I planted two fruit trees in the garden: a Meyer lemon tree and a Royal Apricot tree (to replace our previous one; stone fruit last 8-10 years in this climate before they need to be replaced, according to the classes I took at the extension service, and the previous one had extensive borer damage, so we took it out in the fall).

I transplanted lilacs and roses that I had been growing in the garden before to new places in the garden.

I sowed seeds for zinnias and perpetual spinach in the garden.

I had been pondering on how to best run the drip irrigation lines to plant in one section of the garden. I wasn’t loving what I first planned and felt it wasn’t as effective as it could be. I decided to change it and intercrop the plants there instead of what I had planned before (leeks with New Zealand Spinach/lettuce). It will look nicer and be a more effective use of the space.

I harvested parsley, lettuce, and blackberries. I cut and dried parsley to use later.

I returned an item to the store that didn’t work for us. I combined that trip with two other stops: one to the nursery for a new pair of gloves (I have been wearing through my gloves, socks, and garden boots during this project) and more drip irrigation lines, and then went across the street to the grocery store to pick up three free items from the Monopoly grocery game. A reader sent me some coupons she had (thank you!) and I got a packet of taco seasoning, a can of peaches, and a pound of potato salad for free.

Earlier this year, we bought a less expensive fire pit for the garden (it was $79). I’ve seen them for a lot more, and built-in ones are much more. We had promised the children that we would make smores after the concrete was finished. I bought the store brand of marshmallows and graham crackers (including chocolate graham crackers, which turned out to be very nice) from Winco, which has the least expensive prices for marshmallows ($0.99 for a 16-ounce bag). Their regular price is about what the sales price is elsewhere. I also compared chocolate prices to find the lowest price per ounce. I had ordered these marshmallow roasting sticks earlier in the year as well. We have already roasted hot dogs a few times as well.

I went to the grocery store for their loss leaders and purchased eggs on sale for $0.97 for 18 eggs and cherries for the crazy low price of $0.97 a pound! I was shocked they were so low so I made a trip over there. I also bought sour cream on sale for $0.99 a pound, a price I haven’t seen for over a year, and ice cream on sale ($3.99 for a large bucket).

I couldn’t get the app to work on my phone to add the digital coupon for the eggs. It took three phone calls to customer service to have them fix my account, but now I can use the app on my phone for future digital coupons in the ads. The deals are rare lately (the current ads, for example, have nothing at my ideal purchase price) and the digital coupons seem to be some of the best deals out there. I try to stick to the loss leaders and lowest-priced sale items for the majority of my purchases.

I buried banana peels (from the bananas from the school lunches) in the garden to fertilize the garden. We picked up the school lunches a few days this past week.

We went camping as a family one night at a free campground in the mountains. While there was a ban on campfires, due to drought, we were allowed to have a cooking stove, so we were able to cook breakfast and also roast marshmallows for smores over the cooking stove.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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  1. It’s been a week of unexpected things- many troubling, but, in retrospect, it has been a wonderful week here as well! The squirrel deterrent fencing we put around our raised bed gardens is working!! No squirrels or cats nibbling on our veg!! Laura S.- you asked for photo again of the spikes we used – here it is: https://pin.it/3AED9RU and https://pin.it/1FsxfH7. Found them on Amazon. Go through Brandy’s Amazon link and she’ll get credit!
    And Anna- glad to hear you’re ready with rain barrel because this weather is letting them getting filled, then I use them up watering garden in later days, then another rain comes in to refill them! Very cooperative weather!! Also, have you gone to CommunityBackyards website from our greater Columbus area to get your $25-$50 voucher for perennials, shrubs, trees, composter, rain barrel or worm condo yet? I love that our City/county are encouraging us to grow native plants and use conservation methods!!
    We also have had some nice rains – gentle and perfect for everything growing!
    We’ve been enjoying fresh strawberries from the garden and won’t add them to our pantry since we already have frozen whole strawberries, dehydrated strawberry slices and bunches of strawberry jam! For me, the hardest thing is knowing when to say that we have enough of something stored and don’t need more! It’s the same way with planting tomatoes this year! We have 175+ quarts of diced tomatoes that I canned last year, 15 bottles of Heinz ketchup, a dozen jars of DIY sweet and sour sauce and 60 jars of Prego spaghetti sauce. It’s just the 2 of us now so I agreed to only plant 4 tomatoes this year- Early Girl, Beefmaster, Sweet 100 and yellow pear tomato. These will be for eating all through the summer!

    https://pin.it/5743vHh. Our blackberry bush is doing incredibly well as you can see and besides all those blossoms which are turning into berries, we also were able to sell “volunteers” this week and made an extra $122! We’ve had people asking to buy lilac starts from us (we gave away dozens) and so this fall we will start propagating these too as well as other herbs, berries, perennials and bushes that we have growing here! It’s been fun learning how to do it and a little extra money coming in from this is nice to build up our savings!

    I found an expensive brand of shredded cheddar cheese on sale for 70% off which made each 8 Oz package $1.20. I bought all 15 that they had and have put some in the freezer. https://pin.it/3F4A83W.
    Our ground beef was on holiday sale- $1.79/pound so I bought 20 pounds to put in freezer as: hamburger patties to grill later, cooked and crumbled ground beef portioned into 2 cup amounts for time saving add to a dinner recipe and then I made some into meat loaves! For us, this was a good price!
    I bought 6 six ounce cans of honey roasted almonds, regular $4.39 on sale after coupons and rebate- 16 cents per can!!

    I found antibacterial liquid soap (with aloe) at Kroger’s for 25 cents each (8 ounces)! I bought 25 of them for our pantry! When I was at a different Kroger’s location in my city the next day, the same soap is B1G1F, but that would make them each cost $1.50 instead of their usual $3 each!

    I was able to add another $10 in CC rewards to our savings account!

    On our business side, Quilt #144 is finished and has gone back to my 85 year old client who is finishing it as a gift to the 95 year old friend who did all the cross-stitching on it! I’m pleased with how it turned out. https://pin.it/4eI56en and https://pin.it/wkNACLd. It is king size and the quilting is denser, so it took longer to get it done!

    So even with sad and challenging events, we look back on this week with all the abundant opportunities that have been laid at our feet and are grateful!
    Gardenpat in Ohio

      1. April- it always surprises me that different locations of Kroger’s and Meijers in the same city can have different things on clearance and their clearance prices can vary greatly too!!

      2. April- Great timing on the cheese, too! I was running low and had seen a sale on Kroger brand but it was more than the Kerrygold clearance at Meijers! Fortunately, I went to Meijers first for the ground beef!! I love when that sort of thing happens! ❤️❤️

        Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Do you repair quilts? I have an old one I would love to have repaired that belonged to my grandparents. I live VERY close to Columbus so I wondered if you repair them or know someone in the area that does. Thanks~Heather

      1. Heather Kee- I don’t repair quilts. Sorry! My suggestion would be to go to one of the several local quilt shops (not JoAnn’s) and ask if they can suggest someone.
        Good luck! You really want to use someone that is very familiar with doing repairs since this is an heirloom for you!

        Hope this helps!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

        1. I also stopped using ibotta and use fetch now. I simply scan every receipt and get points of some amount. I emailed a rewards offer that hadn’t credited. I find I have to stay on top of things. I found several CVS rewards in my email. I downloaded a couple small gift cards to my target account. I got off by myself and went shopping with my ” free” money. I was excited to get three tubes of an expensive natural type deodorant for $1.24 A piece. I’ve wanted to try them ,but found their regular price to be extremely steep. I am just in the process of pulling each and every food or stockpile item out into the middle of my house. Its literally overflowing in three rooms and hallways. I need to inventory and sort by date. I will be rearranging everything. All products that are a huge temptation are being locked in my coat closet. That child can use more laundry soap than an Army. The few sweets we have are being put out of sight. Food buckets are going under her bed because beans and rice etc are not a temptation for her. We are eating down the refrigerator and doing great. My mother seems to be taking a break from me and I am enjoying my time. I’m continuing to use some free resources to track my genealogy. I’ve found some fun facts lately and truly enjoy the research. I hope everyone is having a good week.

  2. I am sitting here holding my sleeping grandson. Such bliss!
    I have enjoyed seeing the free things that I’ve been collecting for him being used. I helped DIL make more freezer meals to use once I leave. I learned how to sharpen a knife.
    I altered a pair of PJ shorts and hemmed jeans that were cut into shorts.
    Packing my snacks/meals for the trip home and downloading books on my free kindle trial.
    Mulling over a few bigger purchases, but haven’t decided yet. After a great success with sewing a blouse, I bought a well-rated t shirt patterns. I also bought Toms on sale. I wear these every day to work and my current pair (6 years old) are too worn for work. They have become ‘everyday ‘ shoes. I found that if I wear Toms on the airplane, I don’t have to take them off to go through security. It was so nice!
    Made sure we used our debit card the 12 times in the month that is needed to get 2% interest on the account. I finished reading Suze Orman’s book “The Ultimate Retirement Guide for 50+”
    It was very, very informative. I’m 48 but my husband is 53 and since he’s the main earner, we are planning based on his age. I took a lot of notes while I was reading. It was borrowed from the library.

    1. I need to add that book to my library list. We are only 45 and 46, but kind of dropped the ball on planning for retirement.

      1. I was impressed with the clarity and detail in the book. Any planning you can do is good, no matter what age you are!

    2. The image of you with your sleeping grandson reminded me of this:
      my sister visits lots of thrift shops in her area, finding many bargains. She has begun buying up premie and newborn size onesies at the excellent price of 25 cents each–and she sends them to our niece, who is a nurse in a NICU in a hospital in Ohio. They are always in like new condition, and my niece takes them to work with her so that the tiny babies she cares for are dressed in real “clothes” to give them a little more personality as they hang around and grow before they can go home! What a wonderful idea for items that otherwise wouldn’t get used much, if at all! They are adorable–we have to look at every one before she gives them to my other sister who sends them to her daughter. Sometimes they even have “sales” so they are less than a quarter each. I just love this idea!

      1. My son was born a premie, and spent four weeks in the NICU. What your family is doing to bless the premie babies is so very, very thoughtful. Thank you for caring!

      2. What a nice thing for your sister to do! Our daughter was a preemie but did not have to stay in the NICU. We were new parents and didn’t realize that none of the newborn sizes would even come close to fitting her.

  3. We didn’t have a lot of consistent money when we were growing up (Dad is a carpenter/builder who does beautiful work) because so many of the folks in our area are very entitled and would pay when they felt like it, not necessarily when the job was done. So, chocolate bars are quite expensive, but she could make chocolate frosting for a fraction of the cost (there were no discount grocers around back then). It is my preferred way of eating smores. Graham crackers with frosting “sandwiches” were also our treat in our lunches as well.

