The White Garden at Sunset

I’ve noticed a lot fewer sales on items that I normally buy, in addition to higher prices since the start of the pandemic last year. In the most recent article I read about rising food costs, I noticed it said that citrus had risen 11.8% in price. Planting more fruit trees in our garden is an investment in combatting rising food prices.

There is a saying about planting a fruit tree:

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.

While it takes several years to begin to harvest from a fruit tree, I’m glad to be planting more fruit trees in my garden this year. In regards to citrus, I am adding three grapefruit trees, another lemon tree, three lime trees (two will be potted), two mandarin trees, and a clementine tree.

Our savings have continued to primarily focus on the garden as we progress in our garden makeover.

I purchased some plants on sale for the garden at 45% off at the local nursery.

In addition to fruits and vegetables, I am also adding more flowers to my garden. I want to have enough flowers to both enjoy in the garden as well as to be able to cut fresh flowers for bouquets for the house every week. I am planning both annuals and perennials so that there will be flowers in bloom all year round.

I have been contemplating adding four rose trees to the garden for several months. The ones I like are $60 each, plus shipping. Instead of buying trees, I decided to make my own. Our local nursery had Iceberg roses on sale for $11.88 each. I bought ones that each had one tall, straight cane, and pruned everything else off of them to train that one cane. I purchased stakes to tie them to (so they would have straight trunks) for $0.99 each. I will have to wait longer for these to grow to the size I want, but I was able to get four “trees” for less than the price of one larger tree.

I bought 12 yards of soil on a Thursday, which is senior discount day (ages 55 and older). My husband qualifies for the discount. I bought soil on other days of the week as well, but most was bought on Thursday, saving $34.20–more than half of the cost of the roses.

I buried some food fruit and vegetable scraps in the new garden beds. These will break down to feed the plants.

I sifted previous garden soil to remove rock and roots. There were many worms in this soil. I bought worms years ago for my garden beds, as there are not worms here normally in our rock-hard ground. I put them in the new beds and watered the soil throughout the new garden beds.

I finished reading an e-book from the library.

We picked lemons from our Meyer lemon trees to make lemonade.

I cut lettuce, parsley, and oregano from the garden.

I purchased ice cream on sale, which we enjoyed after working in the garden.

I returned two clothing items that I had ordered online that did not fit correctly.

I sowed seeds in plastic containers from the nursery that annuals had grown in for lettuce, cucumbers, and parsley. I’m still not quite ready to plant in the garden, but this should give me the plants to put out when we are. It’s a bit late to plant lettuce here, so I only planted a few seeds in the hopes of a harvest before they will end up just bolting from the very beginning.

I ordered an engraved locket for one of my daughters from Etsy from this shop while they are having a sale. I’ve been comparing engraved lockets on Etsy for a while and had decided on this one. They recently put it on sale, so I made the purchase, saving 20%. This will be one of her birthday gifts.

I used a 10% off apparel coupon on the Target app to buy two shirts for my daughter for $8.77 (they were on clearance as well). They also had a deal where if you spend $40 in health and beauty, you get a $10 gift card. I made sure to hit the $40 mark, but the gift card didn’t come up, so the cashier just took $10 off my total. I have had to change my plan to only spend $100 a month for the first three months on groceries and toiletries; with so many teens at home, I have been needing a lot of toiletries lately. I have been looking for ways to save more. The items I bought were almost all store-brand versions, and on the two that were not, they were the lowest-priced options.

What did you do to save money last week?

Please keep your comments kind, positive, and on the topic of saving money.

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155 Comments

  1. Oh, the lovely picture of your garden! We are a LONG way from that in Michigan, but I do have some daffodils blooming. My husband has lettuce growing in a cold frame in our garden, so hopefully in the next month or so we can enjoy fresh salads.

  2. A friend gave me some of her sourdough starter, and I am feeding it/growing it in preparation for baking a loaf of sourdough bread. I am beyond excited to do this!
    I’ve been more mindful about catching the water that runs in the faucet while we wait for the hot to arrive to the sink. It’s usually enough to fill our Berkey filter, which is nice. Our water heater is tankless, so there is not a ‘stale’ taste to the water that runs before the hot water arrives.
    I learned about a program in our state to get a free radon test. (CO) We used that, and learned that ours is a little high. I had also learned that there is a program for low to mid-income families to get radon mitigation. When I checked the chart, we easily qualified with our income, so I filled out the application. We were approved, and the contractor will come to install our system this week! This is a big relief to me.
    Those things, plus borrowing from the library, hanging laundry out to dry, planning a menu and using leftovers for lunches, and heating our home with wood added up to a frugal couple of weeks. My husband also did great with grocery shopping and using coupons, sales, and rebates to greatly reduce the cost of our food. Also…I saw some volunteer lettuce sprouting in the garden, where I let last year’s final crop go to seed and scatter. Our last frost date is end of May, so I do this every year to get an early crop, and it works well for me.
    Our garden is planned, but I am also going to try to learn more about additional permaculture items I can plant here. I’m just beginning that process.
    I’ll be posting our menu for the week a little later today. Visitors welcome at tenthingsfarm.blogspot.com Thank you to everyone who shares ideas and inspiration here!

    1. Laura, that is amazing about the radon program. We bought our house 20 years ago and found the radon problem. It cost 10k back then and can’t imagine how much it would be now! Good for you for researching and locating this program, radon is so tricky, and deadly.

      1. My son had the radon reduction done on his home in Minnesota several years ago. His home is a large rambler with a full basement. I don’t remember the exact cost but it was a few thousand dollars although there are contractors out there who advertise for much more. The system basically amounts to pipes being sunk into the ground connected to fans that suck up the radon from the soil and blow it out over the top of the house. This is a crude but not inaccurate description. So if you need it don’t be intimidated by the cost but do check around. He checks radon levels regularly and the system he had installed works well.

        1. Last year I went to the dr. because I had pain in my back. After x-rays, CT scans and other tests, they found some atypical cells in my right lung. I had surgery to have it removed and they found it was cancer. The dr. got it all – it was small and it wasn’t in any surrounding lymph nodes. I have never smoked but the Dr. said that Utah has the highest non-smoking lung cancer rates because of radon. We tested our home and it was high so we immediately had it mitigated. There are free kits to test your home. Please take advantage of the tests!

      2. Jean, I do not know the exact cost of the installation, but I know the maximum the program will pay without additional approval is $1500. I believe ours came in below that amount. The fan system costs about $140, and there is some PVC pipe to run from basement floor level up through the roof, totaling roughly 30 feet. They also have the labor, of course, and they will need to core a 4-5 inch hole in the basement floor, but the contractor has the equipment to do it. We already have an outlet for power where they needed one, so that is fortunate! 🙂 I know that there are different levels of radon in different regions, and I understand that some of the systems are both more complex and more costly.

    2. Does the radon mitigation system fan run constantly? And is that annoying?
      That was our experience with the system in the home we bought. We are just on the lower edge of having detectable amounts. Thank you for any comments on this!

    3. Thank you for mentioning radon. You reminded me we are past-due to do this. I just ordered an $11 testing kit (free not available in my state). When we built this house 3 years ago, the pipes were installed and we were advised to test after 1-2 years. If the radon level is high, supposedly we will only have to install the fan.

  3. Great job with DIYing rose trees! I look forward to seeing them as they grow!!
    These past two weeks have been crazy busy with babysitting grandson, having 3 more quilts come in and our second COVID shots!
    The quilt that came in this 2 weeks ago had backing with no extra margin on the length or width (it has to be at least 4”wider and 4” longer than the quilt top in order to be loaded on to my longarm. ) So the client took the back home and added more of the same fabric to the backing and ironed it flat. Especially because the backing is a small print, the seam lines from this addition won’t even be noticed after it is quilted. I finished it today- https://pin.it/5pthcTJ and a close-up https://pin.it/2VOHYq2.

    My friend who teaches quilting classes for beginners oversaw her 9 year old granddaughter in making this quilt! https://pin.it/MoqV9QD, https://pin.it/4s5yXpr and snuggling in her quilt in her Book Nook: https://pin.it/2YC59Uc.

    The other quilt that came in was constructed by my client’s great-grandma- https://pin.it/1XymRAZ. She is excited to finally get it quilted up so that it’s no longer tucked away in a box and they can actually use and display it! When her great-gran finished it, she was 96 and almost totally blind. I’m excited to give that part of heritage/history back to her so she can see and enjoy it regularly!

    Made more ham, egg, cheese breakfast biscuit using the last tube of refrigerated biscuits in the fridge. They have been a real hit and I made more ham salad sandwich spread with the leftover bits of ham trimmings from the biscuits!
    Our new windows came in last Thursday and so we borrowed a 30 foot extension ladder from our neighbor. She told us that she hired a well known local window company to put in 4 windows this size in her house and it cost $11,000!! Our $604 price for these next 3 large windows is even more astounding!! So these 3 window alone saved us $7646 over using a window company to buy and install them!! That’s real money!! I can’t even comprehend what the 41 window cost would have been!! I guess I’m really grateful for Hubs handy skills!! He has it down to a routine these days!! Here are all three windows put into place: https://pin.it/5Wsnxab and https://pin.it/1b96uyf and https://pin.it/6Z2jDPV. The previous windows had never opened before and now they will and also have screens that fit!

    The neighbor across the street who told us about this window place and flips houses put his house on the market for $309K (after buying it 2 years ago for $212K). 10 days later and 1 open house, it has sold for $355K!! 😳😳😳 Hope the real estate market is picking up for your husband in LV, Brandy!

    Last Saturday morning we drove up and picked up the 15 new chickens (3 for us and 12 for three of our friends). It was great fun- 90 minutes each way- perfect date with Hubs and we talked and planned so much! When we got back I started cleaning my veg beds for Spring planting. Lo and behold, some of my Swiss chard came back through our harsh winter and is looking very promising! https://pin.it/2Gq8Sxj. I love when that happens! It’s free food!!

    I did our youngest son’s taxes and he is getting a $600 refund. He also applied for a team lead position at the zoo where he works and his sister who he lives with helped him with his cover letter and resume since she has worked in HR for 15 years now! His interview is Friday and we are all praying for his success! This is a major step in his progress just to go ahead and apply so we are thrilled to see him becoming more independent!

    I found peach trees at Kroger’s (of all places! 😀) for $12.96 each so I bought 3 to add to our little orchard! They are each about 6 foot tall but look pretty healthy! I am also adding 2 more blueberry bushes.
    I planted potatoes in my tiered 5 gallon bucket planter. It should harvest between 48- 60 pounds of potatoes! I do so love this time of the year!
    Hubs had his last cataract surgery last Wednesday and we are pleased that it has been as successful as the other one two weeks before! What an incredible age we live in!!

    Thanks, Brandy for all your encouragement and creative ideas as well as to all of your commenters who every week share ideas that I’ve never thought of that enhance and enrich my life!

    1. GardenPat – I look forward to your comments each week. I didn’t realize you were a fellow Autism mom until recently (they’ve dropped the Aspberger’s term recently and now it’s all considered under the “autism” umbrella – why I have no clue) Your son is giving me great encouragement for my little guy’s future. He’s almost four and nonverbal, so some days are tougher than others. I see his potential in there, just working on getting it out. Your son is a wonderful role model for mine. Thank you for sharing his successes!

    2. Gardenpat, will you explain in a little more detail about your ham, egg and cheese breakfast biscuits? It sounds like something we would enjoy and my husband might eat.

      1. Anne- To make the breakfast biscuits (https://pin.it/3Qd6tGF), I used 1 tube of refrigerator biscuits – 8 “Grand” type in a tube. I baked those first. When they were cooled down, I cut them in half.
        I used a biscuit cutter to trim ham slices into circles that were closer to the size of the biscuit (1 slice per biscuit.
        I have a round microwave scrambled egg maker. I crack an egg into it and then stab the yolk before microwaving each one for 40 seconds.
        I layer the biscuits this way: biscuit bottom, ham slice, American cheese slice, scrambled egg, biscuit top.
        When we want to eat one, we warm it in microwave for 24 seconds.
        Quite yummy!!

      1. Denise- He is his third year in Food Services. Pay is less than many retail jobs in Cbus. We live in Olde Towne East between Downtown Columbus and Bexley so the drive time and gas were making it even less profitable. When he moved in with our daughter and her family in Hilliard, that at least cut down on the miles to work and the hope was that he would consider other employment that was closer and paid better. But his autism (although very high functioning) makes initiating change hard and he is fiercely loyal. He showed up for his interview 40 minutes early at the zoo (He is always punctual/early and dependable.) Unfortunately, although his manager was there, the other higher-up person was not so it will need to be rescheduled. But he still comes in to work every day that he is scheduled (5 days/week) early and even stays late as needed, skipping lunch break when they are busy or don’t have someone to replace him for a break. He was a computer programmer for a small business for 4 years before the company closed down. It’s hard but it’s taught us to be grateful for every accomplishment that came so easily for our other children!

    3. Gardenpat, I believe your son will get the position since it sounds like he is a great worker and overqualified. Let us know the outcome.
      Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

    4. I always enjoy your quilt pictures, but especially enjoyed seeing the 9 year old girl’s quilt too. Impressive!

  4. My almost 15 yo son is very slim but has long arms. Finding shirts that fit is hard. Last week I was at Walmart and looked at the clearance rack in the men’s department. They had 2 XS flannel shirts for $6 each! They fit him perfectly!

