I sowed seeds in the garden for chives and hollyhocks.

I took 100 cuttings from hedges in the front yard to make new hedges in the backyard.

I collected shower warm-up water and used it to water potted plants in the garden. With our new water rates, this feels more imperative than ever in keeping the bill down. I know people who are reeling from their water bills, and these people only have 2 adults in the home (a couple have very little landscaping–one has rocks, two trees, and a few bushes; the other has a patio-sized yard with potted cactus and succulents). Any water savings is helpful to prevent/reduce fines with the new rules.

I harvested lemons from my garden.

I made lemonade from our lemons.

I went to the store for a couple of things and was yet again shocked by the rising prices. I came home determined to work even harder in the garden to grow more food for us.

I accepted a box of piano books from a neighbor.

I read The Plus One by Sophia Money-Coutts as an e-book from the library using the free Libby app.

I figured out some new clothing combinations to give more variety to my outfits–a simple thing that cost nothing but gave me pleasure.

I gave away some things that were taking up space in my house and preventing me from keeping things as organized as I would like.

The ignitor in my oven went out. We had to replace our old one two years ago because the ignitor kept burning out immediately even after being repaired. The new one (a different brand) has now gone out twice in two years. Thankfully, the company has a four-year-warranty and they sent me a new one at no charge, but I fear this may become a yearly replacement that I have to purchase after the warranty expires. In the meantime, I made more meals using my crockpot.

I mended a skirt.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. Such a pretty color of roses. Though none have been sown, I went through my flower and herb seeds, and decided which ones I want to winter sow, and found the pea seeds, which I plan to plant this week. While the oven was going for sweet potato pies, I added two butternut and a spaghetti squash to bake. New squash recipes were tired, and all were good. The ends of GF bread were placed in a pan to dry in the oven, for future bread crumbs. I’ve been regularly starting alfalfa sprouts this year, to supplement our salads. I made suet for the birds, using dehydrated bits left from canning tomatoes and grapes. For dinner on a cold night, our garlic and veggie broth were used with chard. Another pie was made on Sunday, and a sweet potato casserole for dinner, along with salad and home canned lima beans. I saw a post about cleaning the washing machine, which I’ll admit, I rarely do. I was able to pull two pieces from the top of the agitator and wash them, wiped down the drum and outside, then ran a hot water wash with vinegar. It definitely looks better. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2023/02/early-february-on-homestead.html

  2. Breakstone sour cream, 16 Oz, normally $2.79 each was on sale at Krogers for $1.99 each BUT if you bought 5, it was only 99 cents each. But wait!! There was an ibotta rebate that gave me $1. Each for those 5 sour cream containers. So, basically, I was paid 5 cents to buy 5 pounds of sour cream and saved $13.95 over their regular price. So $14 saved!

    I also bought 2 half gallons of milk that were reduced because their sell by date was 6 days away. And, Drum Roll , I found a YouTube video that actually helped me successfully make yogurt in my Instant Pot! https://youtu.be/cl2s8Sdvr8U. I am so pleased!! And for just under $1 to make over 48 ounces of Greek yogurt is splendid, imo (especially after seeing the prices at the store!) I’ve tried before with mixed success but this has given me confidence to add this to my weekly routine!

    To make more meals from my food storage without buying ingredients, I made some Bacon Ranch Chicken Wraps (oh, SO delicious!) https://pin.it/1hEgxsu. With these wraps, I put them in fridge and after an hour, I cut them in half rather than in pinwheels. One of the halves is satisfying as a lunch or even dinner option!

    I also made Cheesy Ground Beef Taquitos that we absolutely loved. Following the recipe,I got 9 big taquitos! Again, 1 taquito was a perfect portion for each of us! https://pin.it/30MeUmP.

    I took a bone-in pork roast (5 pounds) out of the freezer and into crockpot where it became part of a pork roast dinner with some of my basement stored potatoes and frozen peas from my garden. It was quite tasty, but since there are just the 2 of us, I chopped up the rest of the leftover roast in my food processor and used half to make BBQ pulled pork (just adding BBQ sauce and ketchup) that we put into some free croissants we were given for a tasty meal.

    The other half was frozen plain into a ziploc and may become carnitas later on!
    I made a batch of 9 pancakes the other morning for breakfast so the leftovers will go into our breakfast rotation (or freezer) for quick meal!

    Also on the baking side, I made 2 big loaves of Pineapple Cranberry Zucchini Bread. https://pin.it/lh4XVdK. Now here’s the thing. These are “need to be used” ingredients at my house. In the same way, I drool over Brandy going out and picking lemons from her back yard or my friend in Australia picking bananas from her tree, these ingredients are ones that I have available without having to run to the store and that I also need to rotate. It has a lot of ingredients and while I just go out and “pick” the eggs from my chicken coop, the others I have bought on massive clearance, or, in the case of the coconut, I was given a 20 pound box that was part of a food auction a friend went to but none of her family ate coconut! I promptly thanked her and packaged it into vacuum sealed jars. I’ve been using it for about 5 years now and am finally getting down to my last few jars! So, if I were an advice-giving sort, I’d suggest that your food pantry will look different than mine or anyone else’s and that’s okay! Just rotate what you store by eating it regularly and find ways to use them by googling the ingredients for recipes. That’s the way to be frugal or prudent!

    Finished quilting a new client’s king size quilt. It’s been 6 years since she started it for her son & DIL as a wedding present but just got the top finished because she didn’t like the neutral colors DIL had requested- all greys and whites. So now, for their 6th anniversary, she will have it finished! https://pin.it/4i2Cj4Y and https://pin.it/4XBB0mP. Now I’m quilted a returning client’s Christmas quilt she plans to give as a gift. https://pin.it/45bUzXC. My daughter/business partner quilted the second Christmas quilt she dropped off. https://pin.it/ni6TBpO.
    So business is continuing! And we are grateful for that stream of income.

    I’m looking forward to Spring arriving but lots to do in the meantime!! Hope everyone is staying safe and warm if you are still in the bleak mid-winter!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

  3. The flower pictures are lovely and you’ve inspired me to try to propagate some of my plants this spring. Not the Mexican petunias because they do just fine on their own, but other plants.

    My daughter and son-in-law shared some chocolate covered oreos, pretzels and graham crackers from a vendor on the Zola wedding website. They’ve been married for over 2 years and decided they should really use the $50 gift card someone gave them when they got engaged a year before that. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I’m not objecting because they were really good. Think of it as one of those platters you would rarely if ever buy for yourself but would send as a gift to someone out of town. They used a number of other gift cards as well and had the packages delivered to me rather than left at their apartment door.

    The only money I spent this week was the TurboTax fee for filling my federal and state income taxes. I’m getting combined federal and state refunds of just under $400 after the fees and saving it for the spring festival season. There is a huge one in my town that covers many blocks and attracts vendors from all over the south, followed by a quilt show, a rose festival and an iris festival all within 90 minutes of my home.

    I did go out to eat on Sunday for my birthday but my sisters paid for that. I’ll be doing the same for them when they have their birthdays later this year. I brought home some of the shrimp from my low country boil dish to eat on Monday.

    I’ve begun gathering supplies and containers for starting seeds indoors this week. My mostly southern gardener tip of the week is that if you get take-out or bring home leftovers from Waffle House, both the bottom and lid of their containers make excellent drip trays for potted plants. This is a mostly southern tip because that’s where most of their restaurants are located.

    I finished the two books I mentioned last week and then listened to several books this week including Executive Power by Vince Flynn, which Debby in Kansas mentioned last week, and The Russian by Ben Coes. The latter is a good read if you can totally suspend your belief in the powers that the president of the United States has based on our Constitution. It’s not the first book I’ve read that has taken great liberties in this area but I enjoyed it. I’m now listening to Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus on Hoopla. I’m only 30% done with it and I’ve both laughed and bawled but I’m really enjoying this book. I’m trying to remember where I heard about it. If it was one of the commenters here, thank you. Fair warning: There is one episode of sexual assault that is less than a paragraph and not graphic at all. It’s mentioned for context of how Elizabeth fought back and wasn’t able to join a doctoral program back in the early 1960ies because of that.

    Free entertainment was watching the feed cam at https://hdontap.com/index.php/video/stream/forest-critter-cam-poland. This is a 24 hour camera in Poland and the owner keeps the feeder well stocked so animals come by 24 hours a day. There are many varieties of birds, very few of which I can identify, and l enjoy watching them along with the squirrels, deer, boars and other critters. There is almost always activity during daylight hours and some at night so it’s also a good one for kids.

    Have a great week everyone and stay prudent.

    1. Thanks for the tip on the wildlife cam! We share the same wildlife in Germany, so I identified European tits (great tit), jay and woodpecker. I will save that link.

  4. Hubby and I got Covid middle of January. It was our first time. It kicked my b***. I still get tired easily. Hubby is back to normal.
    My sister came to get her dog this weekend. We watched him for the week. She was coming early in the morning so I told her to stay for breakfast(ahead of time). She said she would bring eggs and bacon. Well she showed up with eggs, 2 packs of bacon, a gallon of milk, OJ, blackberries, strawberries, grapes and a loaf of brioche bread. Hubby’s birthday is next week so she brought a small cake, GF cookies for my daughter, coconut cookies and banana bread. She went way overboard but we will happily eat it all. I won’t have to bake anything this week. She then gave us a 2 bag of chips and 2 jars of salsa and a 6 pack of beer for us for the Super Bowl. Plus she gave Hubby a birthday present. I refuse to take money for watching her dog so she goes a little crazy on treats for us.
    Even though I was sick I still was able to make bread in the bread machine. Our son was amazing and cooked us dinner every night but 1. Hubby wanted Chinese so we got it. Our son would call me after work and asked what we needed. He ended up going to the store to get milk, eggs, bananas and lettuce. Our youngest daughter went once also and did my food shopping. I gave her a list. Several friends offered to help but the kids took good care of us. We did go through a bunch of free Covid tests. I was glad we had them.
    The lady I help cleaned out her pantry. She is trying to eat better. She gave me 3 bags of groceries. Lots of snacks. Some were open and some weren’t. I have cut back on buying snacks with rising food costs so it was a nice surprise.
    I heard Fetch is having some issues so I cashed out my points. I got 2 $25 restaurant gift cards and a $5 gift card. I don’t know if it is true or not but I would rather be safe then sorry.
    Have a wonderful week everyone.

    1. What issues did you hear about for Fetch, if you don’t mind sharing? I did notice that the points needed to redeem has gone up.

      1. People on Reddit were saying they are having some financial issues. I don’t know if it is true but I didn’t want to lose $45 in gift cards so I cashed out. I am still using Fetch. I just will cash out when I have a small amount.

    2. Thanks for the info about Fetch. I cashed out my points (about 8500) just in case. I hope they don’t go under because it’s one of my favorite cashback apps.

  5. My husband is looking for a different job and will be taking a significant pay cut (he’s been taken advantage of and his mental health is a priority in this decision). I’m obviously not going to go into details except to say that this has been a difficult few weeks and we’ve been running a lot of numbers to see how best to make this work. I’ll be working more hours at my part time job and we’re trimming the budget as much as we are able. He has a few weeks of vacation banked so that’s another blessing. I’m especially grateful for this blog and community for all the tips, creativity, encouragement, and support ❤️

    *my mom gave me some magazines, a candle, soap, air plant, and treated me to an early birthday lunch (I had enough for lunch at work the next day too!)
    *6 large green peppers for $3 at produce stand. I diced them right away and put into the freezer.
    *returned a planner to Kohls (Amazon purchase) since I found one cheaper at HomeGoods. My daughter and I looked at clearance but didn’t see anything we wanted so we used the $5 Kohls cash for 2 free candy bars.
    📍Grocery Store: (Dollar Tree) caffeine ice water drinks, hotdogs, polish sausage, au gratin potato kits, pizza crusts
    📍Buy Nothing Group: large unopened can of coffee

    Take Care ☺️

    1. Marybeth we too got Covid for the first time in January we stayed in isolation for a week. Neither of us got really sick just really tired and cold like symptoms. We were thankful for a friend who brought us soups cookies and muffins from Panera and another friend who went to the store for us for a couple things we needed. I hope you continue to feel better each day.

    2. Marissa, good luck to your husband and your family. As Brandy said, it will work out. I turned 66 at the beginning of February, 2020, and decided to retire because I.had.had.enough! I still had a mortgage payment (will be paid off next January) and every financial adviser would say I should have had more money saved. I did not care because I knew I could make it work and I did/do. I don’t travel a lot, I have one TV streaming service for $5.39/month, don’t eat out nearly as much as I want and just enjoy a simple life. My stress level is SO much lower and worth more than things. I don’t know what your income will be and what you’ll have to cut but if it relieves his stress and you don’t replace that with stress over paying for the basics, it will be worth it.

      1. I’m so glad you’ve had such great results from making choices that work best for you ☺️ Thank you for the encouragement- I truly appreciate it!

    3. Marissa you and your family are in my thoughts weathering this challenge
      In 2016 we made the decision for my husband to leave his job due to the stress and danger growing every day and in 2020 my daughter’s fitness center closed after 30 years and her working there 17 years
      Fast forward I continue to work full time as a nurse and husband is home safe, daughter working per class- we are living way less but between son in law working alot and myself- we are doing fine…EXACTLY the thing that Brandy’s blog and this wonderful community help each of us through
      Best wishes

    4. Wishing you and your husband luck, Marissa. In 2020 my husband left a very stressful job in a toxic work environment for a different position and much less money. While we lived below our means before, we are on a tight budget now with debt and we don’t spend on extras (no vacations or huge gifts, for example) but it was SO worth it. He is happier, his health is better, and we actually have family time now. I am very grateful! I hope things go better for your husband.