  4. I love hearing what you’ve accomplished! May was such a pricey month here [car insurance for 6 months, taxes, replacing a broken washer et al] but I did try – last week:
    I stocked up on eggs at 50 cents a dozen at aldi, there is an endless press for protein here with my son and husband so that fills a hole cheaply.
    I helped my grad student daughter find a book she needed for her term paper for $19 instead of over $100 [a scientific study not available in any libraries she could access through school]
    I used screen tape to patch some holes on our porch screen instead of replacing the screen [we will eventually, the squirrels want to move in – but I’m holding off as long as I can and doing them only when it’s no longer patchable, with animal proof screen]
    I gave our bernedoodle a haircut – I’ve done all her grooming since we got her in September
    I brought lunch to work

  5. My yard is getting under control since I have hired someone to help me. I had been doing the work myself or with volunteer help, because it was difficult to find people to do the work at a reasonable rate. There is a shortage of teenagers looking for work here, and the companies were charging hundreds of dollars a month. We settled on an hourly fee that is affordable for me and worth doing for him. He is very efficient, so it is not taking very much time to do the work. We had to work things out early on because he wanted to do all the work there was to do right away, and took some convincing that I really couldn’t afford it all at once. The large back yard, which looks onto a busy laneway that runs behind our main street, and which has three interested neighbors, looks great now. He has also cleared the driveway area that runs beside the house. The tiny front lawn is nicely cut, though there is still more work to do.
    I got my second dose of co-vid vaccine very early, due to a very local surplus of vaccine and vaccine appointments. Farmers are seeding and oil sands workers are off doing lockdown work and are not available to get vaccines. The pharmacist booked his spare appointments with people at higher risk. I had a sore arm and was very sleepy the next morning while drinking my coffee. I’m retired, so I had a nap until I wasn’t sleepy anymore. No other side effects this round. (The first round I had a sore arm and a fever for a day or so beginning the day after the shot.)
    Although the province has seen amazing improvement in its co-vid numbers, locally we have higher numbers than we have ever had. I am keeping my errands to a minimum, and am relieved to have the vaccine protection.
    I’ve been spending very little on groceries, just buying what I need at the best available price. I did get some lean ground beef and a large pack of chicken thighs at a very good price, which were both local manager’s specials. I’m just allowing some extra time when I shop to look over prices, since what different brands and different foods cost is changing a lot.
    Since I wasn’t using my car, I put off renewing the registration as long as I could, until just before the point where I would have had to start off the registration from scratch, with car inspections and all. I saved $20 on the $93 fee by doing this. The registry office is a couple of blocks further than I normally walk, but I set out there on foot anyway on a lovely day, and saved myself the cost of a ride over there ($12 for the seniors bus or $20 for a taxi). I combined the trip with a stop at the post office to pick up my mail.
    I was kindly gifted with the cost of my co-pay on three months worth of meds ($42 total), which will help while I get house repairs and maintenance done this summer.
    A small provincial seniors supplement that I get two days before my main pensions didn’t arrive the morning it was scheduled, and I couldn’t get through to their office until early afternoon. They deposited it that night. I think someone forgot to set it up to allow for a Canadian long weekend Monday the day before it was due. I had planned to buy groceries that morning, and it was surprisingly hard to get myself on a different track once I was off the first one! I had a decent supply of food in the house, in case I needed to stay in the house for a couple of weeks, so no harm done.

  6. I’m glad you got to go camping as a family.
    This week we enjoyed lettuce, chard, asparagus, and rhubarb from the garden. I pulled lettuce that was bolting and sewed seeds for Black Seeded Simpson, which takes the heat better. I transplanted squash and zinnias into the outside garden beds and they are doing well.
    I made a set of napkins for our RV, using a fabric remnant from Jo-Ann’s.
    I baked bread and bagels, and made a large batch of pinto beans, a batch of chickpeas, and another of brown rice for the freezer. I made homemade yogurt.
    I ordered two pairs of glasses from Zenni Optical – one is a pair of prescription sun glasses. This the third time I have ordered from Zenni and it is such a money savings over buying glasses at a local optical shop – hundreds of dollars cheaper.

  7. Brandy, I bought chocolate grahams for the first time this week, too…but I didn’t like them. My daughter does, so they won’t be wasted.

    I haven’t had a lot of energy this week, however, I mostly got caught up with basic garden maintenance. I worked a bit, rested a bit, worked a bit, etc. I turned off the irrigation water for 4 days because free water fell out of the sky instead. Today I dug up and potted up some raspberry volunteers for my daughter-in-law, covered the strawberries with last year’s nylon net to keep the birds out, and closed off the berries with a baby fence to keep the boy dog out. (He is not too happy with me). Although I’m late with this, I’m soaking last year’s nasturtium seeds to plant tonight or tomorrow in a galvanized oil-change plan.

    I bought a year’s worth of mustard and ketchup on sale. I don’t usually bother with coupons, but I had two $1 coupons for Ken’s salad dressing that made the product cheaper than the one on sale. Memorial Day sales are the best time to stock up on condiments.

    Bama Holly, I left a message for you after your post last week about going to Wetumpka! Details, please! I love what Hometown Takeover is doing because it is more than just fixing up houses…they are also focusing on commercial and public spaces, which will make the whole community more desirable. Do you know how the properties were chosen and who’s footing the bill? Is the town as cute a the camera angles imply?

    1. I do not know how they were chosen, but after driving in the town most seemed to be what you pass going in and around the main downtown. We drove down the street where people painted their doors on the main street out of town. We didn’t have time to look for any of the other homes they redid. The barbershop the mayor owned is a book store. I researched and found he sold in 2019. They wanted to share his story because it was steeped in Wetumpka history so included remodeling his shop.

      The town was full of traffic and people walking to get photos. I think this has brought it back to life. We only had an hour or so so I don’t feel we saw too much. We stayed on main streets and then went across the river to a park and looked from that side.

      I love Home Town. My Mama and Daddy are from Laurel and all my Aunts and Uncles still live there. I grew up in Alabama, but Laurel is special. So to have them come to Alabama is fun to watch, too. I had never been to Wetumpka before. So nice to see it come back to life.
      Some of the photos, although I didn’t post a lot https://www.instagram.com/p/CPlTeZDHo9t/?utm_medium=copy_link and https://www.instagram.com/p/CPbbEfznQ9n/?utm_medium=copy_link

      1. Holly, thanks for the info! I’m kind bummed that they didn’t say the barbershop wasn’t going to be located there, but I can see it would make a nice bookshop, and a bookstore adds a lot to a town.

        A very good friend of ours, and former doctor, grew up in Laurel. His dad worked for the railroad and came out to Oregon in the 1940s to run a RR owned by a lumber company. Our friend is now 92, but when he retired from doctoring, he and his wife bought an RV and spent one whole winter getting reacquainted with Laurel and his cousins. They loved it.

  8. As you look ahead in the U.S., it seems postage stamps are going up in price at the end of August, three months from now.
    First class from 55 cents to 58 cents, second ounce not changing.
    Postcards from 36 cents to 40 cents.
    International from $1.20 to $1.30.
    And other increases. Time to stock up on some Forever stamps, especially if you have a big mailing event coming up!

  9. If you happen to have one, we found that a garden shepherd hook, the kind used to hold up hanging baskets, was a useful spot to have the children hang up their roasting sticks that are hot from the fire. Otherwise they would walk around with these hot metal sticks, too excited from the snacks to be careful.

  10. My 14yo wants to go camping, but every weekend they’ve tried,it’s been raining.

    We had another cold snap for a couple days and I had already put the heaters away. Everyone made it through just fine with sweaters and extra blankets.

    I made sure to freeze leftover gumbo, carnita meat, and spaghetti sauce to use another time.

    My mom sent over tomatoes, deli turkey, yogurt, eggs, cups of applesauce, potatoes, grapes, and kool aid packets.

    A couple months ago, I convinced my husband to pay the bills my way. After I pay the utility bill this Friday, everything will be current. We were a month behind on the truck payment, utility, and phone bills, and constantly late on everything else. I have the Home Depot credit card paid off, and should have the next lowest credit card paid off by the end of June. I’ve saved nearly $800 in late fees(phone bill charges $20 per line, utilities adds 10% of the total bill in late fees, then add up all the credit card ones 😳) There’s also a decent amount in savings 😁

    I ended up with someone’s Go Puff order on my porch. My address was on the bag but none of us had even heard of it. I contacted the company and they said keep it(I tried to find out if it belonged to a neighbor but they wouldn’t tell me 🤷‍♀️) I have a container of gelato(thankfully a flavor we will eat), 20 ounce sprite, an iPhone cable(the boy said it will work on the 14yos airpods so now have a spare charger), fake eyelashes(I listed those on a buy nothing site), and something not appropriate that I tossed🤨)

    Returned a library book I wasn’t going to read in time to avoid late fees

    1. April: Hurray for being current on bills! Such a good feeling, and such an important habit to continue!

  11. Wow, that is an amazing price on cherries. I thought a sale here of $2.99/# was good. The smores sound like a fun treat for your children. Last week, we got over 100 asparagus crowns planted, and shared more with two friends. They obviously sent more than the 100 we bought. On a grocery trip, I found gas .22 less at one station, saving me $1.80. While already in a town for a meeting an hour and a half from home, I was able to pick up 9 pairs of work pants for my husband for $10, which he found on FB Marketplace. Yogurt and homemade toothpaste was made. We got some work done on the new workshop. It’s getting pretty close now. All the remaining winter squash in storage were processed on a cool day, and broth made from 2 gallons of veggie bits. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2021/05/homestead-projects-garden.html

    1. Where did you get your asparagus crowns from? I am needing new crowns next spring and am comparing my options. I think it is too hot to plant them now.

    2. We got them when Stark Bros. was having a sale. Last week, my husband looked at their website, and said they had sold out. I know the sale price was good, but not sure about their normal prices.

      1. I saw that sale but was afraid to buy this late in the season here as they should be planted when it is cold, and it is over 100 here. They were about five times higher regular price.

        1. Planting asparagus is a great choice! It grows so easily. At least here in Kansas it does. I love that it is a vegetable that I don’t have to plant every year. I hope you can find some crowns.

          1. I grew asparagus before, but my crowns would give out after a few years. I don’t know why. They were on drip irrigation and fertilized. I want to try a different kind next time.

  12. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Your fire pit sounds like a great idea for having fun in the garden as a family. I’ll bet the children love it.
    We had our second jabs this week and took flasks of cool water with us in the car.
    We planted cosmos, zinnias, runner beans in the garden beds and tomatoes and lettuce in the greenhouses. We picked rocket and parsley.
    I lifted some spent tulip bulbs and set them in empty egg cartons to dry out. I’ll plant them again in the autumn. My husband bought a plant at a charity sale and split it into three plants.
    A friend gave us a tray of surplus leek seedlings. We already have some of our own so we’ll share them with family and friends.
    I cooked a large quantity of Bolognese sauce and froze some.
    Our son in law gave us a jar of homemade sweet chilli jam and we gave them and our other daughter some of our green tomato chutney.
    I needed new water shoes and found some in Lidl for £3.99. We had our first swim in the sea for this year, it was blissful.
    I sewed a dust cover for my sewing machine using fabric I already had and appliqued a picture of a vintage sewing machine on the front.
    In common with the rest of the world the price of construction materials is rising in the UK and the government have suggested householders delay DIY projects until the autumn. We don’t have much planned but my husband has a good ‘ just in case’ stock of materials stored in his workshop, it’s a bit of a joke that he can rummage around in there and find just the thing we need.
    Stay safe everyone.

  13. It was my birthday last week. Hubby got me 2 apple trees. I am so excited. One is honey crisp and the other is yellow delicious. My youngest made me breakfast for my birthday, chocolate chip pancakes. She also made me chocolate covered marshmallows. I received lots of cards and calls from family and friends too.
    I cashed out $97 in credit card rewards. I use my credit card for everything and pay it off every month.
    I have been picking lots of strawberries and kale. I brought a bunch of different herbs to my physical therapist.
    My daughter made frozen dog treats with ingredients that we had. The puppy loves them.
    Hubby got a used Blu ray player from the free shelf at work. We only had one in the living room. Now we have one in our bedroom too.
    My youngest and I were out running errands. We passed a Starbucks and she made a comment about it. I surprised her and pulled in. I had a gift card so we shared a large drink. They gave me a second cup so we could split it.
    P and I went out to lunch. I brought home the leftovers. There was enough chicken left that I made 3 chicken and cheese quesadillas for dinner. We always have sour cream and salsa in the house.

  14. Great job on everything you accomplished last week! We are looking forward to our camping trips this summer.

    *My husband finished installing our raised garden beds. I was able to plant 15 free strawberry plants in one. I’m not sure what type of strawberries they are though. I hope they are ever bearing. If not, I left a few open spots and will try to find a free source for those plants. My neighbor offered to bring me back raspberry starts from Washington in August. I would like to put those in the other bed. I will also check out smaller local nurseries. My husband did a great job! I love the new raised garden beds.

    *I thinned my apple, nectarine and peach tree last week. The trees are still small but we have had them for 2 years. My husband planted fruit fertilizer stakes in the ground to help them out with growing. I’m so excited for the fruit that is coming! My apple tree only had 5 blossoms on it but that is ok – next year should be a bumper crop. The nectarine and peach tree are loaded. My neighbor has a plum tree that loaded with plums and offered as many as I wanted. I like to make Cinnamon Orange Plum jam. She also has apple trees which she said I could come pick from as well in September. I like to make and can applesauce. That will be a big help since my tree only had a few blossoms this year. My potato plants are popping up quite nicely and the tomato plants are growing with blossoms. I’m going to start a container with lettuce and one with spinach. I have the containers and dirt in them. I just need to get my butt in gear and plant.

