My last three weeks have been crazy busy and I haven’t been able to blog at all. On top of that, we had no internet for most of the first of those three weeks.

My savings were not as much as normal in so many ways, but I still managed to save as much as possible.

My husband cut my hair and I cut his hair and one son’s hair.

I picked snow peas and cut green onions and lettuce from the garden.

I made a large pot of beans and rice so that we could have burritos for several days.

I hosted a garden tour of my garden, and one person brought me oranges from her neighbor’s tree. They are delicious! Another person brought me mulberries and a baby mulberry tree.

My husband had to do some last-minute traveling for work, and I was able to go with him on the first one. It was about 6 hours away, and there were two gardens on the way that I hadn’t seen for 20 years (Huntington Library and Descanso Gardens), so we saw one garden on the way there and one on the way back. I realized how much these garden really influenced my gardening style as a child; I thought I knew, but seeing specific things in the gardens made me realize it was so much more than I had previously thought.

The hotel had valet parking only ($46!) Fortunately, the meeting he had to attend would validate parking, so we made sure to get that taken off. We also brought food with us for one meal, brought snacks with us, and split a meal out to save money and calories.

His second one was an assignment to work across the country, and he had to be there in two days. I went with him so that we could drive straight through, and I drove most of the way. We brought food and water with us for the drive, and bought food for him when we arrived so that he can avoid eating out, for both financial and health reasons. We were able to see a friend of mine that I hadn’t seen for years on our way; she was very close to our route.

And while not necessarily frugal nor at all planned, I ended up having a very amazing birthday at the Chicago Botanic Garden while my husband started the first day of his new assignment. The weather was absolutely beautiful, including a 20-minute downpour (fortunately, I had packed an umbrella!) It wasn’t at all how I expected to spend my birthday, but it was amazing! I even spoke with a woman who was also there for her birthday!

Now I’m back home and the weather is beautiful. I am opening the windows in the mornings and the evenings to cool the house, closing them in the heat of the day. We’re days away from needing to run the air conditioners, but I will continue to open windows and doors to cool the house while I can to save hours of electricity use as well as to fill the house with fresh air (so much nicer than perfuming the air with air fresheners, and free as well!)

All pictures from this post were taken in the gardens at Huntington Library in San Marino, California.

What have you done to save money the last three weeks?

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  1. I hope your garden tour was a great success!! I’m sure that there was a lot of prep work involved, but wonder if because of your prep, it might be easy to repeat as a side hustle, especially if you had to turn away anyone because you had reached your maximum capacity. Just a thought!

    We have now used all 600+ “hot air balloon” paver bricks – both whole and half ones on our walkway project. We have several that Hubs kept reserved to cut with his angle grinder to fit in the edges where regular bricks would not fit. and . We used our old purple bricks to stretch the other bricks out farther and then we will use the rest of the purple bricks to finish the rest of the walk so it will all be level and uniform! No money spent, just some hard work and time. Best part is that we can do it in bits of time so we don’t overdo the work. Hubs built this “ work table” totally from scraps to cut bricks on so he doesn’t have to bend way over. And here’s how those specialty cuts looks around the fire pit perimeter: ,

    Our electricity bill was down again this month and our gas bill (which we have on a level pay so that in the winter we are never overwhelmed with a high heating bill!) was ZERO, because we still had a credit this year of over $572!! So I’m thinking that we may not have another gas bill to pay for two more months after this as well!! Furnaces have not been running and with our tankless hot water heater and only using our gas clothes dryer 2 loads/week, our usual usage is way down! We just replaced our final furnace that is over 20 years old. Our daughter had suggested waiting until it was off-season, which it now is, and recommended an HVAC contractor. She is purchasing the furnace using her employee discount and the total cost quoted was amazing. So for winter this coming year, all 3 furnaces will be high efficiency!

    I found 10 (3 pound) tubes of 81/19 ground chuck for $1.59/ pound on Flashfood, so I bought it and split among my 2 daughters, 1 DIL and myself so we are all pleased at the savings!

    On Saturday we had our Project Linus service event with the youth from our Church. I did get all 10 quilt kits made up just using scraps from my fabric stash! The teens worked hard and, in just 2-1/2 to 3 hours, got all 10 quilt tops about 90% finished. Here are 8, quilted on my longarm and ready for binding.,,,,,, and
    The following Saturday, there was a baby shower for a new mom who was having a baby boy, so I made this quilt as a baby gift totally from fabric stash I had at home, so no OOP cost!! 🎉🎉

    Our weather has been warmer this past 2 weeks so I planted several things in my veg and herb beds. We hired two teenagers from church to help remove/replace the long sides of two of the veg beds. We redid them ourselves last Spring, replacing 4 x 4’s with cement blocks but weren’t happy with them. So we bought new 4 x 4’s (cost about $200, but the previous ones lasted 20+ years). and

    I bought 5 thornless red raspberry bushes that are prolific and really cold hardy to try in my raspberry bed.
    Our fruit trees have been blossoming and I’m hopeful that we will get a good harvest this summer!

    Frugally, I am deciding that because I have 4 dozen jars of pickle relish in the basement, that I will only plant 1 four pack of cucumbers for us to enjoy fresh! Same with tomatoes. Because of the amount we have stored already, I will plant just 1 Sweet 100, 1 yellow pear, 1 Slicing and 1 Lemon Boy tomato. This will take every bit of will power I have!!

    I am also giving away a dozen 1 gallon size clumps of chives that have grown from an original 69 cent four-pack of starts that I bought 4 years ago! I am keeping 1 for us. This will give me the garden “real estate” that they have been taking up! I will also be giving away chocolate mint plants. Any readers in the greater Columbus (OH) area that would like some, please contact me!!

    And here’s an idea to make a FREE mini raised bed planter that I came across that uses just 1 recycled wooden pallet!

    So that was my past three weeks. Not anything earth-shaking, but still finding lots of things to be grateful for.

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. I wish I was closer! I’d love some chives and chocolate mint. I’ll keep looking locally for folks willing to split them. Hoping you enjoy the new garden space! It’s always an adventure.

    2. Your garden and your quilts are an inspiration! I am newly in the greater Columbus area and would love some chives and chocolate mint. I’ll send an email to the address on your website.

      What type of wood 4×4’s do you use? Cedar, pressure treated, or something else? At my old house I had raised beds made out of much thinner cedar wood that were starting to break down after 5 or 6 years.

      1. Emily- It was such fun to meet you today! So fun to think that you live as close as you do!! The 4 x4’s are definitely pressure treated and have been in place for over 20 years! Thank you again for the lovely hostas!! Husband, Dave, is over the moon because he has already got an area earmarked for some hostas!!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

    3. Hi pat,
      I don’t know if you’ll see this or not but I hope so. I want to make your layered chili again. It was so good, but I’ve lost the recipe. Can you post it at sin. I would be so grateful. Thank you

  2. You are beautiful! Happy birthday! So glad you got to go in both trips! Gas ranges from $2.99 gallon at SAMS in University town, to $3.49 a couple of hours further south. I made dried lima beans, rice, and then a pot of canned turnip and mustard greens, all from food storage. I then decided to combine the above into a soup and added apple cider vinegar, hot sauce, and lot of V8 juice that needed to be used. I am eating oatmeal for breakfast, and cheese sandwiches for lunch. I have been on a cane for about three weeks bc of back issues but I am still walking, just very slowly and sometimes with the aid of the cane. I am slowly getting better.It is an old injury from where I cracked three vertebrae as a child. I did manage, and it took me all day to clip the tops off of grass with a hedge clipper. My kid is repairing his lawn mower using utube videos. Your garden is beautiful. Hope your husband’s new job is going well! Continued blessings to y’all.

  3. I saw the picture of the bridge and thought you have a garden like the Huntington in Las Vegas. Then read the rest of your entry. My husband grew up five minutes from Descanso Gardens and I grew up ten minutes from the Huntington. We still live in the San Gabriel Valley. Your pictures are great and that’s a really lovely picture of you.

    1. Thank you! They were both lovely but I found myself liking Huntington more, and I was wanting to see Descanso the most!

    2. I grew up in Arcadia and my parents live in Pasadena and my brother and his family live in San Marino. I am often down visiting the area.🙂

  4. I paid off my mortgage! I am totally debt free! I have made double payments on my mortgage for the last 3 years, living very frugally, growing my hair long so I didn’t spend in hairdresser and eating out of the (community) garden, canning, freezing and dehydrating food. i haven’t quite realized what it means to have paid the mortgage but I will now keep on saving for long due renovation of my home, mainly kitchen and bathroom. I haven’t bought clothes at all and use my clothes until they rip. almost every day of the last couple years I would check the balance of my mortgage account and would note how much of my payment would go to the bank (interest) and would dream about when I would be mortgage free. Sorry bank, i won’t pay you anymore!

    This may sound embarrassing for some but my apartment complex has common garbage dumpster that are in a locked room in the underground parking. In the last 4 years I have gathered over 5000$ worth of pop and beer cans and returnable bottles. There is about 150 apartment suites in my complex and one could easily gather 30-40$ a week if not more. It all adds up. These days other residents have noticed that it can be a source of income and have taken over but if I see some I will take them and drop them off at the depot. Every little bit helps and I have to drop my own at the depot.

    Happy saving you all!

    1. It takes much grit and determination to do what you have done. So impressive! Congratulations!

    2. Jane, congratulations on paying off your mortgage! Also I don’t think there is anything wrong or embarrassing about recycling those cans & bottles. It is an income stream AND keeping those items out of a landfill!

    3. Jane BIG CONGRATULATIONS on paying off your mortgage
      Best feeling and I did it even though it was poopood at the time(2005)
      The can collecting is equally impressive
      You are a shining example of frugal

    4. Congratulations on paying off your mortgage! One of the best things we have ever done and such a feeling of freedom. And I would totally collect the recyclables, too. You are helping to reduce waste (one of my biggest pet peeves) and making some money, as well. Sounds perfect to me! 🙂

    5. Congratulation on paying off the mortgage. That is amazing. Hubby and I are working on paying ours off early too.

    6. Congratulations, Jane! That is quite an achievement! I do wish we would go back to deposit/return on those items. $5000 freed that much to put towards your now fully-owned home.🎉🎉

    7. Jane, that is so awesome!! I remember when my husband first told me he wanted to get out of debt. I thought I was looking at the impossible dream, but like you we just saved every penny and found new ways to save more and more and we finally paid off all our debt and then our mortgage. That was over 10 years ago…It’s lifechanging, but not in the way some people might think. Lifechanging because we kept right on saving and we too have done home reno projects and repairs that would have murdered a budget otherwise.

  5. -This is for 3 weeks, I just kept adding. I miss this community when it is not available however Brandy I am glad you were able to travel and the pictures are beautiful! Welcome back!
    -Winter continues here we had ice and more snow this week. But on a happy note, the robins are back! Spring might really be coming.
    -I only shopped for sales and loss leaders this week. This is my big monthly shop. The best prices were: a head of lettuce for $1.50, cucumbers-$0.80/each, dole coleslaw shredded packages-$0.99, 1# bags of Creamette egg noodles for $1.49/each, and russet potatoes 5# were 2/$5. I spent $45 at the grocery store. And I spent $40 at Costco for milk, bread, half and half, garlic, and smoked paprika. I also bought 2 dozen eggs from my friend who has chickens. I pay $4 a dozen, they are organic, extra large eggs with deep yellow yolks. A bargain at that price! This is my shopping for the month except for milk and fresh produce as needed.
    -We continue to eat our canned goods and out of the freezer. I shut down one of the three freezers.
    -I roasted a whole chicken. We had that twice with mashed potatoes, gravy, and veggies. I used the carcass to make broth and half the chicken chunks for chicken noodle soup. The other half of the chicken chunks was made into chicken salad with the addition of mayonnaise, celery, craisins, and chopped pecans (from the freezer). We ate this with crackers, it was super yummy.
    -I ordered our 1/4 of beef for late summer.
    -I made 2 dozen muffins for Easter breakfast at church. I used ingredients I had to make these. I made blueberry muffins. I have one ice cream bucket left of frozen blueberries. I froze 5 buckets last summer.
    -Saturday was our family Easter dinner, we smoked a boneless pork butt I purchased on sale last fall. #6 pound piece of meat for $7.50. We have about half left. We will be eating some this week and freezing a few meals. My granddaughter and I also made a double batch of whole wheat yeast rolls for the meal, I froze 12 of them for later. We also made chocolate chip cookies, those were all eaten.
    -I made a 12# bone in ham for Easter dinner for hubby and I. Large amount left. I froze the ham bone and meat liquor for a pot of soup. I also froze 8 packages of ham slices and 2 packages of chopped ham pieces..
    -Between both the above meals we have leftovers and will be eating on them this week. I repurposed some of the smoked pork into nachos and pulled pork sandwiches. I also froze 2 packages of the meat.
    -I sewed a dress for myself for Easter from fabric bought at JoAnnes on the clearance rack. The main color was lavender with gold and silvers threads wove within the pattern. I used the striped with gold and silver thread for the bodice and one layer of skirt ruffle and the the more plain purple with silver thread for 2 of the skirt ruffles. After cutting the bodice out, I didn’t have enough fabric left for the section of skirt I wanted to use it for. (I needed to cut 3 pieces). So I folded and cut it in thirds and made a thinner skirt piece. I measured that against the pattern and added the length I was missing to the next skirt piece. It turned out great. I hade many compliments on my dress at church. I haven’t sewn for myself in a few years, it was fun and satisfying.
    -I am working on my last embroidered flour sack dishtowel. I am doing 4 of them for the gift cupboard for now. I work on these in the car. We go see my MIL every week and it is a 3 hour round trip.
    -I made 2 heavy duty handled bags from 40# sunflower seed sacks that were empty. They sewed up quickly and I used something that would have been thrown. I will keep them in my car for groceries, farm market purchases, or larger items.
    -I bought a appliance cover for $1.49 (it was too short for my blender). I also bought a quilted sofa arm cover for $0.99. I used this to lengthen the appliance cover to fit my blender. It turned out great!
    -I canned 8 pints of cream of mushroom soup base. Plan to can some dry beans this week before my days get crazy with spring and garden work. We still have snow but I usually plant cold weather crops min May. We will see.

    Have a great week!

      1. Cut about 6 inches off the top. I cut this 6 inch piece into two 3 inch pieces. I used this for the handles. The rest of the bag, I sewed the bottom closed, then made a seam diagonal to this seam about 3 inches deep (creating ears) on both sides. These folded down on the inside. This created a boxy bag like a grocery sack. I used them for groceries, they are very sturdy.

        1. Thank you. I think this is a great way to get more use out of these bags. (We usually put trash in them.)

    1. JulieT you did a fantastic job and stayed focused on being frugal so many talents that add up to savings.

  6. Chicago Botanic Garden would be a wonderful place for a birthday! Perhaps you picked up an idea for ANOTHER garden for your yard at one of these places?
    I got a new washing machine for my birthday last week, waving a sad good-bye to my 33 year old Kenmore, as the cold water didn’t always work. We went for the fewest features and thus lower price at the local family operated appliance store we hope stays in business. Installation and hauling away the old one were included, as well as an extra fifty dollars off for no stated reason. They also repair the appliances they sell, another reason we try to shop locally.
    We took some broken electronics in for the county recycling day and the REMC people volunteering there were giving out free packages of snap pea seeds for advertising. I’m not sure if I will try to plant them or should just feed them to the squirrels raw from the pack.
    Called the phone company to see if they have a better plan for us– they don’t, but at least I tried.
    My nephew and his family are celebrating the life of his daughter, who died two years ago, with a work commissioned for 5th-8th grade band. It premiers tonight and I am excited to watch the live stream from hundreds of miles away.

    1. The celebration of life is a lovely idea – how wonderful you were able to watch the live stream. I hope it went well and the family is wrapped in love in remembrance.

  7. Happy belated birthday! What a great way to spend the day 🙂 It’s been a long time since I’ve visited any formally planned gardens…I wonder how much differently I would view them now that I flower farm. (If nothing else, I would recognize a lot more of what everything was!)

