We received a little rain on Sundayand Monday, and I was able to turn off the drip irrigation to the garden this week (we are permitted to water once a week on Mondays in winter), save for the area where the lemon trees are situated, as I noticed that the area under the lemon trees was not getting wet, the leaves blocking the rain from getting down to the soil. January is the rainiest month here, and this is the only rain we have received this month.

I harvested mâche, chives, lemons, rosemary, mint, cilantro, and oregano from the garden.

I cut a few roses (I am still pruning) to enjoy inside.

I found that Walmart has a store-brand sunscreen with a 100 SPF that is light enough to use every day on my face. I am waiting for the results of a biopsy to see if I have more skin cancer on my face. While I always wear sunscreen and have been wearing hats almost all the time now (though in winter they do not have a brim), I feel like I need a stronger sunscreen. I had been looking for a face lotion with sunscreen before and they were all very expensive. I will use this now as it seems to be light enough for my face. I had not seen it before when I looked a few months ago, so I don’t know if it’s a new product, but it’s 6 ounces instead of 3 like the others I saw and under $7.

I took cuttings from existing bushes in the garden, removed the lower leaves, and dipped them in rooting powder, and then placed them directly in the garden where I want bushes. I was able to take cuttings from bushes I had previously grown from cuttings. It is a slow process, as not all my cuttings take, but it’s a huge money saver.

I read an e-book from the library called How to Walk Away, a novel from Katherine Center.

I gladly accepted a huge box of goldfish crackers and some Cracker Jacks from someone who is eliminating sugar from her diet. My children enjoyed the treats.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. I do love the narcissuses they remind us spring is coming, I have seen my first daffodil

    I have finished the deep clean of our bedroom the curtains and soft furnishings will be washed in the hot weather . Now I am ready for the garden weather permitting. I have moved some raspberries that have invaded my veg beds but have many more to do.

    During the winter we keep the curtains closed in unused rooms unless sun on them or we are in them. We close the curtains and open them as the sun moves around the house. It can make about 5c difference to the temperature in the room. All our curtains are thermally lined.

    I won a Ninja blender in a local council competition about food waste. It is quite big so some kitchen rearranging has been taking place. I am still not sure it is in the right place.

    I bought some Christmas cards in a local charity shop for 20% of the full price and told them to keep the change. I bought some Kilner jars(canning jars) for under half price in the local market shop. I could not carry many so next time I go I will take my wheely basket to get some more.

    I did a batch bake making 5 dozen fairy cakes to fill the freezer. I try to fill the oven while its in use.

    Have a good week everyone.

      1. These are small cupcakes, with a spread of icing on top , and often sprinkled with 100s and 1000s. Here in Australia they’re also known as Patty Cakes (baked in Patty Cake Tins). My mother baked them often when I was growing up, as they are an excellent size for children, and they were always to be found at children’s birthday parties or afternoon teas 😁

  2. I’m sorry to hear about the biopsy, and I hope the results come back quickly, and are negative. You’re so diligent about skin care and the sun! It’s an excellent example to others to also be as diligent in caring for their skin.

    My frugal week:
    – I redeemed $10 in loyalty points for groceries.
    – I did my usual price matching, coupons, and rebates, and got some good deals. Usually the cashier has to call over the manager to allow the price overrides. For any Canadians who want to learn how to coupon in Canada, I recommend following @coupon.couple on IG.
    – Mushrooms were on sale, so I made my cream of mushroom soup (https://approachingfood.com/cream-of-mushroom-soup/) I can’t stand canned cream of mushroom, but this one, yum!
    I did have a frugal fail. During the summer, I bought a 10 kg bag of sushi rice for something like $20, thinking it would last me the year. I decanted it into canning jars and put those silica packs inside to absorb any moisture. This week, I found that all the jars had bugs in them! They didn’t get in from my condo, as those jars were sealed tight, so it could only have been from inside the rice itself. Lesson learned, better to buy rice in smaller packs even if a little more expensive. I usually freeze my flour when I buy it in bulk, for the same reason, but never thought it might be wise to do for rice.
    – I went to a conference for work, and brought back tons of swag. I set aside chocolates for baking, and gave my daughters the plush stuffies and various cute stress balls (in various shapes). I also stocked up on notepads, pens, and cloth totes. I set aside a bunch of stuff to give to two different pet owner friends, including a high end dog & human water bottle, a mini speaker, and more. I also set aside a few non-branded items in my gift drawer, to give away as presents sometime. It was a lovely conference, even though I was still recovering from a bout of severe GI illness.
    – As usual, I packed snacks and drinks whenever traveling anywhere, for myself and my kids, and use cloth bags for groceries, etc.
    – I went to Costco, without a membership card. If you have a gift card, Costco will give you a free day’s membership, but only twice a year. I went with my mom and we both stocked up on the items that we buy from there. And my littlest enjoyed all the free samples.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

  3. I have been making a concerted effort not to buy any unneeded items that have caught my eye in January. A couple small things may have slipped through but it is a big reduction. We are under budget across our variable spending categories and the amount we have cut is going toward debt payoff. It’s amazing that I haven’t felt one bit deprived or like I am missing anything at all.

  4. I planted mache seeds a few days ago. It’s my first time growing it, thanks to your sharing, and I hope it does well. Last week, I made golden paste for the pups, and a double batch of ketchup. When dropping a book off at the library, I looked through their movies, and checked three out. I do the most screen watching this time of year, to amuse myself during the long nights. Besides the mache, I sowed three types of lettuce, arugula and parsley. A lb. of wood ash was applied at the drip line of the majority of our fruit trees. I hope to finish the job the next time the woodstove is cleaned out. One of our large sweet potatoes was dehydrated for pup treats. I cooked up several bags of our frozen lima beans, seasoned with our onions and vegetable broth for a gathering to celebrate my MIL’s birthday, per her request. The lima beans are some that have been handed down for several generations in her family. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2024/01/late-january-days.html

  5. Brandy I am hopeful that you do not have skin cancer again-if you do that the doctor’s can treat it quickly. Our weather continues above freezing and I have been enjoying the latest season of Call the Midwife for free entertainment. My daughter gifted me All the Light We Cannot See for Xmas so I am looking forward to reading it. I am especially interested in it as we spent a day visiting my sister’s relatives in St Malo last summer.
    I was reflecting back on my time in the early 80’s when I volunteered at an orphanage in Bangladesh-now that was real food insecurity. The children all ate what was served as that is all we had-wheat porridge(suji) every morning and the same lunch and dinner every day-lentils, rice and vegetables. Occasionally when we could afford it one hard boiled egg each was added to the curry. The wheat, rice, lentils, sugar, vegetable oil and powdered milk were donated by the World Food Program. We used to make our own baby formula using powdered skim milk, veg oil and sugar. Those were the days!
    Meals enjoyed this week included Thai chicken with rice, bacon, potato and corn chowder and oatmeal pancakes using up the last of the milk that had gone sour. Tonight DH is cooking up a pizza and I am making a lentil, peanut and coconut curry with rice. We have the day off today so cooking for the work week ahead.
    Just back from Costco where we saved 13 cents per litre on gas. They sent an offer for us to get a $25.00 e-gift card if we signed up for automatic renewal on our credit card. Since we renew every year anyway it is money in our pocket.

    1. I, indeed that is true food insecurity. Quite a sobering story. We are blessed beyond measure in so many parts of the world, with the bounty of food available to us. Thank you for sharing your memories.

    2. The Light We Cannot See – so beautifully written. I’ve lived in parts of the U.S. – S. Colorado and New Mexico where food insecurity is so very real. When I was 14 (so very many years ago) my first ‘job’ was volunteering at a local elementary school’s summer Migrant School program. I thought my family was stretched to the limit. I then realized that hard boiled eggs, oranges, cartons of milk were so valued that the children would try to save them to take home to their families. The very wise principal/administrator and the public health nurse made sure everyone had a bag to take home so that the children ate their breakfasts and lunches – they knew there was ‘more’.

  6. Hi Everyone!

    Our biggest money saver was a result of our next door neighbor taking down a huge tree on his property, a Tulip Poplar. We were very sad to see it being cut down, but I am sure our neighbor had a good reason because it would have cost a lot to hire the professionals needed to safely take down a tree this huge! The silver lining for us was my husband went over and asked our neighbor if we might have some of the wood that was stacked by the road awaiting the city brush removal truck, and the neighbor invited us to take all we wanted. We spent yesterday hauling the wood with our wheel barrow (hubby) and little red wagon (me). The tree was literally on the property line, so we wheeled the pieces across our front yard and up near the house. My hubby will have his job cut out for him, as the pieces will still need to be cut smaller and some of them split before stacking to dry behind the house, but free wood is free wood! A second neighbor who lives across the street saw my husband moving wood, and kindly stopped and offered to bring over his wood splitter for us to borrow when my husband is ready for it. He knows we do not have one, and we have occasionally borrowed his in the past. It sure was sweet of him to stop and offer!
    So while we miss the beautiful tree, at least we can make lemonade out of lemons, so to speak. We have enough wood so far to probably last us for one winter of burning, as we do not burn a lot in our area. We may be able to get more of the wood, but what is there currently is the huge trunk and our little chainsaw is no match for the size of that trunk, but we will see if the next door neighbor cuts it smaller and offers any more. Either way, I am thankful!