    *We had a baby blessing for our darling granddaughter this past weekend. I made a fruit jello salad, white chocolate chip cookies and cinnamon molasses bars. All items I had in my pantry and didn’t cost additional out of pocket. My husband had found plastic table liners at his mom’s house when they cleaned it out. We used those to line the tables. For decorations we used the canning jars from my daughter’s wedding that were wrapped with twine and pink ribbons. Those were filled with water and baby’s breath. Other family members brought smoked pork with homemade bbq sauce, chips and salads. It was a wonderful time! We took family pictures with our cell phones.

    *My youngest is done with school for this school year. We are so excited for summer break. She had a party with friends and took homemade cookies to share.

    *I cleaned out another part of my bedroom closet and reorganized things into tubs. I was able to throw away a nice amount of stuff/or stuff to take away to the thrift store.

    *Another daughter was sick with a cold last week. I was so grateful we had all our cold supplies and powerade drinks in our pantry. I didn’t need to run to the store. I had her gargle with salt water for her sore throat. Lots of rest and lots of liquids. She’s feeling better.

    *Did my usual exercise at home, read library books or books from my stash, downloaded a few free Kindle books, got 2 free Audible books from a free trial offer. I cancelled the offer a few days later. I have a list of authors that I like to read and will download a few of their books to my Audible account. It’s perfect for road trips or a long drive or just when I’m running errands. We have continued to watch shows on our streaming service and also watch (and re-watch) Blue Bloods. We love that show. My youngest also just discovered Star Trek and was able to borrow the DVD’s from my brother who collects movies. Since we take good care of what we borrow from him, he gives us free rein. Others in my family have lost that privilege.

    *I did buy some stickers from a scrapbook store. I remember Terri Cheney writing that she would start making her cards. I love that idea! Cards are expensive. I have plenty of envelopes and supplies of my own. Plus I enjoy creating them. The place I ordered from included 2 free gifts with my order. The free gifts were more stickers! I used a code to buy.

    *I was able to save over $100 dollars on groceries through coupons, Ibotta, discount, etc. It was very nice to re-stock a few items.

    *Have a wonderful week!

    1. Amy,
      Do you have a recipe for your cinnamon orange plum jam? It sounds delicious! I’d like to branch out from my usual plum jam and try yours if possible. 😊

      1. Hi Julie!

        I don’t can my jam or use pectin- I freeze it. And I kind of make up the plum jam recipe to taste. There is a recipe on Taste of Home that uses pectin and that you make that can be sealed. I basically cut up and cook my plums. I will puree until it’s the consistency I want. Then I add orange juice or orange zest, cinnamon and sugar to taste. Here’s a basic recipe I found on Taste of Home https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/plum-orange-jam/. I would also check Ball Canning Recipe Book – it gave me some ideas. I hope this helps!

  15. Roses love banana peels so I have been saving them for the roses but I only use organic bananas.
    We finally have beautiful weather so I planted the tomato plants, the geraniums and the fuschias and lobelias. The cost of my pots was $5 each. I am planting some vegetable seeds. I’m going to try carrots in pots, some scarlet runner bans for the hummingbirds, a few bush peas for me. I’ll plant some nasturtiums once I find the seeds (where did I put them???). I bought groceries on sale last week. Now is the time to restock soup for the pantry as the sales are on. I am enjoying the beautiful weather — free bird and butterfly watching.

    1. Ellie’s friend,
      I also put banana peels around my roses. I planted carrots in large pots this year for the first time, so far so good. Good luck with your carrots.

  16. Brandy, I can’t remember if you ever shop at Costco but they usually have a fantastic deal on garden gloves this time of the year. You get an entire pack of them (six or eight, I can’t remember now) for not much more than a pair or two at the garden centers. I accidentally ended up with two packs last year and gave a pair out to all my friends.

    Also, I wanted to ask about your moving your lilac bushes. I put one in some months ago and it’s getting bigger but only had one blossom on it this spring. Hmmm. Did you move your bushes to get more sun or less sun? Thanks.

    1. Anne, my parents have a card there, and they usually get gloves there for me once a year. They bought a package for us this year but they only had them in men’s medium. They fit my husband just fine but are sadly too big for me.

    2. More sun. If they get too much shade they stop producing flowers. I am hoping they will bloom in the new location.

      It is very hot here in summer, so all the leaves on lilacs burn to a crisp during the summer. They will not be very attractive then, but if I can get them to start flowering again it will be worth it! I will give them a couple of years, but if they don’t start blooming by then, I will probably take them out. I am giving them lots of bone meal as well to encourage blooms.

      1. To get lilac to bloom more you should clip off the old, dead blooms at the end of the season. Of course, this will only work if you can reach all the blooms. There’s also a chemical mixture you put on the ground around the tree to encourage growth.
        I had transplanted a lovely lilac offshoot from my last house. It bloomed great for 2 years and then quit. I tried everything. This year I decided to dig it up and move it. Well, I discovered that probably our snow plowing company had hit the bottom of the main stem. The whole thing was rotted off. So, it’s now gone and I’m on the hunt for another offshoot to dig up and plant.
        My big old lilac is an understory tree under a 250 year old oak.

        1. Lilac is iffy here. It likes cold weather in order to bloom (to zone 7). We are zone 9. Only one of my lilacs bloomed this year, and they were like last year–tiny blooms, not at all like normal. When the summer sun hits the leaves, even it is is only for one hour, the leaves will burn and die completely and the bush goes dormant in summer, not leafing out again until November, right before frost.

    3. Depends on the size of the lilac, Anne. If it had never bloomed before, I wouldn’t expect it to bloom within the first year of planting. It might also be related to your climate. I live in an area where lilacs are ubiquitous, but this wasn’t a good year. We had an average to mild winter.

      1. Thanks Maxine. I was thinking of moving it into even MORE sun for awhile. But my climate is like Brandy’s and I don’t want to look at a completely frazzled and burned out lilac bush in my front yard. My reputation as a gardener would certainly suffer. It’s pretty new, so I’ll keep it where it is and be patient for a year or two.

  17. Huge score on the cherries! We splurged on some $2.49/lb ones here because I’m afraid the prices won’t get any lower and I want to have SOME this summer! We picked up my only Monopoly prize-a can of cooking spray. We got the coconut oil one, which we’ve never tried before since they were out of olive oil ones.

  18. Beautiful berries in your photos! We bought blueberries at $1.99/pint and strawberries 2/$3. Also very good prices on meat—$1.99 per lb. for ground beef, London broil and chicken breasts. I cooked some of each and froze portions of the rest. I cooked BSCB in the crockpot with just seasoned salt, then cut them up to add to salads. Our younger daughter has been encouraging my husband to stop eating cold cuts and I was happy to inform her on our Zoom call that he has switched to bringing salads for his lunch.
    We’ve had rain all weekend and it looks like the kale and lettuce shot up. We already picked lettuce and it’s been lovely.
    Work has been overbearing and I only got on to read the blog and comments yesterday and click through to Amazon to order more bird netting for our plants.
    I have followed readers’ success stories of paying off their homes and, having caught mortgage fever, I sent in a principal payment last month. We received a notice that our real estate taxes increased $4700 this year so we can pay the additional escrow or spread it out over monthly payments. I just want to cry. Property values in the Bronx are not going up as they are in many places so the increase is just inexplicable to me. Although I am over 65, I am still working full time and my husband also, so we don’t qualify for any tax relief. Thankful for our jobs and I will try to get ahead of this setback.
    Wishing everyone a good week!

    1. That is really insane, I’m so sorry! You might look into disputing the increase? You have to be careful and sure that your property has not increased in value significantly because they can reassess it at an even higher level. I would start with asking neighbors to see if their property taxes went up comparably (if you haven’t already).

    2. Kat,
      You might phone the tax clerk’s office and ask them just to confirm the amount. Perhaps it’s just a typo somehow. I’d ask around your neighbours to see if they had an increase.

      1. Thanks Jen G and Ellie’s friend. I don’t know why I didn’t think to ask the neighbors first thing. We had gotten a notice of valuation change which is when I should have filed a challenge. I will call to check the amount. Hoping for an error! If neighbors’ went up too, I will find out if anyone has a plan. It’s such a steep increase, I have to see what I can do. Will report back on any progress!

  19. Living frugally in Portland OR:

    Winco-brand chocolate graham crackers are really good! I don’t live near a Winco so I rarely go and always hope to find a good cheap alternative but nothing measures up!

    *The weather is warming up so I have stopped using my dryer for the next few months. I purchased some inexpensive clothes line to start drying clothes outside (luckily the previous owner already put the hardware in place).

    *I rode my bike or took the bus every day to work last week. I had been driving due to the pandemic and I hated the gas used plus dealing with traffic.

    *My in-laws visited and my MIL was up in arms about the state of my cookingware so she bought me a new set! I didn’t mean for this to happen, but it is something I dislike purchasing (thus had put off too long, apparently) so I was grateful to her. I just pretended I didn’t understand her criticism (she is Spanish-speaking).

    *I decorated my in-laws guest room with fresh roses from our rose bushes that are currently in bloom (free!)

    *I dried a ton of peppermint from my garden for future tea. It is a bit of work but I decided it is worth it because the tea tastes so much better than store-bought tea bags.

    *I cut and froze rhubarb to make strawberry rhubarb pies for 4th of July.

    *My son and I have been picking up aluminum cans and bottles on our evening walks at a nearby park. There are always a ton left by evening now that the weather is warm and it’s easy to do. Oregon gives 10cents a can and we use the money to lower our grocery bill.

  20. Camping, nice! How is the weather overnight in the mountains? Cool enough or still hot?

    My frugal week:
    – I made chocolate ‘nice cream’ for my daughter and I (http://approachingfood.com/soft-serve-chocolate-nice-cream/) several times. A treat for her, but still healthy.
    – I baked a berry coffee cake using mulberries and service berries that my daughter and I had foraged locally (in our neighbourhood) last summer, and gave some to our neighbours.
    – I made pancakes using self-raising flour, eggs, and milk, and added in leftover lemon curd for flavour and sweetener.
    – I cut my mom and my dad’s hair.
    – I sharpened my second pair of hair clippers using my dad’s whetstone.
    – I made Mexican bean soup using fava beans, but added in some leftover white beans too. Same flavour profile, but no waste.
    – I redeemed SB for $10 to my paypal account, and used it towards a pair of shoes for my daughter. I had to return the original pair I bought her as they didn’t fit (the trials of ordering unseen) and I had paid $10 towards those shoes from redeemed SB as well, so these shoes will be $20 less OOP in the end.
    – I sewed up a hole in a pair of leggings. I have to sew a new hole every time I wear them, but they’re so perfect for post-partum wear, that I think it’s worth the effort.
    – My daughter and I are exploring different playgrounds around the city. Free entertainment!
    – I bought a cute Ralph Lauren polo top second-hand online for my daughter. I’m not into name brands, but as a second-hand find, it’s adorable on her!
    – I sowed some carrot seeds, using the fast germination method from the video of the Scottish gardener that Gardenpat shared a few weeks ago.
    – I helped some family friends apply for the Ontario Electricity Support Program, which gives a rebate on every statement if your family earns under a certain amount per year.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

  21. The blackberries look delicious in your picture Brandy!

    This week had a few frugal accomplishments to share!

    Meijer (a regional Midwest grocery chain) is giving out coupons for $10 off a $50 purchase if you show your vaccination no matter where you got your shot. My husband and I went and received two of the coupons.

    After looking at my garden I figured I could fit in more beans, kale, leeks, and a butternut squash into my garden so I sowed more seeds.

    We have enjoyed a lovely Memorial Day at home and had a great lunch and dinner together without buying anything extra.

  22. I made a trip to an island north of the Alaskan mainland to do a funeral for a 17 year id girl who died. She was upset and went out in a whiteout. 2 days later her body was found outside the snow fence that surrounds the village. It had been 15 months since I had been there. Wonderful to be back, but not for that reason. It is a blessing to be able to help a family grieve though. I am partly disabled by a bad knee so getting to the cemetery was an event. I rode down on the back of a 4 wheeler and back up in a side by side. My original training was as a youth worker which was useful in dealing with her twin, the younger twins, and a cousin the same age.
    My husband and adult son are at the community garden planting potatoes. We had very cold weather last week so had to bring in and cover vegetable starts. Memorial Day is usually safe to plant in Fairbanks. We are using the last of our garden celery tonight. My husband never believes how much we go through. I have been freezing it but with my new dehydrator will try that this year. I will also do some leaves instead of feeding them to my son’s chickens. I really like knowing I have it for winter meals as sometimes it is hard to find here.
    For those who dehydrate, can rhubarb be dehydrated? We have 3 plants in our yard and our son’s community garden plot has a huge plant. I really appreciate all the help and this community.

