Flowering Plum Blossoms

On Sunday evening, our dishwasher went out. In 15 years at this house, we have gone through three dishwashers already. With a large family, we run our dishwasher two to three times a day (plus wash fifteen to 20 pots and pans and large bowls each day by hand), so I expect it will break sooner than it does for the average family, but we were not amused to find it had broken.

We had to go to several stores on Monday, but we managed to find a dishwasher in stock! The first place told me that the dishwasher I liked was on backorder until April 24th!!! As soon as I heard that, I decided we definitely needed to look elsewhere!

We found a dishwasher with three racks on sale for $150 less than the lowest one I had seen at the first store.

My husband and son installed the dishwasher, saving an installation fee.

We took the old dishwasher to the dump. I was already planning to take a trip to the dump with rocks from our yard, so we saved the $30 haul-away fee for the old one.

This is mud! It’s our native “soil”.

We continued our work in the garden. We mixed the native “soil” (which is lime rock) with water to make mud and worked to fill in the areas where we had beds before that will be concrete now. It is so much like concrete that we are able to finish it like concrete on top. My husband ran pipes, made wooden forms for our concrete posts for our arbors, and began pouring the concrete posts.

I gave one daughter a haircut.

We celebrated the same daughter’s birthday this week. I picked up ice cream on sale for $2.99 a gallon for her birthday! I have never seen it that low!

Summer Snowflake: Leucojum Aestivum (It blooms in May and June in cold climates but blooms here now!)

I purchased some large tomato plants on sale at the local nursery. While I am not ready to plant them in the ground yet, I am concerned that they will sell out, so I went ahead and got them while I could. I will water them by hand until I can plant them in the ground.

I used vegetables from the school lunches along with milk from the school lunches, and garlic and onions that I had purchased (the onions at $0.38 a pound) to make a blended vegetable soup for dinner.

I made smoothies several days for the children with 4 fruit cups, a yogurt, and a milk from the school, along with frozen blackberries and apricots from our garden. This was our afternoon snack. Our schools here are returning to two days a week in person for a couple of grades. I suspect that when they all go back in a few weeks, the meal pickup will end. We will still have lots of fruit cups and yogurts to use in smoothies for a while still!

Angel Face Rose

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. We got our first COVID shots on Thursday. We were impressed by how efficiently organized and well-run it was! Our arms were a bit sore but no more than with any shot! We will go back 3 weeks after our first shot for the 2nd dose. Appointment times are scheduled.

    Just as I finished quilting #119 on Lenni, two more had come in- 2 baby quilts using same pattern for tops and plush Minkee for the backing. https://pin.it/72DJCCa, https://pin.it/1smpqf1, https://pin.it/6VWrNrZ. These were quilts #120 and #121. Just as I was almost finished, I got a call from a friend who works at a quilt shop asking if I could do the quilting on a shop sample to be displayed there to promote signups for the Beginner’s Quilt class she will be teaching. It was quick and easy to quilt up https://pin.it/7dhCEib. She asked if I would be willing to quilt up the students’s copies after they had the tops pieced. She was happy with my price and so she will recommend that for the students. At this point, she has 6 signed up for her morning class and 6 more for her evening class! That will be 12 more! It seems like every time I finish quilting the final client quilt, a new one or more arrive!! What a blessing!

    We had a nice day on Wednesday so Hubs and our youngest son were able to remove and replace the 3 parlour windows! https://pin.it/2ODTkGk, We can already feel a difference in temperature and sound in there! Now we just need to reattach the framework and finish caulking around them! We’re hoping that there might be a nice, dry day this week to do the same thing with the 2 dining room windows that we have ready to go!! Home Depot is offering us 10% off a purchase over $299, so we are thinking that we will order the 2 big windows that are on the north and south landings (between first and second floor) of the house. We will charge them on our bank credit card and get another $10 in rewards to our savings account on top of the 10% savings. Then when the bill comes, we will pay it off in full, partly using my quilting earnings!

    When we did our zero out the excess in our checking account the morning our direct deposit came in this week, we used part to pay off the first of 2 dental bills for Hubs ( the final appointment is this Friday) and we put about half of the overage in our savings account which is now back up to it’s balance before we used some to pay off mortgage in Jan! And we paid the credit card bill that came in for the sectional we bought from Costco! No interest charges for any of these purchases that we put on credit cards! It took us a long time to learn how to use cards responsibly in that way, but we do appreciate it now!

    I went to Kroger’s to pick up butter on sale – $1.99/pound (limit 5). She was buying 5 at her own Krogers and this would give her more to have in her pantry. While I was at Kroger’s, I saw a cart of chocolate pudding 4 packs right up against the clearance shelf. They weren’t labeled so I had to find a clerk, 2 actually because the first one was new. The experienced worker started making 49 cent labels, new worker stuck labels on pudding packs and I put them into my cart! If there was one thing I had learned in babysitting my grandkids during remote learning days so their mom could go to work was that chocolate pudding was a high value reward! I bought a lot of the 4 packs and called my daughters who were thrilled to split them between their families!

    Our chickens have started increasing their production as the weather is getting warmer (high 40’s) to almost 3 dozen eggs a week! I got a recipe for DIY English muffins https://pin.it/5va6N13 so I made some this morning and will then use to make breakfast muffins with bacon (that I got on sale 2 weeks ago), eggs (from our chickens) and sliced American cheese I have in the fridge! So it looks like I’ll be making a big batch of bacon,egg, cheese McMuffins! Only change I would make is to use my largest biscuit cutter and when they are cooking on stovetop, I would keep the heat at a low-medium heat.

    Also, I just saw that Nell had commented on my comments last week and I hadn’t seen it. So, Nell, since you are also a resident in the great Cbus area, I’d be happy to share where I’ve found particularly good deals. Just send a note to my website and I’ll email you back.

    We got a free video call via Messenger from our son in Korea on Saturday night (Monday morning his time)! We chatted for about an hour! The video and audio were so clear!! What a blessing!!

    It’s cold and windy today so I’m staying inside but saving money by decluttering/ emptying out a tall cabinet in my laundry room that I will be able to add shelving to (from Hubs scrap wood stash) and it will help me organize more dry goods so I can access them easily but they will be neatly tucked away! This will definitely be a money saver! And I didn’t need to buy more shelving units!!

    It felt like decluttering this house was a mammoth job (and it is!) but if we tackle one bookcase or cabinet a week, we are actually making some progress! At least I tell myself that seeing all the trash bags going out!!
    I’m grateful to be healthy enough to do some work even if my pace isn’t as fast as it used to be!
    Hope everyone else is having a positive and frugal week!!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Hello Brandy and all from Australia 🙂 .

      Oh my goodness Brandy that ‘native’ soil is so much like concrete when mixed with water 😮 and I can see why you are bringing in lots of soil to build your garden beds up with. Good that you got the tomato seedlings on sale early as it is a bit like that here with limited supplies everywhere I noticed on lots of varieties of vegetable seedlings. The ice cream was such a good price and hope you had some room to stock up a few gallons in the freezer. Wonderful you got a dishwasher at such a good price as well as appliances seem to be in short supply here as well as sourcing garden equipment.

      We still have not got our new lawn mowers as they haven’t come into stock yet but did manage to pick up a filter and pre filter for our older self propelled mower which we will install to keep it going hopefully until the new ones arrive.

      Our Vicky challenge added up to $78.89 in savings last week.

      On the internet I listed 10 items on an eBay free listing promotion saving $16.50 on usual listing fees.

      In the supermarket we saved $15.50 by buying price taco kits and mouthwash on half price specials. At the pharmacy by buying on specials and using our RACQ 8% discount on our gift card on sunscreen and prescriptions we saved $4.93 on usual prices.

      In the kitchen we baked 4 loaves of white wholemeal bread in our bread making machine saving $13.96 over buying them locally in the shops and also cooked all meals from scratch.

      Out in the gardens we planted spring onion seeds in with the silverbeet and harvested around 2kg of cherry tomatoes saving $28 over buying them in the supermarkets.

      Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead 🙂 .


      1. Hi Lorna, my tip to save even more when having tacos is to just buy normal tortillas or wraps. Make your own or purchase $1 home brand taco seasoning (good for a few meals) and buy Aldi’s salsa (also good for a few meals). If I’m short on time I just grab the taco kit from Aldi for only $2.99!

        1. Thanks Annie-Blake and will try all those things to reduce costs and do occasionally buy the Aldi Taco Kits when we are shopping there 🙂 .

          The taco kits we picked up from Woolworths for $3.25 ea instead of the usual $6.50. Living in a small country town we have to wait to go to a larger town to shop at Aldi. Shall take a look when we go into a larger town next week.

          Sewingcreations15 (Lorna)

          1. 🙂. I have found the Aldi taco kits comparable to the Old El Paso kits from Coles and Woolies. But we do love the Old El Paso tortilla pockets which I buy infrequently as a treat when they’re 50% off! I hope you have a nice trip into town next week.

    2. With your son in Korea you can both download Kakao. It is a great messaging, file sharing, and video chat service.

      1. Piggykr- Thanks for the info! I’d never heard of it! Since he doesn’t have an iPhone (we do), we couldn’t do a FaceTime, so we wondered how we would have our visit. But apparently, Facebook Messenger has a video chat option that he used and it was “picture perfect” and audio was excellent too!! What awesome technology! So different than 45 years ago when Hubs was working in Guam and I was in AZ! Had an emergency, so I called him. We only talked a short while but our phone bill was $232 (I still remember exact amount, and that was in 1973 currency which in 2021 would equal over $1400!, 😱😱)

        1. I use the Facebook app to video chat with people in other countries. I also use the free Duo App to talk to my daughter for video calls. I think Facebook’s is clearer but both work.

  2. Hopefully your area will continue providing lunches like ours did. Because so many families are choosing remote learning, even though the schools are back open, the lunch pick ups have continued. Here in WA they are for ages 1-18 so even those not in school yet are getting the meals they need.

    1. They are for ages 2-18 here, but they have changed distribution sites because two grades are going back. When all grades go back in three weeks, I think they may no longer have them. I don’t know, though.

      1. Here in VA , because you can choose remote learning, free lunches continue to be available to all. The number of Pick up locations have decreased however.

        The federal program that is paying for all free lunches runs until Dec 31/2021.

        1. I don’t know what they are going to do when all children go back, because the schools are the pickup locations. If the child is at school, they can receive the meals there. But what happens to the children who only go two days a week and need meals for the other days? I guess we’ll see sometime this month what they intend to do. If it ends, it ends; it’s just been a nice blessing and a boost to the budget.

          1. Brandy,
            We’re in the situation here with 2 days in person and 3 online. Children bring home their meals for the other days after school on a day they attend. If they are attending fully online (or in the district and homeschool) there is a drive up pick up during scho hours but not when other students are entering/leaving. For example if school runs 830am to 3pm, pick up might be from 930am to noon or noon to 2pm or something like that.


            1. The district here offered them to all children, ages 2-18. So, if you are too young for school, go to a private school, charter school, homeschool, or are just a child at the right age, you can pick up meals. Right now they sent back two elementary grades and as of this morning, the elementary schools are no longer a pickup place. Since the other grades will all be back by the 22nd, we’ll just have to see what they do.

  3. Hello Everyone! We’ve had a quiet few weeks here. We continue to receive weekly lunches from my son’s school. They are also providing one farm box to each family, which usually includes a bag of potatoes, a bag of apples, milk, cheese, sour cream, a meat product (the last few weeks have been hot dogs or pre-seasoned taco meat) and a random vegetable. Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions about what to do with the excess lunches we received. My mother-in-law took the excess with her to work. I am so happy that they did not go to waste. From our farm box, we ended up having more dairy products than we could use. I was able to gift the excess to my secretary who could definitely use them. We have been saving the plastic bags that the lunches come in to use as garbage can liners. The weather here is quite nice right now, so I washed our bath mats and laid them out in the sun to dry. I ordered some Saint Patrick’s Day cards through Shutterfly using a gift card that I had, so no out of pocket cost. St. Patrick’s Day is a big holiday for our family (my grandparents were from Ireland). Because of the pandemic last year and this year, most events are cancelled, including a mass with bagpipers the morning of the parade. They will offer events on zoom, which we are looking forward to. I will bake Irish Soda bread for several friends and family. I’m going to wrap it up with a box of Irish tea and butter balls and deliver the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day. Now that my husband works from home on three Sundays a month, he decided that those days are Mom’s day off! He said that I should use those days for myself since I have been home 80% of the time since last March. I decided that I will use the time to get outside and walk! The last few Sundays, I have gone up to San Francisco where my parents live. I have been able to get some much needed one on one time with them. I also took a six mile walk along the Embarcadero. It was heavenly. I also dropped off groceries for my parents and was able to pick up a few things for my pantry, which my parents treated for. I enjoyed a tv series on Netflix. We don’t pay for the subscription, as a very good friend of ours lets us use hers. We offered to split the cost with her but she wouldn’t hear of it. There has been a lot in the news lately about school districts in our area opening soon, although they have not said what the model will look like. It has been radio silent from my son’s school district. My husband and I decided that we will keep him home for the rest of this school year. We did receive an email about summer school, which my son automatically qualifies for. We are looking forward to hearing more about the program. If it’s virtual, we may think about signing him up. When we were up in San Francisco the other day, my son asked if we could go to the zoo. They are operating at minimum capacity right now. I checked the price of tickets. $25 for adults and $18 for children. We are going to research the memberships available and will most likely get one. We did receive exciting news this past week…..three of my cousins are expecting! Have a great week everyone!!!