    Hope everyone is doing well!

    Susan M. in Chattanooga, Tennessee

    1. Susan M. If you get an opportunity to cut more wood, you might be able to rent a larger chainsaw at a rental center. We have rented a wood splitter and other tools in the past. Just an idea.
      Elizabeth H.

    2. Susan that is wonderful about the free wood that will save you a lot of money. I don’t have the ability to burn wood but a neighbor who had a wood burning heater in their house was telling how expensive wood was $100 a cord, he ended up taking it out of their house for that reason. They are older and not able to go out and chop down wood on their own.

      1. Anna – I hate to hear of older folks removing woodstoves when they are no longer able to do the work. I imagine they miss it. We have a local organization who bring firewood to anyone needing it. I read recently that they need a lot of help as their volunteers are getting older. We plan to help this year and have done this sort of thing informally for others. I wish there could have been something like that for your neighbors.

        1. What a wonderful volunteer program! I have never heard of anything like this! I wish there was a program like it in our area!

          1. It is! A lot of churches here do similar things on their own but this particular group has had people from many churches coming together on one weekend to work together and they get a lot done. 🙂

      2. I understand why people have to stop using wood! It truly takes a lot of strength to cut and split. Even when we order wood delivered, there is always quite a bit that my husband needs to cut down to a smaller size to fit our stove, plus the hauling and stacking of it. I am glad our wood stove is not our only source of heat, but at the same time am also glad our heat pump is not our only source!

    1. Thank you.

      It is removed now. I expect to get more in the future.

      But I have a big crater in my forehead where they removed it.

      I am using scar cream and I hope I don’t end up with a keloid scar, as I am prone to them.

      1. Brandy, it’s good to hear the operation is over. I hope the scar cream is helpful. I get keloids too and I understand your anxiety.

      2. Dear Brandy, I am so sorry to hear about your skin cancer and I hope for a swift and trouble free healing for you

  7. The first part of the month was extremely cold (below zero) and today is unseasonably warm (43 degrees) and there is no snow at all. This is crazy for Minnesota and leaves me concerned about a summer drought (again). I know worrying doesn’t help, so I’m enjoying the warmth and sunshine while it lasts and plan to store more water. * Meals last week included poppy seed chicken (two meals), chunky soup over rice, baked chicken and veggies, and roasted sweet potato and black bean burritos. We had one night of “every man for himself”. Friday some friends took my husband and I to a fancy restaurant to celebrate my graduation and treated us. It was lovely! And Saturday we went to our Scottish friend, Hamish’s, home for his annual Robert Burns party. He serves traditional Scottish foods (haggias, etc) but also serves hot dogs and chili. He wears his authentic kilt and reads a couple Robert Burns poems but it’s an open house format so mostly it’s socializing with friends. It was lovely and I didn’t have to cook two days in a row! I’ve tried all the traditional foods, but I’m a hot dog person. I love that he shares his culture with us. * I delivered all the items I crocheted and knitted last year finally. I usually drop off in November but this year it just didn’t work. The hats and scarves went to Union Gospel Mission in downtown St. Paul and will hopefully keep some unhoused people warm. Going down there is always very humbling. It is a wonderfully run mission and the folks are so kind and I vow every year to make more for next time. Then we headed to Bundles of Love where my baby afghans and sweaters sets go. This time I went in instead of just dropping off and the director was there and gave us a tour and I just fell in love! They have some work hours where people can go in and work on items and socialize. It has good access and I felt comfortable in the space despite my mobility issues so I think I might try to go in and meet some new people. I’ve been dropping off there for ages and am so glad I finally got the courage to go in. I think it will be a nice fit for me to do something useful now that I’m done with school. * Menu planning, grocery pick up and cooking from home continues to help us stay on budget. * Finished some library books and watched some free shows for fun. * Our son said he would “host” the NFL championship games this year. (He lives with us). I didn’t know what that meant, but he came home with some snack foods for the games. He was proud and I thought it was sweet. I always do something for our Super Bowl party (just for us three). I choose a food from each city to serve. Kansas City is known for their BBQ so ribs it is! and I think I’ll just make Rice-a-Roni to represent San Fransisco as we are not really sea food folks (and that is much less expensive than sea food). I was able to add both to this week’s grocery order so I’ll have it even if I can’t get out before February 11th. It’s silly but a fun tradition. I also find a free printable version of Super Bowl bingo and that is fun for us as we watch. In life these little fun traditions add to our enjoyment of simple things.* I hope everyone has a lovely week and finds peace and warmth where you are!

  8. Stayed out of the grocery stores until the weekend. I was out walking with a friend on Saturday when she realized the date and that she needed to get to Costco that day to take advantage of an item that was on sale. I only go when I’m with her, and while I hadn’t planned on going there for another couple of weeks – I did have the money set aside. I had budgeted for $100 and came in at $96.48. When I go to Costco I try to stay focused on a set list – or I can get very distracted! This trip it was nuts, seeds, dried fruit & cheese. I was also looking for a rotisserie chicken but they were just coming out of the oven and it would have been at least 10 or 15 minutes before they would be packaged and available so decided to treat myself to one of their large Quiche Lorraine’s instead – yes, a bit of an indulgence but it will be 7 meals for me so I can justify the $13. When you are a singleton there are times when prepared meals are cost effective – for instance, I buy bagged salad as it does me for 5 days and there is no waste – it would cost me triple to buy all the different greens separately and they’d go bad before I could finish them.

    I used up some more bits and pieces from the freezer, along with some canned veg from the pantry and ate all meals at home except for one lunch. I met up with a friend that I hadn’t seen since before Christmas and we just bought ourselves something in a food court close to my office. With coffees included, mine came to $10 and came out of my allowance. I also bought us each a coffee and small donut when I was out walking on Saturday – she does the driving when we get outside of our local neighbourhood and I buy us the coffee afterwards. I also enjoyed some extra treats during coffee hour after church yesterday.

    I did stop by my local grocery on the way home from church as I had my buggy with me and there was a good sale/loyalty point offer on some non-food items that I wanted to top up so it was worth the effort. I am trying to ensure a six to twelve month supply of cleaning/toiletries/paper products etc. so that month to month I can just concentrate on food purchases, especially if any unexpected expenses crop up. Last week I was able to top up dish liquid, furniture polish and kleenex.

    I hope that your biopsy results are good – especially as you take such good care. I use a 60 block and use one designed for babies as I have a number of allergies. My foundation also contains a 30 block so I’m doing my best but you are dealing with a much stronger sun than I am!

  9. Brandy,

    Thanks for the information about the sunscreen. I’m going to see if Walmart here carries it.
    Although I said recently I was not going to buy groceries for a while, in fact I bought several cans of
    Campbell’s Chunky Soup on sale for $1.88 per can, reduced from $3.50 to$4 per can. I spent $79
    on groceries and saved $65.00. I will be making every effort to keep the soup as an emergency reserve.
    I have been enjoying browsing through free catalogs from seed companies. I will not buy a lot of seeds
    but think I’ll buy some seeds for vegetables.

    It is always nice to have something to look forward to – I was invited to go on a lovely, long day trip in the spring.
    There is a lovely highway called the Cowboy Trail which runs south from here, along the base of the foothills. Then one heads west to
    the south end of Highway 40 and goes north through the Highwood Pass and the spectacular Kananaskis mountains. En route, we will
    see the hummingbirds. Finally we head east to get back to our starting point. It is a lovely thing to wake up on these wintry mornings and
    dream of the wildflowers and hummingbirds we will see on this adventure. It is so kind of this acquaintance and his wife to invite me!

    One of my friends has been in the Mojave Desert. I’ve been worried about him. I was relieved when he returned home yesterday. I’m sure many of his friends were envious when he was in Death Valley when it was -35ºC here (windchill –41ºC).

    Our book is almost sold out; our article is finished except for a revision to a map that we are waiting for. From now on, I will be
    concentrating on household decluttering. I hope to make significant progress so that by spring, I’ll be able to enjoy sitting outside looking at the birds.

    1. Death Valley would have been perfect yesterday. It was 71° here and that is only 105 miles west of here.

      1. I was worried about him because he was in the Mohave Desert and that is where the gruesome murders took place recently. I’m sure the Mojave is a big place but …
        He and his friends have a great time in the desert while back at home it was minus 35ºC and with the windchill about the same in ºC as in ºF i.e., minus 41. Meanwhile we were back here freezing!