    1. No matter where we live, we are such optimists about planting early. We had snow here a few days before our “safe” start date of Victoria Day weekend, the week before Memorial Day.

      Rhubarb can definitely be dehydrated. There are many recipes for it online. I would love to make some rhubarb crisp this month, if I see any for sale. I’m going to use my oven to freeze dehydrate strawberries in June. An experiment for me, but I’ll enjoy them in cereal and muffins over the winter.

      How sad about the young girl who died. I’m glad you were able to use your experience to comfort her young relatives. We are grieving across Canada for the young children whose remains were found by a residential school in British Columbia. It is only the start of those that will be found, I am afraid, since one in five children is said to have died in the residential school system.

    2. I read a recipe for rhuisins I think they called them. Cooked in syrup then dehydrated as a sweet treat.

    3. Alaska Gram, what a sad event to bury a 17 year-old. Your good work and kind heart must have been appreciated by the child’s family and friends!

    4. I find dehydrated celery delicious! I love that it takes up so much less space. The flavor of things also is intensified.
      My dehydrating book by Excaliber, called Preserve it Naturally, says that Rhubarb is good for dehydrating. They suggest cutting the stalks into 1″ lengths and dehydrate at 135 until leathery. Depending on the humidity where you are, it should take between 6-10 hours.

  23. 1. We have had really cool temps this week in north Alabama (like in the 60s) so we haven’t had to turn on the AC at all from Thursday to Sunday.
    2. We are saving up our credit card reward points for a trip to Disney next year and we have over $300 accumulated so far.
    3. We came home with 20 books from the library this week (a small haul for us) and we have been reading nonstop all week.
    4. Sam’s club had Babybels and ziplock bags on sale so I stocked up.
    5. My dad built a hoop style green house to keep him busy during retirement and has been spoiling us with delicious veggies for over a month now. Cucumbers, kale, beets, Swiss chard, strawberries, red potatoes, and zucchini…delicious.


    1. Where in North Alabama. We are Huntsville/Athens. The weather has been amazing, although chilly early and late to be out without long clothes on. My daughter sent grandson from Florida with only shorts and short sleeve shirts.

  24. Our home had an outdoor fireplace when we bought it and we LOVE it! There’s something about sitting around a fire that is so peaceful! I know you will enjoy your firepit! Our frugal accomplishments were:
    *Meals made were smoked sausage wraps with tortilla chips, ground turkey with peppers and onions and rice, burgers with roasted potatoes and asparagus, steak with baked potatoes and tossed salad, turkey with corn and macaroni.
    *Sent a birthday card and a thank you card from my stash.
    *Attended a family night about an hour and a half away for an uncle who passed away. Packed dinner to eat on the road so we didn’t have to stop.
    *Had lunch with my daughter and used a gift card. She brought me flowers for Mother’s Day that I planted in two empty pots on our side porch.
    *Attended an end of year cookout for the Wednesday night kids ministry at church. Brought home leftover hot dogs for lunch the next day.
    *Accepted a free lunch at work. Also kept the large pans and serving spoons that were left by the caterer.
    *A local fire department was having a fundraiser – donate $25 and get a large scoop of gravel at the local quarry. We took my husband’s truck to pick it up and used it to fill in any bare spots/potholes in our long driveway.
    *I still had two turkeys in the freezer from the Thanksgiving sales, so I roasted one on a cool day, portioned the meat to freeze and made stock from the frame.
    *Bought ground beef for $2.49/lb, blsl chicken breasts for $1.79/lb, 2 lbs sausage for $2.79, and corn on the cob 5 for $1. Also earned $7 in rewards at FL.

  25. We had a few friends over for dinner last week. I made bread, brownies, and had robust salad fixings. Guests also brought bread and a fruit plate. I was lovely to sit around a dinner table with guests! A couple of days later, one of the guests dropped by a jar of dandelion jelly she had made.

    I sorted through gifted yarn and took enough to make two sweaters.

    My husband and I went for a five mile hike in Kolob Canyon, part of Zion National Park.

    We helped a daughter who is getting divorced, move. Not frugal, but needed. We flew to Phoenix and helped load up the moving truck. We spread our drive of her car over two days back to Salt Lake City to make it a bit of a vacation. She and her friend were driving the truck. During all that driving time, we listened to books on tape and I knit almost two cowls to donate to the Navajo Nation this fall.

    I was able to take a standing lamp and ironing board from my mother’s estate.

    I also worked, did yoga, went running one morning and spent some time at the gym.

    Welcome to June!

  26. I love hearing about your garden progress, Brandy! It is going to be so wonderful!
    I finished The Kitchen Front and LOVED IT!!! Thanks for the recommendation on here.
    My hubby has lost a bunch of weight this past year. He is travelling for work next week for the first time since Covid, so he took a look at his work clothes and nothing fit well. He found a good sale at Kohls. Then he got some Kohls cash so went back then next week and got a couple more items for free. All in all he did a really good job and he looks great.
    Dinners last night included chili and cornbread, egg roll in a bowl, pasta and sauce, tacos, BLT pasta salad and leftovers. Came in under the grocery budget.
    Celebrated my son’s birthday. We brought in dinner from a BBQ joint he loves. We decorated with the “It is your birthday.” theme from The Office, which is simple and funny. We just used what we had around home already. We played corn hole, bananagrams and blew bubbles with the granddaughters outside…a perfect party for a big burly 19 year old uncle! He is a great sport. We are finally done with birthday season around here!
    We’ve enjoyed watching shows, playing games, sitting on the deck and reading. I’ve been able to finish a few more baby sweaters to donate from my stash of yarn. It makes me happy.
    I went to the library for the first time in a year and checked out some fun books. I’ve really missed the library and am glad to be back.
    Hope everyone has a great week!

  27. Wow! 99 cent a lb cherries! The cheapest are $4.99 a lb here. Food has gone up and sizes have gone down. However; We did go to the Dollar tree and buy frozen fruit and veggies for a dollar a bag. The veggies were 1 lb bags too! We have been cooking at home. My husband has been helping me. We make sure to eat before we leave the house if we are going somewhere. I made asparagus soup. He made oyster stew. We planted okra, harvested carrots, kale, cilantro and strawberries. My parents gave us a bag of potatoes they weren’t going to use. We went to the library. We have been turning off lights and turning off the air. We noticed a difference in our electric bill. Yeah! I’m trying to put as much in the ground as we can. I think if we have seed and space we should use it instead of paying an arm and a leg at the grocery store. I’m happy my husband is in agreement. I bought some clothes at a thrift shop, I guess that was last week. I’ve been carefully watching prices on things and watching for deals when I can find them. I have been careful to use leftovers and watch dates on things so not to waste money as well as product. A nearby town is going to have a music festival next month. I hope to go to it. It will be free.

      1. Hi Brandy! Our Kroger affiliate (Fry’s) started a $.99 sale on cherries this week. I don’t know if the affiliates are rotating sales, or if you may be able to extend your amazing price for another week. I don’t buy cherries for Paul and me, but your mention of that price made the sale jump right off the page. My local grandsons absolutely love them, so I’m going to pass the info on to my DIL and SIL. I may buy a couple of bags for them myself, because they eat them as snacks.

        Also, I have a gardening question: I have a large patio and have played with flowers in containers before. This summer, I’m thinking about a few veggies, herbs, etc. The hot weather ones, of course. But I’m going to extend one of our dripper lines to the containers. What size emitters do you typically use? And do you water every day, or every other day? I have done a bunch of reading, but I would welcome input from you, because you do this all the time. Thanks!

        1. They need water EVERY SINGLE DAY. I use a drip line with emitters already built-in. I don’t know what size they are; it’s on the package, but I just use that one for the garden and connect them into a hose line with no emitters into the main water for pots as well. If I skip a day they will die.

          Not sure what you are planning to plant, but at this point, you can plant the following from seed: basil, Armenian cucumbers, pumpkins, summer and winter squashes.

          Smith’s (our Kroger affiliate) is having the same sale on cherries again too, starting today. I may get some more, but I’m not sure yet.

  28. I forgot. I also ordered glasses from Zenni. I am so happy with them! It is wonderful to be able to see. What a savings!

  29. We are very grateful for much needed rain. Our small horse farm had become so dry and dusty, grass was burning up in the pastures. NJ is in a draught watch which is not typical this early in the year. We rely on well water and with 28 horses, we go through a lot of water. We ended up planting just zucchini in our garden this year, we struggled with the other vegetables we grew last year. I help run a food pantry and last year we rarely got fresh vegetables to hand out so I am hoping to have zucchini to donate. Our food pantry is very small, we hand out food for about 200 people a month. My youngest son who is 14 helps me make up the bags for the volunteers to hand out on Weds mornings. He is such a tremendous help to the pantry, the other volunteers are in their late 70’s and mid 80’s. I also make up bags for people that can’t always come on Weds mornings. and there is one older woman who has very little and struggles. She is 70 and was working for a very wealthy woman doing house cleaning, she was being paid $30 a week for 6-8 hours of work. I was horrified at how she was being treated and paid so little. Thankfully she quit because her back started bothering her because the multi-millionaire( who is in her early 50’s) was having this 70 year old woman flip her mattress for her. Just insane. Yet today this older woman was so grateful for getting the basic needs, toilet paper, soap, shampoo, toothpaste etc… she was worried about taking the big bottle of laundry detergent because she lived by herself. I told her it was fine, to take it. Just humbling how concerned this woman was for others after how poorly she had been treated. I will always make sure she has what she needs.

    1. Thank you for being so kind to this woman. My mom has always been a housekeeper. It’s such a hard, physical job that takes a major toll on one’s body, and does not pay well at all.

  30. I haven’t turned on the air conditioner yet, but tomorrow may have to be the day. We’ve opened windows at night to cool the house down and closed blinds and curtains when the outside air approaches the temperature of the air in the house. I don’t enjoy paying the high summer electric and water bills and I try hard to save where I can during the rest of the year so that I don’t stress too much over needing the air. I am a big wimp in the summers; give me winter! I can always put on a sweater and long pants when I’m cold, but I don’t feel like I ever really cool off in summer. I do appreciate my much smaller natural gas bill in the warmer months.
    I am trying to save as much as possible to offset my granddaughter’s preschool tuition. I was thrilled to get her into BYU’s program and look forward to her attending this fall.
    My son’s cell phone is so old that it will not work on our plan after the end of June. We discussed replacing the phone and he decided that he will use his work phone rather than replace his private phone. Small savings there, but a savings.
    Brandy, the pictures are wonderful and a definite bright spot in my week. Thanks for posting.

    1. Hi Jerri,
      We have old iPhone 4s’s & have a plan with Ting and have no problem. Maybe your son’s phone is even older, but in case not, I hope that helps.

      1. It’s a flip phone! He’s okay with only having his work cell. I have heard good things about Ting. Thanks!

  31. Hello Everyone!
    I had some good savings this week with Memorial Day grocery specials. I picked up all beef hotdogs, sausages, $0.88/lb. chicken thighs, cherries, butter, $0.15 corn, among a few other specials. The grocery checker congratulated my savings. 😂 We enjoyed some this weekend while other items filled the freezer and pantry. I don’t really find benefit to the Ibotta app. I only got $0.10 this week.

    I made a delicious sausage soup, homemade rolls, flaxseed sandwich bread, apple muffins, steamed broccoli from the garden, Swiss chard, eggs, London broil and leftovers made steak salad. We’ve been really good about using all the leftovers, even if we each have a different dinner.

    My garden is really coming alive! I can’t believe the difference between the tomatoes planted in red mulch vs. those planted without. I already have flowers and green tomatoes! Typically I don’t get anything until late summer when our heat arrives. I pulled out bolted veggies and direct sowed carrot seeds, planted Bush shelling beans and winter squash starts that I grew. Next year I would like to plant pole shelling beans to better use my raised bed space. This week we enjoyed carrots, chard, beets, broccoli, aspabroc, celery and a few raspberries from the garden. I’m really happy with a new variety of broccoli seed, Fiesta, I tried this year.

    I also colored my own hair, listened to free audiobooks on Hoopla, and podcasts while gardening. I returned something for a refund. Lastly, it was cold this week in the 55-62 degree range. I threw some wood in the stove to avoid using the heater. I dislike being 🥶!