  6. I love the pink flowers Brandy. What kind are they?

    My grocery store, Meijer, was offering a coupon for either $5 off $15 or $10 off 50 to use their shop and scan. Basically you scan your items as you shop on the app-not my favorite but I will do it to save money. I spent $87 for the week’s grocery items and it deducted both offers! After other coupons my total was $55. I was very pleased with that!

    A friend sent me a everyplate offer for some crazy amount off. I ended up getting 6 dinners for 4 people delivered for $44. This is not something we would normally order but for that price I was glad I did. All the meals included a meat and fresh veggies. The recipes were easy and so far they have been really good. I know I could have cooked my own recipes for less but it was a really nice treat for a good price.

    I picked up a box of vegetables from flash food for $5 and a 1/2 gallon of strawberry milk for 1.25. The box had 5 red bell peppers and 6 avocados along with a bunch of zucchini. I had bell peppers and avocados on my grocery list so it was a good buy.

    My sister-in-law asked for tips on how to save money. It was really fun for me to share all the things we all do naturally. They are trying to get their finances in order and I am so proud of her for making changes.

    Frugal fail–This is birthday season in my house. All of our birthdays are within a month of each other so it gets a little crazy around here this month! Our family tradition is to go out to lunch. My kids usually pick a fast casual type restaurant but my husband picked his favorite sit down. The total for 4 people was $93 with tip! It’s not a fancy place and we all had sandwiches or burgers. I about died! We will need to be more careful when picking our spots next year! BUT he did really enjoy it and we haven’t been there in a really long time.

    Have a great week everyone!

      1. Well, that was stupid! Maxine thought they were PINK. Maxine will go and lie down now. LOL

    1. Same here Corey. We just celebrated 3 of 6 birthdays this month!
      LOL over the restaurant meal. My husband’s choice for a birthday dinner was pork ribs (fancy baby back sort that I cooked myself $24 and corn on the cob (not in season) $8 for 4 ears…Served four with no leftovers. He took me out to eat and our two meals with no leftovers were $53…Not cheap anyway you look at it!
      Birthdays come once a year so I shall not complain. He took me out for my meal and the others in the family are 2 long distance away so no shared meals and 2 children who just want a birthday party at home.
      We repeat all this over a five week period starting at the end of May and going through June when we have 7 birthdays. Thankfully the others spread out over spring, fall and winter and don’t come in clumps.

  7. Loved your recipe for lemonade, by the way!
    It didn’t look ‘yellow’ — but was fruity and delicious. Whenever I opened a can of fruit, I added the extra juice to the mix — and it tasted even better. (I kept the basic mix, and stored it in the fridge. Whenever I want more, I just add water in a 3/1 or 4/1 mix. It lasts longer that way, too.

    It may be old-hat for you now, but still is much appreciated, Brandy. Thank you.

  8. What beautiful pink roses! And I love your selection of red Amazon products–red is my color!

    The past week has been just the usual frugal activities plus my husband’s new elimination and potassium diets (his potassium is too high). The latter eliminates about half of the fruits and veggies he could otherwise eat. So far, the only special purchases I’ve had to make have been oat milk, gluten-free oats from the bulk bins at Winco, margarine and Cream of Rice cereal. Otherwise, I’m using foods we have on hand. In order for him to have enough protein, I’ve really had to dip into the meat in the freezer…but it is what it is, and it won’t last forever (I hope). Thanks to everyone that commented on this last week!

    I paid my bills online (which is usual). I placed an order for $40 worth of OTC products for $0 through my husband’s Medicare Advantage plan. And I was gifted some English breakfast tea in a red tin box that looks like a British phone booth. It makes me happy whenever I see it!

    Best wishes to everyone here!

  9. Hello, All.

    This week, I planned all my meals around the daily markdowns at Grocery Outlet. Since it sells close to expiration dates, I never know what will be marked down to nearly give away.
    This was the menu:
    Pillsbury corn dog wraps ( .25) which I wrapped Adelle’s sausage with fresh fruit cups ( normally 2.00) and a can of Van De Camp beans. I only used two of the wraps. I am going to use the rest for a Tomale pie. Kraft 8oz cheese for 1.99 and sliced ham on naan mini “pizzas”. Also with the cheese, Simply Potatoes hashbrown casserole and maple precooked sausages. Smoothies with previously frozen fruit and veggies. .99 cent premade jello puddings.
    For a week of lunches:
    .50 Chobani Greek yoghurt with .99 cent box of pumpkin spice Special K cereal. Yum!!
    .25 Once upon a Farm fruit/veggie blends ( normally $3.00 What?????) . I hate the waste but it is so easy to get my veggies in at school with individual serving packages. But who can afford the regular price?.
    I could go on and on. Total grocery bill for the week $66.00 of name brand stuff and healthy. Yeah!! I must have it it just right.

    Non Food Accomplishments:
    – I reposhed some on on Poshmark that just didn’t work. Super easy to do. You don’t need to post anything. Just click a button
    – I made reservations for summer at 5 days state parks along the Oregon coast. I will camp in my car which I have outfitted with a futon, my old backpacking stove, window sleeve to open the windows without letting in the bugs, jumpstarter that powers everything I got free from a raffle, etc. . . I’ll be camping by myself so I promised DH to play it safe with state parks. I would try all the super cool sites for free on the site iOverlander if hubby was with me. I used to camp in just a tent but I state parks have changed so much since COVID I would not feel safe enough. With my car I have a car alarm after I look myself in for the night. I would use my free hotels but these sites are on the water. Nothing like drinking your first cup of coffee with the sound of ocean waves.

    Have a good week.

  10. My ex husband gave me my glass top electric stove when he wanted to upgrade in March 2012. So I got it almost 11 yrs ago. It is a Frigidaire. It was at least five years old when he gave it to me. I have found that the more simple the appliance (refrigerators I am especially thinking of ) the less it has that can go wrong. I debate getting a washer and a dryer all the time, but I see so many broken ones at the Laundromat, and have had so many of my friends have issues, that I am afraid to buy them. New appliances just don’t seem to last these days. I made dried lima beans for supper to go along with sautéed spinach. I am eating tomato and egg sandwiches for breakfast, and ham and cheese sandwich for lunch. Homemade roasted pumpkin seeds are for snacks. These are made from the pumpkins I got greatly reduced after Halloween. I walked in the neighborhood and at the local park. On the weekend,, I made my kid tomato soup and grilled cheese, hamburgers, tacos, and shrimp and rice from shrimp I got on sale. It is pitiful when shrimp is as cheap as eggs.I just don’t even know what to think.
    Kid has decided he doesn’t like chicken again. As an adult on the spectrum, as well as other major issues, it is hard to change his mind about anything. So I will have to gently reintroduce chicken to him again in a bit. He has either lost his job or walked out…. Sigh. We have to keep working on his impulse control, and socialization skills.

    1. Cindy – I understand your frustration with appliances. I’ve written here in recent weeks about our dying washer (despite our efforts to repair it) and our decision to purchase a Speed Queen TC-5. It’s a commercial washer, old-school, no bells/no whistles and it is wonderful. I had heard and read so many good things about it and they are all true so far. They are an investment, to be sure, but we anticipated the need and saved for it. Just wanted to mention that to give you more confidence that there are good appliances left and they are an investment that, I believe, will pay off. Would be wonderful to find one used but I can’t imagine anyone getting rid of one.
      I sense, from your comments this week, that a little encouragement could be useful. Just wanted to tell you to hang in there and know others send you their support. Things have a way or sorting out. 🙂

    2. Oh, Cindy, I agree with your frustration with buying the new fancy appliances. During the beginning of lockdown, my old worn-out washing machine broke. We went to Lowes looking for a simple one-button machine and there were NONE available anywhere – like within 300 miles. The salesman said everything was sold out because no one wanted to go to a laundry mat. All that was available were the high-end, fancy models that had panels that looked like the cockpit of a 747. We were desperate. To make a long story short – we spent a fortune and had to return THREE machines before we got one that worked right. Now that I have finally learned how to operate the machine, I love it but know the computer chips won’t last forever. When they break, finding replacements will be difficult due to the broken supply chain. My engineering son who designs machines using computer chips says he spends more time looking for chips than doing anything else. He has actually gotten store-bought products and removed the chips to go into million-dollar manufacturing machines! He said we have over-designed and over-engineered everything and nothing is user-friendly anymore. My son has repaired some of my appliances and every time I tell him, just glue an on-and-off button on the side.
      So Cindy, buying a used, old machine is now a good idea!

  11. Brandy I so wish I could send you some of our Guam water. We are in dry season here but even then we get 2 or 3 showers a week. I was so excited this week to teach a from scratch class to military spouses. I covered homemade yogurt, hummus, ranch dressing (using the yogurt) Ricotta (I’m so excited to finally have gotten Ricotta and a farm cheese to make baby curds. Our milk is Ultra Pasturized on island and you can’t get fresh we don’t have cows so I found by putting milk in a half gallon canning jar with a half cup of my fresh yogurt it has helped to make some small curds form yay! sometimes the commissary sells half gallon milk for $1.97 so it really makes it worth making the Ricotta and farm cheese. The farm cheese is similar to a crumbly feta. Feta is $8 for a small block here.) I also taught them how to make pizza dough and sauce, a white bread loaf, and Kings Hawaiian Rolls from scratch. We finished with a peanut sauce that I served with wings (I got 2.5 pound bags of wings for $2.99 because they were short coded) This group of ladies would now like a Instapot class and a water bath canning class. My A/C guy was able to repair my other board so that only ran us $400. My husband brought me back dishtowels, 2 duvets, and bathroom rugs from IKEA in the states. Those things are so hard to come by here. I did pick the other 30 pounds of bananas. The freezing continues. I’m lining my chicken pen with wire cloth to protect against predators we think a snake bit two of them that died recently. I’ve also captured 4 of the fatter wild chickens and have put them in with my regular laying hens. I’ve gotten eggs from 3 of them so far. My calamansi tree is full of fruit. I’ll start juicing those soon to freeze the juice for making a drink similar to lemonade. I also can a calamansi marmalade. My husband was able to install those whole house surge protectors when he returned from the states so hopefully no more broken air conditioners. I’m making several Asian stir frys this week with the mung bean sprouts I sprouted last week. I continue to get the daily emails from book bub. I promised myself at the beginning of the year I would only get the free books they offer. I’ve gotten 10 free books since the beginning of the year. Most the book deals they offer are .99 cents to $2.99 but I decided I needed to even cut that out. My fresh veggie bag I get from our CSA had lots of corn this week so I’ll be freezing most of it. Have a wonderful week everyone.

    1. Natasha, you taught your group a lot in one session! Was it a half-day or all-day lesson? I’m curious as I would love to do something similar to this where I live. It seems like many people can’t/don’t cook anymore. Cooking from scratch is certainly one way to reduce a food budget and improve the food that you are eating compared to all of the processed options. Kudos to you for sharing your knowledge.

  12. My main money saving accomplishment this past week was staying home, which I did five days last week. * We had a home date last Friday. My hubby went and picked up food from a place we had a gift card to. We ate at home and watched a show we like on Hulu. It was pleasant. * I finally got to cutting gift tags out of the 2022 Christmas cards. I got about a dozen. There was one card with such a pretty front that I saved it to frame for next year’s decor. * I decorated for Valentine’s Day using items from last year and from around the house, like some pink Depression Glass I inherited from my sweet mama. * Other than the gift card date meal, we ate all meals at home, including eating left overs for lunches and repurposed into new meals. * For a snack I popped popcorn on the stove like in the old days. Very thrifty. * For fun I finished a library book. Oh! I entered a contest with the library outreach program, for which I did a quick review of a book I had read. There was a drawing from people who sent in a review and I won! With my next book delivery I received a bookmark, little blank notebook and a cloth bag with the library logo on it. It was a fun surprise! * I finished two more hats with donated and extra yarn. * I taught a lesson about Jesus calling some disciples while they were fishing to my little class on Sunday. To make a fishing game I used some construction paper I had on hand with a paperclip attach. I made a fishing pole with a swiffer handle, string and a magnet. There was a question about the Bible story on each fish that the kids answered. It was a fun and effective little activity which cost me nothing but my time. * I made burrito bowls for some company last night. There were components left over (rice, black beans, corn, pulled pork, green onions). For tonight I put all the ingredients in a casserole dish. I made a cheese sauce with flour, butter, a small can of green chilies, a little milk and cheese. I blended that in, topped with cheese and baked for 30 mins. It was absolutely delicious. My husband said to put it in the rotation even if it’s not made of “leftovers”. Calling it “Burrito Bowl Hotdish”. Made me feel good to get the compliment, and to use up the leftover food in a creative, yummy way. * We used FaceTime to have our six-year-old grandson in Utah practice his reading with us. It was almost as good as being there! * I hope everyone has a great week. I enjoy the inspiration and friendship here so much.

  13. I love seeing your fresh flowers. We have had bitter cold temps. I still made it out for a walk or run every day, even when it was below zero with a windchill.
    My parents treated us out to dinner over the weekend. I share a lot of leftovers with them and they appreciate it. I also enjoyed a dinner out with my husbands company.
    I made sourdough bagels for the first time, they were amazing and pretty easy. I made muffins with pumpkins I curb picked last fall and froze. I had a lot of overly wilty potatoes, so I used them to make burger and French fry bowls instead of buying buns.
    Spent one day working at one of our commercial rental spots. I found some new to me yoga mats, books, pants that almost fit (I’m getting closer to my goal weight) and a dumbbell.
    I sold an item on eBay. My mom gave me some stuff to sell. I’m using a gift card from Christmas to order a new pair of shoes from our local running store. They have a lot of free group run events I enjoy so I try to support them.

