Red Noodle Beans and Green Beans with Caramelized Onions

It’s been rather hot this week with temperatures all the way up to 108F/42C. Working around the heat is the best way to get things done.

I got exercise pulling weeds in the garden in the early morning hours.

I harvested tomatoes, beans, chives, and basil from the garden.

I sowed seeds in the garden that I already had for clary sage (a white salvia), vincas, and zinnias.

I wanted more tomatoes than we are able to grow. The one pick-your-own place in town had them for $1 a pound, so I went with my mom to pick tomatoes early one morning that they were open. This is the same price I look to pay at the store, but I would rather have garden-fresh tomatoes with flavor than flavorless ones from the store.

I was working out front in my garden one morning when my mom stopped by on her way to the grocery store. I needed two items from that store and I asked her to pick them up for me. Had I gone, I’m pretty sure I would have bought more food, so this saved me that expense.

My parents set up a large blow-up pool at their house (next door). It works for about three days before the water needs to be emptied. We attached my hose to the pool and emptied the water into my garden beds, where I gave some of my trees a deep drink.

What did you do this past week to save money?

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  1. I’m with you on tasteless tomatoes, Brandy! I’ve come to the point that I only eat homegrown tomatoes. I simply do without, the rest of the year. I can’t do this with all produce, but I can–and do–with tomatoes! Here was my week–

    I picked the first strawberries last week…maybe a pound and a half? (Should have weighed them). They all got eaten out of hand. I have a baby play yard and I put it up to keep the boy dog out of the berries. More will ripen over the next couple of weeks (they are all June bearers, but June came late this year!).
    We were given about 10 lbs. of free potatoes at a fruit stand we visited.
    I bought BLSL chicken breasts for $1.49 lb., partially froze them, and sliced into smaller, thinner portions. This is about the same price as getting them with bone and skin for .99 lb., and a whole lot less time and work.
    I made two more masks out of an old T-shirt, bias tape and elastic. I really don’t enjoy making masks, but I like it better than buying them for $5 apiece!
    I made a table runner with fabric I bought 15 years ago. Turned into a lot of work because I lined it and bound the edges. It’s not perfect, but I covered up the mistake!
    I traded my front porch milk box (from bygone days of home milk delivery) for a milk box from Standard Dairy in Portland, Oregon…where my father worked for 23 years. Standard was a small milk company that went out of business decades ago. I live over 400 miles away, so the odds of ever finding one of their milk boxes was nil. My friend, who bought it at a yard sale, didn’t really want to trade, but she realized the sentimental value and kindly accepted my Darigold box in exchange. I sweetened the deal with an old milk crate, and I think she thought she got a good deal. I know I did! I’m way beyond thrilled! I have it on my patio and use it to store garden gloves, hand tools, etc.

  2. This has been an “Adding to the pantry” week! I canned 21 pints of the orange marmalade. I finely chopped 10 pounds of free carrots in my dehydrator. I got 2 quart jars from them. I started harvesting from my garden, not bushels or pecks, but I am determined to use any produce we harvest as wisely as we can! So here are the first green beans- Not a lot yet, but I cut, blanched and froze them and they almost fill a quart ziploc – Then I harvested the first of my garlic and braided it and it’s hanging inside a mesh bag in the basement. I was given about 13 pounds of apples so I decided to dehydrate them into slices. I bought one of those hand crank Apple slicer/corer/peelers . Best $18 I ever spent! I was able to get 9 pounds done and into my dehydrator in less than 45 minutes!! I got 6 quart mason jars vacuum sealed with them!

    I have heard people saying that it’s been hard to find yeast in the 1 or 2 pound packages lately, so I decided I should inventory what I have. I am down to my last unopened 1 pound bag and have a partial one in the fridge. So I did some online checking locally. Sam’s Club was out of stock in store as well as online to order. I finally found it at GFS that I could order online but had to pick up in the store. I ordered 4 pounds of the instant yeast and 8 pounds of the active dry yeast. That should be all I need for a long time and will give me some to share with my kids. While I was there picking up my order, I remembered that my gallon of soy sauce that I bought a few years ago is almost empty, so I bought
    a gallon! That means I have more than a year’s supply of soy sauce! I browsed around the store because there was hardly anyone in there and, frankly, I haven’t been to the stores very often over the last 3 months (or has it been longer? I forget! ?). I went to their clearance area and didn’t see anything we needed but then I noticed they had a frozen clearance section too! I saw a 10 pound tube of ground beef- 75/25 reduced to $49.99! Nope! But then I saw a plastic bag with a $10 sticker on it. Of course the bag was on a higher freezer shelf and I am short! But I climbed up and into the freezer, not once but twice to retrieve 2 identical bags of chicken (It’s okay! No one will recognize me on their CCTV because I had my chicken mask on! Lol!) 10 pound bags of BLSL chicken breast for $10 each! So I bought 20 pounds of chicken for $20! $1/pound!! I was doing a happy dance! Don’t have enough freezer space so I pressure canned them in chunks into 17 pint jars! We use those canned chicken breast often and it will be wonderful to add to our stock! Since 16 pint jars fit into one batch and I filled 17 jars, i pressure canned 7 pints of kidney beans to make up another batch for the canner rather than processing a single jar of chicken. Processing time is the same for both.

    We will be taking our 4 new chickens back to the farm where we bought them 2 weeks ago because among the clucking sounds at around 5:30 every morning, I’ve heard a clear “Cock a Doodle Doo”!! Hubs and I checked on YouTube but still aren’t sure who the hen imposter is! Our farmer is going to check all 4 of them out to determine which one(s) is a rooster and that one will not be coming back home with us! After 3-1/2 years, we find there are still more things to learn as chicken farmers! Lol!

    When we zero-ed out our checking account as the new month’s SS checks deposited, we were able to pay 5 additional principal payments. We also opted to take our Minimum Required Distribution from our IRA (I know- we could have skipped it this year because of the CARES act). Because Hubs is 70-1/2, we are eligible to do a Qualified Charitable Distribution to pay our tithing for the whole year in one lump sum that isn’t subject to income tax. So part of the MRD will pay that directly. The remainder we used to pay an additional 17 principal payments, so the month of June reduced our mortgage life by just short of 2 years (23 payments)! We can see the end of our mortgage getting closer and closer!
    I finished quilting the Christmas table runner that had been orphan blocks. I’m anxious to get started quilting something new!
    My blackberry bushes are filled with tons of blackberries, but they haven’t started turning purple yet! Every time I see your beautiful blackberries, Brandi, I get impatient!
    I was able to declutter 3 things and sell them on FB Marketplace and got $125 instead of having more things to dust! Makes me want to go around the house and find more things to sell! Lol!! ?

    1. Just remember that we are 2-3 months ahead on harvesting of other areas. Then we just have to make it through the heat.

    2. Also interesting you were able to sell things locally. I am noticing that there is next to no people buying (though there are sellers) on our local Facebook garage sale page.

      1. Brandy- selling locally on Facebook Marketplace is still active in our capital city in Ohio! Sellers are doing porch pickup so they don’t have to personally interact with the buyers and they either have the buyer pay into a designated container on the porch or they can pay using Venmo, Applepay,etc ! I had both today. I keep an empty plastic sour cream container with a label on the lid that says HandmadeinOldeTowne right next to object being picked up. They put their money into it and take their item. I have never had someone just take an item without paying. Neither have I ever had anyone steal my sour cream container of money! Reminds me that the majority of people out there-strangers- are honest!

        1. That’s good! I have friends who have had things stolen.

          It just seems to have stopped here locally.

    3. Two things . I’m a CPA so good for you on using your RMD to make your tithing. I suggest that to certain clients all the time. Also, where did you find your apple corer? I live in apple country and would love to have one.

      1. Nancy in eastern Washington- When all but 1 of our 11 kids were married and out of the house and the standard deduction was raised, itemizing deductions was no longer an advantage, so our tithing was no longer part of that itemization. So when we found out that if Hubs was 70-1/2, we could do the QCD rom our IRA without paying tax, it was a no-brained! Of course, Hubs waited to retire until he turned 70 last June to maximize our SS benefit!

        Here is the apple corer I bought! It’s available on Amazon now! You could use Brandy’s affiliate link..

        “Cast magnesium Apple/Potato Peeler Corer by Spiralizer, Durable Heavy Duty Die Cast Magnesium Alloy Peelers”

        Spiralizer is manufacturer. It was sold by Bitoni USA. $19.95 + there is a coupon to reduce cost a bit more.

    4. I have a question for you canners. How do you put double jars in the canner? Do you place jars on top of each other? I’ve been canning for many years but never thought I could double up. Thanks everyone.

      1. No one seems to have answered this, so I’ll give it a shot. Pressure canners and water bath canners have different kinds of racks and you can double-layer PINTS in a pressure canner only. You would probably figure this out on your own with the racks in a pressure canner. I don’t know of any way to double-layer jars in a water bath canner. Mine wouldn’t be tall enough, and I think it is the standard size.

        1. Thanks Maxine! I knew I couldn’t stack in a water bath. I didn’t get any extra racks for the pressure cooker so I wondered if it was an extra piece to buy. I was mostly just curious but will check the canning section of stores and see what is out there.

  3. Love your blog post! Always inspiring to me!

    *I was able to harvest lettuce, zucchini, sugar snap peas and a few green beans from our garden. I made chocolate zucchini bread (2 Loaves for the freezer) and we had a taco salad with the lettuce. Very popular with the kids. We ate the peas and green beans for snacks.

    *Made all meals at home – taco salad, taco soup (can you tell we love mexican type food?), quesadillas and grilled cheese. My husband and I had one date night at Cafe Rio (mexican) and used a gift card.

    *My daughter and I went to the library and returned books and checked out a few more. We’ve been reading so much!

    *I exercised at home using YouTube and other videos. I got the Shingles shot and am still trying to get over the side effects. Maybe not frugal right now, but several members of my family have had it and it hasn’t been fun for them.

    *Kept my grocery bill much lower this week. Picked up discounted meat, fruit and other products from the store. The dessert I used for Sunday dinner was on markdown for 75c from 8.99. Saved me time over the weekend.

    *My daughter and I had eye appointments. We’ll use Zenni Optical and Rakuten to help save money on our new eyeglass prescriptions.

    *My husband sold our 1999 Honda Civic CNG vehicle. It needed a few small repairs which he did himself. Also touched up the paint on the exterior and deep cleaned the interior. It sold at the price we wanted plus more in less than 2 hours. We deposited the money into our account.

    *My son drove down to his brother’s school – about an hour away – to spend the weekend together. They had a wonderful time together and ordered a pizza that they shared with the roommates. They all pitched in $$ and used an online coupon.

    *My daughter went with friends to a local lake to go kayaking. Her friends brought the kayaks. We packed her a lunch and snacks. She chipped in a few dollars to help with gas money. Wonderful free fun!

    *I’ve been doing my Marivene weeding several times a week. Fill a bucket up with weeds and call it a day. I still think about her words of wisdom.

    *So thankful for this community of like-minded people who share so much wisdom and knowledge! So, so grateful to you Brandy for hosting this every week.

  4. I made sugar-free ketchup for the first time, and picked a bouquet. From the garden, I harvested purple pole beans, yellow, zucchini and tromboncino squash, corn, and blueberries and blackberries. Calendula was harvested for body care products, and coreopsis for dyeing with. Trying to use up the squash, I made something with them every other day, including raisin zucchini bread, sauteed squash with basil, and a vegetable pie. A $5 reward was used at Walgreens, and .65 avocados were bought at Aldi’s. Three library books were picked up, and a double batch of pesto was made.

  5. I bet it’s so nice to have your parents so close by. Helping each other is a great way to save money !
    I fixed my ceiling fan this morning. It was vibrating and making a noise. I just tightened the screws on the globe. All is quiet again.
    We also went to a Amish discount store plus a more modern Mennonite store and found some great deals on groceries this past week.

    1. I think that it will be very good for all of us when they get to the stage that they need more help from me. That’s still several years away, but I think it may help keep them from nursing homes, at least for a while, and maybe completely, depending on their health.

      It has been nice that my children can get to know their grandparents. Their other grandparents have passed on. I saw my grandparents once a year as we lived across the country.

      My mom and I are going to try to combine more errands for one another than we have in the past.