    1. Some libraries have passes you can check out for museums, aquariums etc. might be worth checking into.

    2. Our local zoo has reciprocal relationships with other zoos. We buy from our zoo because the membership is cheaper and use it at the pricier ones.

  4. Brandy-you are very creative in using the school lunches to prepare meals and snacks for your family. We have had a fairly busy week which included taking my Mum for her first Covid shot. We stocked up at Costco on Saturday as my membership expired on Sunday-my plan is to renew it April 1 as then I think it will expire next April 30 and I will have stretched out my membership by 2 months. I have done this once before. I do the same thing with our National Parks Pass.
    This morning I was looking at Pasta grannies on Youtube-nice short cooking demos of Italian grandmas preparing meals. It was really neat to see them go out to the chicken coop for fresh eggs for the homemade pasta-and all the fresh produce-homemade pasta sauce, dried chilis, garlic etc hanging in the kitchen. Such a simple lifestyle and I am sure the food tastes amazing.
    We are hoping to hear this month about a surgery date in May for my husband’s hip replacement-he has been on the list for almost 2 years and certainly the pandemic has not helped the wait time-at least he should have good weather for walking outdoors and recovering-at least the cost of the surgery is covered by our provincial healthcare plan which is free.

  5. Hi Peggy –

    You may want to check with your local library and see if they have zoo passes available. Our local zoo has passes available at the library – you just ask the circulation desk as you usually have to go on a waiting list and then once they reach your name you check out the DVD about the zoo and get 4 passes to visit for free. I am sure this may vary by locality and state but thought it was worth a mention. Good luck!

  6. I’ve switched from two litter trays to one now that I only have one cat. In theory the cats each had their own litter tray, but they also shared them, so I wasn’t sure how it would go over. However, I explained to the cat, using words that she understands, that she would be using the one litter tray, and that that would give us more floor space to enjoy. A few minutes later I found her sitting in the newly vacant spot. looking very relaxed. She also makes a point of walking across that section of floor every time she crosses that room! She is not having any accidents outside the remaining litter tray. It will make the floor easier to vacuum, and less likelihood for me to trip on that litter box going by it at night. And less money on cat litter.

    Ten days after I put an application in the mail for funds under a program in my province for seniors to repair and renovate their homes I received a phone call telling me it was approved and I would have the funds in a day or two (today or tomorrow). It actually covers the two furnace repairs over the last six months. It will help with some other home repairs that are in line. Also, the day after I filed my income tax return, it was assessed. My assessment will be available to me on Thursday and the refund will be in my account that day as well.

    A local community organization has announced a program for any senior in our community where you put a request for an item under $40 in and someone from the community selects your request and buys it and it is then delivered by volunteers. It is supposed to be anonymous, though in a village this size that sounds wildly optimistic. They had arranged for gifts for seniors in long-term care at Christmas, and Christmas hampers, and this is a bit of follow-up for the many of us who aren’t in ltc and didn’t feel in sufficient need to get a Christmas hamper. I’ll have to think if there is an item I would like to request. I may just request a gift card from the grocery store so that I can buy a nice dinner for my birthday when it comes along in June. Either that or a replacement for my blue plastic recycle box. The plastic shattered into pieces in extreme cold in my garage and needs to be replaced.

      1. Thanks, Athanasia! It was funny. Good to hear from you. I was very pleased how agreeable she was about the change.

    1. Elizabeth, you made me laugh out loud. My cat talks to me a lot and she pretends not to understand what I say!

      1. Sure. This is in Alberta. It is called SHARP (Seniors Home Adaptation and Repair Program). The province provides very low simple-interest loans against the equity of the house for seniors with an income of $75,000 or less, which do not have to be repaid as long as you own the house. There are no admin charges of any kind. It is intended to help seniors stay in their homes longer, so it covers necessary repairs and adaptations.

        1. Thank you for both the quick response and the program name. I will check it out.
          P.S. I am in Alberta too!

    2. That made me laugh Elizabeth. I have also been having chats with my 3 month old kitten about not using the shower recess as a litter tray when three are provided for him and his older brother.

  7. Hello!
    —I stumbled upon a great sale at a thrift store that was going out of business. Everything in the store was an additional 25% off, and unbeknownst to me, I happened to go on the first day. I got items such as: an excellent condition North Face coat for my son, 4 pairs of brand new children’s sandals, a pair of shoes for myself, and MANY name brand clothing items. I spent a total of $33.
    —I repaired several scratches on our van with a paint kit I ordered on Amazon. It worked well.
    —Cleared out our raised beds. My seeds that I have started indoors are thriving!
    —Organized a bunch of store receipts. I used to always toss them, unless I thought there may be an issue with an item. I started following Scott Hardy’s class action lawsuit website a few years ago. Because there were so many instances where I didn’t have receipts, yet had purchased many of the products involved, I started saving them. I remember one opportunity with diapers….I would have received hundreds of dollars, instead of the $4.95 I collected without proof.
    Have a great week!

  8. Your flowers are beautiful! We have snow on the ground. I had a work from home day this past Thursday, which saved a little tiny bit on fuel and laundry. 🙂

    My husband trimmed my ‘undercut’ for me, and I cut all the hair that shows, and thinned it too. I have really thick hair. I found a soup recipe I wanted to try, but it only called for half a can of tomatoes. I found another recipe in my cookbook that also called for half a can of tomatoes, and made them both. We had meatball alphabet soup one day, and liked it just fine. I have a portion to take to work tomorrow for lunch, and enough for another meal in the freezer. We’ll have lentil stew (the other soup I made) this Wednesday with cornbread, and there’s another meal’s worth of that in the freezer as well. Both recipes were really affordable to make, and based on our tastings, both are ones we like.

    I soaked beans overnight and I’m cooking those in the crock pot today. We make bean croquettes (similar to Brandy’s bean burgers, just not eaten on bread) fairly often, and those are more economical if I cook dried beans compared to using canned. I also made some cranberry-orange scones, which disappeared rather quickly.

    We bathed our dogs at home, and I used the shedding comb on the cat. Everyone looks good! We continue to heat our home with wood and utilize things we have on hand whenever we can. I’m reading a series of cozy mysteries from the library. The books are fast to read, and would cost me $8 each new (paperback), or $5 used. It saves me a lot to use the library!

    Our menu for the week is posted on my blog if you’re interested. My husband does a great job using sales, coupons and rebate sites to stretch our grocery budget. We budget $200 a month for food and household items (toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc), but after the rebates he has money left over each month. It’s amazing!

  9. That is the prettiest shade of pink rose. It’s wonderful you were able to find a dishwasher, and at a discount. We made some progress on our workshop. I sanded all the screw heads that had been mudded, and my husband installed the vent and ventilator fan. Good ventilation is important, with the powder coat paint I use. Lots of pantry and storage foods are being used for meals. More pruning was done, and two of the wintersown containers are up… scabiosa and lettuce. Laundry was hung on the line, when there were non-rainy days. Dog treats were made with homegrown pumpkin. Beets, carrots and asparagus were weeded, and quite a few carrots were thinned. I purchased two sets of sheets. Both were on sale, and I received 5% back on one set through Swagbucks. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2021/03/the-first-blooms.html

  10. We were able to have a lovely baby shower on Zoom for our son and daughter-in-law. So many people gathered from so many areas of their lives and from all over the US and Great Britain. I was nervous about how it would go, but it was so heartening. I’m thankful
    A customer requested a nurse themed zipper bag from my shop, and I thought that others might like that too. I will be listing some this week.
    I’m tending to my seedlings and they are doing well. I have given a few away. We gratefully received lemons this week.
    I read a tip which really made me think. Our gas/electric company charges a 1.5% service fee to pay a bill with a credit card. This tip suggests paying a larger lump sum, especially if one is using a rewards credit card. Then several months bills will be covered and you will only pay one service fee. My husband and I are going to chat through how to best use that idea.
    I have erased an iPod and an iPhone, which I will list on eBay this week.
    I’ve gathered several returns which I’ve put in my car, ready for when we are in those parts of town. The gathering is 95% of the work for me.
    Our daughter is graduating college this semester. They will have a zoom ceremony. She will wear the same gown as my husband and then our son wore. All I have to do is buy the cap and tassel. I love that it’s frugal, AND that so many memories are in that gown.

  11. -Meals for the last week-split pea soup(hambone from freezer) with egg dumplings x 2; leftover barbeque ribs with tator tots and green beans; bacon and egg biscuits; pizza with salad; pancakes with bacon and syrup; and soup supper at church on Wednesday night.
    -cooked a bag of apples( variety we don’t care for-they were given to us), made applesauce and then into the crockpot for apple butter. Froze half of it.
    -picked up a gallon of milk free. My punchcard was full so I had a free one coming.
    -Got cocoa Krispies for $1.50/box bought 2. So then picked up marshmallows for $0.97 a package. Bought 2. Need a dessert for church on Sunday. So for $2.50 I have an easy pan of bars. And supplies to make one more in a few weeks.
    -Filled up with gas at Costco for $2.34/gallon. Most gas stations at $2.69.
    -Well it warmed up, so it snowed. Took the grandkids sledding and snowboarding Sunday afternoon. Free entertainment.
    -when I sewed my nightgown last week from a top flannel sheet, I cut it out with the hem at the top of the sheet, so there are birds at the hem line. I also used the wide binding end so I didn’t have to hem it(already done). I used the other end-narrow hem for the casings for the elastic.
    Otherwise a quiet week here. Want to do some more sewing next week before the outside work starts.
    Have a great week!!

  12. Cut up carrots to take with my sandwich I make every day for my work lunch. I have saved probably thousands over the years by taking my lunch to work. I made a chocolate mulberry cobbler. Since the weather was in the 80’s for five days, I anticipate the mulberry tree will have mulberries ready by the middle of April. I am trying to use up last year’s crop of frozen mulberries. I took leftover broccoli, rutabagas, asparagus, combined them with pepper jack cheese, cheddar cheese, etc., and a simple homemade white sauce based on the recipe in The Tightwad Gazette, to make a vegetable casserole. I baked a few potatoes. I cut up a sweet onion to use as a topping for the potatoes. I made homemade hot chocolate mix using dried milk powder, cocoa, and sugar. It is so simple to use with hot water and delicious. I walked in my neighborhood for exercise during the five sunny days we had but today it is raining and much cooler. Did not run the air nor heat for five days. Went to the obgyn and for some reason they did not require a co pay. I asked if I owed one and they said no. I have expensive dental work that will be ongoing for several months so I will be spending all my extra on that. I do have dental insurance but it is not very good. I feel ok going to the doctor and dentist now that I have had my Covid shots. I put off everything last year because of Covid. So, I have a lot of makeup appts to take care of regarding my health.

  13. Greetings everyone!
    This past week has been quite a bit slower in pace thankfully as we all needed a bit of a rest after last week.
    We are working on saving for closings costs to purchase a home so all frugal methods are being employed! I am hoping that we will be able to have all we need to begin shopping for a home by April so that we can avoid having to extend our lease and then be forced to pay a large chunk for breaking the lease. With that goal in mind we have until the end of July to save, find a new home, & move. I am excited and exhausted just thinking about it. With this in mind, we will not be planting a garden this Spring or any flowers other than what is already in the ground. I could plant from seed that I have on hand for sure but I don’t want to leave it behind – I would rather take it with me to our home and plant there & use the funds for more important things now. I will be so looking forward to the photos of your garden & flowers Brandy – I know they will be fantastic! I have done a careful budget and find myself watching it almost constantly to ensure that we are squeezing every dollar out that we possibly can.
    We ate all of our meals at home except for one evening meal where we got takeout and went for short drive to celebrate. Meals included baked flounder with lemon, butter & dill, sheet pan pancakes, wings, lemon parsley potatoes, bean burritos & Spanish rice. I will be baking a peach cobbler this evening using peaches that we put away last summer. Hat’s off to you Brandy for the bean burrito suggestion – it was a filling simple meal that my family, including my 5 yr old son loved! We continue to eat down the pantry and freezers enjoying many meals that include items that we grew, purchased at rock bottom prices and/or canned last summer. There is truly nothing better than home canned tomatoes & peaches in the dead of winter.
    We will begin working to clean out closets, purge and donate many items that we are no longer using and/or do not want to move. Some will be listed on FB Marketplace if possible. My husband will be finishing a building project for a friend that will add funds to our savings account – hurrah!
    We had several days of lovely warm here this past week and we made the most of them doing a bit of yard work, playing outdoors, listening to the birds and watching the squirrels scamper. It was such a blessing and has made us all the more impatient for Spring to arrive.
    I finished the last large container of laundry detergent and noticed that I couldn’t get all the liquid to come out using the spout. My husband cut into the container and emptied the contents into a mason jar – this was enough to wash six more loads of laundry.
    Full dishwasher loads were run and we combined laundry to reduce the number of loads done in our household.
    I received a recall notice from my vehicle manufacturer and immediately took the vehicle to be serviced. The recall replaced a part that was causing me to have an issue when starting my vehicle. I thought that the trouble may have been related to starting my car in the cold and was prepared to take it to the shop for service – the recall saved us over $200 in parts and labor.

    All the best for a fantastic week ahead!

    1. Angie, if you won’t be able to move when you hope, ask your landlord if you can rent month-to-month for a short time while you look for a house. I can’t speak for all landlords, but when we owned rental properties, I was always happy to extend month-to-month for good tenants. Good for them and good for me. ( Why good for me? Guess what, not all tenants are good tenants. I’d rather continue with a good tenant for a few more months than take my chances with a new tenant who might not be as good).