    Have a blessed and beautiful June!

    1. After all their rigamarole, I have (hopefully!) deleted my Ibotta account. They sure make it difficult; you can’t just uninstall the app, or just delete your account, but have to submit a help ticket to them and wait for a response. I can’t believe they charge $3.99 a month if you’re not using it. I think that’s unacceptable. It wasn’t working well for me at all and was a huge hassle to use besides.

      1. I used the Ibotta account a few times. It drove me nuts. I have quit using it. I haven’t noticed them charging me for nonuse. I will have to go re-check my account to make sure. *sigh* It isn’t a savings if they are taking your money for not using them.

        1. They sent me an email about it and I was rather put off by it. I was going to just delete the app (such a hassle, and I don’t buy anything they have on there anyway) but I had to do more.

          1. I uninstalled them on my phone.
            I haven’t tried to uninstall on my computer yet.
            I got sick of the constant barrage of emails from them.

      2. Thank you for this information! I used it for a while, but it is a hassle. I didn’t know they charged for non-use. I looked it up and you are right! I have submitted a help ticket to cancel my account.

  32. I love reading everyone’s comments. They are so encouraging!
    We live on 30 acres in the mountains of Western NC so never lack for things to do, especially outside and especially this time of year. Gardening and mowing and weed-eating are a constant activity that takes the majority of a few days a week. We have also recently begun taking care of the yard of a neighbor. We do this as a family and my children receive pay for their work. They have been doing paid work for about 2 years now and have a great entrepreneurial spirit. This extra income really helps lower our grocery bill and helps the boys have even more in their savings. My boys really are very good about saving and being content with what they have thought they do come up with interesting questions at times. The latest one was, “What good is making money if you can’t spend it?” We talk to them a lot about needs and wants and having a balanced approach to life (saving for fun things and activities is fine but one can only have as much stuff as one can take care of, etc.) as well as the fact that one must exchange hours of one’s life for things that are bought so it needs to be really worthwhile, etc. Any suggestions on how to further encourage good money habits would be much appreciated!
    I am blessed to have always received many plants from neighbors and friends in trades or for free and much of my gardens are the result of this wonderful exchange. However, this Fall, I would love to plant quite a few more bulbs (particularly daffodils.) I have a meadow garden that has a few but would love to add more. My birthday is in the Fall and I think having friends and family over for a bulb-planting party would be great fun. My question is this – I have been receiving lots of email offers for discounts on pre-ordering Fall bulbs. Is it a good idea to do this? I wonder if bulb companies sell out and pre-ordering this far in advance is really necessary? Any advice from fellow gardeners would be much appreciated!
    We had a lovely Memorial Day cook-out yesterday with my parents and some dear neighbors. Everyone brought lots of food so we have leftovers to last a few days and many memories to enjoy. My in-laws will be with us next weekend for a celebration of my FIL’s birthday and we are very much looking forward to that time. I bought some ingredients for the feast on sale this past week and others are in my pantry so the cost is minimal and will yield more leftovers. Where would we be without leftovers?
    While visiting my in-laws last week, we went to a near-by Amish community to purchase strawberries and for my FIL to check on a wood order he has made with them to build a fence at his house. It was a wonderful experience and my children’s first time meeting Amish children. I was struck by the scene of them talking to one another – one group in straw hats, blue shirts and dark pants, the other in shorts and Tshirts – but both groups barefoot and smiling from ear to ear. Some things are just universal. As a home educating family, we love experiences like this and this visit spurred lots of questions and research. My FIL had told this particular family we visited that we lived a lot like they do even if we dress differently and it was nice to see how welcoming they were to us. We will enjoy going back to visit them in the future.
    I hope everyone is enjoying beautiful weather with lots of time to enjoy outside and hang your laundry on the line (one of my favorite things about this time of year.) Blessings to all!

    1. Yes, you should pre-order your bulbs. Do your research on bulb companies. I have been getting ads for one company lately and they have some really pretty flowers, but the reviews were quite bad. I have ordered from some companies and received tiny, moldy bulbs that never grew.

      While doing research for good, reliable bulb companies years ago, I came across Van Engelen. They are a bulk company that has low prices, large bulbs, great quality, and bulk amounts. (They have a smaller sister company called John Scheeper’s for those who like to buy smaller amounts). I have been ordering from them for 17 years now. They usually start taking pre-orders in June, but this year they started early and did not send out catalogs (I have noted that other companies are doing the same; why go to the expense of a catalog if you don’t need to, I’m sure they are figuring). They don’t charge your card until fall when your order ships. They will sell out of things early some years. Many flower companies are selling out very early since the pandemic. They have had a ton of orders. So, order now!

      1. Thank you, Brandy. I have looked up Van Engelen recently after you mentioned them a while back. It looks as if they have beautiful plants with great reviews. On your advice, I will check them out again. Thanks again for the advice!

      2. Thank you, Brandy, for the company recommendation! I ordered 150 summer snowflake bulbs to plant in our woods. I never could have afforded the price at other companies! I already have daffodils planted in our woods, and am looking forward to these flowers joining them! Just need to remember how excited I am when I am digging 150 holes to plant them! 😉

        1. I love that the prices are less and the bulbs are larger (about double) from other companies.

        2. Susan, I hope you see this since it is Monday again. You can buy a big drill bit for planting bulbs (that’s a good search term online) that is fast and easy if your soil isn’t too rocky. Under $15 and more than worth it.

    2. I just placed orders for my daffodils and tulips. We moved to a new home and I really want to get some bulbs planted so next spring there will be lots of flowers! If you have something very specific you want — a particular tulip variety or hyacinth color, for example — you should order asap before they sell out. If you can live with any variety, you’re probably okay to wait a few weeks. I like quantity instead of specific color/types, so I look for the bargain bags with a lot of bulbs. I usually bookmark the things I want from several sites, put them in my cart, and wait a day or two. Sometimes they’ll send a free shipping code or something to sweeten the deal. This year I ordered from John Scheepers, Dutch Bulbs (free shipping over $99) and Michigan Bulb (10% off fall preview).

  33. -I saw my first hummingbird on my bleeding heart. I made hummingbird food ( sugar water) and got it hung up. I just make 4:1 water/sugar solution. I leave it clear, the red food coloring is not good for the hummingbirds.

    -I got my tomatoes and peppers picked up from the greenhouse I order from. The tomatoes are all ready a foot tall, lush and green. They mostly start heirlooms. We order and pay in advance and then pick up in May. I ordered: cherry tomatoes-sun sugar and sun green (sweet but green in color)/ plum tomatoes-San Maranzo and Roma/ Slicers-Cosmonaunt Volkov and Grosse Lisse/ Yellow slicer-Kellogg’s Breakfast. Also 14 pepper plants-jalapeño, fooled you (taste like jalapeño but no heat), red beauty, yellow and orange lunchbox( small ones), Jupiter (green), Orange Bell, and Early Sunsation (yellow). And lastly 2 basil plants. These got planted this last weekend. Now to keep up with the weeding and watering!

    -A friend shared some white lilac starts. They are in the ground. I made a set of potholders and dropped them off with a thank you card! At $20 each for the 8 starts, $160.00 saved. The potholders were made from my stash for about $10.00. Think I got the better end of the deal!

    -Got some thrift store finds. I had a 30% off coupon. Bought 2 yards of heavy Waverly cotton fabric with a fruit design for $2.50. I roll hemmed it and it is a beautiful tablecloth. Some name brand red sandals, never worn (tags still on) for $5.00. Also 2 shirts for $2.00 each, a couple of patterns for $1.00 each, a bag of spools of thread for $1.00, a bag of buttons on cards for $1.00, and some trays for my dehydrator-$2.00 for 4 of them. Good buys!

    -Meals were: asparagus soup with BLT’s; pheasant egg rolls with fried rice; nachos; grilled ribs with German potato salad, and watermelon; grilled hamburgers with oven fries; and several days of leftovers.

    -Good buys this week a very large watermelon for $2.99, whole wheat hamburger and hotdog buns (12 count) for $0.99. I bought 3 of each and froze them. And 2# pasta boxes for 1.50 ( limit 2), pint of half and half $0.99 (limit 2), and 5# potatoes for $0.69 ( limit 2). I bought the limit, and I froze the half and half for later use in soups. Otherwise not much else on sale I can use, so much processed food and I mainly cook from scratch with canned or frozen items. So much more economical.

    This next week will be a weeding week in the garden!

    Have a great week!!

  34. Greetings everyone!
    I hope that everyone was able to enjoy the long weekend – we had a lovely few days together with family!
    Our niece’s graduation party was held on Sunday and we had the most lovely weather for it. Temperatures had been in the 90’s but it cooled to a high of 75 for the party with high blue skies and a lovely breeze. I have never seen weather like this is GA for Memorial Day so this was a lovely blessing. I made a trip to our Farmer’s Market ahead of the party to pick up many of the fresh items that we needed for rock bottom prices. I purchased 85 ears of corn for $18, a bushel of Roma tomatoes for $11, 12 bell peppers (both green & red) for $6, and 3 dozen jalapenos for $3. Many of these items are being grown in our garden as we speak but sadly were not ready for harvesting just yet. We had a lovely party with plenty of food for everyone. The leftovers were split between three households and we have plenty to keep me from cooking for at least a few days.
    I froze several batches of fresh corn as well as the remainder of the strawberries from the shortcake to be used for cobblers, smoothies or what have you later on. I sent my sister’s stepmom home with home canned peach salsa, field peas, okra, home canned tomato salsa, and several kinds of pickles to enjoy. I will be canning the pineapple that was left over from the party as well and should be able to put away a couple of quarts to be used at a later date.
    We paid our credit card off in full avoiding interest and any late fees. I used a coupon to save $4 on Zyrtec for my son as he has had some allergy issues this past week that were undoubtedly stirred up with the dust and debris cleaned from our duct work by the HVAC contractor.
    We harvested sugar snap peas, new zealand spinach, cilantro, and basil from the garden this week. I spent several hours tying up the large limbs on our tomato plants and trimming back any suckers from the plants. We have a tomato jungle growing and honestly I have never seen tomato plants grow this well. God willing we should have a beautiful harvest in the next few weeks. I spent additional time weeding and watering now that the seeds I planted have germinated and all the rows are evident.
    I cut flowers from our yard and brought them inside to enjoy including gardenias, hydrangeas, vincas, lantana, daisies, bee balm and coneflowers. the bunches looked like wildflowers and I really enjoyed them. I have a pink and white candy striped rose bush growing in my front yard which gives the most lovely fragrant blooms. It has been struggling these past two years but is blooming well this season and I have cut a small clipping to see if it will root so that I can transplant it. The blooms have a wonderful scent when they open so I am hoping that this will work.
    We reorganized my work area and the dining room and kitchen purging several items that we no longer need or use. I took stock of the jars and lids that we have and discovered that I have all I need on hand for the upcoming canning season.
    I hope that everyone enjoys a wonderful week ahead! Blessings to all!

  35. We are finally getting some warmer weather here, so I have been tending to the vegetable garden. I replanted things that didn’t come up. I also planted radishes, green onions and basil. I’m trying to squeeze in as many veggies as possible in my space, without making it too crowded for the plants.

    *Dehydrated more mini marshmallows for my sweet snacks. Baked bread, made homemade pizza, stir fry, tortilla roll-ups, meat cheese and veggie trays with what I had in the fridge,

    *This is the last week I will have to do online grocery orders, as I will be considered fully vaccinated his weekend. My last grocery order was missing over $15.00 in toiletries and had 2 cartons of eggs that were about to expire. I had to make several calls to get the $15.00 credited, and I will still use the eggs. Can’t wait to get back in the stores! One place I will be able to really save money by shopping in person is on lunch deli meat. My son and husband are big sandwich eaters. Before the pandemic, we bought whole deli hams and deli beef roasts at business Costco and sliced them ourselves with our meat slicer. I have not been able to order that meat online, so have been buying the pre-sliced packs of deli meat for over a year. I will save almost $20.00 a week by going back to slicing out own deli meat. That will be a big help with my grocery budget!

    *Got free exercise and stress relief by pulling weeds this weekend! I had a lot of areas that had not been touched since we moved in last August. It was so smoky here from the wild fires last fall, that I couldn’t work outside.

    *I needed a new phone charger. My husband went through our box of orphaned cords and found one that works on my phone! Yay! free charger!