  6. *I was able to harvest radishes and peas from my community garden plot. I shelled the peas and froze them. I didn’t get much more than 2 cups, but they taste so good!
    *I made two batches of strawberry freezer jam. I had to make do with a motel kitchen, smashing the strawberries with the back of a measuring cup.
    *We moved to a different short-term rental. We have much more light and space and can move into a one-bedroom unit next week. We are now within walking distance of our new home and we will save between 25-40% a week over what we were paying. I’ve had to attend Zoom meetings in the bathroom because my husband was working in the main space! It’s nice to have a little more wiggle room.
    *I finished an afghan to donate to the Linus Project. I started another with with $3 of yarn that I bought at a resale store.
    *I decide to join a CSA this year, not knowing how much produce I would be getting out of my garden plot. I picked up lettuce, sprouts, cherries, basil, and beets today.
    *My friend gave me a bag of lettuce from her garden.
    *I picked up a watercolor book and DVD from the library and will start more tutorials for painting.
    *I worked about 6 hours at my part time job. There is a good chance I will no longer have it, as I work for the State and the budgets are being cut.
    Have a great week and 4th of July holiday (if you celebrate it where you live!)

  7. We picked up free school lunches this week. The school is around the corner and it is worth it. The kids enjoy some of the items that come that I do not usually buy such as chocolate milk and juice boxes.

    We received two produce boxes and two dairy boxes for free to anyone in the community that wanted them. We just needed to come to the school to pick them up, so as stated above, it’s just around the corner! The produce that came was celery, cucumbers, radishes, heads of lettuce, carrots, onions, zucchini, potatoes, oranges and apples. The dairy boxes contained gallons of milk, strawberry milk, chocolate milk, sour cream, cottage cheese, cream cheese, and French onion dip. What I felt we could not use/freeze I shared with my parents and church family. It was much more than my family of 4 could eat.

    I harvested spinach from my garden.

    I gave both my boys a haircut.

    We had a garage sale and made a significant amount of money (much more than I thought we would!) to help towards sinking funds for the summer (I’m a preschool teacher and don’t work in the summer). My sons sold many toys and had a lemonade/cookie stand. They did very well and the money They earned is going towards their savings goals.

    Strawberries were on sale for $1.88 for 2 lbs. I was only financially able to buy 4 packages but it was such a good price. They were delicious!! We ate some fresh with a homemade fruit dip I made and the rest were frozen for smoothies and to make jam at a future time when I’m not as busy.

    My husband repaired the wheel on our lawnmower saving us some money.

    He also changed the oil in our van and rotated the tires.

    We booked a hotel for our vacation in July for a wonderful price and well within our budget. We made sure to have a swimming pool for kid entertainment, a microwave and fridge to keep us from eating out, and continental breakfast.

    The kids and I checked out ebooks and audio books through our library. I also contacted the library inquiring if I could pay a library fine we had just before the library closed down due to Covid. They forgave the fees!

    Have a blessed week!

    1. Hi Sandra. Please mKe sure and call the hotel directly to verify they have continental breakfasts. Every hotel we have been to that says they do has shut down that entire set-up. They typically hand you a bag with a piece of fruit and a granola or fruit bar. You may need to plan to bring some breakfast foods. The coffee was in our room so still available. Also, bring masks for everyone because they are required in many places that aren’t on lockdown as well. Enjoy your trip”

  8. My mom sent over several things including cornmeal, pot pies, 1 TV dinner, candy, chips, vaseline, koolaid, crackers, and manwich

    Hubby picked me up jar lids and salsa mix so I can use up tomatoes in the freezer

    Used Mcalister’s rewards for a free lunch

    Received a pizza coupon in the mail for a free Little Cesar’s pizza

    Used a 2 for 1 credit on audible.

    Sold 3 items and made $30

    Found another box of canning jar lids in with birthday supplies

    Hubby found a video game he wanted that was on sale and had $10 birthday credit

    Picked a handful of green beans off our sad little plant. I froze them to use when I had enough for a meal.

    Kept my husband’s birthday low key. I made spaghetti using already made sauce in the freezer, just adding extra sausage and a can of tomato sauce to make sure there was enough. I also used garlic toast my mom sent over a couple weeks ago and we just ate the cake I purchased on Father’s day (just 2 days before). My mother in law came in for the day and gave him a gift card to Bass Pro.

    My husband purchased the part that we knew was busted on our lawnmower(pull cord), put it on and discovered there was more parts and work needed. He took the cord off, and returned it. He mentioned the dilemma with the mower to the guy he works with, and he said there was an extra in his shed we could have. It’s not fancy(not self propelled, ugh) but our backyard doesn’t resemble a jungle anymore.

  9. A local farm store posted that they had gallons of milk for $1.00 and avocados for a flat of 48. I went over and the milk was Horizon’s organic whole milk and the avos were USA organic as well! I bought three gallons – use buy date is a month away! The avos were just perfectly ripe. I came home and googled how to freeze avos. We had a LOT of guacamole (rare to have more than we really want!), froze four quart bags of pureed avos (only one seasoned for guacamole) and get this – 38 halves! I also gave a friend six of them – we met in the parking lot as she was coming in. Have to say it took a long time to do – cutting, dipping in lemon juice and then packing into seal-a-meal bags. But it will be so wonderful to have those in the future.
    Cousins brought over a dozen ears of early corn and a bag of smaller zucchini and grey squash.
    Found boneless pork loin roast – two to a bag for $1.87 a pound. Took one and using the instant pot to make shredded pork in salsa verde for pork and avocado burritos. I had found 12 packs of tortillas for .50 each and had bought four to freeze. They were perfect for the burritos. The salsa verde is from Walmart. We had bought four jars when strict stay at home orders were in place. We really prefer it to other salsa verde’s. When it arrived one jar had broken so notified Walmart. They sent four more jars (one of which was broken as well) so we had extra. It is so tasty. When SO requested refried beans I first reached for a can from the cupboard but then thought – hey, I’ll use the instant pot! Made a great batch – most of which will be frozen. Then since I had cleaned more beans than needed for the refried beans and today used the IP to make chili beans. A restaurant meal all from home and much less expensive.
    Took a major inventory of cupboards, freezers and other storage. Think I will concentrate on canned corn, olive oil, sugar and flour. We are good for meat, dried beans/lentils, spices/herbs, canned tomatoes of all varieties. I started using canola oil instead of olive oil to saute unless the recipe really needed EVOO. I realized I had just developed a habit of using EVOO and found that for most recipes it really didn’t make a difference. Now we are looking at toiletries and paper products.
    Went to a local farm stand that is usually stocked well and packed with people. It is obvious that they have not planted to the extent they did in the past. Between water issues, the early hot weather and the restrictions I think that we will find that the bounty of the past years may be different. Then went to the smaller local store (chain of two) and found that their prices had gone up significantly – Kraft mayo was $6.50 for a quart jar – on sale! That is double of what it was last year.
    Our tomatoes are finally coming through the hot weather and starting to flourish. We are able to water from a well on the family home place but still are very ‘stingy’ with the water. Decided to let an area in the front of the house near the yard be watered less and kept cut short – enough to see snakes and ensure it won’t die but less verdant than in years past.
    Have spent little on gas for many months, got the battery replaced in the smaller truck at Auto Zone – significantly cheaper than taking it to the dealer or the local guy. AAA came out twice to jump it and said that they thought it was the alternator but to have it checked. Thank heavens it was just the battery.
    Talked at length with my youngest brother – he is a prof at a University in D.C. It was wonderful to reconnect even though neither of us had really done anything “exciting”. He’s been teaching virtually and the U is still undecided about next fall as to if they will resume in classroom instruction. He said that it had been ‘okay’ for the second semester of this year but all were concerned about how to integrate the freshman class and the first year grad students. Such a strange world. There are a number of non-US students who attend and that is all up in the air as well. I’ve thought a lot about how well the home schooling model worked during this time. But I do know that it isn’t for every child. I have friends who have some children who go to school and some who are home schooled.
    Finally – my Dollar Tree basil is doing well! Woot woot!
    Really finally – found apricots on deep sale so am going to make your apricot vanilla jam! Haven’t made jam in years but felt confident that this would work. And if it is runny – oh well, crepes with apricot vanilla spread!

    1. Mary,
      Those use-by dates are funny. We just used a container of Kite Hill almond yogurt that was at the back of the refrigerator. The date was January 20, 2020. It was perfectly fine!

    2. I freeze Avocados without any thing , just cut in half remove seeds and air. They stay great for several months. I let them defrost and slice them up for sandwiches or tacos. We live in the Avocado Capital of US . We are gifted a lot of them. Another great way to use them up is fill them with all sorts of left overs. Chicken bits or ham, with Rice and cheese and broil under the broiler delicious quick meal.

      1. Lynd,

        Those are great ideas! They’ve always been such a luxury – since growing up. When I moved out on my own and had a job two of the first things I bought were goldfish crackers and an avocado – all to myself. I was oldest of five kids and one avocado would be split six ways (my dad wasn’t a fan) on a salad. To have all of these really felt like an amazing blessing. I was even thinking of a shrimp salad for a topping.


  10. -A beautiful week here, weather was sunny and in the 80’s but the humidity was low. AC was not used at all.
    -My garden is looking great, with only going to work and back and I am at home more I am getting more weeding time. I have a small craftsman tiller I have had for 8 years, I till between the rows. We are harvesting lettuce, kale, small onions, kolorabi, and the last of the asparagus. Asparagus is done for another year! It is now going to ferns. Lots of things blooming-tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, beans, peas, and watermelon. No blooms yet on the zucchini.
    -Went to the farm market of Friday, purchased 3 cucumbers, a round of long fermented sour dough bread, a head of romaine (to use with our loose leaf lettuce and kale for salads), and mushrooms (both button and portobellos)-spent $15.
    -Only other groceries bought were 2 gallons of milk at a convenience store-$6
    -Meals made-Grilled ribeyes with sautéed mushrooms, Kansas cucumber salad, and lettuce salad; grilled portobello mushrooms and salad; instant pot cooked baby back ribs, then on the grill, baked potatoes, and green beans; leftover rib meat added to nachos with home canned salsa and salsa verde; roasted asparagus soup and grilled cheese sourdough sandwiches; fried eggs and potatoes hash (made with sweet and regular potatoes and sausage crumbles from the freezer).
    -Had my last 2 canvases done at Walgreens. I wait for a sale, they were 70% off. I paid $30 vs $70. They are of a caribou and a moose. This is for my collage wall of my pictures from Alaska from last summer’s trip. It was our 40 anniversary trip and we went to see my 2 cousins and family. Now to get them up
    -Went to a couple of garage sales this week. Glad to see they are finally starting. Bought a doll pattern $0.75 (brand new for American girl size dolls). All 3 GD have the knockoff brand. I also got about 1/2 yard each of 3 different co-ordinating frog print material for $1. This will make some doll clothes. Also bought some clothes for grandkids-skirt for GD#1-$0.50; Capris for GD#2-$0.50; shirt for GD#3-$0.25, and shirt for GS#1-$0.50. All name brand! I also got a wooden magazine rack for $2.00. I am using it for 12 x 12 scrapbook paper. It fits under my desk perfectly!
    -I had a $25 gift card to Scheels (sporting good store here). I was able to get sandals for $24.99. So paid $2.00 (tax). I received the gift card for Christmas and was saving it for this specific purchase. Just waiting for stores to reopen. Unfortunately I wont be purchasing any store gift cards for a while to see who survives and who doesn’t. So sad!
    -Have a great week!!

      1. Thanks Brandy, I am following-it looks awesome!! Hoping to sew doll clothes for Christmas for all 3 granddaughters.

  11. The green beans and lima beans I planted last week are coming up. The tomatoes are setting fruit. We ate lettuce, chard, carrots, and herbs from the garden. I dried thyme, oregano, mint, and tarragon for future use. I shared some lettuce with neighbors.
    I did some more mending and altered a couple of items.
    We found a few items to sell and sold them on Facebook and Craig’s list.
    My husband used the pressure washer to clean both decks and all the area rugs in the house. It does a much better job than a shampooer and he hangs the rugs over the deck railing to dry.
    We split and stacked just under a cord of firewood. My husband estimates we need to cut about one more cord to be ready for winter.
    A neighbor who is a good friend gave me a bucket full of rotten vegetables for my compost pile. She over-bought and had a lot of things go bad. You know someone understands how you think when they call and offer something like this. I was happy to get it. This spring I filled two new raised beds with finished compost from my piles. She also gave me a dozen canning jars in various sizes – something I am always on the lookout for!
    My husband’s birthday was Thursday. I made him a cherry pie with the last of the pie cherries I froze last year, and his favorite baked chicken for dinner.

