We brought in six cubic yards of topsoil into the garden last week. This was bought in bulk and we picked it up ourselves, saving $130 in delivery fees. We still need to purchase more to finish filling the garden beds. The area above is now filled and I started planting there. We plan to build a pergola in this area; the grapes can grow over the top, instead of along the wall where they previously grew in this bed. On the right, I will grow cucumbers in summer and snow peas in winter.

We harvested apricots, mulberries, a few tiny tomatoes (the heat has already made the large tomatoes ripen when they are the size of cherry tomatoes, and the cherry tomatoes are tiny!) and lettuce from the garden.

My husband is planning to weld some obelisks for me for my garden, so I no longer needed the very large (6-foot tall) tomato cages that we made 15 years ago from concrete mesh. Someone in a local gardening group was looking for the mesh to make her own cages, so I offered her my cages. She was very excited about them. She didn’t have a way to come get them but she wasn’t far from Lowe’s, so we took them to her when we went to Lowe’s this past week. She offered me several plants that she had started from seed as she grew more than she needed. I didn’t have room for many (and I still don’t know where I am going to put the tomatoes from her!) but I took three tomato plants of varieties that were new to me, two tomatillo plants, and a basil plant.

When we first landscaped our backyard, we hired a curbing company to install concrete curbing around the edges of the beds where the beds meet the grass. As we have redone the garden, we wanted to have concrete curbing around the edges of the bed where they touch the small areas of grass. My husband decided to make forms and pour the concrete himself rather than hiring a company with a curbing machine. The man who poured our concrete does not do this kind of work, but he left us some of the long boards that he used to set forms for our concrete, so we reused those. My dad was shocked that he left them, saying that those boards are over $25 each. My husband also cut some backer board that he bought to do the curbing on the curved areas. We saved well over $800 by having my husband do all of the concrete curbing.

A lot of things needed to be replaced this week and my teenaged son has outgrown most of his clothes, so I had to make a lot of purchases this past week. I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted for one thing, so I settled on something else. I went to another close store and found what I wanted, which was a washable shower curtain/liner made of polyester fabric. I needed to replace two of these in the house. These last longer than plastic curtain liners and eliminate the need to have a curtain and a liner in the bathroom. Bed, Bath, and Beyond carried them after I had looked at two other stores and was wondering if I would have to purchase expensive fabric shower curtains in addition to the plastic liners I had felt obligated to buy earlier. I returned the liners that I had bought at Target. I also used a $10 off coupon on my purchase at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

We needed two new ceiling fans, which we bought at Lowe’s. After 15 years, some of our fans are wearing out. We use ceiling fans more than half of the year here. We chose less expensive options, even though we liked some that were twice as much. Our son wanted his up right away, so we had him read the instructions and helped him along the way with wiring in the fan, making sure he knew the first step was to turn off the electricity to that room at the breaker. Teaching skills is such an important part of helping our children save money in their future lives, and we are grateful for the skills our parents and grandparents taught us that we can pass on to our children.

Our neighborhood decided to have a neighborhood garage sale. I had donated a lot of things to the thrift store and didn’t think we had enough to have a sale. We went ahead with the sale anyway, with my parents giving us a bunch of things they no longer wanted to add to the sale. I had two children who wanted to help with the sale if they could keep part of the money. I said sure. It was not a very profitable sale (we made just under $40–most of it from the things my parents had given us!) but it freed up space in the house and the children were happy to have earned a bit. I took everything left straight to the thrift store and donated it.

I combined errands to save gas and time. Gas is $3.50 a gallon here.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. Because I bought a gift card to Kohl’s at our Kroger’s, I was able to get fuel points that were 4 times the amount of the card! Added to what we already had on our card, we got 40 cents off per gallon and my gas tank was under 1/4 tank! So we saved $4.40!!
    The bakery department of the Kroger’s that my friend works at overbought long stemmed strawberries to dip in chocolate for Mother’s Day. So they marked the undipped 2-1/2 pound boxes of strawberries to 99 cents each! That’s 40 cents a pound!! We bought all 21 boxes that they had- 6 boxes each (15 pounds) for me and one daughter and 9 boxes (22.50 pounds) for the other daughter! I also found Kroger whole wheat sandwich bread marked down to 25 cents/loaf. 1 daughter got 3 loaves, the other got 2 and I got 1. (Normally $1.39/loaf)

    So to recap- 52.5 pounds of strawberries cost $21 (40 cents/pound) and 6 loaves of bread cost $1.50 total!!
    I figure we saved over $164!!
    I dehydrated 10 of my 15 pounds of strawberries – https://pin.it/4QQJwB0 and then saved the last 5 pounds to eat fresh. I put a leftover cornbread muffin I made last week in a bowl and poured fresh strawberries with their juice over it for a delicious breakfast treat! I wasn’t sure how that would taste, but it was really good!

    I got this king size quilt quilted up for a client. I put it on my longarm frame 4 days ago, but then 2 of those days, I was babysitting my 4 year old grandson across town. This is Quilt #141 that my machine has quilted. https://pin.it/2QjAqRM and https://pin.it/6BQklZz
    That brought in a few more dollars and Quilt #142 will be loaded on tomorrow. I am using one of the free pantographs from Urban Elementz that they allow you to print yourself at no charge. Of course you have to print several pages and tape them together, but we have used a number of them and it’s saved the $14 or so dollars plus shipping cost and waiting for it to arrive! https://pin.it/5SVCsOH. I’ve bought a number of patterns from them but I love that they have a selection of free patterns that they add to every so often. This was one of about 4 that I recently printed out.
    Our garden is doing well. The squirrel deterrents on the fence have been proven successful so far without injuring any. They seem to be put off that there is something on the top of the fence and so they avoid it. We are seeing fewer squirrels in our yard while seeing dozens in our neighbors’ yards!! Cats are also avoiding it and they used to use my garden beds as a litter box. So I’d say, the experiment has been a success!!
    We feel that we have been blessed abundantly and have been trying to have a giving heart. After Church on Sunday, we went to the home of a young family who just graduated OSU and have a job lined up out of state. They are expecting a baby this summer. I took over the black and white baby quilt I made as a gift. https://pin.it/4haNKvF and https://pin.it/4tGMDIy. I didn’t know until I gave it to them that they are going to have a boy! Then we took a dozen eggs from our hens along with a card to a couple who had given us blueberry fertilizer a week ago. They were thrilled with the eggs but equally happy to have an in person visit!

    It’s amazing how little acts of kindness can brighten someone’s day!! My goal for this week is to be more receptive to those promptings to show kindness.
    Hope everyone else is having a good week!

    Gardenpat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    1. GardenPat can you remind me what you used as a squirrel deterrent? We have had problems with them stealing our tomatoes!

      1. Jenni and Melissa V- Hubs put these on the top of our wood fence that borders one side of our garden – https://pin.it/53xTBJi and made a perimeter fence of chicken wire and a gate around the rest of the garden- https://pin.it/5R5HtY0. He bought these on Amazon (use Brandy’s link to get to Amazon and then enter this: Valibe Bird Spikes for Small Birds Pigeons 21.6 Feet Coverage 20 Pack Stainless Steel Bird Spikes Kit Metal Bird Deterrent Spikes with Uninstalled Pins
        Sold by: Valibe . They look like this : https://pin.it/7cE8Gf4.

        I was worried about finding squirrels or cats impaled on these, but after 10 days, it appears that they are curious but smart enough to completely avoid these and our raised bed gardens are now completely cat and squirrel free with no little animals hurt in the process!! ❤️🎉
        Probably won’t be photographed for Home Beautiful, but it’s in the back yard and it works! So we’re happy!

    2. GardenPat – I must have missed it – what are you doing to deter the squirrels and cats? We are now in a house with woods all around and loaded with squirrels, chipmunks, LOTS of birds including huge groups of turkeys! I haven’t had to deal with any garden “pest” like this in YEARS
      Thanks

  2. I especially like the line detailing on the concrete pathways as I think plain old concrete walkways look a little boring. It looks like your garden is coming along very nicely. Today is not a frugal day as we are having new tires installed. Once DH gets back I am going to take my Mum on a drive to the mountains to enjoy the scenery and hopefully some wildlife too-we will have our cameras at the ready. As of June 1 there will be a $15 daily or $90 annual fee to use this area so I will go while it is still free!

    Our weather is finally warming up although still a bit too early to put the tomato plants outside here. My DH made some modifications to our gate as the rabbits had dug under and we would like to keep them out-thankfully our neighbour had some random scrap pieces of landscape ties and heavy duty chicken wire which they donated and he put to good use. They also had some leftover landscape fabric they donated to my Mum to line her balcony planters. I reciprocated with some homemade scones and stewed rhubarb with homemade custard.

  3. You are early this morning, Brandy! Great pictures of your garden! The weather was beautiful, and this was my week–

    * I planted 8 patio pots and a window box with annuals. I use the same pots year after year, mix last year’s potting soil with new, and plant the pots myself with a $2-$4 worth of annuals apiece. (I go for cheap and cheerful–lots of petunias). Last year I followed the advice of many garden writers to “pack” the pots with plants, and I ended up with a jungle. I used fewer plants this year. My friend Betsy spray painted all of her plastic pots with the kind of paint that sticks to plastic–they look great.

    * I read “The Kitchen Front” by Jennifer Ryan, from the library. Someone here mentioned it recently. It’s not great literature (started slow), but it was an enjoyable read. My mom was a teenager during the Depression and was married just before the start of WW2, so I grew up with the queen of cooking substitutions. She would have loved this book!

     * I simmered leftover beef bones overnight in the Crock Pot and made a pot of delicious veggie soup, mostly using leftovers and produce I always have in the fridge. We ate it for dinner one night and lunch the next day.

    * I asked for and received two bags (several pounds) of coffee grounds from the espresso stand at church. My compost loves it!

    * I have been trying to buy a new patio set, but can’t find one for love nor money (although I haven’t actually tried love, LOL). At Lowe’s, a clerk told me that they aren’t getting them in the stores, and to order online. They haven’t had the entire sets available online for weeks–I could have gotten chairs last week, though. I went online again, and they had tables, not chairs. I took my chances and ordered a table and will check back for chairs until I get them. I ordered through the airline e-shopping portal and scored a few miles, but most importantly I am keeping my account active (you lose miles if the account goes inactive). I used my Lowe’s card and saved 5%.

    * I am giving away the patio dining set with the broken table top to friends that are living in an RV because they couldn’t find a place to rent in 6 months of looking. He’s going to replace the top with cement board and tile it, which I think will be very cool. This means his family of 5 will be able to sit down together for meals all summer. I had planned to sell the chairs at a neighborhood yard sale next weekend, but this is way better.

    1. Maxine, I just started THE KITCHEN FRONT and am enjoying so far. I liked her THE CHILBURY LADIES’ CHOIR book also.

      1. Athanasia, I’m trying to get the Chilbury Ladies’ Choir at the library now. Just finished The Spies of Shilling Lane. You’ll like that, too.

      2. SO HAPPY TO HEAR FROM YOU, ATHANASIA! I worry about the “old” gang from long ago, and I really miss reading bout your farm and family. Hope you are all healthy and happy. Blessings to you all.

  4. Since my job is starting to require we come back to the office part time and I lost 50 pounds in the past year, I needed some new clothes. I purchased 5 silk blouses on Poshmark for $100, all Eileen Fisher. I washed them all by hand and they look new.

    I found the best deals on some garden tools I needed, like a replacement hose splitter connector and did the work myself. I’m slowly digging out weeds to avoid using chemicals. I’ve done a quarter of the beds and generated 4 heavy lawn bags full. The weeds are very happy this year.