  5. What big savings on the rose trees! I hope y0u and your family are able to get the rest of the garden reno done asap!

    My frugal accomplishments:
    – I made carrot muffins (http://approachingfood.com/healthy-carrot-muffins-with-blood-orange-marmalade-filling/) for easy breakfasts, and just left out the homemade jam filling because I had no energy to do that. Still delicious!
    – Remembering what several commenters have mentioned in this forum, I went to Costco (using the nearly expired membership I got from work a year as a work perk) and bought a gift card so that I can access Costco even after my membership expires. I also told a friend about this, and she plans to do the same. While I was there, there was a lotion on sale that I had planned to buy the next day using a coupon and a seniors discount (my mum was going to buy it for me) but the sale at Costco meant it was even more affordable! It was very serendipitous.
    – I gave haircuts to my mom, dad, and husband. Had they all gone to the hair salon/barbershop, it would have cost about $100 all together.
    – Using my local trading app, bunz, I traded some digital currency from the app for 8 BNIB Mikasa Christmas mugs. I was really happy with this trade as it was socially distanced via my porch, plus the digital currency it used had been accumulating on the app with no other use for me.
    – I redeemed SB for $10 to Paypal
    – Using Wish.com, I ordered a silicone mini chocolate bar mold for $7.50 incl. shipping.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

    1. I’ve been looking for ways to cut costs on personal care, as well. I bought a 2-pack of deodorant stones (“Thai Crystal Deodorant Stones”), $6 per stone. I bought my first stone 10 years ago and used it only during the colder half of the year for 7 years. For the last 3 years I’ve used it exclusively, adding some diluted essential oil beneath my arms during the summer for a “scent”.
      I also ordered an IPL laser hair removal device to experiment with in place of shaving. It was $100, and I spend about $25 per year on razors, so the jury is out on whether or not I’ll actually save money. I AM hoping to save some time shaving, though.

      1. Hi Prudence! I hope you will come back and let us know how the IPL laser hair removal device performs. I, too, have been thinking about buying one but the price has made me pause. Thanks for being the group’s guinea pig with this!

    2. I’m trying to get back into a baking mood so I will try your muffins this weekend.

      Hope you are getting lots of rest. Do you have much longer to go in your pregnancy?

      1. Hi Margie! I think you’ll like the muffin recipe! We devoured all of ours within 3 days, mostly my daughter and myself! And it’s easily adapted to different fruit or vegetables you have at home (apples, carrots, sweet potatoes), so it’s pretty frugal too!

        Thanks for asking about my health! I have about a week and a half before my dr will induce me, as I’m considered high risk. I was expected to have to give birth up to two months ago, so I’m very glad for the baby’s sake that she was able to stay put! I’m still on bed rest, and I’m so thankful for family who help with childcare; I don’t want to think of how much full-time childcare would have cost, especially since I’m not working right now. But all’s well that ends well, so I’m very thankful for how things have worked out.

        Hope you’re doing well too, despite the pandemic and repeated lockdowns!

  6. Hi Brandy thanks again for an insightful post 🙂

    I have a few fruit trees and vegetable seeds, but have no idea how to make my sums with regards to comparing how much growing food will cost me compared to how much it will cost to just buy it.
    How do you factor in water, plant feed, cost of seeds and plants, irrigation hardware, etc.?
    Do you have a formula with regards to all this and the size of one’s family?
    I would LOVE to try!

    1. I have no formula, but I know that I can buy a peach tree here for $34.95, and in a few years, it will yield me hundreds of pounds of peaches each year. Peaches are now around $1.25 a pound here on sale at the lowest price in season, so one year’s crop from one tree could easily be a couple hundred dollars of peaches in harvest. I water on drip irrigation. I would grow something no matter what, so it could be flowers, or grass, but instead I am growing food. We are reducing our grass by 75%, and drip irrigation uses less than half the water that sprinklers do, so my water bill will also go down.

      Plus, as costs rise, my trees will be getting larger and giving even more fruit.

      Swiss chard is rather inexpensive to grow and rather expensive to buy here, and you cut it and it grows back all year long in our climate (and can handle a decent amount of cold in other places). It’s one of the most nutritious greens you can eat and it is very simple to grow with drip irrigation. You could even grow it in a pot.

      Lettuce is now $1.49 a head here, and we can eat two heads in a meal. I can buy a packet of seeds for $4 with hundreds of seeds inside. I think lettuce is one of those plants where you definitely recoup your money.

      Taste is a whole other thing. Homegrown produce, picked at peak ripeness, tastes completely different than produce picked green and ripened at the store.

      Costs are going to vary a lot by place. I have to bring in all new soil because our ground is lime rock. Most people don’t have to do that. I still think it’s worth it. My grocery bill would be several hundred dollars more a month if I didn’t garden.

    2. Hi Anel
      It’s a bit different for gardeners in the UK because we get a lot of rain so don’t need irrigation hardware etc. However I agree with Brandy that the taste of fresh produce just picked is unbeatable. We save money by growing a range of herbs which mostly overwinter for the next year and I dry them too. Tree fruit and soft fruit is a winner, raspberries are expensive here and we grow many pounds for a small capital outlay. Buy the plants once, then propagate more as the years go by and save seed too. You don’t need to buy seeds every year. Some veg is difficult to buy in the shops and is so old/ tough it’s not nice to eat. So we grow our own runner beans and broad beans, runners give a huge crop for little outlay and can be frozen, pickled etc too.
      I would encourage you to have a go, don’t spend big money to start with, learn as you go. Good luck!

      1. I always keep in mind Brandy’s longtime advice that if you have one dollar to spend on a garden, put 90 cents into the soil and 10 cents into the seeds/plants. In addition to spending money on soil amendments, I’ve started going to a near by beach after a storm and collecting seaweed to fertilize the garden. I also compost as much of my kitchen veggie scraps as possible in two large plastic storage containers with holes drilled in the sides and bottom.

        1. It’s definitely the soil costing me the most money and taking me the longest time! I know it will all be worth it in the end.

      2. Hi Anel, just to chip in. I am UK too and were I live land is very expensive (rain is reasonably plentiful) so I focus on expense in the stores and space efficiency for my gardening choices. For me this means herbs, tomatoes, mixed salad leaves, lettuce, beetroot, runner beans, broad beans, kale, strawberries and courgettes. This year I am adding leeks and chilli as we like them but they are expensive. I’d love to add raspberries, asparagus and peaches but just don’t have the spare space. Here carrots, potatoes and onions are more expensive to grow than garden but the taste is superior for home grown.

    3. Anel, another benefit of growing your own food is the health benefits of getting highly nutritional, fresh, non-pesticide-laden food. I can’t put a price on my health. There are many ways to cut down on the expenses of gardening, saving seeds, making your own compost, using home-made organic bug killers, catching rainwater, or mulching. The list is endless. I say, jump in with both feet and plant something. Some things will fail but other things will flourish. Every new season, build on what you learned and repeat your successes.
      I will admit, I haven’t taken my own advice. I went wild when the seed catalogs arrived in December and I bought everything. It wasn’t frugal, but I don’t care! We saved a fortune on all the food I have grown this past year and I deserved to splurge. Well, that’s what I am telling my guilty conscience. Here is a list of the damage.
      https://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2021/03/garden-seeds-for-2021-season.html
      And this is my end-of-the-month garden update and goals for this next season – plant more and more and more!
      https://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2021/03/marchs-garden-2021.html
      Anel, I hope you do try something and I’m looking forward to hearing about your garden adventures.
      Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

  7. It seems like this past week has been back 12 steps and forward 2.

    Hubby went to get dog food and found garden soil and potting soil really cheap to finish the garden boxes we are adding. So brought home 3 pallets 117 cubic ft. But he forgot the dog food SIGH.

    Daughter 4 swerved to miss the kid that ran out in the street and hit a huge pot hole. $500 almost to repair but the good news was the kid was not hit but is grounded and the mechanic checked everything and found the steering rod was going to be needed replaced so did that while he already had the car.

    Son 2 got up to a broke hot water heater and was quoted $3000 for a tank and $4000 for a tankless and then when he said he would get other bids , the guy dropped a $1900 tank. Son reported him to owners. Called us and Hubby and him went to get a tank water heater and tools for son. He now knows how to replace it on his own and only spent $ 800 tank and tools. He owes his dad a steak dinner. AND he found 2 water leaks he fixed since the tank was out.

    We got our first covid shot at the hospital and the second one is scheduled. Hubby got a sore arm and I was just exhausted.

    While I was down with hip replacement I couldn’t go to the basement to check frigs for what veggies and fruit needed used up. Hubby said we ate it all when we were going to store…RIGHT… He looked in the wrong frig (we have 2 in basement) and I tossed a lot of veggies that were nasty and cleaned the frig. At least I know for sure what I have and don’t .

    I’ve had several items on my wish list at Amazon that were actually needs. We got some of the medical bills paid from the surgery and went through your site Brandy put in that order. I think I did 3 orders all said and done.

    Granddaughter just texted me and said she is thinning, dilated to 3 and having off and on contractions. She’s walking a lot around the block.

    Praying for a less hectic April.
    Blessed be …everyone stay safe .
    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2021/03/and-it-is-still-rolling.html

  8. on the weekend I was able to buy celery for .44 per bunch, potatoes .99 for 5 lbs and a large ham for under $15. I also bought half price bananas and just baked some banana bread. On a not so frugal note I booked a safari/cruise to S Africa for Jan but who knows at this point whether travel will be safe by then.

    I have some flower and tomato seeds sprouting inside.

  9. -I’ve been lucky because there have been some very good sale prices, though overall food prices are very high. I bought two whole chickens at $1.88/lb. Cdn. ($1.50 US). One was roasted right away. The other went in the freezer. Asparagus from Mexico has been very inexpensive for here at $1.88/lb. In fact, it was less per lb than green onions! There were sales on frozen vegetables too, though I could only carry one kilo bag of peas home with the other things I had. I bought two packs of my favorite coffee at $3 off per pack, and cheese at $4.87 instead of its normal sale price of $6.49. Potstickers were on sale for $4.99, instead of their normal price of $6.49. I bought a few baking mixes on sale, since I am out of most baking ingredients and it will take time and energy to carry them all home.
    -I received a gift of $40 in gift cards for my grocery store under a seniors’ wish program offered by a local community group. I had requested the gift cards so that I could buy a few more expensive ingredients like real vanilla and maple syrup that are difficult to buy on my regular budget. (This isn’t a wish program for people in need, but a seniors appreciation effort.) Someone arrived at my door and said my wish had been granted. So far, I have bought a 1.5 kilo (3.3 lb) bag of frozen blueberries. I use them in cereal, muffins, and pancakes. These will last until the next crop comes in at the end of July or so.
    -I received a $25 Aamzon gift card by converting loyalty points from my phone and internet bill.
    -My first co-vid vaccination happened a week ago. I was worried I might have to travel for it since people in my age group are being given Pfizer or Moderna, and I’m in a rural community, but it was available at my local pharmacy, a short block and a half walk from my house. I am very pleased about it, though it won’t change much that I do for now. In fact, I am hunkering down a little more. We won’t get our second shot for up to four months. Cases in the province were down a lot, but are zooming back up, along with variants, and vaccinating everyone is going to take some time. A first shot makes things safer for me, though, so worth celebrating.
    -Spring cleaning started this week with some window cleaning, and finding some better places to put things in the kitchen. A little stormy (snow and wind) today, so I’ve put off grocery shopping until tomorrow.

  10. Hello all, we have a birthday this month and I wanted to do some decorating. I ended up at dollar tree and bought what I needed for under $5. I also picked up three packages of small bunny erasers. I stacked these (24) in a small basket with grass made from paper, makes me smile. I stuck 3 around in the garden pots to see who noticed, they were found right away.😄

    Made three small apple pies with wrinkled apples. Used up our leftovers after meals so little food waste.

    Turned a vanity that my grandma gave as a kid into two bedside tables. Sold the mirror since I didn’t need it. I’ve been moving stuff around to get a more refreshed look around here. But I still have way too much and need to clear more out.

    Looked into a Lowe’s program, garden kits every week in April. I couldn’t find anything on their web page which is where it said to sign up. Then found that you sign up on April 1 to pick up on April 8. It looks like a nice deal so I hope to get signed up.

  11. Well, if you want to save money, stay away from doctors. We have had 9 medical visits in March, plus one more for the cat! I had a very small (less than 2 cm) skin cancer removed and the bill arrived today–$5238 and change–the incision was about 2 inches long. The dr insisted on doing it in the hospital because I wass on blood thinners. With insurance our portion is $185. Without insurance, who could afford it?? The whole process was about an hour and a half long.
    I am well aware of the price of citrus. Now that I am buying for one, a three pound bag of oranges is too much so I’ve had my daughter buy 3 or 4 single oranges per week for me. Of course only the very large ones are sold as singles–$1 each. I told my daughter if they are over $1 each, don’t bother. I prefer not to eat the same fruit all the time. I have frozen strawberries on hand, and peaches in the little cups, and fresh grapes as well as the oranges. Oh, apples too–but if those get a bit old I can make applesauce.
    I also learned that I better pay attention to what I am doing. I try to buy 90% lean ground beef (because of heart disease and fat) and then divide the packages into portions. This week I fried some to make nachos, intending it to last for two nights. Then I went off to watch something on TV and realized about four hours later that I never put the leftover beef into the freezer. Wasteful mistake.
    To be truthful I was really tired a couple of nights from having my first covid shot, but wasting food has no good excuses. I am still learning about cooking for one and eating all the leftovers has been hard too.
    It’s small amounts of food, granted, but small amounts can make a meal for me these days.
    When you didn’t post last week, I imagined you spending all your extra moments in the garden, working hard. I hope you are getting lots done and putting your little helpers to work when it’s safe to use them. I cannot wait to see the finished product and things as they grow. Still another month or so until it’s garden season here but we did have a warm up and crocuses bloomed and tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths are making good progress also. Happy Easter to all.

    1. Re: your leftover beef – a few months ago I had bought quite a bit of meat and I was in a bit of a rush so shoved some things into the freezer compartment and some into the fridge to deal with later – or so I thought. Late the next day I went into the fridge to start dealing with it all properly and to get a few things on to cook – but couldn’t find the large pack of ground beef anywhere! I checked the fridge, the freezer, even the grocery bags but nothing. It wasn’t until I went into the bread box (which lives on top of the fridge) that I found the ground beef! Missed the freezer by THAT MUCH! What a waste! One of those lessons in why I really shouldn’t try to do 6 things at once!