  12. 1. Went to grocery store for a few things. When the cashier rang me up I got a coupon for a free rotisserie chicken. A nice surprise!
    2. I’m making dog beds from an old ripped comforter. I will donate the mini comforter/dog beds to my local humane society. I just cut the comforter into pieces & machine hemmed the raw edges. I got my cat at the local humane society so I like to support their facility. In fact kitty supervised me as I made the beds. He tested some of them for comfort by lying on the finished ones.
    3. On one of my evening walks I spied a like new recliner at our neighbor’s house on the curb. They are moving & getting rid of some things. We carted it home & put it out in the hot Texas sun to sanitize. (It is cloth so I cannot wipe it down.) I got a slipcover for it @Walmart to keep it clean. My husband is enjoying lounging in it in the den.
    4. Got a free pizza for dinner using some of reward points on an app.
    5. Cancelled my summer travel plans to DC & to Florida due to COVID. The airline will allow me to use the $ for a future trip(s) for which I am grateful.

  13. It has been a few weeks since I’ve commented. It has been busy! I think there was some discussion on blueberries a few weeks back? I have 4 blueberries in pots because they like more acidic soil. After doing a bit of research, I planted them in a 50/50 mix of peat and azalea soil 3 years ago and they’re thriving. It sure beats expensive little containers from the grocer! In addition to harvesting blueberries this week, we’ve enjoyed strawberries, raspberries, swiss chard, green onion, snap peas, peas, and lettuce. I’m finally getting flowers on my tomatoes…hooray! I’ve been trying to plant more intensively and in succession this year. To keep grocery costs down, I’ve been waiting longer to shop and coming up with more creative meals. However, I’ve been restocking food when prices are good and when items are available (hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes). My patio pots are beginning to bloom. I used 2 packages of $0.20 hummingbird seed mix. I’m pleased with the outcome! My daughter bought herself a wetsuit with birthday money. We bought Boogie boards from Costco. We’ll be spending a lot of time at the beach this summer as it’s a safe, nearby, outdoor, family-friendly activity now that we’re permitted to sit in small groups. I’ll be the cold one watching from the beach! ? Have a blessed week everyone!

    1. You make me want to try blueberries again! I haven’t had luck with plants that like acidic soil at all (our water also has a pH of 8.2) but your soil idea in pots is genius! I am so tempted to retry growing acid-loving plants!

  14. In-season tomatoes are the best. Our area (Seattle/Western Washington) isn’t quite there yet.

    Last week, on my day off, I visited a park in Seattle that I had never visited before (Golden Gardens). It has a nice beach on Puget Sound. I enjoyed the sunny day and a beautiful view of the Olympic mountains to the west. On the way back, I stopped by a friend’s house for a brief patio visit. I had not seen her for several months, so it was great to catch up. We sat in her yard about 10 feet apart and chatted while she took a break from working at home. On my way home, I stopped by briefly to see my sister. It was an enjoyable day, and the only cost was gas. I had also packed a lunch and brought it with me.

    My CSA started up earlier this month, so we have been enjoying our weekly produce share. I also stopped by a nearby produce stand to buy some cherries and some pattypan squash.

    Last year, my bay laurel plant got sprayed accidentally with paint when our condo building was being painted, making all the leaves unusable. This year, there was a lot of new growth, so I cut a bunch of the new bay leaves and am drying them (no paint residue!). It will likely put out new growth before fall, so I may be able to harvest additional leaves.

    My mom shared some eggs, raspberries and nectarines with me. I gave her two masks I made.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

    1. Tina S. – have you ever taken the Tillicom Village tour to Blake Island State Park? Blake island is located north of Vashon island and south of Bainbridge. The entire island is a state park. It’s a marine park that is only accessed by boat. The concessionaire that runs Tillicom Village operates from one of the piers on the waterfront in downtown Seattle. A little known fact is that they will sell a ‘ride only’ ticket to and from the island. No need to pay extra to see the show or have the dinner. And there are camping sites on the island. Also at least one group camp site. Don’t know if the park is open at this time but it was one of my favorite places to go when I lived in Seattle.

      1. SJ – Thanks for the tip, I did not know that about the ‘ride only’ ticket! I took that tour years ago as a kid. It would be fun to visit again, once it is safe to do so. Not sure if the tours are running right now. Our county is still on phase 2 of reopening, so things like libraries and museums are not open yet.

        1. Tina S – the concessionaire also used to have a ‘snack shack’ on the side of their building where you could buy the salmon dinner, skip the show and eat the dinner outside. Haven’t been in years so your mileage may vary. Campsites for the nongroup sites were fist come first available. They might now be on the reservation system. The group camp used to be the only thing you could reserve but had to have 25 or so people in your group.

  15. I don’t have anything beyond the usual in terms of savings. However, I have a question: I have a lot of chocolate mint and someone gave me a bag of beeswax shards. I would like to make some sort of lip balm or hand cream from those two items. I have seen some recipes on the net but I don’t want to waste my supplies on any old recipe. If someone in this group has actually made lip balm and hand cream and has a recipe they are willing to post, I would be very appreciative. Thank you in advance.

    1. Drying the chocolate mint to infuse the oil, doesn’t give the balm a lovely flavour at all. To get the flavour you need to use essential oil. Sorry.

  16. I have never heard of a PYO tomato farm! That sounds fun. We have some blueberry and blackberry places here, but haven’t been in many years.

    –My biggest savings this week came at the Verizon store. My husband needed a phone for his new job. Previously, his employer paid for his phone for years, but we have to provide/pay for the phone for his new job. We were able to add his line to my plan (keeping his old number, thankfully). While I was there, the Verizon rep went through my plan and bill and helped me save $60 per month without sacrificing plan quality. What a savings!
    –The garden is really starting to come in. We harvested tomatoes, yellow squash, zucchini, and peas.
    –On his last few days at work, my husband was gifted with several items from thoughtful coworkers. He received some gift cards which we’ve enjoyed on take-out meals.
    –Harvested a bucket of worm castings for my garden.
    –Got a letter about unclaimed property, then found that we actually had 4 in all. I will put some of it in the kids’ savings accounts and put the rest toward the kids’ school supplies for fall. Right now we’re supposed to be opening in August as usual….we’ll see what happens.
    –My daughter’s band fees are due! I’m paying tomorrow, which will mean I get a $25 discount for early payment.

  17. We’ve gotten about 10 lbs of peaches from my mother-in-law’s neighbor. They are cling peaches and very clingy! I found a youTube video on how to cut them an easier way if they are clingy and it kind of worked, so I’ll get them sliced for freezing and perhaps canning. I made your apricot-vanilla jam today with our free apricots from the church orchard! My husband brought home about 3 lbs of apricots from work from one of the other doctors. I told him to keep bringing home as many as he can! I’m combining errands tomorrow. The library and the grocery store are on the same street, so we’ll bring a cooler for the cold items and go to the store first early in the morning and then stop by the library right when they open to pick up our books and movies we put on hold. My kids are use to the routine of put on masks, don’t touch anything until you’re back in the car with hand-sanitizer. It’s been a good routine once every 2 weeks. It takes us the whole morning but we’re done before the heat comes and can play outside for a little bit before our afternoons inside. Brandy, I don’t know if you’ve answered this in your homeschooling section, but do you keep your same routine with school during the summer? Do you have scheduled breaks? We’re starting our third year of homeschooling this summer, but I still feel like a newbie. It’s been kind of nice to have some friends and family be more accepting of it now.
    We are making some big progress with debt and student loans!!! We’ll have one of the big loans with high interest paid off by the end of the year. It’s been one of the pandemic blessings. Our loans have 0% interest and $0 payments, so we’ve been able to keep that money in our money market account, build up the interest there, and then we’ll throw it all on the loan at the end of September. Only a few more years to go 😉 But it’s so fun to see those numbers go down!

    1. It is so hot here in the summer that, to me, it makes more sense to have school in summer and take off more time when it’s cooler. Our state requires 180 days, but it doesn’t say which 180 days. We actually have more school than that, however. I do prefer a schedule like in England and also France, with a shorter break in summer but also mid-term breaks. We may go to doing that. It makes more sense to me.

    2. Hello Lisa! I’m not Brandy, but I thought I’d pipe in about the homeschooling; as both a homeschool graduate and teacher. ?
      Like Brandy we prefer schooling during the summer when it’s hot and having a fall break, plus a longer winter/Christmas break. In general, more time off during the “traditional” year. I know my children do better in school that way, and we can maintain more of a regular schedule. Our state not only requires a certain number of days, but a certain number of hours.
      Growing up the state I was in only had days, but we still found the modified year round schooling to be beneficial. Both as student and teacher I love(d) it!

  18. Most of last week was used checking off item after item from our mega-list of things to do before Rob’s surgery. We were instructed to wash and bleach the whole house, so I scrubbed and scrubbed, and even washed the dog, but refrained from bleaching her:) We had garden work to do as well. Thankfully, we got enough done to be satisfied with ourselves, and Rob had his surgery today! It went well. I was brought to tears when they got him standing up on a walker, only a few hours after surgery, and he was his old-time, tall self once again! He’s having very little pain so far, he was coherent, smiling and laughing. He expects pain later on. But, even an afternoon without pain is a gift after all he’s suffered, and this pain is different, and will pass. There is lots of physical therapy to do, and many rules to follow, and exercises to complete. It’s so nice to be on the other side of step #1, though!

    I took food with me to the hospital. for both lunch and dinner. The ladies at the doctor’s office told me to–there would be no where for me to buy any, due to Covid. But, for whatever reason, I saved money and ate very healthy, and I was very glad they told me that ahead of time.

    We planted another batch of lettuce seedlings and a few zucchini seeds for a late summer crop. Ours usually dies off from powdery mildew after a few months, so I like to grow a second batch. I will lose some lettuce from hot weather, so I plant often and usually have some good lettuce in our mostly cool climate. Pictures of the baby seedlings are on my blog:

    We got the opportunity to pick cherries from my sister’s trees. I canned some, froze some, and made a cherry crisp. Between the ones that were given to me a couple of weeks ago, and these, I have more than enough. If I had to pay the going price for these in the stores, I would have around $80 or $90 worth, and I would have had very few or none!

    I picked berries and vegetables from the garden.

    I shopped at Safeway and used several downloaded coupons and redeemed several rewards points. I’m stocked up for a while now, and stayed under $100. I was holding off until right before the surgery and hadn’t shopped for a couple of weeks. I will be at home for a couple of weeks, except for p.t. appointments. I can ask people to pick up this and that, but wanted most things here.

    I have relatives lined up to help me a lot, especially in the first few days Rob is home. I agree with the idea that family helps family. I’m glad you live close to your parents, Brandy. Rob has shopped for family, we’ve helped different ones when they have surgeries or ailments, we share garden produce and fruit and more, and now it’s our turn to accept help. I’m getting better at asking as I get older. It was so nice that there were options for Patsy today, so she didn’t have to be alone and nervous as covid rules dictate one visitor only for Rob today.

    1. I’m glad you didn’t have to stay at the hospital! We know someone here whose wife just had a baby. Due to Covid restrictions, he had to stay at the hopsital with her for 14 days! They haven’t let him leave yet! He was forced to take a leave from work.

      1. Thank goodness Covid isn’t very bad here in Oregon, yet. The hospital the doctor changed to is very, very small and Rob got a lot of care from the staff since there really weren’t very many patients.. Still, they have a lot of rules, but thankfully not a rule that says I have to stay there for 14 days! Because we are home already! Last evening, they released him, and I will take him to physical therapy on Friday already.

        The miracle is that he has so little pain, and is already so mobile. He can already walk better and faster then he could before the surgery because his hip was so bad. The doctors commented on how very bad it was when they got in there. There are restrictions and he’s using a walker, but he was able to wash a few dishes, and cook his normal stir-fry for breakfast. I just had to fetch and carry things for him, and he can’t bend over and pick things up. Then, he sat down and we iced it, but hey–he had major surgery Monday, and this is only Wednesday! I’m beyond happy for him.

        1. I’m so glad to hear he is doing well! I know you have been waiting for this. I have a couple of friends who had hip replacement and both say it was such a tremendous relief.

    2. I’m glad that Rob’s surgery went well! I have been thinking of you. I hope his recovery goes smoothly and relatively pain free.

    3. Becky wishing your husband a smooth recovery! After my husband had major surgery 2 years ago, we were so relieved and thankful it was behind us even though we knew there was still a big recovery ahead of us. Wishing you the best, Kitty

    4. Wishing your husband a good, successful recovery. I’m sure you’re all pleased to have the surgery over.

    5. Becky, I laughed out loud over your NOT bleaching the dog! I’m so happy that Rob’s surgery went well and that he had that moment of pain free time to appreciate. You’re right in that the pain he faces now will have an end. Being in constant pain is very wearing and ruins sleep etc. He’ll truly be a changed man when he gets over the surgery!

