We celebrated a daughter’s birthday with a simple celebration at home.

My mom was getting rid of her garage refrigerator and asked if we wanted it. The one we have now tends to freeze inside the fridge and the freezer door does not close properly, so I said we would love it! We switched over to hers.

I finished reading an e-book from the library and started another.

We were able to dump some of our dirt from the garden at a nearby neighbor’s house. He is building a hill in his backyard. This saved us quite a bit of gas and time that we would have spent making several trips to the dump.

I purchased more soil and hauled it back in the borrowed trailer that we are using, saving us the delivery costs each time.

I sowed some old seeds in the garden. They are very old and may not germinate, but I figured it would be worth trying. Sometimes I have had great success with seeds that were very old.

I am wearing out all my socks while wearing boots and working in the garden. I didn’t have time to go shopping for new ones, so I ordered some online from Target, along with some underclothing for a child. I didn’t meet the $35 minimum required for free shipping, so I added some toiletry items I would need to buy anyway in the next couple of months to meet the minimum.

Here’s how we used some of the items in the school lunches this week:

I used milk from the school lunches and breakfasts to make a batch of crepes for my daughter’s birthday.

I threw some cauliflower and carrots in a batch of black bean soup. I don’t usually put those ingredients in this soup, but they disappeared into the blended soup and no one noticed them.

I made smoothies using 4 fruit cups (2 mixed fruit and 2 pear), a yogurt, a milk, and some frozen peaches from our garden.

I didn’t need to make dinner a couple of nights because my neighbor gave us so many of the meals that his children didn’t want that there were plenty of items for us to choose from for our meals, along with our leftovers. Burgers and chicken nuggets aren’t usually items on the menu at our house, so it’s been a nice change!

What did you do to save money last week? I’d love to read your inspiration in the comments!

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  1. Brandy, I do miss you posting your meals that you have fixed throughout the week, so I was glad that you did that a bit this week! I had a question, back a few weeks ago I pruned my fruit trees. I stuck some of the branches in a Rubbermaid container with water and decided to see what would happen. They are now blooming! Is there anything I can do with these fruit tree “sticks”? Can I replant them for a new tree? My husband said we might could pot them in a bucket of sand. I said, “I know, I will ask brandy!” 🙂

    Thank you!

    1. You can try; your husband is not wrong! I am still struggling with having success with my plant cuttings. I have watched a lot of videos from YouTube about cuttings from my particular plants but still I stuggle. I think I need to cover mine to add humidity, as it is so dry here.

    2. It very much depends on what type of fruit tree it is.
      Many fruit trees are actually grafted onto other “rootstock” to make them stronger and more disease resistant. Rootstock is chosen for disease resistance and other good characteristics, and it’s often a tree that doesn’t grow desirable fruit. The top variety does grow desirable fruit, but it often is weaker or less disease resistant, or some other undesirable thing. So the two varieties are put together. The base, the rootstock, shares it’s desirable properties with the portion growing above it, the grafted part. When you prune a tree that has been grafted onto rootstock, the pruning is only the graft variety. So it may grow and produce, but there’s a chance that it may not thrive, may be weak, or prone to disease. Most stone fruit trees ( peach, apricot, etc) are grafted. I know fig trees are not grafted, a branch pruned off should grow and be exactly as good as the parent tree.

    3. I have read that roots grown in water are not the same as roots grown in soil, at least for houseplants. The top of the plant might be growing, but the plant will have to establish soil roots when moved from water to soil.

    4. Even if you successfully start trees from cuttings, most fruit trees need to be grafted to produce good fruit. (IOW, it’s not that you can’t do it, but you might think the results weren’t worth the effort). We have a number of seedling cherry trees at our vacation home and the fruit is small, with big pits. (Birds eat the fruit and poop the seeds all over town, hence lots of cherry seedlings). We had a seedling apple at another home we once owned and, again, very small fruit.

  2. I soaked a pound of pinto beans and made several containers of refried beans. They are in the freezer for future meals. I’ve discovered that when I soak beans more than just overnight – say, 2-3 days (changing the water daily), they cook much faster. These cooked on low in the crock pot in just a few hours, and we’re at high altitude.

    We are coming out of a pretty significant snowstorm. During the days we were mostly inside we played games, read books from the library, used the treadmill for walking, and worked on indoor projects. (Also, I took a nap!) We heat our home with a wood stove, and I made a coffee cake and pizza from scratch, both to eat and to warm up the house.

    My husband took advantage of sales and rebates to keep our grocery costs low. We plan a menu, cook a fair amount of food from scratch, and make sure to use our leftovers. I have next week’s plan up on my blog (just not in order, because we had a lot of shoveling to do!

    I’ve been enjoying cozy mysteries and audiobooks from the library, and slowly but surely learning a little bit of Japanese using Mango and DuoLingo. Nothing too dazzling here, but every bit helps. 🙂

  3. I know you enjoyed not having to cook a couple of nights, Brandy! That was certainly nice of your neighbor. It was really nice of your parents to give you their refrigerator! What a blessing!

    My daughter and granddaughter gave me a day’s outing in a quaint little town as a birthday present, and I chose this past Saturday as a day to take it. It was delightful, and they paid for my meal and provided the transportation.

    I weeded my blackberry plants and watered my new fruit trees.

    I used some more carrots out of our patch.

    I soaked some dingy whites in a whitening oxygen cleaner and hung them in the sun after washing, to help whiten them. They look much better.

    I used a half-pint jar of frozen leftover homemade spaghetti sauce on my husband’s spaghetti. I don’t eat the tomato-based sauces, so I mixed my spaghetti with seasonings and spinach from my container garden.

    I made a gallon of lemonade using Meyer lemons from our tree.

    I got almost free entertainment sitting on our porch, watching the birds in our yard. I have to pay for the bird seed, so it’s not totally free, but this time of year, especially, I could easily watch them for an hour at a time. I spotted a hummingbird back at our feeder, too. I fill the feeders with sugar water that I mix up, following the recommendations of our local wild bird experts.

    I trimmed my dog’s claws and brushed her teeth.

    I dropped by my food co-op and picked up my free item for this past week, a pound of Tillamook butter.

    The air is warmed up, and we are in the sweet spot of not needing heat or air conditioning for a few days.

    I wish everyone a good week.

  4. We have had lovely rain, I sat in the open garage door and watched it yesterday afternoon. I worked before that to get my kale and broccoli starts planted, and to cover my seedlings (on wire shelves outside) with plastic (recycled). It makes a sort of mini greenhouse in a super small space and it has worked really well.
    I’m also working on several larger sewing orders, including the loveliest spring print cloth napkins Our daughter has been living with us since moving back to CA in November. Her apartment is almost ready and she picked out fabric today for me to make her a set of cloth napkins. It makes me so happy to see some traditions carrying on! I traded fabric with my sister, she wanted the last scrap of some England fabric that I had. I needed some cat fabric for a special order, and she gave me some that she had. Best of all, I sent my fabric to her in a business envelope and it only needed a regular stamp!
    Our daughter picked up free satsumas yesterday when she was out for her walk. They are delicious, we will see if there are more out. I planted extra kale and broccoli seeds and offered the little starts on my Buy Nothing group. It was fun to hear people’s excitement. Several mentioned they hadn’t been able to find seeds. These all came from the local seed bank and were free!
    My husband is quarantining after spending the afternoon at work with an inconsiderate person who knew they had covid. So I lose my husband’s help around the house, and all his meals, snacks and drinks have to be delivered outside the door of the room he is in. It’s a surprising amount of work. I spent this morning making soup, brownies, and GF muffins (for me). That feels good. The soup used a good bit of collard greens and provided me with some more growing tips which I’ve put in water to root. I will gift them on the Buy Nothing group.

    1. How awful she was fired!
      I hope she sues for wrongful dismissal!
      It is incorrect to assume anyone’s circumstances!

  5. Hello all, not much this week. Gave two haircuts, this was always more of a time saver than a money one. But since we have always done them its been nice to not worry about getting one.

    Picked up a rx for .45¢, was happy my insurance pays even before meeting my deductible.

    Used $1 CVS buck along with two coupons which added up to a 75% discount.

    Did the usual, cooked and used up the leftovers. Cleaned and organized, still trying to find places for what I have and getting rid of what I don’t need.

  6. Our potluck group got together this past week. It was my turn to bring bread. I used wonderful loaves thaat come frozen that I get for free from the factory that I do cleaning at. I patched some of my husband’s jeans. He is a farmer so patches don’t matter- though he says teens would think his rips and tears look cool.
    As the weather has warmed up I walk around town to do all my errands rather than drive. We live in a small town and are within 4 blocks of the pharmacy, post office, tax accountant, bank, library and grocery store, as well as a wonderful bulk foods store. The items there are not always cheaper but are of such good quality I don’t mind paying a little more for some things.
    I also bookmarked your link to Amazon. I purchase things there from time to time and want to send my support your way.

  7. We have had the most lovely spring weather here this week with temperatures in the high 60’s and low 70’s. The temperatures have been lovely but everything is in bloom including many trees that cause allergies in my family. A small price for such lovely spring weather but an event nonetheless. I am glad that I was able to purchase some over the counter allergy medicine at Costco earlier this year as we have all needed it. The name brand medicine retails for about $19 for a 30 day supply and we purchased the Costco brand for $7.99 for a one-year supply.
    I cooked a 19 lb turkey this past week bought in November. I also cooked a large batch of black beans. We enjoyed roasted turkey, rice & beans, pineapple, fresh tomatoes, avocados, pork roast, field peas, green beans, kielbasa, tostadas with roasted pork and black beans, corn on the cob and enchiladas made with turkey and black beans. I used your idea in making the enchiladas from leftover turkey and beans Brandy – the batch I mixed made several pans of enchiladas and we fed ourselves, a neighbor, an elderly lady who cannot get out of her home, and some friends that have been working on several projects in their home and haven’t had much time to cook. There is also a pan in the freezer for when I need a quick meal. Many thanks for this idea!!
    I received our electric/gas bill this past week and was delighted to see that it was under $200 for the first time in two years. I realize for some this may not be an achievement but we had many issues with the HVAC in this home after moving in and had many, many months of very high bills. I am looking forward to a summer where we don’t have that issue.
    We have begun making our plans for the garden and will be renting a tiller in the next week to break up the ground and till in manure & soil to ready the ground for planting in a couple of weeks. I am excited to see that our hydrangeas are beginning to grow. I pruned the largest one quite heavily our first year living here and it stunted it quite a bit. I am grateful to see that it has rebounded very well and it looks like it will be its best year yet. All of the baby hydrangeas that I transplanted last spring from this large bush have survived as well and I have them planted so that I can see them outside my kitchen window – I’m excited to see them grow!
    We replaced light bulbs in our bathroom with LED bulbs to conserve energy. I used gift cards remaining from Christmas combined with several sales to purchase a much needed comforter for our bed, a 100 foot hose for our back yard, and another needed item for $22 out of pocket. Without the gift cards and savings it would have been well over $200 so I was very grateful. We cleaned out our linen closet and removed many items to be used as rags as well as a large stack to be donated.
    I hope everyone enjoys a wonderful week!