    Also, that parking price is insane!! Thank goodness they validated. I would have croaked.

    Here are some of my latest frugal wins:

    1. Recognizing plants was a huge difference for me! Someone even asked what a plant was and I knew it! It was one I only learned recently.

  8. What a lovely picture of you! It is hard to save money on trips, partly because my husband always sees them as a holiday from regular eating. Bring on the chips and pop and fast food! Whereas I am happy to eat at the hotel breakfast and then nothing until a light evening meal. Even fast food places have some healthier items. So congrats on being able to save money and calories on your trips.

    A lot of what I have been doing the last few weeks cost money but will yield money saving in the future. I speak of my gardening. We still have snow and below freezing temps every night and most days, but the garage is filled with transplants. It cost money to buy the soil and some of the seeds (although I saved money by going to a seed exchange and also saving seeds that were not used in prior years) and to run the grow lights, but the savings come harvest will be significant.

    1. I lost two pounds last week! I gained almost 30 pounds in lockdown and this was the stubborn number I couldn’t ever get past! So I am excited! 15 pounds to get where I was and my clothes should all fit again. 20 to get to my goal.

      1. Good for you, Brandy! It is tough to lose that weight! I gained during the lockdowns and can’t get it to budge. I told my nurse practitioner this and she said she sees this daily, the lockdown weight gain that won’t budge.

        1. Well, I haven’t been able to either, but this last month I decided to join my friends in fasting during Ramadan, and I immediately realized why I haven’t been losing weight–daytime (especially afternoon) snacking.

          This last week of traveling I wasn’t fasting, but the habit has stopped, for now (it’s said that it takes three weeks to form or break a habit) so now I can be more mindful of my weaknesses when it comes to having too many calories. I had just formed this bad habit during or since Covid and now to eradicate it.

          1. I have lost almost 20 lbs by eating only twice a day. I cut out lunch. I eat a late breakfast & dinner around 5 to 6 pm. I eat what I want (within reason) & my clothes now fit. I also cut back on desserts & other sweets. I started omitting lunch last July & was happy to see the pounds go down. Not exactly intermittent fasting but we all have to find what works for us.

        2. I think fasting is the way to go. My husband and I started ‘intermittent fasting’ ( no food or caloric drinks between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m.)You can choose your own schedule of course but shoot for 15 or 16 hours per day. Once you commit to it, it is easy. Crave a snack before bed. … No, can’t have. We eat our regular meals and don’t restrict anything but try to reduce sugars. This also improves aches and pains and my digestive tract is working really great since it has a chance to rest. Sten Ekberg on youtube has excellent videos that explain why it works. I am stout and low energy but have dropped 7 pounds since New Years. At my age, I don’t mind a slow loss; at least it’s not a gain!

          1. A slow loss is way better than NO loss. Good for you! And for you, too, Brandy–two pounds while traveling is great! Most of us gain on the road.

  9. How wonderful that you were able to travel with your husband! Trips like that can be so energizing. The pictures are beautiful — thank you for sharing.
    We are finally home from Houston. The day we laid my mother-in-law to rest, my father-in-law began failing, and passed five days later. They were married almost 68 years, and he didn’t want to be without her, so it is fitting they are together now, though we will, of course, miss them. This was not an inexpensive trip, but I’m glad we had the savings to allow us to be with family.* I was so happy to be back in my own home that it made me appreciate homemaking even more. Friends had been caring for my plants while I was gone. I transplanted my tomato seedlings into bigger pots.* I made a batch of yogurt, a batch of ranch dressing mix, and two loaves of sourdough bread.* I turned a half-loaf of stale bread into breadcrumbs.* I canned 4 pints of pinto beans from dried beans. *A friend who works at a small hotel and shares items guests leave behind gifted me with two brand-new Hydro flask water bottles and a cute knit hat.* I couldn’t find a good price on ham, so we had chicken for Easter dinner. * Week two, I planted pea and carrot seeds in the greenhouse, lettuce seed in a cold frame, and I transplanted broccoli seedlings. * A friend asked me to water plants while she is away for a month. She told me to take all the produce in her refrigerator. I came home with a large bag of fruits and vegetables. I knew we’d never eat all of this fresh before it went bad, so I looked for ways to make use of it. I peeled and chopped several pounds of slightly wrinkly apples and made an apple crisp and two loaves of apple bread. I froze the bread for future breakfasts. I chopped and froze celery and bell peppers for use in cooking. I blanched and froze a head of broccoli and dried a big bunch of parsley. We ate tangerines, green beans, brussels sprouts, purple potatoes, a pomegranate, collard greens, and lettuce over the next few days. *I baked two loaves of sandwich bread and made a big batch of granola.* I mended a blouse and a skirt. *While working in the garden I discovered many small onion plants. Apparently many of my onions re-seeded last year. I separated all the little seedlings and replanted them and had enough that I was able to cancel the onion sets I had ordered. I received a refund of almost $30.* I received a gift card for participating in a focus group and used this to purchase a new hand-held vacuum cleaner and some new cookware for our camper. Our old dustbuster died months ago and we have missed it, and the cookware I have in the camper is a battered hand-me-down aluminum set from my dad. Everything sticks in it and it is a pain to use, so I’m looking forward to having something more functional.* I planted turnip seeds in the garden. So far I have sugar snap peas, carrots, lettuce, broccoli, chard, and turnips growing – they’re a long way from being ready to eat, but I’m pleased to have so much up and going so early.

    1. Sending condolences, Cindi. It sounds like your in-laws had a wonderful marriage – 68 years. Fantastic!

    2. I’m so sorry for your loss, Cindi, but what a beautiful testament to your in-laws marriage that your FIL could not live without your MIL.

    3. Cindi – I am sorry for the loss of your in-laws. That is a lot of handle all at once. And I love your thought of them being together. 🙂

  10. Missed your blog! Glad you are back and love your garden /travel stories..quite an eventful couple of weeks with some nice surprises!! We also love to visit gardens whenever we can.Our local community college has a huge rose garden celebrating its 25th anniversary of being panted and it is a nice free “date” day for me and hubby to go walk through the gardens.. I’ve been feeling reclusive,so staying home a lot,saving on gas. Had a frugal happy hour with neighbor on my back patio with $5 trader joe wine and we split a $6.00 cobb salad from Salad n go which is a block away. Enjoyed another frugal date night by attending our monthly “Circle Supper” pot luck through our church, a group of people who get together once a month for a social evening..everyone brings something. Next month, I will be hosting. Continue to work on my hobbies—I make greeting cards and tags and bookmarks, I use them as gifts for birthdays and christmas, and for my own use as well.I think about trying to sell some but it seems like a lot of work, and I am retired, I am out of practice at “work!” lol. I listen to a lot of free podcasts while on my treadmill, we walk in 2 different parks (free) every week, and 2-3 times a week, I ride my “old lady” Schwinn bike which I bought at a college used bike store in 1988 for $$99. As a Christmas present this year my husband took it to a locally owned bike shop and had it lubed and serviced and straightened out a bit as I fell once (caught in railroad track!!) and twisted it bit. It’s like new now! My husband continues to work part time from a home office (chiropractor and acupuncturist) and supplement our retirement. And one of his patients brought us a big bag of spinach and a bag of kale from his garden!! So many ways to enjoy enjoy life and be frugal.. and Mother Earth loves us for our efforts!!

  11. Received a treat bag from supervisor for Easter. It had a notepad, lotion bar, and candy.

    Earned .95 from Upside. I was more diligent on entering receipts on other receipt rebate apps.

    Received a $5 off $5 coupon from Ace

    Redeemed some freebies for my birthday…cookie from Panera, free drink from gas station, and a free pastry from McDonald’s

    My mother in law brought leftover pepperoni, cheese and crackers, a roll summer sausage, cake, and a 6 pack of dial bar soap for us when she came in to see the new dog. She also gave me a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card for my birthday.

    My neighbor mowed my front yard while she was doing hers

    The teen brought home cookies from work

    She also made batch of brownies at school, had them saran wrapped and then wrapped in foil. I saved the foil to use another time.(and thoroughly enjoyed the brownies)

    I wanted to go to the local aquarium for my birthday since I had never been. We got the yearly family pass, which came with 2 guest passes and $50 gift card(which worked out to being cheaper than 1 day tickets for 4 of us). I used some of the gift card to buy a refillable cup for drinks.

    We’ve been using up food in the house without trying to buy alot…had spaghetti sauce over fettuccine noodles, used frozen veggies and a couple pork chops in fried rice, pulled meat off chicken carcasses, froze the meat to use later, and the carcasses to turn into stock. My hubby bought a lot of sausage links and patty’s a couple weeks ago. I cooked it all, then froze it for quick protein.

    I cut my husband’s hair

    Watched some newer released movies on the streaming services we have.

    Got some blood work paid fully by insurance. They require an assessment in order for us to get our gym fees paid for, so it’s no out of pocket for us. My dr just used those results, so no extra labs or fees.

    When I took our new dog in for her spay, I just had them do her microchip and boosters at the same time to save a trip. I do have to take her back this week to get her stitches out, but there’s no charge for that.

  12. Gooooooorgeous photos! I’m so glad you were able to fit in some garden visits around all of your husbands work. And happy birthday!

    My frugal accomplishments for the last little while:
    – this week’s biggest grocery scores were: skyr yoghurt and two boxes of cereal for free, once coupons, cashback, and points applied.
    – at a local giant church sale, I paid $5 for a large cut glass fruit bowl to replace my chipped fruit bowl, and paid 50 cents for some fancy metal paper clips labelled $8. My mother bought a trike for $4 for my kids, to keep at her house, and the girls are very excited about it.
    – I sold some kids clothing and toys and covered the cost of a medication for a child, which worked out well
    – I redeemed loyalty points for ice cream for the kids
    – I turned leftover fries into poutine the next day, with the addition of gravy and cheese
    – I printed coupons
    – I threw a party for my youngest. Pizza plus a costco cake and a costco salad and a few drinks, juice boxes for the kids bought on sale, chips bought on sale, lots of balloons as decoration but filled with a helium tank I bought instead of having them filled (so much less expensive, and the balloons were the biggest decoration), dollar store tablecloth over a folding table I had, reused banners, reused toys as cake toppers, reused toys leftover from my eldest’s Peppa themed birthday several years ago as loot bag additions, and so on.
    – I took apart and fixed my vacuum head
    – I had a friend and his daughter over for dinner. We made pizza (, a kid-friendly activity and meal in one. I sent my friend home with leftover dough and sauce, so that he could make more pizza easily on his own. I used the leftover chopped veggie toppings to make a pasta salad the next day. I love rolling one meal into another!

    I know I’ve done so much more, but those are just off the top of my head. Am sooooo looking forward to being inspired by everyone!

    1. Hi Margaret…
      Just wondering if you know that if you email Chapman’s Ice Cream, they will send you a $4 coupon for their ice cream. (one coupon per year and it takes 4-6 weeks to receive)Ann

  13. I took Sugar cookie on her budget cruise , she requested. I used ever tip and savings I could find. Mainly we flew into Miami and flew out in Fort Lauderdale. I was leary but it was easy traveling. She spent about $50.00 and got lots of souvenirs. The shirts were marked down to 5 dollars on the ship. The MSC cruise was great and the food phenomenal. I’m now in bed with sinus infection. I rescued 7 azaleas from Trader Joe’s dumpster a few days ago. I hope to plant them soon. I have some gardenias too. Hopefully I’ll feel better soon. I’m at daughter’s apartment and needed a couple items from CVS. I used a random ECB bucks and a coupon to save about 80% off my purchase. I received a random refund from a doctor for $40.00. I’m going to use it to order new shoes. My plantar fasciitus is going nuts. I found the shoe I wanted at for 75 % off. Now off to a nap. I’m coughing so bad it’s not funny.

    1. Lillianna – Azaleas in the dumpster?!?! The outrage! 🙂 I am glad you were there to save them. Feel better soon!

    2. I control my plantar fasciitus by rolling my foot (hard) on a golf ball, or similar, for a few minutes everyday. It will hurt, you want it to, really put your weight into it. Symptoms will be gone in less than a week. This has worked every time I get a flare. Hope you feel better.

  14. It sounds like you’ve had a very interesting few weeks. I’m glad you were able to stop at some botanic gardens on your travels. It is always a fuel for the heart to see lovely gardens! I’m also glad to hear your husband’s efforts to find new work are paying off. That is always exciting. I am sure people were delighted to see your garden as well. You’ve had such success in a difficult environment, so people would have lots to learn from seeing what you’ve done.

    I was able to make a lump-sum payment to clear an old obligation on very reasonable terms. This crossed off a major item in my longer-term financial plan. I also made the last payment on a small mortgage, paid the bill for the new furnace, and received all the orders of underwear that I had placed. So, quite a few key goals, large and small, were met this month!

    I priced a new can opener on Amazon, but they were very expensive, $15 and up. I ended up buying one at our small local department store for $5, that is relatively easy on my arthritic hands.

    To make other things possible, I cut the grocery budget for the last three weeks in half. I focused on buying protein servings and a small amount of a few staples. I didn’t think I would be able to manage a ham at Easter, but my grocery store had stocked smaller pieces of bone-in ham. I was able to get one for $10, which gave me many meals of ham meat, and a small meaty bone for making broth and soup. Last year, the smallest bone-in ham was $20. To stretch the budget, I did more baking than usual, including bread, mini bagels, blueberry oatmeal crisp squares, and blueberry sheet pancakes with maple syrup. I livened up spaghetti squash with butter, lemon juice and garlic — the butter isn’t the healthiest thing to do with squash, but it made a very satisfying substitute for potatoes for several meals.

    I cleared some office clothes (a couple of suits, a dress and a jacket) out of my closet and my house, so I now have more cupboard space for the clothes I actually wear in retirement.

    I’ve continued with sorting photos. I’m going through my travel photos at this point. There are very few that I will keep. I’ve traveled a lot over the years, though — it was a passion of mine — and I’ve enjoyed seeing the photos one last time. I set up a bit of a work station for this in my living room. It isn’t very ergonomically correct (a little hard on my back), but it gets me back to the project quickly. It is going quite quickly, so it won’t do my back much harm.

    I’ve hired someone new to cut the lawn this year. The person who did it last year has taken a job doing shift work further north, which will give him much more money and time to support his farm and rural home. (The utilities increases on rural places have been shocking.) I’ve hired his brother-in-law for this year. It will be more expensive, so I’ll have to tighten my belt this summer. I think it is a fair price, though. I’m glad to have someone lined up.

    A neighbor brought me a few slices of zucchini bread and a handful of dehydrated marshmallows a few days before Easter. From time to time, maybe once a year or so, she passes on servings of treats that her friends bring when they visit.

    I’m looking forward to hearing what progress people here are making after a bit of a break.

    1. Congratulations Elizabeth M for having paid off the obligation and the very small mortgage!! Ann

  15. What beautiful pictures! I’m sure you had a lovely time.

    I did my own income taxes about 2 weeks ago. We pay quarterly estimated taxes. In 2022, thanks to a suggestion about 6 months ago from one of the commenters here, I paid extra with my last payment so that I would receive a refund. This enabled us to buy $5,000 worth of series I treasury bonds in addition to the maximum allowed at treasurydirect dot gov. Thanks to whomever mentioned this!

    For Easter, I bought another .88 lb. ham for the freezer and a fresh pineapple for .79 (cheapest price EVER). Picked up the following coupon deals (limit 1 each): butter, $1.99; Cool Whip, .49; olives, .28. I made an excellent ham loaf with the leftovers and froze half to eat later.

    This past week, I got two 2# loaves of Tillamook cheese for $7.99 each with digital coupon at Safeway. I also got a pint of sour cream as a freebie.

    We had the snow tires removed. We save $100 a year by storing them at home in the off season. We saved another $200 this year by not putting snow tires on our truck ($100 to put on and another $100 to take off). Even though it was a long, snowy winter, we don’t often need both vehicles at the same time. We thought we could get by with snow tires on only one vehicle–and we did! I picked up a free pallet last week to stack the tires.

