In between the work in the garden last week, I managed to read an e-book from the library, All Things Bright and Beautiful, which I enjoyed very much.

I purchased two sweaters (one pullover and one cardigan) on clearance for my daughters.

I sowed seeds for lettuce, spinach, and hollyhocks in reused nursery pots since I cannot yet sow anything directly in most of the garden. I also took a chance and sowed seeds for Armenian cucumbers and artichokes. It is a bit early for these, but if they germinate, it will be a good head start for the garden.

I was able to purchase some of the soil we needed on Thursday, receiving the senior discount for my husband that day.

When I went to the grocery store, the clerk started to ring up my order and for some unknown reason, the computer deducted $1.50 off saying that a coupon had been used before she even rang any items up! She said, “Oh well, you can keep it!”

A neighbor down the street purchased some garden soil for her raised beds a few weeks ago. It was beautiful black loamy soil, and I knocked on her door to see where she bought it. I had a good idea which soil she had purchased but I wanted to find out for certain in case there was another source that I didn’t know about. It turned out to be the neighbor I had recently met (who is also in a local online gardening group with me) and she told me that I could have all the soil she had left when she was done! The soil that I am buying is $29.50 a cubic yard. The soil that she bought is $68.50 a yard, which is why we did not buy it for the garden. We loaded it up off her driveway this week as we had filled her beds and took it to our house. I believe there was two yards’ worth!

What did you do to save money last week?

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169 Comments

  1. Great score on the soil!! That’s why it always seems worth it to ask, even if you are sure you already know the answer!!

    With a big snowstorm coming in by tonight (Monday), I determined that we should get more gallons of distilled water for Hubs C-pap machine. We had one gallon left which lasts a week, but I prefer to keep 4-5 gallons on hand so we are never running out. I bought 5 gallons just to make sure! Krogers also had their bacon (3 pound packs) for $8.93 ($2.97/pound). That’s a very good price here and since we didn’t need anything else but had another errand to run that went past the store, I went in to get those 2 things. I planned on getting 3 of the packages of bacon (9 pounds) to keep in our food storage. Unfortunately they were out. The meat manager was sorry and told me he would give me another brand free. We went over to the bacon section and I showed him that they didn’t have any other 3 pound packages. He asked what brand I would like and I said anything but turkey bacon and he scooped up 3 one pound packages of Oscar Mayer (tag on the shelf said $6.97!!) So I went home with 3 pounds of bacon free that would have cost $20.91!!! On Saturday, our daughter did her shopping at her neighborhood Krogers and picked up 3 of the three pound Kroger bacon packs for me, so now I have 12 pounds of bacon!! I made sourdough toast, 2 slices of bacon and a sunny side up egg for Hubs and me for Valentine’s Day breakfast!!

    Our youngest son who just moved out texted me about how surprised he was that on Saturday, around 10 AM, the grocery store were packed with shoppers! He had gone over to stock up on a few things before the storm. He assumed that since I limit my shopping time to early morning that this was when everyone shopped so he could avoid the crowds by going later in the morning! I explained that typically people sleep in on Saturdays which is why I go early- better selection, less people, faster shopping! He now knows! Lol!

    I started and finished quilting on #118 and client picked it up and paid on Saturday morning so she could sew the binding on while the storm came! https://pin.it/7n7NtfC. https://pin.it/1NpWl20. https://pin.it/1Ck4Th5. Now Quilt #119 is getting quilted for the client who bought 2 quilt tops at an estate sale.

    I also found 3 more free quilting pantograph designs that I have now printed and have added to my selection. Hubs put them on our website in alphabetical order so it’s easier for potential clients to see what we have available.
    Our Grandson serving in the Army in Korea got his birthday quilt last week and texted to thank me. We had a great conversation! It amazes me that this technology is so readily available and it’s free (compared to the old long distance phone call charges!) What a spectacular time to be alive!

    I found a recipe for making whipped cream from a can of evaporated milk! (Remember how I got cans of it on clearance for 9 cents a can? ) https://youtu.be/jm6LlXhnbdc

    I was able to transfer $20 into our savings from our rewards points. Every little bit helps!

    Snow started coming in overnight, tiny flakes but steady so far but is due to leave us with 12”- 22” by Wednesday night! So grateful we have our pantry! https://pin.it/20ndlPi. https://pin.it/2zD7b0Z
    https://pin.it/2nAPpbO. https://pin.it/31LElnj and then, of course, https://pin.it/3vty79Q. If you’re ever in the area, stop by for a cuppa (hot chocolate! ) 😉
    Stay safe and warm ! Thanks for all your inspiration and ideas that help improve my life every week!!

    Gardenpat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

      1. Vivian (and any others who look at my sewing room) – these are “candid” photos of exactly how my sewing room looks this morning, unaltered. It needs a tidy up but frankly, I’ve been too busy to make it a high priority. So, please be kind in your judgement and be grateful that you are definitely more tidy in your sewing space than I am! 😉 Coming in to my sewing room- https://pin.it/5E6fjjG https://pin.it/6WcIE8W, The wall behind Lenni my longarm machine-
        https://pin.it/1HsNFnD https://pin.it/JFwf3Bn. The wall in front of Lenni- https://pin.it/3RoMv7V and around the corner- my cutting table and 2 more sewing machines ( sorry for the clutter!! 😱☹️ https://pin.it/524labP.
        So now you’ve seen it in all it’s disarray! 😢 I’d like to say it looks tidier most of the time, but truthfully, when I’m in the middle of 3 or 4 projects at a time with all of life’s interruptions, it’s this way more often than not! 😢😢

        1. Very cool sewing room. Thank you for letting us into your private workspace. Just cleaned my craft room today and was amazed at how much the room had grown!

      2. Vivian (and any others who look at my sewing room) – these are “candid” photos of exactly how my sewing room looks this morning, unaltered. It needs a tidy up but frankly, I’ve been too busy to make it a high priority. So, please be kind in your judgement and be grateful that you are definitely more tidy in your sewing space than I am! 😉 Coming in to my sewing room- https://pin.it/5E6fjjG https://pin.it/6WcIE8W, The wall behind Lenni my longarm machine-
        https://pin.it/1HsNFnD https://pin.it/JFwf3Bn. The wall in front of Lenni- https://pin.it/3RoMv7V and around the corner- my cutting table and 2 more sewing machines ( sorry for the clutter!! 😱☹️
        Since I’m always in the middle of 3 or 4 projects, it looks like these photos more often than not. But I have been decluttering and organizing more so hopefully it will start looking better soon!
        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    1. Garden pat your pantry is amazing. Wow!
      Can I ask how many freezers you have? Someone with a pantry like this must have stocked freezers too!
      I have an upright and a small chest one and the freezer on my fridge.
      Megan B

      1. Megan B- We have 2 upright freezers- 1 in the basement and 1 in the laundry room. And then the little freezer in the top of our basement fridge and the lower freezer in our kitchen fridge.
        That gives us a lot of flexibility in what/how much we can store.

        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

      1. Jenny- In a lot of ways, being a SAHM of 11 kids thrust me into having a versatile and abundant pantry/food storage! We would buy fruits in season in 40 pound boxes at a time just for eating and additional ones for preserving. Our kids thought everyone bought their fruit that way. We also, to survive on one income, learned to buy food/supplies that we normally ate/used when they were at their lowest prices and again bought them in large enough quantities to build up our pantry so we didn’t “have to” buy them at the store when they weren’t on sale. But we started out a little at a time! Hubs and I will celebrate our 50th anniversary on Friday. We didn’t build it to this point all at once! And even now, I learn so much from all of you that keep giving me more ways to improve my storage and I am grateful!! There’s always more to learn and do!

        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    2. Gardenpat, I love your sentiment of gratitude about free technology that allows us to communicate with faraway friends and family! I am thrilled that I get to see my nieces and nephews on video calls in spite of the pandemic and the distance.

      1. Claudia- Pretty remarkable times we live in!! Sometimes that’s hard to remember with all the commotion in the world! But there’s so much positive out there for us!
        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    3. I love how you said, even in the midst of a pandemic, crazy weather and politics, that it is a spectacular time to be alive!

    4. Wow, what fantastic photos of your pantry! Thank you for sharing. I also watched the link on making whipped cream from Evap milk, thanks for that as well.

  2. We tested our house for radon. I learned that our state has a free testing program, requested the kit, and we are mailing off the exposed test on Tuesday. If we require mitigation, my income is in a range where we are likely to get a grant from the state. We can apply if we need to once we have the test results.

    We cooked at home, working from our menu plan. I post that plan on my blog if anyone is interested. tenthingsfarm.blogspot.com We had a chicken dinner for Valentine’s day, and this week’s menu reflects that we had most of a chicken left. As I type this, I have stock cooling on the front porch, made from the bones, some extra skin, the back, and saved-up onion skins, celery and carrot ends, etc. that I had saved in a container in the freezer. I’ll be making soup from that this afternoon for later this week.

    We are dressing warmer for this cold spell we’re having, and we do most of the heating of our home with firewood, which we get for free (and our labor). We’re also drinking tea or cocoa to help warm us from the inside, though our house is comfortably warm.

    We’ve been utilizing the library for reading materials, audio books, language lessons and more.

    We trimmed the claws on all our pets.

    My husband used coupons, rebate sites like Ibotta, sales, and surveys to save on our groceries and household items. He amazes me with the deals he gets. This week he has gotten ten 10 oz. Bags of frozen vegetables for a final cost of 15 cents each after the rebates and bonuses. He got several freebies as well. I feel very fortunate that my husband and I are very compatible as far as frugality goes (and in many other ways as well). I have some extended family where that is not the case, and I know it is stressful for everyone involved when one person sees the need to be careful with money and the other does not.

    1. Laura, I do the same thing – I keep a freezer bag of vegetable odds and ends (onion skins, celery tops, etc.) to have ready when I want to make stock. Periodically my husband says, “What is w/ this bag labeled ‘scraps’ in the freezer??” and I’ll remind him how much he loves soup made from scratch. 😉

  3. We are snowed in still so we are saving because we can’t use the cars.
    The downside to this is my daughter hasn’t worked for 2 days now.
    This is Texas and we don’t get this cold usually. It was -1 when I got up this morning. We are having rolling blackouts. All of Texas is in a state of emergency.
    I have been trying to pay my bills and some places are closed.
    Internet and cable are down. I am reading one of my free books.
    I am sewing 2 quilts from free sew alongs.
    We have been planning our garden for this summer. We are trying to gather everything we need before we need it.
    There is little going on at this time…just trying to stay warm.
    On a good note we got our 2nd covid-19 shot Friday.
    Everyone stay warm and safe this week.
    As usual, Brandy, thank you for all you do and share. B.v

    1. That’s cold! We are just at the end of an “epic” ice storm. Of course, it wasn’t that cold, but cold enough:). I hope you can stay warm.

    2. I’ve been watching the news about Texas – so much to deal with! I live in Saskatchewan and we’ve been enduring a polar vortex for way too long – some nights the temperatures were in the -40’s and with the windchill it was close to -50. But we’re used to it… thinking of you and hope you stay warm.

  4. Wow! Two yards of free soil! That’s what I call a score!!

    We are leaving here in about 40 minutes to get our second doses of the Covid vaccine.

    Our furnace went out on Thursday, when it was 7F overnight. We couldn’t get the furnace guy here until Saturday. The motherboard kicked the bucket and he couldn’t get the part until today in Spokane. This morning we found out that Spokane doesn’t have the part and it has to come from Tacoma, where they have had a snow/ice storm, everything is shut down and the pass is closed! So, it will be Wednesday at the earliest. The part is under warranty (furnace is less than 3 years old) but we have to pay labor @ $98 hour and it will take two hours. We have managed to stay warm(ish) with our gas fireplace, a borrowed space heater and long underwear. We have a lot of rooms closed off.

    Other than the usual stuff, this was our week–
    * I darned two fancy socks of my daughter’s. I am not very good at this, but each try looks better than the last (I will never live long enough to get good at it). I wouldn’t bother with cheap cotton socks, though. And I’m only good for the first hole per pair!

    * I upcycled an old barbecue-style apron by making a new front pocket of ticking fabric with skulls and roses applique. (Skulls are so not me, LOL!). The original pocket was beyond mending, so I replaced it.

    * I received a refund of $81.97 for an overpayment. It was my money to begin with, and it’s good to have it back home where it belongs!!

    * I cannibalized a broken garden sign for the hanging hardware and immediately used it for the decorative hook rack I made from an old cabinet door. 

    * No food waste last week. I didn’t cook dinner one night but we survived just fine with what was in the fridge.

    * All three of us have Medicare Advantage policies with quarterly OTC drug benefits. I received a big bottle of generic Tylenol and 2 packages of AZO. I also placed orders for the other two members of the family.