  12. We made two loaves of homemade bread. We also cut Amazon prime. That will save us 119 a year plus streaming costs. And it will free us up to spend time on more important things. We got rid of our sams club membership. Our closest store is an hour away and it’s not cost effective to drive that far to save money. We cooked several pots of beans and ate those last week. Plus we made enough lentil tacos to last several days for lunches. My husband cut his own hair. There’s room for improvement in the saving money journey but we didn’t do too badly.

    1. I can totally see the Amazon Prime but weirdly, it saves me money. If I need something, I order just that. When I go to the actual store for say, cat food, I end up with ten other things I “need”. Terrible willpower. ha ha. But anyway, for me, the 119 a year is actually a savings. It is kind of cool how we all have different ways to save.

  13. I’m waiting for the new Maisie Dobbs book from the library, published last week, by Jacqueline Winspear. I also have the author’s memoir, “This Time Next Year We’ll Be Laughing.” As far as I am into it, it is a touching and painful story of growing up in England in the last century, where WWI and WWII affected everything.
    I have heard of but not yet searched out two memoirs by late author Beverly Cleary, which seem to be young adult fiction?

    1. The Maisie Dobbs series is one that I collect so went to order it but it’s not been released here as yet so it has gone onto my “Wish List” – thanks for the heads up

  14. That’s exciting about your garden progress. Good luck with the rose trees.

    Joining in from the Seattle area.
    As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, one of our bathroom doorknobs stopped working correctly (it would only turn in one direction and would not lock). This brand has a lifetime warranty, so I contacted the company, and they sent me a new doorknob. Except the item they sent me was not correct – it was a door lever and not a doorknob. So I contacted the company again and offered to return the lever, and asked them to send me the correct doorknob. They told me to keep the incorrect item, and then sent me the correct one, which my husband installed. I asked around and found someone who can use the door lever, so I will pass it on to him. We are glad to have a working doorknob again!

    Much of my savings has had to do with food. I used pantry items, leftovers and various things from the freezer to make many meals. I pulled out greens from our CSA that I had frozen last summer, and used those several times. I cooked beans and lentils and froze the extras. One week I did not feel like going grocery shopping, so I put together creative combinations of what we had on hand. When I was going to be out at lunchtime, I brought my lunch with me. I am using up things from the freezer and we are eating well. Also made a batch of cookies from pantry items.

    I did some sewing too:
    – Finished a fleece sweatshirt I was making for my husband. I did have to buy a zipper, but I had everything else on hand.
    – Fixed my husband’s umbrella.
    – Mended a shirt hem.
    – Shortened sleeves on a jacket I bought a few months ago.
    – Put a patch over a rip in my sister’s down jacket. This coat is a particular shade of purple, and I actually managed to find some fabric in the same shade at Joann’s (purples are very hard to match). The fabric was on sale so I only paid $2 for the small piece I needed. The repair looks good and my sister is happy. I love doing clothing repair like this.

    Otherwise, took many walks, including one with my sister. Worked out at home. Returned an air purifier to Costco that stopped working within the warranty period, and then found different brand on sale at Coscto for less, so bought one of those. Had a couple date nights at home with my husband and we played a board game. Reread the Tightwad Gazette. Bought a springtime wreath for our front door for $3 at Goodwill. Watched YouTube and streaming TV for entertainment. After visiting my mom (she recently moved), checked out the prices a couple grocery stores near her. Found some good deals, so will go back in the future.

    Hope everyone has a great week.

  15. Hello Everyone! Has two weeks passed already?! As I mentioned in a previous post, we had purchased a new computer, which our friend who works for the computer company very generously gave us a 25% discount. We finally set it up last night. What an accomplishment! We had saved several months for this new computer and paid cash, which is a huge deal for us. In the past we would have just put it on a credit card and made minimum payments. Thanks to Dave Ramsey & Financial Peace University, no more payments for us. I can’t even begin to relay what a good feeling this is! My husband and I have said several times that we never ever would have been able to weather the pandemic thus far without this program. We are truly blessed! After setting it up, I received an email that the recent computer purchase also gave us a year’s free worth of their online tv programing. We will look forward to this, as we haven’t used this one before. We continued getting seven days worth of lunches from my son’s school and also a farm box every week. This week’s box included a package of chicken drumsticks, hot dogs, two bunches of celery, a bag of apples, a bag of potatoes, two large containers of plain yogurt, a brick of cheese and a gallon of milk. I did grocery shopping last week for my parents; they are still staying out of grocery stores even though both are vaccinated. They graciously paid for our groceries both at a local grocery store and Costco. My mom also asked me to pick up Easter basket items for my son, husband and I. For my son, I picked out some treats that we don’t normally buy that he likes as well as a few other items. For my husband and I, I picked up some treats and toiletries that we were in need of. We had a socially distanced Easter egg dying party for two of my son’s friends and their parents. I had checked the county guidelines to verify that we would be in compliance with the number of households and guests; we were good to go! It was not a frugal event by any means, but it was so nice to see them and we all enjoyed the fellowship. To cut down on the number of hands in things, we had individual snack bags of chips, individual canned/pouch drinks and I ordered pizza. Each child also got a six pack of eggs to dye and each family had their own dying station. A good time was had by all. A house on our street is for sale. They are not having any open houses, but are doing it virtually. The previous owners had a subscription to our local paper. The newspapers have been piling up. So when we were on our morning walk, we picked up the old papers to place in our recycle bin. We read the Sunday paper before we recycled it. We also had the pleasure of dog sitting for my son’s last year teacher. Her dog is so sweet but does not get along with other dogs. So if she brings her to a kennel, the dog has to be in solitary, so the teacher much prefers that we watch her. She gave us $80 for watching the dog for 2 1/2 days. We didn’t feel comfortable about taking the money, telling her that we would do it for free because we get so much out of it (!), but she insisted. Into the savings wallet it goes. We are planning on buying a new refrigerator this year and a cell phone for my husband, so this will help us achieve this goal faster. After these two goals are achieved, we will then save to have the pipes replaced in our house, then the electrical. We are planning on retiring in the next few years and want to get as many needed home improvements done as possible. It will be interesting to see how it goes. We decided to go all in with retirement savings and are having the maximum allotment taken out of my paycheck for my employer’s deferred compensation program. Because of my age, I am also able to do a catch up. This upcoming paycheck is the first where the deductions will be taken. Wish us luck! We figure we are spending so much time at home and not going places and spending money, that this would be the perfect time to try this. I can always change the deduction later if needed. The past few months I have been going into my office two days per week. The last three weeks, I decided to work from home. This saved gas, wear and tear on my car and the $6.35 per day parking fee. I’m still itching to get back on public transportation (it does not cost me anything to ride), but there has been a huge issue with the drivers in our transportation system getting Covid19. Better safe than sick. A neighbor gave me a Brandywine tomato plant; they had grown more starters than they could use. My husband will plant it this weekend along with a few other plants he bought. Last year, you couldn’t get a vegetable starter anywhere. I signed up to be part of a focus group next month that pays $100.00. As part of the group, they gave each participant a snack box. I was able to go online and order snacks. I figured it would only be a few things, but they gave each person a budget of $40.00! I was able to go through and pick items that I wouldn’t normally have bought nor tried. Also signed up for the Target Red Card via my debit card. They had an offer where you would get $40.00 off a future $40.00 purchase. I will purchase much needed under clothing for my husband when the offer comes in. I was able to order a new bathing suit (rash guard & trunks) for my son. I picked the ship to me option. As a red card member, I got free shipping as well as 5% off. The hubs and I were able to qualify for the vaccine and had our first shots already; we will go early next month for the 2nd Moderna shot. We are very grateful! I cleaned out the freezer and found two more packages of the chicken drumsticks. Not our favorite, but we certainly weren’t going to let them go to waste! Even though they were fully cooked, I decided to boil them and will strip them from the bones and shred to put in future meals. A friend gave me several pounds of Meyer lemons from her garden as well as a bouquet of lavender. We are continuing to use plastic grocery bags to use as garbage can liners. I also set a few goals. One is to pick 10 weeds each time I go out to the trash can. Even though we have weed tarp and rocks, some still manage to grow. I also set a goal of doing enough surveys to get a gift card per month (at least) from Swagbucks. I plan on using this for buy shoes for our family every year. We wear a certain type of shoe my husband and I, which run $150 to $190 per pair. We usually go through one pair each of us per year. An organization that we work with had a sign up for a filled Easter Basket for my son. We signed up. They will also come to your house the night before and put out Easter eggs for your own Easter egg hunt on Easter morning. My son will be delighted! Friends of ours who moved to Northern Nevada a few years ago ( and who are constantly trying to get us to move 🙂 will be coming down to our area to visit their family. We are looking forward to an outdoor visit with them. The wife suggested we order take out for dinner. Let her know that my husband doesn’t get home until after 6:00 PM and to go ahead without us for dinner. That way we don’t have to rush over. I said I would bring coffee and dessert. I planned on just picking something up, but then did a little research on the internet….I have all the ingredients on hand to make lemon bars and brownies, so I will do that instead of buying something. When I was at the grocery store last week, the store brand butter was on sale for $1.99 per pound which is the lowest I have seen it here in a very long while. boiled two pounds of chick peas and froze them for quick meals. I am trying to eat mainly plant based. This saves a ton of money over buying canned beans. And lastly, my parents are coming to our house on Easter Sunday for a backyard lunch! It has been so long (over a year) since they have been to our house, so we are very much looking forward to it! Easter Blessings to All!!!!

    1. The Brandywine tomato is an heirloom plant. I save my seeds each year and have more plants than I can use – lots to give away to friends. They have a great taste!

  16. Hi Brandy and everyone
    What a good idea to grow your own standard rose trees, a big saving over buying them. I think we’re all getting excited about your garden! An engraved locket sounds like a beautiful meaningful present for your daughter.
    We cut daffodils, kale and leeks from the garden. My husband has sown seeds of Swiss Chard, Kohl Rabi, rocket, lettuce, tomatoes, zinnias, asters, nicotiana, nasturtiums and more which I can’t remember! Our David Austin roses are planted and we’ve dug up, divided and replanted some perennials to increase our flowers in the garden. Like you I aim to have something to cut for the house every week through the year.
    We are given free large plastic barrels by a farmer, they didn’t contain anything noxious so my husband has cut them into tubs for rhubarb planting and to make extra water butts outside the greenhouses.
    The dogs tooth violets ( erythronium) I planted in pots last autumn are flowering so I brought them into the house.
    We sold a piece of garden machinery we don’t need.
    I made a birthday cake for a daughter and did a doorstep drop off. We had a Zoom party and one of her friends kindly sent us all a party box with chocolates, balloons, party poppers etc. We had a quiz and a game. We will meet for a meal when life opens up again.
    I cut my own fringe.
    I made a junk journal for a friend using recycled papers , cards, crafty bits I had at home. She’s really pleased with it and I enjoyed putting it together.
    I cut up an old towel for more cleaning cloths and made a shower scrubby from towelling. Now I can get rid of the plastic one.
    I made Easter cards from my supplies and made some gift tags from a pack of vintage playing cards.
    I met a friend for a socially distanced walk, she kindly gave me a cake and I gave her some plants we’ve propagated.
    I received a free pair of socks through the post from a clothing company. I will give them to a daughter. One of my friends has written a cookbook and she kindly sent me a complimentary copy. What a great week of treats!
    Our Council tax has increased by £100 this year. For non UK readers this pays for libraries, refuse collection, some social care etc. The rise is due to the pandemic. Our income is pretty much fixed so we will have to squeeze the pennies harder/ sell more on eBay/ think smarter.
    We don’t feel downcast, we meet it as a challenge.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. Interesting how your tax includes refuse collection. That is a separate company here and their prices go up each year.

      1. We pay monthly charges to the city for water, sewer and trash pickup, which includes recycling every other week. Trash collection is not optional where I live. The amount we pay for trash is determined by the size of the wheelie bin. Needless to say, mine is the smallest in the neighborhood, and it never goes out full. OTOH, my recycling bin is the largest (which is also the cheapest) and I fill it up every time!

    2. I saw your photos on the Facebook post (Tuesday Afternoon Club). Very pretty way to use vintage playing cards and I like the shower poof idea (a great way not to use plastic). I think a few months ago you posted birthday cards you had made which helped me up game with creating some myself :).

      1. Thank you! I bought the vintage playing cards from a charity shop thinking I could use them “sometime”! At last the time has arrived!

  17. Well, one of the tornadoes in Alabama on March 17th, came fairly close to my youngest son, so the most frugal thing is that he was in a basement and is alive. It did damage the post office I use, so that has been inconvenient, but that is a small problem. One passed near where I live also, although it was a different tornado than the one near my son. Then, last week, on March 25th, a tornado 20 miles away, totaled the mobile home of a friend. He was not home, thank goodness, because he is a policeman and was at work. So, the most frugal thing has been staying alive and well. In other new for the past two weeks, I have walked, when not storming, not had to use heat nor air, and cooked at home. I found asparagus reduced to 69 cents, chicken was also 69 cents, which is not too bad. I used to get chicken for 39 cents to 49 cents though. I also made a quiche with leftover spinach, and sweet potatoes, made potato salad with leftover potatoes, made spaghetti with sauce that I had repurposed from leftover meatloaf I had frozen, made bbq beans from dried beans, chopped up carrots and radishes for snacking (I use regular carrots because I do not like the little carrots in the stores, they just don’t taste as fresh to me as chopped up regular carrots), baked catfish a couple of times, (it needed to be used because it was hanging out in my freezer) and just stayed at home, as usual. I have also used dandelion in my yard because they are quite prolific with all the rain we have received. Actually, my back yard has been flooded a few times. Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

    1. What a relief for you, your son and your friend to escape such close calls with the tornadoes! It must have been frightening. I am happy for you all.