  14. Brandy, I am with you on growing food. I have my vegetable garden planned out, seeds bought, and tomato plants ordered. Now for it to warm up and the snow melt so I can dig in the dirt.
    -I spent $9.66 on groceries this week. I bought two 8 oz blocks of cheddar cheese, a gallon of milk, and some oranges. I hope to limit the groceries to around $50 again this month and use up things from the pantry and freezer that are long past due to be used.
    -I used 10 jars of home canned food this week on my way to my goal of 40 jars. I’ve used so many jars in the last 5 weeks I had to make several trips out to my shed where I store my empty jars.
    -We used up some frozen spaghetti sauce, frozen soup, canned chili, and some pickles that needed to be used up. My list of must use foods are getting shorter. I have it hanging on the refrigerator where I can see it.
    -I was gone 4 days on a scrapbooking weekend with a friend. We went to her cabin and scrapped and visited all weekend. We watched “chick flicks” and ate homemade food and snacks. So very frugal as we cooked all the food, cabin was free, my friend generously offered it, we usually we pay $150 to go to a scrapbooking retreat, plus money for meals out. I only had to pay for the gas there and back and provide a couple meals and snacks. We had more fun doing it this way for way less money!
    -I was given a tator tot hot dish left over from a meal at church. It was in a disposable pan. I brought it home and froze it. I will use it when I have the grandkids in a few weeks. They will love it!
    -I am working on some heart garlands for my grandkids for Valentine’s Day. I hope to get them finished next week and sent with cards. I am using scraps of fabric and quilt batting for the project.
    -I am reading an Amish series from the library by Cindy Woodsmall. It is her vine and orchard series. There are 4 books, I am on #2. I also have read her Ada house series and summer grove series. I feel these have more substance and mystery not just the usual Amish story line.

    Have a great week!

  15. We picked up 2 free yogurts at Safeway.
    I made curtains for our son and DIL’s new house. I am the keeper of the family curtain stash. When someone in the family needs curtains they ask me what I have. Many of the curtains are white and so work in many houses. My DIL and walked through their new house and discussed which curtains fit where, and what needed alterations. I will also alter a very cute cotton shower curtain to be a bedroom curtain in my grandson’s room.
    A friend gave me her whole stash of scrapbooking stickers. I sorted some to keep myself (very few), some to take to grandson, and then gave the rest away on Buy Nothing.
    I sold 2 items on FB marketplace, and 2 items on ebay. One was a pottery barn queen duvet cover that was bought at thrift store and sold for $70 plus shipping! I brought home a couple of items from son and DIL’s house to sell for them.
    Our daughter is getting married in September. She and I talked a lot this weekend of frugal ideas for the reception. Officiants and wedding/reception space are both free since wedding is at the church where she is a member. My mother passed down her wedding ring to my daughter. The ring no longer fit my mother and it is lovely to see it used again. I told my daughter that I would re-sell anything bought for the reception that could be re-sold afterwards. I really have caught the re-selling bug, it gives me joy to see an item going for a new life with someone who wants it. Plus some money in my pocket, or my kids pockets, depending on whose item it was.

  16. Was home most of last week, we had winter weather come through on Monday and Tuesday, and the roads weren’t cleared up enough for buses to run until Thursday, so Friday is the only day that I worked.

    The kid made homemade pizza, sugar cookies, and chocolate chip cookies

    Received a $15 off $15 at Ace coupon.

    Earned $13.85 from Amazon shopper panel rewards

    I keep the big dogs food in a large metal trash can. I have a bad habit of just putting the new bags on top of the old ones. I cleaned out the can and had enough food for one dog for 3 days, and the other for 2 in the bags at the bottom of the can. I’ll reuse the now empty bags as trash bags.

    I like that we ditched satellite. The TV stays off unless someone is actually watching it now. Plus it saves $120 a month and there’s still plenty to watch.

  17. Such beautiful flowers Brandy! Thank you for sharing the pictures as we are months away from that in Minnesota.
    The local grocery store had 85/15 ground beef on sale for $1.99 lb this weekend. Took hubby with since there was a limit of 2 lbs.
    We cut through the chip aisle to get to the check out line. He was shocked at the prices and quite frankly so was I. Several brands of chips were $6.99 to $7.99 a bag . Wow! Who can afford that????

    1. We were just in Minnesota and we were amazed how nice they keep the roads even though there is a ton of snow. It was also fun to see all the snow mobiles! The snow is so pretty!

      1. According to MN DOT there are 800 snow plows operating in Minnesota. Not only that they have cameras so you can see the roads if you go to Minnesota 511. They do a great job of handling the snow but it’s often the winds that really cause us problems. It’s not unusual for some roads to be closed because they fill in faster than they can be plowed. Normally all you need is a little time (and some sunshine) and things get moving again.

        1. According to Google: Toronto’s 5,780 km of roads, 7,400 km of sidewalks and 776 km of bikeways and major trails will be cleared by a fleet of approximately 1,100 pieces of salting and plowing equipment. Twenty-four-hour patrols continuously check road conditions and staff monitor weather forecasts and pavement temperature.

          No wonder they have such a huge budget! And that’s just for the city!

          1. Margie from Toronto,

            Impressive! Calgary operates on a different philosophy which is more or less to wait for the next Chinook. We are all responsible for shovelling the city sidewalks in front of our houses. I note that the city has improved clearance on some of its main srreets, and curiously enough, I’ve noticed a plow doing our street this year but most of the side streets are still pretty rough. P.S. We are sending mild weather your way.

            1. Same rule here – you are supposed to clear the sidewalk around your property within 12 hours of the snow ending. I live in an apt. and the management office has a company that does all the walkways and car park. But – the city also runs sidewalk plows and they go everywhere along the main roads – makes such a difference!
              The minute they know a big storm is coming they position plows, salters and big machines to suck up the snow throughout the city.

    2. Sue– Chips, pop, and snack foods should be cheaper next week as a lead in to the Super Bowl. Not that that is very cheap compared to previous years.
      Tammy– your comment made me smile. One of the things Minnesota did/does is design roads to have room on the sides to put the snow when it is plowed off! States with older road systems didn’t plan the same way.

  18. Hello to everyone.
    As prices continue to rise, I am focusing harder on learning new skills and finding additional ways to deal with shortages and inflation. Now that the farm harvest reports have been posted with the USDA, it seems the shortages will continue through this year. The polar vortex storm that destroyed my garden also froze a large part of the (USA) winter grain crops. I was hoping prices would begin to drop soon but appears the road will be rocky for a little while longer.

    *Not having a garden with a bounty of winter produce and only shopping at my few local stores has been extremely difficult. My original plan was to eat one meal every day of either a salad, stir-fry, soup, or other side dishes. The garden would have provided one-third of our food through the winter. At least we have the canned food from the summer garden.

    *Cabbages were on sale for $.69 a pound and I bought four. One was cooked in broth, two were shredded for salads and the last one was fermented. I was thrilled to learn how easy it was to ferment! It was shredded, salt sprinkled on top then covered with water in a glass jar. A Ziploc sandwich bag full of water was floated on top to keep everything below water level. Last night I tried it for the first time. I added a spoonful of mayonnaise and it made the best coleslaw ever!

    *Apples went on sale for $.99. Not really a “sale” price but the old regular price. I saved the cores and made apple cider. It was easy. I covered them with water and a Ziploc bag full of water. It took a few weeks. I will use the vinegar for cooking but not for pickling since I can’t test the acidity.

    *I am experimenting with canning chicken with the bone-in. The flavor is much better since the meat cooks in the broth. The meat falls off easily and takes seconds to debone. Chicken legs do the best since they can squeeze into the jars plus they still go on sale very cheaply occasionally.

    *This year I have bought very few seeds and will make do with what I have. I saved some of my potatoes and have let them sprout to use as seeds. Also, I am trying to sprout sweet potatoes in a window so I can root their vines for starts. I want to avoid buying vegetable plants because I know the prices will be outrageous. Last year’s onion crop didn’t store long and I learned not all onion varieties are good for storage. Who knew?! They weren’t lost because I saved them by carmelizing them overnight in a crock pot and then dehydrating them. They were delicious and tasted like the crispy fried onion rings everyone puts on green bean casseroles. The dehydrator had to go outside on the porch because the smell was overwhelming. The onion broth left in the bottom of the crock pot was canned in jelly jars and used as a seasoning.

    *I follow this Youtube channel because Danno visits different grocery stores and compares prices every week. He can remember the price of everything, how much it has gone up, and which stores have the best deals. I only listen to the shows at the stores where I shop and skip through the cat food and paper towel sections. Everything he shares doesn’t always apply to my area but he is still informative.

    Thank you to everyone who has sent kind words my way these past few months. They have been very appreciated. I love reading this blog. I look forward to hearing everyone’s suggestions and as always, learning something new.


    1. Jeannie,
      I appreciate you writing about fermenting and making apple cider vinegar! I’ve never done either and I think I might try it! Especially the apple cider vinegar. But I love fermented foods so I really should try that too!

      1. Tammy, I watched some youtube videos and was surprised at how easy it was to do. The flavor is milder, which is something I really prefer. I emptied out the jar and now am trying red and regular cabbage with an onion – it is pink! It will be a few weeks before it is ready but the big question is…will my manly husband eat pink food?

        1. Jeannie,
          I think I will watch some Youtube videos as well before I tackle the fermentation or ACV. I laughed at the pink food! I think my husband would eat it happily. He loves fermented food as well!

    2. Jeannie: Thanks for the heads up on Adventures with Danno! I got a lot of info from watching. Do you know what area of the country he’s in?

      1. CherylB in Tennessee, Danno’s home channel says he is in Cincinnati, Ohio. I’m 50 miles south of Nashville, down toward Columbia. Mine and Danno’s Kroger sales are slightly different. Aldi’s sales seem to be the same. Dollar General and Walmart are about the same and of course, Dollar Tree is the exact same. His milk has been unbelievably cheap compared to mine. I listened to him this morning before shopping and he mentioned commenters were saying egg prices were beginning to drop. I looked around and found them at one store for $3.50!!!! not $6.50 like at other places. He mentioned that dried beans are going up so I bought two bags of red beans at Kroger since they were on sale. I like to listen to him while I am downloading coupons and planning my grocery shopping.

  19. We were blessed last week by a fresh produce market for low income households. We got a lot of broccoli, squash, apples, and blueberries. I cut up and froze all of it except what we could eat soon. Being diabetic and my numbers have been too high, I am working super hard on eating more fruits and vegetables and staying away from bad carbs as much as I can so this was a huge blessing with the prices of produce. I canned 6 quarts of apples today and saved a bag to eat fresh daily. I continue to use our local library for all my books and DVD movies which again is a blessing and saves us a ton of money. I’ve been following Jessica at Three Rivers Homestead No Spend Challenge and while I can’t do it completely I have been going through my freezers and using what is in it. Yesterday I found 3 cooked stuffed bell peppers and 2 chicken patties which is what we had for dinner. I pulled out a pack of chicken thighs tonight that I bought about a year ago W0w on the prices $2.01 for a 6 pack. That will be dinner tomorrow night. I am looking forward to seed starting here in the next week or so.

  20. The cold snap we, like much of the country, experienced has finally broken. HH and I were able to enjoy a snowy hike through the woods. The county park we went to was free. Since it was so very cold, the trail had not been used recently. We enjoyed seeing all the wildlife tracks.

    I brought lunch to work 1x-not great, but an improvement. My goal is 2x/week (4 day work week). I need to do a better job of packing lunches as I clean up dinner.

    I used a gift card to have lunch with a friend followed by a walk on the indoor track in town.

    I used a rain check and a 10% employee family discount to buy groceries. My daughter works at the grocery store during her college breaks. Her employer very generously extends the discount year round to each employee’s household.

    We continue to incorporate more meatless meals into the rotation. This week HH prepared veggie fried rice. Why is it that meals taste so much better to me when I don’t have to cook them?!

    We made plans with friends to have a drink and attend the high school hockey game. Instead of meeting at a restaurant, they came over to our house. We served beverages we had 0n hand.

    We used Kohls Cash that was about to expire to purchase HH some new socks.

    We are fortunate to have a professional theater company in our little town. They offer season tickets for incredibly low rates. We had a conflict this week on the evening of the show. I was able to exchange the tickets for another date free of charge. The play is Native Gardens by Karen Zacarias. I have not seen it before and have been looking forward to it-thankful we could exchange rather than give away our tickets.

    I continue to work through my unread book stacks. This week I enjoyed two thought provoking books, The History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund and Being Mortal by Atul Gawande.

  21. Lovely flowers. At first I wondered if it was a peony. I don’t remember your mentioning peonies. Do they grow in Las Vegas? I’m sorry the water situation is getting so bad that people are being fined–what a combination with needing to grow food because the prices are increasing so much. This week I was fortunate to get an online coupon from Fred Meyer for a free jar of salad dressing. Tomatoes were $1.28 per pound at one store, and I found two marked down salad products (a bag of lettuce for $1.20 and a large bag of kale salad mix for $3.05). As far as non-food items, I bought a Shark steam mop I have been wanting for a long time on sale at WalMart for $39. It uses electricity, but I won’t have to buy any chemicals for cleaning floors. I was hoping especially to avoid breathing fumes from cleaners. Using things that usually go to recycling or the landfill has been an interest of mine lately. I have been saving containers for someone who is starting gardening and wants to start plants. We got so much junk mail recently that I thought I should start cutting it up and stapling it together for scratch paper pads like I used to do so many years ago. My children who were always looking for something to use their scissors on are grown and gone though.

    1. Any water usage over 14,000 gallons in winter will incur a fine of $9 per 1000 gallons over. People are seeing an extra hundred dollars or more on their bills and it’s scary. The fines are per household; the size of the lot and the number of residents do not matter. So one person I know has a half-acre lot (with landscaping) and a pool. They have the same water allotment as someone with a 10,000 square foot lot and rocks and cactus (and that household, with just two people, went over 3,000 gallons). It’s hard because there is next to no rain here and most households don’t have much left that they can cut, rock landscaping and a few plants on drip irrigation being the norm.

