I harvested lettuce, some wild white (tiny) mulberries (the birds left me the seedling that is now a small potted tree), parsley, and a lemon from the garden.

I gave one son and my husband haircuts.

I have been mending the children’s bathmats for years. I finally bought some new ones for $6.99 each at Home Goods. These are large mats, and the tile bathroom floors are very cold, so it is nice to have good large mats. I’m glad I was able to mend the other ones for so long, and happy to have found some beautiful ones now that will last for many years.

We also needed some new plates for the children. I found white plates there that, while a different pattern than the one we have for our remaining plates (that haven’t been broken), is a beautiful pattern and should get us through a few more years while everyone (even the teens) still insists on using small plates. I didn’t need a whole new set of dishes (last time I bought settings for 24, and I have 4 small plates remaining), just small plates, so I only bought those.

I decided not to wait until May to stock up on items I am low on right now, after sharing last week’s news. Between that, gas shortages in our city recently and being announced this year in the country (due in large part to a shoratge of skilled drivers to transport it), news that docks are short of workers to unload, and news of rising grocery prices to come (including wheat and chicken) because of drought and worker shortages, I thought it would be wiser to go this past week, before prices rise–and as we all saw last year, it doesn’t take long for shortages to happen. I bought oil and toilet paper, both of which we needed. If prices go up or limits are declared, I’ll be okay for a while. I was very low on both items. The one thing I forgot to buy was Great Northern Beans in bulk, so I’ll plan to purchase a 25-pound bag at Winco sometime this month.

I bought some hot dogs on sale at Winco. Winco doesn’t advertise, so the sales are a surprise when you get there. My son wanted hot dogs for his birthday (we have our children choose their birthday meals) and since they were $0.88 a package (12 ounces packages, so 3/4 of a pound), I bought 10 so that we can have them later. I froze most of them.

I also bought grapes on sale for his birthday. They were an amazing price at $0.88 a pound. I don’t usually buy grapes, as I planted our own many years ago to reduce this expense. When I went to weigh them, I was surprised by how much each bunch weighed. They were almost $5 a bunch! This made me even more glad that we have been growing grapes and will be planting more soon.

My own homegrown grapes were struggling with powdery mildew. I sprayed them with neem oil, an organic spray. I will probably spray again next week in an effort to save my grapes, as the infection is rather bad. It destroyed many of my grapes over the last few years. I have been waiting for a non-windy day to spray, but had to settle for a slightly less windy day, as the wind has been so constant here. Sadly, I have most likely lost most all of my lemon harvest from all seven trees this year; they were covered in thousands of flowers when the wind came.

We celebrated my son’s third birthday simply at home. We have had homemade brownies and ice cream at home. I bought some Octonauts toys from Amazon (and two puzzles from the Dollar Tree), but a few weeks ago it was the weekend of the huge community garage sales here. I only had time to be gone for 45 minutes, so I didn’t find much (I spent $7 total). One of the things I found was a Peppa Pig camper van with Peppa and Daddy Pig. I think it was this one (without the accessories) for $5. I had been hoping to find some Peppa Pig toys, and this was a great deal. My son is always so excited for every little thing, all day long (which is so fun), and when he opened this gift, he gasped and said, “I love this!” which made us all laugh. It was delightful. His siblings took turns playing with him throughout the day with his new toys, paintbrushes (I bought thick ones so that he could paint with water on the patio outside) and puzzles.

Our water bill came this past week. With no grass at all currently, we are using half of the water that we used last year for this same period (when we are permitted to water three days a week)–and our bill is more than it was last year. Rates have gone way up. I’m very glad that we are redoing the garden to reduce the water usage, while also recouping more of our water usage in food and flowers. Any water that goes down the drain is reclaimed and reused here, but of course, I still have to pay for it. I made sure to have a bucket in the shower to collect warm-up water, which I used to water potted plants. It’s easy to add a liquid fertilizer to this before watering.

I took two daughters with me to the thrift store. The dressing rooms are closed, and items can only be returned for store credit if they don’t fit. We chose just a few things. I will have to return a couple of things, but one daughter ended up with an item she likes, and I found a skirt and a book for myself.

What did you do to save money last week?

I’m having issues with the subscription setup for emails on the blog. There is currently no way for anyone to subscribe. I’ll let you know when I have that fixed!

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Mother’s Day is May 8th in the U.S.

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  1. -I am so sorry to hear about your lemon crop this year, Brandy. I always enjoy vicariously the abundance you normally have. I am sure you will make up for it with all the other produce you grow. What a luxury to grow citrus in your garden, though I appreciate that most houses here in my village have an apple tree planted by long-ago residents.
    -I had a call to let me know that there was an unexpected surplus after my late sister’s house was sold on the other side of the country. Though it will be some time before I see this, my share will cover some larger medium-term expenses that I had been planning to pay for over the next few years. This means that this year I can focus on house maintenance and car repairs without worrying about the other larger expenses to come.
    -Covid numbers in our province are definitely increasing with no sign yet of them getting under control, except that seniors seem to be much protected by the vaccines they/we received earlier on. It has been more than a month since my first dose, so fingers crossed.
    -In any case, I have bought enough food to last through May, so my face-to-face people contact can be minimal. I got some good specials on pot stickers, pork loin, canned peas and corn, and even a couple of servings of fresh fish. I did buy garlic and fresh ginger, though the prices were high, to liven up the meals I am making. I also got several lemons (sorry), which were on a very good sale. I’ll use them with fish and chicken. My big saving was to not buy any cheese, because it is really expensive here, and adds too many extra calories. My food spending is about 25% under budget for May (I start grocery spending about a week before the month starts), so I may go back if there are really good specials and local Co-vid cases allow.
    -I signed up for a free virtual film festival that started Sunday, and gives me seven free films to watch over 10 days. I have also been doing a little yard clean-up, and got the litter that accumulates over the winter in all the shrubs cleaned up. I’ve also picked up the things that people working in the yard over the winter dropped in the snow. Bricks and sticks, mostly.

  2. Brandy, have you seen handwashing toilets? The toilet has a small sink over the tank. Handwashing water is collected for the next flush. I saw them in England and checked online to see if they’re available here. Amazon has a retrofit model for $84. It replaces the lid of the toilet tank instead of the entire toilet. I haven’t seen how much water it saves but with the many hands in your family I bet it would add up quickly.
    Happy belated birthday!

    1. Mother always kept a small bucket in the sink, when she went to the bathroom she would pour it in the tank of the toilet. She did this in the kitchen sink also

    2. Great idea, Candy! Many of the places I went in Japan and South Korea had this type of toilet – a great water saver. They are also popular in tiny houses as a space saving option. We hope to install them when we move back to the Southwest next year.

      Brandy, I had an internet blip and didn’t get a chance to wish you a happy birthday – happy belated! 😀

  3. I’ve been using up my stash of scented candles . I had a dozen or more in a storage tub and decided this is the year to use them up. I’ve burned up 4 so far and promptly toss the container.

    I had to throw away 2 pairs of the boys pants. Sometimes you have to admit clothes are beyond repair. I did save the buttons.

    I finally had to buy bathroom and toilet bowl cleaner. I had so much from Grove autoships(I canceled that last year) and stuff my mom sent over she didn’t like, I went almost a year without having to buy any.

    Redeemed one more birthday freebie…a dozen donuts from Krispy Kreme

    Subscribed to a digital subscription to our newspaper for $1 for 6 months

    Found missing gallon of degreaser

    I used $3 off any treats at Petsmart for one dogs birthday, so got a box of milkbones for. 99. I also used a $10 off $50 coupon because I had to buy a bag of dog food for one of the big boys.

    Received a $10 amazon gift card from Verizon rewards.

    Earned $10.25 Amazon credit from Amazons shoppers panel for April.

    Returned library books on time to avoid late fees.

    Entered receipts in a timely manner on rebate apps.

    Continue decluttering the house. I offer items on local buy nothing sites for a few days, then drop off any remaining at a thrift store at the end of the week.

  4. Thanks for sharing about possible shortages and the need to stock up. I have been doing some thinking about what I need.

    I haven’t posted in a while, so this covers several weeks. Joining in from the Seattle area.

    We got our Covid vaccinations (J&J, so only one dose). It had been very difficult to get appointments, but I found a drive thru site in the county north of here (only a 20 minute drive for us). Thankful to have that taken care of. Now everyone in my immediate circle has been vaccinated.

    My sister who lives in Las Vegas came to visit for three days. We hadn’t seen her in over a year and a half. It was wonderful. I picked her up at the airport and she stayed with my other sister. We had a small family lunch, and my 81 year old mom showed us how to make her special chocolate peanut butter bon bons (none of us had actually made them). So that was really fun. My visiting sister requested 2 homemade masks, so I made those for her out of fabric I had on hand. It was so good to be together with my mom and sisters after such a long time.

    Other frugal activities:
    – Used my state parks pass to visit a park I’d never been to before.
    – Passed on an unused picture frame to my mom’s neighbor
    – Altered a couple masks for my mom that my cousin had made (they were a little too big). Repaired an item of clothing.
    – Received the dividend on my REI credit card. Was able to buy a new pair of walking shoes for no OOP. I have $8 credit left.
    – Bought a pair of winter shoes at Kohl’s on clearance, greatly reduced. They will be perfect for next year.
    – Received the dividend from our local health food co-op. Spent this on groceries.
    – Continued to keep track of our grocery expenses. The monthly total went down for a couple months, and then started to rise again. However, the latest figure includes some stocking up. I plan to keep doing this, as it’s helpful to track progress.
    – Late last year, my husband bought a rather expensive musical instrument from a vendor in Europe using PayPal. (The vendor is a well known manufacturer of these instruments). Well, the instrument turned out to be defective, and he was having difficulty reaching a solution with the vendor. So we filed a dispute with PayPal (two days before the 180 day deadline). We ended up filing a claim and returning the instrument. Thankfully, PayPal refunded our money. That was a huge relief!
    – Started following an online drawing course I purchased a couple years ago. I had most of the items I needed, but did have to purchase a few supplies. This will keep me occupied for months.
    – Watched streaming TV, listened to podcasts, and read blogs and library books.
    – Cooked from the freezer and used pantry items. Made water kefir, kombucha and mayonnaise. Made rhubarb/berry sauce, rhubarb crumble, two pans of enchiladas (froze one for later), low carb snickerdoodles, and many other things I don’t remember.
    – Shared a kombucha SCOBY with someone on NextDoor.
    – Walked on trails and in parks. Worked out at home using equipment I already had. Enjoyed some nice weather we had and sat on the patio.

    Have a great week, everyone.