    We needed a new slow cooker. I didn’t want a fancy one or a pressure cooker. Managed to find the most basic one for $20 so I’ve been using it regularly.

    1. MaggieB, you may be the only person in America who lost weight during the pandemic. I salute you.

      1. I agree Anne! I didn’t gain the “freshman 15” while in college, but I have definitely gained the “covid 19 (plus!)” during the pandemic. I have got to get busy with weight loss before bathing suit season is upon us!

      2. I lost 30 lbs! I used to stop and get a fast food breakfast every morning and working from home cured that. I also got up and down a lot more at home, for some reason (partially related to my cat who goes in and out all day if someone is there to meow pitifully at).

  5. That sounds like a very productive week. It’s exciting to see how your garden is coming together, and hear about all the ways you’ve managed to do it for less. Last week, I harvested asparagus, peas, lettuce, onions, and a small amount of spinach. My husband planted out the eggplant growing in the cold frame, hilled up the potatoes, replanted cucumber seeds where needed, cut garlic scapes, and cut firewood. He’s been working hard around here. I’m still dealing with eczema on my hands, so am not doing as much as usual, though I did replant a flower bed, after he tilled it for me, with mixed cutting flowers, old-fashioned flowers and borage. A friend gifted me an aloe plant. Though I have some, I’m using the gel in my eczema protocol, so it will come in handy. Stinging nettles were gathered, and two jars of glycerite started. We had an unseasonably cold week. With the woodstove going again, I took a gallon bag of veggie scraps from the freezer, simmered them on the woodstove, then froze the broth in cubes for future meals. I’m mad at myself for not looking at the receipt before leaving Harris Teeter (again!), as they overcharged me $10 on olive oil that was on sale. I’m only there once a month, as it’s near an appointment an hour away. I was able to get a free card, and used a $5 reward at Hallmark. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2021/05/new-recipes-staying-cool.html

    1. Which asparagus are you growing? I have grown Martha Washington in the past, but I am considering growing an all-male hybrid like Jersey next time to get more food from a small space. I would need tons of room to grow enough asparagus for us and I don’t have that.

      1. I believe ours is Martha Washington too. It was planted around 24 years ago, so I’m not absolutely sure I remember. It makes lots of baby asparagus. As it’s getting toward the end of it’s life, my husband just ordered 100 more crowns yesterday! They’re on sale at Stark Bros. I’m pretty sure he said they were a combination of Jersey Giant and Purple Passion, which I’m really looking forward to trying.

        1. Wow! That’s a good price! I wonder if they would make it this late here. Bareroots have to be planted by Valentine’s Day. It’s almost 100 degrees here.

        1. Thanks! I have read many articles on his blog but I didn’t see this one. I left a comment asking him for a source for purchasing this. I don’t know where the average person can buy this one. I may have to drive over there and ask or email them. It’s not real far from me. I didn’t know he had trialed so many kinds. Since I’m making new beds and don’t have much room for asparagus, this is really helpful!

    2. Do they have customer loyalty cards? If so. call corporate customer service and they will put the $ on your loyalty card and you can spend next visit. I live 17 miles from Kroger and they’ve done that for me several times as I have horrible habit of not looking at receipt until I get home.

    3. I would call the store manager and tell them about the overcharge, and let them know you’d like to come in for your refund next time you are there. They should be accommodating. That’s a huge overcharge! Wonder how many other people didn’t check or notice it, if their computer wasn’t set up properly for the sale.

  6. Your progress in the garden is so exciting!

    The plants we started are all growing, some better than others. We have eaten some of the lettuce already.

    Work remains a little extra busy. I am still cooking meals that I have previously frozen and skipped grocery shopping again. We will have to get some fresh fruit soon.

    Be well all!

  7. Gas is $2.89 a gallon in my area of Ohio. I was able to plant a bunch of various things (the weather is just now getting warm enough to put in spring crops). The big project this week was my husband finishing the drain pipe. Two of our downspouts from the rain gutters run under the driveway and out to the street via plastic pipes. They had started backing up and when my husband snaked them, he found several areas of collapsed pipe. He dug it up and replaced it. It took two weekends and he’s very glad to be done with it. I started shopping at a discount store about 30 minutes away and was able to score some amazing deals. I won’t be able to go as often as I’d like (the gas to get there and back would eat up any money I saved from the deals), but it’s worth it to go once a week.

  8. Hi Brandy,
    Thank you for the garden photo! I have been so curious to see the progress. Your next career can be master garden designer 🙂

    Last week, I colored my hair (annual savings to buy hair color versus going to a salon for me is $1,000). I also went through the pantry and freezer for items we buy at Winco, and got that shopping done yesterday. I am now feeling good about our pantry for the next few months. Prices are noticeably higher. I bought heartworm pills for our dog. Last year a 6 month supply was $33. This year $38. I had a coupon so managed to get back to $34 but this is yet another example of crazy price increases. We are doing house projects this year. Two weeks ago upgraded 11 light fixtures to LED. Last week we got an estimate to replace an exterior door and signed off on the estimate. This week we are dropping off chair cushions to be restuffed and recovered. In our younger years, we would have replaced the door and recovered the cushions ourselves, but not anymore 🙂 So while we are spending money, we have done price comparisons and budgeted for this, so overall we are feeling very good about the progress we are making.

    1. Hilogene, we, too, have come to the point in life where we hire out tasks we used to do ourselves without a second thought. I console myself with the thought that we use small local folks to do the building or roofing or whatever, so that at least we are supporting small businesses or individuals. I am sorry I did not appreciate how well my body worked when I was young, I just took it for granted that I would always be able to easily and without a second thought lift and tote and squat.

    2. Wow!! A single pill costs us that much a month! But our 6 month old pup is 100 pounds and our older Dane is 140 pounds – Vetting is very expensive for these big breeds!

      1. Hi Melissa,
        If you are in the US, have you tried 1-800-pet meds? They have a website. We get the Rx at our vet then go online to buy…saved us more than half what the vet charged. There may be more companies doing similar things, this is just the one I know of. I felt badly moving the sales to the internet but the vet receptionist said most people do it.

  9. Brandy, this is so very inspiring – how wonderful that you will be able to have grapes growing over pathways! I was able to propagate a couple of herbs by rooting their cuttings which makes for more plants this summer, and I’m still planting out many things that I have sown in milk-jugs. I let go of gardening last year but realized this year that the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. I even stuck a lettuce core into a free spot in the soil and now I have little baby romaine growing in less than 2 weeks :). My neighbor gave me part of a Black-eyed Susan perennial that a neighbor had given him – I didn’t have that yet in my perennial collection so I was excited to get it too.

  10. I feel like I say the same things over and over every month. *laughing*
    All bills paid on time.
    I bought top soil for the container garden. It was on sale. I paid 1/8th of what they had been asking for weeks. I order it online and picked it up saving the price of delivery.
    I have paid off one credit card and am paying more on my other credit card.
    I’ve read free books.
    I am listening to one of my audible books again. Well, the second book in a trilogy. Year One by Nora Roberts. It is about a pandemic, magic, good and evil. I read it right before our pandemic hit. It isn’t for everyone. Lots of cussing…the big F-bomb a lot. This is the 3rd time I’ve listened to them. This makes the price of them lower than low.
    I’m getting ready for a city wide garage sale in a couple of weeks. I will be selling a lot of my vintage sewing machines and other things. I am hoping to make a few dollars.
    My youngest grandchild is getting his first Covid-19 shot today. He is 13 so it is the Pfizer shot. Once he is fully vaccinated the family will be “safe”. We will be able to have get togethers again.
    I am starting to gather 4th of July decorations. If I have anything new it will be something I’ve made. This will save me some money.
    I am now zeroing out my money at the end of my month. I got the idea from someone here. Whoever you are thank you!
    I am still making quilts for Christmas gifts. I have everything here to make a quilt for each of my children.
    School will be out in a few weeks. This will save time and money since the kids will be home.
    I am still purging my house and farm storage. I have way too much and I am sick of having all of this stuff. *smile* I think I am dreaming “toss…sell…keep”.
    I love your garden Brandy.
    Thank you for all you have changed in me with this blog.

    1. Becky, I think most of us do the same things over and over again. We have found they work well and help us on our journey. Being frugal isn’t necessarily exciting.😊

  11. Your garden changes are so exciting! Can’t wait to see more pictures.

    We had beautiful weather here in the Seattle area. This is a little strange, because usually we don’t get consistent sun until July. It has certainly been enjoyable spend a lot of time outside.

    Three years ago, I dropped a heavy glass in our bathroom sink and cracked the sink (oddly, I did not break the glass). The sink had been stable until a couple weeks ago, when a hole developed. I fixed it temporarily with silicone sealant. Our plumber came and took a look, and it seems the undermount sink is not replaceable because it is not a standard size. The part is just not available. And the shop that installed the vanity, counter and sink is no longer in business. So, to replace the sink, we have to replace the countertop as well, which is too bad (the stone countertop is completely fine).
    So I did some research online, and contacted a granite countertop shop in a city north of here. The company had lots of great reviews. I made an appointment to visit the workshop. The owner quoted me a great price on the phone and could potentially do the work quickly, but when I went to the shop, it was just…..weird. I had spoken to the owner twice and made an appointment to visit the shop, but when I got there he had no idea who I was or why I was there. He also wanted cash payment up front (as in, immediately) and offered to not charge me tax if I paid cash and didn’t want a receipt. He also gave me a different quote than he had before. Something was off, so I did not commit to anything. I told my husband the story when I got home, and we decided not to work with this shop. It just seemed too risky. At the moment, we are waiting for a quote from another company. Hopefully we will have a solution soon.

    Other frugal activities:
    – Visited a state park using my state park pass. Also walked in local parks and on local trails. Did some workouts at home.
    – Bought a few patterns at Joann Fabrics for $1.99. Purchased some sale and clearance fabric. Had a coupon for 50% a regular priced item, so I picked up a pad of drawing paper.
    – Sewed myself a new top. Mended a clothing item for a friend.
    – Continued with my online drawing course. I needed somewhere to store my practice drawings, so I made a makeshift portfolio out of clean cardboard from the recycle bin and duct tape. Worked great. It does not need to be archival quality at this point.
    – Cooked at home, using pantry and freezer items. Made water kefir. Mixed up a batch of homemade deodorant.
    – Read blogs, watched streaming TV and Youtube, and read library books.

    Hope everyone has a great week.

    1. Hi,
      Would you mind sharing your recipe for homemade deodorant, or a reliable website for information? These products have become expensive. I’m just thinking ahead.

      1. I just wanted to chime in on deodorant. I’ve tried making my own as well as using about every natural brand and the ONLY one I’ve found that works well is Nuud. It’s from the Netherlands and I’m very happy that it comes in biodegradable packaging (including the tube). It’s a very small tube, and seems expensive but I’m still using the tube I received at the end of May in 2019! I find I only need to apply it about every 3-4 days, and only a very small amount. All the other non-toxic brands I tried just did not work. I highly recommend Nuud. https://nuudcare.com

      2. Hi Elizabeth – I just saw this now (Sunday). This is the recipe I use for homemade deodorant:
        6 TBSP coconut oil, softened
        4 TBSP baking soda
        4 TBSP arrowroot powder
        a few drops of essential oil (optional)
        Mix together and store in a small jar. It stings if you apply it immediately after shaving.
        This works well for me.

  12. The garden pictures are tantalizing! It’s going to look so good, but to be productive on top of looking good is the best part.

    Prices continue to rise here as well. I am starting to remember the “not so good old days” when inflation was so high, back in the late 70’s and the 80’s. To that end, I’m trying to stock up some, myself, but it’s hard, since the sales are not very good, and often on highly processed foods. I have stocked up on gluten-free pasta, soap, and cassava flour on sale, recently.

