I read an e-book from the library, The Women of Chateau Lafayette. I did enjoy this and learned a lot, but would have preferred to known when starting the story that the third character (the one from WWII) was fictional, based on the stories of several women from the area.

I was unable to get The Kitchen Front as an e-book anytime soon (18 people were ahead of me in line) but the library had the actual book available immediately, so I reserved it and read it this week. It was excellent!

The weather has been cooler (than average; we’ve still had plenty of 95 degree days, but hotter is normal). I have been waking even earlier lately than usual (around 4:30 a.m.) so I have been opening the house up earlier than usual (before dawn, when it is the coolest time of day), including the front and back doors. When the nights were cool enough I opened up the windows before everyone went to bed for a few hours in the evenings. My electric bill was $35 lower than it was for the same time last year.

I mended my son’s beloved stuffed animal that he takes to bed. It had come open at the seam and its leg was mostly unattached as well.

I harvested apricots from the tree in the front yard and a few blackberries from the garden.

I planted eight fruit trees in the garden: two Stella cherries, a Dancy mandarin, two Rio Red grapefruits, a Bearss lime, a Pink Lady apple, and a Kerman pistachio. It is going to take several years before I can start to harvest from my new fruit trees, but I am glad that we found a way to grow more trees in the garden as well as a larger variety of fruit.

I sowed seeds for perpetual spinach (a type of Swiss chard, aka silverbeet), which I will be trying for the first time, along with seeds for thyme, Armenian cucumbers, Beit Alpha cucumbers, marjoram, Thai basil, Genovese basil, and peanuts. This will be my first time growing peanuts but they are supposed to do well here. While this later than my usual direct-sowing time, all of my seeds are going to go in late this year because of the garden renovation. I also sowed seeds for zucchini, as the wind snapped one of my plants right off at the base.

I ran drip irrigation lines to part of the garden.

My husband poured more concrete curbing for the edges of the beds where they will meet the grass.

With the rising price of houses, our property taxes have increased by almost $50 a month. I am grateful that we are not renting (I have heard that local rents have increased anywhere from $150 to $700 a month!) I am mindful of the importance to look for ways to continue to find to save money so that we can cover the difference as the cost of living rises.

What did you do last week to save money?

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  1. Your fruit looks delicious. Our property taxes, too, are increasing since our evaluation increased dramatically this year. I feel for anyone who is trying to build a house right now. I understand lumber prices are through the roof.
    This week we enjoyed lettuce, arugula, and rhubarb from the garden. The seeds I planted are coming up, as are the potatoes. It rained a couple of days this week, so I was able to cut off the irrigation for those days.
    I baked French bread, wheat sandwich bread, and made a batch of granola.
    My husband re-did some of the irrigation in the garden that had clogged up.
    I mended one of my husband’s shirts.
    I meal-planned and used up some leftovers and items that had been in the freezer for a while.

  2. My mustard greens are ready and I have been eating them. The mulberries are finally starting to stop producing but I think I have enough for the year. I am not running the ac, even though we have been hitting 90, and I hope to keep that up. However, when it hits 93, all bets are off….lol. I walked at the river for exercise. I definitely have at least a years supply of a variety of canned and dried food. I feel good about that. I continue to take sandwiches to work for lunch. This week I am enjoying pimento cheese sandwiches. I make a very simple pimento cheese, with grated cheese, mayo, and a small glass of diced pimentos.

    1. I turned my AC on yesterday afternoon and again today. It’s currently 92, feels like 97, and there’s no breeze. It was time.

    2. Although I do not consume cheese ( cholesterol) there is nothing better than a pimento cheese sandwich! Just watched cooking show “Somewhere in the South” with cooking mustard greens, collard greens, all greens & it was very informative.

  3. I cut my parsley down and put it in my dehydrator. In less than 2 hours, it was totally dry and I pulsed it in my little food processor. I added it to my parsley container and it looks so bright green! And now, less than 4 days later, new parsley clusters and leaves are growing! It’s one of those “ The more you harvest, the more you get!! “ plants! https://pin.it/4g51VvZ

    On the business side, I quilted up Quilt #142 for a client that will be a graduation gift for her granddaughter- https://pin.it/2LmLIsY.
    My 85 year old friend/client also brought over 2 quilt tops that have been waiting for 20 years to be quilted! Here is the first one (Quilt #143) — https://pin.it/1IvHSuq and https://pin.it/7Hw3IVN.
    I will be loading Quilt #144 on Lenni later today as it gets too warm to work outside! It was made by a 95 year old lady- the MIL of this client’s daughter. So my client decided to surprise her and have me quilt it up! It is king size so it will take a bit more time to get done. Also sold my Sheet of Stamps quilt- https://pin.it/3xTk9db. So, there’s been pretty continuous work and steady little stream of income from this. My focus right now has been only the machine quilting of other people’s quilt tops rather than making quilts from start to finish for others because this is an intensely busy time of the year- keeping up with quilting orders as well as gardening tasks and babysitting grandkiddo 2 – 3 times a week!
    Speaking of my garden, we are thrilled to start harvesting from our strawberry plants! Here was our first one: https://pin.it/4DUqR9q. We cut it in half so we would both be able to enjoy it!! Since then, we pick about 4-6 big berries/day and add them to our breakfast, salads, etc! I had forgotten how sweet vine-ripened strawberries taste! Our Swiss chard that overwintered is starting to bolt due to our crazy hot weather lately – 80+ degrees! So I’ve. Replante$ some seeds. In the meantime, my lettuce has been maturing so we are picking that! The green beans are up and everything is growing nicely! We pruned the lilacs ourselves and have more rooted blackberry starts up for sale. Made more DIY trellises for the raspberries and pruned off some of the height on our fruit trees! Our normal twice a year fruit tree pruning is in mud-June but we thought we would get started a bit early because there are so many to do! The squirrels and cats continue to avoid our garden and the spikes so we are considering that a win!

    Hubs and our youngest son are putting 2 of our window A/C units today- the first up in a 3rd floor bedroom that our GD will move into in about two weeks and the other in our 2nd floor bedroom. These will be used sparingly so we are hoping to keep our electric bill from rising too high. Right now, it’s been about $100/month for electricity (probably higher than many of you, but our house is 5300 square foot and we have 2 fridges, 2 freezers,etc.), so we are satisfied with our costs. Our lights are LED and we try to conserve as much as we can.

    I have been trying to use up more of our food in the freezers- last night we have chicken enchiladas, using precooked and frozen Turkey chunks that came from one of our Thanksgiving turkeys (19 cents/pound sale). No taste difference was detected! We used some of our precooked ground beef from freezer in another dinner. Soon I will thaw out another 5- 10 pounds of ground beef and cook and bag it up for the freezer to replace what I’ve been using!

    Other than that, it’s been like everyone else- recycling materials we already have to make things we need rather than buying new, rotating/eating our food storage while adding to it as we find good sales/harvest, conserving our resources- limiting trips out, conserving utility usage, being mindful of how we can maximize our conservation.

    Hubs has had some medical issues this week that have reminded and humbled us about just how blessed we are to live somewhere with easily accessible medical care and that we are privileged to have insurance that covers the costs of that medical care/treatment while not costing more than our budget could handle. We know that many/most people are not as blessed in that regard. 🙁 It has allowed us to help and serve others in ways that might now have been possible otherwise.