    2. Cindy, Some weeks, alive and well has got to be the main accomplishment!

      My dad always suggested that I stop trying to get rid of dandelions, and instead, start giant dandelion competitions, the way they have giant pumpkin contests. That was before I really tried using them as greens. It is funny to me to see them packed up as greens at the farmer’s market, though I definitely am out there harvesting from the edge of my lawn to add them to soup and salads.

    3. I am glad that your, your family and friends were safe. I live in south Alabama and the damage was north of us.

      1. I work in south Alabama, an hour south of where I live, so I have a commute to work every day. This particular child is a little over an hour north of where I live. I have children all over this state so when one area has bad weather, I always seem to have a kid in the way of a storm!!! Many thanks for all the well wishes on this blog.

  18. Brandy, the photos are beautiful and I love your innovation for creating your rose trellises!
    I agree, items at the store are much higher than they were a year ago.
    We moved in two weeks ago, got all the boxes unpacked within a week. I gave the boxes and bubble wrap to a friend who is a professional organizer, so there is additional use for them. We still have details to finish, like hanging doors and some paint projects, but it’s mostly completed. It wonderful to once again sleep in my own bed and not have to pay for transitional housing!
    Unpacking has helped me see what it in my pantry again after nearly a year, and where there might be holes to fill. For the most part, we have just about everything we need. It’s nice to have it all in one place, near the kitchen. I still need to spend some time organizing food by category, but the hard work is done!
    We also made some donations to our local thrift store, a local thrift/craft store, two boxes of clothes to my sister and food to the local food bank.
    I went to Walgreens this morning to pick up a few toiletries. The location where I went is closing in another week, so I was able to find some of the things I needed at 50% off. I also stocked up on a couple of extra things at that price. Things were picked over, but I still found what I will use.
    I am knitting cowls to donate as part of a larger project. We need 430 of them. I have committed to making at least 10. I’m working on number 8, all using either leftover yarn or yarn that has been given to me. They are wool and very warm. I am catching up on some Netflix favorites while knitting.
    Have a glorious Easter and celebration of spring, wherever you are!

  19. We are wasting very little food since there are only two of us and we have pretty simple meals. I make up some food and we pretty much just eat it until it’s gone, usually 2 to 2 1/2 days worth. We are so sick of grocery shopping that we are trying a new habit of only a once a month shop at Costco and once a month at Winco. It also forces us to use up what is here. It’s worked this month. We’ll see.

    Brandy, I noticed in one of your older garden pictures you have some Bells of Ireland. I fell in love with this plant but can only find it sold in seeds. I have written seeds OUT of my garden chores as none of them will come up for me although I treat them as tenderly as a newborn. Do you know where a start might be purchased? I looked in my local nurseries and online and could not find any.

    Also, I had to let go of my dream of my four new David Austin rosebushes as they never arrived and I finally canceled the order. I know their business lives have been in a mess this year, so I will try again next year. There were definitely holes in my garden where I had left space for the new rose bushes, but I filled them in with annuals.

    Gardening, just like life, is a process.

    1. Anne, I ordered seeds online from Eden Brothers for the Bells of Ireland.

      I do like them, but something I did not know is that they have thorns! Just wear gloves while cutting them or collecting seeds.

      I ordered potted plants from David Austin this time, because I knew we wouldn’t be ready for bare roots. I hope they arrive on time. I know they’re still shipping bare root roses to many zones. Some people in the DA Facebook group have been getting theirs (bare root) albeit quite late.

  20. I missed you last week! I had a hunch you were busy in the garden. I’ve kinda lost track of what happened when, but here goes–
    * The big news is that we listed our vacation home for sale last Thursday! We have 3 offers, all above asking price. We will be reviewing the offers this afternoon. Pretty exciting!

    * Although we are selling the house furnished, we had to clear out food and other personal stuff. A friend came by and insisted on paying me $160 for some things she wanted, even though I said she could just take them. The food will be a boost to our pantry…when I get it put away.

    * Another friend’s husband glued my cookie jar back together. I’m no good at that stuff. He did a great job!

    * Spring is here! IT SNOWED TWICE LAST WEEK. I’m still two months away from planting anything outside, but I got a gardening fix last week. I started tomato seeds indoors. Not that I know anything about moon phase planting, but that’s how I did it! (Note: they sprouted in 6 days).

    * Just discovered that my library has eliminated fines…which is good, because I returned a book two weeks late (ouch!).

    * Received two separate bills for medical lab work. The amounts seemed high. Then I noticed that neither showed that insurance had been billed, so I called and provided the information. They will re-bill us after insurance has paid–and it should be for a lot less!

    * I did our income taxes, saving several hundred$ of dollar$ in tax prep fees. I have used tax software for nearly 35 years without any problems. It’s pretty easy. Doing my state return was stupid simple, however I’m mailing it because I would have to pay $20 to e-file it.

    * I received the check for $190 for the school levy election I worked March 9.

    * My daughter got her first dose of Covid vaccine a week ago Saturday at the Safeway Pharmacy. We received a 10% off coupon for a grocery purchase. I rarely shop at Safeway, but I’ll watch for an opportunity to use this. Idaho is now vaccinating everyone over 16.

    *I bought a small oval Crock Pot at a thrift store…exactly what I wanted. And it’s RED! I am going to donate my old CP (whose only sin was being round).

  21. I’ve had a few nights that I didn’t sleep well, and enjoyed reading a couple of free e-books. I’m happy to read these in bed, as the Kindle won’t disturb my husband’s sleep. Of course, he sleeps pretty well, and my lamp rarely bothers him, but I do try to be considerate. I harvested parsley and the last of the cabbage, and made a small batch of sauerkraut. I cut up several of our stored butternut squash, made a crumble with some, and froze enough for another two. I love the Kuhn Rikon peeler for these, which I mention on my blog was suggested by a chef. Quick, no waste, no cutting myself, and inexpensive. You can’t beat that! I planted out spinach seedlings, which did well, and a few lettuce, but they were too fragile, so I’m trying to harden the remaining ones off. My husband planted our potatoes. I look forward to seeing what everyone has been up to. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2021/03/early-spring-on-homestead.html

    1. I am very excited to be able to garden this year. I have recently had major back surgery and it was very successful. I am now able to do things I haven’t been able to do for years. My son and grandchildren brought out all my terra cotta pots and they now have tomatoes and herbs growing in them. I had some no longer used large totes in the garage and the guys filled them with garden soil so I now have green beans, wax beans, yellow squash, and Swiss chard planted in them. This is all happening on or next to my back yard deck by my clothesline (I don’t own an electric drier). I have a little table and chairs out there and I have my tea and toast out there in the morning…I live in south Texas so the weather is really nice right now. I know this effort doesn’t compare with most but, for me, it is such a blessing. Other than that, I cooked completely from scratch all meals, used up all leftovers, and finished up a small projects that have been hanging around half done for quite a while…so no new costs. I am excited to be hosting Easter dinner for my family, using a ham that I bought last fall on sale. Thank you Brandy and everyone for all of your ideas and comments. Even at my age I learn new things every week.

  22. I’ve read free books.
    I have paid off a large bill with the decision not to buy anything through this store until Christmas…if then.
    I am watching free TV shows.
    I was asked to help a friend piece a quilt. She is sharing the book with me so I don’t have to buy one. The book is $30.00 and there is no way I would have bought it just for the patterns. I am a rogue quilter. I often look at pictures and make my own patterns. I am doing the same here.
    I was looking at background fabric and I realized that the price had jumped considerably since the last time I had bought fabric.
    I had read that fabric would be going up due to a shortage of cotton…yes…again. Also the pandemic caused shipping problems.
    Most of the fabric I buy is $10.99 to $12.99 a yard NOT on sale. While looking…I saw most fabric for $16.99 a yard and more. This is in the secondary market. *sigh*
    I am getting very concerned for my business. What in the world do you do? Well…when my daughter moved in here some 20 years ago she packed up 3 large rooms here and took them to my farm. My husband has started bringing tubs in for me to go through. Yards and yards of fabric have been washed, dried and folded. I may never need to buy fabric again, but if I do it will be at yard sales and second-hand stores.
    We have been working on the garden this week. It is still too cool at night to plant, but we are almost there.
    We have had fruit trees growing for about 10 years.
    We have 5 different apple trees…red delicious, granny smith, gala, yellow delicious and Cox’s orange pippin.
    We lost our pear, plum and almond last year.
    After the terrible snow and -5 temps a month ago my grapes are dead.
    I need to plant some fast growing fruits to gets us along down the road.
    My daughter and her two teens will be moving out this summer/fall. She has accepted a promotion that will move her and hour and a half away. As much as I will miss them it is going to save me so much money that I am torn in my feelings.
    Everything is good.
    My youngest has gotten her first Covid shot. My oldest and her household have both of their shots. We will be celebration Easter Sunday together. We will still be wearing masks for extra safety.
    God bless and keep you all.

  23. Beautiful photos of the white garden Brandy! Just lovely!!!

    The past two weeks have been busy with work, home life and all of the usual tasks. I injured my shoulder and that has put many gardening plans on a temporary hold while I get it healed with physical therapy, exercises and rest. We had an F4 tornado come through our city this past Friday in the dawn hours – we were 7 miles from the area that was hit and thank God only had some small limbs down. We were scared for sure but for so many others who lost everything that they had just minutes from us, have had no power for almost a week now…I just can’t imagine. With all of this going on this past weekend I have held my family a little tighter these last few days.
    We have continued eating down the freezers and pantry as we prepare for the garden and summer harvests to come. With Easter coming up this weekend I have a large ham defrosting and am looking forward to all of the good meals and yumminess that will come. The ham was purchased last November on sale for $0.99/lb. We will enjoy that with the last of our homegrown green beans and pineapple casserole made from home canned pineapple. I made chicken salad, steak, corn on the cob, sauteed spinach with onions and garlic, tomatoes, oven roasted potatoes, oatmeal, biscuits & jam, and a white bean soup using leftover mashed potatoes to thicken the broth.
    I signed up to attend the University Extension’s annual plant sale where I will be able to purchase seedlings for my garden at a much smaller price than the local nursery or big box stores. I received my lowest electric bill to date for this past month and was positively giddy! I continue to turn off lights, keep the HVAC off as much as possible and run large appliances at off peak hours when we can.
    I was very happy to find some capri pants for myself at Walmart and summer tops marked 65% off. I cleaned out my son’s closet and dresser drawers to remove all of the 4T & 5T clothing that he no longer fits into. I have two large boxes to take to the consignment store. I will use any monies made to replace clothing items and anything that they don’t take will be donated to Goodwill. I have begun a pantry inventory list to make sure that we consume the remaining home canned items before they are outdated and take an inventory of the jars, lids, & bands that I have. Yesterday I saw a pack of lids/bands for $7.19! I know that they are in high demand and want to make good use of what I have. I am also working to inventory last year’s seeds and use what we have on hand rather than buying more.
    I hope everyone has a great week!

  24. When you said you had pruned “everything else off” you weren’t kidding! I love the before and after and am blown away by how roses survive and flourish after pruning….hmmm motivation to continue decluttering my house! I also love how you again illustrate the value of patience in saving money.

    I bartered with a neighbor and he came over with his rototiller and turned over two new garden beds for me. In exchange I am cooking a full dinner Thursday night for his family – of course using items from my freezer and pantry! I am planning to grow cantaloupes and pumpkins in one of the new beds. The other will have butternut squash and I’m not sure what else. The butternut squash bed isn’t fenced so I need plants that are not favorites of deer and rabbits.

    My best friend’s husband is a plumber and they live three hours away. He kindly gave me lots of plumbing advice and mailed me some wedges for leveling a toilet. Using his expertise, my son was able to pull the toilet, replace the 70 year old cast iron waste pipe, install a new footing and a new seal. I baked cookies using ingredients on hand and mailed them to my friend’s husband as a thank you. Between my son’s work and the plumbing advice, I saved several hundred dollars.

    I had my first covid vaccine at a CVS one hour from my house. I don’t have a CVS loyalty card so while I was there I signed up and got $10 reward for also signing up for the Carepass program. The cashier explained – and wrote down the telephone number – how to cancel before I am charged $5 a month. I had printed off a coupon from Swagbucks for hair color plus brought a CVS gift card I had earned on Swagbucks. I ended up buying two boxes of hair color and a 70 count bottle of Claritin for $18 OOP.

    Back in October I had installed a winter garden tunnel using PEX tubing and shower curtain liners. The tunnel collapsed twice with heavy snows BUT I am still harvesting kale, baby bok choy, swiss chard, and some lettuce that I had planted last fall! I live in New England so this just seems AMAZING to me! Three weeks ago I started spinach, lettuce, carrots, arugula and more baby bok choy. Even though we are still freezing often at night, the seeds have sprouted. One lesson I learned is that the shower curtain liners get rigid with the severe cold and are almost impossible to lift off the tunnel to access in the dead of winter. A cold frame made of an old window would be much easier. The second lesson is that slugs loved the garden tunnel and after picking off 15+ of them I put in beer traps back in December. But overall I am THRILLED with my science experiment 🙂

    1. So glad your winter garden has done well!

      We are planning to make some cold frames later this year. Old windows are not something one can easily come across here, so we don’t know how we will make ours yet, but we have planned a place for them and hope to have lettuce all winter.

      1. I’ve made tunnels from PVC pipe bent into hoops over the bed with medium weight plastic covering it. I’ve grown lettuce all winter in zone 9 in that.

        1. That’s awesome! We’re having 25 mile per hour winds right now with 40 mph gusts. Winds are a constant issue here and I know someone whose greenhouse covering (which is stapled down) is always blowing off in the wind, so we’d like to have something more solid that won’t blow off. My sister-in-law had shingles rated for 90 mph winds that were always coming down in the winds here.

          1. Brandy, I don’t know how old your SIL’s roof is, but it may be a poor installation. We had this problem at our last house, which was a new build, from the get-go. The first couple of times I called the same roofer, who came and fixed it. When he started charging us (around year 3), it occurred to me, why did I want to pay the company to fix what it goobered up to start with? We found ourselves a new roofer. About 10 years in, a lot of the shingles in back blew off in a 90 mph gust. None of the shingles he had replaced earlier blew off. Insurance paid to re-roof the entire back and repair the rest. We never had further trouble in the back, but still would have a few shingles blow off other parts of the roof when the wind blew. These are the original shingles. The big problem areas have always been where the roofline changes.