    I planted seeds for Armenian cucumbers and Seminole Pumpkins – hopefully they will take off.

    I harvested carrots to eat fresh from my planters and cut some of my stevia plant and dried it in the dehydrator. I sweeten our iced tea with stevia – I add the dried stevia leaves to the tea leaves when I brew it.

    I purchased a small load of screenings produced by local limerock mines from a local contractor, and picked up the load in our pickup truck. I didn’t even think to take cash, as I never carry it. I was about to write the man a check, and he said to just take it for free. I argued with him a while, but he insisted. I am pretty sure I will need more, so next time, I will have cash on hand. I’m very grateful for the free screenings, though. I am going to lay a small area of pavers around my clothesline, and the screenings will make a good, packable base.

    I have been wishing for a good covered casserole dish for quite some time, but didn’t even have that on my mind when I stopped in a thrift store for something else. I didn’t find the item I stopped for, but I found an attractive Corning Ware stoneware casserole with stoneware lid, in mint condition, that suits my needs exactly.

    I ate up leftovers even when I was tired of them. There wasn’t enough to freeze, but I couldn’t bear to throw it out.

  13. It’s so exciting seeing your garden project coming along so well. That is a lot of work, putting in the curbing, but what a great savings. We woke up Tuesday to several inches of wet snow, but by Thursday temperatures were in the upper 70s. I was able to transplant peppers, tomatoes and celery, and all my flowers. I planted seeds for two kinds of beans and basil in the greenhouse for transplant later outside. I filled some big pots with flowers for the front porch. I also planted red and yellow potatoes. We enjoyed lots of lettuce and arugula from the greenhouse.
    My husband changed the oil and filters in my car – a big savings over having a mechanic do it.
    We went to a neighborhood garage sale. I found a queen-sized cotton blanket for $3. The one I use on our bed in the summer is only double-sized and in very poor shape, so I was thrilled to find this.
    We went to the hot springs as guests of our friend who works there.
    I purchased new nail polish (everything I had was dried out and at least 3 years old) and gave myself a manicure and pedicure.
    I washed and mended the quilt we use in our RV.

  14. Hello everyone!
    The pictures of your garden are lovely Brandy and I truly cannot wait to see the pictures once you finish. Every year when we plant our garden we are so excited to see what seedlings emerge and even though we are not physical neighbors, I am just as excited to see the progress you are making. I know it will be beautiful when you finish!
    We returned from vacation this week and today is our first day back in our normal routine. I resolved to begin walking in the mornings and stuck to my plan today walking for 30 mins after I dropped my son off at school. I am also trying to drink more and more water daily – I know this is easy for many people but for me this is an area of struggle.
    We were delighted to see that all the seeds we planted in our garden germinated and have grown at least 6 inches while we were away on vacation. The plans look beautiful and healthy and are growing well. We did lose one cucumber plant and one pepper but I will replace those this week. All of our tomatoes are caged now and I will have to get some vines tied up this week to help them to be able to grow without breaking or falling over. We used tomato cages we had on hand and gardening twine that we had on hand as well. I still have a few rows of garden space available so I will plant zipper cream peas this week and an additional row of sugar snap peas. The peas will be planted alongside the front fence of the garden which gives them the perfect place to climb and will hopefully double our harvest. All seeds planted were purchased last year. I have had several of my Zinnias return from seeds I planted last year as well as coneflowers – both of which I love.
    I planted several hydrangeas last year from cuttings off of the large bush in my front yard. All of them have survived, grown well and even have blooms on them this year 🙂
    We heavily pruned several of the Rose of Sharon trees that line our property last year. They looked awful and I was afraid that we would lose them all. I am delighted to report that all have new green growth this year and are looking much healthier – we only lost one tree.
    During our vacation we planned some meals out but ate several in so that we could save money. I made lasagna, italian pasta salad, baked potatoes, garlic bread, cookies, corn on the cob, broccoli, and fruit salad that we enjoyed. We spent our days on the beach and loved our time together making castles and animals in the sand, swimming, and searching for sea shells. The wildlife was particularly breathtaking as the location we visited is more than two-thirds nature preserve and has abundant bird and marine life.
    I purchased asparagus on sale for $1.77/lb which is a rock bottom price here. Also pork shoulder for $0.99/lb & chicken drumsticks, split breasts and thighs for $0.88/lb. The meat went directly to the freezer. I cooked the last of our turkeys yesterday evening and will use that for several meals this week. Gas shortages are happening here and we expect to see rising prices on fuel as well as groceries so I am planning trips and meals carefully. I want to be more diligent this year with succession planting so that we will have a greater harvest for a longer period of time in the garden. I am also trying to plant more field peas in order to grow food that supplies protein, carbs and fiber. I will add to our harvest if needed in order to have enough to put away fruits and veggies to carry us through the winter months as prices allow. I am also focusing on finding canning jar lids and other canning supplies in order to prepare for the summer canning season ahead.
    I hope that everyone continues to stay well, safe and encourage one another. Blessings to you all!

  15. Hello Everyone!
    Your concrete work looks beautiful! Grape arbors will be gorgeous. Great idea!

    Our weather has significantly cooled to daytime 50s. I’m back to sweatshirts and sweaters. We’ve also gotten some light rain and mist which is much needed. We’ve kept the heater off and threw some wood in the wood stove to warm up a bit. I recently heard some interesting information about a Grand Solar Minimum that will cool the earth, possibly until 2053. I read a NASA article that says there may be some cooling of the earth but they think global warming will offset it. Here’s one of many articles for anyone interested: https://climate.nasa.gov/blog/2953/there-is-no-impending-mini-ice-age/

    I didn’t do much gardening due to the weather. I am hardening off lettuces, arugula, winter squash and cucumbers. Our hens got peelings, scraps, and plant leaves with bugs. The hens are laying less with the cloudy weather.

    We’ve had an abundance of kale, chard, celery and carrots from the garden and our menu has reflected that in various soups. I made a sourdough herb loaf, whole wheat sandwich bread last week. Today I have marbled banana loaves baking in the oven to use browning bananas. I’m soaking cracked wheat to make cracked wheat bread as well.

    I ironed some clothes, including my husband’s dress shirts. My friends think I’m nuts because they all pay for the cleaners. 😆 I rarely use dry cleaning services. I hand wash and hang dry.

    I received some free quilting patterns from National Quilters Circle. They have a special to join for $3.95 but I don’t quilt that much and haven’t joined this membership for online courses. Here’s the free pattern link if you’re interested: https://www.nationalquilterscircle.com/free-quilting-patterns/

    I continue to exercise at home. Cook all meals from scratch, and listen to free podcasts and audio books through Hoopla. I cleaned the house and worked on our June budget using Dave Ramsey’s free version of Every Dollar. I’ll need to budget for new brakes soon.

    Gas is $4.05 at the cheaper gas station. I fill up there when I’m in the area running errands. The closest station to my house is $0.25-0.30 higher always. Now that school sports have ended, I’ll be driving less.

    Have a blessed and beautiful week everyone! ☀️

  16. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Lovely to see the photos of your garden being planted up and proper soil in the beds. What a mammoth task it has been but hopefully you will save on your water bills and enjoy your harvests.
    One of our door locks was playing up, my husband took it off and stripped it down and we realised it couldn’t be mended as an internal piece had sheared off. He ordered a replacement lock online and fitted it himself saving the £65 call out charge for a locksmith.
    I sewed a new cover for the ironing board using fabric I bought years ago in a charity shop.
    I bought a bundle of pretty fabric offcuts at the charity shop. I’ve been looking for ages for fabric featuring teacups and this is ideal. Recently I visited our nearest fabric shop and was shocked at the price of new fabric, even in a sale.
    I decluttered another room and have several bags to go to recycling.
    We picked leeks and rocket from the garden and have done lots of repotting and planting out. We haven’t picked flowers because we have several beautiful hippeastrum and orchids flowering indoors.
    One of my husband’s gardening clients sent home a lovely scented leaf pelargonium for me, it’s called Attar of Roses. We gave some seedlings to a friend and she gave us a hellebore she didn’t want.
    My husband bought on the local Facebook market some large pieces of breathable floor mat to line our caravan awning. They cost £15, we picked the best bits we wanted and sold on the rest for £10.
    Stay safe everyone.

  17. Thank you everyone for your tips and ideas!
    Our eldest daughter is getting married on 10 July! It will be a small, outdoor affair. She chose an inexpensive dress, a friend from Church has gifted her the services of a hair stylist (her daughter owns a salon), and a young lady from the youth group is doing the bridal party makeup. Another friend from Church is making my other daughters (bridesmaid) dress, and I am sewing our youngest daughters flower girl dress. I purchased the fabric for both quite cheaply even though it’s beautiful fabric, and my daughter was very good to think practically and allow her bridesmaids to choose colors and styles they will be able to wear again. I’m catering the picnic reception and we did a trial-run of the menu yesterday. Not only did everyone like the food, but it cost less than I originally budgeted.

    The newlyweds are starting from scratch in an unfurnished 2 bedroom apartment. Just by mentioning to others that they are looking for furniture and appliances and don’t mind secondhand goods, they already have received so much lovely stuff! Yesterday a lady from Church, whose mother has had to move into a care facility, arrived with the contents from her mothers kitchen boxed up in her SUV and gave it to my daughter! Lovely tableware etc all still in excellent condition! She has also offered a dining table and chairs and bed!

    Winter has arrived quickly (in Johannesburg, South Africa). Last year our electricity bill was high from using heaters, so we will be stricter this year. I’ve put warm, heavy blankets on everyone’s beds, and rather than run heating through the night we will use electric blankets which draw a fraction of the electricity. We are trying to wait until June 1st before we run any electrical heating at all.

    I am struggling to keep up with the demands of daily life at the moment, and I feel frustrated because I know that if I were in a better place mentally and emotionally, I would be able to do more financially, but I’m doing the best I can for now. I’m trying to plan out menus more efficiently and think ahead in order to double or triple meals whenever possible (to freeze for later) and make the best use of the oven when I use it. I’ve worked hard in the garden and it’s paying off with us harvesting several things from it, and we should keep harvesting through the winter. I’m anticipating more frost this year but am fortunate to have a protected garden as well as a grow tunnel, which means I can continue growing many things even through harder winters. I am constantly planting seeds into pots and containers with the goal of getting succession planting right this year! Many of our friends grow gardens too so I always have others to pass excess plants on to.

    The latch/lock mechanism on our van door broke and we can’t use it until the new part arrives. We’re a one-vehicle family. Rather than hire a car or use Uber, we walked to Church, asked a friend to take our son to swimming, and rearranged our schedule to remove the need for a vehicle for the week. Another advantage to having a well-stocked pantry and some fresh food in the garden – we can go quite some time without needing to go to a grocery store!

    I’m hoping to sew warm pyjama pants for my children this week, using fabric I already have, and hope to find enough suitable fabric in my stash to sew a few extra cloth napkins which we need.

    1. Tracy, you say you’re not keeping up with life but my goodness you’re achieving loads! Sewing. cooking, planning a wedding, gardening, looking after family etc. Cut yourself some slack, you’re doing well.

    2. I watched a lovely video on YouTube with Lydia Senn and she said something that has resonated with me: At different times, we all have different capacities to get things done. It’s as if we each have a glass — some of us have 8-ounce glasses and some have 16-ounce glasses. If life gives us 12 ounces of liquid to put in those glasses, some people are going to have excess capacity and others are not going to be able to contain the whole 12 ounces. It’s just where we are at that stage in life and we have to be more accepting of our personal limitations. We do what we can, but be kind to yourself.