    My hope is that you, Brandy, and your readers might be blessed in all aspects of your lives and that you will continue to recognize the opportunities all around us even in these challenging times!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Garden Pat: As I imagine your house, and imagine an attic, I wondered: Do you have a whole-house fan?

      1. Heidi Louise- We don’t have a whole house fan. I’m not sure if it’s because there are so many roof levels and angles or because our house is just so old – 125+ years old! https://pin.it/3yhMBId

        We installed ceiling fans in almost every room of the house and when we did, Hubs found the old gas line (disengaged) in the parlour from the original gas lights that the house had for lighting before electricity was brought in!

        The good news is that every room (except bathrooms) has at least 2 windows for cross ventilation and with the brick exterior walls, it tends to stay cooler inside in the summer. We’ve also learned to spend most of our time on the first floor during the summer and second and third floor in the winter to keep heating and cooling bills lower! 🤪

    2. Hello Gardenpat! Would you be able to post a picture of your spikes that keep the squirrels out? My cousin has a terrible problem with them in her garden. Thank you! Once again, love hearing about what you do. You seem so content in your life.😊 Laura

    3. Hi Pat I thought of you this week as I got my rain barrel prepped in a different place to catch more water. 2 weeks ago I went to 5th Ave Lumber Yard and got a huge bag of sawdust for our compost and again thought of you and how resourceful you are with local resources. Anna

  4. As I live in the frozen North I’m hoping to get our garden planted this upcoming weekend. Last week we had several inches of snow (not uncommon at all) and now its supposed to rain for the next few days. My plants that I started from seed have taken over our living room.
    We saved money by I gave my daughter and husband a haircut
    – We are building a greenhouse to extend our growing season plus hopefully grow a larger variety of food. Last week we poured the concrete footings. This week the real building begins.
    -I had several errands that needed to be ran so I combined everything into one day
    -We got several books, video games and DVDs from our local library to enjoy
    -My kids have had school online for the past 2 weeks. They go back to in person learning tomorrow, the upside was that I didn’t have to drive anyone to school or pick them up. Saved on gas plus wear and tear on our vehicle
    -With everyone working or doing school at home, we had more help with yard projects and getting things ready to plant
    -traded some mason jars for compost for my garden
    -traded some extra tomato plants for a haircut for myself in the near future (its my once a year treat for myself)
    -date night we used a BOGO coupon for Blizzards plus ran a couple of errands getting supplies for building the greenhouse
    -used a gift card we received several years ago for supper for the whole family. This is a huge treat as we rarely eat out.

    1. I love my greenhouse. I’m able to produce so much more food with it. Mine is only 10 X 12, but it allows me to extend the season on both ends, and to grow tomatoes, which it is too cold to grow otherwise. I hope you love yours also.

    2. Hi, I live in Norway and it sounds like similar season to what you have, we have a little diy greenhouse (not heated and no light…) and it has been a blessing in so many ways! I am very happy for you!

    3. Hi Natasha! A greenhouse is on my wish list for this year. So happy for you! We were going to move, but given the lack of home inventory, we are staying put. Last year, I used a cold frame over my one raised bed and it gave my plants a huge head start for spring. I also used a frost cover blanket and it was helpful as well. I know a greenhouse will be even more helpful and I plan to heat it somehow. I live in north central Illinois.

  5. Your comment about rising home prices and property taxes reminds me that we also need to check whether we have enough homeowners insurance. Thanks for mentioning this. Also, beautiful pictures of your apricots and blackberries. I can’t tell if any of my dwarf fruit trees are going to bear this year (I was expecting apples and plums and maybe pears). They bloomed, but we had a big wind and the blooms mostly blew away. Should know in the next week whether we’re going to have any fruit.

    This was my week–
    * My library card is getting a workout! I read “The Spies of Shilling Lane” and “The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir,” both by Jennifer Ryan. I checked out two more books, both by David Baldacci (my guilty pleasure).

     * Last week I told you about the difficulty of buying a patio dining set, but that I’d found the table and ordered it. The next day, I was able to order two swivel chairs and, two days later, the 4 side chairs. At no point could I have ordered everything at once, or as a set. Each time, I ordered through the airline e-shopping portal, used my Lowe’s card and saved 5% (about $40 ) and earned about $9 worth of Honey Gold rewards. I’m just glad I was able to get all of the pieces!

    * I sold a pristine bike for the full asking price of $500! In the last two weeks I have sold $900 worth of stuff on FB Marketplace and craigslist. I sold another $85 worth of stuff at a friend’s yard sale, which wasn’t bad considering I didn’t have much and none of it was high dollar. Best part of all this was the decluttering, although I’m sure not knocking the $985!

    * My friend gave me a wrought iron plant stand.

    * I planted my 4×10 raised bed with tomato plants I grew from seed, one hill of zucchini, all of the green bean seeds I had left from last year and the year before (they’re viable for 3 years) and a little bit of Swiss chard. I spent less than $10 on seeds and have plenty left for 2-3 more years (except beans). I planted 10 tomato seeds on my windowsill two months ago and got 100% germination. I planted 5 here, gave two plants to one friend and one to another, and I’m growing the remaining two in gallon pots for my daughter-in-law. She is a helicopter pilot and her air ambulance crew is planting a garden at their base in Wyoming!

    1. We live in an area with skyrocketing housing prices. We called our agent today, and boy, am I glad we did! We increased our homeowners’ policy by $220,000, and the house is only 3 years old! We have State Farm, and they have a calculator that increases coverage each year, but no way is it keeping up with what is happening in our area. The extra coverage only cost $65 more per year, which we think was well worth it. Something to think about if real estate has shot sky-high in your area. You do not pay for coverage on the land, because you would still have it if your house burned to the ground.

      1. It is good to increase your coverage in part because of the skyrocketing lumber prices.

      2. Hi Maxine! If you let some of your beans on the vine and let the pods dry up, you can then take those seeds out of there and leave them to dry on a counter for a while (I usually do at least a month). You can then plant them the following year. Also, keeping seeds in the refrigerator is the best way to keep your seeds. Hope this helps! Congrats on your sales! That’s fantastic! I’m glad you were able to get your patio set, even if it was bit by bit. Our Lowe’s and Menards patio shops are quite barren. I have both of those books as well as have just finished The Kitchen Front, which I loved as well, Brandy!

  6. I got all my vegetable plants into the garden this past week. It has been very hot, humid and dry so I don’t know how they will make out. I am hoping that at least some of them survive. I was also gifted several herb plants from our buy nothing group and they are growing well in pots. I have picked up some clothing and food items from this group as well. We continue to be so blessed by what we receive from our neighbors.

    We have been reading and watching videos from the library for entertainment and also watching videos we have picked up from the buy nothing group. Free entertainment all around!

    I have gone through my canning cupboard to use up items and gone through my jar supply. I have been gifted many jars from the buy nothing group so I have a good supply for the canning that is to come.

    We don’t currently have a cell phone so my uncle has an old cell phone he is going to give us and we will find an inexpensive plan. We really just want it for emergency purposes so this will be an economical way to do it.

