With the heat of summer here (it reached 109F/43 C on Thursday) my schedule has changed this week.

My alarm goes off before dawn and I am up and outside, working in the garden, pulling weeds and deadheading roses. The weeds are particularly numerous this year. I work for an hour to an hour and a half before I go in to shower and wake everyone.

I planted seeds in the garden for leeks, green onions, Swiss chard, spaghetti squash, acorn squash, red noodle beans, zinnias, basil, parsley, chives, and thyme. I looked anywhere where seeds had not come up and I planted again. It may be too hot for some of these to germinate; hopefully, however, they will. Some came up within just a few days, as they like the heat!

I harvested lemons, apricots, blackberries, artichokes, and peaches from the garden.

I sprouted lentils from the pantry that I will use this week in a vegetarian spring roll recipe.

I canned a batch of apricot-vanilla jam with apricots and lemon juice from the garden.

I mended tears in an old dresser scarf that I am using as a table runner.

I sewed the sides of a blouse to make it smaller to fit me.

My husband gave himself a haircut.

I read two WWII books that I had purchased at a garage sale last fall for $1 each: The German Girl and We Were the Lucky Ones.

I did some free French study via YouTube.

Flourish 7

I created this site to be a place of peace for those who are struggling financially and those who are looking to be good stewards of all they have. This site is intended to be a place of help and refuge for people from all nations, races, religions, political affiliations, and all levels of income. When commenting this week, please remember to keep your comments kind, uplifting, and on the topic of saving money. Unkind, political, complaining, and off-topic comments will not be published. Write to edify, uplift, and inspire us all in ways to save money!

What did you do to save money this past week?

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  1. Thank you for the spirit of peace!
    Reading your post reminded me to run out and water my green bean seeds that I’d planted a few days ago-and they’re already peeking up!
    I cut mail with blank backs and no personal information into quarters and use it for my daily to do lists, shopping lists and other notes.
    I have watered the garden with rain water from the water barrel all week.
    I received some tea from my Buy Nothing group. I gifted some unwanted fabric, Vans shoes my daughter didn’t want, and some snow pants.
    I rinse my clean kombucha bottle with white vinegar before I pour the new batch of kombucha into them. I then pour that vinegar into my “cleaning vinegar” bottle (WELL labeled). This way I get 2 uses out of the same 1/2 cup of vinegar.
    I made some more masks using tshirt fabric in place of elastic over the ears. It is so much more comfortable. I made a small fabric bag to hang by the front door that holds all of the clean masks. It is so convenient, and it makes me smile when I see it.
    My husband gave me a haircut.
    We have eaten kale, collard greens , lettuce and swiss chard from our garden.
    Blessings, safety and peace to you all.

  2. Your apricot vanilla jam sounds wonderful! Any chance of getting the recipe?
    More decluttering found a brand new/never opened Foodsaver vacuum sealer that I bought on sale before Christmas. I bought it anticipating that my current very old and very heavily used would give up the ghost and I would need a replacement. Well, 6 months later, my old Foodsaver shows no signs of dying even though it is used almost daily! ? So I decided to sell it on Facebook. Within a few minutes, a dear friend contacted me and bought it! She had been looking for one and my price was good for her and still good for me! So, one less thing gathering dust!
    A friend had given me about 50 pounds of potatoes recently- loose with some only slightly larger than a golf ball! I have used many of them fresh in mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, etc, but I wanted to store some on my pantry shelf more efficiently! So I found an easier method to prepare them for dehydrating (because I LOVE easy!!) and Saturday I dehydrated 10 pounds into hash brown shredded potatoes and the next day I dehydrated another 10 pounds as potato dices or cubes! https://pin.it/6Uh4qUZ and https://pin.it/7f8Jav6 20 pounds of potatoes reduced to just 2 half gallon mason jars that I vacuum sealed (with my old Foodsaver, of course!) I’ll start another batch in the morning!
    My little $6 blackberry plant that I bought 2-1/2 years ago at Sam’s Club in a little quart size milk carton has grown from 2 tiny sticks with 3 leaves to this giant bush which has overgrown it’s 18 foot bed! It’s covered in flowers and I anticipate a wonderful harvest of huge berries again this year! Seeing your blackberries as you harvest them makes me impatient for ours! https://pin.it/25hJQt6
    Our peas are flowering, we are eating greens- spinach, kale, lettuces, Swiss chard from our garden! We have lost 2 peach trees and we aren’t sure why. It was sudden. One day they were covered in blossoms, the next day- no leaves, blossoms- totally bare! ☹️ Still waiting for word from TyTy nursery in GA that was recommended here by a commenter and we placed an order with over a month ago. I understand waiting but am sad that they haven’t communicated at all and when we’ve tried to contact them, there has been no response. Hope that isn’t money that has been lost!

    Our worms are thriving in their condo outside as we feed them cantaloupe rinds, banana peels and apple peels! We are excited to have them as part of our garden team!

    Here is the final photo of the quilt I donated for non-profit cancer research organization- Pelatonia. https://pin.it/6R3PVb7
    Every $5 donation will equal 1 ticket to win this queen size quilt. Drawing will be live on Facebook on June 14 and quilt will be shipped free to winner anywhere in the US. I hope that this will be a way to raise money for a cause dear to our hearts! If you want to know more, go to Facebook and search for HandmadeinOldeTowne.
    Our longarm quilting machine, Lenni, continues to be a good investment. Today my daughter (and co-owner) came over and quilt this queen size quilt from start to finish. https://pin.it/5KEuiYT. And tonight after she left, I loaded this queen size quilt of mine on Lenni and got started! https://pin.it/2rVSLMW
    This week, the mask total is up to 577- up 37 since last week! Still no end in sight to my scrappy stash of fabrics! ?
    We found 6 fifty five gallon plastic barrels being given away on FB Marketplace and those will become more planters, etc. for our garden! Excited about that!
    I was able to take a quilt over to a friend whose husband in Assisted Living center contracted COVID and passed away! When I made this quilt, I didn’t know where it would be used, but as we took this to her and told her that it could be her reminder that we love and embrace her as she wraps up in it, I knew it had been made for her! https://pin.it/bX49Js4

    With our monthly checks coming in this past week we were able to “zero out” our excess to start with just that amount and make 5 additional principal payments on our mortgage plus add money to our savings account! So from Jan 1 to May 31, we have made the equivalent of 29 mortgage payments! Even if we were able to only do half as many for the rest of the mortgage balance, we would be paid off in less than 2-1/2 years! At this rate, it will be about 13 months!! We see the light at the end of the tunnel and this is our final debt! With all the economic downturns, etc, we feel overwhelmingly blessed by our situation. As one thing happens that could destabilize us, another avenue opens that we hadn’t expected that gives us ways to stay more secure in our retirement. We are truly humbled because we know that this isn’t the situation for most.
    We continue to focus on all the positive things that are still happening around us and try to find ways to reach out to others.
    Hope you all stay healthy, safe and find peace and joy in your days!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

      1. The jam is delicious! I made it and gave it as Christmas gifts 3 years ago. It is now my most requested gift. My siblings want it every year, and it is the 1 thing that I must bring to Thanksgiving dinner every year.

    1. So much good you are doing and receiving! Thanks for sharing and congratulations on all those mortgage payments!

      1. April and Nancy- Here’s the link to a tutorial on dehydrating potatoes that I used as a springboard! I liked it because I didn’t need to partially cook potatoes before shredding or cubing or slicing! You know how I like to save steps and make things faster and easier! ?
        The key point I took away was that any time after I peeled potatoes initially that they were “waiting” before their next step (shredding in Kitchenaid, cutting into cubes, etc) I made sure to have the potatoes immersed in a bowl or sink of water! This kept them from discoloring/browning even a little!!

        Hope this helps!

        1. Thank you, I got a dehydrator for combined Christmas and birthday present last year and I’ll give this recipe a go. I’ve not dehydrated potatoes yet.

          1. Elizabeth H- I do rehydrate the hash browns first in hot water for 10 minutes, then drain water out. For cubes, often they are thrown into crockpot with soup or stew, so no need! If I’m using cubes in pot pie , then I’ll rehydrate in hot water for about 10 minutes while I get the rest of the filling ready. Drain them in colander afterwards- then into pot pie! Easy-peasy!

    2. Gardenpat–I love seeing your quilts! Congratulations on the accelerated mortgage payments. That is our goal as well, but we are considering downsizing. Our house it really too big for us and the yard is a lot to maintain. We could almost net enough to pay cash for a house (combined with some of our liquid savings). But, there are very few houses to be had right now!!!!

      1. Lisa- Several friends suggested that we downsize, after all, we are down to just Hubs, me and our youngest adult son here in a house that had 8 bedrooms (21 rooms in all)! But when we bought it, it was really affordable because it was in an “emerging” neighborhood! Definitely not the desirable suburbs but the price was right and we loved the diversity of the neighborhood! So now, with a big rambling old house, the idea of downsizing has more “cons” than “pros” .
        Cons- 1. Higher taxes 2. Less space 3. Moving! 4. Starting over
        Pros- 1. Lower taxes 2. Tons of space and projects to do 3.We put chair lift on one of the staircases between first and second floor and have remodeled 3 of the bathrooms with ADA adaptations 4. Housing trends have changed in the past 2 years and our $59K house has now appreciated to between $350K- $400K. It has become a tangible asset for the future that we are happy to hold in reserve.
        It gives us enough space in the yard to do things-but not too much to maintain as we get older. We are also close to hospitals, doctors and all those City amenities that ease our lives as we age.
        So, for us, staying here makes sense! For others, it might not. So it has become our “urban farm”! ?

    3. I was given 30 pounds of potatoes last week. Please share your method of dehydrating. 🙂

      1. Ava- Picture this: we live in the heart of a big city, our lot is about .18 acres and the house takes up a good bit of that footprint! Hubs looks out of one of our 2nd floor bedroom windows. He first sees his koi pond, then a bit beyond his worm condo and farther out still in the same line of sight, in the corner of the side yard, he sees the chicken coop!
        I ask him why he is smiling and he tells me that he is surveying our “flocks”!! Lol?

    4. Garden Pat, Thank you for your contribution to Pelotonia. My brother has rode in honor of our cousin for the last 10 years. It is a wonderful organization!

      1. TSH- My good friend who is riding the 100 miles lost her mom to cancer 2 years ago . Just 18 months ago, our 45 year old son serving at Ft Carson Army Base was diagnosed with Stage 3 Colon Cancer! Fortunately, for him, after a year of radiation, chemo- both oral and iv and surgery and then an ileostomy and subsequent reversal surgery, he is on the mend and his prognosis is hopeful!
        But cancer touches so many lives at all ages that we are grateful to contribute to raising money for further research! Hope that many others will contribute with someone lucky getting this quilt shipped to them! https://pin.it/6uz3dbT

    5. Your posts are so uplifting, gardenpat. I love hearing about all you do on your city lot. I’m very interested in knowing how things progress with the worms, and if you think it’s a worthwhile endeavor. When I bring them up to my husband, he always says it involves a lot of work. He was involved in helping set up a commercial worm operation, so that’s where he’s coming from, but I’m hoping a smaller scale worm farm would be reasonable, without a great expenditure of time. I hope you’ll give updates, as time goes on.

    6. GrandPat
      Did you call them? I have dealt with them before and had no problem but there was a slow delivery because they delivered when it was time to plant the tree not when you order it. Check their website and call them

      1. JulsOwings- I did call them, the beginning of May because I had ordered the first week of April. When I finally got through by phone, they said it would get there when it got there and there was no way to know until it was actually shipped. I emailed, called again a week later with no response! ? Then I got an email 3 days ago, saying it was shipped (large tree and 2 berry bushes) and would be delivered by end of day yesterday (Friday) . No updates from UPS beyond that until this morning (Saturday) when it says it will be delivered by end of day Monday! I’m concerned about how alive they will be after being on the hot truck now here in Cbus for 4 days straight!!
        We’ll see! I got my spots all ready and prepared for them in the yard! Guess I’m just getting cranky and impatient. They will probably be wonderful once they arrive!

  3. Brandy, I noticed in the comments last week that you don’t buy groceries at Wal-Mart, either! I find Winco is cheaper and, if we had an Aldi here, I imagine they would be, too! I particularly don’t like that WM prices its produce “each” instead of by the pound, which is the standard everywhere I have lived. Very confusing! (and I think that is why they do it that way…makes it hard to compare prices). Speaking of produce, I don’t know if all Wincos have the same prices at the same time, but strawberries are .99 lb. here this week.

    My daughter was sick most of last week and I took care of her. I didn’t do much else, and I was glad just to get us through the week and her problem resolved. But there’s this–
    * We covered the strawberry bed with red nylon net (like tulle, but with bigger holes) I bought last winter when it was 70% off. No strawberries yet, but give them a week! I planted more beets and a few lettuce seeds, both with seed leftover from last year.
    * I am continuing to water my pots of flowers with the epsom salts water I use to soak my foot. So far, the plants love it.
    * I started more compost with big garbage bags of paper shreds, chicken poop and kitchen waste. We used all of our compost to top up the raised beds and I needed to get started again but didn’t have any leaves at this time of year. I was given another bag of shredded paper today by another friend. I have lots of green stuff, shreds count as brown and chicken poop is pure gold!
    * I mended my daughter’s terrycloth bath wrap. The casing stitching had come out in two places, so it was an easy fix.
    * I got 4 lbs. of butter for 1.98 lb., a coupon deal on a dozen eggs for .29 and, of course, those .99 strawberries. They are probably the last ones I will buy for awhile since I have a raised bed of berries that are all in bloom.

    1. It makes it so that you cannot price match at Walmart. They told me I couldn’t price match oranges by the pound once, years ago, even though they say they offer price matching, because they don’t sell them by the pound.

      Strawberries were $1.49 at our Winco yesterday, so I bought two for my mom (I was shopping for her) and none for me.

      1. I’m not certain about all Walmart stores, but I do know that my Walmart does not price match other stores and has not for a few years. Not all fruits/vegetables are priced “each”, but several are, such as oranges, limes, lemons, and pineapple. I shop there because I work there, I get a discount on many products, and I can shop after my shift so that I don’t have to make a special trip. During a typical shift I get to walk through most of the departments in the store so that I am aware of what is on clearance or special. I like to shop at Winco for bulk products, but it is several miles away from where I live and that eats up my grocery savings in increased gas expenditure. I plan a Winco trip around my other errands so that I can buy the products I need without making a special trip. I say do what works best for you and your family! Make those grocery dollars stretch!!

        1. It really depends on where you live and what stores are in your area. Winco and Walmart are just on opposite sides of the freeway here.

          But, unfortunately, most of the Winco bulk items are no longer available to purchase now.

          I have several stores within less than 2 miles from me, so there is a decent amount of competition and sales.

          1. Our WinCo has just refilled their bulk bins including lower ones ( no prepackaged), so hopefully yours are coming back soon.

            1. Interesting! I was just there but maybe soon! Right now the only way to buy lentils is in a 50-pound bag. Even my family can’t use them that fast.

      2. Walmart stopped price matching some time ago (at least here, but I thought it was everywhere). At my Walmart, the same things are priced each versus by the pound as the local grocery stores do. I normally buy whatever produce is on sale at Fry’s (Kroger), but I honestly usually shop each week at both Fry’s and Walmart, so I can get the best prices. Both are close to me, and I’m able to review the ads ahead of time to see what I should buy where. This is just what works for me. 🙂

        1. I really think it depends on where you live and what you buy. I have so many options within a mile and a half, including Walmart, but I find their produce prices higher every single time than the loss leader prices elsewhere. When there were fewer stores in my area, I shopped there more, but as more stores went in, I stopped shopping for produce there. I still buy a few things there, and I usually check out the produce prices and other prices if I have time, but they are still higher than what I’m paying elsewhere, so for me, it’s not the least-expensive option.

  4. I’m glad your new batch of seeds are starting to come up.. I’ve had to re-plant a few things as well, and am also tucking plants into every nook and cranny I can find. We are also eating things up this year. There have been times in the past where things like pac choi have not been finished before they went to seed, but not this year. There are about 5 plants left, and they will be gone soon.
    My sister is having a terrible battle in her garden–seeds not sprouting, birds stealing her seedlings, a rabbit family that has moved in to her garden area for the first time, and even 2 deer wandered through the other day, eating as they went. And, her property borders I-5, the freeway, and is all farmed, not forested. Yikes! So, I went up there last Monday and helped her plant beans, hoe and do a little weeding. It was the first time I had seen her in about 10 weeks, and we decided a socially distanced garden date would give us a safe chance to visit. It was very rewarding, useful, and absolutely free, other than the gas to get there.
    I’ve worked in my garden quite a bit, as usual. Because it rains a lot around here, the weeds grow just like..well, weeds! It’s rewarding to see the veggies growing, too, and I’ve been pulling weeds daily. We pruned off more branches in the front yard and I weeded out there a bit, as well.
    We’ve started stacking up our hours of work in anticipation of my husband’s surgery on the 29th. We will front-load the month a little bit so we can get the normal amount of hours worked, and therefore, the normal amount in our paycheck.
    I walked to a nearby park today with my daughter and nephew, as we were watching him. We took an old frisbee and they had fun throwing it until it cracked to pieces on the sidewalk. That’s how old it was. It will be easy to get another one now that thrift stores are open.
    I took pictures, listed and sold quite a bit of my daughter’s curriculum from this past year. I found a few more things to sell, and will work on that project soon. This money will go into the bank for further homeschool expenses as they arise. After eBay fees and postage, I believe I will have around $350 to put into the bank.
    We’ve been eating snow peas, lettuce, green onions and herbs from the garden. I tried a chicken recipe from a magazine that had me chop 1-1/2 cups of assorted herbs, mix with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic and marinate chicken thighs in it, then cook. I think it would be better if it soaked longer, but it was still good, just not as strong as I would have liked it.
    I continue to pull items from the freezers for meals, especially the one over the fridge in the kitchen. It’s getting more manageable and things don’t fall out every time I open the door. We crack 2-3 trays of ice several times a day. Ice is a luxury I see no reason to go without, since it’s within my power to have it. It helps me drink more water, as well. I don’t have an ice maker at this house, but a little twist of the wrist gets the job done. I keep the ice in a gallon-sized ziplock bag in the door of the freezer for easy access to anyone who wants it.
    I keep cleaning up a little area here, empty and sort a bit there….It feels great to get some things dealt with.
    I put pictures of my week on my blog: http://beckyathome.com

    1. Becky, you mentioned rabbit damage in the garden:
      A friend of mine posted on facebook that he was having trouble with things being eaten in his garden, and didn’t know if it was birds, cutworms, rabbits, etc. Another friend, who is a biologist with an amazing garden of her own, said that if the stems were cut at a 45 degree angle, it was rabbits. I had never thought about mouth-tooth size in destruction before.