  5. This week was one of my 3 day babysitting weeks, so I needed to wedge as much work into the other days as possible!
    6 friends took us up on our offer for free lilac starts that had grown (and flourished) outside of the stone border where the bushes are growing. So, they went home with about 15 -20 baby lilac bushes and we were left with the lilac area looking more manicured!! I love that kind of barter!!
    I went over to a lumber yard on Wednesday and bought 4 packs of vegetable plants for 89 cents/4 pack. For that price, I don’t start tomatoes, peppers and a few other things from seed. I spent less that $20 for almost 100 plants (some had 2 plants per cell and I carefully divided them!) I bought and planted more broccoli, cucumbers, kale, lettuce, cilantro, parsley and still have tomatoes and tomatillos to plant! I have seen some ideas for trellised tomatillos and so I want to get those ready before I plant them. We also bought a package of tomato clips to gently hold them on their trellises! Oh, how we love to watch gardening videos & blogs to learn more ways to improve our garden !!
    We have begun installing a perimeter fence around the outside of our raised veg beds. It’s not as big a job as your garden project, Brandy, but we are much older (69/71) than you and don’t have any kiddos left at home that are available to help. 😉Here is the beginning of the fence installation: https://pin.it/3e3h9PL. We still need to dig out a bit over half more, place plastic between soil and wooden sides of beds. Then we pound in fence posts, wrap with heavy duty chicken wire like the link shows. But, that’s not all! Then we put a wooden top rail on the wire fencing and afterwards attach some wire spokes continuously across the perimeter top to keep cats, squirrels from entering our garden. Hopefully, that will help our harvest. The squirrels here are notorious for taking a single big bite of each one of our fruits/veg before discarding them! Grrr!!
    Because our 3 newer chickens seem to be escape artists even with the fencing around their exercise yard, we added a roof to it. https://pin.it/1gkYBoz
    I quilted #135 – https://pin.it/4B3PUWc and https://pin.it/3YlImvl and Quilt #136- https://pin.it/1IH76cD and close up of Minkee backing and quilting- https://pin.it/3F4vDzB. Also quilted her
    charity quilt #137 for Mothers Without Borders at no charge. https://pin.it/5wVGkhr. My client who made these and several others I’ve machine quilted for is 85 years old and shows no signs of slowing down!! 🥰
    I found I have several bags of blueberries in my freezer so I found a recipe for blueberry muffins that also uses plain Greek yogurt which is sitting in my fridge! So I made a batch and Hubs has pronounced them “very tasty”! Here’s the recipe: https://pin.it/50pLwpD.
    Everything is growing well and the weather is wonderful. From the rain this week, my 4 rain barrels are filled and will be used to water my gardens
    This is a time filled with worry and fear in the world, but I’ve made the choice to stay positive and do whatever I can to focus on being prepared but also finding ways to be kind and helpful to those I encounter each day!
    Thanks, Brandy and all for keeping me inspired and uplifted!

    1. Gardenpat, you are always an inspiration! Please remind me–are the quilt numbers for 2021 or since you purchased the long arm machine (I think that was last year…???)

      1. Corinne Schulzke- We bought Lenni (our longarm machine) in August 2019 so it’s been 21 months. During that time we’ve quilted 138 quilts. Number 139 is loaded on the frame and numbers 140 and 141 are waiting in the queue! That translates to about 6-1/2 quilts per month (more than 1 per week)! A friend of a friend contacted me for advice on how to make a quilt for the classmate of her 2nd grader whose mom passed away suddenly from cancer. Each of the classmates are making an 8” square (she had teacher pass them out) and then she is sewing them into a simple quilt top. She has never sewn more than what that requires. Since school will let out for the summer in just 3 weeks, I offered to quilt and bind the quilt at no charge. She offered to pay but I feel like I have been so blessed that this is a way I can pay it forward. If this quilt can remind that little girl that she is loved by her classmates during this tough time, I am honored to be able to do this little thing to help.
        So thoughtful of that mom to find a way that those little ones can experience the good feeling of service!

  6. I’m sure you know this, Brandy, but it you can’t use a fitting room, have your girls wear a leotard under loose-fitting, easily removable clothing, and they can try on the new duds right in the store. (You see this all the time at Nordstrom sales, LOL). Also, remember that most knit tops are straight from the armpits to the hem, so you can wrap the hem of one you’re looking at around the hem of the one you are wearing. I do this all the time and they always fit. Also, I wrap the waist and hips from seam to seam around the pants I am wearing. Pants are tricky to fit, but this usually works.

    I forgot to mention last week how impressed I was that you cooked 4 turkeys in a single week. It wasn’t the cooking that impressed me as much as the deboning and freezing! (my least favorite job in the universe). You go, girl! Do you get much help?

    This was my week–
    * The vacation home we were selling closed on Thursday and we had the $$$ wired to the bank. The new owners decided they wanted the patio re-built over the septic tank (with the lid to the septic exposed) and it is being done this week. The septic tank debacle ended up costing around $3,000, but I’m just glad it is over. This is a great time to be selling a house…as long as you don’t have to buy another one!

    * I planted some zinnia seeds in cottage cheese cartons. The seeds were packed for 2014, so I didn’t know if or how many would come up–but a few have sprouted already. (I’m not expecting fabulous germination). But if this works, I’ll have zinnias for basically nothing. (I’m believing what you all said last week about transplanting zinnias).

    * The 10 tomato plants I started from seed are about 4 inches tall and starting on their third set of true leaves. I transplanted them to 3-1/2 inch pots and hope to plant them out in 2-3 weeks. They are now living outside on my patio fulltime.

    * I dropped off corrugated cardboard at the recycling center and also made a thrift store donation. (Decluttering is always an accomplishment!). I asked for and received a zippered blanket bag the thrift store was discarding (needed one to store a wool blanket). I washed two wool blankets and a sweater and dried them outside, draped over the patio furniture.

    * The espresso stand at church saved their coffee grounds for me yesterday. I picked up a gallon bag of grounds for my compost pile.

    * Fred Meyer has full flats of annuals for $12.99. I bought a flat of petunias for myself and split a flat of impatiens with a friend. There are about 36 plants in each flat, so the plants cost less than .40  each.

    * I listed two items on craigslist, but they aren’t getting any action. Maybe time to lower the prices? My son, the bike expert, is visiting this week and promised to help photograph and sell my husband’s bike. It’s in great shape because, after he bought it, he realized it was too big and never rode it. Bicycles are still in short supply due to Covid, so we anticipate a quick sale at a high price.

    Hope everyone here is having a great week! (Frugal would be good, too!).

  7. My mulberries are coming in right now. I had the tree trimmed last year (it is actually my neighbor’s tree, on the fence line but the branches were almost touching the ground in my front yard) so it will not be as abundant as in previous years, but still fine. The berries are always extremely small, but very prolific, and taste wonderful. They are too small to transport, so are not sold in stores. I still have a two year supply of dried red beans and lots of rice. I also still have lots of powdered cheese, butter, and heavy cream that I bought at the beginning of the pandemic. I also have lots of oil and canned goods. I am going to share with my son who is setting up his own household. Chicken prices are high here, but still under $1 a lb. I used to get chicken at 39 cents and 49 cents on sale but no more. My mustard green seeds did not take. So, I will try again in the fall, with Miracle Grow. I used the cheaper soil and it was a bust. Now I know. I still buy a large bag of carrots every month, and radishes every week, to make my sliced vegetable mix. I also take a sandwich to work every day for lunch. I use uncured ham and swiss cheese in the sandwich. I am a creature of habit. I had tiny tomatoes about to go bad so I mixed eggs, cream, leftover spinach and the tomatoes and baked it in the oven. So, I made my breakfast for three days with that. I still have plenty of tiny tomatoes for my breakfast along with eggs and toast. I buy at least one carton of tiny tomatoes a week. A large bag of spinach will last me at least two weeks in my sandwiches and for a few salads. I also bought mushrooms and sliced them. I walk for exercise, as usual. Really, I do not vary much from my routine, especially during the pandemic. I am venturing into the stores for fresh vegetables now, but I am still really fast.

  8. That had to be a tickle hearing him say that. Glad you were able to stock up on priority items too!

    I got my mother an extra (unplanned) Mother’s Day gift. I found 3 boxes of her favorite tea for a third of the usual price. She raised 3 beautiful kids and now is essentially raising her husband (cognitive issues). I felt she could use this as she gets up before him for a cup of tea and quiet time each day.

    I am eating less to lose weight – which even with the withdrawal headaches I am glad as my food will last longer especially with the food price increases. (ha!)
    My husband belongs to the CVS Rewards, and I occasionally use it when needed. I joined myself (to see the emails) and was given $5 CVS cash. I bought a gift for my gift stash with that.

    Once again, figured out some no-cost but my time gifts. This should cover 5-7 people.

    Hope everyone has a calm week!

  9. I haven’t posted for a few weeks and my life hasn’t been very frugal lately because my mother passed away two weeks ago at the age of 95. I was giving her a lot of care at the end, which meant a lot of driving and not keeping up with my usual tasks. But her passing has been sweet and I am grateful that I could help and be with her.
    I finally got lettuce, chard, radishes, and beets planted in my community garden plot. I made bread, banana bread, granola, plus a lot of cooking at home. I am still borrowing books from the library, knitting on yarn that I already have, and using the great outdoors for exercise. I went to Sam’s Club and stocked up on toilet paper, some toiletries, and a few items we were getting low on. I also bought a few summer shirts and two skirts, all on sale, so I am set for clothing for the summer. Kind friends sent me flowers and two gift cards, one for a knitting store.
    I am thankful for family and friends and for the beautiful spring weather we are having. Have a glorious week everyone!

    1. Very sorry to hear about your mother passing. It is a big loss and hurt no matter when we lose them. May God grant you peace.

    2. Kandace my sympathies on your Mom’s death
      My Mom died in 2012 and it’s always sad, be kind to yourself it’s a difficult time

    3. So sorry to hear that your mother passed. I know when taking care of my terminally ill mother, it seemed that time stood still, while the rest of the world went on living.

    4. Sorry to hear about your mother’s passing, Kandace. My thoughts and prayers are for your solace and comforting influences.

      1. Thank you all for your sweet condolences, thoughts, and prayers on my behalf. I feel that gentle, bolstering support.

    5. So sorry for the loss of your mother. I was with my mother when she passed and was able to hold her hand and say goodbye…it was a lovely moment during a difficult time. When you lose your mother you lose a bit of yourself.

  10. Sad to hear of the issues with lemons and grapes this year. Gardening as I am sure you must know is much a game of try and if you first don’t succeed try again. I will say prayers for all that you plant to grow abundantly.
    We have finished planting our garden just this week. I sowed seeds for crowder peas, ferrari green beans, kentucky blue pole beans, spinach, and sugar snap peas. I planted seedlings for cucumbers, zucchini, squash, cilantro and basil. For some reason I have never been able to grow basil or cilantro from seed 🙁 All the seed used were from waht was purchased last year so I sowed a bit more heavily to hopefully counteract any low germination rates. We staked the garden with the fence and T poles we already had on hand and used the same fencing from last year. The tomato plants are growing very well – it is exciting to see some that are almost ready to set fruit! We will be using the cages we have on hand this week to give them support as they grow.
    I made a huge batch of chicken salad for sandwiches this week stretching 3 large chicken breasts from the freezer and some veggies that needed to be used into dinner and lunch for two days for us. I made a large batch pf pumpkin soup from roasted pumpkin puree that I put away last fall. It is easy to put pumpkin into pies, muffins and breads, but coming up with some more savory options has been challenging. The soup was delicious and with my family’s approval will go into the rotation. We enjoyed sheet pan pancakes, pork chops, salmon patties, and red beans and rice this past week.
    I paid bills online avoiding late fees and postage costs. I packed items from our pantry to take to the beach with us when we go next week including peanut butter and jam, oil, spices, coffee, paper goods, laundry soap, sugar, flour, rice, pasta, condiments and tuna. I had thought of making a large batch of meatballs to take with us but time has gotten away from me so I will make a large batch of meat sauce which can be used for a meal of spaghetti while we are out of town. I will also freeze some of the sauce for easy meals when we arrive home. I will make up some homemade cookies to take as well – I believe ginger snaps and peanut butter cookies are the most fervently requested right now. I will also be taking the ingredients to make up a batch of pasta salad to eat with sandwiches as well.
    We took our car in to replace the brakes this week after being told that they would need to be replaced following our last oil change. We researched prices in our area and chose the mechanic that was the most highly rated as well as the most economical in price – turns out all we needed was a brake system flush and fluid. We were prepared to spend about $450 and walked out of the shop for less than $125 – hurrah!
    My husband cut his hair this past week – something he has done for years but I fail to mention. We used fertilizer and manure bought on sale last year to amend the soil in our garden and flower beds. Our neighbor gifted us a huge wheelbarrow full of hostas that we have planted all over our yard. They look beautiful and saved us quite a bundle as they multiply quite well. We are hosting a graduation gathering for my niece who is graduating from high school at the end of May. We have a yard that is large enough to host everyone easily outdoors. We have been planting quite a bit to ensure that the yard looks lovely by the day of the party. We also settled on a Mexican themed menu with a taco bar and some simple sides such as rice and beans and a corn salad. We have many items on hand such as salsa, beans, rice, beef in the freezer, etc. that will help keep costs for the party low.
    I will begin stocking up a bit as we return from our vacation. I am hoping to be able to purchase some strawberries on the road as will be in Florida as well as some other produce if prices are good and I am leaving space in our vehicle in order to accommodate anything that we are able to find at farm stands along the way.