    I potted up tomato, bell pepper and lettuce seedlings. I read that lettuce can survive temperatures as low as 20F, which we aren’t likely to see again this year. So I planted out a couple of seedlings in a raised bed, covered them with glass jars, and they’ve survived for a week of overnight cold temps!

    I left the day after Easter to visit a friend in Connecticut for a few days. I spent Sunday night at a motel at the Spokane airport so I wouldn’t have to get up at 0-dark-thirty for my 6 am flight. Also, this motel allows you to leave your car in the parking lot FREE for up to 14 days if you spend even one night. I wasn’t gone that long, but this offset some of the cost of staying overnight and was super convenient. Hint for readers flying American: I took a lunch with me and it’s a good thing I did. With 3 flights and tight connections in both directions, no food was offered for purchase and my trip was 11-12 hours with no time to buy food in any airport.

    I thrifted a full-grain leather belt for my daughter for $1 while I was in CT. New condition, and worth at least $40. My friend is a super thrifter and knows every place west of Hartford–especially the cheap ones! We went through huge $1 bins of clothing (my worst nightmare come true) and she bought several items to consign. We also went to Ocean State Job Lot and Ollie’s but I didn’t buy anything.

    I finished cleaning up my lawn and garden. It was a huge job because I couldn’t do anything in the fall due to a long, cold, snowy winter. Due to my age and arthritis, I only worked an hour a day. But it’s done! Now the fun can begin! (well, after our last frost date).

    1. Hi Maxine! Did get your info about Quinn’s. Thank you! Daughter and I are going to the Upper Hot Springs in Banff (though they say the flow is lower right now) next week as I don’t want to go anywhere near a toxic site. Enjoying Kelowna this week🥰

      1. what is the toxic site? I hope you enjoy the upper Hot Springs in Banff. Are you going across Xanada? Ann

        1. I think she may be referring to a Montana Link rail derailment in front of Quinn’s about 3 weeks ago. ??? However, there is no evidence that toxic materials were released. According to the Coeur d’Alene Press, “One car full of propane derailed, but crews determined that none of the gas had leaked. A hazmat team onsite was monitoring the propane car. Debris was strewn below some of the wrecked railcars above the Clark Fork River, including Coors and Blue Moon beer and some clay material. Other railcars involved contained food products, and one empty molasses car was derailed.”

          To my knowledge, the original statement has not been amended or changed. However, it’s possible LauraS was referring to something else altogether.

          1. Maxine, thanks for clarifying. Initial info I received showed toxic concerns. After going back to look again, you are correct that it was not toxic. Thank you! Our plans have changed and we won’t be going to Montana…I will be flying out of Calgary. However, we are going to Banff, the hot spring pools there and Lake Louise🎉🎉 I am soooo excited! My daughter’s SIL lives in Calgary. Plans are to stay at the Rimrock one night and her home the next. So enjoying BC and visit with my daughter and her family!

        2. Hi Ann! We are not traveling across Canada this time. I have been in Toronto in the 1970s; I am sure it is unrecognizable to me now. Also, Stratford on the Avon; I grew up across the lake in Michigan and school trips were there as well as my parents would take us there.

  16. I know that I missed your blog very much but I knew about your garden tour so figured you were very busy preparing for that. How wonderful to hear that you also managed a couple of well deserved breaks and that you got to visit so many beautiful gardens!

    .paid cash for my new glasses and put my insurance refund towards some new metal shelving for my pantry
    .paid cash for some dental work – and I’m saving my insurance refund to go towards some additional work to be done
    .paid for next year’s theatre tickets
    .banked the small investment money I receive once a year to pay my taxes at the end of the month – nice to know its there
    .paid some funds into each of my savings envelopes (hoping to up these amounts once taxes are done).
    .paid extra to my VISA card
    .paid cash for all needed purchases

    .managed a really good restock of non-food items – pretty much set for everything to the end of the year
    .paid half price for two small cooked hams (both are sliced, wrapped and into the freezer)
    .paid $13 for a pound of ground lamb at one store in the morning. Found the same lamb on sale at another store that afternoon at half off – so two for $13 – but when I got to the checkout it read as $6.50 for the two – pointed out the error but cashier insisted that the scanner was correct so fine with me!
    .made up more powdered milk
    .split a box of canned vegetarian chili from Costco with a friend
    .made a large meatloaf (sliced, wrapped and into the freezer)
    .used up a lot of odds and ends from the freezer in quesadillas for a couple of suppers
    .used up a dozen eggs from the freezer to make a large crust less quiche
    .doubled up on quite a few Loyalty point offers and then cashed in $50 worth of points

    .Helped out a friend with her mom’s celebration of life service (had a good visit with people I hadn’t seen in years and enjoyed a lovely lunch at the reception after the service).
    .Made supper for a friend who does a lot of driving for many of us
    .Enjoyed coffee hour at church a couple of Sundays
    .Split a very inexpensive lunch out twice with a friend (she has been very stressed out by family issues and needed some time to vent) – saved money and calories by sharing
    .I was treated to a lovely lunch out this past Saturday – a friend insisted as a thank you for something I helped with
    .Read library books and enjoyed some new episodes of favourites from Prime & Brit Box – also enjoyed the Blue Jay games
    .Did lots of walking – saw the cherry blossoms at a Japanese Garden that I didn’t even know existed! I was sick last week (bad cold and sore throat but not Covid) so didn’t feel up to the 10,000+ steps it would have taken to get to the display at High Park so being driven to this lovely garden was a real treat as I thought I might miss them this year.
    .Saved 4 days worth of commuting fees due to being sick – still able to work from home so kept up to date on things

    Looking forward to catching up with everyone – hope you are all well.

  17. My Grandparents lived in Pasadena on the Rose Parade route. It is a place of wonderful flowers and gardens. Did you see Blue Boy and Pinkie, the famous portraits?

    I closed my Poshmark closet . I made one last sale and donated what was left to our farm manager’s family. I have a credit which I will wait to use until I find a hole in my wardrobe. I have been purging for two years now and I am down to about 75 pieces of wardrobe I wear all the time and which all are flattering to me. Very manageable.

    I have a full gift closet which should last me until Christmas. I signed up for a t-shirt quilting class to make one for my son for a gift. A friend is an expert quilter has volunteered to help me.

    I am trying to lose some weight I gained ( mostly from menopause and meds.) I want to lose about 15 pounds. I had my Doc refer me to a nutritionist. I have six free sessions once a month to reach my goal. So happy to not spend money on other weightloss programs. She also looked me in the eye and told me to consider the fact that I am very healthy and active. 15 pounds might not be that important. Still, I am logging my food with the free version of My Fit Pal. Such a great resource. I have bagged and weighed snack size bags of dried fruits and nuts. The big discovery was buying flavored sparkling water and putting 2 T. of flavored balsamic in it. I am supposed to have that amount of vinegar a day. It tastes delicious. I have mango bubbly water with coconut balsamic. Yum. I do Yoga with Adrienne and walk. I also count yardwork in my exercise.

    I have cancelled my trips for summer vacation except for one camping trip. I have decided to save as much as I can for retirement which will probably be in a year. I’ll spend the days hiking in the mountains and biking. we live in such a beautiful area, I will just enjoy it here.

    1. I have been to Huntington before several times and always make sure to see Pinky and Blue Boy.

      I had read some time ago about Blue Boy being sent on loan to England, so I did not expect to see it.

      To my surprise, it had returned! And they have rearranged the gallery so it is on an adjacent wall to where it hung before.

      But also to my surprise, Pinky was gone! I don’t know where she is, but I didn’t expect that.

      1. This comment made me laugh – my Grandma loved to paint (pictures) on anything that would stand still long enough (seriously, she painted the inside of the kitchen cupboards, the back of the door, etc. as well as hundreds and hundreds of canvas). She made many, many replications – always with an anacronym – of Pinky and Blue Boy. The number of times I heard her say “Where did Pinky go?” when someone moved her painting items to set the table for supper…..well, let’s just say if I had a nickel for each I wouldn’t have to worry about retirement!

        Thanks for the memory!

    2. My grandmother lived in Pasadena also. Because she and my father were estranged I only got to see her twice in my life but we always communicated through letters. Whenever I heard that Beach boys song , “The Little Old Lady From Pasadena”, I would think about her. But sad really:(

      1. OHHHH I hope your sweet memories of your grandmother help ease the hurt of not seeing her often. Being remembered fondly is a lovely gift and so nice to hear you did letters to each other

  18. Happy belated birthday, Brandy!

    Recent frugal things:
    —I found jeans for my daughter at Old Navy on clearance for $3.99. To my surprise, I somehow had $2 in rewards points (I rarely shop there!). So $2 for new jeans! Cheaper than used jeans at our thrift stores!

    —Found an excellent used bike for my son on Facebook Marketplace. I think my husband paid $20.

    —Upcycled some home decor with spray paint that I found on clearance at Home Depot. I always find good clearance paint options at HD. I had a large, mountable metal sculpture that I spray painted a bright pretty blue. It matches a new outdoor rug that I recently purchased with a gift card.

    —Took advantage of the Sam’s Club membership offer for $10!! I won’t purchase too many items there, but I did notice they are significantly cheaper on a few items I buy regularly, so it’s worth it for those.

    —Came across a random Starbucks rewards point offer. 200 points were added to my account, enough for a free item!

    —My kids participated in a free library bingo event. They each won books and other items that they were very excited about.

    Most of my library books lately have been nonfiction, mostly cooking and gardening. I also requested a new book, “At Home in Bloom: Four Enchanted Seasons of Flowers,” by Christie Purifoy. It features a lot of photography, much like Brandy’s lovely photos. I have read some of the author’s other books.

    Have a great week!

  19. I’m so glad you got to enjoy some time with your hubby, and it sounds like his new job is very interesting!

    My husband brought home slightly out of date Gatorade that a box store was throwing out – about 5 8-packs. We will share with our kiddos, plus he will drink some.

    I have added some chicken broth to the freezer from where I cooked chicken before barbecuing it, and will add about a quart of beef stock from our beef roast from dinner. Between my son and I, we have been eating up most leftovers, although I did have to throw out some ham from our Easter dinner. I’m so annoyed at myself for that!

    I cashed in speedway points for another $25 Amazon gift card, which I will save for Christmas. I added over $156 to my Christmas Club by cashing in our change. I love spoiling my family for Christmas; the one time I will splurge Willy-nilly, and by saving all year, this makes it possible.

    I went on a weekend trip with my best friend to another friend’s 50th birthday party. I stayed one night at my friends, and she used hotel points for our other night. I took my friend a tote bag that I had ordered for my boss for Christmas (I have plenty of time to reorder) that had been free except for shipping from Shutterfly, WV-inspired magnets that I made using supplies I already had, and six of our WV delicacy, pepperoni rolls (which were a hit with her and her family!).I took my Pepsi with me for the entire weekend, so I didn’t have to buy any drinks. We ate breakfast at her place on Saturday before we left, had lunch at Chik-Fil-A on the way, and ate at the party that night. The next morning, our friend treated us to breakfast at a local diner before we left, so the entire weekend cost me less than $30!

    I’ve been in a reading slump, but I have been listening to books from the Libby app, for free.

    Our car was due for an oil change and inspection sticker. We took it back to the dealer where we bought it – it is free there as long as we own the car.

  20. It was thrilling to attend Brandy’s Garden Tour on Saturday! Brandy, you are lovely and so is your front and back yard gardens. I learned so much! It was totally worth a hotel stay and 12 hours total driving time to be there. Harvesting accomplishments include: Cleaning and putting my dried lavender into mason jars, making nasturtium hot sauce with hundreds of the beautiful orange and yellow flowers. I also picked a lot of the nasturtium leaves and some flowers to dry and used them to make a powder to mix 2:1 with salt for a peppery salt blend. You can also add lemon zest. Easy to google these recipes online. I also have a multi-tray herb dryer rack that the previous homeowner left in a shed and I put Italian oregano, sage, and lovage on the racks to dry. I love giving these dried herbs in small mason jars as gifts. To Lillianna, after years of expensive shoes and treatments for plantar fasciitis, the best thing ever for me is Ontel Strutz cushioned arch supports, about $10 on Amazon. Especially helpful when your arches get achy. Happy Belated Birthday Brandy!

    1. I didn’t know you came so far! I have had people come from out of state before but this time I had several people tell me they didn’t want to drive 35 minutes as it was “too far.” I’m so glad it was worth it for you! The garden was just beautiful Saturday and the weather was so nice!

  21. Those pictures are beautiful. So nice you got to travel and see the gardens.
    I had my birthday in April also. My sister took me to lunch on my birthday to a restaurant where they give you a free dessert for your birthday. It was ice cream with hot fudge, a piece of cake, cotton candy, whipped cream, sprinkles and then a large sucker. Needless to say, we shared. I gave the sucker to my sister for her grandson, pulled out the cotton candy, and my sister ate the cake while I had the ice cream.
    My office gave me an Amazon gift card for my birthday.
    Best deal was on chicken thighs. They were marked for 69¢ a pound, so I put three packages, for a total of about 12 pounds in my cart. When I got to the checkout they rang up for a total of $2.12 for all three packages, so about 18¢ a pound. I asked, and was told if that was what they rang up for, then that was what I paid. I was in a hurry, so could not go back to get more.
    For Easter, we made a ham from our freezer in the crockpot. Put the juice of a jar of home-canned pineapple over it, and then ate the pineapple with dinner. My DH made spaghetti sauce, and we had his typical Easter dinner of ham and ravioli. I also made a salad and cauliflower with cheese sauce.
    Made two batches of muffins during the last three weeks. One was blueberry with huckleberry jam stirred in. The other was apple and huckleberry, using an old apple. I used the last of a jar of applesauce I had open in the fridge, and reduced the amount of oil in the recipe.
    I worked 6 days a week the first two weeks April, as the end of tax season was approaching. The office provided lunch on both Saturdays.
    I made a large batch of brown rice in the rice cooker. Then used most of it to make fried rice with some of the Easter ham. Made split pea soup in the Instapot using some of the ham bits and the ham bone from Easter.
    It was Papa Murphy’s customer appreciation day on April 15, and pepperoni pizzas were $7 each for a large pizza. I bought three. We ate one on the 15th and the other two went in the freezer for when we’re tired.
    My entire office was treated to dinner on April 18th, tax day. This is done every year. I was treated to lunch one day last week, and then used a gift card for lunch another day.
    I made 10 hard boiled eggs, and the next day made macaroni salad. I used everything we had on hand for the salad. I forgot to put the onions in, but it really was tasty.
    We cleaned around the garlic beds and the rhubarb. We cleaned the front flower beds.
    Shelled the last of the black beans. Think we’ll grow pinto beans this year.
    The DH BBQ’d one of those packages of chicken thighs that I bought. It was about 50¢ worth of chicken thighs (8 large ones). He also BBQ’d some ribs, and I made corn with thyme butter. The ribs were from the freezer and the corn was frozen from our garden last year.
    There was probably more, but that is enough.
    Hope everyone has a good week.

  22. We are getting back into our routines after a move to a new house near our granddaughters
    We think we have found the best stores for grocery shopping and are fine tuning what we buy at each one to save money. Also found the closest low price gas station near one of them.
    I keep rearranging our belongings using the storage containers we already own trying to minimize storage purchases in a little built in storage house.
    I gratefully received from the local buy nothing group a drying rack and puzzles, craft items and toys to stock our play cupboard now that we are hands on grandparents.
    Got my library card as a priority for free reading.
    Weeded, Hubby fixed things, and generally we are doing as much as we can ourselves.

  23. What lovely adventures it sounds like you’ve been on. And the botanical garden for your birthday sounds just like something I would choose. I’m so glad you were away because of these good things. Last week, I harvested kale, lambs quarters, asparagus, dandelions, and a beet. I pulled bolting lettuce for the chickens. Another round of broth was canned. I went to the annual NC Herb plant sale with a friend, and brought home several lovelies. Much of them have been planted, though not all. I created a new flower bed I’d planned for some dahlia tubers I had gotten, along with my husband’s help. Over the weekend, we finished putting up the deer fencing around the garden. Several jars of herbal glycerites were strained and bottled. Recently, my husband surprised me by bringing home a school bus, which he intends to convert into an RV, so we can travel in comfort around the country. We’ve both been watching youtube videos, gathering ideas. Life is always interesting! I found an event happening soon in VA, which will have tiny homes, along with van and school bus (skoolie) conversions. We’re excited to learn more, and meet others who are doing it. I’m happy to be part of this community, and look forward to seeing what everyone has been up to.

