I picked blackberries from the garden. This is earlier than I usually harvest blackberries, and the berries are much larger than usual. I planted a new kind of blackberries (Prime Ark Freedom) in my garden a couple of years ago, but this is the first time they have made fruit. The earlier bearing means that they set fruit before it is really hot, which makes for larger berries, but this type also seems to make berries that are at least twice, if not three times larger than the other kind I have grown for many years. Having both kinds should make for a longer and larger blackberry harvest. All of my blackberries are thornless.

One of the ten plants has sent out runners so far (my other kinds do not). I carefully dug them and transplanted them to new places in the garden.

I also harvested apricots, snow peas, parsley, lettuce, tomatoes, peppermint, thyme, and Swiss chard from the garden.

I collected snow pea seeds from the garden and pulled out my pea plants. I have been letting most of them go to seed, so I collected seeds to plant in the fall.

I added worm castings to these spots and then planted seeds for Armenian cucumbers from ones I had collected from my own garden.

I sowed seeds for peanuts, green onions, basil, zinnias, hollyhocks, roselle hibiscus, and morning glories in the garden.

I buried kitchen scraps in the garden to improve my soil fertility. I love that these are completely gone in four to five weeks. It’s the simplest method of composting.

I baked biscuits from scratch twice.

I returned two things that I bought online that were the wrong size/color.

I shortened two pairs of jeans into shorts for my youngest daughter.

I bought two things at community garage sales: a large metal clock with Roman numerals, which was something I have been searching for online for some time–and I only paid $20 for it (I shared photos in my Instagram stories). I also bought two ice cube trays (that make long, skinny cubes) for $1; I was looking at some of these online the week before to make lavender blossom ice cubes for a garden party that I’m hosting next week. This price was a lot less than I saw for new ones!

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. This was a pretty good week, savings-wise. My husband and son volunteered at a Boy Scout event, an ox roast (actually prime rib). They are always allowed to bring home the not so pretty meat that they don’t sell, but the event was not as well attended as previous years, so my husband was able to buy a full roast, too. He paid $20 for it. He also brought home some of the other meat – all told, we put about 25 pounds of meat in the freezer for that $20 investment and their time. I sorted through the meat, removing the fat and the not so good pieces, then simmered that for about 45 minutes and will have probably 3 quarts if not more of beef broth for the freezer! I worked the primary election on Tuesday, which pays $200. I am also happy to do it – being able to vote is a privilege, and I’m thankful to help in the process. I had another girls weekend (I’m about tripped out and look forward to staying home until our vacation in August). We only ate out once, for breakfast, so it was cheaper anyway. I made chicken Alfredo, and we ate it for three meals! LOL We also worked in our garden – I weeded our potato patch, and my husband and son-in-law planted beans and corn.

  2. My husband is currently planting our garden for this year. I went shopping at Goodwill and bought nothing. I am looking for specific items for my wardrobe. I cleaned the food pantry donation box at church and brought home a few expired items since we can not give those away. I don’t mind using items slightly past the date. We brought home several leftover muffins from a Mothers Day treat at church. They would go to waste otherwise. I tried to use a minimal amount of products in my home. Toiletries, cleaning products, etc. I always try to minimize the amount of ingredients in a recipe that won’t affect the outcome. Like half a stick of butter instead of the whole stick that is called for. Every little bit helps without affecting my quality of life.

  3. Seeing your blackberry harvest makes me envious! It’s still too early here, but my cuttings that I took in the fall have given me more starts to plant and my blackberry bed is coming to life now with green leaves! Crossing my fingers we get the good harvest we got last summer!! The rest of the garden is coming up and looks good so we are looking forward to harvesting more than just salad greens (that we are grateful for! )

    Laura S- I just saw your comment today from last week asking for the homemade 3 ingredient ricotta cheese recipe, so here it is: https://pin.it/6UV98lt. Hope you enjoy it as much as we have. Also, you can use the leftover whey from the ricotta to make MORE ricotta: https://pin.it/1Bxcf8f. Pretty cool, imo!

    This week we got Quilt #249 quilted up for a client. https://pin.it/LJpSZoL. Simple quilt pattern but I think the quilting design really adds something special to it! Then I quilted up Quilt #250- https://pin.it/3j1INuI , https://pin.it/4XJSzry and https://pin.it/53WkSAF – a vintage quilt top from the 1940’s that I bought at a farm estate auction. Several flour sacks were used in it. I think I’m going to put it up for sale. Quilts #251 and #252 came in from a client and here is what they looked like after I quilted them- https://pin.it/21DxKGl and https://pin.it/5NYsccM. After those were finished, 2 more quilts came in from a new client. Here they are, quilted up now- #253 and #254- https://pin.it/wMuFKZl and https://pin.it/2O2BCwN, https://pin.it/7IAElZQ.

    My daughter-in-law texted me on Wednesday to tell me that her ALDIs had put bananas on clearance for 5 cents a pound. They were yellow but not spotted or mushy. She got some for their family with 6 kids and then called me. I went over and spent $5.50 and came home with 110 pounds of bananas! 😱. 45 pounds went to my daughter with the new (used) 23 cubic foot chest freezer they just bought at a farm estate auction. 20 pounds went to another daughter for her family. Another 20 pounds went to some friends with 6 kids (including 3 teens). The final 25 pounds are for us which we will eat fresh, freeze and dehydrate. We will also take some nice ones to share with some of our older friends as a “thinking of you” treat! I already made 3 loaves of banana walnut bread. I was going to make one loaf when I realized that I could put 3 loaves on one shelf in oven and using the same amount of time and electricity have 3 loaves instead of just 1!!

    One of my daughters called me on Saturday morning as she was grocery shopping because she saw Kroger brand frozen turkeys (about 21 pounds each) on clearance for 39 cents a pound! So a Turkey that was regularly priced $34.96 cost only $8.58!! https://pin.it/2VYwFjN She got 2 for herself, 2 for me and 2 for my other daughter! You can see from these two shopping trips that our little networking group of me, 2 daughters, 1 DIL and 2 friends really helps us stretch our food budget while increasing our pantries!
    I cooked up the first turkey on Sunday afternoon. We had a delicious Turkey dinner with mashed potatoes and green beans and then the rest of the first turkey was packaged, labeled and into the freezer. https://pin.it/xtJasah

    I was also able to get Ball 1/2 gallon mason jars for $12.68/case of 6 jars at Walmart. I love these for my vacuum sealing dry pantry items. I picked up 2 cases for one of these daughters too!

    I made up a big batch (56) of beef and bean burritos using my Frozen Assets cookbook. That recipe is easy, makes a big batch to freeze and we love the convenience. I have 2 tubes of “Grands”type biscuits so I’m used those as the crust to make runzas- meat pies(pastys) to use some of my cabbage! We will eat some and the rest will go on the top shelf in freezer.
    I used some of my Basic Cookie Mix and bananas to make Banana Coconut Delights cookies. Some we will enjoy fresh- some we will freeze! https://pin.it/2gNVnhe
    As I made the cookies, I finished up a quart jar with chopped walnuts and so I brought up a new vacuum sealed quart jar from the basement. I also noticed that my canister of coconut in the kitchen was getting depleted, so I brought up vacuum sealed quart jar of coconut and emptied it into the kitchen canister. It’s a good feeling to see that our food storage is regularly being used and that I can send empty jars back to the basement to await their next assignment! 😉

    We have been well provided for this week and are grateful that we could replenish our pantry. After our gentle rains during the night last night, the garden looks happy and I don’t have to water today. It also refilled our water barrels !! Hope everyone is finding some good and positive things around them!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Thank you Gardenpat, for the recipe! I can’t wait to try it! I sure wish we had a Kroger or a Kroger affiliate. You have given me so many new ideas for canning and quick meals…thank you! I love the vintage quilt! Many blessings to you and yours.

    2. wow! Some great buys. The 6 pack of 1/2 gallon Mason jars at my Walmart are $38.49! I read all the info in comments so I can get ideas and also check pricing. Sadly, I’m not having your great buy this time.

      1. Barbara- I had heard online on a FB group about the 1/2 gallon jars. We have about 8 WMs in our City. I first looked on WM website and saw that some WM had the jars for $34 and a few had them for $12.68. So I went to 2 of them that had them for that price. It may be that when they reorder them for those stores that the price will be higher. If you have more than one in your area, you might check online to see price and local availability. With gas prices what they are, that is my go-to way of doing things to reduce unproductive trips!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

        1. Gardenpat, I am not in the market for half-gallon jars, but this is GREAT ADVICE for all shopping. Thank you!

      2. Barbara, that is the shipping price for the jars. at my Walmart Neighborhood store which carries only groceries and pharmacy type items. If you are using the app and have a Walmart Supercenter near you, change to that store (presuming you don’t already have it set to one) and see if you get the in-store price if they are in stock. My price for these same jars is $13.97 at the 2 supercenters that have them in stock. The other 2 supercenters don’t have them. I hope thpat helps

      1. Vivian Blossom- Here is the recipe I use for
        Beef and Bean Burritos:
        4 Tablespoons oil
        2 onions chopped (2 cups fresh chopped)
        4 pounds ground beef (I use 3-4 of my freezer bags of 2-1//2 cups precoooked ground beef
        4 cloves garlic, minced
        2 Tablespoons chili powder
        2. Teaspoons cumin
        Salt and pepper to taste
        16 ounces tomato sauce
        62 ounces (7-3/4 cups) refried beans (canned or homemade)
        24 flour tortillas
        Sauté onion in oil until tender. Add beef and garlic and cook through. Drain. Add chili powder, cumin and other seasonings. Stir in tomato sauce and simmer 5 minutes. Add refried beans, cook and stir until well blended. Put a small amount of mixture into the center of tortilla. Roll up, burrito style. To freeze: place seam side down on cookie sheet and freeze until frozen. Wrap individually and return them to freezer.
        You can a these before freezing or place frozen burrito into microwave.

        I usually get WAY more than 24. This batch made 52 for us!

          1. Dawnelle- Cheese! Yes, of course I add cheese! Lol!! I didn’t even notice that it was listed in the recipe! 🥴 Sorry for the omission!!

            Gardenpat in Ohio

    3. Pat – I love all of the quilts that you have made but have to say this is my absolute favorite. While it may not have the artistry of a lot of ‘modern’ quilts this one is so evocative of another time. Flour sacks were a literally a God send and were used for so many things. I look at this one and wonder about the woman who put this together and what each piece meant to her. If some were from articles of clothing that she’d made from the flour sacks and then were used as pieces for her quilt. If her heart was light, or heavy, sorrowful or joyous as she put each block together.

      I do have a question for you. I have a small sized quilt of double wedding ring pattern that was made from blocks my great-grandmother made. She passed before she could make enough for a full size quilt and when my paternal grandmother found the blocks (this was her beloved and lovely mother) she had a local woman make it into a quilt. She said she mentioned that they had their first grandchild – a girl (me – almost 70 years ago!) to the woman. Somehow the woman put the small size and the idea of a granddaughter and backed it with yellow ducks. Not what my grandmother had wanted! My parents hung it in their beautiful Victorian home in D.C. for many years – my dad made a custom frame to support it. That way the ducks and side panels weren’t seen. It was a show piece in their dining area!

      Long winded way to the question. Can the quilt have another backing and side panels (not sure of the term) attached over the ducks somehow? Or should I just keep it as is? I’ve researched how to wash it – in a bathtub with mild soap and laid out to dry flat. I’ll need help with that but have a friend who game for anything so she said she’d help!

      Thank you and one more comment. I have created pictures in my mind of so many of the lovely women who comment on Brandy’s blog. And you are one of my favorites. Sometimes your (and others) positive comments have lifted my heart on those grey days. I feel as if there are ‘angels amongst us’ – unaware perhaps of doing angel work but putting so much caring spirit out into the world. Thank you!

      1. Absolutely beautifully written and such kindness
        It’s why I come here every day to read and live

      2. S. Co. Mary, what a beautiful way to put into words what my mind does as well, with the quilts and the lovely women on this blog.

      3. S.CO Mary- What a treasure you have!! If it were me, I don’t think I would attempt to change the backing to it for fear of possibly damaging the quilt top. I (and I’m sure everyone else) would love to see photos of this quilt.
        On dreary days, your kind words buoy me up and I truly am grateful for what a safe haven and nurturing blog and forum Brandy has created! It’s easy with all the voices and images blasting at us to lose sight of the kindness and good that there is for us to tune in to!
        Thanks for such an uplifting message!!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

      1. Morgan Willhite- So kind of you to say! Thank you! After we get back from our granddaughter’s graduation in Houston next Saturday, I’ll have Hubs post the vintage quilt up on my website and we’ll see if anyone wants to buy it! Fingers crossed!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

    4. Pat, I love your vintage quilt. I have one made by my great-great-grandmother (from flour sacks) and it is my most cherished possession.

  4. I love your gorgeous photography, Brandy!

    Thank you for sharing your method of composting! Would that work in a container garden too, do you think? Just burying kitchen scraps?

    Here is what we did to save money last week:
    1. I planted dill, spinach, carrots, lavender, and mint in our container garden. The mint will keep harmful pests away, and the lavender will add beauty to our surroundings!
    2. It was a joy to sit outside on the deck and enjoy a few meals. I didn’t need to drive anywhere, and it was like being in a lovely haven to relax and unwind.
    3. We cooked all our meals from scratch and ate them at home.
    4. I cooked all my husband’s lunches and breakfasts and sent the lunches with him to work.
    5. I cooked whole pasture-raised chickens in the crockpot to make delicious broth and to save money (instead of buying chicken breasts).
    6. It was a pleasure to line dry all our clothing and kitchen towels!
    7. I listened to a fascinating library audio book about introverts and read a homemaking book I purchased second hand.
    8. We gladly took our vitamins to maintain good health. Being under the weather is expensive!
    9. It was a joy to get some spring cleaning and all our weekly house cleaning completed using a natural cleaning concentrate that didn’t dry out my hands or make me cough!

      1. I . I am always in awe of all you all the do, cooking, gardening, quilting and far sharing your great deals. You are very fortunate to build a support group. Hats of to you.
        The banana coconut delights cookies. I tried to find the recipe. But no luck. If you don’t mind, I would love it if you could send the recipe to me.

        1. Sweet Sue- Thanks for your kind words! Here are the recipes for the cookies. I start out by making Basic Cookie Mix.
          Basic Cookie Mix
          8 cups flour
          2-1/2 cups sugar
          2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
          4 teaspoons salt
          1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
          3 cups vegetable shortening
          In a large bowl, combine flour, sugars, salt and baking soda until well blended. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles cornmeal in texture. Put in large airtight container. Label. Store in cool, dry place. Use within 3 months. Makes about 16 cups of mix.

          Banana Coconut Delight cookies
          2 cups Basic Cookie Mix
          1 cup flaked coconut
          1 medium banana, mashed
          1 teaspoon vanilla extract
          1 egg, beaten
          1/2 cup chopped nuts
          1/2 cup rolled oats
          Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In medium bowl, combine Cookie Mix, coconut, banana, vanilla and egg. Beat well. Stir in chopped nuts and rolled oats. Drop by teaspoonfuls on to prepared cookie sheets. Bake 10- 12 minutes, until edges are browned. Makes about 36 cookies.
          Hope you enjoy !
          Gardenpat in Ohio

        1. Sweet Sue- Thanks for your kind words! Here are the recipes for the cookies. I start out by making Basic Cookie Mix.
          Basic Cookie Mix
          8 cups flour
          2-1/2 cups sugar
          2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
          4 teaspoons salt
          1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
          3 cups vegetable shortening
          In a large bowl, combine flour, sugars, salt and baking soda until well blended. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles cornmeal in texture. Put in large airtight container. Label. Store in cool, dry place. Use within 3 months. Makes about 16 cups of mix.