    * It was quite a weekend at the grocery store! There was a coupon flyer for a dozen free eggs, a pound of scrappy cooking bacon for $1.49 and 5 lbs. of potatoes for .49. Plus, asparagus was .99 lb. for the first 5 pounds and there was an unadvertised special on peanut butter for $1.18. I prefer .99 PB, but my pantry was down to one jar, so I bought 3 jars and I’m hoping for a better deal…soon!

    * I made 5 quarts of pickled asparagus. It is dead simple and worked out to about $1 quart, including all ingredients. This should last us a year!

    * We are going to Phoenix later this week to visit relatives. I got an e-mail offer Friday from a car rental company. I already had a reservation, but this was a better deal. I booked a car and canceled the one I already had. We’re saving $67, getting a bigger car and 500 bonus airline miles.

    * I don’t get carried away with Hallmark holidays, but what’s better than a day to celebrate love? I bought my daughter a .50 card at Dollar Tree (and it was a Hallmark, LOL), along with a helium heart balloon that I hid for two days in the utility room. I usually give her the smallest heart box of Russell Stover chocolates, but this year we are all enjoying a heart cake made with pans I inherited from my late MIL.
     
    * We are enjoying streaming PBS Passport. We are currently watching an episode per night of Poldark, which we had not seen before. I like the story and the scenery and production values are great…plus the guy that plays Poldark is real eye candy!

    1. Ross on his horse, be still my beating heart!

      We began the lockdown early on when my husband was exposed to someone at work. For weeks he lived on the other side of our condo with his own bathroom while I stayed on my side.
      We packed our son off to his sisters house.
      And we quarantined.

      Poldark got us through.

      We watched one episode every night and then would talk about it on our phones.

      I am disabled with chronic hypoxia and overweight, so we all thought I would probably keel over dead with Covid. Not so. As we all had mild cases in December.

      I will always associate Poldark with a lonely time.

      Jenny Hatch
      http://www.JennyHatch.com

    2. I love Poldark, too. I have watched all the episodes and read all the books. My distant relations in Cornwall – part of the show was filmed on their land. Plus the cousin’s wife told me that the author, Kenneth Grahame, used her ancestors as his model for the (evil) Warleggan family. And, yes, I’d agree about the ‘eye candy’ 😉

    3. We sympathize! Our furnace went out a couple weeks ago so we’ve been using the fireplace (wood) and space heaters while dealing with estimates for our 90-year-old house. Hats and sweaters! We’re in Eugene, where it isn’t nearly as cold as Spokane.

  5. What a bonus Brandy to get that free dirt! Today is cleaning day-DH is cleaning the bathrooms and vacuumed. I did the kitchen and made some cream of asparagus soup. We are picking up our daughter at the airport in a couple of hrs and plan to go out for lunch enroute home-our favourite Indian restaurant is calling my name. We skipped eating out on our anniversary and Valentine’s this week as we thought it would be nicer to have DD along. I forgot to mention but last week I got a couple of $2 marked down produce bags at Walmart-I had heard of them but never seen them. Once had 3 large cantaloupes and the other 19 lemons which was pretty amazing-making them about 5 cents each-normally they run about 70 cents each here. Any extra were juiced and frozen.

    Today is a holiday here and DD and DH both have the week off-I will be working 3 days as usual caring for the 4 little boys. Hopefully it will warm up enough to go outdoors as last week was just too cold. Already looking forward to spring.

  6. What a wonderful blessing of the garden soil! It’s been so cold and rainy here, the only thing I sowed was 4 containers of wintersown plants, all dye plants, during a lovely break in the rainy weather. I harvested a cabbage and parsley. I made pizza on Tuesday, after I saw it was National Pizza Day. A double batch of crust was made, and one crust was frozen, as well as extra sauce. Toppings included our frozen green peppers and pickled sweet red peppers, roasted eggplant cubes, garlic, and home canned mushrooms and olives. I used up the last of the cranberry sauce and pear cranberry jam in a quick bread. With a sale, coupon, and rewards, I saved $19 on two bags of dog food, purchased avocados for .55, and asparagus for $1.49#. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2021/02/february-days.html

  7. It’s so cold here. My utility bill next month is going to be awful(we only have space heaters for heat). My husband hasn’t worked in a week and a half(not looking good for all this week either), plus I missed three days of work( two last week, and today) . The 14yo didn’t have school 2 days last week, plus off today because of President’s day, so there’s a bit of gas savings. (Even the 21yos work has been affected, he’s been off 3-4 hours early three days due to work being slow) I’ll be so glad when winter is over.

    Found a space heater marked down half price so I grabbed it.

    Returned a library book before its due date to avoid fines

    Read 4 magazines on Libby for free

    Watching stuff on the DVR so we can get it cleared off and cancel satellite.

    Eating mostly from what we have. Did have to buy some basics (milk, sugar, etc) There’s no eggs to be found(on top of many other things) and we are completely out, so breakfast has been mostly oatmeal and leftovers. I’ll need to get a few more things by Wednesday (finger crossed there’s eggs by then)

    Found a cake mix and made that for a dessert. The 14yo wanted to make bread one day, so she and hubby made a couple loaves (she discovered it’s a lot of work, lol)

  8. We never left the house except for the puppy class we are enrolled in which saves much on gas. We combined all the errands we needed to run into the same outing. I don’t know who was more exhausted – me or the pup! We also found that the prices the next town over are 10 cents cheaper so I will fill the tank up when I go to class this week. We are only needing a tank of gas most months now. I am very glad we decided to get rid of our 2nd car back in the fall! I scrounged up enough wood to build 2 shelves in what used to be the water heater closet which then allowed me to clear off all the clutter on top of my washer and dryer which was annoying me. I need to keep those things in the area (my jug I use to take water out to my quail and pheasants, their food and the dog’s food and treats). Hopefully I can start painting the area this week with paint we have on hand. The entire house is only primed and they sprayed it over everything including all the door knobs and cabinet hardware (anyone have any idea on how to remove it from said hardware?). We ate all our meals at home. I made 3 small loaves of regular banana bread (bananas were 50 cents a bunch because they already had spots) and froze 2 to have on hand when my parent’s come out to visit this week. My Mom in particular is really antsy to come see the puppy – she saw him the day we got him a month ago but not since so she will be rather surprised to see how big he has gotten (15.5 weeks and 50 pounds – he has put on 25 pounds in a month!). I am going to need to make a new coat for him soon. We took advantage of our free bag of food to get the puppy more for the month. There is not much in the way of exercise I can do with either dog right now. It has been so cold that it hurts their feet so we only stay out to play until they start lifting up their feet. The road is also so icy that I don’t dare go for a walk for fear of falling. That is the only disadvantage of this house – much smaller area for the pups to get their “zoomies” out! So far all my plants I brought in this past fall are still alive – just some asparagus ferns that I split and repotted, a succulent and my baby citrus trees but that will mean I don’t have to buy any “fillers” for my deck pots this year. I keep them in a South window but also have LED plant lights on them so they are getting the right amount of “sun”. I am trialing keeping some chives but those seem to be struggling – they’re alive but not really thriving. My BIL brought over all his boats canvas/”windows” for me to redo. The sun makes the “glass” brittle and eats the screening. He also has one seat that gets a lot of sun + it’s the dogs seat so it is all cracked. He will pay me but the prices the marina charges are obscene! $10,000??!! I already have some marine vinyl on hand for the seat so he will just have to buy the screening and clear “glass” vinyl for me. The canvas and zippers are still good but I may go over all the stitching with new UV resistant thread – that seems to be the first thing to go. Mostly, it’s just “same ole same ole” things we do to keep spending to a minimum!

    1. Try soaking the hardware in an old crockpot, one you won’t use to cook in again. The paint should come off easily after a gentle cooking.

    2. AmyD (The Tightwad Gazette) removed the paint from hardware in their old house just by soaking in water. I have no experience with this, but I know you can revived dried-up (latex) paint brushes by soaking in equal parts ammonia and water. I have done this several times.

    3. Someone had also painted door hinges in our fixer upper. I read online to boil them and the paint will slide off. The contractor who was working at our house was skeptical when he saw what I was doing. But it worked! I bought an old pan from the thrift store-you do NOT want to use one you will cook food in. It does need to boil for a while. And it smells a bit. But the paint slid right off! I had to scrub a few places with steel wool and generally give them all a once over with the steel wool to get any last bits. They were not perfect underneath, but I was planning to spray paint them anyway. I use an oil rubbed black spray paint. They looked brand new and they have had absolutely no problems in the one whole year they’ve been in place. My contractor was very impressed with the final outcome.

    4. Is it Goof Off that loosens dried latex paint? I think so, but I’m not sure what it might do to the finish on knobs and doorknobs. Maybe test it on something you don’t care about first. It seems like I used on concrete, and it worked great to get paint off that, but it has been a long time. The boat redo sounds amazing! What a savings!

    5. My cap is off to you, ma’am, for working with that marine canvas/vinyl. It’s not easy stuff to manipulate. Your BIL is fortunate that you’re willing to do it – as you say, marina prices are obscene. I’m sure he appreciates it!

  9. That is so terrific that you were able to get some soil from your neighbor!
    I was able to find 3 boxes of canning lids at my local hardware store (I took half their stock). The manager told me he had ordered a LOT of canning supplies this year and they are starting to trickle in, so to keep checking back. His price was even cheaper than Walmart, so I’m feeling more confident about eventually getting enough for this summer’s canning.
    I organized all my canning jars. As they empty I’ve just been shoving them into boxes regardless of type/size. Now like is with like and everything is labeled, so I know what I have.
    I made homemade bagels one morning. They turned out well. Friends invited us to go to the hot springs with them, so I took a couple of bagels for them as well. It was snowing that day – nothing like sitting in a hot springs with the snow coming down.
    My husband worked hard digging out a new neighbor’s car that had become stuck and the neighbor gifted him with a very nice bottle of Scotch, which wasn’t necessary, but was appreciated.
    I found an old package of candy melts in a drawer and chopped them up to make cookies – oatmeal white chocolate with cranberries. I subbed the candy melts for the white chocolate.
    I made chocolate covered strawberries for Valentine’s Day. I was able to purchase strawberries for $2 a pound. They were delicious. I used chocolate I had in the pantry. I noticed the store was selling a dozen chocolate dipped strawberries for $17.
    The seeds I planted last week are coming up!

    1. Congratulations on finding canning lids! I haven’t seen any yet (I haven’t looked too hard either). I did see canning jars at my local Ace hardware this week, but no lids.

  10. I have been wondering what percentage of your seeds that are planted each year never germinate. I only have a much smaller flower garden than you, but my frustration level skyrockets each year with the large amount of seeds that never come up. It hardly seems worth the bother and I now find I buy many small plants that I know will thrive. But sometimes I find something stunningly beautiful, or new to me, that only comes in seed form. I am often disappointed with no results.

    I can’t figure out if I am doing something wrong, although I follow directions as closely as possible or if there is a giant seed company conspiracy to take our money while a maniacal emperor sits on his throne (made of sterile seeds) and laughs uproariously every year at all the innocent and naive gardeners who are on their knees in their back yards begging their seeds to break through the surface.

    1. It really depends on the year! I planted a bunch of lettuce in fall and one kind came up while the other did not at all (twice). These were brand-new seeds. I was not happy. Seed prices have skyrocketed, too. Burpee has packets of seeds for $6.95 now in their catalog! That’s a lot to pay!

      1. Brandy is right about doing everything right and still not having seeds come up. However, I have noticed that the more perfect the seed bed the greater the success rate. A perfect seed bed is somewhat loose soil in the first inch or two with the seed pressed down to contact the soil and kept damp without washing away the seed–and that’s quite an undertaking! If the seed is meant to be covered lightly, I usually sprinkle a little potting soil on top of each seed and press down to firm the soil. I use potting soil because it looks different and makes it easier to keep track of where the seeds are actually planted. I think a lot of seeds do wash away. I keep the mulch pulled away until the seeds are well up. Hope this helps someone (it doesn’t always help me, LOL).

        I paid $5.95 for 30 tomato seeds in the Burpee catalog, but it was for a variety I’ve never seen and wanted to try (a bush Early Girl–I have limited growing space and sometimes a short season). Not available on Burpee seed racks where I live.

        1. My cosmos seeds have not come up again. This is the third year I have tried to plant them. I feel like I’m being very careful, but no luck. Also, I bought some expensive clematis seeds for a beautiful variegated clematis that I tried to start in cans first, but these have not come up either. I get very discouraged.

          1. I have the same problem for just as long with cosmos! I worry that they are drying out. I have tried for years. I had one single plant come up.

      2. Where we live – Northern Europe – people generally follow the Moon Cycle – it is even printed – if you want your plant to grow well under the soil like carrot, then you sow on a Root day and if you want it to grow well on the ground like tomato then you sow on Leaf day. You follow the moon growing bigger and then smaller. Sorry for bad explanation. I bet there is more info in net. I know many experienced gardeners paying attention to that. Even read about tests with onions. If sow sowed on right day, the crop was so much bigger AND lasted over winter much better.