    I hope that everyone enjoys the week ahead. Blessings to you all!

  11. Sorry to hear about the loss of the lemon crop! Hopefully the grape crop can still be saved!

    My frugal accomplishments this week:
    – Used random frozen fruit to make smoothies (http://approachingfood.com/raspberry-dreams-smoothie/)
    – I made chocolate granola, which turned out really nicely. I plan to send some to a friend.
    – I sent a parcel to a friend’s daughter. I used a bubble mailer that I had traded for a few years ago, and sent an extra children’s apron that I had, as well as reusable straws, bento picks, and a mini cookie cutter for cutting out vegetables/fruits/sandwiches into shapes. These were all extra items that I had at home, as my daughter didn’t need as many as she had.
    – I bought a pair of Croc sandals online from a thrift store for my daughter. Very inexpensive, and will be good to use in the later Spring/Summer in the garden. I did curbside pickup so there was no shipping cost.
    – I made a Nordic-style chocolate cake, which is essentially an unleavened chocolate cake. So chocolatey that only a small sliver is needed each time.
    – I made a batch of flourless chocolate chocolate chip cookies using egg whites, and made lemon curd with the egg yolks.
    – I had stale bread and made French toast, and just scrambled the leftover egg mixture to give to my daughter as a side dish.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

    1. Margaret,
      Did you move from the condo? or do you have a co-op garden plot? How’s life with 2 babies now?

      1. Hi Patsy! I’m staying with my parents at their house with my daughters, probably for next few months at least. It’s impossible for my husband to work from home at our condo with two little kids running around, plus this way I get a hand with my daughters and my parents get to spend time with their grandkids, whether or not there is a lockdown going on in our city. So my toddler and I have taken over my mum’s vegetable patch! I saved seeds from my ground cherry plants last year and I’m hoping that they produce even more prolifically in the ground than in a pot. My toddler helped me plant lettuce, carrots, peppers, and more, mostly strewn half-hazardly, so it’ll be fun to see what comes up where! I still want to plant peas and tomatoes, so I saved space for that. As for life with two kids…I love it! Thanks for asking and hope you’re doing well too!

  12. We had a fun surprise last week when one of my daughters and her husband (who go to school in the west) popped in to stay two days on their way to their summer jobs (out east). My husband knew, but I was totally surprised! She had been texting me their location when they stopped for gas each time and was making things up so I wouldn’t know they were on their way here. I was thankful for my stocked pantry and was able to make nice dinners for them both nights, plus had everything here for their breakfasts and lunches. It was such a nice time.
    I’m working hard on keeping my grocery orders within budget each week. I do miss out on markdowns by doing grocery pick up, but I’m saving money by not impulse shopping.
    I got some yarn from Joann’s using a 25% off total order plus sales. I used curbside pickup, so I wouldn’t wander around the store. I got a great deal and many skeins of yarn for my projects. I am so grateful. When I can shop like this I can do so much more.
    We have started working on the yard and deck for spring. Elbow grease goes a long way. I suggested some potted flowers for the deck for my Mother’s Day gift. I don’t need anything else and that will brighten our outdoor space that everyone can enjoy.
    I’m a bigger lady and buy my clothes from Woman Within online. A catalog came and I looked through it, thinking about getting some new tops for summer. I didn’t buy right away and decided to wait. By morning I realized that I have enough and what I have is in good or good enough shape and I like it, so I decided to pass this year and not buy anything new. That decision felt good to me, as I’m trying to be grateful for what I have and use all that I have.
    Getting my hair cut today. It is at a salon, but the owner is a friend of my daughter. She charges me 1/3 of her regular price. I give her a very good tip. It doesn’t save me a ton of money, but I love supporting her as she is trying to make a go of her small business and she is a good friend to my girl. I’m looking forward to a little pampering and a good visit.
    I hope everyone is enjoying spring and are safe and healthy. We are all vaxed and ready to go, but I’m finding I have some anxiety about getting out and about again. Hoping that settles with time.

  13. Our city had their annual “throw your junk on the curbside” event this week. I found several books, an armload of vintage fabric, sidewalk chalk, two wooden chairs, an old desk, stickers, kids’ toys, a metal trash can and some grapevine wreaths that I plan on repurposing.

    Several months ago I heard that stock market investors have started trading water as a commodity. I guess your water bill might explain why!

    1. Prudence: What great finds! City clean-up week is wonderful. Our town does it the week after city-wide yard sale day.
      I do not like throwing 0ut things that will just go into landfills, so I save stuff for this week. Scavengers took a lot over the past few days: many flower pots and saucers, a large bag of the little plastic pots that plants come in, two large bags of plastic clam shell containers from purchased greens, and a pile of egg cartons, as well as a lot of scrap metal, (broken bed frame supports, broken electric fans, shower curtain rods, heavy base of an office chair), and other things I have forgotten, because they are no longer in my house!

  14. Always good to read your posts Brandy! I’m worried about rising food prices as well.

    My daughter graduated from nursing school. We were able to attend the ceremony. It was done one at a time to encourage social distancing. We were are so proud of her accomplishment. I made her a handmade card and had all our family sign it. We gave her some cash as a congratulation gift. She got married and had a baby during nursing school. She graduated debt free. She has plenty of job opportunities to choose for her new job. It was wonderful to have our family see her walk across that small stage and receive her diploma. I was proud of her because the next day she went out to 6 garage sales and bought 2 items for her baby and spent $2. My other daughter was with her and also bought 2 items and spent $5.

    My seeds I started have all sprouted – except for celery. I’m hoping to get everything planted after Mother’s Day. That is date that is recommended where I live to plant. Frost dates should be over and done with here. I have romas, lettuce, green onions, bush beans, potatoes, cucumbers and flowers. I need the beauty of flowers. I decided to not put flowers in pots this year because I have to hand water every day in the summer. I’ll have plenty of beauty in my flower beds.

    I wrapped a wedding present out of our stash, made a card and used a bow I’d saved. The wrapping paper was bought years ago on clearance. I shared part of coconut cake that I got on clearance for $2 with a friend who loves that cake and wasn’t able to find any at the store. I took banana bread to a neighbor who had surgery that I pulled out of my freezer. It was made by me by just this kind of purpose. I got free yogurt and vitamins. I was able to get dogs treats for my dogs for $2. They had 32 dental treats for large dogs. My dogs are medium size. I broke each dental chew treat in half. 64 treats for $2. I got steaks on clearance and repackaged them for the freezer.

    My husband and I continue to go through items from his mom’s house and figure out if we can use them in our home or if we should donate to thrift. We loaded my car with the donated items, I made a list of each donation for taxes and I dropped them off. My husband fixed a solid wood bookshelf with a loose foot and secured the backing better. He put wood oil on it and wiped it down – it’s beautiful. Now my fun job is to use things we already have to decorate with a table lamp we already have and a table runner. I have plenty of books that need a shelf for their new home.

    I read books from the library, continue to exercise at home, make food from scratch, grocery shopping where I bought sale items/clearance items. My daughter made homemade brownies for our dessert. I printed off information for my daughter to help her improve some health issues. She’s had 6 days of feeling better! This was on the advice of her doctor. She hasn’t had this many good days of good health since last summer. My husband and I had a date night and used a gift card. I also use our streaming service to watch shows. I pay for this out my “money”. I turn off lights and unplug when I can. I’ve had my windows open as much as possible to avoid using the A/C. My kids want the heat on in the morning because they are cold. I let the house heat up to 68 and then turn off the heat. Within an hour the house is heated to 70-71. I will be using the A/C this summer though – I get sick in heat but I’m going to try and bump it up one degree. Every little bit counts.

    I continue to write daily in my journal, sit in the sunshine for 20-30 minutes, get as much rest as possible and work on crafts from things I already have at home. I spend deep time in my scripture study and prayer and meditation. I have re-done my social media accounts to only show posts from calm sources and my interests. It’s peaceful to scroll through and enjoy beautiful pictures and inspiring quotes. I listen to the bird songs in the morning as I’m eating breakfast. I re-did 2 wreaths in my home last week from flowers and ribbon I had bought at dollar tree, saved from other projects or had been given to me. I decorated my front porch with items on sale at Hobby Lobby. I used points to get my gas at a lower price point. Gas is $3.39 here where I live. I’ll take gas points that take me down in price.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful week. I look forward to getting new ideas and encouragement.

  15. *I planted tomatoes and beans along side the recycled dog kennel trellis in our garden.
    *I used a free $5.00 coupon from Michaels to purchase a 2 quart size mason jar. Michaels may not be the cheapest place to purchase mason jars, but if you are getting it completely free I figure it can’t get cheaper than that!
    *I pulled the rest of the collards from our garden and froze the leaves to use in future soups. I left a few plants for seed production, but still have plenty of seed from last year so figured I would rather have the garden space than the old plants producing seed pods.
    *Our teen daughter received her second COVID vaccine. The vaccine was being given in a local park that is currently closed so it could be turned into a vaccine site. While we were waiting the required 20 minutes to make sure she did not have a negative reaction, we took advantage of being in the park and enjoyed a stroll through the park.
    *We read the latest History article on my daughter in law’s History blog. This week is about another Medal of Honor recipient, that I had never heard of before. I am learning a lot from reading her blog! If anyone is interested, this week’s post can be read here: https://www.telling-their-stories.org/post/men-of-honor-part-2-wings-of-fire
    *And last but not least, probably the very largest savings we will EVER have in our lives—our daughter received her ACT test scores this past week, and she scored high enough to qualify for a full tuition scholarship to the local private Christian college that she is interested in. We were ecstatic, to say the least! At today’s tuition prices, over the four years this will save our family around $89,000!!!! Since I have homeschooled her for her entire school career, I breathed a big sigh of relief and told myself I guess I didn’t mess her up TOO badly!
    Pictures and more on my blog at: https://chickadeecove.blogspot.com/2021/05/frugal-friday-week-of-april-25-may-1.html
    I look forward to reading what everyone is up to. I love this community, everyone is so positive and uplifting!