  10. I gratefully accepted a box of cans and pasta, and gave away wrapped candy my daughter didn’t want.
    I got called to sub 3.5 days this week, so that’s bonus income. Yay!
    We finished rearranging the drip irrigation in the raspberry bed and I’m now ready to transplant into it. I went to a seed giveaway and came home with over 50 packets of seeds. Many are for my windowsill sprout growing. A friend gave me starts of nasturtiums and minoan lace. There’s so much fun being part of a gardening community. I’m a master gardener and a new class of trainees is coming through and I’m a mentor to one of them. It’s a joy to share knowledge (and plants) with each other.

  11. Potatoes have been around .30-.37 a pound in my area lately, they are sold in #10 bags. I have at least once a week placed a few in the crockpot on low overnight to make twice baked potatoes using bits of leftovers. I have been able to take a 1/3 cp leftover chili, a little bit of shredded cheese and create a future side dish. Sometimes it’s a couple of shredded chicken legs or a thigh, I can add BBQ sauce or add a little broccoli and cheese. I have found this the most useful way to stretch a couple of leftover tablespoons still perfectly good food that wouldn’t be enough to do anything else with. Once I make them, it’s usually several different flavors, I cool them and wrap tightly in plastic wrap twisting the ends. I then will label what type of twice baked it is using masking tape. Then freeze them in a gallon ziplock.

    I usually prefer Yukon gold potatoes but this has been a wonderful way to reinvent and stretch leftovers.

  12. I cannot imagine getting only a little rain. In the past 6 days only one of those days had no rain.

    Thank you to the person who shared the lentil soup recipe. We are continuing to eat what we have, both in our pantry and in our fridge. I am also thrilled God is answering my prayer for filling, nutritious, economic foods for my growing teen boys to eat. Everyone is eating less snacks and happier with their stomachs full of carbs, proteins, and fats. Some of the meals we have been eating sheppards pie, cooked coleslaw with a little bit of ground beef, salad with our spaghetti and meat sauce, and chicken soup.

    Our card games and art projects were tucked away on the book shelf in a hard to reach place. I moved these items to the living room in a container and the kids are now using them. Perfect for the cold and rainy weather.

  13. Your photos are delightfully bright and joyful. It has been cloudy and rainy here – the trees are starting to bud thankfully. Happy you found sunscreen, I do hope it works for you. I can’t go outside without a brimmed hat and sunglasses at this point -even on cloudy days it’s too bright for my eyes, and I don’t want to risk the sun (or ticks in the warmer months) on my face or scalp.
    This week, I altered a dress and took in jeans. I needed to purchase new sewing machine needles and went with a cheaper option – so far so good.
    Made makeup remover (distilled water, castor soap, and olive oil) – it works on my sensitive skin.
    Consumed a little less than the week before. Job security isn’t secure at this point so I am being a little more diligent than usual – just in case.
    I hope everyone has a calm and productive week!

  14. We have had rain for the last week, it is supposed to warm here for a few days. I have been going to the library all winter. We had the family over last night for dinner and we enjoyed seeing everyone and playing games. I have been reading my bible and devotion book everyday, and writing in my joy journal. This brings peace to my heart. I have started a bible study on the book of James. We have been visiting churches to find where God wants us to serve. We were going to church an hour away and felt like God was calling us to serve and attend closer to home in our community. My niece and I went thrifting Saturday to spend time together and we got lots of bargains on things that were needed. I found 3 pairs of jeans in my size for $4 each. I got our grandson a UT cap for $2 and some other bargains. My friend gave me an Amish Friendship bread starter. So bread making is in my future.

  15. Hello Chris – I had not heard of fairy cakes before and so when you mentioned them I looked them up. What a great idea! A little smaller and less icing than American cupcakes. I think I will be making these from now on instead of cupcakes!

    1. Hi I add dried fruit but only ice them if children are coming. It limits the amount of cake we eat. If you slice off the top and cut the lid in half with a dollop of butter icing on top replace the lid pieces you make butterfly cakes

  16. This week the last part of the European Championship in handball took place, and my son wanted to see the final very badly, as he is a keen handball player himself. It was only broadcasted on a channel we don’t want to pay for (we only pay for one public service channel – streaming, as we don’t have a TV). We could get a free 7 days trial period though and we timed this with the final and unsubscribed immediately afterwards so we wouldn’t forget. My son was very surprised and pleased!

    My computer broke down completely a couple of weeks ago, it was almost 13 years old and had accumulated more and more problems over the years. My husband found a new-to-me second hand computer online with very good specs. I have old versions of Photoshop and InDesign – very expensive programs, that you can not buy anymore, you can only subscribe online, which is more expensive in just a year than a reasonably good computer! The old programs can not run on a new computer, so my husband helped me find a used one that they were compatible with. He is going to install an old operating system inside the newer one, so I can run the old programs. I can then use the new operating system for instance when I use the internet as an old operating system can compromise online safety. He works in IT – very handy – I didn’t even know such a thing was possible! Overall we saved so much money by buying a used computer and my husband doing a lot of the work himself. Only downside; one of the loudspeakers is making strange noises once in a while. He might be able to replace it himself quite inexpensively though, if it’s too much trouble making the seller fix it.

    We eat more and more vegetarian meals, I think we have only had meat for dinner a couple of times this last month. I find it easier and easier, as I have more practice and more recipes at hand. I stock up on yellow peas, dried fava beans and lentils at the local food coop regularly, soak and boil big batches once in a while and freeze them in meal-sized portions. Today we had fava-bean ragout which is a favorite – smoked paprika and olives add a really nice taste.

    After several years of trying I’ve managed to get a few freelance jobs teaching a subject I’m very passionate about – I’m going to give a lecture and hold two weekend courses – and I get a reasonable pay! I’m looking so much forward to this!

    I hope your biopsy comes out fine, Brandy! Glad you found a strong sunscreen at a good price.

    1. Cam, I was given 20 pounds of split yellow peas recently. What are your favorite ways to use them?

      1. Hi Brandy.
        I often make yellow pea meatballs – I think I shared the recipe here some time ago? I also make humus with yellow peas – I add tahini, olive oil, salt, garlic, lemon juice, chili and cumin. Another option is roasted yellow peas for snacks or for adding to salads – I boil them first, and then roast them on a frying pan in olive oil – they taste good with a variety of seasoning (paprika/cumin is a favourite). In summer, when we have plenty of lettuce and tomatoes in the garden I also just add plain boiled yellow peas to salads to add some protein together with a nice vinagrette. They have a more ‘green’ flavour than chickpeas, I think, so they go well with lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes and other more juicy vegetables. Lastly I sometimes make a vegetarian yellow pea soup – it is very warming, filling and tastes good with bread on the side.

      2. Thinking about it, boiled yellow peas (either plain or roasted with spices) might also taste good in some sort of wrap (tortilla/ pita bread) with lettuce, tomatoes, tzatziki and maybe some mint leaves. I might try that myself one day 🙂

      3. French Canadian pea soup is a great way to use them.Just use your regular green pea and ham soup recipe and replace the green peas with the yellow split peas.

  17. Hi Brandy and everyone
    The lemons look luscious in your photo.
    I cut my own fringe this week.
    I cut the end off a tube of hand cream to get out the very last of the cream.
    We had a tree surgeon do some work in our garden and he left useable branches for us to cut up ourselves and dry in the log shed for burning in the future.
    Our electricity use for January is slightly less than last year and the prices have dropped slightly which is good news although still much higher than before the energy crisis. I checked if we are still on the right tariff and confirmed the one we’re on is best for us currently.
    My husband opened a seed packet of snapdragons and there weren’t any seeds inside! He complained to the company and they are sending another packet
    plus a complimentary packet.
    I made a vegetable and bean curry and stretched it with extra stock next day to make soup. I froze the leftover coconut milk I used in the curry. I used leftover pastry from making a quiche to make gooseberry pie. There wasn’t quite enough pastry so it looked a bit rustic but tasted nice.
    It was my turn to provide cake or biscuits at a social gathering and I had all the ingredients in my larder to make chocolate crackle cookies.
    We had a friend come to stay at short notice and our larder and freezer provided a meal for us all without needing to rush to the shops. I know he likes Christmas pudding so I defrosted some slices leftover from Christmas and steamed them which he enjoyed for pudding.
    My husband brought home a butternut squash from a large glasshouse he works in and we used carrots, beetroot, spring onions and parsnips from our garden.
    Stay safe everyone.

  18. A friend dropped off some blood oranges. She wanted to try them, but could only find 3 lb bags, and didn’t really like them. She knows my teen loves them, so she gave the rest to us.