    We do not believe that my husband will go back to work. This means we will be living with a very small disability income. While have a bit more income, I am busy stocking up on food, toiletries and cleaning products and we are in good shape to carry us well into the future. I have also been working on our budget to see where cuts can be made and it is taking shape to a final budget that will work for us.

    I hope everyone has a lovely week ahead.

    1. Hi Andrea,
      We each have a cell phone only for emergency or while traveling uses. Other than that they sit in RFID bags. They’re old iPhone 4s’s. We use Ting because it’s only $6 per month per line for service and then it’s $3 each for 100 minutes, 100 texts or data and they combine for the phones. They have great customer service–a person actually helps you. I just checked and don’t see the plan we have but you could call them and ask about it.
      Good luck!

      1. This is exactly what we want the phone for. Fortunately, there’s an inexpensive plan so we will be set in case of emergencies.

    2. Hi Andrea, I recently learned about mint mobile and plan on changing to their service in the near future. They have a plan for unlimited talk and text with 4gigs of data at $15 a month. They do have you buy 3 months initially, then after the three months I believe it’s one years cost. But overall it’s very affordable compared to other cell companies for similar service.

      1. Thank you for this. My uncle has given us an old phone. We just need to get a SIM card for it. Telus here in Canada has a $10 plan so I think we will be set when the stores open from lockdown and we can get it set up.

  7. I also see rising prices on just about everything, here in Phoenix suburbs. Groceries,Home Depot, chlorine for our pool. A lack of building materials so new home building is at a standstill.. remodeling projects are half done as contractors cannot get lumber or tile etc. We’re just moving along in our home that is paid for. We don’t need any improvements right now. Our taxes will likely go up as housing prices have gone and CONTINUE to go up ridiculously!!

    With just 2 of us, it’s easier to find ways to economize and plan ahead. We keep a good pantry.I purchased a 25 pound bag of dry garbanzos to add to our “stash” of easy proteins. I never waste food. We eat most meals at home. I have not shopped for clothes ,even in consignment stores, for a long time (pre covid.)

    Our splurges will be some entertainment:a local theater performs musicals that we love and tickets are affordable so we do a season pass..and they are now open again, the new season starts in August and we will get season tickets.

    We’re doing a “staycation” in June— here at home and will splurge on some restaurant meals as we are saving on hotel fees. Just feeling much more frugal lately.

    I get ALL my books either online at the cloud library or at the REAL library now that they are open.

    Paid $195 for a community garden plot..plan to grow as much of our own organic produce in the fall seasons and beyond.It’s summer in Phoenix so now we just planted squashes,spinach, melons,eggplant and peppers.They provide all the water. We also feel this is a hobby we can do together that is healthy and not too expensive.

    Woops-I DID buy pickle ball rackets so we can start doing that as a health and entertainment option.

    Overall,I am a little worried about inflation and what’s up ahead.. but staying the course..we have been frugal all our lives and continue to do so.. it never feels like a burden, it’s just how we were raised and how we live.

  8. I’m looking forward to reading that book The Kitchen Front! I’ve had it on hold at the library for a few weeks, but there were several people in front of me. I love that you mended a special friend for your child. I have many memories of stitching up seams in stuffed friends. Also the anxious child waiting by the dryer for the friend to finish their laundering adventure. Beautiful pictures again – you have a wonderful eye for color and composition.

    *We had a family dinner to celebrate our son being promoted to Sargent in his national guard. The ceremony was well done and was wonderful to meet his commanders and celebrate his accomplishment. Our dinner was hamburgers, hot dogs from our freezer. I did buy the buns. My daughter made chocolate chip cookie bars for dessert. It was a happy, noisy occasion. We actually had quite a conversation about planning food storage and ways to incorporate the food that you buy. The kids had questions and we were happy to answer about our experience. My oldest daughter said she would store just enough food/water/gas to get herself up to my place. I thought that was pretty funny.

    *We have been BLESSED with rain storms this week! My prayers have been full of thanks for the blessing. We’ve had our sprinklers turned off for almost a week. We were blessed with another storm yesterday afternoon (with a huge lightning bolt that scared the bejeebers out of all of us). We received more rain overnight. Our state is in a serious drought and every drop is wonderful. While dark, gloomy days might be hard for me mentally – I will be grateful if it leads to rain. Some places closer to the mountains received snow.

    *Frugal fail – I spent way too much in groceries as I am trying to stock up. My husband and I discussed things with our food storage. We have everything we need, but we also have many empty buckets that need to be filled back up if food prices go crazy and we need to help children with groceries. These next two weeks will be spent analyzing what we need to spend money on for food storage. We feel we can easily pull some money from savings. I ordered canned ground beef from Lehman’s last July (2020) and still haven’t received my order. I’m on the list to get it – but it’s never come. I did receive my canned roast a few months ago. I noticed empty store shelves at the grocery stores these past two weeks. Nothing essential was completely gone, but it also wasn’t good.

    *My husband and children mowed the lawn and put the grass clippings in the garden to help keep weeds down. Everything is still growing. Woohoo!

    *I went to help my sweet daughter with our sweet granddaughter. I packed up egg salad that I had made, chips, fruit and cookies for our lunch. She keeps telling me I don’t need to bring food – that she can make us lunch. But I really like to take things off her plate of worries and spend more time talking and enjoying our time.

    *I’ve been reading library books, exercising at home, making meals from scratch, combining errands, using grocery points for gasoline purchases, Ibotta and Fetch, choosing to group any Amazon shipments together to get digital points. I have $10 so far in points. I’ve been pulling weeds, taking homemade gifts/goodies to neighbors, checking in on my children and streaming my favorite shows. My dog loves to lay on me while I’m watching. I’ve just about finished my cross stitch project. I’ve got about an hour left of stitching. It’s only taken me two years – but oh well.

    Wishing you all a wonderful, frugal week. Thank you for the constant inspiration.

  9. It’s been very nice here in north Kansas so we haven’t turned on our ac yet. As it’s been raining for almost a week and a half we have turned on fans at night to deal with the humidity.

    My oldest daughter visited last week from Pennsylvania. We only ate out once and then we shared a meal from chick fil a. We had them cut the sandwich in half. Other than that we ate meals cooked from scratch and leftovers.

    My oldest daughter gave my second daughter a haircut. She has very long hair and would only trust her older sister to cut it the way she wanted it.

    We currently lived in a duplex but want to buy a house so we have been looking for just the right one. We may have found one last night at much less than what the credit union is willing to loan us. It needs some updates and I’ll need a chair lift so I can get into the basement as I’m disabled. I really hope we get it! It has raised garden beds in the backyard and fruit trees. So yay for that.

    We did have a frugal fail this past week. We went out for ice cream at a local university with a dairy bar. We spent about twenty dollars for six people. It is very special ice cream but we could have saved that money and bought so much more at the store. Oh well. Everyone got the flavor they wanted and this is the first time we’ve done this since we’ve been here.

    1. You did very well saving this week. And your children will remember the ice cream party but they won’t remember that you spent all your time pinching pennies…My kids remember the picnics not the bean burgers!