            We once had to replace a roof that blew off a rental we owned. We discovered that three nails per shingle is standard and probably adequate if you typically don’t have roof problems. We paid extra to have 4 nails per shingle and never lost another shingle. Something to remember if you have had roof problems–might be worth the extra cost.

            1. Her house was a new house. The insurance got to be a nightmare. She lived at the base of a mountain and the wind whipped around from both sides. We get very high winds here. Most people install tile, not shingles. She moved a few years ago.

          2. Don’t you just love those wind storms. When I was a child in northeastern Nevada we seemed to have our ear tuned to the sound of the breezes. We could be doing something and talking about something, and if the wind picked up, everyone home would automatically rush for the windows to close them. We never left home with windows open. We always made the beds complete with bedspreads as dust covers. My mother started every morning with washing the dust off the kitchen counters, appliances, and the table. But I wouldn’t categorize the area as a particularly windy area.
            Where I live now we have these incredible winter storms with high winds and wind-driven rain. Winds out at the headlands at the beach are frequently in the 90s. When I worked at a hardware, etc. store, I was told that the composition roofing companies would not warranty their shingles unless they were hand-sealed (a bead of roofing cement added when the shingle is lifted up). This may be due in part to the lack of really hot weather to stick down the shingles, also. But in 2007 we had a major storm. We were warned we would have 115 mph winds inland. Before the storm hit my husband used a caulking gun loaded with roof cement to hand seal down the shingles around the edges of the roof and up as high as he could reach from the ladder. I was told later that during the storm, a wind gauge on a hill near us broke at 129 mph. We lost a few 25-year shingles (that had been installed and hand-sealed 20+ years earlier) but lost none that my husband had resealed. People north of us lost a lot of roofing. We were without power for five days. Some people went as long as 10 days without. In places, the winds uprooted huge fir trees and snapped off whole hillsides of trees. It was amazing. I suppose people in tornado prone areas are accustomed to this, but it was memorable for us. Fortunately for us we had plenty of food and a camp stove, and we could get water from the creek for the bathroom. We filled containers with water when we heard the storm was coming. Our house was quite cold though. That was when I realized that if all the kids were home, I wouldn’t have enough bedding to keep everyone warm at night without heat in the house, perhaps even with sleeping with heated rocks. We need to find a good source to buy a certified woodstove and a pitcher pump or a water filter. I think I need to be better prepared for disasters.

      2. I saw on Facebook the other day someone using old shower doors on cold frames. They might be easier to find. I enjoy reading your your blog and all the comments.

    2. If you have a Sam’s or Costco nearby, it is much cheaper to buy generic allergy meds there. You can usually get a whole year supply cheaper than you can by a monthly supply.

  25. Over the past two weeks:
    *We repaired a broken violin/viola case that was given to our daughter, saving us around $400 to purchase one new.
    *I made home made soap! This may not be as frugal as purchasing soap, but it is also the main hobby I have going on at this point in my life so I look at it as mental health as well. And except for my soap making supplies, the final product is clutter free and literally goes down the drain!
    *I found two blouses for my daughter at a thrift shop. Better yet, I had store credit at both shops, so the blouses were both free!
    *I was able to get some half size filler paper at Staples for around $1.00 a ream, which is a really good price for that size paper!
    *We read and learned about some little known historical people on my daughter in law’s History blog. 🙂
    Pictures and more on my blog at: https://chickadeecove.blogspot.com/2021/03/frugal-friday-week-of-march-14-20-2021.html

    This week:
    *I repotted some tomato seedlings that I started inside from seed.
    *I made home made granola.
    *I returned a book to Amazon by using the free return at Kohl’s.
    Pictures from this past week on my blog at: https://chickadeecove.blogspot.com/2021/03/frugal-friday-week-of-march-21-27-2021.html

    I missed reading everyone’s comments last week! Looking forward to catching up!

  26. Brandy- Love your garden photos! I feel for you with keeping up with teenager’s needs.
    I painted my 2 car garage floor with some concrete paint. It cost $33 but it makes the garage
    look so nice and clean. That is a good thing because due to COVID that is where I will be
    hosting Easter dinner. I strung some patio lights to give it a more festive feel but unfortunately,
    I will have to bring in some heaters because it isn’t going to be very warm that day. Time with
    family is very precious so it is worth the extra work. I will be making a blackberry pie with berries
    I picked and froze last summer. I will also make an apple pie with apples picked from our tree last
    fall. I did a lot of yard clean-up on Saturday. Again due to COVID, I cannot have all my extended
    family seated at one table. I have four smaller tables that will be spaced. I needed four matching
    table clothes. I found a very large white linen table cloth at the thrift store for $4 which will be
    enough fabric to re-make it into the four matching ones I need. We will probably be gathering outdoors
    for quite some time to remain as safe as possible so I am sure these table clothes will get more use.
    Happy Easter!

  27. -Got my first vaccine via drive-thru. No effects. Fingers crossed for 2.
    -I live on 2,000 acre farm and it would never enter my mind to plant a garden. I don’t really like being outside, hate cooking and don’t particularly love fruits and veggies. So even though I could have a huge garden I simply have no interest. No one in my family does.
    -Most of my frugal accomplishments relate to finding the very best price for something I would do anyway. Love sending greeting cards, send 15-25 each month but most are purchased using Hallmark coupons or the wonderful $.50-$1.00 HM card line at Dollar Tree. Love nail polish but never pay retail. Bought 21 bottles at 15 cents each at local liquidation store today. I had to dig through shopping carts filled with miscellaneous items but finding $8-$10 nail polish for 15 cents makes it worth it. Even though I did have to come straight home because my hands were filthy from opened makeup and eyeshadows.
    -My very favorite frugal practice is the same as lots of folks in this community. THE LIBRARY, I get best selling just published books, and magazines, music for road trips, DVDs of tv series I missed, tons of great adult and children’s events, free tickets to local cultural events, and opportunities to buy gently used materials at deep discount. During non-pandemic times I never went a week without going to library. Have not been inside in over a year but our system has been great about providing curbside services. My 84 yo Mom reads a book a day so just keeping her with with TBR stash is sometimes a chore. Thank goodness we live in times where everything can be ordered online and then picked up next trip to town. If you are not taking advance of this wonderful community resource please give it a try.

    1. Oh, TCR, we must be sisters from a different mother. I love my frugal blogs but I am just like you, I hate cooking meals. I have never liked it. Of course I had a family/husband to care for and so have cooked for the last half century. I’m also astounded at the wide variety of veggies that people consume, when I eat about 3-4. Just had to let you know there is another woman out here who can relate.

      1. Your comment made me remember something – my Grandmother was a marvelous cook but absolutely hated cooking.
        When she moved into assisted living they regretfully told her she wasn’t allowed in the kitchen but could share her recipes and the staff would make them (she could supervise if it was a difficult or complicated recipe). Her response: “Anything you make will be just fine. 75 years of cooking is more than enough. Thank you.”. We all laughed really hard over that.

  28. My mom sent over crunch n munch. tomatoes. muffins, grapes, cornbread mix, mozzarella cheese, and a heating pad.

    My neighbor knocked on the door with 10 pounds potatoes, 3 pound bag of apples, and a case of Philadelphia cheesecake crumbles

    Received a Sams sample bag with an electrolyte drink, a can of bubly, and smart pop popcorn when I picked up an order.

    The 14yo and I spent an hour cleaning up the back yard. We didn’t do heavy work, but just picking up trash, sticks, and putting stuff back where it belonged made the yard look a whole lot better. (I’m sure the dogs will have stuff strewn out quickly, lol)

    The day after that, the 14yo helped her dad clean the front yard. It was mostly cleaning up his messes but it’s done.

    I forgot to buy ranch dressing with groceries but had enough small containers from fast food to cover dinner one night.

    While not frugal, the Anatolian Shepard had a belly ache for several days. We took him to the vet and it was looking like surgery. I took him back the next day for another set, and thankfully showed his insides were just irritated, not blocked. A few days of meds and he’s feeling better (and I’m feeling better since he didn’t need $2,000 surgery, although $500 wasn’t cheap)

    Found a can of dog food under my bakers rack.

    Tackled several areas in the house and several bags out the door, whether as trash, on a buy nothing site, or donated.

    Neighbor mowed my front yard.

    Recorded 3 movies off of Showtime/Epix free preview weekend.

    Found myself a pair of jeans at Burlington for $15. They are boot cut so Ill have no problems rolling up the bottoms into capri length when it’s warm.

    Returned a library book on time

    Found a 10 pound bag of sugar I forgot I bought.

    Attended a sports meeting on Zoom, saving gas and time(I cooked dinner while it was going)

  29. What a great idea to do roses that way. Our winters are too cold for roses, but I so enjoy seeing your photographs.
    This was another quiet couple of weeks of doing our usual things: cooking at home, reading and listening to library books, walking for exercise, and just enjoying life. I am getting excited about gardening. I transplanted cabbage, chard, lettuce, and turnips into the greenhouse beds and direct-sewed carrots, arugula, lettuce, and peas in there. I also started seeds for tomatoes, thyme, celery, and snapdragons under my grow light inside. All the seeds except carrots have come up, and I expect the carrots will show up soon. The garlic I planted in the fall is up and snow is melting off the garden beds.
    I made whole wheat sandwich bread and homemade granola. I was out of brown sugar, so I made my own with white sugar and molasses.
    I made a batch of homemade laundry detergent.
    My order of reusable canning lids (which had been back-ordered) arrived, and I was able to buy a good supply of Ball lids from my local grocery store at a reasonable price. (Eagle-eyed hubby spotted them while he was shopping and called to see how many I wanted.)
    I filed my state and federal taxes. It felt good to get that chore out of the way.
    I finished piecing a wall hanging quilt.
    One side brush of our robotic vacuum stopped working, so my husband ordered a replacement for less than $20. When he took the cover off the machine to replace the motor, he discovered it was packed full of hair. The vacuum is almost 18 months old and runs almost every day. I’m amazed it didn’t overheat from all that hair. Now my husband had a reminder in his calendar to take it apart to clean inside every six months. (I give it a thorough outside cleaning once a week.)

    1. I have never, ever had success transplanting chard seedlings. I have since read they are near impossible to transplant. Way to go!

      1. I didn’t know that! I guess this is an example of ignorance being bliss. They are slow to get going after transplanting, but I do it every year. I also direct-sew later, but this gives me a head start.

        1. I have just never had any luck and figured it was just too warm when I did them, but then I read something about it. Perhaps you don’t disturb the roots much when you move them so they are fine!

  30. What wonderful creativity with the roses! I love your planning and foresighted approach to the orchard and the gardens.
    My seeds have been sprouting up on all the windowsills. Lots of lettuce, some kale and various tomatoes. I started some mache, which I have never eaten or seen before. I’ll try some now but I think it’s meant to be planted into autumn.
    My husband really went to bat asking for part of our auto repair to be covered under the extended warranty we bought for our car. Many phone calls into the process, it was approved. I am proud of his efforts to get that done! We have decided the extended warranty on a used car has not been worth the money we paid for it though. Lesson learned.
    I am keeping up to date with bills and breathe a sigh of relief that I have no late fees or interest this month. Also I am up to date in my budget book and my gratitude journal which brings me joy. ☺️
    Groceries included store coupons for 69 cent cream cheese, frozen waffles and cheddar and I got Quaker Oats for $1.50 with $.50 back on each through Ibotta. I made a big pot of vegetable soup which we’re eating for supper with bread and butter. I have been shopping every other week but will go this Saturday to pick up a free ham and to buy asparagus, sweet potatoes and eggs.
    I had good news Thursday after yearly testing showed no cancer and no changes in lymph nodes. I am praying for readers who have shared about their illnesses and I hope for success of their treatment!
    Friday we visited friends in their home. It’s been over a year since we got together and socialized. It was wonderful!
    I dropped my Dutch oven; fortunately it was empty and I was putting it in the dish rack after washing it. One of the handles broke off (I bought it in 1976 while at college, so I guess I can’t complain). I wondered if I could buy a replacement handle online, but the company has gone out of business. My husband took one of the handles off the lid and swapped it out for the broken one. I can easily use the lid with a missing handle so—problem solved.
    My brother, my two sisters, I and all of our spouses are going to take a vacation together in March 2022. I am so excited! A couple have just retired and one more will be retired in a year so it will be a real celebration for them and a nice break for the rest of us who are getting closer to the end of our careers.
    It’s almost time to turn over my wardrobe for spring and summer which, this year might take about 15 minutes! I never even took out my fall and winter suits or wool slacks. I’ll wash my warm jackets and sweaters, swap my flannel pajamas for my cotton gowns and call it a day.
    Wishing everyone a healthy and happy week!

    1. When I lived in France and Switzerland, mache was the only green available in the fall and winter at the stores where I shopped. I LOVE it and I have grown it here in winter. Definitely my favorite green. It does like cold weather.

      1. Sounds good! I am excited to try mache. I’ll see if it grows now and then plant it again toward the end of the season.

  31. Like you, Brandy, I am expanding food production in my garden. I have moved several things to better spots, and try to group according to water needs. We just bought a hose that attaches to the drain hose of our washing machine, we will start watering our fruit trees with gray water.
    I’m working as a temporary substitute in a school. I’m enjoying the people, and the extra bit of income. When there are goodies in the staff room I bring something home to my husband-I’m GF and can’t eat any of what’s offered, but he can!
    People continue to order from my Etsy shop, which I so enjoy as a creative opportunity. I have ‘met’ so many lovely customers!
    Krispy Kreme is offering free donuts to anyone who has had a covid vaccine. My husband and daughter went (both vaccinated as essential workers, teacher and medical).
    I’ve been enjoying my mended hammock, the battery replacement in my 6 year old phone, and the new charging cord for my old laptop. Maintenance has saved me so much recently. I’m looking for a better seat for my old bike. My son tells me the exercise I should be doing for my bad back. I’m guessing some maintenance on myself will also save me some money!
    Happy spring to everyone!