    Received $7.70 from the Google Privacy lawsuit thing

    I used powdered milk in a recipe. We ran out of regular, and instead of making a trip to the store, I just mixed up some powdered.

    My substitute certification was approved. I applied for an after school tutor job, so now to wait on that. It’s $30 an hour, but only 4-6 hours a week. (But extra $ to apply to paying off my truck)

    I spent a ridiculous amount of money at the grocery store last week(over $300) so I’m going to see if I can make do without much this week.

    The weather has warmed back up to where the heat doesn’t need to stay on constantly.

    Sold another item and made $5

    Ate breakfast and lunches at work

    Received $5 reward from Ace Rewards

  19. This comment is for the last little while ( not the last week). My mother passed away in December. She lived in Scotland. I am so glad that I was able to visit and stay with my sister. It was the best it could have been in the circumstances. In-laws helped with children ( I am a widow).

    I was very disorganised as a result. I had planned to buy a lot of veg when the supermarkets reduced them ( as they do every year) just before Christmas (especially potatoes as I make mash and save it- last year it lasted in freezers until July). I find mash is great as an ‘ instant food’ (with something else) when you get home and don’t want to cook. Also good in fishcakes etc. Anyway- ended up only buying 20 kg. Will not last long.

    This reminded me of the value of a present drawer. In spite of everything I had presents for my 3 children on Christmas Day and didn’t break the bank.

    It also impacted on my earnings- my regular part time job was fine. I was entitled to compassionate leave and ended up only taking an extra day of annual leave on top of what I had booked due to Christmas. The extra work I do on other days was also very sympathetic and helpful ( considering I was letting them down at short notice and at a busy time). Unfortunately if I don’t work I don’t get paid so my pay there decreased a lot. Can’t be helped. They are a great employer and I really enjoy the days I do for them.

    My sister is sorting out everything regarding my mother. So grateful to have that help. My sister does not want a lot of my mother’s furniture etc. I have said yes to it so will be receiving a lot of stuff. My daughter (19) has asked for the bed ( my mother died in hospital if anyone is superstitious). I have taken everything as I have 2 young adults who will move out at some future date (soon) and need their own furniture. A lot will arrive. We will use it. My mother had lovely bedding. We will value it.

    Anyway- with the New Year trying to get back on track. Youngest caught nasty bug ( negative Covid test). She stopped eating due to feeling ill. At day 3 she was very upset as she was missing Kristy Kreme day at school ( parents association sell them individually to raise money). I was so worried about her ( she is a tiny person and can’t afford to lose weight) that I raced out to shop after work to get Kristy kremes. Well they weren’t frugal but did check out reduced racks while there and struck gold. Pesto jars reduced from £3.35 to £0.67!!! I bought 60 jars and there were hundreds left. Pork shoulder was half price as was bread rolls etc. The receipts nowadays show original price and what you pay. Original price was over £500. I paid £220! While I didn’t expect to spend that much these prices were too good to leave ( I also had money left over from December).

    Used stuff I brought for lunches when I had to work in central London 2 days. Saved £20 easily.

    Youngest back at school. Having her rolls with smoked salmon ( which she loves). These are rolls bought reduced and smoked salmon left over from Xmas ( when bought reduced). I freeze them and then pull them out on the school morning and pop them into her lunch bag where they defrost. Much cheaper than school meals ( over £4/day). Also having veg bought on Krispy Kreme run. Veg bought 3 for 2 which is still valid even if reduced-very frugal mother didn’t know that when I told her so thought would mention here.

    Sister visited. She insisted on buying groceries. Then she suggested take away. I stomped on that ( sure she would have wanted to pay). I made a main meal out of what she had bought and pulled a reduced dessert out of the freezer. It was so lovely seeing her and catching up after everything . I am so lucky.

    Used loyalty points to take £80 off price of hotel that youngest and I will stay in ( young adults will house and dog sit).

    Found out that branded dog food is £3 cheaper for 12kg bag if buy from supermarket rather than Pets at Home ( pet store). Also- delivery free ( as part of shop) and loyalty points ( which paid for hotel mentioned above). My dog has had very good health reports every year. He is a family member. I feed him the dry food with stock made from chicken etc. I usually have way too much stock for us to use as family and him loving it helps me feel frugal 😊. I get disappointed looks if I occasionally run out and he has dry food. Occasionally the chicken/ other bones go through twice to make stock. Not ideal but better than no stock.

    When getting back on feet after December checked to see if turkey on sale. Found turkey crowns reduced £24 to £6. Bought 3- will use in next few months.

    Can’t think of anything else.

    1. Sheena, I’m sorry to hear of your Mum’s death. It is a profound experience when you lose your Mum and I will be thinking of you.

    2. Sheena, you have my condolences for the loss of your mother. I lost my mother 2 years ago this coming March. My mother lived with cancer for 6 years. I use to call her every day Monday through Friday at 9 am. It hurts. I miss her very much but I try to remember the good times. I know she is no longer suffering. And, the knowledge that I will see her again keeps me going.

    3. Sheena my sincere sympathies on the loss of your Mother
      I wish peace and comfort as you adjust to her loss

    4. Sheena
      I am sorry about the loss of your mother. I will pray for peace and comfort for you and that you will find joy in your memories of her.

  20. I am trying to get some pruning done – I have so much to do and not enough time, but I will keep at it.

    I batch cooked this weekend in the oven while using the pressure cooker on the stovetop. Only one big clean up, and a lot of cooking was out of the way.

    I’ve found recipes for making dormant oil sprays for my fruit trees.

    I scrubbed my dogs’ collars and dried them well to avoid yeast infections from dirty collars. It also keeps me from buying new collars as often.

    I managed to buy very few groceries for the next two weeks.

    I’m doing price comparisons for termite prevention. My current provider is going up by a good bit, and while I realize prices are higher for them, too, they only prevent one kind of termite. So I’m checking around among the limited providers in my area.

    I re-used old wire garden border fencing around my newly planted fruit tree, to keep my curious dogs from digging up the roots.

    I’m going through seeds to see what I need and what I have. I’ve already planted some saved seeds harvested last year for my late winter/early spring garden.

    I hope everyone has a good week.

  21. Nothing very exciting on the frugal front this week, just all the things that are second nature by now: drying clothes on a rack, heating primarily with the wood stove, eating from pantry and freezer, eating all our leftovers, baking bread, mending clothes, reading library books, shopping at home first, walking and hiking for exercise, batching errands to save gas, practicing gratitude daily. We are getting a new camper — a long-planned purchase. Instead of buying Christmas gifts this year, we set aside the money to buy things for the new camper. We have been keeping a list of things we think we will need and before purchasing went over the list and decided if we had anything we already owned we could use instead, or if we could source an item cheaper. This helped us eliminate several items from the list. We also used gift cards we had saved for about half the purchases.

  22. It’s been a great frugal week in Houston, TX!
    I took an inexpensive meal to a family that had a new baby: $5 Sam’s rotisserie chicken, clearance bag salad, loaf of homemade bread, and some cookies from a marked down Christmas mix. Under $10, which I thought was good.
    We’ve enjoyed having the windows open, as the weather has been nice.
    I’ve listed more items for sale. Cash in, junk out!
    I bought gas at the cheapest gas station.
    One son opted for the cash instead of a birthday party. He’s more introverted, so we’ll just celebrate with family.
    I organized the playroom and cleaned off the kitchen counters.
    I’ve been reading more on “small house living” to get a better appreciation of having a big family in a small/medium sized house. There is a lot more I can do to make this space work for us. I would love to move, but I don’t see that happening.
    Took the kids out for a birthday dinner at Chickfila using coupons.
    I’ve mostly stayed out of grocery stores, but I may run back for the BOGO strawberries and $1 jars of pasta sauce before the sale ends tomorrow. Dried pinto beans were .50/#, but I really don’t need any.
    I made French toast with old bread.
    Hope everyone has a nice, frugal week!

    1. We have a very large house and we used to have a large family in the home (11 kids, six grandkids so far but some live elsewhere.) I’m longing for a smaller home but I don’t see that in the near future. I guess I will have to do small living in a big house. A few years ago I started getting rid of large pieces of furniture (which meant I had to get rid of some stuff too) but it did make life a lot easier. I guess I just wanted to say that a big house has drawbacks too. We have four bathrooms to keep clean etc. (I’m not ungrateful. I am very grateful but I guess there are just good and bad things about all sorts of living situations.)

      1. We’re two adults in 600 sq. ft. It can be tight. Who gets the bathroom first? There is virtually no alone time. But, it’s quick to clean and maintain.