    2. I have found that germination rates increase dramatically if I soak the seeds in warm water for a few hours before planting. You might try that.

    3. Anne, I have to tell you a story about my seed germination one year. I planted my seeds and waited. Then planted the seeds again. Nothing! Well, needless to say I was frustrated. Planted seeds again. I went inside for a few hours then I happened to look outside at the garden and there was a chipmunk digging in my beds where I had planted my seeds earlier that day. I ran out my back door screaming like a banshee at the chipmunk. After that we trapped the chipmunks and relocated them to the mountain 1 mile away. To this day I do not like chipmunks. And, even when we were at Disney my husband called me on the phone to tell me to stay away from Adventureland because Chip and Dale were there. I could also tell you about the time I ran out the front door yelling and screaming at the chipmunk eating my flowers in the front yard. The workers across the street stopped working and just stared at me. But, I won’t.

      1. Hilarious! but I share your pain… a few years back when I was still on my farm I had a wonderful garden and this particular year in the midwest we had a mini drought. I managed to keep the garden watered and had wonderful Brandywine tomatoes. Unfortunately the groundhogs also discovered that they were full of jucy goodness and ate ONLY the bottom half of most of them. There was of course no saving those and it was WAR! They are quite hard to dispatch. For a week it was like that movie Caddy shack. I sure miss my farm…

        1. Blessing Creek, thank you! I laughed so hard. I love Caddy Shack! Here is another store. Every Mother’s Day we go to a really nice nursery and my kids and husband buy me a plant/tree. Well, I got a peach tree. My husband planted it that weekend. About 2 weeks later I saw a groundhog holding on for dear life to the skinny trunk stripping the leaves off the tiny branches. The skinny trunk was bending so bad I thought it was going to break. I acted like a banshee..

  11. What good news about the garden soil! I’m so glad for you. I hope your seedlings do well.

    My sowing of salad greens was middling – the endive and tatsoi did well, the spinach just flopped after it came up. I did leave it on the heat mat with the others a couple days too long, I think. Oh well, there will be time and seed to try again.

    All three boys got haircuts, and I finally figured out a way to have my one-year-old sit in his high chair, transfixed by a Numberblocks video, to be able to cut his hair. Scissors seemed to work better, as the clipper noise was worrying him. Whatever works!

    We did more baking, ate from the freezer and pantry, made bread crumbs with scraps, and reorganized the freezer some more.

    I’m doing some organizing before the baby comes next month. Second best quilt on the bed (postpartum life and new baby – I don’t need my best matellase quilt right now!), wash the newborn things. We did get a new Moses basket, but the last one lasted three babies, and we got a used liner, so not too bad.

    I’m finding that freshening up the boys’ book boxes helps keep them reading. We’ve got a lovely stash from in-laws of childrens’ books (that we keep sealed in the basement with plenty of silica), and it’s worth the energy to take away a handful of well-read ones once a week and bring up some less familiar books.

    Wishing you all a wonderful week!

  12. Hi Brandy,
    I wrote a post and went to submit it when it disappeared. Not sure what happened there so if you received it my apologies for
    repeating it.

    That is a great gift of soil — how many cubic yards of soil are you going to need for your garden reno?

    We were shocked and in tears when one of our dear friends who was involved in our book passed away suddenly and unexpectedly.
    It is a terrible blow to lose such a great friend.

    As to savings, I bought 2 bags of cheese from Superstore — I saved $5 on each bag. I put one of them into the freezer.
    No Frills seems to have the best bargains. I’m hoping that a friend can pick up potatoes for me (5 pounds for $1) and fresh ground beef at half price. I’d like to stock my freezer with the beef.

    I have been eating down the fruit I froze last summer so I have room for a big box of frozen blueberries I bought on sale and that is stashed
    in my friend’s freezer. I’ll be making a plum crisp later today — I also love just stewing the frozen Italian prune plums.

    It has been so cold here I’ve only been outside briefly — to fill up the birdfeeder.

    My condolences to everyone who has lost a loved one recently, during these difficult times. Ann

    1. I am sorry about your friend.

      We took 32 trailers to the dump, but rocks are pretty solid and dirt is fluffy, so we have to compact it down. A trailer full of topsoil is 3 yards. I’ve bought 30 yards so far.

      We have only dug half the garden beds for the garden. We are sifting the rocks and roots from what we already had and have mixed that in with the topsoil and with manure. I still have more soil to sift when we finish digging it out (hopefully this week) so that can be reused. I have more bags of manure that we’ve purchased already sitting here. I certainly hope I don’t need 30 or more yards again, but I imagine we will. It’s had to know exactly how much it will compact.

      In my gardening classes, they say if you have $1 to spend on a garden, spend $0.90 on soil and $0.10 on seeds, because good soil is that important. Our rocky lime caliche here is literally like trying to grow in concrete, so new soil is a must in order to have success.

      I’m looking forward to the food and flowers we will get from the garden, plus a beautiful place to hang out, which is more important than ever during a pandemic.

      1. Thanks, Brandy.
        I only ordered 5 packets of seeds. I bought a pale yellow double flowered nasturtium,some Scarlet Runner bean seeds,
        some cucamelon seeds (first time I will have tried those), some bush peas. I already had some left over carrot seeds, and chard seeds.
        I’ll be gardening at my place (not the community garden) this year and shade will be a problem. It is great fun to look at the free seed catalogs and dream.

        I always feel badly about our clay soil but reading about your caliche realize that clay is not so bad…

        1. Caliche is like really, really hard clay. Okay, so it’s pretty much concrete. You have to dig it with a jackhammer.

          I’ve ever heard of a double-flowered nasturtium! I did see some pink and purple nasturtiums from Baker Creek! They were very pretty!

      2. I think many have grown to appreciate their homes even more, and to work to make them a lovely place to be. I can just imagine how much joy you and your family will have using the new space, and all the produce it will provide.

    2. So sorry about the death of your friend Ann – it must have been such a shock.
      Yes, “No Frills” has had some good deals lately – I did a bit of a stock up last week – hadn’t intended to but it was hard to pass up so many good deals. I’m now glad that I did as I stopped off at the fancier grocery store on my way to the office this morning and I was quite surprised at how bare some of the areas were. This time all the non food items seemed to be fine but meat and veg sections were looking noticeably barer than normal. I know there has been some major outbreaks at meat processing plants again so I’m wondering if this is the result. I couldn’t get any ground beef at all but did find it a bit later at a downtown Longo’s store – bought a few extra tubes for the freezer just in case. I made an apple and cranberry crumble yesterday so that is dessert sorted for a few days and using up the cranberries gives me a bit more freezer space. Stay warm.

    3. Ann, I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. May God comfort you during this time and please know I am praying for you. Laura

  13. Sending blessings for good surgeries and healing to Juls and Angie’s Mom, and others who are having procedures this week, and strength to all who take care of them.
    I guess my best frugal move is to keep doing physical therapy at home for my knees, (one new 4 months ago; the other one month ago). Although insurance is still covering PT from the recent surgery, it is less expensive, and probably more empowering if I do my share of the work myself. I really appreciate the attention and positive reinforcement of the therapists at the sessions, though!
    Cooking with plans for leftovers. Shopping grocery sales when possible. Keeping house as cool yet comfortable as possible; perhaps the snow outside is banking against the house to keep it warmer!
    My Dad had a very carefully plotted out plan to arrange how drifts would form in his yard to keep blowing and blizzard snow from filling his driveway, based on prevailing winds, natural barriers, etc. Made for much less shoveling. Our plan is simply to park the vehicles at the end of the driveway close to the street, as we have no garage, so we don’t have to shovel out as much to get them out. Husband also parks them to make sure batteries are accessible if they need to be jumped, and to put the wipers “up” so they don’t stick to the windshields if we have ice/frozen rain storms.
    Will “wash” the kitchen broom by sweeping new fallen snow outside.
    Stacking up paperwork to do taxes in March. I found out the hard way a few years ago that some stock-investments do not have to send out their 1099’s until mid-February, when last valuations have come in. I had to amend taxes that year with almost no change in the tiny overall amounts, and will make sure not to have that happen again.
    City changed trash charges to a flat monthly fee, rather than pay-by-the-can stickers. This almost tripled our family charges, as we recycle and just don’t have much to throw out. Have decided that even though we are paying for three times as much trash pick up as we need, we will still recycle and consolidate as possible. That can be our small part of keeping prices lower for the future!
    Looking forward to reading what others are doing, as always!

    1. I learned the same thing about 1099s sent for some investments the same way you did–the hard way! I found out they don’t have to be mailed until Feb. 15, and believe me, no one sends them early. My schedule for doing taxes this year is the same as yours! Waiting is a lot easier than amending taxes.

  14. Hi Brandy and everyone
    What a kind neighbour! Nice to have someone nearby who is a gardener too.
    My husband bought and installed new levers which automatically open a window in the greenhouse when it gets hot and close the window as the temperature cools. It won’t be needed just yet, it’s been freezing!
    He also went through all his clothes and shoes and set aside some for charity and fabric recycling. We don’t need to buy anything new for him.
    A friend did a doorstep drop of a book she thought I would enjoy. She doesn’t want it back.
    I sold 2 items on eBay.
    We cut cabbage from the garden, used a punnet of cress I grew and made an apple, sultana and oat pudding with apples from the freezer. I made Shrewsbury biscuits and a double chocolate marbled cake.
    Prepared hyacinths I planted ( for Christmas!) have started flowering so I’ve moved them to a spot indoors where we can see them.
    Our elderly Labrador was started on a course of treatment a few months ago which I wasn’t entirely happy about because I felt the vet didn’t explain properly and I felt under pressure to agree to very expensive new drugs. This time I asked to see a different vet and was open with her about my concerns. She was very helpful and explained everything thoroughly and changed some of the treatment plan. I came away feeling much better, we will always do what is right for the dog and if that means expensive drugs so be it. However she substituted cheaper meds which will achieve the same result. One of our daughters is a farm animal vet (she qualified some years ago and isn’t up to date with new drugs for domestic animals so felt she couldn’t advise us) and she encouraged me to ask for a different opinion and I’m glad I plucked up the courage!
    Stay safe everyone.

  15. Good afternoon to everyone!
    Brandy, I loved reading the series by James Herriot as well. I had the whole series in paperback for years, until one disappeared in a move. But- I am thankful for libraries where I can get copies to read again and again.

    Haircuts at home. Meals at home. We walk the dog and we go birdwatching as our hobby that is practically free.

    I’m enjoying reading about and seeing photos of the major transformation of your garden. It is a tremendous project and it’s going to be so beautiful.

  16. I’ve been reading your blog for years but this is my first time commenting. Our baby girl turned two weeks old this week. She’s much smaller than we expected because she came early so although we had lots of diapers we had almost none that were small enough. I remembered that you had suggested target for the best pricing. I did a little of my own research and got some really great prices on formula and newborn diapers at target. I’ve been eating a lot of home cooked meals and some of the cheap easy meals I got — $0.78 frozen pizzas and $0.22 mac and cheese when I’m too busy so we don’t feel tempted to eat out. I stocked up on these in a big pick up order from Walmart before the baby came in preparation. I recently tried a free delivery trial from target but I felt so pressured to leave a large tip for the driver that I don’t think it’s worth it and ended up canceling it after just a couple of orders. I’d rather just do pick up orders and not feel like I’m determining someone’s wage by how much I tip. I’ve always hated the tipping system in the USA. I’m excited to see what your garden looks like after it’s all done. I wish I had your green thumb, but I seem to kill every plant that comes my way.

    1. Congratulations on your new daughter!

      Gardening is always trial and error, even by experienced gardeners. I had a gardener reach out to me in an online group this week from the other side of the world who lives in a similar climate to mine who is having trouble with some plants. Both he and I teach gardening classes to others, but we don’t know everything and still lose plants!

  17. -What luck you has in getting the soil from your neighbor! I imagine this was quite a service to her as well. It is sometimes difficult to know what to do with excess materials like that that can’t be stored easily. We often have Facebook posts on our local site where people are trying to remove things they don’t need, and there always seems to be someone who has a home for it.
    -I found it hard to get going this week, but I tackled a few of the easier things.
    -I’ve made a phone call about a government senior home repair program in my province to get some details about submitting paperwork, and I booked a community bus ride for next week to go up to the village office and print out or scan some documents I’ll need to do that.
    -I’m planning a stock up for my pantry and freezer. We’ve got down to very low co-vid rates locally and no nearby signs of the variants that will spread quickly if they get here. There are good sales on, I’ll have some funds to stock up a bit, and the weather is warm enough again to go out in. The next few weeks may be a good chance to get supplies in. I started by buying several pounds of lean ground beef at $2.98/lb Cdn ($2.35 US), which is the best price I can get it. I’m working on a list and setting priorities to get the most critical things first.
    -My remaining cat has needed some no-cost entertainment now that her lifetime buddy is gone. (She is 12. Her buddy was 13.) People on Reddit gave me a host of suggestions, so she is enjoying trying some different games. The favorite is chasing a fabric measuring tape around a box or in the air.
    I am also beginning to give the cat a regular brushing to keep dander and loose hair down. She really loves how it feels, and all the attention. Though it is still the middle of winter from a temperature point of view, daylight is much longer, which triggers animals’ shedding. The other cat groomed her regularly, so without this attention, I had begun to sneeze when she jumped onto my lap.
    -I’ve enjoyed a Donna Leon book borrowed as an e-book from the library, and a cup of cocoa, made with watered down half and half, cocoa and icing sugar. (There was no milk in the house.) It was a nice sweet treat on Saturday evening.