      1. That is excellent advice Maxine! We had that chat with them and they will give us until the end of July – a bit of an increase in rate but nothing crazy. It is in God’s hands and I know that He has a place for us but just crazy to think of the schedule ahead….shop for, choose and offer on a new house, close on said house, and move whole household in 30-60 day time frame. There is a lot of planning, financial stress, utility transfers, school starting, booking movers, etc…. We just love our landlords…if not for the great interest rates and benefits of buying a home right now we would stay right where we are. What a blessing!

        1. Have you thought about asking your landlord if they would consider selling the house you are renting to you?

  14. Brandy – Those beautiful pictures are music to my soul. I look forward to your posts and especially the beautiful pictures each week!

    How I saved this week:

    #1 – Stayed home except for to/from work and took a short ride on Saturday. We took our own refreshments including homemade beef jerky given to us by a friend. It was a beautiful evening for a ride.

    #2 – Ate from our freezers and cooked at home. I did have Chinese at a restaurant below my office for lunch last week but it was loaded in hot peppers and dry as a bone. Not the treat I was looking forward to having. My office provided lunch one day from Chick fil-A. Cooked all other meals at home. Breakfast on Sunday was few slices of bacon, homemade biscuits, grits, milk/pepper gravy (gravy was no meat which we love). Everyday breakfasts were oatmeal, toast, fruit. Coffee is provided at work for free. Suppers were BBQ hamburgers twice last week and a small batch of homemade potato salad. Sunday, I made BBQ pork chops, oven fries (cheap shoestrings with butter, onion, salt & pepper. They are a family favorite.) I also served frozen homemade rolls from another meal which were fantastic and leftover (frozen) green beans from Christmas. Just the two of us so a cooked meal can go on forever LOL. I got a little extra cooking done yesterday of homemade chocolate syrup (for chocolate milk or over ice cream), scratch brownies, and made a small apple cobbler by using a peach cobbler recipe and substituting some sad looking apples. We have meals from weekend cooking for several days this week.

    #3 – I’ve been making meals/snacks from items I already have at home; on purpose making things that use simple ingredients and that we eat all the way gone.

    #4 – Started seeds using wintersowing methods using plastic containers I had on hand. I don’t use much plastic so have had to be creative and have even salvaged plastic from our recycle bin at work. I am excited for spring planting so doing what I can to get ready. I started flower seeds (for mostly purple flowers this year) and some tomatoes, peppers, and ground cherries (new to me). Ground planting won’t happen until beginning of May.

    #5 – Crocheted using yarn I have at home. Learned a new stitch (waffle stitch) (free online) and it is rewarding to see the pattern created by this new stitch. Several projects started but nothing finished yet. 🙂

    #6 – Last week I lost a dear friend (& my husband’s cousin) to Covid. She was my age (54) and had no pre-existing conditions. We are heartbroken. It was a long fight for her which she endured alone in the hospital without loved ones. Her family had a traditional funeral but we attended wearing our masks and socially distanced. We did not attend the dinner but I donated a double batch of scratch sugar cookies using ingredients I had on hand.

    #7 – My husband was able to get both of his vaccines completed. I just got my first last week. These are free. We are so grateful to be able to get them and that there was no cost.

    Wishing you all a good week and good health.

  15. I spent the majority of the week fighting off a sinus infection. Thankfully, I had some mucinex and day quil in the cabinet, and only needed to pick up a bottle of nyquil.

    Returned a library book on time to avoid late fees.

    My mom sent over tater tots, tomatoes, popcorn, can soup, rubbing alcohol, eggs, and toothbrushes.

    I received a sample bag from Sams when I picked up my order with a kind bar, kcup, Nutella sample, and b12 vitamin.

    A local meat shop had a sale on ground beef for $ 2.39 a pound(close to $4 a pound at Walmart). I purchased 10 pounds and also 6 pounds of ground chicken at 1.99/lbs.

    A local (well, sort of local, 45ish minutes away) indoor Waterpark had an area appreciation price of $7.50 a person. My 14yo went to enjoy the day with her best friend.

    Used some Amazon no rush shipping credits to get a book on Kindle.

    Used an Audible credit for a book.

    A light fixture I really wanted was $13 off on Amazon so I purchased it to use in my pantry redo(it’s the only room with a high enough ceiling for it).

  16. Yesterday was my husband’s last day of preaching before retirement. He is on vacation all of March. We had saved up vacation time to celebrate our 50th anniversary next month. The church was very generous, giving us a beautiful wall hanging that is very personal, and many gift cards. Someone had brought extra carrots, so we were given 2 bags. Perfect timing as we had used the rest of our fresh ones in a pot roast. We do have some frozen for future soups. Fred Meyer has the low carb juice that our son and I drink on sale. We save $2.00 on each bottle, so we stock up on it when it is on sale twice a year. We stopped to see if we could get more on our way home from church. Our freezers are full, but my husband found 2 3 pound rolls of 93/7 hamburger for $9.99 and a large pork roast for $.99/pound! Tonight we will have meat loaf and Wednesday night we will have pork roast. We feel so blessed to have a stocked pantry and freezers.
    Twice each month, we take a neighbor with some challenges to get a special box of staples from a feeding program. When my husband took her for her TEFAP box, they were offering farm-to-table boxes also. She also got this which was a huge help. My husband was offered one which we were grateful to get. Later this past week, they were available from another agency. A friend is opening a business and a single mother with 2 teenagers. We got one for her and one for her brother who has 3 toddlers with no help from their mother. Both were grateful!
    The good things this week were balanced by notification that my time of ministry in the Native village is ending. Some people think a younger person will draw younger people. We were reaching younger people. Ministry is never fast or easy and the Native culture is built on respect for elders. I will miss going, but the person in charge is retiring at 65, so believes I am ancient at almost 72! I pray for a new ministry and will seek one out. I have an idea of something I have wanted to help with and will explore that soon. One of my dreams is to teach frugal cooking to a group of people going from homeless to a more stable lifestyle.
    Fairbanks is now getting more snow, which will help build moisture in the soil for the dryer spring. We are far from gardening but ready for it. Our community garden had a presentation on dehydrating foods which interests me to preserve food for the winter. I’m particularly interested in how long that food will last?
    Thanks to all of you who participate. Your participation has made coping with covid isolation easier! And thanks to Brandy for moderating this blog. You had a food dehydrator on the website in the past, if possible could you mention it again? Thanks for recommendations!

    1. Alaska Gram,
      Such beautiful comments.
      I think your idea is really good and hope you have great success with it.

  17. Savings this week were much better than last.

    *Used points and saved $.70 per gallon at Kroger. My son Joshua uses my account so I can get his points. He also pays when all three roommates shop together to buy things for their apartment. We filled up the car and took extra cans so we could buy the limit.

    *Took the trash to the dump since it is right down the street from Kroger. We are not in the city limits so we would have to pay for this service. However, I would rather have lower property taxes than be in the city.

    *Bought bone-in pork roasts for $.99 but you had to buy a huge 20-pound bag. I canned it using different recipes: Barbecue, pulled pork (garlic, onion, pepper), and spicy ginger. The bone with meat around it that is hard to cut off will go into the crockpot tomorrow to feed my guys while I am gone all day. Mom is finally out of one year of lockdown at her assisted living facility. I get to go and clean out her closet which I have been promising to do for a year now.

    *I have started seeds indoors for the summer garden. They are on a cheap dollar store heating pad to help them germinate. I turn the temperature up and down to simulate being outside. Eventually, it will happen upon the right temperature and trigger them to sprout.

    *We have eaten every meal at home plus I have made Dustin’s lunch for six workdays.

    *We continue to eat out of the winter and summer garden. An example was taco salads. The lettuce and onion greens were from the winter garden. The canned salsa, pickled jalapenos, canned bell peppers, canned taco sauce, canned black beans, seasons (chili powder), and tea were all from the summer garden.

    If you are in doubt about the possibility of growing a winter garden, please look at the pictures I took during February’s snowstorm. I am in lower middle Tennessee, USA, in zone 6b/7a. The garden took a beating but the food still tastes good.

    1. A dollar store heating pad sounds amazing! I have never thought to look for that! I will now!

      1. Brandy, make sure you get one that is not all fabric but has a plastic covering. Mine is called “wet or dry.” Plus, it is easy to wipe away the dirt when your muscles are sore from gardening and the heating pad is needed to go on your back. I started doing this after we closed the vent in the laundry room. It gets too cold in there for the seedlings to sprout. I just flip the high, medium, low switch to various temperatures. I suppose I could get a thermometer and test the dirt in the cups but this works well enough.

  18. I’m not surprised that you wear out dishwashers every 5 years! I’m glad you found one in stock at a good price and that it is already up and running. Good for your husband for teaching your son to install one. I hope everyone here had a good week.

    We were on vacation last week. We stayed with a cousin in Phoenix, not necessarily to save money, but it was definitely the end result. We bought a lot of take-out to make our visit easier for her and as a thank-you for her hospitality. Still a cheap vacation! We went to the zoo in Phoenix. Cousin had 2 for 1 coupons she’d cut off egg cartons, so the admission was 2/$44 (still ouch). There were 5 of us, so I had to buy one full-price ticket. My daughter is developmentally disabled, so I asked if there was a discount, and they graciously allowed me to buy a children’s ticket for $24. It would have been $44 if I hadn’t asked! Still an expensive outing (I don’t know how young and/or big families do it), but the coupons and extra discount helped a lot!

    Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture has always interested me. We left for the airport early enough to have time to drive by the spire and one of the homes he designed in Scottsdale. Cost: $0 for a drive-by.

    I have finally accumulated an extra 30-day supply of one of my daughter’s medications. This is very difficult with her insurance (I can’t just buy an extra refill) and it took a long time to get a whole month ahead. A few months ago, my best friend went off the same drug and gave me her leftovers. I also get a few days ahead each month by ordering on the first day they will allow a refill. I rotate every month to keep a fresh supply.

  19. Planning on working outside this week planting. Food prices continue to increase, along with gas prices here. Seeing many California license plates in parking lots of grocery stores and other various places. We are used to seeing New York, Midwest , Quebec license plates (snowbirds) but not cross country. Presently reading a recommended book, “The Paris Library” by Janet Charles from the library.

  20. Right now Walgreens is offering a free 8 x 10 photo with code CHEERS8X10. I have amassed a large number of frames from garage sales. I am in the process of getting out photos I have and then ordering others to make a gallery wall u the stairs.
    * I did not feel well all last week. I had a 6 day headache and finally went to have a Covid test. It would have been free, but I paid $50 for the rapid test because my husband was having to quarantine and needed to go into the office. I was negative so they also did the other test that took 2 days and it was negative.
    * We had a lot of pull out meals while I wasn’t feeling well. I was nauseated so had toast and didn’t eat a lot. My husband threw together what he could find.
    * I patched 3 pairs of jeans where I wore holes where my thighs have a party when I walk. I tried sewing denim on the inside but it rubbed my legs, so took it out and just ironed them to the outside. So, I really don’t want to wear them out of the house.
    * The weather went from single digits during the storm to 70’s this week. I don’t have any short sleeve shirts that fit. So, I ordered 4 shirts to get me by as I try to lose weight and can fit into some clothes I have. I also have jeans a size smaller waiting.
    * We priced out adding a picket fence out back. It has been on our long-term plan, but we were waiting for prices to drop and to find time. Our yard is flat where we have a paver stone patio with fireplace, and then a flagstone walk to a circular patio, then we have a hill and a flat part at the bottom of the hill. We planted 38 Arborvitae trees along the back fence because we can see into neighbors behind us. We want to create a private backyard with rooms. We will terrace our vegetable garden on the hill. It is 150 feet wide and about 10 feet down the hill. I want to put a picket fence just at the top of the hill with an arbor gate coming off the circular patio. I will plant flowers on the front side and it will be the vegetable terraced garden on the back. Yes, prices are up, but do not seem to be doubled and tripled like buying wood, if we buy the panels. We have a puppy that is getting into garden and digging so I need to block him from eating and digging my vegetables. It was cheaper than we thought it would be, so we will go ahead and start soon after some other projects.
    * I signed up to do an online art painting for $15. I have the canvas, and brushes, but will need to go get a few paints. It is over the course of 5 days, as you do a part in each lesson. It is also recorded so you can go back or do it at your own pace.
    *I watched Sanditon on Amazon Prime. It was a story Jane Austen started, but did not finish.
    *I am doing French on Duolingo. I finally started writing down phrases and words so I can visually see them, and I learn from writing. I have difficulty on some phrases with my southern accent. It keeps saying, “That doesn’t sound right. Let’s move on.” I am from Mobile, Alabama which has French roots so some things are 2nd nature, so many streets, restaurants, phrases, words are used, but some things I cannot say apparently.
    *I got some foam board sheets I will cover with batting and make a workwall. I got two 4×8 sheets and will attach to a long wall in my sewing area. Fabric just sticks to it without pins so you can lay out quilt squares and rearrange them to see which arrangement you like.

    1. That is a big garden! Your vegetable garden is twice the length of my entire yard. Your garden rooms will be wonderful!