  24. I’m so happy the snow is melting here and I’ve been out in the garden a bit myself. We had a warm spell and I cooked some of my transplants, but we’re back to hard frosts. Hope my fruit trees don’t loose their flowers. I planted a few sprouted onions and potatoes, as well as bok Choi and kale. I have some self seeded lettuce and kale popping up. We should be able to harvest asparagus in a few days.
    We had to evict a tenant. They left tons of toys and packaged snacks that my kids don’t normally get, and the kids helped me clear out the garbage. I also brought home some kids clothes and shoes to wash, an erasable wall calendar, a plant and nice headphones.
    I was able to get some good grocery deals. The local grocery store is remodeling so they’ve had nice clearance sales and loss leaders. I’ve been finding clearance apples, lettuce, Brussels sprouts, yogurt, and sales on crackers, milk and cottage cheese. I’m still baking sourdough bread and muffins.
    We had a lot of leftovers from a community event. We ate leftovers for several days and shared with my parents. No food waste and no cooking for a bit. I splurged on my first fancy coffee out in months, it was delicious but need to keep it a rare treat. I also still have some weight to loose. I cut out drinking completely for a few months and now have an occasional drink, but it saves tons of money and calories. I’m continuing to run and go to the gym several times per week.
    I was given some smaller clothes from a friend and got rid of several bags of bigger clothes. Passed along some kids clothes to other friends.
    We enjoyed a nice dinner out with my husbands company. Other than that, saying no to a lot more invitations than we say yes to.

    1. Thank you! I linked to them below the post. They come in several colors but not all colors are available in all sizes. They are SUPER comfortable! I walked around in them for hours in the gardens!

  25. Brandy, does your husband have a new job or is this travel in relation to the position he has held for many years? I apologize if I have missed this in a previous post. I had been concerned for him as I very well understand the downturn in the real estate market (my husband was a loan officer). Wishing you both well, and so glad you had such a lovely trip!

    1. He still has his real estate company. This is an additional job. There were several loan officers there changing careers. While this might be a total change for him at some point, right now he is doing both.

  26. My frugals? As I’ve posted before husband has cancer and had to retire early March 1st. He was having so much trouble getting in and out of bed so I did some research and found a wonderful church here that loans medical equipment free no questions ask.. they delivered a hospital bed for him and a hospital tray which has made his life so much easier. We needed to apply for social security disability and again did research and found a law firm that does it free they only charge if we have to appeal and in the meantime he applied for regular social security for us they called us the next day from social security and got the ball rolling, we’ll get our first check in May while we wait for disability to go through which can take a very long time. We have been blessed with God’s guidance and good friends, co workers and neighbors who are helping wherever we need help. Today while at Krogers I always check the clearance section they had cloth dinner napkins good quality cloth ones 4 packs for $2.48 I bought us 4 4 packs to up my stock and bought 4 4 packs to give as a Christmas gift to a friend with children $10 gift that will save her money and better for the environment than using paper napkins or paper towels. I had bought some a few months ago at Walmarts 4 pack was over $8.00 hated to spend that kind of money then a sweet friend mailed me a bunch she had, we use them a lot and it was a true blessing. We are also eligible for services through the cancer clinic one of the volunteers ask me if I was signed up for the Dog Care Program which I hadn’t heard of on Friday they brought me 5 bags of dog food for my 5 dogs they don’t use that much so what we can’t use will go in to storage the exp date is Aug 2024. Another blessing we don’t have to worry about. So while this is a difficult journey we have been so blessed with God by our side. I got my gas bill we’ve had a mild winter last month my budget went from $80 to $37 this month it was 0 owed and a $2.27 credit. Gotta love that. I am still using the library weekly for free books and movies.

    1. Anna, I am so glad to hear your husband can start receiving social security. That will be such a help.

    2. I’m so glad the lawyer was able to get things going and Social Security contacted you right away. I always think of such offices as taking “forever”; it’s wonderful they are helping quickly. And that is good to know about the pet care program – thank you for the insight! It sounds like your community has multiple options to try to help. I hope it takes a little of the weight off your shoulders as you and your husband navigate this. <3

    3. Anna — I had to go on Social Security Disability. Getting the first payment does take time. But they back date that first payment to the date of your application and include all the back payments. I hope that information is some help and comfort. I also found a website titled ‘how to get on’ that was a huge help to me. I have no affiliation to the website but found it very useful. The biggest money saver that I learned about was to see if my utility providers gave any discounts for people with disabilities. Mine does and all I had to do was get my doctor to sign their form. So sorry to learn of your husband’s diagnosis.

    4. Anna – Sending encouragement and good thoughts your way. So glad you are surrounded by supportive folks. That is a real blessing! 🙂

  27. It’s been awhile since I posted. What beautiful photos and how nice to get to spend that driving time with your husband! My son was asked to prom by a friend of his of whom we are very close to her grandparents. They generously insisted on covering the cost of the entire night including his tux rental and dinner etc. He had a very nice time and it was such a blessing for it to come with no added cost to us as. Me and my two oldest were taken to lunch one day. My husband and oldest son helped with sandbagging for some expected flooding in our community and were treated to pizza, and my teens had a free meal at Youth group. I found a brand new 72 pack of overnight underwear for $7.00 at our local thrift store. This was a huge savings over what I normally order as we have one little that is still struggling with nighttime accidents. We made a very large purchase for my 40th birthday and got a grain grinder. While it was pricy, it is something I have wanted for 20 years and we can get organic grain locally for an extremely reasonable cost. Over time, the savings will definitely add up. I am having lots of fun with it, although it is a learning curve from my traditional baking. As an added plus, my husband’s heartburn that he has been struggling with the last several years completely disappeared after I started making everything with the home ground organic grain. We were flabbergasted, as we had tried many other things to no avail. This is not only a huge relief to him, but a large savings on heartburn medication. I purchased a sweater in a style I really liked at a local boutique on sale for $10.50. I have been getting Bountiful Baskets again after a long hiatus. It’s been fun to have the surprise produce and the case prices have been wonderful. I got 40 pounds of red onions for about $13.00 and 18 pounds of Cotton Candy grapes for $10.00. I juiced some pie cherries collected and froze last summer and made several jars of jelly. I purchased a case of apples from Bountiful Baskets as well and made applesauce. I saved the cider from cooking the apples and canned it into several jars of apple syrup. I used some of my WIC allotment to buy several containers of strawberries on sale and made jam with them. I had gotten extra jars of pectin last year for a good price and it’s come in handy this year for all the jam and jelly making! I have been getting organic eggs from a friend of mine for $4.50 for an 18 pack. I ordered a 25 pound bag of oats from Azure Standard for around $19.00. This is the best price I’ve found in our area and the quality has been great. I have several little boys with big appetites and it has made for some very inexpensive breakfasts. My daughter just got her driver’s license and our insurance offered a form for discounts on good grades including homeschoolers as well as a course on safe driving for an additional savings. I found another free tv app with no commercials that we have been enjoying. Hope everyone has a blessed week!

  28. “Busy” must be in the air! I didn’t even realize you hadn’t posted lately as I too have been trying to stay on top of all the craziness around here lately, lol. I’m glad I’m not going to have to do a lot of catch up reading of posts and comments. Welcome back!

  29. I’m relieved to hear that everyone’s ok! Happy Belated birthday. And the garden photo is beautiful. How nice it was that you were able to go with your husband on the trips. A great break for you! I had a very stressful two weeks but fortunately everything turned out well. My best savings occurred when I asked my volunteer grocery shopper to check the special dairy section at Safeway for any specials on cheese. She found large blocks or bars of Cracker Barrel cheese regularly priced at $13.00 on sale for $5.99. I bought 3 and put two in the freezer. The same friend kept a 4.5 kg box of chicken breasts (skinless, boneless) that I previously bought on sale for $12.99. I saw a 2 kg box priced at $20 plus recently. I am going to bake all the chicken breasts (thus saving a bit of energy) as they will take up less space than in the box. Co-op has seedling geraniums for $1.27. Previously, they were 99 cents but $1.27 isn’t too bad if one doesn’t mind waiting for them to grow. I won’t be buying many annuals at all this year.
    I bought plastic storage bins on sale. I am contemplating how to use my gift card I earned from the telephone company. I’m thinking of an induction portable cooktop – that way I can set it for a certain time and it will shut off if I don’t turn it off. A safety feature!
    I bought ten cans of Dole’s pineapple on sale for $1.47 but over the past three weeks ate them all! I am trying to do as much gardening as possible myself. Between my ailing knees and injured arm it is difficult. I did sit on my gardening bench and was able to lean over enough to clean up my peony bed. This was better than standing and bending over as there was less pressure on the knee. I saw that one can grown perennial hepaticas in a pot and since I always have seedlings that come up in the grass, I will try transplanting some of them into pots. My peonies are just coming up.
    My rhubarb should be starting. It still is cool outside but the temperature is supposed to warm up. I’m enjoying the two sweaters I bought for $12.99 each (reduced from $59.99 each). The pants also bought on sale are very well made, too. Last week, we had two snow storms — I tried taking photos of snowflakes — now that was challenging! So, as you can see, same old, same old.

  30. Are you able to share what your husband is doing for work? I remember he was doing some training and I was hoping at some stage to hear what it was. But if you can’t share I completely understand!

      1. I just want to say how wonderful it is to see how respectful you are of your families privacy. Other blogs share everything and I think to myself, does that kid know what his mom posts about him.

  31. Doses anyone have any frugal tips for eating gluten and dairy free? I also can’t have corn, soy, beans, legumes, artificial sweeteners or stevia. 🤷‍♀️
    I hope once I figure out how to eat with so many permanent diet restrictions I will be able to figure out how to do so frugally.
    Right now I’m overwhelmed but if it eases my intestinal inflammation and 24/7 nausea I’ll be overjoyed.

    I am getting rid of all the things in my cupboards and freezer which I can no longer have (90%) so I am not tempted.
    At least it gives me the opportunity for a thorough cleaning and a fresh start.

    I listed some unwanted decorative items on my local gifting/free facebook site. Everything was claimed and picked up within 3 hours saving me having to haul it to Goodwill. Why I hung onto it all for so long is beyond me.

    I picked up a few of my relative’s favorite treats on sale and took them with me when I went to visit her. She’s 98 and appreciated the thought as much as she did the treats.

    1. It sounds like you have a lot of restrictions – are you allowed to have rice and potatoes? Those can be good alternative carbs to wheat products. I like making a one-pot sausage and rice casserole in the instant pot with pork sausage. I cook a pound of sausage, and then add enough liquid to cook the rice (chicken broth), and then cook the whole thing together. One thing I also enjoy eating instead of pasta is zucchini noodles. I actually enjoy the flavor better than pasta now and find it easier to digest than starchy carbs like pasta. You can get a handheld spiralizer for very little, or often they are at thrift stores because people go on health kicks and then give up I guess, but I love mine.

    2. I think I would eat a lot of chicken and fresh vegetables in season. I would buy chicken leg quarters as they are generally the cheapest way to buy it in the 10 lb packages. I would buy other meats as they were on sale as well as frozen veggies and canned sometimes. Canned fish is not as expensive as frozen or fresh usually. I enjoy liver and onions with mashed potatoes. It is good with homemade gravy. I wonder if you could use gluten free flour for the gravy? I would also google the ingredients that I have or can eat to look for recipes.

    3. Hi Jlynn … I have a boatload of allergies as well, although they’re not quite all the same as yours. Eating frugally with these kind of restrictions is tough, but doable. Since you can have eggs, you’ll find several gluten-free options that will work for you. What you’ll need to careful about with gluten-free products are the bean flours and pea proteins. And, corn is in a lot of things! To begin with, check out an Asian or Indian grocery store. They have several types of gluten free flours that may work for you along with various non-wheat pre-made noodles. I find oat milk to be my favorite of non-dairy milks, but coconut, rice, and cashew work well too depending on what you’re making. Oat milk does tend to have a bit of a sweet taste even if unsweetened so sometimes it doesn’t work as well when making savory dishes. I still make most meals at home because then I can control the ingredients. I use coconut oil at times for cooking in place of butter. Unfortunately, I cannot get everything at one store. I often find myself shopping at a number of stores to complete my grocery list and fill my pantry. I try to do this as I plan errands and usually don’t have to stop at certain speciality stores more than once a month. Good luck. Feeling better does make all of the changes worthwhile.

    4. Jlynn,
      Here are a few things that I do. (I had undiagnosed celiac for 10 years, but I’ve been gluten-free, dairy-free and similar restrictions to yours for 36 years.) It saved my life. Most gluten-free processed foods are full of junk ingredients. I don’t do any of those. I buy lots of veggies (fresh, frozen), fruits (fresh, frozen) meats. Brandy has an old blog post on how to eat for 40 cents a day. (I think.). I use many of those ideas even though gluten-free, etc. costs more money. I garden and preserve whatever produce that comes my way. (Both of my sisters garden as well as neighbors.). I freeze, bottle, dehydrate and freeze dry. I make lots of soups, salads, baked veggies (like sweet potatoes), Sheet pan dinners with chunked veggies and chunked meats. I don’t eat out. Over the years probably 80 percent of the times that I did, I ended up being glutened and extremely ill for months. There is a place close to me that does closeouts. I watch their emails and have got some great things there like organic coconut flour for $1/lb. Organic coconut for $1.50/lb. (We make our own coconut milk.). I also order from Azure Standard and meet their truck. I’d be sure and price compare. I have homemade bone broth on the stove right now. I have been able to get beef directly from a rancher so I’ve gotten bones, organ meats, etc. (Unfortunately he has moved and I need to find a new source.) There is a health food coop about an hour from me that sometimes has screaming deals on organic meats. It’s close to where our daughter lives. Give yourself some slack as you start to learn. It is a huge learning curve. Even after all those changes, I still had quite a bit of gut pain. I heard a scientist say that glyphosate (which is Roundup and sprayed on most of our foods) opens the tight junctions of the gut. When I heard that, it was like “bingo” that is my problem. So I try to do as much organic as possible. I also freeze things that I can easily pull out. I really like the Thermos brand stainless thermos. They have a 2 cup and 3 cup one. I take water or herb tea plus something to eat with me most days when I walk out of the house. I’ve found that I do better if I am grain-free. I have a friend that when she was diagnosed with celiac, her doctor told her to go grain-free. I wish that I would of had that advice. I do lots of sweet potatoes instead of bread. I make cassava tortillas sometimes as well as tigernut waffles. But mostly I do lots of veggies. Every day I try to do 3 cups greens, 3 cups sulfur veggies (onions, garlic, cruciferous) and 3 c. brightly colored veggies and fruits. That usually helps keep my autoimmune symptoms down. This morning we had green smoothies. Awhile back I made smoothie packs and put them in the freezer. Good luck to you. It’s made my life so much better. I was so ill when I was in my 20s that I thought that I would never live to raise our toddler. He turns 39 soon.

    5. A wonderful resource for gluten-free, but not dairy-free, is … I have made more than 50 of her recipes. Now vegan, I adapt many to our needs – no dairy. (I find the vegan cheeses a waste of money, so go without.) Good luck!

    6. I feel for you with your new eating restrictions, but can encourage you that eliminating these foods will make you feel better than you can imagine! I have auto-immune illnesses which respond better to lifestyle choices than meds (I fell ill 21 years ago, so many years of fine-tuning). Jovial makes great GF pasta. I use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce. The more you cook from scratch using whole foods, the less it feels like you’re “missing out”. For no dairy, Braggs has a great nutritional yeast that can replace a cheese flavor if you’re looking for something like that. Siete makes great cassava chips that sub for corn tortillas (also wraps!). Coconut milk is also a great sub for recipes that call for milk. You’ve got this! It’s a huge adjustment, but we’ll worth it!