      The local gardening groups are starting to discuss it. I’m sure, come summer, as we water more than one day a week (that’s the current winter amount) people are going to freak out.

      It’s definitely one way to get people to tear out their grass. The trouble is, most people already don’t have any.

      The flower is a rose, but I like rose that look like peonies. I have a couple of peonies but they only last a day here as it’s really too hot for them. Some years they burn immediately because it’s over 100 degrees in April when they bloom.

      1. I appreciate you sharing this. Since I live in a different state but not a different region from you, these types of figures are something to watch. We went to tiered rates not long ago, so I’m sure the penalties are coming. Any water updates, from you, are something I’d be interested in hearing about.
        Our locality has started a rebate program for people to remove landscaping. New builds are not allowed grass, both commercial and residential. I worry about the erosion and re-desertification in the area. Removal of the landscaping helps with the water but not the electrical grid and will create a massive heat island. It’ll be pretty unbearable without cool grass and shady areas.
        My yard is a significant 10 degrees cooler than my neighbors because of the plant structure and respiration rate. I’m careful about the watering but I know my consumption is more than those who have xeriscaping (most don’t use their yards or property for much of anything). We took out nearly all of our grass last year, anticipating the extended drought and the water problem. But my trees and garden areas still need water. It’s a tough problem to solve.
        Trying to balance being responsible AND creating beauty within the confines of reality don’t always mix well. 😉

  22. We did our income tax and owed a lot of money. A whole lot. I was so happy that we had the funds. But now we need to save for property tax in May because our account is almost depleted. While we are at it, we better save for next years income tax now or do something different so it comes out all year. We took a short business trip. One day there, one day recording, and one day back. But we enjoyed it immensely! I’m looking forward to getting the CD’s. We are hopeful that we can do something with the music. We have more to produce. It is so much fun! We are still waiting on propane, unless they came today. We didn’t check today. But we did see them at a neighbor’s house so we know they are working at giving people propane. At least we still have some. Maybe the price will be reduced as it gets warmer and it will work to our benefit that we haven’t got it yet! I am just glad we still have some. I am meal planning using mostly what we have so that we can save for bills. My sweet husband wanted to buy me shoes today. I thanked him but said no thank-you. I want to save for our future taxes first. It has been awhile since we have been this tight. I’m just glad we are still ok. We will need to start seeds soon. We would like a big garden. I lost so much weight that my dress didn’t fit for my son’s wedding. I found out the day of the wedding. I knew that I had lost weight, just didn’t realize how much! Luckily, I had a back up. The wedding was beautiful! It is so nice to see my child so happy and having fun! We pay bills before they are due or early so not to have to pay a late fee. We utilize the library. To stretch our budget and save, I will: meal plan, find free entertainment; find ways to make some extra money, stretch the products that we do have, wash full loads of laundry and dishes, not do unnecessary shopping and garden. The library and internet are great resources for entertainment and information.

    1. I also thought of a few other things we are doing. We are working at using beans, peas or lentils at least twice a week. I am going to reread your beans article Brandy for more ideas. I turn vegetable that are getting close to over ripe for soup. If it is bad I just throw it out. But I am trying to catch everything before that happens. Then I freeze what we don’t eat that day so that I have a meal for another time. Which is nice for when I don’t feel like doing any serious cooking. I just pull something out of the freezer and throw it in a pot. We are also trying to go through everything that has been frozen for awhile or canned goods that need using as well. I don’t want to waste the money we spent on groceries! Eating out is not happening around here for a long time! And that is ok. I’m blessed my husband cooks with me often.

  23. We have had a very mild week although we are expecting frosts and fog again next week. . While we had sunshine and a breeze I opened the windows and washed all the dirty clothes, bedding and towels and dried them all outside I have also washed all the windows, our house faces south and the sunshine heats the house saving heating.

    I sent sometime in the garden, I set up the water butts to catch water for the seeds etc. I have sown peppers, broad beans, cabbage, spinach, chard and lettuce in pots, they are on a window ledge also some potatoes in the greenhouse in pots for early potatoes and planted the garlic. I am still using our own potatoes, parsnips beetroot and green beans.

    I am back to making yogurt and fermenting apple waste for to make apple vinegar. Having finished the nut roast I have made some more. We have had chicken ,stew and shepherds pie from the freezer. I sieved my muesli to get the dust out and added the smallest pieces in the jar with hubby’s oat bran.

    The gas bill this month was scary, I am doing my best to keep usage down which is difficult when I need to have a warm house for hubby.. The shopping has gone up again, I think I have found another Aldi not to far away so I may shop monthly to save fuel. Daughter can get some things I can’t so we will work together to keep prices down I see her about once a fortnight. She lives over an hours drive away.

    Keep safe everyone

    1. Just saw tonight’s news report about UK Gas companies’ record profits!! Just disgraceful that they are allowed to make such huge amounts of money by charging such outrageous rates! I don’t deny that companies should be allowed a decent profit but these are out of control!

  24. Hi Brandy and everyone
    I’m with you Brandy on growing as much as we can to eat. I have been slowly expanding my repertoire of plant based meals and the internet is a blessing for ideas. My husband has been very good about accepting more veggie meals and I always tell him which homegrown produce I’ve used in the meal. He works hard in the garden so it would be shameful to waste it.
    Inexpensive meals this week were veg curry for two meals plus it was the base for soup and quiche which fed us twice.
    I made ten jars of marmalade for my husband. Seville oranges appear for a very short time so I was lucky to find them.
    It’s interesting to see the high end supermarkets competing hard on price for some goods, I bought eggs in M & S at £1 for half a dozen and bread cheaper than I can buy them in Lidl. You have to ignore all the other yummy things though!
    I cleared out the fire grate and spread wood ash around the base of several roses.
    I made a quilted fabric cover for a notebook for a friend’s birthday and embellished it with beads and buttons from the button box. I wrapped it in one of my charity shop new teatowels and tied it up with ribbon I already had.
    Our son in law kindly did a small electrical job for us. We look after their dog regularly so everyone’s happy.
    The sewing group I attend has a cake rota for refreshments and one of the ladies fell ill and couldn’t bring cake. I was able to fill in with Italian Limoncello biscuits ( cookies) from the larder which we had received as a gift.
    Our electricity use for January was less than the same month in the two previous years. Our monthly direct debit used to be £58 and it has increased to £132 because of the energy crisis. The government is giving households £66 a month to help out so the actual increase we had to pay was reduced to £8. However I think the govt assistance ends in March. Keep switching off!
    Stay safe everyone.

  25. It feels a bit more urgent to be mindful of our resources, doesn’t it? I think everyone I know is feeling this crunch.
    I cancelled any subscriptions that we aren’t taking full advantage of (Kindle Unlimited, Apple TV, Audible). All of these were joined as a free trial or very cheap trial, but it was time for them to increase to regular prices. I didn’t want to pay those prices, so made a note in my planner to cancel before we would be charged.
    We accepted free ground venison from a friend. I don’t like this plain, like in hamburgers, but in anything with flavoring (tacos, spaghetti, Salisbury steak), it is very good.
    I did our taxes and all our children’s taxes using the free H&R Block website. Two of the three of us have already received our taxes back.
    We always plan on using our income tax back to pay for our maintenance fees for our timeshare. This is a savings for us – we get a full week of vacation for less than $500. We have a kitchen there, so we cook every meal except for one dinner out. We look forward to it every year.
    I received a $10 rebate that I will put towards a bill, and I paid extra to the principal on our car payment.

  26. Our focus last week was mainly on staying well, after my teen daughter and I had a covid exposure at her music lesson on Monday. Of course the teacher had no idea at the time that she was coming down with anything, but on Tuesday she woke up and tested positive so contacted each family to let them know. The teacher was especially feeling bad about exposing my daughter, as with the teacher’s guidance my daughter had entered and won a concerto competition at our local university. What she “won” was the opportunity to solo with the university orchestra, an opportunity that is rare for youth and is usually only available to those in graduate studies in Music. The concert was the upcoming Sunday, so not enough time for my daughter to come down sick and then recover. I cancelled all her other appointments for the rest of the week, both to not possibly infect anyone else and also to avoid any further exposure to her! Praise God, she and I stayed well!
    On Monday, before I knew we had been exposed to illness, I had gone out looking at prices of flowers as her dad and I wanted to be able to give her flowers after her solo while she was still on stage—when she was taking her bow. I went to our local Food City grocery store, and was dismayed to see that the bouquet of roses that they normally sell for $10.99 had increased to $19.99, and the employee told me that that Wednesday they would be increasing again to $26.99! Since it was fresh cut flowers, I couldn’t purchase too far in advance and still have them looking fresh the day of the concert, and was feeling pretty discouraged. I ended up talking with the manager and asked why the store raised the prices so steeply at Valentine’s Day, and asked if their suppliers were increasing the prices on them. I also explained to him about the competition, and how our teen had been working for over a year on learning her piece (she plays the viola) for the competition and had won, and that was why I had wanted to get her some flowers. The manager shared that it is indeed because their suppliers drastically increase the prices of the flowers for the store, so they have no choice but to pass the increase on the the customers if they are going to keep in the supply of flowers that people want to purchase at Valentine’s Day. He then went on to say that he was proud of our daughter for her hard work, and that he was going to sponsor her bouquet! The store gifted our daughter a dozen red roses! I was ever so grateful! The manager said he wished he could do that for every student, but he could at least do it for one!
    On Sunday, the day of the concert, she wore a beautiful navy blue formal dress that we had found several years ago for $7.50 at a thrift store. I bought it at the time thinking that she might never have an occasion to wear it, but it wasn’t too much money out if that turned out to be the case. What a blessing that we had it in the closet, because the long formal dresses we found new were all $200-$400! I was so thankful that God had provided before we even knew we would have a true need!
    If anyone enjoys wonderful music and would like to listen, the concert was actually recorded and is up on the college’s website at this link: https://www.southern.edu/events/concerts.html?__hstc=57918837.28672951d504203ef2f3489740c29cfd.1631629261786.1649705643291.1649772788914.164&__hssc=57918837.77.1649772788914&__hsfp=1458773878
    When you go to that link, you will still need to click the words “Concerto Concert, Symphony Orchestra” in the sidebar on the right side. That will bring you to the concerto concert—my daughter’s picture is actually the thumbnail picture of the recording! There are six soloists in the concert, and my daughter is the second soloist playing. First the university orchestra plays on their own, then there is a piano soloist, my daughter on the viola, two violin soloists, a tuba soloist, and another piano soloist. They were ALL excellent musicians!
    Looking forward to reading everyone’s comments!
    Writing from Chattanooga, Tennessee

    1. Congratulations to your daughter!

      And yes, this kind of price raising is normal in February with flowers. They do it every year. They will go back down after Valentine’s Day.

      1. I guess it goes to show that I never purchase flowers unless they are in seed form or have their roots attached and are out in the garden center! I was completely shocked at this type of price raising! I told my hubby early in our marriage that if he wanted to buy me flowers, to please have their roots attached.

    2. Congratulations to your daughter – and how nice of the store manager! I will take a look at the concert when I get home this evening. Is she thinking of making this her career?

      1. Actually no! She wants to double major in Physics and Mathematics, and minor in Music. But she is the type that is ALWAYS getting groups together to play music, always volunteering to play special music for church, always volunteering for fundraising events for charity. So I know music will always be a part of her—it is in her soul! True story—four years ago she gave me a beginning violin book for Christmas. I had not asked for or ever even hinted that I wanted to learn to play the violin. I had zero, and I mean ZERO music knowledge or background. I was speechless, literally, when I opened the gift because I knew this was not a book to just look at and put on the shelf. What was the unspoken message behind the gift was her offering to teach me, an invitation by a then 14 year old to enter into her world…..what was I to do? She has been my violin teacher ever since, and about a year ago she also started teaching me viola. I am nowhere even close to sounding like she does! But I am slowly crawling forward. Guess an old dog can learn new tricks? I started violin at age 53, and viola at age 56. At first I practiced on her instruments, but have since invested in myself and purchased my own instruments. Still frugal, because MY lessons are free, right? 😜

    3. I want to congratulate your daughter and you as well! How exciting! I look forward to watching the symphony when I get a chance.

    4. Susan – I was able to watch a bit of the concert. What talent! Thank you for sharing and many congratulations on your daughter’s success. 🙂

    5. Susan, your daughter is lovely and a very talented musician! I very much enjoyed watching the concert. Thank you for sharing the link!

      1. I am so glad you enjoyed it! I feel spoiled indeed to have access to live music frequently, with a college near to where we live! And it is extra special when our daughter is playing!

    6. Susan M.

      Max Bruch is one of my favourite composers! Your daughter is so talented. I enjoyed listening to this concert. Congratulations to you and your daughter.

      1. Thank you! I did not grow up in a music rich environment, but my daughter is changing that! I have learned of so many composers because of her!

    7. That was BEAUTIFUL! I loved seeing how much the music was a part of her. Congratulations. Thank you for sharing the link.

  27. Brandy: Hope your husband is doing well in his coursework and pursuing his additional career.

    I am getting excited about starting seeds and doing soil prep for our vegetable garden! Nothing soothes my soul and brings me peace like playing in the dirt!

    The cost of food has become a real issue. I truly am shocked at this week’s jump in prices on “real” food! Another reason to be excited about growing our own vegetables!

    I continue to prepare lots of “one pot” meals which we eat until finished. Trying to stay as close to zero waste as possible.

    Our dogs have become our focus as we begin to tackle the dematting, brushing, and washing of them. Newfoundland’s are such a wonderful breed. We have had them for over 30 years. However, the cost to own them is unbelievable! I told our Vet how I had longed to own a horse for years and he told me I had owned several cost wise! We groom them ourselves because(if you can find a groomer that understands their coats and is willing to do them) it costs a king’s ransom! I do feel blessed to have had them all these years!

    Hope everyone has a great and “sunny” week! Onward, ya’ll, by all means!