  8. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Thank you for two posts this week! A bonus!
    We had our first vaccinations this week and laughed that bowling along in the car together to get our jabs felt like a date. I took a flask of cool water with us.
    I sold an item on eBay and so did my husband.
    I picked daffodils from the garden for the house, we gifted some parsnips to a friend and gave a daughter some lavender plants ( all this has to be distanced/ door step drop off).
    We bought a beef box from some young farming friends. For £20 we received a rolled rib roast, mince, 2 rump steaks, 2 burgers and braising steak. This is very good value for the UK. I told them I thought they were undercharging but they said they want to build plenty of repeat customers and have regular orders. Yesterday was Mother’s Day for us and my husband cooked the steaks and made a special meal for me. They were delicious. I met one daughter for a socially distanced walk and she gave me beautiful flowers and my other daughter rang to say if I chose a pot I would like at the garden centre she would pay for it. Lovely girls.
    Grocery spending was down this week because we are still eating down the freezers. The time between filling our cars with fuel is stretching out too as we’re not going out much and can’t drive far because of the restrictions.
    We ordered heating oil during a reduced price weekend to save a little bit of money. Opting for a long delivery time keeps the price down too.
    The 2021 David Austin rose handbook has arrived and there is 15% off until the middle of April. For UK readers the code is WISLEY. We persuaded ourselves that we needed more roses
    ( cough) and have ordered Emily Brontë and Mme Alfred Carriere which is a climber they stock although it wasn’t bred by them.
    Looking forward to everyone’s ideas.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. There is a David Austin Facebook group. Someone posted a photo of Mme Alfred Carriere in Italy and it was beautiful! I don’t know where I would put it, but how lovely that will be! I received an email response from David Austin that said they would not be offering a discount to their readers in the U.S. this year. I have ordered Desdemona, Claire Austin (I think my husband killed one of mine on accident when we moved it, along with a Queen of Sweden, but they are out of that here until next year for my zone), The Generous Gardener, and Scepter D’Isle. I already have a wishlist for next year 🙂 and I know where I will put some but I need to figure out a space for the others that I like.

      1. I ordered four David Austin rose bushes that were to be delivered in January. I got an email saying they would be a bit late. In February I asked for a new ETA. They said they would be shipped late February or early March. I STILL have no roses nor any new ETA. Has anybody out there gotten there David Austin roses this year? I live in Zone 9.

        1. Anne, in the David Austin FB group (which I joined in January) there were several people having the same delayed shipping issue. DA says they are shipping as fast as they can but that orders will be delayed. It’s bad; zone 9 means we need to have had bareroots in the ground a month ago at the latest. I ordered potted roses because we weren’t ready to plant but that is only a choice for a few varieties. I’m hoping they show up before May but who knows. They are not responding to phone calls. They deposited my money.

          1. They assured me that the roses would be in time for this years planting, but mine are bare root. Did you send them a check? I paid by credit card back in December and they have my money also. This is really a bit shameful because almost all companies do not put the charge through on your card until the ordered merchandise has shipped.

            I’m disappointed in them.

            1. It’s illegal in the US for a retailer to hold a backorder longer than 30 days without either getting the customer’s permission to continue holding or giving a full and prompt refund. I was the director of inventory management for a major catalog & etailer and we would obtain customer permission via email with an “opt out” to discontinue waiting or a “passive” to stay on the backorder list.

              Here’s a link to the FTC site explaining the law:

              Good luck – I hope all of your orders arrive in time for successful planting.

              1. Libby, I don’t think this is a backorder. They ship in the spring and take orders up to a year in advance. Some products can only be shipped at a certain time. When I order bulbs, for instance, they are only shipped in the fall. I order them in June for October delivery. When I ordered some new plants for my garden in November, they would not be shipped until March. Plants have to be shipped at the proper planting time.

          2. I’m sorry to hear there’s no discount for you and the shipping is late. It’s annoying when you have to buy the more expensive potted roses because the planting window for bare root has passed. Your choices look lovely in the handbook, I know what you mean about a wishlist! I would like the Generous Gardener too, perhaps next year.

            1. In the U.S., the potted rose price is the same! They are both $30, even though the bare roots are two-year-old plants instead of one-year-old plants.

              I have found, though, (and other local gardeners have said the same) that in our climate, there is only a 50% success rate with bare root roses (my own percentage of success is even lower). I have had 100% success rate with the potted roses, so it was not bad that the ones I wanted to buy this year all come as potted options, as the potted choices are very limited. There are some that are bare root plants that I would like to add next year, if they end up being available. There are a few I like but I don’t have a place for them figured out yet, so it will depend if I can find a place for them as well.

      2. I received my David Austin rose catalog and was very disappointed to find no coupon! 😢

        1. I emailed them, and they said there was no coupon in the U.S. this year. I suppose if a company is selling out of all the stock they have, they don’t need a coupon to entice buyers.

          1. I know someone mentioned last week that rose cutting could be put into half a potato to keep them moist while starting them. I just wanted to mention that it’s a good idea to remove the eyes from the potato first. I used the tip when I was young and living in Mississippi when my husband was in the Air Force. I knew they weren’t roses that came up–but I got quite a good crop of potatoes!

            1. Hi Marcia,

              Great point. i was the one who mentioned potatoes. I didn’t think one planted the potatoes in the ground but just rooted the stems. Also of course organic potatoes should be used…

  9. Hello Everyone! We are still receiving school lunches for my son; the school provides 7 days worth. I was delighted to find a community fridge at a local coffee shop near my office. So now I will be bringing left over lunch items that we don’t use and put in this fridge. I am so glad they will be used! The school is also providing a farm box to each family; my husband heard that they will still be providing until September. We received another bag of potatoes and several containers of sour cream, neither of which we would use before they spoiled. So I gave them to a friend of mine who could use them. We dropped them off to my friend when we had a socially distanced front yard visit. Our children played together. She also ordered lunch for everyone from a local pizza shop. I offered to and wanted to contribute, but she said no. She also added my son to her gaming account family plan. Again, I offered to split the cost with her, but she wouldn’t hear of it. She said that it was her pleasure. Her son is special needs and my son is his only friend. I was so sad to hear that. I dropped groceries off for my parents that I had purchased for them. They generously paid for our groceries as well. My mom usually has a St. Patrick’s Day dinner at their house for their friends every year. This, obviously, is the second year that they have not been able to do this. So I had decided to make several loaves of Irish Soda Bread. I put a little package together of the bread, individual Kerrygold Irish Butter pats (which I had purchased on deep discount at our neighborhood Grocery Outlet) and Irish Tea (purchases on deep discount on Amazon) for each couple and put in green gift bags that I had bought at the Dollar Tree. Not a frugal project by any means, but I was so happy to do it and bring joy to each couple. I went to school with all of the children of these couples and my parents have been friends with this group for over 40 years. My mom decided that she would drive me around town (both of us wearing masks) to deliver. I also made a loaf for my parents’ neighbors. They have been so kind to my parents for so many reasons and they are truly family to us. One of the husbands is gluten free. I haven’t had a lot of experience baking gluten free items and didn’t really have the time this past week. I found an Irish bakery in the town that I live in. I was able to order half an order of gluten free scones and I was happy to support a local small business. Our freezer is quite full, which is a blessing and a problem. The hubs and I are determined to use what we have to make meals, even if they are not our favorite in order to use up. So far so good. I was able to purchase some plant starts when I went grocery shopping last week. I jumped at the chance to get them, even though I don’t normally buy plants at the grocery store. Last year, in our area, you couldn’t find any vegetable plants anywhere. I got a tomato, picking cucumber and summer squash. My husband will plan them this weekend. Also hoping to find another type of tomato plant, a lemon cucumber and swiss chard plants. We received a notice from our utility company. They are going to restructure the rates, with energy used between 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM going up. We are planning to do all laundry in the early morning hours. My mom received a $20 gift card for participating in a health study, which she gave to us. I purchased a birthday gift for my son’s friend using a target gift card that I had been gifted. We were running low on ground coffee last week. I was tempted to order the kind we like on Amazon. I then remembered that I had a large container of regular coffee. And although we normally drink decaf, we decided to use it up. Still continuing to go through the house. It’s amazing that we have this much stuff still that we haven’t/don’t use. As I have mentioned in previous posts, we have been purging for the last year. You think at some point, something would look different! I have four more bags to donate to the Goodwill. They closed the store right by our house as well as a donation truck. I will wait until I need to be in another part of town that has a donation station to drop off. My husband and I talked about combining errands and not driving unless we absolutely have to. Gas prices in our area have jumped to almost $4 per gallon and will most likely continue to rise. The local governments in our area have also passed laws enacting hazard pay for grocery workers anywhere from $3 to $5 per hour. We were happy to hear this as these individuals have worked so hard this past year and have put themselves at risk. However, we are thinking it will only be a matter of time before the increased wage cost is passed on to the consumer. We will be sure to tighten our food budget even more and make the food we do buy go further. After a year of saving, we were able to replace our computer last week. A really good friend of ours works for a large computer company. He was able to give us one of his employees discounts, saving 25% off which equaled a savings of hundreds of dollars. We were so thankful. I put together a gift basket as a thank you. We dropped it off yesterday. Here’s to everyone having a great week!!!!

    1. Your Irish-themed giftbags sound delightful and I’m sure you brought a lot of joy to the couples.

  10. This past week, Meijers had their buy 10 (mix or match) for $10 and get #11 free (which makes the cost 91 cents/item)! They finally had Prego spaghetti sauce on that sale! That’s our favorite brand and I haven’t bought any since the last 10 for $10 sale which was several months ago. In the meantime, the lowest sale price has been $1.69 each! And regular price is over $2.19+ 🙄
    I made sure I told my kids and also posted it on FB for my friends. They also had strawberries for $1.25/pound. The price will go lower but I bought a flat for us to enjoy eating fresh. My daughters got 2 flats each and froze theirs because their kiddos love smoothies and they can even toss spinach in without being noticed! Pork shoulder butt was also on sale for 99 cents/pound so I bought one for $8. I put it into the crockpot with some maple dry rub and let it cook for 12 hours. Drained, took meat off the bone and put it into my stand mixer to shred after I added BBQ sauce and ketchup. So yummy! I kept a big Rubbermaid container in fridge and froze 2 packed gallon ziplocs. We have already enjoyed 2 meals from the Rubbermaid container.
    My best friend called me and told me that the Krogers where she works had clearanced Arrowhead Mills organic unbleached flour – 5 pound bags, regular $4.59 down to 50 cents/bag! They only had 6 bags left when I got there so I let our 2 daughters share them all.

    We met our neighbor across the street and had a nice visit. He had seen us installing our new windows and wondered if we were thinking of selling. He restores and flips houses in our neighborhood. We told him that we intended to stay and he asked where we bought our windows. We told him and he correctly told us what he estimated our cost per window was based on that. He was spot on! Then he told us about his window supplier and offered the phone number and info. Hubs did a one to one comparison of all the specs between our windows and theirs and found that we could get the identical custom size with identical features for half the cost! Plus they are ready within a week of ordering! And you don’t pay until they come. So 3 large windows that would have cost us $1350 (before tax)are costing us $604 (including tax)! We are thrilled! Thursday they will be ready for pick up!! Only 16 more after these!! But what a savings!! 🥰🥰🥰

    Quilt #125 started and finished- all scraps in the quilt top. Batting is 4 batting remnants sewn together and backing is a SA 100% cotton sheet, so no OOP cost and another gift to add to my gift cupboard! and

    I woke up in a panic this morning (Monday), sure that it was Tuesday (babysitting day) and that I had overslept! The clock said 4:30. I got mixed up and thought that it was “really” 5:30 in non-DST!
    So I stayed up and unloaded dishwasher and baked some biscuits, using a tube of refrigerated biscuits and eggs from our chickens. I had just thin sliced some ham the night before so I used my PC biscuit cutter to trim the ham into the right size circle to fit the biscuit. Never fear, the ham trimmings will be chopped up and made into ham salad sandwich spread! and
    I got an email from the Hatchery that we’ve bought chickens from saying that they had a limited number of started pullets that were available to order for pick up this Saturday. The price was $14 each and I called 2 of my friends who told me previously that they needed to buy some new ones too. When I went to place the order (I had told my friends that Hubs and I could pick them all up since it’s a 90 minute drive), the sales person on the phone said that there is a price break if you order 13 or more! We had 9 ordered between us! So I used social media with my friends to see if we could get 4 more ordered. One friend that I hadn’t thought of said that they had just been ready to order 6 hens! We added theirs to our order and now the price of hens that will start laying in about 4 weeks has dropped from $14 each down to $10 each including their vaccinations and health certificate! So our date (Hubs & me) this Saturday morning will be a leisurely drive to pick up 15 chickens! Because those are the types of dates we have!! And there will be lots of laughter along the way!!
    Btw- this same Meyer Hatchery, here in Ohio, sent me a link to work from home (remote) job opportunities they currently are hiring for. They pay $12/hour (30-40 hours a week during busy season, then 20+ after). Residents of NY, CA, PA or WI are not included. But they are definitely a legitimate business and this is a real job opportunity that they are offering. Here’s the link:

    Well, that’s all that’s been happening here! Hubs cataract surgery went well. This week is 2nd Covid shot coming up, windows coming in and chicken pick-up and babysitting grandson 3 days. So pretty calm! 🤪🤪🤪

    Stay well, Brandy and all and keep inspiring me with new ideas!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Gardenpat I look forward to your post each week. I too live in Ohio. I am imagining driving home with 15 baby chicks:) I loved the latest quilt you posted and the backing is so cute!