  5. I’ve been reading your blog for some time now and just wanted to express my gratitude for your kind and uplifting words, your beautiful photography, and your joyfully productive spirit. I find myself looking through your weekly menus for inspiration to nourish my family simply and inexpensively. In these chaotic times, your blog is a steady, gentle reminder of life’s wonderful blessings. Thank you for sharing it!

  6. Hello Everyone. Thank you Brandy for posting earlier this evening. The words of encouragement are much needed today! I have not posted in a few weeks, but have been reading & keeping up on what other folks are up to. We are still getting 5 days of breakfast and lunches from my son’s school. This week included a package of blueberries. We are also saving shower & dishwater to flush toilets & water our garden. We harvested our first zucchini and our tomato plants are full. My parents are still not going to grocery stores. I had to go to Costco for them and they said they would pay for our items as well. I have to do a regular grocery shoping for them this week. I would normally drive the hour to drop off at their house, but we will wait and see. There is a lot of unrest and safety concerns in the area that we live. I found another $45 worth of gift cards that I had stashed away. I have also been thinking about any purchases we made this week. A few things I thought about getting but ultimately decided they were wants and not needs….this saving over $100!

  7. Thank you Brandy for providing a consistent source of beauty and positive inspiration. I have been preparing to make a large purchase and had settled on the model I wanted, but it still seemed like too much to pay. I did just a little more research and found a very similar model for about 25% less. Needless to say I am happy I dug deeper and didn’t jump on the first model.

  8. Hope everyone is safe and healthy this week. We’ve had more covid19 cases in the area. As a result we’ve ended up staying home even more. Since school is online this term it means we are eating more meals and snacks and we spend more at the supermarket. We still manage to be frugal.
    *I baked bread and banana bread
    *I hung up laundry to dry as much as I can
    *I made all our meals
    *We use cloth masks instead of disposable when we can
    *we ride our bikes for exercise
    *In the grocery delivery a milk carton and tofu package broke. The milk and tofu were salvageable and we got a replacement.
    *I got a dress and a pair of pants from clothing swap. I added some clothes and then purged my closet. I have too much and have gained weight. No reason to hold on to things.
    *i gave several bags of clothing to the neighbor.
    *i cut my sons hair.
    *one day we ran out of milk. Instead of buying overpriced milk from 7-eleven next door, we used powdered milk for breakfast.
    *I purged books from my sons bookshelf and sold them on fb
    *my goal is to use up what we have on hand instead of buying. I’m trying to eat the pantry, use out stocks of toiletries, and wear the clothes we have. I’m also using up my yarn stash for gifts.
    *I gave a stocking cap I made for a child’s birthday present Instead of purchasing something. The boy was happy to get a new hat.
    *i also made a sweater to give as a birthday present.

  9. I always love and appreciate your blog and all I’ve learned from you and your commenters. I loved those 2 books you mentioned. Your fruit makes my mouth water. I grew up in an orchard. Fruit right off the tree and berries from your own vines can’t be beat! Have a wonderful week!

  10. Hi Brandy
    How refreshing your fruit photos look. In England we have been having hot weather too( by our standards!) and like you we are out in the garden early, retreating indoors during the middle of the day and out again in the evening which is the best part of the day. I dry my washing outside on the line everyday but have to remember to bring it in as soon as it’s dry so that the clothes don’t fade. I hang things inside out too. Rain is due tomorrow for some of the country but it may not reach this far south. The garden desperately needs it. Have a good week!

  11. Hello Brandy and I am glad you had a good week and harvested and preserved so much from the gardens . Working in the cool of the morning in the garden certainly helps in the heat of summer and glad you are getting a lot of weeding and planting done 🙂 .

    Our savings added up to $1906.18 last week :). I will admit I went a little berserk and replaced all the clothing that had worn out in my wardrobe and got some spares too as the prices were so incredibly low with most at $3 & $5 each and new. I thought it prudent considering current situations and most of our clothing being made overseas and imported into Australia. Since we were saving for our home deposit for a number of years, I wore what I had and the clothing was mostly threadbare and the elastic gone in them too :o. Most of these items were 10 years old so they had fair wear I think.

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

    Finances –
    – Paid an extra part payment off our mortgage.
    – Banked more money into our 3 month living expenses emergency kitty bringing us to 66.92% of the way there.

    Groceries –
    – Put in a click n collect grocery order and using our RACQ Wish gift card, coupled with specials and a $10 off promotional code saved $21.10 on usual prices.
    – Also put in a second click n collect grocery order as I got a $25 off promotional code for a $120 purchase, coupled that with weekly half price specials and used my RACQ e-gift card to save another $58.85 on usual prices.

    Purchases –
    – Saved $16 by picking up 3 food samples free as I am a supermarket taste tester.
    – Ordered a fuel e-gift card saving 5% and coupled that with using our Rewards card to get another 4 c per litre off our fuel purchase saving $7.91 on usual prices.
    – Bought bulk 20lt chain bar oil on eBay cheaply saving $45.80 over buying it in smaller containers here in the local stores.
    – Purchased $190.90 worth of clothing from Rockmans online being long and knee length skirts, shorts, pants and 2 swimming costumes ranging mostly at $5ea and some at $10 ea saving $1278.03 on usual prices.
    – When we did our grocery shopping I saw a rack of clothing for $3 ea at Millers and purchased 4 items of clothing being 2 lovely paisley print kaftan tops, a tracksuit top and a long sleeved t-shirt.

    Firewood –
    – We cut another 3 cubic metres of free firewood and stacked it near the shed to dry before splitting it saving us another $450 over buying it in.

    We now have 9 cubic metres of firewood drying all cut for free that will be dry for next winter and a few winters beyond.

    Have a fantastic week ahead everyone :).


  12. I am so happy to have a ‘garden’ (a tiny, only 3 ft x 5 ft) spot to grow something in) again! I Love the idea of harvesting (no matter how small amount of) green beans, dill and parsley. I am sure all you gardeners over there can share my excitement! I have sowed some flowers too, and I have a sweet pea tee pee coming up in a large pot. Last night I noticed that blueberries and cloudberries are flowering along a nearby path. These are dangerous times as there can be night frost all the way to Summer solstice, but hopefully we’ll get something to forage later in the summer.

  13. I look so forward to reading your posts and the comments every week. I haven’t posted for awhile. My savings and frugalness isn’t the same as everyone else’s but I do love reading for new hints. My husband and I are in our mid to late 60s, and our children are grown and the grandchildren are late teens. They grow up so fast.
    We haven’t been effected by the pandemic like others except for the higher grocery prices. My husband is still working, we both get Social Security and he is retired military. I hurt for the small businesses and younger people who have lost their jobs. My daughter and her husband own their own business and have no work at this time. My son works where my husband does and they ride to work together. We live on a farm in rural West Virginia and it takes us an hour to get to a town with a Krogers or Wal-Mart.
    The frugal things I do are we only go to town once a week or so, to save fuel. Since we live so far from town we usually keep stocked up on things, so we had toilet paper when this started. I have been stocking up more since some things are back on the shelves. We just finally found hand sanitizer last week. There is a distillery about 45 miles from here that is making it, so I’m going to order some uo help them out and give to family and friends. We wear our masks when we go out, and use hand sanitizer, since we are older and want to keep us and others safe.
    I make a big batch of potato or macaroni salad each week and my husband takes it in his cooler and we have plenty to eat through the week. When I make beans or chili I freeze extra for later and some in small bowls for him to take to work since they have a microwave there. I unplug things around the house and turn off lights a lot. When it is warm I turn off the breaker for the electrc furnace. We also have a fireplace insert and cut our own wood for winter. We mainly shop at Krogers for the fuel points. I have the Kroger credit card and you save an extra 5 cents per gallon when you use it. So when you redeem 200 points for 20 cents off, it gives you 25 cents off per gallon. They are doing double fuel points here on Thursday thru Sunday till the end of July I think. That sure helps a lot. We pay the bill off each month. I use their digital coupons and other coupons from the paper. I know there are more things I do, but I can’t think of them right now. Everyone be safe and self distance.

  14. Every fortnight I vow that I will spend less on groceries and every two weeks my pension is eaten by basic expenses. I have planted some seeds to try and grow some simple things for us to eat. We live in a hot and humid climate and I tend to have a brown thumb. It is the only way I can think of reducing our food costs.

    Stay safe everyone.

    1. Suzan,

      Good luck with your garden!

      My local gardening Facebook page has had over 1200 people join since March. Most all of them are new to gardening, or at least, new to gardening here, which is so extremely different from gardening anywhere else that many have said that they have to forget all they know about gardening elsewhere and start anew.

      “If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again” is definitely the model for gardening! A green thumb only comes with trying again and again! I’ve had lots of seeds not come up this year, but I just keep trying. Know that even experienced gardeners have things die. The only way to succeed is to keep moving forward and keep trying!

      Gardening really does help reduce food costs. I wish you the best of luck!

    2. Suzan, I feel for you with prices going up. I have also learned to garden by trial and error, and even though I’ve gardened for years now ( I started when I homeschooled and we needed extra food and I needed an activity that was just for me), I still have things die/not come up/not do well. One thing that has helped my garden is for me to get out there everyday and have a little check on things. I used to think that I could ‘fix it and forget it’ since I had automatic sprinklers. But small amounts of damage from bugs or birds or disease can sometimes be caught early and solved, rather than finding damage late and losing the plant. Gardeners love to share their knowledge, and produce, so if you find a local gardening group, that’s a good way to learn.

  15. Hello everyone, wauw those temperatures you have there 43 C…..you can fry an egg on youre motor hood( from youre car I mean) hahaha. We can not imagine it being that hot here in the Netherlands.
    I was on TV last week at a lokal channel. I was hauling water out of the canal near to our house, to water my little vegetable garden in our front yard ( I have a big garden somewhere else in the village) . They intervieuwed me about the effect of the covid-19 crisis in our live and in our little village. It was a nice little film.
    I decided to sell al my extra harvest from my garden (wich is not that much yet) for a very small price once a week from our veranda. It is selfservice, they put the money in a tin. I plan to use some for new seeds and al the rest is voor charity ( cancer research).
    Take care everyone,
    Greetings from Tanja

    1. Hi Tanja – what part of the Netherlands do you live in? I have never visited your country but it is definitely on my list. I enjoyed all the virtual tours of the Kokenhoff(?) gardens while in lockdown – the plantings are incredible. And then I found a series of Youtube videos about a village that is only accessible by water and it appears to be a very popular tourist destination in the summer and everyone’s gardens were just beautiful.
      That is a great idea to sell some of the produce – even if it just pays for next year’s seeds etc. then you have done well.

      1. hai Margie, I live in a small village called Burgwerd. It is in the north of the country, in Fryslan ( friesland). we are known for our language (Frysk) and a lot of traditional sports, such as Skutsjesilen, Fierljeppen and Keatsen and people say that we are stubborn and chauvinistic, and hard working!!!. After WW II a lot of Friesian people emigrated to America.
        This this “water” village you write about is Giethoorn, very very touristic, specially by chinees people, the signs are also written in chinees…….I would never ever go there in the tourist season.
        I think I live in a wunderfull country, with good social security and healthcare, good roads and good (food)shops. We have a lot rights as employes etcetra.
        But ofcourse everybody loves there own country, dont we?

        1. Yes, I do think people always retain feelings for their country of birth – but sometimes we have a bit of rose-coloured glasses. I was born in Scotland but we emigrated to Canada when I was very young. My mother never really settled and while grandparents came to visit we had never gone back. Finally, when I was about 16 the whole family (parents & 5 kids) went back on vacation and I later learned that it was with the understanding that if my mother was really set on it that we would go back. But she had gotten used to life in Canada – with more amenities than were yet available in Edinburgh. A couple of nights after we arrived she told my dad that she wanted to go home – meaning Canada for the first time.
          Thank you for all the information about where you live.
          Canada has a special relationship with the Netherlands and each Spring there is a big tulip festival in Ottawa – courtesy of the gifts of bulbs first given as a thank you for Canada’s aid during WWII.
          I would love to visit Giethoorn one day – but it must be very hard living in such a lovely spot during tourist season.

  16. Apricots are my favorite fruit and l’m drooling over those gorgeous pictures, Brandy!

    We have had super weird weather here this past week. We’re 15 minutes inland from the coast (halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco). We had in one week, 3 days of blazing sun and 99-degree temperatures, 1 day of rain and 58-degree temperatures, 1 drizzly day at 72 degrees and humid, and 2 days of part-sun and 80 degrees. And none of the days were consecutive! This is not the norm here. My poor new garden was very confused and my new seedlings were struggling a bit but l keep a close eye on them and they seem to be rebounding okay. I am giddy to see that l have four zucchini, two cucumbers and a bunch of tomatoes growing. After wanting a garden so badly for 8 years, l am very happy. I’m also propagating some succulent cuttings and l hope they do well.

    It was exciting to have the first opportunity to put aside some money from my husband’s paycheck into savings instead of toward debt payments. I look forward to doing this many more times!

    We have been continuing to eat down the freezer and the empty space is growing. I’m very happy about that. I am just picking up eggs, milk and extra fruits or vegetables to supplement our weekly CSA box from the store. I am thankful l keep a well-stocked pantry since grocery prices have gone way up. It’s good to be able to limit purchases. We are eating many vegetable-forward meals with either no meat or a small portion for each of the 3 of us.

    I ran full dishwasher loads and hung laundry out on the line to save electricity.

    I think that’s about it for this week! I hope everyone is safe and well. This site is such a comfort and source of joy to me. Thank you, Brandy!

  17. Dear Brandy, from our family to yours, from my country (Australia), to your country, you are all in our thoughts. May love, peace and common sense prevail. Xx

  18. I have been holding small sales via facebook for the past year. I put all the money towards extra food. It is really getting tough to find decent food and you just can not do it on a tight budget so the sales are helping. I put things together to make lot sales that seems to be going over better. My neighbor gave me some weed killer for the lawn, I was happy to make use of it. My husband managed to save my hanging plant that I got for Mother’s day.We are stretching watering the lawn and mowing it as well. Last night we watched the fire flies of the smokies very enjoyable ! It was held virtual this year via utube.I did a large rebate recall we had on two items last week , I should get a check for $80.00. I returned a toy I bought for my grandson at Christmas he just now got around to opening it as it takes an adult to use it as well and it was defective so I returned it. We are going to have a picnic at the lake this weekend instead of a broken item he gets time with his grandparents. I continue to work on declutter and fixing and cleaning. Also any little things we can do to make life a bit better while we are at home.

  19. Thank you Brandy. I look forward to your site every week and consistently read your archives. Your calming voice is a refuge for me.

  20. Thank you Brandy for being a ray of light! I look forward to this post and comments each week even if I don’t post vey often.

    We are grateful for our jobs during this time of trial. I go to work (I am a nurse) and come home with very few stops. My husband is working from home.

    We are busy at home, we planted a large garden as per usual but it seems so has a lot of people so that is a good thing. Everything came up except my lettuce and I just lost a tomato plant on a windy day. Went to my local greenhouse. I was able to get lettuce seed but no tomatoes. Very little left. I did finally find one at the 3rd place I stopped. Most plants and seed are gone!

    Harvested rhubarb, froze 6 packages, made rhubarb simple syrup to flavor my kombucha, and pulled the last strawberries from the freezer and made rhubarb strawberry crisp.

    Meals were pork steak on the grill, hash browns, and home canned green beans. Only one jar of green beans left. I planted 2 extra rows in the garden. Tamales with home canned enchilada sauce, egg McMuffins ( homemade muffins and frozen ham slices from Easter ham), brats, home canned sauerkraut, and home canned beets, squash apple soup from the freezer, and leftovers. I also made a new recipe rice pudding in the crockpot. It was ok not sure I’ll make it again but we are eating it.