  18. Thank you for the beautiful garden pictures.
    I’m with my daughter-in-law and new grandson these next few weeks while our son is deployed. The baby is 2 weeks old and as sweet as can be.

    I brought a finance book to study while I’m here. I signed up for 3 week free trial of kindle (which I have on my free tablet) so I can get more books as I have time. I’ve found it to be a good time to study, while I don’t have my own house and garden to keep up with. I’ve also signed up sir some free online garden seminars through my local Master Gardeners. Another good use of my time away.

    We have an online savings account that still has an interest rate over 1% (small, I know, but many checking and savings accounts have almost no interest). We are also part of a credit union that gives 2.5% interest on savings up to a certain amount. This is our primary savings account and we are getting better at making sure anything over the limit gets switched to the online savings account. These are our emergency funds and I’m glad they earn some interest.

    My husband has applied to teach 2 weeks of summer school, which will more than cover his trip out here to see the baby. So often these days I’m trying to find a bit of extra income to cover any extra expenses.
    My husband is doing his best to eat the over-abundant greens from our garden. I got a Yakon plant at a seedling swap. And a paste tomato plant, which I didn’t have. I’m curious how both of them will do.

  19. DS and I had eye appointments an hour plus away on different days which meant we alternated taking DH to work at 5:00, eating breakfast, etc., and leaving at 7:00 to arrive as new patients. They took over the office DH and I had went to since childhood and then changed to do glaucoma related checkups/procedures here and regular checkups at other locations. I found another location 30 minutes from our home that we weren’t aware of (may change later). I am glad we scheduled on separate days as the solution that dilated the eyes lasted until about 6:30 that evening and neither of us could have driven home. I need lens changes around the edges (am still 20/20) and have the very beginnings of cataracts (that explained headlights with more flare in dark hours). DS needed glasses for scrolling, for one eye. I think he will need them for seeing clearly at a longer distance from little things we have noticed. He had a pressure test also since DH had cataracts in his 30s. His dominant eye did not like the eye drops and kept squeezing them out; took 3 times.

    I made 2 meals worth of salmon cakes, breakfast bars to freeze, boiled eggs, ate leftovers, and items from freezer and pantry. I replaced some can goods used from last year. I intended to get broccoli from Aldi to freeze but there was so many water drops inside the wrapping I could not tell their color and passed on that. Maybe later.

    I also worked on and shredded more papers. I hemmed new jeans from 2 years ago. We walked when there weren’t showers. I combined some stored items into one container and threw away a box. A few more clothing items were discarded. Thank you, Brandy, for the glimpse of your garden progress. I can’t stop thinking about your curbed sidewalk. It might solve some problem areas we have with our driveway. I will discuss it with DH later. I hope everyone’s week is productive, frugal, and enjoyable.

  20. The garden is so pretty . I am so envious . Being on the East coast, our gas situation has been awful. I had enough foresight to completely fill up as soon as I heard there would be a problem. I could only get premium and it was 67.00. My mother made an emergency visit to the hospital for blood the very next morning. I’m so glad I had filled up. I filed the children’s taxes using free services. This has been such a rocky week. I was unable to get a honest answer on repairs for my Prius. I was quoted $4500.00 for a new battery and “THEN ” they would tell me what my needed brakes would cost. I about cried and then fumed ! I sold the car on an online forum. I disclosed all info. They paid me double what I had paid for it . Easy , peasy . I googled their reviews and verified the check. It cleared easily. Transaction took about 10 minutes to sign paperwork and have it towed away. I’m so happy I checked online before selling for salvage at the junk yard. That act brought me in 4 thousand dollars versus 300 . I will simply buy boy another car. My 24 hour to the ER with mom was a nightmare. I slept on the hard floor for 8 hours. No chair, no phone and no supplies in room to keep mom dry. Hospital will be receiving complaints this week. It was a wicked experience no dying person should endure. I sat in floor and shopped. Relieved my nerves and probably kept me from being tossed out of hospital. Mom laid in puddle for ten hours. Trying to get past that, I searched clearance items for hours and bought quite a bit. I have some birthday gifts for the children and bought essentials. I believe changes are being made to moms treatment and perhaps things will be calmer. Looking for quiet blessings here. Puppy and I are sitting outside thinking about how we want to arrange yard. The birds have kindly deposited several ” things” in my yard. I’m going to keep several hardwoods , as I know eventually we will cut our pines out. I have several lovely flowering bushes . I have no clue what the birds gifted me but it sure made it cheap ! I adore all my bumble bees and butterflies.

    1. I am so sorry for your trials with your mom. No one should be treated like that…. and to be left that long is inexcusable. Many prayers for you and your family.

  21. Your garden looks lovely already — it’s going to be such a showpiece when it’s done!

    My frugal week:
    -I made Light-as-Air Lemon Curd Turnovers (http://approachingfood.com/light-as-air-lemon-curd-turnovers/) using lemon curd made from the egg yolks leftover after making a batch of cookies that only used egg whites
    – I also baked several loaves of white bread, and served it with white bean enchilada soup
    – I used up leftover condensed milk from several months ago, plus a few pantry bits and bobs to make Fruit & Nut Chocolate Fudge Clusters (http://approachingfood.com/fruit-and-nut-chocolate-fudge-clusters/)
    – I used boiling water to kill weeds on the patio
    – I used a code to reduce a photobook by $21 dollars and made a photobook to give my husband for father’s day.
    – I redeemed SB for $10 to my paypal account.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

  22. I wasn’t sure I wanted to get the shot, but gave into peer-husband pressure and got the Johnson and Johnson shot.
    * I waited until the last minute to do our taxes as I knew we would have to pay this year. We had our last child move out in 2020 so we lost that dependant, then we rented from January until September while we built so did not have mortgage taxes to claim. In all we had to pay $2300. I wish we would have thought to put a large chunk into Roth IRAs, but we didn’t think about it in time.
    * I got a check from the hospital for $300. When I had pneumonia my doctor took an xray and it looked like my lung was partially callapsed so she sent me to the ER. I paid the $300 ER copay. I do not know why they have refunded it, it is a big happy surprise.
    * I signed up for Ibotta at Thanksgiving. I haven’t used it since. They deducted $3.99 for lack of use this month. I started to cancel it, but I need to start using it.
    * My mother in law won a dozen yard eggs at her weekly Domino meeting.
    * In Southern tradition we painted our backbporch ceiling a haint blue. It started in the Gullah region of South Carolina and GA where slaves mixed indigo into a milk paint and painted their ceilings to ward off haints- or evil spirits. The blue is also supposed to repel mosquitos and bugs. So, now it is tradition to paint your porch ceilings blue in the south. Here is a photo https://www.instagram.com/p/CO8Uyqpne1g/?igshid=18gimtt6rsla0. I am looking for a floral fabric to cover my pillows and need a wreath for the door and to add decor as I find it.
    *I sold a top I had bought from an online boutique. They only offer store credit if you return, so I went to a FB group for their items and sold it.
    * We cut our dogs hair, although we aren’t too good at it.
    * I grilled shrimp and it was a good recipe. I mixed honey, lemon juice, garlic, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and marinated the shrimp over night. I then skewered and grilled 2 minutes on each side. I had zucchini and yellow squash I spiraized and cooked in olive oil with onion, mushrooms, and then threw in handfuls of spinach and let it wilt down. Then I added butter and cream. I just put the shrimp on top.
    * I have eaten enough of the freezer where I need to reorganize and restock. Having a hard time using the ground venison. My daughter and MIL won’t eat the venison, so I am not using it much. I also have a lot of sausage we are not eating too fast. I need to add a weekly venison meal.
    * Our Robin babies were kicked out of the nest and were unable to fly, running around my back yard. My dog almost got a couple so we had a few days of me chasing the dog while he chased baby Robins around the yard.
    * We went over all our investments to see where we are. We are blessed my husband gets 15% of his salary in 401-k each year, without him putting in anything. We do put in money on top of that, but I haven’t heard of another company contributing that much. We are paying extra on our house each month. We have no debt but the house. He is due his annual raise next month so we are going to increase our 401-K contribution. We were joking when he showed me what we have and I said I couldn’t live off that, I’d have to have a lot of cosmetic work done to go back on the market. He said I was young and could find a rich fellow as my retirement plan, he didn’t want to give me too much of an incentive to kill him off. So, I guess you all are stuck with me trying to save money and watching pennies.

    1. I had the same problem with Ibotta. I was shocked that they did that. I have decided that I want to cancel but I can’t see anywhere to do so. I just don’t buy the things they offer deals on. If anyone knows where exactly to go on the app to cancel, I’d appreciate it.

      1. It says to avoid account maintenance fee deductions, complete a redemption for any offer in the app at least once every six months, so I guess if you just did the Thanksgiving free food deal, the 6 months is probably up. I also saw this online: “If you would like to cancel your Ibotta account, please submit a ticket in our Help Center and select “cancel account request” from the drop-down menu. Our team will be happy to confirm your cancellation.”

        Hope that helps!

        1. Thank you. It’s hard to find their cancel account choice and they only let you choose certain things. Worried about this message though:

          “While we hate to lose you, we know sometimes life gets busy or things may change, causing you to need your Ibotta account deactivated. For your security, we do not allow you to do this yourself. When you contact us, please be sure to select the option giving us permission to cancel your account so we may assist you as quickly as possible.”

          I am NOT happy about Ibotta, at all.

      2. Brandy et al –

        I deleted the Ibotta app from my phone a few months back and did not know about this issue. In researching how to delete my account entirely, I found this:

        “We’re sad to see you go!

        “If you would like to cancel your Ibotta account, please submit a ticket in our Help Center and select ‘cancel account request’ from the drop-down menu. Our team will be happy to confirm your cancellation.

        “If you are having trouble accessing your account, please submit a ticket and select ‘Deactivated/Suspended Account’. You can also write our team at accountsupport@ibotta.com.” (source: https://help.ibotta.com/hc/en-us/articles/225528727-How-do-I-cancel-my-Ibotta-account- )

        Hope that helps!

        1. Thank you. It’s hard to find their cancel account choice and they on;y let you choose certain things. Worried about this message though:

          “While we hate to lose you, we know sometimes life gets busy or things may change, causing you to need your Ibotta account deactivated. For your security, we do not allow you to do this yourself. When you contact us, please be sure to select the option giving us permission to cancel your account so we may assist you as quickly as possible.”

          I am NOT happy about Ibotta, at all.

      3. I just found how to cancel. I went into account and put in Cancel account under the Help feature. It had me go and put in a ticket to them and had a drop down menu where I clicked cancel my account. It is sending them a ticket so not actually cancelled yet. Hope this helps.

    2. You can mix venison with regular ground beef. My 14yo won’t eat it straight(except in chili, I think it has enough seasoning she can’t tell 😂) but mixing it half and half seems to disguise the taste enough for her.

      1. I will try that. Yes, we liked our chili with it, but spaghetti was not awful, but just was not right. We got two deer this year so I have so much venison it is sad to not use it.

    3. If it’s ground venison, try mixing it half and half with a cheaper ground beef. I used to do that for my picky children and they never knew it was venison. We had two deer in our freezer this year and I’ve found that I don’t care for deer roasts or cubed steak. I don’t mind the ground venison nor the backstraps and tenderloins but I just say NO to roasts. Next year we’ve decided we’ll just do one deer and have it all ground.

      1. I will try mixing it, thank you. We also got two deer this year. We had the backstrap done in cubed steak and it is so good we cannot tell it is not beef. I wonder if your cube steak is a different cut? I haven’t tried the roast cuts which we had cubed yet. I think I will slow cook it in a stew when I try it.

    4. I always said I wouldn’t eat venison. Finally my grandmother confessed that she always made her chili (my favorite) with venison — I just didn’t know because she mixed it with ground beef!