  32. I just finished making two shirts for summer plus am almost finished sewing a dress.
    As usual we are making and eating all food from home. Grocery prices aren’t the best here but we were able to get to a Trader Joe’s one time in the last few weeks to pick up some lower priced items.
    I made one large batch of granola and a bunch of waffles to freeze. We like popping them in the toaster.
    Brandy – your citrus trees sound wonderful. I wish we could grow them here but have considered starting one as a houseplant. I have heard they have a great smell.
    On Amazon they have all cotton Fruit of the Loom bras for a 2 pack for $12.99. I bought a pack to try it out. They are surprisingly well made and probably the most comfy bra I’ve owned in a long time.
    I was in need of a small casserole dish with cover. I found one that is perfect from a local thrift store for $2.
    Over a month ago I wrote about my brother’s imminent death. So many of you wrote kind sentiments. I did get to see and talk to him before he passed. Several days after his death, a florist car pulled up to my house. My brother had designed one of those ‘fairy garden’ planters for me – to be delivered after he was gone. I used to make up fairy tales to tell him when we were little. He included a lovely note he’d written with the plant. You can imagine that I was a crying wreck! Anyhow, it was such a sweet gesture.
    My husband and I were able to get our Covid shots which we felt very good about.
    Just out of curiosity, I am wondering how much land you have, Brandy. I am guessing between a quarter or half acre. It seems like you make such good use of your land. It is nice to balance out beauty (flowers) with practicality (food).

    1. I have just under a quarter-acre lot (.24 acres).

      That was very kind of your brother.

      Citrus needs to be outside as much as possible, and it needs lots of light in winter, so consider your summers and winters to see how well it would do. I personally cannot grow much inside with success save for orchids, and only in my bathroom.

    2. What a sweet and thoughtful remembrance gift your brother arranged for you. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  33. It was a good, frugal week in heavenly Houston!
    We enjoyed lots of time outside, and opened the windows.
    I led the cub scout meeting for one son, and used supplies we already had on hand. The meeting was at our church playground, so my other kids got to play while I led the meeting.
    I made homemade stain remover and used it successfully on some clothing.
    I continued to sell on Facebook and Mercari.
    I got a free-to-me couch. It’s a slipcovered couch from Pottery Barn, but the prior owner accidentally shrunk the cushion covers. I got them back in, and while they’re still a little small, it doesn’t look too bad. There’s just a little too much spacing between the cushions. It is nicer looking than our old couch, though.
    My uncle gave me some leftover hot dog buns, which we’ve been eating as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The rest I will make into garlic bread tomorrow night.
    There have been lots of markdowns, lately. Today I bought 3# rolls of ground beef for .99/each; I have never seen it this cheap, and bought all I could fit in my freezer. I have 12# cooking in the crockpot right now.
    A neighbor bought me an Easter lily for taking her kids to school so many times. It is beautiful, but I think I will regift it to another neighbor who brought the kids some beautiful sugar eggs that she decorated. We have such generous neighbors.
    I found a NWT tshirt that my oldest daughter will like as a Christmas gift, and will set that aside.
    I stuffed eggs for my daughter’s school Easter egg hunt with some Annie’s bunny Valentine gummies that I found clearanced at Kroger. Great timing, and they comply with the school rules for this type of thing. My older son helped his sister stuff the eggs.
    I am trying to stay strong in skipping the “gift” portion of Easter. We celebrate Easter, but not with presents. Sometimes it’s hard not to cave to the pressure, as it seems that many people buy gifts for the kids and fill baskets with presents. My kids will hunt eggs and receive chocolate, but I need to keep remembering that what I’m doing is enough! Of course, we will celebrate the reason for the season and go to church. We will wear outfits we already have, but I will iron them.
    We got more wood scraps out of the neighbor’s trash, which the kids have been playing with in the backyard.
    I made cookies using ingredients that we already had, to give to a different neighbor who gave me some free Chacos sandals in my size, as well as some tubes of conditioner leftover from her hair color.
    I worked on the swim team website after the kids were in bed. This is how I meet my volunteer requirement, and it will be a great help to have most of the work behind us once the season starts.
    I agreed to teach an extra class next fall.
    I caught an error at the cash register and was persistent in asking it be corrected. I know that it was a hassle, but every dollar counts, and it was the store’s error.
    My older son returned an abandoned cart at Aldi and kept the quarter.
    I bought gas at the cheaper gas station.
    I lifted the washer lid to let an extra-dirty load soak longer, instead of choosing a longer cycle.
    My aunt is a great photographer, and emailed me some pictures that she took of the kids.
    I looked up recipes using ingredients we already had.
    Frugal fails: I had to throw away two tomatoes, a lemon, and some dinner leftovers that I didn’t get to in time. 🙁
    I got pizza from Costco one night, when I was too tired and lazy to cook. It was only $20 (and it tastes so good!), but I still could have fed the kids at home.
    Have a nice week, everyone!

    1. I don’t know when it became common to give gifts in Easter baskets, but I know we didn’t do it when I was a child.

      We had our baskets with candy in them, which my parents hid, along with hiding the hardboiled eggs that we dyed.

      When I was 17, I went to a friend’s house where they had 6 children (I have one brother). I was surprised to see it done differently; I somehow thought everyone did Easter baskets the way my parents did. They did an Easter egg hunt with plastic eggs outside in the grass in the afternoon (my brother and I would hunt for eggs and our hidden baskets in the house while my parents slept).

      With my garden still torn up this year, I may have to try hiding the eggs inside this year.

      I bought jelly beans to hide in plastic eggs. I will make chocolate rabbits this year for the children. Then I will put the rabbits and some of the jelly beans in tiny nests on the table.

      That’s still a fair amount of candy to buy for the seven children who are at home, but I could easily be out over $100 just for candy if I bought rabbits and lots of chocolates and jelly beans, let alone anything on top of that. I definitely don’t think you have to add presents. If you don’t want to do presents, you don’t have to!

      And we don’t do new Easter outfits here either. Regular church clothes work just fine. If someone really needed something this time of year, though, it is a good time to find church clothes on sale.

      1. Thanks, Brandy!
        Part of it (for me) stems from frugality, but part of it is my reluctance to let a religious holiday become too commercialized or consumerist. Of course, everyone has to do what is best for their family, but I think that we can celebrate simply, as we usually do, and all the trimmings and excess won’t be missed.
        I sometimes wish that I could be raising children in an earlier generation, with different expectations. 🙂
        Happy Easter to you and yours!

      2. Brandy, when my kids were little I bought plastic “baskets” that could be reused year after year…and they were! I bought a bag of grass and saved it every year. (The kids understood that the Easter Bunny refilled the same baskets every year). Then I filled the baskets with one chocolate bunny and eggs we dyed on Saturday. That was it. My kids also understood very early that the Easter Bunny was really their parents. This happened when my daughter found the candy stashed behind the back seat of the car and I laid it on her. I took the opportunity to disabuse her of any belief in Santa Claus at the same time, since I could anticipate the question. Then I went home and told her little brother. (“Well! Your sister found the candy in the car that is going to be in your Easter baskets! It’s time you knew that there is no Easter bunny–it’s just your mom and dad having fun with you. Same with Santa Claus, who is also your mom and dad. But that doesn’t mean you won’t get Christmas presents or Easter candy ever again, just that you now know that WE are the ones that do this. We don’t plan to stop! Don’t tell any other kids, though–it is up to their parents, not you, to tell them…when the time is right.”

        When Kmart still had a store here, there was always a high-up display by the cash register of huge Easter baskets wrapped in cellophane. I never understood people actually buying them, but they must have!

    2. That is very interesting about Easter traditions. We’ve always done very small gifts along with some candy. A new dress or Sunday outfit was not uncommon either. The weather would be warmer and in my home of 6 children “new” clothes were usually needed in the spring. As in, my Mom had bought things the previous season on clearance and things were given to us at certain times or holidays. My husband grew up with similar holiday traditions. We were always careful to keep the religious separate from the “fun” part of the holiday because that was our preference. We’ve had lots of friends celebrate in different and wonderful ways or not at all. I love hearing about how others celebrate – it’s so wonderful to have the diversity. I’m so grateful that some of you have shared your traditions.

    3. Hi Leigh Ann,

      I wanted to comment to let you know that if the slipcovers are rayon or a rayon blend, you can soak them in hair conditioner and water, then restretch them to original size! I did not know you could do this with rayon until we accidentally put one of my daughter’s favorite rayon dresses in the drier and it shrunk considerably. After an internet search, I decided to try this method on the (most probably ruined) dress and it worked. Make sure to always air dry rayon, never put it in the dryer!

  34. Beverly Cleary wrote mostly children’s fiction, however it is well worth reading at any age! She started out with Henry Huggins and eventually branched out to include most of the children in his neighborhood. Ramona, his neighbor’s Beezus’ little sister, emerged a the odds-on favorite, and Ms. Cleary wrote books about her for about 20 years. She went on to write more contemporary books and for older readers, but I wouldn’t call any of them young adult. Beverly Cleary died last week at age 104. Judy Blume cried when she heard.

    I was pretty sad, too. The Henry Huggins books were about ME. No, I wasn’t a 10-year-old boy, but I was an 8-year-old girl living the same life in Portland, Oregon, where the books were set. I was very familiar with all of the places in the books. And if you think it was weird or dangerous for a pre-teen kid to go downtown on the bus by himself, or hunt nightcrawlers in a park at night for a penny apiece, ask any Portland kid of the 1950s. Not weird or dangerous at all!

    1. Maxine
      Thank you so much for sharing this. Henry Huggins and Ramona Quimby books were some of the first ones I read on my own! And reading ‘Seventeen’ (Or was it Fifteen?) was my first young adult romance book. I had no idea bout Ms. Cleary having lived such a long life. How she impacted my early reading life!
      I had no idea she’d written anything other than junior fiction…I shall have to look around now and see if anything sounds interesting to me.

    2. I don’t know how I missed those books as a child, but we found them when DS was starting to read harder books by himself so we took turns reading. Henry Huggins was first. I never thought we would get through the page when Henry brought the dog on the bus in a paper bag. My DH and I had always been asked to tell stories about our childhood. I told DS these books were like our childhood with exception of a dog beauty contest. We share a love of reading so those books hold very special memories.

  35. Lovely front garden, Brandy.
    I bought two all wool sweaters, one of which was cashmere, for $2 each at the thrift store. I probably won’t get to wear them until winter, so they’re in our camphor chest.
    We had a couple over for Pimm’s cup and finger food. The organization where I volunteer could not use donated guacamole and scallions. We bought cassava chips to have with the guacamole and I caramelized the scallions (cut in half). I also made a simple mushroom spread and defrosted left-over olive pâté and served them with toasted baguette slices and crackers. It was a very nice evening, inexpensive, and not too much work (except for cleaning), but very enjoyable for all.
    We’re hosting a game night this Saturday while the house is still clean (a big deal for us with 4 cats and a dog) and will use the left-over baguette, spread (frozen now), and crackers; I will cook up more scallions as well as concocting other uncomplicated munchies. Entertaining does not have to be expensive.

    Happy weekend all!

  36. I love the photo of your garden!
    We saved money in the kitchen this week:
    My daughter came to visit and brought us a bag of Anasazi beans, which are grown where she lives. They are lot like pinto beans, but my husband says they taste better. They are more expensive that regular pinto beans, so I’ve never bought any.
    We were given many carrots, so I canned 7 quarts of glazed carrots and froze 4 containers of Whipped Carrots with Cranberries.
    My daughter and I made 4 loaves of zucchini bread. I have lots of frozen shredded zucchini I’m trying to use up.
    We are focusing on controlling food waste and eating what we have.
    I am very slowly making progress on my kitchen makeover. It will really help that I will not be going to appointments this week and being away from home.
    Details of our week are on my blog at http://thebudgetinggranny.com/savings-and-goals-journal-37/

  37. I have a small stash of items that are expired but not spoiled that I am slowly using up. This week I used an expired box of Sure-Jell and strawberries that I’ve been tossing in the freezer when I have a few leftover and am not eating them. Those 8 cups of saved berries, about 2 pounds of sugar that had expired and that Sure Jell netted me 6 pints of jam. It is soooo good! And after figuring costs, I don’t know why on earth I’d pay for a jar in the store when I can make 6 for the same price as 10-12 ounces of store brand.

    I’ve found a bread machine recipe that we really enjoy. The trick is to make the dough in the machine and then bake it in my oven in a loaf pan. My husband will eat it right up, but if I bake in the bread machine he’s not likely to finish a loaf. I don’t know why not…I give up trying to figure out his thinking but I do know I can bake TWO loaves and he’ll eat it all in any given week but make one in the bread machine and he doesn’t finish it.

    I hemmed pants, shortened sleeves on a t-shirt that just didn’t look great on me, repaired a sheet, two grocery bags and hemmed two pairs of jeans.

    This morning I worked on the food storage in my kitchen which is limited to just two cabinets. I restocked from the pantry and organized it all. I shifted things about and now have additional room to put my box of expired items in the cabinet so I can use them in a timely manner. Then I took all the extra things from our medicine cabinet and created a space for them in my pantry to restock from as needed, giving us much more room in the medicine cabinets. Finally, I sorted out the pantry, creating room for the medicine bin and putting like items together once gain. I moved some seldom used items off the shelf and into a closet so I have more pantry space I might make use of.

    I repotted some plants re-using soil from pots that I had on hand from plants that had died. I buy a really good moisture control bag of soil each year and mix it with old soil and then reuse that soil for years and it works out great for me.

    On a happy note, we got our new appliances about two weeks ago and they were all installed by hubby. Each works great and should save us money over what our 25 year old appliances cost to operate.