          Banana Coconut Delight cookies
          2 cups Basic Cookie Mix
          1 cup flaked coconut
          1 medium banana, mashed
          1 teaspoon vanilla extract
          1 egg, beaten
          1/2 cup chopped nuts
          1/2 cup rolled oats
          Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In medium bowl, combine Cookie Mix, coconut, banana, vanilla and egg. Beat well. Stir in chopped nuts and rolled oats. Drop by teaspoonfuls on to prepared cookie sheets. Bake 10- 12 minutes, until edges are browned. Makes about 36 cookies.
          Hope you enjoy !
          Gardenpat in Ohio

  5. I looked into the Prime Ark Freedom blackberries, and even had three in my cart, but with shipping, it came to over $50, so it’s on hold for the moment. I will see if I can find any locally, even if it’s just one, and then make cuttings. They do sound wonderful! I believe the thornless variety I have are Arapaho. Last week, I harvested peas, asparagus, lambs quarter, kale, parsley, cilantro and lettuce. Peas and lambs quarter were blanched and frozen. Vegetable broth was canned, adding a dozen pints to the pantry. I fertilized several things with comfrey tea, and some with compost. Most of the remainder of last year’s garlic crop needed to be composted, but I was able to dry a tray’s worth for powder, and keep a little aside to cook with. I picked up a free card at Hallmark, and received a 5% senior discount at Harris Teeter. Only about half of the tromboncino and cucuzzi squash came up, so I replanted, and also planted some yellow and zucchini squash seeds. My husband prepared spots, and planted butter beans and purple pole beans, and mulched the tomatoes, peppers and basil. Counting on the forecasted rain, I planted many wintersown red veined sorrel in shady spots. Two pieces were divided from a hosta, and planted in a bed in front of my workshop. I also transplanted a volunteer dyer’s coreopsis, and repotted the Northern Sea Oats into larger, individual pots. Busy times in the garden! http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2022/05/a-good-garden-week.html

    1. The other ones I have are Arapaho, Apache and Navajo.

      Those are just setting fruit while I am harvesting the Prime Ark Freedom berries. I am delighted to prolong the harvest.

      There are other sellers out there so definitely shop around. The place where I got them no longer carries them, but I paid $81.90 for 10 plants. I double-checked and it was 2 years ago, so I will update the post.

    2. I did the same thing. When they won’t let you see the shipping until you are about to check out that is a bad sign. I had the same thing about buying one plant. Hmmm.

  6. Gas was $3.96 at Walmart in college town. It was $4.09 two hours further south and it looks like everywhere else it is $4.20 and more…sigh. I went to thrift store and purchase a pair of Dansko shoes in excellent shape for $7.99. Since they retail for $140, and I wear them exclusively at work, I was very happy. I also purchased a couple more t shirts for $1.99. I continue to harvest
    mulberries by putting sheets underneath the tree, collecting the berries, and then freezing them. The berries are smaller this year but there are a lot of them. I will easily get a years supply. I took my clothes to the laundromat but dried them outside. I see where some of y’all have commented about your washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, etc. not working well. I noticed at the laundromat that several of the washers and dryers are not working and this place was recently redone with new machines six months ago. I also washed several work clothes in the bathtub. Temps have reached 90 very humid degrees outside, 82 degrees inside, so and I broke down and turned on the air for a couple of hours. So much for me waiting until June 1st to turn on the air. I took my lunch to work. I made sandwiches and hamburgers this week for my grown kid. I bought hamburger meat, bananas, spinach, a sweet onion, and little tomatoes this week. I am simply buying replacement things, rather than stocking up because of the high prices this week…wow, just wow! I bought a replacement jar of mayo, and garlic powder at Target, both Target house brand, I cannot remember the name of it…Market something. I took my lunch to work. I missed eclipse because of clouds….sigh. I went to Moundville Archaeological Park on the Black Warrior River and got a senior discount and it was still $7. I have never been before and have wanted to go for thirty years. I should have gone when it was a lot cheaper years ago! I walked in my neighborhood.

    1. Cindy, it’s funny but I also bought a pair of Dansko shoes in a thrift store last week (for $5.99) and looked them up online and found out the real price…wow.

    2. I love Danskos so it is a particular thrill to find them at thrift stores. I even buy pairs not in my size and resell them on-line. Good score!

      1. My neighbor gifted me a pair of new danskos that were gifted to her as a bonus with another purchase. A half size too big was fixed with some insoles and I had shoes I could actually wear to wedding last weekend with my bad feet.

    3. I have a mulberry tree that I cut down years ago that still came back and I let it because I like the shade. I have just let the birds have berries but I will put a sheets down to see how many I can capture. I noticed the first dropped berry on my patio this afternoon. Thank you!

      1. I gather them once a day because when I tried to do it before work my hands were stained… lol. I forgot to add that my older son’s cat injured a small rabbit so my son put it down and then skinned it and made rabbit stew. He also has a fan in his RV where he lives, trying to save on air conditioning. We are fairly resourceful as a family I think. I was raised mostly by my grandma, who was born in the late 1800’s and raised six kids during the Depression so my hillbilly self has it ingrained in me not to waste food. While I was raised in north Alabama, I now live mostly in central and south Alabama and still try to not use the air conditioner. It is a window hearing and cooling unit that I got at Lowes ten yrs ago for just under $500 and I really don’t want to replace it yet if possible. I don’t use central air in south Alabama house, just this unit. Half the house is constantly shaded so that is a blessing in the summer, although hurricane Zeta dropped a tree on my roof a year and a half ago so I no longer have that tree for shade. It also punched a hole in my roof and the patch doesn’t match the rest of the white metal exactly but luckily it is on the backside of the house. I don’t go for aesthetics obviously… lol. It was under the insurance amount for the repair tho. I am just trying to keep my power bills as low as possible but rates are terrible.

  7. Brandy the fruit looks scrumptious!!
    -Garden is planted except for tomato, pepper, and basil plants. I pick them up Friday, they have been pre-ordered and paid for. Picked my first asparagus and it was yummy! Also bought a red rhubarb plant. My current one is outside the garden and I think it is root bound. It is producing but the ribs are smaller and there is not as many. I want to pick this season, so I bought the new start and planted it in the garden. I will pick off the current one and then this fall I will split it. I will plant half in the garden giving me 2 plants and give the other half to a friend to plant. Onions are up and potatoes are cracking the dirt, they were planted 2 weeks ago.
    -Only groceries bought were a gallon of milk at the store and 2 dozen eggs from a farm friend. So $9 for the week. No groceries wasted. Leftovers created into something else or eaten as leftovers.
    -I made a scalloped potato dish for supper one night and the leftovers were used the next day, I added broth and half and half and made potato soup on a cool and windy day. I also cooked a small half bone in ham we received free at a Christmas function. We had ham dinner Mother’s Day. I froze the bone and broth for soup. We had omelets with ham, fried ham slices, and ham and cheese sandwiches. I also froze one meal of ham as well. So that one free ham will make at least 6 meals for us. I am using less meat in meals these days to stretch the budget.
    -I pulled the last 2 ziplock bags of frozen tomatoes from the freezer and made tomato sauce and canned it.
    -I was able to get a couple of closets cleaned and organized. Some boxes taken to the thrift shop. I also moved my summer clothes to the front of my closet and the winter to the back.
    -We are able to have windows open during the day for fresh air. Right now we are in the period where we aren’t using heat or air. Nice on the electric bill. We have had some very nasty weather this last week. Tornadoes and lots of rain- 2 inches at my house. My daughter had 8 inches. The Mississippi River is at flood stage in multiple areas. We have a dam in the town where I live so that helps keep the River at bay. The dam is wide open! I wish I could share water with you guys that are in a drought. I expect we will have mosquitos soon.
    -The trees are leafing out. That includes all our fruit trees. Can’t wait to see the blooms.

    Have a great week!

  8. The picture of the apricots and blackberries are gorgeous! (and I don’t even like apricots!). I have a white bucket like the one pictured on your Amazon affiliate list, but I use it as a planter. (I use an old 5 gallon plastic bucket for weeding).

    Last week was cold and rainy in northern Idaho and very little gardening got done as a result. The seedlings are now living outdoors 24/7. The tomatoes, which hadn’t been doing well, finally gave up the ghost, so I’ll have to buy a few plants. The bell peppers and petunias are doing great! I cut the raspberries down to the ground last fall, painted RoundUp on the new leaves this spring and dug them out yesterday. I have no illusions I will actually get rid of them this easily, but it’s a start! I’m taking out the raspberries (a big loss) because we simply don’t have the room.

    I have a working dishwasher again! I picked it up at the appliance store and saved the $25 delivery fee. Store employees loaded it into the truck and the installer unloaded it so all I had to do was drive it home. The appliance repair guy installed it for $100, including disposing of the old one. So far, it washes great!

    I mended the binding on a furniture cover. The binding had frayed a lot so it was a difficult mend to make it look good!

    Looking forward to hearing everyone else’s frugal accomplishments. I need some new ideas, or at least a kick in the rear. Hope you’ve all had a good week.

    1. I really wanted a pretty bucket like this with a confortable wooden handle for the small amount of weeding and large amount of deadheading of roses that I do. It’s exactly what I was looking for. I like having something pretty to work with.

  9. We went on our first family vacation in a long while. We went to the Homeschool Experience at the Ark Encounter for 6 days. It is 60 miles from our home. We commuted back and forth each day. Our only expenses was the family registration fee (which was less than the admission price for one day) and gasoline. All food was eaten in the car. We heated up oatmeal or egg cups to eat in the car on the way there. Lunches/dinners were peanut butter sandwiches/tortillas, cold precooked hot dogs, hamburger patties, chicken nuggets, nuts, snack bag of chips, apples, color peppers, and cucumbers. We took water bottles and refilled at the water fountains. We skipped buying items at the gift shop and homeschool vendor mall. I did talk to a rep and get ideas how to schedule my older boys’ days. It was a blessing and awesome time.

    My seedlings survived indoors and the peas and lettuce outside while we were gone. I got the garden bed weeded. I got a couple of tomato plants in the ground. We are able to harvest lemon balm and peppermint.

    My daughter had a nice slow birthday. She picked meals based on what was in the pantry. Daddy took her shopping where she spent some birthday money. Her love right now is painting rocks so she got some more paints and rocks.

    Most of our windows are painted shut. My husband bought a screen that closes shut with magnets to put on the back door. That way we can keep the door open and run a fan to delay running the big house AC unit longer. I am not using the oven for cooking. The office room gets too hot with the computers running so we have a window AC unit turned on in that room.

  10. I had deliveries of veg, milk and my monthly order from Asda. My Asda order had gone up by more than £20 although the milk and veg were the usual price. Other than that it has been a a quite week.
    We have done all the usual things to save money. I decided to hand weed the patio to save on weed killer. I am now harvesting lettuce and my peppers strawberries and tomatoes have marble sized fruit. The plums have set fruit despite the frost and the apple trees have set so many fruits they will need thinning.
    The library managed to get a couple of books I had ordered, so free reading. The blue tits are now feeding babies so very entertaining, I find myself wasting time watching them. Also I rescued a wren from the greenhouse he must have been in there all night. At this time of year the local bees seem to like our kitchen so we rescue these and I found a newly emerged peacock butterfly in the workshop. Its lovely to find so much wildlife but we have black fly on the elder.
    Rain is forecast for tonight so we will keep our fingers crossed it arrived, I have cleared all the pipes to the water butts.
    Please keep safe

    1. Chris, use boiling water to kill weeds. Or vinegar. Are you talking about between bricks or something? It works great. That’s what we use on the driveway.

  11. Brandy, I’ve been reading your blog for the past few months and want to tell you how much I look forward to it. It’s such a community of friends.
    I began burying food scraps in my raised beds about three years ago. Our soil is heavy clay so raised beds are necessary. As a warning, or perhaps a heads up, we’ve had an invasion of voles because of it. They have become such a big problem that all new beds have needed to be added. It’s impossible to trap them as they tunnel every where. They feast on root vegetables and have ruined our crops of beets, carrots and potatoes.

    1. Very interesting. We don’t deal with voles here, but that’s good to know.

    2. We have had a horrible time with voles in the past. We ended up re-doing all our raised beds and lining the bottom with hardware cloth and that has helped.

  12. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Your fruit and flower photos are lovely, your garden is such a money saver and so healthy.
    We picked sage, mint and sweet peas this week.
    Most of the week was spent preparing to receive five guests and entertaining them, showing them around our county. Two of the guests are Canadian (Toronto) and they enjoyed the traditional thatched cottages, gardens, countryside and coast. We enjoyed hearing about their lives. They brought lovely gifts including maple syrup which I’m looking forward to trying.
    I cooked all meals at home except for one dinner because they wanted to eat in a traditional English pub ( they kindly treated us) and we also ate out for an afternoon cream tea.I used our own plums and apples from the freezer for a pudding and spring onions in a salad. I substituted natural yoghurt for half the mayo in coleslaw, it’s less rich and cuts cost too. I made a quiche with ingredients I already had. Everyone was happy to play games after dinner in the evenings and we walked at the coast twice and took a drive to see some famous landmarks ( Jurassic Coast is a World Heritage Site).
    Cheaper meals before they arrived were jacket potatoes and salad and leftover chilli from the freezer. We have plenty of leftovers from their stay which will feed us for at least two days.
    That’s all for this week! Stay safe everyone.

    1. PennyP
      Hi; would you be willing to share your recipe for pudding? I have been wanting to make a traditional English pudding ever since I watched Downton Abbey:) I suppose you know that pudding in the US is a slurpy, snotty-textured concoction of boiled milk and sugar. I assume your pudding is not any of those things?
      I enjoyed reading your post.
      Elizabeth H.

      1. Snotty-textured?!? Hahaha!

        I believe American pudding is just called custard in the U.K.

      2. Hi Elizabeth H
        Pudding is a generic word in the UK like dessert. I didn’t know that pudding in the US means custard, snotty or otherwise!
        I made a pear and apple crumble, I think this is called a fruit crisp in the US? If you would like that recipe I am happy to oblige, just let me know and in the meantime I am posting the recipe for proper custard. This makes 1 pint.
        1 pint of milk
        2 level tablespoons of caster sugar
        Half a vanilla pod
        4 egg yolks
        Heat milk and vanilla pod gently in a saucepan. Remove from the heat, cover and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.Remove vanilla pod and stir in the sugar. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl and gradually stir in the hot milk. Return to the saucepan and stir continuously over a low heat until it’s creamy and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

        This might seem a bit of a faff but it knocks the socks off powdered commercial custard and I think this is the way Mrs Patmore in Downton would have made it. I hope you give it a try!

        1. Thank you PennyP!
          This looks so simple. It is probably like pudding would be here. The custard I have eaten before is baked, similar to the recipe at this website: https://www.tastesoflizzyt.com/baked-custard-recipe/. Tapioca pudding was my children’s favorite pudding. I used “Minute Tapioca,” broken up pieces of tapioca that comes in a red box that has recipes printed on the sides of it. I always used the recipe off the box. The tapioca granules enabled a cook to use one whole egg per 2 3/4 cups of milk with 1/3 cup sugar, three tablespoons of tapioca, and one teaspoon of vanilla (which could be Imitation Vanilla). The egg is whisked into the milk, and the sugar and tapioca are added. The whole thing is let to stand for five minutes, and then it is brought to a full boil, taken off the burner, and the vanilla is added. It is eaten warm or cool. We liked it warm. I wonder if this was a wartime recipe developed for a time of rationing, although it does have a considerable amount of sugar in it. My children called it “Frog-Egg Pudding.” The “pudding” from Downton Abbey that I remember came from a scene where the Crowley ladies all came to sample the pudding of a new cook who had a sullied reputation. The pudding looked more like a cake to me, so I assumed you had baked some sort of fruit cake that was called pudding in the UK. I did not know a pudding could be any dessert. That is interesting.
          Thank you again for your recipe, and I would like to know how you make crumble. I used to have a neighbor that made a very delicious one. Thank you again.
          Elizabeth H.

          1. Frog egg makes so much more sense than for eye pudding, which is what my mother called it!

            1. It is sometimes called fish eye pudding, so maybe your mother was trying to spare her children that image!

          2. Hi Elizabeth H
            Tapioca reminds me of school puddings, like semolina and rice pudding. We still enjoy a creamy rice pudding. Vanilla makes everything better!
            Here’s the recipe for fruit crumble, I used homegrown plums and apples from the freezer which I defrosted and drained to remove excess liquid which will bubble up through the topping otherwise. I sprinkle cinnamon on the fruit but no sugar as the topping is sweet enough.( I might add sugar to blackcurrants as we find them quite tart).
            6 oz caster sugar
            6 oz plain flour
            3 oz butter or cooking margarine
            Rub the butter into the flour using fingertips until it forms a crumbly mixture and stir in the sugar with a spoon
            Cover the fruit with this mixture patting it down well
            Bake in the centre of a preheated oven at 190c for about 40 minutes or until crisp and golden on top.
            Serve warm or cold with cream, ice cream or custard.

            I’ve made this with rhubarb, blackcurrants, pears, plums and/ or apples. If you use a fruit like strawberries which squish down a lot when cooked it’s best to add apple too. I add ginger to rhubarb and cinnamon to the other fruits. I hope you enjoy this.

  13. The berries look luscious! I’m going to look for more thornless blackberry plants – I planted four Sweetie Pie plants and I have only two left. I want to try some other varieties and see if they perform better.