    1. That is really, really wonderful Susan! Congratulations to your daughter! And way to go for your instruction!

      1. Thank you! It is such a relief! My husband teaches at this university, so she would have received an employee discount anyway because of him, but it is no where near full tuition! I have had quite a bit of resistance from my mom about my homeschooling. I do understand that it can be strange for people who grew up when homeschooling was not a popular thing, and that naturally grandparents want whatever they see as “the best” for their grandchildren, but I couldn’t help but feel like my homeschooling her—which we definitely felt God was calling us to do—has finally been vindicated in a sense. I am a former classroom teacher, by the way, and realize full well that homeschooling is not necessarily the right choice for every family, but it was obvious to us that it was the best choice for our daughter.

    2. Congratulations to your daughter on her college acceptance! We are a home educating family, too, and I know what you mean about knowing it is the right choice for your family but feeling vindicated when all goes well, particularly if you have had to deal with naysayers over the years. Best wishes to her on her journey!

  16. Hello Everyone!
    Prices are up and multiple sources say inflation and shortages are coming (wheat, corn, soybean, gas, chicken). I made a trip out to Walmart last week to fill pantry holes. I get uncomfortable letting my cupboards deplete and like to keep them full. I used the Ibotta app to build another $1.50 in rebates.

    I tried making whole wheat pita last week. I haven’t made it in years. Unfortunately, it never puffed up so we’ve been using it like flatbread. I’ll have to practice making it more frequently. It still tastes good! I also made a large loaf of sourdough cornmeal bread to have with lentil soup. Yum! I used browning bananas for muffins. I made iced tea for pennies.

    My husband planted our two new citrus trees. I ordered one more garden bed to use every possible area for veggies. This last one should be all I can fit. Peat has been back ordered for weeks at Home Depot. As soon as it arrives, I’ll be able to plant my new beds. I also noticed that 4” starter veggies are $0.50 more than last year at $4 each! I’m glad I use seeds.

    Sorry to hear about the loss of your lemons Brandy. Weather is unusual this year. We haven’t had much rain. Drought is in the forecast in a bad way. You’re smart to re-do your yard!

    I used water from boiling eggs and abandoned glasses of water to water my herb pots. I gave myself a pedicure since the weather has been lovely and sandals are on my feet again! I fed the hens peelings, scraps and stale bread ends.

    Have a blessed and beautiful week everyone! 🌻

  17. Brandy,
    So sorry to hear about the loss of your lemon crop this year. I know how heart-breaking it can be. I started cucumbers and pumpkins and they were doing great. They were up about 4-5 inches and looking very healthy but then the slugs found them and now they are gone. I still have time to start again. My husband and I worked really hard last fall to remove a huge black walnut tree that was causing our apple trees to stop producing so I am hoping for a least a few apples this year.
    I found a really comfortable pair of spring and summer shoes for a decent price so I am very happy about that. I have started a new hobby of embroidering on masks. It is really fun because I can complete a mask in one evening. I plan to give these as gifts. My cost is about $1 or less per mask.
    I harvested some of my rhubarb and my mom made a rhubarb pie of it. She really enjoyed getting the fresh rhubarb and it gave her something to do with her day. She also loves rhubarb pie so it was a nice treat for her. The next bunch I harvest, I will freeze and then when my strawberries are ripe, I will make a strawberry-rhubarb crisp which is one of my favorite treats.
    I enjoyed reading about your son’s birthday.
    I hope everyone has a good week.

  18. Cute story about your little boy’s birthday….and a good idea to stock up now! Just read on Yahoo finance where Proctor & Gamble will be hiking prices in September & Whirlpool will hike up prices 5 to 12 % to counteract rising steel prices. This week I spent helping out son and daughter-in-law with newborn & their other children, who live 3 hours away. So I guess my thrifty action was childcare for them-so they did not have to pay a babysitter! And I did make my own Brown Rice Veggie Sushi Roll using left over veggies, and following the directions on The Minimalist Baker. Small container prepared in a grocery store is going for $8.50.

    1. Thank you; I read a lot of articles about the economy and did not see these. I’m glad you shared.

  19. Thank you very much to TCR for a suggestion near the end of last week’s post! I updated our information at healthcare.gov, (Marketplace, Obamacare), even though we had no changes in income. We remained enrolled in the same plan, and our tax credit increased to take over a hundred dollars more off each month! Nice to have that now instead of when we file taxes next year. Thank you!

  20. Hi, I’ve read your blog for a long time but never commented! I really enjoy seeing and hearing about the progress of your garden. I live in Salem, Ma, and there’s a historic house/museum called the Ropes House with a garden that reminds me of yours. This photo shows what it looked like long ago. It’s very similar now, planted with old fashioned flowers–peonies dahlias, sunflowers, etc. https://www.digitalcommonwealth.org/search/commonwealth:2b88sf808

    1. That is stunning! I love it! Thank you so much for sharing! I shared it with another friend who travels for work and likes to visit gardens all over the world (he’s a pilot).

  21. Hi Brandy and everyone
    I’m sorry to hear your water bill has increased even though you’re using much less, that must be quite disturbing. Good news that you had good buys elsewhere in your budget and that you are able to stock up earlier than you had planned.
    I found several packs of fresh fish reduced in price and have frozen them. We picked leeks from the garden but we are currently in the hungry gap for garden produce. I stretched leftover casserole by adding a tin of borlotti beans.
    I found a new zippered pouch in my late mother’s things and am using it to hold a small sewing project.
    I made shower scrubbys for friends using a small new handtowel. I use old towels when I make them for us.
    Today I had lots of errands to run so took a flask of tea with me.
    I am washing most loads at 30c and everything is clean so far.
    We gave lots of seedlings to two different friends. One gave us about 25 borage seedlings, in the garden centre small borage plants are £2.50 each so that’s a great saving. The other friend gave us lots of plants she had grown including lots of white lavender, scented leaf pelargoniums and salvias. Garden bartering is in full swing.
    My husband and I had a discussion about finances and we are cautiously pleased with how things are going, lockdown has helped with not spending and all our small efforts really do add up.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. Hello PennyP!
      I’m intrigued by your homemade shower scrubbys. Do you have your own pattern or did you find something online. I’m thinking what a great gift idea!
      Mary in Michigan

      1. Hi Mary
        I used a pattern from http://www.arosetintedworld.co.uk – she calls them shower poufs made from towels. It’s such an easy make, I’m hooked on them now. Everyone’s going to get them, sometimes with nice soap included too. Fortunately my friends like homemade gifts!

  22. Hello, everyone.

    Brandy, I’m so sorry to hear about your lemon trees. I am such a lemon lover and envy those of you who can grow them. Perhaps some will still produce! Last week I made a lemon curd filled angel food cake with lemon glaze.

    I upcycled some terracotta pots that were looking bad. I first sprayed them with a water protector, then painted them a pretty slight cream color. They will be under a covered patio space, so I’m hoping the paint lasts.

    I finished the book, “The Kitchen Front,” by Jennifer Ryan. It’s about a group of women who compete on a cooking program during World War II and have to get creative due to rationing, all the while dealing with many personal problems. I really enjoyed the book.

    We have begun picking strawberries that have ripened early this year. Hoping for a big harvest, as these are an ever bearing variety.

    I built a string trellis for our tomatoes and cucumbers. I also planted green beans.

    Trying to cut down on the amount of dishes I do. I realized that I often put breakfast dishes in the dishwasher that could easily be dusted off and reused throughout the day….so I have been doing this more. I have been adding a tiny drop of Dawn to some liquid dishwasher gel that I don’t care for. The Dawn seems to help, and I alternate with a stronger, more expensive dish tab other days.

    Took a carload full of plastic garden pots to Home Depot to be recycled. Also, thank you to the person who mentioned that HD matches the Menards rebate program. I have been submitting for those.

    We have had a lot of rain, so I set out extra containers to catch rain water. I also leave my van outside for a free car wash!

    Have a great week!

    1. Thank you for the book recommendation. I have requested it from the library.

      1. The Kitchen Front was a fun read. Jennifer Ryan has a few others. The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir was enjoyable, too.

        WWII books are my favorite!

    2. Thanks for the book recommendation. I just requested it from the library. It sounds like a great read and I love that time period.

    3. Thanks for the book recommendation. Just went through The Milk Street Cookbook by Christopher Kimball ( cooking shows on PBS) from the library, and copied a few recipes to try during the summer months.

    4. As soon as I saw the book you mentioned, I hopped right on my library site and the had it, so I requested it. Sounds like a fun and interesting book! Thank you for recommending it.

    5. Thank you for the book recommendation as well! I put in a request at my library and there are 31 people ahead of me in the virtual queue for this book! 🙂

    6. I just finished that book as well! It was excellent, and I liked the recipes in each chapter. Some I would definitely adapt.

  23. Brandy,
    That photo of the white flowers with just the tinge of pink in the blue and white vase is stunning! So lovely!

  24. All bills paid on time saving late charges.
    I have done a few Walmart surveys earning $5.00 coupons or points each time.
    We have been busy planting seeds. Hopefully this will save us this summer.
    My daughter came to visit. We haven’t seen her and her family in a year and more. We have had our vaccines and are as safe as we can be at this time.
    When Dawn and her youngest got here they brought a couple of chickens and brisket for us. We cooked the brisket and sent part of it back with her.
    I also gave her 2 hams. The hams were from my grandson’s show pig. We don’t eat much ham, but Dawn’s family does.
    Brandy, it grieves me to hear you may have lost your lemon crop. The weather has been so strange this spring.
    Thank you for the information you shared last week regarding the gas shortage…and price increases. It is so helpful to have the heads up.
    Dawn also brought me a cookbook from her library book sale. It cost her 50 cents. It is a sweet book with “receipts” from 1905.
    I like cooking from scratch. This book is full of old recipes.

      1. Peggy G,
        I don’t know how. They sent me an invitation to join and I did. Have you tried doing a search of the Internet?

  25. It has been a trying week work wise. Trying to remember to be thankful and grateful, no mater how stressful the job is. I can only do what I can do. We picked up seven days of school lunches for my son; this week included a basket of blueberries. I went on a run to Costco for my parents; I also picked up some needed items for my family which my parents treated form. We also picked up another dog sitting gig for a neighbor. The money from this gig will pay for half of our dryer that we had to purchase today because ours died. I went through Swagbucks to make the purchase at Lowe’s. I was able to cash in 2200 swagbucks for a $25.00 Amazon gift card. We totally hauled out our garage on Sunday. We organized almost everything and had two car loads full of items to donate to the Goodwill. I purchased a baby shower gift on Amazon for my cousin. I used my swagbucks giftcard and have Amazon Prime, so OOP costs. I returned two items that I had purchased online that weren’t going to work. Our community pool opened this past weekend, so we were able to enjoy it both Saturday and Sunday. Because of my son’s medical insurance, I was able to purchase a county parks parking pass for $50.00 off. Made teacher appreciation gifts for my son’s teachers using items I had on hand, purchasing and adding a $5.00 gift card for Starbucks for each of the three teachers. I paid all bills online early, saving the cost of stamps. One of our bathroom rugs needed to be replaced. I found a new one (not a matching color) in our garage that I had bought years ago. I bought some books at the Dollar Store that I know my dad will like along with some snacks; these will be gifts for my dad’s birthday on Sunday. I made a huge batch of black beans. I packed a box of food and snacks for my husband’s car, incase he needs to travel out of state to visit his ailing father. I also put aside some dried goods from our pantry for my father in law. I had a very expensive magazine come up for renewal this month. Found out that I can check it out online on the Libby Library app. So I decided not to renew it, saving me $150.00!