  10. My 24th wedding anniversary is this week. Two years ago we splurged and took our family to see a live performance of West Side Story downtown. It was wonderful and a special memory. Another patron expressed surprise that we had chosen to do this and asked whatever would we do for our 25th? I told her, no one is promised a 25th, and it’s important to celebrate whenever you can, however you can. I have thought of that many times in the past two years. I’m glad we celebrated while we could. I don’t even remember what we did last year. This year I think we will just get take out from the Italian restaurant in town, and spend the day with our kids. Also wonderful and special. . .and quiet and thrifty. Most of all I’m just glad to be here with my Sweetheart.

    We ordered parts online and fixed our vacuum cleaner.

    We continue to look for mobile food pantries and local mini pantries. What we don’t eat right away we freeze or dehydrate. I bought strawberries on sale to make jam.

    I continue to walk and exercise at home, read library books online, combine errands to save gas, cook from scratch, and avoid unnecessary spending. All of the usual stuff.

    1. Happy Anniversary!

      One of my biggest regrets is NOT doing something for our 20th anniversary. A year later I nearly died in three separate but related incidents just days after another anniversary that we didn’t celebrate. You can bet we do something now even if it’s just a lunch out. Today we celebrated our 27th anniversary with lunch at a favorite restaurant. I had an e-coupon for a free appetizer. We cut our food in half and packaged it up to bring home and on the way home my husband insisted on stopping to buy two pieces of Key Lime Pie. His only request this year was that I give him another 27 years!

      1. Thank you for sharing!

        My twentieth anniversary was last year. I had hoped to do something, but we were not able to do so. As I have been reading the comments today, I am thinking about something that I would like to do this year. It may cost a little more, but I would like to celebrate.

      2. Thanks Terri, and Happy Anniversary to you as well! It sounds like you had a lovely time. I haven’t had key lime pie in years, what a great way to celebrate!

        I know what you mean about regrets and opportunities lost. I had my own close call about 15 years ago. It has a way of reordering priorities, doesn’t it? All the best to you for many more years to share with your husband.

  11. Hello, everyone!

    I just picked up The Women of Chateau LaFayette as well, and I’m looking forward to reading it. I’m glad you enjoyed “The Kitchen Front,” Brandy.

    Last week I “upcycled” some clothing, including some of my daughters dresses that were too short (I turned them into tops) and changed sleeve styles on some blouses of mine. I also had a maxi length dress that had a hole near the bottom, so I turned into a midi length.

    I’m currently picking lots of strawberries from the garden. I had to replace some of my spinach and lettuce that was bolting, so I planted more green beans. I have also been picking lots of peonies and lilacs, which really make our house smell nice!

    Have a wonderful week!

  12. Oh, Pink Lady are my favorite apples! Though we have several apple trees, I should check to see if they’d do well here. I’ve had The Kitchen Front on my library list, but with the long wait, I’ve held off requesting it. From all the comments, I’m looking forward to reading it. Last week, I harvested peas, asparagus, lettuce, a little spinach, basil, nettles, parsley, and radishes. Lambs quarter, purslane, and catbrier tips were foraged. Oregano was cut and dried. Laundry was hung on the line. I sifted ashes from the woodstove clean out. My husband put the ashes on some of the potato bed, and I pulverized (with a sledge hammer) the remaining char, which I’m inoculating with a few things, before placing in the garden. My husband pulled up stumps, and excavated a new garden spot for the 100 asparagus plants he bought. This plot is much closer to the house than our aging plot, which is nice. We drug several tarps full of leaves, and threw them in this spot. When I stopped in to see friends while out, I was gifted a beautiful, vintage hooked wool rug, as well as a pottery olive oil cruet I tried to buy from their shop. I had brought 2 dozen eggs and basil plants to share, which in no way was enough for what I received, but they refused to take my money. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2021/05/a-little-visitor-life-around-homestead.html

  13. The picture of fruit reminds me of Fresno where we used to live!
    I’m still on the East Coast with DIL. I’ve enjoyed shopping at Aldi. I’m amazed at the low gas prices. And it’s HOT here!
    I had my husband (still at home) pick up a Buy Nothing item and 3 things on sale at Safeway. He sent me pictures of the veggie gardens and I told him what needed done. He shared lettuce with the neighbors.
    I returned an exercise ball at Target. DIL had bought it while pregnant, but it clearly had a leak and it never held air.
    I am very diligent with returns!
    I’m continuing to read a book on investing. I’ve learned a lot-there’s so much to be aware of. It’s aimed at the over-50’s. I’m not quite there yet, but my husband is 53. It seems that planning sooner rather than later is a good thing.

  14. My husband is just planting our garden and I look forward to all the fresh vegetables that will grow.
    I lost weight last year and needed new clothes. I have found great items at thrift stores including a dressy outfit for a relative’s funeral.
    I have several events that I needed gifts for. I was able to find new and like new items at the thrift store that were just what each person would appreciate. These items included an Eiffel tower lamp for a teenager, a frog sandbox for a grandson (with new sand that is quite inexpensive), and a basket filled with fun activities for a friend who is retiring from teaching.
    It is possible to live a full and fun life at a lower income level.

  15. Agree with your evaluation of the book and thanks for your review of The Kitchen Front. Our temperatures are now in the 90s so gardening/yard work is done in the early mornings. I have been using the Ancestry free links from our public library provides for genealogy. Looking for a croquet set at garage and estate sales during combined errand trips, for grandkids to play in the yard. I have not found one yet-too expensive in stores!

  16. Hi Brandy and everyone
    How wonderful to have a pistachio tree! Your new fruit trees sound so exotic, hope they all establish well for you. Lots to look forward to in the next few years.
    Our vets surgery sent a bill saying we owed them £155. I was fairly sure we didn’t! I got out the itemised past bills and tallied up our payments and discovered the money was the tail end of a big insurance claim they were handling on our behalf and the money was owed to them by the insurance company. I explained this to them, they agreed and apologised for not spotting it themselves.
    We picked oregano, thyme,chives,parsley and rocket from the garden. I emptied three large planters of the old straggly plants, topped up with new compost and planted them up again. Usually I buy some annuals from the garden centre but we’ve sown so many seedlings and propagated new plants so I filled them with homegrown plants – snapdragons, bedding dahlia, campanula etc.
    A friend asked if we had any spare plants they could sell at their church fete to raise funds. My husband filled the boot and backseat of the car with trays of seedlings, both veg and flowers and they were overwhelmed when they saw the amount. It looked like a mini garden centre.
    I used up sad veg in a soup.
    We sourced dog biscuits in bulk online more cheaply than in store. It was a really worthwhile saving.
    We removed several velcro strips from a pair of old overalls and have saved it for another use.
    I have a wardrobe full of clothes that don’t fit, I’ve faced up to the fact and will sell/ donate them. So I bought 5 replacement pieces of clothing ( that fit) in the charity shop, all new with tags on for £20. I also bought a new linen tea towel, 2 new embroidered handkersniffs and a lovely child’s dress which I’m taking apart for the fabric. The tea towel and hankies will be gifts.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. PennyP, I loved your word ‘hankersniffs’! I may have to use it with the grands. They all like odd/different/funny words.

      1. Hi momsav
        It’s a Beatrix Potter word we have adopted. Mrs Tiggywinkle launders handkersniffs.
        We like quirky words too!