  36. I went to Sam’s and got 10 lbs of ground beef. I am going to start mixing it with the venison in the freezer so I can use up to venison without so much of a gamey taste. They didn’t have the fresh tender cut chicken pieces I usually get, so I will stock I later. I have breasts that I cut in half so they aren’t so thick and will use those up.
    * I got my grandson on Friday. I will have him a month. We met in Wetumpka, AL and were able to see some of the places from the Home Town Takeover show.
    * My grandson is easily entertained. We walk the dog, and swim in our neighborhood pool. I bought a bike at a garage sale. Last night my husband took off the training wheels and is working to teach him how to ride. I have cars and books from garage sales. He like helping water the garden and see things grow. We play Go Fish and memory card games. I bought muffin mixes so he can make muffins. And he loves getting in my big soak tub with bubbles.
    * We went about 20 minutes to Tennessee line to Dog Days Market. I got some of Mama’s American Fosteria glasses and dessert cups. I got green apple and Gala apple trees for $10 each. I also got two blueberry plants loaded with berries for $10 each.
    * I just bought a huge bag of miniature Hersheys for Smores from Sam’s. We have an outdoor fireplace so we roasted marshmallows and sat by the fire. It got down to 55⁰ which is not normal for us this time of year. My son came over for Memorial Day and we grilled pork chops. I made green beans from home canned beans, rice, deviled eggs, and fresh corn on the cob. Usually I would do more, but I kept it simple and what I had on hand.
    * I am walking, trying to increase it a little every day.

  37. I am so happy for your camping trip! And the fire pit! Are you familiar with “bread on a stick” or bonfire bread? It’s my favorite fire pit food, we make it all the time. I will share my receipt with you in case you want to try the Norwegian version(danish one is a yeast dough):
    – 4dl (American 2cups) flour
    -0.75dl (5Tbsp) neutral oil
    -2tsp baking powder
    -2tsp sugar
    -0.5 tsp salt
    -1.5dl (half American cup) water
    – you can add seeds of any sort(optional).
    Probably one would need to double it up, for more people or just because it is so good! I know that the measures are weird. Ok here is the danish yeast one and instructions on how to bake it (same for both) https://nordicfoodliving.com/danish-bonfire-bread-snobrod/
    This weeks accomplishments:
    – I sewed a few pairs of shorts for my boys from fabrics I had on hand.
    -I planted seeds for variety of beans, sunflowers, butter squash, poppies.
    – I cut lilacs from my garden to enjoy inside. My house smells amazing!
    -my neighbor gave me some peony’s roots that she dug out from her garden. They will start flowering in 5 years, hopefully. I am very happy about those!
    -I shopped sales like a pro this past week! I put what I saved towards pantry restocking.
    -I treated a cold sore with colloidal silver, which saved me from the need to buy an anti viral cream. I am glad it worked. I got a bottle of this silver from my enthusiastic mother and I was happy to give it a try.
    -My hubby took my 9yo for a night in the forest. They only took sleeping bags and were building a dwelling, looking for water etc. (they took sandwiches and some granola bars). They met a baby deer in a field and could observe it from up close as they checked if it was ok. It was such a nice experience for them!

      1. you can make Bannock and wrap around a stick as well. Or do pizza dough, wrap around the stick, roast it and then spread with melted garlic butter.

    1. My dear grandmother, who was Norwegian, passed away two years ago and I miss her dearly. This recipe reminds me of her so much! She was a true outdoorswoman and I am glad she passed that on to me. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  38. The Monopoly game sounds so fun, and something I’d totally get into if we had something like that here.
    Hope you’re enjoying the fire pit! We used to go camping often, and the campfire was our favorite time. My husband is trying to convince me to go tent camping. I’m more of a glamper though. Happy to be outside until it’s time to go to bed…then I want my own bed, not a sleeping bag.

    I mentioned before that my husband and I go to yard sales every weekend. It’s our “date” each week. On Friday, we found an outdoor furniture set — exactly what I’ve been looking for–for $100. The cushions are worn, so I do need to replace them, but goodness they are super expensive! I’ll wait to see if I can catch some on clearance at the end of summer. We can live with these for now! We got some outdoor lights to put around the deck railing. We have spent every night outside until well after dark, just talking with the kids and enjoying the breeze. It’s so nice. It feels like we’re on vacation, but we didn’t even have to go anywhere. I love it! I ordered some scented petunia seeds and plan to make a few new hanging planters to enjoy out there in the evenings. I’ve never tried growing petunias from seed before.

    We celebrated our 23rd anniversary on Sunday by going out to eat (we have eaten almost all other meals at home lately, so this was a treat.) I used a free-appetizer coupon plus a discount card for 10% off. We saved enough to pay for the tip. It was nice to go out, but honestly I generally prefer eating at home. I felt sick for 2 days after eating out. Just not used to the greasy, rich food I guess. I’ve been cooking more meals from the pantry and freezer to try to use up some of what we’ve stashed over time.

    Yesterday my husband took me to a new greenhouse that just opened down the road from us. Well, I guess it has been there, but it is under new management. They had zucchini plants already blossoming with tiny zucchinis (about 3 inches) growing on them. I looked for the pots that had more than one plant in them — found one with 3 good size plants in it. Before reading this blog, I never would have thought to do that! The cucumbers I tried to start from seed never germinated, so I got a starter of cucumbers as well. These also had multiple plants, got 8 for the price of the 4-pack. I also found a Juliet tomato, which I have not grown in many years. I’m excited, I love that variety. The greenhouse offered a 10% discount if you “like” them on Facebook. They’re having a grand opening this weekend with some $30 make and take classes — hubby and I plan to go to one together. It will be fun, and a nice way to support a business.

    I’ve continued to pick salads from the deck pots. My daughter is loving having a daily salad! We finally got a couple of rainy days. The rain combined with the heat made my zucchini plants triple in size, and my sugar snap peas grew several inches. I planted green beans, peppers, and several more tomato plants and pruned the lower leaves and stems. The pruned pieces rooted quickly in water, so we’ll soon have a few extra tomato plants to stick in the garden. I’ve got some more seeds starting in little plastic containers…squash, edamame, and beets. The previous owners left a wooden box on top of our deck wall; I peeked in it yesterday and saw some dried strawberry plants in it. I guess they must have used it as a strawberry planter. I am going to go back to that greenhouse and get a few new strawberry plants to tuck in there!

    I made chicken broth from some of the bones I’ve been keeping in the freezer. It’s nice to empty out some freezer space! Ended up with about 15 quarts total. Unfortunately 5 of the jars (luckily pint size ones) did not seal, out of 3 canner batches. I have never had that happen before. I don’t know what I did wrong, or if my lids weren’t good. They were brand new lids that I bought last year. I caught 2 of the jars and froze the broth; missed 3 of them and had to throw it out. I hope the other jars are okay…they sealed and seem fine. Hoping some experienced canners can tell me!

    1. Dianna, first of all you used a pressure canner, correct? If they aren’t sealed put in the fridge or freezer. They can sit out up to 24 hr and still be used if not sealed. The next day take the rings off your sealed jars. Make sure the flat lid is on tight. If it is you are good. If not then refrigerate or freeze. Hope this helps.

      1. Thanks, Julie! Yes, I used a pressure canner and followed the other guidelines you mentioned. I am new to canning (just learned last year) so I’m still pretty intimidated by it.

        1. Don’t be intimidated! Good for you for learning! The more you do the easier it will get. I can about 400 jars a year. I have a large garden and buy produce when in season and cheap or sale meat and then can. Saves me lots of money!

      2. It has been weeks and weeks since I posted last, I believe. Our youngest is still living at home and got the virus, we were able to get meds and he is doing great. Our daughter got it in South America and is doing great as well, no lingering symptoms! We ate at home and our daughter dropped off some produce for us during that time.

        Now our daughter and family are here from South America for two months and things are lively again around here. We are still trying to line dry our laundry, cook from the pantry, read library books, run the whole house fan, garden and enjoy family time. For Memorial Day we had hot dogs, bought on clearance, various salads and homemade berry cobbler and chocolate cake. After dinner we all played kickball and had a lovely time being outdoors. Both my hubs and I agreed it was a wonderful gathering. My daughter and family have been living there for 4 years and it looks like they will be there for another 8 years with trips back here annually or semi-annually. She washed up the kitchen items I had been storing for them, and my son and his fiancée and I picked what we would like. I got a bowl to replace a cracked bowl and it has a lid to boot, and a cake stand. I am sad they will not be moving back like the original plan but grateful for their generous extended trips when they come!

        I bought some more stevia and cilantro to extend what I have, and have been rooting tomatoes and have a dozen extra to plant. I had a bounty of chard and swapped some out for two dozen free range eggs from a friend. The zucchini is just started to produce as well as the cucumbers, the lettuce, kale and chard are bolting. I planted some more radishes in the shade of the cukes. My daughter and granddaughter are making a chocolate zucchini cake with the first one. Strawberries are done and now we are waiting for the blueberries and wild blackberries to ripen. It has been a very dry spring and am hoping we get some rain soon, it is starting to warm up this week.

        Brandy, your photos show amazing progress. I am so impressed with your artistic eye and the hard work you all have been doing to make this a reality!

  39. Those blackberries look so delicious!
    Let’s see if I can remember last week. I worked 3 days and brought breakfast and lunch all three days.
    We got most of our garden in. Planted green beans, replanted beets and carrots where they did not come up. Planted 5 rows of corn, 2 1/2 rows of tomatoes and half a row of peppers in our row garden. We still have two more rows of peppers (I think) to plant. It’s pretty hard on me to plant tomatoes and peppers in the row garden. Our soil is extremely rocky, so it hurts my 67 year old knees. We hilled our potatoes. By putting them in a raised bed this year, rather than in the row garden, it is so much easier. No rocks. Transplanted 28 lettuce plants from the “grow bed” to a raised bed.
    Made homemade baked beans in the crockpot, as well as cole slaw and potato salad to go with our Sunday BBQ. My son and his new wife came over for it. They are in the process of clearing out her house to sell, so we wanted to ease things for them a bit. Made homemade hot pockets. some with pepperoni, olives and onions and some with sausage, olives and onion. YUM!!!
    Changed the bed from flannel (winter) sheets to cotton blend (summer) sheets.
    Picked lettuce from the “grow bed” to have on our hamburgers on our Sunday BBQ.
    Made “cherry bombs” and brownies for dessert to go with the BBQ. Cherry bombs are cherries, dipped in melted white baking chips and then dipped in blue sugar. They’re very tasty and festive.
    Hope everyone has a great and productive week.

    1. My husband got knee pads to work in the garden. I used them the other day and I could kneel without any problems! You might want to consider buying some to wear while gardening.

  40. Imagine you will get much use out of your firepit. Your blackberries look scrumptious! Thrifty actions this week include finding a navy blue Lilly P tee ( on my list to look out for when out and about) for 4.00 (originally in the store for 89.00) at the thrift store. Preparing for granddaughter and our book read of ” Little House in the Big Woods”, with odds and ends for a lapbook. My entertainment this week has been evening bike rides, visiting with neighbors, and I just picked up The Kitchen Front from the library. Everyone have a great first week of June!

  41. Hi Brandy, things in Florida are well. The temperature has not heated up fully to the warmth of Summer despite it being the first of June. That will change in the coming weeks. But we are enjoying the respite from the warmer heat and the higher electric bill.

    I am almost done renovating a home. It is a second home I purchased and have been fixing for over a year. I am nervous to sell the house as I love it and picked everything from the tile to the paint colors. But I believe I will be letting it go in the pursuit of debt freedom. I have mixed emotions about this. However, when the future is uncertain, security can bring comfort. The housing market also continues to rise which makes selling more enticing.

    I have limited my spending in the last month as I paid the electricians in full and anticipate paying plumbers for finishing work. I have packed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch when I have not brought leftovers. We have stopped eating out completely and have cut back on grocery shopping in favor of eating out of the pantry.

    I continue to read about food shortages and other shortages here in the US. I am considering stocking up my pantry significantly which is good for a number of reasons including as preparedness for hurricane season in the event we’re without power for a few days, having a stockpile of water and shelf stabilized food is wise. I continue to read articles about rising food prices and think I will buy case lots at Aldi a discount grocer with a very good selection. Items like canned corn, green beans, peaches, etc. I haven’t intentionally stockpiled since I was a couponer several years ago, and that was based on sale match-ups. I plan to research more of what should go in a pantry to be ‘well stocked’.