      1. Susan from Cincinnati- Thanks! I really enjoyed putting that quilt together! The chickens we are picking up from Meyer Hatchery up in Polk, are not baby chicks. They are “teenagers”- Started pullets . Buy buying them instead of baby chicks, we are guaranteed that they are indeed hens, not roosters. We save the time, energy to keep them very warm and the food to raise them to laying age. The started pullets are 16-20 weeks old and this breed typically starts laying within a week or two after we get them home! They lay extra large eggs and lay 6+ eggs per week per chicken!! Definitely little egg machines!! Very calm and easy-going too.

        Gardenpat in Ohio

    2. Hello Gardenpat! As always, I enjoyed reading your comments and seeing the beautiful quilts you make! Would you be so kind as to tell me what breed of chickens you purchased as started pullets? Thank you and have a wonderful day!

  11. I love your photos here and in the White Garden blog. They’re amazing!

    Using the Libby app has been great. I just finished a Hamish Macbeth mystery and borrowed the next.

    Work-from-home continues to be busy. I am grateful to be working even though things are pretty challenging. DH is at his job this week which makes the workday feel longer for me. It’s so much nicer when he’s home (as long as he doesn’t express any opinions about my job)!

    I miss my daughters but it seems that we will be able to travel again so I am just hanging on for that! DD #1 started seeing a therapist for depression and it is helping her. And I guess it’s helping me because as the saying goes, you’re only as happy as your least happy child.

    Shopping was good this week. Corned beef for $1.88#, potatoes $1.49 for 5# and cabbage for $.18#. I already made a big pot of cabbage soup which we’ll have tonight with cheddar goldfish sprinkled on top! I had coupons for free bread and $2 off produce. Also Ibotta had $.50 back on Bigelow tea (on sale for $1.88/box) and $1.49 back on Bahlsen cookies for which I had two $2 off coupons. So the fancy little cookies were free! Hanes undershirts for DH were $6.99/3 pack at the grocery store with $1 peel off coupons on each package.

    I have seen such variety of free live-streams! I keep noticing enticing free events at the Lit & Phil in Newcastle but when I calculate the time in England, I would have to stay up until midnight to watch them! 🙂 In the meantime, I am enjoying travel, history and music virtually whenever I can.

    My lettuce seeds germinated but still no tomatoes. I am going to try starting kale and a different package of tomato seeds tomorrow. I am hoping to get a good start before planting outside.

    I paid bills on time so far this month. Working hard to stay on top of that.

    I’ve kept up the gratitude journal started the month of November. It’s fun to flip back and remember blessings received and also to see my top hits in the gratitude arena! I definitely have some recurring themes.

    It’s back to work after this lovely break. I am always inspired reading this blog and the comments! I like to read the old entries when I have some downtime. I feel as though I am getting to know people and their families. On that note—wishing everyone a good and a healthy week!

    1. Cheers to you Kat! Be encouraged on the paying bills on time front. For some that is a simple task but for others of us it requires more diligence, persistence, and planning.
      I know there are spreadsheets but goodness I am a pencil and paper girl and that monthly budget is quite the task. You can do it!!

    2. I had never heard that saying before but Wow is it true! Good for your daughter for finding someone to talk to.

  12. Your flowers are so lovely. I am so jealous.
    Saving this past week was ordinary. I have been shopping clearance sales for little girls’ clothes because my granddaughters put clothes on their birthday lists. Their parents must be glad since COVID related layoffs have struck at their house. I also found a like new sweater for one girl at a thrift store for $3.50. After shopping around to find the best prices, my husband and son replaced a pressure tank for his well and a wall heater which saved hiring someone to do the work. We have been charging the cell phone we share while we drive in the car. I cut my husband’s hair. My husband rotated the tires on our car to make them wear more evenly, but decided two new tires are needed. He is shopping online in addition to local stores. So far he finds that WalMart has the cheapest tires, but he wishes he had a tire changing machine, so he could break down the tires and install new ones on the rims and balance them. The cost of mounting and balancing is a factor. He has been looking at tire machines on Craigslist, but the cost is prohibitive. He did buy a very used Troy Bilt rototiller for a price corresponding to its age. He will have to repair the tiller and get it working, but he told someone he bought it to till up some flower beds in front of the house (where he knows I have wanted some for years). He couldn’t tell a begonia from a geranium and is not interested in growing flowers himself, so I appreciate his going to the trouble for me.

  13. That is great news moving your dirt over to the neighbor’s hill. Hoping it felt like a reprieve in time used to go to the dump too!
    Continue to collect warm-up water for indoor plants and the kettle. I have a quart jar at each sink to do so.
    Ordered a takeout salad the other week that came with a homemade dressing I would never have chosen, good thing I am not too stubborn because the maple dijon dressing was delicious! I looked up how to make it and it is such a simple recipe (1 part each of maple syrup and dijon, and water (if needed to thin). A new dressing to spruce up the weekly salads I make.
    The mister wanted an ottoman for under his work desk. I used a free pattern that I printed years ago and adjusted the height – made him an ottoman out of a stiff curtain, stuffed 90% with old curtains that were given to me (to cut up for other projects). It decluttered the 3 paper boxes of curtains out of my sewing room to boot!
    I copied some recipes I like to make from the internet – I am noticing patterns and recipes that I had bookmarked are no longer available, so I wanted a hard copy to keep using.
    Hope everyone has a peaceful week!

    1. They are 5 minutes away versus an hour to an hour and a half for the dump (there and back) so it’s quite nice.

  14. Hello Everyone!
    I had a dental cleaning last week and the dentist predicted trouble with some old fillings. Unfortunately, he was right! An old filling cracked one of my teeth within days and I’m scheduled for a crown in 2 weeks. Fortunately, 60% is covered by insurance as it’s costly! We have 2 weeks to make some adjustments to our budget.

    I sold an old chest freezer on Marketplace. One less thing in the garage! We continue to make a pile for Goodwill as we clean out closets. I returned some tile samples to Home Depot for a refund.

    We’ve been eating home cooked meals and baked goods. We’ve caught up with our hens’ egg surplus with omelettes and baking.

    We’re beginning the college search process for our son who is a high school junior. Amazon Prime has a brand new series called “ College Tour” which will feature a variety of universities in the US & world-wide. We’ll watch ones that he’s interested in applying for possibly saving us a few trips as we narrow the search. I’m not sure how quickly episodes will release, but we’ll keep our eye out.

    I forgot to mention that we continue our Dave Ramsey baby step 6 (mortgage payoff acceleration). This will shave off 5 years of mortgage payments and save us over $60,000 so we plan to steady on.

    Have a blessed and beautiful week!

    1. Julie, I don’t know if you’ll see this (I am going back and reading old posts) but I wanted to thank you for sharing the College Tour! My daughter is a junior and has only been able to do one on-campus visit so far. None of her picks are open for college visits. She has done a few virtual tours, but they turned out to be more Q & A type things. We are watching College Tour right now. Thank you!

  15. A huge savings is that I talked myself out of ordering pizza or something else last night. I didnt feel like cooking again, I wanted someone else to do it. I remembered that I work so hard to make what little bit of money I make. To go and waste a weeks worth of earnings on one meal is ridiculous. I made pork chops instead. My air fryer died about a month ago. I held off buying one, as I really couldnt decide which one to get. I used $70 in best buy reward points and ordered it curbside pickup. I will also be getting swagbucks for the purchase. My coffeemaker died last week too. I went to target to buy a new one. I price matched one from walmart and paid using a target giftcard that I received from fetch. We have a 12 year old keurig, but I drink too much coffee. I cant get kcups dirt cheap like I did in PA. I have the refillable thing but it makes weak coffee, and you get fine grounds at the bottom of the cup. So, a new coffee maker was a necessity. I recycled some ibotta proceeds. I transfer it to my paypal account and then use my paypal debit card to get new things that have rebates. I needed to buy some dishwasher pods, but there were none on sale at a reasonable price. I bought publix brand and I am quite impressed. I used the gas buddy app as needed. Other than that, I just did the usual cost cutting stuff.

    1. How do you like using the Paypal debit card? Are there any hidden fees to it? I ordered one, but have yet to use it.

    1. We’ve been working on this for a long time now (6 months) and it is just a lot of dirt. We’ve taken about 33 trailers full to the dump. It is hard, like concrete, so a lot of dig (and it is very compacted) and a lot to haul out. We had hoped to be done by now but we still have more to dig out and haul away. Today is very windy; we can’t work outside on the days when it’s 40 mile per hour winds. We will be hauling as much out this week as we can. I hope we will be able to plant in April. We have brought in some new soil but I still have to buy quite a bit more.

      1. Oh, Brandy, the more you share the more I realize what a big project you have undertaken.

        1. Yes, it’s even bigger than we realized, but it will be marvelous when it’s done!

  16. Life continues on much as it has for the past year. I work from home for 25 hours per week, volunteer and do meetings (both for work & for socializing) via Zoom.

    I did a bit of grocery shopping but mainly for fruit, veg and dairy. I did manage to shop for items on my points offers and ended up with $30 worth of Loyalty Points to use.

    I did spend some money on a new metal shelving rack for my kitchen and I am really pleased with it. I have been doing a lot of Spring cleaning and have moved around a lot of furniture for a bit of a new look. I had to throw out two IKEA bookcases that had finally fallen apart and had more or less decided to spend about $1200 on some new items – plus assembly charges – BUT – I took a few days to think about it, really looked at what I could repurpose and have got the order down to about $300 – and because these will be smaller units I’ll be able to put them together myself and also save the assembly fee. I have learned to take the time now before big expenditures, instead of spending impulsively and 9 times out of 10 I’m able to reduce my spend.

    I did spend $45 on “treats” – the small stores have finally been allowed to reopen (with limited capacity) so I visited three of them – spent $15 at each just to support local businesses. I consider it to be money well spent.

    I repurposed my Raskog kitchen cart into a bar cart. I’m not much of a drinker except for wine (which I have given up for Lent) but I do like to entertain and have a variety of items for guests. I want it to look nice so I looked out some bar accessories that had belonged to my dad and displayed them, used some of my specialty glassware, and now I want to slowly add things like special mixes and bitters etc. I hope that I’ll actually be able to have guests by September!