  17. Hello Everyone!

    May is always a flurry of activity! This week I planted a bunch of veggie starters in my new beds. I will try growing cucumbers up my shed wall this year. I placed the last new raised bed in a shady spot for lettuces and green onions. I pulled out bolted Swiss chard and spinach.

    To save costs, I pieced hardware cloth scraps to line the last raised bed and keep pesky gophers out. I used stakes and landscape staples to secure the bed and brace it. Hardware cloth has always been pricey. I can’t imagine how much a roll is now!

    It’s my daughter’s birthday. I spent the morning decorating the dining room and her bedroom door using balloons and crepe paper streamers we had already. I made some cute flowers from colorful tissue paper. In addition, I assembled a beautiful bouquet of David Austin roses, lavender, white wisteria and Japanese maple stems from our yard. A homemade cake, of her choice, awaits her after school. I can’t wait to see the look on her face! 😍 Effort means more to them than store bought.

    It was our 23 year wedding anniversary over the weekend. I was about to jump in the car to run errands and pick up a card from the Dollar Tree. Instead, I saved by pulling out my old scrapbooking materials and created one. I wrote out and printed sentiments using the free version of Canva. We did go out to dinner as our anniversary plans have been postponed the past few years due to Covid and wildfires. It was lovely!

    Have a bright, blessed and beautiful week everyone! 🌸

  18. Hubby and I snuck away for the weekend. My sister is away so her house was empty. We are dog sitting for her. The house sits on the water and has a beautiful heated pool. It is about 2 hours from our house. We left Friday after work and came home Sunday night. The kids(19 &22) took care of the house. I brought food with us. We sat outside by her fire pit and watched the sun set. We BBQed and swam. She also has a pool table so we played that and cards. It was just what we needed and it cost us nothing. We brought the dog home with us and she will pick him up when she returns. My sister lost some weight recently so she gave me a bag of clothes too. I have to go through it still.
    Stop n Shop had some great clearance again. Bottles of detergent were marked down to $1.62. One bottle had exploded in a case so they marked them down. I washed them when I got home. I got 9 bottles and will be good for a while.
    I got several birthday coupons and was happy to use them. DSW sent me $5. I got socks for 47¢ and put them in my gift stash. Ace hardware gave me $5. I was hoping for lids but they were out so I got pectin for 99¢. I also got a free ice cream cone. I still have a few more I need to use.
    P and I eat at an Italian restaurant once a week. They have great lunch specials. They keep giving me extra bread and garlic knots with my leftovers.
    One night I forgot to take out the meat for dinner. We had pancakes and fruit for dinner instead.
    Hubby’s work has started to get food for meetings again. They got Panera one day. He worked late and was the last to leave. He took home the leftovers that were out.
    We only turned the AC on 1 night so far.
    My daughter made GF oatmeal cookies and lots of iced tea from tea bags. She finished school for the year but the art camp she works at doesn’t start for a few weeks. She has been doing most of the cleaning for me since I have been working extra hours with C.
    Kale and strawberries are getting picked everyday. I am still planting the rest of my garden. I borrowed the tiller from my dad.

  19. How wonderful to have fresh fruits!
    Seems just a few months ago I was complaining about being unable to grow nasturtiums, and here I am again. One seed sprouted, from the two seed packages I had left over from last year. I just planted one more package and will see if I get at least one more plant. I stuck black plastic forks leftover from takeout food into the soil, prongs up, to deter the squirrels. Or amuse them.
    I have basil seeds gathered from a few years ago sprouting in a pot, and green onions planted from the ends from onions from the grocery store, and some ancient seeds for carrots are coming up.
    As I have time, I have been very diligent in checking the clearance racks when I go shopping. Got electric toothbrush heads on super-clearance at Walgreens, to set my son up for two years. I learned the hard way that the pricing of electric toothbrushes is like that of printers: The replacement parts, (toothbrush heads and printer inks), are progressively more expensive as time goes on. When I someday have to buy another one, I will be better at looking at the future-use-cost.
    Much of the usual here: drinking water, buying only what we know we will eat, planning for leftovers, combining errands, using the library. We had a tree removed and some branches of another one that overhangs the house cut back. Without that shade, we have more sunlight on the house, which will undoubtedly work negatively into our cooling bills. And I need to observe the new sun patterns on my potted plants in case any should be moved.

    1. Heidi Louise, we have that same problem with nasturtiums not germinating.
      “planning for leftovers” – we call the resulting food “PlannedOvers.” Polishes their image. 🙂

    2. I have always found that roughing the seed hull on Nasturtiums with an emery board enhances their sprouting rate.

    3. Soaking the nasturtium seeds overnight helps a lot. You can also scratch the seed with a nail file before soaking. I soak mine in a diluted solution of Organic Rev (you can get a free sample, just pay $5 shipping). When you plant them make sure to cover them with soil so they’re in the dark. Don’t give up hope, sometimes it takes them a while. I had a few I gave up on, but noticed a few days ago that they’re poking out of the soil finally.

  20. I attempted to shop at Lowes to buy some plants. The Memorial day sale looked great. Sadly, everything was near death and there were no sales prices marked. I gave up in frustration. I used a swag bucks gift card to buy batteries at Office depot. I then used the promotional rebate to buy 12 jugs of dish washer soap. I used an additional coupon and got free shipping. That was a great total of $10.00 . Target left out an item in my delivery. They replaced my sons boxers , and sent me a 10.00 credit. I’ll find something to buy. The great blessing with the dumpster diving is we seriously do not need anything. I remember a long ago post about storing food storage under beds. Our new beds have metal frames they sit on and no box springs. I’m going to move food storage under sugar cookies and the many household products are going under mine. 36 bottles fabuloso , 24 new laundry soaps, 12 large dishwasher soaps. These are all items I added to our stockpile last month. I probably spent $12.00 out of pocket. Stockpiling is great but I now need to get creative storing it. We were out today and rescued to loaves of bread and two avocados. There simply comes a point where you just can’t bring home but selected items. Our gasoline has replenished itself but the elevated prices were left in place. We are doing no driving unless we go to my mothers. All trips are arranged according to that drive. I must redo my budget this month. I’ve watched a short series on Medicare online. I’m carefully weighing my options. Mine starts next month and is eagerly welcomed. I hope everyone is having a great week.

    1. Hi Lillianna,
      My Medicare starts in Jan. I’ve started the process of trying to understand the minefield that it is. My brain wants to explode with everything we have to understand. Good luck to you!

      1. I started it in February. It is really a minefield. I went to an insurance agent who explained much of it to me and looked at my best options for a supplemental plan on the overhead screen so I could see him compare plans with different companies. I immediately purchased a supplemental plan, as Medicare can leave some large gaps that can be painful when one is on limited income. I also purchased a cheap prescription plan, because even the best ones weren’t going to pay for more than 75% of my specialty drug, which this cheap one will also do. I applied for assistance with a patient foundation for the drug co-pay, and after some persistence, was accepted. Please note, all: if you get assistance with your drug c0-pay from the manufacturer, they are BY LAW not allowed to assist you anymore once you go on Medicare. You then have to turn to different patient foundations that may or may not approve you for assistance. Most people don’t take such expensive drugs, but for those who do, I wanted to make you aware.