  28. This week, I didn’t go to the grocery store but made meals from what we had at home. I also made bread and hummus.

    I read “Moonflower Murders” by Anthony Horowitz, the author of “Magpie Murders” which was recently screened on PBS.

    At my local thrift store, I found summer dresses, still with tags on, for $8. It’s a brand I like because the length is good and the sleeves are a bit longer than cap sleeves. A store must have been going out of business because there were about 12 of them. I selected three to replace some of my other dresses that are showing wear.

    I took out coin jar to the credit union and cashed it out. Just under $95! I was surprised at the amount. It will take another year or two to get to that amount.

    I bought some pussy willows several weeks ago at Trader Joe’s for $4.99 and they are still fresh and brighten up my kitchen and living room.

    I continue knitting a sweater for myself and a scarf for a friend’s birthday, using yarn from my stash.

    I also sold two handmade books this week at a local art show.

    Enjoy a blessed week everyone!

  29. I’m not sure my comment went through last week, but we made money by calling our bank and moving our money from the “stable rate” savings account to a “variable rate” account. We have a big chunk of change there, and an extra 3% interest this year will be a lot of money.

    I switched a credit card from a premium card to the base card; fewer rewards but I use it rarely since we moved and now will not pay an annual fee.

    By watching my receipts at the checkout line I saved $21! Several items were supposed to be free with store coupons that were provided. The clerk scanned the coupons but they didn’t apply properly.

    I bought entirely sale items the past two weeks and tried a reverse meal plan strategy, a first for me.

    I got a “free” car wash by doing a mystery shop.

  30. Oh Brandy, not your ignitor again! I’m sorry this continues to be an issue. I wonder what it is that makes some ignitors prone to short lives? I’m hoping that this next one will be well-made and long lasting. 🙏 Ours continues to work well after being replaced 2 weeks ago, but I’m still a little nervous after hearing from multiple sources about ignitors being a part that tends to need frequent replacement.

    Nothing too exciting for me this week, but I’m posting anyway to keep myself motivated.

    * Called my credit card to dispute a charge for an item I ordered but never received. They’ve already credited my account.

    * Avoided eating out after church on Sunday due to my prepping food in advance. (Whoever said that much of their frugality is the boring act of planning ahead, well, I wholeheartedly agree!)

    * All meals eaten at home: dinners were lasagna, spaghetti, chili, sausage/potato sheet pan meal, lemon chicken, bean tostadas, pizza. As I was making the pizza (with homemade sauce and dough), I was thinking about how I’ve tweaked my methods over the years to consistently improve various meals to the point that we prefer our homemade versions to anything ready-made at the store or something overpriced from a restaurant. Our latest pizza hack is that right after it comes out of the oven, I brush olive oil on the crust, then sprinkle salt, powdered garlic, and oregano on the oiled crust. So yummy!

    * Working on filling in my new raised beds with a layer of cardboard on the bottom, then a layer of food scraps and newspaper, then a light layer of composted manure. When it gets closer to planting time I’ll put all the remaining soil in, but for now I’m trying to create a good, nutrient-rich base.

    Looking forward to reading about everyone else’s frugal adventures!

  31. That’s not good about the igniter! What a shame. I’m sure you know this Brandy, but for those who don’t, keep all the paperwork, dated, on problems like this. Sometimes, the company will come back, even years later, and offer some reimbursement if you have the receipts because they were taken to court over a defective product and lost. I’ve had it happen twice now, once with a washer and once with a dishwasher, and both times, I had thought it was way too late and had already tossed my receipts.

    I cleared out some clutter by donating a box full of items. Some of the things I got rid of reminded me not to buy them anymore. Even getting something cheap and second-hand isn’t a bargain if I no longer use it.

    I made a recipe that uses all of a container of sour cream except for a few tablespoons, but I don’t like sour cream on baked potatoes or tacos. Instead of tossing that bit, I made mashed potatoes and used the rest of the sour cream there.

    I paid my bills through my credit union’s bill paying feature, as always.

    I warmed some crystallized honey so I can still use it.

    I had received a gift card to a wild bird feed and supply store, and used it to buy more seed. I had also earned enough reward points to get a $10 credit, so that reduced the amount coming off my card.

    I relined some shelves with cute shelf liner bought still in its protective wrapping at Goodwill for 99 cents. I don’t use much gift wrap, but one can check Goodwill stores for unused rolls of gift wrap, too. Sometimes the prices are quite good.

    I’m still working on setting up my sewing/craft room as inexpensively as possible. I realized I had an unused sharps container (needle disposal unit) that can’t be returned and is the right size and shape to be a wastebasket in the craft room. It’s glaringly red, but going through my paints, I found an off white spray that bonds to plastic I can use.

    I will again use the booklet of reprinted vintage Valentine’s Day cards to punch out and fold a card for my husband. He’s been receiving them from me for several years. They remind us both of the little classroom cards we used to give and receive as children.

  32. Love the flowers. I ordered a garden box from Amazon for my flowers. Wedding plans and the countdown is on March 10th is coming fast. Did my taxes yesterday and having to pay in again. Moving and getting rid of stuff is so hard. Our new house is smaller so not a lot of storage space and we combining our things so it is hard to figure out what is going to work. I have been eating thru my cabinets and freezer so that I don’t have to move so much. The sun has come out a couple of days so walking outside.

  33. What a week!
    I laughed, smiled and had a good cry. I find that dealing with my emotions keeps my costs down: therapy, emotional eating and spending. 😉
    I organized some space and added more to a donation pile. This continual process keeps my mind sharp and satisfied.
    Since my grocery list is shrinking because I refuse to pay the astronomical prices, I’ve been even more grateful for my personal food stores.
    We’ve been helping our adult children navigate some hurdles. Thankfully, they’ve come to us for help and advice. In a world of derision, we take these encounters happily and treat them with the respect that we would want in return. Plus, to be in a position of trust keeps us humble too. In the normal hours of life, our kids are very responsible. But when they need a little help (as we all do), it’s an honor to be included.
    Took on a project that my husband hasn’t been able to get to. I’m learning to solve it and am glad to be creative in a new way. He will finish the project but I’m laying the groundwork.
    Prettied up two areas in my home, which feels great! Destroyed one area of my home while doing it. Feels awful! hahahaha. I’ll be getting to that next week.
    Made use of nearly all foodstuff that I had prepared all week. A few things went to the chickens and compost.
    Gearing up for a very buy time in the garden. Coming out of hibernation mode, I’ll probably feel achy. But I’ll sleep great at night with long hours outside!
    Re-read my husbands ‘Everyday Happiness’ list. We’re doing awesome with it and we’ve both commented that he is happier these days. He’s not an unhappy guy, generally, but this last year has been very trying and has felt weighed down. He’s more chipper again and laughs easily. Huzzah!
    Speaking of my husband, his place of employment is in hospitality. The utility costs right now are, dare I say, unfathomable. His corporate office nearly died over the numbers. There are five local buildings in this company which average a utility bill of $2000-3000 each, monthly. January billing was $20,000-50,000. Jaw-dropping. Luckily, they are a company who has strategized for now (even making it through Covid pretty well). But I can’t imagine these types of impacts being okay over and over.
    I could despair for everyone, everywhere in being hit by this inflation garbage. Instead, I’m opting for keeping my head up, hands busy, heart full and a nibble of dark chocolate close by.
    Wait! I just contradicted myself about emotional eating. 😀 Fine. I’ll admit to the nibble. But that’s justifiable? Ha! I smile when I take the bite so I’m fine with it.
    Enjoy your week, everyone! Get yourself a nibble too. And some sun on your face, if possible.

  34. A new tip to me on starting tomato seeds with no need to pot up into larger container. In the video he used solo cups- I used the cheaper brand-drilled drainage hole in bottom of cup-only filled the cup 1/3 with seed starting soil- planted the seeds. When the tomato gets taller instead of needing to re-pot your start, you just add more seed starting soil as the stem will grow more roots. By doing it this way you will have a larger tomato plant to put in your garden.

    Hope everyone keeps on going the best they can. I’m working on improving my health. started walking every morning after doing stretches. I started cutting out high calorie foods and lowering my carb intake so I will continue to lose weight-had lost 10# before starting new menu-no candy for me on Valentine’s Day. I was low on my vitamin D, so had to increase it and after 1 week I think I notice a difference. Non of this costs $.
    Everyone have a blessed week.

  35. I feel like I’m left reeling with sticker shock every time I go to the store, even from week to week. There are so many things that I no longer buy, but I’m sure that for many of you, it’s the same way. At least our chickens started laying again, which means we’re not having to pay for feed AND store-bought eggs anymore 🙂

    I had no idea the Claire Austin rose could get so pink! That’s one that I’ve ordered this year for our flower farm, in addition to several others. I love seeing the pictures you make from yours; they inspire me and make me excited for when mine will be more established in a few years.

    Here are my weekly frugal wins:

    1. Torrie,
      I have sticker shock as well. We went to the store and there were foods I would have loved to buy and didn’t, thinking of the need to budget. Yet, it was still way more expensive than I’d like.

    2. Torrie, I went to your blog and made a comment about gas savings from Krogers using their credit card. I didn’t know exactly what to do after I sent it. I thought it was going to verify my email by sending me a code. So I came here to reply.

  36. Like everyone else, I am once again enjoying your beautiful photos. Last week, I was notified by David Austin
    that I can order their free rose booklet. It has such lovely photos and inspires one on bleak winter days.
    It takes about 4-6 weeks to arrive but I’m looking forward to it.

    I am studying the online seed catalogs. After last summer’s epic personal gardening failures, I am wondering whether I should try again, and, if so, with what. I have been cleaning out my refrigerator. Unexpectedly, I found an opened small bag of green peas. They are dried out so I will be using them as seed. I have left-over packages of carrot
    and beet seeds. I’d like to grow cabbages so I could attempt sauerkraut. For flowers, I have sweet pea, nasturtium and mimula seeds. I will sow everything outside. I will probably only buy petunia, geranium and fuschia bedding-out plants. As I’ve mentioned before, the eleven flowerbeds were converted from mostly annuals to mostly perennials
    over a period of many years so that greatly reduced the yearly cost. I have entered a contest/draw for a gift certificate from a greenhouse nursery. One of these years I may even win!

    I have been studying the chickadees at the feeder stump. Just as they alight, they spread their wings in a “braking” moment. I have been trying to capture that moment. I am aiming to freeze their wings at that moment (as opposed to having the wings as a blur). This is in part a practice for hummingbird photography.
    So I’ve been reviewing things like shutter speed etc. Well, I gave up (at least temporarily) and focused on a stationary chickadee that was perched on a branch. At the split second when I pressed the shutter, a second chickadee flew into my photo – and “braked” (“stalled”) with wings outspread as it approached the first chickadee who looks as if it’s saying “Back off, Buster”. Just by accident, I captured a photo almost like what I was trying to achieve! I have achieved this by panning large birds like swans but smaller birds are trickier. Now to learn how to do it with smaller birds. It would be easier if my camera had a flash but I shouldn’t need to buy one if I master the appropriate shutter speed, ISO, and aperture. (saving money)

    I have started cleaning, decluttering the house, doing chores that were very much neglected for the book. For every hour of housekeeping, I reward myself with two hours of bird watching in the yard. Our mild spell will end soon and so it will not be possible to sit outside.

    I’m not sure if my volunteer shopper will be able to get the Classico pasta sauce which is on sale until tomorrow night.
    We’ll see! When not on sale, the price is $1.49 per jar more! ($4.49).

    This afternoon, I am invited for one hour to go photograph house finches in a neighbour’s yard. I hope the birds are there!

    I enjoy reading this blog so much — thanks to Brandy for all of her hard work. I learned a new word from it – “low country boil”. Mmmmm sounds delicious.

    So far, I have kept to my plan of writing a poem every day. I seem to fall asleep really early in the evening. I try to think of a theme just before I go to sleep and when I wake I often have my inspiration. I don’t know whether the poems are good but since they are just for me, I don’t mind one way or the other. When I was growing up, our family went panning for gold, looking for other treasures. I assumed other kids did this, too. Now I realize it wasn’t the case. I wrote a poem about the gold and other treasures we sought. Did we find gold? Yes we did –– we kept the miniscule nuggets in a medicine pill bottle in a drawer. When my father died, my aunt went into the bedroom and took it upon herself to throw it out, thinking it was gold foil. So much for treasure! So long, gold! but the memories of the search are warm and treasured!

    So, free entertainment with the birds, the seed catalogs, garden planning. Yes, the price increases in water and groceries and other items for the readers are mind-boggling and scary. We live in a troubled world with war and earthquakes, including the devastating quake in Turkey and Syria. But we can keep our spirits up by seeing and appreciating the kindnesses of others, giving from ourselves and immersing ourselves in the beauty around us.

    1. I’m happy I mentioned something new to you with the low country boil. First, low country is the bottom half of coastal South Carolina. The boil is a combination of halved potatoes, sausage, shrimp and corn on the cob cooked with Old Bay seasoning. It’s awesome!

      1. Mari in SC
        Thanks for elaborating on it. The internet sometimes says it’s from Louisiana so now I know it’s from South Carolina.

    2. Ellie, I encourage you to try gardening again. I have gardened for years and last year was an epic fail for me also. It started out great but then everything fell apart. It wasn’t you. The weather patterns are changing (normal for planet earth but confusing for us humans) so don’t take it personally. I tell myself anything is better than nothing and everything saves money.