        1. We bought 1200 square foot house- 1981
          I am eternally grateful I had the vision to plan for our aging
          Easy to maintain and just enough room- nothing wasted we use every inch

      2. Although four bathrooms sounds wonderful, we are able to make it work. Kids can brush teeth at the kitchen sink, and sometimes the boys go out back in the weeds for the bathroom.
        Someday this house will be the perfect size for me!
        I jokingly call myself the old woman who lives in a shoe (I’m only 41), lol.

  23. Happy Monday!

    I was researching suncreen because my absolute favorite Aveeno SPF 30 only comes in a 2.3 ounce bottle which does not allow you to get every drop ( terrible packaging) and is unreasonably expensive. They have a SPF 15 and I wanted to know how much less coverage I was getting for about half the price. Here is the research:

    “According to the American Cancer Society, SPF (sun protection factor) correlates to how much protection a sunscreen offers against UVB rays. They say that SPF 15 filters 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 filters 97%, SPF 50 filters 98% and SPF 100 filters about 99%. . . . But here’s the twist: that’s only true if you use the right amount of sunscreen, an entire shot glass-full, reapplied every two hours.”

    I decided to go with less SPF that I would reapply more frequently and continue to be committed to hats. It was worth the savings to me. I am very outdoorsy with sports – hiking, skiing and paddleboarding. When I do the sport time and don’t need the moistruizer, I use a dermatologist recommended alcohol base sunscreen. It lasts all day and never gets in my eyes. Farmer hubby is the one to find it. It only takes very little for face coverage so it lasts a long time. I have to special order it :

    I saved a little bit here and there on a weekend of traveling:
    1. I brought my own tea when the family stopped at Starbucks. I did have a sandwich but that is still a $5.00 savings.
    2. I found giftcards from years ago and hosted my family for free at sushi.
    3. I went cross country skiing using my season pass but convinced my husband to eat up leftovers at the cabin and not at the lodge. Dinner for me was using up old bread that I froze and putting peanut butter and jelly on it. Not great but free. Hubby had the last of crackers and cheese. Simple, filling and we didn’t waste any food.
    4. I brought down the creamer from the cabin because it would have gone to waste.
    5. I made the second batch of Kale salad still using up a one pound bag for 3.00. That means it will provide at least 12 lunches. Wow. This weeks is kale, home tangerines, home grown walnuts, the last of diced up crystalized ginger and a dressing of blood orange olive and balsamic vinegar that I am trying to use up. Oh yeah, a a package of cooked organic asparagus that is about two years old. I will make rice, heat it up every day at work and add it to the salad. Delish.

    The big money decision was to list on Poshmark a statement necklace from Uno de 50 – my favorite jewelry brand. Hubby gave it to me 10 – 12 years ago and since then I have learned that because of my proportions I need to wear princess length not longer. The necklace has held it price very well and I will use the money to buy a pair of black flat work shoes off Poshmark with my credit. I have several other necklaces he gave me I wouldn’t part with for anything so I think it is a balanced decision between sentiment and stewardship.

  24. The biggest win this week was my husbands – mostly. He found a blackstone griddle on the side of the road with a completely rusted top. He pulled over and brought it home. He was able to restore the top with a good sand and lots of seasoning and I’ve been cooking up some tasty take out style foods we don’t normally get on it! Hibachi or philly cheese steaks for our family would be outrageous but we can make them easily at home now. I canned up 7 quarts of beans using the dry pack method but I am not happy with how they turned out so will go back to the wet pack method. These will probably end up in enchiladas or as refried beans.

    I don’t think I mentioned but our library tells you a ‘savings’ total on the bottom of your paper receipt – for 2023 mine was nearly $5,000! Granted, I’m a reader and I usually use my card for my children’s books but my husband checks out his books and reference materials himself! We could NEVER buy all those books new!

    1. Sarah – I love your side-of-the-road story. I bet we all have them. Mine would take up too much space but have all been fun and useful. 🙂

  25. I found a new farm store (15 min drive) that makes their own feed. I moved to this area this year, but was unaware what this store offered. The rabbit and chicken feed are more than half the price of our local big-box farm store. I was thrilled. This will literally make our animals so much cheaper to keep, and it is healthy, freshly milled food which is fantastic for our chickens and their eggs, and our rabbits. I ordered 3 ducks (Indian Runner), which I’m hoping will save me in the long run on the cost of slug bait and the chemicals- slugs are crazy here and they eat everything. They don’t need special housing as I have a huge coop and run for my chickens.

    I’m considering starting a farm stand this summer, with eggs, baking, and flowers – things like that. I’m a teacher, and I do tutor a lot in the summer, but I could get this ready early in the AM. I have a lot of foot/car traffic this summer due to new construction. Not sure if it’s worth it, but I could try.

    I made a huge 9×13 full of cooked lentils (speaking of lentils) and rice. I like this mixed with a hummus sauce or a homemade cilantro lime dressing, and roasted veggies. This will be for my lunches. My (all teen or +) kids at home love hamburger gravy over mashed potatoes. I served 5 (adults) with 1 lb. of ground beef in that dish.

    I rarely comment but read each week, thanks Brandy for your posts, and everyone for all the tips, I always learn something!

    1. Dawnelle, I love your idea for a farm stand. You might want to check out the Pink Crumbb (yes, two b’s) on IG. She’s a home baker (also a PhD in learning) and teaches how to bring in income via home baking. But what you might find interesting, is that she does it currently from a little portable farm stand style thingy. One thing I’ve learned from her IG posts is that you want to have some items with a longer shelf life, like creamed honey, or shortbread, to maximize the profit for labour. Just going through her IG posts is a huge education. I highly recommend it! Best of luck with your future farm stand! If you have a lot of foot traffic, I think it’s a great idea!

      1. Thanks for the recommendation of the IG account. I finally found it at thepinkcrumbb. My boys and I have been considering a farm stand out on the main road this summer and I have been looking for inspiration. 🙂

    2. Looked up Indian Runner Ducks. What fun looking creatures! The comment said they stood erect like penguins, but I thought they also looked like meerkats.

  26. I do hope your biopsy results come back clean, Brandy!
    I have been doing spring cleaning during our rainy spell here in NC and it lifts my spirits so much and makes what I have really enjoyable! I made homemade furniture polish and a shower door cleaner ( vinegar and dawn) which didn’t work, now I am going to try the wood ashes that several of you have had success with!
    My daughter went to Costco and got me several things, and some sale items. I snagged some clearance bananas and lettuce last week, we had salad for three days and I made banana muffins for hubby and skinny monkey cookies for me. I just pulled out some very brown bananas from my freezer and made more skinny monkey cookies, they will taste just fine.
    My neighbor the farmer gave us 8# of organic grass fed bed from a cow he had butchered
    and 6 small bags of bones for broth! I made beef stroganoff with it and some clearance mushrooms and a box of broth to use up before I use the new bones.
    I got some new books at the library including a new book on gardening and one on herbs. Both subjects dear to my heart!
    I am line drying my laundry still and had frozen towels and sheets last week, they warmed up and were just fine!
    I am cutting up envelopes and using them for my daily lists. I have been more specific on daily details for my list and it is helping with my goals for health, spiritual matters , home , and relationships(including family),
    I hope everyone enjoys the quieter week weather wise!