    Stores are finally starting to open this week. I had 2 birthdays of good friends. I usually go and get a gift card for each from the local scrapbook store. Couldn’t do that so I sewed. I made one friend 2 bowl cozies and a large hot pad for a casserole dish. The other I made a quilted carrying case for her cricut. I found patterns on line free for the cozies and hot pad. The cricut case was my own work of art. It turned out great. All supplies were from my stash of fabric and supplies, so no out of pocket. I sent one gift in the mail and dropped the other on a door step.

    We paid extra on our mortgage this month. Our hopes are to have it paid off this year. If we get that done our only debt is our cars and my husbands truck is paid this fall. Then we will get the car paid off quickly as the extra money from both will go towards the car. Good time to have no or little debt I am thinking.

    Finally has heated up here this week. 90 degrees this week. Although we need rain, having to water flowers and the garden.

    Everyone have a great week! I look forward to reading all comments and to see what has been accomplished this week.

  21. Brandy, thanks for keeping this blog about money-saving encouragement. It is clearly for all and that speaks for itself. ? Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were grilled chicken with grilled corn on the cob and lima beans, leftovers, ground turkey tacos with chips and homemade salsa, pan-seared salmon with roasted red potatoes and broccoli, frozen pizza, kielbasa with pasta salad, grilled chicken with tossed salad and baked potatoes.
    *Planted more lettuce and spinach seeds. Accepted and planted irises that a friend was giving away.
    *Sent a birthday card and a sympathy card from my stash.
    *Changed the direction on all of our ceiling fans since its starting to warm up.
    *Started a compost can outside.
    *Accepted a cloth mask from a friend.
    *Hosted a ladies bible study on Zoom.
    *Needed to mail a set of keys for my son. I didn’t have a padded mailer, so I wrapped them in paper towels and put them in a regular envelope and taped it shut. Not fancy, but it worked!
    *Received a free sub at work, which gave me lunch for 2 days.
    *Cut my own hair.
    *Walked with a friend twice and my son once for fellowship and exercise.
    *Filled up our pool, which gives lots of free entertainment in the summer.
    *Made a batch of peanut butter cookies from a mix my mom gave me that was out of date. They tasted just fine!
    *Paid bills online saving checks, stamps and envelopes.
    *Peeled/cut up some peppers, carrots, strawberries and tangerines that were looking a little worse for wear.
    *Found whole chickens marked down to $.79/lb and bought 2 (limit). Bought 2 lbs ground turkey for $2.05/lb (limit). Also bought several pounds of peaches for $.69/lb.
    *My dad bushhogged at our business for 2 days. We paid him, but it was less than someone else would have charged us and it helps him out.
    *Not frugal, but we rescheduled our vacation to next year. We had to pay a $175 fee, but at least we don’t lose it. It was a family vacation. My daughter works at an assisted living facility and they had their first positive covid19 case, so all time off has been frozen. It didn’t make sense to go without her and her husband.

  22. I thought our weather was finally warming up here on the coast of Maine, but the last two nights have been close to a frost here. We just missed it (thank goodness) but a local farm 10 miles up the road had a frost. Things are finally appearing in my garden, I have spinach almost ready to pick and we have had several meals with asparagus from our asparagus bed. I noticed asparagus beetles on my plants the other day and shook many of them into a container with water and soap, then I put Diatomaceous earth on and around the plants that were coming up, I did this for three days and yesterday I didn’t find any beetles on my plants! I will continue to check on them, hopefully I have stemmed the flow.

    I have been working on our raspberries which have grown from the one plant we planted about four years ago to a thriving patch. I transplanted several of them into a new row and I am making a stone walkway between the rows with stones that came from our field when we completed the new septic last year. I had been waiting for my husband to help me move a few large stones which we were able to do this weekend. Now that I have the large stones in place I have been piecing together the walkway. I am so excited about it! As the raspberries continue to multiply, my plan is to continue making more rows and have a lovely patch that will have enough raspberries we can freeze for the year.

    We planted winter squash seeds yesterday in a field that doesn’t have much soil on top of the clay so I will have to water it frequently, we have a lot of hay bales, so my plan is once the plants start to come up I will mulch the area heavily with rotting hay that should help keep them moist and give the roots somewhere else to grow. When we redid our septic system last year we had to completely change our garden area and we haven’t had the funds to buy the significant amount of soil we need for the garden area yet. We are slowly building it up right now using wood chips and leaves and any other natural item that will rot.

    I went grocery shopping last week for a few items that we were out of that will last us at least a month, hopefully I won’t have to go again until the end of June.

  23. I love that you get up so early to get so much done! I go through times during the year that I do that as well….i find the morning quiet invigorating and peaceful.
    We spent a lot of time in the garden this week. I found an old unopened packet of chives in my garden bench, planted them, and to my surprised the popped up in just a couple days! We harvested lettuce, spinach, and radishes from the garden. I am pleased with how its coming along. My tomatoes are doing well so far this year. On a funny note- I spread fish fertilizer in the garden yesterday evening. My husbamd and I were sitting outside enjoying the cooler night air and I noticed 2-3 of the neighborhood cats wondering around the garden. I think they were wondering where the fish buffet was! We got a laugh out of that.
    My mother in law had a bear tear down her fence to get to her bird feeders. She was quoted at 400 for the repair. My husbamd was able to fix it for her for free with some elbow grease and about an hour.
    Made all meals from scratch, inclusing homemade oatmeal cookies that i filled with buttercream icing to make oatmeal cream pies. They were a yummy treat!
    Made my oqn soap this week….not a cheap hobby but I do enjoy the creative outlet and think it may be a good gift giving option for Christmas as well.
    We received pandemic ebt, basically food stamps given to families of children who attend schools that have students who widely receive free or reduced lunch. We do not receive free lunch, but because the number was so high at my sons school we also received it. To my surprise there was 375 dollars on it! Thats almost our whole monthly food budget! It was a blessing. I stocked our freezer with meat and stocked up on oatmeal and popcorn and frozen veggies. I purchased $50 in peanut butter and donated it to the local food pantey as well. This extra money will allow us to be able to pay down some other debt this month.
    My husbamd carefully invested some of our stimulus check in the stock market and has been playing that game closely in his spare time. He has made us an additional 300 dollars so far. Of course it is a gamble and risk, but he is very careful and I trust his decisions. He’s very prudent with this investments.
    We spent some time cooling off in my mother in laws pool (bear free, thankfully). She is leaving town to visit my sister in law who just had her baby next week. We will be house sitting for her and checking on her pool and hot tub regularly to make sure they are okay ? its our version of vacation and we are looking forward to it!
    Stay safe everyone. Thank you for this hopeful community, Brandy. It a part of my weekly routine and is such a positive thing in my life.

  24. My mouth watered when I saw those beautiful apricots! When I lived in SoCal, my friend had an apricot tree that was a mass producer! We used to fill bags. I’d can, puree, make jam, etc. And eat them until I had a tummy ache. Once you’ve had a homegrown apricot, I don’t think a store bought one will ever taste good.

    Did you enjoy the books? I enjoy books from the *olden* days of my grandparents. I’ll add them to my library list.

    We had a warm week here in Kansas, as well. The mornings have been cool and the afternoons quite warm. I need to take a tip from you and get myself out there first thing in the morning. The weeds are growing like mad.

  25. Brandy, thank you so much for hosting this website. I read every week but seldom comment. I really enjoy reading posts from all over the world and learning from everyone! Especially when travel right now is not possible for us – we had to reschedule a trip until September and keeping our fingers crossed. Like many I’m growing a garden this year and when we had eaten butternut squash acorn squash and cantaloupe I literally threw the seeds out on the garden thinking, oh well if they grow they grow if not birds will eat them. They ALL sprouted! And this is in red clay dirt! So When secondary leaves appear I’m thinning and sharing the plants. I also found canning lids clearanced for 75 cents a box so I hope to be busy! So far we have harvested sour cherries (made a pie) and fresh herbs I grow in pots on my deck. We also have wild black raspberries and blackberries that I usually use for jelly. I’m grateful for the abundance! (For those wondering, we live in Virginia in the US)

    1. D in Moneta, That’s a great price on canning lids! Good going! I’ve heard that lids, rings and jars may be hard to find closer to canning season. I just stocked up but paid a lot more than you.

  26. Brandy, I’m a long time reader of this blessed blog, but was hesitant to join because I wasn’t sure I could add much wisdom. However, this blog has added so much insight, education in frugality, and joy in the community of encouragement towards being a good steward of God’s blessings that I wanted to tell you that it seems to me that your goals for this blog have been met. Thank you for all the work and love you have put into this community. As usual, I look forward to learning from all who share their successes (and failures).

  27. I’ve been making sure we have absolutely no food waste. This means some strange leftover meals but we’re committed to this!

    I am wearing my clothes a bit longer before washing. I am not out and about running errands,sweating, etc. so I can wear things a little longer and save the wear and tear.

    I am working on being very kind and forgiving if one or both of us get a little snappy or moody here and there, as the quarantine is wearing on us some.Mostly we’re good but we both miss our friends and social activities that fed the mind, body, and spirit.

    I am working through an online art course I bought a year ago, doing a lot of my favorite lessons over again.

    Am spending more time in prayer,meditation and contemplation and trying to adjust my needs, my wants, my expectations and my plans for the future.,Trying to discover new things about myself and ways I can grow from the times we are in.

  28. I also read We Were The Lucky Ones. Right now, I’m enjoying Hallelujah Anyway, a writing about mercy, our broken and beautiful world and ourselves. My husband got our a/c running with what was on hand. I found some good deals on groceries, including a seedless watermelon for $1.89 at Aldi’s, and .89 avocados at Food Lion. In the garden center at Lowe’s, I found 5 marigolds on clearance for $1. It had been an 8 pack, and 5 remained. Carrots were weeded, and chard, basil and parsley were transplanted to pots to grow further before setting out. We tasted our very first service berries, which were lovely, and inspired me to buy another bush. I harvested a bag of mint for a niece, and mended three sweaters, a carry bag for a camp chair, and three pairs of work pants. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2020/06/words-for-these-times-frugal.html

  29. We Were the Lucky Ones was so good! I don’t give five stars to many books (esp many fiction ones), but that one deserved it, especially because it is mind-blowing to think that it’s based on the author’s actual family’s history.

    We tried to grow leeks this year, but they all died after being transplanted out—I’m guessing we didn’t harden them off for long enough to get them used to the fierce canyon winds that blow through here at night.

    Here’s a few things I did last week to save money:

    – I didn’t go grocery shopping during the week (again). We did run out of milk by the end, which meant that I had to mix up a little bit of powdered milk to go with my oatmeal, which I didn’t mind one bit as it reminded me of when I served my mission in El Salvador, where they don’t serve cow’s milk in the stores at all and where ALL my “milk” for that year and a half was powdered. You get used to it.

    – I made gluten-free bread for my husband, who was recently diagnosed with celiac. After paying $6 a loaf at the grocery store for GF bread that he didn’t even like, I bought America’s Test Kitchen’s How Can It Be Gluten-Free Cookbook and all the ingredients needed to make our own, and the bread has been impressively good. I’ll be ordering more of the ingredients to make it in bulk soon, so that will save money as well (over just buying the ingredients in small quantities).

    – We stayed around home over the weekend so that we didn’t have to fill up with gas again last month (as we had met our budget for gas by then).

    – We had some produce that needed to be used up quickly, so I made a homemade apple crisp with the apples and some sausage and pepper egg breakfast muffins to use up some bell pepper. I plan to chop up and freeze the rest of the peppers before they go bad. And, as always, when we don’t quite get to the produce in time, I feed it to our chickens, which then produce even more nutritious eggs for us.

    Hugs to everyone <3

  30. That fruit looks so good.
    We are currently camping, doing so as frugally as possible. We are either using free campsites or taking advantage of our senior pass. We brought all food from home and are hiking and taking scenic drives for entertainment. A friend is looking after the garden while we are gone. Camping always reminds me of how little is really essential.

  31. Lovely fruit, Brandy.
    I was thrilled to sell a Victorian dresser that I inherited and a large concrete fountain and stand that I’d rescued on bulk trash night at least a year ago– I was happy to reclaim space!
    I repaired a badly damaged window muntin with Abatron WoodEpox. The material was pricey, but had we paid our carpenter to do it, it would have cost more, and I was able to take a lot of time to match the profile very well. The damage is not noticeable. My partner had glazed the windows, saving more money. We’ll now paint the interior and exterior trim ourselves.
    I got one cucumber from the Poona Kheera cuke and there are 2 more on the way. I fermented shredded organic cabbage and carrots we were given.
    I put a dwarf mulberry into my tiny food forest, as well as volunteer papayas.
    We still use the grounds twice when we make cold-brewed coffee. Thanks again to the person who posted that idea on this website.
    I hope everyone has a good week.

  32. Brandy,
    I just want to Thank-you for this blog and all the encouragement it provides. I wait for your next post for inspiration and fabulous fun ideas. Your writing gives me the courage to “keep on, keeping on”. With that said, and I understand completely how busy you are… I am now taking care of our grandchildren, 14,11,7, and 5 on a regular basis. Would you be able to do a post on your day and what your children are responsible for each day??? And this sounds so bad….but when they tell you, NO to something you ask them to do…What is your response. I understand that this is off subject, so I will understand if you should choose not to answer that last question. Again, my thanks to you, for all you do, Brandy! robyn

    1. Robyn, if you do a search for “chores” you can see some of my past chore posts. We have six chore times a day–one before and one after each mealtime. Chores need to be done before we sit down to eat and before the children have media time. There are always dishes to do, a table to set and wipe, floors to sweep (constantly) and toys to pick up. Having toys get picked up more than once in a day keeps it from becoming too overwhelming. I also have them tidy their rooms twice a day, making their beds in the morning and picking up toys at night. When I only had one time a day for them to tidy their rooms they became overwhelmed.

      I’ll call children back to finish a chore if need be (sometimes multiple times).

      1. One thing that we do is offer choices. For example, if I need both the toys picked up and the table set, I’ll say, “Would you like to clean up the toys first, or set the table?” This way, the expectation is set that both will be done, but they feel like they have some autonomy about which they do first. It’s a simple thing, once it becomes a habit of speech.

    2. Robyn,
      I’m no expert on getting children to cooperate, but I found something wonderful that’s been working with my small ones the past couple of months! I have three boys, 5, 3, and 1, and am watching a doctor friend’s son, 3, until schools open again. The wording made a difference! “After we do X, then we can do Y.” Sounds totally obvious, but it eluded me until now:) And the other thing in training my small ones has been doing one job together at a time, so I can keep them on task, praise often, and help them feel like they’re making progress. I’m holding tenaciously to any ground I get! The other thing I do is that our toys are lent out like a library. I have a stash in our basement of anything complicated, and they have to usually turn in something to get a new thing out. They often just choose to keep playing with toy A rather than putting it away:). I know we have different ages of kids, but I thought I’d send it along just in case it sparks an idea that might be adapted for your family.

  33. Not a lot of savings, but here are a few

    $2.99 back from i botta

    Hubby brought home floor lamp from his boss and a ceramic planter from a job. I’m not sure if I’m going to keep the floor lamp just yet, but will pass it on probably to my mother in law if I decide not to keep it.

    Daughter had leftover melted chocolate from making cookie dough bites, so she dipped some strawberries in it for a second treat.

    Got 3 graduation cards out of my mom’s stash for free instead of buying them

    Got one free nexguard pill after buying 6

    My mom sent over potatoes, pickles, hamburger, and olive oil she no longer wanted.

    I bought a larger than usual container of popcorn, so I divided it up and sealed in more manageable sizes in food saver bags.

    Made everyone eat leftovers whether they wanted them or not, lol. I only had to freeze some spaghetti sauce.

  34. We ate lettuce from our garden!! I also learned how to make a trellis out of t-post, galvanized wire, and twine, and made one for the cucumbers. I learned with galvanized wire the smaller the number the bigger and stiffer the wire. I planted cucumber and zucchini seeds directly in the soil. I hope this week to go purchase and plant cherry tomatoes and basil. This year I am wanting to dry the basil, I have a dehydrator so it sounds easy enough. I am attempting to sprout alfalfa seeds. The marigold plant I grew from seed has a flower bud on it! The garden is keeping us entertained as we can’t go to playgrounds. That is usually our spring/summer activity. I also finished Call the Midwife. I took a free 7-day video course on essential oils.

  35. Brandy, I am a 60+ yr old single woman from Texas. I eagerly look forward to your posts each week. Yes, I do learn alot from you even at my age. You are a tremendous inspiration & help to people in all times. Im also looking forward to later posts about your oldest daughter’s marriage during the pandemic & how she sets up & runs her household. Thank you for sharing all you do with your readers!

    1. Karen,

      I don’t have much to pass on from my daughter, but I do know that she is batch cooking breakfast burrito fillings to freeze and smoothies to freeze as well. She and her husband work very early and this makes it easy for them.

  36. The most frugal thing I did this week was request a credit card refund for a cruise that was cancelled as the cruise company was very slow in refunding. Got the money refunded so that was good news. Covid testing is now available to all in our province so I got tested and heard yesterday I was negative -I would have been shocked if otherwise. I think they want to get an idea of how many asymptomatic people have it and could be spreading it. I have been making lots of soups and casseroles and cooked a big ham which gives lots of leftovers for the fridge and freezer. Today I am off to the mountain parks(which opened back up yesterday) to enjoy the scenery and hopefully spot some wildlife. Have a great week everyone.