    3. The good news is that my volunteer was able to buy the Classico pasta sauce on sale for me so $3.00 instead of $4.49 each jar. This week Safeway has Catelli Garden Select pasta sauce on sale for 2 for $3. Other stores have it for abut $2.50 each jar. I will buy some of it although I prefer Classico. The best buys this week are lean ground beef at Safeway for $3.49 per pound (family size pack).
      Safeway also has Purex t.p. on for $6.77. My volunteer once again picked up some P.C. frozen lasagna for $6.49 (up a dollar from their previous price but still less than reg $10.49). My volunteer was able to pick up 5 packages of No Frills no name pasta for $1.79 each. As I suggested, Superstore has now raised its price to $1.99. I spent about $60 and saved $30. I hope to pick up some more from No Frills before it raises the price – to round up my pantry. Since I’m allergic to rice, pasta is a staple for me in a big way. This particular pasta is made in Turkey and given the disaster there, it might be hard to get. It is actually hard to get egg-free pasta. The bad news is that my knee has been injured – I don’t know how – it just started to hurt. The good news is it happened after I spent the hour taking house finch photos and I got beautiful photos. The bad news is I’ve been resting the leg for three days in bed. The good news is I found that I can walk better with my snow boots on. The bad news is that almost all of the prices in the grocery stores are higher this week.

  37. Your garden renovation was so well-planned, Brandy! So much hard work, but paying so many dividends in water and food savings, as well as sheer beauty. I so enjoy seeing your pictures and hearing your achievements always.

    My frugal week:
    – I made homemade pita and homemade hummus (http://approachingfood.com/ultra-creamy-hummus/)
    – redeemed Legeropinion.com points for $20 to my paypal account.
    – I signed my youngest up for a free trial gymnastics class
    – baked a loaf of white bread and a tray of dinner rolls, the latter of which I served with lentil soup. And then I canned the remaining soup for future easy meals.
    – used the too good to go app to buy a surprise bag from a grocery chain bakery. For $5.99, I got two buns, a 12 pack of school safe mini cupcakes, a 4 pack of turnovers, and a berry cheese streudel. Another time I spent $7.99 and got 4 fancy cupcakes and 4 cookies. Not AS cheap, but still a treat!
    – I made cheesy cauliflower rice one day, but there were leftovers. I let it set in the fridge, then sliced and fried it up like polenta. I froze the extras. No food waste!
    – I made a large bag of breadcrumbs from bread crusts.
    – I used the homemade breadcrumbs to make tuna patties.
    – I made my homemade pizza, and made an extra batch of dough for the freezer (http://approachingfood.com/easiest-pizza-dough-ever/). I made a thinner crust that usual, and used the excess dough to make pizza mini muffins for my kids (similar concept to a cinnamon roll, except pizza, and baked in a mini muffin tray).
    – I turned some bananas into banana bread, and added in a single iron capsule that I broke open and stirred in. Some extra iron for my kids.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

  38. Finances have been out of control here for a few months with Christmas, travel, renovations, redecorating, and my mother’s visit, but we want to get back to our more frugal ways.

    Our goal is to finish the renovations and pay off all our debts in the next 18 months (when husband retires from the service).

    It’s an ambitious goal. To this end, we are doing a cash out refinancing taking the house to a 15-year refi – with a 2% lower interest rate. This will give us cash for the renovations and save us money in the long run. If we are super-careful, we (theoretically) can pay off the new higher mortgage in 18 months.

    I have been ordering from Misfits Market, but I am not sure the value is there for our household once my mother and her boyfriend leave the beginning of March – we just don’t eat that much.

    1. Jennifer,
      I will be interested to hear more on Misfit Market and your experience. I have been reading about them but wondered about the true value.

  39. I made a dress from the two-yard linen remnant I purchased a few weeks ago. I used a remnant of pink and brown cotton for all the facings and the pocket linings.* I baked two loaves of sandwich bread and a dozen bagels.*I winter-sewed some flower seeds.* One of our garage door openers stopped working. My husband ordered new sensers and fixed it himself. * I stayed home and didn’t go anywhere but church this week. We ate from the pantry and freezers.

    1. I love that idea to make the facings and pockets from another fabric to make a smaller amount work! I may use that tip!

  40. How interesting that the cold weather has caused the white rose to run pink! I never knew that could happen. Whatever colour, it is beautiful!

    Paid all the first of the month bills online, put cash into the various spend and save envelopes and I still have a bit of a cushion for the rest of the month. I often round up bills when paying online and every few months this can make a real difference – a small thing but it helps.

    The only food purchased was for immediate use – milk, bread, a few bananas and some yogurt (if milk wasn’t so expensive I’d use my yogurt maker more)! I did buy quite a few toiletries, OTC meds and hygiene items but each accrued a lot of Loyalty Points and I combined these with a total spend bonus – I now have $40 in Loyalty points to spend.

    I did have coffee out twice with friends but this came from my allowance – balanced it out with not going anywhere for 3 days once the Polar Vortex hit – it was -29C with the wind chill on Friday and the wind was howling so I wasn’t going anywhere! Saved money and transit fares!

    Prices have gone up again, especially for dairy items – we knew it was coming but it’s still a bit of a shock when you actually see it in the store. But – there is still lots in the freezer and the pantry so I can’t complain. It’s only me so it’s a lot different than for those of you who are feeding a houseful of kids – that must be scary right now. Take care everyone.

  41. We had our baby about 10 days ago and have been relaxing at home. My husband gets 12 weeks of paid paternity leave this time around, so I am grateful for that (he gets more paid leave than I do)! He has decided to break up the leave- staying home with me for 4 weeks, and then going back to work. He will then take an additional 8 weeks off when I return to work. This is a cost saving measure for us because the baby will not have to start daycare until almost 6 months old. It also keeps the baby from being exposed to flu/RSV season germs as much as possible.
    I asked to be discharged from the hospital a day early so I could recover at home, and they agreed. My mother and mother in law both have brought a number of meals for us, including snacks galore, which my older kids have loved. I have loved not having to cook! They have brought lasagna, goulash, chicken tortilla soup, roast, and steak. It’s been great.
    We have saved money on gas this last week because we have gone no where (it’s been glorious). Also saved money on groceries because we didn’t need to buy a whole lot with the help of our mothers.
    I’ve begun planning our garden layout for this year and intend to go big. The rising cost and declining quality of groceries has me very concerned, so I intend to double the size of our garden, focusing primarily on tomatoes, squash, potatoes, and greens- the things we eat the most. I don’t know if anyone else has noticed but it seems like store bought salad is just no good anymore…I much prefer home grown.
    Back to baby snuggles- have a wonderful week, everyone!

    1. Congratulations! Girl or boy?
      Here most women can take about a year off for maternity leave and I think it’s 8 weeks paternity leave (but that may have increased) – it’s great that you and your husband can coordinate things to make the transition a bit easier. Hope you get some rest – it sounds as though you have your hands full!

    2. How wonderful to add the baby to your family!
      The baby is of course much too little to know how fortunate it is to have all that grandparent support.

  42. My husband just replaced the ignitor on our oven for the second time in a year. This time he ordered from a different supplier on Amazon. Crossing fingers that this supplier has higher quality merchandise.

    I continue to prepare meals from scratch at home, read library books, listen to audiobooks through the free Libby app, and repair instead of replace. My adult daughter did laundry at our house and I folded it while she worked on a project and I darned two of her socks. I lent my adult son our robot vacuum for his apartment as he has wall-to-wall carpet in his bedroom. (I told him to run it daily until it stopped picking up a significant amount!) My mother gave me a pair of velvet pillow case shams she wasn’t using and my husband is repairing a drawer from her built-in buffet for her.

  43. I worked three days last week, and brought breakfast and lunch all three days.
    I was going to make a batch of focaccia garlic bread to go with our spaghetti dinner, but decided to make it into a white pizza instead. I used the garlic butter, and Italian seasonings, then some leftover sausage, red bell pepper strips, chopped onion and mozzarella. Oh my, it was soooooo good.
    I got two bags of coleslaw mix, and one head each of romaine and red leaf lettuce for 99¢ each. One of our local stores was having a one day breakfast sale. Normally they have eggs at a good price at this sale, but not this time. However, I was able to get 8 oz. bricks of cream cheese for 98¢ each. Was able to get 10.
    Made a batch of black beans in the instapot. These were black beans I grew in the garden. Enough for three batches of chicken tortilla soup. Used one, froze the other two.
    For the chicken tortilla soup, the broth, chicken, corn and salsa all came from the freezer. The corn was from the garden and the salsa homemade. The onions used were also from the garden. Only used 1/2 of a chicken breast for a double batch of the soup. If I cut the pieces small enough, it works.
    I went to Costco to look for a specific item. They did not have it, and I walked out with only a roast chicken. Made chicken broth from the remains of the chicken, after stripping the meat.
    We use flannel sheets in the winter. Our bottom sheet has developed holes. It is over 10 years old, so will not repair it. I pulled up the set from the basement to use, and will buy a new one during end of winter sales. Plan to cut the old sheet into rags.
    Hope everyone has a good frugal week.

    1. Nancy- I have planted black beans but never have harvested enough to really cook for a meal. Curious how many plants you grew for three batches of soup? What variety did you plant? I have grown a Trail of Tears which are pole beans and I picked once the pods were dry. Lots of fun and very healthy plants but still didn’t get enough to cook. I also grow onions and make salsa. If I could grow enough beans, I could make soup too! Thank you!

      1. I don’t know the variety. I just bought some from the bulk section of Winco. I have a huge garden. I planted three rows of black beans with each row about twelve feet long. We live on 1 1/2 acres, so have plenty of room. I planted probably close to a quarter on d of seeds and ended up with around five pounds of black beans. We clip the plants when dry and put on a tarp, then she’ll when we have time I grow one of two varieties each year.

  44. Last week we stayed out of grocery stores entirely. Savings right there. On Saturday, my husband took me out to eat. I’d asked to go to a seafood restaurant for fish. There was just one offering on the menu. Our meal ended up being $53 far more than we typically pay when we go out and for less food. It wasn’t a fancy place but in the same restaurant group as our favorite place. I won’t be going back to this place, but I appreciated that my husband had remembered my remark way back in December or even before when I mentioned I’d like to go. Married ladies will also appreciate that as those of you who have husbands know that seldom do they remember a comment made 1 minute before much less months earlier!
    On Saturday night I planned menus with family help this time, since my brain was simply done with food/meals. I thought at first their plans were going to be super pricey but they actually balanced out with stuff I already had on hand. However we did go into the grocery on Sunday.
    I picked up ribs and corn for my husband’s birthday dinner as well as what was needed to complete menus for the week. I did rather well, even though shopping at higher end store. I chose to do that because what husband wanted as birthday meal was not likely to be in stock at other stores. Even so, I got a free cake (my birthday), free dairy free yogurt (also earning full purchase price from Ibotta so an added $1.50), and by shopping carefully and picking up sales, saved 1/3 of the original total despite picking up a big bouquet of flowers.
    We came home to celebrate 2 birthdays with cupcakes and hot dogs. Family brought the cupcakes. We had a meeting at church that night but came home to eat leftovers from the fridge for supper. I found well priced birthday presents for the others. My husband gifted me two raised planters to go on our patio where I can hopefully grow some vegetables spring/summer/fall if I can manage it while keeping the 3yr old grandson. Unfortunately he’s very anxious and the nursery where he started yesterday suggested that the best placement for him was in a home day care situation. I am it. So my retirement will be taken up with him for at least a few more months and possibly longer.

  45. This week we had my daughter and my husband’s birthdays. I got some nice dish towels for my daughter along with some tubs of homemade salve for infections and wounds. My husband could not come up with gift ideas and he frankly doesn’t need anything. I decided to buy snacks and food that I don’t normally buy, almonds, cheddar popcorn, fancy orange juice and more. He was happy with that, as he loves to snack. We will do a birthday gathering for family this weekend and my granddaughter volunteered to make the dessert, pecan bars. She is a good cook and my husband loves pecan anything! I will likely make up upside down pizza.
    Last week I priced shampoo/ conditioner, body wash at CVS with coupons and Marshall’s. They came out the same or cheaper at Marshall’s so I stocked up, and will do that from now on. They also had electric toothbrush heads that were an amazing price, less than $1 / head vs $6 with coupons at CVS, so I stocked up for us and a daughter that we gave an electric toothbrush to last Christmas. Being older we are working hard to take care of our teeth and electric toothbrushes and water pick really help.
    I cooked the turkey I bought and bagged it up and have plenty of bones to make broth! It will feed us for at least a dozen meals for less than $10 total.
    I have read that here in the southeast, our weather is 2-3 weeks ahead. Dadffodils are blooming, maples and fruit trees are budding as well. I will plant radishes and get lettuce started indoors. I feel bad for the allergy sufferers as this means a prolonged allergy season!
    Brandy, such lovely roses just in time for Valentine’s Day!

  46. Most of my frugal was staying home because I’m sick. I greatly enjoyed watching football last week with neighbors, but do wished they’d warned me their kids were sick. It hit me pretty hard so put my garden clean up on hold (which I try to do after a soaking rain when our clay ground is workable). Using up expired cold meds I had, they seem much weaker, but don’t want to spend for new. Fingers crossed we get a bit more rain this week. I had planned on digging in compost to plant sweat peas yesterday, hoping I feel well enough tomorrow. I want to add considerably more flowers this year as pollinators. I have lots of seeds, but not sure they will still sprout, so planning to try several times. Today I’m making a list of the most expensive veggies and plant those. I’m also thinking of planting up some tomatoes to sell as transplants as a way to replenish my seed stockpile. A friend in GA does that ever year and it works well for her. Also, planting up some native milkweed as I’m part of a local group who does milkweed give aways in spring to help replenish the neighborhood monarch butterfly population. Going to Costco for the cat’s meds, they are half off a 30 day supply from vet and I’ll get a 90 day supply. If I feel ok when I get back, will plant california poppy seeds in a rather small odd shaped bed near the front walkway. It seems early, but these always show up early, so taking a chance we’ve seen the last of the frost. As always, getting books from the library is such a blessing.

  47. I love the pictures of flowers and lemons, Brandy! Here it is winter and those flowers and lemons give me hope spring is on its way!

