zoos set up in front yards, bubble trucks, giant slides that are rented for over a hundred dollars. Thrifty actions this week was reevaluating where I grocery shop and replanting hydrangeas. Adorable picture of your sons!

  51. Just want to add that in Washington State some school districts are compensating distant learners for the free breakfasts and lunches that they received when they were attending school in person. My friend just received a State Debit Card for groceries for each of her children. Each card had $800.00 in the account. She has 3 children, so received $2400.00 to spend on groceries. A true blessing for her and her family. If you are in Washington State and have distance learning kids that previously qualified for free lunches or breakfasts, you might want to contact your school district and ask about it.

    1. Wow! That’s amazing! I am having to spend about $400 a month now for groceries and toiletries with the new, higher prices. That kind of money would be amazing! I hope someone sees this and is blessed by it.

  52. Brandy, I have a gardening question. I live where it is almost as hot and dry as Las Vegas. I have a small flower garden and am thinking of putting down mulch to help with the water evaporation as we are again, officially in drought status. I don’t believe I have heard you mention using mulch. Do you think it would help with ours/your water usage? I realize you have a huge garden so you would have to buy a great deal.

    1. So the only mulch they have here is wood chips. The topsoil mix I buy is half wood chips and half sand. I just don’t see that adding more wood chips will be a good thing. Some people swear by it, but they are not changing out their plants as often as I am and planting things like lettuce between their roses. If you’re just putting it under perennials, it could be fine, so long as you don’t put it right up to the base of plants like roses. You have to move the mulch out of the way to fertilize several times a year. I am just underplanting so I don’t see it as a good thing for me personally. I’d rather have something growing underneath like nasturtiums.

      1. Keeping soil covered is the goal, so this can be done by planting intensively like Brandy does, or by spreading mulch. I’m watching a Master Gardener presentation while I’m typing this. It’s about soil regeneration. They have talked a lot about keeping soil covered, and keeping things planted in it. Cover crops, underplanting, mulching all are great!

  53. Hello to All!
    First time posting on the main page. I have to tell you all how inspiring this group is to me! I’ve been following for several months now and have gleaned so much!
    Brandy, your photos are always stunning and by far the best I’ve seen online. Thank you so very much for sharing a glimpse into the beauty and love of family in your life.
    Here in Western Michigan, it’s been very cool and also windy. Hard on many of the plants I’ve purchased and continue to move in and out of the garage due to night frosts.
    My biggest frugal savings is following everyone’s lead on this site, stocking my pantry, rotating foods and stretching leftovers in new creative ways.
    Hoping to do more freezing and canning this year. I have small raised beds for gardens, using water troughs. It works well in my space which is one of the few places my yard gets sun.
    Just started fresh asparagus season here. Will cook and purée to place in the freezer. I use this purée for my cream soup bases.
    Again, I want to thank you all for so many great ideas
    Also a special thank you, Brandy for your beautiful website
    Michigan Mary

  54. Great job on the pinata! Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were roast pork loin with baked potatoes and green beans, pork fajitas with corn, beef stroganoff over noodles with green beans, leftovers.
    *Planted tomato, green pepper and basil seedlings that I had grown from seed. Also, planted seeds for green beans, corn, spinach, carrots, onions and cilantro.
    *Baked bread. Made homemade ice cream for a friend who needed mint chocolate chip ice cream without chocolate chips. He is on a soft food diet and needs to gain weight. Borrowed the ice cream maker from a friend and packaged the ice cream in a container I had saved. My hubby delivered it on his way to work since he goes by there. Also made strawberry ice cream using strawberries a friend bought me for Mother’s Day. So good!!!
    *Hubby returned lawn mower blades that were not the correct ones.
    *Accepted 2 free lunches at work.
    *Colored my own hair using 1/2 dye kit.
    *Received yellow tulip bulbs from my son for Mother’s Day. My kids know better than to buy me cut flowers. 😆
    *Accepted a large electric roaster from my mom along with steak sauce, sprinkles and several colors of streamers.
    *Sent several cards from my stash.

  55. Brandy, I have some huge tips to share for older gardeners! (I’m not only old, but I have a bad back, too).

    This is the time of year when we seem to be moving lots of big items. I store all of my outdoor furniture on my covered patio to keep it out of the winter weather. Moving it in the spring and fall is a big job! I use a hand truck and furniture dolly to move lots of unusual things (including 40 lb. sacks of dog food from the car to the garage). Today we were trying to move a potting bench across the yard. It’s big and bulky and awkward. We’d gotten it across the grass with great effort, but now it had to go across some hard-pack dirt and get turned and scooted into a small space. A light went on in my head. I got the furniture sliders, put one under each leg and scooted it across the dirt in no time at all! (I think this would have worked on grass, too). My back said thank you! A furniture dolly works great for bags of potting soil, cement, etc. I save my potting soil from year to year in a galvanized garbage can. I wanted to mix it with some new (do this every year). I used a wheelbarrow to take the potting soil from place to place rather than move the can and/or bags. Once the garbage can is lighter, I’ll use the hand truck to move it by the potting bench and LEAVE IT THERE. It’s covered and doesn’t have to be put away.