  26. We got our new shingles on this week! No more leaky roof! We ended up with 23 people showing up to help. We felt so loved and blessed…and of course, it was frugal, too! ~ I tried out Wal-Mart grocery pickup. I’m thinking that will be a good option to avoid impulse buys. It will save us time, too. ~ Our van is 25 years old and has really begun to show its age. We have looked for something else but the prices of used cars is really high right now. We took the van to the mechanic today and it will be gone over tomorrow. Then, we’ll have to decide whether to fix it or try to buy something else. ~ My husband was supposed to go back to work a week and a half ago. Work is still slow, though, and he hasn’t been called back. I’m not sure how long he will be able to receive unemployment, but so many unknowns are hanging over our heads right now. I know God will provide (He always has)!

  27. I hope your grapes make it and sorry to hear about your lemons. Gardening is always a interesting.
    This past weekend we finally had my daughter’s wedding reception. She got married last July in her husband’s uncle’s backyard because of Covid. It was still relatively small(62) but it was wonderful. We rented an Airbnb to stay at. It was much cheaper then 3 hotel rooms and we could bring the dog. We were also able to cook. I brought some food from home and we went to BJ’s down there because we offered to pay for the BBQ at my daughter’s house the night before the wedding so everyone could see the house. Hubby did the grilling, my daughter’s MIL made dessert. It was simple but delicious. We took some of the leftovers back to the Airbnb so the men had lunch for the day of the wedding. My younger daughter and I went back to my older daughter’s house to get ready for the reception with her bridesmaids. I made lunch for us. My daughter gave us drinks and snacks for the ride home. Driving home I used a gift card to pay for our food.
    Earlier in the week I made a double batch of pork rub. It is BBQ season.
    I redeemed $126 cash rewards from our credit card. We pay it off every month.
    Made a large pot of chicken noodle soup using a chicken carcass I had. I froze half.
    Aldi’s had some great meat mark downs. I got 2 large packs of split chicken breasts with $2 off coupons. They each came to under $3. Hams were $5 off. So I got one for $7 and it went into the freezer. Eggs are still 52¢ so I got 4 more dozen. The chest freezer is full.
    My youngest daughter cut my son’s hair for the wedding. She also cut her boyfriend’s hair. She did her and my eyebrows too. She also did our hair and makeup for the wedding.
    My neighbor watched our house and took in our mail. I will do it for them when they go away at the end of the month.

  28. I love your son’s comment! It truly is the little things in life. ❤ Our frugal accomplishments were:
    *Meals made were ham and scalloped potato casserole with green beans, frozen pizza with tossed salad,  baked chicken with rice and green beans, crispy haddock with corn, shrimp scampi with tossed salad, leftovers.
    *Sent a thinking of you card from my stash.
    *Washed my shower curtain and liner in the washing machine. Also washed my bathroom rugs to refresh them.
    *My hubby flipped over his recliner and did some repair work on the underside.
    *Made a big batch of baked chicken, seasoned rice and green beans and took meals to a couple and a single lady from church who are all having health issues. Also baked a cake and frosted it with icing from the freezer. I cut it in thirds and took them each some.
    *Used $5 ECB’s to buy nasal spray at CVS. Also earned $1 ECB doing this.
    *Had a flat tire at work. My husband came and took it off and plugged it with a plug kit my boss had. Thankful for a free repair.
    *Accepted a free lunch, snacks, soda and coffee at work.
    *Ordered office supplies through Rakuten at work to earn cash back.
    *Washed laundry in cold water. It’s just my husband and I and we are down to 2 loads a week!
    *Cleaned using ammonia, vinegar and bleach sprays that I made up (in different bottles).
    *Accepted a dozen eggs and a bag of dishwasher tablets from my mom.

  29. I haven’t commented in forever (well, since last spring) but read the blog and most comments every week. News reports about upcoming food shortages and Brandy’s take on the same have prompted me to start stocking up even more and to increase my buying from our local farmers, mainly through my town’s Saturday morning farmers market. I firmly believe that these smaller farmers are going to be very important to our local food supply and while they are more expensive than Aldi’s, we really need to keep them growing and making a profit. Fortunately, I can afford this on my retirement income.

    Since I retired in January, 2020, I’ve spent the last year volunteering with Katie’s Krops, a group aimed at helping fight food insecurity. They sponsor and fund kids all across the United States who grow backyard gardens and donate the food to local groups (shelters, veterans, food pantries, etc.) I volunteer in the local flagship garden since I live in the town where they are located, deliver meals to four families every other Thursday after the volunteer teenagers cook and package them, make desserts for these meals, and do profile write-ups on the growers. If you wanted to be inspired by some dedicated kids (ages 8 and up), check them out at Meet Our Growers – Welcome to Katie’s Krops ! (katieskrops.com) and if your kids or grandkids are interested in doing this next year, contact them to find out what it would take to become one of their gardeners.

    Other than that, life is still about saving money where I can and spending it when I need to do so. The lawn mower broke a couple days ago and I decided I just really, really REALLY hate mowing the lawn, especially in our summer heat where temps regularly hit “feels like” over 100F before Noon and usually over 110F in the afternoon from July to early October. I finally did some budget adjustments to hire someone with a riding mower to cut and edge it every 2 weeks. It took him 30 minutes to do what it takes me 2.5 – 3 hours. It’s a sacrifice but one I’m willing to make. My daughter and son-in-law have been living with me since last September and I could have asked them to do it but they both work outside the home so their time to do it is limited and the only time they would have would be during the hottest part of the day.

    Some other well-spent money this week was on updating all of my estate documents and setting up a trust to hold them and avoid probate. I did not NEED any of the stimulus money I received but part of it went to this (my old estate documents were “only” 24 years old and created in a different state!) It was much less than I originally anticipated and then they charged me $300 less than the quoted price because I did my research and provided information on trustees, etc., without a lot of questions, making it less time-consuming for the attorney. I also used stimulus money to buy two pairs of American made sandals from SAS Shoes that will last me for 3-4 years. My old ones needed to be replaced last year but who wanted to go shopping then? The cost to reheel and resole them was ridiculous so I bought these and I’m good to go now.

    1. I checked out Katie’s Krops website – what a wonderful organization! It says that there are now about 300 groups throughout the US – just wondered if there was any thought to expanding outside the US?

      I think your decision regarding your lawn is money well spent – sometimes it does pay to use the money that you have wisely.

    2. Thank you for Meet Our Growers recommendation! Always looking for ideas to share with grandchildren.

  30. Your son’s birthday sounds very sweet. The water situation there must be serious. You are such a good steward of it, using it so mindfully. A friend and I met, and walked a trail at the zoo, which is free. At the discount grocery, I was able to purchase canned organic beans from .35 to .60. For some reason, they mark the store brands at .35. I also bought organic tomato sauce for .60, gluten free pasta for .75, organic canned soups for .40, and a few other odds and ends, including a tin of golden syrup for .99. I’ve not used it before, but have seen it in recipes. Two herbal glycerites were started (alcohol-free extracts). Two dozen eggs were shared with a local friend as a thank you for delivering something to me. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2021/05/visit-from-heron.html

    1. If Lake Mead falls five more feet by June as predicted, mandatory cuts will be made to the seven states that receive water from the Colorado River. We have had less than an inch of rain all year and only two inches last year (normal is 4 inches a year). Snow in the Rocky Mountains has been very low. We knew this was the year that cuts could take place depending on the water level. While we may not yet be asked to make cuts, raising rates is certainly one way to get people to conserve. This project is something I have wanted to do for a long time and I am happy that it means less water. The water rate increase took me by surprise. My bill will probably end up being higher this year than last. I had hoped to save $200 a month in the summer. That said, my bill might have been $200 higher a month with the new rates, so there is that!

    2. When I was a kid my British Mum used to put golden syrup on our pancakes and in our oatmeal! Yesterday my Mum said she had some extra strawberry plants I can have so between my neighbour and my Mum I will have plenty of planting to do. Speaking of my generous neighbour, she just planted a pear tree and my Mum asked if she had another one for cross pollination, which she did not. She said there is not enough room in her yard so I jokingly said that she could plant another in my yard-it sounds like she might take me up on it. We have .16 acre so I think there is lots of room. Time will tell.

      DH will not be working the next couple of weeks at least, as schools are shut down again-but he does collect EI so all is well. .Today’s menu plan includes stuffed peppers for a change

      1. I had the same problem with having only one pear tree. I solved the pollination problem by grafting different pear varieties on my tree.
        It was not a long wait until the grafts had blossomed. The option (instead of planting another tree) is to pollinate by hand using a little brush.

        1. Of course to use a brush to pollinate you’d have to collect pollen from someone else’s tree.
          Canadian Tire on Macleod Trail has some pear trees in their garden centre. Idon’t know the price
          or the kind.

  31. I haven’t posted here or on my own blog for the past few weeks. Life had gotten somewhat overwhelming for a bit, and I needed to scale back/keep my focus elsewhere. I’ve been enjoying podcasts and ebooks from the library when I go walking, and I’ve borrowed some cookbooks and novels from the library as well. We have also played board games/yahtzee a couple of times, and that as nice too.

    I’ve been reducing the amount of arts and crafts supplies and getting them down to what I really love and use. I had a lot of things given to me by others who overbought or lost interest, and I tried those crafts, and never really kept up with them. Once I got things sold/donated, I also sold the cabinets I was using for storage. Now the space feels much more light and airy – and welcoming. I’m glad to have a more curated space. I mostly like to make greeting cards, lye soap, and I do some sewing and watercolor painting. Having more space with fewer things feels nice!

    I made Mother’s Day cards, and altered several articles of clothing that were a bit large on me. I haven’t been motivated to go shopping for over a year. I’ve lost and kept off about 20 pounds in that time, and I’m still wearing the same clothes. I also got some hand-me-down clothes for my child that were a little large – I was able to alter those so they fit. Some were a lot large, and we passed those on to another family that can use them. The alterations have me curious about doing more significant alterations to clothing, so I’ve been learning a bit about that, and looking at websites of seamstresses who take thrift-store finds and re-work items that are dated, the wrong size, etc. It’s really inspiring.

    I got together with a friend – we are both 2+weeks past vaccination. We visited outside wearing masks. It was so nice just catching up. We met at the library, where there are outdoor picnic tables, and sat on opposite sides and opposite ends, to keep distance. We’re planning a masked/distance hike with our kiddos in a couple weeks.

    Our Ooma unit (VOIP phone) stopped functioning. We thought about replacing the unit, but really, our cell phones have become our primary phones, so we let go of that number and the expenses attached to it. It was low-cost, but not really necessary anymore. We have our phone through tracfone, and the plans we have are only $21-$22/month for all three of our phones. With the amount my husband saves using his in-store with Ibotta and other saving/rebate apps, they are worth it.