    I placed a LARGE order for office supplies for work and went through Swagbucks to get the SB’s in my account.

    I cooked ahead for the week by putting my convection toaster oven on the screened porch and cooking the meats out there this weekend. I bring it back in as soon as I’m done, of course. I save by not heating up my big oven and by not heating up my house. I do the same thing with my slow cooker in the hot weather.

    I have a lot of drywall patching to do, but the compound starts to dry out in the container after about half is used. I added a little water to it and stirred well, and was able to finish patching a number of screw holes and dings with it.

    I bought three items of clothes that are new with tags, from a consignment shop.

    I’m using a free, found pad of paper to make my lists on. The pencils were free, too.

    I’m looking for some good sales for late May and June birthdays coming up. There are still some things on sale out there, thankfully. I’ve managed to buy a few things so far.

    I’m trying to keep my car trips to a minimum and batch errands. I live in a rural area, so nothing is in walkable distance, unfortunately.

    Have a good week, everyone!

  14. Those berries look so good. They are blooming here. There is a u pick farm here that I am going to go to with my sister.
    Gas is $4,21 a gallon here in West Tennessee. Humidity is high right now. I have went ahead and turned my air on. While grilling we went ahead and grilled up some extra chicken and vegetables to last thru the week. Graduation season is here went to one over the weekend and have another this Friday night. I have been needing a suitcase for the last few years, found a larger one at a yard sale for $10, and I also bought some children’s books, a cup, wreath for the door, and some homemade bath soak for $9. My great nephew got out of the nicu Saturday and I can’t wait to go see him. His mom wants everyone to come one at a time so we won’t be so overwhelming.
    Hope everyone has a good week.

  15. Those blackberries are gorgeous!
    This week we ate the first asparagus from the garden, something I always look forward to. I also harvested lettuce and rhubarb, and some herbs. My bok choy was bolting, so I harvested all of it as well. I planted my tomato, pepper, squash, and okra seedlings in the greenhouse, along with more arugula. I used some leftover spray paint to freshen up some metal plant markers and they look like new. I made some meals to take with us camping next week – we are headed out on a five-week trip and I am packing a lot of food, mostly from our storage. I am also loading up my Kindle with books from the library to take with us.

  16. I had been wanting/researching ideas for my 13 year old son, for summer. 13 is to me always an odd age, as the kids are too little to have a “real” summer job, but too young to just play like he used to- and I don’t want him on screens all summer. My older kids always mowed lawns/pet sat, but we just moved and don’t have that same community. I found something really interesting (via facebook). I posted about the issue on a local page, and a lady with a private, 2 acre farm asked if he would want to work 6 hours/ week (basically one day), for a small hourly wage. Weeding and the like. I can also volunteer on her farm during that time and take produce all summer (as much as I like she said). Which I was really excited about!! So, once a week he and I will do this. I also found a donkey rescue nearby, my son rides horses, and once weekly he will volunteer to clean hooves/brush/etc. the rescue donkeys. Just having these two days where he will be busy, productive, and it won’t cost a lot is huge, and I thought I would mention in case others are in the same dilemma. It took some facebook posting and contacting individuals, being creative, but this is a lot better for us than (for example) expensive sports camps/lessons or too much screen time.

    1. This is a wonderful solution for your son. I bet he will enjoy the working and the volunteering — and free produce is always great!

    2. Those are great ideas! The summers I was 13 &14, I volunteered as a day camp counselor at a nearby park. I helped wherever they needed me. Crafting, songs and games, treasure hunts, pool duty, herding lol, etc. I rode my bike to the park. Had lots of fun.

    3. Hi Dawnelle, I used to be the children’s librarian in my small town. During the summer, we often had volunteers your son’s age. They would help re-shelve books, prep crafts and be on hand to help with special programs.

    4. Dawnelle,
      I think these are just wonderful ideas! Also, what a creative, not to mention educational, way to spend the summer, and the garden produce sounds wonderful.
      Elizabeth H.

    5. Hi Dawnelle. What state are you located in? I have been looking for a donkey to add to my sheep heard. I would love to rescue one. Thanks.

  17. Beautiful pictures! I’m glad you got a runner.
    We recently had lemonade with muddled blackberries and it was delicious!

    I used a promo code and a store promo to order a pair of jeans from Old Navy.
    Reworked the budget to account for the electric increase and gas (car) increase. I follow Dave Ramseys approach about making every cent count. I’ve gleaned a lot from his podcasts on his website over the years.
    Cat sat for a friend. She traded me her meal kit box for the week. It was nice not to cook (these are heat and eat) and it was nice to try some new dishes that I can replicate cheaply.
    Started again to double use a tea bag.
    The YMCA allows you to put monthly holds on your membership. I will be doing this for the next few months as the weather is so nice and will be outside more.

    Hope everyone has a calm week!

    1. The blackberry lemonade sounds delicious! We are overgrown with wild blackberries here, so we can pick them for free if there is enough rain. Last year everything was dry, and plants and trees got sunburned. But wild and free berries would really stretch the lemonade. Thanks for the idea!

  18. Hello, frugal friends. I want to thank you for the kind thoughts and prayers concerning the loss of my father and my travels to his funeral. All went very well and I know my dad is with my mother once again. My husband and I stayed on base which saved us $40 for the night. After the funeral we had a sibling weekend at Colonial Williamsburg to honor and remember our parents. Williamsburg was our mother’s favorite place to go. We were able to use our military discount to get a better price on the hotel and we were able to get a 10% discount on a “sisters” pedicure at the spa there. We also used military discounts at restaurants. My husband and I were able to save $.50/gallon on gas on the way across the state. On the way home we stopped at a pick your own farm for strawberries. We picked 2 gallons at $16/gallon. I brought these home and froze some, dehydrated some, made some in to 2 pies, strawberry biscuits and ate a LOT.
    In other frugal things:
    I turned a pair of jeans into capris.
    We turned off the heat and are not turning the a/c until June 1 (even thought the weatherman says it will be in the high 80’s this weekend).
    It rained so that took care of watering the garden and pots and filled the rain barrel.
    We ate radishes, radish greens, spinach, onions, asparagus, and rhubarb from the garden.
    I was able to get the book A Green and Pleasant Land by Ursula Buchan which was recommended on this site. My local library got it through the interlibrary loan system. It now costs $5 to use the ILL system, but I think it is less expensive than buying the book.
    I received a gift certificate to the local nursery which I will use tomorrow to buy perennials for my flower garden.
    I finished 3 quilts and will now move on to pillowcases to reduce the fabric in my collection. These pillowcases will be donated to the women’s resource center.
    I limited my driving.
    I was able to get a package of mushrooms for $.59 and bread for .49/loaf. The mushrooms were marked down to $1.09 for 8 oz package. I had a store coupon for $.50 off a package of mushrooms which brought the price down to $.59. I am seeing few markdowns at the store these days.
    Finally, I have a home energy assessment scheduled for Wednesday with the power company. It has taken 6 weeks to get this scheduled, so when I finally got the call to schedule I asked if it would be possible to schedule an assessment for my son’s family when he came out to do our assessment. They just live down the road and I figured if this person is coming from out of town he might want to get as many done as possible. I was correct. He was very happy to do their assessment after ours. I will be there for both assessments as both my son and DIL work. Their house was built in the early 60’s so I think he might be able to help them out significantly.
    I wish everyone a happy, frugal week.

  19. I headed to the pharmacy on Tuesday, which is when seniors get 20% off on items that are not on sale, to get vitamin D supplements and bars of soap. I usually buy 100 tablets of vitamin D for 6.50, but this time bought 500 for 9.50, an 8 month supply.

    I hired someone new to cut the grass. I have always heard good things about his work, and he has done a lovely job the first time round. His rate is affordable, too.

    I got a free pass to an online film festival. The films are interesting but mostly very serious, so I have also been watching Around the World in 80 Days, with David Tennant producing and starring in it. The series is online on CBC Gem, which is free.

    I used a free gift card from loyalty points to buy 2 dozen eggs to freeze. (They cost $3.99 a dozen here in northern Alberta.) While at the grocery store, I bought a few extra things for the pantry, even though it took me over my food budget for the month. Co-vid, possible shortages, and walking to the store have taught me not to waste a trip to the store to buy one or two items if I have the funds for other things I’ll be needing. Nothing I bought had any new price increases. Cans of corned beef and Spam were both on sale, though I was not tempted by the Spam. I hope I have eaten my lifetime quota of it growing up, helping my parents run their household economically. I am much more cheerful about trying kippered sardines, though I have only had kippered herring before. The grocery store continues to be very well stocked here.

    1. I took advantage of that same sale Elizabeth to buy a few more cans of Spam – have lots of canned corned beef so passed on that. Spam isn’t my first choice of food but in a pinch it’s fine. We used to get it sliced up on salads when I was a kid and thought it was quite exotic then, 🙂 Mom and dad cooked everything from scratch so something like Spam was a “treat”.
      Was that the “Hot Docs” film festival? I didn’t join the online one this year but the theatre is here in Toronto and pre=Covid I went often.
      Here in Toronto it’s the Rexall pharmacy chain that has seniors day on Tuesdays and Shoppers has theirs on Thursday = even though I have my Loyalty card with Shoppers I still check out Rexall every now and again.

      1. We just had Spam as a slice in a sandwich. Not very often. It was just something my mother kept in the cupboard. I probably wouldn’t have minded it diced or julienned in a salad. No complaints, though. My mother was a good cook, and trained as a dietician, so meals were generally very healthy.

        The film festival is the Edmonton Jewish Film Festival, a mixture of documentaries and fiction. A lot refer back to the Second World War, or recent decades in the Middle East, or profiles of Israeli writers. They make me think, and are a complete change from all things Covid. The films don’t hold back on the grimness of the subjects, though.

      2. My mom often puts chopped Spam in her fried rice, especially when there were no leftovers of meat. I love it! Adds a great saltiness and flavor to the fried rice.

      3. A few years ago I took my children to the SPAM museum in Austin, MN where SPAM is produced. Who knew? It was a free little stop and a good memory.

    2. Hi Elizabeth M.
      Thank you for mentioning CBC’s Gem. I used to watch a lot of the shows, etc, but for some reason, this great source of entertainment dropped off my radar. Thanks,

      1. I find I enjoy a couple of series for a while and then get distracted with other things. When I come back, they have new series that aren’t on the other streaming services. It is definitely my only source for Canadian shows, but also quite a few British shows. Hope you find lots to enjoy there.

    3. Elizabeth M. I did not see the pharmacy special but Superstore had vitamins on sale for 40% off. I have started to stock up and hope to have a year’s supply of several vitamins.
      I have to laugh about Spam — I did find it on sale. I did buy the maximum 4 cans on sale but I got the reduced sodium variety (still too high enough sodium). It was for my pantry but
      a can didn’t make it that far. I wanted to send a can of it to my brother as a birthday present as I read on my niece’s twitter that he loves it fried, on white bread with mayonnaise for sandwiches. The postage would be prohibitive.That is, of course, exactly how our Mother used it. It is a great emergency food item. I haven’t eaten it in years but it is a
      nice “treat”.

      I too enjoy watching programs on Gem and have enjoyed Around the World in 80 days, My Big Family Farm, Escape to the Country, Escape to the Chateau, Call the Midwife, and of course All Creatures Great and Small.

      I hope you have a lovely spring — it is still cold here!

      1. It has been warmer here, though nothing to write home about. The forecast is just colder than freezing before the weekend, but then sunny and warmish for the three days of the long weekend. I am planning to wash windows, so I am really hoping that is what happens. Another rainy day today though.

  20. Blackberries are one of my favorites! We have them growing wild here. They are so delicious but you definitely work for them (the thorns!) I have had thornless blackberries before and they had virtually no taste at all. I will have to look into the varieties you mentioned. We also have black raspberries in our orchard – dug up from the woods a few years ago. They are delicious and reproduce vigorously. Berries are something I am always looking to add to the property.
    *Like many others, much work has been done in the kitchen garden and elsewhere this week. I planted tomatoes (I received a few plants for free from a neighbor who owns and operates a greenhouse at home. They had gotten so leggy she didn’t think she could sell them so saved them for me. I trenched them and they are doing very well), peppers, chives, basil, thyme and chocolate mint (heavenly!) I took 5 cuttings from one geranium and repotted them. Hope they all take as I love them. They remind me of my Scandinavian relatives as it seems all of them have geraniums on their windowsills year round and so do I. 🙂 A dear friend also gave me some ground cherry seeds. I have never grown them but am looking forward to the experiment.
    *Very little grocery shopping this week as we feel pretty stocked up. I only bought items that were on sale and combined with a coupon so I feel good about the cost. I was dismayed at the price of lemons so figured that dried lemon peel and store brand lemon juice was the less expensive choice right now. This reminded me that one of the most helpful frugal strategies is to be flexible and think of alternatives.
    *I cut my husband’s and my oldest son’s hair.
    *I gratefully accepted two very full boxes of dried and canned goods from my neighbor who trades me these items for eggs. They are excess food bank items that she cannot use due to health reasons.
    *Sold eggs from our chickens which helps off-set their food costs. I also sold one of our roosters. I was a bit sad to see him go as he and I got along fine and he is a handsome fella but he decided a while back that he does NOT like my boys and was making that very clear no matter what we did. My youngest son likes to take care of the egg collection and receives a portion of the sales for doing so so he is not sad to see the rooster go. Our remaining rooster is very gentle and likes everybody so peace has been restored in the chicken yard. 🙂
    *We have been needing some mulch for our parking areas, woodshed areas, and to spread around various plants for quite a while. My neighbor learned of someone who had piles of it he wanted hauled away. It took some time for him to have a moment to do it and to borrow yet another neighbor’s dump trailer. But, in the end, we got two 16′ trailer loads of mulch for FREE. That is a lot of mulch but we will use every bit of it. We will pay our neighbor something for his gas but that is all he will accept. We all help each other and it is a blessing both in the giving and receiving. We have already spread most of it and it looks great and will help with water retention and weed control.
    *I refurbished some old equipment for my bees, saving $60 versus buying new. I also enjoy doing things like that. It is like mending clothes – you just get into a rhythm and, pretty soon, you have made an unusable item usable again and saved money in the process.
    *A family member who lives off the mountain (in other words, where it is about 2 growing zones warmer and that much further along) brought us a big bucket of strawberries. This is such a treat as our strawberries are still green at the moment.
    *I volunteer for the Garden Guild at my church. My boys often help, as well. We watered and weeded the containers and some of the beds this week. The woman in charge told me when we decide things need to be divided, we can take some home. I enjoy working in this beautiful old garden and the idea of being able to bring home some cuttings or divisions is just an added joy. I love that I am able to walk around my property and see plants that were given to me by various neighbors, family and friends just as I can go through my house and look at the inherited and gifted furniture and art. Of course, this is a frugal way to live versus buying new things but I am just so sentimental, it makes me far happier than new things would. It gives me ample opportunity to think and reminisce about those people every day.
    *Haven’t had too much time to read so am still enjoying “Lark Rise to Candleford.” However, I have been leafing through some old homemaking books I have owned for years. Two of them are from the early 1900s and one was written just after the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918. Fresh air and opening windows whenever possible is stressed throughout that one. I find it so interesting to read these bits if history and to see that loving attention to home and all who reside there has always been a noble pursuit and will never go out of style.
    Have a lovely week, all!

    1. Your comment just made me so happy, reading of your joy in sharing plants and your home furnishings.

      1. Linda – I have heard about the series but have yet to watch it. I may have to put that on my list. Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

      1. Thank you for your kind comment, Rita. There are so many things we cannot change about the world but we do have the choice as to how we respond. I am fortunate to have grown up with lots of examples of gratitude and resilience and it has served me well. I am just glad I paid attention! Have a lovely day! 🙂

    2. I agree Mama Dawn, my favorite flowers are those gotten from family and friends, like irises from my mom, fern peony from a cherished friend, regular peony that was my dad’s mothers, and lillies from my mother in law. Evokes memories when I am out enjoying the flowers!

    3. I have recently found a product that I like to keep on hand for lemon, orange, or lime substitutes, True Lemon (orange or lime). I still prefer fresh, but when price or availability is an issue, this works just fine. I found mine on Amazon.

      1. I have tried that product in the past and it did work well. I will keep that in mind as yet another alternative for the dehydrated lemon peel. Thank you!

  21. Brandy could you give me the name of the company you get your worms from? I really need some and want to get them from a reliable source.

  22. Glad your garden is producing so well! I hope your Armenian cucumbers grow well this year. And I loved the Roman numeral clock! So striking!