  21. While I am not happy that you had to get another new dishwasher, I do feel somewhat relieved that you have had to replace several. We have also had to replace several dishwashers in the last 14 years and I have often wondered if it was us. We have a larger family and most days run a load or sometimes 2, plus handwashing. We have also gone through refrigerators and clothes dryers. I try hard to take care of our appliances and my husband can install, etc., but they still seem to just wear out. I used to think we are just terrible with appliances, but now I am wondering if it is just the nature of having a large family and perhaps the quality of appliances is not what it used to be.
    Completely unrelated…any advice for making vegetable stock? I set aside trimmings, peels, etc. in the freezer, but I have yet to make a successful batch. It is always bitter. Any tricks of the trade that any of you have discovered that one can pass along? I can make beef stock and chicken stock, but not vegetable. It seems so silly to buy it (and it isn’t cheap) when I can surely master this with some help. Any advice would be much appreciated.

    1. I think they are just not made well anymore as we have a small family and have also been through several dishwashers in the past 20 years in this house.

    2. Bethanne, there is just my husband and myself in our household and we, too, have gone through a couple of dishwashers. If we get years out of one, we are lucky, and that is with my husband making repairs and replacing parts as long as possible. I believe appliances simply aren’t as well made as they once were.

    3. Bethanne: I just re-read How to Make Stock in my cookbook and online, as I had vegetable scraps and chicken bones which are now simmering.
      Perhaps you are using particular vegetables that add bitterness? Specifically, broccoli and plants in the “Brassica family”, among others, are not recommended, or are only to be used in small amounts.

      1. Also, if you add the broth from canned veggies, the liquid from canned corn is very sweet. But a little goes a long way! This might help offset some of the bitterness. I’d probably stop using broccoli, too.

    4. I use my dishwasher 1-2 X day. When another one died, I questioned the salesman on what actual life of machine was supposed to be as it was only about 3 years old. He said I had “Excessive Use!” I did explain it was not a decoration. Frustrating though.

      1. All these issues with dishwashers not lasting a long time has me rethinking making space in our kitchen redo for one.

        1. I wonder if the parts of a dishwasher are built for a certain number of loads, or for a certain length of time, (somehow; I am not an engineer).
          Roughly, 1-2 loads a day for a year is between 350-700 loads, times five years makes 3500 loads.
          We use ours 1-2 times a week, which means about 100 times a year, which by previous logic means it should last 35 years. That is certainly not the case!

    5. Years ago we were given a chest freezer that was about 3 years old, and when it reached year 10 or 11 the compressor went out. I half-complained to a salesman, because my parents’ freezer was still working at 30 years, and he told me that appliance manufacturers were making them with a 10-12 year life because no one was ever replacing them. I’ve noticed this with refrigerators too, and I assume other major appliances. My mom’s freezer is now 57 years old and still running well. We recently replaced our dishwasher and it too has 3 rows. It took a little adjustment to figure out what fits best where as the middle section isn’t quite as deep as I wish it was. But it works so much better than the old one that I’m not complaining! Just rethinking what was routine.

    6. My sister raised her six children and four of her grandkids. Her next door neighbor had one child. She used to tell my sister that she had had more appliances than the neighbor had had hot meals! They do wear out more quickly in larger households!

  22. That Angel Face rose is so lovely. It reminds me some of the lavender roses that my mother loved so well.
    Finishing mud with a concrete tool is amazing. That is some seriously hard “soil.” So much lime there, and here, we have too much acid for many plants.

    We had another birthday – mine! – this weekend, and it was again a cooperative dinner to keep down costs, only this time, I didn’t have to contribute anything, since I was the “honoree.” I got to spend it with my kids and grandkids, and that’s what makes it special, even if one of my younger grandkids did say that my age is a “very big number.” 🙂

    I replaced a pair of shoes that gave up and another pair I had already had to get rid of months ago, by shopping a BOGO 1/2 off sale. One pair was already on clearance, so I got that pair really cheaply, and the other pair was on a modest sale.

    I was able to hang out five loads of laundry this weekend, as we had really nice weather.

    I pulled some more carrots from the container garden, and used some more of the parsley, spinach and lettuce.

    I made a crockpot of chicken stock, and froze some in an ice cube tray, and the rest in half-pint canning jars, as I usually need 1/4 to 1 cup in most of my recipes. My daughter had found a large stash of small canning jars in her kitchen cabinets, and she gave me the excess, many of which I had given to her filled with my relishes or jellies. She returned rings and lids as well. I re-use the lids when freezing the jars.

    I gave my husband a pedicure.

    I found two more stainless water bowls, one for each of my two pets, at Goodwill for 99 cents, to supplement the two I had. That lets me throw the dirty ones in the dishwasher while I use the clean ones, the same way I do their food bowls (also found used.) I wash their bowls at least weekly.

    I re-sewed a hem on a towel, made a batch of kombucha, marinated meat with homemade marinade to make it more tender, and packed my lunches every day, except for one, when our office was taken out to lunch on the company dime.

  23. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Your fruit smoothies sound delicious. Birthday ice cream sounds good too!
    Lockdown continues but we’re happy at home getting things done.
    My husband has taken over some more lawn to make a bigger veg bed, he uses the Charles Dowding no dig method and laid down cardboard we have been saving from online deliveries.
    He created two new strawberry beds from large barrels he cut in half lengthwise and planted out the strawberry plants we grew from pegging down runners. He sowed lots of veg and flower seed including lettuce, rocket chillies, sweet peas, snapdragons, cosmos and nicotiana. I divided up two different Dianthus to propagate lots more plants. I dug up and potted several roots of sweet violet from the garden, I hope they will flower indoors.
    We pulled carrots, parsnips and leeks from the garden. I decluttered and tidied some of the potting shed and filled several black bags to take to the tip next week. I discovered a pretty metal container for plants I didn’t know we had.
    I sold an item on eBay.
    We bought more dog food using our loyalty card for 2% off.
    I sewed two more elasticated bowl covers for the kitchen using fabric from my stash.
    My husband used old pallet wood to build me an auricula theatre for my birthday. It’s traditional to paint them black but I said I would prefer a softer colour so he painted it rosemary green which is lovely.
    Stay safe everyone.

      1. Thank you Mary, I’m so pleased with it. Sourcing the auricula is proving tricky as lots of nurseries are out of stock. I’ll display other plants for now if need be.

        1. I think these are such pretty flowers. I have never seen them here in the nursery (and I’m there quite often in spring!) I hope you can find the flowers you want. I know so many flowers, plants, and seeds are selling out very quickly this year all over the world as more people take up gardening while they are at home.

          1. I’m going to a garden centre tomorrow for various things so I’ll check for auricula while I’m there. Still hoping!

  24. I did some mending.
    I planned meals for the week using items from the pantry, including some things that needed to be used up right away. We are getting to the last of the 50 lbs of potatoes I purchased in early October. They are starting to sprout, but still firm.
    I made 8 pints of chicken stock from saved bones.
    I also cooked a big batch of dried pinto beans and froze them for future meals.
    After two weeks of snow and very cold weather, the sun is out and temperatures are warming a little (still below freezing at night, but in the 40sF during the day) My husband shoveled a path to the greenhouse and we cleaned it out and discussed gardening plans. Another three weeks and I should be able to transplant some cold-hardy plants out there.
    My husband’s parents and sister in Texas have some plumbing issues due to last week’s freezes, and plumbers are backlogged for weeks, so my husband decided he needed to drive to Texas to help out (he’s very good with plumbing, electrical and carpentry.) His best friend since fourth grade, who lives nearby, drove to his parents’ house and assessed the situation, so my husband was able to buy everything he needed here in Colorado, since we’ve been told it’s very hard to get plumbing supplies there. (The associate at Home Depot told him people were flying here from Texas and buying thousands of dollars worth of plumbing supplies to take back with them.) We made a quick grocery run and I made five days worth of breakfasts and dinners for my husband to take with him. His parents will enjoy eating the meals and it will save his sister having to cook for them. (They can eat leftovers and sandwiches for lunch.)

  25. I’ve had a rather quiet week at home. I generally just rest as my real life stress really flares my own medical problems. My mother felt really good one day and asked to go shopping. I have to be careful on these trips , sugar cookie wants to buy everything in sight. I ended up losing my debit card. That kinda squashed any unnecessary spending while we wait for a new one. We went out very early one morning to check the dumpsters and brought home a ton of lovely food. There was a new instapot and a small ceramic heater new in boxes as well. Both items returned but seals were unbroken. I have a ton of extra banana boxes after dumpster diving . We went to the recycling center to dispose of them. I brought home three large mystery Rubbermaid containers taped shut. One had baby girl clothes. Another Carhart coats. The largest is packed w military items. Not sure exactly. I asked my son to look. Baby clothes were donated to a friend. Carhart jackets sold quickly on Facebook . All I wanted were the nice Rubbermaid containers to pack Christmas items in. I’ve turned into an opossum. I found some free software to document my family tree. My skills get better each year. I’ve discovered my mother’s half sister. She’s a lovely old lady and I’m so happy to have found a new Aunt. She’s only about 4 hours away and perhaps one day we can visit. I hope all is well with everyone.

  26. What beautiful pictures! I really enjoy seeing them. And that pink rose is just lovely.

    It was a good week. The snow melted quite a bit here, so we could peek in the unheated greenhouse and see the results of the longer days. No real growth back yet on the salad greens in there, but they look less miserable. I’m eager for when they seem happy enough to harvest some.

    I’ve been batch cooking quite a bit, making marinara sauce and soup fixings. Every bit of thinking ahead before baby comes in a couple weeks gives me a lot of satisfaction, especially as I started earlier this time and could take it slower. I also did an inventory of the attic, numbering the boxes, so we’ve got good records about the lovely hand-me-downs we’ve got stored for future sizes. Shoes though! Shoes are tricky to buy during COVID. I am still working on figuring exactly how to measure my childrens’ feet and order online. I miss thrift stores, but we’ll get there someday.

    One lovely thing! I figured out how to prep popovers the night before, just adding the eggs in the morning. I took Marion Cunninham’s recipe from Fannie Farmer, substituted corn oil for butter (heresy, I know, but it does keep it from clumping, and I add plenty of butter once they’re out of the oven), added the eggs in the morning, tried the cold oven, and they were terrific. They’re going on the regular rotation now. Mornings are busy, so it’s nice to be able to have something special.

    Wishing you all a lovely week! Thank you for all your good ideas, and thank you, Brandy, for making this lovely blog.

    1. Stride Rite used to have an online chart that you could print out to measure your child’s foot. I would look there or for a chart online.

    2. Google “Determining shoe size for children chart”. I printed a shoe size chart for adults a few years ago. It was very useful.

      1. Thank you so much, Linda and Brandy! I’ve got Stride Rite’s now and will try google’s as well.

        1. I have found that I get the best fit for my children (and myself) by marking at both the big toe and heel, while standing on a piece of paper. I measure between the marks with a flexible tape, and then use each brand’s specific size chart to determine the correct size. This has worked especially well for me when needing to determine European sizes. I haven’t had to return a pair yet!

  27. Hello everyone, not much to report. Made soup from small amounts of leftovers I had froze for that purpose. Made a pan of cornbread to go with it.

    Used grocery store points for $7 off meat. Bought a steak for the grill. One was enough for three with some leftover which was turned into hash.

    Used CVS bucks to stock up on some personal care items.

    Framed two posters for new wall art. Found a way to use the blue Jean feathers. Tied some to a wire basket, hung a couple on a blue vase, and hung a few on the handle of a wall cabinet.

    I’m mostly staying home and not spending, cleaning and moving stuff around. Watched a video on my tablet using hoopla, first time I tried it. Also listened to two audiobooks, one was a new release.

  28. This month is going to be an especially tough month financially. I intend to only buy groceries once.
    Superstore had hamburger patties on sale for $6 a package reduced from $12.98 so I bought a package of them.
    I bought 8 packages of pasta on sale to replenish my pantry.

    1. I hit “post comment” a bit early. It’s at times like these that one really appreciates having a well-stocked larder.
      It feels like spring here and I was glad warmer weather helped to dry up the wet spots on the sidewalk so they didn’t freeze.
      I have spent the day away from the book. Well, actually what I have been doing is recording and organizing the addresses so when the book is printed we can easily and efficiently deliver the pre-ordered books. If everyone honours their pledges, it will be wonderful. I watched Belgravia and heartland on cbc online for free.

      I am going to make soup as I don’t think that the high sodium canned soup is very good for a person. I have beets in my little freezer that I want to use up. And lots of potatoes and onions, too. I bought frozen butternut squash and frozen broccoli from Superstore on sale. It wasn’t greatly reduced but I noticed it was quite a bit cheaper than No Frills. I also bought a package of dried Black-eyed Peas. I’m not sure if they need to be soaked first. Because of all of the frozen vegetables, I once again have a freezer with little room in it. I bought beef broth on sale.

      Not much interesting that’s happening…

      1. The black-eyed peas don’t have to be soaked but will cook faster if you do. They don’t need to be soaked for very long though.

        The forecast for March is mild all through the month here in Alberta, but maybe colder than normal for a month or two after that. So, this is the season to enjoy!

        1. Hi Elizabeth M. for advice on black-eyed peas. It’s been a long time since I’ve used them, although
          I’ve always liked them. Yes, the weather is grand — we should have seen the last of the bitter cold but may have more snow.

  29. I’m sorry you had to replace your dishwasher, but I’m glad you were able to find a new one quickly. Ours have lasted five to seven years before needing replacement. There are only two of us, but the water is so hard here that, even with vinegar treatments, the minerals build up on the moving parts very quickly.