  27. Brandy, I hope your biopsy results come back quickly and the news will be good. 🙂
    *On the frugal front this past week it was a lot of the same old, same old. But, consistency is key to any goal and saving and spending money wisely is no different.
    *My boys and I often have Field Trip Fridays where we do something out of the norm in an effort to learn something new. This week was a visit to a pay-what-you-can restaurant. A local church started it and modeled it after a similar project in Salt Lake City. They serve meals made with food produced locally all for a donation and turn no one away. We have wanted to go for so long and just never have made time to do it but last Friday was the day – and I am so glad we did! The menu changes daily given what they have on hand (kind of like home-cooking 🙂 ) but we had the choice of vegetable barley soup, West African peanut soup, falafel, quinoa tabouli, a mixed green salad (I have the most delicious carrot ginger dressing I am going to try to replicate), cookies and a choice of coffee, hot tea, iced tea and hibiscus lemonade (I thought of you, Brandy, with that one! I have made hibiscus tea but never hibiscus lemonade. It was wonderful.) We ate our fill and still had some to bring home for the next day. My boys were initially amazed at the idea of a restaurant where one could eat for free, if needed. But, even more, they seemed to really embrace the pay-it-forward idea of one person’s donation paying for another person’s meal. They also loved the wooden coin meal tokens offered at the counter that one can take and give to someone else. I was impressed with their willingness to try unfamiliar foods, to talk to fellow diners (all walks of life which was so neat to see) and they even asked about volunteering there (which we might do.) Once home, they wrote a review of the restaurant and food. The thought of eating and writing about it for a living didn’t sound too bad to them. All in all a great experience. We don’t eat out much for frugal reasons but also because it just doesn’t feel as special as home-cooked meals (they are made with love, after all. ) But, eating there was a very special experience, the food was fantastic and we felt good about the whole thing.
    *Also related to food, we gratefully received another box of food from our neighbor who passes on her food bank items she can’t use. This time, there was celery, grape tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, mini bagels, canned goods, pasta and rice. I chopped up and froze the vegetables that were getting close to being overripe, used the tomatoes and cucumber in a layered Mexican dip we ate for supper one night and stored the rest. I also reorganized my pantry a bit, an ongoing task as things move in and out.
    *I was invited into the Amazon Vine program. Apparently, some people have found my reviews helpful and I can choose items to review for free. I decided to sign up with the philosophy that I will only request items I will actually conceivably use. I have invited my boys to request an item here and there with the same caveat and they have to write the review. Being able to express your opinion in writing is a useful skill and it will also be a purposeful way to practice their typing skills. Love that these kind of real-life lessons can form the backbone of our homeschooling. I have already received a few items: a ball of 100% hemp candle wicking coated with beeswax (we make candles with our bees’ wax), a linen table runner (which I will probably use to make a pillow cover or two, I use tablecloths daily but don’t tend to use runners) and a chew toy for our puppy (she loves it and gave it 5 paws-up. 🙂 ) My boys have requested a trick yo-yo, a sketchbook and a radio-controlled backhoe (which oldest son plans to convert to a snow plow!)
    *We continue to make progress on our indoor projects. My husband received another gift card to Lowe’s Hardware from his employer as part of a merit program. This is the way we have paid for recent projects combined with using lumber we have on hand that my husband milled and planed himself.
    *We have sold many items in our neighbor’s booth at a local antique mall for about 2 years now and are so grateful they have allowed us to do so. We have considered having our own booth but were concerned with being able to keep it filled consistently. We gave it a lot of thought over Christmas and came up with some ideas and decided to go for it. There is a waiting list and it may be a while until a booth opens up but I am excited about the opportunity for us to do it together as a family. We strongly encourage entrepreneurship in our boys and have involved them in many side-hustles since they were small. My 12 year-old son has plans for expanding his mowing jobs into a real business this summer with the purchase of his own riding mower. He can get more money per job with his own equipment and is very interested in learning to maintain a mower with my husband’s help. He already maintains his dirt bikes, helps my husband with our other farm equipment and wants to further his mechanical skills.
    *We have had more snow and continue to enjoy the beauty of the season. Hope everyone is staying warm and cozy!

      1. I’ve never had that either, Brandy, and I have hibiscus sitting in my freezer. I’m going to start looking for a recipe.

    1. Your restaurant experience sounds awesome. Your family is my kind of homeschooling family. (We also homeschool) Real life activities for learning. My SIL does the Amazon Vine program for a few years and has been amazed at items she can get. She also is very selective since it is claimed on taxes as income if over $600 value. Have fun with collecting antique items to sell.

      1. Thank you, Renee! I appreciate your kind comments. And, yes, the reporting to the IRS is another reason I won’t get carried away with the “free” items for our review. 🙂

  28. Saw my first snowdrop today, a welcome sight. The last storm blew out 6 panes of greenhouse glass, pressure in the greenhouse was too much and the glass exploded outwards, I had even left the door open a bit so this wouldn’t happen. Thankfully glass prices are back to pre-covid prices.
    Our heavy glass panelled door needs to be repaired, it’s out line and is difficult to lock, hubby tried to sort it but there’s a complicated bolt system in the doorframe, so more expense.
    On the bright side I’ve been inventive with left overs turning left over chicken into soup, curry and meals for the dog. A stir-fry was made up of left over veg and other veg that was past its best. I continue to use frozen meals that I made last year and try to be strict on portion sizes.
    I hope your biopsy results turn out to be good ones. I will pray for you.

    1. I didn’t know greenhouse glass would do that! Wow! We have high winds here and people who have plastic greenhouses have trouble with them blowing away. I always thought glass would be better.

      Thank you for your prayers. The doctor removed one oiece and froze and burned other spots, so at least for now, good or bad, it’s gone. I just have to heal.

      1. * On Marketplace I sold a setee $50, 2 antique chairs $120, a lamp $10, 2 tea cups $8. I am listing or changing prices in listing daily.
        * I continue my pantry challenge. We have had 1. pork loin chops cooked in the Instant pot with cream of mushroom, cream of chicken, some homemade beef broth. onions, and a splash if Dale’s sauce 2. pizza 3. sandwiches 4. tacos 5. Chicken fajitas
        * My oldest son sold his farm and we helped him move. He will be with us awhile. I have a pile of items to sell for him and then all his food to incorporate into my pantry and use.
        * I wish we could send a little rain. It was just listed we have had 6.96″ of rain in January.
        * I cooked 9.5 lbs beef bones for 48 hours in my electric roaster with onion and carrots, and dried celery. I was going to freeze it to use in canning taco soup and Rustic Tuscan Soup. But with bringing my son’s freezer contents here I knew I didn’t have room, so I canned it to use later. It is dark dark brown and smells heavenly.
        * My friend gave me some floursack quilt blocks and fabric scraps she got off Marketplace. but wouldn’t take any money. The blocks are hand-sewn and in looking at them I have learned so much! I hope I can explain it… Where she didn’t have enough fabric ro say cut out an 8″ half square triangle for a block she would piece together that piece out of the same fabric. Sometimes it may be she could cut all from one section and then piece an inch on one corner to get the shape. It isn’t very noticeable, but multiple blocks had cobbled together sections like that. I have always thought I had to have a piece large enough to cut the shape I need and, wow, I have learned a lot about not letting anything go to waste, and being resourceful in my quilting. Oh my, the fabrics in these blocks. All floursack and such fun prints! She also gave me 8 packs of different size needles, some an inch long tiny quilting needles. I am going to hand quilt these together to practice and keep the integrity of the original quilter.
        * I took my 10 needle embroidery machine to be serviced to Muscle Shoals yesterday. I have them giving me a price to buy my machine. I used to have an embroidery business and dont anymore. I have a single needle i can use for personal use if i can get a good price for the 10 needle. We went to some thrift and antique shops. One thrift store had fill a bag of clothes for $8. My friend and I shared a bag. I got 2 tops, a jean jacket, then threw in 2 men’s plaid and gingham shirts to fill the bag. At an antique mall I found a Dresden plate quilt top that has floursack fabrics and was hand quilted and a round tablecloth with green fringe for $35 ( both). I got a pint canning jar for $.50, and two blue and pink floral curtain panels that are French linen material for $3. I will use them for the fabric.

      2. Hoping you heal quickly. My eldest sister had a biopsy only last Friday for skin cancer, waiting for results. My lovely sister- in-law has been using an experimental chemo cream for her face, so far results are looking good, so hopefully no more surgery. It is so important that our children understand the importance of sun block to cut their risk of developing problems in later life. Blessings to you and your family.

      3. Most green houses are toughened glass nowadays. In bad weather I tie down the roof vents and lock the door. If you want to leave the door open I suggest you leave a vent in the side of the greenhouse open so the wind can escape otherwise the pressure will blow the glass out. I lost a greenhouse frame in a storm it just blow away ,it had been ties to concrete foundations. The glass was on the patio and did not break!

        1. Hi Chris, we’ve lived here 22 years and have never had any storm damage, even when we had a 100 mph gust a few years ago. I’ll certainly take your suggestions on board, always glad of advice. Thats amazing, your glass not breaking. I think our weather patterns are changing, I’m a few miles away from where a tornado hit a few weeks ago but we are higher up. Definitely looking forward to spring and hopefully less rain.

  29. Hello Everyone!

    This week I made tote bags. One was made from a repurposed skirt that I never wore. The other was made from scrap fabric. I added an interior pocket with Velcro closure and a key hook inside. I also made a little wallet for some crochet hooks from scrap fabric and batting. No OOP expense. Now my daughter would like me to make her one as well.

    I did some meal prep today by cooking chicken breast, and a batch of quinoa. I’ll make some egg cup tomorrow morning as well as bake some muffins. Tonight I made a pot of taco soup and baked a loaf of French bread.

    We have some oranges and lemons beginning to ripen on our trees. 🍊🍋 I gave myself a pedicure.

    Have a beautiful week! 🌷

  30. I’m so happy! My husband was offered another position within his company! He gets to do both jobs. He has tons of hours available! I love having my husband around. But there are bills to pay. I’m so proud of him. He is a hard worker and always helps out even if he doesn’t really have to. I guess it paid off! I’m going to try and do what I can on my part. Budgeting and working all my hours as well. We borrowed some movies from the library instead of going out. We made popcorn at home. I made a meal plan for the week. I did the taxes, ugh! We owed a lot. It will be coming out of the account soon. At least, I planned for it. And we actually are paying slightly less than I planned. But it was very close. The bank account is looking slim. At least we are both working now. Now that we do a better job of budgeting, I actually feel better than when our income was greater and we didn’t budget as well. I know we can do this! God willing.
    Brandy, I’m sorry about your skin cancer. That is no fun. I hope it heals quickly for you. I have used yellow split peas as split pea soup. They are wonderful! I’ve used a recipe that had dill in it and no meat. It was tasty. I don’t remember where I got the recipe. I believe I put some sliced carrots in it as well. Or you could do a traditional split pea soup with ham. That tastes good as well. Mmmmm, I might change my menu and do some split pea soup this week! Sounds good!