    My frugal week:
    – made homemade Smartfood (white cheddar popcorn) (http://approachingfood.com/preservative-free-white-cheddar-popcorn/) instead of buying snacks and made lentil salad sprinkles (http://approachingfood.com/salads-i-have-known-loved-lentil-salad-sprinkles-blog-traffic-and-a-contest-entry/) instead of buying croutons.
    – canceled prime after a reduced fee trial, bought items for my mom to save her on shipping
    – had a garage sale (technically a car boot sale where I was just one vendor of many at a fundraiser). Shared a table with my mum to cut the cost of the table. I reviewed Brandy’s article about how to have a garage sale and got some helpful tips — thanks!
    – there was a silent auction at the fundraiser, and I purchased a $100 gc to Dollarama for $76. We definitely will use that, so I was pleased with the savings.
    – sold a baby bouncer to a secondhand baby store and used the proceeds to buy my daughter a pair of new rain boots for only $4.50 oop.
    – purchased a smoothie and pkg of yoghurt tubes from the flash food app, for $2 (hugely discounted). I froze the yoghurt tubes to use as easy popsicles for my daughter.
    – utilized the library (in person, ordering books for pickup, and also accessing adult and children’s e-books) and children’s outdoor and indoor programming for both my kids.
    – redeemed SB for $10 to my paypal account
    – used a coupon to earn $15 in loyalty points when buying needed on sale items
    – combined a sale plus free shipping plus going through Swagbucks, to get the best value for my money when buying clothing for my kids for the next half year. I compared SB to Rakuten to get the most cash back, and in this case, SB was better.
    – baked lemon poppyseed muffins from Brandy’s recipe, using frozen orange zest instead of lemon because that’s what I had.
    – redeemed loyalty points for $10 off pharmacy items.

  23. Hello!

    I found a couple of nice items on clearance at Aldi last week: a pair of rain boots for my son for $6, and a nice 500 piece puzzle for $3 that I will use for a birthday gift for my husband.

    I have enjoyed making flower arrangements of lilacs, peonies, various roses, and weigela. I also harvested our first big bowl of strawberries!

    I discovered that Goodwill has an online shopping site: shopgoodwill.com Perhaps many of you knew this, but I did not. Supposedly the site features premium items donated at various Goodwill locations throughout the country, although I saw a lot of items that were not so great. I will check back….it was kind of fun to browse.

    My husband brought home several packs of cashews from a work event. I made cashew chicken with them, but I only used a small amount of chicken. I used lots of peppers, broccoli, and onion. It was delicious, and gave us two meals.

    I used a Home Depot rebate on a fruit tree.

    I know several people here have discussed using English Ivy as a possible detergent. One YouTube commenter said she tears up the leaves, places them in a sock, ties it, and adds it to the wash. I think that is a method I might try, especially on lightly soiled items. There is also a more involved recipe at https://www.permacrafters.com/english-ivy-laundry-detergent/

    Along with combining errands, I’m trying to calculate how much gas I’m spending on each errand or trip, to see if there are any outings that I can eliminate altogether.

    Have a great week!

  24. Honestly I’ve noticed lately my frugal accomplishments are changing somewhat to deal with rising costs etc. I’ve either been frugal by NOT buying or doing certain things; or by paying some money now to (hopefully) save money in the future. We’ve greatly increased our fruit, veggie, and herb plants this year. I’ve also stocked up more the past few months on dried goods, medications, and seeds. While I’m concerned about what’s happening in the world, I’m not panicking. Trying to live each day the best I can, trying to make sure my people are taken care of, helping others out, saying my prayers, and being as prepared as I can be for whatever may come. I appreciate all the comments and inspiration over the years 💜

    A few frugal accomplishments :
    *stopped at a produce stand that had strawberry packs for $1 each when buy 3
    *worked 6 hours at my dad’s office
    *yellow irises and allium for free from neighborhood group
    *paid an extra $1000 toward mortgage principal 🎉

    Grocery store: 2 roasts marked down, jumbo hotdogs marked down, and many more cans of beans clearanced even lower than before (like 30 cents per can!). I bought more for our pantry and dropped a few bags off at the food pantry.

    Hope everyone has a great week ☺️

    1. Marissa,
      I notice I have been doing the same in spending now with the anticipation of rising prices or just doing without.

      1. Nancy in Florida,
        It feels like a balancing game at times trying to figure out what to do! Best of luck to you 😃

  25. Happy Monday,

    ✅ I spent time last week doing a declutter of drawers, books, and clothing/shoes/jewelry. This has helped me to take stock of what I may or may not need and to organize our home.
    ✅ I got quotes for auto & home insurance effective our June renewal dates and will be saving $200.00.
    ✅ I made banana muffins from leftover bananas at church that nobody wanted.
    ✅ I combined several errands to save gas.

  26. As usual, your photos are beautiful!
    I’m afraid it’s a big frugal fail for me as I bought 3 hardy de Montarville roses. I’m disappointed because
    they are not on their own roots (I should have checked but since de Montarville is a hardy rose, there really is no
    reason to graft onto a different root stock). Well, I’ll enjoy them for a few years I hope. I’m interested in whether I can cultivate them from stems.

    I am baking potatoes as well as the chicken thighs I got for buy one get one free at the same time to save on electricity..

    I am buying some ice cream on sale for about $3 off. (Suprstore).For Canadians, Chapman’s gives a once a year coupon for $4 which combined with a sale can make the ice cream free. I’m buying vitamins at half price.

    I planted Swiss Chard and carrots from seed but will hold off for a few days planting anything else as we are not
    beyond frost yet. I’m letting the tomato plants and the squash plants harden up outside today but will bring them in or cover them up tonight.

    As I hurt my knee, I found I could not bend or kneel down to plant or weed so it’s another frugal fail and I hired someone. It was pleasant though having someone to work with — I did what I could without kneeling.
    There is still some to be done but hopefully the knee will recover and I can do it on my own.

    I am still working on the book. Still fixing typos.

    One of my squash plants is in bloom. I don’t know if I should pluck off multiple blooms like we do with fruit blossoms.
    I’m not too hopeful for squash because there’s nothing to cross-pollinate them yet. Suggestions?

    1. Could you hand pollinate them? I do that sometimes with my zucchini and cucumbers. You can use a paint brush or q-tip.

      1. Thanks for the suggestion, D. Unfortunately, I only have one blossom so nothing to pollinate it to.

    2. You don’t need to pluck the blossoms, wait and see which get fully pollinated. You can tell by the way inadequately pollinated fruits will only get about 3” long before the blossom end starts rotting. Cut those to conserve the plant’s energy.

      Since many squash plants will produce lots of flowers of one sex before the other appears to pollinate with, you might try harvesting those precocious and edible blossoms and using them as garnishes on salads, or stuffed and baked, slice and added to sautés and stir-fries, etc.

      Later when the other blossoms appear, you can pick the male blossoms, gently pull off their petals, and use the remaining male part I can’t remember the botanical name for to pollinate the females. No intermediary q-tip, etc. required. If you have a natural pollinators-friendly garden, you likely won’t need to assist at all.

  27. Those blackberries 😍

    I finished a blanket for my neighbors first grandchild. It’s definitely cheaper and less time consuming to just buy one, but oh well 🤷‍♀️

    Earned $10.50 from Amazon shopper rewards, and used towards my biotin.

    Leftover chicken breast became chicken salad. Any other leftovers were reused or froze.

    I got lunch from panera at no cost. I used a free pastry reward, free drink, and gift cards I had from Verizon rewards. It was delicious.

    I used powdered milk to make pancakes one night.

    I worked 5 extra hours last week.

    Received a sample bag from Walmart…full size microban sanitizer spray, Bic temporary tattoo marker, Ferrero rocher chocolate, 2 Zantac pills, and an electrolyte drink mix.

    I ate lunch at work(breakfasts also on days I was there for it)

    I had a $10 ace rewards I received for my birthday that was about to expire, so I purchased 2 sage starts, 1 lemon verbena, 1 oregano and 1 lavender for .24 out of pocket.

    I used a larger shopping bag as a trash bag in bathroom.

    I just picked up the canned dog food from Walmart with our grocery order, instead of getting it separately from Petsmart. This saved me time and gas.

    Brushed and washed the dogs ourselves.

    A little bit of instruction from my husband and I learned how to fix my mower if it gets water in the gas.

    My teen cleaned out some of her clothes(after we bought some new summer stuff), and I just offered them on a local buy nothing site. I hope they help some people out.

    Returned library books on time.

    1. I am impressed that the herbs were so low priced at Ace. They are $4 to $5 each here depending on the store.

  28. We are currently camping at Fall Creek Falls, Tennessee. I did not know how wound up I have been. I got sick before Easter and I am still coughing some, and have struggled to get fully well. I think part because I could never sit and relax and heal. I would rest, plant garden, rest, clean, rest can stuff. Just trying to get stocked up and ahead of the price increases has had me running. This has been good to decompress and relax. We made reservations last July with friends, or I probably would have put it off.
    * I got green beans, squash, zucchini, pumpkin, watermelon planted in the garden. I added 3 trellises to one raised bed and have cucumber starts to put out when I get home. I fertilized my new cherry trees, and blueberry bushes I planted the week before.
    * I cleaned the refrigerator before leaving. I had two zucchini and two yellow squash with some soft spots. I cut them off and grated them. Last night I made squash fritters and our camp friends loved them. I froze 4 bags of grated quash and zucchini.
    *I have tried some new recipe on the Blackstone. I cooked apple pie filling with some sugar and cinnamon on the griddle. I made a butter cinnamon sugar mix and put it on tortillas. Heat both sides of the tortillas. Put some apples in the tortilla and fold over. They were good. Tonight I am doing fjulitas with a skirt steak that came with our quarter beef. I marinated it in some spices. I am going to do a bacon corn mix on the Blackstone and some diced potatoes. For desert it is flat bread with cinnamon sugar butter, crumbled Graham crackers, roasted marshmallows, and crumbled Hershy bar cooked on the Blackstone.
    * Right outside the park is a Mennonite Community. I went to the produce market and got a tomato, strawberries, 2 blackberry jams, and walnut banana bread that was still warm. We watched the girl ride up with her bike and trailer with bread. I gave the one jam to our camp friends.
    * I cut my husband’s hair. I cut our oldest dog muzzle and head. They want $130 for a Doodle now so I am learning to groom them myself. I cut his nails also.

    1. Great place to relax I am sure. You are about an hour away from people and peaceful places dear to my heart.

  29. I am calling this week a do over of most of what I planned to accomplish last week. That’s ok as I was able to make sure some appointments were kept and I was able to attend also that were not on our calendar with quick thinking. Things done for the immediate good of the family is priority.

    I made some nice meals from the pantry and freezer. DH and I got some strawberries and plants from a farm. It was nice that we got to go together. I froze all the strawberries except for some I kept out for us and to make strawberry sauce. I hope to do the planting in a couple days. We have had a lot of storms. I am just glad we will be growing something again.

    I hope everyone has a productive week whether planned or not.

  30. I returned three identical products I bought online, as reviews consistently said the product failed. I bought two $80 each toys for $5 each.

    I finally found a great maze book for my son, which should be fun and challenging. I paid more than I wanted ($5) but have been looking for some time and liked this one.

    Saved 56% on my grocery bill by checking sales before I went, not meal planning and not having a shopping list. I decided to shop according to the sales/marked down items in store. I meal planned when I got home, based on what I bought.

    I made chettinad curry for dinner for three nights, using lots of carrots that were priced at $2 for a large bag and served it over basmati rice. I froze the remainder for my lunches.

    I didn’t water the garden due to the constant rain. I harvested an abudance of produce, sharing some with friends and family. My mandarins are very in demand, for their easy peel skin and flavour. People are coming over to pick them themselves 🙂.

    My children and I gratefully received dinner at a friends house. I had not planned on staying for dinner so had nothing to contribute.

    The petrol in my car has lasted four weeks so far and this is becoming more common as we stay local and bike where we can.

    I did not go to the library but plan to this coming weekend.

    1. I have always found meal planning based on what one has on hand to be the best money saving strategy when it comes to meals.

  31. This past week I did grocery shopping, which I tried to do more in bulk to avoid gas. I went to two Aldi’s, Winn Dixie, and Costco. I was able to buy several things on clearance at Aldi such as butter for $1 a lb, .50 for a 1 lb roll of breakfast sausage, and broth for $1 a box, breads were also marked down so I bought a few of those. Some items we were out of like diced peaches which are a healthy and easy snack for my son to eat. I bought a four pack at Aldi for about $2.50, I later went to Costco and found a 20 package box for just under $7. I also found eggs at Aldi between $2.20 and $1.90 a dozen, at Winn Dixie they were $1.68 for store brand, with 15% off a dozen eggs through the app.

    I can’t decide if it’s wise to try and shop at one store only, or be willing to go to a few to really get the best deals. I will say, one Aldi is near my son’s school, the other is near home, as are Winn Dixie and Costco, meaning my driving perimeter is not too large.

    In other cost savings, we did a small project to better secure weather proofing for our kitchen and front doors. We changed the weather stripping where our cats scratch it, changed the bottom door sweep, and then placed a garage door edge strip where the cats scratch to further protect the weather stripping. My furchild Garfield is not amused with our human antics, but we will see if it works. Living in Florida it really makes a big difference in home temperature, and running the ac, to have a good seal on windows and doors.

  32. First to Amanda F. from last week – you posted this in response to my makeup suggestion:
    Amanda F. says:
    May 14, 2022 at 5:15 pm
    Margie thank you for letting me know! That is what I have thought I had been dealing with and have even had to stop using all facial products including lotion for extended time periods. I have been extremely diligent in wearing sun protection especially this year. My doctor is convinced it is a malar rash possibly caused from Lupus. I have many symptoms, so he has been running many tests the past 6 weeks or so. I have also been watching the rash with regards to what I eat, and certain things seem to make it much worse, heat also does a great deal. I will note the makeup though, thank you. I am not certain yet if what I purchased is going to work with my skin.

    I was also tested for Lupus – just in case so try not to worry too much. Heat, wine and certain other foods will cause a flare up so try to keep track so you’ll know what to avoid. The one thing to watch for is your eyes. I thought that I was having repeated bouts of Pink Eye and couldn’t understand why – turns out it was Ocular Rosacea – which can be quite serious. I take a daily anti-biotic (not a wide spectrum but something specifically for skin issues) but this makes me even more sun sensitive so that is the big thing to watch out for – especially as it gets hotter.

    Good luck.

    1. Margie, thank you so much for letting me know! Prior to having children worked with an Ophthalmologist as an Optician and am familiar with Ocular Rosacea. It is a good thing they have you on a good anti-biotic routine! I go for another round of tests in two weeks. I have definitely noticed certain things really trigger it and have been tracking them, so I can be aware. I have been having rounds of hair loss, joint issues and several other things they have been monitoring. Stress only makes things worse, so we do our best and just learn to adapt. For me it means trying to avoid gardening in the heat of the day and not eating certain foods currently.

      1. Amanda,

        Good luck with the lupus tests. Two foods to avoid are celery and alfalfa sprouts — alfalfa has a chemical in it that causes lupus flares. I do not wear makeup at all – so many ingredients that bother sensitive skin. It also bothers me that hisorically there has been no regulation about cosmetic ingredients by the fda. Make sure you are not deficient in any minerals or vitamins. My hair was turning grey and falling out due to a folate deficiency. 65% of North Americans are deficient in magnesium but ask your doctor first. I gave up foods with sodium nitrite and other preservatives and went lower sodium to protect my kidneys and heart although covid means I’ve gone back to more processed foods (although I’m about to reform). Eat healthy! Reduce consumption of red meat as it aggravates arthritis. I am sure your doctor will test for other things like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis which sometimes accompanies lupus (and causes hair to fall out). — treatable by thyroid replacement. good luck!

        1. Thank you for letting me know. I actually was just about to order alfalfa sprouts and no idea about celery. I need to do more research clearly. I have tested negative for Hashimoto’s, I have a sister that has it and it was one of the first things they checked. We eat pretty well and almost zero processed foods because my husband is on a very strict AIP diet for his Ulcerative Colitis and have kids with dairy and gluten allergies but I will need to zero in more so on what else causes flares. I really appreciate the advice. I wrote it all down.

  33. I am amazed there is so much for you to harvest as the desert heats up! Sounds like after the multi year process to redo your back yard, you are getting into the new rhythm (hopefully). I cooked our meals at home last week, trying three new recipes! Many recipes are large enough that they make three meals for the two of us, so I have leftovers to freeze. Finally today we went out to lunch. Food was excellent, which was nice since now that I cook 95% (or more) of our meals at home, our standards are much higher. We have been very disappointed in meals out over the past year. Either the meal was forgettable or served cold, service was poor or the prices were crazy. Guess it is the universe helping reinforce our plan to eat meals at home ;). I am on a one month “eat only from the pantry” project, so this is day 5…so far only one trip to the store, and one meal out, not perfect but progress.