    We have a new refrigerator on order, and it’s not scheduled until the second week of April. Long lead times seem to be the norm during the pandemic, so I’m not taking it personally. 🙂 Our current fridge is doing a few odd things, and my husband really wants to replace it before it quits on us. He has moderate-stage Alzheimer’s, and one of his newer symptoms is that he gets obsessed with worry about something and simply can’t stop thinking about it. He wants new instead of having this one repaired. So, we are going ahead with the replacement. It’s a small price to pay for him to be happier and less stressed.

    On the other hand, we just replaced our long-lasting washer/dryer as well (this is our year for appliances, I think). He has had that washer longer than he has had me! I think it’s a 1990 model year, and still works OK, but the tub started rusting out. That hard water again. I never thought I’d have to read an instruction manual to do laundry, but there’s definitely a learning curve. I’m a smart girl, so it won’t be unfamiliar for long.

    And now he is starting to fret about the water heater, so guess what’s next?!? Haha!

    1. Have you thought about a water softener? We have off-the-scale hard water and a water softener has saved both our pipes and our appliances. If you don’t like the taste of softened water, you can always just have it plummed to the appliances. You do need to add salt occasionally, but I find that a small price to pay.

      Something to think about,

    2. Depending on how old your hot water tank is, have you thought of replacing the anode rod? Depending on the model, it might be a very easy thing to do and might keep your tank going longer. If your hot water tank is old, then it
      would be better to replace the tank before it becomes an emergency. Nowadays, hot water tanks are only about good for 9 or 10 years. Also, I highly recommend putting a drip pan under a hot water tank with a pvc pipe that leads to a drain — it can save you from a flood.


    3. Perhaps you could have the water heater inspected rather than replaced right off the bat? My insurance company is asking me to have mine inspected because of its current age, but is not necessarily requiring that it be replaced. Parts like an anode rod or an element might be needed without replacing the whole thing, which is usually only done if there are symptoms.

      It is an interesting symptom that your husband is having. I have had a couple of relatives with dementia over the years, and they had very frightening lapses in judgement about personal safety and what needed to be discarded. In some ways this is a better direction for him to go.

      1. Hi, Lea, Ellie’s Friend, and Elizabeth M — Thank you for your suggestions and concern! You have given me a couple of things to research, and I’m happy for your feedback.

        Right now, Paul is focused on getting new everything for my benefit; he doesn’t want me to worry about appliances and home maintenance once he’s not able to partner with me on the decisions. We have had money stashed away for years, earmarked for home improvements and maintenance, so it’s not a financial hardship (so fortunate in that regard), and I’m happy to do it while he can still have a role in the projects. He’s always thinking of me. Love him!

      2. Hello, Lea, Ellie’s friend, and Elizabeth M — Thank you for your suggestions and your concern! You have given me a couple more things to research, and I appreciate it.

    4. So sweet that your husband wants to replace appliances. Perhaps he is thinking of you and not wanting you to have to deal with broken down appliances after his Alzheimer’s gets worse. My husband recently had major back surgery and he was making sure everything was working, or repaired, or replaced before the surgery. He was trying to make sure I had nothing to worry about because he will be unable to do anything for an extended length of time.

      1. Hi, Susan! I agree with your thoughts about my husband; he’s actually the most decent person I have ever known. Sounds like your husband is a wonderful guy also. I hope that his recovery goes well, and send warm thoughts to you both.

  30. Breathtaking photos!
    I wasn’t going to post because I am a frugal fraud. I have been doing all the frugal fun things cooking, cleaning, sewing and organizing all the while bills sat unopened because I was afraid to look. So I got out the budget book and stack of mail and dragged myself back in. I started with church obligations (pledged donation and weekly envelopes). I know from experience that when I am not keeping promises I am not going to feel good about anything. I paid bills and a late fee (I was able to get one late fee removed). I have to be more disciplined with the finances instead of making the same money mistakes over and over. I will continue to look here for inspiration during my struggles. Thanks to all!

    1. I don’t think you are a frugal fraud. I think at times everyone struggles with frugality. January was my best month budgeting ever. February one of my worst! My dad has Alzheimer’s and my siblings and I decided to stay at a fancy hotel and eat at a fancy restaurant over Valentine’s weekend. We wanted to give my dad a happy family experience. I paid more for our fancy dinner than I did for groceries for 7 people for one month!! It was hard, but I would do it again! To see my dad’s face light up when he found out the President of France stayed in the same room he had (in 1984!) really was priceless!! So, for March I am back on the frugal bandwagon. Good luck to you! Just desiring to practice frugality sets you apart from most people.

    2. I understand what you were feeling. I put off doing my taxes because I thought I would have to pay a large amount. But as I often find it is never as bad as I think and I just need to work on it. There was enough withheld that I’m getting a refund. The one that worried me was winning the grocery gc, close to $1000 for that alone. I knew gifts are considered the same as cash. The positive is that still gave $4000 free grocery.
      Hang in there and keep trying.

      1. Thanks cc! So true that my expectations were worse than the reality. I appreciate your understanding and sharing.

    3. Good for you for tackling this difficult step. I know from experience that starting something I’ve been avoiding is a sure way to peace of mind.

    4. that’s not frugal fraud… I have done that myself more than once.When we had a paycheck come in on Thursday I always paid the bills … now with IRAs and Social Security coming in at different times of the month I slid back into ignore the bills. My kids suggested I do a routine with the bills, nice candle, favorite tea and good music… it has help me look forward to it.

      1. That’s a good idea Chef Juls. I thought of marking my calendar twice a month for bills and financial paperwork so if I make it pleasant with your suggestions, I won’t dread the deed! Hope you’re recovering quickly from your surgery last month.

    5. You are not a frugal fraud Kat! You just had a frugal slip. You’re back up and at it and next month will be better.

  31. Last week was warmer with highs of 68 two days and more productive. DS and I had dentist appointments for cleanings. For those that have any close teeth my dental hygienist recommended wax floss. When we finished we went to a Habitat for Humanity ReStore that we always wanted to visit but was never open when we had time. I found a $3 drum shade for a floor lamp that has a center light and then 3 on a lower level that you can turn on how many you need. This shade puts out more light at the top so we turn on less lights. I had found a replacement sale priced at $45 last year and held out. The look on my husband’s face was priceless when he saw it.

    We walked a couple times this week. On my BD was at the oldest cemetery in town. We visited family graves and decided we need to clean them after all the rain last year after I find out what to use. Afterwards, we walked around. It is a very good place to walk as there are hilly, straight, and curvy sections. A highlight was seeing the sun setting through a mausoleum with stained glass windows that I have passed in a car every year of my life and never seen its beauty. The other was a grave stone made like a 6-7 foot stump with flowers near the base that was done so well you could not tell it wasn’t real until you were within 5 feet of the back of it. My BD dinner that night was Arby’s takeout. That was a treat since we have never eaten there much. DH and DS made a birthday cake for me and gave me some thoughtful things I needed and wanted.

    I broiled a marinated London broil that we used for burritos with fried peppers and onions and refried beans with toppings of choice. I froze the rest. I also sliced enough peppers and onions for another time to freeze. I have plenty of green and red peppers frozen that were bought from the farmer’s market for 3/$1, sometimes 4/$1, and they were very large. I need to find the lighter colors to freeze next summer.

    We went to MIL’ s house to bag up some items to throw away and donate. I soaked baby Lima beans to can and finished a book my son lent me. Have a wonderful and productive week!

  32. 1. Our home suffered a broken pipe post winter storm. My husband has it patched together for the time being. The bathroom & outside wall of the house are in arrears. I asked hubby to call the insurance co. I’m hoping they will cover some of the damage.
    2. Got chx quarters for .33 lb. I’m rather weary of chx but beef has become so pricey.
    3. I did find 2 small steaks in deep freezer & made crock pot beef stroganoff using Made Do Homemakers recipe. It was delicious & a nice chg from (you guessed it) chx.
    4. Found a box of diapers marked 1/2 off for 13$. It is a box of 68 for a 16-24 lb baby. I got them for my godchild who is expecting. I don’t have kids so I don’t know diaper prices. It seemed like a good deal.
    5. Found (while perusing items left on the curb) a new in the package window shade for a car to shield a baby from the sun. This will go w/ the diapers for a baby gift.
    I am retiring soon from full time work & will work part-time at my discretion so I think thriftiness will help to adjust to the reduced salary. I am grateful I have the option to retire. I know many elders have to work indefinitely because they need the $ to survive.

  33. Hello Everyone!
    I just love that rose!!! 🌹 One of my climbers died (It may have been the awful gophers) and I’ve been looking for another Social Climber rose without success. They were a pair.

    My husband has saved us a conservative estimate of $2000 by demoing a bathroom, hauling debris to the dump and making framing and drywall repairs himself. We found dry rot behind the shower wall. Not a surprise with the condition of this bathroom.

    My son’s birthday was this week. My daughter and I decorated with items from the dollar store. I arranged a game night where we played bingo and 5 Crowns competitively for chocolate gold coins and $1 bills. I made a huge platter of requested homemade nachos, tamales from Costco and homemade Spanish rice. He was thrilled with the lemon raspberry cake I baked from scratch. It was a very fun evening! 🥳

    I have been swamped lately juggling clients, bathroom remodeling, school cohorts and everything else! I was unable to complete my son’s 9 patch variation quilt by his birthday. I still have to bind it. However, I’m sure he’ll be pleased with a late gift.

    The weather warmed up and I spent a few hours gardening. I harvested kale, turnips, carrots and scallions.

    Our hens seem to be laying more eggs lately. I’m not sure if it’s because they’re 9 months old or if it’s seasonal? We’re happy to have them because we use quite a few eggs weekly. They happily received lots of garden greens today from my garden clean up. I feel like they’re a wonderful addition to our family and lifestyle. 🐓

    Have a blessed and beautiful week everyone!

  34. Aw, those spring blossoms! They just make my gardener heart happy <3

    If (when?) this dishwasher goes out someday, try looking into getting a Bosch. We got one secondhand at our last house, and it was hands-down the best dishwasher we've ever had, plus it had lasted FOREVER by the time we got it—it had probably been used for a good 15 years before it even came into our home!

    We're starting a huge bunch of produce from seed this week (hardy stuff, obviously), which will save us a bunch on fruits and vegetables as long as we get a decent harvest. I'm also starting a small-scale flower farm this year where I direct-sell market bouquets to the public and do bouquet subscriptions, which will bring in some extra side income for our family. I sowed a bunch of stuff for that this week, as well.

    I'm hoping to see some pics of the garden progress you've made soon! Can we expect a post in the near future on how it's coming??

    1. We had a Bosch two dishwashers ago. It actually lasted the shortest time of all our dishwashers! As we shopped for dishwashers, I was really hesitant to buy one because of that. We bought a different brand.

      1. Brandy, I’m with you. We bought a Bosch and it was dead in less than three years, and there are just two people living in our house. I bought a simple dishwasher this time, a very plain domestic brand. I had three nice (fancier) dishwashers in about 18 years. If they are going to go that fast, I’m going to buy the less expensive ones. My current plain model cleans quite well, and that’s all I really need.

        1. We just couldn’t see spending more this time. Might as well try one for less.

  35. I’m going to be honest and admit that appliance shopping is one of my least favorite activities. But congrats on finding what you needed. My husband installs our new appliances as well. It is such a cost savings. The blessing of being married to a handy minded person. I love your flower picture as well.

    I was able to get several free items again last week when grocery shopping and combining with Ibotta. I also received $8.63 off my grocery bill because of the cash back program they have in place. We renewed our Sams Club membership. I bought toilet paper at Sams. It was cheaper than anyplace else I had found at the moment.

    There was a request from our church for donations for a sunshine basket. Each basket would go to 1 lady who was in need of cheering up with 3 baskets being completed. The items in the basket are requested to be a cheery white or yellow. I went through my stash and found gold and white chocolate, zippered bags yellow sticky notes, a crocheted sunflower, picture of Jesus Christ, yellow smiley balloons, gold Hershey nuggets and peachios, white and gold beaded bracelets. I put them in cheery yellow and white gift bags with yellow rubber ducky plastic clips to keep them closed. My cost was $0. Bright and cheery and fun to open for them.

    Read books, exercised at home, watched shows and movies to keep costs low. Made all meals at home. Saved bows and ribbons from gifts for a repeat use in the future. Used up the last of some almond milk with banana in a cake we made, cornbread and pancakes. Made. Salad out of the last of fresh vegetables. Made a quiche to use up the last of spinach and eggs and a few slices of red pepper.

    One daughter came down with a stomach flu. Another daughter had pain with IBS issues. I’m so grateful our pantry and medicine cabinet had what we needed to get through a few rough days. We had Gatorade, saltines, jello, applesauce, chicken noodle soup, ramen, rice, bread, bananas and the needed meds. It was busy trying to help them but I didn’t need to run to the store. I had plenty to eat, our house was warm, we have hot water and all the other things we needed. Such a blessing.

    I went out for a walk in the sunshine and enjoyed the beautiful view and clean air. Noticed someone had tossed a few large rocks in the road. I kicked them out of the way and off to the side. Saw a friend who was walking her dog, Scooby, and enjoyed a few minutes of conversation with the friend. I enjoyed rubbing Scooby’s ears. I stopped to watch the starlings and crows swooping around. I sat in my deck and enjoyed the stars at night.

    I enjoyed several sessions of RootsTech which was completely free this year. I loved the sessions on journaling. And the sessions are available for the rest of the year on their site and YouTube.

    Thank you to all who offers words of comfort about my dog passing away. I so appreciate the kindness. I hope that everyone has a wonderful week.