    1. Congratulations on your husband’s new job!! Congratulations to you and your husband for doing the hard work and changing how you spend money. Praise God for the funds to pay taxes. We have irregular income and I am always relieved (like this year) when we have the funds to pay the taxes. One never knows exactly how it is all going to shake out in the end.

    2. Tammy,
      What wonderful news! I hope you are feeling better. I sent wishes to you a while ago but you might not have seen it.
      Great news!

  31. For most of the week, I’ve had tendinitis in one foot, which has been painful and stopped me from doing anything but the most basic tasks. The cat and I did stay fed and watered, so I’ll call that a success. In all of my preparations for an event like this, two things especially helped – having a bag of mandarin oranges, so I could just stick one in my pocket as I carried a dish or glass in one hand and a walking stick in another; and a box of spring mix lettuce and a bottle of ranch dressing – so easy to serve a salad, even if I didn’t feel like opening a protein can. Fresh produce made me feel much better morale-wise and physically.

    By Saturday the pain had subsided and I did a couple of hours of getting things in order. The tendinitis was replaced by some pain in my knee, from twisting it as I was getting going again. It is not as painful, though, and I am recovering.

    I paid bills today. For years, I was able to pay all my bills online in my bank website. Now, each bill can be paid online, but for one reason or another, it is better to use a different online payment approach for each. One area that has improved is my village utilities, which if I paid through my bank was a couple of days late. If I paid it in person, it cost me a taxi ride ($20 return). They now accept transfers through Interac, a Canadian debit card, though I have to call with a password. This month, they are starting to email utilities bills if you wish, so I don’t have to walk over to the post office to pick up my mail to know how much to pay. These two things save me time and energy and sometimes money. It is a very small village office that is doing its best to find conveniences like bigger organizations are able to provide.

    The utilities bills themselves have been low for the time of year, partly because of the mostly mild year we’ve had, and partly because of the new furnace I had installed in March. My electricity bill has especially surprised me, because the new furnace is much more efficient at running the exhaust fan and the blower fan, and the motherboard and thermostat. My bills are very close to my summer bills, which are cheap because of not needing air conditioning.

    My food spending continued to average $40 a week, instead of the $60 I budget, and I skipped buying groceries at all this week. I was planning around four weeks for the coming month, from one set of pension days to another, but I have put it off long enough that I realize I will only have to shop three times.

    Each of my pension benefits has gone up. One federal, one provincial, have an annual COLA. Two federal have a quarterly COLA, and one private has an annual COLA but a .6 multiple. They are small increases, but they add up when they are all together. (Some of these pensions come from the years I worked, some come from reaching a senior age, and some come from being a senior on a modest income. They make a modest income more comfortable.)

    So, there is money left over after expenses to contribute to my savings this month. Most years February is tighter than that.

    My credit card has had to be replaced because of some scammy charges from what was supposed to be a free app through MicroSoft or Google Chrome. My credit card company caught it late on a Sunday afternoon, and saved me the expenses. I was keeping that spending low this month anyway, so it hasn’t been a major inconvenience. I’ll have to change the account number where I need it, but I don’t have it in many places. I’ll treat it as a good chance to review those places and to change passwords.

    1. We also noted we got cost of living increases in our pensions-the most notable was 3.8% on my work pension so that was much appreciated. Yesterday I noted that 5 lb bags of clementines were $10.99 at Costco-instead I was able to get 5.25 lbs of mandarins on the Flashfood App for $5-still not cheap but they were still very fresh.

      1. In this week’s grocery order, which I just placed this morning for delivery, a 2 lb bag of mandarin oranges will cost me $4.99, so I think you got a very good deal! With the cost of living increases in my pocket now, I won’t complain. Living so far north, it is really amazing that we have these available to us so readily.

    2. Elizabeth M
      I smiled to myself when I read about your comments about putting a mandarin orange in your pocket.
      I do the same and for the same reasons with an apple (sometimes a mandarin). I am very impressed by your new furnace.
      I have high energy furnaces but I’m not sure they save on electricity. Can I ask what brand yours is?
      Sorry to hear about your tendinitis…
      On my bank’s website, you can actually lock your credit card. I almost never use my credit card. Recently I
      paid it down and since there is somewhat more capacity I have locked it. It is easy enough to unlock if you are going to use it.

      1. Hi, Ann,
        The furnace make is AirEase. It’s part of the Lennox group.
        Interesting about the credit card.
        Elizabeth M.

        1. Hi Elizabeth M.

          Thanks for the info. I’m sure it’s somewhat more efficient than my furnaces (York), although mine are high efficiency. I’m not so sure mine save electricity.
          For many decades we bought Lennox furnaces but the last time around, the model we had
          (a Whisper) had a deficient heat exchanger. Three times withing ten years we had to replace the heat exchanger.
          We had a parts warranty but not a labour warranty so total it cost about $800 each time, or $2400. They knew
          it had a deficient design. In my opinion, they should have recalled it. Each time, I knew there was a problem because
          I got headaches and nausea. And so, we switched to York. I’m sure that the model that afflicted us is no longer sold but they lost
          a good customer. I’m glad to hear they are back on track. According to most warranties, you need to have an annual servicing by qualified technician — if not your warranty may be void.

  32. Brandy your flowers as always are so beautiful and I am glad you found a good sunscreen and prayers no more cancer. My frugals this week? I went to Sam’s Club and bought a 4 pound pack of beef stew meat $4.98 a pound char seared it day before yesterday and have it set to freeze in to 4 containers for the freezer. I will use a pound each time I make a crockpot of vegetable soup which will give me many single serving meals..I also cooked up 3 pounds of turkey burger to be used later in Chili. This Saturday I was talking to a young friend who was telling me about how she is keeping track of their monthly grocery cost I had given her a free membership off of mine a couple months ago and she’s been saving about $300 a month using the membership this does include her toilet paper, paper towels, baby diapers, etc. anyways she was telling me she had been to Aldi’s and they had a unadvertised special on spiral hams 89 cents a pound so I quickly went over to Aldi’s and bought 6 hams which I have cooked 2 so far, have 4 more to go. I took the meat off of them and packed in to freezer containers and will continue that process till I have them all cooked up and in my deep freezer. I am of course saving the ham bones though I did give my friend one to use for her family, would have given her more if she had needed them. I am set on ham for the rest of the year will use it for sandwiches and ham and bean soups. When you compare the cost of buying lunchmeat and how little you get for your money, using real meat to make sandwiches with is definitely cost saving. A friend gave me about 20 books this weekend, I use the library most of the time but books for my library are always welcome. Krogers had a few loss leaders this week 8 pounds of oranges for $4.9. Tide for $3.99 a bottle. I didn’t stock up but did buy just the loss leaders.

  33. I forgot to mention a bit of advice from a friend. She had several on-line accounts hacked and $16,000 taken from her bank accounts. She has had half of it returned to her but is still waiting on the other half. She was advised to change all of her passwords to 15 characters or more. She was told that 6 character passwords can be discovered in 2 minutes, 9 character ones in a week or so but it could take 2 years for a 15 or more character password to be hacked. Apparently, the technology to do such awful things has become that advanced. As she told me this, I was counting on my fingers the number of characters in my important accounts and almost all were 15 characters or more, totally by happenstance. Thank goodness! But, I thought this was worthwhile information to share. Changing passwords from time to time has always been a good idea but I did not realize the length of them mattered.

  34. Sigh…your pictures are lulling me into a false sense that our spring over here in neighboring Utah is surely just right around the corner 😉 We actually have been enjoying a super mild January though (but not totally dry, which I’m super grateful for!), so there’s that. Can’t complain too much!

    I’ve been insanely busy the past week and a half or so because I got the chance to do tradeout with a friend and fellow business owner, who I see every month to work on my back (which I injured pretty badly in 2018). He needed some marketing and website help, so I agreed to take on some of his load, which will likely cover all of my sessions for the rest of this year. It’s a ton of work, but as that’s one of my higher monthly expenses other than our basic necessities, I’m super grateful!

    Here are some of the other frugal things I’ve been up to for the past two weeks:


  35. – I accepted pasta and juice drinks from someone who was having a clearout.