  34. Love the blackberry photos!
    I am pleased that I have seeds sprouting in pots, (zinnias, marigolds, forget-me-nots, basil), in spite of the squirrels. I sprinkled red pepper flakes over the top of the soil and that has kept them out of all except one. Planting was timed to be right before it rained, as watering seeds and tiny sprouts without washing them away isn’t one of my strengths. Morning glories are coming up, self-seeded from previous years.
    I also remembered to find the bright yellow electrical tape and leave it where I might remember to take it outside and put colored bands on all my garden tool handles. I have a bad habit of putting them down when I am working and then having to search for them. Yellow might be easier to spot.
    Husband had an appointment in larger city this morning and I went along and found some summer clothing at a thrift store. It was much easier shopping right after they opened than later in the day, tidier and not crowded. And none of the clothing smelled of strong detergent, which I appreciate, because that stuff is hard to wash out! Good week to all!

    1. I have that same issue with garden tools! I want to paint the dolly yellow; it is so faded that we can be looking right at it and not see it. My husband has some yellow paint that may still be good. I just never have time to work on the project.

      1. One day I was working in my small back garden and suddenly couldn’t find my little hand trowel. I searched high and low, not a big house, not a big garden, but could not find it. I had just had it minutes before. I eventually had to go to the hardware store and buy another, and all they had was a package of three. With shortages everywhere I just bought them. But I was not happy.

        Some months later I was changing out the soil in my three very large hydrangea pots, and buried halfway down was my solidly black trowel. I must have let it sit in there and not seen it when I added more dirt. I had a good laugh but my husband grabbed all my hand tools and painted all the handles white.

  35. It was a busy week at the office – went in 4 days instead of my usual 3 and technical issues are causing a bit of frustration this week! It got hotter and hotter each day and by the weekend we were up to 27C and it was very humid. A bit cooler today with rainstorms – and even though I have my A/C window unit booked to be installed this Saturday, I hope not to need it for another couple of weeks.

    Brandy, those photos of blackberries & apricots are lovely – so envious of your garden. The Spring flowers are up now and the trees all seem to have bloomed at once so people are now having problems with allergies! I don’t have that issue but will be doing another Covid test tonight as someone at the office tested positive on the weekend and I saw him a few times last week. Feel fine but don’t want to risk spreading it. I don’t qualify to book my 4th Covid vaccination for another month but will do that as soon as possible.

    All meals were cooked at home last week and snacks and water bottle went with me to the office each day. Did buy myself a couple of coffees but didn’t spend anymore of my allowance. Didn’t go out on the weekend as I was feeling extra tired but still managed a bit more Spring cleaning. I also double-checked my freezer – did have to throw out one serving of liver that had freezer burn – it got buried and should have been used up a few months ago. I ate previously prepared pork chops in mushroom sauce, chicken thighs in a sweet & sour sauce and lots of salads with cheese and hard boiled egg, along with black beans as the proteins for a couple of vegetarian days. Being extra tired on the weekend, I found that a sandwich or two and a bowl of cereal and fruit was enough for meals. I’m trying to eat more fermented foods so I pour a glass of kefir every morning – leave it in the fridge and drink it all day long. I would prefer the strawberry flavoured version but trying to limit sugar so sticking to the plain.

    I did get a bit of deal with Loyalty points for two packs of Angus beef stewing meat and one small Angus beef roast which I have double bagged and will save for the Fall as I don’t cook this sort of food in the Summer. Also used $20 worth of Loyalty points for salad items, apples, grapes, avocado and a pack of English muffins. I’ve already decided that going forward I’ll keep one envelope for my month’s regular grocery purchases and another one for pantry/long term storage items. I think that will make more sense for me. Stores are all well stocked although we also seem to be having the baby formula problem. But prices seem to go up each week – although sales are available if you look so I look upon it as a challenge!

    I’ve been looking for a few new Summer tops and had put a few in my online cart for Talbots – but looked at the final amount and then knowing that I’d have to pay more when it crossed the border, I decided NO – it was just too much. I’ll see what I can find at Winners later in the week – just don’t want to spend a lot as I’ll have more options once I lose more weight – it’s a good incentive.

    I also received my free Iodine pills from the Govt. and have tucked those away – I live within a certain distance of a Nuclear Power Plant so qualified for these – thank you to “Margaret at Approaching Food” for the reminder.

    Have a safe week everyone.

  36. Love your great pics, Brandy!

    Goya Lentils are $26.29 for 24 cans on Amazon. I also found Chicken of the Sea Tuna for $1.00 a can at Kroger.

    Made 3 large pans of Chicken Enchiladas this weekend and an Apple Pie. Neither lasted very long!

    Pigeons are the culprits eating my garden seeds! Who knew? Have never had a problem with PIGEONS!!

    Have baby squash on my plants in the garden. Also blooms on my tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and peas. Getting excited!

    Need to have multiple trees taken down in our yard. Real bummer for our budget.

    Ordered a car over three months ago and it has not even been built yet. We are so frustrated!

    Read that India is stopping the exportation of grain to other countries. They are the #2 exporter in the world. Not sure how this will play out.

    Desperate for something to read. Suggestions?

    Stay frosty out there! Onward, ya’ll, by all means!(Ryan)

    1. Hi Cheryl
      You don’t say what type of book you like to read but here are some I have read recently-
      Mrs England by Stacey Halls, The Horseman and The Wanderers both by Tim Pears( first two of a trilogy) and The Deepening Stream by Dorothy Canfield Fisher who is an American author. I recommend them all and I don’t think there is anything to offend in them.

        1. 3 books by A.M. Stuart – read in order: Singapore Sapphire – Revenge in Rubies – Evil in Emerald

  37. I am so excited about having blackberries in our yard this year and yours look absolutely beautiful!!! Ours are covered in green berries, so next month we should have some to harvest. I love the clock you purchased. It truly looks like it was made just for that spot.

    We had such bad hail where I live in Arkansas overnight Friday and then again Saturday afternoon. I lost a few plants that were snapped that I was letting go to seed and lots of leaf were shredded but didn’t lose any plants, so I was thankful. I harvest 8 plants worth of Tatsoi, leaving the centers to go to seed on many to collect them for the fall. I collected loads of lettuce, which we have enjoyed daily in meals and for salads. We harvested just over 5 pounds of strawberries from our plants. They have all been enjoyed fresh. One evening for a treat I melted some dairy free chocolate I have in the fridge with a small amount of coconut oil and drizzled it over them. They were a delicious treat!

    I direct sowed more Dragon Tongue bush beans, my children’s favorite, purple podded beans, and various cucumbers. I transplanted more swiss chard, a few more tomato plants I started from seed, zinnia, celosia and basil. I also started more seeds indoors in soil blockers. I took cuttings from pinched snapdragons and a few dahlias I am hoping to add more plants and in turn tubers in the fall.

    We have continued opening the windows in the morning until about lunch time once the house gets to 80 and the humidity is too much. We compared usages of a full day a/c compared to doing this and we saved an average of $6 a day. We will continue this as long as possible. Thankfully the storms did help the temperature and we are down into the 80s for most of the week.

    All meals were cooked at home. I used my Instapot or cooked multiple batches of items in my toaster oven instead of using my full oven to heat the house. I didn’t have a full-sized oven for many years and learned to adapt to a good size toaster oven. It helps so much during the summertime. A friend is getting ready to move and dropped off a brand new in box cooker like the Instapot. She then dropped off another box full of accessories and baking items for my daughters.

    I received an email from Redbox with 3 free codes for streaming movies. I had honestly forgot about it so they sent a reminder email. We do not ever pay to stream them from Redbox and it has been ages since we rented an actual disk, so I am not sure what triggered it. None-the-less, my children were thrilled to pick a show they wanted to watch (Sing 2, normally $5.99!) and we shared a code with my sister for her children to watch Clifford.

    Not necessarily frugal, but still a very important lesson to teach my children…my daughters are really enjoying learning to bake. My 12 year old and 8 year old made baked gf/df donuts for us to take to some older friends. We prepared gallon bags of lettuces, spinach and tatsoi for each one. The girls made pop-up cards from items we had on hand and then we made our rounds to drop them off. It didn’t cost us anything out of pocket other than ingredients we already had and a little gas. It brought so much joy to watch the delight on our dear friends faces. Two are homebound so it made it all the more special for a quick visit.

    I hope everyone has a fantastically frugal week!

  38. This has been an emotional week but still stayed mainly on track. Husband is more physically and mentally depressed due to that and so adjustments are being made. I can still manage. Prices are concerning at the store but I have stocked up and my garden is coming on well. I have planted tomatoes, beans, potatoes, garlic, beets, corn and squash. Still need to get my cucumbers and carrots in the ground. I added a timer to my system to water at 3 am. I think I may need to move my basil and lavender plants. I dehydrated onions and jalapeños in the greenhouse to avoid the odors in my house. Running ac as we are already in the 90s with 78% humidity. Going to the 100’s this week. I will be picking sand plums and blackberries at the ranch in the next few weeks. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Sending peaceful thoughts to you and your husband, Barbara!
      It is good you can focus on what you can do in shopping and gardening.
      (I almost wrote “focus on what you can control”, but I don’t think we control our gardens. We just guide them).

  39. Your apricot and black berry picture is stunning. If I ever make it back to the states I’m coming during Apricot season. I would like to try growing peanuts here. A friend did it in the dry season and was able to get a pretty good crop. I hadn’t seen your Instagram stories before now. I went down the rabbit hole of watching your reels. Thank you for posting them. They are very inspirational.
    The yard projects continue we finally got our 3 tons of rock I’ve been stopping at Home Depot each day after I pick up my work crew they are just around the corner. I got a great offer from my USAA visa if I made 2 $100 purchases I would get back $20. I was able to combine each purchase with my military discount for another $10 off each $100 purchase. We have been loading stone rounded edgers in batches of 44 to maximize the discount so I was able to get total $40 off $200 in edgers and because we loaded them in two batches we saved the $75 delivery charge. I have another $15 off $100 coupon from home depot that I’ll use for the balance of the pavers we need. Because we get 100 inches of rain a year. We’re putting down landscape fabric where no grass or plants will grow under our heavily shaded mango and avocado tree. This will reduce mud and soil erosion, Then we’re adding the ¾ rock and using the edger stones to keep the rock in.
    I have a hard time keeping my refrigerator organized and I frequently have to throw things out. This week I did a total overhaul and used empty swifter containers to organize cheeses, lunch meat, udon noodles and other things that are hard to stack. I’m now able to find things easier and we’re not wasting as much food.
    My A/C guy who’s been a friend for years dropped me two large tubs of how to art books and museum art books. A friend was leaving island and he knew I liked art. He also brought me several terra cotta pots for free that he couldn’t use.
    I discovered I could use my Navy Exchange rewards number for gas (we get 2% back in a gift card each month for all purchases this month my gift card was $45!) If I walk in and prepay they input our number vs. paying at the pump. Gas is over $5 a gallon here right now so that’s saving me an extra 10 cents a gallon. Also if we put in a minimum of $25 in gas we get a $5 off $50 coupon we can use at the Navy Exchange which is a much tinier version of Walmart. We don’t have major retail stores here on Guam so that is where we do all our shopping. I froze extra long beans, corn, mangoes, and avocadoes this week. All are in season.

  40. I see you mentioned that you planted peanuts! I’ve never done that. But I have some nuts that were sent to me with other seeds. I might give it a try. I need to do some research on it first though. Your blackberries look yummy!

    We are getting asparagus and lettuce, kale and radishes now. Oh yes, mustard greens that have reseeded themselves for the second year. The kale is also from two years ago. I just cut off the old brown stuff from last year and left the roots and it is growing!
    I am working through our freezer, trying to use up stuff that we have before buying more.
    We will be planting more things this week, at least we hope to.
    So far our tomatoes and peppers are doing good, we just need to get them in the ground. We are getting lots of eggs from our chickens. I hear that it is hard to get scratch grain for them. We will see soon if we can find any.
    We are turning off lights as usual. Washing laundry and dishes with full loads. Enjoying seeing animals in nature and spending time with the family. I saved okra seeds from last year and hope to plant them this week.

  41. Greetings from the plains! Brandy, those apricots! I haven’t had a fresh one in almost 20 yrs! Once you’ve gotten used to home grown, there’s just no going back.

    We were in town on Friday and got to Aldi and Trader Joe’s. Aldi is still not hiking prices on things we buy, except for eggs and milk. We got eggs at TJ’s for $1.99. Our major market seems to be the one with price increases every week. Youch! We used several of their weekly digital coupons and bought all 5 of things we often use. I had a chuckle at a peanut butter label. The last time I bought a case, it was $1/16 oz. The last time I saw it in the ad, it was $1.25/16oz. When I was there on Saturday, it had a sticker on the shelf tag that said, NEW PRICE. They weren’t kidding! It was $1.59/16oz!! I wonder if people automatically assume that the new price is lower?!
    *Used a $5 off $50 coupon at the market.
    *Went to thrift store and found a much needed file cabinet for $5, along with a set of measuring cups for 49¢. I like having several sets and measuring spoons so I can keep them with certain pantry foods I use regularly. I already added 3 of the 4 new cups to the flour, oatmeal, and cream of wheat containers. I’m trying to decide where to put the last one.
    *The nice lady behind us gave us an extra 10% coupon that she had.😁
    *Aired out the house for 2 days after 90+ temps for a week.
    *Hung all the laundry. Boy, when the temps go up, the amount of laundry drops! Husband is allowed to wear dress shorts to work and the clothes are so much lighter in weight.
    *Hung some pretty botanical prints I found in clearance section for $1 each. They look great in my leafy green bathroom!! The frames were pine wood, but I painted them with watered down white paint.
    *Plus the regular stuff like catching water and combining driving trips.

    In exciting news, thanks to a poster here, I managed to be the first person on the waiting list at the library for the new Darling Dahlias book, The DD and The Red Hot Poker! Since I only have a week to read it, it will temporarily replace my nightstand and reading chair books to make sure I finish it without having to let anything slide around the house.
    On my nightstand- When the Morning Comes by Cindy Woodsmall
    In my craft room CD player- Stephanie Plum Tempting 28 by Janet Evanovich
    With my Bible study- Created to be his Help Meet by Debi Pearl
    By my reading chair- The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard

    I hope everyone has a good week!

    1. I should try requesting the actual book. My library doesn’t have the e-book yet for the latest Darling Dahlias book. I got all the others that way, though

    2. I’m envious – I think that I was the one that mentioned that a new Darling Dahlias book was due soon but I’ve just checked my library and it’s not in yet. Enjoy!

      1. I thank you, Margie! I had no idea it was coming out so I was completely happy to have been first on the waiting list!

      1. I usually get them on CD and Lorelai King is the reader. I sit at my craft table laughing all by myself as Stephanie and Lula wreak havoc on the Berg!! They’re hilarious.

  42. I forgot one of my favorite frugal things. My husband and I are going to take guitar and ukulele lessons offered for free by someone at the library! We have booked three months, one lesson a month. I’m really looking forward to it!

  43. Our youngest is very ill, so we are just hanging on here.
    I managed to sand and paint a little wooden balance bike that I picked up for free. We organized in the garage and found a few useful things. It looks and feels so much better, which is the best part.
    I got a 10 oz package of organic nuts for free at Safeway (freebies are usually only on the app on Saturdays here).
    I brought home organic lettuce from the community garden.
    I took a friend to the local zero-waste event. I brought home 4 free chicken tacos (served them for dinner), a linen J. Jill top, 2 new stainless steel straws and 2 toddler shirts-all for free. My friend brought a broken lamp with her, they had a fix-it section at the event, and she got her lamp fixed for free. We were both very pleased with the outing, and only an 8 minute drive to get there.
    We’re eating lettuce, spinach, kale, collards, arugula, and strawberries from the garden. Tomato plants have some flowers and there are blackberries ripening. I picked 2 rhubarb stalks and put them in an apple crumble. I ordered a 25 lb bag of rice and 25 lb bag of white rice flour from Azure Standard. I made brown sugar. I have to take a snack to an event and I’m taking English flapjacks (eaten as a sweet treat with tea) https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/yummy-golden-syrup-flapjacks. They are cheap and super quick to make and people love them for their novelty. They are even easy enough that my husband will make them (he is NOT a cook or baker).