    I’ve used cans of corned beef , Spam and cans of tuna from the pantry for breakfasts & lunches and used chilli from the freezer for 2 meals. I also cooked pork tenderloin, made up falafel balls from a mix and made a green Thai chicken curry for dinners. I also had a couple of vegetarian meals of salad with eggs & cheese for protein.

    I just spent 15 minutes rotating things in my freezer compartment and planning meals for the next week or so. Food prices are really going up here so I am being especially diligent. For example – I looked at a pack of 16 small chicken thighs this morning and the cost was $21 Cdn. Beef liver has about tripled in price and don’t even talk about fish! Even using eggs and cheese as alternates isn’t always much cheaper – packages of cheese that I used to buy for $5 are now $7 and I pay just over $4 for a dozen extra large (but really good) eggs and I have paid as much as $6! I am trying to eat low carb but I am going to have to incorporate some pastas or pierogies or dumplings, at least occasionally. It’s still cold enough here that soup is still a good alternative for a few meals so I’ll make a pot of something before the end of the week.

    Still using the library, Netflix & Amazon Prime (for a few more days), caught up with a couple of friends via very long phone calls and getting out for more walks for entertainment. My bubble friend and I have booked tickets for the drive through “Van Gogh” exhibit which has just reopened – we are keeping our fingers crossed that we don’t get shut down again before we get to go but it’s not looking good – our numbers are up again and the provincial health authorities just announced that we are now in the “third wave” so who knows how long before we are back under “Stay at Home”!

    I hope you all stay well and that those who can now get out in their gardens are enjoying themselves!

  17. Those are my favorite variety of daffodils. The look like sunny side up eggs. 🙂
    Mine are blooming too.

    Joining in from near Seattle WA.

    Three years ago, we had new interior doors installed in our condo. About a month ago, one of the bathroom doorknobs stopped working (it would only turn in one direction and would not lock). So I went to the hardware store and purchased a replacement doorknob (same brand, same type). After I got home, I saw on the box that the company (Schlage) offers a lifetime warranty on their products. So I emailed them, with photos and the required info, and they are sending me a new doorknob. I kept the receipt for the doorknob I purchased and will return it.

    When we were cleaning out my mom’s condo in preparation for her move, we found a LOT of change: probably $60 in quarters and $20 in dimes. I don’t have a bank where I can turn it in (I use a credit union and their office with teller banking services is not close to me), and Coinstar charges 11% to exchange it for paper money. I know Coinstar offers gift cards to certain retailers, but I was not interested. So I decided to just use it – I bought groceries and paid for part of a prescription with change. Of course, I asked the checker first if it was ok, and made sure there was no one behind me in line. I am happy to report that I am down to only about $5 in dimes now.

    Other frugal accomplishments:
    – Picked up the weekly free offer from our local coop: a pound of strawberries.
    – Started a batch of sprouts from seeds I had on hand.
    – Soaked and cooked a pound of chick peas. It only took 12 minutes in the instant pot after soaking. Froze some for future use.
    – Made popovers for the first time, using pantry items. Did not have a popover pan so used a muffin tin. Worked great.
    – Had bought a bag of frozen hamburgers at Costco. They were really lean, so I defrosted a few of them and mixed them with a pound of ground lamb I had in the freezer, added some salt and spices, then made the mix back into burgers. Much tastier now.
    – Bought a bunch of 12 daffodils for 1.79 at Trader Joe’s.
    – Saw that I had been charged a $129 annual renewal fee for something I had cancelled last year. Contacted the company, and they refunded me.
    – Visited my mom and she bought me lunch. It was beautiful weather, so we sat outside at a local beach park, and enjoyed our lunch and the sun.
    – Spent some time sitting on our patio in the sunshine.
    – Worked on a sewing project that I had started awhile back. Should be able to finish it today.

    Have a great week, everyone.

  18. My mom sent over small boxes of cereal, canned green beans, a candle, Epsom salts, TV dinner, scented oils, and blades for a utility knife.

    I used Sams cash back credits for a few things we needed(trash bags and caress bar soap). Then Panera soup and cotton candy that we really didn’t need, lol.

    I had to throw out my crock pot 😭. I was cooking roast and the crock just broke in half. It was one where the crock was attached to the outside metal so no replacing the crock. Hubby brought home one from a job a few months ago I wasn’t sure about using, but I guess it will become my new one until I can find another I like at a good price.

    My tea jar also broke. Thankfully, I had a spare(gallon pickle jar, lol)

    It rained for 4 days so Hubby was home. We worked on some of dvr stuff when I had to sit for a bit.

    Returned a library book on time to avoid fees

    I received the renewal quote on our car insurance and it was $700 more! My agent is checking prices for other companies because even she is perplexed at the jump when there’s been no claims or additional tickets(one of my husband’s should have came off his record even).

    I took a load of 17 boxes and bags to the DAV. Not from my house, but my mom’s.

    I continue to declutter our house, the 14 yo is on Sprng break this week and I’ve already warned her, we are working on her things this week. They’ll be back in school 5 days a week(we were at 4 in person) and Track season is starting.

      1. It’s not quite as fun for me, lol. Most of what she sends over is usually something her afternoon aide got wrong and I have to go buy the correct thing. I’ve told her several times she really needs to quit being so picky.

        1. My mother in law had problems with her aid also. Her aid would bring the biggest bottle/can of something back to her and she could not hardly pick them up (a half gallon of some cleaning item and large cans of fruit cocktail come to mind ). She was in her late 80s to 90s. We had to explain to her that she needed to be really specific about the size and if the aid brought the wrong thing to ask her to take it back and exchange it for a smaller one and some of her items to pick up the next week. She didn’t think she could do that. That helped a little.

  19. I love your garden pics! Only daffodils and lily of the valley are poking through here, so it’s nice to see a few more spring plants!

    My frugal week:
    – I made a batch of pancakes ( using items I had at home, along with a batch of low carb, no sugar pancakes (oatmeal, egg, cottage cheese3) for my husband
    – I got a coupon for a box of free Mini-Wheats cereal from an online promotion
    – I donated to a friend’s birthday fundraiser, using money in my paypal account from redeeming SB.

    Not a particularly action-packed week, but also not a particularly spendy one! Looking forward to learning from everyone, as always!

  20. Hi all!

    This week, I filled out two more auto insurance quotes on Acorns and earned another $10. I’m almost to $50 of earned money now! If you want to try it, you can use my link. to get $5.

    I saw a small plastic ride on motorcycle on the side of the road with a free sign on it. I picked it up for my son.

    My aunt gifted us some size 3 diapers that her granddaughter had outgrown.

    I accepted a bag of outgrown clothes from a friend for my son. And a bag of socks.

    I continue to use fetch rewards and ibotta.

    I worked 8 extra hours this week to cover for a coworker who was gone. I won’t get paid for them, but I will get to trade them for paid time off later.

    I cashed in points on a gas station app to get .91 off per gallon of gas.

    A coworker of my mom’s gave her some hand me down books from her son. Most of them looked like they had never even been opened. There were 38 books, one puzzle, and a set of flashcards. Some of the books are still a bit advanced for him, but I’ll put them back for when he is ready. There were also some Easter books in the box. I’ll put those in his Easter basket instead of buying books like I was planning. I’ll put the extra money in his college account instead.

    I did not grocery shop last week. All our meals were from things we already had at home.

  21. That’s so wonderful that you were able to replace your refrigerator — and great that you were able to give the dirt from your garden to a neighbor — I’m sure they appreciated it. Fill isn’t easy to find.
    My husband came home safely. He brought with him a dozen grapefruit from his parents’ neighbors. The woman grew the grapefruit tree from a seed she planted 12 years ago – the fruit is delicious.
    I made croutons from a couple of slices of stale bread and served them on soup.
    My husband was able to get his vaccine on Tuesday.
    I did some mending.
    I made a batch of homemade yogurt and two loaves of sandwich bread and a pan of dinner rolls.
    I worked in the greenhouse for a couple of hours and everything is ready to go in there – just waiting for the snowstorm this weekend to pass. I also transplanted a rhubarb in one of my outside beds.

  22. Hello Brandy,
    You and your husband have put in so many hours re-doing your landscaping but I know you will enjoy your efforts and provide so much more edibles for your family. I look forward to the final reveal of the gardens.
    I will be hosting Easter dinner and egg hunt this year. Due to Covid, we will be having an outdoor event which is a lot of work here in the Pacific Northwest. Weather is too unpredictable so I will have the food tables inside the garage and the white wedding tents set up with tables and chairs spaced safely. I’m not looking forward to the extra work of having it outdoors but I am looking forward to seeing family members. We have all had the vaccine now so that makes me feel better about things.
    About 3 yrs ago I purchased a set of 4 drinking glasses that had etched bunnies on them. I put them in my gift cabinet and haven’t used them. I will be using those as my centerpieces for the tables. I plan to put lettuce leaves and fresh flowers in them. I will have my guests take them home as a gift at the end of the event.
    I haven’t been feeling well due to spring time allergies so haven’t done much to stock pantry or save. I really wasn’t feeling well yesterday and had no energy to plan and make dinner. I really wanted to pick up some burgers and call it good but instead I made a nice plate of nachos which we both enjoyed. That was a big win in my book.
    I normally buy girl scout cookies for my husband and adult children for Easter but this year one child and my husband said not to bother- they didn’t really need to be eating cookies so that saved me some money.
    Looking forward to the end of my allergy season and renewed energy so I can work on my garden plans.
    I wish everyone a happy, healthy, frugal week.

  23. It’s lovely to see all your blooms. I’m happy we have daffodils, snowbells and forsythia blooming, and I saw the first hyacinth this evening. Meals were made with what was on hand, and many ingredients were homegrown. My husband prepared the garden for potatoes, which arrived last week. Laundry was hung on the line. I made your black bean burgers for dinner, which my husband requested, and some were frozen. A sweater was mended. I finished pruning the last of the fruit trees, and wild blackberry and grape vines were pulled or cut from around them. This area is our newest garden, and parts of it are still somewhat wild.

  24. I was admiring your white garden, and want to ask you about the cyclamens … I have a number here that come up “wild”, but cannot make them bloom. Do you have any suggestions? (they come up in both the poor and richer soil) and mostly in shady places. This week I made “budget soup” by first browning onion, garlic, 4 plum tomatoes, leftover carrots and celery, frozen peas, then adding the last 3 fried slices of bacon and one can of Maple Leaf ham, chicken boullion in 4 cups water. Simmered for 4 hours, it was delicious and hearty. This (or similar) is my go-to plan when leftovers show up in the fridge. Thank you for any advice you may have,
    ann lee s
    vancouver island, bc, canada

    1. You could try fertilizing them with bone meal to help them to flower. Also, you may want to research to see if they need to be divided. I know that daffodils and iris need to be divided every few years. The smaller bulbs and rhizomes won’t flower for a few years, and if they get too crowded, they won’t flower at all.

  25. We still had company this week. We played outside and at the park and made all but one meal at home. We had tacos, pizza, egg roll in a bowl, corn dogs, chicken and rice and breakfast for dinner, sandwiches and lots of chicken nuggets. We utilized the air fryer a lot. We had a couple stay-at-home movie nights. I continue to do the usual things and am grateful for the ways we are able to still save. I’m grateful for the pantry we have built up. My daughter cut my son’s hair while she is visiting. My favorite pair of shoes (that I wear every day) finally tore on the side, so I quickly went online and ordered the exact same pair when I found a coupon code. They fit well and I don’t feel a need to look for something different. We made individual chicken pot pies (biscuit dough in muffin tins) for Pi day yesterday. My daughter made a lovely cheese cake and my son in law made a chocolate custard pie for it. It was fun. My 4 year old grandson, who is visiting, forgot the special little pillow he had for his “tiger guy” (stuffed animal), so I took him to my fabric bin and he picked out two little squares (safari animals and trains) and I helped him hand sew the squares together and stuff it, so his Tiger Guy has a special pillow here at Granny’s house. I was thankful for my stash of left over supplies. It will always be a sweet memory for me. It was gorgeous here last week (Minnesota) but is snowing again. Grateful for my son who shovels without complaint (mostly). Hope everyone has a nice week. Love reading everyone’s contributions to this thread.