    1. Terri, sugar is good for 30 years. Don’t let the expiration date ever worry you about sugar.

  38. I will use your true story of rose trees when I know I need to be patient but the “impatients” are setting in. I peeked over on your Instagram last week and am guessing you all have built up some good muscle with everything that has been done. 🙂
    Planted 2 packs of peas – usually, I planted half a pack, but this year I am planting less variety with more quantity.
    Dug up dandelion root to roast for tea. It is a natural anti-inflammatory so I thought I would try it out.
    Will pick up a few extra hours for a few weeks from the contract job that has cut my hours down to a quarter. I will add that extra pay to my new to me car fund.
    I cut my own hair. I added a little extra-defined trimming around the face this time, and thankfully it looks good. Might get a little bolder with the next cut I give myself. 🙂
    Hope everyone has a calm week.

  39. Brandy, I look forward to your progress in the garden each week. What a huge undertaking, it must be so satisfying to see the progress you are making! I wish we could grow citrus. In Minnesota, it is apples and pears, plus berries.

    -Meals for the last week-nachos; grilled hamburgers with salad; chicken enchiladas x 2; pumpkin apple soup with grilled cheese sandwiches; pork chops with mashed potatoes, gravy, and green beans; and soup supper at church.

    -Made squash apple soup. Only I used pumpkin from the freezer, canned applesauce with maple syrup from the canned goods, and half and half in the freezer. It was very good! Had for supper and then several lunches.

    -Got some fabric washed. Bought yoda fabric on sale at JoAnne’s (2 different patterns). I am going to make a short set-shorts and button down shirt for my 2 grandkids who have birthdays in May. I have the patterns, thread, and buttons.

    -I also cut out a button down shirt for a friend (her bday in April). I cut it out of a 4X gathered skirt I bought at GoodWill. It has flamingos on it. She always has a Flamingo Fling for her family Labor Day weekend, to celebrate the last of summer. They live on the Lake. She will love this and I paid $2 for the skirt. Again I have the thread, buttons, and pattern. I will make this first.

    -Attended a scrapbooking weekend with friends at a scrapbook retreat center. No cost as we transferred the time from last March when it was cancelled. I spent very little at the attached store for supplies. I have a lot of paper and embellishments from my mom that I inherited when she passed away last fall. I got 75 pages made and got caught up in my scrapbook.

    -I just retired last fall. But I worked full time most of last year. I work at an outpatient surgical center owned by physician partners. We usually get a bonus each spring based on profits for the year. I anticipated not getting one this year. It was less than previous years but we did get one. I always use my bonus to buy something bigger that I normally wouldn’t buy. I have bought a small roto tiller, a second pressure canner, a dehydrator, a meat slicer, a Cricut cutter, etc.
    This year I bought a electric digital pressure canner. I am so excited to try it. Canning without having to continually watch the canner. This will be used for the things that take 75 to 90 minutes to can. Now I have 2 regular pressure canners and the digital one. One of the regular canners I can do 2 levels of pints-so 16 at a time. I may sell the smaller pressure canner as it may not be needed. We will see this fall. Now I just need to find lids!!

    Have a great week!!

    1. I just got a digital electric pressure canner too! I think it will be very handy as I am a single person. I make lots of homemade soup and have been freezing it but it would be much nicer to can it and save freezer space. I haven’t used it yet as I am waiting until after hosting Easter dinner. I rarely buy gadgets but this one is something I think will be very useful.

  40. I checked out your garden progress on Instagram, when I saw no post last week. It’s looking amazing, and I know you are going to be so thrilled to be done with it.

    I found some more change on the ground. It’s so odd — I’ll bet it’s been over a years since I found change, and suddenly, I keep finding it.

    I made at least two meals for us both and a lunch out of nearly everything I cooked in the last few days.

    I continue to roast several things at once on the weekends, to have a head start on my work week. As the weather heats up, I’ll start switching to the pressure cooker and slow cooker more.

    I used a digital dollar from Amazon Prime to watch a movie for a dollar less.

    I finally received my Swagbucks credit for a purchase I made here at work. Almost $20! I am allowed to order through Swagbucks for some office supplies and things, and I caught the timing of their anniversary offers, so I got a lot of SB for every dollar I spent.

    I picked more lemons to make lemonade for us, as well. I’m happy to see a good quantity of blooms on the new Satsuma tree. The grower said it should produce at least a little this year.

    I raked up pine straw in our pine-heavy area, and used it as mulch around some plants.

    I purchased a ham on sale for Easter. We plan to get together, but the details aren’t nailed down yet. I got the ham anyway, because I can always freeze it.

    Happy Easter and/or Spring!

  41. A quiet couple weeks here, thankfully. My son got hired and started a job at UPS as a package handler.!! We are very happy for him. It’s the 3-9 am shift, but he’s a night owl so it’s a good fit for him. He has work boots and work pants from a job he had last summer, so he doesn’t have to spend anything to get started. Meals at home have included pasta, tacos, burrito bowls, pizza, and hot dish, soup and sandwhiches. Grocery shopping has just been restocking the pantry. I keep using up yarn from my stash to knit and crochet afghans, hats and scarves, and baby layettes to donate. It brings me a lot of joy and keeps me busy. I’m reading books I received as birthday gifts, so that has been fun. It’s just three of us for Easter dinner this year and we like ham but not tons of it, so I bought a ham steak for our dinner. I’ll also make us cheesy potatoes and some deviled eggs. It will be nice, but not excessive or much work. I was able to get my first dose of the vaccine and anxiously am awaiting the second does in April. We continue to stay home and mask if we go out. Better safe than sorry at this point. I found some leftover Easter cards in my card box so sent them out to some friends also stuck at home. My husband brought home an Easter Lily for me and I was so pleased. I love flowers, but haven’t had any for a really long time. There are some flowers open, but some still closed so I look forward to enjoying it for a few weeks. I hope everyone has a peaceful and lovely week.

  42. Brandy, I love the roses you are training! Great deal and I’ll look forward to seeing photos when they are in bloom and growing! I saw how your new soil/loam is looking on your instagram and the curved sidewalk. Wonderful! Progress is being made!

    Here we had really strong winds this past weekend (about 70 plus mph) and then yet another snowfall – not a lot but it is still staying on my shady yard.

    It is a glorious blue-sky day here and this morning a Bald Eagle flew low over the trees. There is a pair here and I’m hoping they will nest nearby!
    I am trying not to yield to temptation but stay inside to work on putting in all the minor proofreading changes to the book.

    As far as frugal savings, I am glad I stocked my small freezer with lots of fruit. Tonight I’ll make a plum crisp for dessert. I still have lots of potatoes – some are starting to sprout so I’ll keep those and grow this year’s crop from them. It is still too early to plant anything.

    On Saturday, a volunteer drove me to and from the centre for my Pfizer #1 covid vaccine. I had mild side effects – most worrisome was that my throat swelled a bit but nothing drastic. Eventually all side effects disappeared and by the next morning I could not even see the injection site. As I have a known mild allergy to one of the ingredients, I was relieved not to have a major reaction. Fingers crossed for the second shot. In Canada, the vaccines are free.

    As a special treat, I am indulging in a maple flavoured ham. I should be able to cut off about 30 individual slices of meat from it for the freezer. I’m getting a roast chicken and will freeze that meat, too (about 8 servings plus soup bones). My gardener gave me lots of big carrots, potatoes. I have frozen beets from our garden last year that I will use soon.

    Happy holidays and a lovely weekend for all. Ann

    1. The vaccines are free in the US, too. Polio vaccines also were free in the 1950s.

      I am wondering if you or any of the others can explain Instagram to me. I’d be interested in seeing Brandy’s or a few others’ pictures, but I don’t know how to sign up or how much of my privacy I would be giving up if I did. I’d be a looker, but not a poster. Thanks in advance.

      1. Maxine, I am not the best adviser regarding Instagram, but as far as I know you need an account in order to look. You do not have to post.

      2. Maxine, you can just do a search in Bing/Google for theprudenthomemakerinstagram. It will bring up the Instagram link and you can see her pictures/videos. Works just fine without an account. You would not be able to comment on the pictures/videos though.

      3. Hi, on Brandy’s main page (before you click on the blog icon) at the bottom is a list of her Instagram photos. I just click on one of them and it takes me to her Instagram post. I don’t need to login or have an Instagram account. But as J in Pa commented, you cannot make a comment.

  43. At some point recently, I cant remember when, I noticed that my white everyday dishes were looking a bit less white. It then occured to me that our iron rich water was staining them! It does this too our white shower, too. I used a product called iron out- soaked them in the sinkfull of water and iron out overnight and bam- like new! I realized how dingey they were when I compared one I had soaked to one I had not! Yikes!
    Aside from that, I refilled old plastic easter eggs and also ordered some new ones which are filled with legos as a fun treat. Not frugal, but we save a lot of money not going anywhere right now so it’s a fun treat for the boys.
    My husband kindly offered to watch the kids so I could treat myself to a pedicure before sandal season. I can’t bring myself to spend the money on them even though I love them, so instead I spent $4 on a new polish color and will do it at home, and like it just as much!
    Cleaned out the fridge last weekend knowing I would need room for the easter ham. We had two nights of “eat random stuff from the fridge” That saved us from food waste.
    I’ve started all tomato and pepper plants from seed in my sunroom. Per usual, I way over did it with tomatoes (78 starts 😳) but we have the space so we will plant them and see how it goes this year. Swimming in produce is a blessing I can only hope for.
    Things at my employer have been a little frustrating lately, but I try to remind myself that I am fortunate to be employed, and my family is fed!
    I found a ham for easter for $8, and will make hash brown casserole and fruit kebabs to round out the brunch this weekend. I’m looking forward to it. Have a great week everyone!

    1. That is so interesting about whitening your dishes! I’ve never heard of it. What a great idea 🙂

  44. Your White Garden is so beautiful Brandy – love the picture! We finally have a few flowers making an appearance here – so far just some Snowdrops and then yesterday, a patch of Bluebells has appeared down the road. Unfortunately our weather – and temperatures – are still very up and down, Monday we were nearly at 21C but tonight we’ll be back about freezing and only 2C tomorrow – and it’s supposed to be like that for the next few weeks (not unusual). We’ve also had quite a bit of rain with more expected today and on the weekend – but I’m sure the gardeners will appreciate it as we didn’t get a lot of snow this past Winter.

    Life is also very up and down at the moment – they have been easing things slightly for us in Toronto but it sounds as though they may be announcing another “Stay at Home” order this morning as our cases are sky-rocketing again. It’s mostly amongst younger people now and it’s the UK variant. There are outbreaks at Universities across the province and ICU’s in Toronto are almost at capacity. I am hoping to be able to register for my vaccine by next week with the province’s sites – which are using Pfizer and Moderna. I’m registered with the drugstores for Astra Zeneca but so far, no appointment.

    I am struggling a bit – although I know that I am very lucky – working from home and able to pay the bills while staying safe is such a bonus so I do try not to grumble. I did a bit more of a shop yesterday for non-food items as we’ve been warned that there may be some shortages due to supply chain disruptions so I thought I would spend the money now (I normally due this sort of restock around the end of April). I’ll go out tomorrow for some fresh fruit & veg and more dairy – but that’s about all I need. I had a sort through the freezer a couple of days ago and I’m still well stocked so no need to buy any meat or fish for a few weeks yet.

    I’m trying to get a few more things done around my apt. but seem to have run out of steam. I’m at a bit of a stand still until I can get the new bookcases from IKEA but that will have to wait for a couple of more weeks as I want to have the cash in hand first. I’m trying to deal with all the paperwork that has piled up – shredding and taxes top the “to do” list. I’ve just moved everything into a more convenient location to deal with it so that is the plan for April.

    I did some batch cooking on the weekend – stuffed peppers and turkey thighs along with cod done in tomato sauce with capers and black olives. I keep meaning to bake but so far haven’t had the energy – but maybe this weekend. I have bought some lamb shanks to do for Easter and I assume my bubble friend will join me – she is laid up with a small broken bone in her ankle so at least I know she hasn’t been anywhere!

    Hope everyone has a lovely Easter.

    1. Hi Margie,

      Happy Easter to you. I’m hoping you get a vaccine soon. I’ve been worried about my Ontario friends, now we are entering a third phase here, too.
      The lamb shanks sound delicious. Ann

  45. Hello everyone!

    *I was able to cut back on my grocery bill last week and I was thrilled. I’m not quite sure how it happened but I will take it for the win. Received a few free items through Ibotta/coupons. I’ve noticed our local Kroger has a case lot sale going on this week – and I agree with Brandy. Prices are higher. I noticed that on the last case lot that was through Food Club stores. I’m not sure I will be getting anything this go around. I do follow someone on Facebook called The Food Storage Organizer. She’s located in Utah. She posted a list that compares the food storage prices with Walmart prices. I’ll check that out to see if there is a better deal out there. I’m grateful for my full pantry & freezer and will continue to watch prices.

    I’m so thankful our local Kroger has a large clearance section each week. I did buy a chocolate cake for $2 on the clearance rack. It saved me some time. I also found a large package of King’s Hawaiian Rolls on clearance for 50c. I bought those and used the last of some ham and cheese to make the sweet ham and cheese rolls. My husband and I had our kids over for dinner and pulled out hamburgers and hot dogs from the freezer. The kids and I had those leftovers for lunch during the week. We had baked tacos using just refried beans and cheese.
    My girls do not eat as much as my boys do and it’s been hard to make smaller meals. They don’t seem to love leftovers. I tell them to start loving them because I’m not making new meals when there is food that needs to be eaten. My boys complain when they come home because there isn’t a lot of food or leftovers in the fridge. It’s been hard to find a balance.

    *I replanted some tulip bulbs that were all in 2 large clumps in the flower beds and nowhere else. I’ve replanted a few iris. My husband and I finished pruning and trimming our bushes. I’ve been out weeding the flower beds. I would like to get some good soil to put on top of the beds. Some areas are getting very hard with clay like soil. I do put good things back into the soil every year but it’s a yearly battle. I do love the spring flowers that come up.