    1. Her husband came home as we were out shoveling and he seemed VERY happy that we were taking the rest away!

        1. I’ve been watching the news about Texas – so much to deal with! I live in Saskatchewan and we’ve been enduring a polar vortex for way too long – some nights the temperatures were in the -40’s and with the windchill it was close to -50. But we’re used to it… thinking of you and hope you stay warm.

    2. Elizabeth M.
      I think it’s an excellent idea for you to stock up now. There’s no telling how bad the variants will be.

  18. Wow free, expensive top soil. It pays to ask. We ordered a take out family meal from a Mexican type fast food place and got 2 meals out of it for the 5 of us. Then since so many people has talked about your Taco soup last week I made it with the leftover black beans from the take-out and ingredients I had on hand. Made my own taco mix for the soup. We got 2 more meals out of the soup and my son had the last small bowl for breakfast! My husband wanted something sweet after dinner last night so I used a recently expired white cake mix to make chocolate chip walnut cookies. I added almond extract to the mix and the cookies were delicious. Our Valentine decorations are all from last year but they look very cheerful in the house. I made a special meal for Valentines Day of roasted pork roast and red potatoes with broccoli as a side. Then we had left over pork sandwiches for desert. A friend dropped off homemade carrot cake cupcakes and chocolate cupcakes right before dinner. Yum. Tonight I will be making pork chop soup with leftover pork.
    We picked up a Kroger order ahead of the snow storm that is hitting here today. About 1/4 of our grocery bill is for gluten free food for my 2 sons with Celiac disease. I have decided not to worry about going a little bit over my grocery budget each week because of the cost of gluten free foods.
    We continue to de-clutter and find things we can use right now. I am also freeing up storage bins as I give and throw away things and consolidate 2 bins into 1. I have decided to give away my formal clothes such as a mother-of the bride dress and other clothes I have worn to weddings. No reason to save them and if I need something similar I will purchase the item second hand.
    My 3 adult children with special needs and I got our second dose of the Covid vaccine. Some reactions to the shots but after a day everyone is much better. This week will be spent in preparation for my husband’s back surgery next Monday the 22nd. We are hoping his stay at the hospital will be short since we aren’t allowed to visit. Thank goodness for face time. My oldest daughter will take her dad to the hospital. She will be able to see him for an hour after he is in his room following surgery. I will stay with our 3 children driving one back and forth to work. My one son has type 1 diabetes and it is much easier for me to help him manage it than to try to train or explain it to someone else.
    We make 2 stops a week at the library. I am reading books that are suggested on this site. Now we are waiting for the second part of the snow storm to hit before we go out and shovel again today. Hopefully we get it all cleared up because my husband has presurgical tests scheduled for tomorrow.

    1. I agree with constantly trying to keep the cost of gluten-free food down–no matter how hard you try, it is what it is! And, because you have to have it, you pay the price:). I’m sure you do the same things I do–bake from scratch or from mixes purchased on sale, eat lots of “regular” foods that happen to be gluten-free and so forth. But, when a box of cornbread mix is on sale for $4.50, and from scratch costs at least $2-3 to make with gluten-free flour, and that compares to pennies for from-scratch wheat flour cornbread….I hear you! When a loaf of wheat bread is consistently $1 or so at our Safeway, and gluten-free is between $3 (at the day-old bread store) and $6 at Safeway…. I think you are wise to just accept it and do your best. Even though it’s more expensive, we only bake gluten-free. I do buy some bread for those who can, but even a few crumbs can bring on a horrible few days of sickness…..I’m sure your boys are the same way. It’s no fun and not worth messing around with for many reasons. So, we “Covid-cleaned” our counters way before it was the thing to do, and I’m sure you do, too!

    2. We have a gluten free family member too and I’ve had some luck with the Ibotta app money back. Sometimes they have but one get one of one of the brands of gluten free bread or at least a dollar or two off. Sometimes we shop around too and that helps. I found some at wholefoods (of all places) for $4 a loaf the other week which is a really good price when there aren’t any ibotta deals.

  19. It has been a busy week around here!
    We borrowed my sister’s carpet cleaning machine and cleaned all the carpet in our home. We only have an area rug and carpet in three bedrooms but it was quite the task as we continued to clean until the water was completely clear. Now everything is nice and fresh for spring! Since we borrowed the machine the only cost to us was the all purpose cleaner we used…altogether with the water I believe we spent about $10…a huge savings from having a service clean carpets for $59/room!
    I planned several meals for this week that will feed us well but not be a lot of work to prepare. It is cold here today so I used the last of the tomatoes we froze from our garden, fresh chopped orange bell peppers frozen from the garden, garlic, onions and herbs to make
    a large pot of tomato soup. I have homemade sourdough croutons to go with it as well as salad and grilled cheese sandwiches.
    I used homemade cranberry sauce to make two loaves of cranberry bread and baked a chocolate cake for A Valentines Day treat. Amazing to know that about 90% of what we are eating is coming from our pantry and freezer.
    W are considering purchasing a home and it is a great blessing to know that we can double our down payment savings in the next month or two by continuing to manage our grocery & household expenses in this manner.
    I paid bills online, washed full loads of laundry and dishes and turned off lights.
    I purchased potatoes for $0.39/lb, onions, brown sugar, sour cream, butter, cheese, milk, eggs, and a few other items to keep our pantry stocked and use wha my we have on hand.
    I continue to enjoy Downton Abbey on Amazon Prime. I have several gift cards remaining from Christmas and will be ordering several basics for spring and summer at 50% off plus free shipping.
    I hope that everyone enjoys the week ahead!!
    Stay safe!!

    1. Angie- Isn’t that a great feeling to know that you don’t have to go to the store and you can still put together meals from your pantry and freezer?!! We have Snow Level 2 emergency this morning and we are perfectly fine staying home! Plenty of food to choose from!!
      Sounds like you are on your way to achieving that goal!! Well done!!

      Gardenpat in Ohio 🥶🥶
      HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

  20. We are starting to get freezing rain here in Kentucky, and more snow than I’ve ever seen here is predicted to fall overnight.
    I am all stocked up and have plenty to eat: I was told last week at a doctor’s appointment to go on a low sodium lifestyle. My blood work was great, but I take a medication that can cause high blood pressure. Thar caused a trip to the stores for a few things.
    All meals were scratch made at home.
    I wore sweaters and my Uggs around the house to avoid turning up the heat.
    I did not have to get gas for the third week in a row. Love that little Volkswagen beetle!
    My husband and I enjoyed a visit with our college freshman daughter.
    She gave us the best frugal accomplishment by getting a full scholarship to Centre College! Tuition is $50,000 a year!

    1. Michelle, would you be willing to share how your daughter got her scholarship? I have a high school sophomore and we want to get as much scholarship money as possible, even though she will go to a local college. She is currently #11 in a class of over 225. We are hoping her grades will get her something. Our income will be to high for help from FASFA.

      1. You could see whether P.E.O. international has any scholarships she could apply for — you can check the P.E.O. International website. She would need to be nominated by a local chapter.

      2. Sure! The number one thing is effort she put in all through high school. She was so focused on getting good grades, we had to make her chill out every now and then. Lol. I think one thing that really made a difference was being well rounded: 4.2 grade point average was great but she also played sports, was president of the Key Club (a community service club) in which she had over a 100 hours of volunteer work, and tutored in her spare time. She had a 32 on her ACT. It really paid off because she has so much scholarship money it seems like they are paying HER to attend their school.

        1. My nephew received refund of scholarship $ after he graduated. His scholarship paid for 12,months housing and he only needed 9 months senior year

      3. Our daughter is in a local school, just 15 minutes up the road, which I love. She was #5 in a class of 200-something. Lol.
        Just apply for everything, because every little bit helps.

      4. Check with her school counselor, they often know about local scholarships and are often asked to recommend students. Also check with financial aid office at schools she is interested in to make sure you meet their deadlines. Also I have friend whose son wasn’t at tip top in class ranking but had great ACT scores thanks to help of review course and he got full tuition from that.

        1. As a college professor, I second this comment! So many scholarships go unawarded because no one applies.
          Apply for EVERYTHING!

          I can’t tell you how many students pay for their college with a collection of small scholarships rather than a single big one.

          Also, FAFSA does not always put you in the running for other scholarships from your school – some schools it does, some it does not. Most schools use the FAFSA information for other scholarships that you have applied for but it does not always automatically put you in the running for those scholarships. Make an appointment with your financial aid office at any school your child hopes to attend and tell them you want information on EVERY scholarship your child *might* be eligible for and how explicitly your child gets in the running for that scholarship. I say “might” because many smaller scholarships have no applicants (people tend to pooh-pooh a $500 scholarship these days, so they don’t even apply). The scholarships want the money used, so some will give them to an applicant even if they don’t quite meet the criteria. Filling out applications can be time consuming but every dollar awarded is a dollar you do not have to earn or pay for! That frees up time for studying, interning, etc.

          Congratulations to your daughter, Michelle! I’m so happy for her and you!

          Lea

          1. I wanted to add my agreement to this. I know someone who is in a group that raises money for a small amount, I think she said $500. Which she told me could pay for at least one or so books. One year they had one person apply and they were awarded the money. The next year the same person got it again. Because when they tried to get people to apply there wasn’t enough for them. Which I found odd.

      1. Yes, we are some proud and thankful parents that she worked so hard for the opportunity to go to such an excellent school.

    2. And for everyone who is panicking over the anticipated cost of college, the single most important thing you can do that costs only time and love and enthusiasm is to READ TO YOUR CHILD!
      I could go on for pages about this topic. I will just say that from my professorial career that students who read were always at the head of the class in every respect.

  21. Hello all, had a good week here. The dealer came back and bought several more small things, $200. She also saw several other items of interest, we will see if she calls back. All in all I’m very pleased with this experiment. I cleared out space and made money I wouldn’t have if I had trashed everything.

    I made black forest cake yesterday using a can of free cherries. Today we had biscuits for breakfast and chicken and dumplings for lunch. It’s nice to be cooking again.

    I sold a art piece that hung in my kitchen so I’m in the process of making something new. Can’t find anything I like yet but I have a woven piece made from blue jeans I trying to work with. Today I’m making feathers from blue jeans. I saw these at piller box blue website, there are a lot of projects made from jeans.

    1. cc, after reading your post I checked Pillar Box Blue, and now I can’t stop scrolling through all the wonderful ideas for re-/upcycling old jeans. Several years ago I saw the idea for napkin/cutlery holders from jeans pockets and made some that I still use, but I still have a box of old, torn, frayed jeans that I can’t bring myself to get rid of. Now I have an abundance of inspiration.
      Those feathers are lovely – I think I may have to try them first.

      1. Ava I’m glad you found it useful. The feathers turned out well, I used burlap twine I had. Mine turned out white so I found some black jeans to mix it up. I had fun making them but haven’t decided how I will use them. Right now they are sitting in a bowl, but I did think about hanging a couple on the corner of a rustic frame.

  22. I don’t post very often, but read each week. We are experiencing unprecedented snow and ice now, with record low temps at night. No one in the deep South knows how to drive in it and pretty much everything is closed and people are at home. Throwing out lots of sunflower seeds and cracked corn for the poor birds. I have been cooking all meals at home—so tired of cooking and dealing with culinary burnout from pandemic cooking, but thankful we have plenty of food. Our old, garage-dwelling fridge finally quit, but everything had defrosted before I discovered it. Saved two hams and many packages of butter. Lost all my blueberries and blackberries :(. Cooked one ham and used the leftovers to make sliders, fried ham for breakfast, ham in omelets, ham sandwiches, ham and corn chowder and will put the bone in black-eyed peas with cornbread. My youngest daughter must be gluten free and I returned two boxes of protein bars that I thought were GF, but were not. $11.00 back into our account. Used 2000 fuel points in two trips to gas station for 35 gallons each time, saving $70.00. Four cars going to work each day eat up the gasoline. Paid off a loan used for new HVAC system (the old one was 30 years old) and working to pay off a truck loan earlier than scheduled. C-Spire just laid cable in our neighborhood, so hoping to use that to bargain for better rates from ATT, or switch to C-Spire. Polished my Mother’s silver trays, which are displayed in my kitchen. Hanging clothes indoors to dry and putting towels over drafty spots to keep the cold out. Just received my second vaccine with no ill side effects, but I still wear a mask and social distance. I live in the most affluent area of the state and few people have a frugal mindset, so I appreciate Brandy’s effort to continue this blog and everyone’s thoughtful posts.