  26. Brandy, I just have to comment re: your remark about planting old seeds. This is a long overdue post. I read every week, but am not good about posting.

    Last spring, when you made a similar comment, I went to look at old seeds in my stash, that I had just stuck in my garage. Many were 5+ years old. I don’t know if I was an optimistic pessimist, or a pessimistic optimist, but I planted them in flats just to see if any would germinate. Because I didn’t think many would (the pessimistic optimist), I sowed them quite heavily, disregarding the instructions on spacing. Well, low and behold, I think ALL of the lettuce seeds germinated and the flats were very thickly embedded! And then, since they showed life, I re-planted the “thinnings”. I had row after row of Black Seeded Simpson lettuce!! I harvested and harvested and had enough delicious lettuce for our family, our extended family, for our neighbors and the food bank for all of the spring and summer until the lettuce bolted. I was especially pleased that I could share with the food bank since times have been so tough for very many people, here and everywhere. I found another very old packet of lettuce and spinach seeds which I planted for a fall garden. Again, we harvested from there late fall. They all survived this year’s temperate winter, have been fertilized and are growing again with our rising temperatures. So thanks to your encouragement, my seeds were used, produced and blessed our food stocks, as well as others. I would encourage others with old seeds to try germinating them. You may be surprised-like I was. (I did learn that 5+ year old bean seeds did not germinate for me. I tried several varieties and in several different ways (in soil, in damp paper towel, pre-soaked, etc), to no avail. I plan to try fresh, new seeds for them this time).

    Loved all the lovely pictures of the flowers in your garden Brandy. Your white garden is lovely now. Can’t wait to see your new back yard over time in the same way. Thank you for sharing.

    I hope everyone will have a hopeful, safe and thrify week. Lynn

    1. Lynn, what a delightful story! You’ve inspired me to do the same with some packets of tomato seeds that have been stuck in a drawer. Fingers crossed!

      1. Good luck Ava! I didn’t have any tomato seeds to try, but I hope your seeds will germinate and grow to abundance like mine! It was such an unexpected surprise 🙂

  27. I think we are going to have an early spring in my area, YAHOO! The winter garden is rapidly bolting and there is too much to eat before it becomes bitter. I am juicing the greens and we are detoxing this week. My plan is to take a chance and plant the garden early. Years ago, before I was blogging and recording my garden, we had an early spring. The ground warmed up one month early, I risked planting some things anyway and my harvest was bigger. However, there have also been years where I tried that and a hard late frost killed everything. I have learned to prepare either way. I’m more than willing to lose a few seeds for a larger harvest.

    *I collected dandelion greens and roots from the yard before hubby mowed for the first time this year. The leaves are juiced, dehydrated for tea and the roots are being roasted for coffee.

    *Saturday I used coupons at Dollar General and saved 52.13% according to my receipt.

    *We ate out once at a little mom-and-pop, hole-in-the-wall restaurant. Their prices are still extremely reasonable ($6.99) for a great lunch. All of our other favorite places have raised their prices so high ($12.99 is the minimum price) that we don’t eat out anymore except for special occasions. The rest of the week we ate at home and I made lunches for my son to take to work.

    * I stopped at a grocery store in another town for a great price on beef but it was sold out. They did have the paper advertisements ready for the next big sale and they will have 50 pounds of potatoes for $9.99. My goal is to return next weekend and buy 100 pounds and can them for french fries. We discovered we can put them in the air fryer and they make easy french fries. My husband can eat potatoes every day.

    * I finished inventorying the pantry. We have almost emptied out last year’s garden food from the freezer and are blowing through the food in the pantry. Of course, it is what I planned to do but everything is disappearing quicker than I anticipated. It seems we are buying less at the grocery, spending more money, but are walking out with fewer items. After careful thought, I plan to add at least 300 more canning jars to my pantry. A few have been found at thrift stores and garage sales. This week, I found some for the first time since last March at Walmart and bought 5 cases.

    *Back on Christmas when the bomber blew up the AT&T building in Nashville, we lost internet and phone service for weeks. (This was my January post about it We have two cell-phones. We call one the “Home” phone because it always stays at the house, has no features, and costs $15 a month. The second phone is called the “Away” phone and it has the shopping apps, coupon apps, map apps, and 1 gig of cell data. It goes with whichever person is on the road. For it, we pay $20 a month. The service was terrible right after the bombing since it evidently uses the local AT&T tower and Republic must be the last on the list for space. The best phone service in our area is Verizon but they want $80 for one phone and $150 for two!!! I have drug my feet about changing (even though friends have complained about getting through) but at least now their service is improving greatly. We have almost no choices for internet since we are out in the boonies. The best deal I could find for what we need will cost $150 a month. (How do people afford to pay those high prices?) Our local library offers a hot spot which is a little box that links you to the internet through cell towers. It can be checked out for a week free of charge and renewed if no one else wants it. They originally were for children that were being schooled at home during the lockdown but are now back at school. I have been going to the library and checking it out every week since January. If I had rushed out after we first lost service and quickly changed over, we would be paying $300 a month for phone and internet now. Sometimes it pays to be patient.

    Looking forward to learning new ideas from everyone.


  28. Thanks for making this such a welcoming place, Brandy.

    I was the chief elections judge for a school election last week for which I will be paid $190.  I’m retiring from elections, so this will likely be my last election, except possibly as a substitute. I was a poll worker since 2008 and enjoyed it very much. If anyone here is interested, call your county elections department. Pay varies by state and sometimes by county.

    We have a floor steamer that uses distilled water, which we would have known if we’d read the directions. After a few months of using tap water, it quit. We poured some white vinegar into the tank and tried again in a few weeks. It steamed! Couldn’t figure out how to dump the vinegar, so we just added distilled water and cleaned away!

    I mended a rip in a pair of pajamas.

    This doesn’t have anything to do with frugality, but I went to church yesterday for the first time in a year. (I’m shopping for a new church and went with a friend). I received my second dose of vaccine a month ago. Until now, I haven’t felt safe enough to go to church or any other large gathering. Covid numbers are way down in Idaho, and especially where I live in the Panhandle. Like everybody else here, I’m so ready for this to be over!

    1. Maxine – this Sunday marks the one year anniversary of my church’s first online service as we went into lockdown on March 17th. We managed to reopen for 3 Sundays in Sept. but then had to close down again. Technically we are allowed to be open – with a very small number in attendance – but the directive we got was that people were too nervous to come. We have a meeting of Session tonight (the elders) to review things but it’s looking more and more that it will be Sept. before we can reopen properly so that everyone will feel safe. It’s not likely that everyone will be fully vaccinated until the Fall in this huge city so we will just have to continue with online services. So glad to hear that you have had your second dose of the vaccine and that life is at least slowly returning to normal.

  29. Two posts this week! The photos of the white garden were exceptional, thank you.

    In the past two weeks, my husband and I got our first Covid shots, his through the VA, mine through the state. So we are on our way, thankfully. Since it is spring here in the desert, I am taking two to three walks a day with our dog, and enjoying the weather immensely ;). Healthy for both of us plus we get to talk to the neighbors and other dog walkers who are out and about. A positive from the virus is getting to know our neighborhood much better, many people are out walking each day now. Otherwise, the usual housework, cooking and eating at home, and best of all, received our tax refund and deposited it at lightening speed into our savings account 😉

  30. It was a good, frugal week in Houston, TX.
    The kids and I are on spring break this week; fun!
    I pitched in for pizzas at my brother and sister-in-law’s house for dinner one night, and my oldest made a dessert to take, using items from the pantry. She made a chocolate éclair dessert, yum! My mom cut my boys’ hair.
    I took the kids to the beach today, and we packed a picnic lunch. Other than gas, there was no cost. It was cloudy and cool, and we had the beach mostly to ourselves. The kids had a blast playing in the waves, building sand castles, etc. I prepped an easy dinner in advance, since I knew I would be tired when we got home.
    I sold more stuff of facebook marketplace, and listed items on Mercari.
    Markdowns and sales at the grocery store included 80% ground beef at $1/#, strawberries for .97/#, blueberries for $1.27/#, Gogurt for .59 after coupon and markdown (treat item), plus I bought some mini-Oreos at Kroger (.99/bag). It’s not close, but I stopped in the Joe V’s store (like a Hispanic version of Aldi), as they are cheaper on a lot of things we buy (tortillas, bananas, etc.) than Aldi, and their produce is the same quality as HEB, who owns the store. It’s definitely not the same shopping “experience” as HEB, but their prices are close to Aldi’s prices for the things I buy.
    I found baseball pants at Goodwill for my boys, as well as a couple of nice bats in sizes they’ll grow into.
    I was able to track down and buy a baseball belt in the color that one son needs, from a local trading group, which made it cheaper than the sporting goods store.
    I found some new-in-box gifts at Goodwill for an upcoming birthday party a daughter is going to, making her contribution much more affordable.
    I made homemade stain remover (Dawn, baking soda, peroxide) and used it on some clothes.
    I stopped by an estate sale that was nearby, and bought light bulbs, dish detergent, dishwasher detergent,hand soap, laundry detergent, mosquito spray, and shoe polish for next to nothing. It’s all half-used by someone who has probably passed away, but this doesn’t bother me at all.
    I filled the trash cans with leaves I raked, and plan to fill them again now that they’ve been emptied, before the next trash day.
    I bought a pair of Lucchese boots at a garage sale ($20). They don’t fit, so I’ll probably polish them with the polish from the estate sale, and sell them. I wish they fit!
    I grabbed a stray, abandoned cart in the Aldi parking lot to shop with, and kept the quarter I received when I returned it.
    Small amounts add up!

  31. –I know you are not done with your huge yard project, but have you been able to bring in enough dirt to get some veggies started, or do you have to wait until it’s all done, hopefully in April?
    –We borrowed a trailer and first my husband and neighbor hauled both of our piles of junk to the dump. Our neighbor insisted on paying the entire dump fee, since Rob got the trailer. Not necessary, but so nice of him. We were expecting to pay half. I helped reload the trailer with debris from the tree Rob cut down last Monday. Then, Hubby and daughter hauled away the branches and sticks and dumped them at my sister’s farm. That saved $15. Every little bit helps.
    –Enjoyed free daffodils in our flowerbed, planted a few years ago. Pictures are on my blog:
    –I made 3 kinds of soup and we ate that all week, sometimes even for breakfast and lunch. It was a busy week for me. One of them was from the school lunches, where I cooked little baggies of cauliflower, broccoli and carrots with some onion, in broth, and then pureed it when soft, and added school lunch milk thickened with sweet rice flour (gluten-free family) and some cheese. I also did vegetable soup from preserved garden veggies and chili from home-cooked pinto beans and some canned hamburger from some I was given last summer when a friend’s freezer defrosted during the wildfires.
    –We had one package of steak my husband defrosted. I think I’ll name it “stretchy steak” because the one package stretched for 9 people –5 steak eaters, really:). I invited my niece to dinner after church Sunday. I already had her sister and brother spending the weekend, but they don’t eat steak. So, all good. Then, 2 daughters and grandson decided to join us, too, when they showed up at church. The baby doesn’t eat much yet, and one daughter is vegetarian, so still good… I just threw a lot of potatoes in the oven to bake and cooked 3 vegetables, corn, beans and carrots. He cut the steak into smaller pieces and threw it on the grill. I also made an apple crisp from home-canned filling I made last fall. There was plenty, leftovers, and enough for those who wanted to take food home to do so, although I will say the steak went faster than the leftover carrots…..just sayin’. I was wondering a little bit at first if it would stretch, but it did. Because everyone was social distancing all over the house, it was easy for Rob and I to just wait until our guests had food, then grab some to make sure there was enough, which there was. Whew!