    6. Becky so glad Rob’s surgery went well and that you are asking for help for when he gets home 🙂 .

      Good on your for organising most things before his surgery and planting more in your gardens as well to provide lovely fresh produce for you and your family.

      DH is also going in for surgery shortly in the next few months for a brain aneurysm and it scares me silly so we are doing everything we can around our home to prepare for when he goes in for his surgery too.

      Have a great week :).


    7. So lovely to read some good news here, Becky delighted your husband is doing so well!

      *It is hot and humid here in N.C., we had some rain two nights this week, so no need to water for a few days. I have been cutting calendula for salves,, peppermint , bee balm and spearmint for teas, . I made a batch of antihistamine salve for family members who react to insect bites. With the grass grows so quickly I am using the cut grass for mulch for my tomatoes.

      *My garden is producing cukes, squash, basil, rosemary, and. blueberries and blackberries. I made two batches of fermented pickles with the cukes and
      squash. My neighbor gave me a dozen cukes that I shared with my daughter.i have been using my produce for lunches and dinners, and feel like there
      hasn’t been too much repetition, I made a squash lasagna that was really tasty and will make more next week.

      I have lovely Queen Anne’s lace and red bee balm with blue hydrangeas for a bouquet for the 4th.

      So thankful for this wonderful group of ladies, I so look forward to reading each week.

  19. It’s been a hectic several months. I can’t boast much on the frugal front, but we did make some very significant changes we believe will have long-term financial benefits.

    ** We sold our large home and purchased a smaller one. Our four children are adults and live on their own, and it was time. We intended to buy outright but opted instead to finance a small portion of the purchase in order to make some changes/upgrades (i.e., we must fence the property, as we have dogs). We eliminated all debt but the mortgage and car payment – our mortgage is now one sixth what it was.

    ** I will spare the unpleasant details of selling/buying/moving during the onset of a pandemic. It was, as the saying goes, rough. It will take a while to recover, physically and mentally. We are approximately the same distance from my mother and the two adult children who live locally – just in a different direction.

    ** Our new home has several established fruit trees (these trees were part of the appeal for me). Thanks to the previous owner, we have been enjoying apricots, peaches, lemons, sweet limes, and several different types of oranges. I’ve made cobbler and shortcake with the apricots and the peaches. I’ve zested and juiced the lemons and the oranges. Today I picked two apples (about two dozen more are ripening on the tree). I’m not sure what kind of apple tree it is, but I’m happy to have it. I plan to read up on care of the different trees, as I very much want to keep them alive and healthy. The new house also has several beautiful rose bushes and we’ve enjoyed roses in large bouquets around the house as we unpack and make decisions and organize. I’ve used the clothesline almost exclusively, and tried limit my use of the dryer to one load per day at the most. I wait for “off-peak” hours to run both washer and dryer.

    ** Because of the pandemic, we’ve had little chance to get out and about in our new community and haven’t been able to familiarize ourselves with which stores are where, etc. I’ve been to several, and tried to be price-conscious as I stock the new kitchen. We’ve both enjoyed getting creative with meals, using what’s on hand and limiting the need to shop whenever possible.

    ** My husband already worked from home, so we were used to that. We are terribly fortunate, and we know it and are grateful. We use very little gas – I believe I’ve filled my car twice in the months since we moved.

    ** I participated in a Zoom “surprise party” call my mother’s cousin set up for my mother’s 80th birthday (she is so vital and active I find it difficult to realize she is 80). Mom thought it was just her cousin, herself, and me, but when she signed on there were actually 7 other cousins – most in their late 80’s and 90’s – all “Zooming” like pros. We all sang Happy Birthday, and then the lot of them launched into memories and stories from their growing-up years – it was an absolute joy.

    ** I hope I will have more to share in the coming months, as we settle in and adjust. In the meantime, it’s a pleasure as always to come to this site and enjoy ideas, inspiration, and fellowship.

    1. Congratulations on your new home! We sold our home, bought a new one, and moved during the pandemic as well so I can understand what you are going through. We haven’t moved into our new space yet–renovations are very slow.

      1. Kandace, thank you! And, the same to you! It is stressful, isn’t it? We were, at least, able to move directly into our new place. Our buyers elected to have the floors redone before they moved and wound up, like you, in a hotel (with four children under age 7). I felt for them. I hope your renovations are done soon – and that they’re done well. Hang in there!

    2. Ava: I love reading your entry. your home sounds like a lovely sweet cottage with an established garden. congrats on the new home. I was particularly amused wen u mentioned the highly tech zoom party. It brought a smile on my face. We are never too old to learn tech. In fact thats how i have been spending my days in this month. learning technical specs of using an updated iphone versus an updated pont n shoot.feel like a dinosaur but am learning.

      1. Sheeba, thank you so much. The house is smaller than the one we left (we wanted to downsize), but the yard and garden are larger and well-established and it really is a delight. Yes, that zoom call was really fun! I was so impressed with my mom and her cousins, most in their 80’s and 90’s, having no trouble with it at all! Keep up the good work with learning about your phone – that’s something I should definitely be doing too.

        1. I just learned a new cell phone trick that I probably everyone else already knows, but I did not.
          I received a text from a political campaign, asking what Candidate X could do for me if elected attorney general of my state. With a set-up like that, I couldn’t resist politely texting back, “How can you protect me from unsolicited texts like this one?”
          The friendly and almost instant reply was that she would make note of my reply, though my name is undoubtedly in a data base somewhere. And that for unsolicited texts, I should reply by text: STOP
          I am waiting to try that out. My cell contact list is very short, and that’s how I want it.

  20. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Our garden is keeping us busy, we picked blackcurrants, gooseberries, redcurrants, raspberries, strawberries, baby carrots, spinach, lettuce, rocket( arugala?) chives, parsley and thyme. We’ve eaten plenty of the fruit fresh and I’ve frozen the rest. We still have jam from last year’s bumper plum crop so I don’t need to make anymore.
    We planted out kale, cabbage, asters, hollyhocks, French marigolds, lobelia, rudbeckia and sweet peas that my husband grew from seed. Direct sowed more radish and lettuce in the ground. I repotted some basil.
    I picked cornflowers and roses to bring in the house. This year my husband has very kindly grown me a cutting garden by planting rows of flowers along side the veg, some of these are companion planting to deter pests too.
    Gardeners World ( magazine and TV show) had a special offer, 40 plug plants of lavender ‘Hidcote’ for the cost of postage only. They arrived this week and I’ve potted them up, we have Hidcote in the garden and it does well.
    We’ve cut down some dried flower heads like aquilegia, allium and chives and put them upside down in paperbags so the seed will drop out and can be sewn next year.
    A friend kindly gave us a homegrown cucumber and we were able to do a good turn for another friend who kindly gave us a big bowl of cherries from her garden as a thank you.
    For the first time in months both our daughters and SIL were able to come home for a BBQ. We pooled resources for the meal and I served our raspberries and homemade brownies for pudding. We sent one daughter home with strawberries and lettuce( the other daughter has her own productive garden).
    I am storing breadcrusts in the freezer and make croutons to top salads or soup. I used some sad shop bought carrots to make carrot and coriander soup.
    This month I have driven so little I’ve saved a good sum on fuel and put it into savings for Christmas.
    Thank you for your lovely blog Brandy.

  21. Hello everyone! Brandy, what is that dish in your photo? I’m guessing onions, beans and ??? It looks tasty & summery. The restaurant supply store that we shopped had closed a few weeks ago but a local butcher/grocer/restaurant type supply in the next county over purchased the building and opened a 2nd location. They have a good reputation for the quality of their meats & good prices so my husband stopped in & we were not disappointed. He purchased ground beef for $1.99 lb. , boneless skinless chicken breast 40 lb box for $.99/lb., and 15 dozen eggs for $10.89. We will share the eggs and are now stocked up on meat for a good while. We need to purchase new cookware as our nonstick set is wrecked. We would like stainless but do not want to purchase a set as I’d rather buy the pieces we need/use most. With this in mind I stopped in a thrift store hoping to benefit from so many people doing covid decluttering and I hit the jackpot! For $6.00 I purchased 2 stainless steel pans that have a current retail price of $80.00! I took a quick walk through the store and picked up 2 blankets, a book, a purse NWT, a table runner, 5 tops for myself and a wooden cabinet that with a bit of touch up will provide storage and look great in the dining room. All items we needed/wanted for a total of $50.00 for all. I love thrift stores! If you are patient you can so often find just what you need at a remarkable savings.

    1. Onions and beans! (And salt, lol). Just two colors of beans. The red ones tend to change to a blackish-grey when cooking.

        1. It would be prettier if they stayed red after cooking. I have never shared a photo of them cooked before because they almost look like I burned them! I worried they wouldn’t look very appetizing!

    2. I had to chuckle at your comment about patience at the thrift store. I don’t visit thrift stores too often, but am always hitting up garage and estate sales. We have a saying that if you wait long enough, you’ll eventually find everything you need or want at a garage sale! I guess the same is true for thrift shops! 🙂

  22. Our spring garden is about to play out, except for okra and bell peppers – those are still going strong. I made lasagna using some of the Roma tomatoes I had previously blanched and frozen – what a difference that made vs. store-bought canned tomatoes in the sauce. Because we live near the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, we stay weather-aware during hurricane season. My husband overhauled our generator over the weekend so that if it’s necessary to use we are ready. He thoroughly cleaned the carburetor and replaced a gasket. We’re hoping we don’t actually need to use it! We have begun the process to refinance our home. We currently have 15 years remaining on the mortgage, so while we won’t be shortening the life of the loan we’ll certainly be saving money because of a lower interest rate. Last night I had plans to make chicken spaghetti for dinner, and took a package of what I thought was previously cooked and chopped chicken out of the freezer to use. After it was thawed I realized it was a package of pork loin instead; I still used it for the casserole and no one really noticed a difference:)

  23. Our cherry tomatoes are coming along nicely, even in our heat and humidity, and they are really tasty.

    We are finally getting some squash that isn’t bug-eaten, but the powdery mildew is starting and I don’t expect the plant to last much longer. I hope to save some seeds and try again late in the fall, but we still get a lot of bugs and fungal problems in the fall.

    I am busily saving up Swagbucks and thinking ahead to the holidays. Gift buying starts months ahead of the holidays for me.

    I saved a trip and wait at the post office by buying stamps at the grocery store while I was there. I don’t use many, but when I need one, I need one.

    I continue to declutter and to find that things I already own can fulfill a new need. This time it was an attractive old clay pot and saucer out in our shed. It is perfect for a new flowering plant I have. The plant is a perennial, so I don’t have to replace it every year.

    I took a weekend trip recently, and packed all of my drinks and snacks, using my old cooler and the freezer packs that we get with my husband’s insulin shipments.

    Looking forward to reading other comments!

  24. Nice tomato buy! I also have never seem a pick your own farm for tomatoes in my area. Just apples, strawberries and blueberries. It is hot and humid here this week. I haven’t posted for a couple of weeks as the garden is keeping me super busy. I have a few little tomatoes and my squash, cucumber, and melons are blossoming out. (Finally) I have replanted multiple times. I had to replant beets, corn, peas, and chard. They never came up. My peppers don’t seem to be thriving. That is a first. It is so sunny and hot I figured that they would be further along. I have fertilized this week so hope that will help.
    My husband installed the washing machine without checking things over; the hose was loose and flooded 1/4 of my basement. It took awhile to get that all cleaned up and dried. Hard lesson learned!!
    I found sales on strawberries .99 lb, cherries 1.59 lb and boneless skinless chicken breast for 1.89 lb. besides these items I only purchased milk. My grocery bill hasn’t been that low in awhile.
    We have been mostly at home. For the 4th we will go to Lake Huron. It will be nice to have a change of scenery. Today I cut the first crop of rhubarb. I will be making my grandmother’s rhubarb jam. I will freeze the rest for pies and baking. If I have enough I may stew and can a batch.
    Our library reopened with curbside pickup on the 15th and all of us have been reading like crazy. I just checked out a book on the kindle. I prefer to turn pages. It seems to help my recall.
    I am grateful to be improving my gardening skills. I really loathe it but know that the produce will be very necessary. Many people say that gardening is calming to them but that is not the case for me. I’d rather be curled up somewhere with a good book. However, my family needs to be fed so I continue to do my best. Planning to put in a new round of lettuce, chard, radishes, and beets for a fall crop in a couple of weeks. I have never done that before. My old tangled grape vines are putting out a lot of grape clusters. I will plan to can grape juice. This year has really shown me that I can do more than I think I can! I don’t have to rely on someone else to grow my food. I can take a bigger part in that.