    1. Hi Kara … I’m sorry about your youngest. I hope they get better soon. Parenting is never easy at any age! I was intrigued by the recipe for flapjacks as it’s naturally gluten-free. I will need to sub in a dairy-free option for the butter, but can do this. Do you think another syrup would work instead of the golden syrup? Thanks.

      1. Chris M.,
        Thank you all for best wishes for my daughter. She is still so poorly.
        I’ve substituted honey for the golden syrup. Also a honey/molasses mix. They both work well! I’m GF too!

      2. Flapjack taste IS the golden syrup. Other things might work well, but they won’t taste the same.

    2. Sending healing prayers your way, Kara! So hard when our babes are ill. I think we would all rather be sick ourselves. 🙂

    3. Kara, adding my prayers for your child, and you and your family. May God place His hands upon her and heal her completely.

  44. My immediate family consists of 4 different households. Each family has a Hallmark rewards card. Each card had a $2 reward that expired on May 8. On May 7 I logged into each person’s account and ordered $2 greeting card so FREE. I love sending cards. One of the thrift stores I go to in the city when I pet sit gets so many greeting card donations that they are free to the customers. I often get name brand cards that retail for $5-$7 for free.
    Library, Library, I always use the library.
    I hate cooking. On Saturday my sister invited me up for Bbq lunch, ate and visited with her for awhile and brought meal home for 85 yo mom. My sister and I have different tastes in beverages so I take my own. Then that evening my brother brought by extra hamburgers, sausage and hot dogs from grilling out. They live across the road and don’t eat leftovers so when they cook extra food we are often the lucky recipient.

  45. We celebrated my son’s 16th Birthday. I used decorations that I already had. I added a new really nice Birthday Banner that I purchased at Walmart for $1.67. It was much nicer than the dollar tree $1.25 banners. I bought helium balloons (a favorite of his) from the dollar tree. I went to Party City to see if there were any decorations on clearance to add to my Birthday decorations. I did not buy anything. Most items were quite expensive. The helium balloons were $3.00 each for the cheapest, and most were much, much more expensive. Give me Dollar Tree balloons anytime. Our Birthday tradition is take out for dinner, chosen by the Birthday Boy or Girl, We don’t get take out much, so it is a big treat. My son chose Outback Steak House, mainly for the Bloomin Onion. I can’t replicate those at home, I tried one time and almost set the house on fire. So, we ordered those to share and a dinner for my son. My husband, my Mom and I grilled burgers for dinner. We were all happy, and we saved close to $70 by cooking most of the dinner at home. Some clever relatives gifted my son gas station gift cards. Those will definitely be handy when he starts to drive!

    *For Mother’s Day I baked my Mom her favorite cookies and planted her a pot of lettuce to keep on her apartment patio. The pot was $2.75 at Daiso, and I already had the seeds and cookie ingredients. We grilled Salmon that I had in the freezer and had homemade bread.

    *The weather here has been mostly cold, wet and windy. It has been hard to work in the garden. I’m getting behind, the only things I planted this week were more snow peas, sugar snaps, and cucumbers. A lot of my seeds failed to germinate. I will just keep planting until they do!!! Not having any luck this year with Tomato seeds. I’m going to buy some Tomato Plants tomorrow, just in case I can’t get any seeds to sprout. It’s soooo cold here!

    *We did a stock up at Costco. Almost all of the items that we normally buy there have gone up in price. We spent almost $100 more than usual for the same items that we buy quarterly. I will need to re-evaluate each item to see if I can find them cheaper elsewhere, but prices are rising everywhere.

    *Cleaned and organized my freezers so that I know what I have. I moved all the little bits and pieces, open bags to the inside freezer so that I can make a point of using them up. That is where I really waste food, letting all those open freezer packages get pushed to the back and forgotten about.

    *I made grilled sandwiches to use up extra bread, flatbread pizzas with homemade leftover pizza sauce that I froze and clearance flatbread from the freezer, fried rice, pork chops, garlic toast from leftover hoagies, homemade cheesy parmesan noodles to use up extra milk, lemon garlic pork loin roast marked down to $3.99. My Fred Meyer store has pre-seasoned packaged pork loin roasts next to their butcher case. These are usually $9 dollars each, but are often marked down to $3 to $4 when the expiration dates get close. I don’t think these sell fast, as there are usually markdowns. They are mostly cook in bag, but I just take them out of the bag to bake.

    *I noticed a very strange thing when making parmesan noodles. I usually use the Kroger brand grated parmesan romano cheese that comes in a canister. This time, the cheese just would not melt. It took forever. I have never had this happen. I use a gas stove, so it gets quite hot, but the cheese still did not melt all the way. I know that there is a cellulose filler put in that cheese to keep it from sticking together. My theory is that there is now more cellulose and a lot less cheese, cellulose probably does not melt the way cheese does? Many products are shrinking or becoming lower quality. I’m having to re-think everything I purchase and cook these days!

    1. It really is rethinking everything, isn’t it? So odd but I know we can all adapt!

  46. A quick question. Are the blackberries sweet or sour? Berries are hugely expensive here and I do love strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. At present blueberries are between $7 and $9.5 (AUS) for a 125 gram punnet. I have tried strawberries in my garden and the yield was nil.

    1. I think they’re more sour but my new ones are a bit more sweet, especially if left to pick one more day.

      While I prefer the three berries you mentioned over blackberries, blackberries grow well in hot climates with afternoon shade. My good friend grows them in the desert in Qatar. They should grow well for you in Australia.

      Do add some soil sulphur and peat moss if you have alkaline soil. They like a slightly more acidic soil.

      I don’t have success with the others either, but these I do. Check my Instagram stories today; I just shared a little video of me picking blackberries there.

      1. Thank you. I bought a punnet once and dived in. It was so tart. I live on the eastern seaboard so it can very humid here.

    1. Thank you for the heads-up, Heidi Louise! I have also been ordering these for elderly neighbors who do not use the internet so I appreciate the link. Have a great day! 🙂

      1. If your neighbors have Medicare for their health insurance they are entitled to 8 free tests per person each month courtesy of Medicare. To get mine I had to go to the pharmacy which may not work easily for your location in the mountains.

        1. Thank you, Jennifer. I had read that it depended on what kind of Medicare plan one has (?) I don’t know if this is still true but I thought it was just as easy to order some for them while I was ordering mine. I have done that twice now and it worked just fine and nobody has to drive to the pharmacy. You are right, we have to consider all travel when living in rural areas. Be well!

  47. Hello, Everyone! Last week I made a chicken salad and subbed a leftover turkey breast from Thanksgiving that I froze for the chicken. Delicious. I also made a macaroni salad with the last if the Christmas ham. I’m so glad I froze the leftovers in meal size portions. It’s been so much easier to use up than if I froze it in big hunks (which I use to do when there were eight of us at home). Finally we able to turn the heat off, and it’s cool enough for no A/C yet, so that is nice. My daughter gave me some leftover plants she didn’t have room in her garden for. So, I have a couple tomato plants, a pepper, some basil, cilantro and lettuce plants. I did buy some grow bags and potting soil. This is for my deck. I appreciate her kindness. We got a turtle sandbox for our deck for the grandchildren to play in. The same daughter gave us a leftover bag of sand, so we didn’t have to buy much to fill up the turtle. We got this one because it has a lid, as we have many roaming cats in our neighborhood. We are getting ready for our other grandchildren to visit from the West (and their mom and dad). It’s amazing what time and elbow grease do for spiffing up the house. Currently reading a book borrowed from a friend and waiting for another library delivery. We had a cookout with our daughters family on Sunday. They brought the meat and buns and we provided sides and dessert. It was so nice finally being able to be outside. I also did my homework for my online college classes outside yesterday. The end of May, but it is finally spring in Minnesota. Hope everyone has a lovely and frugal week.

  48. Blackberries look scrumptious and looking forward to pictures of your garden party. Thrifty actions this week: another backyard family-friends party with baby pool, water slide ( daughter said it has paid for itself over and over many times-purchased at BigLots on sale) corn hole, basketball, and swingset. We ate outdoors under the shade trees, with an Italian themed homecooked ( potluck) meal.
    We are making a lot of salads using the lettuce, etc from the garden for our daily lunches. Our temperatures hit 90 this week, turning the tide toward summer.

  49. Brandy, I have been trying to find your clock on Instagram but have been unable to do so. And what are Instagram stories and how do I find them?

    1. Instagram stories only remain for 24 hours. I will be taking another picture of the clock soon. You find the stories by clicking on my photo when there is a red circle around it.

  50. I wanted to let everyone know that my husband found the Prime Ark Freedom blackberries on sale at Pense Berry Farm for $4.95 ea. With shipping added, ours came to $7.95 a piece, about half the price I was given at Stark Bros. I’m excited to have some on the way!

    1. WOW! What a deal! Thanks for sharing!

      I’m really impressed by these berries. This is only their first year fruiting, but they’re big, early, and thornless.

      1. Those are great prices! I sent them a message with a few questions before I likely place an order, too. Wow, thanks!

        I have got my single Arapaho blackberry put in in the garden. Keeping my fingers crossed it survives. I planted it along the fence so there will hopefully be some wind protection when winter hits.

        I’ve painted and placed some rocks in our strawberry bed, as suggested by others her on your blog, Brandy. I will add more of them as the season gets warmer and things start taking off. We are looking at a possible frost tonight and tomorrow night yet, sadly. But on a happy note, I did just cut our first meal of asparagus! My dad hadn’t planted many that made it, but it’s enough to enjoy each spring.

        Normally I rush through my job to try to get out of there as early as possible. But I am trying to take a little more time and prep the next day’s meals (lunch lady at child care center) which has given me an average of an extra half-hour or so each day. Doesn’t seem like much. But the last check was a tiny bit larger, ha ha! Lunch time has been going more smoothly for me due to that little extra bit of time at the end of the day.

        I don’t shop often, nor do I coupon anymore. But I did score a great deal on coffee. My favorite decaf is Gevalia. I found a package of 6 bags on Amazon for less than any of our area stores. Our cc has cashback that can be applied to Amazon orders. I ended up paying under $8 for them all!

        Like someone has mentioned already, it’s not so much what I’ve bought and saved on or what I’m making when it comes to savings. It is more in what we are able to go without lately. The cost of fuel deters us from shopping as often and pushes us to try to make do more with what’s in the pantry or freezers.

        I am considering a garage sale this summer. I have boxes and totes of things that could be donated. But feel like it would certainly be worth the effort to get the garage cleaned up and put on a sale. If I were to donate to our local Goodwill I know the prices they put on shirts, $5.99 for example, is so much more than the 50 cents I am likely to price them at. So it is definitely a win for others, too.

        With covid and my sweet tooth, I have gained quite a bit in the past couple of years. I am trying to curb that, as well, which also saves money. Ice cream and homemade treats like brownies or cookies have been my downfall. Additionally, going out to eat with friends and family. I am working on curbing that as well. At our last lunch outing I and another friend suggested just coffee at one or the other’s home, or even a small snack type of lunch.

        I have a small pile of books from my sister and a friend that will likely take me months to read, so I don’t use the library for that so much anymore. But we do request newer released movies from there, which I love! A couple of family members share Netflix and Hulu with us also.

        1. We did the garage sale with our neighbors the last two weeks. We sold shirts for $1 each. One olde4 woman came who worked fast food at a minimum wage job. She had one dollar bills, all saved from tips. She said she usually gets one one-dollar tip a day. She bought $18 worth of clothes and other items. I known it was a huge blessing to her, just as it has been to me to find those deals before. I’m
          sure your sale will be a blessing to others.

  51. I don’t know if I mentioned it last week but the big savings is on the new refrigerator that is not quite 50% off MSRP delivered after rebates. It will be delivered two weeks earlier than I expected. Oh oh. By 7 a.m. Friday morning I need the old refrigerator emptied and moved and reloaded, freeing up the nook for the new smaller refrigerator. It has a 3.9 cu ft freezer and a 10 cu ft refrigeration section but can hold at least two gallon jugs in the door. I’ve lived with the smallest of all-in-one kitchens for seven years in the past. I think I’ll keep on top of leftovers better with the smaller refrigerator. There is no icemaker so the available space in the freezer will be about the same. We’ll be stuck with an overcrowded kitchen until the local electric company shows up to trade a $50 rebate for the old working refrigerator. The seals on it are badly cracked and there are dented and broken shelves in the door so the choice was between replacing the seals or spending an additional $150 or so and getting a brand new refrigerator.
    We have had to Instacart all our groceries since just before the pandemic lockdown started. Instead of a dozen eggs costing $1 at Dollar Tree, they now are $2.50 a dozen plus random fees plus tip, making them more like $3.14 a dozen. That is an extreme but not isolated case. I looked at my budget, the fact that my health care will increase as much as $420 a month starting in August, what inflation and the necessity of having everything delivered is doing to my buying power, and realized that since I’m now using a walker and the mailbox at the street is a painful journey, I probably qualified for Meals on Wheels. I cannot eat and cook anywhere as simply and cheaply as I would if I wasn’t trying to keep an always slow and finicky eater who is now almost 99 eating enough to stick around a while longer. And as mom’s only caregiver, I am tired, incredibly tired. So I emailed them last week and they told me to call. Yesterday I did. I’ll start getting the same meal as mom does starting on Friday. I hope setting the lunch table with two identical meals will encourage her to eat more. Now I need to start doing the exercises the physical therapists gave me and, in general, try to take better care of me so I’ll have more energy to keep taking care of mom.

    1. Caregivers really do need to take care of themselves – glad to hear that you are at least getting help with the meals.

    2. Holly, take care of yourself. You have a tough road you’re navigating right now. I am happy you can get the meals, and take that off your shoulders. My stepmother brother is mentally disabled, and then her father got dementia. She found out that the brother qualified for a four hours once a week of care for her to get a break. A guy came and did puzzles and planted flowers with the brother ( the flowers were to talk about how things and people die) I hope you can find some additional help.

    3. Check with your post office. Several people I know were able to move their mail delivery to right beside their front door by providing handicapped parking permit or not from doctor.

  52. The fruit looks delicious. We just picked our first few strawberries this week.
    It is college move out time. Hubby and I or my daughter and I have gone several times. We have come home with several truckloads of items. Some we will keep, some we will sell, some we share with family and friends and some are being donated. Graduation is this weekend so we will go more this week.

    I have 4 sisters. Sister #1 and I are the only ones with kids. Sister #3 gave us a weekend away in her time share as a Mother’s Day gift. I took the ferry to CT where sister #3 picked me up. She drove me to sister #1’s house. We left from there. We were treated to a massage and dinner. We had a great weekend laughing and relaxing. I treated to lunch with a gift card I had. I ate dinner leftovers for lunch the second day. Sister #1 drove me to the ferry to get home. I spent less than $100 for the weekend.

    D and I go to the park a lot during the nice weather. They have a free little library that I add books to all the time. This week they had The Little House Treasury collection. I was so excited. I have read all of the books with my kids over the years. Now I will read them to D.

    The windows have been open. No AC or heat. This is my favorite time of year. Laundry has been washed on the cold, short cycle. All laundry has been hung outside on the line and racks. My electric bill was $8 less than last month. We have been making sure all leftovers get eaten. We just found out that my youngest will be graduating in the fall which is a semester early.

    A friend has a 2 month old baby with food sensitivities. She is unable to find the formula he needs. She has had to switch his formula again. The pediatrician doesn’t know what else to do. Everyone we know has been on the lookout for his formula. We are living in some scary times right now.

  53. I haven’t read through the comments yet – but I’m looking forward to it. Beautiful, beautiful photos Brandy. I wish I could dive into your blackberries and apricots. I haven’t planted Vinca in years. They are really pretty. I do love my petunias though. I have them in lots of colors in my beds this year. Also a few marigolds and dahlias.

    I haven’t posted in a few weeks here because of gardening and yard work. I’m going to read last week’s posts tonight.

    I’ve been keeping my food bill down and shopping sales/mark downs/clearance items. I’ve decided to go a certain day each week to check for markdowns. I have been able to buy roasts on markdown and put those in the freezer. I was able to buy 1/2 gallons of milk on markdown and shared those with my kids. I found a few things on markdown that I can use at home – elastics, white sponges, black beans, spaghetti sauce, etc. Everything has been put away for future use.