  36. I have three sweet potatoes in vases in the kitchen window to root/sprout starts for the garden. Its still a few weeks early to start various seeds for the garden but I have the seeds, potting soil, flats etc. ready.

    My doctor told me not to take the Covid vaccines (two shots) but today said I could get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine (1 shot) when its available. Nice to know I now have an option. I just had my first shingles shot so will have to wait a month before I can have the Covid vaccine, but with the slow way vaccine is coming to our area it might be longer before its available here.

    I have five masks that I made but think since it appears we will be wearing masks for the foreseeable future I will make a few more. When I come out of a store and get into the car I take off my mask and do not like putting it back on as it is damp. So five stores equals five masks. I only shop once a month or maybe six weeks so when I go to town I go to numerous stores. I keep a running list of what I’ve used both food and other supplies so know just what I need to buy. The small city where I shop has a mask mandate so I’m comfortable shopping there with the usual precautions. Last week it seemed to me that most people were complying although too many did not have masks on properly.

  37. We have been doing a lot of cooking at home. I made homemade blueberry muffins. My husband and son loved them! My son declared them the best he ever had! That made me happy! I made taco salad. I plan to make homemade hummus. We have been eating a lot of salads and soups
    and oatmeal.My sister and I are going to go on a picnic and fly kites for entertainment. It is supposed to be warm this week. I am really looking forward to talking and enjoying the sunshine by a lake. Also it is free! All I have to do is pack a picnic lunch! I love picnics! I bought bananas for 19cents a lb., apples for 38 cents a lb. salads for 68 cents a bag, guacamole for 68 cents a container, salsa for 68 cent, chicken for 38 cents a lb and tuna for 65 cents a can. I loved my shopping trip this week. Great prices! OH yes, mangos for 50 cents each. I absolutely love mangos! So I bought 4. We have been turning off lights. Planning our garden. I have been watching youtube videos. I enjoy Frugal jo, Vivi whats next, and the quaint housewife. I have also watched people singing. I love great music! We are both working now. I love having my husband around, but being able to pay the bills is nice! I took library books back. I have also done youtube exercise videos. I am so out of shape! But I found some easier videos. I did Jane Fonda records as a highschooler. Now I do Jane Fonda Youtube videos. I’ve also walked around our land with my son. My husband cooked outdoors. It was lovely to sit out there with him. We had invested in a picnic table that we found on sale this year. We bought it in the winter when it was cheaper. I love picnics! Before we were eating on the back of his old truck. That was fun too. But now we can have family eat with us.

  38. This week was busy with re-doing our boys’ room. We did our girls’ room a month or two ago. The boys’ room is a 9’x12′ room and we have 4 sons sharing it. It doesn’t have a closet (we have one family closet in our home). We spend over $1,000 to add lots of storage, new paint, new rug, new laminate flooring, new bedding, etc. I consider it frugal, though, because it allows us to fit our family of 10 into a 1300 square foot home comfortably.

    Also, WE PAID OFF OUR HOUSE this week! It wasn’t as impressive as GardenPat’s accomplishment since ours was only paid off 6 months early. But, what a feeling! I am 32 and Dan is 35 and we now actually own our little country house on 5 acres. We will focus on our debt from my husband’s business that failed now and within 2 years we will be debt free.

    I cut my husband’s hair.

    We accepted a no.10 can of sliced pineapple, newspapers (to start fires in our woodstove), and several clothing items from family members.

    My sister in law was visiting from Arkansas (we live in Maryland; most of our families live in Pennsylvania). We drove an hour to visit her for the day. Frugal because PA is a lot closer than Arkansas! We enjoyed our time with her family and had a yummy meal together.

    1. You paid off your house in your early thirties even with failed work–that is SUPER impressive! Way to go! What a blessing that is! Congratulations!

    2. A paid off house in your early thirties AND it is on 5 acres of land AND you make 1300 sq ft work for your family of 10? That is such an amazing accomplishment!!! Kudos to you and your husband….that is an incredible blessing for your family!! Awesome, just awesome!!

    3. I wholeheartedly agree very successful and wonderful job accomplished paying off your home
      I am so impressed with your 1200 square foot home with 10 family members
      I have always had a small house approximately 1200 on 1 acre of land- most think this is so small for us it’s just right

    4. Sarah: YOU PAID OFF YOUR HOUSE!!!! Doing cartwheels of joy for you! Congratulations!

    5. Sarah@Sweet Simpicity Mom- That is wonderful news!! When I was 32, we had just moved to CA from AZ with our 8 (at that time) kiddos. It was where we were supposed to be for the next 10 years and we look back at all the wonderful people that we formed friendships with there. It was our mountain paradise! However, financially, it was eating us alive. Our mortgage rate had adjusted to 13% by 1993 when we were prompted to move to Ohio. For us, that marked the turning point! But, even then, it’s taken years to get to the financial stability that we now have! You have achieved so much more at your age!! Well done!! And FWIW- I think that whatever age you are or whatever the timing, it is still worth cheering when you reach those goals that you worked hard for!! I know, for me, at 69, there is still SO much more I can learn and incorporate into my life to improve the quality!

  39. Most of last week was filled with aftermath of the ice storm we recently had. On Tuesday night, our daughters and grandson finally got their power back after 11 days. So, even though it was evening then, I took them home, helped clean the fridge and freezer and then took one daughter to the store to get new food. Thankfully, Grocery Outlet was still open for 1/2 hour, so we power shopped our way through to get enough to get them back in business. The next day, I picked up a few more items she had forgotten to buy and added a few items from my storage. I’m so glad I have plenty to share, and that we have such a large food storage that I can hardly tell I used so much in the past few weeks. We managed to have a small birthday party for our adult, special needs son and kept working our regular job with my niece and nephew, as usual.
    We then packed up and went camping. We had put the trip off due to the storm and were delighted that we found a campsite available on such short notice as our previous reservation had to be cancelled. We took our nephew and daughter who still lives with us, and everyone had a great time, despite 2 very rainy, stormy days. Those were the days I appreciated our camper the most. The high surf was actually dangerous those stormy days, so we didn’t spend time down on the beach. My husband and daughter had thought to collect rocks on the sand one day, and left when the waves surged up and covered the path they had just been on! Instead, we took a drive, watched waves, took several walks and one hike on a trail, played games, cooked our meals and the first day, my husband and I swapped off and took naps. We were pretty worn out. Our nephew is special needs and needs supervision all the time, so we just tag-teamed him:). I actually did quite a bit of schoolwork with him one morning, and read aloud for hours. He is listening to a book called “The Winged Watchman” which is about the Dutch resistance in Holland during WWII. It’s very exciting for him, and very sobering to me as it really brought home to me how scarce food, clothing, and other things were for those people during that time. It is fiction, but based on fact. I’ve read it before, but it’s been years, so am really enjoying it.
    We cooked our meals in the camper. I had pre-prepped some food to make it easier on us as I knew I would be tired at first. There are a few camping/ocean pictures on my blog: http://beckyathome.com.
    The weather perked up Sunday and was gorgeous just in time to leave the beach Monday, so we had a lovely drive home. Once home, I grabbed the opportunity to fill the yard debris bin with pruning and pull a few weeds. We took a nice walk, and I cooked dinner with some leftover rice from the trip, some shrimp I got on sale, and a stir-fry with celery, onion, carrots and one little clump of cauliflower. The celery and cauliflower were from the school lunches. Since we made great time packing up and driving home, we were able to get back in time and got the lunches for the kids. My nephew took the things he thought he would eat, and took them home with him. We just got a notice that the lunches will continue here, and the hours/locations to get them, as some kids return to school today (Tuesday) for the first time. It’s interesting to see how they are doing it around the country. Here, they’ve actually increased the distribution sites to every elementary school and continuing the distribution at secondary schools as before, with a few changes in the times. We don’t get farm boxes here. We get a bag with items for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I love the veggies, fruit and milk. We never get yogurt, or some of the other things mentioned by others here, but I’m sure we have other things instead. We get lots of milk/chocolate milk. It’s helped our grocery budget quite a bit.

  40. I forgot one! We got a “new” refrigerator after dealing one that wasn’t working properly for the last year or so. We looked at what was available in stock from Lowe’s (no Home Depot here) and weren’t impressed. We needed a large capacity and I really wanted white to match our antique gas stove that I love. My husband called a local used appliance place. They didn’t have anything the size we wanted in white available but said they would in a week or two. About 10 days later, they had one ready for us. It’s white with french doors on top and a drawer freezer. It also has a glass front so easy to clean! We paid $359 and it has a warranty. It fits perfectly in our kitchen and looks so nice!

  41. We use the points we earn shopping at Safeway to lower the cost of gas. We don’t usually save 70 cents per gallon though!
    I’ve never canned bell peppers (just lots and lots of pickled jalapenos and cowboy candy). I always chop and freeze the bell peppers, but canning them would really free up some space in the freezer. I think I will try that this summer.

    1. Michelle,

      You might dehydrate the sweet peppers. They really shrink down and are so easy to store. You can investigate using the oven to dehydrate them if you do not own a dehydrator. I find this a good way to store and use the peppers since we have very little freezer room as well.


  42. Hello, frugal friends. We have been doing the usual frugal things like eating at home, staying home a lot, turning off lights, etc. My husband did get a $69 refund from his dentist for some work he had done recently. We put that into savings. My husband is a very handy man. He learned a lot from his dad who was a heating and air man in the navy continuing in civilian life with his own business. My father in law taught my husband so much about fixing and installing appliances and vehicles. This has saved us thousands of dollars over the 42 years we have been married. I think teaching others skills such as these is one of the best things we can do to help others with the frugal life or life in general. My husband fixed our propane fireplace and the bathroom light this week. The fireplace alone would have cost us over $100 without buying any parts. It just needed a line cleaned out. The weather here in southwest Virginia has been up and down. In the past couple of weeks we have had snow storms, ice storm, rain and beautiful sunny, warm days. On the messy days we stayed home and cleaned, decluttered and played. On warmer days we walked, did some garden work and hung laundry on the line. Every day I look for at least one thing which brings me joy. The other day I was looking out the kitchen window and saw the herd of white tail deer run off with their tails high. I wondered what startled them so continued to watch. A minute later I saw our two foxes running in the field. It was very interesting to watch the deer turn and run as if one animal, and seeing the foxes was a relief as we have not seen them in two years and were wondering if they had been killed or relocated. On the grocery front I was able to use another $3 rewards to buy fruit and vegetables. I also found half gallon milk marked down to .49 each with an expiration date of the 5th. I brought them home and froze them in smaller containers to be pulled out throughout the month. Milk and fresh produce are the two things I have to leave home to buy throughout any month. I do not want to go grocery shopping again this month so having this milk in the freezer plus all the produce I bought and have stored in the pantry will keep me home. I also was able to get 2 loaves of marked down whole wheat bread for .79 each plus used a .50 off coupon making each loaf .54 each. I received a coupon for #3 of bananas for free. With the rise in food costs (and everything for that matter) my grocery bill went up 20% this month. I was able to get my onion sets which usually cost me $1.99/# but this year they cost 4$/#. I am concerned about finding canning lids for my pint jars. NOWHERE around here has them. Online the Walmart price is $12.99/12 count box! Same on Amazon. I have enough for most of my needs this year, but if the price does not come down in the future I may have to give up canning. Within 30 miles of my house we have a Target, Big Lots, 4 Walmarts, 4 Kroger, 3 Food Lion. 1 Food City, Aldi, 4 Ace Hardware, 2 Tractor Supply and Rural King not to mention small independent hardware and farm stores. They all told me the same thing: Out of stock …no telling when they might come in or what price they might be. I will try the Amish store when I get a chance. Sometimes they have them. Interestingly enough some places have boxes of Ball canning jars with lids for much less than a box of just lids. I also noticed the cost of fertilizer has gone up. My $9.99 rose food I usually buy is now $12.99 at Walmart. I did find 2 t shirts for my grandsons on clearance for $2 each. I like to keep a change of clothes for them here at the house. Our daughter in law gave us two free desserts from her restaurant. That was a real treat. My granddaughter will return to in person school 4 days a week starting next week. I will have a lot of free time once this happens. Not sure what to do with the time as I cannot volunteer anywhere. I guess I will have to do some cleaning…or maybe work more in the garden on the nicer days:)

    1. Marley I too am unable to find flats for canning here in Minnesota either. I am being told the same thing as you. I also have enough for this year but I am opening jars carefully and saving the flats to be reused if needed. Not sure why there is such a challenge getting them.

    2. Marley, they are out of stock right now, but walmart dot com has their Mainstay lids for $1.32 per box of 12. I have used this brand and never had a failure. (I’ve also successfully reused them, but that’s a whole ‘nother post). If I were you, I’d go on Wal-Mart’s site every morning until I got them. I recall that Gardenpat posted several months ago that people on one of the canning forums had poor luck with Mainstay lids, but that hasn’t been my experience.

    3. I live in Oregon. Just recently, my husband (the great jar lid hunter) has had some success. Our local Walmarts are getting lids in now and then. Also, Bi-Mart had some the other day. The worker there told my husband that they are getting them in more often now, but are selling out immediately. So, I agree with the comment to check frequently. He’s been able to get 10-20 boxes at a time a few times, but only small mouth. I can a lot, so I need a lot. We’ve used so much home-preserved food this winter. Go us!! I also plan to buy extra, if, and when he rounds up enough for all the family members who are more than happy to let him search the city. They are more expensive than in previous years. Maybe later they will come on sale. But, I’m not holding my breath or waiting this time. The wide-mouths have not shown up yet. I like to think that the jar lid companies are making them as fast as they can, since they’d be crazy not to capitalize on the demand that is out there for their product, but….who knows? So, for now, he grabs them when he finds them. I do have a few boxes of wide-mouth left over and told my husband there are a lot of things I prefer in wide mouth, but can cram some of them into small-mouth jars if I absolutely have to.