  23. Wow! What a blessing to get all that free soil! Last week I used a gift card to purchase needed items and a few groceries, so no out of pocket expense. Today I ran to Walmart and picked up 1/2 off Valentine stuffed animals to put in my Operation Christmas Child boxes in the fall. I picked up my seed starter items and a few packs of flowers to plant. I found seed potatoes at Walmart since my online order never showed up. I am waiting for that refund to process. Between snow days and a long weekend I didn’t drive anywhere after getting home from work last Thursday until today. (Monday) I found food storage containers on clearance a 5 pack for $2.00 perfect for taking to work. And I found canning lids (!!!!) as well.

  24. Sounds nice to do something for the garden!

    We weren’t exactly frugal this past week. We bought extra groceries and household supplies before the weather hit.

    It’s been -9° Actual temperature and -26° Windchill.
    We brought our outdoor dog into our climate controlled garage.
    We’re blessed despite the cold. My family is in Texas and dealing with ice, frozen pipes, and blackouts.

    Indoors we are doing school; playing games; and sorting through our clothes. We have a couple boxes ready to donate.

    Even though I prefer books to hold in my hand, I took advantage of a lot of Valentine’s Day & President’s day specials to get about a half dozen free ebooks.

    For Valentine’s Day two of my children made sugar free peanut butter pies. I used pork tenderloin we already had in the freezer and used our rotisserie.

    Next is trying to frugally plan 3 birthdays over the next 2 weeks

  25. To Melissa V: I have seen on several DIY shows that putting painted-on hardware in a crockpot and letting it soak with remove the paint easily.

  26. If anyone is interested, Bob’s Red Mill is offering free shipping today (Monday, 2/15) only with the code BOBSBIRTHDAY. I just placed an order and the site is very slow, but there are a few things I prefer to get at Bob’s that I can’t find locally, so I jumped at the chance to place an order with no minimum for free shipping.

  27. I have the three book series of All Creatures Great and Small, and I still return to them now and then to re-read them. It’s like visiting with an old friend.

    I hope all your hard work on the garden pays off mightily with lots and lots of food and flowers.

    I applied for a discount for our internet through a federal program, after seeing a notice for it in my internet bill. My husband qualifies due to some special assistance he gets, and even though I don’t qualify, that’s all it takes, one person in the household. Our internet was upgraded to meet the program specs., and we pay about $15 less a month now than we did with the old internet.

    I turned down a new “deal” from our electric utility to pay a set fee each month. I’m already on the budget plan, which means the monthly price is based on the average of the last 12 months’ usage, and the amount goes up or down during the year if we have a series of higher or lower bills. I currently pay $156 a month and have for several months. The new set price “deal” we were offered would have me paying $181 every month, and if for any reason, I were to go off the program while having a credit balance (paid for more than I actually used), I wouldn’t get that excess money returned. I decided my old plan is just fine.

    I made a Valentine’s Day card for my husband. His birthday is almost here, and I will probably make a card for that, as well. He likes the hand made cards.

    I bought more wild bird seed, and used my reward bucks plus membership discount to knock $18 off the price of the two bags.

    I used Swagbucks to buy a hand pollinator for my husband’s indoor tomato plants, as well as a giant economy size of concentrated cleaner.

    I posted something online to sell. If it doesn’t go there, I’ll try another site. This is my first attempt at online selling, so I’m finding my way around, but I hope this leads to more sales.

    1. Jo: I once had a set of FOUR James Herriot books. I looked quickly now and saw that his works in Britain were re-arranged when printed in the U.S., as well as made into various compilations. Although buying new wouldn’t necessarily be worth it, if you see some of his books at the library, you might find a few stories in them that you hadn’t seen before.

    2. I find that posting items for sale on multiple sites (numerous local FB groups, Craigslist, etc) ususally gets me the best results. Some items you have to bump occasionally.

  28. We are expecting a large amount of snow overnight and into tomorrow so we will be staying in until we can get it cleaned up. I wasn’t at my most productive last week for some reason so this week I am determined to get more done. I started the week by canning some clementines that my mom gave me. It will save me buying cans of mandarin oranges. Our local No Frills had a really wonderful customer appreciation sale so I stocked up on items I know will be used. We have been collecting the Canadian Recovery Caregiver Benefit but we will reach our limit on this at the end of March, unless the government extends it. My husband will not be able to return to work until September at the earliest so stocking up now is more important than ever. To this end, I am taking full advantage of our local buy nothing group and picking up practical gifts that I know we can use. This group has been a huge blessing to us these past few months.

    I hope everyone is staying warm. A blessed week to you all.

  29. I still have my “much-loved” paperback copy of All Things Bright and Beautiful on my bookshelf. The Herriot books were given to me by my aunt when I was in 6th grade or thereabouts (so in the early 70’s). I fell immediately in love with them then and have never lost that love, and even with the downsizing and decluttering we’re doing, I can’t bear to part with those tattered old books.

    We had a bit of rain and turned off the sprinklers for several days. I continue to use my large appliances during suggested off-peak hours. It is not a hardship at all and has made a real difference in our utility bill.

    I roasted a butternut squash from the CSA farm box and tossed some of the seeds into used k-cups w/ a bit of potting soil. They sprouted almost immediately and I’m looking forward to planting them. The previous owner left many empty pots and planters, and I am, gratefully, putting them to good use.

    I picked limes, lemons, and Valencia oranges, using some for ourselves and sharing some with family (contact-free drop-offs) for Valentines Day. I sent my son a goodie bag of small items that were supposed to have gone in his and his girlfriend’s Christmas stockings but got lost in the shuffle (I found them as I was putting Christmas decorations away and set them aside to use as Valentines).

    I’ve done no grocery shopping at all and we’ve been enjoying finding creative ways to use up things that need using.

    I took advantage of Shutterfly freebie offers to make several Easter basket gifts. I paid only shipping.

    I downloaded several free books to my Kindle from Book Raider.

    We continue to downsize and declutter, and to make good progress. I called DAV (Disabled American Veterans) – they were happy to schedule a pickup and I was happy the items we donated would go where they were needed and will be used. We kept the receipt for tax purposes.

    I had asked in a previous post for ideas re: donating an unexpired, still in good condition car seat. I put it among the DAV donations in the driveway, though I knew they might not take it. Before they could arrive, a gentleman stopped, thinking we were having a garage sale, and asked how much for the car seat. I gave it to him.

    I continue to enjoy free entertainment in the form of avian antics at the fountain and birdbath (also courtesy of the previous owner). One day I witnessed visits by six or seven different species of birds, including two I had to research because I didn’t recognize them. I’ve apparently become an amateur backyard birdwatcher. Family members seem to enjoy the photos I send of my various bird visitors.

    My husband hung the outdoor lights we brought from our previous home (the new owners did not want them) around the pergola in the back yard. They look beautiful! He put them on a timer we already had.

    Frugal fail: My husband sold an item on eBay, only to discover that I had inadvertently put it in the box of items that went to DAV. He had to inform the buyer that the item had been unwittingly given away. Just $25, but I feel bad about it.

  30. Brandy, congratulations on the additional soil!
    *My friend gave me an extra loaf of sourdough bread that she made.
    *I returned a light that we don’t need in our new home (I made a different selection). I purchased it more than 6 months ago so I don’t get a refund, but did get a gift card for the amount.
    *I went to another store to buy new lighting. On impulse, I signed up for their store credit card and saved $100 on my new fixtures.
    *I participated in a research project on Covid-19. I have to take the saliva test and give a small blood sample. It took 20 minutes and I got a $30 grocery store gift card.
    *Several of you last week mentioned the Youtube series “Mornings with Granny.” Thank you! I watched a few episodes, and particularly enjoyed the “What if” ones, meaning if you only had these items in your pantry/fridge, what would you make out of them? I realized how much I already have on and how little I need to buy each week.
    *I shared three meals with others, including the friend who gave me the bread
    *I trimmed my bangs
    *I did shop today for a few things and thought my bill seemed high. I checked the receipt before leaving the store and the clerk had put in the wrong bulk code for Irish oatmeal and had charge me for almonds instead. The difference was $4.05, which was credited back to me.
    *I found avocados for .25 each at Winco.
    *I finished knitting a wool cap to donate.
    Stay safe and warm! Many of you are snowed in and I hope you have a good week.

  31. Woke up to -17 this morning and it never crept above 0. Brrrrr!!!! I went to pick up my grocery order but our Walmart had computer problems and cancelled all the orders. Wish I would have know before I ventured out in the cold, but it was probably good to give the car a drive and get me moving. And now I get to reorder and try again tomorrow!
    We had a nice and quiet Valentine’s Day. Had a couple free steaks (award for my husband at work) and I made loaded mashed potatoes from some wrinkly, sprouted potatoes. We had some lovely french bread a young friend dropped by earlier in the day and I made up some frozen broccoli. I made some red velvet cupcakes for dessert and had the paper liners and holiday sprinkles already in the pantry. I gave my husband a homemade card and a bag of truffles. He gave me a sweet bouquet and a book. We didn’t spend $20 between us and it was perfect. Our son was out so we were able to have dinner just the two of us. We’ve been missing that, although we love our son.
    Dinners last week included pizza, bbq chicken wraps, pot pies, tacos and pasta, and a couple others I’m not remembering right now. Simple but nourishing and thrifty.
    February is the month that my mantra is always “just keep going.” It’s cold here, spring seems so far away. So, I keep going, doing the things I know work for us. We are thrifty and careful with our resources, and I try to do self-care things that I know help me escape the winter blues. I read fun books (I save the heavy ones for different times of the year), I watch shows I know will lift me, I connect with my children and grandchildren via technology, I cook nourishing and comforting meals. These things help me get through until Spring arrives and perks me up! I’m grateful for all of you and the inspiration you bring in to my life every week.
    Stay warm!

  32. 70 degrees last week and an ice storm this week! My oldest son, who lives in the northern part of the state, had a very difficult time getting home last night from work. There was a 20 car pileup! I baked turnips, long carrots, potatoes, and sweet potatoes in foil. I wrapped pepper jack cheese around the carrots at the end. I cut the turnip greens up, cooked on top of stove and added apple cider vinegar, minced garlic, creole seasonings, to the “pot likker” and made a pan of cornbread to soak up the juice. I guess I will be having vegetable suppers this week. I had a scare last week with my youngest son and it turned out to to be strep throat, with swollen gums, not Covid. He was still miserable and I gave the poor fella Gatorade, generic NyQuil, and nearly all my ready made soups. Glad I had all that stocked up. The middle son had four cavities filled and I gave him plenty of soup also. All three are currently iced in, even though the younger two live over two hours south of the oldest. I made a Walmart run to replenish my supplies. I was happy to help. I had my Covid vaccine, my boss made it mandatory since he did not want us becoming infected, and spreading it to hundreds of folks in court. The vaccine made me pretty sick with fever, muscle aches, headache, chills, etc., but I am ok now. I ordered a skirt, for work, on line from J.C. Penney and received a discount.

      1. Moderna. There was also a second ice storm in the north. part if the state. My oldest son was coming home from work and slid off the road as did two other folks. He was towed to a parking lot and some angel folks got him home about 1 am in the morning. I am so grateful.

  33. I am so impressed that you got that garden soil. We have good soil for growing in the ground, although it is full of rocks. We always say the rocks absorb the heat during the day, and let it out at night so our garden does well. For our raised beds though, we buy soil. You get very interesting shaped root vegetables in our gardens, if we don’t put them in the raised beds. I have had carrots shaped like the letters “S” and “J” by growing around the rocks. Also had one that looked like a person wearing pants, as about halfway down it encountered a rock and just divided and grew on each side. I prefer our carrots from the raised beds. They are nice and straight.
    I ordered my $50 of free OTC from my Medicare Advantage plan. Got toothpaste, flossers, an electric toothbrush, Vitamin D and 4 bottles of hydrogen peroxide. Still need to make my DH’s order.
    I worked 6 days last week and brought breakfast and lunch all week. Only 6 1/2 weeks before I am mostly retired. I will probably come in 20 to 30 hours a month after that for the rest of this year to help in training and review work. Then will come back for next tax season. After that, we will see what I am willing to do.
    My DH made chili last Monday using the beans I had cooked over the weekend. He made BBQd hot dogs and ribs for Super Bowl, so he had chili dogs for lunch most days last week. I had fried rice.
    Winco had a special on spiral ham with an expiration date of March 1st for 98¢ per pound. I bought one and will make it the last weekend in February. They also had green bell peppers, a nice large size, for 38¢ each. I got 5 of those.
    We made pizza one night. That lasted for two dinners.
    Had popcorn as a snack.
    We had temperatures of around 3F one night this week, with wind chills of at least -15F. Our temperatures did not go above freezing all week. We stayed snug in our small house with mounds of blanket throws and hot tea and hot chocolate. We each added another blanket throw to our side of the bed.
    Fred Meyer had regular and chocolate milk for 99¢ per half gallon. I got a half gallon of chocolate milk and one of 1%. For hot chocolate, I just heat up the chocolate milk. Since it is the same price as regular milk, it just makes sense to me to make it that way.
    Hope everyone stays warm, safe and healthy.