    7. Jlynn, I have to avoid those and restrict oats, too. I use cassava flour (Otto’s is a good one and available online) tapioca flour, tigernut flour (not an actual nut) and sometimes green banana flour. You can also use unripe plantains to make bread-like products. Coconut milk is a pretty good substitute for milk – I use Trader Joe’s brand with no added guar gum, because I have to avoid guar gum. There are others out there online as well. Coconut aminos (Bragg and Coconut Secret) and fish sauce (Red Boat) are substitutes for soy sauce and I use honey, coconut sugar, raw sugar, maple syrup and molasses for sweetener. Date syrup is too expensive to me.

      Nutritional yeast flakes add a cheesy taste to dishes.

      I use stevia now after going a good while without it, but I use the unrefined crumbled dry leaf instead of the refined powder. It’s available online (Mountain Rose Herbs is one) and I also grow my own.

      Look up AIP recipes online (Autoimmune Protocol) for the initial elimination stage, which eliminate those foods you listed and more, yet give your something to cook and eat. Good luck!

    8. Jlynn,
      I thought of a few more things that might help you. Basically what you are doing is an Autoimmune Paleo Diet–called AIP. On YouTube, there is a channel called “Thriving on Paleo”. I think most of her ideas would work for you. AIP takes out all the top allergens. She has a lot of ideas on batch cooking, etc. Also, she doesn’t do a ton of very expensive ingredients. She has lots of ideas for cooking and freezing pureed soups, etc. She also has a paid subscription. I had some severe mold exposures that affected my gut so even though I almost never do a paid subscription, I did for hers and it’s been helpful to me. I also do a lot of stir fries. Good luck to you.

    9. Another thing that I do is when I find something on a good price, I stock up and freeze. I bought a ton of avacados for 50 cents each. I mashed some with lemon juice and froze in ice cubes to add to smoothies. I froze some as guacamole and I froze some as a dessert where I used my food processor and mixed avacados, frozen cherries and carob powder. I put them in 1 cup jars in the freezer for a frozen ice cream. I really look for good prices on the veggies, etc. that I use and try to figure out how I can maximize those foods.

    10. I was temporarily on a GF/DF diet in May 2020 due to colitis of unknown origin. My NP kept insisting it must be COVID but since I had to test twice a week at work, I knew it wasn’t that. Eventually got an appointment with my gastroenterologist and he declared it “an infection” that would “just go away in time”. 🙁

      I kept my meals simple. Oatmeal or Cheerios with Kirkland almond milk for breakfast. A banana and dairy-free, soy-free yogurt for lunch. Since I am both the cook and breadwinner in the family I cooked whatever I could eat and my family ate it or made themselves sandwiches. It was often roasted sweet potatoes and a vegetable plus chicken or fish as I don’t eat pork or beef. I ate a lot of white or brown rice! GF bread was expensive and not good, even toasted. Trader Joe’s has some decent GF brown rice pasta.

      I don’t care for almond milk in hot coffee but I can tolerate it in cold brew coffee – half chilled almond milk and half cold brew.

      After six weeks the colitis went away but had nothing to do with the diet. I wish I could say I lost weight and felt better on the diet but…no.

    11. Jlynn, Can you book a session with a dietitian for some guidance? Those are a lot of common ingredients!
      Chinese-type grocery stores (or your ethic food aisle) will have rice noodles and rice wraps which will help you.

      1. Jlynn, I just wanted to second Elle W’s idea of a session with a dietician. Not sure how large of an area in which you live, but some larger supermarkets with a pharmacy offer dietician services at no charge. My Fred Meyer (Kroger) does this, as does Shoprite on the East Coast. Also, a possible meal idea for you: I often make a large pot of blended vegetable soup to have for quick lunches. I vary the veggies (currently did broccoli, summer squash, and spinach) and add a few cloves of garlic and two potatoes for body. I do a large dice; simmer on low with about an inch or two of water; don’t drain; add in a bit of non-dairy milk (I use oat) and some vegan butter and salt and pepper to taste and blend with a hand blender until smooth. This is a good way to use up veggies in the fridge!

    12. Jlynn, if you find the Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free products meet your needs, you may be able to order them by the case directly or from Azure Standard. Some food co-ops can also get you a lower price if you order by the case. I got the Bob’s “1 to 1” gluten-free flour by the case from their website and it was a better price than buying locally. Having a case at a time also gave me “instant” food storage for emergencies, as opposed to buying one bag of flour at a time. (Especially since the bags aren’t very big!) I also buy brown rice in bulk and store most of it in the freezer so it doesn’t go rancid.

      I just checked and Azure Standard also has other things marked gluten free, as well as dairy-free items like coconut milk, nut milks, and the like. They aren’t always automatically less expensive, but it may be worth a look as you find products you like, so you can see if a bulk price might be better. I hope that helps somehow!

    13. Jlynn, good luck. My daughter has stomach issues and it is horrible. She can eat some foods a little(dairy and citrus) and some not at all such as gluten, tomatoes and beef. She is seeing a new specialist and they are trying to help her because she still has problems and is super skinny because of it. My husband is allergic(has an EpiPen) to milk. So I basically cook from scratch. I feel like a short order cook some days. Here are a few of their favorite store bought foods: Uncle Giuseppe’s GF/Vegan ravioli. They have several kinds. Daiya mac n cheese. You can get a box of 3 cheese sauces and use your own pasta. Aldi sells a line called Earth grown Vegan. The cheddar cheese you can have. Check the other items. They are all good.

    14. Jlynn,
      There are several very good websites to help. Look for vegan websites. Two of my favorite websites are “Pick Up Limes” and “Madeline Olivia.” Both have websites and You Tube channels. Vegan websites are a good way to get a good recipe without dairy. Oat milk is a great alternative to milk. The best non-dairy butter is Earth Balance. I like the original formula. King Authur makes a great gluten free flour.

    15. Vegan cheese is difficult. I found a local one made of cashews. It took 3 years of trying bad cheese. It is called Dare. They do ship. They are located in Asheville, NC.

    16. Jlynn,

      We have a LOT of restrictions in our household including dairy, gluten, soy. Much of what has been shared thus far is valuable. We cook almost 100% from scratch. We use avocado oil and unrefined coconut oil. Many of the pre-made “milks” have odd oils, so we are careful to read labels. We do eat rice pasta – Tinkyada brand has been good. Many of the ones in the grocery stores are blends – check the labels, of course.

      Thrive Market does cost $, but they do offer discounts and ship to your home, and you may qualify for assistance on the fee structure for the membership. I would recommend looking into it versus grocery store pricing.

      There are a lot of websites and blogs that can help, and many have swaps to remove the dairy as well. Here are a few I’ve enjoyed, but again, always check…
      GF blogs
      GF / Auto Immune Protocol aip blog

      Hang in there. The learning curve is steep at first but you’ll get through it, for sure!

    17. A few sites to checkout for recipes are:,,
      These are a few that got great repeat reviews from a food board I’ve been involved with for decades. Blessings to you.

    18. Hi Jlynn,

      First if I were you I’d focus on getting rid of the intestinal inflammation. Ask your gp or np if you can take magnesium supplements.
      65% of North Americans are deficient in magnesium. It is an anti-inflammatory. I find it really helped my intestinal inflammation and also my asthma. Don’t take too much as it’ll give you diarrhea. Remember that peanuts are legumes so you shouldn’t eat peanut butter. I was going to make a suggested meal plan for you but realized there is a lot we don’t know –for example, are you supposed to eat high fibre or not? I think you would benefit from a talk with a nutritionist/dietician. Also, I suggest taking excellent probiotics and prebiotics supplements.

    19. There are so many words of wisdom about a gf/dog diet that have already been given, but one place we order from hasn’t been mentioned. has a great selection of allergen friendly foods and often has sales on certain groups of items. My son is allergic to 7 of the top 9 allergens and we pretty much do all shopping at Costco, Azure, Vitacost and the farmers market. I hope the diet is making a difference for you already!

  32. I’m so glad to see you back, Brandy. I missed everyone here!
    I have not had a frugal few weeks because my mother has been staying with us. She is very ill, we are still waiting for diagnosis. So I’m just getting by. I’m trying to keep up a little bit with my garden. We did get a free cat carrier from Buy Nothing, which we needed for annual shots at pet clinic. My husband has been riding the ebike to work now that it’s warm enough (he prefers it to be 40 degrees F or above if he’s going to ride). I did get some extra care bucks from an item my mother needed at CVS, I bought two large bags of half price Easter M&M’s to bake with ($1 out of pocket) and then received more ECB’s with which I got toothpaste. I also did read a manuscript and was paid with a $25 gift card. And I sold a couple things on FB marketplace and I think one on ebay.
    Now that I write it down, it actually was better than it feels like. I guess that’s because I didn’t include all the thing that were more than our regular spending because of my mother. But I’m thankful I can look after her right now.

    1. Kara – How good you and your mother have each other. Hope you get some answers soon. 🙂

  33. Jlynn, my husband was recently on a 6-food elimination diet that was much like yours. Basically, you can eat meat and vegetables except for the ones you can’t. He ate oatmeal and Cream of Rice for breakfast along with bacon or sausage for protein (he couldn’t eat eggs). He drank oat milk and liked it a lot better than he thought he would. He used Smart Balance margarine spread. You can cook with olive and canola oils. Make your own salad dressings. Eat your hamburgers without the bun. Did you know that you can buy oat yogurt? And it isn’t bad! Vanilla oat yogurt works well in fruit salads. For starches, you can eat potatoes and rice, quinoa, etc. Thickening sauces and gravies will be tricky if you can’t use flour or cornstarch, but you can try guar gum for some things (find it at the health food store) and tapioca for others. (I never did this, but I’ve been told you can). As for gluten free breads, etc., he just didn’t eat baked goods, but there are lots of people here that are gluten-free and I am sure you will get some good suggestions.

  34. Hi Brandy!
    I’m glad to read that you and your family are ok. I was also happy to read that you have had some adventures! It is always so nice to get to travel! We also made a pot of beans. We ate it with chorizo and chicken quesadillas with cheese. I used just one container of chorizo and a little bit of shredded chicken that I had previously frozen from a chicken that we had cooked for another meal. My family was very happy with it. We cooked the beans in a pressure cooker to save energy and have dinner ready sooner. We were able to pick some asparagus already. A couple weeks prior I used up the frozen asparagus and made soup. We continue to use what is in the freezer. I’ve been planning meals at least a day ahead so we will not be tempted to eat out. When we did eat out, we shared a meal. I make soup often and beans often. We try to use what we have before buying more. We continue to use cloth instead of paper. We had a picnic with our grandkids and they loved it as well as us! We entertained ourselves at home a lot. I found some piano books at a thrift shop.

  35. *We are harvesting snow peas from my hydroponic tower. I’m freezing them and will eventually make up stir fry veggie packs to eliminate another store bought item.
    *We answered a free ad for wood – much of it furniture grade – and brought home 2 trailer loads + had my Dad come out too and he hauled home a full trailer load too. He had said he needed a new project to work on so had dragged my ’67 Beeline camper trailer to rebuild. One of the finds was thin tongue and groove planks perfect for the trailer interior! Those alone were worth $500. We figured the rest of the wood would total somewhere near $1000 if we were to buy it new. All I was after was wood for my chicken coop roof (cedar shingles)!!! We also took home some very heavy copper wire to turn in to the recycling place ($72!!!), a working sump pump and an electric motor. I also brought home a large stainless steel rectangular pan, a rug, new dish rags, a milk glass planter, a bucket full of garden tools, milk crates, grinding wheels, roofing nails, anvil, pulleys and a bunch of garden fencing and planters….oh and stain. The parents had passed on and the kids needed the house cleaned out over one weekend when they were all up here.
    *We brought home a load of blue fescue grass to try and stabilize our front yard slope. It covered about a 10×20 area!
    *We found three 8 foot pallets that we needed for my chicken coop. I also came home with another 5 planters, multiple sheets of flat plastic for the coop floor, plexiglass sheets, more project wood, a small side table, drawers, 2 sinks, 2 new office chairs. I cant even remember the rest….we hit the jackpot this last week. They were all very close to home so very little gas was needed too.
    *I finally won the war with the squirrels and chipmunks and have snow peas, radishes and spinach up and growing.
    *ground beef was on sale for $2.89 a pound. I bought 5 pounds. Chicken breast was $1.49 a pound so I got 5 pounds of that as well. I broke that all down into 1 breast or 1 pound packs that i vac sealed.
    *We visited the mobile food pantry 2x and now have 25 pounds of potatoes. 5 pounds of onions that I’m going to dehydrate, 6 pounds of gala apples + all the small mixed types that I made into applesauce, rutabaga and about 30 pounds of some type of citrus that we juiced with a lemon squeezer lol. They also gave us enough mac and cheese to last us the rest of the year!! You never know what you’ll be handed but it definitely stretches our food.
    *My husband found a discount bread store we were not aware of (it is tucked into a mostly residential area) and we cleared their .25 cent rack one day. I broke everything into smaller amounts and froze it all.
    * I am freezing leftovers most of the time because too often there’d be one serving and it would get pushed to the back and forgotten.
    *We visited the pet food pantry too which stretches their food too.
    *I have gotten a better handle on what our finances look like and have insisted being in on what the bills are. Things seem to be slowly getting better – I just pray for no more setbacks. I need to get it all back on track ’cause my husband may be having back surgery in late summer (depends on what the specialist says). I have some ideas for a small income stream that will pay off the smaller debts.
    *I sewed up more reusable grocery bags and gift bags and clothespin bags using up fabric I’ve had stored. I repaired a coat, a couple shirts and my work jeans.
    *I painted 2 doors using paint I already had.
    *I painted and reinforced more boxes for our first aid, over the counter meds and vitamin backup storage using supplies I had on hand.
    *I hot glued some bonded leather storage containers that had come apart.

    I’m glad you got to visit the gardens – I always find them so relaxing and get ideas for flower/shrub combinations.
    Have a good week everyone!

  36. We have evaluated many things. We have had You Tube TV for cable and paid $34 a month snd it was to go to near $70. We cancelled it and my husband installed an attic antennae and we got Sling. We are also canceling Costco and Sams is due to renew in May, but I am not renewing. I will buy items I like to get from there before it expires and not renew. We may renew months down the road, but I’ll see how long I can wait.
    * We have also sold items. We had a community garage sale and I sold 4 pair of husband’s jeans for $50, a camp stove, camp dishes, and a very large picture I paid $10 and sold for $25. We sold our camper, that we bought used in 2021, for $500 over what we paid.
    * My husband talked me into moving my craft room from the front study to the bonus room so I will have more room. We sold our pool table. We are giving a real leather couch we got from church friends for $200 to my daughter, I’ll move the bed down to the study. We are going to pull up carpet and lay hardwood, because carpet and pins don’t go well together.
    * My husband is building cabinets and shelves in my pantry. He has done an amazing job!
    * I am working on a Sawtooth Star quilt. I pulled gingham, dots, and floral fabrics to use from my stash.

    1. At Sam’s at least you have to wait several months (I think 3 or 4) to make it so that you save money. Otherwise they just charge you back from when your card would have expired. So say it’s June. If you try to sign up again in August they will just make your card expire the next June! However, if you wait the appropriate amount of time you can save several months on your membership. We used to do this and we would stock up right before letting our membership lapse.

  37. Happy Birthday, Brandy. After reading your posts for years, I feel as if you’ve become a friend. (You ARE a friend!)
    If your internet hasn’t been working, you should call the company — we had problems ourselves, and got a credit for the time we weren’t able to use it. It wasn’t a lot — maybe $35 — but hey, 35 bucks is 35 bucks.
    I was also curious about your husband’s new job — but the important point is that he’s GOT a job. Good for him!