  43. We are still trying to work our way through all the applesauce we received from the school lunches. One day we will finish it all! I enjoy all the beautiful flower photos on your blog. Everything here is just brown right now, but my spring bulbs will be popping up shortly.
    We had a decent week of savings. We stayed home, ate from the freezer and pantry. I am working on reorganizing my kitchen. I’ve found I really like not having “stuff” on the counters, so I’m finding places for things we don’t use often.
    I’m also working on organizing bit by bit all through our home. One thing I tackled was my clothing. I didn’t get rid of much, but I found better ways to store it so that I use what I have.
    Our small commuter car needed new tires badly, which was an expense, but my husband shopped around and got decent tires for a good price. We have saved tons of money through the years by keeping the very same car we purchased in 1996 before we were married. It’s not pretty, but it gets him to work and back just fine.

    1. Michelle: You can use applesauce instead of shortening for baking. I have made several cakes this way, that have turned out great.
      Take care.

    2. I remember substituting applesauce for oil in baked goods. They always turned out great. We also used to have an applesauce muffin recipe that my kids loved for snacks or with soup or breakfasts.

      I also mix applesauce with onion and sauerkraut for any kind of sausage, pork rib or pork roast. It makes the kraut less sour but not sweet. Good luck!

  44. It blows my mind that your native soil mixed with water is similar to concrete! That makes your garden even more impressive. 😊 Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were seared salmon with rice and green beans, spaghetti with ground turkey and peppers and garlic toast, beef and rice, frozen pizza, chicken veggie soup with grilled cheese, herb-roasted chicken and veggies, pizza with tossed salad.
    *Fed our dog leftover beans and sweet potatoes that we were not eating.
    *Accepted a dozen eggs from a friend.
    *Found discounted ground turkey and bone-in chicken breast at the grocery store. We go early Sunday mornings. There are very few people there and we usually find a lot of marked down meat. Also purchased pork loin for $1.49/lb. Earned $10 in rewards ar Food Lion.
    *Received a free cappuccino for filling up my gas tank. Also redeemed a survey code for a free apple pie, which hubby had for dessert one night. Filled out a survey for another free pie.
    *Used a blank, flowery card from my stash to send as a sympathy card to a friend and another blank card to send to my brother for his birthday.
    *Made an appt. for our dog to get 2 shots that are due. They asked if we’d like a wellness check, too, and I declined. We will get that done next year.
    *Stopped by the Amish market to pick up yeast and cocoa powder, which they sell in bulk.
    *Cooked a chicken frame in the crockpot along with veggie ends to make stock. Picked enough chicken off of it to make chicken veggie soup.
    *Baked several loaves of homemade bread.
    Accepted a free lunch at work one day and a cupcake another day.
    *Called our doctor’s office about an incorrect charge. Also paid another doctor bill and saved 5% by asking if they gave a discount for paying in full.
    *Walked outside for fresh air and exercise.
    *My husband’s truck needed the gas tank replaced. It’s a job that he can not do, but we did buy the tank and take it to the mechanic so that made it a little bit cheaper than having them buy it
    *Our dishwasher wasn’t draining properly. My husband took it apart and found a clog. It’s working perfectly now.
    *Had a Zoom bible study with friends.
    *Received a $14 check from Rakuten.
    *Paid bills through online banking saving checks and stamps.
    *Cut my husband’s hair.

  45. A friend planted both Angel Face and one called Royal Amethyst in her rose garden and they both were just lovely and so fragrant! I hope you get a lot of enjoyment from that rose, Brandy!
    We are on a roll…The dishwasher went out here in January and the dryer quit on March 1. I seldom use either machine but naturally it’s rained for two days since the dryer stopped making it nigh impossible to dry clothes. Dishpan hands a very real thing for me. My hands don’t deal with dishsoap well to begin with but combined with hot water they are taking a beating. Husband has insisted I invest in dishwashing gloves. Bad enough for him to notice! After the dryer broke, he ordered parts to repair but has said that we’re going to go this week and just go on and replace both the dryer and the dishwasher and he’s getting a washer to while we’re at it. I have no complaints over usage. Each appliance was/is 25 years old. When asked where the money would come from, I suggested he take it from savings…Isn’t that why we’ve been saving all this time?!
    Joined stitch fix which doesn’t sound like a budgeting thing but I am weary of going into stores and finding nothing if I ever make it there at all. There is a once a quarter option for boxes and that’s what I chose to go with. First box arrived yesterday and I was well pleased with all five pieces. I removed 10 old pieces from my closet. Some went to house clothes drawer, some to donate. Keeping all five gave me a 25% discount and the average cost per item is about what I’d typically pay in a store anyway.
    Was going great guns on using up the expired items last week and then John bought a ‘bargain’ box of instant oatmeal. Turns out it was also expired, lol, so I’ve added that to the box where all my expired items are sitting. I used up two more items today that were in the box.
    We had nice warm sunny days last week but are back to cold, rainy ones this week. The plants still announce that it’s beginning to be spring. I have been weeding and planning for summer pots/plants. I found a cute metal chair with pretty curvy lines at a flea market that I will repaint and place in one of my flower beds. I think a pale soft blue will be stunning with a big basket of red geraniums or petunias in the seat.
    Did follow up on receiving social security benefits. Everything has been done online or via phone thus far. Time well spent in my opinion.
    Am continuing to go through cookbooks and tag recipes that are frugal but sound good. I’ve decided to add a new notebook to my cookbook with nothing but meals I can make from food storage protein items. I tend to ignore the canned meats we keep on hand and there’s no need to do so. I’m going to try to rotate through a few each month and then will note which recipes worked well with each product.
    Main focus of grocery budget this month will be to stock flours and sugars and fats or other baking supplies.

    1. Hope you’re planning on taking pictures of you wearing all your Stitch Fix selections for your own blog.

  46. It is finally starting to feel like spring in our part of the world! It is clear enough now that we can walk in our neighbourhood which we are thrilled with. I did not have to grocery shop last week and I am trying to use up from our pantry and freezers. I am also trying very hard to have little food waste and to eat up the little bits left over. We continue to be blessed by our local buy nothing group and the items we receive from them. It stretches our budget greatly. My mom also gifted us with some cheese and eggs which will stretch our food budget even further. I am now starting to think about our garden and getting our vegetable seeds started. It is exciting to think spring is on the way!

  47. I think I remember the last time you changed your dishwasher, Brandy! And I know you do maintenance on it regularly, so I’m surprised it conked out even if you do three loads a day. A dishwasher is such a handy thing to have, especially in a large family. I’m glad you were able to find a discount!

    My frugal week:
    – I baked a batch of oatmeal & cinnamon sugar cookies with my daughter (http://approachingfood.com/cinnamon-sugar-aggression-cookies/). Inexpensive ingredients and easy to make, which is perfect given that I’m still on bed rest (most of the time, anyway!)
    – I sewed up a tear in one of my daughter’s favourite stuffed animals. My daughter watched me and I hope I’m getting across to her that we can fix things and not just throw them out.
    – I received a $6.50 check from Rakuten. Not much, but hey, I’ll take it!
    – I redeemed SB for $5USD to my paypal account
    – and then I promptly spend the $5 on 100 cellophane wrappers and 500 ‘handmade with love’ stickers from wish.com. The wrappers are perfect for slipping little cookies or baked goods into and handing out at holidays.
    – I wrapped a gift for my mum in marbled paper that my daughter and I made, and tied it up with a reused ribbon (which then went right back into the ribbons to be reused box). We also made a matching card from the marbled paper.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as usual!

    1. I had just cleaned it and the filer right before we turned it on for the last time. . . it then started leaking water and lost all power.

  48. It was a good, frugal week.
    A friend texted me about some Valentine’s clearance, which she bought for me and even delivered. We try to pickup good deals for each other. I bought both of us some flour (5# bags for .33) and boxed mac and cheese (.08/box), that were brands the store doesn’t usually carry, but not expired.
    I washed the van at home in our driveway.
    I am using hydrogen peroxide to clean earwax out of my 5 year old’s ear. For some reason, there is a lot accumulating in one ear.
    I bought gas at the cheaper gas station.
    For Go Texan Day, I dressed the kids mostly in garage sale and thrift store western clothes. I buy leather cowboy boots when I see the for $3 or less, so I have quite a few pairs. I was able to loan some to a neighbor, too. However, I no longer buy pink boots. As cute as they are, they just won’t get worn as much since I have boys, too.
    Today was the monthly free day at our zoo (Houston). It would be over $100 for me to take the kids to the zoo, but I was able to take them for free this afternoon. Of course, we packed snacks and didn’t buy anything. It was a perfect day for an outing (sunny and 64 degrees).
    I’ve been taking the neighbor kids to school since one parent can’t drive and the other is at work, and am so happy to have my current van, which allows all of them to ride. Our last minivan only seated 7.
    I bought some used uniform shirts from a mom with kids a little older than mine. The specific shirt is $20 new, but she was selling the outgrown ones for $5.
    My daughter found a cake decorating set at Goodwill, which looks like it has never been used. It’s a tackle box looking thing with lots of extra attachments and accessories. It was a good price, so I bought it. One of my aunts is going to give my daughter some pointers, which will be fun.
    Unfortunately, our library is online holds only, plus reservations required for pickup, making it difficult to get books. For now, we’re just buying them at Goodwill Outlet, where they’re all 3/$1. I bought quite a few Magic Treehouse and Geronimo Stilton books, then bundled and resold them when my son finished. I know they could read online, but I am trying to get them away from the screens a little more.
    I picked up some plywood a neighbor put in the trash. I really don’t need it, but the boys have been playing with it in the backyard, pretending to add on to their “fort”.
    We have mostly eaten basic and simple meals at home, even when it would have been tempting to get fast food.

    1. And lucky you that mask mandates are ending in Texas! My county still has them for businesses which means although individuals can’t be fined, if businesses let you in without a mask, they can be. I’m really hoping our governor will end that (it’s only for the south-east Fl area, anyway) very soon. I’m sick of wearing a mask and our state is doing really well (better than states with the mask mandate and lock-downs). It will be better for businesses too because I’m sure I’m not the only one who restricts shopping time to the bare minimum because wearing a mask is so annoying.

      1. Cara, they ended mask mandates early in San Francisco during the Spanish Flu–and then ended up with a worse outbreak. It may be annoying, but I wish they weren’t ending yet. I wish vaccines were stepping up. My neighbors are in their 80’s with serious heart conditions and cancer and still cannot find a place that has a vaccine for them to receive. My husband and I are both high-risk and unable to receive a vaccine yet.

        1. After much review of peer-reviewed published research, along with looking at videos of people breathing out smoke through all different kinds of masks, I don’t believe masks work to prevent a virus that is so incredibly tiny (infinitely smaller than a smoke particle). Also I want to be exposed to viruses at low concentrations, so that my immune system can become accustomed to fighting them off. SO the great thing about personal freedom is that we can each make our own choices. If people want to wear masks, they still can, in Texas and elsewhere. That Florida is doing so much better than states with lock-downs and mask mandates, despite being the state with the second highest population of elderly, tells me those are not effective.

          Seniors in this state have been given first priority, Brandy. The governor’s working to make sure every senior who wants the experimental therapy can get it.

          I think that it’s good to give people the option. This is another policy he’s to be commended for, besides not allowing SARS-CoV2 patients into nursing homes, and requiring that cycle thresholds for PCR tests be divulged (over 33 cycles they do not correlate with illness, just with even a particle of dead virus being amplified). So “cases” now only mean a positive result which isn’t something that was ever medically accepted before.
          If people without symptoms, who never actually got sick with the flu in other years were tested with the outrageously high cycle thresholds used for this virus, we’d have had inflated “cases” of flu. Flu cases were always counted from those with symptoms.

          I didn’t vote for our governor, but I surely am glad he won and that I live in Florida!

          1. Cara, this can get really argumentative, because a lot of people disagree about this. I will allow this comment and Rita’s above, but no further.

            An infectious disease doctor who lives down the street from me is now only treating Covid patients. It’s all he gets to do now. Before this, he was called into different hospitals around the city to diagnose diseases under microscopes. They asked him to work at our closest hospital since last year.

            He got the disease himself, while wearing an n-95 mask. He said that he got a mild case because he was wearing a mask; without a mask, it would have been much worse, according to him. He only got a small amount of the virus because he was wearing the mask, according to him. He said that the amount of the virus you breathe in affects how sick you get. He holds that the n-95 masks block the most, much more than a homemade mask, and says that distance is the most effective part of what we are doing, but still encourages masks and vaccines. He is publishing quite a number of articles about the cases he is treating. He has now received both doses of the vaccine.

            If two people wear a mask, it blocks so much more than just one person.

            I know the debate is strong, and I know this can get heated, so as I said, any further comments on this topic will be deleted, from any readers, in order to avoid contention on the site.

            Let’s hear more about how you all saved money last week!

  49. Where I live, we take broken appliances to the scrap yard and sell them. Not only do we not have to pay to take them to the dump, we make a few dollars. Not sure if that is an option for everyone.

  50. I found the most delicious stone baked meat (very generous) and cheese pizzas marked down to $3.19 at Aldi I grabbed two which did two dinners this week.