  34. Hello Everyone!

    Our schools are finally preparing for sport cohorts. I took my teen to the doctor for a wellness check and sports physical. The check up was $0 and completely covered by insurance. That saved $40 from the school’s recommended facility. In addition, we combined the doctor appointment with a trip to Costco. My teen’s mattress was in desperate need of replacement and recently alerted us to her need. We shopped around and Costco saved us $230.

    For Valentines Day we barbecued the NY strip steaks that I bought and froze previously for $3.99/lb. My husband also grilled some large shrimp as a treat. My daughter baked a delicious chocolate cake decorated with sprinkles we had. My husband and I shared a demi bottle of sparkling wine left over from New Years Eve. We exchanged Valentines from the Dollar Tree. I gave our kids chocolate Valentines from the Dollar Tree as well since they were unable to see friends. We had a lovely evening on the cheap!

    I also made two loaves of spelt sandwich bread. One to eat now and one for the freezer. Stove popped popcorn was made for a movie night. No knead pizza dough was used for mini make-your-own pizzas to celebrate a much needed February school break.

    We sold a set of golf clubs on Craigslist that my son no longer uses. We’re getting ready to list some older garage appliances to make space.

    I’m still looking for the right citrus trees to add to the garden. Costco only had espaliered ones and Home Depot only had kumquat and lime. I may investigate what the nursery has again. I’ve been looking since fall for the right trees at the right price.

    We continue to exercise at home as it has been cold and rainy. For downtime, I listen to audiobooks from the library on Hoopla, work on a quilt and watch Frndly TV (which I’m really enjoying). I also Zoomed my friend in France which is always magnifique! 🇫🇷

    Stay warm and safe out there everyone. Great score on the soil Brandy!

  35. That’s a wonderful savings on great quality soil! I’m so happy for you.
    I picked up a jogging stroller that had a free sign on it. It was older, a bit dirty and the little plastic window in the awning was torn. I gave it a good scrub and rinse, sewed new plastic in the awning and repaired the puncture one tire inner tube. I sold it on FB marketplace 3 days later for $60! I was very pleased. It is a joy to see how I can make a bit of money here and there.
    An admin assistant job, online, was offered to me. It’s just 5 hours a week and is very flexible. I gladly accepted.
    I’ve been up-potting many of my vegetable seedlings. I have a good crop! I planted some perennial bushes into the ground before we got some nice rain. These were ones that I had dug up and put in pots while we sheet mulched the terrible grass in our back yard. If they all grow, it will be a good start on a pretty yard.
    Someone offered a bag of nursing tops on my Buy Nothing group, and I was the happy recipient-for my daughter-in-law. I have them washed and ready to go. There were some lovely tops, all in her size, and even in her color preference. It will be a blessing.
    After watching the pruning videos on the ‘Project Tree Collard’ website, I have been working on pruning my own collard trees. They will be even more productive, and stay at a height that is less prone to branches breaking off. I brought in all the prunings, harvested the good leaves, washed and chopped them all. It was a big job, but will last the week.
    I made a french toast casserole with leftover bits of bread, whipping cream and milk from the freezer (from Christmas), and eggs that were a few days past the sell-by date. It was a very satisfying project. I couldn’t eat it, but my husband happily did!
    My mother got my some lovely clothes from Duluth Trading Co for my birthday. I received a pair of Duluth denim overalls for Christmas and I have LOVED them. They are not cheap, but they are so well made, I suspect that cost-per-wear will come out lower than cheap ones that don’t last as long. I’m 6 feet tall and they work well for me because of the adjustable straps. And it’s a rare find for me to have clothes that fit well. I am thankful every time I put them on!

  36. *Meals made were ham and cheesy scalloped potato casserole with green beans, chicken garlic orzo with leftover green beans, beer-battered cod with leftover potatoes and green beans, seared chicken with rice-a-roni and green beans, grilled steak with tossed salad and baked potatoes, eggs with turkey bacon and biscuits.
    *Walked by myself and with a friend.
    *Accepted a free lunch at work one day.
    *We had booked a house in NY for a wedding we were to attend last year. The wedding was rescheduled because of Covid and then cancelled altogether. (They still got married, but in a private ceremony.) We received a credit with the booking agency and were able to use that to cover a long Valentine’s weekend away at our favorite lake. We packed food and only ate out with our normal weekly budget that we had saved up. We picked up a pizza on the way in and ate Mexican for lunch one day. We had enough leftovers for an extra meal each time. The condo we stayed at offered soap, shampoo, and coffee and we took advantage of all of it. Such a nice, relaxing time away!
    *Stopped at a thrift store at the lake and found a shirt, a pair of sweatpants, a roll of ribbon and a candle.
    *There was icy weather while we were away, so we had a do-it-yourself spa day.  We used things I had taken along from home: a teeth whitening kit, a wax kit, dead-skin filer, lotion, blackhead removal strips and clay peel-off masks. We lit candles, ate salted caramel chocolates and drank oj mixed with Sprite out of wine glasses. We also cut a couple of stems from some evergreen shrubs with berries and made an arrangement. Needless to say, my hubby is a good sport. 😂

  37. Congratulations on getting all of that soil from your neighbor!
    I did not comment last week as I had a medical procedure done and when I wasn’t feeling a bit off, it seemed I was spending the whole week on the phone. So, my frugal happenings from the past couple of weeks.
    – I participated in a program that let me rent snowshoes for 2 hours for $5 from the local parks district (before the bitter cold hit with -20 and -30 F windchills!) and got a free drive-thru coffee shop drink, using a gift card, on the way home.
    -Received a sample package size of dog food from my local Buy Nothing group 00 I first heard about these groups through comments here. We added it to her dog food during her birthday week, and it was a nice extra treat.
    – Discovered that the new insurance company our agent switched us to at the end of November gives us a payment for every six months we go claims-free; received that payment this week. (We haven’t even been customers six months yet; this must just be the time when they issue the payments.)
    – Also received an unexpected dividend from my disability insurance company; they said they wanted to share the profits with customers.
    – Completed a 2020 Research Panel two-part survey (including video interview) and received $250 in payment.
    – Received my $5 in ebook credit from Amazon for completing the January Kindle Reading Challenge (which I accomplished entirely with the Kindle versions of library books borrowed through the Libby app).
    – Cleaned out the door of the fridge and squeezed the ketchup and mustard from numerous small take-out packets from last year that had been in there into the “main” bottles of these condiments so that my family will actually use it. The ketchup bottle is now full, and I still have some packets left over to refill it again when it goes down.
    – Continued to pick up the free food and milk from the school. Took home a pack of snack peanuts, fruit snacks, and can of pop from waiting room of oil change place. (They have them out for customers, but I didn’t feel comfortable taking off my mask in their waiting room to eat them there.)
    – Foods made included beefy baked beans, using a portion of hamburger from the freezer and the last of the bacon in the fridge; apple muffins that used a couple of the apples we get in the school food bags; white chicken chili using chicken breasts from the freezer with popovers made from standard ingredients, served with jam my mom made for us (my daughter cooked this meal); baked pork loin and roasted radishes; carrot cake, for which I shredded some of the bags of baby carrots we get with the school food.

  38. I love reading your blog and all your readers’ comments! You are all so inspiring! I’ve been mending a lot of clothing, and I downloaded a font to make an array of cards that I color in myself. I’ve been printing them at home and using them for all of my greeting cards. There are some purchases I would like to make for our home, but I am making myself completely spring clean a room before I buy anything for it. And then I see if I can do without — by making something myself for the room or by evaluating whether the purchase really is necessary. I made several gifts for Valentine’s Day this week and took advantage of the library’s curbside option rather than purchasing new books. Little things compared to what many of you are doing!

  39. I posted some pictures of the “historic” ice storm we have been experiencing on my blog: http://beckyathome.com. There’s been a lot of damage.
    As we’ve walked through our neighborhood the past few days, we’ve realized that we were so blessed. We never lost power, even though people behind us, beside us, down our street, and all streets around us did. Our 2 daughters and baby ended up here, and are, in fact still here, as there is no power in the downtown area, yet. Neither daughter can work, as their jobs have no power. We have other family members piled up with my sister, as their house was down to 42 degrees inside at last check. It’s going to take a while to get power restored and even longer to clean up this horrendous mess on the streets.

    My husband managed to get to an open Safeway and get the 25c/dozen eggs. I was glad to get them, as we are burning through the food right now. How fun it’s been to cook for a crowd again, and how nice to have such a large food storage. The first day he drove out to fetch the girls, he had to drive over downed power lines, weave through downed trees and branches, and avoid many streets closed due to damage. When he stopped in for some extra milk, he was unable to buy it as the first 2 stores were closed, and the 3rd one had emergency power only, and the milk was not out –it was in a cooler in the back somewhere. We were fine until yesterday when he got some at a Walmart. He scored 21 boxes of jar lids there, too!!! They are starting to come into the stores around here, little by little, but are usually sold out quickly. I’m sure more will come in. The jar lid company would be crazy to not be manufacturing them as fast as they can–they’ve got a gold mine on their hands, I think, so I’m sure they will capitalize on it! At least I would if I were them:). I need a lot, and plan to buy extra when they come available.

    My husband has been cutting up branches here and at my sister’s house that were damaged in the storm. Our damage isn’t very bad.

    We potentially saved a lot of money by moving our camper on the worst night when a neighbor banged on our door. He felt a tree was coming down and would damage our shop and camper. We couldn’t move the shop, so settled for the camper. That was quite stressful, but we got it done. I told that story on my blog, too. Thankfully, only a bunch of branches came down, and they were easily cleaned up. But, had the tree came down, our poor camper would have needed repairs once again (or would be completely smashed) and we want to get to go camping this year! Last year, we had trips cancelled from Covid, wildfires, my husband’s surgery, and more. We hardly got to go! This year, we are determined! We can camp for free at state parks until this last child turns 18, so we’d better camp while we can–she’s not getting any younger!

    We did our taxes, and plan to get a refund.
    My husband sold his old truck, which paid for recent camper repairs that were needed.
    We ordered a very few new, desperately-needed items for my daughter from Macy’s and got free shipping and good sales.
    We’ve had both our Covid shots and did not suffer any bad effects from them. We planned to go to church for our first foray out (with masks, of course and social distancing) but the ice storm intervened. After staying home for a year, we can wait a little longer. Things are on-line and easily accessible, but it will be nice to go back in some capacity, especially for my daughter. She’s done nothing with her friends for an entire year. It’s wearing on her.

    1. Becky, do you remember the ice storm over Christmas in the mid-1980s? We were in Hillsboro at the time and our pipes froze and the power was out. The electricity came back on in about 2 days, but the pipes were going to be a problem when it started to thaw. We started calling plumbers immediately, and after 3 days, still couldn’t get anyone to come. By this time, temperatures were rising! The deluge was about to begin! My husband and I repaired the split pipe ourselves, lying on our backs in the crawl space in a puddle of water. I held the how-to book and flashlight and he sweat-soldered the copper pipe as I read him the directions. Then we discovered there were actually TWO splits, about three feet apart. So, we did it again! (If we had known this at the start, we could have fixed them both with one repair). Ah, those were the days! Don’t miss ’em at all, LOL.

    2. Becky, we lost power for awhile, and didn’t have internet, but my mom (nearby) and friends were w/o power from Fri until last night (Mon). It has been awful, hasn’t it!? I’m glad you’re all fine.

  40. Meals for the last week-chili burgers and sweet potato fries; spaghetti, meat sauce, salad, and garlic toast; quesadillas; pork steak, mashed potatoes, and steamed broccoli; turkey noodle soup and cheese toast; Zuppa Toscana soup and salad; and one night of leftovers. Plus several meals frozen for later.
    -I haven’t commented for 2 weeks. We are mostly home as it has been frigid here in Minnesota the last 2 weeks with temps not even getting above zero during the day. Glad we are retired and we can stay home. We have only went out for church twice and my monthly grocery shop. Saves money by being home.
    -We have off peak electric on the water heater and electric baseboard. Glad we have a wood stove to heat with! Because with the high demand due to the cold we only had electricity to the heat and water heater from 10pm to 7am. But the wood stove kept us toasty.
    -Continue to deep clean and organize. Got my laundry room done. Now onto our bedroom.
    -Found butter for $1.99/lb with no limit. Bought 10. It is normally $4.30/lb here so that saved me $23.00. Also got a large bag of bananas ( 20) past their prime for fifty cents. In the freezer they went peel and all. When I take them out to use them, thaw them, the banana slips right out of the peel.
    -Made homemade cinnamon rolls, bread, and rolls. So easy to do with my kitchen aide mixer. Mixes and then kneads it for me. So good and saves money over buying them. I have a gluten sensitivity but I have found if I buy organic ancient wheat (turkey red), which is a white whole wheat flour I have no problems. I get my flour locally and I am now back to making bread, baked goods, and egg noodles. I have so missed regular bread!
    Have a great week and stay warm!