    1. They have peaches, apples, apricots, apriums, Armenian cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, snow peas (earlier in the year), and then watermelon, onions, and garlic at the stand. They have a few other things as well. There are no places to pick strawberries or blueberries here. That would be wonderful. In the fall they are open for pumpkins.

  25. I ordered a new electric toothbrush online from Target. It came with a $5 manufacturer coupon stuck to it. I went to customer service in-store and redeemed the coupon.
    I challenged a medical bill for $295. The lab had not followed instructions for contacting me if there was to be an out of pocket portion for genetic testing. They saw that they had not done this and so the bill became $0!
    We are eating collards, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and zucchini from the garden. It is so satisfying.
    Our kitchen is almost done. I have been cleaning the house, which has not been thoroughly cleaned since we moved in, in November, since we’ve had major construction going on since then. It feels SO much better. I also have abandoned some projects that I thought were “maybe some day” things. It frees up space in our small house and makes it easier to tidy, and feels less claustrophobic. That makes me happy.
    I’m walking to the post office with an order to mail while it’s still cool.

  26. Always a good read and a pleasure to come to your site Brandy!
    The past week we had another good rain and no need to water anything. I am patiently waiting to harvest something from my garden but we have not had much summer heat in my area. The lettuce and spinach will be ready soon, the strawberries are coming along but need to ripen. I did use some chives and harvested some catnip to dry for a treat for my cat.
    I found a wood hand made 2 story dollhouse in a free pile. It needed some work, but I thought I could clean and fix it up to sell. I had my husband pick it up in his truck on the way home from work. It was well made and had wheels to move it around. It had nail polish blobs of paint all over it, so I sanded and cleaned it up, filled in a few holes and scuffs, gave it several coats of fresh white paint with a grey roof. I also removed all the carpet and replaced it with leftover wallpaper that looked similar to wood floor. It turned out really cute. I listed and sold it within 3 hours. It was a good project for the rainy days and I was pleased to make $60 all using supplies I already had.
    I spent several fun and relaxing hours making some cards for upcoming birthdays and anniversaries. I also started a matching set of note cards to make as a Christmas gift for my Mum and Sister.
    Still staying at home, saving on fuel, eating all meals at home, using Facetime to chat with friends and our daughters.
    Thanks for the inspiration everyone, love reading all the comments posted.

  27. I did better saving money this week than last week.
    -I made homemade granola and baked oatmeal for breakfasts. All meals were eaten at home, and I made a crockpot of chili that fed us for several days. I’m going to freeze the last of it as I think the family has had enough for now.
    -I used the Just for U shopping app at Albertsons to get good prices on some grocery items and laundry soap.
    -I harvested raspberries from our bushes. While doing this I wondered if thornless raspberry bushes exist? They are so stickery!
    -I began to battle the squash bugs who have shown up on my plants by hand-picking off the bugs and any eggs I found.
    -I continued decluttering and organizing. We moved around some furniture to make our kitchen more functional.
    -I found a Fiestaware plate that I didn’t really need, but that I really loved at a yard sale for 50 cents.
    Details, recipes and photos of our week are on my blog:
    Have a great week!

    1. There are thornless blackberries, but I haven’t yet seen a thornless raspberry! If you find out, let me know! (Though I decided this year that I am ordering tayberries next January, and it doesn’t say they are thornless, so I am expecting thorns).

    2. Hi Michelle-
      Thornless raspberries do exist! I bought them from my local nursery as well as thornless blackberries and boysenberries. Thornless is so much easier on the hands! Best of luck finding some in your area.

        1. Unfortunately, I don’t. The tags are long gone. There are several varieties. Local nurseries will know which ones are best for your climate although I’ve seen them online as well through Stark, Burpee, and other companies.

          1. I’ve tried buying some from local nurseries but they are not thornless. I like to buy local. When I want something different, though, I order online.

  28. Thats a great idea on how to recycle the pool water Brandy!!!!

    We saved money by not going anywhere far. I talked my husband out of going out to dinner Friday night. Not only did we save money, we saved on carbs!!!! We are doing keto…….me 100% and him 20% effort. Rural king had cases of bottled spring water on sale for $1.68 each. I bought 4 cases for hurricane season. If they are still here after the end of November, he can start drinking them. Ive been drinking sink water. I only spent a few dollars on groceries this week. We had stocked up on meat in March. I think we can still go a few weeks on the meat that we have left, but this Friday we are headed to the store to reup. They have boneless/skinless chicken breasts 20lb boxes for 19.99 and 30lb boxes of angus 1/4 burgers for $34. I’m going to get a few of each and that will last a very long time! We received a p-ebt card in the mail for $315. Im going to use that on meat or any instance that I can recycle the money (ibotta). I paid off 2 credit cards….but then got nailed with interest charges on another one. I hadnt looked to see when my “offer” was up. I paid it and transferred the balance real fast. Now that all my balances are quite small and I have about a year on all of them, I thught about paying off the car. But I decided to just keep paying till they’re all gone and then pay off the car and then, honestly, I won’t know how to act!!! Grandbaby’s first birthday was last week. I placed an order through Shipt and had it delivered. That saved a lot of money on postage. I also had a credit with Shipt, so I didnt have to pay for the gifts. I hope everyone has a good week.

  29. That heat sounds wonderful! I don’t do well in winter, and we’re having a colder than usual one this year!

    Our immediate residential area and Johannesburg as a whole is now considered a COVID19 “hotspot”, with a sharp increase in both infections and deaths over the past 2 weeks. Today, our local shopping center was closed. Several workers in the supermarket tested positive (the second batch of infections in 2 weeks), a pharmacist from the pharmacy next door to the supermarket died of COVID19 yesterday (she was only 47, still has young children), and a doctor from the practice next door to the pharmacy was admitted to ICU yesterday with COVID19. This same doctor handled the testing of my daughters friend last week. He tested negative but is very sick, and we are wondering if the test result was accurate. A friends twin brother is in ICU on life support – he is 38. Food prices have risen sharply, fuel went up by 25% tonight, and unemployment is at an all time high. Hospitals and clinics that service our poor are closing due to staff shortages (because so many are in quarantine or on sick leave due to the pandemic). My husbands business income has dropped again as clients close their doors.

    For the first time since this all started, I felt fearful today. This is a time of uncertainty like never before. I am deeply thankful for these posts which give me fresh hope weekly that I can keep finding ways to cuts costs and keep our heads above water. In reality, we are still fine – none of us are sick and we are able to maintain social isolation quite easily, and we are still earning enough even though it is less than at the start of the year. But I keep wondering when that might change.

    I’m using my slow cooker and Wonderbag more to lower cooking costs. I’ve changed the flour I use for bread, and found a cheaper but perfectly good brand of yeast. We’re eating more rice and pasta based meals, and reduced the amount of meat in our stews and casseroles. I gladly accepted a bag of hand-down clothing from my sister (and her children), and feel so fortunate that many of the (virtually brand new, top brands) clothes and shoes fitted me, my son, and my older daughter. The fresh food from the garden is delicious and nutritious and a huge blessing! I haven’t managed to dog proof another section of garden yet (for huge rottweilers, they are surprisingly agile and jump fences effortlessly!) but I’m considering asking a nearby friend if I can plant a garden on their property (I have loads of seeds that have come up in containers) and we share the produce. I’ve been planting on the verge outside too, to share with others.

    Stay safe everyone. I send you all a big virus-free hug over the internet!

    1. Oh my!

      It sounds a lot different than what we’re seeing here. A family friend who is an infectious disease doctor now working exclusively with Covid-19 patients at the nearest hospital recently shared a Facebook post with a lot of optimism about the lower death numbers and the successful treatments they are now seeing. He detailed what has been working for them (as well as what has not) and it was very heartening. He has been sharing all along and this post was different from the others.

      I love the ways you’re finding to save money. I also love that though this is a colder than usual winter for you, you are harvesting so much from your garden!

      A neighbor who works at the grocery store said that they were hiring people like crazy, expecting people to drop like flies. By May, she said none of the employees had gotten sick and that everyone was doing fine.

    2. I’m sorry there is so much bad news that feels close to home. It is natural to feel some fear when it is like that. That helps keep you safe. I find it comes in waves for me, and the best thing is to stay focused on preparing as best I can. I’m sending you a virtual hug for any time you need it.

  30. I have a small and a big frugal win to share!
    On the small side, our local office supply store was about to throw out a dozen 2019-2020 weekly planners. They are beautiful, large and well-made, but at $18 a calendar, too rich for my blood. I asked if I could take one as they were carrying them out towards the dumpster and the owner gave me the whole stack! I spent two hours writing new dates inside them and now have a free planner for the next 12 years!
    On the much larger win, my best friend and I applied to the nearest food bank to have our church host a free food distribution site each week and it was approved! We live near a large city but not close enough to justify a weekly trip to the main food bank to get fresh produce there regularly. Not only will my family and countless others in our small community benefit from this, but the food bank coordinator asked my teens to call their assistance with us a “summer internship”. I’m so proud of them and grateful for the coordinator who suggested this!

    1. I was so happy to hear about you and your best friend’s success in getting a free food distribution site approved. I am sure that will make a big difference to your community at a difficult time. Great that your teens are involved too. Good for you for making this happen!

  31. It is pouring rain here and cold! I’m saving money on watering the garden but my furnace keeps coming on so
    no money is being saved at all.

    I went outside and covered my tomatoes just in case there is a late frost. The tomatoes are loving the rain — I was surprised because
    I didn’t think they’d like the cold.

    I haven’t made it over to my garden plot yet. My gardener has been looking after it for me — she said most of my peas and beans never came up. She donated a cabbage to the garden. I’m beginning to think that your suggestion as to why the Armenian cucumbers did not germinate probably applies to the peas and beans. One thing I’ve had great luck with here has been starting cabbages — now I just have to figure a way so I don’t disturb their roots when I transplant them. They aren’t joking when they say they are fast growing.

    My hakurei turnips are doing well. I put the mason jars over them just in case we have a frost but I accidentally broke the leaves off one plant so I ate the leaves — really lovely — a bit spicy and sweet.

    I think one of the three Jerusalem artichokes is up. Th potatoes need to be hilled but I don’t know how to do that when they are in a barrel.

    My scree garden on the boulevard — the only garden I have where it is hot and sunny — is really taking off this year. The alpine dianthus (like carnations) have a lovely scent. Elsewhere, my gentians and lady slipper orchids are blooming. I am so glad that most of the flowerbeds were converted into perennial beds years ago. It is like seeing old friends when they come up each spring.

    I’ve been struggling through the book and sorting out complicated chapters.
    I spent 3 hours researching something for a friend and he is thrilled. He occasionally picks up groceries for me.
    I was glad to help him and moreover it showed me I could still reason things out. I’ve had my doubts recently.
    I couldn’t breathe and when that happens on top of my other issues it is scary. I realized that I probably have iron deficiency anemia, that happened before, so I ate 4 hamburger patties yesterday and felt a lot better today. I will start taking iron tablets.

    1. I worked really hard to bring my hemoglobin numbers up my last four pregnancies as I am prone to anemia in pregnancy. I took a multi-vitamin with iron, an iron tablet, additional vitamin C to help me absorb the iron, avoided calcium products at the same meal when I took my iron so as to not block it, took liquid chlorophyll three times a day, took Floridex Iron Plus Herbs (a liquid vitamin that is really expensive but what my midwife wanted me to take along with these other things and I highly recommend it as it really helped), and a vitamin B12 tablet (even though there was some in my mutli-vitamin–this is HUGE for energy and can also be part of anemia; I felt the effects within three days). I concentrated on having beans, turkey, and lots of dark leafy greens every single day as well.

      1. Hi Brandy,

        Thanks so much for the advice. My gardener dropped off the iron for me — and guess what? she chose and brought me Floridex Iron Plus Herbs.
        But I am allergic to rice and it has rice starch in it. Back to the drawing board. I am taking vitamin c,d, B12. I think I will have to just start eating liver often. Not sure what to do with the Floridex. I asked my friend how mush I owed her and she said nothing. So disappointed but glad to hear you could get quick relief. I have been eating beans almost day. I am working to get my folate, B12 and iron levels up. Thanks again..