    It has been a quiet week of staying in. We are not doing a lot of shopping and having a minimal spend month. I am trying to use gift cards, points and cash we have on hand to get what we need. We are very well stocked so we won’t be needing much but milk, juice and fresh produce. We have been gifted several restaurant gift cards so these will be used over the next few months for an occasional treat.

    We have received a few things from our local buy nothing group including a new with tags flannel shirt, a sweet tea sign I hug up in our kitchen, a new toothbrush, a book for my husband, a large juice jug for homemade iced tea and a package of Tassimo coffee pods.

    All of our reading and videos have come from the library and we only visit the library combined with other errands. I am aiming to only be out twice a week if possible. Car gas is expected to go up in price so we are definitely keeping driving to a minimum and only locally if possible.

    Hope everyone has a productive and healthy week.

  48. Hi Brandy,
    I just wanted to say that I made a big purchase( $300.) on Amazon yesterday going through your link and want to make sure you get credit for it. I’m not sure how long that takes for you to receive.
    Thanks for all you give us on this blog!

    1. Thank you!

      I can’t see individual orders. It just lists items ordered for all orders combined. Thank you so much for using my links!

  49. So, those of us who grew up in the South know what Cube steak is and know that hamburger was the only other form of beef that was cheaper(less than a $1.00 a pound). Well, today, at Sam’s, Cube steak was $7.00 a pound! So, ya’ll, it is time to “get right with the Lord”, because the end is near! 😱😱🤷‍♀️🙆‍♀️

    1. My husband and I had lunch at a truck-stop-like restaurant today and I ordered a chef’s salad, which is often rather decoratively plated. When it came, it had ONE one-fifth of a hard-boiled egg slice on the top. I was stunned! What have egg prices come to!
      As I stirred the lettuce around, I found the other segments of it. But that was quite a surprise. And I am sure I have had two eggs on big salads in the past.

  50. Firstly, a thank you to all who comment, it’s my nightly reading before bed and an encouragement to keep on keeping on.

    Managed to get 5 boxes of broccoli and green peppers off the flashfood app, also 4 packages of nice Black Forest ham – we haven’t had that in months so it was a treat. We are eating as much out of our freezers and pantry as we can.

    We’ve eaten so much of our canning that I know we don’t have enough to see us all the way through but we will do our best.

    Sprouting seeds in place of lettuce. Tapped 15 sugar maples yesterday – we were only going to do ten, but with the price of honey so high and price’s continuing to rise we decided it was best. If we could handle more sap to boil we would tap another ten but as it is last year we lost some to bacteria growth as it waited to be boiled.

    Hens have started laying again with about 6-8 eggs a day. Have been also buying eggs $3/doz from a local farmer. Going to be baking down our last five storage pumpkins tomorrow for use in baked goods and as a savoury side dish.

    Hubby found Roa marinara on sale at Costco so we got eight as we’ve used all but 1.5 litres of our canned tomatoes that we put up last summer. We even canned mini tomatoes with herbs in water (following an FDA approved recipe) and they’ve been helpful to flavour and stretch the sauce we did have processed. I think it will be worth doing again. I’m trying to figure out how to extend our growing space but we live in the woods and the only clear area is close to the septic.

    One thing we will be doing in the spring is to trill-ace (sp?) the side of the driveway and move our berry bushes there.

    We’ve ordered needed school supplies off Amazon as Walmart has upped 300 page notebooks to $10! Yikes! So spent $27 instead of $70.

    Relying on the library for books instead of buying even used.

    Hubby working on house jobs that we have the supplies for.

    Using curriculum we already own for homeschool.

    Basically not buying anything other than food and paying bills.

    Keep cheery everyone, this too shall pass!

  51. Those roses are SO pretty and delicate. Thank you for always sharing such lovely photos with us.
    *I gratefully accepted about 30 cans of food (corn, diced tomatoes, pasta sauce, carrots, green beans and salmon) from a neighbor as well as 4 lbs. of pasta. This food is from other neighbors who receive it from the area Council for Aging. They get so much, more than they can use, they say, so they pass it on to others. We are most appreciative and share eggs with them, as a thank-you. It really helps to round out our pantry with items that can be used for many recipes.
    *Used our HSA account to cover a co-pay for a dermatology visit. They gave me a bag full of sunscreen samples to try.
    *Taught a basic human anatomy class to the older (9-12 year olds) at our homeschool co-op using items I already own. I added a new activity to this class demonstrating the role cerebrospinal fluid plays in protecting our brain. I put an egg (the brain) inside of a larger plastic Easter egg (the skull) and filled it with corn syrup (cerebrospinal fluid -I actually borrowed the corn syrup from a neighbor as I don’t use it.) The kids then had the great fun of throwing the egg onto the ground to see how the egg inside was unharmed. They thought that was great fun!
    *We have a new litter of foster kittens – 2 little ones who were VERY scared but are coming along beautifully. My oldest son had saved some Christmas gift money to buy food for our next litter so he bought 24 cans and was very pleased with his contribution. The Humane Society provides us with all needed medications and shots as well as formula but does not always have canned food to provide. So, we often accept donations of food from family and friends but this is the first time my son has paid for it. He is very invested in our fostering efforts and I am touched by his thoughtfulness. This time, the HS was able to give us 8 cans of food so that helps, too.
    *My boys were invited to meet up with a friend to go snowboarding at a local resort. The night session the first Sunday of the month is now 1/2 price which is quite the deal. Since they own their own gear, a lift ticket is our only expense and it cost less than a ticket to a movie. We are always on the look-out for ways for the boys to have fun with their friends for free or a reasonable price and are glad to learn of this new option.
    *I worked on my bedroom curtains which I am making from fabric purchased from a tag sale about 15 years ago. I am slow so expect to read about this again in the coming weeks! 🙂
    *I am also slowly working my way through my collection of old frames purchased at thrift stores or inherited from family members. I am repairing some that are a little wobbly and refurbishing others with Rub and Buff, a great product. I have many old family photos arranged gallery-style on my home but have some that have yet to be framed so this is an ongoing project.
    *Every time I empty the ashes from the wood stove, I spread them over the garden and dream of Spring. I love winter but planning for spring is a fun mental exercise. I think I actually love the transitions between the seasons the best and that planning ahead while enjoying the current season is a reflection of that. My bees have been out on warmer days and I think they feel the same.
    *Still reading “Still Life” by Louise Penny (it seems I have been very slow this week 🙂 ) but am almost done and put the next book in the series on hold at the library. Such great characters!
    *I have read that many people become depressed in February and I hope that is not so for my fellow readers. I am so glad for this community of creativity and encouragement. Please know how much all of your contributions mean to others, myself very much included. 🙂

    1. I love reading your ideas for homeschool classes. I think my grandkids would love your idea with the egg representing the brain!

    2. Mountain Mama Dawn, when I worked in school we were visited by a brain injury nurse to educate the children of the importance of wearing a bike helmet. Eggs were the brain and the children dropped them on the floor and saw the ‘brain’ smash. Then they put them in a bike helmet and dropped them and nothing smashed, the brain was protected. The children really got the message.

  52. Hello Everyone!

    Thanks for the hen tips last week! After all that…they started laying again a few days ago. 😆 I’m glad! Eggs have gotten crazy expensive lately.

    We’ve been keeping the house as cool as barely tolerate since I’m the only one home during the daytime. I’ve been using a room heater to cozy up a small space instead. Our energy bill dropped. 👍🏼

    I baked quick bread, cookies and 2 pans of dinner rolls. We made homemade soups and burritos this week. I also made iced tea. I harvested lemons, oranges, mustard greens, leeks, celery and radishes this week.

    I cleaned out and organized my closet. The organization brought relief! I colored my own hair and saved $200 on salon fees. I was just notified that our dog grooming fee will increase $20 next visit. ☹️ I canceled Frndly TV for the time being. I haven’t been watching it lately.

    I made a few wristlet keychains for family members using scrap fabric and interfacing. They love them! Fewer lost keys! I found a YouTube tutorial and it’s a quick project.

    You remind me, Brandy, that I need to get outside to prune! I’ve been procrastinating because the cold weather. I’m a fair weather gardener. LOL!

    Have a blessed and beautiful week! 🌷

  53. This week we have enjoyed tomato and lentil soup that I made in bulk, served with either toast, brown rice or boiled eggs. We have also been having lots of smoothies and popsicles, using fruit we harvested. We went fishing locally, catching some fish and crabs that made for a nice change from the soup.

    Groceries bought this week were milk, bread, english muffins (on clearance), cheese, honey, cinnamon, flour and oats. I froze all the english muffins.

    We went to the library a few times to borrow books and stayed for awhile to take advantage of their air-conditioning during the heatwave.

    I gratefully received a falafel with a beetroot sauce, a piece of carrot cake with cream cheese icing and a large slice of rockmelon (I think you may call them cantaloupe).

    I bought two boxed notebook gift sets for $1 each on clearance. They will both be used as Christmas gifts.

    I set up a slip n slide for the children. One neighbour brought over heaps of water balloons and liquid soap (to make the slide more slippery) and another brought snacks for everyone. Our water use is low and charges are inexpensive. The adults socialised while the children played for four hours (water was running for less than half of this and I moved the slide around so it watered lots of different areas in the garden).

  54. Not sure what happened to my post, so I will repost

    -I spent $9.66 on groceries this week. I bought two 8 oz blocks of cheddar cheese, a gallon of milk, and some oranges. I hope to limit the groceries to around $50 again this month and use up things from the pantry and freezer that are long past due to be used.
    -I used 10 jars of home canned food this week on my way to my goal of 40 jars.
    -We used up some frozen spaghetti sauce, frozen soup, canned chili, and some pickles that needed to be used up. My list of must use foods are getting shorter. I have it hanging on the refrigerator where I can see it.
    -I was gone 4 days on a scrapbooking weekend with a friend. We went to her cabin and scrapped and visited all weekend. We watched “chick flicks” and ate homemade food and snacks. So very frugal as we cooked all the food, cabin was free, my friend generously offered it, we usually we pay $150 to go to a scrapbooking retreat, plus money for meals out. I only had to pay for the gas there and back and provide a couple meals and snacks. We had more fun doing it this way for way less money!
    -I was given a tator tot hot dish left over from a meal at church. It was in a disposable pan. I brought it home and froze it. I will use it when I have the grandkids in a few weeks. They will love it!
    -I am working on some heart garlands for my grandkids for Valentine’s Day. I hope to get them finished next week and sent with cards. I am using scraps of fabric and quilt batting for the project.
    -I am reading an Amish series from the library by Cindy Woodsmall. It is her vine and orchard series. There are 4 books, I am on #2. I also have read her Ada house series and summer grove series. I feel these have more substance and mystery not just the usual Amish story line.

    Have a great week!

  55. Regarding the faulty ignitors on your gas stoves… When I replaced my troublesome gas stove, I specifically wanted a non electric model with pilot lights.
    I bought what was called a ‘camp stove’. Made in Cleveland, Tennessee and cost about $400. Canadian a few years back. Our friends at their seasonal cottage had left the pilot light burning on their gas stove over the winter. They had put a newly filled 100# propane tank on in the fall. It was empty by spring. apparently with just the pilot light burning so we decided to not use the pilot lights but to light the burners with a match for each use. There is a screw that controls the gas to the oven and we keep it ‘off’ until we wish to use the oven. Then…turn the screw, light oven pilot and bake. The oven pilot light is at the back of the area under the oven so it’s a bit of a pain to deal with, however, we manage. We use the gas stove primarily in summer when our wood stove is not being used so a 100# tank of propane which costs about $100. to fill, lasts us almost 2 years. Perhaps this is not possible with a direct gas line hookup but may benefit someone to know that the pilot light stoves are still being made.

  56. Thank you everyone for sharing tips and inspiration. I really look forward to reading this post every week.

    Nothing too exciting here….

    Didn’t buy a few sale items because they weren’t necessities. Over the years I’ve learned to resist buying things that were “good deals” that I didn’t need. When I first started couponing, I would stack coupons and sales to get cheap items that we didn’t normally buy, and years later haven’t used many of them. They make good donation items, but a dollar or two really adds up throughout the year (as well as the time investment!).

    Cleaning out my inbox, I found a $5 giftcard from a rewards program from years ago. The company happened to be offering free shipping, so I got an inexpensive gift for a friend.

    Altered meals to accommodate rising prices. For example, paella and shrimp dinner just became paella because the price of frozen shrimp was crazy.

    Does anyone have tips on where to acquire inexpensive kid’s clothing? The thrift store pricing has gone up significantly in the past few years, and most pieces can now be purchased new on clearance for the same (or less!).

    Brandy, thank you for creating this blog. It is so beautiful and full of encouragement. Further, I appreciate how it doesn’t have any adds (which make so many blogs nearly impossible to navigate). I always try to use your Amazon link when I make a purchase.