      1. My cousin confessed after years of bringing us taco soup that it has ground deer in it. I’ve never eaten another thing she’s cooked. I don’t let her know I just throw it away after she leaves.

      2. Chili is the one thing with venison that we like. I guess it is so spicy you can’t tell.

        I am having trouble with my MIL that lives with us. She won’t touch venison, but cooked it and lied to people. Now Iwill cook with ground beef and she will tell my daughter it is deer thinking she is funny. Then my daughter won’t eat what I made, that isn’t deer. So that food is wasted. I finally told daughter I didn’t get any joy of trying to trick her or lying and would not serve her venison to trick her.

    5. Loved hearing about your porch ceiling. I grew up in the Louisiana, but didn’t hear that story. When my porch next needs painting…it will be haint blue.

  23. Brandy,
    The garden photos are wonderful and the progress has to be so rewarding for you and your husband.
    I am continuing to pot up cuttings and extras of plants I already have. My girlfriend just moved into a new home and will be starting from scratch with her landscaping. Her birthday is this month so I will be able to give her several gallon size established plants that I started myself. I will be giving her a lilac bush, a couple columbine plants and a couple sedum ground covers all with no cost to me. I will purchase a couple smaller plants to add to her gardening gift.
    We have started eating delicious strawberries from our greenhouse plants. I pruned and shaped all my boxwood plants in the backyard.
    I tried a new recipe that uses canned baby clams. My husband and I both really liked it so I will purchase several cans of clams to keep in my pantry. There are much less expensive than beef!
    Wishing everyone a good week.

  24. My mom sent over small foam plates, shredded cheese, and a small block of cheese.

    Hubby replaced the ac belt on his truck himself saving the labor cost.

    Daughter won some fidget bubble poppers, candy, and snacks at school

    Discovered 3 movies on my Netflix dvd list are on Hulu and 2 are available through Amazon prime with no additional charge, so that shaves 5 movies off my list. Hopefully, I’ll have Netflix dvd subscription eliminated soon.

    Not so frugal:

    Well, the first is kind of frugal, but I wasn’t expecting the upfront cost. I picked up my prescription refill from Walgreens, along with one from an unexpected ER visit(explained down below). It was $77 for both. My regular medication is normally $18, so I thought the difference was the new med. Got home and seen my normal med was $47. I called Walgreens to see why the big jump, and they were “oh, we filled it for 90 days” In the 2 years I’ve been there, I’ve only had my medicine 30 days at a time. They couldn’t give me a answer of why they randomly decided to fill it that without asking first. It saves $3 a month, but definitely was not expecting that. I felt like they could have sent a text or something to authorize the switch. This 90 days takes me up until I need to go to the Dr anyways, so I’ll probably just make the switch to Sam’s afterwards because it’s even cheaper.

    The second not so frugal: unexpected ER visit for myself. Went to sleep Thursday night just fine, and sometime before 1am, I woke up unable to breathe. Then I started burping, heaving, and still struggled to breathe. My husband said it went on a few minutes before he loaded me up an took me to the ER. I quit by the time we got there, feeling just a bit off. They eventually said I had a GERD attack. I’m honestly not sure how they came to that conclusion, I have zero issues with indigestion (and I know what GERD is like…my husband, 2 kids, and even one of the dogs have had that diagnosis). They did check my heart(I’ve been on a medication for an arrhythmia forever) with an eeg, chest xray, and ran tons of blood tests. The bill is going to make me cry(no insurance) They gave me omeprazole to take for two weeks.

    1. April,

      Call the hospital and see if they have a charity department. Not all hospitals do. I have found some hopsitals only offer 10% off if you pay your entire bill in 30 days (which is hard, because you get around 5 bills–one from the hospital, one from the ER, one from each doctor, one from the labs, one from the ambulance, etc. You’ll need to call for each one.) Some hospitals have a charity option that allows you to submit forms for a reduced bill or even to have your entire bill written off. When you explain that you don’t have insurance, they usually have you first apply for Medicaid (which can pay past bills), but they may also help you without that, depending on your income level. With the charity option, they may pay all of those bills save an ambulance bill.

      1. I worked at 3 different community hospitals in the 1970s. Any hospital that has used federal Hill-Burton funds for building projects since 1946 must, by law, allocate charitable funds every year. There is hardly a hospital in the US that has not used Hill-Burton funds! The funds are usually allocated on Jan. 1 each year and it’s good for however long it lasts. Specifically, ask about Hill-Burton funds! (It makes it sound like you know what you are talking about). Also, charitable hospitals (particularly Catholic) usually have other funds available for need-based care.

        My son was between jobs when he broke his collarbone and required surgery. He still had insurance, but he was left with about $2,300 to pay. He applied for assistance and they wrote off all but $1,200 and had him sign an agreement to pay $100 a month with no interest. This was at a hospital owned by the Sisters of Providence.

    2. Keep calling the hospital until you get the best discount if paid in full. It’ll depend on the rep, your hospital’s policy, and requires a lot of patience- but worth the effort. Good luck.

    3. Talk to social worker at hospital and apply for compassionate discount. My nephew was in jet ski accident with no insurance while a poor college student. I helped him apply for compassionate discount and they reduced entire bill from $30,000 down to zero. Plus all his doctors followed suit. All they can say is no.

      1. When I asked care providers who treated my broken wrist for a discount, all but one matched the hospital’s discount percentage. So negotiating the best discount you can there is important.

  25. Your garden is looking great.
    It is college move out here. We drove by the dorms to see what we could find. We got a small file cabinet, lots of clothes , sheets, comforter, and a new bottle of hand sanitizer.
    I earned $16.75 in Ibotta this week. 2 of the items were free bread and cheese.
    I did well at Stop n Shop. I used $3 in rewards, I got 2 packs of free sponges with coupons. The clearance rack had lots of medical supplies. I got several boxes of different sizes of bandages.
    My oldest daughter is on the look out for folding tables and chairs. I found a small table. Someone was cleaning out their garage. I will bring it next time we visit.
    Hubby and I were out and we went to Baskin Robins/Dunkin Donuts. We used a gift card to pay. We have enough for at least another visit.
    A friend and I met up for lunch at Cheesecake Factory. I had a gift card so she covered the rest of the bill. $0 out of pocket for me. I bought home my leftovers.
    I found $1.26 this week.
    We picked the first few strawberries from the garden this week. So yummy. We dumped the compost bin into the new garden bed Hubby built me. The garden will be planted soon.

  26. Let’s see if I can think of very many things. The DH and I have decided that we will do very little shopping. Our freezers are pretty full, as is our pantry. We need to eat some of this down, and there are only the two of us now.
    Last week we planted some early corn and zucchini. If we get it, great! If not there is room and time to plant again. We also planted red, yellow and white onion sets. Also planted black beans and white beans, and a row of chard. Yes, we grow our own dry beans. My mother and I used to shell them in the fall while listening to football games.
    Earlier, we planted candy onions, beets, carrots, kohlrabi, potatoes, snow peas and lettuce. These are all in raised beds and not the “row garden.” We are still a couple of weeks away from planting tomatoes, green beans, peppers, cucumbers and the majority of the corn and squash. Our night will probably get down to around 34 degrees a couple of days this week, so we have to be careful. My DH made the comment over the weekend, that it is good that we have a hobby that we both enjoy working on (gardening). He has friends our age that rarely do things as a couple.
    I made two lasagnas last weekend, and we at on them for most of the week. Also made a batch of split pea soup with ham and a ham bone from the freezer, and chow mein, using veggies from the fridge and a bag of angel hair pasta. That served for lunches and dinners all week. Made life easier.
    Dried clothes on the clothes line. Love the smell.
    Brought breakfast and lunch to work all days, including Saturday, as I had to work. I had a tax return that was quite difficult, and needed a quiet day with no interruptions to complete it.
    The only groceries I bought were 2 bricks (2 pounds each) of Tillamook medium cheddar cheese for $5.99 each. We love their cheese. A kind of goofy story – When we got married, way back in 1975, we were two young and broke kids. So, for our honeymoon, we drove down the Oregon and California coasts, and stopped for free attractions. One of the ones we visited was the Tillamook cheese factory in Tillamook, Oregon. I always loved their cheese, but this really helped cement it. We buy Tillamook cheese, whenever it goes on sale, and get big smiles on our faces remembering those young people (21 and 23 year olds) that we were at that time.
    Hope everyone has a lovely and productive week.

    1. Nancy,
      I love cheese. I mean LOVE cheese. I’m pretty brave about how strong and stinky. When I travel I look for local cheeses – including in England, Switzerland, France, Italy and Spain. Cheese and bread is my comfort food, travel food, well, just food. I didn’t think Tilamook
      could be that good. It is! Oh my. Now I can afford good cheese for my nightly snack. When many cheeses are going for $10.00 and more a pound knowing I can get great cheese for less makes me oh so very happy!

      1. Tillamook is WONDERFUL. I love cheese too.

        They also make ice cream. Your grocery store may carry it.

    2. Yes, Tillamook cheese is THAT good. If you live in an area that sells Bandon cheese, you should know that it is owned and manufactured by Tillamook. Instead of the milk coming from cows in Tillamook County, the Bandon cows are grazed 200 miles south, under similar coastal conditions,in Coos County. I grew up 75 miles from Tillamook and lived in Coos County for awhile. I’ve never done a side-by-side tasting, but I think Bandon is as good as Tillamook. Liking two brands doubles my opportunity to find it on sale! Also, my son swears by Tillamook ice cream.

  27. I’m so excited to get a peek at your garden, Brandy! That’s going to be a beautiful view.

    I potted on many, many seedlings again this week. Cosmos, larkspur, tons of feverfew, parsley. I’ve done winter sowing for many years and have always lazily sown too thick, but never potted on. I’m delighted by it!

    We’re having lots of homemade fun teaching our small boys more cooking and gardening skills (they’re good with seedlings and especially watering!), enjoying hikes and playgrounds. We played with vaccinated friends last week, and it was a huge joy to how much fun they had.

    We’re off to the beach for the first time tomorrow, since it will be 80 degree weather. Off to measure the kids so I can go through their clothes bins and find beach shoes. How I love hand-me-downs!

    Thank you all for the beauty and inspiration! Brandy, your hard work gardening is showing so much already!

  28. I’m excited about your garden!
    I organized a bear-themed birthday party for one of our grandson’s 10th birthday in a couple of days. Using leftover decorations I had here and old-fashioned games, and homemade treats, I think I saved quite a bit. (Parties can add up if you go for a Pinteresty look!)
    I mended a pile of clothing, including some Sashiko mending on my husbands jeans, which he loves.
    I’ve started my holiday list so I can make some of the gifts over the summer.
    Thanks everyone, for all the inspiration!

    1. Karen Mary, what sashiko pattern or motif did you use for your husband’s mending? I need to mend several pairs of my husband’s jeans and am just starting to play around with sashiko, can’t decide what would be “masculine” enough but still interesting.

  29. Brandy, do you sew clothes for yourself or your children anymore? I would love to see pictures if you do!

    1. I think only my eldest appreciated the things I sewed for her. My younger girls haven’t wanted to wear the dresses I made.

      Homeschooling so many now also takes up a great deal of my time.

      I am hoping that when we finish the garden, I can sew the curtains and pillow for my bedroom that I have had on my to-do list for years.

  30. A pleasure as always to read your blog Brandy and the comments from your lovely readers. Your garden is lovely.

    It is nearly winter here in New Zealand and we’ve gathered in most of the last of the produce. Our largish garage is full of apples, feijoas, walnuts and sunflower heads right now. The two freezers (one extremely large) are bursting.