        1. Can you have beans? Turkey? Leafy greens. You can put spinach in your omelet, have a soup with beans and Swiss chard, have a taco salad for dinner, etc.

          Your gardener was incredibly kind. That is $50 a bottle for the big bottle.

          1. Hi I,
            I didn’t buy it. My gardener did and said it was a gift. I asked her how I much owed her for it. She wouldn’t let me pay her for it. I don’t want to bother her to return it — it also makes me seem persnickety. Previously, she bought groceries for me but had substituted a soup for the one I requested and I said I couldn’t use it due to allergies but maybe she could and I gave the soup to her. She looked upset about that. It’s not a big bottle — not a $50 bottle. I could pay it forward.

            My gardener has a lot of chard which she is going to give me. I eat beans almost every day. I am allergic to lettuce (my grandmother was too). I’m allergic to eggs.(that is a real hardship — I dream of omelettes and eggs benedict). I’m getting some baby spinach tomorrow so I’ll have spinach salads. I don’t actually hire my gardener often but I gave her name to all of my well-heeled friends when she was first starting out so her initial clientele came through me and one of my friends through me bought 10 buckets of worm castings from her this spring ($250 worth!).

            I bought strawberry plants from her and sold several online to my friends. I can’t afford her except once or twice a season for gardening. She is incredibly kind. All of a sudden she realized that the reason I’ve not been to the community garden is because I am ill and every single week for the past 4 weeks we’ve had rain on my time to garden. Before that, I couldn’t see to walk there because I’d broken my eyeglasses and had to wait 2 weeks to be able to see again; then the charging cable to my cell phone was missing and since no-one would be at the garden plot or community hall when I was there I didn’t want to be without a phone in case of emergencies. I don’t pick the rainy days. I should have realized sooner about the likelihood of an iron deficiency.

            So it’s been one thing after another and I haven’t been to my garden plot. And she has picked up the slack. I offered to pay her for her time but she won’t hear of it. Covid has really brought to the fore the goodness of people and how kind some have been to me. My “colleague” who is doing parallel research to ours has been outstanding and picked up groceries and the cell phone charger cable for me.

            1. Chard will help with iron! And I have never heard of a lettuce allergy! Glad you can get chard and spinach!

        2. Ann – have you ever tried liquid Fer-in-sol?

          I don’t think it contains anything you are allergic to so it might work. The one warning is one that I will second – brush you teeth religiously! My dental hygienist still has nightmares about my teeth turning a bit greenish and having to scrape them! But it was easier on my system than pills and certainly helped with the severe anemia – good luck.

      2. Thank you for this information Brandy! My baby is 3 1/2 now and I have been exhausted and easily tired since I became pregnant with him. My hemoglobin numbers just won’t rise. I take a multivitamin and get a monthly B-12 shot. I had just decided this week that I need an iron pill but dislike the constipation. I am going to give your suggestions a try. I also take krill oil and magnesium. I’ll have to see how to stagger taking all these supplements so they will all be effective. Thank you again….this gives me hope! I have lost over 40 pounds but just can’t seem to shake the exhaustion.

        1. I had to bring my numbers up fast at the end of my pregnancies; on the last two I was better about doing it the whole way. Even AFTER bleeding extra after the birth of my last baby (I won’t clot all the time after passing the placenta) my number was 13! It works well and it works fast. Your energy will go up too.

          The extra vitamin C will help with digesting the iron, but the liquid is easier than the pill. I needed to take all of them, but you may not.

        2. I take a lot of iron pills and I take Miralax in OJ every morning. No problems with constipation. I have tried everything and the Miralax works the best for me. I also have a happy light or some people call it a light box. I use it for 30 minutes every morning and it makes a big difference. I can really feel the difference when I don’t use it.

          1. I use a therapy light as well, and LOVE it! I really notice a difference when I travel and don’t take it with me. I use it as depression runs in my family, and I do as many lifestyle things as possible to keep my mind healthy. The light really helps me to feel more energy!

        3. Hi Deanna,

          You may get enough folate in your multi vitamin but a folate deficiency could also make you extremely tired (this is the voice of experience speaking). I have had a B12 deficiency, a folate deficiency, and an iron deficiency but thankfully not all at once. Beef liver is high in Vitamin B12 and folate; beans are high in folate. Make sure you do not overcook your green vegetables. Steam them but just or minute or two; otherwise you cook the folate right out of them.

          If you are a pregnant woman or thinking of becoming pregnant, don’t eat liver — too much Vit A can cause birth defects.

          Deanna, I am concerned. If you lost 40 pounds and most of that was weight gained during pregnancy, then fair enough but you say your baby is now 3 and a half. Are you still losing weight? If so you need to go to your family doctor. Sooner rather than later — or at least have a phone consultation with the doctor so tests can be run. It would be too bad if it weren’t a vitamin deficiency and you needed prompt treatment for something else.

  32. It’s been a week of ‘little changes’ adding up to lots of change overall. For one thing, I redid two walls of pictures in my entry and living room that have been ‘off’ for quite some time. I puttered about with it all and now have two very attractive areas that don’t irritate me as I look at them.

    I decided I could do more with my grocery money if we stopped shopping once a month and I set some money aside to take advantage of weekly sales at other stores. Aldi will still get most of our money but NOT having funds to take advantage of things that are best buys elsewhere has really bothered me. On that note we went into a store to pick up 69c a pound leg quarters. I know they can be bought other places for less, but this store does not inject the chicken with carrageenan which I’m allergic to. So well worth the extra cents to buy chicken that I can eat! Well they had none in counter and the butcher told me they’d sold out. Then he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. He said he’d mark down some of the leg quarters in the meat case for me. I was able to buy 3 4-pc packs. I cut and packaged the meat myself. I do not much care for dark meat as a rule but I do have a few recipes I like which works well with dark meat and I can always use the thigh meat to make casseroles etc if I find I just don’t care to eat dark meat. I never notice if it’s breast or thigh when it’s in a casserole!

    I ‘gathered the fragments’ in my fridge after our weekend and planned four meals which will uses every bit of those items, froze some leftover pesto and gravy and then used mashed potatoes to make potato doughnuts and applesauce to make muffins. I will use some of these for breakfasts this week and froze some.

    I mad bagels and yogurt.

    We redistributed our retirement funds into a rock solid less volatile account which the advisor felt was a better plan for us given age and the current markets.

    I went to Goodwill and picked up an apothecary jar (the sort with thick glass) for food storage, a shirt for myself, some things for the babies in our family, and found a microwave plate which fit my daughter’s microwave. She’d been talking of buying a new one because her microwave turn table plate had disappeared. I didn’t know how specific a fit hers required until I put the washed plate into her microwave and discovered that it had a special fitting which happened to also be the same type on the plate! I told her God must have been listening to my prayer when I said “I’d like to find a Kate a microwave plate…”before going into the store.

    I have lavender coming up! That almost makes up for the green beans dying and the zucchini giving up.

    I’ve gotten many good ideas from you all in reading your posts. Thank you every one for sharing!

    1. The microwave plate was an amazing find!

      Here, $0.69 a pound for chicken legs is a stock up price. It doesn’t go lower than that and is almost never that low. Usually $0.79 a pound is the lowest.

  33. Love that you can use the pool water in your garden. I wonder if you could buy one of those hard plastic water storage containers in a metal cage (I had one at our previous house where we paid for water and used it for storing pool water, rain water, etc.) to store the pool water if you cannot use it all. I bought it used so it wasn’t too expensive. Still costly though.

    When I went to SLC for tests a few weeks back, I caught a viral infection. I’m just now starting to feel better. The good news is that I’ve been able to walk still and am dropping the extra pounds. Using the Lose it app again to keep track.

    We just buy what we need at the store mostly dairy and such. I’ve allocated a hundred dollars a month for stocking up. For June, it went to TP (now that our favorite brand is back on the shelves and we ran out of our stocked TP after 3 months…I’ll definitely have a year’s worth put by soon!), peanut butter, catsup, baking supplies, 2 gallons of oil as our stock is low on oil, and white vinegar for canning. Wasn’t a ‘fun’ shopping trip, but I was relieved to have the extra in the pantry. Even if the food and sundries do not become problematic, we’ll have a hedge against inflation. I don’t get to shop much and was very careful.

    *received rhubarb from my neighbor
    *Found boxes of Pumina’s Pectin in with my canner. I had ordered more to can up frozen berries that were given to us. I used the rose hip syrup I made last fall from the hips I gathered on my walks.
    *organized all of my canning supplies and have a good supply of lids (twenty years ago I ran short Midsummer and there were none to be had anywhere. I’ve not wanted to repeat that experience…food ready to preserve and no lids.)
    *watched and meal planned for no food waste
    *tried a couple more tasty recipes that were keepers
    *mended a blanket
    *made a skirt for a counter in the shop for my husband
    *My only pair of leggings that fit are wearing out. I found 2 replacements for 5$ each. They are all I can wear right now with the continued abdominal swelling from the radiation. I’ll get my monies worth out of them though.
    *harvested (finally!) lettuce, beet greens and green onions. The Swiss chard is so close.

    It’s been rough getting things done with the viral infection and unseasonably cold and rainy weather. Should warm up soon!

    Thank you Brandy for hosting this forum. Enjoying everyone’s comments. Thanks!!


    1. It’s so hot and dry here that I have no problem using the water. I wouldn’t store it; by day three, when they dump it, it’s starting to get slimy.

      1. My husband is going to make me go back to the doctor if my stomach virus doesn’t go away by next week so I pray things get better, too!

      1. When they are deep red and still juicy (older hips get wrinkled). I watch for the flowers around this time of year so as to know where to find them.

  34. Brandy well done on getting so much done early in the morning around your gardens and finding tomatoes at such a low price fresh from a local farm too :). We reuse all our water around here so a wise way to use the water from the pool to water items in your gardens that need a good watering in the heat you are experiencing.

    Our Vicky challenge added up to $332.95 in savings last week :).

    In the kitchen –
    – Made 18 homemade bread rolls saving $5.10 over buying them.
    – Made all meals and bread from scratch.
    – Froze 4 packets of 4 bread rolls for later use.
    – Sliced, cut, blanched and froze 5 kg of carrots and 2 kg of snow peas in meal sized portions for the freezer for an advanced supply of fresh frozen vegetables. Froze the cherry tomatoes on trays whole and will bag them up for meal sized portions too.

    In the gardens –
    – Harvested around 5 kg of carrots, 2 kg of snow peas and 100 g of cherry tomatoes saving $73.85 over buying organic produce in the stores.
    – We did some weeding in the carrot garden bed.
    – Cut another 1.25 cubic metres of firewood for our wood pile saving us $187.50 over purchasing it.

    Finances –
    – Banked more money into our 3 month living expenses emergency fund bringing us to 71.31% of the way there to our goal.
    – Made an extra part payment off our home mortgage.
    – DH earned $70 by doing a gardening job.

    Purchases –
    – Ordered a grocery RACQ Wish e-gift card for groceries saving 5% or $6.50.
    – Purchased a RACQ Wish e-gift card for fuel saving 5% or $10 in total off the cost of fuel when we buy it.
    – Put in a large click and collect order for many groceries we let run down during purchase restriction times and used a $10 off promotion code and with specials saved $50 in total on usual prices.
    – With the savings we topped up our pantry further with 12 x tins of sliced mangoes, 12 x tins of corn kernels, 12 x tins of diced tomatoes, 2 x packets of wheat biscuits, 8 blocks of dark chocolate. We pick up the order on Tuesday next week.

    Hope everyone has a great week ahead everyone :).


  35. I liked the mention of having your Mom pick up the couple of items you needed while she was out, for saving money. That is one of my top saving techniques, is to simply not shop when I don’t need something. Husband wanted some tomato plants. I sat in the vehicle while he went to the garden center. They didn’t have any tomato plants so he got back in the truck & we left. No going into the store to browse to buy things we did not need.