    1. I can’t plant in the garden yet. I did try starting seeds in some flats outside, so maybe I will be able to get a little from those, and if I’m lucky, I’ll be able to transplant them into the garden. I also went ahead and bought some herb and tomato plants.

      We figure the concrete guys will have to walk all over to set up forms, and until the concrete is poured, it’s risky to plant anything except for maybe the trees in the middle of the beds–and even still, that could be problematic. The soil level will need to be raised to the top of the concrete, which is three more inches once they lay forms.

      The wind is really strong today with 50 mph gusts so we couldn’t make any progress today, but the rest of the week is supposed to be nice, so hopefully, we’ll make good progress! There is still so much more to do and since we’re doing it ourselves, it takes a long time.

      We really need to be able to pour concrete by the end of the month, or the project will have to get put on hold until fall. I would appreciate any prayers that anyone would be willing to offer for this; the trees need to go in the ground soon or they will not make it through summer.

  32. When you mentioned your neighbor was building a hill I got an image in my mind of Richard Dreyfuss building a mountain in his back yard in the old sci fi movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Maybe my quirky sense of humor.
    1. Found 6 quarters in a parking lot while out for my daily walk.
    2. Husband forgot his swim trunks. Went to the Habitat store to get swim trunks for 50 cents. The cord in the waistband is frayed. I can get a replacement at the fabric store.
    3. Got a like new pair of my preferred Saucony athletic shoes for 6$ at Goodwill. They were missing the insoles. I took a pair of insoles from worn shoes & put into the new ones.
    4. Earned a 38$ honorarium for completing a survey on IV pumps.
    5. Found a box of small odd shaped light bulbs for 3$ that we needed at Habitat also. The bulbs are a lot more expensive at Home Depot. I paid 3$ for 25 bulbs.
    6. Used my RN status to get a 10% discount at the Habitat store.

    1. Haha!

      He’s building a c-shaped hill to turn into a butterfly habitat with lots of native plants. He hopes the c-shape will help to protect the flowers from the wind.

  33. I’ve been using things from our freezer to cook. I’d bought chicken at 38 cents a lb. So we ate a lot of chicken this week. I was happy that our electricity bill wasn’t more than it was. We have been very careful in our usage especially when the rolling blackouts were happening in the midwest. I turned off the lights then and waited to do laundry. We always try to be careful though. I enjoyed opening windows many days this week. I love fresh air. I have volunteer mustard coming up. Kale has made a comeback. I’m waiting to see if our Swisss Chard made it through the winter and plant more. Carrots are yummy. I’ll be using those and replanting. It looks like it is supposed to snow later this week. I’m so looking forward to gardening! I might start some tomato seeds and put them out during the day and bring them in at night in a few weeks. Peppers as well. I definitely want to plant more this year. I’d like to supply as much as our produce as possible. I’d also like to plant flowers for fun. My husband drove me to a lake just to listen to the water and the birds. It was very enjoyable. We also stargazed this week. It is fun to find constellations. I have three birthdays this month in the family. Two are children. I want to do something fun for them. When I was a kid, I had a collage box. It was a box with odds and ends to make art with. I loved it! I might make two of those, add some paper and glue and they can have some fun! I might do craft supplies for the adult as well.

  34. I picked and used lemons, oranges, and limes from our trees. I picked lots of lavender and purple lampara for use in bouquets around the house.

    I deep cleaned the refrigerator and the freezer. I have quite a collection of tea-/kitchen towels (my favorite souvenir) and am always challenged for ways to use/display more than two at a time, so I used several to line the refrigerator drawers. I found pumpkin seeds from Thanksgiving in a container in the refrigerator (hiding in the very back) and on a whim, put them in used k-cups w/ some potting soil and set them in the window. They sprouted within two days and are growing like mad. I put some beet tops in water and they are putting out greens that I’m using when I make smoothies (very nutritious, and no one but myself is the wiser…).

    I use hand-crocheted dishcloths – they are pretty, cheerful, washable, sustainable, and save on buying sponges (as in, I rarely have to). Also, they remind me every time I use them of the family members who made them, which I consider a win-win-win.

    My husband repaired and painted an old, falling-apart birdhouse left behind by the previous owner. It was plain white (what was left of it) so he refreshed the white paint and painted the roof and cupola red, to (sort of) resemble the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego.

    We’ve had rain, so we turned off the sprinklers. We had a terrible problem with drains in the front yard backing up due to roots invading, and this caused a large lake to form across our driveway and lawn. Servicing these drains is the responsibility of our HOA, which we pay into monthly, and I had to nag for nearly a year (including sending photos of the lake) before they sent a company to clear them. However, they did finally take care of it so our garage and house won’t be flooded. Preventative savings…

    I wrote the copy for a number of real estate listings and for my Realtor’s newsletter and was paid for my work. I created the promotional material for my church’s online Easter concert using my own photography. (I don’t charge for this – I consider it part of my support for my church and the music program.)

    I downloaded several free books from BookRaider. I created a number of gifts using Shutterfly freebies, paying only for shipping. Most will be sent to family members to tuck into Easter baskets, while some will be birthday gifts in the coming months. I scanned a LOT of old photos, taken by my late aunt of her brothers, sister (my mom), and nieces and nephews, and sent the originals to my cousins. What they do w/ them is up to them, but scanning/sharing them enabled me to make a significant reduction in “project clutter”.

    I drove my 80-year-old mom a very long way to get her second vaccine. We wore our masks and kept as distant as we could but oh, gosh, it was so good to be together, talking and laughing as we drove. I made her a commemorative postcard on the PostSnap app on my phone, and had it sent directly to her.

  35. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    Brandy I love the way you make the best use of everything that comes your way such as all the school breakfast and lunch ingredients to make wonderful delicious meals and smoothies for your family. What a blessing you were able to get rid of the dirt to a nearby neighbours home that could use it and hope your old seed germinates and grows well for you. I often find that old seeds do germinate well most times too.

    Our Vicky challenge added up to $164.23 in savings last week 🙂 .

    In the kitchen –
    – Made 3 loaves of wholemeal white bread in the bread making machine saving $10.47 over buying them in the local shops.
    – Cooked all meals from scratch.
    – Roasted our large markdown pork roast and had a roast meal the first night with steamed vegetables and packaged 4 more meal sized portions for the freezer for meals later on.

    In the gardens –
    – DH whipper snipped and mowed the lawns on the ride on and I push mowed around the edges and trees with the self propelled lawn mower.
    – We potted up 4 cuttings from when I pruned the hedges around the home to replace the 2 that are dead. If they take and develop roots we will save $60 over buying the shrubs in the local nurseries.

    Internet listings –
    – Listed 10 items on an eBay free listing promotion saving $16.50 on usual listing fee prices.

    Purchases –
    – On 60% off markdown I purchased 2 x 4 pk croissants and a 6 pack of fruit hot cross buns saving $6.60 on usual prices.
    – By buying on half price sale 8 x chicken kievs. 2 x sensitive toothpastes and 2 packets of chips, buying a 2.888 kg pork shoulder roast on markdown reduced from $9 kg to $6.65 kg and combining that with $20 off rewards dollars I saved a total of $70.66 on usual prices or 62.87%.

    Have a great week ahead everyone :).


  36. Although a challenge, it is good to see how you’ve risen to finding ways to use the free food and avoid food waste. I play a little game with myself when I want to cave and imagine myself in a needy spot and realize just how precious that food would be. Than I get on with the job of figuring out what to do with the food so as not to waste it.

    Another ultra frugal week because of my 20 day hospital stay. I am released today into my husband’s care till my daughter arrives Saturday. We are encouraged to take everything in the isolation room as they would have to toss it. Gladly take it off their hands as I know there is no reusing in isolation. They’re very strict about germs and virus here.

    My daughter had Covid last week so is nicely recovered. Phew! I was able to use my airline miles for her ticket.

    Loving seeing what everyone is doing. Feeling rather blessed today.

    1. You must be so happy to be going home Trish – and to be able to see your daughter. Best of luck in your recovery – please take it easy and let others look after you for a change.

      1. I am Margie. 2 more weeks in the airbnb next to the hospital and home it is! I’m a home body so it will be especially delightful!


        1. Trish

          Best wishes for your ongoing recovery! We go along and don’t
          think much about hair loss until one day it happens to us. I never thought
          I’d be so affected by it but I was — and when it grew back it came in as a grey patch and wiry
          while the rest of my hair was brown and straight. The only reason I could think of why it changed to grey was the anaesthetic I’d had. It took a second regrowth to grow back in brown and straight.
          Trish, peach fuzz is a good sign –it’s a marker
          that you’ve come this far. We will rejoice with you as it grows back! Meantime, take it easy — we’re rooting for you!

      1. Thank you, Patricia. Your continued support is so appreciated. And, my head has a peach fuzz of hair. I never will lose it again, God willing. 🙂


  37. I got my first Covid shot on the weekend so that was a big accomplishment. I booked DH for March 27. I took my Mum out yesterday for her 89th birthday-we went to the plant nursery, out for lunch and I also took her for groceries. As far as being frugal-we really haven’t been spending anything extra-just the basic food, utilities etc-although car and house insurance just came due for the year and those are pricy. For those who live in Canada I noticed a sign at my local Esso station saying that if you filled up on Tuesday or Thursday you would save 5 cents per litre. Worth seeing if you have a sign out by the pump-my DH filled up last Thursday and since gas has gone up every little bit counts

      1. I got mine at Southport-AHS head office. AstraZeneca/Covishield. My DH will get Pfizer tomorrow. Although he is older than me I was first as Covishield was not recommended for over 65’s-it is now though. My Mum who is 89 also got Pfizer with no issues. Good luck with yours Ann.

        1. Hi, I, thanks for the info. I phoned on Thursday, got through and put on hold for only ten minutes. AHS told me they are not giving Astra Zeneca to over 65s. I have an appointment in 7 days time at Richmond AHS. for Pfizer. fingers crossed. thanks for wishes, Ann

  38. Brandy, many prayers for you and your husband that your garden “problems” are solved quickly so you can plant your trees.
    This is going to be a very hard month money-wise. It is a five week month for me. Once I paid all of my bills I had 60 odd dollars left in my account. That will just pay for gas as a grandchild goes to school 15 minutes away.
    We will be having a no spend month on food.
    This week is spring break so we save money there. We will be staying home all week.
    I ordered my over the counter “drugs” for this month. This is $25 worth of items every month through my insurance. The items change from month to month.
    Outside of OTC drugs they offer toothbrushes, toothpaste, canes, blood pressure monitors, hand sanitizers and items like that.
    The first year I had this insurance I didn’t use this part of it. I never miss a month now.
    A neighbor has given us large plastic pots that we will use for container gardening. We now have 8 large pots and 3 medium ones for no outlay. He came by and dropped them in our year. Thank goodness for sweet neighbors.
    I received my first seeds a few minutes ago. Armenian cucumbers and a small bluish/greenish pumpkins that are seed savers for next year. Yes…I am going to try saving seeds because of Brandy.