        1. I have twice looked at the prescription plans that are with various companies. My out of pocket is anticipated to be at least $2500.00 a year using the cheapest insurance option. That is absolutely outrageous. I spend less than $1000.00 a year for my daughter and I using the Kroger prescription plan. I pay $70 something a year and it covers 5 people and my dog. People don’t have to be related or in the same household. Thankfully we have a lovely agent who covers Sugar cookie. We will both have Medicaid too. She has something in mind that provides us with a few extra little benefits. I’m only 57 and being forced out of work and on disability at 52 was a shock. It wasn’t welcomed either. Had I not always been frugal, I don’t know bow we would have made it. Being prepared made all the difference in the world when my life was turned upside down. I’m grateful for my agent. She has a special needs sister and has a special fondness for sugar cookie. She also worked for SS and has been a huge source of knowledge. We’re meeting tomorrow and I’m confident in J. On the other hand I called a provider and asked about options for people who have Medicaid and Medicare. I was told they had no clue. I signed up at Boomer Benefits for a 6 series of video clips. Maybe 4 minutes a piece. These were quite valuable in information. They also have a website w worksheets and helpful info. It helped me to determine what I want from my plan. I wish you all well.

          1. I have a special needs child who is 44. She receives Medicare (as the disabled child of a retired person) as her primary and Medicaid (on a waiver) as secondary. Her insurance is completely separate from ours–everyone on Medicare has their own plan. My husband and I have Medicare Advantage plans. His is an HMO through Blue Cross of Idaho and mine is from Humana. We have the opportunity to change this once a year. In our state, Medicaid recipients who also receive Medicare have the opportunity to have a MedAdvantage plan through Blue Cross, which we have chosen for our daughter.

  21. -I have had to water the garden twice in the last week. We are getting pretty dry. We have a well, so water is free just have to pay electricity to pump it.

    -Picked our first asparagus, yummy!

    -I made some outdoor items for my flower beds. I bought two Bundt pans, one small and one large, total $1.20 for both. I spray painted them red (on the outside). I painted white polka dots on the large one. My husband cut PVC pipe at two different lengths (we had this in the shop). Dug holes and placed the PVC pipe in the ground. Turn the Bundt pans over inserting the cone shape into the pipe. These look like mushrooms. Cheap garden decor. They’re really cute!

    -city wide garage sales this week. I had $20 to spend and only spent $18. Bought 5 shirts, a pair of PJ’s, and a pair of shorts for my grandson. For my granddaughter I got 4 shirts and a pair of jeggings. I only spent $5 for all those clothes. For myself I found 2 shirts and a zip up jacket. I also bought a large Tupperware container, a book on tape, a large wrought iron airplane ( think it was meant to be a wine holder for 2 bottles, but I put it out in the garden for a decoration), a small bamboo cutting board, and 2 new in the package queen size top sheets (these will be used for quilt backing).

    -Made homemade cinnamon rolls and some zucchini apple quick bread(using up shredded zucchini and apples from the freezer).

    -Found Schar brand GF phyllo dough for $5 a package. Usually $8 when I can find them. Bought 6 and put them in the freezer. Also got 10# potatoes for $4 and butter for $2.29# (bought 10). Need to get to Mennonite store to buy 40# of sugar for canning.

    -Meals this week—fried sunfish(hubby went fishing) with fresh garden asparagus and salad; rigatoni with marinara and vegetables added to sauce (eggplant, peppers, and zucchini that I freeze as a mix); pork chops with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes; grilled hamburgers with tortilla chips and corn dip; bacon with hash browns and eggs, and leftovers.

    -Have been reading ebooks through My library on the Libby app. I read a couple books a week so this is saving me money not running to the library (15 miles away) or purchasing books. I did this a few months ago thanks to this blog!

    -Picked lilacs to have in the house. They smell so nice!

    Have a great week!!

    1. I love the gas savings using the Libby app! Plus, I love that I can decide at 9 p.m. to read a new book and I can get one right then, even though the library is closed.

    2. I have never heard of “the Kroger Prescription Plan”. Could you please explain a little more about it please? Thanks, Penny S.

  22. I was given some chives. I had ordered my tomato plants grown by a friend. I sold some to two of my friends for her. As she is going out of town, she then gave me her remaining tomato plants so I ended up with 8. I am going to bring them in for the next couple of days since it is windy and
    cold and rainy. My fuchsias, lobelia, and geraniums are all inside. I thought the prices for the fuchsias
    and lobelia were high at the store when I bought them but subsequently they have been about double what I paid for them. I am hoping to get my seeds planted next weekend when the weather is supposed to be nice. I think I’ll try growing carrots in a bucket. Also my bush peas in a large pot. And I’ll grow scarlet runner beans for my hummingbird. I think I saw a hummingbird perched high up in a tree. My neighbour has had one at his feeder; I need to get my feeder put outside. The Yuzu chicken breast chunks on sale at Superstore for $9.98 ($8.98 for members) on sale from $14.98 are a no-go because they have something that I’m allergic to in them; the friend who did my grocery shopping did not see it in the extensive list of ingredients — I will give them away to a deserving friend. Had I known, I would have bought 3 containers of yogourt for $6 instead…

  23. My heat is still on unlike many of you using your A/C-still a bit afraid to put my tomato plants out-this is the usual time but I might wait another week. I expect I will need to cancel our trip to Europe in August as it is not yet open for tourists-it was quite economical to book and I will not lose any $ luckily if I need to cancel-will wait until June 9 when they should announce who may be able to visit.

    Talked to DD yesterday and she just received her vaccine thankfully. They come off lockdown tomorrow and hopefully they will visit us at the end of June. Still waiting for a date for DH’s hip replacement-Covid has slowed it down even more than normal but our numbers are going down so I am hopeful it will be soon.

    Continuing to care for the 1 year old triplet boys and 3 year old brother 3 days a week-lots of work but lots of laughs too. Yesterday I took a drive in the mountains-did not spot any bears but plenty of beautiful lakes, snow capped peaks, elk, deer and a large osprey nest-did not see any birds in it but I have in the past.