    My husband and I went to the nursery and bought our garden plants and flowers. Everything was really well stocked and not any shortages. It’s a huge blessing. My husband rotatilled our garden, which has been happily mulching over the winter with shredded garden plants, tree leaves and grass clippings. My husband added LOTS of extra drip lines or added more holes to the lines. I planted my strawberry runners into new spots, lots of new herbs – chocolate and orange mint, parsley, oregano, basil, lemon balm, chives, garlic, cilantro, onions and shallots. The mint I planted in pots. I planted lettuce in a pot as well. We planted tubers in plastic buckets – both yukon and russet. I’ve doubled the amount of green beans we planted as well as carrots. We planted several pepper plants, tomato, eggplant, zucchini and pickling and burpless cucumbers. I’m praying over my garden every day that things will grow. I ordered two new gardening books, saving egg shells, making compost tea and using epsom salts. I planted flower seeds and green bean seeds. Here we go!

    I spent 12 hours over Friday and Saturday making over my food storage pantry. I was able to move all paper towels, toilet paper, napkins, kleenex, plastic silverware, paper plates, flower vases and plastic cups into a bedroom closet that we are using as a guest room. The closet was completely empty and I can now see EXACTLY how much I have of each item instead of guessing and overbuying. That also freed up room in my pantry to re-organize food storage. I now have new space that I can use to easily see things since it’s not so crowded. Our freezer is still full of meat and cheese, sandwich bread, homemade jam, tortillas and ice cream.

    I’ve been exercising at home diligently, stretching each day and I also downloaded the Calm App. It does cost to use so I bought the year subscription. It’s been very helpful in sleeping and meditation. Cheaper than some other options I’ve been offered. And it’s helping. I also have been enjoying the scent of flowers – it’s very relaxing. I sit in our backyard rocking chairs and greatly enjoy the chirping birds and blooming flowers. I love my big shade trees and hearing the breeze gently blowing through the leaves. I’ve also enjoyed watching the leaves grow – they start out so small and feel like brushed cotton when I touched them. It’s fun to see how much they grow day by day.

    I’ve been reading books from the library – the new Agatha Raisin mystery by M.C. Beaton, Ellery Adams latest book. I’ve downloaded several free books from the daily email sent by Bookbub.

    I’ve made all meals at home except for date night – which we use gifts cards for each time. We bought them at discount at Christmas time and use them year round.

    I had someone leave me a gift. I saved the gift bag and tissue paper. Peeled the sticker on the bag carefully and put them in my stash. I’ve received free items from the Buy Nothing group – planters, wood alphabet letters and more furniture for my college students.

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

    1. I didn’t know there was a new Agatha Raisin book out! I’ll have to look to see if my library has it.

      1. I should have typed that with a better explanation. My library just got in the one from last year by M.C. Beaton. It was Hot to Trot. Sorry!

  54. I love seeing the garden photos. I finally got 2 days without rain (yesterday and today), where it was dried out enough, to work in my garden. So, I’ve been out there for hours and hours the past 2 days planting, weeding, clipping, etc. I’m pretty sore and tired, but very, very happy with what I got done. Usually, I go out for a short time each evening, but that has not been possible this spring. I need things to start growing or I won’t get much of a crop. Rain is predicted again tomorrow, and it looks like there may be enough to get everything drenched again, so it will be perfect for the things I planted today, but I wouldn’t be able to plant more things until it dries out again, which is why I pushed it so hard the past 2 days. Pictures are on my blog: http://beckyathome.com.

    I picked spinach, boc choi and a little lettuce, along with some herbs.

    Last week, my nephew stayed with us all week. His parents went out of town, and took his sisters, but what he really wanted was to go camping. So, we made a reservation and took him down to the coast for a few days. He has a park pass, so we used that for the fee. It’s nice that I could do school with him in the camper. Gas is expensive. In fact, it’s almost at $5/gallon today, my husband mentioned, and they say it will go over $5 next week. I’m glad we went last week. Because of that, we chose a campground that was closer then many to us, and did not drive around while we were there. Instead, we took walks, stayed in the camper, visited a Marine Science center operated by OSU, and went to a candy store. We took walks and visited the campground playground. On the rainy days, we played board games, listened to c.d.’s from the library, watched movies and he played Legos. We have some small bins of Legos that stay in there all the time and he can only use them when camping, so they seem very desirable to him on the occasions we take him. One set is actually a Lego of a blue van and a white camper, which is what we have, and he loves to build that one in the camper. We did not go out for meals or snacks at all, not even French fries or ice cream. Instead. I cooked every meal at the camp ground. I was not sure I had packed the food well enough (i.e. maybe not enough packed), as I was super busy right before we left, but I was happy to find I only had to get about $9 of groceries and that was mostly for some milk and produce that we are using this week.

    Rob plays a game with our nephew every time we take him camping where he hides small prizes and plays “hot and cold” while Jake finds them. This time, Rob was able to score some Pokeman cards and a lunchbox at a yard sale for a very small price and saved them for this purpose. Every day, Rob hid a few cards, or the lunchbox, and Jake found them. Rob figures it was $2.50, total for the whole week of prizes, a real bargain, and Jake was super happy.

    1. Becky, you and your husband are so good to your nephew, what a blessing you must be in his life.

  55. I wanted to share that yesterday I was in Salt Lake City for an appointment so I placed an order from a coop there for organic chicken. I talked to the owner and she said that it used to be that they could place an order that automatically happened each week. That changed awhile ago and they now have to place a new order each week. Now they have received notice that they will not be able to order for at least 90 days. I was talking to her specifically about organic chicken so I didn’t think to ask if that was all chicken. I talked to her after I got home. They have a few more packages of organic chicken thighs. I’ve decided to buy those also since our daughter works in SLC. I know that everyone here is trying to stock up. If you are able to stock up on chicken or eggs, it would be a good thing. Good luck to all of you. I read your comments each week. This is the only blog that I follow. I appreciate all of your suggestions.

  56. Our gas jumped .20 per gallon to 4.59 yesterday. More and more of my budget is going to gasoline. I live about 10 miles from town so with this increase I am reworking the budget again. Last week I bought no groceries. Everything we ate was from the pantry or freezers. I am almost ready to plant. I am going to try to get a few cool crops in even though it is a bit late. We couldn’t even work the garden earlier with all of the rain and wind storms we’ve gotten in the last 6 weeks. I lost 4 of the 5 trees I purchased last year. I was able to return 3 of them for credit. I ended up getting a tree with 4 different apple varieties on the same tree. I bought a replacement cherry tree as well. I also purchased a nectarine tree. I have never seen one before. My children prefer nectarines to peaches for fresh eating. I also had a raised bed of strawberries collapse in one of our wind storms so I only have a few starts for this year. I am planting 25 pounds of sprouted potatoes this weekend. We are purchasing drip line so that our plants get a more consistent daily watering. I am hoping these investments in homegrown food will bless us in the future. I also took a leap and ordered a Meyer lemon tree and a clementine tree online! They have been a lot of work!!! Due to the high winds on our property I have to keep them indoors year round. I am so excited as I have two tiny lemons growing and the tree just bloomed again two days ago! The clementine tree was heavily pruned and in shock when it arrived. With careful attention it is now putting out new leaves. Hopefully I can keep both happy and healthy in their pots. I also started water glassing my fresh eggs this week. I have my first dozen in a gallon jar! It will be nice to have fresh eggs when the girls molt in the fall. I don’t keep a light on my chickens in the winter. I try to give them a break. So my goal is to not have to buy any eggs from the store over the winter months.
    I had 3 bags of apples get soft on me so I made apple butter in my instant pot. It is delicious and I know I will enjoy it on my morning toast. I have appreciated the many recipes everyone has been sharing. I can try new frugal meals to give us some much needed variety. (I have very picky eaters!!) I am going to try to grow a wide variety of herbs from seed this year too. The encouragement from this group gets me looking at more ways of being self sufficient and frugal. I hope you all are managing well in these challenging times.

    1. I love my little Michigan-based Meyer lemon tree. It is going onto the balcony for its summer vacation this week. Was the 4-in-1 apple from.a local store or nursery or mail order?

      1. Holly I bought it at my local Menard’s store. I have never seen any like that sold there before this season.

    2. Hi Deanna, I hope you were not in Gaylord! I grew up in Northville and have many friends all over the state. Question: what did you use to water glass your eggs and where did you source it from, if you don’t mind. I want to do eggs as well, and haven’t figured out what lime to buy and where. Thanks so much!

  57. I just saw an article that described “Star of Bethlehem” as an invasive weed in the Midwest and East. It is short, lily-family, with white star shaped flowers, grows from bulbs.
    Does anyone have any experience with this? I have a clump forming that I don’t know where it came from. They are blooming now.

    1. I grow it. I had to buy mine. I’ve never had it spread, unfortunately. I would love to have more.

      1. Thank you– I wonder if dandelions and violets are also considered invasive weeds? I leave those alone in my lawn.
        Hostas and old orange day lilies are invasive to me. I think I’ll give this a few more years and then decide whether it is a problem or not. I like the flowers.

        1. I can’t keep violets alive here. They are expensive, too, at over $4 each. I have ordered wild ones on Etsy and Ebay too. They are not even a little bit invasive here. Sadly I have none anymore.

          Dandelions can be a problem but they have to be watered. It is rare to get them in the rocks amd most people have rocks here.

          Daylilies grow here but they are definitely not invasive. They are expensive; I want to say $20 a plant.

          I have had issues with elderberry, which sent up underground roots 20 feet from the plant. We tore all of that out with the backhoe. That one was an issue. It even grew through caliche.

          Mint can spread so long as it is watered, but put it in a pot and forget to water it one single day in summer and it will die.

          Passionfruit vine sent up runners under 6 feet of concrete.

          1. I wish I had invasive day lilies and hostas 🙂 Mine are much better priced here in the midwest than yours, Brandy, about $3.97 previous years for a small plant with maybe 8 of the long “leaves” (not sure what you call them). Some packs of the tubers are 5 in the package for $8 or so. Stella D’Oro is the kind of daylily that is everywhere here – in parking lot medians, etc. I have some beautiful apricot color ones that I need to separate but never remember to do so. It sure would be neat to be able to do a plant swap 🙂

          2. Now I know why the mint we planted in the yard did not survive. Thank you. I will try some in a pot.

  58. I do look forward to the new posts, photos and wonderful comments. Thank you, Brandy and everyone for your insights! … This past week was busy with continued clearing out of the in-laws’ house and less open time at home to prep meals to take for lunches on the days we went out there. I try to pack up several pieces of fruit and a main lunch option as we’re there eight-plus hours some days, so out of the house for 10 by the time we return home, filthy and exhausted. One day we stopped at Subway for veggie subs, but we’ve only done that a couple times out of 40 trips out there, now. We are coming to the end of the clearout, hopefully in June. We have driven over 5,000 miles on my car back and forth for this project, as they’re an hour from us. DH was executor and his brother doesn’t help with the clearout. I’m frustrated but also think he’s more emotionally affected in their deaths.

    We are thinking about taking their old kitchen fridge and doing a heavy duty clean on it and putting it in our garage, if we can manage to figure out the space. I’d love more room for fruit and veg and cold water in our pitchers, as well as the small freezer. We will still need to cycle through frozen food, though. Any suggestions for fewer ice crystals when I’m freezing fruit for smoothies? Esp. bananas!

    Homemade meals have been completely random this past week and not balanced like normal – vegan baked beans and homemade potato salad with white wine vinegar/dijon dressing … cuke/tomato/onion salad and veggie sandwiches … Impossible Burgers and air fried potato slices (not the most healthy but sure came together fast one evening) … harvest apple salads with craisins, glazed pecans … veggie fajitas and leftover fajita ingredients on a baked potato. We’ve eaten more than our share of pb on wheat sandwiches with fruit for lunch out there! We used up our frozen soups/chilis for hurried dinners when we get home, too, so I need to work on cooking more on days I don’t go out there.

    My splurge continues to be Gold Nugget citrus, a bag of 10-12 for $5 or so ($4.49-$5.49), but only available here for maybe two months and they’re one of my favorite foods. I never heard of them until 5-6 years ago and now I look forward every May to their arrival at my markets.

    My Thai Basil germinated and I’ve repotted the seedlings and hoping they get stronger. I cut a dozen small stems of white lilac from my inlaws’ and am trying to root them, and hopefully end up with a couple at least. I read that woody stem shrubs are difficult to propagate. If successful, I’ll have a few for our side garden.

    DH and his brother each decided to take one of their parents’ trucks as part of their inheritance instead of selling them. Both trucks are quite old. The one DH will take has 180,000 miles on it and is 18 years old, I think. He is ordering parts to do some repairs and a neighbor has a lift that he has offered to let him use that will speed up the job a lot. I will do up a nice basket of goodies for this guy when he uses it. This will enable him to sell his newish car back to the dealer for more than he paid for it a few years ago. That money will go back into our “next vehicle” fund.

  59. I think a lot of people are feeling a bit depressed these days with all the problems in the world. I’m one of them, for sure. I need to work on getting myself out of that mind set. DH has been somewhat cranky these days and decided I shouldn’t buy any larger quantities since “it’s only the two of us here in the house”. He doesn’t seem to realize that we quite often have at least 2 of the older kids over for supper and there’s always one GF too. Plus we have a summer cottage that will need supplies. Oh well…I’ll let some things deplete and then he can see what I mean.
    I’ve made all meals at home for the past week.We’ve had Bangers cooked in the oven with veggies, Pot roast with carrots, cauliflower and mashed potatoes, I made fish cakes with the leftover mashed potatoes and some leftover salmon filet (and there was enough for at least 2 more meals in the freezer), Lebanese pizza last night and tonight it’s samosas and home grown asparagus. I also made a rhubarb/strawberry crisp that lasted several days. I made a broccoli salad and used up a bit of broccoli that was going limp as well as a handful of cranberries and some almonds. I’m saving cold tea and mixing it with ice tea mix in anticipation of warmer weather. And, as I’ve mentioned before, my Soda Stream machine gets a good work out.
    It’s been cold and a bit dreary here lately. We finally had rain and it’s good for the garden since the veggies are slow so far. We have harvested asparagus from my 3 plants and I expect to get at least a couple more meals from them. I still need to get a couple of cherry tomato plants and several herbs.
    We sent the Grand kids birthday presents by mail wrapping the boxes in paper grocery sacks. It’s really expensive to send presents by mail. Good thing we had bought the gifts at an outlet mall. the DGS loved his new sneakers and we put a couple of magazines in the box as well. He’s at an age where he wants to wear a “brand name” and these were not expensive. When we chatted with him I created a bit of a fuss by asking if he was now going to apply for his driving license since it’s legal in Alberta when you hit 14. Of course, he was enthusiastic but his parents…not so much.
    My DIL went to a huge book sale in Calgary last weekend. We texted back and forth authors for her to look for me. She found a bunch and will bring them with her when they visit this summer. I had bought her a bunch of one of her favourite authors at a Thrift Shop down south so we will be able to trade.
    We are trying to sell our leather couch and you would think it’s easy to sell a custom made, good leather couch but it’s not. It was made for a former house (urban) and it’s too big for our city house. We don’t even want much for it. We have looked at several new couches but discovered my old antique settee that I have in the basement is the perfect size for the living room. I may have it recovered but not right away. Then we will buy a small sleep/sofa for the basement rec room for company.
    With the criticism from the DH about the stuff in the house, I’ve been going through cupboards and other areas and ruthlessly sorting and throwing out. I did find a bunch of cross-stitch that I can finish and an old Highlights for kids magazine that was never used. I’ll save it for my DGD when she visits this summer.
    I need to find a way to whiten some pillowcases that seem to have yellowed over time. Maybe some Oxyclean will help. I did was the duvet from our bed as it was getting pretty dirty around the edges. It had to go into the dryer. But the sheets and towels have been dried outdoors.
    My daughter’s birthday is tomorrow and we will have supper on the front porch. It will be an order-in type meal but I’m going to make a pineapple upside down cake for dessert. Her one brother will come for supper but the GF will not as she tested positive and is feeling kind of rough. So far, the rest of us are fine. Neighbours on one side are all sick so it’s still going around. So glad we got our 2nd booster shots.
    In the meantime, I’m watching the Baltimore Orioles that have come back this year. I think they have already nested and fledged. I actually found a nest high up in an oak tree. And I’m thrilled that my old Lilac tree is covered in blooms this year. I spread some sort of fertilizer/mineral stuff at the end of last year on the advice of the greenhouse. It worked. The trillium are fading fast as is the Virginia bluebells. the Bloodroot is finished as well and the May Apple is also fading. Now it’s Iris and Allium and the species Tulips that are blooming. It’s interesting to watch the season progress even if it’s slow this year.