      1. Find a Senior to go shopping with you. Value Village aka Shoppers has a once a month Senior’s day when the purchase is 30%off

    1. On the topic of buying children’s clothes. For a period of about ten years, I bought almost everything two granddaughters wore. I did what my own mother did when I was a child, which was shop for winter clothes when the stores were clearing out winter things to make room for the spring and summer things they were getting in, and buy summer clothes at the end of the summer and into fall when the stores were wanting to stock their new winter items. As with my own children I found that the children wore about one size bigger than their age, so if I wanted them to wear something next winter, I would buy the size bigger than they would be in age next winter. For example, if they would be ten years old next winter, I would buy a size 12. I also shopped the back-to-school sales in August for my own children. For the grandchildren I was able to shop at Osh Kosh (especially in August) and Carter’s in the outlet malls. For my own children I didn’t buy much for summer clothes because I could oftentimes cut off pant legs and long-sleeved shirts to make shorts and short-sleeved shirts, and the kids could finish wearing out their clothes over the summer. Sometimes we lived in a climate that wasn’t all that warm in the summer, and they never really needed summer clothes at all. The grandchildren lived in a hot climate and never needed winter clothes except when they came to visit me. I think the thrift stores here are overpriced, but I do keep an eye on Goodwill. I used to try to find used cheap but warm coats for the kids to wear to play in after school, so that they would have their nicer jackets clean for school. Our boys were hard on their clothes and tended to tear play clothes. Sometimes Goodwill gets new clothes from stores, but they usually want quite a bit for it, also. For example, recently I found one Columbia fleece jacket at Goodwill that had the original new tags on it for $30. I just saw new Columbia fleece jackets at the Columbia outlet store today for $20 each. Generally speaking about thrift stores, I would rather pay slightly more money and get nicer new clothes as a general rule, but one thing I used to find at Goodwill was frilly little girls’ dresses that were probably worn once in a wedding and then given away. My granddaughters loved those dresses, and they usually cost me about $8 each. I don’t see them anymore, but they might still be out there. They are probably a bit fancy for church, but they wore them. Target is a good place to buy girls’ jeans; my granddaughters liked the dark wash color. Now that two granddaughters are out of girls’ sizes, Macy’s Style and Co. brand of jeans is economical and nice, and there is a nice darker blue jeans my granddaughters like. I found that Macy’s was having a sale (when are they not having a sale on something) on those jeans for $20 per pair. That was before this recession. Nordstrom is another extremely expensive store where I have found some very economical prices on sale items, particularly on shirts and tops, but also the occasional dress. Nordstrom has an unusually nice return policy, is online, and gives excellent customer service. In the past I have bought woolen tights from Children’s Salon for $25 per pair which is terrible, but they really helped the girls to not have cold legs when they wore a dress. Having cold legs is uncomfortable, and I think unhealthful. It also helps girls to stay warmer if they have a long dress coat. Then everyday jackets and tennis shoes can be washed and hung to dry, and the child has another coat and some dress shoes to wear to church. It is more expensive, but nice if it can be done. Macy’s has sales on women’s coats now, and Chadwicks online is a good place to find more reasonably priced long coats for women and girls. If you buy woolens they need to be kept clean and in a not dusty environment up off the floor to avoid moths. It helps to use cedar wood and bay leaves. Taking care of clothes is one of the biggest way to save and be frugal. Tights must be handwashed to stay nice. It takes only a few minutes and is so worth it. Actually, I always washed all of my children church clothes by hand and hung them up to dry and then pressed them a little. When I gave them away, they looked like new. I never sell clothes; I figure the Lord blessed me, and I’m passing on His blessings and I give away only nice things. I pray about our needs and meditate on the Bible texts about God supplying all our needs, and he does. But back on frugally taking care of clothes. Being careful to sort shirts and tops into separate loads of light, slighter darker, and dark shirts; separate washing loads of jeans; separate loads of twill type trousers; separate loads of clothes for white socks and white or light colored underwear keeps the clothes from looking old and dingy and dirty. Light-colored clothes will pick up dye from darker clothes and take on a grayed, dirty color. Knits will take on dirt from wovens. I wash shirts and tops on the delicate cycle using a detergent for colored clothes to keep them from looking like I took them to the river and beat them on the rocks. I dry them in the dryer on low or on air for about five minutes and then hang them up to dry. That way they are less wrinkled. I had my children wear freshly clean clothes every day to school, so that when I wanted to wash them, their clothes were not super dirty to start with. Then after school, the children would change into play clothes, so their school clothes stayed nicer and not mended and worn. I have learned though that it is possible to get the dinge out of clothes sometimes. Sometimes my daughter would have someone take pity on a poor minister’s family and give her the most awful, dingy, dirty looking clothes for my granddaughters. She kept especially being giving the most awful looking blanket sleeper pajamas. My husband saw them and told me privately that as long as he was able to work, our granddaughters did not need to wear anything like that. But our daughter accepted those clothes graciously and then soaked them in a strong solution of hot water and Tide detergent in a five-gallon bucket for about four or five days. Tide has bleach in it, so some things are not suitable for Tide, but it was amazing what a good soak would do. I got tired of having five-gallon buckets in the bathrooms, but I never said anything, and some of those things looked like they had truly been resurrected. The blanket sleeper pajamas especially took on a new life and became quite serviceable. I was amazed. As far as buying clothes go, I have always aimed for neat, simple, classic, attractive, age-appropriate things. I absolutely refuse to buy anything too tight, too short, too low-necked, too shear, too skimpy, etc. My daughter says when she was growing up, whenever she showed me something at a store that was gaudy or cheap, I would shake my head no slightly and say softly, “I don’t think so.” Or I would say, “Plain is always better.” My daughter and now my granddaughters like neat and simple and modest. You don’t have to make a big deal about it. One online store recently put up a request on my screen for my thoughts about their Juniors size clothing site, and I wrote to them pointedly that the only activity their dresses would be suitable for would be prostitution, and since I was not interested in selling my granddaughters’ bodies, I would not be buying anything from that store, and that the store owners should be ashamed of themselves for selling trashy clothing that would make young girls look vulnerable to predators and traffickers. I only hope somebody read my remarks. I wish I knew how to sew better. Dresses are hard to find that are not too old of a style for their ages. My own mother sewed a lot of my clothes, but back then it was economical to sew. She would not allow me to use her sewing machine; she was afraid I would get it out of adjustment. I was not allowed to cut anything out either. But she had no problem having me do the hand sewing she disliked, so I learned to stitch a passable hem. The home economics teacher in high school reprimanded me harshly once when I was about sixteen. I wasn’t in one of her classes at the time, but intended to take the advanced sewing classes and then changed my mind. She was quite thorough in her criticism of my personal characteristics and also blamed me for something that was the fault of another faculty member and not my fault. I did not try to argue with her; I did not reply at all; I just listened until she ran down and stopped talking, and then I left and went away and had a good cry. But I wished later I had braved her wrath and signed up for one of her classes because she was an excellent teacher. It was a missed opportunity I regretted later. Now there are so many online resources that were not available when my children were young, but I did not have a lot of time to learn new things then. I think it’s always good to try to learn whatever good thing that comes our way, even if it doesn’t look like something we need at the moment. I’ve run on too long and told you more than you want to know, I’m sure, but may God bless your efforts and provide for your needs.

  57. Hello, frugal friends from beautiful southwest Virginia. I have not been able to do much in the frugal world since Monday afternoon as I had a heart attack and was airlifted to a bigger hospital. Nothing about a heart attack is frugal. I will have quadruple bypass surgery on Friday. I would appreciate all prayers for my husband and myself. I’m told I’m an excellent candidate as I’m not a smoker, drinker, Cary an healthy weight and have eaten a healthful diet for decades. It’s a genetic thing. My husband of 44 years is struggling with this situation. I’m sorry for such a downer of a post, and, Brandy, if you don’t feel comfortable posting this I will understand, but I feel the more prayers out there for this situation the better the outcome. I look forward to posting again in the near future.

      1. Marley, praying that the surgery goes well, that you have a quick recovery and that you and your husband know that you are in everyones prayers.

    1. Prayers for you and your husband, and all the staff looking after you!
      It’s a frightening situation and we wish you all good things.

    2. Sending prayers for you to a speedy recovery! Believe the surgeon, if he says you are an excellent candidate then all will be well. Believe it or not, these are rather common surgeries. Hoping the best for your husband through this stressful time as well.

    3. Oh wow, Marley. Best wishes to you and your husband and definitely prayers up for a successful surgery and full recovery.

    4. Oh Marley! I am so thankful you are still with us. I wrote your name with your husband to put on my frig., so I will remember to pray for you, especially on Friday and after, too. May God bless you and keep you.
      Elizabeth H.

    5. Praying for your surgery and quick recovery. Sending special prayers for your husband as I know how distraught my husband of 42 years would be,

    6. Marley in the Mountains- I echo the others in remembering you and your dear husband in my prayers for your surgery and recovery afterwards! Medical science and technology today are so amazing! All my best! ❤️

      Gardenpat in Ohio

    7. Oh Marley, I am so sorry to hear this. I will pray for you and your husband. I look forward to hearing updates on your progress as you heal. 🙂

    8. Marley, you’re in my prayers. Thankfully, this is not as complicated as it once was and hopefully you’ll be up and around in no time. Blessings.

    9. Marley I wish I could be with you and help you through the surgery- I am a nurse. ….
      I will sending prayers for your recovery

    10. Marley, I am 7 weeks out from a quadruple bypass. They caught it before I had a heart attack. I was hoping for stents but when they did the heart cauterization they realized I needed open heart surgery. Boy was I surprised. Lots of prayer kept me from getting anxious and I believe God provided the perfect surgical team for me. The first week is rough but my nursing staff was excellent and the drug combination made it bearable. I was up and walking on day 2. Every day gets a little bit better. It takes a while for the sternum to heal so don’t get discouraged. Take all the help you can get. When you get home sleep sitting almost upright on a mound of pillows. Do all the exercises they give you. I had a physical therapist come to the house and she was great at helping my legs get stronger. I was a walker too but after surgery and 5 days in the hospital plus the operation I needed the therapy. I also had a visiting nurse. I started cardiac rehab 2 1/2 weeks ago. I feel great. I have walked a total of 3.5 miles today and I am almost back to where I was. I am 74 years old and we have our 3 adults with special needs living with us. We lead a very active life. The surgery saved my life.

    11. Marley, I know this is late, but I just read it. You and your husband are certainly in my prayers. Praying the surgery goes well and you recover quickly. Praying for strength for your husband.

  58. Brandy, have you checked the electric voltage and current to the igniter? There may be a short or a surge when the igniter turns on that cause it to go bad.
    I love the flower photos – we’re still in winter here in Minnesota for about another month and a half to two months. I am so grateful that I can come here and see the beautiful flowers and ideas from like-minded people!

    Thanks so much,

    1. I’m not sure how to do that. It’s a gas stove. The company did a video call with me both times and they said it looks like normal wear and tear, so I don’t know what the deal is. It’s not a cheap oven, but Kitchen Aid (which is what I had before) raised the price of my old oven (originally I think it was around $1500 in 2006) to over $10,000 😲 for a replacement, so I switched brands to Kucht. The Kitchen Aid problem was a defect in their self-clean feature, so I was not happy about that. It just burns the ignitor out immediately on every replacement once you use the self-clean feature for longer than 30 minutes. I always only used it for 30 minutes so I never had an issue, but the instructions say to set it to clean for 6 hours each time. I used it for 2 hours after a bad spill and the defect set in.

      So seeing the ignitor go out on the Kucht oven made me fairly upset. It’s designed differently and is inside the oven (Kitchen Aid’s was in the back) so it’s at least easy to change.

      My oven is a 6-burner oven that is 36″ wide.

      Seeing the oven prices go up so drastically, I am SO glad I didn’t go with the 48″ 8-burner stove like I originally planned for the kitchen.

      I often use all 6 burners at once, especially when I am canning. The 36″ oven has one large oven (the 48″ oven has two ovens, which is why I decided against it) and it fits more at once, which has been so helpful when cooking for a large family. I can cook 15 pounds of potatoes at once, or 3 9×13 pans side by side on the same rack, or cook 4 loaves of bread on the same rack.

  59. Thrifty actions this week: Planted carrots, more lettuces that we like, and pole beans. Painted front and back door with coupon sale ( a different color) that gave the house a lift, made 2 cheese balls for the price of one ( gathering items before hand on sale) for a women’s’ church group luncheon and the other for a family birthday party celebration & shaped into a heart for Valentine Day, reading The Marriage Portrait (historical fiction) from the library. This time of year is the yo-yo of cold spells and temperatures of 80 degrees, along with pollen arriving earlier than usual. Allergist said our pollen season are getting longer in our region of the SouthEast.

  60. Recently I have not been able to stick my lists when going into stores…. random things are finding their way into my cart 🙂
    Maybe I need to take a break from shopping all together
    We are heading towards Spring here so I am hoping to get back to walking on my lunch breaks for free exercise.

  61. FYI, I’ve heard so many problems about self cleaning ovens from my cooking group that I don’t know anyone that will use the feature on their ovens anymore.

    1. I personally never use that option because my mother almost burnt down the house using it – it was turned on by accident with food inside and was an epic fire in the oven. We use thieves cleaner and it all comes off after a soak – no scrubbing needed

  62. I went to the discount produce store today. Picked up a bag of Meyer lemons for $1.00, English cucumbers for $1.00, tomatoes on the vine for .99 per lb, microwave popcorn 6 bag box for $1.00, celery $3.00, Romaine 2 for $3.00, cabbage .58 per lb.

  63. I made homemade bread, started some lentils to sprout to try in salads. Used the rest of my cabbage chopped up in my salad in place of lettuce. Did my first trial run of sugar cookies with fox shape for grandson’s birthday. Cleaned my chest freezer and threw out more food than I like to admit. Freezer burn and discoloration on things from 2018. I was given the freezer and appreciated it so much but a chest freezer is not for me. But it hangs in there , obviously, so I must get better. Did re-organize but the containers I bought were too big so that plan changed some. Will use remaining bins in linen closet. Have been working in garden to prepare for spring. Undecided on how much to till for tomatoes and squash. I have raised beds closer to the house for radishes, onions and lettuce. I hope to start seeds in the greenhouse soon. I planted my potatoes two days ago, fingers crossed. Preparing for kids and grands visiting over spring break. Have already purchased the expensive meats for the visit. We will eat exclusively at home. We will have at least one day trip to the mountains and we will have treasure hunts and enjoy the fire pit at our ranch with s’mores. We will celebrate three birthdays during that week. Gifts purchased and new linens are ready. I do not anticipate any more big purchases and these were all budgeted for. So grateful for the frugal things we do normally that allow us to treat our family when they visit. Our children work so hard that I try to make their time here as stress-free as possible.

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