  56. PS My husband often says “only a woman would do it that way,” but he thinks the furniture slider trick is genius! (Furniture sliders are dirt cheap at Harbor Freight). He was also thrilled that he didn’t have to help!

  57. That’s a beautiful photo of your little boys, Brandy!
    Thank you so much for sharing,
    Lea

  58. I enjoyed the beautiful photos, especially the sweet little brothers!

    The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of work. I am not going to look at a single email or take one call tonight. Enough! I am going to leisurely read every comment and wrap myself in the comfort of this caring community.

    I didn’t shop this week but we have enough food to see us through until the weekend. I have been freezing quart containers of soups, chili and one-pot dishes when I cook. Now I just have to take one out to put in the refrigerator a day or two, then we’re eating homemade and healthy with no effort.

    Mother’s Day was quiet with Zoom, phone calls and cards. My younger daughter wrote such a nice message in her card but I struggled deciphering some of the words. I finally realized one of the words I couldn’t make out was “handwriting.” It made me laugh and I still get a chuckle out of it.

    Our neighbors have about a hundred lilies of the valley in bloom just tucked along the sidewalk under bushes. They are my favorite flower!

    My husband leaves for work around 6:30 now while I am still in bed. I had written a message on the whiteboard reminding him to take his lunch. When I came downstairs with the dogs, I saw that he had written a message below it letting me know that the coffee he made was perfect so I should “go for it.” I must be getting sentimental because it felt like a love letter. Sometimes it truly is the little things!

    I have worn spring clothes the past week and put on some jewelry for a change. I liked Penny P’s Smarten Up Campaign idea and even though I only appear on video for work, it feels more professional. Such a waste not to wear my nice work things when I already own them and they are just hanging forlorn in the closet.

    As always, I appreciate everyone’s comments and I wish all a healthy and happy week!

    1. Kat,
      I totally understand the idea of your husband letting you know there is coffee feeling like a love letter. This morning my husband did the dishes I was too tired to do the night before, I’d been sick all day. It totally made my day! I love waking up to a clean kitchen!

  59. Hello, frugal friends,
    *We are experiencing cooler temps here in the mountains. I bought my tomato and pepper plants a couple of weeks ago from the high school ag department and have managed to keep them alive. I think I need to keep them in the pots another week as it has not been warm enough for long enough for the soil temperature to get warm enough for them. Here’s hoping I can keep them alive another week. The high school had a wide variety of tomato and pepper plants, all of which are much larger than I usually can get at the stores. I paid $3/tomato and $2/pepper.
    * I happened to stop by our local Rural King and they had annuals for .99/4 pack. I bought a bunch of impatience for my yard. I had budgeted $20 for what I needed and only had to pay $4!
    *I used my free coupon for a Jimmy Dean sausage roll which is in the freezer.
    *I saved $6 using coupons on groceries.
    *I needed new liners for my hanging planters. The coconut ones at Walmart were $12/ liner. I needed 5. I remembered I could use burlap instead and it only cost me $3 for all five liners thanks to free shipping and a coupon through Joann Fabrics. Thanks to whoever mentioned the idea of burlap a few weeks back.
    *I had .15 off/gallon of gas which I used to fill up my car. I did this before all this pipeline mess happened. God was looking out for me that day!
    *I have been using weekly menu guidelines. I cannot remember if I wrote about this earlier but I have a specific “meat” for each day of the week, with Saturdays being leftover day. Sunday is beef. Monday is meatless. Tuesday is a large salad with usually chicken or a small steak cut up and split between my husband and myself. Wednesdays are pork or fish. Thursday is poultry. Friday is breakfast for dinner, usually eggs of some sort or pancakes or waffles. Last week I had 8 stalks of asparagus from the garden, discount English muffins and eggs, so I made us eggs benedict. I will make the leftover egg whites into meringue cookies.
    *Using my empty jelly jars I have been making my own flavored yogurts. My husband likes to take yogurt to work but even at Aldis it adds up for the month. So for the cost of one week of store bought I can make enough for the month using a large yogurt, some of the canned blueberries from last year with a little of the syrup in the jar, and some of the granola I made using your recipe, Brandy.
    *My neighbor gave me 5 sweet potato starts. Let’s see if I can get them to grow. A few years ago I tried growing them. I had a ton of sweet potatoes, some as big as small pumpkins or as long as 2 feet!
    I have hunted high and low for canning lids but no one has them and no one knows when they might get them. I did as someone suggested and checked online at Walmart, but they were very expensive. They must have run out of the reasonably priced Walmart brand when I looked. I checked at the Amish store but they were out as well. I finally found some at Amazon, 100 for $23. They are an off brand. I have used off brands before and only had a couple of seal failures. I am hoping these will work okay. I was thinking on investing in some Tattler lids but have heard mixed reviews. If anyone has used these before I would appreciate your input.
    *I have been working a lot in the yard. I am had to pull 15 large black garbage bags of mint from the garden. I have transplanted many of my perennials and volunteer plants. My snapdragons seem to return every year much to my delight.
    *Susan Marie, A long time ago a friend gave me this recipe for bakery decorator’s frosting.:
    2 pounds confectionary sugar, 1 cup shortening, 1/2 cup water, 1 tsp. vanilla (optional: 1 tsp butter flavoring. I have never used this and it has always tasted great.) Mix together. She also gave me the recipe for bakery tasting cake: 1 cake mix, any flavor, 4 eggs (I have used 3 and it is fine), 1 cup water, 1 packet Dream Whip (The dry whipped topping. It usually comes with a few packets per box.I usually have to ask where this is located in the store because it is never where I think it should be, like in the baking or dry milk section. Around here it’s often in the cracker section???) Mix and put in greased pan and bake at 320 as directed on the cake mix box. I hope this helps and I hope you like it.