  41. Fabulous savings with the high quality soil! There’s nothing quite like really rich, dark soil to make a gardener’s heart beat faster!

    I can’t do much as I’m still on mostly bed rest, but I still did some frugal things. My frugal week :
    – I made one of my favourite easy pantry-ingredient soups, Easy Alphabet Soup (http://approachingfood.com/super-easy-alphabet-soup/) using whatever veggies i had in the fridge.
    – I made the famous feta pasta that is circling around the internet, using items I already had at home. My family enjoyed it!
    – I made tzatziki from ingredients I had in the fridge. Great for a dip, spread, or on crackers.
    – I redeemed SB for $5 USD to my paypal account.
    – I used my Prime account to order items for my mother to save on shipping for her.
    – I didn’t do much for Valentine’s Day, but did make a platter of fruit shaped into hearts for my husband, and cut strawberries into heart shapes, with a red and white paper straw angled through it as an arrow. My daughter loved it, and promptly ignored the fruit in favour of using the straw to drink milk. I also did some heart-shaped sandwiches for her. Everything was done with items already in my home.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

        1. Congrats on the pregnancy but too bad on the difficulty. Baby soon-ish? At least winter hasn’t been too bad in the city so far. For that I’m very grateful as I usually spend winters south of the border. The grey days do get to me a bit and I’m terrified of falling on ice. It’s the joys of getting older but at least I GET to be older.

    1. Margaret I have three girls, and when they were little I used to make heart-shaped sandwiches for them too – as well as heart-shaped cookies and heart-shaped strawberry or raspberry muffin tops. Every holiday is always more fun when kids are younger since they appreciate all the little things you do for them to make it special! When I was ambitious, I’d also make heart-shaped homemade marshmallows to float on top of their hot chocolate which I served alongside their Valentine goodies. Fun times 🙂 Now, I’m waiting for the grandkids to come along so I can do this once more.

      Interestingly, I also made tzatziki this past week, but I served it with chicken souvlaki and homemade pitas. Then for lunch, I used the leftover dip as the dressing for a Greek-style potato salad which I mound on top of salad greens. The last 2 tablespoons of tzatziki was used in place of the mayonnaise for egg salad sandwiches. Very yummy.

      Best of luck with your pregnancy. I was sick the entire 9 months during all three pregnancies. That was NOT fun times 😉

  42. The ice storm has hit here and I am going nowhere. Dustin went to work this morning only to realize it was closed. Evidently, they sent an email out during the night cancelling work and being the new guy, he didn’t realize it.

    *I purchased bone-in chicken for $.99 a pound at Aldi and got two packs of hamburger for $1.49 per pound. Since the freezer is already too full, I am spending my time canning the meat and eating from the freezer in anticipation of the powerlines falling. The refrigerator has been cleaned out and everything has been thrown into the crockpot to make soup. We are always the last to be repaired since we are at the end of the line.

    *I have spent my free time looking at youtube videos learning new things to can and have tried some new recipes: baking the chicken before you can it doesn’t improve the flavor but does make it easier to bone. Canning meatloaf in wide-mouth jars is delicious but doesn’t slide out of the jar onto the plate as advertised. It required digging out with a fork and being served in a scrambled mess. I also made corned beef out of a $1.99 per pound beef brisket and canned it. It is something I have never tasted because it has sugar. I made it without sugar and must say it tasted weird. There were so many different spices in the recipe I couldn’t taste the meat. We will eat what I made but I won’t do it again. The salt brine did make the meat very tender.

    *Hubby gave Scooter a haircut saving $40 but then the snowstorm blew in. We are keeping him in a sweater or wrapped up in a blanket, neither of which he likes. I turn the heat up a little at bedtime so he won’t be cold so I don’t know if I have saved any money or not.

    *Mom’s assisted living facility opened up again so we drove up there quickly before something happened and they close again. I got to see her in the lobby. She gave us her Valentine bag full of candy and cards from kind people. I gave her a lunch plate of the weird corned beef. I think we got the better end of the deal.

    Everyone, be careful and have hope spring will arrive.

    The story of my guys when they came home to visit. http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2021/02/everybody-is-home.html
    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

  43. Last summer I found the Valentine’s day card that I had purchased for my husband and then forgot to give it to him. I carefully tucked it away for this year and happily presented it to him.

    A penny saved is a penny earned. 😀

  44. We’ve been getting a lot of snow here in NW NM, so we’re staying inside and working on projects.
    That is great about the free soil!
    -I didn’t go grocery shopping this week, and put the grocery money I didn’t spend toward our home improvement fund.
    -I am still planning meals from the pantry and freezer. I am running low on some frozen veggies, but I’m making do with canned ones we have to use them up.
    -Our kitchen is in disarray as we are in the midst of installing a backsplash. I am making simple meals this week and trying to keep things as functional as possible while still moving forward on our project.
    -I discovered a $90 overcharge on a medical bill. I called and the payments I had made are now properly credited to my account. It pays to look at things closely!
    -We are using things we already have as much as possible in our kitchen makeover project, but there are some things we need to buy. Many of the items (stain, sealer, etc.) will be able to be used in future projects, making the cost of those less later on. It’s a lot of work, but I am so happy that I will have a finished and pretty kitchen to work in when we are all done!
    Details of our week are on my blog at http://thebudgetinggranny.com/savings-and-goals-journal-33/

  45. I’m a longtime reader, first time commenter. I love reading all the ways everyone saves money or gets creative. Thank you for the inspiration. 🙂

    My husband has been unemployed since early December, so we’re trying to be even more frugal and creative than normal.

    Some ways we’ve saved money this week:

    * We love Japanese curry over rice, and in the past we bought the prepared box mixes from the store, which cost close to $5 each. This week we’ve been experimenting with making our own mixes and other types of sauces, which is much cheaper. We’ve been serving with chickpeas (bulk dry instead of canned) and whatever leftover veggies we have on hand, over rice. The whole family has been enjoying these dinners, so I’m making them a regular rotation/pantry staple in the menu.

    * We have also been experimenting with different combinations of toppings in oatmeal for breakfast. It has been a good way to use up fruit odds and ends from the freezer.

    * We went a whole month without any grocery shopping, and used up what we had in the pantry and freezer. I found a random can of strawberry pie filling, which I had no idea was in there as I’ve never used that before. When we ran out of maple syrup, I took part of the pie filling and cooked it down with some water, making it into a strawberry syrup for pancakes. It was very tasty, and much less sweet that way. I took the rest of it later and made a homemade version of a dump cake, which was a fun treat, though the pie filling was still a tad too sweet.

    * We watched various shows for free on PBS or recent Dateline episodes on the free Peacock app. I also watched a couple of movies for free from my library’s Hoopla app.

    * I’ve read several library ebooks this week through their Overdrive app. I have several more checked out, and more on holds. I read almost exclusively ebooks from the library the past couple of years. Super convenient and great selection of new books and classics.

    * I signed up for my library’s language learning program, and plan to start learning a new language for free through their online app. My teen son will also be using it to learn Spanish for homeschool lessons.

    * My teen son has been using his stockpile of art supplies to make various art pieces. He has also been playing video games online with his grandpa at set times, which gives them time to chat on their headsets. This is particularly nice since we’re isolating during the pandemic.

    * I made a big batch of bean, cheese, and rice burritos for the freezer. These will be good for easy lunches. We’ve also been making paninis for lunch, using different combinations. We love to make grilled cheese with different combinations of fillings. My son enjoys a PB&J panini – somehow it seems fancier when it’s grilled!

    * Weather has been snowy and much colder than normal here this week, but we’ve kept the heat between 60-65 degrees (F) in the main rooms, and off in unused rooms. (We have baseboard heaters.) With wearing layers and using blankets, we’ve been able to stay warm. I also have a hot water bottle I fill up with leftover heated water from our electric tea kettle when I make us tea.

    * My birthday is this week, and we will celebrate at home with board games and movies. My husband plans to make tacos and a chocolate cake for dinner. He has a job interview over Zoom earlier in the day, so maybe something good will come from that too.

    1. Hi Jess! So glad to see you commenting!

      Tacos sound delicious! That will be a great birthday meal!

      I hope your husband finds a new job soon!

  46. What a generous neighbor! I love it when people are so willing to share. We’re building several raised garden beds ourselves this year at our new house, and the cost of the soil is always staggering. We’re hoping to source some locally if we can (since we live in a pretty rural area) and just order it by the truckload.

    Speaking of garden plans, I was reading a post on Garden Betty about how to make your own seed starter mix for way more cheaply than buying it premade, so we bought the three ingredients you need for that in bulk, which should set us up for all our seed starts this year.

    We also always celebrate Valentine’s Day on the 15th to take advantage of everything being at least half off at all the stores, so we had fun surprising the kids with little Valentine’s goodies.

    We’ve been wanting two lounge chairs for our living room, and I’ve been keeping my eye out for several months. Several stores were having great President’s Day sales, and between using my Rakuten link and comparing prices across several stores, I was able to save around $150 on the pair of them.

    I’m curious—what USDA Hardiness Zone are you? I imagine you must be a higher one. When can you plant cucumbers in your garden? I know we can’t plant them here until the middle of May or so, but I was curious as to the difference in growing seasons between us 🙂

    1. There is some debate as to our zone here 🙂 Some companies place us as a zone 8b. However, our frost dates are November 15th and February 15th, which would make us a 9a. However, our frosts are usually not until November and rarely anything past the third week in January, which would make us a 9b.

      The nursery has had tomato plants out since the beginning of February.

      So, cucumbers can be direct seeded within the next couple of weeks; it’s been warm, though, so I figured it was worth a try. Next week it will be 76.

      1. I’ve found that to be the case here at our new home, as well—some estimates put us at 6B, others at 5A. Guess I’ll find out! I’m chomping at the bit to get my seeds started, so I’m going to be trying all sorts of stuff a week or two earlier than I maybe should. We were in Zone 4A-4B before, so we had such a narrow growing window. I’ll be curious to see if we have more success down here!

  47. Like many others, Fairbanks is getting snow today. Unlike others, we are thankful for it to build up moisture in the ground before summer. It helps avoid serious fires in the summer. A piece of advice for those in the South who are not used to snow and ice! Stay home. We do that to avoid drivers who do not know what to do. Nothing you want or need is worth an accident or your life!
    Anticipating gardening! My husband is retiring at the end of March, so he hopes to be able to do more than usual. With this in mind, I’m seriously planning dehydrating some vegetables. Does anyone know of dehydrating broccoli, zucchini, or kohlrabi? I’m thinking of maybe something like chips?
    Stay warm and safe! Brandy, I hope you make enough progress so that you can begin to garden!

  48. It has been nice having my husband home. We have been working around the house. Cleaning and working on things that just need done. We have done all our cooking at home. Valentines was nice. We watched a movie and cooked together. I’ve been cooking with beans and lentils a lot and eating oatmeal for breakfast. I was surprised that a large bag of kale that I bought weeks ago has lasted and is still good. We have had many salads and soups with it. One day we made and Indian lentil curry with a butternut squash that my sister gave me. We ate from a whole chicken one day, had tarragon chicken salad over kale the next, and finally boiled the bones to make an excellent broth. We bought miso and made miso soup with some tofu that we bought for 68 cents. Yum! We added a few shrimp and some dried nori we had on hand. I plan to make a soup in a few days with that broth. We froze it until I get to it. We plan on eating what needs eaten before making other things. I’m interested in eating things that lower cholesterol as well as blood sugar. Fiber seems to be key. I have been doing dance exercises to some of Jane Fonda’s youtube videos. I’ve lost 8 lbs in the last 3 weeks. I’m using the lose it app. I am also writing everything down along with the time I eat and take blood sugar to see how different food and excercise affects me. I love that my clothes are already getting looser on me. I don’t weigh myself everyday because my weight seems to fluctuate a bit. But I am feeling happy!
    I decided to just enjoy having my husband around instead of worrying about our paychecks or lack of pay. He has helped me with so much. It is nice. I imagine he will start working at his job next week when it warms up.
    I’ve been working on writing and thinking about what I will grow in the garden this year. I love gardening! We have enjoyed each others company. My son, his dog, and my husband all make me laugh. It is nice. We have been enjoying making chai in the evening. We have been blessed, so far our electricity is still on. They have been doing planned blackouts. We are being careful with electric usage for both savings and to help the grid. We are staying at home and keeping warm. We have been counting our blessings!