    Safeway has been doing the Monopoly game, where you get little game pieces for purchases. We had enough points for a $25 gift card, and we had lots of instant winner tickets too. We won a lot of French bread from the bakery. We can choose white, wheat, or sourdough. We’ve been using the wheat ones for sandwiches, French toast, etc. I got some of the sourdough ones, sliced them thin, put a skin of butter, some garlic and onion powder, and a bit of parsley, and baked them at 300 degrees until they were very lightly browned. We have fancy Melba toasts! We also had instant winners for lots of other things we are working into meals and snacks – bottled waters, trail mix, sour cream, crackers, a 2 liter soda, cheese…all sorts of things. We had some $1 and $5 instant winners too, which we are using toward produce.

    It is still cold here, but I’ve started some lettuce, beets, spinach and radishes in the garden. I have some old beehive boxes, and use those as small cold frames, with a plexiglas cover. Some things have started to sprout, and I have the rest of the garden planned. We added two truckloads of alpaca manure and tilled that in before we planted, and now the season has started at the local free mulch place. It’s a county program where people can drop off branches/deadfall, they grind them, and then you can get mulch for gardens and landscaping, trails, etc. I also discovered that the poppies are spreading! I have a single Oriental Poppy – red with a dark center – that I got years ago. I had not had much success with spreading the seeds year to year, but for some reason, this past season it worked quite well. I have found 12 new baby plants! I’m awfully happy about that. We also dug up some irises and moved them, and every single one of them is growing well. They are out in an open field where they will give a more naturalized appearance to our property. Finally, someone who is moving away had some garden tools for sale, and I was able to pick up 2 shovels, $5 for both. Ours need the handles replaced, and we will do that at some point, but this was more affordable than new handles.

    I have given two haircuts, and cut my own hair too. My husband trimmed the neckline for me with the clippers. We also trimmed up both our dogs. It’s good that dogs are not vain. (I do a much better job on people, but people are not so wiggly!)

    I pretty much always take my lunch to work. I have an hour break, so I walk a mile (that’s about 20 minutes) and then I have time to eat and read my book. I do have a couple of free birthday meals coming, but most of them are either in town or the meal will be too big for lunch. We will probably go to town as a family one day, pick up a couple of them and just share everything at the park. On my birthday, we made a meal at home – grilled marinated chicken, rice, steamed broccoli, and cucumber kimchi. It was exactly what I wanted, and really tasty. I wanted to make a yellow cake for my birthday, and top it with glazed strawberries and whipped topping. Strawberries were not on sale, and the ones in the store didn’t look so nice. Lo and behold, in the bakery, there was a cake just like the one I wanted to make, and it was marked down. It still had a few days before the best-by date, so we got it. It was really good, and the strawberries were tender and sweet. It cost less than the pound of strawberries would have been since they were not on sale.

    I’m sure there were other things, but that’s probably already more than anyone wants to read, hee hee.

    1. You might enjoy looking at some of the archives on newdressaday.com. I’m not sure about newer posts but I know I got lost in the archives once looking at all the thrift store finds that she re-fashioned.

  32. We live in California and water is so short here. Our rates went way up and we’ve been asked to make voluntary cuts. Mandatory cuts will come this summer.
    Lettuce is ready in the garden, more than we can keep up with. Dinners are salads. I found a delicious collard greens recipe. I make it several times a week. The pancetta flavors it so well, and I only use a tiny amount. https://spinachtiger.com/melted-collard-greens-with-pancetta/ The collard trees give us enough to eat every single day and the 2 cuttings I planted are growing well. All of my seeds are up and doing well. They were all free this year from the seed bank or the garden where I volunteer. I’m working hard on succession planting… and so far it’s going well.
    I altered the sleeves on 3 blouses. All came from the thrift store several years ago. They all had cuffs, which I despise. I made the sleeves all 3/4 length, gathered them and put a band around the bottom. One blouse also had a collar, which I removed. It’s like having 3 new tops! One of my slippers had come unstitched where the leather meets the sole. Otherwise they had a lot of use left in them. I’ve glued the hole and they may last another whole year. I’m very focused on maintaining the possessions we already have. I’m making a new crossbody bag for my trip (see next item!) out of old jeans and a linen shirt. It will be cute and functional. I hardly ever sew for myself, so it feels like a treat.
    The BIG news is that our first grandchild was born yesterday! I’m flying to see them next week. I have nursing tops, glass baby bottles, and baby books, all free from my buy nothing group. I am so grateful for this precious boy.

    Thanks to all for being part of this lovely community!

    1. Kara,
      Congratulations on your first grandchild! Wishing you safe travels to visit your grandson and family. 🙂

  33. Brandy, I sure hope your water rates stop rising! *Planted the first phase of my vegetable garden. Now, I’m clearing an area for an herb garden. We have LOTS of bunnies and birds here, so I need to figure out how to protect the gardens!

    *Inventoried my food stock and found that I have lots of oats that need to be worked through. Made a huge batch of meatballs (also had hamburger that was starting to freezer burn and needed to be used). I always use oats to stretch my meat, with eggs to bind it. My family likes the slight crunchiness that forms on the outside of the meatballs from the oats when they are baked. Made enough for dinner, leftovers and a meal to freeze. I found an interesting egg and oats puffed pancake type of recipe to try next and going to make oatmeal breakfast cookies!

    * I’ve been stocking my freezer slowly over the last month with purchases and cooked food. I was offered a chance to pick up a large amount of food from the Farm to Table Program last week, but had to pass because my garage freezer was so full. A lot of the giveaway was food that would have to be frozen. I think the event is monthly, so I’m going to look up the next date and make sure that I have space!

    *I cut my own bangs, colored my own hair, my husband cut his hair and cut my son’s hair. My bored teenage son and I have been going down the list of city and county parks and exploring those for free fun and exercise. There are so many that we have never been to. We are looking for good biking parks.

    * Was able to stock up on sugar, flour, pet food, canned tomatoes and sauce. pasta, butter, dish soap, powdered sugar, frozen fish fillets and coffee. I’m really worried about the ever rising prices and so many things out of stock. My next grocery order is showing that over half of the items are out of stock right now at the store. I’m using every penny of my grocery budget to try to stock up! Still need more sugar and flour.

    *We cut cable several years ago, and my husband has been missing the Mariners baseball games. He switched our Hulu service to AT &T streaming. It is a little bit more expensive, but he can now watch all of his sports games… so it’s priceless… and still much cheaper than Cable.

    *Our big frugal accomplishment is that we paid off our car with our tax return! Yay! We now own both our cars! No more car payments!

    Hope everyone has a safe and happy week! Thanks for all the frugal tips and advice! I love reading all the comments! I always learn so much!

  34. * 4/30 – used homegrown aloe Vera on a burn
    * 5/1 – saved all the screws and big magnets taken out old window treatments
    * 5/2 – accepted three bags of surplus produce and other food stuffs
    * 5/3 – Parked at a meter that had 1.5 hours already paid. This was for my son’s speech-therapy appointment.

    We have been harvesting greens, herbs, snap peas, strawberries and boysenberries from the yard. The zucchini are just starting to come in now.

  35. Margaret, the chocolate granola sounds yummy! Must add it to my to-make list! Thanks!

  36. We got a $6 savings by accident.. We were driving to a doctor’s appt that’s an hour away and Hubby decided he needed a pit stop so he pulled into a local gas station. Since we needed fuel I filled the tank while waiting for him. He said he looked at Gas Buddy to the Kroger’s fuel we were going to get gas from and use points and even with the points we would have paid 30 cents more than what we did. On the way home we saw the gas at that station had went up also but still would have been cheaper than Kroger’s using the points. Reminder to use Gas Buddy.

    We now have over 60 meals of asparagus in the pantry as pickled or frozen. I told M (Amish neighbor) to send one of kids over to harvest. She said they got 3 meals in 2 pickings. They are a family of 11. They are going to see her parents for a week , “chore boy” that is house sitting doesn’t eat asparagus (allergic) so M asked if I could still harvest it and take to her sister in law that just had a baby, just about 2 miles. No problem to do that. I got a loaf of bread and a pumpkin pie for home grown pumpkin.

    It’s rainy almost daily and in the high 30s in the morning and mid 50s for afternoons. I still turn down the furnace to save on fuel. About 20 miles north of us flooded over the weekend. I planted scarlet runner beans and purple beans in the rain.

    We got delivery of the last project for the home that was on the original punch list when we bought this home. Lumber to replace floor of front porch and add an ADA wheelchair ramp . I wanted the stuff here even though we might not get all the projects done this year as prices are rising and it’s hard to get material.

    Hubby hauls for a company that supplies pallets. That guy told Hubby lumber will be up over 300% by end of summer. That food will be up closer to 20% than the 10% they are already putting out. To stock up for at least 18 months. So Hubby went to an elder in the Amish community and asked as that person is the one that helps supply a food pantry in 3 counties. He came home and asked for a “schedule” of what we had and how often we would be eating it as in weekly, biweekly, monthly and seasonal. He (I am so proud of him) then figured out what we were short (more than I acknowledged because I thought I could pick it up later) and he went to some of the Amish he hauls for and bartered for produce . I “just” have to do the work.

    He stopped at an auction that had finalized and the auctioneer knows us (he works the produce auction) asked if Hubby wanted what was left that no one bid on or just left it. There was 3 cases of quart jars brand new and still wrapped , some thin towels (donated to dog shelter) and a box of odds and ends from the garage. Owners and auctioneer told him they didn’t want anything for it, just didn’t want to pay for it to be in the trash. Since we didn’t need anything out of the box, Hubby took it down to the new shop an older gentleman just opened to make ends meet. The guy was happy to take it off our hands.

    Hubby started the design for the lean to green house he wants to build on the barn using the roof of the over hang as the top, the barn side as the north wall. We are using scrap lumber from when we remodeled when we bought the home (was Amish, no running water, no electric, no heat since they took the wood burning stoves). Couple of the Amish have mentioned getting us a deal on a heavy plastic they use for covering doors and windows that have”windows” in the plastic so you can open and shut air out . We have seen it a lot, even the Auction house has it.

    Stay safe and stay well.
    Blessed Be

    1. Interesting. Lumber is already up 375%. I am thinking that 20% is quite possible for food.

  37. Things left out last week:
    Made a meatloaf with oatmeal filler which we hadn’t had in a while. I guess that is why everyone thought it was extra delicious.
    Purchased a new toaster and 2 large containers of detergent for $18 with senior discount.

    Last week was more productive after I got caught up on sleep lost from the last few weeks and my schedule was more normal.
    Made minute steaks (2 meals) with gravy in the crockpot so I could work on other things while it cooked.
    Made a dip with Velveeta and chili to serve with tortillas later in the week. We haven’t had that in a while either.
    I tried Oatmeal milk which I liked.

    We walked almost every day. Sunday we walked two and a half miles, first half uphill all the way. We saw a cute white cat that looked like he had one half of a black mustache on his right side. There were many wildflowers growing on the side of the trail that I had not been on in three years. One of the best things our city has done is to convert old unused railroad tracks into a trail for walking and bicycling. I lost the weight I had gained last month. I bagged and got rid of the cushions from one of the old sofas. I caught up some paperwork and cleaned out papers from last year. DH decluttered his mother’s papers/mail. DS decluttered a bookshelf and papers from college. I also worked on steps to get ready to sew some things. I decluttered more clothes from all of us. We replaced some small items that were needed.