  42. My youngest daughter is engaged. We didn’t think this day would ever come for her. Marriage has always scared her to death. *laughing*
    She is planning a smallish wedding in October. She and her sweetie will be paying for everything. She told me she didn’t want to spend tons and tons on one day.
    Now…if we can just figure out how to “put on” a wedding and reception “on the cheap”.
    I have ordered my over the counter “drugs” for the month. This comes with my insurance and is “free” to me. It is a wonder to me that I didn’t use this the first year I had the insurance. What a waste.
    We are getting food from “Farm to Family” every month. This month we received a bag of oranges, a dozen eggs and a large amount of cheese.
    I guess they had food left over because they went to the school and gave food to the children that said they needed food. My grandson brought another bunch home. This is allowed since his mama lives here too.
    With school now out we are saving money on gas, wear and tear on my 20 year old car and most of all time.
    We are still adding to the garden every week. I don’t know how to save my seeds, but I will learn. I bought all heirloom seeds for this reason.
    We have all had our 2 Covid shots except my grandson. He has his second shot next Monday. Soon we will feel safer.
    I am still making quilts and other items to sell in my Etsy shop. I don’t sell much until the fall, but I hope to have a “store full” by then.

    1. We attended a wedding reception just a few weeks ago. This couple is having two receptions in two states (where each person is from).

      The bulk of the funds appear to have been spent on photography–and I know the bride has several friends who are photographers, so that may have been a gift. The bride and groom did photos in their wedding clothing ahead of time. They printed three large canvases to display at the wedding, which I am sure will hang in their apartment later.

      They had an album made of their photos that was a printed book with blank spaces between the photos for guests to sign as their guest book and wedding album rolled into one.

      They had the reception in the backyard of another family who has a larger backyard than they do. They hung string lights, which may have belonged to the host family.

      Dinner was a buffet on one side of the patio. They served thin-crust pizzas that were cut into small rectangles. There were many pizzas, and I’m pretty sure they were grocery store pizzas. They were quite good and the smaller sizes meant less waste and the chance to try more flavors. I know that many store-brand pizzas have this type of variety, and that’s likely what they bought, on sale.

      They served salads in individual containers. They had fewer salads as not everyone would have a salad.

      They had three large containers for drinks. One had limeade, one had water, and one tasted like cherry seven-up with orange slices.

      They rented a few chairs (it appears; they could have been borrowed from the host family or another family) and small tables with tablecloths.

      They had a videographer there, who I know is a friend of the bride (a college student).

      Nicer paper plates, napkins, and plastic cutlery were used.

      It was really very simple. The backyard was pretty (not fancy, just well-kept) and there was a pool. They floated fake candles (led lights) in the pool.

      I really enjoyed the simplicity of the entire event. It was beautiful and not overly decorated. I felt like it was the nicest reception I have attended in a long time, and I am certain it was the least expensive and most simple one, too. I liked that it was outside on a beautiful evening.

      1. They are getting married in October.
        Right now they are thinking of marrying at their home (they are buying a house in the next month…hopefully) or at my 10 acres.
        We are planning a barbeque…it is Texas.
        Photos and flowers are up in the air.
        The cake will be made by her sister who is a professional baker.
        That is as far as we have gotten at this point.
        I appreciate your help…and anyone else that wants to suggest something. *smile*
        Thank you.

      2. They can do what we did–get married in a Baptist church and have the reception in the basement (no alcohol allowed, LOL). We had a cake and punch reception. I realize this is much less than most people have now, but the marriage has lasted 53 years and counting. This type of wedding was very common when we got married and it suited us.

        My son and daughter-in-law were married less than 4 years ago and spent about $2,000, including the following–
        * a 3 piece business suit for my son and DIL bought her wedding dress online for $300.
        * they got married in their backyard, which happened to be along the river in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Not many people have this scenic advantage! But lots of people have nice backyards!
        * the reception was planned for their backyard with borrowed tables and chairs. When rain was forecast, it was moved to a free community room.
        * they bought their flowers and cake at a grocery store. Because the wedding was outdoors, this was only the bridal bouquet and boutonniere.
        * they invited only close relatives (mainly parents and siblings) and even closer friends, about 30 in all.
        * the bride had one attendant.
        * the bride’s uncle (a talented amateur) took photographs and lots of the guests took pictures with their phones.
        * they ordered pulled pork and coleslaw from a local restaurant.
        * I made a small punch bowl of pasta salad and my husband and I bought 4 cases of Coors beer (see comment about Baptist church, LOL) and a couple of 12-packs of soft drinks.
        * Barbecue was eaten on paper plates, etc. Because I don’t like wedding cake served on paper, I brought glass snack plates (bought for under $1 each at thrift stores) and we used silver-colored plastic forks (order online). I packed up the plates and took them home to wash in the DW.

        It was a lovely and joyous wedding that suited them perfectly. Except for the beer and homemade pasta salad, the bride and groom paid for it themselves. Because they didn’t go into debt or spend all of their ca$h on a fancy wedding, they were able to buy a home 18 months later with a big down payment.

        PS They did not receive a lot of wedding gifts as a result of having such a small wedding. But they’d both been on their own for years (he was 39 and she was 44) and they didn’t really care about this. They did not open gifts at the reception.

        Of course, Becky’s daughter and fiance could always elope, the way Winter and her husband did!

        1. For our faith, cake and punch receptions are standard (as well as no alcohol). The pizza and salad at the reception we just attended was extra to me!

          We also had no bridal part for our own wedding, and our flowers (for us and our parents) were all from the grocery store florist. My husband wore a suit that he had but rented a vest and tie.

          1. The day of our wedding, my husband could not find his shoes anyplace; all he had were old sneakers. I dug around in my closet and found a lovely pair of cowboy boots a previous boyfriend had left behind so my husband wore them! They were so comfortable he used them for years, until they gave up the ghost. Our marriage has lasted 38 years, and we still laugh about the boots. Years later the old boyfriend came by for a visit while in town and I introduced them and we told him the story. He said he many times regretted our parting and wished he had been the one wearing the boots at the wedding–sweet, but since he has been married four times to my one, I think I made the right choice.

        2. My daughter will be 43 in August and he will be 39 next month.
          He is buying the house and Windee is bringing a houseful of furniture.
          When she told me she didn’t want to spend the money on a big wedding I was glad. I told her that she wanted a marriage…not a wedding.
          I don’t understand starting your life together in debt for a big wedding and honeymoon.
          Thank you for your ideas.
          By the way when I married my late husband (her papa) it was a cake and punch reception in the church basement too.

    2. I once was recruited to help make wedding favours. The bride to be had collected flower seeds and we packaged them in small glassine envelopes that were decorated. I personally don’t think favours are necessary but a day of my life was spent making these.

      I think a buffet is a great idea but I would have one person serve items to reduce common handling of serving utensils to reduce the risk of covid. Many dessert items could be made ahead.

      Whatever she does, I recommend that one of the goals should be to minimize work right beforehand so everyone is not exhausted.

      1. She agrees with you about the work.
        She is the youngest of 4. She has watched the family do many things for her siblings weddings. She said she wants us to enjoy her wedding since we have waited so long for her to love someone enough to marry them. *laughing*
        I am growing many more pumpkins for decorations.
        She ordered her wedding gown yesterday. It only cost $99.00. We are hoping it fits. It is lovely.
        I really like the idea of seeds for favors. Thank you.

        1. I think pumpkins or decorations sound lovely. It would be interesting if an inset could be carved of a bride and a groom (like a cameo set into the pumpkin). So many things you could do with a cornucopia, harvest thanksgiving theme. The seed packages could be done before the last minute so could not be a stressor.

    3. My husband and I were married in October of 2014. Our wedding day is one of the most beautiful memories that I have other than the day my son was born.
      We had our wedding in the backyard of a friend who lives on 10 acres with a pond. Another friend sang two songs during our ceremony and then DJ’d for us when we danced a bit following the ceremony. We borrowed tables which we placed in the backyard. By keeping our guest list small we could have a more intimate event. Another dear friend gave Stouffers Lasagna and Caesar salad & another friend gifted us with a wedding cake. We rented tablecloths for the tables and purchased glass hurricanes from the Dollar Tree. I decorated the tables with burlap runners, pansy seedlings wrapped in burlap, and pumpkins. The property had many large oaks and we gleaned acorns that had fallen from the trees. I spray painted the acorns gold and scattered them on the tables along with white pumpkins – I also spray painted a few of the pumpkins gold as well. The hurricanes were full of candles and there were tea lights as well. I spent $300 on my dress, we rented my hubby’s tux, and we had no wedding party. I spent $300 on all the wedding flowers including my bouquet, my hubby’s boutonniere, and the flowers that we used to decorate the cake. It sounds odd typing it out but it was so lovely. I am of the opinion that the wedding day is small in comparison to the marriage and as long as you are surrounded by the people that you love the memories are sweet. Blessings to them both as they plan and prepare!

      1. Angie, thank you for your memories.
        Windee is thinking along your lines.
        I will share your ideas about the acorns. What a good idea. I am growing 3 different pumpkins for decorations.
        I am so pleased with some of the ideas given here.
        Thank you again.

            1. I saw some acorn twinkly lights! I saw Angie’s comment about spray painting some acorns — I collected large oak leaves and dried them then spray painted them gold. Also, I was given something recently that I just loved. It’s called a mug hugger. It is about 8 inches long and 4 inches wide. It is quilted and you use it under your mug on the desk or the table instead of a coaster. I love it. Also I noticed that amazon has a set of 20+ small wicker baskets for about $11 (amazon.com not .ca). If you could make mug huggers, you could put them in little wicker baskets with a package of seeds and candy or whatever. (Just make sure your seeds are not from poisonous plants).

    4. Congratulations to your daughter! She’s so wise to be frugal for the wedding. We got married 23 years ago (just celebrated our anniversary!) and spent about $1500 total. Had my dress and bridesmaids dresses sewn by a local seamstress, a friend did the flowers, and reception in the church basement. I ended up having sandwiches & chips at our reception, but looking back that wasn’t really needed. We could have had the cake and punch only, and it would have been fine.

      We’ve attended a couple of weddings in the past couple of years that blew my mind. They were lovely, but so expensive. Fully catered BBQ meal, rented barns, handmade soaps and succulent cuttings for favors that many people left behind. Our family (especially my husband) HATES to have to linger at the reception. A meal and favors are unnecessary to us. We enjoy seeing the bride & groom, then we’re happy to head home. I think a lot of people feel that way. Several people were asking, “How long do we have to stay?”

      1. I understand your husband’s frustrations. My husband and I are invited to former college-student weddings. The church service– yes, we attend. Those are invariably lovely. Waiting around three to five hours in a strange city while the wedding party drives all over and takes photos– no. Supper receptions that seem likely to go on and on before we could leave, and cost the couple X dollars a plate for each of us, where we know no one but a few others–no.
        My favorite personal wedding touch was a former student friend whose groom and his father belong to Model T clubs. They invited anyone who wished to to drive their “T” to the church, and it was a gorgeous day for the twelve cars to drive together twenty miles on the route they had planned on county roads to the reception.
        So best wishes for designing a wedding that is just big enough, exactly what they want!

        1. Did they ride in the back? My parents own a 1924 Model T and belong to the club here. You have to take special lessons to learn how to drive it, as it has three pedals (one is reverse) and start is a button on the floor, like a tractor. I have never driven it as I don’t know how to do so, but I have asked if my parents would consider teaching me to drive it.

          1. I didn’t know that about the pedals! I’ll have to watch for that when I see movies or television programs with old cars, to see if I can tell how authentically they are driving.
            Pretty sure the groom would not let someone else drive himself and his bride in his car.
            Forgot to mention that the reception was at a park/recreation area, with both indoor and outdoor space, so people could socialize more comfortably than in an indoor hall.

      2. Dirk (soon to be husband) said a wedding he attended cost over $82,000.00. That appalls me.
        Windee said with buying a house she didn’t want to spend that kind of money on a “party”.
        I think having a very small wedding within their means is smart.