    – We ate a lot of dal. I have started making it with frozen sweet potato to TRY to persuade my children to like it. I had one son who was adamant that he did not like rice (he LOVED rice as a toddler, he is the reason we eat so much rice!) and I finally found a way he likes it! I mix in a tablespoon of coconut oil when it has just finished cooking. He says the coconut rice is DELICIOUS. Hurrah!

    – We have been building our emergency fund back up again, and it is finally where we wanted it to be. Hurrah again!

  36. It has now warmed up a bit here in southern Ontario and almost all of the snow we received the last couple of weeks is gone. We certainly haven’t seen much snow this year.

    We have had a very quiet time this past week. It is a no spend month so we have kept spending to a minimum. We are well stocked up so will continue this low spending through February as well. We have eaten all meals at home with food we have on hand. I will pick up a few groceries this week but will be using a gift card I earned for some work I did for a former employer. I have also redeemed $15 Amazon codes to buy a few groceries.

    I sold a gift card that we won’t use and will put this money towards car gas for the month. From our free groups we have received a 1kg squeeze bottle of organic honey, a coupon for a free grocery product, an unfinished tray that I stained and now adds to my living room decor, a box of gingerbread tea, a kitchen garbage can and a large bag of clothing in which I found a thick sweater and a shirt that would work for me. We did go to a thrift store we visit about twice a year and I found a pair of trousers and a sweater for my husband for $1 each.

    I hope your test results are negative Brandy. I will be thinking of you.

  37. I made an attempt to keep the heat turned down to 65F each night and then try to keep it no higher than 68F. Oddly, my husband’s responded well to thyroid medication and often sits around in shorts…I am shivering! lol. It used to be the opposite! I put on extra layers and wear wool socks most all day long. I wore out socks I’d had for four years so I went back to same manufacturer and re-ordered the same type, all wool. I hope I get as long wear out of these as I did the last lot. I am going to try and order Christmas gifts each month on the 25th. I did that for the first six months of last year and had a nice stash and then I let it slide and had to play catch up at the end of October. I promised myself I’d go steadily forward with this plan this year. So, I ordered three gifts last week. I also ordered my granddaughter a cute little purse, glasses and bow set that I spied on one of the money saving sites that lists deals at various stores including Amazon. Now I have another birthday gift to order, and I’ll be done for February as I have two other gifts on hand already and have optioned to help my husband pay for a piece of music equipment as my gift to him. February is a heavy birthday month! My own birthday is this month, too.

    This past week, I made bread twice. We seldom have a loaf of store-bought bread in the house anymore and I love that! I think homemade bread tastes superior to just about all brands of bread. It sits better on my stomach, as well. I have used the last bits of everything I could in order to avoid waste. This week that meant chopping broccoli stems to stretch out broccoli florets, using up half and half I didn’t care for the taste of in my coffee to make an Alfredo sauce, combining two different shapes of pasta with about a cup in each box in a pasta dish, using chicken broth that cooked out of pieces that I’d saved in a sauce to season the food I was cooking. I dumped spinach leaves into a soup I’d made. Thanks to Annabel I took the time to chop up the stem pieces very finely and use in the soup as well.

    I found a paint sample I really like and felt it was worthwhile to order a sticker sample of it to place on my wall before I actually purchase the paint. It’s a large sample so I’ll have a better idea of how it will look on various walls in the kitchen where lighting is different. This is a big room that I will be painting and I’ve no desire to waste money on a paint that I find I can’t live with.

    I plan to continue my pantry freezer challenge another couple of weeks at least and possibly through the end of February. I spent my entire budget this month on produce, dairy and good sales to add to the pantry but I feel I have more than enough food to continue without touching those items I’ve recently added to the freezer and pantry for food storage.

  38. We had a church clothing and household item swap. I was able to take a large bag of things and resisted just about everything, but did bring home a mustard yellow bikers jacket and an electric fondue pot. I have a fondue pot that uses tea lights, but I like the control I can get with the electric one. I think it’s brand new and still in the box.

    I’ve been knitting socks from sock yarn in my stash, eating from the pantry, reading books from the library, wearing an extra layer while at home, getting exercise through walking–same old, same old–but it never seems tiring.

    The online class that I have been teaching ends tomorrow. It’s been fun and it pays well for the short hours that I am working.

    And I’m still working through drawers and spaces one at a time to get things cleaned out and organized.

    Have a glorious week!

  39. I turned an almost empty lotion bottle upside down over an empty jar to get the last of it out.

    I turned some worn out old clothes into rags for cleaning and dusting.

    I didn’t buy maple syrup or honey to put on pancakes. Instead, I mixed up cinnamon sugar in a small container and now I use a sprinkle of that on top of pancakes or anything I want to sweeten a bit.

    I cooked dry beans and ate some every day for the past week (not unusual for many of you, I know, but a win for me.)

  40. Praying for good news on the skin biopsy, Brandy.

    On the frugal front:
    Listened to the audiobook The Ink Black Heart by Robert Galbraith in the Libby app.

    I have been using my low cost indoor walking track membership. I walk with friends which makes exercising so much more enjoyable for me. We take turns driving.

    DD1 will be moving soon. I have been saving used boxes, brown paper and bubble wrap from work.

    I used part of a grocery store gift card to buy a few groceries rather than pay out of pocket while at a different store. The extra stop was a minor inconvenience but avoided an additional out of pocket expense.

    HH watched a couple YouTube videos to learn how to replace a watch band and battery.

    I registered for a free speaker series hosted by a Twin Cities university and media outlet with the aim of advancing civic dialogue through a willingness to seek common ground and mutual understanding. Universities are a great source of free or low cost educational, cultural, athletic and social events.

    I look forward to reading everyone’s frugal feats.

  41. We also have quite a few bags of lentils on hand. You inspired me, and I made a lentil pizza crust. It was just lentils, water and spices. The texture was not like a pizza chain dough but it did get crispy and hit the mark. I’ll definitely be making it again and my family gobbled it up. I also made cauliflower rice bowls with marked down cauliflower and marked down kale salad mix plus other random veggies and toppings. I made a batch of chili and zoupa Tuscana. I baked dough bread, scones, and pumpkin muffins. I don’t care for some protein powder I bought, so I’ve been adding a date to offset the bitter taste. Given the high fruit prices, I’m thankful and trying to use up the canned peaches and pears and frozen applesauce. The peaches I buy cheaply in the summer and get apples and pears for free in the fall. I was gifted some melon and cake from a friend.
    Everyone wanted to go out on Sunday morning for breakfast, but I resisted and made homemade hash browns, eggs and bacon. I have been limiting myself to buying a Saturday morning coffee after a workout, otherwise no coffees out.
    I went through kids clothes as they’ve outgrown, I have the next size up mostly covered and will pass along smaller clothing to friends. I also purged a few items from my closet. I sold a few things on eBay and bought an item for a shower. Found some items in the gift closet for a birthday party.
    I finished a book I’ve had on hand and am reading a book from the library.

  42. I’m really late to the game this week. With warmer weather (this week we have been in the 70s) we were able to turn the heat off and enjoy open windows. Money and electricity saver plus fresh air!

    Hoping for good results on your biopsy, Brandy.

    Shopped the loss leaders at one of my usual grocery stores (Tom Thumb/Randalls) and was able to get some good deals and restock some needed items. I bought pork butt/shoulder and boneless skinless chicken thighs for .99 cents/lb. I bought the limit of 10 lbs of thighs and a 10 lb pork butt (which is in the slow cooker right now for meals this weekend). We bought 10 lbs of russet potatoes for $1.98, lean ground beef for $3.99/lb, bacon for $1.99 (12 oz packages, I bought the limit of 4), butter for $1.99/lb, and cornish game hens 2 for $5. I used grocery rewards for 2 free bottles of sparkling water, which my husband enjoys. We bought staple items (milk, canned goods, cereal, olives, cheese – I love Aldi’s cheese selections, etc.) at Aldi.

    Unfortunately there are multiple respiratory viruses going around my office, and over the last 2 weeks, most of my coworkers have been out sick at one point or another. One day we had 4 out of 6 front office staff out. Some tested positive for flu and one coworker’s children have strep. I started feeling crummy and went to the doctor, but tested negative for flu and covid. Lots of body and muscle aches, headache, nasal congestion, cough, scratchy throat. Spent a couple of days at home recovering. Thankful for paid medical time off and having cold medicine in stock at home.

    I hope everyone has a lovely week and weekend.

  43. I lost weight by eating a big salad with my main meal and doing intermittent fasting. I find in the winter that I simply don’t want the cold salad. I have begun putting Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers, avocado, onions, celery and any other raw veggies into my Vitamix blender with a little broth and seasonings to puree to a nice consistency. I warm it up and it is a nice soup course in place of the salad. This is frugal because my raw veggies were withering otherwise.

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