    I will be planting another apricot and nectarine tree next month. That will take us to about 25 fruit trees. The Good Lord has blessed us with an abundant harvest and even though we’ve given a lot awaywe still have ample.

    I will start planning the Spring garden soon.

    Warmest good wishes to everyone.
    Wendy
    South Island, NZ

  31. Your garden is really coming along! I love getting the updates (here as well as on Instagram).

    My van wouldn’t reverse today as I tried to take my daughter to school, so before I called the mechanic, I had my husband check fluid levels and YouTube some things, and now it’s running normally again (fingers crossed it stays that way!).

    I canceled our Discovery+ monthly subscription because we weren’t using it, and I also paused or stopped a couple other monthly subscriptions that I didn’t need.

    We went low-key for our 10th anniversary and went to one of our favorite restaurants for pupusas (the meal cost just $18 for all 5 of us, as our kids were there too).

  32. Brandy, your garden is sure looking great! I’m sure it is nice to finally start seeing some results. What a large project, lots of work but it will provide for you for many years.

    I haven’t posted in a few weeks, I have been busy with outdoor work. I got my garden planted. Just have tomato sets, pepper sets, and basil to plant yet. We planted-green beans, yellow beans, green zucchini, yellow zucchini, red beets, lettuce, kale, Swiss chard, 2 kinds of onions (one to eat right away and one that stores well over winter), peas, pea pods, 2 kinds of cucumbers, watermelon, cabbage, and kohlrabi. I have a larger garden and can and freeze much of it.

    -We planted 2 pear trees and 2 dwarf cherries. I tried to buy the pears last year and none were to be found. Glad we were able to find them this year and do this now. I had a $200 gift card given to me after my mom’s passing from some friends to a greenhouse. They gave it to me and said go buy some trees and plant them in memory of your mom. So we did!

    -Meals for the last week-pork chops with mashed potatoes, gravy and home canned corn and sauerkraut; pheasant stir fry fried rice; hamburgers and French fries twice; pheasant nuggets and oven fries; pizza; and leftovers.

    -I was given 3 boxes of Bigelow tea bags. I use a lot of tea for sweet ice tea (made with a touch of honey) and kombucha. This was at least $12 savings over me buying tea!!

    -Groceries here in Minnesota are also rising! Plus it is almost impossible to find canning flats. They did have them at Fleet Supply, limit 2 dozen. I went in 3 days in a row, took hubby with twice and had some friends buy as well. I was able to get 12 dozen. I use about 500 a year so I need to find more!! They were $3.59/dozen. They are more but I think that is still reasonable. I will not pay what I have seen them for on Amazon-$10 a dozen!! I have been saving ones I am taking off jars. I know it is not recommended to reuse but I will if needed. I know the fail rate will be higher. The Amish around here use them 2-3 times.

    -Not much bought for groceries, ice cream was $3.89 for a gallon bucket (remember when they were a 5 quart bucket?). This is sure better that $8 normal price. I bought 3 for the freezer.

    -I went right to the place (next town over) to get the cold pressed sunflower oil we use, I bought right from the manufacturing place. It was $26 for a gallon. I was buying it in the local grocery store for $18 a half gallon. I had an errand that I had to do in the same area so it saved me $10. Plus I have one less plastic jug to recycle.

    -I made 2 large receiving blankets from my stash of leftover flannel (I make flannel PJ’s for grandkids for Christmas) for a baby shower, using discounted wrapping paper and a homemade card. I buy wrapping paper after Christmas in non Christmas designs, like stripes, plaids, or pastels and use throughout the year. So no money out of pocket. The gift was received well. They are 2 sided so they are thick and large. New mothers love them!!

    -Got pineapple for $1 each. I bought 6 and so did my daughter. We canned pints of tidbits in thin sugar sauce. I took 10 and she got the other 14. With the pineapple, sugar, and lids they cost about $1 a jar. We then cooked the cores and scraps and got 7 pints of pineapple juice as well.

    -I also purchased black grapes at $1.59/lb. For $6.00 I got 8 quarts of juice. My grandkids love juice. So I can a lot of it.

    Have a great week!!

    1. I have reused lids for a few years and have never had a failure. Of course, I’m careful. I make sure they aren’t bent and the sealing ring is intact. If there is a tiny dimple in the middle of the lid from opening it with a church key, it doesn’t matter. I am careful, though, and reuse lids mainly for applesauce, jam, etc., where it wouldn’t matter if I had to freeze it. I don’t reuse lids for anything that has to be pressure canned. Twist-off, pop-up lids–the kind that usually come on jam and pickle jars–also will reseal on the original type jar. No failures here so far.

  33. We had our state and federal taxes due today. We were able to pay the federal ones online last night, xferring money from the savings account to the checking account, but the state website was being funny, so we decided to do that first thing this morning. I woke up before my husband, exercised, and paid the taxes! So exciting to get that done. I went to save a PDF copy of the confirmation and realized he had already done it last night!! We paid our state taxes twice!!! 🤦🤦 I immediately called the bank, the state tax department and luckily figured out what to do to stop that 2nd payment from going through. Turns out he tried one more time (after I had fallen asleep) and it finally worked. I’m glad it all turned out okay!! Haha! We got some eggs from a neighbor, harvested spinach and kale (the spinach is just starting to bolt) and a few peas. I used the instant pot to make spaghetti and it’s my new favorite way! I don’t need to use a pot full of water to boil noodles, they just cook in the spaghetti sauce in the IP and tastes amazing! So easy to throw together and I don’t have to turn in the oven when it’s hot!
    My husband had accepted a new job (same career) and it may not be so frugal for a little while (he’ll be working out of the state for a year while we stay in our home) but after the year of training, he’s business opportunities and earning potential will double. We’re willing to make some sacrifices now to make our future a little better for our children and family goals. We’re still on track to pay off student loans next year, although with him out of the state, housing costs (food, commuting) may be a little higher, but we’ll see.

  34. I found new-to-me shelving for my living room. I had asked a neighbor about building me some custom shelves, then the price of lumber went crazy. I am happy with the shelving I found. I’ve gone through my books and donated many to a “read and feed” program sponsored by a local food bank. I didn’t realize how many books I had, but I’m grateful to have the shelves in place, wiped down, and most of the books put away. I’ll work on them again tomorrow, but have to budget my time well because of other commitments. I’m hoping to have my living room back to usable by Friday afternoon. The shelving had paint dried on a couple of shelves. I used Murphy’s Oil Soap, a plastic scraper, and a magic erase sponge. The paint came off fairly easily and I am pleased. Here’s to another productive week!
    On a personal note, I deleted the games from my tablet (I had 3). I found myself playing games far longer than I intended and I feel I can use my time more efficiently without the games. Instead of games I should be indexing, reading, and cleaning!

  35. We just had our deck redone. It was nice in that the guys fixing it were able to patch cracks and turn a couple of the boards over before repainting. This saved us the cost of purchasing any new boards.
    We did two jigsaw puzzles that were free from the local senior/community center..

    Our local charity thrift store had a sale on women’s shirts for .50 each. I found four in nearly new condition. I also found some sewing supplies.

    Somebody down the street had a box of rhubarb with a free sign. I took a few and made rhubarb sauce.

    My new sewing machine arrived and I have already made a set of linen napkins and placemats. I am embroidering them with sprigs of lavender by hand. I love the machine I got. It is a Janome 725s and is, apparently, the one they use on the Great British Sewing Bee. It just seems like such a strong, well made machine at a fairly modest price.

    At the grocery store I purchased a good size fillet of steelhead – two days until the pull day at $4.50, which we had on salad.

    We hiked through this really magical forest area that I love.
    There are ponds, small lakes, and marshy areas. We saw a barred owl which was making very strange calls. Also a mother duck with what had to be about ten ducklings. They were all jumping up and down eating bugs. Nature can keep me endlessly amused.

  36. I am working on my time management as I need to find some time to set aside to clean out my wardrobe, pantry and children’s toys. They all need a good declutter and an organisation strategy that I can stick to!

    This past week I took a day off work to do the things for myself that never get around to being done. I had a dentist check up and clean and a skin check.

    I cooked up a huge vegetable soup with beans and red lentils and froze some. I made two quiches and also froze some. We had taco’s with beef, tomato, spinach, cheese, carrot and sour cream. We are eating so many mandarins from our mandarin tree. We were provided a dinner of roast chicken, salad and bread rolls. I provided donuts for dessert. We had avocado and tomato on toast. Lots of fruit and oat smoothies with cinnamon.

    The children and I made some almond macarons and I put some aside into two cellophane bags with ribbon and gift tag to take to a baby shower. One bag was for the host, who provided nibbles, lunch, dessert and drinks. We didn’t eat dinner that night! The second bag was part of the gift for the Mum to be. I also gave her a collection of brand new classic Noddy books ($39.95 reduced to $10).

    Have a great week.

  37. I was able to sell a piece of furniture that I no longer needed to a relative. We are also going through my parents’ estate right now. I took two tables I can use in my living room, s few pieces of jewelry, and two sets of china (my mother loved china!). I also took two articles of clothing and a hat. My intention is to only take things that I will use of have room for. Because of the furniture I took, I am trying to sell the furniture that I have that is replacing what I brought home.
    Other than that, I am enjoying my new deck! We reclining outdoor chairs and it has been delightful to read on the deck.
    I planted tomatoes, kale, Brussel sprouts, and cauliflower in my community garden plot. The lettuce, radishes, chard, and beets that I planted from seed are coming along as well.
    Brandy, your garden is going to be extraordinary! Kudos to you for having the vision and the patience and willingness to make it happen.

  38. Here, in Minnesota, gas is around $2.79 and no noticeable gas shortages. Our grocery prices have risen and the shelves seem emptier but overall I haven’t had problems finding what I need. My brother was saying the other day that he couldn’t find a couple of things he was looking for in the hardware store. And they were simple things. I feel like there is a shortage on clothing – does anyone else think that (maybe it’s just what I’ve been looking for)?

  39. Wow, the concrete and garden looks great! After downsizing to a cottage house this past year, getting use to the yard and soil (lots of sandy mixture & different from last home) surrounded by many mature trees. The good news is that in my new neighborhood, there are a few people I can ask questions that have gardens in their yards. Thrifty actions as follows: opening windows in morning for fresh air before it heats up, bringing out summer wardrobe of dresses & repaired a pair of sandals, planned a bday party dinner with grandgirls for their mother’s birthday with cake and homemade decorations, read “Band of Sisters” by Lauren Willig. It was an okay book-found myself skipping pages.

  40. Brandy I am loving seeing the progress of the garden. I remember when you redid the front yard and the wonderful online tour of it afterwards. I know it’s been a load of long hard work and an expense even with all the savings but it’s just going to be gorgeous and I expect you will have many many years of enjoyment from it when you’re all done so well worth the effort now.