  39. Gardenpat I too hit the Meijer sale on the spaghetti sauce. I buy whatever is the lowest price usually, but my husband commented on how much he loved Prego. I decided to get 36 jars for him. His favorite food of all time is Spaghetti. At that sale I also bought 6 bunches of asparagus for .99 cents. We grow our own, but as we got a layer of ice with an inch of snow last night, I doubt we will eat our asparagus much before May. I purchased a very straightforward book about growing fruit trees, grapes, and berries on Amazon. I was surprised that it was printed in Michigan and shipped from a small town 30 minutes from me. I was out inspecting my fruit trees yesterday, and I found all of the bark eaten off of my apple and peach trees. The rabbits must have stood on their hind legs to eat half way up the trees! I will now have to replace 4 fruit trees. Lesson learned! As I replant trees I will stake and then put wire around them. Hope I can find trees. It seems like the entire country is focusing on home food production. My very overgrown pear trees need a good pruning. Hope I can get it done by the end of this month. Next year I would like to focus on open pollinated seeds. I have a large variety of regular seed for this year, but I want to try and save seeds with next season’s garden. I want to get into honeybee keeping, but this year think I will order mason bees to help with pollination. With a super active four year old, I just don’t see this as a good fit right now. Celebrating my 10 year old son’s birthday today. We are having a home cooked meal with his favorite foods and cake. He announced to me yesterday that he doesn’t eat store cake! He did request superman ice cream though. It will be a quiet and enjoyable family birthday.

    1. Fruit trees, vegetable seeds, bulbs, and flower seeds have been selling out all over the world! I’m happy to hear it.

      Sorry about your trees.

    2. What is the name of the book since I live not far south of you (based on your weather report) and have two huge neglected pear trees too, an apple tree, some crabapple trees, a small mulberry tree or two, and two cherry trees. The birds, so far, have gotten every single cherry.

      1. Holly, the bokk is Backyard Fruit Production by David R Schlabagh. He is Amish, and he has a nursery where he grows trees in Orleans County, NY. I really like the book because he shares simple, practical pruning along with a year calendar for pruning/fertilizing times. All the artwork is pencil sketches, and somehow with a simple tree sketch against a white page I can understand where I will need to prune to create the proper shaped tree. I am excited to put his years of wisdom to work for me!
        I understand about the cherries! I am lucky to get a handful!! It’s like the birds just KNOW the exact minute the fruit is perfectly ripe! I will be investing in deer netting for my cherry trees. It is a larger roll so I can cover multiple trees.

      2. Holly, The book is Backyard Fruit Production by David R Schlabagh. He is an Amish nursery owner in Medina, NY. The book was very easy to read and understand. He had a artist do pencil sketches of pruning points on the trees. I found these sketches on a white background to be very understandable. I also liked the month by month calendar schedule for pruning and spraying (traditional and organic methods included). I’m excited to put his knowledge to work for me. For my cherry tree I use deer netting. It comes in a larger roll, so you can really cover the tree well. I think I am going to use some fence stakes to attach the netting to this year. It is always such a pain to remove. I am borrowing a pole saw to get at my pear trees. Last fall several branches cracked under the weight of the harvest.

    3. I’m particularly fond of the fruit trees developed by the University of Michigan for colder climates.

      It’s too bad the hares ate your trees. The deer did the same thing to my pear tree and ate the lower branches. My favourite thing to do with older trees is to graft new varieties onto them. Saves time in growing a new tree. Between snowshoe hares, porcupines and deer, it’s tough to grow fruit — oh and squirrels will gnaw on them too!

      1. Ellie,
        I am so not a gardener at heart! The idea of grafting trees feels too exotic for me. Maybe someday. I have just never had hare problems with trees before. They ate my climbing rose right to the ground. I expected my 6 blueberry plants to be gone, but they only ate the side of one plant. I hope I can get two peach trees to replace those that died. I was able to buy two apple trees at Home Depot Saturday. I did not think they would be available so soon. I am sure we will enjoy more freezing weather, so I have them tucked in the garage for now.

  40. Ever and always reading your weekly blog… Your work in your garden is seriously SO impressive to me and makes me so grateful for good soil we have built up and use the Back to Eden method now to mulch for weed prevention and so we don’t need to water much as well as feeding the soil. I’m not sure I’d have the energy to garden if I were you with how hard it is but you prove well how it CAN be done!
    Frugal points this week were numerous.
    -husband’s office insurance went up significantly so he shopped around and found some cheaper
    -he also is doing a office remodel and doing a lot of work himself to save labor cost. I went in and helped him prime it one afternoon so saved probably a day’s worth of painting labor cost. He also helped a friend tear down an old barn and the friend gave him a few old barn beans. He used some of those to make a beautiful mantle. He also bought some barn wood off marketplace and used it on the same wall as the fireplace.
    – he had a dumpster there so we took a few junk items from home and added to it. Since Aldi is just a few minutes from his office so I made a stop there only needed to make a $10 purchase this week to make mashed potatoes for fellowship meal at church. Also stopped at my garden center on the way to pick up some plants as mine got something and mostly died; and also got seed potatoes and onion sets.The checkout lady gave me a 15% off cuz she said I’m in there all the time!
    -Husband did a refinance on his office and since he uses a certain law office a lot for his real estate closings, the guy gave him his services for free! I tend to save a lot in small ways but when my husband saves, he saves in big amounts; this time it was $750!
    -I planted 50 strawberry plants. I bought 2 25 packs and they only charged me for one! Also planted some more radishes and got my early things like peas, potatoes,onions, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli planted.
    -friends gave us 5 blueberry bushes and 7 asparagus crowns that weren’t doing well for them in shade so I’m excited adding those to ours. I planted them.
    – I’m enjoying spring flowers I’ve planted and will have some later ones from the 50% off bulbs I got this spring from Walmart.
    – I repotted my rhubarb as the fire ants had claimed it as their home. Hopefully they’re gone for good now.
    – I cooked several evening meals and took them to my husband while he worked late.
    – I finished the master cleanse and decided I definitely eat more food than I realized. Food tastes incredibly good when you go on a week long fast! I’d say I did save money not eating. 😉 My husband treated me on a date for having such fortitude.
    -our 17 hens are laying well now so we’re getting plenty of eggs. My 3 little kids made and ate 11 scrambled eggs one day for snack and lunch! Great healthy protein. Also thankful to not have to buy Aldi eggs anymore!
    -made a dinosaur birthday cake for my son from scratch. Also gave him a little Lego set like new that we got from a house we cleaned out. My husband also made him a legit rubber band gun. He’s so happy with it!
    -we are on our way to Mexico to get teeth work done. Found great ticket prices. Most friends that have gone say they saved 2/3 of the cost in the US. It’ll double as a vacation as the clinic is only a block away from the beach.
    – the discount grocery store I shopped at regularly and saved so much at burnt down last week. That’s a big disappointment. I’ll have to either just use Aldi or then see if I can locate another discount grocery.
    – I waited to buy dog food at DG until Saturday and could use my $5 off $25. I combined it with a baby gift purchase and found 2 clearance summer outfits for my baby for less than $2 each as well!
    – we had such beautiful weather I got to open the windows and have fresh air circulating in the house.

  41. It was a stressful week but somehow I survived. Now I’m putting all the proofreader’s suggested changes (most very minor) into the book’s manuscript. It’s really time-consuming — a lot more than I thought even though the changes are mostly minor. I am hoping that the book is finished just as spring really arrives. Then I’ll be able to enjoy being outside! We had a lovely weekend but the weather is temporarily colder.

    I’m looking forward to the spring asparagus grown locally. Only in the past 10 years or so has anyone grown asparagus here. Because of our cold nights, it has a unique sweetness. I will buy a lot of it to put in my freezer, at least to enjoy over the summer.

    After saying that I wasn’t going to buy any groceries, I did buy some ground beef which was in a big package and was a good price. The trick is it’s put on sale because the best before date is shorter than normal. I have frozen most of it. I continue to use up the frozen fruit in my small freezer above the fridge. It is a blessing. Once it is gone, I’ll get the big box of frozen blueberries that my friend has in her freezer for me.

    I have now been in self-isolation for more than a year. It will feel great to be able to go see the birds in the countryside, to go to the farmers’ market, to pick or probably buy fruit at a u-pick place. I can reserve my covid shot starting tomorrow. I hope and pray that you are all doing well.

  42. Oh, how I love the flower pictures – so peaceful and beautiful. Thank you so much for posting them.

    *My DD has an ongoing health condition. She has been only able to attend school 1/2 the month since the beginning of school this year. I’m so thankful for online school. To me this is savings because she can still “attend” virtually with a school provided laptop. We’ve been to the doctor every two weeks, sometimes weekly. Because my other daughter met our insurance deductible with the birth of her baby in January, our out of pocket costs for meds and doctors visits are very minimal. It’s a blessing.

    *I bought Easter candy for 1/2 price, got men’s razors, nail polish and lotion for free. My grocery bill was cut in half with sales and coupons.

    *My husband and I had a date night and used a gift card.

    *Still doing yard work – weeding, trimming, etc.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  43. Thanks to everyone for sharing!
    We made soap from lamb/sheep fat for the 1st time. We added essential oils but final Product still smells for sheep. Could anyone suggest good formula – to add oil or smth? We have plenty of lamb fat, would like to use it as much as possible. I read that at old times lamb fat was used for making candles, not soap. Wonder if because of smell?

    1. I make home made soap, but afraid I have only ever done “vegan” soap recipes so have no experience with a fat that I used making the soap smell. I can say that many essential oils do not last a long time when made into a soap, so you might want to consider using a specific “soap scent,” as these smell stronger and last longer. You can purchase soap scents with a coupon at places like Hobby Lobby and Michaels.

    2. Like Susan, I have only made vegan soaps. One thought is how much essential oil you used. For 118 oz of soap ingredients, including water, I use 4 oz of essential oils. As Susan says, some essential oils fade quickly, such as rose and citrus oils. Others last longer, such as cedarwood and sage, lemongrass and patchouli.

  44. We placed an Amazon order (through Brandy’s links) for odds and ends. I place everything on a wish list and then wait a week. Half of the wish list was deleted.

    I finished with physical therapy from my hip replacement at 4 wks. I do have to daily remind myself I am done with physical therapy I AM NOT recovered. I really do not want to end up back in surgery like Daughter 1 did twice as both her hips have been replaced.

    We ate leftovers and make overs LOL.

    I have washed foil, plastic bags, put worn out dish cloth in the rag pile at the paper towels.

    Called the hospital about my surgery bill since it’s been a month and I haven’t seen it yet. Said it would be April most likely so I left the medical money sit in the savings account.

    I got 40% discount off the seeds I ordered. Glad I did an order in Jan or I wouldn’t have gotten all that I wanted. Took 2 places to get them when it’s usually just one.

    We bartered asparagus plants ( 4 x 100 ft patch) for 5 gallons of beets this fall and then bartered more asparagus plants and 2 prayer bushes(red twig dogwood that Amish call prayer bush) for Son 2’s dresser to be repaired.

    Combined errands from Amish neighbor with our chiropractic appt . They gave us enough “gas” money that we could call the trip free.

    Got 2 chair cushions for the kitchen porch chairs and a canopy with mosquito netting that we have been looking for since we bought the house 3 yrs ago. Menards have 11% rebate, cushions were marked down due to being last years and the canopy was on clearance. Good deal.

    I started working on the garden plans. We didn’t finish them last year and I would like to get them done this year. SO that’s on this week’s to do.