    *For exercise, I’ve been doing cleaning, organizing and walks. I either walk at home or use Leslie Sansone Walk at Home. Entertainment is reading library books and watching some favorite shows. My husband makes sure we have gift cards so I can indulge my love of mexican food when needed. I’ve been cleaning out our computer/office room. I’m grateful to have things to pass on to a Thrift Store. I’m also thankful to have more room and to re-purpose a few things. I found a photo of me in my wedding dress. My dad had it in his office before he passed away. I want to put it in a new frame (from my stash) because he didn’t have a glass cover in the frame. My husband would like to hang it next to the picture of my daughter in her wedding dress in our hallway. I went through our collection of crayons, markers, etc and got rid of broken and not working things. But we have a nice supply left over to use for random projects.

    *I discovered I had way too many mechanical pencils – some still in packages. Those will go into my son and son in laws Easter baskets who are both in school. I have everything completed for Easter. Small and simple gifts like new socks, a favorite candy, a new tie for the guys and a monogram necklace for the girls. And one darling outfit for our new granddaughter. I still love to do baskets for my older children who don’t live here. I think adulting can be hard – it’s nice to feel like a kid again sometimes.

    *I’m also looking forward to watching General Conference this weekend. I am looking forward to the peace, comfort and inspiration it brings.

    Wishing everyone a happy Easter season. Thank you for all the wonderful ideas and encouragement.

  46. After seeing Brandy’s lemon tree full of blooms I bought one. This year I had an abundance of lemons on it.
    My trees are in large pots because I live in Tennessee and have to bring them indoors in the winter.

  47. On a night that I had not slept, I went to Kroger at 5 AM. I purchased 12 lbs of individually he’d need for 1.99. these were a premium brand and 93/7. That was a welcome addition to my freezer. Sugar cookie needed a baby gift for her very first second cousin. She’s very excited. Although it would have been much easier to use Amazon, she wanted to wrap and mail it. I pulled up the baby registry and we went to the salvage store. We bought a $60.00 item for $27.00. I have materials to wrap in my stash and don’t imagine shipping will be bad. My mother and I used a $5.00 meal coupon at Burger king. 2 sandwich, 2 fries and 2 drinks. That was a great cheap meal. I pick ed up a shampoo bar of soap for 70 cents and a bottle of tea tree oil for a dollar. Hoping to resolve some itchy scalp irritations. The pollen is like snow. I’ve pulled out allergy medicine to hopefully avoid additional doctor visits. We’ve managed to avoid using the HVAC for 6 months. I just turned on the AC. Everything outside is beautiful. The field next door is filled with baby donkey’s. Oh my gosh , this city girl has never seen anything so adorable.

    1. Lillianna: Because so many people write about plants, for a moment I thought the field of “baby donkeys” was a plant or flower! I was going to have to google and find out what it looks like.
      I agree– baby animals are adorable.

  48. I bought a few packets of seeds and planted some in pots and put them on the window sill in my office. I now have basil, cilantro and lettuces growing. It cheers me to see them every morning that I go in to work. I am going to give a few of each type of seed to a coworker and then the rest will go in my mini garden at home once the earth thaws. I feel good about using all of each packet that I bought. I also found some older random seed packets in a drawer in the kitchen. Looking forward to seeing if anything comes up from them.

  49. My son is fixing my computer. It crashed. I’ve been doing an excercise class , only cost is a donation of a can good. I took a harp lesson from a very nice lady at church. I want to take lessons, but will need to find a harp. I hope to find a smaller lever harp. Someday I hope to play a pedal harp as well. Because I can read music, I was able to play a couple very simple songs. Of course I had a great teacher! Harps are hard to come by. I’d love to find one that someone no longer wants. It has been a dream of mine since I was a child. We have been doing lots of cooking at home. Turning off lights. I picked some kale that grew from last years plants. We picked some carrots as well that I had left in the ground. I noticed that prices are really going up! I’m looking forward to the garden. Asparagus should be coming in a few weeks. Hubby prepared the asparagus patch.

    1. So excited! I found a harp for a good deal. I hope to learn it. Also we have found a wonderful church home. The people are so nice!

  50. Brandy, I read a couple of your old blogs the other week when I had a little time and you mentioned WAWAK for thread. I looked on the website and found several things I need that I have never seen locally. Thank you!

    I bought London Broil for $3.49/lb., cabbage .29/lb. desert shells for our frozen strawberries and Cool Whip, and a BD card for my MIL

    I baked/boiled 5 lbs. chicken, cooked cabbage, and cut corn off 2 cobs to freeze. I also made baked eggs in a large muffin tin and Dutch babies for breakfasts. I made chicken and spinach (instead of broccoli) casserole. My guys like the spinach that way. We also had beans and rice with corn on the cob one night. I also made a Taco salad in a large bowl with sour cream on the side. Next time I will put the hamburger/bean mix separate also. I liked having less on the table to clean up. We need a refrigerator so I am trying to eat things down out of its freezer to make the switchover easier when I find one.

    I did a lot of laundry for two 2 days so I could go with DH for his appointment about surgery. We both agreed that if something is affecting quality of life for someone that is otherwise physically fit and it can be fixed that is better. He will only have an overnight stay and take it easy a couple weeks. I was also called to schedule my Physiologist appointment, and DS and I made eye appointments. Our first Covid vaccines are scheduled. DS can also sign up now even though he is not eligible for one yet. We understand it may be soon.

    DS picked up the last of the oak leaves with the riding mower and vacuumed and did laundry one afternoon when DH and I had a meeting. DH and DS worked on a project downstairs one weekend while I started my personal recipe notebook with protective sheets that was part of my BD gifts. It will contain recipes that I use fairly often and some from booklets that I will get rid of. I think I will do a canning one too.

    I cleaned the bottom half of a cabinet and used a small pot to store some canning items. I only use the pot when canning l cup jars, less water and time. I cleaned out and washed the produce drawer. I donated more items to Goodwill. I also called a guy to come by and price removing some big items. DH has added a few extra items to the list (smile). I hemmed a pair of pants for MIL’s BD. I sent her an old picture of her parents in her card that was posted on the computer. I did more paperwork. I try to find something extra to put out with the trash each time.

    Our Forsythias are blooming! We usually only get a couple days of full bloom to take pictures before rain knocks them off. From there we look to the Redbuds. Enjoy the flowers!

    1. Oh my goodness! I pay over $11.00 for Aurifil thread…plus shipping. Not anymore.
      Thank you for mentioning the old blog. I had forgotten about it.
      Thank you again Brandy for all you do.

      1. Your welcome Becky. I had to stop looking at the website and concentrate on the things I need now to catch up with mending, altering, and unfinished projects. As I get my home and routines back to the way they were I am realizing just how much the A-fib affected me.

    2. Whoops. I meant to say, “I did a lot of laundry for two days so I would not get behind when I went with DH for his appointment about surgery.”

  51. Brandy,
    wishing good luck with your roses! What a resourceful idea!

    I, too, am experimenting with a rose plant. Traditional Mother’s Day roses are like little bushes over here. Last year I bought one after Mother’s Day (50% off) and it bloomed outside like crazy all summer. In the fall I bought it in and cut it down almost to the trunk and thought that it doesn’t cost me anything to try to hibernate it. Two weeks ago I bought it to warmer and lighter rooms. The trunk looked dead but now there’s a new shoot almost a foot tall! Can’t stop smiling! 🙂

  52. Stunning picture of your white garden at sunset…looks like a picture in a home and garden magazine!
    Thrifty activities this week included the following: building a new compost bin for dirt, yard waste, and kitchen scraps, using credit at Thred Up ( thanks Brandy for the recommended site) for a summer purse, and using kitchen ingredients to color Easter Eggs along with making a spring felt garland, for decorating their fireplace mantel, with grandchildren.
    Finished reading The Children’s Blizzard by Melanie Benjamin from local library, based on actual oral histories of survivors, during the 1888 Great Plains Blizzard.

  53. Brandy, I was so thankful see your post this week! It is a highlight of my week, even if I don’t comment. Just seeing the post and fellow frugalites comments is a joy to savor. We have had two of our granddaughters here for three weekends and have six more to go, while their mom is getting help inpatient. It makes my weeks busier because I shop and do more errands during the week so I am more present on the weekends. I have seen comments about Easter baskets and gifts. We only did Easter treats for our kids when they were all at home. I don’t plan to change that it’s these granddaughters or the others that will be here for here for Easter. We will do a egg hunt and a nice meal. I have been clothes shopping at GW, Kohl’s and Old Navy as the clothes they came with were all too small. I have found items for $3 or less and now are looking for summer clothes for them.

    My husband repaired two rollout shelves in my kitchen that had buckled under the weight of items. They needed to be moved and in the process I have a bag ready to donate to Habitat. This has spurred me on to clean out our medicines and pantry again.

    A daughter and her family are hoping to come from South America in late May. We haven’t seen them in 15 months so we are looking forward to their visit, they will be here for two months. So, there is a lot of purging and cleaning to get ready for them. We hope to do a short three day vacation with whatever family members can come, it other than that it will be lots of cousin time and backyard cookouts and games!

    I have gotten some lettuce, radish, beets, and sugar peas planted. A lot of the seeds were older and will see how many sprout. We are supposed to have two nights of freezing temperatures so I will have to cover the blueberries snd strawberries that are blooming. My pears will just have to limp along.

    I continue to have good results with buying marked down produce and I am grateful for these finds. We eat a lot of produce here and these good buys save a lot of money.

    Have a blessed Easter, Brandy,and this wonderful community of folks!

  54. So much talk of Easter and Easter egg hunts brought back fond memories. I used to buy smaller candies and hide them throughout the house for the Easter egg hunt. Our two sons had a blast looking for them and I made sure they worked hard searching for what they found. Some years someone would find well hidden candies around about July. What a laugh that gave all of us.

  55. Thanks Brandy for the beautiful photos of your garden-it’s amazing.
    The signs of spring are bringing sunshine and hope.
    I have started tomatoes and marigolds on my basement window ledge .
    Stay frugal everyone.

  56. I’m always so impressed with how you look at the long view on your garden and your frugal enterprises. Your rose trees might take a bit to mature but they will be lovely as will the results of all of the hard work you have put into the new garden design. After reading your blog and some other garden writers talk about possible plant shortages this year, I ordered seeds early and I am starting all of my vegetable and herb plants from seed this year. I am reusing pots that I saved from past plant purchases. I totaled what I spent relative to what I estimate I have spent on plants in past years. I think I will be about even to possibly a bit more expensive this year, but I will save many leftover seeds for next year. If I only have to buy a few new packets next year, as I expect, I will be saving quite a bit in the year to come. As an added bonus, it has been great fun to have plants growing inside weeks before I can safely start my outdoor gardening.

    1. Many seeds and plants are already sold out across the world. It’s good that you can get what you wanted!

  57. I am thrilled I joined a local fuel co-op which will save me $1.90 per gallon of propane estimated savings $500 a year. I returned a shirt for 20$ and was going to buy a jacket for 25$ the lady couldn’t figure it out and just gave me the jacket (saving me 5 dollars) . I went to get my summer tires put on and they had a mix up with my account last year so they put them on for free! 80$ savings. I have been trying to have a now spend month- been doing ok just breaking it for chocolate! I live in NH we know have an Aldi’s !!!!!!! It is amazing I bought 65$ groceries that If I had shopped at Market Basket would of cost 40 $ more. The store is half hour away. So I will try to go every other week- and planning on taking turns car pooling with a friend when we do. I found a case of canned tomatoes under my bed that I had forgotten I bought in the spring.
    Our Easter bunny always gets a pot of hyacinths (3.99 at Aldi’s) or tulips and a gold bunny tucked in a and maybe a few Lindt truffles. The bulbs then can be planted in the garden. To me the Expensive plastic basket with plastic grass and cheap plastic toys wrapped in plastic with a plastic bow doesn’t say Easter to me.
    I am going to plant lettuce and peapods as I am a very beginner gardener and struggle with watering as we don’t have an out door faucet. Frugal Fail tried to cut firewood myself and need a larger chainsaw and maybe a younger body

  58. Brandy, your blog is something I watch for every week. When you didn’t post last week, I was glad to see your Instagram comments so I knew all was well with you, you were just busy ;).

    Frugal items: We discontinued Netflix. We do not have cable, but do have Amazon prime, and realized we weren’t getting enough value for the money. Met two couples at a local park for lunch, brought our own meals and lawn chairs…and dogs, and have a few lovely hours in the shade. Updated my freezer and pantry inventories in order to make a grocery list for April.

    Had my second Covid vaccination (Pfizer) and had a reaction of rapid heart rate the next day. Ended up in ER that evening. Diagnosis was a vaccination side effect and the rate started dropping off as time went on. They sent me home after an hour saying to monitor it and if the rate went about 135 again, come back in. The rate got back to normal the next day. Interesting though, tachycardia wasn’t listed as a usual side effect. But all is good now and I am thrilled to be done with this!

    I have noticed the higher food prices as well as articles indicating shortages expected off and on while business gets back to normal. I have shifted my grocery purchases to Winco for better prices.

    Hope everyone has a good week and fair weather! Here in Arizona we might hit 100 degrees this weekend ;(

  59. A local grocery store had an oops.. the produce manager meant to buy 4 cases of asparagus… she bought 45. They had a sale for a lb of asparagus for .20 cents. I went and bought 6.5 cases (about 180 lbs.) Out of that I flipped three cases and made a little extra on it. I have friends always looking for a deal and they pitch in an extra $5-10 for my trouble. Then I made 48 quarts of asparagus dilly pickles, and blanched and froze the rest. I would’ve done something with the ends, but by that time I was SO exhausted, they went into compost.

  60. Do the buried fruit and vegetable scraps in your yard ever attract wildlife to dig it up? How far down do you bury them?

    1. I usually bury them six inches down. I don’t have a lot of wildlife here. Lizards don’t dig.

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