    Trying to remember what we did last week. I’m sure I mentioned lawn mower repairs which unfortunately are still ongoing. One of the problems has been subpar parts that were ordered online. I appreciate my husband’s attempt to save money but boy did we get burned even though he didn’t order the ‘lowest priced’. We’ve made notes of the companies we’ve had failed parts from and will not be using those again! I continue to lobby to buy a new mower, and he continues to refuse. On the other hand, a new one to do the size yards he mows (ours and our son’s) would run about $6000 and we’re nowhere near that in repairs. And all the repairs have meant he’s been rather busy which means less tv and since that was his chosen hobby after retiring, I guess I’ll just hush and let him repair!lol
    I recovered the dining room chair seats. I need to be fabric protector to spray them with. Next project will be to tackle the recovering of the chair and ottoman. I am not a professional by any means but I’ve found in taking my time, stopping to check fitting many many times over and stepping away to think over difficult things means I can make passably good slipcovers that are fitted. Now I’m going to attempt to actually recover the chair. Honestly the very first time I decided to do that with a chair I had a hammer and nails and fabric and NO ONE ever noticed the fabric was nailed on. I won’t do that with this chair, lol. I think I’ve evolved a bit in my skills in the past 15 years!
    I bought whole chickens and cut them into parts and packaged them up for meals for us. I also noted while waiting on the butcher to bring out the whole chickens that the store had not repriced the boneless skinless breasts yet from last week’s sale. So I got two packages of those and split them up into tenderloins, thinly sliced a portion off the thicker upper part of each breast that I’ll use for stir fry and then split the remaining breast meat into portions. I put 18 chicken meals for us into the freezer.
    I planted out all the seeds I purchased. I see little sign that the ones planted two weeks ago have taken but we’ve had some colder nights and we actually had mornings and evenings last week when the heat came on once more. I’m going to be patient and see if any of the seeds come along after the soil warms. I’ve had them sit for weeks before without germinating and then suddenly take off.
    I ordered a dress online that was well priced and will go with other things in my closet. I don’t typically wear a dress but this one looked like it would suit me and is casual which is my lifestyle.
    I’ve made sure we eaten all the food that we’ve prepared or brought into the house. I’ve warned dear husband that the soup he’s turned down twice for lunch will appear on the table and there will not be another choice. I did put half the leftovers of that into the freezer.
    That’s about all I can think of for this week. I’m so accustomed to living frugally that many things I do just don’t stand on because they are auto-repeat things.

  41. I wanted to share something that I discovered for those who have SNAP, Medicaid, or have received the free lunch program or even received a Pell Grant. It is called the Emergency Broadband Benefit https://www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit If your internet provider participates, this may be a help of a discount of up to $50 for internet per month. Our provider does not participate, but I am hoping that sending this out to others will help someone else and I’ll be so pleased if people are able to benefit.

  42. I think your comment about teaching our children skills is so true. Both of our adult children have thanked us for teaching them how to do practical things around the house. They were shocked when they went to college and most of their friends didn’t know how to do these things. Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were chicken salsa with seasoned rice and tossed salads, burgers with homemade fries, beef stroganoff with noodles and green beans, salmon with rice and green beans, lots of leftovers (trying for no food waste).
    *Went to a meeting for an upcoming church event and received a free lunch.
    *Cut my husband’s and my hair.
    *Hosted a young college couple from our church overnight. Their lease had run out and they came back to town for graduation. Fed them from the pantry.
    *Accepted a free breakfast sandwich and a free lunch at work.
    *Sent 2 cards from my stash.
    *Ordered 2 gifts for upcoming showers/weddings from Target, allowing for free shipping. I also received $1 off for shipping it all together and $.69 for a reward I had.
    *Cancelled my free trial of Amazon Prime.

  43. I love seeing the progress on your garden! It’s been so long since I’ve checked in, but I finally had a moment to sit down and catch up on some of your recent posts. Many thanks to whoever posted the fast-germination of carrots info….that man’s videos are endlessly entertaining and I’ve learned so much. Currently have several buckets of veggies growing on my deck thanks to him (and the person who posted!)

    We’ve been hovering around temps in the 70s for the past few weeks, so my garden is starting to take off. We’ve enjoyed several salads. I always learn something or find a great deal when I read your posts and comments. Today’s find was asparagus. We moved to this house at the end of last summer and one of the things I really wanted to do was set up an asparagus patch and some fruit trees. I planted several semi-dwarf fruit trees last year. Today I ordered a few sets of asparagus, strawberries, a blueberry bush, and another pear tree, all from Stark Bros. Can’t wait til those are providing some yummy treats for us! I’ve been trying to plant something daily. Succession planting is not a skill I’ve mastered. In the past, I only ever had time for a summer garden that was planted once and done — when school started back, I always gave up on the garden. This year, though, I’m living closer to work so I have a bit more time to manage it. I’ve planted 4 raised beds with tomatoes, snap peas, beets, summer squash, butternut squash, zucchini, swiss chard, sweet potatoes, carrots, rhubarb, and candy onions. One Garden Tower has broccoli, bok choy and salad greens; one small stacked planter has strawberries. The 8 Earthboxes have tomatoes, green beans, peppers, squash, canteloupe, and herbs. The flower beds have been planted with wildflowers and nasturtium. I also have various pots and planters all over the deck and patio with container-friendly beans, squash, greens, and carrots. We have a good size backyard so I want to expand into more raised beds. Just trying to fit it in to the budget over time. I don’t save money on gardening (seems like I spend double compared to everyone else), but it’s a great hobby and it makes me feel good to feed my family good food that I grew myself.

    Tomorrow is the last day of school (a half day) and I am so ready for summer. This has been such a crazy school year. I had a terrific group of students this year. I’m worn out, though, and definitely looking forward to a break. I plan to spend almost every second at home in my garden. I’m grateful that I won’t need to fill the van with gas as often because it’s very scarce here — my daughter was in a panic this weekend because she stopped at 6 gas stations and they were all sold out of gas. I knew of one station that had it earlier in the day (because I’d filled my van) and took her there at 9pm. The gas was coming out SO SLOW — as in one penny at a time — so they must have been almost out again. A lady filling up her car next to us asked me if mine was moving slow, too. She said the station had been empty the day before, so they must have just gotten it filled that day…and already selling out.

    1. Dianna- I’m the one who gave the link to the fast germination of carrot seeds- https://youtu.be/lA7tLgxNfk4. The carrots we planted in a bucket using his method are thriving! We are so excited!! Hope you have equally good luck!!

      Gardenpat in Ohio

  44. So fun hearing and seeing about your garden progress, Brandy! I admire all you do so much.
    A peaceful week here. My son got a job, so we are holding our breath, hoping this works better with his mental health issues. He is such a great guy, praying he can find something that “sticks”.
    Came in under budget on groceries, even with filling some gaps in the pantry, so that made me happy. I too, am sad about the price increases, and trying to be extra careful.
    Enjoying my time using up my stash of yarn while watching old shows that I love. The ultimate entertainment for this old girl. Also have enjoyed reading books I got for Mother’s Day.
    Cooking from home…some meals have been BLT pasta salad, chicken stir fry, chicken ceasar salad, tacos, cheap frozen pizza and breakfast for dinner. My husband expressed appreciation of my cooking dinner each night. We do have a date out once a week, but his tummy does better when I cook. That made me feel good. It is nice to feel appreciated.
    I’ve been tossing catalogs in the recycling bin before even looking at them, saving me from wanting things I don’t need.
    I’ve been practicing gratitude each day by pausing and really thinking about all my blessings. It’s been good and helps me be more content with what I have. That really seems to be the essence of a happy life to me.
    Everyone have a wonderful week!

  45. I’m with the Amish ladies! I have reused lids for a few years and have never had a failure. Of course, I’m careful. I make sure they aren’t bent and the sealing ring is intact. If there is a tiny dimple in the middle of the lid from opening it with a church key, it hasn’t mattered. This doesn’t seem to affect the seal. I reuse lids mainly for applesauce, jam, etc., where it wouldn’t matter if I had to freeze it if the lid failed. I don’t reuse lids for anything that has to be pressure canned. Twist-off, pop-up lids–the kind that usually come on jam and pickle jars–also will reseal on the original type jar. No failures here so far.

    While I’m at it, let’s talk about freezing in canning jars. I have had spectacularly bad luck freezing in quarts. When the food expands, the jar cracks. However, I’ve had good luck (no breakage so far, knock on wood) freezing in wide mouth pints. I especially like the old-style Ball pint jars that are wider at the top than the bottom (they have a fruit pattern embossed in the glass). Also, I’ve had good luck freezing soup in quart pickle jars with twist-off caps. The glass is quite heavy. Also, the jars are straight-sided.

    1. Sorry for the near-duplicate post! I left the computer and came back and didn’t realize the first had posted.

    2. I have had very good luck freezing liquids in regular pint sized canning jars. There have been a couple of occasions when a jar has cracked. The main thing I freeze is chicken broth. I also find it very convenient to freeze unused portions of things like tomato sauce, cream soups, whole or diced green chilis, legumes etc. We grate our own parmesan cheese and freeze it in jars. There are 2 things I think might contribute to my success rate – I first put them in the refrigerator for a while and then move move them to the freezer. Also I leave the lids loose to start with and tighten after they are frozen. And of course don’t fill to the brim. You need to leave room for expansion and air to escape.

      I also use quart size jars to store dry goods using a vacuum sealer. You can buy adapters for both regular and wide mouth jars to remove the air and the food keeps a long, long time. You will need a vacuum sealer that works with the attachments. I feel like I have avoided using a huge number of zip loc bags this way. I use this for cereals, dried beans, dried fruit, rice, dried pasta, etc.

    3. I’ve had bad luck freezing in Ball quart jars, even when I leave a lot of head-room. It’s sort of strange.

  46. I was happy to receive a coupon I had ordered for a free pack of mini coke cans. Also received an ad with a coupon for a free 6 pack of hamburger buns at Cobs. Free is always good.

  47. Maxine,
    I, too, have had bad luck freezing in quart jars. That is the only time I get broken jars. I always made sure there was plenty of room for expansion, but still 50% of the time I would end up with a broken jar. I will try your suggestion of using pickle jars. I will also try reusing lids for items I can freeze if they do not seal. I am a product of my “raisings.” I was taught never to reuse lids, just bands. Botulism is something I do not want to experience so I have always followed grandma’s rule about using lids once. Thanks to you and Brandy for the suggestions.

    1. I, too, was a product of my raising! But I learned that botulism can grow even in jars that seal–it can growsin the absence of air. BUT, it only grows in low-acid food, like vegetables, and it occurs because the jar didn’t get hot enough to kill the spores. Mike’s aunt (who was afraid of pressure cookers) used to process green beans for 3 hours in a boiling water bath (I shudder when I think of this). Lot of people used to do this. The jars sealed. But boiling water (212F) is not hot enough to kill botulism no matter how long you process it. That’s why veggies are pressure canned–to get the higher temp.

      You don’t get botulism from fruits or pickles (because of the vinegar). A jar of food whose lid doesn’t seal will mold, so you’d know.

  48. We used 10 lbs of chicken this week for $3.60 cents. We had barbecued chicken, tarragon chicken salad and stuffed chicken croissants with cheese. I also made asparagus and asparagus soup. I made a carrot cake with carrots from our garden. Our chickens haven’t been laying, or they are eating their eggs. But I bought eggs at Aldi for 67 cents a dozen. We have been spending more time at home, saving money on gas. It has been raining daily here. When it stops I want to get more things in the ground. The bright spot is the everything that is in the ground now is soaking up the water. We have enjoyed opening our windows daily, saving on electric.

  49. We reuse canning lids and so do all the Amish/Mennonite around us. I also have a good supply of Tattler lids along with my bulk supply of regular and wide mouth lids.
    We have decided any money we save (discount, clearance, coupons, refunds, cash back etc.) gets split 50/50 between savings and mortgage.

    Hubby used a coupon to combine with a sale for items he needed for the pond saving 10%.

    J, Amish man that is doing our basement entrance and ramp made a deal with us that if we bought all the supplies instead of him, he would take off 10%. PLUS we found a concrete company that would deliver ready made mix for free for 20% lower than the company J uses. They also take credit card so we can use the cash back card . That pays for the whole area to be concrete instead of block for the entrance and concrete for the ramp AND reduces the costs of labor. J said he would work with Hubby about Saturdays only and thought 2 Saturdays would be enough instead of 3. Hubby is using our tractor to do the digging so he won’t have to take off work.