    I also bought dumplings that had pork, ginger and herb in them, marked down to $4.19 at Aldi, and we enjoyed them for afternoon tea with some soy sauce. What an absolute treat and we were so full we only wanted a light dinner. So I made avocado and tomato on wholemeal toasted bread that evening.

    I had a voucher for KFC which enabled us to get dinner for the four of us for a total out of pocket expense of $10.

    We made hot dogs which we’ve enjoyed for two nights. I made more lentil and vegetable stew which I’ve been eating daily. I put lots of tumeric in it.

    We have friends coming over for dinner this weekend. For entree I’m making basil and parmesan pinwheels (pastry with those toppings rolled up and sliced, then put into the oven). For the main meal I’m serving pastisio. I found two 500 grams of smooth ricotta that was on clearance for 49 cents each. I will make two trays, so one tub of ricotta per tray. I’ll serve a Greek salad on the side. Dessert I’m thinking of baking brownies and serving with vanilla ice cream and chocolate fudge sauce.

    I made smoothies on five separate occasions using oats in all of them. Combinations included bananas and spinach. Raspberries and strawberries. Strawberries and yoghurt. Bananas and yoghurt x 2.

    I have been told our work from home COVID arrangements cease at the end of March. From then on, we can request a maximum of two days per week to work from home. I’m currently doing three days per week work from home so it won’t be a big change. I like going into the city to work. It’s quite social. I frequently meet up with my friends at lunchtime who work all over the city. We picnic in the Botanical gardens, walk them at lunchtime, sit by the river, get great lunch deals that are the same price as bringing my own food to work, get free food or drink items sometimes handed out at the train station. It also allows me to grab groceries we may urgently need without making a special trip and also shop for gifts as there is a large variety of stores and ranges of products. This saves me so much time. Particularly one grocery store that if they have a can’t miss deal it’s always a special, out of the way trip that we never seem to fit in as it doesn’t seem worth the time. However, that grocery store is in the city 😀. So it enables me to just quickly swing by on my walk from the train station to my office, grab the one on sale item (I take as many as I can comfortably carry and hold on the train). Every little bit adds up. I also get continual large discounts on my train fare 🙂.

    Have a wonderful week.

  51. Three dishwashers in 15 years! Wow! With three loads a day, it sounds like the low end bargain units are no bargain indeed. Restaurants and large families, use a high end/commercial unit. They are fast, more energy efficient and use less water. You may want to do a cost benefit analysis to determine your water and energy costs as well as the cost of replacing a dishwasher every few years, against a better unit.

    1. Two of our last three dishwashers were high-end dishwashers. This is why we are trying a low-end one this time.

      1. Several years ago I had a repairman come to fix the heating element on my stove which, fortunately, was still under warranty. He said when replacing any appliance he always tells people to buy the least complicated machine with the fewest bells and whistles you can get by with because they “don’t make them like they used to”. The more things your appliance can do, the more that can go wrong.

      2. I agree with this rationale. I usually buy mid-range appliances. (It has never once occurred to me to buy a $2,500 refrigerator). I think one issue in newer appliances is that many parts now are made of plastic instead of metal.

  52. Your photos are always so gorgeous Brandy – they make me wish for Spring. It’s a bit warmer here now but a long way from gardening season and I won’t put my parka away just yet.
    I paid all my bills online – saving stamps or a trip to the bank. I paid double on my small CC and some back taxes owed and still managed to put some money into savings. My grocery budget for the month is still about $50 under my usual amount and I only added $25 to my transit pass for the month as I continue to work from home. Any money left at the end of the month will get transferred to savings. We are still under a “Stay at Home” order until at least next Tuesday so there’s not much to do except walk.
    I took a 2 day online course last week paid for by my office as I need it for my Health & Safety certificate so that kept me busy and it’s very handy to have.
    I took some time to go through my pantry a couple of days ago and found a few things just past their BB date or about to get there and moved them into the kitchen to be used within the next week. I was very careful to have a salad almost every day in order to use up a couple of bags of greens plus I batch cooked a few other things and put half the servings into the freezer for later. I also went through the fridge and gathered up a few bits & pieces – a couple of inches of pate, a slice of spam, a small pack of meat and put everything into a Ziplock and into the freezer to be used later. I’m really trying not to waste anything. Seeing so many stories on the news about people who don’t even have enough money to feed themselves has been very sobering. I am lucky to be able to feed myself – take a few meals to an elderly neighbour every week and even take a meal down to a friend the other day after she’d had a bad fall on some ice. I was also able to take her some milk and some treats as she won’t be able to drive for a few more days. It cost me nothing out of pocket as I had everything on hand and I have to remember to be very grateful for that.
    I also managed to re-organize the pantry a bit as part of overall apt. Spring clean. My intent is to spend some time each day over the next few months really letting a lot of things go (in particular some collectibles that are packed away in Rubbermaid bins). I will then move some furniture around and spend a bit of money for some pieces that have been on my list of things to buy for a couple of years now – but – I will be waiting until I have the cash on hand – no CC! I used to drive myself crazy trying to get something like this done in a couple of days – but I no longer have the physical capability so I have learned to pace myself.
    I enjoyed a volunteer session and a Church Coffee Hour via Zoom and I even enjoyed an impromptu Scotch “Nosing” out in my hallway one afternoon with 3 neighbours – 6 feet apart and wearing our masks except when sipping Scotch. It was all rather impromptu – a woman was murdered in the park behind our building last week and people were very nervous and of course we were speculating. Sadly, it turned out to be her son but at least we don’t have to worry about some random attacker when out walking. Zoom, email and phones are fine – but nothing beats speaking face to face!
    I hope that life is at least half way back to normal for all of yo in the US who faced those terrible storms – Ann (from Ellie’s Friend) have a great week and let us know what kinds of soup you made. Margaret at Approaching Food – I hope you are getting lots of bed rest and that you don’t have too much longer to go in your pregnancy.
    Take care everyone.

  53. The transmission in my car quit working properly. My son and granddaughter were stranded on a busy stretch of the freeway 8 miles from home. The good parts: I was home and able to quickly get out the door to tow the car home. I had planned to fuel the car before my son left, but ran out of time, so the car has about a quarter of a tank and will need to be fueled, but it saved a little money in the moment. No one was hurt, just inconvenienced. The car will be fixed tomorrow and I have to pay for the repair, but it beats a car payment or buying a used car that may or may not work well. So, we’ll eat out of the pantry a little bit more than usual, give up dinner out for a bit (once a week when this grandma is just too pooped to cook), and be grateful it could be fixed.

  54. Its cold today and we are heading into Winter. I’m single and don’t need a dish washer or dryer. If I can’t put clothes out on the line, I dry them inside on the air rack.
    Frugal gains- dumpster diving and growing my own garden are keeping grocery prices low. Also I am looking at making my own laundry powder.
    Frugal fails – having more cafe meals than I really need to. I’ve dined out three time in the last week. Time to climb back on the frugal horse.

  55. Brandy,
    I am so enjoying your garden progress. I agree about food prices rising and predicted shortages meaning that growing our own food as much as possible is paramount.

    I finally made it to the stem cell transplant (3/3) and have 2 more weeks in the hospital plus 2 weeks near the hospital before I can go home. All went well and now is recovery. This week will be ugly, but will get better after that. I thank everyone for their prayers!

    Tremendous news on the financial front…my student/parent loans have been forgiven because I’ve been so ill. Between that and the small amount of disability I receive, I will be able to focus on recovering. It will take years I understand. Very grateful!



    1. Congratulations on the good financial news and best of luck for your recovery. Please look after yourself.

    2. Trish: So glad to see you recovering and commenting! I have been wondering how your treatment was going! .
      Wonderful news on the financial front.
      Sending you much love,

    3. PJGT- Our continued prayers and good wishes for a complete recovery! And glad to hear of the pressure of loans being relieved for you!! That way you can focus on your recovery!! All the best!

    4. Brandy, Marge, Patricia and Penny,

      I am so thankful for your thoughts and prayers. I will be living vicariously through this site as I’m not allowed outside for another couple weeks.


    5. congratulations on the debt forgiveness! And best wishes for your recovery. A couple of my friends
      have had stem cell transplants and have done very well indeed! Lots of prayers for you!

    6. Hi Trish – so great to hear from you! I am glad you have made it to the other side of the transplant. Just a bug in your ear – you do not have to agree to stay locally for those 2 weeks. My husband’s doctor told us the same, but I refused because I felt that I could control his exposure to the covid better at home. And we all know that we recover faster when we are at home. We live 2 hours away from the hospital. I committed to get him to the local hospital or to his transplant hospital at the first signs of a problem and his hematologist agree. We had one incident where his temp went over the 100.4 threshold and we went to the local hospital and they got him stable (and stayed in communication with his hematologist) and transported him to his transplant hospital – 2 hours away.

      Remember that YOU are in control of your treatment.

      Sending you love and strength!

  56. So glad you’ve received the stem cell transplant, good wishes for a steady recovery. Less financial pressures are a blessing for you.

  57. I read with interest the comments on Bosch dishwashers. Mine has lasted now for 10 years (touch wood).
    It uses the least amount of water of any dishwashers. It is also the quietest. I selected it because it is an open plan house (except the kitchen can be closed off from other areas). So I wanted a really quiet dishwasher. I obviously don’t use mine as often as you, Brandy. My only complaint is that I was talked out of buying a slightly more expensive model that had the cutlery tray on top — bending over is now difficult for me and I sort of anticipated that at the time but somehow was persuaded not to get it.

    I wiped out part of the book accidentally so I will be rewriting it. I’m sure I saved it but it’s not there! I have usually also sent drafts to the group’s email as an extra safekeeping but I had not yet done that. Sigh.

    The mobile lab came today — the technicia wore a mask and a plastic face shield so I felt quite comfortable. I wore a mask. I am very glad that my specialist was able to arrange this as it saved me going to a lab during covid. The province has revised its schedule. I should be able to get my first covid vaccine booked on March 15th. I think everyone is feeling better psychologically just to know that vaccines are on the way. In 2009, I had a bad reaction to the swine flu shot. I was told never to have another flu shot so I have not had one in the interim. I have been doing some research on the vaccines. We do not know what I reacted to in 2009 but a number of ingredients that might have been the cause have been removed from the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines — no shark squalene, eggs, mercury, preservatives. There seems to be only one ingredient that might be problematic. Similarly in the Astra Zeneca vaccine — no shark squalene, live virus, not cultured on eggs, and there too it comes down to one problematic ingredient (for me).

    I have yet to make soup because I haven’t felt well. When I do make soup, it’s going to have a cut-up sausage, beef broth, onions, some of my frozen beets, frozen peas, potatoes, carrots, okra, barley. I still have frozen prune plums that I plan to use for a crisp. I am well-stocked for the month with frozen veggies, russet potatoes, apples, oranges.

    I hope that I qualify for the carbon tax rebate but I’m not getting my hopes up. Another 6 day and I will have been in self isolation for a year with only one sortie out to emergency department in December. My specialist is testing me for celiac’s disease but it will be very limiting if I do because I am actually allergic to rice…

    I enjoyed being outside for a few moments today and I plan on spending more time outside tomorrow.

    1. Dishwashers have been getting quieter over the years. We bought what was the quietest and most water-efficient model when we first bought the house 16 years ago, and each time, we have been able to get one that is even quieter and more water-efficient. With water tiers in the bill here, water efficiency is very important to me. I’m so grateful for the developments. At our last house, the dishwasher was so loud that we couldn’t run it after dinner if we wanted to watch television.

      The top rack was a big deal for me. When we bought the Bosch, it didn’t have the third rack, and we missed it! We use it for spatulas, large knives, etc.

      I am sorry about your book loss!

      I hope you get some answers on your medical issues.

      1. Thanks, Brandy. At least the part off the book that I wiped out is a part that I loved writing about…
        I too hope for medical answers but fingers crossed it is something that is treatable. I am also trying to finish the book
        before I get the medical answers.

    2. Ann, I can’t imagine why you would not qualify for the AB carbon rebate of 490-it is not income based to my knowledge. Good luck as I am sure that would be nice to have in your budget.

    3. WOW! A whole year of isolation – not sure I could have managed that. Good news about the mobile unit coming to you – have to say – I’ve not been to any medical or dental appointments since a year ago February and I hope to not go to any until after I’ve been vaccinated. Had an email from my doctor’s office yesterday to update us a bit on the process. I hadn’t expected to be called before the end of May but with now 4 vaccines being approved it looks as though the timeline will be moved up a bit sooner – keeping my fingers crossed. I too have a lot of allergies but didn’t have any issues with this year’s flu vaccine or the Prevnar 13 shot so I’m hoping things will be ok with the Covid shot – but I will alert them and have my Epi-pen handy – just in case.

      Sorry about the book – technology is wonderful until it decides to drive us crazy!

    4. Praying you can get the answers to your medical questions soon! My new daughter in law is allergic to many things, and it can be quite a challenge to cook for her. Not only is she gluten free, but also allergic to rice, oats (even gluten free oats), beans, nuts, bananas, tomatoes, zucchini, and many, many more! For her, the main foods I work with to make recipes is corn, potatoes, millet, and quinoa. Not sure if those foods will work for you or not, but just wanted to throw them out there just in case! We cannot find pasta that is safe for her to eat, because all gluten free pasta now a days is made of either beans, or a “safe” food for her mixed with rice—which is not safe for her!

  58. I have been wondering about you! I’m glad the transplant is behind you. Having those loans forgiven has to be a good thing! Good days ahead!

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