  60. My Best Buy this week, was after buying a few other outfits (at goodwill) that weren’t a great option for my nephew’s formal evening wedding, I found a $2 scarf and a sequin tank top for $3.99 at a thrift store. I finally found this day before, as our weather has gone from 60° to 91° (for that one day). So I had to scramble last minute for something different to wear. My neighbor also gifted me some new dansko shoes she got for free I was able to make fit with insoles I had on hand.
    Gas is $6.59 gal, so I make sure not to do one off errands and try to drive slower to save. I also fill up at a half a tank so I can pretend the cost is for a full one.
    I’ve decided I’m really not going to plant a garden this year due to the drought. There is talk of Southern California not having enough water to make it through fall, and last year one of our touristy towns near San Francisco did run completely out of water. Also, my city picked this year to tear down and rebuild our water reservoir. Between that and fighting the suburban rats, I decided I’ll just go to the farmers market instead. I will repot some of my fabric beds for herbs as I have everything already and just keep some of my pollinator containers watered.
    Oddly my mint, in a pot, had a shoot of my in ground calla lilies come up in it, and some mint found it’s way outside the pot into the ground.
    My best friend since I was 2, who has stage 4 colon cancer, but was upbeat and told me drs said it was manageable, called yesterday to say goodbye as it took a sudden turn. Trying to focus on the blessings of having her all those years.

    1. Maria, so very sorry that your childhood friend is so ill. I will keep both of you in my prayers. Penny

    2. Maria, I’m also so very sorry to hear about your dear friend. May God comfort you and be with her. Peace.

    3. A lovely way to think of a friend for the joy and pleasure of them- the loss will be difficult enough but all your great times and memories truly matter
      So very sorry to hear of her illness

  61. We seem to be doing well. We put our watering can on the front step, and have gotten into the habit of putting the water from our sink (waiting for hot) into the watering can (after we’ve topped off dog water bowls and the Berkey – not in that order) and using that for our flower garden around the house. I’ve been picking asparagus and green onions from the garden and lilacs from the bushes – everything else is just wee sprouts (our typical plant date is after Mother’s Day). Our garden is looking good, but we’re supposed to get 4-6 inches of snow Friday night. I’ll be covering some perennials to protect them, but the seeds are not up yet and should be fine. The irises are just about to bloom…I hope we don’t lose them completely for this year, but we might.

    Our smoke alarms went off earlier this week, but there was no smoke or fire. We realized it was time for them to be changed. My husband ordered replacements from Amazon, using gift cards he got from filling out surveys, and he replaced them, saving us quite a bit over hiring it out, I’m sure. We borrowed books, music, a movie, and e-books from the library. I also used the library’s culture pass to get tickets to a museum we wanted to visit – the pass will save us over $50 on admission (we are going tomorrow) . I received some nominations at the staff meeting at work extra effort. I had enough points to get a reward, and got a $10 Culver’s gift card. I’ll probably combine that with a bogo coupon to get lunch for my husband and I one day.

    I brought lunch from home every day, using up leftovers from supper meals. We cooked our meals at home (we generally do). We buried the few food scraps we had in the garden. I darned some socks!

    1. Laura,
      Not that it helps you but it might help someone else. The Red Cross will provide free smoke detectors and will also come to your house for free to install them! They also provide alarms that will shake a bed as an alert for deaf or hard or hearing people. All free. There are no income limits. You can be a millionaire and they still do it for free. Will also install in rentals.

  62. Thought this was important: I ordered 24 cans of Goya Lentils from Amazon for $26.29 on Sunday. I received a notice on Wednesday that the price going forward would be $35.89–$9.60 increase! They, along with Walmart, etc. are tracking us like the Airlines do! Also, 22 of the 24 cans were dented due to the fact that cans now are only about a half step up from tin foil! This has happened on multiple items that I have ordered. So, if you see something you need or something on sale; buy it now.

    1. CherylB, The same thing happened to me! I ordered 24 cans of Goya small white beans for $17.69 on Amazon and now it’s $49.62…same product case. And 6 of them were dented, but usable. I went to reorder quickly and saw the next day price increase of $32! Initially I’d found some on Meijer’s clearance shelf for 35 cents each. I picked up a half dozen cans and wanted more but know many in my area could use the great deal, too. Now even the dry small white beans are unavailable. They’re smaller than great northern beans and work well in many of my recipes.

      1. THANK YOU Bonnie and Cheryl for the heads up on bean prices. I usually cook/freeze my own pinto beans, but like to have a few in the pantry for ‘fast food.’ I checked Vitacost for the 29 oz. cans of Eden Organic and ordered the limit of 10 of them. Then I remembered a $20 coupon I got in an email from Vitacost, ordered a few more items for free shipping, & I’m good to go for now! Much appreciated 🙂

  63. I haven’t commented in a couple of weeks. For some reason I no longer receive the emails saying a blog is up but no matter, I do know how to look online. I miss it enough to come hunt it up, lol.
    Trying to remember what I’ve done of late. I purposely planned NOT to grocery shop this month. What that means in real terms is that I run in to pick up best sales and things I’m out of (very little there) and I’m simply not purchasing my routine monthly grocery. It’s not a complete savings of the budget but it does mean I come in a bit under budget instead of my perpetual overage. Like most everyone, when I see a good sale I’m trying to stock as heavily as I can rather than allow the sales to pass me by and wondering if I’ll find the items or have the cost in the future. Because we have only a Dollar General and a small town IGA in my town we’ve always shopped in a much larger area where our church is also located and where most of our appointments etc are generated. This past week I did a DG challenge for my blog and spent about $39, then added in the cost of the milk, potatoes and lettuce I had at home. I thought I did very well with my challenge. I spell out my meal plans, etc. I enjoy doing these sorts of challenges because you just never know when you might not be able to travel further from home to purchase food. I don’t shop at the local grocery for personal reasons. They put in a whole wall of gambling machines and it just makes me ill to go in there. Apparently it makes most of our county population ill as well, as the parking lot is empty for hours and hours each day. It used to draw a pretty good shopping crowd.
    Picked up whole chickens at one grocery this past weekend for $1.01 a pound. I convinced my husband to allow me to purchase a seedless watermelon and but it myself ($4.99) as opposed to his preferred already cut and diced ($9/pound). A friend who gardens sent me four large onions and a big head of cabbage after John visited with him. I was pleased to receive that fresh produce. I made over a dozen egg rolls to put in the freezer and I have a bit over 2 dozen burritos in the freezer as well. The egg rolls are easy to make and you really fold them about the way you do a burrito for the freezer. I brought home taco meat, rice and beans from a church supper. We had a lunch from that and then I made up the second lot of burritos from those leftovers. The first lot were made with a bit of leftover chili and rice. In another grocery this week we bought a rotisserie chicken that was cut into pieces for $4.49. We also got bread and rolls for $1.49 a package and a blueberry pie for $1.99 which I was delighted to discover was made with real fruit filling and not just canned pie filling. I’ll keep my eye out for more of those in future as I couldn’t purchase the blueberries for that price much less enough for a pie. I am refreshing my porches using elbow grease to clean, and what I have on hand. This morning both porches got rearranged and now comes the harder elbow grease part of cleaning. I picked up a hanging planter of coleus for $14. It has four large plants in it and I will take cuttings to create new plants and divide into other planters so they have more room to grow. I love coleus. I picked up a small bougainvillea for less than $9. The rest of what I have for this year will be what I have already, seeds, plants and all. We have had very little rain and it’s looking like we will have to start saving water and using that to keep potted plants and things alive. We’ve been very blessed to not have to worry about that for years now but it does occur here even though we are a ‘green’ state and not a desert one.

    1. I don’t know why you are not getting the emails! I wonder if I should try a different email program as a couple of people have mentioned this.

      Slot machines are everywhere here, including in the grocery stores and the airport. I don’t want to throw away my hard-earned money on purpose; I do enough on accident when food gets wasted for any reason.

      1. Brandy, I do website work for a non profit and emails from our website that used to go out just fine are now being blocked by some email platforms. Our website has sent the email but the recipient’s email platform is blocking it. It has just started happening in the last few weeks, after working fine to the same emails for years.

    2. I can not believe you have slot machines in your grocery stores. In Australia, they are in areas children are not allowed to be in.

      I am doing the same with my grocery shopping…pick up best sales and things I’m out of 🙂. Seeing a significant saving by meal planning according to these purchases.

  64. I want to alert you that we are experiencing a Pharmacist shortage causing some pharmacies to close very early or not open at all. We moved our prescriptions a few months ago due to unavailability of vaccines where we use to go. Now this pharmacy is being inundated with new customers scrambling to fine a pharmacy to meet their needs. It may be frugal to ask around and see if there are pharmacies that seems to be operating normally if yours in showing signs of problems before you find you cannot fill a prescription or pickup is not compatible with work hours. Automate or put an order to fill prescriptions several days in advance.

  65. I am slowly recovering from getting very ill 2 weeks ago. Definitely not even close to feeling 100%-but at least I have managed to cook a few simple, healthy and frugal meals-chicken and potatoes, lasagna, chili, cauliflower soup, lentil soup, ham and scalloped potatoes etc. One day at a time. DH has been doing the shopping as I am trying to avoid others as much as possible for 4 more weeks–so as not to pick up anything else while recovering as per doctor’s orders.
    Our Ukrainian guest continues to settle into her job-apt move in should be some time in August.
    DH and our guest will be dropping off some donated clothing and toys tonight- I gathered them for a 9-year-old boy and his mother who arrive here tomorrow-having escaped from Kharkiv-it is nice that we can continue to help others in need.
    Still dog sitting for DD who is in the process of moving. She will pick up the pooch enroute East for summer work next week.
    One funny story-a couple of weeks ago, despite feeling awful , I suddenly noticed DH needed a hair cut so off he went-we both forgot about the discount coupon I had put on the fridge a few weeks before. I was kind of kicking myself for that frugal fail-but as it turned out the day he went, unbeknownst to us, haircuts were actually half price for one day-which was a better deal!!
    Frugal victories-finally received $ owed from the govt as wage replacement when I was sick with Covid and quarantined. It took almost 3 months but better late than never . We did get some dental coverage for DD from her uni benefits which we thought had already expired-so that was nice. Not so frugal-finally felt well enough to get my permanent crown on a tooth yesterday-quite expensive but I only have one set of teeth so worth investing in my mouth!!
    Wishing everyone a good week.

  66. Today I scored on mayonnaise. I think I did. Well, here’s the thing. I make homemade mayonnaise. I bought oil when it was cheaper and we have too many eggs right now but sometimes the family doesn’t like it when I don’t get around to making it plus some of the older kids are sort of picky when they come back home from school. Also, I was trying to show my husband how costly food is right now so I grabbed a big one at Costco. I about died as it was $9. Anyway, I was at the store and saw the normal sized mayo (a quart, maybe) for $1 each!!! It was $4.55 off. I figured something must be wrong with it and sure enough it expires in June but here’s the thing: they all had coupons on the top with $1 off. FREE. The poor checkout girl was a little annoyed with me, I bought like 18 of them but I could have bought even more if I had space. I was a little afraid to come home with more food (even free food!) so I gave a few to a friend. She sounded like she might go back to the store and buy more! I don’t know how long mayonnaise lasts past the best buy date. Does anyone here know?

        1. Pretty sure we have had an open jar in the refrigerator for at least six months without problems.
          Store the unopened ones in a cooler rather than a warmer place? Not necessarily the refrigerator, though.

  67. Hello Brandy & fellow readers!! Brandy those blackberries look delicious!! Love me some fruit!

    Last week was National Nurses Week/Hospital week. The hospital gave us a box full of snacks that we give our patients, so nothing special. My RN Union gave us $10 gift cards to Duncan Donuts. I’ve used mine to get 2 large iced coffees on my way to working my night shifts. Still have enough left for 1 more iced coffee.

    For Mother’s Day, my son who is 18 now & a senior in high school made me a heart shaped wooden table he made in Wood shop class. It’s beautiful & something I will cherish forever. He also gave me a very heartfelt card in which he wrote a nice message.

    He graduates on June 4th. We are having a party for him on 6/12. I won a $250 gift card to a local catering company in December 2020. They assured me I could use it in 2022. I placed my order and only went $30 over the $250.

    Trying to eat from our pantry. Buying groceries at our local ALDIs. I bring all my lunches for work from home rather than buying food/drink at work from the vending machines.

    Used a gift card for subs from Subway that was given to us last year.

    Used another gift card for dinner from Applebees one night.

    Nothing special. Just trying to not spend money on frivolous things.

    Have a blessed & frugal weekend my fellow readers!!

  68. Your blackberries look amazing. I have a lot of raspberries growing, and I’ve been transplanting runners down our fence line. We’ve enjoyed asparagus from the garden, kale, and one morel. We’ve been continuing with sourdough bread and lots of sourdough muffins. I just use whatever fruit I have on hand, last week it was ripe bananas and a little rhubarb from the garden.
    The weather has been very erratic. We’ve had ac and heat on and thankfully now neither, but it will get cold again this weekend. I planted the brassicas in the garden but I’m holding off on everything else. I overwintered (indoors) peppers, hibiscus, citrus trees and herbs.
    We celebrated my daughter’s birthday with a family dinner out but other meals were at home. We kept things simple and still had a great day. We also treated my family for their help, used some coupons and another families members discount at that restaurant.
    I had a very busy weekend at one of our businesses. I planned ahead and meal prepped, even buying some easier to cook foods to avoid eating out. Normally we end up ordering takeout all weekend and all I bought was a coffee. I’ve been biking to work once a week to cut down on gas and get exercise. We even walked to work one day.
    Not frugal, but I finally found another house cleaner. I hate cleaning and I work a lot. This saves me time to devote to my business and family and keeps my sanity.

  69. Brandy (and anyone else who does direct composting) have you ever had issues with burying kitchen scraps attracting any kind of animal pests in your garden? I’d very much like to try this but am worried about unwanted critter visitors digging in the beds. I would only bury fruit and vegetable scraps. Advice welcome!

    1. I haven’t, but a few readers mentioned voles. We don’t have voles here.

  70. Those blackberries look divine — I am so inspired to grow them! The long ice-cube trays are super useful for filling water bottles. We have some packed in a box somewhere….
    **The past few weeks have been crazy busy with the end of the school year. We’ve had several concerts, sporting events, basically something almost every day. I cooked at home as often as I could.
    **Very thankful for the beautiful lettuce and spinach my garden has been pumping out. My mother-in-law gave me a stacked planter last year that I grew strawberries in. They didn’t do well in it, I think the levels were too shallow for the roots. So this year I am growing lettuce in them instead. Wow, what a difference — the lettuce is doing fantastic. https://www.savingsinseconds.com/grow-lettuce/
    **Started catnip in the aerogarden, then transplanted out on the deck. My cats think they won the lottery. My next Animal Good Deed will be to finally fill my hummingbird feeders. I’m quite late on it this year, I hope they don’t resent me for it.
    **Purchased another Aerogarden on Facebook. It is new in box. I am going to offer it to my mom first. Not sure if she will want it; if she doesn’t, I will keep it.
    **I didn’t have time to plant out some of the plants I’ve started. The basil, parsley, and bee balm were taking over the Aerogarden. I pinched back the starts and put the cuttings in water. Then I put the cup in the light of the Aerogarden. They started growing roots so quickly, I was astonished! Love getting free plants from existing plants. I think I may pot up some of them and give to a friend from work.
    **The little discount store I like to visit had a $5 Fill a Bag sale. By the time I made it there after work, it was very picked-over but I still found lots of great items. Some of the things I got — multi-packs of greeting cards, faux flowers, hand soap, home decor, candles, books, and many more things. I spent $25+ tax. Got a couple of items I think I can resell to recoup that cost.
    **I sent in books, earned $29.40 over the past 2 weeks.
    **I requested coupons by mail through a Pepsi email I received. The coupons are for snacks like Cheetos, Doritos, Quaker products, Smartfood, Tostitos, Pepsi, Mountain Dew…. The website is TastyRewards.com. You have to sign up for a free account, then can select the coupons you want to receive, which they mail to you or you can print. It says you can request them twice a month. I chose to do it via mail because I don’t have a printer at home (even if I did, mailed coupons would save me on ink!)

  71. The $1 Tree store very near me went up to $1.25 per item a few months back, which was still a very good value for the items I buy there regularly. (I can walk there from where I live.) The only exceptions were greeting cards, which remained an amazing 2 for $1. But I went shopping there yesterday and saw some new items (frozen dinners, etc.) that looked appealing–good thing I looked twice, because now I see the store’s signs say the store is “$1 Tree Plus” and all items except greeting cards are now between $1.25 and $5.00. The item I picked up was $3, so I put it back on the shelf. I will definitely still shop there for my “usuals” (which include a 6 oz. bag of espresso that I love; it’s still only $1.25) but I will have to be eagle eyed about other things, some of which I can get on sale at Safeway or elsewhere for less money.

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