    We combined errands and doctor appts. Ate from pantry and freezers except for one lunch, Ate asparagus, green onions radishes, spinach and turnip greens from gardens. Bartered radishes for a loaf of bread from Amish neighbor. Cancelled Show Time that was free with our new tv before they started charging. Did the normal open/shut windows and curtains after turning off furnace. Was 80 in house yesterday. I turned on 1 ceiling fan for about an hour then turned it off when the breeze picked up.

    I planted tomatoes, eggplants, watermelon, old fashion muskmelon, Spanish onions (winter storage), curly parsley, dill, cilantro, marigolds, zinnias, 3 fountain grass, dwarf burning bush, forsythia bush, 2 fig trees and 2 cherry trees.

    I am in process of flipping winter cold weather clothes, bedding and linen out for the summer stuff. Ordered on clearance tee shirts for both of us as that’s what we wear when working the farm.

    I read The Kitchen Front and thought of my parents. Neither of their families got rations . Daddy never went hungry but Mother sure did once from Christmas ever to the day after Christmas when grandma threatened grandpa that she would leave him if the kids ever went without food again because of his pride. He didn’t want to work WPA as that was beneath him. He went to work that day for WPA.

    I transferred money to savings and made extra payment on mortgage. Then got the news the riding mower was going down and the parts to fix it after this time was not going to be available. We were advised (by ex son in law and grandson that both work landscaping) amongst others we needed a commercial mower for the farm. One of the Amish told Hubby where to go. We got a Bob Cat mower, that was on sale of 20% off, with a 4% discount on top of that and a free mulching blade (so won’t need to buy bagger or rake and gather with tractor bucket)… wiped out the extra money that was in checking that I was going to zero out. BUT for the first time I wasn’t have to wipe out ALL the savings.

    Blessed Be
    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2021/05/savings-and-mortgage.html

    1. “One of the Amish told hubby where to go.” Honestly, Juls, I stopped breathing for a minute until I figured out exactly how you meant this. 😀

  50. Love the “sneak peek” of the yard – looks amazing!

    *I’ve been dealing with dd health issues. Discovered loads of information from “official” website and ideas to help with food/dietary concerns. IBS is not fun and I’m thrilled we’ve had some better days for her with new dietary ideas. She was at school every day last week. Her last week of school is next week and they’ve decided that the kids don’t need to wear masks for the last week of school.

    *My husband and I bought cement blocks to lift up our raised garden beds. We researched railroad ties, other lumber, even using an old kitchen table. Decided to use the cement blocks. We have a large truck. My husband bought and loaded them in the truck. We’ve been unloading them ourselves and building the structure the way we want it to be. He broke one of the blocks. I saved the part not broken and placed it in my flower bed to plant a flower in it.

    *My grocery bill went up last week because I bought some needed medications. But I bought the larger sizes where the price point was lower. Also bought generic brands. I’m so grateful for generic – sometimes it was 1/2 the cost of the name brand.

    *Made all meals from scratch. Still not using a meal plan because of our fluctuating numbers of who is at home. Made BLT’s, spaghetti and noodles, mexican beef that was served over rice, in tortillas and used for nachos. I’m using the last of the meat in a salad for our dinner. Made hard-boiled eggs to put in lunches and have for snacks. Also popped popcorn several times and left it in a big bowl on the counter. Completely eaten and gone. Such a cheap and easy snack.

    *I’m still exercising daily, daily journaling, reading library books and doing cross stitch when I have time. For some reason, I also have been enjoying a small nap during the day. It is so peaceful to sleep with birds chirping and a fan on overhead. My husband and I sit on the deck in the mornings and evenings to enjoy the quietness of that time of day. I’ve enjoyed the sounds of birds chirping. I’m really enjoying having our yard enclosed with privacy slats.

    *So far everything in my food garden is growing. Always a good thing! In the flower beds, I lost one zinnia plant that I had purchased. I don’t know why but I have better luck starting zinnias from seed than I ever do buying them from a gardening place. My peonies are almost ready to bloom and my clematis is growing crazy and should start blooming in the next week or so. My daisies are growing tall but I haven’t seen any buds yet. Love all my happy pink petunia faces in my beds. My salvia is quite lovely right now.

    Wishing everyone a wonderful week!

  51. Let’s see. This week I was very lucky to benefit from my local Buy Nothing group. I picked up some steel wool scrubbers I needed to rescue a cast iron pan, and a tomato cage for my one rogue plant that had nothing to climb! I am slowly but surely working through all the random things in my freezer that I have put away over the year in order to make room for the upcoming summer produce. Some meals this week have included: roasted potatoes and carrots, buttermilk biscuits, quinoa salad, couscous, and others that I forget. I don’t eat meat with the exception of poultry on occasion or fish if my Dad catches it. He is headed into his favorite season for fishing so I should be able to restock my freezer here soon! Once you’ve had fresh caught salmon or halibut, you’ll never want store bought again.

    I picked up 7 library books and dropped off 4 that I had completed. The library is just my favorite thing in the world. I love love love that I can keep up with all my reading and not have to buy the books. If there is a book that I really want to add to my library I will try to find it second hand at one of the many local options (we love our bookstores here in Portland).

    My mom helped me mend my slippers as I am not as good with mending as she is.

    My parents are moving and have been dropping off things they have saved for me throughout the years. A vintage clock, their wedding china, some books, a hand sewn quilt, dog treats. I am only taking the things I actually need/will use and everything else is headed to be donated. No reason to keep things just to keep them.

    That’s all I can think of for now. I am so grateful for this community and group of like minded people to keep encouraging me even when things get challenging. Take care all.

  52. Cooking vegetable soup today from ingredients from the garden, both fresh and frozen. I love shopping in my backyard rather than driving a half hour or more to the grocery store! Your garden is looking absolutely beautiful Brandy! I look forward to seeing pictures when you are finished!

  53. Hello all-
    I have been lurking on this website and comments for quite awhile and decided to jump into the community. I have so enjoyed learning from Brandy and the rest of the community.

    My husband and I recently followed God’s leading and I quit my job to join him in running our family business. This was a very hard decision to leave a steady paycheck, but God made it very clear that this was His plan for us. While financially it will be harder I do think this move will benefit my mental health, our family as well as our business.

    Frugal accomplishments this week:
    -Opted for 4 and 6 packs of vegetable starts instead of the fancier $4 for one plant options. Spent about $40 for 12 tomato plants, 20 bell peppers, 6 jalapenos, 4 celery, a flat of annual flowers, and a few other plants. I was very happy with this!
    -Working on planting out my garden and hope to be done by Sunday.
    -Used up some natural fertilizers I found in my garage instead of buying more.
    -My daughter wondered how many nights in a row we could eat Mexican food for dinner. I decided to accept this challenge since it is a frugal cuisine that everyone in my family enjoys. We are on night 7 and going strong. Every night has been something different but uses lots of rice, beans, and pico de gallo. It’s been fun and frugal!

    Enjoy your week everyone!

  54. Last year was my first time canning anything. I went a little crazy on my “practice” jellies. I tried to make jelly from peach peels but didn’t realize I needed to stick with small batches. Had to keep adding pectin, lemon juice, and sugar to get it to set. Ended up with WAY more jelly than needed — a couple of dozen half-pint jars of jelly that my kids didn’t even like. So now, a year later, they have eaten all the strawberry jam but they do not want the lemon-peach (I don’t blame them, it doesn’t taste great.)

    Does anyone have ideas about how I can use it up? I was thinking maybe shortbread thumbprint cookies or something. I want to be able to reuse the jars this year for strawberry jam. I hate to waste the jelly, but if no one will eat it, I will just count it as a learning experience and empty the jars.

    1. Dianna:
      We aren’t big jelly eaters and had been given a few jars that weren’t being eaten. I made sort of like an apple crisp with the jelly as the fruit, (a crust of oatmeal, butter, sugar– lots of variations on the recipe).
      It was very good, and would be less fuss than scooping out cookies.

    2. Heat it and use as a glaze on chicken, make barbecue sauce with it, use fresh peaches and use it as the glaze for a fresh peach pie (like fresh strawberry pie), heat it and mix with maple syrup for a peach maple syrup for pancakes or waffles, again heat and this out with water and add to lemonade for peach lemonade. I also add jelly or jam to Greek yogurt to flavor it. Ad some fruit chunks as well and you will have great yogurt. You could also put this in a graham cracker crust and freeze for a refreshing pie!

      Hope this helps

  55. Brandy, you walkway looks amazing! This week I saved money by not shopping for groceries and making meals with the items that I have on hand.

    *I made homemade bread, homemade rice a roni and noodle roni, used the ends of my homemade bread to make parmesan crisps, popcorn for snacks,, homemade pizza with homemade sauce, pulled ham from the freezer from Easter for 2 dinners, vegetable stir fry with veggies that needed to be used in the fridge, used up eggs that were getting old for lunches and breakfasts.

    *My Mom had a pile of things that she was donating, and she let me look through it first. I was thrilled to take a small 3 drawer organizer, a new pair of heavy garden gloves, a Coach eyeglasses case and a Kate Spade tote bag size purse. The purse has pen stains throughout the inside, but I can clean the lining. I’m not really buying anything except needs right now, so it’s fun to have some new things for free! My Mom also paid me for driving her to her doctor’s appointments, She no longer drives, so I was grateful for that extra money. (I happily drive her for free, but it’s nice to get a little “tip” now and then!!!)

    *Our city is having a curbside junk pickup day tomorrow, so I will take advantage of that to get rid of a few things. This will save me from paying the fees at the dump.

    *I was just offered to pick up fabric stashes for free from 2 different people. One is 2 large garbage bags of quilting fabric and the other is a basement full of fabrics from someone who worked in a fabric store. I’m so torn about it. I closed my sewing business last year and gave away a lot of fabric. I haven’t even set up my machines since we moved into our new house last August because I’m so busy with my new more lucrative business. Now I’m wondering if the Universe if trying to tell me something? I have to see if I have room to store it all before I accept. I guess it’s a good problem to have.

    *I bought a large lot of items on Facebook Marketplace for my business. The seller gave me a HUGE plastic Rubbermaid Tote along with it, I am very happy to have it for lawn tools in my shed! Those super large totes are quite expensive!

    *Hope everyone has a great week! I’m always excited to read everyone’s frugal adventures!

  56. Got most of the garden planted – will have to replant some due to a faulty sprinkler (sigh). Not a big deal, but annoying as it took out a row of melon and squash seedlings. Thankfully I have seeds to be able to replant.

    Sold leftover tomato and pepper plants – made over $50. Applied for a new job – and the recruiter told me there would be a pay increase to make up for overtime and weekend pay. I wasn’t expecting that, so it was a pleasant surprise.

  57. I bought 20 cans of chicken and turkey for $1 each — normally about $2.67 so saved $33.40. I was given some asparagus and fiddlehead greens as an early birthday gift. I still hope to buy several bunches of asparagus as the Alberta asparagus is so sweet and lovely (due to our cool nights).
    I am also buying two large tins of Maple Leaf canned ham for $4.48 (usually $7.48) (so saved another $6). Up until now, I have not had any emergency supplies of meat in my pantry but this is going to make up for it. I had hoped not to buy any food this month but was glad to see the canned meat on sale. I bought a few geraniums for 99 cents each – they are much bigger than usual so that was a plus. They were victims of the wind though but I think they will recover. I now brought all of the plants inside as there’s a risk of frost tonight. I saw online that MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op had a pair of jeans on sale reduced from $99 t0 $45. Fortunately, I held off buying them as tonight I found an almost new pair in a size I can wear (found them in the basement). It has been a really stressful week and I now have a rash that looks like shingles. I’m treating myself to a small carton of ice cream. (may not be able to wear the jeans for long — LOL). We had snow but it did not stay and we missed the worst of it.

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