    Frugal Finds:
    We went shopping at Walmart and split up to get some things. DS found a large deli party tray of meats, cheeses, grape tomatoes, and olives marked down to $33. I found 5 lb. bags of chicken legs for $3.88 and got 2. When we got home we packed up and froze from the party tray 2 qt. bags of Colby jack and swiss cheese; 3 qt. bags stuffed with ham, roast beef, and chicken; plus the equivalent of a large jar of olives and a container of grape tomatoes were put in the refrigerator. I put one of the bags of chicken (14 nice sized pieces) in the crockpot to cook overnight and divide in the morning.

    My Rhododendrons have prolific blooms this year. They are starting to open up and should be gorgeous. DS and I trimmed them late last year for the first time in two years, and I guess all the energy went to the blooms. Have a nice week everyone!

  38. It has been a rough few months here. We moved to be closer to our older son. (my husband had a stroke and my son and daughter in law are nurses) Then the big FREEZE happened. David had been out of the hospital less than 24 hours and we lost all power in the house and the water froze up. To make a long story short our big freeze froze our well and something inside the well head ‘shattered’ and the part has been on back order. Finally got that in and fixed. Only took till May.
    So sorry that you lost your lemon crop. I am struggling with my 2 trees. As we just moved I still have them in their pots. I have not decided where we will plant them yet. We did get in a small vegetable garden. Lettuce is doing well right now and I have lots of blooms on my tomatoes. I am also playing with “keep the deer out of the garden” for the first time. We are going to have to put a fence around our garden or we will not get the produce. My son has chickens, goats, ducks, and turkeys. I have started getting the manure pile going. I know it will be awhile before I can use it in the garden but it will be nice to have to make compost tea for the plants.
    I am struggling to get this new house put together. It is a smaller house; David is not much help; and I am not in my prime any more. The work is never done. God bless

  39. I have worked in the yard most days. I used stretchy nylon produce bags to tie up the roses to the arbors. They do disintegrate over a season but they are so stretchy that they never hurt the rose canes.
    I repotted and divided several houseplants. I now have multiples of some plants and am happily giving them to my plant loving daughter in law as extras. I also potted the few coleus cuttings from late last fall and the one Portulaca stem that I’d rooted. Fingers crossed they all turn into lovely plants.
    I planted all of the flower seeds in my stash. For some reason I had NO zinnias and this is not acceptable. I shall buy more.
    Happily noted that the Amaryllis that have been planted for three years decided this year to bloom. They are so lovely!
    Did some research on some of my plants and discovered the proper needs for my Bougainvillea which failed to bloom last year. I just needed to move it to the sunny west side of the house and it’s thriving and has grown inches in just a week!
    In the house, I had planned to make new pillow shams for our bedroom to go with my new lightweight summer spread. I found that the change of color was quite pleasing with the old pillow shams so the printed pillowcases I’d bought didn’t need to be cut up to make shams. Instead I put those on the guest room bed with our old summer spread. I just tucked in the ends and used the pillowcases to cover my old feather throw pillows. It all looks quite nice and I feel I’ve gotten good value overall for my money spent this year.
    In the kitchen, I’ve made bread, bagels, pineapple upside down cupcakes, Brandy’s Lemon Poppyseed Muffins and pizza from scratch. As well as all meals.
    I made Tuna Pasta salad, something my husband likes a LOT and had some leftover chickpeas in the fridge. Since I had noted many vegan cooks making ‘tuna’ salad from crushed chickpeas, I thought, “Why not add those into my tuna pasta salad?” Well my husband LOVED it even more than he usually does and asked if I could do that all of the time when I make it in the future.
    I am sure I’ve done lots more but I can’t think of what at the moment.

  40. That’s terrible about your lemon tree. I have noticed that our lemon tree, which produced so well this past winter and bloomed well a few weeks ago, is not producing tiny new lemons. We had some bad weather, too, so I don’t know if that contributed or not. So far, I’ve found one teeny new lemon on our tree, so I feel your pain!

    Brandy, I was really taken aback by your water bill! Does your city not notify residents that water rates are going up? Or do they notify you, but don’t give you any idea how that will translate to an actual bill based on your normal usage? That’s a bad shock to get a higher bill when you know you used less water.

    It’s been a difficult week for me. My husband is in rehab after his second stroke – his first was in 2019- and he’s very unhappy there. I’m trying to get him transferred to a better rehab, but there are few openings, which is why he is in the one he is in, now. My biggest fear is that he will finally refuse all therapy and insist on going home, and they are not allowed by law to keep him against his wishes, even if going home is completely unsuitable and will expose him to unsafe conditions in his current physical state. But here’s what frugalities I have managed to do in spite of everything:

    I’m transferring files from my old 2-drawer file cabinet to the free curbside-picked 4-drawer cabinet I now have. I tend to lose papers if I don’t have a good place to store them, and it’s cost me before. I could have had my repair money reimbursed in a class action suit on a dishwasher, but I could no longer find the receipt that I know for a fact I didn’t throw out, because I had figured that this was going to end up in court after the parts salesman told me he couldn’t keep that part in stock, as so many people were coming in to get the part for the same repair. I hope to do better with my paperwork now.

    Packed away in an old suitcase I found the little dress my mother wore when she was five for a special occasion — that means it was sewn in 1925. It was browned by time and had two smoke stains on it from a house fire it had survived. I was hunting up professional cleaners who clean vintage fabrics, when I saw instructions on how to clean vintage fabrics at home. It starts with soaking in plain water, replacing the water daily, for several days, before hand washing in a gentle cleaner and water. The first few days the water was almost brown, but it’s now nearly clear, so I’m almost at the wash stage. If I don’t succeed, I will at least have tried and can try a professional cleaner, and if I do succeed, I will have saved a specialty cleaning fee.

    I used a $5 Swagbucks coupon on meal replacement drinks for my husband, and got extra Swagbucks for using it as well.

    We have been getting little rain recently, and the days have gotten pretty warm, so I’ve been watering the plants often so that we don’t lose them. Several of my husband’s tomato plants have quite a few green tomatoes on them. Since we are on a well, this isn’t expensive for me to do.

    I harvested more carrots from my container garden and put bat guano around the cabbages to encourage them to make heads.

    I took advantage of the sun to hang out stained whites that I’d soaked in oxygen bleach and then washed. The sun makes them a little whiter, cleaner and brighter than just the soaking.

    I’ve amused myself in my scarce downtime by watching “Edwardian Farm” for free. I find I keep noticing how dirty their fingernails often are, for some reason, but the “Farm” series fascinates me.

    We have our first Aldi grocery store opening up in the town where I work, so I will check it out when I’m next in that area. I’ve been in a couple of them in other towns. I find it depends on one’s shopping preferences, as to whether one will save there. I prefer organic, so my choices at Aldi have been limited.

    I think I’m going to see if I can borrow “The Kitchen Front” at our library, too!

    1. The electric and gas companies always give notices (the electric company raised rates almost every quarter for the past 20 years). I get a paperless bill from all of them now and there was no notice of a water rate increase, but I think it was around June of last year. They made it impossible to tell online, but the last bill allowed a PDF version of the bill where it shows the breakdown of the tiers, and I know that amount is higher. I want to see if they will now allow me to view all of the past bills like that as they didn’t last month. I’m actually wondering if they have raised it more than once since a year ago.

      The drought it really quite severe but people who only have rocks with a few plants on drip and a smaller household are not going to notice like I have. I have asked many people and they said their bill was just a couple of dollar higher (that they noticed). I used significantly less water only to have a higher bill.

      Meanwhile, the water district is paying for ads on Pinterest . . . and a lot of ads at that. I’m not happy about that.

      1. I totally understand your frustration at paying higher bills while watching them spend a fortune on ads. I get the same feeling when some charities bombard me with solicitations and freebies while pleading for money, but at least with a charity, I can choose to ignore them. You can’t ignore your water bill!

      2. You might try looking to see if you have a leak anywhere. My dad was a plumber and an unusually high water bill was the first clue to a leak if there was no sign of water. Considering your higher rates, a leak is the last thing you want.

    2. I just put a hold on “The Kitchen Front” at the library – I am #105 on the list with 21 copies. I suspect that a lot of Brandy’s followers have all rushed to get a copy!

      1. Margie,
        That is really neat about your grebes. I hadn’t heard of putting out rafts for them.
        We usually don’t see them in the city but out in the countryside. I love the green eyes of the cormorant. Good birding!

    3. The same people who filmed “Edwardian Farm” also made “Victorian Farm” and ‘Tudor Farm”.

  41. Last week my husband worked the night shift instead of days. That meant I didn’t need to cook supper. He found things to eat during the day. For myself and my daughter, we ate things that I cant serve hubby for dinner. I used my ibotta funds to purchase some things that I could use in order to complete a few bonuses, so I actually increased the amount of ibotta funds I had, and was able to purchase some necessities with that money. After driving around with a broken AC in my car for several weeks, I bit the bullet and brought in in for a very expensive repair. I grocery shop & deliveer food for a living, not only is it very hot….it makes it difficult to keep the groceries cold. I did remember to put the cost on my discover card, so I will be getting a nice rebate that I can use for something else. I bought some things from Target, using the circle coupons, paid with a target giftcard from something and then redeemed for ibotta, coupons dot com and shopkick. I used walgreens rewards for soda and laundry detergent. I made 25¢ by returning a cart at aldi, that someone had left in the parking lot. I really cant think of anything out out of the ordinary that I did to save money. I thought about signing up for hulu so I can watch this season of the handmaids tale, and thought about signing up for discovery +++ so we’d have something to watch………but I didnt, and that saved money there. I will probably wait untill the season is over and then look for a 30 day free trial and binge watch al the episodes.

  42. Dear Brandy,

    As food prices continue to rise, and after your new garden is finished and you have rested adequately, perhaps you could earn extra income as a garden consultant designing gardens for others in your area. Not putting in their gardens, just sketching designs and what plants or trees could go where. You certainly have the knowledge and experience.

  43. I participated in the YYC Nature challenge over four days. It was free — I got photos of a Red-tailed Hawk, two Swainson’s Hawks, a Peregrine Falcon, two Gulls (Franklin’s Gull and California Gull). Also, I got lichen photos.

    Now it’s back to the book.

    I am well-stocked with groceries. We are entering a partial lock-down.

    1. Ann, I saw my first Blue Kingfisher on Saturday and today we saw 2 pair of Grebes – we watched one set as they dove for bits & pieces for their floating nest (the parks people put out small rafts for them to build on and one was already occupied). One of the pair would dive down and pick up bits & pieces and then put it on the back of the partner – I assume they then go over to the raft and start their nest! Oh, and there seem to be tons of Cormorants this year!

  44. I’m sorry about your garden losses, Brandy. Gardening is always a challenge, but especially in a climate like Las Vegas. Here in western Colorado they are predicting worsening drought and I worry about my ability to water my garden — I would have no garden if I didn’t irrigate, because there is no regular rainfall. But while we can prepare for the future, we can’t really predict it, so I just do what I can to conserve water.
    Our big frugal news this week is that we paid off our RV loan. We set a goal at the beginning of this year to pay off the loan by June, when my husband goes on Medicare. We threw every spare cent we had at the loan for 4 months (the stimulus check helped) and met our goal.
    We continued to enjoy turnip greens, lettuce, and arugula from the garden, as well as the first asparagus.
    I turned a couple of stale rolls into breadcrumbs.
    I saved water from washing lettuce and greens and used it to water my houseplants and seedlings.
    I killed weeds between my brick pavers with boiling water.
    I made homemade sandwich bread and English muffins.