    1. Hi I,

      Yes, to determine how many asymptomatic cases and control the spread from them is exactly what our province wants to do with wide-spread testing. hope you have a great time in the mountains.

      1. I had a great time in the mountains-came within 10 feet of a grizzly bear (in my car of course) and watched it for awhile. Then saw a huge herd of elk, a couple of deer and a big horn sheep. Some lakes were not melted yet and there was snow in the woods at the higher elevations-but one lake was a lovely greenish blue colour. When I got to the Banff park gates to buy my annual park pass the fellow said admission was free until Thursday-so I didn’t argue.

  37. Hello Everyone!
    Thanks, Brandy for your inclusive and uplifting words. This week my husband and I explored a nearby county park with trails for some outdoor exercise. We got lost and took some scenic detours. Ha ha! I signed up for Les Mills on Demand. As an instructor I get 60 days free. I’m looking forward to adding back a bit of normalcy with some favorite classes from home. I re-seeded my veggie garden in areas that haven’t germinated. We harvested and enjoyed strawberries, cabbage, carrots, leek, lettuce, and herbs. My snap peas are flowering and I can’t wait for some of those! ? A few weeks ago I planted Wildflower seeds In a patio pot. The plants are doing well. I only spent $ 0.40 on those seeds from Walmart. I’m pleased! I signed my son up for online driver’s ed this summer. The online course is a $270 savings from a local, live course. I cannot believe how much it costs in California to teach your teens to drive!!! The state requires 6 hours of instruction from a professional driver, at a price of $80/hour. I’m stunned as it’s so cost prohibitive. Or, he can wait until he’s 18, which may end up being the solution. But, I wonder if not receiving 2 years of practice before leaving home is wise? I received a refund for elastic that never arrived. I ordered some from Amazon a month ago and it hasn’t shipped. Anyone able to find an online source for 1/4” elastic for masks? On a shopping note, Walmart is the least expensive in my area overall. Lucky and Safeway are closest. I use those stores for loss leaders and small trips. Whole Foods is a few miles away, used rarely only for specialty items. Walmart And Costco I use for bigger shopping trips. I order from Azure Standard, however it has been impossible to get bread flour the past few months. Smaller Central Coast location with fewer shopping choices, but a quiet and beautiful place to raise a family. Have a blessed week!

    1. Car insurance for teens is SO expensive! We decided that we would rather spend the money on online college classes at age 16. My two eldest are at college without a car or a license (they each were able to obtain an ID through the DMV, which they needed in order to take the ACT). My daughter’s husband, while he has a license, also does not have a car, because he prioritized his spending on college as well.

      I drove until age 19, when I moved away to college. I then did not drive again after I had served a mission and graduated college. As a missionary in Europe, I saw that many adults did not have a license (in fact, two of the missionaries I served with–one from England and one from Japan–did not get their drivers’ licenses until age 40!) and that no one could obtain a license under age 18. It made me seriously think about whether or not we really need to obtain a driver’s license for a child under the age of 18 in the U.S. Besides the cost of driving school, the cost to insure a teen is so high, and it often leads to parents purchasing a car for each child. Pretty soon a family of 4 has 4 cars! (I grew up that way myself!) It makes it hard to save for college when one has car payments, gas, and insurance for each child. So, we’ve decided to wait for our own children.

      1. We learned here in our province that there is an advantage to having our teen get his license at 16 even when he didn’t drive. From 16 until 20, he had his license but chose not to drive. When he finally got a car and started driving, he had four years ‘accident free’ on his driving record. His insurance costs were lower for having that four year accident free time associated with his driving record. However, he was able to take driver’s education at a very nominal cost back then.

        1. My sister-in-law was required to have insurance for her licensed teens, even if they didn’t plan on them driving. At over $250 a month (just for the teenager) that adds up to quite a lot! Perhaps you can have a licensed teen there without insurance if they are not driving, but that is not the case where we live.

      2. We made it a point for our son (who got his license at 17-1/2 in a state where he could drive at 16) to have a car to drive, but it wasn’t his and he knew it. We had 4 drivers and 3 cars and he occasionally drove one of ours. He, however, had to pay the insurance, which was surprisingly reasonable (although not cheap!) because he didn’t own the car. He had friends whose parents did the opposite…the kids dumped all of their money into a junk heap and the parents paid the difference in insurance. We thought that paying his own insurance was impetus to drive carefully…and it was!

      3. My oldest daughter got rid of her car when she moved to Baltimore. She walks to work or in bad weather takes a bus. She said it wasn’t worth fighting for a parking spot and the car insurance. Her fiance does have a car so that is how she goes food shopping.

        1. When I was at college, a group of people would just go to the store whenever someone who had a car was going. They would just ask who wanted to go and it would be a fun group experience! I learned a lot about shopping from different people who had eaten different things growing up than I had, and it saved me a lot of money!

          Where my two eldest are at school, there is a Walmart, but it is a bit far to walk (especially in winter). The Walmart store has a shuttle that stops all around campus and goes straight to the store. It’s free to use, and makes it very easy for them to go shopping!

    2. I don’t have a source for elastic,but as I have been making masks, I have found that strips of old tee shirt material works great. I cut my old tee shirts into strips. I can then measure what I need off of the ball of fabric. My niece who wears a mask daily for a 12 hour shift has said the tee shirt material is easier on her ears and is stretchy enough that they stay put. Hopefully this will help.

    3. I was able to find elastic on Etsy, but it was 1/2”. I just cut it in half lengthwise. It works fine.

      I also want to add my thanks for this beautiful website. I look forward to reading it and all the comments every week although I don’t often comment.

  38. The greatest money saving thing I have done recently is to finally make a price list. I have known for years that it would help, but I didn’t realize what a huge difference it would make! I figured I was doing pretty well just keeping track of things in my head, but having the price list with me as I shop has saved me from making quite a few purchases that I would otherwise have made. We have two salvage grocery stores where I purchase a lot of pantry items, but I have learned through my price list that just because it’s at a discount store doesnt mean it’s the best price. The price list has also taught me that just because something is “bulk” doesnt mean it’s the best price either. Comparing price per pound and price per ounce is very important! A savings of even just cents does add up. If I save only $2.50 a week by shopping carefully, that adds up to $130 in a year. It is worth it!
    I have been going through the canned goods in my pantry and writing their exp. date on the front of the can with a sharpie, and then arranging them on the shelves so that I can make sure and use the oldest first. I checked with google, and many canned goods are good for at least a year past the sell by date, if they are not exposed to extreme temperatures. I put a lot if thought into how to arrange things on the shelves so that as I replenish stock, it always goes to the back. What I came up with is to have cans in even number rows, front to back, so they can be rotated in a snake like pattern, moving the first row forward as items are removed, the second row backwards, etc. I take from the front of the first row and add to/replenish to the last row. I’ve been instructing our children in how it works so they know which side of the rows to take from.
    A couple months ago when shelves at the stores were emptied, I read one of your older posts in which you asked if we could live for 10 months to a year on what we have in the house. The answer to that was very unsettling to me, so I have been using the last couple of months to build our pantry by buying extra each week. But not at the expense of other shoppers. If there is not much of an item, I only take one or none, knowing that others may have a greater need, even if I had been planning to buy a number of those items.
    Another thing I have done is wipe lightbulbs with a damp cloth to remove dust and to wash our glass light globes. The result is more light, for free!
    I have also been working on being a better manager of the shower warm up water. We collect it in gallon jugs and I use it to water my plants. Often though, the jugs are full because I haven’t watered, so water goes down the drain rather than being collected, or I wait to water all my plants at once and the collected water is not enough so I use from the faucet. It is truly a management issue, and I am excited about staying on top of it now.
    I’d also like to share the thought that abundance is very much a matter of perspective, and that not only is thankfulness FREE, it increases our wealth exponentially!
    I hope everyone has a thankful week, with the eyes to see all the abundance and blessings!

    1. Anne,

      The extra water can also be used to flush the toilet or fill the washing machine, if you have a top loader.

      1. We have a front loader and just pour water into the machine where the soap dispenser pulls out. We save rainwater and add it every time we hear the machine filling (it’s in our carport and the windows in the house are open, allowing us to hear).

    2. Anne,I live in Lexington. Where are the salvage groceries at? Would like to shop at them if close.
      Than k s.

  39. I switched two of my savings accounts from regular to high-yield accounts, increasing my interest payments by .8%.
    I tracked our spending for the entire month of May, and set up my budget for June.
    I resigned from a Board I’ve been on for the last two years, so I’ll have more time for projects at home moving forward.
    A friend signed her kids up for Outschool using my referral link, so I’ll get a $20 credit for my daughter’s future classes.
    Signed my daughter up for a free virtual summer camp through Girl Scouts.
    We harvested cilantro, radishes, green onions, and a few strawberries from the garden. We planted tomatoes, peppers, parsley, radishes, onions, cucumbers, carrots, and beans.
    I made face masks with scraps leftover from various sewing projects through the years.

  40. All of your fruit looks beautiful and delicious. It was my birthday last week and I was spoiled by my family. My youngest daughter made me breakfast. She made chocolate chip pancakes with fresh whipped cream and bacon. I had gotten grapes on sale so we enjoyed those with breakfast. My husband grilled dinner so I didn’t have to cook. The kids did all of the dishes. They all made me homemade cards. I received several presents that were garden related or food. Those are my favorite kinds of presents. I did have to go help the man I help. He had a Facetime doctor’s appointment and doesn’t know how to do it. When that was over, he wanted to take me out to lunch. I explained to him again that it was not safe to do so, so we got take out instead. His daughter (my friend) ordered a beautiful bouquet of flowers for me from both of them.

    Our friend was furloughed when the virus started. He helps out at a butcher shop around holidays(he worked there in college) so he has been working there recently. He brings home lots of the bones. His wife said there are too many for her to keep up with so he has been bringing some to me. I am the only other person they know that wanted any. He brought me a huge bag of pork bones. I made a large pot of sauce and threw them all in. It was delicious. I froze several servings for future meals. He also brought some chicken bones. I boiled them and made chicken salad with the meat and a lovely stock with the broth. I gifted my friend another large bag of kale.

    All of the gardens are in. I got the small garden planted. There are bush beans, pole beans, spinach, lettuce and some broccoli rabe. I also planted my new herb garden that hubby built me. We bought a blueberry bush for it. I planted lavender, sage, cilantro, basil, thyme, and rosemary. Since it is in the front of the house I added a few flowers in too. Kale and swiss chard have been plentiful. We have eaten it several times this week. I picked our first strawberry. The fight is on now to protect them from the bunnies. I sprayed the grape vines with a oil/dish soap spray to keep the bugs off. It seems to be working well.

    Hubby, the kids and I have been doing lots of yard work. We have been filling are allotted garbage cans up so as not to pay to take it to the dump. All of the bushes and trees have been trimmed. Lots of laundry has been hung outside. Windows are open almost all day long. I love when we don’t need the AC or heat.

    I received a free pastry from Panera for my birthday. I went to the drive thru on the way home from work.
    My sister came over one night to celebrate my birthday. She brought dinner and dessert. When she had gone food shopping she got an extra bag of food, 2 flank steaks. She called the store to tell them. They told her to keep them as they can’t take anything back and they would just go into the garbage. She doesn’t eat red meat so she offered them to us. Yes please. I sent her home with my mom’s birthday present and dad’s father’s day present. She will be seeing them this month.

    I went food shopping for the man I help. They had chicken cutlets on sale for $1.99 a pound and had a lot of them in stock. I bought 2 packs for my family. It was nice to see more meat back on the shelves even if it is at higher prices.

    My oldest daughter’s wedding has been changed. They will be doing immediate family only so Hubby, myself and her siblings plus his 2 siblings and parents. They will have a celebration at a later time. We are trying to figure out everything.

    1. I’m sorry about your daughter’s wedding, but happy to read that you will be able to be there. I would have very much liked to have been there for my daughter’s wedding.

      1. That is the plan for now. It is in 6 weeks so we will see what happens. They really want to get married and start their lives together which I understand. I feel for you Brandy. When you were telling us I felt so bad for you and your husband but understand why Winter didn’t want to wait. My friend finally got to hold her fist grandson today. He is one month old. She has been isolated and she wore lots of gear to keep him safe.

      2. I missed my daughter’s wedding in Hawaii (where she was stationed) eight years ago, so I do understand how you feel, Brandy. I couldn’t afford to travel there, but I was able to attend her wedding reception, held a good bit later, in Salt Lake. The only reason there was a reception is that the groom’s family insisted, they live there, and they paid for it. I lived 2,000 miles away from reception, so it was expensive getting there, but nowhere near as expensive as Hawaii.

  41. We’ve been eating asparagus, rhubarb, spinach and lettuce from our garden this week.
    I’ve dried marjoram, sage, lemon balm and some oregano from my herb garden. I’ve never used my herbs very well, so I hope this helps. I also plan to dry more things (basil, parsley, more oregano, rosemary) as the season goes on. I’d like to gift some dried herbs this year as well.
    We continue to collect and sell eggs from our hens.
    We’ve continued to appreciate and enjoy the school bus delivery breakfast and lunch for our 5 kids (twice a week, food for 7 days). Thursday is the last day they come, and I need to work harder at planning ahead for meals for the kids. We have plenty, but now I need to think about it instead of having them eat whatever shows up.
    My husband earned some extra money rototilling for a friend.

    1. What a blessing, our school district has been doing that. Does the schools district offer a summer meal program where you live?

  42. What we accomplished last week:
    * we started turning our office into a baby room For our baby that is due in early August. Made a pile of stuff to donate once they open back up. Our office is starting to look like a baby room.
    * got some baby clothes from a homeschool friend of ours whose son outgrew then and I sorted through them to keep only what would work for us.
    * got a baby rocker that one of our homeschool friends gave to us.
    * I had a friend I haven’t seen in a few years gave us some diaper wipes and some canning supplies!
    * went to Costco to get butter for $1.72 a pound and bought 4 packs of 4lbs. I already have some in the freezer now I have enough to last us a year or more.
    * also bought some meat there that I divided up and froze for future meals. They had a limit of 3 meats per membership. Their frozen meats were zilch. So I made sure to get some ground turkey and chicken for my husband who can only eat turkey or chicken right now due to his health issues.
    * made all of our meals at home except we went out once for a fast food meal for lunch since we were out driving supplies of food and toiletries to our family members that can’t get the supplies at their stores. I was hungry and hadn’t eaten in a that whole day and let me tell ya that chicken sandwich from chick fil a was soooooo good!! We haven’t had any fast food or had any Restaurant meals since this whole pandemic started. But every meal except for that one was made at home.
    *my parents gifted us a little bit of money to get some things for the baby. Since they can’t go shopping for the baby they wanted us to be able to get a few things from them.

    We feel very blessed from all of our family and friends that have gifted us with supplies and love for our baby. We also feel blessed to be able to help our family get supplies that they couldn’t get and needed. Hope everyone has a great week!

  43. We are still staying home as much as possible therefore saving on gas…wear and tear on my 20 year old car.
    With food prices going up it is getting harder and harder to eat as we have in the past. I am starting to think we are going to cut meat out half the time. I am starting to look at recipes for meatless meals.
    I objected to a bill that was unauthorized and lost the argument. It appears my grandson thinks when something says “free” that it is really free. We had a long talk yesterday about using Mom-Mom’s computer. It is now off limits period. That debacle cost me $47.03. Zayne will be working that money off doing odd jobs around the house this summer. Can we say frugal fail? Hopefully it was a life lesson.
    My little garden is doing well. My tomatoes are growing by leaps and bounds. I have a few green peppers. The onions are fine. A funny onion story. I asked my granddaughter, Gaby, to pull an onion for lunch. I explained to pull every other onion so the ones left had room to grow. I look out the window and she has about 7 onions in her hands. I shouted for her to stop and come in. She was so proud that she had pulled them out. *laughing* I explained again about pulling every other one…when she understood what I meant she was embarrassed. Sweet girl.
    With school out I don’t have to take my granddaughter to pick up work once a week so we are back to not leaving the house at all except to pick up food twice a month.
    Blessings to all of you and stay safe.
    Thank you, Brandy, for all you do with this site. Your photos, and stories about your family, bring me more JOY than you can imagine.

    1. Becky, I find that keeping the serving size of meat down to a proper amount really helps to stay in budget, along with eating eggs and beans for protein servings.

      Here’s something I read this morning, “The “meat group” is now called the “protein group” in MyPlate. According to the USDA, a serving is considered 1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish, ¼ cup cooked beans, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, or ½ ounce of nuts or seeds. Based on a 2000 calorie per day diet, it is recommended to consume 5.5 ounces of protein per day. One ounce is equal to one ounce of lean beef, poultry, pork, chicken, turkey, or fish; or 1 egg; 1 tablespoon peanut butter; ½ ounce nuts; or ¼ cup beans or peas.”

      And of course, we’re not all on a 2000 calorie diet. That’s too much for me, my husband, and too much for my small children (though not for my teens). Of note in those comments are the fact that dairy proteins of milk, cheese, and yogurt were not counted.

      It’s literally food for thought when it comes to serving sizes of meat. They’ve crept up over the years, and we’ve been looking at portion sizes that are too much, leading us to believe we can’t eat less meat, when we’re really overeating on meat.

      the exception, of course, would be for pregnant women; Blue Ribbon Baby recommends 65 grams of protein a day for a pregnant mom, and I have personally seen that that increase of protein while pregnant eliminates morning sickness completely.