  36. I hate store bought tomatoes also, unless they are the very tiny tomatoes. I buy mine from friends or at the farmer’s market, to support our local farmers, since my yard is so terribly shaded. I bought an eggplant at the farmer’s market also and made baba ganouch, not sure on spelling (without tahini) . I added a tad of sour cream to make it creamy. It was good. I made pinto bean hummus, without tahini, I also used that pinto bean hummus in a taco with tomatoes, spinach, onions, cheese, sour cream. It was delicious. I made bbq beans. I was in a hurry one morning, and just put the bbq beans, with a slice of onion on toast to take to work for lunch. It was ok. I made a crustless tomato pie, which really just consisted of tomatoes, onions, mayo, spices and shredded cheese. I may have thrown in a little leftover egg mixture. It was good. I made a homemade no bake lime pie with two limes I was gifted. They were not key limes, but they worked. It was pretty good. I made the graham cracker crust and for the filling just added cream cheese, actually is was the neufatchel (spelling not sure) cheese because it was cheaper, added juice of limes and can of sweetened condensed milk. It was good also… I am the queen of ingredient substitutions. The sour cream powder co. and butter powder company wanted to charge too much for shipping, so I changed it and I am supposed to receive yogurt powder this week and also ghee butter.. I already have powdered milk, powdered cheese, and powdered peanut butter. I just think the virus will be worse in the winter and I, for sure, don’t want to run out for these ingredients when cooking. Still trying to stock up. Sorry I am in a hurry. I hope y’all understood what I was saying with the misspelled words…lol. Gotta run.. Hope y’all all have a happy and safe 4th of July!

  37. Hi Everyone! I am a long time reader and really want to buckle down on food storage this year. Last week I was able to find large canning jars at goodwill for .50 a piece so I grabbed the 12 they had on the shelves. It was the first time I saw canning jars on the shelf there abd even the cashier was surprised at how many I was able to purchase. Our grocery store, Meijers, had strawberries on sale for $1.88 for a 2lb package. I grabbed 5 to freeze. My husband kept asking me if I was sure we needed that many. I usually only purchase one or two and we don’t seem to eat them all before they go bad. I ended up with a gallon size bag of sliced and a gallon sized bag of whole strawberries. I also purchased hamburger for what is a good price for now $2.99lb and this week it is on sale this week for $1.89! We needed meat so I stocked up this week too. I also purchased BSCB on sale for $1.99 a pound last week and $1.88 a pound this week. Overall, we are staying home more so our spending us down. We have been able to put more money into savings the last few months.

  38. It’s been a great, frugal week!
    I shopped loss leaders and markdowns at the grocery store. It seems going first thing in the morning is when I find the most deals. This allows us to try things I wouldn’t otherwise buy, sometimes.
    We picked pears, eating some fresh and cooking others into sauce.
    We went to Goodwill Outlet, and found some needs and wants. I try to buy some things to resell to earn back what I originally spent, plus a little.
    I toasted some stale tortilla chips in the oven, and they came out great with our nachos for dinner. I stretched a small amount of taco meat with beans.
    A neighbor set an old table out for trash pickup. I dragged it home, listed it on facebook marketplace for $10, and it sold the next day. I know some people roll their eyes at my roadside rescues, but if you saw a $10 bill left out for the trash, wouldn’t you pick it up?
    We got to swim at the neighborhood pool.
    I drizzled melted chocolate chips over homemade popcorn to jazz it up a little bit. It was gone in a few hours.
    We are saving aggressively for a different house. So much time at home makes me confident that I want more space.
    Kids are getting our money’s worth from our garage-sale Legos; I’m so glad we have those.
    I picked up some free craft kids from the library, and am saving them for a rainy day.
    I signed the kids up for Pizza Hut’s Book-It summer program.
    I sold more items on facebook, Mercari, and ebay. Cash in, junk out!
    I had a strong late-night chocolate craving, but no desserts made. I made myself a chocolate quesadilla (chocolate chips melted on a folded tortilla), which hit the spot, and used things I had on hand.
    Have a nice week, ladies!

  39. We’ve saved money by painting and other chores we could have hired out. We’ve eaten sweet potato leaves in our breakfast hashes, and used up organic asparagus that would have been discarded because the ends were a bit mushy. We usually eat just 2 meals per day because we practice intermittent fasting. Sometimes our first meal (around noon) is just a smoothie with iceberg lettuce (free), MCT oil, avocado (free), a few berries, nut-milk (home-made) and some hemp powder. Nights are usually a huge salad with beans, or soup. This keeps us thin and healthy, thus saving money on potential medical bills. Neither of us (in our early 60s) is on any medication, which also saves money. We do spend on supplements, but consider that also frugal because of the benefits.

    No AC, even in 90 degree weather (we believe it’s better to acclimate to the seasons, and we also have an old house designed for breezes to come through, as well as ceiling fans and a whole-house fan). Yes, it’s warm, but we figure that’s life.

    I think we’ve found a renter for a month in our property next door, so that income will help pay for work we’ve had done on our house.

    Hope everyone’s well & thanks, Brandy!

    1. That’s awesome that you can live without a/c! We have ceiling fans throughout the house (including over the kitchen sink). Our house has two air conditioning units. One broke one summer (the one that affects the other side of the house) and in our room at night it was 103 for a month until it was fixed. We use the a/c and set it at 79.

      1. it’s not so hot here, Brandy, as it is there! 103 at night would be pretty uncomfortable!
        Of course we have humidity here, which you don’t, but it never gets above 100, and is usually in the lower 90s in the summer. At night it’s usually in the high 70s and low 80s.

        We have ceiling fans in almost all the rooms, including, like you, the kitchen!

        With the ceiling fan on high at night, the bedroom is pretty comfortable. The whole house fan draws cool air right across the bed and we set it on a timer. For us, 80 is a fine temperature, and it it were never above 80, we’d be pretty comfortable. I grew up in Jamaica, so the heat is normal for me. I don’t do well with cold, though, so I’m in the right geographical location.

        1. A whole house fan is very helpful in not running a/c! We do not have one. I don’t know anyone who does here.

          I still remember going shopping one night years ago and getting in the car at 8 p.m. (the sun sets at 8 here in summer, so it was just after sunset). A little girl around 3 getting out of her car near me told her dad that it was hot outside. He replied, “It’s not hot out. Just warm.” The car we drove then told the outside temperature. It was 113 degrees.

  40. My hours are back to what they were before everything got locked down in NY. P and I are both very happy about it. His doctor’s said as long as I take precautions it should be fine. He was getting very depressed in the 2 months that no one was allowed in his apartment. P wanted to go out to eat. We went at 3pm and there was only one other person in the diner. The diner staff was very happy to see us but stayed a good distance from us. I brought my leftovers home. The waitress told me to throw the extra sweeteners and ketchups into my bag. Everything gets thrown away when they clean the table. I was happy to take them. P wanted donuts when I went shopping for him. They were buy 1 get 1 free. So I got him 2 boxes. I was going to stick one in the freezer but P insisted that I bring the other box home to my kids. They were happy to have them. P also wanted grapes. I usually just take a few out of a bag but with the virus they aren’t selling them loose anymore. They are in large clam shells. He sent me home with half.

    My favorite frugal thing this week was my daughter’s friend offered us clams. Of course we happily accepted. They live across the street from us (we helped them find the house for rent several years ago) and it is a single mom and 2 sons. A family friend took the boys clamming. They got so many. Originally they gave us 3 dozen of clams bigger them my hands on Sunday night. I spent about 2 hours cleaning and processing them for the freezer. I got 3 good size containers with juice. The next day when my daughter returned the bowl, they offered her more. They didn’t know what to do with them and other people they offered said no. So I got a text at work saying she brought home 2 more dozen. After work I had a birthday parade for my cousin who was turning 40. I had prepped tacos for dinner so all Hubby and the kids had to do was cook the meat. When I came home I ate and started in on the clams. I was tired but it was worth it. I made spaghetti with clam sauce the next day for dinner and it was delicious. I want to make clam chowder with some of the clams too. When I returned the bowl and some blueberry muffins the next day, the mom said that the family friend plans on taking them clamming and fishing a lot this summer since they can’t do much else. She said more will be sent our way. I always give this family garden veggies and they borrow yard equipment from us often.

    I used decorations that I had to decorate my car for the birthday parade. I made a card for my cousin on the computer. I made her some cookies as a gift. I had some lollipops so I threw them out the window to her kids. They loved it. One of the moms had window markers so she wrote on my car too. It was a lot of fun and costed me nothing.

    The garden is doing wonderful. I picked my 3 largest carrots to see how they were doing. I will leave them in for a few more weeks. I am picking peas, lettuce, Swiss chard, herbs and chives constantly. The grapes are getting bigger every day. They finally look like grapes. I am very excited. I picked the last of the strawberries and kale for now. I have lots of baby kale plants. I have been picking mulberries from my 2 neighbor’s bushes that hang over our fence. I planted more lettuce and sting beans seeds.

    All laundry has been hung outside. Iced tea has been made almost every day from tea bags. The AC has been off several days and is only put on low at bedtime. I can’t sleep if I am hot but during the day it doesn’t bother me.

    I took my car to my son’s shop. It needed and inspection and an oil change. They did a free tire rotation too. I got the employee discount for the oil change.

    My daughter made a batch of GF blueberry muffins and a regular batch too. The berries were in the freezer from last year.
    I got several items from the clearance rack. 4 boxes of pasta were 44 cents each. They were all sealed but crushed a little. I got 2 cans of corn because the labels were torn and taped bake on. They were 24 cents each. I got 4 extra large Hershey bars with almonds for 79 cents each. I hid those for me.

    My in-laws wanted some family photos to send to family in Italy. I used a 30% off coupon and then extra bucks to pay. I had to spend 19 cents.

    That is all I can think of right now. Have a Happy 4th of July Brandy and everyone else.

  41. It is really great that you and your mom can do a cooperative endeavor with grocery trips.

    We have been in our new house for two weeks now and feel like it is a pretty nice place to isolate. We had a major frugal fail with our interior painting. The man reccomended by a realtor did a terrible job and we had to fire him…’think, paint on the carpets, no sanding spackle before painting, coca cola sll over the wood kitchen floor, uneven lines where the walls meet the ceiling, etc.’ Sorry, it sounds like whining a bit. We found another painter who has been working for thirty years in the area and has a fantastic reputation. He will be starting in a few weeks and we will be living here while he works. Our back issues are too bad to do it ourselves.

    I have met (with social distance) some great new neighbors. So sweet – one brought a plate of cookies and the other gave me a tomato plant. The tomato plant only has three blossoms on it so I hope it will produce in this cold, wet weather we are having.
    This place is so great as far as wildlife is concerned. I see deer, squirrels and bunnies everyday. One day four deer were taking a siesta outside! Also, there are a great many lakes, beaches and hiking trails in the vicinity.

    We are happy to have a house as we can now stock up on various items. I made and froze 2 quarts of rhubarb/apple sauce last week. I found many places where wild fennel grows. So far I have used it in roast chicken stuffing, potato-cheese soup, chopped on salads and in scrambled eggs. This type of fennel doesn’t have the big bulbs so I am chopping up the green part.

    I have been very sad because my brother was diagnosed with ALS, truly a terrible disease. He isn’t married and lives in a part of the city with much Covid 19 and violence. Even so my husband and I ventured out to take him on a picnic. It is so frustrating to have him so far away in such difficult times. On a better note, my cousin in England has been doing well in his recovery from Covid 19. He is at home and walking over a mile a day now. If you are a British reader of this blog, there is going to be an article about his recovery in the July 5th edition of an English newspaper called The Mail. Not being English, I am not familiar with this newspaper but will try to look it up.

    Lastly, I bought a sewing machine – an inexpensive workhorse type of machine as I would not use all.the embroidery stitches anyways.

      1. Thanks so much for your thoughts, Cara. Also, I goofed when I said the article about recovery from Covid was in the July 5th edition of The Mail; it will be on July 4th.

    1. Hi Elisa
      I will try and read the article online tomorrow. So glad your cousin is getting better, it’s nice to hear a positive story.