      1. Mom had her second dose of Covid-19 vaccine at 2 p.m. last Monday. At 1:45 a.m. I checked her vitals for the first time in 24 hrs. The pulse oxymeter did not register. And her blood pressure was incredibly low. I called 911. She was obviously dehydrated. She had 12 oz of fluid in the morning. But I didn’t pay attention to her fluid intake after we returned from the vaccination site because she had been drinking enough for weeks and I was nursing a second-degree burn on my arm. She had not been eating much for weeks, my primary concern. And she was struggling to show progress in weekly Occupational and Physical Therapy visits. I was chalking everything up to age although I was wondering why she had asked the same question about dad three times in one evening. The paramedics started an IV and took her to the hospital. The car which had not been started in more than a month would not start, and the jumpstarter would not jump it because it won’t charge above 80%. So mom was at the hospital alone for the first 9 hours. I checked her in online and reviewed her medications in a phone call. The tow company driver took a long time to come. A few days later, I learned that a member of the extended family was dying or had just died after a two-month battle with cancer. I’m somewhat amazed he showed up at all. Her oxygen was in the mid-70’s at first so they admitted her right away, fearing a blood clot from the DVT they found in June. No DVT. No clots. But she did have another antibiotic-resistant UTI. So she was on IV’s in a private room for almost a week. Fortunately, because of her normal response to the vaccination while in a weakened condition, we learned of the UTI before she became septic. She stayed in the hospital an extra day until she started eating a little. Not much. But some. The hospital tightened visiting restrictions from one visitor a day to one unique visitor per stay. I was able to stay with her almost all the time to reduce or eliminate her confusion. The first day there, I learned Medicare finally approved her July 4 ambulance ride to the hospital, saving mom between $430 and $750. They had initially said it was unnecessary and I sent them an appeal explaining why it wasn’t.
        While trying to increase mom’s appetite for real food (so far failing–she’ll drink Ensure and Boost and eat cheese and sweets), I signed up for Home Chef when I was offered a nice discount. Not cheap, but so convenient. This week, the three for two (more like three) meals were $30 off. I am learning how to put together some delicious meals quickly.
        Tree trimming is so expensive. One estimator told me his bucket truck is billed at $2500 a day. We had a pine break off and stay suspended in another tree, another standing dead tree, and two big dead branches, one close to the house. $400 for an hour’s work by a two-man insured crew in a pickup truck. There’s much more that needs to be trimmed. I’ll plod along doing the small stuff–saving $600 by clearing out the shrubs and trees next to the back of the house) and have the tree trimmers back twice a year to do what most needs to be trimmed but is too big or tall for me each time.
        I am decluttering some small things (toys so far) to make it easier for me to clean using a local free-stuff Facebook group. Unfortunately, I saw a posting for 13 vintage crewel embroidery kits for $20 on a local sell-it Facebook group. One of the kits I completed for my nephew, now 40, when he was a baby but it was ruined because the staples the professional used to mount it rusted. The kits will be delivered to my front porch for an extra $10. I am so not going to run out of stuff to do–or baby gifts.
        I am turning my 4’x6′ walk-in closet into a mini sewing and craft room. I was going to set one up in the basement but I can’t hang out downstairs for hours with mom stuck upstairs. I bought a desk for $125, supposedly discounted about $100, that includes six bookshelves. And I have two other inexpensive bookcases that match the desk to put together. It will be, ahem, cosy, but with enough room for my desk chair and me. I will be moving my armoire and my dad’s antique drafting board into my bedroom and moving a drop-leaf desk and and a chest of drawers out. I also bought a 43″ x15″ x15″ storage hassock for the foot of my bed. If I need more storage, I’ll be putting my Victorian Eastlake bed on furniture risers and sewing a custom bedskirt. I look forward to having a place of my own to work on projects–and a door to close when I want to do other things. Mom will be able to hang out in my room in her wheelchair while I am at my desk in the closet with the door open. I am going through our clothing and eliminating some and double-hanging mom’s clothes so that I can get her clothing to fit comfortably in 2 standard closets. Mine will need to fit in 1 1/2 unless I get a covered clothes rack for the basement. Goodwill is going to be getting a big donation.
        I have drapes to turn into curtains and curtains to shorten. Getting them up to the windows will free up storage space too. Home nursing supplies take up a lot of space and I want them both easily accessible and out-of-sight as much as possible–another reason to focus on clearing out stuff from dressers and closets that we’ll never use again.
        I get my first shot Saturday at the local drugstore. My niece got hers after a 320 round-trip drive. I look forward to being able to use printed grocery coupons again and catching up on long-delayed doctor appointments. And, once the CDC gives a green light to traveling, seeing family. I priced the rental of a wheelchair van for a week, only about $100 a day, less than I expected. I hope my sister will rent one so she can take mom on some low-key adventures nearby without having to learn how to transfer mom in and out of the car while she is in town.

        1. Hi Holly,
          So glad the hospital was able to help your mother. Most people, not even some medical people, don’t realize how serious a uti is in an elderly person. I learned about this when my mother suddenly became confused (much like yours). It is also important for caregiver daughters to make sure a doctor knows that the confusion came on suddenly — dementia does not happen in a day but the medical profession all too often just writes confusion off as dementia in the elderly. I learned about this the hard way. Ann

  45. We have a new-to-us car, and were happily pleased that the insurance didn’t go up quite as much as we expected. The agent said 2019 cars are much safer than the 2010 like we traded in, thus the not-huge jump.
    Of course, tax and license follow the opposite rule. We drive our vehicles as long as possible and didn’t need to borrow to buy it.
    Decided to splurge from our stimulus money that was deposited yesterday on a new purse for me! I have a certain shape and pockets I like, as I suspect most women do, and am otherwise not worried about making a fashion statement at the grocery store. I looked at the selection at WalMart and found one medium colored one to replace the beat-up two I used for several years. It rang up at 75% off, a nice $12 bonus.
    I have been reading with interest everyone’s gardening plans, and realized I have a lot already in my yard. We have been in this house 21 years this summer, and some of the things are from the previous owners. (The huge spreading patch of lily of the valley is one of my favorites, and the rhubarb. The hostas and ajuga/bugleweed have grown on me. The stunted succulents have not, yet they keep coming back. The orange poppies I brought from our previous house, and they will never die, and I seem to have excellent soil for daffodils). As I am increasingly mobile following knee surgeries, and have several largely neglected patches to cut back, (golden rod and Rose of Sharon), I plan to focus on very few new things and clean up what I have.
    I have lots of pots and some leftover seeds to use, especially marigolds, zinnias, basil, and parsley, and will buy some petunia plants. I am giving up for a year on the sparsely unsuccessful sweet peas and will put all my energy into nasturtiums. Either the squirrels eat the seeds or the rabbits the sprouts. I am determined to have more than one nasturtium plant survive this year! My parents, like Brandy, had a huge self-perpetuating patch, and I’ve never been able to do that. Yet.

  46. Brandy, loved your flowers. I miss our Flowering Plum tree. We still have two white Dogwoods.

    A little bit of everything was done this week. I helped my son get together some Scout clothes, homemade Halloween costumes, and other things to wash again to store in a bin downstairs. Back/day packs that he is not using right now were stored with his luggage. As I worked I cleaned and decluttered little areas on a whim. Bedspreads and a blanket were washed.

    I made blueberry muffins and egg sliders using what I froze. I cut up fresh vegetables and shredded cheese. I put together a third nut mix of cashews, almonds, and peanuts (mostly whole). This and the 2 more we can make with some leftover are free with pricing in our city. My husband loves cashews and this an affordable way to have some more often. Dinners were simple from pantry and freezer. I have done little shopping the last few weeks. We also had a surprise dinner consisting of two frozen dinners I found way down in our freezer that we didn’t buy. My husband brought them from his mother’s house when cleaning out the kitchen and forgot about them. We had BBQ chicken with peppers and onions using a little BBQ sauce as the base. For our movie we chose the 1967 “That Darn Cat” with Hayley Mills. We all enjoyed it.

    My husband was given new medication after his office procedure which is not working out and had side effects. We will be going again next week to schedule surgery.

    We walked several times. One afternoon my son and I walked to the end of our street and saw a neighbor I hadn’t seen in a long time. We sat on her large front porch and caught up. Before we left she asked if we wanted a grill that had never been used. I told her we just found out a month ago that ours needs to be replaced, but my husband needs to check hers out. I found you can still get parts for it and reviews were good. It needs starting to see if it works and some cleaning and paint on the outside. She said he could come when he had time.

    I went to Dollar General and used the $5 off $25 purchase to buy some dusting cloths, 2 refills for my Swiffer Sweeper, and a Swiffer Dry and Wet mop for hard to reach places.

    I hope no one is affected by the storm that is moving through. We have been downgraded some, but the worst will be here this afternoon.

  47. Just wanted to let you ladies know what an inspiration you are. You are all truly amazing! In the world where I see so much negativity, you are a bright spot in my day!

  48. I love your flower photos!
    I’ve spent a good portion of the last two weeks staying with my mom as she recovers from a fractured kneecap. She is doing much better now. Being away from home has made it clear to me that I need to have some easy meals prepared for times when I won’t be home or able to cook. Takeout meals are so hard on our budget!
    When making the two-hour trip to and from my mom’s house, I was able to meet my daughter halfway, so that saved gas. We don’t have a car available for me to take out of town, so my husband was dropping me off and picking me up.
    I did our income taxes using a free online program. I find taxes stressful and used to pay someone to do them, but it really is worth the savings for me to do them myself.
    I am planning not to buy any new ornamental plants (flowers, shrubs, etc.) this year. I am usually tempted by the marked-down plants at the garden center. I’ll have to stay strong! I have many plants I’d like to move to different areas, either because they are not thriving where they are, the area is too crowded, or I’d like to have them where they are more visible. Oh, and some I need to move because I have a very naughty dog who chews them! I have a hodge-podge of plants. I’m going to try moving them around so our flower gardens look better.
    Details of our week are on my blog at
    Have a wonderful week!

  49. Today I spent 3 hours on the phone on hold waiting for a telephone company representative
    for help with my email. Luckily, I was on a speaker phone so I could continue helping. Finally,
    the nicest young man helped restore my emails. Having wasted most of the day on the phone
    I then decided to phone for my covid vaccination appointment. I expected to hold for a long time, if I even got through.
    I was pleasantly surprised to be only on hold for 10 minutes and then to get an appointment in 8 days. I was surprised
    to learn I could book it today as I’d been told that, due to the staggering of the appointments by year of birth, I’d have to call back on Saturday but today I saw that my birth year was included so I tried and succeeded. I am worried about allergic reactions to it as I had a bad reaction previously to the swine flu shot but fortunately Pfizer has not used many of the ingredients that previously triggered my reaction. Fingers crossed.

    1. Stargazing is fun! I’m looking forward to Asparagus too! I’m so looking forward to gardening! I hope you get to see the birds in the countryside soon Ellie’s Friend.

  50. The person who told me about it said just stick each cutting into half a potato when you plant them. I did later use the hint again and did root some roses. The first year was about my first year trying to grow anything. Now I read up a little more ahead of time.

  51. As usual my days or mixed up with my nights. It works pretty good when I am at my house. It’s 3 am here and I’m batch cooking. Got multiple loads of laundry done. I ordered some kangaroo canned good for the cocker spaniel. It’s horribly expensive so I found it on and used the 30%
    Coupon. A while back I purchased two bottles of seventh generation laundry soap. The bottles look like small dish soap bottle. They are 60 loads per bottle and were about $2.00 . I’m in love. When you squeeze them, only one load worth will squirt out. When this one is empty, I’m going to put sugar cookie some cheap detergent in them and hopefully will have found a long needed solution. I hope everyone is having a good week. The rising gasoline prices are really hurting me. I’m looking for creative solutions.

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