    1. Marley, I often reuse lids and, so far (knock on wood), I’ve never had a failure. I tend to use them on things that I could freeze if it didn’t seal, like applesauce and jam. I DON’T use them for anything that needs to be pressure-canned, like green beans and other veggies. Reusing lids is very common in countries that don’t have the USDA to tell them not to. 😉 Also, I reuse jars with pop-up, twist-off lids–the kind that have a ring adhered to the underside of the lid. Think pickle and jam jars, etc. Once again, no failures. You can easily tell if reused lids have sealed. The regular “flats” will pull down and audibly pop and the twist-off lids pull down firmly. (You hear the pop when you open them). Use your judgment. PS All of last year’s applesauce and jam were canned with reused or pop-up lids, and I had 100% success.

      1. Thanks, Maxine. I also reuse lids when freezing things in jars. Unfortunately when I open my sealed jars I have to use a church key to pop the lids off which leaves a small dent in the lid:( I feel that will compromise the lid seal so I only reuse those for freezing or storing dry goods. My son can pry the lids off with his hands so those lids go in a special place this year to attempt to reuse them when canning water bath items as you suggested. Thanks for your suggestions.

          1. Also, if you ever find an old-style church key, the kind with the point at one end and a square hook at the other, the square end won’t puncture or bend the lid if you go at it gently. Brandy, I didn’t realize you reused lids, too! I have to admit, I was hesitant at first, but it has worked every single time!

        1. Marley, I use a church key, too! I am careful to open the lids as gently as possible, and it only leaves a tiny dimple in the middle of the lid. From the reading I have done, if the rubber ring is undamaged, and the rest of the lid is intact (that tiny dimple is OK), it should seal again. If it sealed, but the top of the lid somehow had an air leak, you would be able to see that the food was spoiled. And, I’m guessing that wouldn’t be a frequent or usual thing. Try it on things you COULD freeze if it didn’t seal. Also, if you process pickles, that would be a good thing to try it on, because of the salt and vinegar. As you do it more often, you will be amazed by the success. Also, don’t be afraid to try twist-off, pop-up lids. They produce a very strong seal.

          Speaking of freezing…I’ve had poor luck freezing in quart canning jars. They tend to crack when the food expands, even though I left head space. (I no longer freeze in quart canning jars). Just wanted to let you know I’ve had very good luck freezing in widemouth pint jars. With reused lids, of course!!

  60. Our 5 month old puppy chewed up his dog bed one afternoon we were gone. I used lots of little scrap balls of yarn, double strands and crocheted him a rug for his crate. I figure if he chews up this one, no cost in the loss. It was fun to make something different.
    We have stayed close to home and enjoy being here. We watch movies, play games and read. I’m grateful for the simple pleasures.
    For mother’s day my husband and son got me some plant and I received a movie and some books from my daughters. The boys did a cook out for me for dinner and it was really nice to be spoiled.
    My dad’s birthday is this week. He passed away almost four years ago. He always had strawberry shortcake on his birthday so I made some with some frozen strawberries I had in remembrance of him.
    My husband is switching our cell phone carrier (again) in order to save a bit.
    Hope everyone has a good week.

  61. Great photo of the two boys!

    This year is our year for planned house maintenance. Last week we upgraded 11 light fixtures (replaced 12 fluorescent light bulbs with LED bulbs in six florescents) and installed five LED outdoor flood lights/motion detectors to replace older fixtures. Our neighbor did the installation for free! He refused payment. Luckily this week my husband was able to reciprocate in a different area so we are even again ;). We also got an estimate to replace an exterior door that is disintegrating (it was an interior door that we installed 15 years ago …knowing it wouldn’t last but the price was 25% of an exterior door at the time). The installation date of this new door is out three months! I am now rolling my eyes when I read about inflation. Brandy, thank you for your article links about price increases. I filled out some pantry items knowing I am paying less today and I have the storage room.
    And as many folks have said, please post some more garden photos, even if it shows chaos 😉

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