  42. So interesting to read about everyone’s weather, it has been so warm here lately! Today our heat index was up around 108. Yuck! On days like that, I just basically hide indoors with the very necessary air conditioning! I’m still working at home – which now looks like indefinitely, given our rise in virus numbers (Texas). I know eventually I’ll be back in the office – I just don’t know when. Maybe 2021? So frustrating and while we still meet often via Zoom and I stay connected through email (I am actually quite busy working at home, since I’m director of communications), it’s still frustrating and I miss seeing all of my coworkers. I’m very thankful that not only are we all still being paid, but we also received our usual annual raises as well. I was *not* expecting that, given the current circumstances! Very happy news and I am so grateful. So, my days are spent at home, working online, and doing things around the house. My husband is still working full time outside the home, as his job is considered essential. We are under a mask order now until at least early August, so every time we leave the house, you have to put a mask on. Not fun when it is 100 outside! I try to avoid going out unless necessary. I have been grocery shopping maybe once a week or so as necessary. The gym I go to has closed up temporarily (again) because of the virus, so that’s a real disappointment for me as I was enjoying my visits. I’ve been trying to work out at home between free YouTube videos and the items I have on hand here (yoga mat & block, dumbbells, resistance bands). Thinking about buying a small treadmill since that is one of the things I miss most about the gym, but am not sure I want to spend the money or where I would put it! They all seem to be so large and take up a good bit of space. Still pondering if that is a wise decision or not or if I should just wait it out and hope they open back up soon. I could just walk outdoors, but I do not fare well in the heat, and I’m afraid I would end up making myself sick. I’m also concerned with safety if I walk before sunrise or after sunset. In other news, I’ve been getting lots of tomatoes & peppers from the patio garden, so that’s nice! My AeroGarden gave up after only a couple of months (and several nice harvests of lettuce). It literally just stopped working one day, like it wasn’t getting any power. I contacted the company and they are sending me a new one, free of charge, so that is excellent customer service and I am pleased with it. I have been trying to stay stocked up on groceries and household goods – buying what we need as we use things up, or there are sales, to stay stocked up. I’m concerned about many things in our country right now, not the least of which is food prices or the virus recurring/increasing as we head into fall and winter. Things seem so uncertain so I’m just trying to stay ahead of the curve. I purchased some laundry supplies on Amazon as they had a much better price than local stores. We visited a farmstand and picked up some nice produce for the week. I received a nice refund check relating to my last vehicle purchase, so deposited that directly into the savings account. Our city normally does a large July 4 display and festival, but it is now closed to the public. Fortunately we should be able to see the fireworks from our patio, so we are planning to spend the weekend cooking (hot dogs, burgers, fried chicken, corn on the cob, apple pie, mac & cheese, etc!) and relaxing at home. I hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead!

    1. Pam B I also live in Texas and totally understand the heat, rising virus, not wanting to walk alone, etc. You mentioned considering buying a treadmill since your gym was shutting down again but that space is an issue. Just thought I’d share that I got a Walking Pad treadmill in December that folds up and can be slid under a bed, etc. If you’re just wanting it for walking and not running I highly recommend this one. I’ll add a link to just one of the versions from Amazon in case you’re interested.

      Walking Pad Treadmill

      1. Hi there, fellow Texan! I did actually end up buying one of those walking pad style treadmills from Amazon, it should be here later this week. It does have a handlebar that folds up so you can walk or run (I really only do brisk walking), and it folds down to something like 5″ or 7″ flat. It looks like it should fold flat enough to fit under the sofa! Thank you so much for the suggestion!

    2. Pam: I was thinking about the stepper, Is that something you can look into? its definitely budget friendly and way space friendly…I like the elliptical personally as it involves more of the arms n helps my core…n not much emphasis on the knees
      link for stepper:

    3. Pam—
      It was when we moved to Texas (Fort Worth area) from Northern California that I bought my treadmill. I couldn’t believe how hot it was in Texas, even if I left the house at 5:00 a.m.! We lived in a tiny house, but squeezed that treadmill into the bedroom. Although it wouldn’t have won any decorating awards, it gave me what I needed most, which was a way to exercise which I do for my mental health as depression runs in my family and exercise is a great lifestyle method to counteract it. At this point, that treadmill has been in the bedroom at three different houses, and finally now we have a house with a basement (in Tennessee) so I have the treadmill in the basement. I use it five days a week, and have had it for twenty years, and do not regret the money spent on it at all. It still works just fine, except the power off button, but all I do is simply unplug it and it powers off, so I am still getting my money’s worth out of it and look at bending over to unplug it as one more exercise, a deep knee bend! ?

      1. Hi Susan! I’m also in Fort Worth, so hello, neighbor! I agree about the money spent – I think it is a wise investment and will see years of use. I look at it as investing in my health, and even if the gym reopens, I will still have the option to use it here on days I don’t want to go or whatever. I ended up ordering one on Amazon (using Brandy’s links) so I am excited about that. Thanks again and hope you’re enjoying our “warm” weather. Haha!

  43. Spending lots of time at home. Nothing is open so I am learning to enjoy my home more. We are trying to make it a nice place to be. We are gardening. My husband shops for us. I have been uncomfortable going into the stores. It makes me anxious. We have harvested Swiss Chard, Mustard greens, beet greens, radishes, Kale, a couple tomatoes. green onions and strawberries. Asparagus has gone to fern. We have harvested herbs; basil, thyme, sage, dill, cilantro and parsley. My husband helps me cook at home. Lots of garden veggies. Eggs for breakfast, a chicken, Coconut chicken curry and kale soup, Salmon burgers and greens, Pickeled radishes and fish, Spaghetti and greens, and one night we had steak and sweet potatoes and greens as a treat. Very pricey but we hadn’t had steak at all this year and I don’t remember when last year. We have been enjoying cooking at home and working around the house. Turning off lights, washing full loads of laundry. Oh yes free entertainment: watched fireflies one evening while sitting on the back of my husband’s old truck. Danced in the kitchen, listened to music on Pandora, read online. Trying to enjoy ourselves at home even though things are crazy everywhere else.

    1. Hi Tammy,

      So glad to hear from you! I’m just finishing the last of my asparagus. I didn’t get any to freeze, sadly but I enjoyed 7 bunches over 3 weeks. I used to watch fireflies in the natural area when I was a child. So magical! I t sounds like you and yours are doing well and. having a wonderful variety of home made meals.. After spending so many days at the archives pre-covid, I am finding that I really enjoy being at home. Cheers, Ann

      1. Hi Ann,
        I froze a bit of asparagus. Not as much as I should have. But we ate a lot and shared with family. I’m starting to really appreciate being at home now. It is such a calm place. I’m glad you are enjoying being at home now too. Fireflies are magical! I love them! Especially since I have memories of them as a child also. I wish you well!

  44. These are my frugal finds for the week:

    10 Classico Pasta sauce: $1.88 a jar at YYC Co-op — I’m restocking my pantry, saving $15.00
    a value pack of chicken drumsticks and thighs $10
    Campbell’s chunky soup for $2 per can at Superstore (usually about $3 or more per can) — again to restock up my pantry saving $10.00
    baked beans $1 per can usually $2 = savings of $10
    In Canada, summer is usually a good time to buy toilet paper as it usually goes on sale.

  45. Back to shopping and restocking last week. I had gone to one particular store early one morning – more for some “nice cheese” and some of their fancier produce but discovered that they’d had a big delivery of things like Whole Wheat Flour – Cake & Pastry Flour and bags of dried beans and lentils etc. at decent prices – for here. Went back the next morning with my bundle buggy and and stocked up on those things. I hadn’t intended buying any meat but they had such a good price on beautiful pork loin roasts and on beef liver that I couldn’t resist. Cooked some of the liver and managed to cram everything else into the freezer!

    I also managed to get 4 more loads of laundry done without running into anyone in the laundry room and only put one load into the dryer – everything else was hung up to dry. Finally finished switching over Winter and Summer clothes – although I still have a parka to wash before it gets put away – back to the laundry room!

    Bought some more PPE – today is the day it became mandatory to wear a mask on public transit and next week it becomes mandatory to wear one whenever you are in a public/common space indoors – so really – might as well just wear one all the time now – especially as I mostly head downtown where we live underground a lot (and that’s what I’ve been doing anyway). We had some good news today – even though we’ve had two Covid-19 outbreaks in the province (1 due to a couple of nail salons who are in deep trouble) and another amongst migrant farm workers in a rural county, our rate of infection overall is now under 1% – yeah! But it will probably be another couple of weeks – at least – before Toronto moves to stage 3 reopening – they still want to monitor the situation for a bit longer before lifting anymore restrictions.

    I found toothpaste & toothbrushes on sale so stocked up for me and for donating. My church runs a “boutique” for the homeless & low income folks and are now accepting some donations again. I got loyalty points on a particular brand so managed to pick up some soap and deodorants as well so they will also go into the bag along with some face masks. We’ve been asked to either donate store bought or make some HM masks so we can provide those as well and as I’ve got a good supply I’ll add 10 disposables to the bag – since unlike most of you talented ladies – I can’t sew to save my life!

    I’ve decided to get rid of some more stuff and even some furniture over the next few months and since garage sales won’t be happening this year I’m contacting a friend of a friend who sells online for a fee. I’m happy to split funds with her as I have no technical skills in this area nor the patience while it has been something she has really enjoyed since retiring. I’m in no hurry but I do intend making a real start next week. I have a couple of larger pieces that I may try to sell within my apt. building – worth a try and since I know most people at least by sight, I’m comfortable doing this.

    Meals were pretty simple last week, lots of salads with a different protein each day and even just a couple of sandwiches with some raw veg. It’s been over 30C and feeling more like 40C for over a week now and its supposed to stay the same over the next week to 10 days so it’s hard to get enthusiastic about a big cooked meal. Maybe it will help me to take off some of the pandemic weight that I’ve gained!

    Please stay safe everyone – especially those of you in “Hot Spots”!

    1. A few people are having garage sales here! They are doing it with masks. This is not the time for them here (usually April and October) but four of our neighbors had one in the last two weeks!

  46. Brandy, do you have a recipe for the beans or was it all just on a whim? It looks great. We’ll have to wait a bit, my long bean plants are an inch tall….
    We are checking in on the inlaws this week so not the most frugal. They recently moved and their kitchen is not set up so we are eating out more. There is not room for all of us so we rented a small cabin (tiny home) about 20 miles away. Very rural area and we were glad to find anything. We did plan ahead and bought breakfast food, snacks and drinks as to cut out that expense. We didn’t plan on when we needed to use the extra seats, and our cooler doesn’t fit for when we’re driving everyone. So we end up grabbing a drink in the afternoon to stay hydrated.
    Yesterday was taking the in laws through the city for some of their needed errands. KC has mandated masking and we planned ahead, bringing lots of extra masks as it’s in the 90s.
    Got a pair of school shoes on sale while taking mother in law to store.
    We found a groupon for a local museum for a fun outing and got a timed ticket at a less populated time since both parents have mobility issues.
    Our camp refunds had come in before our trip, so we cashed those into Visa gift cards for the school fundraiser (those help with tuition). Trying to use on any expense but in a rural town not everyone takes credit cards still!!
    Part of camp refunds were put back into online camp experiences for my son. We looked around and ended up spending less than 1 week’s cost on 3 separate programs that interested him. It’s a good way to spend computer time, challenges him, and he’s earned 6 merit badges already this summer and is really enjoying it.
    Used Amazon gift cards to order dish soap, a replacement shower curtain and other misc items to get to my $25 for free shipping.
    Bought school supplies early. Didn’t save much $ but the time and stress as I was not in a huge crowd was worth it.
    Made a last minute decision to bring yarn with me and am making baby blankets while riding in the car this week. This is still among the leftovers from mom’s stash but with work and covid it’s the first time I’ve crafted all year.
    Have a blessed 4th everyone!

    1. Steam the beans. Sautee onions with your choice of butter/margarine/spray oil on low heat until caramelized (about 30-40 minutes). Stir to combine!

  47. Happy 4th pf July everyone. I made peaches jam this week. I went to my nephew house and I garbage pick 10 canning jar that his neighbor was throwing away, I keep buying canning jar when I find them. My garden is coming along pick green beans Found some wild blackberries vines in are back yard so I am happy. I am going to start restocking my pantry in the coming weeks because we are seeing more cases of cov-19 here. Thanks for this blog and everyone who comments I have learn a lot.

  48. The biggest thing for me was that I found a small (3 cu. ft) freezer at a normal price. I have been searching for a small upright freezer since March if they could be found they were double or triple the price. On a whim I went online about midnight last night and Lowe’s had one, then I checked Home Depot and they were much cheaper and it is on its way. I know many will say that it’s too small, but it is just me an I just want it to be able to stock up a little extra. They had a 5 cu. ft. but it was a chest freezer and I don’t want that. Other deals/savings this week – I found brown rice at Dollar Tree in two pound bags, so I got 2 bags, I found bleach at the store, so grabbed a gallon? of that, wow is it expensive but figured I better get it while it is there. Signed up for Fetch Rewards which gave my friend an fellow widow lots of points. I went to order groceries for Wegmans, but looks at Aldi’s site for a price on something and they now offer curb-side pick up! So I went with them instead- saving a lot of money. I have 2 batches of green onions from my Misfit Market box, plus some growing in the garden, so I will take the ones from the box and dehydrate them tomorrow. Got eggs for 65 cents a dozen, using a dozen to make deviled eggs for the 4th of July picnic. Used gift cards to treat myself to a lunch and a dinner this week.

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