  45. What a beautiful arrangement in that blue vase! I dearly love blue and white china and am inspired to keep my eye out for vases now. I’m so sorry about the wind and your lemons. I hope that you’ll have some anyway.

    For our frugal week, I did haircuts for three boys and my husband. I mended two plush animals for the boys and a sofa cushion. I did my own newborn photo shoot (I liked this tutorial – https://www.itsalwaysautumn.com/photograph-take-great-photos-of-your-newborn-baby-pt-1-the-b.html) and am planning on attaching prints to card stock cut at home for birth announcements.

    The unheated but tropically warm greenhouse is full of seedlings, heads of lettuce, and bolting arugula. I’m letting the arugula bolt so that we can have another bed of volunteer seedlings. In the meantime, the leaves are tasty and salads full of delights. The greenhouse cover did suffer some stress in our windy weather recently. The zipper is wonky, and there are a few small tears in the cover. If I were to set it up again, I’d put foam padding on the poles and some sort of buffer between the cinderblocks weighing it down and the cover. I think we may need to buy a new cover for the poles, but I think it’s worth it. Salad greens all fall through December and then starting again in February, in Boston. Unfortunately, my winter-sown perennial flowers have not done particularly well this year. The flax is up, but not much else among 20 different flowers sown in multiple pots. It’s a disappointment, as usually I get many, many flowers from this type of sowing. However, new babies take time! I’m going to try keeping on sowing flower seeds through the summer and see what happens. I managed to snag all of the Easter lilies that our church was throwing out. They will re-bloom if planted and fed! Our 6b garden in July is gorgeous with white lilies. I wish that all the Easter lilies everywhere could end up in dirt to bloom again for many years and am trying to spread the word.

    Wishing you all a lovely week!

  46. 1. Vacuumed my car at home instead of using the vacuum at the car wash.
    2. Got a free McFlurry at McDonalds. It was too sweet for my taste, gave it to hubby to enjoy.
    3. Forgot my lunch for work last week. Went to Subway for a meal. My AmEx card has an offer whey if you spend 5$ or > at a restaurant you get 5$ off the bill. Used the offer to get my lunch.
    4. Found some water sprinklers in a box on a neighbors curb. We need new ones so this was handy.
    5. Used some hotel points for an upcoming hotel stay to attend my nephew’s college graduation. The hotel will provide breakfast but I’m not sure if it will amount to much due to COVID restrictions. Really all we need is some cereal or toast & coffee for hubby.

  47. I like that the birds dropped a mulberry tree for you!(smile)
    We put in over 200 onions, different varieties. I want to plant more things. I’ve been very, very busy. Hopefully, I will have the chance to plant other things soon.
    I made split pea soup this week. I try to cook beans or peas or lentils at least once a week with leftovers. I froze what we didn’t eat within a couple of days for other meals. I did get to visit my grandkids this week. My granddaughter made a painting that I will treasure and put on my refrigerator. My grandson taught me things about the games he likes to play. I look forward to Mother’s Day. I get to spend the day with my sons. That makes me feel special.
    We have been harvesting asparagus almost every day. I made asparagus soup, Yum! I had considered selling it. But with the costs of food going up. I think I would rather eat it or freeze it for later. I really miss asparagus in the winter and would enjoy it as soup. I didn’t have time to harvest it today but hopefully tomorrow. I hope to plant some beets and spinach tomorrow as well. I also need to water the onions if it doesn’t rain. Gardening is rewarding. It is also amazing exercise for me.
    I am also worrying a bit about the possibility of shortages and food cost spikes. I’m glad to have your blog to read Brandy.

    1. Hi Tammy,
      How did you make your asparagus soup?
      The asparagus here is just starting to come up but it has turned cold
      and it may snow so it will be a while before any asparagus comes on the market.

      1. Hi Ann!
        I made Asparagus soup again, I love it so much! The first time I put a lot of asparagus in the pot after I cooked an onion in some olive oil. I added a few cloves of garlic and about 6 chicken boulin cubes and water. I could of added milk. But it was wonderful with a bit of salt and pepper and that is it! The second time I added less asparagus because I was too tired to pick more. But it was just as good. Also I just threw a cut up onion and peeled garlic cloves in with the asparagus. Oh, I forgot, I blended it with an emersion blender both times. I also added a bit of olive oil in my bowl for taste the second time. The first time, I added a pat of butter. It is good both ways. You can add milk if you like, but it taste good with just water as well. You can add as much water as you want, depending how thin you want it. But enough to cover the ingredients.
        I love reading about the birds you see and your gardening!

  48. Aldis had hams on clearance so I bought a shank ham for $5. I have ham from Easter so I only bought one. I cooked it and froze in one cup portions for omelets and beans.
    *Dry lima beans were $2.50 at Walmart. I got 4 lbs, but at that price didn’t stock up more. The eggs at Aldi went from $.49 to $1.16 in a week. We were given a dozen yard eggs from someone.
    *All 5 of my kids came home this weekend for my daughter in law’s graduation. We went to our neighborhood pool and my grandson got in the icy water. My mother in law took us to eat Mexican. I got fajitas and had enough to use corn tortillas and the meat and vegetables to make quesadillas for two days lunch.
    *There was a neighborhood garage sale and I got my grandson a bike for $15, and a match box car wash for $10. I also found a concrete cherub garden statue for $3, and 2 free chairs for my daughter.
    * My grandson searched and had a big ziplpc bag of helicopter seeds. At the graduatin party a little girl showed him how they fly.
    * I decided to sell some blank onesies and t-shirts from my closed business. I had kept them for making gifts, but really would take awhile to make that many gifts. So I made up lots and sold 3 lots. I still have one left to sell.

  49. This week has been one for unexpected extra income which is always handy. A neighbor strained his back and asked my boys and I to weed-eat his property. Took 6 hours and he paid us well. Another neighbor had ankle surgery and asked us to care for her horse for the 6 weeks she will be laid up. I had horses all my life until our last one passed away 2 years ago so this has been fun. Our neighbor offered us an antique hand-crank ice cream maker she says she hasn’t used in 20 years. I was so excited! We have an electric one but I have fond memories of the hand-crank one our dear neighbors had when I was a child. We had so much fun taking turns cranking it and enjoying the sweet reward. Looking forward to reliving those memories with my children this summer.
    I have may pots of succulents on my porch that have had babies so transplanted some of them into a log with a hole in the center. It makes for a very pretty rustic container and I will give it to my mother on Sunday. She wanted something like this out by a bench in her garden so I think she will be pleased and all it cost me was time and some semi-heavy lifting. 🙂
    My chickens continue to lay generously which is good for us and comes in handy as a bartering tool. One dear neighbor cans much more than I do and I enjoy trading with her. Our bees are busy as ever and we look forward to having another great honey harvest.
    I have converted a few spots on my property to meadow with native wildflowers just for enjoyment and to reduce the need to mow. One of my favorite things to do is to walk with my dog in the early morning and early evening around the property and see what new things have bloomed. Seems like something new all the time. I discovered a wonderful source for seeds this year called American Meadows. Their seeds are all non-GMO and have no filler plus they come in cloth bags. So far, I have been very impressed.
    Best wishes to all and Happy Mother’s Day!

    1. Dawn,
      We have a hand-crank ice cream maker that is almost 60 years old and has a wonderful story (my parents bought it to make ice cream while serving in church work overseas). We make ice cream a few times each summer and definitely every 4th of July. It’s a great memory and the kids clamber to crank and see who can crank the longest.

      So glad you have good memories of a hand-crank ice cream maker too – most people run as fast as they can from the hand-crank models.

  50. And I thought our water bills were high! I rigged up a system where I can collect the rinse water from my washing machine and use it in the garden. I also subscribe to the philosophy of “if it’s yellow, let it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down.” Gardening books also tell you how to use urine as a fertilizer in the garden (it must be mixed with (recycled) water. This might be too much for some people, but it works for us.

  51. Let’s see. Yesterday was infusion day for me (I’m immune compromised) so I let myself pick up pho from my favorite local spot on the way home. I felt guilty about spending the money but I typically feel a little under the weather on infusion days, so I allow myself this convenience. By picking it up as opposed to having it delivered saved quite a bit.

    My dad delivered an Imperfect Produce box to me as they accidentally got two. It definitely had produce that I normally wouldn’t use, but I was able to find neighbors who would. I sliced up the cucumber to snack on today (and share with the dogs), I stashed the celery in the freezer for the next time I make stock. I haven’t bought stock in over a decade and I just love the taste of home made!

    I worked from home every day this week so I spent nothing on gas, trimet or parking downtown. I made all my own meals at home (except for the soup yesterday) with food I already had on hand. I heated up burritos for dinners this week that I had made previously and frozen. I tend to make double meals and freeze half on a regular basis. Living by myself can be challenging in regards to preparing food for myself. Cooking for one isn’t always fun. But I am always glad to have healthy food that I prepared myself. My body appreciates it.

    I have been going through my collection of books (I’m quite an avid reader) to determine which ones can be given away. There are a number of Little Free Libraries in my neighborhood that I can walk to, so I deposit the books there.

    This is my first time commenting, but I have been reading for years. I so appreciate all of you and your accomplishments. Sometimes it feels like I’m an island of one and knowing there is a net of you all out there is so comforting. Thank you all for sharing with us weekly. And thank you Brandy for creating such a wonderful space.

  52. It was very soothing to read about your rituals. Good job! Congrats on daughter accomplishments!

  53. I am buying Maple Leaf canned chicken and turkey for my pantry — it is $1 per can, usually $2.69 per can. No Frills.
    I am treating myself to some melba-toast with parmesan and garlic — also on sale. I like it because it’s made in a peanut free
    plant. I bought Heinz baked beans for 87 cents per can, usually $2.50 per can. I am gradually stocking up on soup again — I am buying Campbell’s chunky soup, usually $3.00-$3.50 for $1.67. (limit 4) Superstore then another 6 cans at Co-op $1.88 each.

    A friend phoned and she was at a garden centre so she picked up small fuschias, and lobelia. I will make my own hanging planters. I will save $7 on each hanging basket for a total saved of $70. (ten baskets at $5 each instead of $12). The plants are inside now as it has turned cold. In two days time, I will start hardening the plants off outside. I could have bought the fuschias $1 cheaper each but that store had sold out and I had no way to get there so it was great that my friend picked them up for me and then delivered them. It turned out my friend gets a 10% discount so it wasn’t too much more and they are lovely plants. Now I have the annuals I need bought except for the geraniums and Co-op has small ones for $0.99 each. So I saved about $115.20 and spent $100.00.

  54. I stocked up on the canned ham and beans too. Also BBQ sauce for .77 and a flat of eggs for 4.77-all these prices are as low as they get here. I bought two lovely hanging baskets for $16.99 each at Costco-not as frugal as yours but beautiful-they are currently in the front hall as it is snowing at the moment. Going to visit my Mum in awhile-Happy Mother’s Day to all the mother’s. I am relieved that DD is booked for her vaccine on May 22 in Vancouver-because she is a restaurant worker she was eligible to book. I had even considered flying her here as vaccines open to all 11 and up tomorrow-but that won’t be necessary.

  55. Also thanks to whoever recommended The Kitchen Front-I just finished reading it and really enjoyed it. Having been born in the 50’s in Britain I know my Mum and Grandma would have cooked many of these recipes and dealt with food rationing.

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