  44. Hello everyone. Thank you for your inspiring comments about how intentionally you are living your lives.
    We had setbacks last week. Our move to our new, but unfinished home, was scheduled for Friday. On Wednesday, the contractors basically told us not to move in so that they could better get their work done. So we had to scramble to come up with a storage unit (my husband has a friend who owns a storage center and we were able to get one on a monthly basis). We got everything moved and also the freezer plugged in so that we don’t lose the food that was in there. But we have to move twice and had to find a short term place to stay. I got a very good deal at an extended stay hotel and we are here and doing fine. I’m calling it my summer vacation in a tiny house! Hopefully we will only need to be here for 2-3 weeks. I was disappointed and frustrated for a few days, but there’s not much I can do so better to adopt a cheerful attitude.
    I did sell a few more things before we moved, so that helped get rid of stuff and bring in some cash.
    I had also packed boxes of groceries, a frying pan, an electric frying pan, a mini Crock pot, etc. so I would have ways to make us meals. We have everything that we need to get by. I may run out of projects to do. I am knitting a sweater, but my watercolor paints and yarn stash is somewhere in a storage unit. I thought I would only be a couple of days to access my “stuff” but it will now be weeks. Fortunately there are little free libraries around and I can snag books from them. I think I can use my time productively.
    Yes, we don’t really need that much to get by. Although I did a good job getting rid of and selling a lot before we moved, I think that I can pare down more. We are healthy and fine and I am grateful we can get through this disruption with ease.

  45. Beautiful pictures again from you, Brandy! And what a busy and hot week you had in Las Vegas!
    *Our temps went up this past week as well – the high 80s and low 90s. Kept the windows open and used fans until it was too hot for me. I don’t do well in heat and get very sick if overheated. But our back bedroom stays cooler than our kitchen so I would go there to make it last a little longer before I turned on the A/C.
    *We bought privacy slats for our backyard fence – have wanted those for 20 years. My husband called around for best pricing and then picked them up instead of delivery. We’ve been installing them ourselves instead of hiring out. It’s an easy job – just time consuming. To handle the heat, we wet our t-shirts and hair down and wear hats. Slathered in sun screen of course. We’ve been working in the mornings or evenings.
    *My kids changed the oil in their own cars – which they paid cash for the car. My husband helps them out with tools and equipment. Our kids are told they will have to buy their own car once they’ve graduated. We help them a tiny bit as part of their graduation gift – but so far they have paid cash for their vehicles. They pay for their own gas and maintenance.
    *Ate most meals at home – the meals out were paid for with gift cards. Meals at home were bean & cheese baked tacos, chicken and pasta casserole, bean & cheese quesadillas, hot dogs & watermelon. We did dutch oven for our Sunday dinner – very yummy! We did a chicken & gravy with vegetables recipes and served it over mashed potatoes.
    *My garden is growing quite well and I’m thrilled. Blooms on the tomato and bean plants. Zucchini seems to be doubling daily. Haven’t harvested anything yet but it’s growing.
    *Using the schools free math program until August for my teenage daughter to keep her math skills up over the summer. Rumors are the schools are planning for an open start in August.
    *Borrowed books from the library for reading.
    *Using our streaming service for shows and entertainment.
    *Picked more flowers from the my flower beds to put in vases. Peonies are done blooming. Daisies are budding up getting ready to bloom. My orchids bloomed and my Gerber daisies. My hollyhock and zinnia seeds have germinated and are starting to grow.
    *Grocery shopping has been frustrating with rising prices. I diligently check the reduced grocery racks every week for food. I would love to do more meatless meals but my boys just aren’t happy if there isn’t some meat. I can get away with bean and rice meals. My other option is use much less meat than normal and put in a lot more veggies. They’ve been ok with that option. I’ve been buying any meat I find from the reduce section – sometimes it’s completely empty which is something I hadn’t seen before.
    *Wishing you all a wonderful and frugal week!

    1. Oh my word – I hadn’t read through the comments when I wrote my post. Hope it wasn’t offensive in any way what I wrote about our cars and our 18 year olds buying their own cars. I’m so sorry if it came across as offensive – it wasn’t meant to be that way. I actually really enjoyed reading about everyone’s different ways of handling teens and cars. Never had even thought about having them wait. I sincerely apologize.

  46. I love the beauty of your fruit and your area; however, the super hot weather just wilts me and I can barely move. I admire how your family is able to live nicely and garden well in such high temperatures.

    -used leftover carrots and celery that my husband brought back from a work meal in my low cost lentil and rice recipe.
    -we had no food waste this week even though we were tired of leftovers
    -figured out the least expensive options for health insurance and will switch at the end of the year when the COBRA expires. I’ve a backup plan if my financial assistance ends and the costs than double
    -my daughter not only went back to work, but her unemployment came in. She paid me back for what I bought for her and I paid on my credit card. Glad all this happened before the bill came due!
    -I’ve been upping my walking and it shows. I finally passed 10,000 steps and “climb” 4 flights of stairs daily. It does take me 2 walks and the dogs are loving this. Still working on getting stronger and having more endurance.
    -I realize that next year, I’m going to have to start much earlier on planting, or just plan to buy the couple plants for our small space. I’ve an abundance of seedlings that I hope to get produce from if I can keep it all going into the fall. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to toss some seedlings as they’re too small to give away. Lesson learned! This high altitude, climate and way of growing (pots and greenhouse) are all new to me, so this is my learning year.
    -found a nice series to watch on YouTube when I need to rest…Pie in the Sky
    -finished another book on tape
    -rearranging a bit to get more room for coats and shoes. I struggle with where to put things in this house with so little storage even though I know this is a perfect size for us…well, we could use a larger kitchen!
    -continue to get rid of things slowly and thoughtfully. It isn’t frugal to get rid of something that will be needed later. I’ve taken to boxing some items for the basement to see if I’ll need or miss them. I can decide this fall if I want to keep them.
    -I was concerned about my daughter living in a Chicago suburb until I found a free app for my iphone called scanner radio and was able to see that her area is quiet. I’m so glad she’s back at her life nice and safe.

    Blessings to all this week.

    1. The hot weather wilts us, too! We just have to stay inside when it is so hot. Ceiling fans and air conditioning are so important!

    2. Pie in the Sky was a series my husband and I wish we had never watched—so we could watch it now for the first time! Have you tried Foyle’s War? Set in England at the end of WW2, a detective series.

      1. Mable,

        I loved Foyles War. It has been fun finding shows yo watch during this isolation time. Some are really good! Send along more show ideas.


    3. Trish: After my husband passed away I stayed on COBRA for several years, at a big expense. I was able to sign up for good insurance (once COBRA expired) through the affordable Care Act and have been very happy with my policy. I do not know if that is available in your area, but I thought I’d pass along the information.
      Stay safe.

      1. Patricia,

        It looks good for that or the chtistian medical sharing. Thanks for the support and ideas.



  47. I hate to work in the heat of the day, but mosquitoes are so bad in early morning and then the evening that it’s miserable outside, even with repellent. It’s almost funny — we get safety notices telling us to stay out of the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Then we get notices to stay indoors when mosquitoes are the worst — 6 to 9 a.m. and 5 to 11 p.m. Doesn’t leave us much of a window to be outside! It’s way too hot and humid to wear long sleeves and pants, and the mosquitoes can bite through shirts and hair on the head anyway. I’ve had the welts to prove it.

    My little garden was coming along so well, until the squash borers found it. They got all of my summer squash so far and two of the cucumbers. We’ve not had a problem with them before, so this is frustrating. I’ve been using neem and BT, plus picking off egg clusters wherever I find them. I salvaged a couple more cucumbers at least, before the damage went far.

    My husband badly ripped a tee-shirt. I cut it up for rags and used the neckline to tie up my tomato plant.

    My work place has let us order more logo wear, so I have two more shirts on the way. My goal is to have a “uniform” wardrobe of sorts, consisting of three or so basic slacks, a couple of basic skirts, and the logo shirts, which I pick in colors to go with black, gray, navy and khaki.

    I placed the shirt order (Lands End) through Swagbucks, so I earned over $10 in SB, which will be credited to my account next month.

    My elderberry plants are finally putting on some elderberries this year, their second year. I won’t get many, but I hope this is a sign of better things to come.

    I’m still packing my lunch every day, wearing thrifted clothing, cooking at home, and re-using, buying used, or doing without.

    Thank you for this quiet haven of a blog!

    1. Jo, some people wait to plant their squash until July in order to avoid the borers. You might be able to try again for cucumbers and summer squash.

  48. I have been working in the garden too. I pick asparagus almost daily. We replanted watermelon, a thai melon, and pumpkin seeds. Now that it is warmer they are sprouting. I have harvested cilantro, dill, radishes, lettuce, mustard greens, and green onions, oh yes and kale. I have been utilizing curb service at our library. I call the library and tell them what i need and they meet me at the door. I bought homeschooling supplies on sale at Mardel. I am letting my hair grow out naturally. I will have my husband trim it. We are making meals at home. We eat from our garden everyday. I am entertaining my grandchildren at my house. Instead of taking them somewhere we feed them at home as well as entertain them. Our chicks are growing. We think a raccoon got into the coop and ate a hen leaving us with two layers.. My husband fixed the coop himself. We try and consolidate errands to save on gas. We open windows to get fresh air and save on air conditioning in the mornings and evenings, I turn off lights when not in the room. I’ve used fresh herbs from our garden to flavor food. We have noticed that we like our own cooking and don’t need to go out. We have been playing board games we already have with the kids. I had bought them at a thrift shop last year. I’m also teaching them piano. We have been singing and playing music for free entertainment. We have enjoyed sunsets and sunrises as well as another rainbow this week.

  49. I made individual pizzas using lightly toasted English muffins as the crust. Very fast compared to making homemade crust and very tasty. Some built-in portion control too, since I only made what I planned to eat. That will definitely be what I do in future. Just need to stock up even more when English muffins are on sale.

    I took advantage of a warehouse sale at my local Co-op to buy six cans of flakes of chicken and flakes of turkey. The plan was to keep them for the fall as a stock-up item, but some may find their way onto salads this summer. I also bought two lb of lean ground pork, which I found in the freezer section, at a very good price. I’ll make seasoned sausage meat and tacos using these. I roasted three large chicken breasts on the bone, which is giving me meat for the week, along with lemons, onions and potatoes. I also bought carrots on sale, since I find they are versatile as a snack, in salads and roasted, and you just can’t beat the prices. June is an unusual time of year to find them on sale, though.

    Someone from Reddit r/Assistance is very kindly sending me two masks for free. The province of Alberta is providing four masks to each person that can be picked up at drive-thrus for A&W, Tim Horton’s and McDonald’s. I live 50 kilometres (35 miles) from any of these. They haven’t announced yet how people who aren’t near these drive-thrus will get masks, but I think as soon as they distribute them, many more stores and services will require them. (We haven’t used them locally because there haven’t been any cases. 6 feet apart, washing our hands, and staying home has done the trick so far.) Strangely, the fabric store is one of the first stores in Edmonton to require people to wear a mask. I assume they think we have enough stashes at home to put a mask together. They are limiting how much elastic you can buy of any width, since they say there is now a worldwide shortage of elastic!

    The library is still closed, and the pharmacy is changing magazine distributors and currently has no books for sale. I downloaded the Nook program, and looked at online library books. The holds for most of them are very long, since only so many people are allowed to have them signed out at once. I’ll have plenty to read four or five months from now! I also updated the magazine program from the library, so I’ll have something to read until I track down a book some other way. I haven’t read any magazines in several months, so this is fun, as long as I don’t let it get me excited about buying things.

  50. What lovely pictures! Peaches are my favorite and are just coming in here in Georgia. I like the later season free stone peaches the best.
    This week I continue to track electricity usage. We will have a hire bill this month since it is hot now. I am also continuing my use it up challenge.
    I bought 4 clothing items at goodwill for 1/2 price. I plan to sell two items on Mercari or Poshmark. We sold a few items last week for a total profit of $47 and we have already sold two items this week. We continue to declutter and sell items. Any money we get goes into our budget line for additional mortgage principle payments.
    We harvested yellow pear tomatoes, lettuce (huge harvest), jalapeno peppers and sweet peppers from the container garden. I have squashes blooming. I hope they get pollinated. I will hand pollinate, but I only have female flowers blooming right now. I did notice I have a male flower about to open. Hopefully it will open and I can hand pollinate the female flowers.
    Have a great week!

  51. We had a heavy rainstorm here over the weekend. Everything survived the storm. I am watching the Hakurei turnips with great interest. Not only did they germinate in 2 days but they are growing like weeds. They are supposed to be mature in 38 days. I planted them in a pot with starting potatoes that I cut from organic potatoes. Once the Hakurei turnips are harvested the potatoes should just be coming up. I finally made it down to my boulevard only to discover that it is in full bloom with dandelions. The bees are having a wonderful time. I will cut the blooms before they go to seed. I would use them for jelly but the neighborhood dogs use the boulevard extensively. My perennial rock garden (without rocks but with scree) is about to come into bloom.

    My nasturtium seeds are taking forever to germinate. They are in jiffy sevens so I’ll just plant them in the jiffy sevens. I am going to plant them with sweet pea seeds so flower pots should be a riot of colour with no colour scheme.

    I planted two baskets of Impatiens plants. It is a couple of weeks early but it looks like the temperatures will hold and we won’t have a hard frost. I left room for a fuschia plant in each. I try to plant hummingbird-friendly plants. They love my monarda or beebalm plant. My neighbour has a hummingbird but I have yet to see it. Last year I only used one small bag of sugar for the entire year and it was entirely used for the hummingbird; this year I have a small bag for the birds and a larger bag in storage for when I start baking in the fall.

    In some of my hanging baskets where normally I would plant fuschias, I’ve planted the strawberry plants. I will plant one or two in the ground so they can try to be perennials. Or maybe plant them all in the ground i the fall. I hope to finish planting the petunias a volunteer picked up for me.

    My volunteer grocery shopper managed to get 10 cans of chicken and turkey for $1 per can (usually $2.50), yogourt for $1 each (usually 2 or 3 dollars each), and several other items at No Frills. My other volunteer managed to get 5 packages of pasta at the regular price of $1.27 but 3 bars of the lovely Caprina goats milk soap for $3. (Superstore). As I am going to run out of my inherited stash of Neutrogena soap, I’m trying to stock up again. I am hoping that the “rollator independent living device” (aka walker with wheels, a seat and handbrakes) arrives today so I can use it to get over to my garden plot for the first time tomorrow to weed. As it has a carrying area, I’ll be able to take my trowel over with me, my meds, bottled water, lunch, bleach cloths or hand sanitizer, etc. It will be my first time out in 3. months (except for my own yard). I have an N95 mask leftover from a small supply from a few years ago when I’d had to buy them to clean up the garage.

    I’m thinking of baking the ham I got a few months ago and then freezing it in packages for dinners so I can use it for meals for the month. I’ll use up my potatoes and frozen peas.

    I am contemplating what to do for summer clothes. I wore my linen pants outside and they ended up down at my ankles (fortunately no-one passed by at that moment) and same with my other pants. Hmmmmm…. I may just put an additional button on the waistband — but it almost makes me want to use suspenders — if I only had a pair!

    The book progresses slowly at the moment. I found some duplication which has to be weeded out.

    Prayers for you, everyone here and your country.

  52. I’ve had a few busy weeks with time to read, but not enough time to post.
    Someone had asked for my cabbage salad recipe a couple weeks ago. Someone else posted a similar recipe, but here is mine.
    Cabbage Salad

    1 Tbs. butter ½ cup vegetable oil
    2 ½ oz. pkg. sliced almonds 2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
    2 Tbs. sesame seeds 2 Tbs. sugar
    ½ head shredded cabbage Flavor packet from ramen
    2 green onions chopped pepper to taste
    1 package of ramen 2 cups chopped, cooked
    Chicken (optional)

    Brown almonds and sesame seeds in butter. Let cool. Mix cabbage, chicken, onions, almonds, and sesame seeds. Mix dressing ingredients. Just before serving, break up noodles. Toss noodles and dressing into cabbage.
    (I never add the chicken myself. I buy the seeds in bulk in the Hispanic foods section and the nuts on sale or in bulk. I stock up on ramen when Smith’s/ Kroger has their case lot sale.)

    A couple weeks ago I noticed another huge crack in the lining of our almost 14 year old fridge. The crisper drawers glides had broken years ago and I had already taped up the Door Gasket. It was also missing a handle and door shelves. I told my husband we needed to move that up the replacement list, but there was no way we could afford a new one now. The next day he noticed someone in the neighborhood selling a similar one three years newer for $100. We took them up on the offer. I’ve already noticed a huge difference in the quality of our food – I didn’t realize the old fridge was costing us so much in produce spoilage!! I had a bell pepper in the fridge for 3 weeks and still felt crisp (and tasted great). We will still need to pay a disposal fee for the old one when we take it to the dump, but this should last us for several years.

    My garden last year was pathetic and I know it was due to the soil. I have been amending the soil with “garden soil” I purchased. I rebuilt the drip system. I had to replace some worn-out parts in the head system, but I had all of the tubing on hand (I had purchased several hundred yards of 1/2-inch tubing several years ago at a yard sale and I cannibalized the previous system which just had two many leaks to repair.) I also bought two ball-valves to split the system into 2 zones – one of which will handle mostly my perennial plants.