  24. At the moment I am number 91 of 102 – with 21 copies available for “The Kitchen Front” so it will probably be another month or so before I can collect it. I’m learning to be patient. I read “Miss Benson’s Beetle” and “The Moonflower Murders” this week – both from the library.
    It has been extremely hot here for the past couple of weeks – up to 30C and humid! My bedroom window A/C is being installed tomorrow! As long as I can sleep then I can cope with just fans in the rest of my apt.
    Not much new to report here as we are still under “Stay at Home” until June 14th when they will start to ease things a bit – provided a certain percentage are vaccinated and ICU numbers come down – so far – so good.
    Groceries purchased for daily use have been dairy, produce and some rye bread. The fridge is looking a bit empty so I will buy a few bits & pieces tomorrow to get me through the next week or two. I am concentrating on filling in gaps in the pantry and buying meat at the moment and have taken $100 from savings to do so. I have a couple of good loyalty point offers to take advantage of right now – I already collected on one with a couple of small steaks (that I will eat 2/3 of hot and keep the 1/3 to go with a salad the next day) so I will get 4 meals from 2 steaks. I also purchased enough beef liver for at least 12 meals and that has all been packaged up and added to the freezer. I’m one of those people who actually likes organ meats and they are getting more expensive and harder to find in the small packs that I’ve been used to buying – they now seem to be coming in much larger units so it’s more of an expense up front but it will all come out in the end. Tomorrow I am going to concentrate on ground beef and then I will have to rearrange things a bit in the freezer. Over the next month or so I plan on adding some frozen seafood and some pork. There is only me so I can make things stretch and I usually only eat two meals a day now.
    No gardening for me as I don’t even have a balcony but I love reading about all the hard work that the rest of you ladies do – it’s amazing. I always laugh when I hear city people talking about how they “want to get back to the land and lead a more simple and easy life and become self-sufficient” – they really have no idea how much work is involved, not only in the gardening and harvesting but the prep involved with freezing and canning!
    I did have one frugal fail last week – I had made a chickpea curry – ate it for a couple of meals and then meant to add the rest to the freezer – but – it somehow got pushed to the back of the fridge and forgotten about – oh well – it didn’t turn out that well anyway so I suspect this forgetfulness was actually deliberate – whether I want to admit it or not!
    I am finally starting to lose a bit of weight – I can feel the difference in some of my clothes – one good thing about the heat is that it decreases my appetite. My bubble friend and I get up and out early for our walk before it gets too hot and even though I am nursing a sore knee and her ankle is still a bit sore – we both manage at ;east 2 to 3 miles a day. Some days one of us is feeling lazy but the other one nags and we get out there so it has worked out well.
    I will see about looking out a few more Summer clothes this week but since my office is still not open I will continue to wear lounge things around the apt. as I work from home and reuse the clothes that I wear for my walks so I won’t be buying any new items this year (not sure if the stores have even ordered much new stock) – I suspect they will still be trying to sell off stuff left from last Summer so what I have will just have to do for now!
    The IKEA bookcases that I want are also still out of stock so this months salary plus pension money (they both come at the end of month) will go to the usual expenses for June and paying down debt!
    Have a good week everyone.

    1. Margie from Toronto,

      I’ve had the same problem about beef liver. I’ve phoned ahead and asked the meat department if they will package up 12 small packages for me. Both times, they’ve been glad to do it. Good to read your news. It is cold and rainy here so we will be sending cooler weather your way. Ann

  25. I forgot to say that your fruit trees sound marvellous, Brandy. Your photos are lovely, as usual…I had a Stella tree once but had little hope it would survive as it is a sweet cherry and those don’t grow here. As my sour cherry trees grow older, their cherries are becoming sweeter. I lost my Honeycrisp apple tree and have some winter kill on my sour cherry branches.

    We have two co-authors disagreeing about what to include in their overview — if agreement cannot be amicably reached, I will suggest that the overview is just not used in the book. Sigh…who would have thought it?

  26. Made sure to freeze leftover gumbo, carnita meat, and spaghetti sauce when we had ate our fill.

    My mom sent over tomatoes, deli turkey, yogurt, eggs, and snack cups of applesauce.

    I had leftover romaine lettuce from chicken wraps, so I chopped it up and purchased a bottle of cesar dressing with our grocery order. We always have parmesan cheese in the house so now we can have cesar salads for way cheaper than what I was buying the kits for.

    Our city is having a big Clean Up the City initiative this month. They’ve offered stuff like free trash bags and grippers to pick up roadside trash, and free disposal services for hard items to get rid of like tires, mattresses, and tvs. Mom had a beast of a tv that went out months ago. At $30+ disposal fee wasn’t very budget friendly for either of us so I just had it shoved out of the way. On a day it wasn’t raining, I loaded it up and dropped it off at the center.

    The 14yo didn’t have any cavities at her check up on Wednesday, but the dentist wants her to use a fluoride cream on her teeth. Thankfully, her insurance will pay for it ($34 a tube)

    Rechecked out library books I wasn’t going to read in time.

    Put away the space heaters. Fingers crossed we don’t need them again. I tried it a couple weeks ago and we got a freak cold snap.

    Returned an item to the store promptly for a refund. There was a piece broke and we decided to do without right now.

  27. My life has been true chaos for the last four weeks. We went from casually looking at a house to full on house hunting to packing to move VERY quickly. We close on both (selling and buying) homes in less than two weeks. We’re 75-80 percent packed and tired.

    It has not been frugal but we love the house and the backyard is a vacation in itself – at least to us. I hope the frugal phase starts as soon as we get moved. I predict more eating on the patio and cool drinks by the fire pit instead of restaurants.

    I’ll have room for a small garden (something I could never do where we are now) and a separate room for my sewing and quilting.

    BTW-movers won’t move food so I’ve shared some with my son and daughter-in-law and the rest, we will move ourselves.

    We’ve purged like crazy people and sold a few things on marketplace. In the middle of all this, I found some expired American Express gift cards that has never been used. I called them and they sent me replacement gift cards. Wow, great customer service.

    Off to pack some more..

    1. Congratulations! It is never frugal to move. Consider it an exercise in swapping one thing (money) for energy to use for the more necessary (time to pack).

  28. I have five more weeks left of receiving a 17.5% pay increase, which has been a blessing.

    This week we were provided with a free lunch at a restaurant which was wonderful. Our bill came to $48 so that was wonderful they paid, very grateful. I also took lunch to a family members house so they didn’t have to cook. I took chicken rissoles I got on sale for $2.01 for a pack of nine, salad with Thai dressing and bread rolls plus a custard tart with nutmeg for dessert.

    Our food this week has been soup, quiche, avocado and tomato on toast, sandwiches, salad, sprouts on wraps with hommus or mixed in the salad, pizza, sandwiches, vegetables, mandarins from our tree, green apples, banana (received two free), watermelon, carrot sticks with hommus, boiled eggs, oats, brownie, wheat biscuits and smoothies.

    My weekly grocery shop cost $25 this week! Next week I’m budgeting $85.

    I normally fill my car with fuel about every 3 to 3.5 weeks, but due to a long drive I did I had to fill it up sooner. The lower grocery shop offset this.

    I’ve said no to buying a few things on clearance even though they were fantastic deals. They were not ‘needs’ so I left them.

    Have a great week.

  29. We are starting a very busy week over here.
    My niece graduates on Friday and we will host her graduation party. She decided on a Mexican food menu which is quite frugal as I have many things in my pantry that will suit this menu perfectly. I’ll serve
    home canned peach salsa, tomato salsa, pickled jalapeños, beef for tacos from freezer, rice & black beans, and cake to go with her dessert request of strawberry shortcake. We are expecting about 40 people and all will be outdoors. We have worked hard in the backyard to get an extra amount of flowers planted that will serve as a pretty backdrop for photos and also serve us for the remainder of the summer and into the fall.
    I bought several wave petunias from the clearance rack at Lowe’s for $2 each…they looked dead when I bought them but after being potted and watered for few days they are lovely. We saved over $60 as these plants were quite large. I bought two flats of vincas choosing smaller seedlings in 6 & 8 packs which yielded us more plants than the larger options. Many of the plants had more than one in each cell so we divided them as we could. Normally I would have sowed seeds but the time crunch got me so we saved all that we could on any items purchased.
    We trimmed two limbs from the mimosa tree at the corner of our property and another two limbs of the two chestnut trees in our yard.