  43. Happy to report that I have several nasturtiums sprouting now. I planted them, zinnia, and bachelor button seeds before we had a day and a half of off-and-on rain, figuring that water falling naturally would water them more gently than I do with a hose. I also have some volunteer morning glories coming up; good to know what flowers like which soil and light combinations.
    Two of my iris stalks had fallen over, so of course I had to cut them to bring inside. The blooms are very dark purple, several on each stem. The strong smell is lovely, though I can’t figure out how to describe it.
    Husband and I cleaned out the gutters, a messy and wonderful loamy mix of soil from some winter leaves, maple seeds, and maple tree starts. I am using it to fill in a few places in the lawn where mystery holes have appeared.
    Our house has white vinyl siding and has a few puncture holes, such as from flying branches. I covered them up with neatly smoothed down white duct tape, which is less obvious than the holes are.
    I used some dollar off Cheerios coupons from the back of the box (such an unusual thing for a company to do these days!) to get cereal on sale for 88 cents a box. I learned when I started couponing to not count coupons twice, meaning that if I buy something that includes a coupon for a future purchase, I don’t count it as a savings until I actually spend it.
    Our new-to-us vehicle gets better gas mileage and has a bigger tank than our previous one, making it feel like we are saving lots of money by not having to fill it as often. Even in our small town, I try to combine driving errands, and certainly do so when we have to go to a nearby city.

  44. The berries look lovely. It sounds like the garden installation is in the home stretch!

    I discovered a charge for Kids + on my bank account. My husband accidentally signed up for it on his Fire Tablet. I called and got it cancelled and they refunded the current month’s charge.

    I contacted the VA and they will be replacing my husband’s yard sale wheelchair with a new one, this month, at no charge to us.

    I ordered baby boy clothes for less than half their price, using sales and promo codes. The clothes were a gift for a first birthday for our grandson. He’s the only boy after a string of girls, so some non-girly wear is much needed.

    I’ve been picking blueberries from our bushes. They are one of my favorite fruits.

    I divided up an African iris in our little brick pond. It’s a really cheap way to get new plants.

    I painted a small wooden box I’ll be using daily, using paints, primer and clear finish that I already had. The box was a gift to me.

    Once again I found few sales when shopping for groceries. I did the best I could. I enjoy reading the ideas here, to help me think outside the box to save money.

  45. Brandy, I keep hoping for more garden update photos ;). Hint hint ;). Even piles of dirt look interesting. On the frugal side, I bought and frozen more chicken breasts and hamburger meat, in anticipation of higher prices. Prices were not nearly as low as former Memorial Day sales, but I still found both for less than $1.80 a pound. Our new neighbor, at no charge, installed eleven new LED lights (to replace old fluorescents) a few weeks ago at our house. I had asked him for electrician names and he said he would do it himself. He wouldn’t accept anything, food, gift cards, for his work. Luckily, we found a way to help repay his kindness. He and his wife are gone for three weeks in June and so I will pick up their mail and walk around the house and yard to keep an eye on things. It is wonderful to have kind neighbors! My husband canceled his planned june motorcycle trip with three guy friends. He and I will take a different trip in early September. Hopefully motel prices will be lower in September, they were crazy in June…places that would be $79 normally were $179!!!!! When we added up the motel costs, it cost far more money than it was worth. By a long shot!

    1. It looks a lot the same right now. I am trying to get out there before 8 am and after 6 pm to work. It is just so hot right now! I am trying to install drip irrigation lines and still am planting and bringing in soil.

  46. I do not like garage sales. I’ve only been to two in my entire life. I feel very uncomfortable looking at someone else’s discards as they sit there. But I recently discovered 2 thrift sales at local churches. I like the impersonality of it and both had great prices. I live in MS and got some MS themed iced tea glasses for 10 cents each that retail for $17 and some coffee cups by MS artist that sell for $38 for only 50 cents. Plus tons of gently used books for 25 cents. My mom loves place mats, paid 25 cents each for some from Pottery Barn that retail for $16 each. I will probably never go to another garage sale at someone’s home but I loved these at churches and can’t wait for the next one.

  47. Brandy I am glad you were able to harvest more from your gardens and plant some new fruit trees to give you more food for the family for years to come. What a blessing all the loss leaders were that you picked up at such good prices. So good you were able to combine errands to save more on fuel and time as well.

    Our Vicky challenge added up to $96.19 in savings last week 🙂 .

    In the kitchen –
    – We baked 3 loaves of wholemeal white bread in the bread maker saving $10.47 over buying them locally.
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    In the gardens –
    – We split the remaining pine firewood for fire starters and stacked it.
    – DH cut the larger ironbark firewood logs in half so we can fit them in the log splitter to fit. The logs were 45 – 65 cm across in diameter so the log splitter was having trouble splitting them being so large not to mention they were so heavy to lift too.
    – We sprayed around buildings, fences and paths for weeds.

    Purchases –
    – By buying Schweppes sarsparilla on half price sales and a carton of coca cola on specials we saved $21.25 on usual prices. I also will get a 2000 everyday rewards bonus point promo by spending $40 on these and a few other staples we needed for the home.
    – Bought 6 sherpa jackets on eBay for myself and DH for $24.25 saving $64.47 over buying them in our local shops who are charging $35 + each.

    Finances –
    – We added more money to our 6 month emergency fund bringing us to 69.96% of the way there to our goal.
    – We added more money to our home maintenance fund. We only now have $66 odd dollars to save to get our 2 house stumps replaced, the home leveled, shed beams reinforced and the 2 broken ceiling panels replaced. I have negotiated a far cheaper price by offering to pay cash.

    Hope everyone has a wonderfully productive week ahead 🙂 .

    Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

  48. I lined dried all washing, kept electricity costs to under $18 for the month, read books from the library, took bike rides, ate mandarins from my mandarin tree and went for a picnic.

    I also got a friend a gift for a birthday, $40 marked down to $15 at a jewelry shop.

    I got extended on my contract so will now receive an extra 17.5% pay for an additional four weeks.

    Meals this week were fish, vege, brown rice, macaroni with cheese and ham, pancakes, pikelets, strawberry cake, sandwiches, steak cooked on the grill, smoothies, almonds, watermelon, boiled eggs, mandarins, spaghetti Bolognese and bananas. Lots of Bolognese sauce frozen too.

    Have a good week.

    1. Does your electric company have a minimum fee per month? Just my minimum fee and taxes (not counting any usage) would be over $18. That’s amazing!

  49. Going through Brandy’s site I ordered vitamins (soft chew so I can hide med pill in it) for the dogs. I only use this vitamin for pills otherwise they take the cheaper one (helps the 2 old boys with hip issues also), a small food processor, men’s tee shirts on clearance for me for daily use (couldn’t find them in the colors I wanted in women’s) condiment dishes as we are wasting condiments just pouring it on the plate or bowl and daughter 2 had swiped mine that I had for years so her boys would quit wasting LOL. Plus I got new prep bowls * chef here * in a smaller size AND we got a new bread knife. It’s suppose to cause less crumbs, not sure that is happening because M’s bread gets pretty crumby after a day or two. BUT we both like the handle (small hand vs large hand). So it’s a keeper.

    I went to the store after doctor appointments . Got non food for M as the local store was out of cleaning products she needed and she knew we were going to another town so asked if we could get it for her. We got 2 dozen organic cage free eggs for the trip. I got several types of cheese. shredded, sliced and block… Kroger’s had sales with digital coupons and I had paper coupons. We should make it until Aug at least before we need a “cheese run” I also got hamburger and hot dog buns. Footlong buns and footlong dogs (won’t make trip to ice cream store for a footlong now). I got hotdogs (freeze on tray and then bag) brats (cook partially and freeze on tray and bag) and smoked sausage (quick go to meal is mac and cheese, smoked sausage and what ever veggie is coming in from garden). I had an $1 coupon for blueberries… 18 oz that normal price is $4.99 they were marked down to 2 for $4 . I ended up with the 2 packages costing $1.50 each…. Total savings was 27%.

    We do the old stand by, curtains open/shut; dishwasher only when full; clothes washed in cold water with homemade soap dried on drying racks or clothes lines; doors and windows open/shut and furnace/AC on/off which both has happened in same day as a couple days started in the low 40s and the high was mid 80s. When the 13 yr old boxer pants laying still.. AC comes on at 78-80. Then it’s turned back off when the sun goes down.

    We applied with our mortgage company for a refinance loan. It should drop our interest rate to half plus we won’t have the costs like we would if we went to another mortgage company. Our mortgage guy checked first how long we would have to NOT pay off the mortgage (as he knows that is our focus) to make refinancing worthwhile. He is waiting on the final amount to let us decide which way we go… He ball parked a savings of over $50,000 even with adding the refinance costs in ( we have option to add it or pay it, we usually pay it upfront but it will depend on how much) .
    Meantime I am back to seeing were I can cut MORE.
    Blessed Be

  50. Hi Brandy,
    Just saw the instagram video of the garden! It is fabulous, amazing work with the walkways, circles, lights and gardens 🙂 Just beautiful, thank you for posting the udpate!

    1. There’s still so much left, but it’s starting to look like something!

  51. Brandy, I am glad your family got to go camping. I hope you and your husband got to relax some after all the work on your new garden design. I am sure the children enjoyed playing in nature.

    Some thing I accomplished this week are:
    Got car inspected

    Strawberries from a farm.
    $1.49/lb. pork loins. None at the first store. Got a raincheck. Decided to try another store.
    Pineapple. Cherries were a spurge as we never have good prices on them. Other needed items.
    Fresh eggs and Asiago Sourdough bread from the Farmer’s Market. I have never had fresh eggs. Grandparents only had a garden then.

    In the Kitchen:
    Chopped vegetables
    Divided deluxe cheese slices

    Crock Pot–Pork Loin, fried apples
    Baked–Cheeseburgers for 4 meals, meatloaf, eggs in muffin top tin
    Made– Ham salad, carnitas
    Froze–Strawberries (mostly whole, some halved and sliced), cheese, carnitas except one meal, cheeseburgers

    I did a lot in the kitchen this week. I froze all the strawberries. I hope to get more. I found some I didn’t know I had and there may be more. I found them when I was looking for something I bought a couple days before and neither guy remembered putting it up when they put up groceries while I cooked dinner. I moved a basket and there it was with extra strawberries underneath. I need get one of them to get the large cooler so I can find other things that may be buried when I could not go downstairs and reorganize. I made enough varieties of jam last year to last a while. I will only make some if I get fresh plums. I am going to concentrate on the vegetables and tomatoes this year. The asiago bread sounded good with spaghetti.

    DH and DS made a Reuben casserole while I was finishing strawberries one night.

    DH made the weed killer and the first time he sprayed some to test we could tell within 3 hours it was working. I hope it works on some long grass that was blown into several properties a while back.

    I added some floor exercises to my routine. I can tell by where I was a little sore the next day that they were needed. We went on a couple long walks; one to a part of the trail that has a long gradual slope down a hill. We went farther than I had been in 2 years and DS was worried I could not walk back up. I knew I was O.K. but teased him about them just having to carry me back up. Everything was fine although we did stop several times nearer the top as the sun came out when we were coming out of the dense woods and it was very humid and hot all the sudden. It had rained the night before and was cloudy all day and actually cold in a couple spots going down. We will go to the bottom next time. There is a very old house in the distance near the end that hasn’t been lived in a very long time with no roads leading to it. The very bottom overlooks a creek and has picnic tables. We stopped one day at the entrance mid way of the 6 1/2 mile trail where there is a bike barn that lends out bikes and helmets (we have some). We found they are open two weekday times instead of just the weekend. I want to ride bikes again. If I have to walk it some for awhile that’s fine with me. We have always loved riding bikes and cannot take ours since we sold the truck. I hope everyone has a wonderful week.

  52. I enjoyed seeing the new garden video. the design is very european in style! Lovely!

    It is hot here so I stayed inside and worked on the unending book.

    I bought several things from Safeway on its buy one get one free sale.

  53. My most frugal accomplishment is likely cancelling trip for DD and I to Europe in August. DH will likely have his hip replacement in August we just heard. I will wait awhile and see what date he is given as I have a $399 companion fare for our daughter and my sister lives in Germany so on the off chance we can still go ( Europe opens up, need vaccine passport and the cancellation of Covid quarantine hotel on our return, surgery is later) it would be quite an economical trip-if you can say Europe and economical in the same sentence. It has been very hot here this week but now we are getting a cool down and some rain expected. Our tomato plants have been out for about 10 days and were decimated by the wind-however I think 2 or 3 might make it which will be plenty for hubs and I.

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