    I used a Christmas gift card from my parents to order new jeans, skirts, dress top, and short sleeved nice-for-work tees-shirts, all on sale for 50% or less. I also used a discount code at checkout and received my daughter’s employee discount.

    Started a compost bin.

    Served several meat-less or less meat meals. Used chives from my garden.
    Ate more salad.

    Accepted a gift of 150 lbs. of wheat and 22 pounds of oatmeal from some friends.. They are 22-30 years old and will be moved to the front of our food storage rotation.

    Accepted a gift of 1 1/2 gallons of milk from friends who had bought it when their son’s family came to visit, but it didn’t all get used.

    I strained my shoulder a few months ago and it is finally healed but weak. Learned the shoulder exercises my son was given last year in PT for his shoulder to strengthen mine.

    My children continue to check out e-books from our library, and I’ve joined them.

    Bought strawberries for 1.25/lb. Put 10 pints of jam into the cupboard, 10 half-pints into the gift stash, and refrigerated a pint and a half which didn’t seal. Gave one of the gift pints to my son’s teacher who began mentoring him almost two years ago.

  53. Brandy thank you for your beautiful message this week. As always, it is such a lovely inspiring place to visit. Your photos are splendid!
    This week I worked in the garden, all of my starts have been planted and appear to be growing. I count gardening as multi-tasking as I figure it is good exercise, benefits my family, my budget and it is always nice to be outside. We had plenty of rain this week, and my garden and lawn were well soaked. I was able to fix a bird bath with shoe goo, a small figure had broken off one side so I attached it with this multi-purpose adhesive.
    On the rainy days I worked inside decluttering and listing some items on FB Market Place and in my Buy Nothing Group. I was gifted many items this week, a dress, 100 tea light candles, envelopes that I will use for card making, some bowls to replace the chipped cat food bowls and some canned goods. My Mum also gifted me some chocolates she didn’t care for.
    Very little driving, no spending, simple meals made at home, working on crafts, hanging up laundry to dry, counting my blessings…..all the “usual frugal things”.
    Wishing everyone a good week ahead.

  54. Greetings!
    Your photographs are so clear, it looks like i could ear off the plate of fruit! Our apple trees are blossoming so i hope we get decent apples this year.
    I opened a tube of toothpaste to get the last bits. I use very little paste so this should last me another two weeks.
    We planted a new tree where we dug up a lilac bush. We’ve been watering it with the water from our water barrel. It’s storming as i write so i hope it fills up. We have just the one 55 gal.
    Our face time with our daughter was wonderful! She attempted to cut the babies hair. She took him to a hair stylist who did a good job of fixing it. He has a bowl cut, now. They both wore masks.
    I was able to get more butter for 2.49 lb. I got five. It was one of those deals where you buy five and get the deal price.
    My garden is planted! I am so excited about it! I go out every day to see if anything has sprouted. I have baby zucchini, lettuce, kale and spinach that have sprouted. The tomato plants seem a bit stunted and the pepper plants are still deciding if they’re up to the task. Our nighttime temps have been cold.
    My husband and i have been having a discussion about redoing the bathroom. I want the tub surround to stay. He didn’t want to change the toilet if the tub stayed. The back of the toilet has been dripping from condensation since we bought the house. I didn’t want the mess and huge cost. My husband decided to insulate the back of the toilet and it worked! This is a convoluted way to say, the bathroom stays the same but the dripping has stopped.
    I’ve made oat milk and brownies this week. The brownies are from the box but i always add extra cocoa, one less egg and substitute applesauce for the oil. (I pull 1/4 c. mix from the box so it’s not too cake-like. All those quarter cups make brownies down the line.)
    I made hummingbird sugar water for the few hummingbirds we see. Love to watch them!
    I’ve started walking alone in the early morning before i come home to walk the dog with friends. The dogs slow us down and the friends sometimes go to the health center to use weights and machines. (I do not) This is the best way for me to get my heart rate up a bit and work on these few extra pounds i’ve gained. I’m really enjoying it!
    My husband had business in the next town over so i went with him. We stopped at a thrift store and i found four white face clothes that looked new. I also got some embroidery thread for 10 cents a skein. The Goodwill, further down the road, was packed by the looks of the driveway. We did not go into that store. Our state has just reopened so we figured things would probably be busy. We took our lunch with us and ate in the car.
    Our neighbor gifted us with some awesome maple syrup. I love this stuff! We sat outside, social distancing, and had a nice visit.
    I continue to save shower water, rain water for the barrel and whatever else i can think of.
    Wishing everyone a fabulous week!

    1. I know applesauce can be substituted for oil in cakes but for some reason I never thought to use it in brownies. Brownies are so high in calories because of the high oil content. I will have to try that!

      1. Hi, Laura!
        I asked my husband and this is what he said. He bought Dow Fanfold, a blue insulation that usually goes under siding. The Fanfold was 1/4” thick. You also need polyurethane Gorilla glue. The tank needs to be emptied and dried. (We flushed with a bucket. One bathroom, here.) This includes the guts of the tank. My husband replaced all of that, too, but yours may not need it. Cut the Fanfold to fit the inside, remove the plastic coating from the side you’re gluing. Insert. Let it cure for 24 hours. My husband says you need to act fast, once the glue is put on. And, you need something to act as a wedge inside the tank as it dries. He used a lot of balled up newsprint. I hope this helps! It sure worked for us!

  55. Thanks for your posts Brandy. I’ve been following for years but rarely post myself. In these challenging times your blog provides a little respite 🙂

    We are lucky not to have been impacted by covid in our work too much, but our young teen/adult children’s lives and those of their friends have been. Most of them have lost their jobs and my son’s high school graduation was cancelled. Another of my sons won a scholarship to study in Washington state so he deferred to January and is hoping for the best. Still, small things in the big picture but big things for young people.

    I’ve been quite grateful for the internet during these times. Not only for access to a community like this, but also for helping me experiment at home with gardening and in what we are calling the covid lab. With our children choosing to be vegetarian and one moving to vegan I’ve learned to make vegan cheese, kimchi, tempeh and oat milk. Much less expensive than buying them in the grocery store – and less than their diary counterparts – and really easy to do.

    Tempeh in particular is highly nutritious, tasty, and can take the place of meat in many recipes at a much lower cost. I’ve been making it with split hulled chickpeas in the instant pot because I’ve had a hard time getting soybeans. I recommend it as an experiment if you have access to inexpensive dried black beans, split and hulled soyabeans or split and hulled chickpeas. You can buy starter online (Cultures for Health) and only need a teaspoon at a time to make four cups of tempeh.

  56. Thank-you, Brandy…That makes total sense. I don’t know how you do it all and you remind me of the Proverbs 31 woman. God bless you!!! robyn

  57. We’ve saved an aweful lot of money in the past few months with the amount of times I havent left the house. I’m not driving back and forth to school twice a day and I’m not doing any other activities. Ive been using up our groceries and doing without things that arent needed immediately. I ran of coffee filters, so I’m using paper towels. Once I run out of half and half, I can use skim milk or drink it black. If I run out of splenda, I will drink it black. When I’m almost out of coffee, then I can get more coffee, half and half, splenda and coffee filters. When we run out of fruit and veggies, its time to get more. I started making a weekly mealplan. I always hated doing that because I write it all out and then we dont have what I planned on making. It acttually saves money because I can figure out what we have based on whats in the house. Ive also saved money by not running out and buying some things I really wanted. My laptop wont turn on. Its cheaper to get a new one. A few times I almost spent the money on one, but stopped myself. I also really want to buy a treadmill. I cant leave my daughter home alone and if she doesnt want to go for a walk, we don’t go. She’s special needs, so lets just leave it there if you dont understand. A treadmill is pretty expensive, and knowing me, I will lose the lbs that I want to and the treadmill becomes a coatrack……..so I’ve been holding off on that. I am still looking for one free or really cheap on facebook. Cant think of anything extra ordinary that I did to save money. I hope everyone has a great week!

    1. I hear you about the walks! We work with my special needs nephew and niece, and we have several special needs children of our own, although most are older now! I was so shocked that I got my nephew out for a walk in the rain the other day. I never thought it would happen, if you know what I mean!

    2. Look on Craigslist for the treadmill. We got a machine in February for a great price. Hubby and my son had to take it apart to carry it up the stairs. Most people can’t get them out of their houses so make sure you bring tools and help.

    3. What a blessing a treadmill COULD be for our 17 year-old grandson. In addition to autism, mood disorders, emotional disturbance, and physical issues, he is obese and has developed Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease with apparent worsening signs of liver inflammation. He is presently motivated to walk some, but with the extreme heat, humidity, early and late in the day mosquitoes, and side effects from his meds and chronic anemia, it is becoming more difficult for him to actually walk outside. Plus, the doctor does not want him going anywhere near people, due to being high-risk for Covid complications. So walking in a nice, cool store or mall is not possible.

      1. Tejas: Would your grandson walk to a video program indoors? YouTube must have many programs for walkers, if he is comfortable with that.
        We attempted to have our son on the autism spectrum follow a tai chi video when my husband and I were trying a beginning one. However, the sound of our deep breathing bothered him, or so he claimed, so he chose to do more walking outside. We try, but we can’t always identify his sensory issues. He is also obese, and most treadmills are not rated for his weight.

        1. Heidi Louise, Thank you for that suggestion. I will have to look into that. He has joint hypermobility and resulting pain. If it is walking in place, I don’t know that he could do that, but I will certainly check it out. I could use the exercise, as well!

          1. Tejas: Chair exercises might also work to help him get moving. For my son, there is a grouping of encouragements, ultimatums, responsibilities, maturities, rewards, and letting him think he has choices that come into play to help him start something new.

  58. Hello to all on your lovely blog, Brandy.

    My husband and I continue to study Spanish for free using Duolingo. We’ve also started watching videos in Spanish on YouTube as well.

    We were frugal in cooking all our meals from scratch and being careful not to waste. My husband had purchased chicken and beef in quantity a few months ago and I portioned it all in small freezer bags for future meals. He has not had to purchase meat since, with the exception of some lunch meat for his sandwiches.

    Your peaches look so good. A house in our neighborhood has a gorgeous peach tree- new owners moved in this year and they kindly hung a bag with a sign saying “free peaches” over their backyard wall facing the sidewalk. But alas, they picked them all far too soon.

    I hope you enjoy We Were the Lucky Ones. I borrowed it from the library and at times I thought the author was stretching the reader’s credibility with some scenes. And then I found out it was non fiction…oh my goodness. Do look up the author when you are done- there are some links to some of the musical compositions written by the real people in the book.

  59. Your apricots look amazing and the amount of gardening that you do is truly amazing. When it gets really hot here in the summer I too tend to get up very early to get in my walk, maybe cook something and do some housework before it gets too bad but, truly, I cannot imagine temperatures that hot this early in the year!
    I love reading how positive and how pro-active so many of your readers are being – taking care of things now and planning for the future.
    I have now managed to put away a small Emergency Fund and I’m determined not to touch it unless absolutely necessary. I’m also working to make at least double my minimum monthly payment on my small CC balance so that I can get it paid off by the Fall. I have made a few purchases online but I try to transfer that same amount to my Visa C the next day so it’s like I actually paid in cash.
    I am also trying to get a better handle on my grocery shopping – trying to make better and more strategic purchases rather than just buying for the sake of it. I’ve moved things around a bit in the pantry to make more space and I have eaten down more of my freezer – although I did end up putting back a few prepared servings for future use on days when I just don’t want to cook again. Last week I had two soup & sandwich dinners as I just wasn’t terribly hungry. I did make some butter chicken (from a jar) and served it over rice with lots of veg – had bacon & egg one night – salads another couple of nights as the weather had turned very hot and humid and had some frozen shrimp another night. I try to cycle through the different meats and have a few vegetarian meals but have to admit that I’m running out of steam.
    Received another set of PPE that I’d ordered online plus some reusable masks that I’d ordered also arrived so I am well prepared. My local drugstores (Shoppers for those in Canada) actually had some Lysol wipes and some small containers of hand sanitizer – but held behind the counter with a limit of one or two per person. I had completely run out of hand sanitizer so I’m happy to have even these small bottles to have with me when I’m out of the apt.
    I have managed to get in more walking this past week which has helped my mood – enjoyed one very long walk along the river with a friend on Sunday morning which cheered us both up. We sat at opposite ends of a bench at one spot and chatted while the water rushed by behind us – it was very calming. A lot of people were out but it wasn’t crowded and everyone was being very careful to respect each others space.
    I don’t have a garden (not even a balcony) but I certainly appreciate the efforts I see on my morning walks – the flowers seem to be especially vibrant this year. In addition to the Chelsea Flower show videos online I’ve also been enjoying the UK National Trust garden videos – there are a couple featuring a bluebell forest and they are spectacular and again, very calming – I highly recommend them.
    Our emergency lockdown has been extended to the end of June with a promise that things may ease slightly by the middle of the month if the numbers dictate it – and I have to admit that I really do want a haircut! I know that sounds so silly and I have managed with everything else but with no possibility for at least another month – it is getting to me. It’s not that I’m particularly vain – it’s just getting very hot and it has turned to a mass of frizz! Believe me, I’ll survive – just needed a bit of a moan. 🙂
    Stay well and stay safe everyone.

  60. I’ve spent a lot of time in my veggie gardens. I have plots in two community gardens. In addition, I have a small plot here at my apartment complex. Each plot is only about 6feet by 8 feet. I am squeezing in all the seeds I can into every inch. Yesterday, I planted a six foot row of bush beans and two twelve inch ‘micro rows’ of parsley and cilantro.
    I harvested my first strawberry. I also added some painted red rocks to the strawberry bed to discourage the birds.
    I have lettuce to harvest and more radishes. I’ve been saving the tops of my radish to make pesto.
    I have flowers on my tomatoe plants and peas.
    I thought I was going to have a very expensive week last week when I broke the frames to my glasses. Fortunately, I had purchased the extended warranty for these frames and lenses. This was the first time I had purchased the extended warranty and was so grateful I had spent that extra money. LensCrafters still had the frames in stock. For a $25 plus tax deductible, I was able to get my glasses fixed in a day. Their service was incredible. I have no affiliation with the company, I am just a very happy customer right now.
    I too have been using every bit of food and working hard at having no waste.
    I tried a new to me recipe this week – taco flavored lentils. I used Brandy’s seasoning mix for her taco soup and added a slurry of cornstarch at the end of cooking. Very yummy.
    I look forward to this post each week as well. Thank-you for continuing this blog and community.

  61. Hello everyone! I was able to do a few frugal things this week. My first veggie garden is slowly growing. My neighbor gifted me 6 cherry tomato plants which I eagerly accepted. We needed to put in new mulch in our flower beds so we “hired” my nephews to help. Fed them 2 meals and let them swim in our pond and a small monetary gift each. My husband built cornhole boards last summer so we have been having a tournament each night. It has been so fun! I made bubbles from dish soap and put it in an old bubble container I had saved and gave it to my granddaughter when she visited. We’ve been making small pots of drip coffee instead of the convenient k-cups. Made stove top popcorn for snacks instead of the microwave kind. We used our stimulus check to pay off a bill then added that payment amount to our mortgage payment. I’m stretching out the time between haircuts so I don’t need as many. My daughter in law came over to use our washer/dryer (they live in an apartment). I put a small load of our things in with hers. She gave us a loaf of banana bread. We’ve enjoyed opening the windows at night and enjoying the breeze. I skip breakfast and pack my lunch everyday to take to work. Hubs eats breakfast but skips lunch. We’ve switched to only drinking water or coffee instead of pop, etc. We’ve dropped all but a little bit of data on our cell phones.

  62. We re-planted some seeds in the garden where nothing had came up. Here it was probably too cold. We have got rhubarb & asparagus out of our garden so far. I made your no eggs chocolate cake a couple months back for Hubbies birthday & it was a success. I plan to make it again soon along with an apple cake from scratch when the Grandboys visit.

    1. Karen,

      I made no egg chocolate brownies when I noticed that the eggs were still on the counter after the pan was in the oven. ? (chemo brain) They are a bit sticky, but the guys think they’re fine! Still taste great. I’m tucking this knowledge away for any times when eggs are limited.

  63. Beautiful fruit! I come to your website to gain a sense of calm and to renew my determination to be a good steward of the things with which I am blessed.
    I am trying to be conscientious about opening windows at night to cool down the house and then closing the windows, blinds, and drapes to help keep the house cooler. I would rather keep the electric bill lower and be able to use more water for the garden areas. I have the weather channel app on my phone so I can know approximately when it will be cooler outside than inside the house, right now it’s generally between 9 and 10 at night. I also try to do outside chores first thing so it’s cooler and I don’t get quite so worn out. During the hotter part of the day I do things such as fold clothing, do hand mending, crochet, catch up on “my show”, do menu planning, do grocery shopping planning, clean out the fridge, anything that requires less physical energy and gives me a chance to recharge so I can do things in the cooler hours of the evening.
    Have a healthy and frugal week!