    After months spent in our friends’ house over the winter (they were spending it in Phoenix), we just moved back into the fifth-wheel. Stuff is everywhere, and we’re slowly putting it away. (I picked up the flu while we were busy moving. Schlepping boxes is no fun when you have to stop and cough now and then.) The house is scrubbed to sparkling near-perfection. Not because of me — Husband is an engineer by trade. When he cleans, he CLEANS. He also has a habit of going behind me, and re-cleaning what I thought I’d done well. Drives me crazy…but it is what it is. When he gets done, whatever he worked on is lovely. The negative side: he takes FOREVER.
    The house looks just lovely. And when we get done with the fifth-wheel, it will look terrific, too. (He already re-cleaned the refrigerator after I did it. Ah well.)

    1. We called them and they said it was on our end. We ended up having to replace our router.

  38. Happy Birthday! Walking through gardens and soaking in all the loveliness would be something I would love, too.
    We have had wonderfully warm weather alternating with chillier days so it is a good thing I have tasks to be done inside or out and can shift between them as needed. *I finished making curtains for my youngest son’s room. They were made from some I already had, just needed altering so no investment other than time. *Continuing with our task to incorporate recently inherited things into our home gave us the opportunity to move some shelves into the living room where they now house some of my precious books. We do not have space for a big built-in bookcase so, instead, have shelves and smaller bookcases here and there. I like how books are close at hand that way and are a part of every room of the house. I am slowly moving some thing that have been stored away since we built the house and each time I go through a box it is like Christmas with many things I have missed and love and some thing I can sell or pass on to make someone else happy. To that end, I made $52 selling items in my neighbor’s booth at the antique shop. *My mother collects antique frames as I do and recently passed on a few she was not using. I continue to work bit by bit on my family photo project and have gotten two completed. I found a great source for framing supplies online and debated long enough looking at their website that they sent me a code for free shipping and $10 off my order. That will come in handy for the spacers and foam board I will need.
    Outside, the gardening, mowing and other tasks have begun in earnest. We have two landscaping jobs lined up for this season in addition to all of our own tasks but we enjoy doing it as a family and the extra income. I was given a fairly large flowering quince today after doing some weed-eating at a neighbor’s house. It did NOT want me to dig it up and put up a good fight but it will be worth it if it enjoys life over here. I have a few growing down by one of our creeks and it is so pretty and the bees like it.
    *I split another one of my hives so already have 2 new ones this season. As nucs (sort for nucleus) hives – 5 frames of bees and a laying queen- currently goes for $175 and up in this part of the world so growing your apiary by making splits is very economical.
    *A friend gave me some extra onion starts she did not need and I happily accepted. I also received another very large box of canned food and dry goods from a neighbor with whom I trade eggs. This box included whole wheat pasta, pasta sauces, fruits, raisins, several different kinds of beans, water chestnuts, brown rice and more. Really helps fill out the pantry. My youngest son, who helps with the chickens, found another customer all on his own so he will get all of that money (he saves it) rather than our usual 1/2 deal. Quite the entrepreneur!
    *My older son (almost 12) saved money from his jobs helping a neighbor to buy a pair of shoes he had wanted. I was especially pleased at how carefully he considered his purchase (which included trying on countless numbers of shoes but I was glad he wanted to be sure and not rush into it 🙂 ) I am glad my boys seem to understand saving and spending wisely at a young age. We talk about those things a lot.
    *I cut my bangs and my husband cut the back of my hair. I then cut his hair. We do it outside on our porch and always comment that we have the best view of any hair salon. 🙂
    *Just when we felt so smart for fixing our dryer last fall…it died a sudden and irreversible death. I am glad that we got 4 more months use out of it with our $25 fix as it allowed us to save up for the inevitable purchase of a new one. Now The Queen (my Speed Queen washer I had to buy last fall) will have her partner. I love the washer – it has completely lived up to its reputation and was worth every hard-saved cent. I am sure we will love the dryer, too, and expect it to last a long, long time in part because we use it sparingly. Saving up for high-quality items (new or used) and then taking really good care of them is one of the backbones of our frugality.
    *We are having a wonderful time caring for a foster Mama cat and her 4 kittens. We have never had the good fortune to have kittens with their mama and it is a lot less work and a lot of joy to see them get to be with their mama as they should be. Not all kittens are so fortunate. The Humane Society was able to provide us with not just some food (as they usually do) but a whole laundry basket full thanks to recent contributions and as thanks for all the times we have fostered. We were most grateful to receive that infusion of supplies and it allows us to keep a bit more of the things friends and family have donated to our cause for future use. So, an even more frugal venture this time around and lots of joy, too. I think someone could make a successful business out of letting people make appointments to nap with kittens on their lap. One of the most relaxing things in the world to me. 🙂
    *Looking forward to reading everyone’s recent accomplishments and stories. Have missed hearing from you all!

    1. I feel the same way about my books! I have just spent some time these past few days re-arranging (and of course dusting) quite a few of my shelves – I have quite a few unread ones on hand so I wanted them closer so I can start working my way through them.
      And congrats on your boys – you have certainly taught them well!

  39. Brandy, I am struggling with a gardening problem and I thought I would see if you had any advice to throw my way. I have one very large rose bush that seems to produce thousands of aphids every spring. I try to fight them off but to little avail. I use spray and lady bugs. Of course the aphids then move to the large rose bush next to it. I only bought one container of lady bugs and since the bush is well over 6 feet I decided that was probably not enough, so I have ordered two more containers. But every single spring this same bush starts the infestation. Do you have any ideas? Thanking you in advance.

    1. Do you spray? You can spray with neem oil both when the bush is dormant and again (in the evening) when it has leaves. Also you can squirt the aphids off with water.

    2. FYI, I planted nasturtiums near my roses after reading it’s considered a trap plant for aphids. I could not believe how well it worked. Simply no more aphids. I’d struggled for years with sprays and lady bugs that flew away. I’m now trying to read up more on companion planting. Turns out it’s all about what insects smell, or don’t. If one can put a companion plant near a plant that gets infected with bugs. The smell of the other plant can confuse it, so it never really finds its preferred host plant it want to come eat up in the garden. Good luck.

      1. It’s so interesting to hear that worked for you! My nasturtiums never seem to have any aphids on them. I keep hearing this but have not had any success with it. I planted nasturtiums by my roses this year, too.

        1. Thought I would catch everyone up on my stupidity. First, I sprayed the biggest bush that gets infected first every year. Didn’t seem to help. Then I realeased a package of lady bugs. Didn’t seem to help. By now several rose bushes had aphids. I sprayed them all heavily, especially the biggest one.

          (Here’s the stupid part.) Then I released a double batch of lady bugs on that bush. Lady bugs all died that night. Well, duh. The spray was insect killer. Did I somehow think that lady bugs were mammals? Feel like an idiot and thousands of aphids are still there. None of the sprays mentioned neem oil, so I may try buying some of that. All bushes are in bloom now so perhaps I have waited too late.

        2. I think I just kind of fell into good luck with them, because I didn’t really know what I was doing. I planted them no closer than 3 feet, because that’s where I had space, than after I read to be sure not to plant too close or the aphids would get to both. So apparently lucked into the right spacing, close enough to draw them away, but not close enough for them to be on both. I’ll add the nasturtiums, didn’t show signs of an aphids, it was just my roses suddenly didn’t have them. Who knew, not me!

  40. Glad you had a nice break, got to see your friend and so many gardens.

    They were forecast a dry week turned out to be just 3 days. I have planted all the potatoes and sown peas, leeks, courgettes and lettuce. Cut lawn twice to get it under control and composted the cuttings. I also picked stinging nettles to make plant feed. I mulched the field beans. Tried to get the scale insect off the citrus. The fruit trees are in blossom.

    By picking my days I have managed to dry washing outside on the line , I washed bedding ,towels, bath mats and rugs as well

    Went to local city to get a new mop and milk bottle holder now most shops in our area selling this kind of thing have own closed down. Used the park and ride and bus pass.

    I have spent days doing our accounts and tax. Glad it’s done. Spent a few days on medical appointments.

    Made Bakewell tart , treacle tart and mincemeat tart as I have flour that needs using. Used my bus pass to go to the bakers, I am going to make a sourdough starter as this will be cheaper than using the baker although I may need to get bakers bread for hubby as he is not keen on homemade bread.The council changed my dust bin as it cracked, for free. I am reading Greta Thunbergs new book from the library app, it is hard going but worth reading. Also I am reading Tim Spectors new book on gut health and diet. Cut hubby’s hair

    Used coupon for matzos and pasta. Yellow sticker pain aux raisin ,Raspberries ,grapes and croissants

    Have a good week everyone

  41. I’m so glad that you had some fun adventures on the cheap! Those gardens are lovely and I was admiring your shoes as well! 😊

    It seems like spring is keeping us all so busy! I finally got to some garden clean up in preparation for planting. I ran out of space in our green bin and have to wait until collection to continue! So much to do!! On addition, I was able to harvest beets, turnip, carrots and cabbage. I cooked the beet greens for dinner tonight. So fresh and good! With my son away at college, it takes longer to finish food and so we’ve been eating more leftovers.

    I finished sewing a new dress that turned out nicely. It was much less and I was able to fit it nicely. I’ll definitely use the pattern again (bought for $2 at a JoAnn sale).

    My husband is reflooring a bedroom himself. We have had the laminate wood for years, mistakenly having bought too much. Now we’ll put it to good use and replace shabby carpeting. He is watching YouTube videos for proper installation instructions. In addition we shortened a decorative and outdated wall to increase space and flow in the room. So far we’ve only spent money on leveling cement.

    My Kitchen Aid mixer died after over 20 years of service. I got my money’s worth from it. I think the motor went out. I called customer service. It costs $72 for shipping to and from the Ohio factory and diagnostics. Repair is additional beyond the 1 year warranty. We’ll see if she can be resurrected for a decent price…

    Have a blessed and beautiful week everyone! 🌷

    1. Those are the shoes I linked below the post! They come in several colors and they are so comfortable! I was able to walk for hours around the gardens in them.

  42. Hi Brandy and everyone
    How wonderful you could accompany your husband, help with driving and visit those lovely gardens. You are as pretty as a picture in your hat and outfit. Glad your garden tour went well and the weather was kind.
    I decorated for Easter in a very small way using items we own. It has been lovely to pick bunches of tulips from the cutting garden, they are the best decoration of all.
    We’ve also picked daffodils and several pickings of purple sprouting broccoli. We have sown cucumber, French marigolds, several types of lettuce and planted out our delphiniums.
    We bought nine hellebore seedlings and a jasmine for £10 total on Facebook Marketplace. We sold an old handbasin the same way.
    I baked a chocolate and mini chocolate egg sponge to take to a family Easter meal.
    I used the remains of a jar of mincemeat and some jam to make mincemeat slices. Inexpensive meals were cauliflower cheese, mushroom omelettes, stuffed Portobello mushrooms, jacket potatoes and Waldorf salad.
    I finished a cot quilt using a panel I bought in a sale and gifted it to a young friend. I’ve also finished a quilted and beaded fabric notebook cover for another friend.
    I cleaned and reorganised the larder, I didn’t have as much food as I thought, lots of chutneys etc but they won’t make a meal. I know what I need to restock now.
    I shopped using a £5 off £30 voucher and a free voucher for a pack of nuts, I chose pecans for baking.
    Our electricity use for March was lower than the two previous years. I’m still trying to get it down even further.
    I won £100 on the Premium Bond draw ( a government saving scheme, you can get your original money back at any time). This is earmarked for planned purchases next month.
    At my sewing group we had a free swap of materials etc. Someone brought along a huge bag of paper patterns and said to help ourselves, they were going to the charity shop. I asked if I might take a couple to a friend who makes a lot of her clothes. I was asked to take the whole bag at the end of the session, let my friend choose what she wanted and then I will deliver the rest to the hospice charity shop. My friend was overwhelmed, there were more than 100 patterns and some very good sewing magazines with patterns all intact. Patterns are now so expensive this is a huge saving for her and the charity will benefit also. I am not much of a seamstress but I chose a couple of easy sew patterns to try myself. Happily the donor took away from the swap a couple of cross stitch kits I had taken along.
    Stay safe everyone.

  43. Hello,
    I’m glad you are reliving a wonderful “vacation” instead of reviving from a long illness. Thank you for posting the garden pictures. I live in a fabulously gorgeous area of the U.S. (my opinion, of course), but I would love to see those gardens.
    The last little while’s savings have mostly been because of God’s blessings and my husband’s talents for figuring out how to fix things. However, the microwave fix was finally given up; we shopped the local and not so local stores and came home price-shocked. We had done our homework and looked for reviews of microwaves online. I found a Consumer Report article about over-the-range (OTR) microwaves, but was blocked from reading the article unless I wanted to subscribe to Consumer Report at a cost of $39. Then I remembered that prior to the pandemic, I saw Consumer Report at the library. I have been back to the library once and was shocked at how bare the magazine shelves were, but I went to their online website and found Consumer Report under their e-resources tab. From the magazine I noted the recommended microwave. After a search, I found that not one of the stores, online or otherwise stocked that microwave. Evidently, it was discontinued, and we found that correctly-colored and sized microwaves cost over $500. There was one for just under $300, but it was the one Consumer Report had plenty of negative things to say about. We could do without a microwave except our kitchen had a gaping hole where the microwave hood used to be that made it look like it was missing its front teeth. So, while wishing we had never included a microwave hood in the kitchen to start with and recuperating from the shopping, I looked a bit on Craigslist and happened to run onto the positively acclaimed but discontinued microwave model we had read about in Consumer Report. I called about it and found out that it had been sitting in someone’s garage, unused, still in the box for the last six months. The seller wanted $340. We had to drive a ways to get it, but we were very thankful. My husband and one of our sons were able to install it. We always pray about our little trials, and so we felt blessed and very thankful about how it turned out. The bird saga continued with the blackbird ripping out the vent cover and engaging in a new major development project inside the eave of our roof again. My husband evicted the blackbird couple and cleaned out a lot of nest building materials including a tree branch. He said the temperature was quite warm inside the eave and guessed that could have been a special attraction for the blackbirds. I might feel more sorry for them, if I had not witnessed their attacking a swallow family in a birdhouse we set up some years back. Another time I saw a small flock of blackbirds chattering in an apple tree near where the neighbor’s black cat sat atop a wooden fence post. After a bit, one blackbird flew out of the tree, swooped around behind the cat, and pecked the cat right at the base of its tail. The cat leaped straight up, scrambled to recover it’s seat on the fence post, and finally jumped to the ground and ran off. The blackbirds in the tree cackled louder. The reason I mention the bird saga is that we are blessed with good enough health to climb ladders and evict birds and to install microwaves with the help of wonderful kids without having to hire someone to help us. Recently, we did save a little money by buying Havoline oil for the car at BiMart on sale with a rebate. We were able to go online and choose to receive the $8 rebate as a gift card for Kroger that we printed off and took to the store to pay for food. I bought a large plastic box of baby spinach that was marked down to a couple of dollars and some bags of pears from the discount shelf. It seems to me that spinach keeps better than some of the other greens I buy. Over the weekend we visited for a granddaughter’s birthday and were able to stock up a little on bulk foods. Some items we cannot buy locally, and it always costs less for us to buy from the bulk food bins instead of paying for packaged products. We also purchased Cosmic Crisp apples for $.79 per pound. Right now, I am praying about our need for some sheets. I stuck my thumb through the top sheet, and my husband hooked his toe into the bottom sheet (on the same night) of our last set of percales. Talk about rotten. Summers have been getting hot enough that the flannel set will not do for much longer. I also need several blankets big enough to fit the bed for next winter. We are getting by with the shrunken and wrong-sized ones that leave a draft on the sides when we crawl under them this year. I would like to make some nice quilts, but I do not have the materials for them. I have been collecting that old double knit fabric to make the tops out of. That stuff wears like iron. I want to find some “dacron” like my mother-in-law used to use. It is fluffier than the batting I see now in the stores, but I don’t know where to buy it. I thought I would drag out my mother-in-law’s old quilting frame and tie out some quilts the way she used to do. She is gone now, but my husband knows how to put a quilt in a frame and tie it. I would also like to find a nice woolen blanket to purchase, but those are extremely expensive. I am sure the Lord will provide something when we need it and probably has better ideas than I do. Well, I hope you all have a nice week.