      1. Thank-you Brandy. I decided a positive attitude would go farther than a fearful one. So I am working on it. I am reminded of the story you posted, “When Queens Ride By.” I actually got dressed up on Valentines even though we weren’t going anywhere. I did end up with a sweater on, because it was cold. But I think my husband liked me dressing up. It made it fun. Honestly I want to be warm on most days, so I dress for the cold weather. I’m glad we are getting things done around the house.

  49. This week I applied for seven jobs. My goal is to get a permanent role at the pay level I am currently at. I have a substantive (permanent) role within my organisation that pays $25,000 per year less, but am currently on contract within my organisation at this higher level. I’m still actively looking for more roles to apply for. In my current contract role there is also a chance I may be considered for the position permanently (if the person who owns my role gets the position she is contracted to permanently) or there is going to be another contract, for at least one year, coming up in my team at the same pay level but different role. I’ve been asked about this one twice. So we will see what God’s plans are and I’ll continue to apply for permanent at level roles.

    This month is what I call birthday month. This weekend we have three birthday celebrations and rain is predicted as we are in our tropical summer at the moment (aka wet season). Lots of storms. We are blessed with over 300 days of sunshine a year though.

    My parents are getting a brand new car, which is the newer version of our model. It has me evaluating ours! Ours is fine, big enough, low mileage even after almost 8 years and great all round. We have a stick and I wouldn’t mind switching to automatic as I’ve never had one and have been feeling lately that it might be nice. We have always had a 10 year plan with our car and time is going quickly. There is a new model car we are interested in that is being released in 2023 that we may hold out on, as that would last us well over 10 years but it is a higher purchase price than what ours was. It would be more suitable to our lifestyle. We’ll see where the wind takes us and could easily keep our car for well over the intended 10 years. We don’t get car loans and prefer to put our money into appreciating, not depreciating, assets so this will be a big decision to make as we approach the 10 year mark.

    We did not celebrate Valentine’s Day. We love one another every single day!

    We celebrated and observed Lent and Ash Wednesday.

    We went for a long bike ride.

    I batch cooked vegetable soup and added lots of tumeric. Also garlic and ginger. I cooked so much I couldn’t fit any of the whole pumpkin in so now I will use it for another dish.

    Have a good week.

  50. I am enjoying the rose photograph and reading about the garden work in progress!
    We celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary at home with a tropical menu. We had coconut shrimp, rice with pineapple and cilantro, pineapple coconut rum cake and a rum drink with pineapple (I stretched that pineapple)! I brought rum cake to my sister and her husband since there was plenty for all of us. She gave us a bottle of Portuguese wine for an anniversary gift and shared Cara Cara oranges with us.
    DH and I had dental check ups and cleanings covered by insurance and squeezed in before our wonderful dentist retires later this month.
    My mother-in-law has ordered us dinner to pick up at a BBQ restaurant this weekend to celebrate my birthday. I am looking forward to that!
    Grocery shopping was frugal with Gorton fish 1/2 price and $1 back on Ibotta. We like to have it on Fridays but since I cook several vegetarian dishes now, I would have skipped it if not for the sale price. I saw one box of powdered milk on the marked down shelf at 1/2 price so I got that for the pantry. Carrots, spinach and eggs were on sale and I had a coupon for free coffee.
    I have some books on hold in the library (Libby app), some which were recommended here. I await the first 3 Hamish Macbeths and An Everlasting Meal.
    I hope this terrible weather cycle across the US ends soon. So many people are suffering.
    My best to all.

  51. I have been noticing that our library system is implementing more electronic books. Many books( library stamped) are ending up in roller bins at the Goodwill. I stop by once a week and select books that are classics, along with children’s classic books to add to our home library.
    Planting seeds -weather is up and down with high’s in the 80 -next day in the 50, as winter storms move through the country. Thinking of those who have lost power

  52. This week I gave both of my boys haircuts. All meals made from home except one- we bought sandwiches and a pie from a local mennonite diner. We wanted to support them, and their prices are reasonable (whole Pecan pie for 9 dollars, sandwiches for 4 each).
    During the ice storm we had some damage from fallen limbs. We recently purchased a tractor for our new farm and put it to good use cleaning up all the limbs! Unfortunately one large branch punched a hole in our garage roof, so we have someone coming to give an estimate this weekend. In preparation for the cost of the homeowners deductable, I sold an extra washer and dryer set we were saving for no real reason. It certainly won’t cover all the deductible but it helps.
    With grocery prices rising and two boys growing, I have found it difficult to stay on task with my grocery budget. I’ve already blown through my February budget! I’ve also gotten a bit lazy lately with buying extras and convenience foods. Time to tighten the belt, and get back on track! The rest of this month we will dip into our food storage and be fine, I am certainly not going to bust the budget!
    I’ve readied my seed starting trays and have gardening on the brain. I can’t wait. This year, with the new home, we have a huge amount of space for a garden and I intend to fill ‘er up! ☺️ In fact, I’ve planned out three large plots, 15×50; a spring, summer, and fall plot. It should be good fun. And hard work. Good thing I have two boys who are happy to play in the dirt with me.
    I need some new clothes, shoes, and a handbag (all have seemed to get worn out at once)…hoping to go to goodwill and snag a few bargains in March, but depending on what our home repairs will cost, I may just have to make do with what I have and be happy with that!
    Hope everyone is safe and warm!

  53. Hello from thawing Houston!
    Wow, what a week. We are so, so fortunate. Even though the power, internet, cell phone service, and water were out Monday-Thursday, we had plenty of water stored that did not freeze. We were able to melt some snow for flushing the toilets, but I’m not sure that was the best idea, since our house was already so cold. Maybe it made the house even colder? We sat in the van when it was sunny and warmed up. We did have one pipe valve in the attic burst, but no major damage like so many people. And, we are extra fortunate to now have power and some running water. Still under boil notice, but at least we now have water coming through the pipes and electricity (electric stove) to be able to boil it. All the plants froze, even the ones I moved into the garage, but that’s ok. We are healthy and safe.
    It is wonderful to be able to wash dishes and do laundry again. I usually do 2 loads a day, so it does pile up quickly. Things should be thawing out for us and many neighbors soon. Our church is distributing bottled water, and many people are helping neighbors repair all the damaged pipes and flooded houses as the temperature rises and more and more people get their water back. In Texas, we are used to the floods and hurricanes, but no power, cell phones, or water in the bitter cold is definitely not the norm here. My parents let us come over mid-week, since their utilities came back before ours, so that was very helpful. I filled up the van with gas near them, since it’s harder to find gas near my house. Stores are starting to get more food, too, which is wonderful.
    I was able to share some things with a neighbor, who also has young kids, but her husband tested positive for Covid last week, poor thing. They’ve been in quarantine with no power, cell service, or electricity, and they really can’t go anywhere.
    A friend in the neighborhood has a generator, and she let me charge phones and a tablet. I am planning to bake cookies for her once things settle down.
    So, I guess my frugal thing is I saved money from staying home. 🙂
    No school, no work, but I think we’ll be in a much better place next week.
    Hope all is well!

    1. So sorry for all you’ve had to go through this past week. Glad to hear that you are safe and that things are slowly improving. Good luck as things continue to thaw.

  54. Hi, I was thinking that I didn’t want to comment because I didn’t do anything super thrifty…but then realized that I wanted to read through everyone’s comments and thought to join the discussion as well. Brandy, thank you for this community of kind and helpful people. GardenPat, your photos of your pantry were awesome!

    We ate at home, lots of items from the freezer made an appearance. I almost always cook enough each time I cook for two meals and freeze the other half. So last week I didn’t feel like cooking, so pulled out containers of frozen meatballs, meatloaf, BBQ pork, three types of soup etc….it was great to have easy nights in front of a microwave rather than the stove and sink 😉

    Hope for anyone in the ice and snow regions that your weather improves…here in the desert southwest the weather is grand, we complain when it gets to 60 during the day….very spoiled 😉

  55. Like Elizabeth M., I am stocking up — restocking my pantry which I’ve been using quite a bit recently.
    My friend couldn’t go to No Frills so I didn’t get the great bargains there.

    Superstore has “tubes” of ground beef. It is one pound (454 grams) for $3 on sale from $6. “Regular ground beef”‘ is on sale for $2
    per pound. This size is great for me and so I’m hoping to buy several to put in the freezer. I will spend $13 but save $15.00. Pasta is also on sale so I’ll replenish my pantry with that. Superstore also has a 1.13 kg pan of frozen lasagna for about $7.49 — I think that’s half price but I’m not getting it as I’ll make my own.

    It also has a case of 12 cans of Campbell’s mushroom soup (also chicken noodle or tomato) for $7.95 on sale from $12.95. Single cans of the same size are on sale from $1.98 and now $1 but that means 12 cans is $12 as opposed to $7.95 for the case.

    We are relieved about the book because we had heard that the Jesuits used a place name in the 1870s but after spending a week tracking down the book, we found that it was erroneously attributed to the Jesuits and we already had the reference. Thank heavens we were saved from a “wild goose chase”.

    Where is Margie from Toronto? I hope she’s ok…

    1. Margie posted her condolence message to you after the death of your friend on Feb 17, and a response to someone else’s post, so I think she’s fine. She just didn’t do a main post this week.

  56. The living room and linen closet were Spring cleaned and thoroughly vacuumed. Miscellaneous items were returned to their home. The linen closet has everything folded the same now. We found items to donate and put in the trash. Some stock ups for the bathrooms are going on half of the top shelf. I ran out of time that day and the whole week was thrown off by a welcome call (though not in advance) that the guys were coming to redo the gutters completely that day and a long appointment another day. I will just say that around the gutters or gutters don’t leak, but everything did not go as we were told and the roof still has problems which were clearly highlighted by the recent weather. I read something on a roofing website that also provided some insight. I will update at a later date.

    Our son had a birthday. We got takeout and bottled drinks, his choice. I am not much of a soft drink person, but the orange one I chose reminded me of long ago trips to my Grandparents. I made a German Chocolate cake and my husband put the candles on. He used some relightable ones from a much younger birthday and it surprised and delighted us. They looked like very tiny fireworks when relighting. We all had a good laugh.

    We ate mostly leftovers. I did make BBQ chicken, baked macaroni and cheese with leftover cherry tomatoes and breaded tomatoes, and cauliflower and broccoli. One night we also had nachos to finish the tortilla chips, sour cream, and cheese. Nice meals and more roomy refrigerator. We bought a few odd stock up items and my husband bought a couple inexpensive tools he needs to finish a job he started (this weekend I hope). Enjoy your weekend!

  57. Went out grocery shopping today-best deals were pork butt roast for $1.00 per lb at No Frills-I could barely jam it in the slow cooker for pulled pork. DD has made spicy BBQ sauce and DH made fresh buns. I again received an email to get eggs for 1.49 per dozen at Shoppers drug mart which is the cheapest they get. Our weather has warmed up nicely and the sun is shining. I hope everyone has a frugal week.

  58. Had some great fruit buys this week. Aldi had strawberries 1.49 per carton. I bought 2. Meijer had cara cara oranges 1.99 for 3 lbs. I had a Meijer coupon for 2.00 off fresh produce. I bought 4 bags but only paid for 3. I also got bogo 3 lb. bags gala apples for 3.99. I bought 2. A 17.99 savings. I actually had the cashier ask me if we would eat all the oranges! With 7 people at home and 7 oranges per bag I told her that it would last us 4 days if everyone had an orange per day. My son’s truck died and he needed to buy a new one for work. I have been able to supply food from my pantry to help him with such a major expense. We did some extra research after our insurance company totaled my husband’s truck. With the money they would give us we would be forced to buy a vehicle with higher mileage. Instead we opted to keep the truck and repair the headlight and door with the small amount of money they offered if we kept it. I drove to a salvage yard to buy the parts for the body shop. The body shop said if I did the legwork it would save a shop markup. If the repairs work out according to the estimate we will only pay about 500.00. What a blessing. We had 29 degree weather today. I was outside without my coat!! I so hope the below zero weather is gone for good. I am still seeing missing products on store shelves. I wanted to buy pepperoni for our homemade pizza, but it has been gone from our area stores for 2 weeks. I also could not find nutmeg at 2 grocery stores today. I am planning to order blackberries, raspberries, seedless grapes, and 3 new apple trees. Hopefully this investment will get me a wider selection of home grown fruits within 3 years. Thanks for all the frugal ideas! There are always more ways to save.

    1. 29 degrees would be one of our coldest lows here! I would definitely be wearing a coat! I love how temperatures can be relative depending on where you’re from!

    2. You might try Aldi or Kroger for bags of one lb. sliced Hard Salami for your pizzas. I found some at Aldi a couple weeks ago for 3.99 a bag near the taco items and bought a couple. Kroger had them for $6 the last time I looked. They are larger then pepperoni so you can have more pizzas per bag or portion it out to freeze. I think they have less fat and sodium and taste really good.

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