  64. Thank you, Brandy, for this space. As the garden season escalates I have less and less time online (I have no idea how you make time to keep up your site, but I’m glad you do!), so this is the one place I continue to visit regularly.
    *We visited a new to us discount food store. Prices were good, but not good enough to account for the distance we traveled to get there.
    *Our “name brand” grocery store had several good deals and I was able to stock up on some things.
    *We’re planning to do less grocery shopping over the next month…just a few perishables…in order to spend more when we go to pick cherries and strawberries in the next couple of weeks. We’ll pick as much as we can afford in order to take us through the coming year.
    *We picked up our chickens today. We purchased 20 hens ready to lay. I don’t think it will save money but we consider it to be a bit of an insurance policy against future uncertain times.
    *The garden continues to do grow and we’re praying for a good harvest. A few things didn’t come up, so we have purchased more seedlings and replanted. I also, pulled my radishes when it got too hot and planted more peppers. I am weeding a portion of the garden each evening after dinner.
    *We accepted food items from several acquaintances. People who get food from food banks know that we will take (and use!) anything they’re given but don’t like and would ordinarily throw away. I’m happy to put things to good use and we get a chance to look up recipes to use things we might not ordinarily eat.

  65. I know my life is boring when I discover a way to save money and it makes me excessively happy! I wanted to make a recipe but it required chives and I was not about to go to the store for one ingredient. After looking at the recipe longingly, I decided to do some garden work. While finishing off transplanting my final leeks, I realized that baby leek greens would work as well as the chives. I trim off roots and tops when I transplant, and also top them off during the season so that the leeks grow in girth and not so much height. Previously I threw the cuttings away or put them in soup, but with their tender shoots and leaves (early in the season anyway), there is no reason I can’t keep snipping some of the dark green part off and use it for chives.

    Otherwise just the usual of trying to wring ever ounce out of things like foods or clothing or water. Our small church had a potluck to celebrate the re-opening. Everyone was very respectful of distances and masks—even one older man who declared that the pandemic was “hooey” said he was wearing a mask because he wants to be respectful of the beliefs of others. As the potluck ended people took home the leftovers. We got two gallon jugs of unsweetened iced tea and two donuts, which we have put to good use.

    Thank you for posting your reminder of the purpose of this blog.

  66. Thanks for the post. The apricot /vanilla jam sounds wonderful!

    I have been working to clear out all lettuces from my garden since it’s too hot now. We had an old gallon bucket full for us, plus gave some away. We have one more harvest. On that.

    We’ve been hanging clothes out to dry.
    Using the a/c as little as possible.

    We had our first yard sales in the area. Practicing safety precautions we got a suitcase, a bed frame, and several more needed items for about 2% of the cost new.
    We were also gifted with a couple more needed items.

    We also finally got a chance to have a face to face visit with an elderly relative. ? We saves money with that trip too.

    Last, we washed all our own vehicles and equipment to save money.

  67. My first full week off for summer break! I worked in my container garden (HOA says no in ground garden) and planted more beans and radishes in pots that the plants are growing slow or not coming up. I canceled my travel plans due to so many uncertainties. I am going to use that already designated money to do some upgrades to my house, inside paint, new flower beds etc. I will recruit friends to help me do the work. I mowed my own lawn saving $30-$50. I cleaned out my summer clothes drawer and realized I don’t need much of anything for summer. Made a crockpot full of chicken broth from a rotisserie chicken, I will can it up tomorrow. I went to lunch with a friend today and used gift cards to pay for it. Found Dawn dish soap at Dollar General, then checked the cleaning aisle and found the big bottle and it was cheaper per ounce so got that it will probably last me 6 months or more. I ordered some pantry and personal items from Walmart. I get paid once a month so paid the bills this past week too. My electric and gas bill were lower due to cooler weather. Took car to dealer for oil change etc. My late husband purchased a service plan so things like that are covered for several years. Both of those books looks really interesting Brandy. I have them in my Amazon cart. 🙂

  68. I love the pictures of your summer fruit, Brandy!

    I didn’t do too much to note last week. My accomplishments:

    • Used free toiletries, washed ziplocks and foil and ran only full loads the in washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Ate dinner in 4 times. We had home grown zucchini noodles with spaghetti sauce; steak, baked potato and brussel sprouts; salmon baked potato and zucchini; Pintos and jalapenos;
    • Hung 2 of 3.
    • Walked for exercise.
    • Harvested a few zucchini and some tomatoes.
    • Hubby is working from home at least half time now, so that saves on gas. We moved furniture from one room to another to create an office for him. Rather than buy a desk, we are using a utility table we already had. If it looks like this will be a permanent thing, we’ll start looking for a desk.
    • Got 3 cantaloupe for 88c each. Got ½ gallons of milk for 25c each.

    I hope everyone stays safe out there!

    1. Wow, Laurie! You win the prize for lowest price for food! At 25 cents for milk, i think i’d buy enough to hand out to friends and relatives!

  69. Appreciate your peace statement-it’s a turbulent time and we need love to speak loudly?
    I love coming on here every week to read your blog…and it always gives me fresh ideas.
    My husband and I have been separating and propagating landscape plants to use in other landscape projects. Should contribute quite a bit of savings there.
    He’s also been keeping an eye on leaf catchers and today he found one for $200 less than what he anticipated spending for a used one.
    I didn’t go shopping this week so no money spent there. Made all the meals from scratch except for one lunch. I’ve been using sourdough quite a bit. I also made an instant pot of yogurt.
    I planted all my flower pots and baskets and was amazed how little I spent since I use a lot of perennials and have random annuals pop up.
    Strawberries didn’t do super well and only got for fresh eating this year. I plan to start 2 new rows this fall with runners from them. I worked at edging my mulched garden and just love not having many weeds to pull even with having a week of rain! I had to replant cucumbers and cantaloupe as I have pillbugs eating them off. Also replanted some beans that had gotten frozen from the frost. Kale has been producing well so we’ve been eating that a lot including kale chips. I’m happy to have lettuce in succession from planting it continuously and having summer varieties. We’ve been enjoying fresh cold mint tea as well. I used the last of the asparagus to make potluck eggs Benedict over sourdough biscuits.
    I ordered my daughter’s homeschool curriculum for next year getting 15% off since I did it in May. 2 items I got used for way less than paying new.
    I used Getupside for cash back on gas and got $.20 back a gallon. They have very good rates right now. If you want a referral and get $5 for signing up let me know and I’ll send you a link.
    Blessings to you and stay safe and healthy!

  70. Thank you, Brandy, for this lovely space and for your post this week. As others have said, the calm and positive attitude here is very special. And those apricots are gorgeous. One of my favorite memories is hiking past an abandoned orchard in Provence that was full of ripe apricot trees.

    The garden is all in now, and beautiful to see from my kitchen sink window. The herbs are taking off! The lovage is sky high and makes an excellent substitute for celery. I edged the garden beds a month or so ago, and my small boys helped by driving their tiny bulldozers down the trough to widen it. It helps with watering and amused them. My soil block experiment is doing ok – I think I’ll skip the 1/2 inch blocks for most seeds next time and do a larger size. I tried making soil blocks by pressing my mix into a tray and then cutting it in a grid like brownies. I might have to freshen the cuts again when I take them out, but it seems like it’s doing fine. The larger size block makes watering easier – the tiny ones dry out on me in half a day.

    Has anyone ever tried asparagus from seed? I missed a couple of stalks, and now they’re towering and filled with seed pods. It’s tempting to try.

    How we saved money this week:
    *Letting our kale go to seed. It overwintered beautifully with no cover and still was sweet. It had gorgeous, yellow, plumy blossoms that the bees love. More kale to come in all the garden beds, flower beds and all!
    *was surprised by my husband with a meat grinder to fit our stand mixer. Especially welcome because ground pork is absurdly expensive here in Boston, but other cuts of pork are fine. Other meats too. So hopefully, this will stretch our meat and make things more flexible too.
    *gave the boys haircuts.
    *ate out of the freezer and pantry. Popcorn is such a good snack.
    *used some bacon grease to substitute for other fat in soup and cornbread. Very tasty
    *slowly decluttering kids clothes so I can find and use things when they’re needed.
    *Found some lovely old gardening books recommended in one of Eliot Coleman’s books about winter harvests. Such fun! And they’re free online. So far I’ve looked at Dreer’s Vegetables Under Glass (http://www.digitalbookindex.org/_search/search010agriculturecropsa.asp). It would be lovely to harvest salad in winter from home.
    *brought a trunkful of plants from our divisions to a friend with a new house and helped set them out.
    *sent cosmos, borage, blackberry lily, and some other seedlings to the garden my mom volunteers at – the Dorothy Quincy Homestead (https://dorothyquincyhomestead.blogspot.com/). Such a pretty garden this year! Full of wild columbine and iris, and about to be full of old roses. I want to learn to take rose cuttings that work. I haven’t had much luck in the past, but it’s worth trying still. Madame Hardy roses! My nose can’t wait.

    Thank you all for your encouragement and good ideas! I really treasure reading them.

    1. I started saving and using our bacon grease a few months ago. I strain it first and keep it in the refrigerator. My husband uses it when he cooks eggs for breakfast. I’ve also used it in cornbread. Works great!

      1. I also save bacon grease. The only bacon that I really like is thick cut and really delicious so I don’t intend to lose any of that lovely left over. I will even mix it half & half with olive oil (saving a bit of money that way) as it is so tasty.

  71. Oh my favorite day of the week, when this post comes out!
    Glad you were able to take in a few blouses, it’s a great way to extend ones wardrobe

    Accepted some free seed potatoes and got creative finding places to plant them.
    I made simple mixed media cards for thank you cards. I used water colors, scraps of fabric, thread and a hint of glitter. They were so simple to make, I will make more for future use. I watercolored a light blue sky, sewed lines to make it look like colorful triangle flags (out of water color and fabric scraps) were hanging off them. I glittered one flag on each with clear nail polish and glitter.
    Trimmed my hair.
    Continued to dig the French drain. What a great job to do to rest my troubled thoughts. Unfortunately, I am a little behind on the weeding, but there is tomorrow.
    Mended a linen dress in the front bodice area, and hid the mend with a little embroidery.
    I make face masks to raise money for a local charity, and used some scraps from the ties to make a cat toy (sewed a square, with the tires as little tails and stuffed with catnip.) I will prob make some of these for friends who have cats.
    My favorite money stretcher of the week was taking a serving and half of white bean chili and using that to make enchiladas (just added a little cheese and stuffed taco sized tortillas) to stretch it to 3 servings.
    Have a peaceful week everyone!

  72. Just totting up in my head, the frugal wins and fails of this week.
    Frugal win – Working from home since start of March, I’ve had the heater going every day. Over the weekend I purchased a heated throw which keeps me warm while I work. No more heater going, which is good because the quarterly bill was over $300.
    Frugal fail – During the week, my internet crashed out, so I had to drive to my parents for one day, and then I walked into work for the other day that the internet was down. Then to add insult to injury, at the end of the week I went to start my car, to discover the car battery had died. At the moment the car is sitting on the street while I decide when I can afford to buy a new car battery. I can get the car started again, if I jump start it using jump leads and another person’s car, but that’s not a great long term solution. I’m lucky the car battery didn’t die when I was driving to my parent’s place.
    Frugal learning – continuing to look for bean recipes and egg recipes (egg recipes that aren’t cake, I should add) for main meals.
    Keep well everyone.

  73. I love your apricot vanilla jam recipe! I’ve made it with peaches instead of apricots, and it’s just as yummy. Homemade jam really is in a class of its own. I can’t wait until stone fruits come into season in my province so that I can make some jam!

    My frugal accomplishements for the week:
    – I made my Deceptively Simple Stewed Rhubarb (http://approachingfood.com/stewed-rhubarb/) as well as a beet dish that my mother made when I was growing up (grated cooked beets mixed with applesauce and served warm). Yummy, inexpensive, easy, and healthy side dishes.
    – I was gifted some high-end rooibos tea, organic tea, and herbal tea. I packaged some up in little craft pouches from my craft stash, created pretty labels, and sent two friends little care packages of tea. I used bubble mailers I had traded for previously. An inexpensive way to show a friend I’m thinking of them!
    – I made several batches of sun tea.
    – When using the last of some pasta sauce from a jar, I put a bit of water in the jar, swished it around, and pour that onto the pasta too. No sauce wasted! I actually have a mini spatula that I usually use to get the last dregs of items out of jars, but with sauce it’s easier just to add a bit of water and swish. And then I washed the jar to reuse as a storage jar in my pantry.
    – I have a weekly produce box and this week the produce included a few organic oranges, radishes, and beets. To get the most out of the food, I zested the orange before eating it and made lemon poppyseed muffins with the zest. I also like to zest lemons and freeze the zest to make Lemony Green Beans (http://approachingfood.com/lemony-pan-fried-green-beans/) And I sautéed the beet greens and radish tops together, along with some garlic and added it as a filling when making cheese quesadillas. Delicious, nutritious, and no waste!
    – I planted the base of a store-bought celery stalk in my balcony garden which already has quite a bit of growth, and harvested chives and green onions from my garden. I bought a 4-pack of rosemary plants for $2.
    – I made a fine motor skill game for my daughter by teaching her how to thread cheerios onto a piece of uncooked spaghetti. A new toy and fresh stimulation for her and $0 OOP for me!
    – I redeemed pinecone research rewards for $5 to my paypal account.
    – I baked two loaves of herbed sandwich bread, a batch of banana muffins, and a batch of raisin bran muffins. I put together trays of muffins to bring to two colleagues who had losses in their family recently.
    – I made cheese sandwiches on homemade bread and as well as ham and cheese sandwiches, and froze them for work lunches. Add in some veggie sticks with a homemade dip, and a piece of fruit, and I have a healthy lunch that I can just grab to go in the morning on my way to work. Packing my lunch has saved me so much money over the years, and I never get tired of sandwiches made with homemade bread (although I do vary my lunches. Homemade dal over rice is another frugal lunch that freezes well.)
    – I sprouted mung beans and made cauliflower fried rice with them. I was finally able to grow sprouts as perfect and long as the ones that stores sell!
    – I redeemed pampers loyalty points for a $5 Amazon gc.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone as always!

  74. Thank you for your blog Brandy! I look forward to it every week, it is like a meet up with like minded friends.
    This past week I received my certificate for 15 years with my company. I reached that last August but it gets recognized in April. We normally have an appreciation dinner with all staff invited but it was cancelled. I was able to pick a gift from a catalog they provide. There was nothing that I needed or wanted so I gave it to my husband and he chose Bluetooth earphones. I referred someone to a subscription that I use & will receive a month free. Picked herbs from my container pots and took salad for lunch all week with lettuce from the garden.
    Cut my bangs again and squeezed every last drop from the toothpaste. It lasted 2 weeks after it was originally declared empty. At one of my offices a rep sent in personal size strombolis for everyone. I had packed my lunch so I brought it home & it fed 3 of us lunch on Saturday. We paid off a credit card and will now apply that monthly payment to another debt. Slowly but surely we are moving towards debt free.

  75. I have finally gotten my garden in. Looking at Becky’s garden I realize I have much to learn about row spacing. I confess I use a rototiller between rows. I could plant so much more, but I don’t use weed killer and years ago I got manure that was full of invasive weeds. I can’t seem to get rid of them. My plan is to put our chickens in the garden this fall and then use their current (bare) area for gardening. Chickens can clear vegetation better than I can!
    I ordered a new pool skimmer gasket and am waiting for that so my husband can get our pool up and running with a stronger pool pump.
    Planted bunching onions gifted to me. Planted some herbs gifted to me; half died. My acre of land is on a vein of sand so even when I amend planting beds many plants can’t take the soil change, constant sun, and wind. I will just keep replanting.
    School is over this week and I am ready. We have other projects that need to be focused on. Mainly the garden and building a new chicken coop. Our flock is large and they need more roosting space. I sold a couple dozen eggs to my husband’s coworker. We do not have irrigation but have had so much rain in the past two weeks that our grass went to seed! My husband spent two days mowing. He had to cut the lawn multiple times. We will be weed whipping tonight.
    I only purchased milk, fruit, and vegetables last week. Trying to save every last penny. The tellers at the bank smile when I stop by with a handful of change to deposit in savings. Every little bit helps.

    1. At our previous gardens, we spaced our rows further apart. With so many kids at home, we had to be able to till between the rows! It was a matter of time. I also went to most of the garden in the row system, added to several raised beds for the rest. We live in a very wet, rainy climate and that allowed me to stay in the garden early in the spring and later into the fall and it’s where I started experimenting with winter gardening.

      Now, since we had to move into town and I only have my back yard to work with, I can’t just tell Rob to go till up another garden area down by the barn, as I used to do:). So, that’s why I’m working so hard to cram everything in. But, I totally confess that it’s a lot more hand work this way and I wouldn’t have had time for it when I had so many kids at home. In fact, I was reminiscing with my husband just yesterday how I used to plant 10 rows of green beans at a time at the old house….we had to can so many quarts to have enough–usually 100 at least every year. Now, it’s a bit easier to get the amount we need.

  76. Last week was not a money saving week for us unfortunately as our garage door opener broke & was not fixable. We then also decided to replace our garage door as both were original to the house being built in 1980 & it wasn’t in the best shape either. The good thing is our tax refund (which was delayed being done bc of covid & our accountant being backed logged) will cover this expensive purchase so we’re so grateful for that.