  44. My big savings was being denied a rental car because of my temporary license (call ahead, folks, franchises don’t have to follow corporate policies). I was driving out of town and wanted to leave our one car for my husband. However, a friend ended up going last minute and insisted on driving and paying for gas! A huge blessing in disguise.

    I repurposed extra brisket into a pot pie with beef gravy.

    We rearranged a trip to see family in order to lower the cost of airfare.

    I was blessed to be able to purchase some used tools I needed for very cheaply at that same free seminar; I spent $5 for about $75 worth of tools!

    I also gained a lot of valuable insight by approaching other professionals and asking lots of questions. People are usually so willing to share and help others in my industry, despite all of us being competitors.

    I listened to more free audiobooks.

    I shopped around for moving services and am saving $2500 by using two small shipping containers instead of one large, adjusting my date by one day, and using a coupon.

    And a massive thank you to Karen! Your shipment arrived and has already been so helpful!

    I missed you all!

  45. Happy Belated Birthday, Brandy! Sounds like it was wonderful. Your pictures are gorgeous and so are you!

    Been busy with the garden. Have radishes, spinach, lettuce, cabbage, onions, green beans, field peas peas and squash up and doing well. The cold snap that we are having took out my cucumbers and tomato plants, which is frustrating, but I will replant. Have also planted a Granny Smith apple tree, a decorative Kwanza Cherry tree and started a blackberry patch. Hopefully, they survive!

    No breaks on food items at the grocery. There has been a rice shortage projection for this year. I bought a 5lb bag of Jasmine Rice at Walmart and the price had increased by $2.00!

    Had a flood in our kitchen and laundry room caused by an outdoor spigot that had frozen. Have a toilet that has backed up and ceilings that are leaking in three areas due to gutter problems. I see an expensive Spring before us!

    Making a scratch German Chocolate Cake this week. Also will be grilling another rib roast that was bought on sale a month ago. Will be using vegetables that I grew and froze from last summer. Trying to make space for a, hopefully, generous harvest this season!

    Hope everyone is staying positive during these turbulent times! Onward, y’all, by all means!

  46. Glad you are back, Brandy, and the garden pictures are lovely.

    I can’t remember the last three weeks’ frugal happenings, honestly, so here’s what I can remember:

    I finished sewing a Christmas present, or actually, two, since I made the same thing for two families. The fabric and supplies were bought on sale.

    I’ve been batch cooking every weekend, saving energy, time, and heat in the house.

    I threw lingering veggies and meat into a pot and made soup.

    I wore a thrifted dress and cardigan on Easter Sunday, which was a chilly day.

    I used a big old plastic flower pot to replant the African irises in our fish pond. I drilled it full of holes and sank it with a couple of bricks. That, plus the plant, is holding it in place.

    I have (hopefully successfully) transplanted some rhizomes from one pot to a new one, to divide the plant. It’s late to break ground every spring, so I will have to wait to see if it makes it.

    The rain blew a cover off an empty trash barrel and filled it with water, since the barrel was under the eave of the roof and caught the runoff. I covered it again to keep mosquitoes from hatching, but I’m dipping the water out to water plants with it. Free water is always good.

    A dog chewed off a honeysuckle vine that I planted on my fence, so I blocked it off and tended to it until it came back to life and is twining up the fence again. I’m keeping the blockade up, though, and an eye on that dog!

    I hope everyone has a good remainder of the month.

  47. Happy Birthday Brandy 🎉

    A few frugal accomplishments:
    *went shopping with my mom (greenhouse and shop nearby) and was so tempted to buy things I didn’t need. I took pictures on my phone instead 😂
    *used up leftovers
    *scored a 3lb box of Russell Stover chocolates and a new in box standing fan for $14 total at outlet warehouse! Saved $6 by going during 30% off sale. They also had boxes of liquid hand soap for free- 20 in a box!
    *for Easter celebrations I was asked to bring chips and fruit- fruit was on sale and bought Aldi chips so not too expensive
    *we were sent home with lots of Easter leftovers
    *after Easter clearance- stocked up on candy. We should be good for the year 😂
    *helped a neighbor carry things up from basement and she gave me a huge jug of laundry soap since she’s moving and has quite a few- unexpected blessing!
    *redeemed stars for a free Starbucks latte (When I get Starbucks, I pay with gift cards I usually receive for birthday, Christmas, and Mother’s Day.)
    📍Groceries: butter was still 2.49 at Aldi so bought 6 more (super grateful), close dated cookies and croissants for 99 cents a pack
    📍Buy Nothing Group: boxes of cereal, spaghetti, peanut butter, canned corn and green beans

    Have a great week ❤️

  48. Good Afternoon!

    We have had quite the busy few weeks as well! Although none included the beautiful gardens that Brandy saw :). We have have several large expenses which were not at all frugal (tires for one car at $1,000.00, oil change and bulb replacement for another car $200.00, plumbing repair $185.00, washing machine repair $175.00, new shoes for son $85.00, swim team items for son $85.00). But we were glad and thankful that we had the cash on hand in our budget to pay for these things. There were many, many years where this was not the case.

    We were able to get $175.00 refund on the tires at Costco. I also returned two items to Target that we ended up not needing. For our son, we had purchased a few practice swimsuits. We finally found one on Amazon that fit properly, so I was able to return the other two more expensive ones I bought at a major sporting retailer.

    We enjoyed two Easter celebrations (one Catholic and one Greek Orthodox) over two weekends. It was so wonderful to see all of my family. We also were given leftovers to take home which we used and ate over several meals.

    Took an inventory of our freezer to see what we had and what needed to be used up.

    After all of our recent expenses, my husband and I took a look at our calendar for the next several months and drew up a very strict budget. This was very helpful. Since we started, I thought long and hard about purchases I was going to make and ended up not buying most things. We also started menu planning again, which is a huge help. Mainly because when our son comes home from sports practice, he is famished & this has made it so much easier.

    I was very dilligent about only shopping loss leaders at our local grocery stores. I was able to get strawberries for $1.49 per pound, asparagus for 97 cents per pound, packages of sliced cheese for $1.87 per package, apples and navel oranges for 99 cents per pound, small pork loins for $2.50 per package (each had a $2 off coupon), 18 pack of eggs for $2.97 per package (limit 2), two free hydration drinks (friday freebee), and a huge canister of party mix.

    We recently found out that we may be able to score at least one week free lodging at a relatives house for our summer vacation. If it works out, this will save us at least $1500.00 and free up money to do some other fun activites that we would otherwise not be able to do.

    Also combined errands to save time and gas.

    Was preliminarily chosen to complete a lab study. If it works out, we will get an $90 amazon gift card.

    Goals for the coming weeks: be more diligient about not wasting food (including our son, who is the biggest violator of this), managing time more efficiently in order to have nights/weekends free for fun activites, scheduling time and free activities for self care, keeping up with the garden and weeds as to no need to hire gardener.

    Have a great week everyone!!!

  49. Happy Birthday Brandy. I am glad you got to spend time with your husband. I looked up those gardens, they are beautiful just like your pictures. I would have loved to come see your gardens, but it was to far from Tennessee for me to come. We have planted our vegetable garden and I have planted my flowers. I love looking at the plants and researching different flowers. I have looked at several books, garden centers and asked Master Gardeners about what to plant in shade, full sun etc. We will have to cover up the garden when temperatures drop, but what a feeling of joy to have this done. We have been saving money by cooking at home and spending time together. We have not been shopping, just filling in gaps. I have been reading library books and watching college softball. Our Lady Vols are on fire. I have not renewed my satellite radio in my car, just been listening to KLove instead. I changed my car insurance to combine with my husband’s to the savings of $600 a year. That was a big difference combing our plans with our house. We are still in the process of combining our lives on all the details you don’t think about. My sister had a seizure on her birthday and had to be airlifted, she is fine now. She can’t drive for 6 months and will be on medication the rest of her life.
    I have missed reading about everyone lives the past few weeks.

  50. Dear Brandy, It’s great to read about you and your husband going on a trip together. You made a lot of wise decisions to pack food and snacks, drive straight through, and also loop in some sight seeing and visiting of friends on the adventures. I often find that food and drinks on the road as well as hotel stays are the two items that can make for a lot of financial variables. Gas for a vehicle is a given expense on the road of course.

    In Florida prices for goods and utilities still slowly rise. I continue to go to Costco to get gas which is now .30¢ cheaper than most of it’s close by competitors. We have not eaten out for about two weeks. I went to Aldi on Sunday and bought a bag of cheese, and then 50% off burger patties, chicken breasts, and tenders; for a grand total of $15. I spent most of Sunday morning cooking for the week. It helps alleviate a lot of stress during the week, and also keeps our budget under control when it comes to food. I continue to pack lunches for myself.

    The weight loss front is going well. I am now down 80lbs since last year. I continue to go through my closet and find items that work for my size. I will continue to lose at this pace for a while, and it may take a year before my weight levels out. So I am working with what I have for right now. I will look toward sale and second hand store clothing when I need to start buying again in sizes I don’t have. I am also considering selling my nicer items at a second hand store (think Clothes Mentor) or in an online trade group locally.

    Well, that’s it. I hope you all have a great week!

    1. Gas was $1.57.9 ($1.58) per liter here on Sunday so my friend went to Costco to fill up at $1.48 per liter – she still spent $66 to fill the tank of her old and very small Kia – before the pandemic it used to cost here about $45

  51. Happy birthday! And your travels looked lovely!
    *Hectic here too. MIL is settled into her assisted living suite. It’s a cross between dorm living and a luxury cruise ship. But, oh my, is it expensive! She found the move stressful as so much of her stuff couldn’t come with her, and, sadly, her husband is in beginning dementia where he doesn’t know what he’s not knowing.
    *It’s a good time of year for sales on warm clothing for next winter for the grandlittles. Many people are getting rid of their kids’ outgrown boots and clothing. Stores too would rather cut prices than pack things away til fall. So I’ve picked up excellent bargains. The kids don’t care about clothes, but it helps their parents out!
    *I had a frugal fail a few years ago when I thought wearing worn-out shoes out doing yard work was a good idea. Nope; I wrecked my foot. So now I am diligent about replacement. I was pleased to find summer footwear on a buy-2-get-a-3rd-free sale. The extras were put away until needed.
    *Deeply discounted whole chicken became meals, plus the carcasses simmered in the crockpot to become broth, which I pressure-canned for shelf stability. I use the broths as a milk replacement in making white sauces for casseroles. This cuts costs as well as controlling ingredients for a family member who has food sensitivities to onions/garlic/celery.
    * Otherwise, our usual frugal living continues. Happy springtime to all!

  52. Brandy, you were missed! So grateful that you were able to travel with your husband to beautiful places and that your garden tour went well. And spending a birthday in a beautiful, new place is always a treat!

    I am grateful today that my husband found his hearing aid. We were out and about and he realized it was gone. We retraced steps but didn’t find it. He found it at home when we returned–he had forgotten to put it in!

    It’s been too cold and wet to do much gardening, but that will change soon. Blossoms are just coming out now and the days are getting more comfortable to be outside.

    I am still knitting, finishing a sweater from yarn given to me. And reading books from the library.

    I helped with a funeral luncheon and was able to bring home a ham bone, which turned into delicious soup. I helped my husband clean up after a figure skating event and I brought home a lot of food that would have gone to waste–cream, milk, meat, cheese, pie, crackers, other desserts. We have been finishing them off.

    I finally got a refund for a medical bill we paid out of pocket. It was two years old! Grateful to have it settled. The money went into the bank where it can earn a little interest.

    I am grateful that I have time and skills to be of service to others and have spent time visiting with those who are lonely.

    Thanks for the encouragement everyone who reads this blog provides!

  53. Great pictures. Happy Birthday. Thrifty actions included staying within budget for the past 3 weeks. We had a potluck Easter so it helped everyone to divide the cost, with a wonderful meal. Joined another book circle ( belong to 2) which is free entertainment and keeps me reading a variety of books. I always go for historical fiction. Current read is The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn.

  54. Happy birthday! Your pictures are beautiful, and you look lovely in the one of you. I enjoyed the stories you posted on Instagram from the gardens, too.

    I have been spacing out my grocery trips more to encourage myself to use what I have, focusing on using things that have been sitting around too long. I made a meal plan and followed it for two weeks before giving up on it – a new record. I’ll try again.

    I made soup using a dry mix that was six months past the expiration date and it was still delicious. I added chicken and vegetables to the soup, but I used half the amount of chicken I normally would. I did some baking after running out of store bought bread and snacks – I made biscuits and orange chocolate chip muffins. The muffins helped me use up orange juice that was getting old and use the last little bit of a bag of chocolate chips. I made a few banana muffins using a banana that was getting too brown.

    I signed up for a free trial of Kroger Boost to get free delivery for a month. I am keeping a well stocked pantry and freezer and only buying things that are on sale.

    I bought my multivitamin from Amazon, combining a subscribe and save discount, a coupon, and a bit of leftover gift credit to get over 30 percent off the regular price.

    I finally did my taxes, later than I usually do, but still before the deadline. I’m calling that a win.

    I signed up to get a free sample of Riversol skin care products which they say is 15 days worth.

    For a frugal Easter, my family had homemade Easter bread, eggs dyed naturally with homemade dyes, and flowers from my parents’ garden including roses, lavender, and sage, arranged in vases they had saved from flowers they’d been given in the past. I contributed some candy I had bought at low prices from Aldi.

    I put the small broken bits of my shampoo bar in an old sock to let me continue using it until its gone. This was my first attempt at using bar shampoo and it looks like it will last about a year. I’m going to keep using bar shampoo because it saves money over buying liquid shampoo every six months like I used to do.

    After I told my parents that I would no longer be able to afford the Paramount+ subscription we share, they were kind enough to gift me a year’s subscription for my birthday.

    We had a combined birthday party for me and my dad, with homemade pizza and cake.

  55. It has been a crazy month here in NY. It looks like you have a wonderful time traveling with your husband.
    I ended up in the ER with pneumonia. My doctor was away and I saw the NP. She was worried about my heart with the pneumonia. She wanted me to go the the ER so off we went. I spent all day there and they sent me home to bedrest. My daughter packed us a bag of snacks and drinks so we didn’t have to buy anything while we were in the ER. Hubby made us eggs for dinner when we got home. That was March 31. Hubby ended up getting bronchitis a week later. The exhaustion and brain fog are crazy. I go for another chest x-ray next week. My son treated us to Chinese, my daughter has brought me lunch several times, a friend brought soup and my neighbor brought us bagels. We did get take out a few times but we have that in our budget. We used up all of my ready meals so this last week has been easy items. Using the crock pot a lot. We have been making lots of home made iced tea to keep me hydrated. I have made bread a few times with help from my daughter and bread machine.
    My son got an apartment. No moving costs as he used my husband’s truck. I had almost everything he needed packed in the basement. He has bought at a local thrift store a coffee table, lamps and some fancy glasses. The apartment is about 8 minutes from us so I am happy. It is closer to his job which is nice. He took me to Aldi one day since I’m not supposed to be driving. I got 2 hams for 71¢ a pound clearance. I also got 4 packs of chicken breasts on the bone marked down.
    My daughter’s boyfriend’s family orders from Thrive Market. It is a reoccurring subscription. I was the lucky recipient of a box. They forgot to cancel it so they asked if I wanted it. I did share with my son.

  56. What a whirlwind of trips – WOW! It sounds like you had an amazing time; happy birthday! How fun that someone else was celebrating the same way. 😀 I’m glad things are working out for your husband in his additional endeavors, as well.

    I confess I’ve lost track of the bulk of the month, but the things that come to mind are:
    *checking the markdown rack at the food co-op when we go for produce – I’ve found marked down staples like rice and sugar, as well as snacky things for carrying in lunches that we wouldn’t normally buy at full price.
    *shopped the post-Easter sales for chocolate and put the bulk of it in the freezer. I’ll check once more after Mother’s Day and that will likely take the us through Halloween sales for treats.
    *ordered laundry powder in bulk
    *made good use of the library and Kindle Unlimited for lots of reads
    *opening the windows in the early morning, then closing and covering with the blinds & light-blocking curtains + using ceiling fans at the warmest parts of the day – for the most part we’ve been able to make due without the AC coming on except for a few brief moments. Our dog is turning 12 this year and doesn’t take the heat as well as she used to, so I have to keep it set a little lower than I used to, but it’s working so far.
    *I ordered some perennials from Logee’s to keep building our “food forest” – we now have elderberries, blueberries, and arctic raspberries in the perennial beds, hopefully they’ll provide us with harvests next year. (Or possibly this year? I’m excited to see how quickly they grow and produce.)
    *While looking for ollas for the garden, I stumbled across a company called Thirsty Earth that created an irrigation-type set up with olla-type devices. Signed up for their email newsletter and received 10% off + free shipping for a first order, so I am giving a kit a shot. Not recommending them just yet, as I’ve just ordered – but maybe it’s worth checking into for others. I’m hoping they work well as their bucket-fill option will let me transfer rain water from our cisterns to the ollas, instead of using tap water. (If I like the kit I ordered, I’ll share in case it would help anyone here!)
    *Used a $1 off/gallon fuel reward from the Kroger affiliate to fill my car.
    *My folks gave us a spare motion sensor light – I’ve installed it in a corner of the backyard where we have a hard time seeing at night. It is solar, so no addition to the electric bill; since we do have coyotes and larger animals who can get over our block wall, it’s good to know nothing’s there before we let the dog out at bedtime. (And we learned it works well – my rhubarb leaves were turning it on multiple times one night until I changed the angle of the light. hahaha!)

    Wishing everyone a lovely week!

  57. Hi Maxine! I am in Kelowna visiting my daughter this week (I was starving when I got here due to lack of food options as well). We head to Calgary, Banff and Lake Louise on Monday, then back to the states (driving back, flew here). First trip since 2019!

  58. I can’t seem to remember much of what happened over the last few weeks, even though I checked this website daily. I really should write things down.

    One thing I’ve done, though, is that I have been figuring out how much ingredients cost (flour is 9.5¢ per cup, beans are 21¢ per cup, cinnamon is 3¢ per teaspoon) and then tracking how much each meal costs me to prepare. My goal is to spend $1 per person per meal ($30/day) and I’ve definitely seen where I struggle. And also where and how to cut back to stay in budget. I’m not tracking it this week, because my husband, oldest son, and I are going on a trip later this week. But ordinarily, I have been posting my cost breakdowns on my Instagram stories.

    I’m glad you’re back, brandy, and happy belated birthday!

  59. Hello Brandy & fellow frugalistas!

    Happy belated Birthday Brandy! Glad you had a nice day to celebrate! Was also worried that something had happened to you or your family so I’m happy to know you’re all OK!

    **We have been cooking most of our meals at home. We share our food we cook with my in-laws as we are living rent-free in their home. Less food waste that way. I also take the food for my lunch at work since the cafeteria is not open on night shift at the hospital where I work.
    ** My brother in law was up to visit on Easter Sunday to drop off his dog for us to watch while he and his wife went on vacation. While he was here, he treated us to a lovely meal out at a local restaurant. He’s coming back on Friday to pick up his dog. His daughters are both in college hours away from their home & they don’t like to kennel the dog when they travel & couldn’t find a local friend to stay with the dog, so he drove 5 hours to drop off the dog with us. My husband is home all day as he doesn’t work outside our home & is available to his elderly parents & was able to watch his brothers dog. My Father in Law loves having the dog around.

    **I picked up an overtime shift at work with a bonus attached which made it worth it. I’ll get that pay on Friday.
    **We don’t drive much save for around town & my 8 mile round trip to work so that saves us gas money. I only have to fill up maybe every 2 weeks.
    **turned off the heat when it was 80 degrees last week here in NE Ohio.
    **had several free meals at work from different medical vendors-last one was from Olive Garden. They even had tiramisu! Yum!
    **have committed myself to a no-buy challenge for things that I don’t need save for food and gas.
    **Filed our income taxes. We ended up owing the IRS $5 but expect a $400 state refund. Don’t have to file city taxes since I live and work in the same city. Seems silly to have to pay the IRS $5. It probably costs them more than that to process our tax return! LOL!!
    **cancelled a few subscription services that I don’t use.
    **watched Call the Midwife on our local PBS station through the app on our SmartTV. It’s one of my favorite TV shows. Makes sense, since I’m an RN. I’m just not a mother/baby RN. I am an adult ICU RN. My hospital closed its OB dept in Oct 2020. It amazes me how far medical technology has come since the late 60’s, which is where the series is at right now-1968.

    **Tomorrow (4/26) is my son’s 19th birthday so we are taking him to lunch. It’s a drive but he’s my only child. It’s also my 11th year as a kidney cancer survivor. I’m blessed that it didn’t require chemo or radiation. So every year that I’m still alive, I shall celebrate!

    Wishing you all a happy, healthy & frugal week ahead!

  60. I like 100% cotton clothes, and, often, the cotton wears away, leaving exposed elastic at the waistband. To me, the exposed elastic feels annoying. If the clothes are otherwise in good condition, I zigzag over the exposed elastic. That removes the irritation, and lets me get more use out of the items. I recently did that with 6 pair of undies and one pair of shorts…not beautiful, but much more comfortable .

  61. Groceries purchased over the last 3 weeks were bread, milk, butter, lentils, beans, chickpeas and yoghurt. I harvested an abundance of fruit and vegetables, including huge amounts of mandarines, many of which I gave away. We are eating and using up as much as we can. I cooked all food from scratch. We went fishing locally twice, catching enough to last five meals. I didn’t need to water the garden for the past 2 weeks due to the rain we had.

    I received my electricity bill and am in credit. As usual, I line dried all washing and we rode our bikes as much as possible. I took the children to the pump track and playground at a local park multiple times. We have a backyard with lots of things for the children to do, but a change of scenery is always nice. They love the pump track.

    We enjoyed receiving dinner and I provided dessert (caramel and cream cake).

    I received two gift bags that will be good to put gifts in, instead of wrapping them.

    I was a bridesmaid at a wedding and I had no out of pocket expenses, except for a gift totalling $15.

    When we were grocery shopping we saw a pop up Nintendo Switch shop, where you could go and play games for free. The shop was almost empty of customers the entire time, so they played for 40 minutes. We don’t have a gaming console of any type, so they enjoyed it.

  62. I missed you Brandy and all that comment here.
    We combined errands. We exchanged asparagus for cage free organic eggs. I cashed in Swagbucks for 2 Amazon cards with one being on “sale”.
    Due to our crappy weather( northwest Ohio), frosts, freezers, snow pellets and highs in 40s… we covered our gardens including our 4 ft wide 100 ft long asparagus patch. Amish neighbor had church on Sunday, said there was lots of laughter over us covering it UNTIL they were told the asparagus they were serving for lunch was from us. Now we are getting the questions of what row cover to use.
    Charlotte our dog, now has arthritis, Vet asked if we still had any meds from our other dog that passed. Yes we did, told us to double it and give it to her as it would only be at 50 % strength now. I had marked it expired in a year. So only the appt. costs not the $50 meds.
    Wood stove is back on instead of using the propane furnace due to weather. An Amish that still owed Hubby $100 offered 4 cords of hard wood instead of the cash. Hubby grabbed that. Means we don’t have to cut anything just unload a wagon.
    I filed the Facebook settlement claim.
    I borrowed repeatedly 2 cookbooks for the last year. Finally found them on sale so bought my own.
    I rechecked the budget. We had a large section of fence go bad along the two pastures. We lucked out and got it on sale. Hubby picked up some extra for “just in case”.
    We paid 7 months of mortgage principle this month. Things are tight because of it but I knew if I didn’t do it , we would spend the money else where and not stay focused on paying it off.

    Prayers for peace and strength
    Blessed Be

  63. We are getting ready to plant some veggies once the danger of frost passes in the next 3-4 weeks. We have tomatoes growing on our kitchen table, some from seed, one plant I bought and some from tiny tomatoes I had at home. Hopefully they will flower and produce more tomatoes. 1 tiny tomato is cheap and has lots of seeds which so far are growing well. We also got some snap peas to plant as well.
    Hubby found Lindt chocolate eggs marked down at the drugstore for 50 cents per bag-he was pretty proud of himself and they were a tasty treat. He got a gift card for his birthday and when I combined our two $5 gift cards it still wasn’t enough to cover a Big Mac Meal-I had to cover the tax as prices are definitely up there. Wishing everyone a good, frugal week ahead!

  64. Happy Belated Birthday, Brandy! So happy you had a wonderful trip to the gardens! You look absolutely stunning! Besides being beautiful, there is a serenity about you. We have been eating out of the freezers and pantry, trying to eat up the older stock. I am dreading restocking and will look for deals. We want to refill with local food that we know is grown without chemicals, etc. I bought my plane ticket and was offered $100 statement credit if we applied for a card, which I took them up on. I will pay the card off immediately. I cannot believe the food prices in Canada! Thankful that with the currency exchange I get a chunk off the actual price here. We’ve had some regular (brakes and tires) and not so regular (front and back struts) car repairs. All in all, I’m still happy as I have 243000 miles on my car and it is still in great shape. The struts are the original so we certainly got our mileage out of them, as we did with the tires and brakes. The car is holding its value well. Easter was at my house and I made the ham, potato salad and deviled eggs. My mom made the nesties (family tradition of toasted coconut and melted semisweet chocolate mixed together and dropped by spoonfuls onto a tray where they look like nests…we freeze them) and my sister brought our family creamed spinach. It was a lovely day! Thankful for this group and you!

  65. *We needed to have our septic tank pumped. The first company I called quoted me $450! About five years ago when we had it done last I paid $200. I called a second company, and they quoted me $350, at least better than the $450 company! When they came to our house, I asked if there might be any additional discounts, and was given a senior discount that took off another $20, so $120 saved over the price of the first company!
    *Our daughter is graduating from homeschool (grade 12) and starting college this summer. Our church did not have enough homeschool students to have a graduation ceremony as they have done in the past, so no graduation ceremony for our daughter. We are going to have an open house for her though, and will combine it with an open house for her two cousins who are graduating one with her two year college degree and one with his four year degree. My sister—mother to the two college graduates—will go in with me on providing snacks for a come and go open house at our home, since we live in the same town as the college my niece and nephew are graduating from. We ordered graduation announcements from Shutterfly for our daughter to send out to relatives. I felt this was even more important for her to have, since she is not having a formal ceremony. We used a $20 credit we had with Shutterfly, plus grad announcements were half off. In addition, the first order of announcements got “lost” in the mail, so I contacted Shutterfly and they immediately sent out a replacement order with rush shipping. Then, after we received the replacement order, the lost original first order ended up showing up! So in the end, my daughter ended up with 80 announcements instead of the 40! We joked that now she could go make some more friends to send announcements to! It has allowed us to send to a few more people than we originally were going to, as we were being careful with who we were sending one to in order to try and keep costs down.
    *I have been slowly planting the tomato seedlings that I grew in our basement under shop lights. First it was too cold to set them out, even though we are past our average frost date, and now it is too rainy! I have been trying to plant a few here and there in between the showers. I also started some lettuce under lights, and even though it has not made it out to the garden yet, I have already started harvesting some leaves from the lettuce and adding them to our salads.
    Looking forward to reading what everyone else is up to. I am writing from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

  66. Hi,
    I’m glad that you are posting again as I was concerned something was wrong. Nice to do a driving trip with the DH too. We closed our winter house in the South and drove home two weeks ago. We packed our own food but had breakfast in the hotel. It was an easy drive and the fasted border crossing we’ve had in years. I’m not sure why there were no other cars in the lineups.
    We’ve been busy since we got home with doctor appointments for my DH as he has cataract surgery coming up and a number of other issues that he keeps in check. We also got our taxes filed and we are getting money back this year. Our gas bill has remained low as has the electric bill. And we aren’t doing much in the way of driving so I’m not sure what the price of fuel is yet. When we left the South it was #3.49/gallon US. I know it won’t be nearly that cheap here.
    I’ve gone through my cupboards and pantry and freezers for out of date food. Surprisingly there really wasn’t much to get rid of. And now I know exactly what I’ve got to use up. I brought some things home with me from the South (butter and dried beans, grits and a couple of spices ). So far about the only things I’ve bought at the grocery store is a cottage roll, bacon and fresh veggies and milk and yogurt.
    I cooked a bag of black beans and made enchiladas with home made sauce (Maxine it’s the sauce that was posted online years ago and I still use it), empanadas as well. DH ate some of the beans as is for lunch one day. I fished a container of turkey and gravy from the freezer and made a stew one day. The left overs made pot pies with a topping of left over puff pastry from the freezer. Tomorrow I’ll make date squares with filling that was in the freezer. Do you detect a theme here? That’s right…using up stuff that is here a rather than buy more.
    I usually go out of town to a garden centre for flats of pansies but this year checked a local store. They weren’t that much more so it saved me driving time and gas. I also bought some cold hardy starts of lettuces, kale and spinach. I know I could start them myself but I admit I’m too lazy. My youngest son asked me to pick up a couple of huge hanging boston ferns for him and he’ll pay me back. I tucked some of the pans of enchiladas and turkey pot pies in his freezer while I was at his house.
    We attended my SIL/BIL’s 60 wedding anniversary party last weekend. It was nice to get together with family and lunch was provided. We could have brought home extra food but suggested BIL take it to his coffee group at the tower where they live.
    The story of collected cans brought back memories. We used to have our kids collect cans and bottles at the summer place and turn them in for pocket money they could spend at the store. I think it instilled in them a desire to keep recycling.
    We are going to Calgary over Mother’s Day weekend for several reasons; to visit, to attend Grandson’s confirmation at church, celebrate his birthday and his Dad’s and to attend a huge book sale that is held that weekend.I have a list of authors to look for, some new ones that have caught my eye. We have our plane tickets booked and one or more of my kids will look after my dog while we are away.
    I found some frozen cherries in the freezer so will make a clafoutis tomorrow.
    I do wish the weather would warm up and be at least a little sunny …but at least we are healthy and home.
    Looking forward to reading everyone’s comments.

  67. Hi Brandy welcome back! I knew you had to be crazy busy to be gone so long ;). But I am relieved it was a happy reason. Thank you for the beautiful garden photos and the updated lovely photo of you! I put your shoes (thank you for the Amazon link) on my wish list 😉 In the past month, I have bought a condo and sold my house, both closings coming up this month. So I am packing what I will keep and having an estate sale to get rid of the rest. I am so relieved that I sold my house, given the uncertain times we face. And found a wonderful new place to live, I am truly blessed. While I am packing myself, mostly, I hired a local moving company. At 66, I am past lifting chairs ;). Can’t wait for the estate sale since I will be using those funds for anything I need in the new place. Exciting times right now for me. And I am looking forward to my new budget in my new home next month.

    1. When we moved to our house, we hired movers for the piano and a couple of really heavy pieces. It was so worth it.
      Congratulations on your move.

  68. Brandy, Glad to hear you enjoyed traveling with your husband. Time away from home with your spouse can be so great for a marriage, especially while the children are young.

    The pantry challenge/food waste-fight continues. We have had some…interesting…meals lately.

    Even though I am limiting grocery purchases, I do not pass up excellent deals. I purchased bags of mixed nuts, cashews, chocolate covered raisins and dried fruit which were on deep clearance ($0.99/16 oz.). I also purchased several extra bags for our church’s food pantry.

    I enjoyed the mini MN heat wave by walking and visiting outdoors with friends.

    I purchased several packets of perennial and annual flower seeds. There are a few bare spots in the landscaping due to harshly trimming shrubs (to replace siding) and rabbit damage. I am hopeful the shrubs will rejuvenate. I plan to use a combination of the seeds, perennial divisions, and garden center gift cards to fill in the gaps.

    My husband was able to tack on a visit to our daughters at college at the end of a business trip. They saw two baseball games, Ole Miss (national champions) vs LSU (ranked #1). Student get in free and my husband was able to buy very inexpensive general admission tickets. He stayed at our oldest daughter’s apartment to avoid hotel costs.

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