  77. The picture of your peaches and blackberries takes me back to my childhood. I was raised on an orchard (apples, peaches and pears) that also had a huge blackberry bramble, in north central Washington. Every summer my mother would make the most wonderful peach and blackberry cobbler. We would have it with homemade vanilla ice cream. Oh, that was just the dessert of summer. My father would let us have it for breakfast. After all, you are getting fruit and dairy, 🙂
    In the garden this week, we planted a second bed of snow peas. We also planted 3 rows of tomato plants, 7 rows of corn and 2 rows of cucumbers. Weeded both garlic beds the dill and the candy onions. A neighbor gave me a dozen glad bulbs. I love glads, but usually don’t plant them, as we have to dig them up in the fall (it gets too cold here for them to overwinter). I transplanted 24 lettuce plants from our trough planter to a raised bed. My DH fertilized the garden.
    I took breakfast and lunch to work on the 3 days I worked.
    Over the weekend, I made chow mein for lunches this week. Also cooked up some chicken.
    Had popcorn for a snack a couple of times. Actually, for dinner one night.
    Was able to get butter for $1.99 a pound. Got 6 for the freezer.
    Made dinner at home each night.
    There were probably other things, but that is all I can remember.

    1. Oh thank you for jogging a memory! My Mom loved to eat homemade apple pie for breakfast and one year her best friend got up early and made her one for breakfast as a loving gift.

  78. My comment is actually a question: how do you store the seeds you gather from your garden? My grandmother used to collect hers in empty prescription bottles after she removed the labels, and oftentimes would keep them in the freezer. I’m wondering if there’s an alternative method than that.

    1. I keep them in envelopes that come with junk mail and I store them in shoe boxes in a dry spot. Make sure the seeds are thoroughly dried out or they wild mold.

  79. We were very excited to be able to change our internet provider, saving us half the cost of our bill and more then doubling our speed. Our townhome only has a small amount of garden space to work with, but we’ve filled it the best we can and are excited to see things starting to flower and grow. My sister gave me an oregano plant she didn’t want, and I am excited to add that to our other plants.

  80. Just thought of another TV programme that some of you ladies might like to watch, if you don’t already know it. It’s called The Repair Shop and is on the BBC. Members of the public take their family heirlooms or sentimental possesions that need restoration to The Repair Shop where craftspeople/ artists,/ artisans work on them and restore them. Often there are lovely stories of family history and a really wide range of things which are restored. It’s a mixture of history, art and craft / antiques and I love watching experts do their thing and bring something back to life. ( I love the teddy bear restorations!,)
    It’s gentle viewing. Hope you can find it.

      1. Hi Deanna and Patricia
        I’m glad you know about the programme – like you I’m in awe of these people’s skill.

  81. I cut my hair too – though probably would have been better off if your husband did it LOL. I used scraps to stretch store bought dog and cat food, and I made stock with bones to use in both dog food and cooking. Thank you for the inspiration as always

  82. I always think I will remember all I want to include in my posts and then I forget.

    I read last week about a mom getting lunches from school and deconstructing those that her children didn’t care for. I decided to pick up lunch today as I had other reasons to be in town. My children do not care for the ham sandwiches on white buns. I took the meat and put it through my meat grinder. I added relish and mayo and made my husband ham salad for his work meals. I then took the buns and used them to make baked french toast casserole for tomorrow’s breakfast. There are many fancy versions of this online. I simply fill a 9 x 13 greased pan about half way with torn bread and/or rolls, beat a dozen eggs with about 1 cup of milk, and pour over the bread. Press the bread down into the egg mixture and sprinkle with cinnamon. Cover and let set in fridge overnight. Bake at 350 for about 35-40 minutes until eggs are set. My original recipe called for cubes of cream cheese, 1 cup pure maple syrup, more milk, and blueberries. I decided to make it more frugal and tweaked the recipe. (Children put syrup on it to eat, so why use it twice?)
    Anyway, thanks for the idea. I am working hard to look at leftovers and “undesirable” foods in new ways. I am at zero waste currently. All peelings and scraps that don’t get eaten go to the chickens or my compost bin.

    1. I learned here about the ‘pandemic ebt’ card for student’s on free lunches at their schools. I told my friend who is raising her grandson. Such a blessing to be able to tell her about the program. This community is awesome for sharing their knowledge.

  83. One item I made this week that was popular was breakfast cookies. They were low in sugar (used honey or maple syrup) and were full of good grains and other ingredients. The kids ate for snacks and for breakfast. I also used some sad looking frozen meatballs, put them in the crockpot all day w/ a sweet and sour sauce and served over rice. The kids loved them.

  84. Brandy, thank you for creating this safe place where everyone is welcomed and supported. The past two months of staying at home have been calm and peaceful, a much needed break from the busy-ness of life on the go with the grandkids. My great joy, distraction, therapy, and plan for food security has been my garden. This year we tripled our area of garden space by building two 8×4 raised beds, utilizing 7 large rectangular planters we had had for years, 15 large, plastic shrub containers picked up from the side of the road, 5 large laundry baskets from Dollar Tree (sides lined with large, cut, cat food bags, to hold the soil in place,) and a myriad of pots and containers accumulated over almost 44 years of marriage. I am in Zone 9 with direct sun over most of my yard for the vast majority of the daylight hours. I utilized existing beds that are directly against the back of the house, as they are the first to get the shade by 2 pm, for those plants that cannot withstand the brutal sun and heat for 10 hours. I also researched which herbs and veggies can be grown in mainly shade and dappled sunlight under the shrubs at the edge of our yard.
    In early spring I planted basil, sage, thyme, parsley, and dill to add to the perennial bed of oregano and a large, potted rosemary from last year. I also planted red, white, and yellow bulbing onions and potatoes the first week of February, which I just harvested. In their place, I planted okra, sweet potatoes, black-eyed peas, and black beans yesterday. In early spring I also planted zucchini, butternut squash, green beans, sugar and white pumpkins, watermelon, cantaloupe, , bell and anaheim peppers, beets, carrots, lettuce, and 16 tomato plants.I was given 4 cucumber plants that are steadily producing. I also planted roughly 600 plastic spoons, tines up, ($9 for the box at Sam’s) to keep out the multitude of cats that frequent our yard. I also planted pomegranate and blackberry bushes to go with our existing fig tree.
    Our yard also contains bright, yellow-orange cannas, purple-blue salvias, golden daylillies, purple passion flower vines, pink-flowering mimosa trees, red crape myrtles,, purple Texas sage bushes, and pink and yellow lantana. All are perennials that can survive our heat. My little piece of heaven was doing great until our hailstorm last week, so severe that our governor declared our county a disaster area. Thankfully, I had been able to bring all potted vegetables inside, so they survived the devastation, uninjured. My bulbing onions were so badly damaged that I had to harvest them early, and thus got only about 1/5 of what are usually my amount of usable onions. The squash and zucchini were the hardest hit, and I am watching to see if they come back. Some green bean plants survived, but I also planted more seeds. The broken and battered in-ground tomatoes are already reflowering and putting on new baby tomatoes. Nature is miraculous, and God is so good!
    The best news is that we think the insurance company will finally cover our damaged and leaking roof now. We have been trying for months, but they had declined to cover anything but patches. There is some damage inside the house from leaking. We are waiting on the latest inspection. It sure would be a blessing to not have to pay the $1100 roof cost out of pocket.
    Otherwise, my doctor has advised me to continue to stay at home and utilize curbside grocery pickup and go nowhere except doctor appointments. Our area’s cases have never slowed, and we continue to have deaths. I have plenty to keep me occupied at home, and am grateful for a couple family members who can run errands for us. In our own little corner of the world, our home, we have peace and love, and that’s all we need.

        1. Ann, thank you! We hope to find out the beginning of the week. The roof inspector expects it will be covered, as he said the hail “totally destroyed” our roof.

  85. Thank you for this blog. All my garden is in and using my water barrels to water the garden. Also I use my gray water from the washing machine to water and I hang out my laundry to dry on clothesline. When I got to the store I usually go to Wal- Mart looking for discount meat and produces. Next week I hope to go to farmer market to check out maybe getting some beef from local farmers. I do look forward to seeing this blog come out every week and on the wonderful comments

  86. Than you Brandi for the responses to my queries on your prior post and the pointers left by the others>its wonderful to receive encouragement from anywhere at times.
    This a little motto that I wrote in March when I was sick to keep my focus…hope it helps you and forgive me that I don’t know the source from where I had copied it…
    “I will seek to balance career and family as best I can since both are important to me. My home will be a place where I and my family,friends and guests find joy,comfort,peace and happiness. Still I will seek to create a clean and orderly environment yet livable and comfortable.I will exercise wisdom in what we choose to eat,read,see and do at home.
    I especially want to teach my children to love,to learn and to laugh-and to work and develop their unique talents.I value the rights,freedoms and responsibilities of our democratic society.I will be a concerned & informed citizen, involved in the political process to ensure my voice is heard and my vote is counted.
    I will be a self-starting individual who exercises initiative in accomplishing my life’s goals. I will act on situations and opportunities rather than to be acted upon. I will always try to keep myself free from addictive destructive habits, I will develop habits that free me from old labels & limits and expand my capabilities & choices.
    My MONEY will be my servant and NOT my master. I will seek financial independence over time. My wants will be subject to my needs and my means . Except for long-term home and car loans, I will seek to keep myself free from consumer debt. I will spend less than I earn and regularly save or invest part of my income. Moreover, I use what money and talents I have to make life more enjoyable for others through service and charitable givings.”
    Makes sense most if all of it…
    My week is as follows:
    I surveyed and decluttered the closets for both of my kids…Amazing feat 🙂 and we were able to donate and put some onto the Thredup site…My link if anyone wants to use for joining…http://www.thredup.com/r/JQQR26 They have redone the site and its more user-friendly now…
    We received my unemployment benefit finally and it was a bit of a surprise so we are going to use it to pay the last of my consumer debt. We had abt 8k in CC debt from November 2019.
    We also gave $$$ anonymously to a single mom( and a friend) to two who is a Montessori teacher and lost her job in April. She has been doing Sunday Bible class for little ones via Zoom. every week We felt her financial burdens as she asked the kids to pray that God would open a job for her. She didn’t know we were listening in.
    I could also finally look at some clothes for my little girl as she is going through a growth spurt.I thought Amazon had some good wholesale deals as do Thredup. I didn’t know any other online consignment site.
    Made Naans, made indian dosa batter; made noodle soups(yet to go through my veggie scraps to make veg broth) ; most meals; used my coffee grounds for my garden beds,finally succumbed to getting madison reed hair dye and getting it done(it worked well btw with a couple pointers I rather use).
    My cilantro got rotten so fast in the fridge even after I cleaned it and put it with dry paper towels and we didn’t get to use them.
    We will be needing more soil soon. My herbs got withered/wiped out in the heat so only carrots r growing and my green onions.
    Its only lower 90s here in grow zone 7b so I am wondering if they will do with less sunlight now.
    Mortgage: we have been researching this and with all the extra payments it looks like we maybe done sooner than we think. Ten years if we calculated it right. As of today, if anyone is thinking of refinancing to 2.625% do it soon. IT will be up again and you can probably get a super low rate in the winter.
    Entertainment: watching reruns of agatha christie from youtube and Amazon prime.
    Note to Brandi: I have been through your archives, learning from it and looked esp. for your homeschooling tips. Reread that french book abt getting your kids to eat anything. Really nice take to it and very true. I didn’t know the french shared many tips that my sisters and I had for dining when we were growing up. I guess we had alot of european influence at the time.

  87. Sheeba,
    Goodwill has an website where you can buy second-hand goods/

    We’ve found that cutting th eends off cilantro and putting the bunch in a jar of water in the fridge is a good way to keep that herb. You do have to periodically chage the water and re-cut the stems, though.

    1. hey Cara
      Yeah I have seen tht comment abt the cilantro being preserved that way. Just wondered whether it would work.
      I didn’t know that the Goodwill in Dallas had a site. I kept looking for consignment stores as I had done in NJ.

  88. After a long rainy stretch here in N.C., it is now hot and more summer like. Lettuce is bolting, radishes are about done along with beets , kale and chard.

    My best find last week was strawberries at Aldi for 50 cents a quart. I bought 7 gallons worth. The u pick place we usually go to had them for $9 gallon. My little patch is about done and I am creating another small patch in another spot, and will transplant this fall.

    We have been eating greens from kale, chard, radish tops, greens for lunch everyday. My beans , cakes and peas all were killed by folly polllies and I bought some organic spray for them. They had plants that were languishing for 25 cents and so I bought 9 cukes and a pepper.

    I have started work with a friend and we were cleaning out her pantry and repotting plants. She was throwing out stuff and I asked if I could have the food. She was glad to pass it on and the same when we were repotting and she didn’t want the excess. I came home with five cukes and two basil plants. I can not stand to see good things wasted and she was happy to find homes for things. I shared the oatmeal with a daughter for her family.

    I bought a hanging plant on clearance at Lowe’s and two begonias and came home and repotted them.

    I am walking daily by meyself in the morning, and in the evening with my husband. I also walk with my client friend, I am introducing her to weights
    and doing them with her.

    I found pork meatballs for 99 cents a lb and bought 3 pounds and gave some to my daughter as I am making her a dinner a week as she is first trimester with number5. I made baguettes and fruit and veggies to round outthe meal. I also made bbq. Hi men for a new mom at church and found a roaster on clearance.

    I love the photos of your fruit, Brandy,just seeing their beauty calms my soul. Thank you for the gift you bring each week!

  89. Well, I didn’t save much money at all. I did buy (through my volunteer) 10 cans of Dole’s pineapple at Canada Safeway for $1 per can and some more Heinz baked beans for the same price. A great price for the pineapple. One of my free-food-delivery volunteers lives near Superstore and she had said if I ever needed anything to let her know so I asked if she would mind picking up bedding out plants.
    I had decided we only live once so I would enjoy beautiful flowers at hime while growing most of the veggies at the community centre.

    I had only wanted some lobelia and some petunias. Plant shopping in the time of covid became interesting. Superstore had no lobelia in 6 packs.
    No petunias. It is late to be buying plants but I don’t think it matters — with the nice weather, I’m sure the stores were jammed, and everything was hard to get from the beginning. So here’s what happened:

    Her: Oh, these red plants look lovely! (on her cell phone)
    Me: How much? How big or small?
    Her: answers
    Me: do we know what it is? buy it!
    Her: No but it’s pretty!
    Me Definitely buy it

    Her: Oh these blue plants are nice! and so it repeats.

    I am so grateful that she would go! I usually don’t buy many annuals so ended up with more than usual.

    Very expensive in the end but the surprises were really nice! I ended up with a monster plant which I think is a basil, three small lavender plants,
    12 red plants that I think are salvias. A huge planter hanging basket that was the only lobelia so I will transplant them into the smaller baskets,
    6 red geraniums (quite lovely) a six pack of some petunia-lie tiny bell-shaped plants, a couple of six packs of orange impatiens plants. The hummingbirds should be very happy indeed, in spite of not having fuschias or lobelias. With covid, I’m just grateful to get anything.

    My Armenian cucumbers are not germinating. (!!!) My nasturtiums have finally started to germinate. I will plant some sweet pea seeds.

    The person who threw away or recycled my mason jars two years ago also threw out the rims and lids (some unused in boxes) so I am replacing those. The rhubarb is ready to cut. I plan on making rhubarb and strawberry jam, carrot jam (I’ve never done that), and Saskatoon jam. I am trying to get around that the said person also threw out or recycled my two Dutch ovens and my stockpot so now I only have one Dutch oven which will make making jam and sterilizing jars difficult. Still thinking about that!

    I don’t have room for a 7 month supply of food so am aiming for a 3 month supply. I’ve been listening to the second waves of covid starting in some countries. The good news is that there were only 7 new cases in our province today and I hope we can keep it low. In the meantime, it is a concern worldwide that some of the children have missed vaccinations for childhood diseases which we had eliminated. I hope our government can provide catch up immunization clinics between now and the fall.

    1. Wow – so many flowers – your garden will look amazing. My local No Frills has a small garden centre set up and it seems to be popular. There are a couple of flower shops in the same neighbourhood – that also sell bedding plants/seedling – but I haven’t noticed them being open as yet. I must check them out next week as I’d hate for them to go out of business.

  90. I enjoy your blog so much! Your posts and the other readers’ comments inspire me to be intentional about my spending and frugal efforts.
    We are gearing up for a change in income soon — my husband is changing to a different job that will pay much less than he currently gets. However, we expect to see major savings on other monthly expenses thanks to this change. Hopefully, it will balance out! We have a lot of credit card and student loan debt and need to make headway on paying those things off.

    During our time in quarantine I made a greater effort to use what we have in the freezer and pantry to cook meals. Now that our state is open, it’s been far more of a temptation to stop and pick up food while we’re out running errands. This week I canned 9 pints of chicken broth from rotisserie chicken bones I’ve saved, and will make another big batch this weekend I will continue to dig around in the freezers to use up what we have.

    Our big frugal highlights of the week started with a home haircut for my son. I read several ebooks I already had through Netgalley. Also, the dryer wasn’t working; turned out that the duct was clogged and needed to be cleaned. My husband has a hard time getting into the crawlspace, so we ended up sending the kids down to fix it. They Facetimed hubby and he walked them through the process. They were finished in about 10 minutes! We paid them $10 each. Win for everyone!

    1. Dianna, Good going on the dryer and your children helping! How great was that? I’m not sure i would have thought to send in the kids. That was brilliant!

  91. I hope you enjoyed We Were The Lucky Ones. I loved that book and have recommended it to several people. Stories like that put me in my place quickly when I feel like complaining.

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