    I hope that everyone enjoys a productive week ahead. So delighted to be a part of this community.
    I sowed seeds for sugar snap peas and zipper cream peas in the garden. If they germinate they will fill the last rows I have open. I planted two yellow pear tomato seedlings, replaced a diseased green pepper, and planted jalapeños, cubanelles, and a small snacking pepper.
    We harvested basil and cilantro from the garden this week. We enjoyed a vegetable pasta with asparagus, basil, tomatoes, zucchini, onion and a lovely lemon cream sauce, squash and onions, a main course salad with bbq chicken, cilantro, basil, black beans and several other veggies. I needed tortilla strips for this recipe and fried them at home from some corn tortillas lingering in the fridge.
    I found several sales to stock out
    home with fresh produce this week. I bought 10lbs navel oranges, 5 pounds clementines, a fresh pineapple, English cucumbers, and snacking sweet peppers. I brought 90 eggs after finding a great sale at Kroger which made them $0.97/each. After my small discount and coupon they cost right at $3. I also purchased five boxes of Kroger ice cream sandwiches which should see us through the summer. I also purchased tomatoes on the vine for $0.88/lb and bought my limit of five pounds. I’ll use the tomatoes for a lovely caprese salad dinner this week!
    Our hvac system which was replaced just last July has not been working this week. We have been using fans we have on hand, keeping lights off but windows remain shut as we don’t have screens on our windows and don’t want the bugs inside with us.
    We’ve listened to music on Spotify as well as Pandora. I also watched movies that are free via Amazon Prime. We accepted an invitation to my son’s end of Pre-K party. Everything is provided for the parents so we are excited to go and enjoy the other students and parents.

    1. I normally buy a few vincas on sale in June to replace my pansies. This year I didn’t plant pansies and decided to try planting vincas in a new spot (in some pots) and planted them early when they first became available in April. They have already grown quite large and are starting to fill in the pots! I am getting to enjoy them now for an extra two months. It has totally changed my opinion on when to plant vincas, and I may be planting them in this new spot in April from now on! They look so pretty already and are one of the few flowers that can take the triple-digit temperatures that we have for months on end.

          1. Try it both ways to see what works for you! I just poke them into the soil. Make sure to keep them moist.

  30. I make a summer reading list every year for my blog, and The Kitchen Front is near the top of the list! I was lucky enough to just snag a copy from my library too, and I can’t wait to get started!

    I feel like this last week I didn’t SAVE money at all, thanks to a hefty (and very unexpected) car repair to the tune of about $800. But I guess we did save some money in other ways—checking out books from the library, trying to fix the car ourselves first (though it didn’t last), picking up some hand-me-downs for the children from my sister-in-law, and combining trips to save gas. Oh, and I also got some tomato plants for free for the vegetable garden.

    Even though I know I can’t expect to save a ton of money every week, it’s still never fun to have weeks when a whole bundle has to leave your bank account, especially if it’s for a not-fun reason. Ah, well. That’s what savings are for!

  31. You take the prettiest photos! Thanks for the book recommendation! I reserved the Kitchen Front at my local library (5th in line, but there are 7 copies, so it shouldn’t take too long). I reorganized all my kitchen and pantry cupboards this week and inventoried everything so I won’t waste food and can more easily find what I’m looking for!

  32. *I got my “free to me” 2nd Covid Vaccine shot on Saturday, and it made me quite ill. I have an immune disorder, so I expected that and planned for it. I planned meals for my husband to make over the weekend if I was not feeling well. I’m excited to finally be able to safely go back out into the world in a few weeks. Due to my health condition, the vaccine was a necessity for my safety. I’m looking forward to being able to shop at Winco, the Dollar Tree, our bread outlet and thrift stores again. These are all places that save me money, but I have not been able to visit for a year. My grocery bill keeps going up and up and up with grocery pick up and delivery, so I’m excited to be able to get back on budget again. This year has been such an eye opener, as I realized just how much I saved by shopping at several different stores for food and buying closeout and clearance items…. and don’t get me started on produce and dairy… I get really bad produce and dairy that is about to expire when I do grocery orders.

    *It’s almost time to defrost my large freezer, so I’m going to make a meal plan for the next couple weeks to use up what I have. That should lower what I need to buy in groceries.

    *Our library opened up again a few weeks ago and no longer offers curb side service, so I have been without books!!! (e-books are not for me) That’s another frugal place I will be able to go to again!!!

    *Despite the cold and rainy weather we have been having, my garden is coming along nicely. I need to replant the peppers that did not come up, and I’m going to try to squeeze in some radishes and green onions among the vegetables that are already planted. I found an area for an herb garden, but still need to clear it. I think I will try to plant some vegetables in pots, also… but I don’t know which ones will grow well in pots.

    1. I thought I would hate e-books. I was pleasantly surprised. I still don’t like reading blogs on my phone (I much prefer the computer) but e-books are okay. It keeps your place, too, which is so nice! I had to check out one book three times as I had been busy and it was over 900 pages, but each time it became available again to me, the app remembered what page I was on.

      1. Brandy, I have tried e-books on my IPad, but I just can’t enjoy it. There are so many things that I have to do everyday on my phone, tablet and computer. Sitting down and opening a book gives me that feeling of relaxation and a break from all the screens and electronics that I have to use each day. We will see if this comment ends up in the right place. I’m having problems replying to others, the comments everywhere except where I intended. I think I must be doing something wrong!

        1. That’s too bad that it means you can’t get library books right now. Does your library allow you to reserve books? We can do that, and they are all on a shelf. When my daughters reserve books, I just go in and pick them up with their cards and PIN. Maybe someone can do that for you?

    2. I don’t love reading ebooks, but I appreciate that they’re easier to get from the library (and I don’t have to return them!) I tend to read them on my computer, which I like because of the bigger screen. Have you tried that? Link your Amazon account to https://read.amazon.com/.

    3. I got my first shot and was sick for 3 days. I do not have a spleen and also have thyroid problems. I’m really worried about the second shot which I get on 6/3. What kind of symptoms did you have with the second shot? Thanks.

      1. I got my 2nd dose of the Moderna vaccine. I had no reaction from the 1st shot. The 2nd one made my arm very sore & I felt blah the day after. In the US Uber will provide up to 4 rides at 25$ each in order to be transported to the vaccination site. I drove myself but I considered calling Uber in case the shot made me feel bad. (I did not feel bad until I got home.) I too have thyroid issues but I don’t think that is what made me feel bad. I believe my immune system is busy making antibodies that will recognize the COVID virus & neutralize it. Fatigue & inflammation can be a sign that your immune system is fired up.

  33. We are almost into winter here in Victoria, Australia and the weather has been quite mild apart from the odd overnight frost with lovely sunny days which have helped us clean up the garden for spring planting.
    At the weekend we moved two of our beehives to my parents farm so we can get some paving done which means I can move the greenhouse to the side of the house and in spring move the bees to where I currently have the greenhouse. I was able to get over 400 pavers on buy, swap, sell for free which means we can do this improvement for little more than the cost of fuel and our labour.
    Groceries are going up in price here too, especially meat. I try and stock up when they are on special. Our garden here is only three years old so fruit yields are quite low at the moment however I preserved what we got and most days we are able to have something from the garden to accompany our meals.
    Last week as a Mother’s Day gift my oldest daughter took me to the theatre to see the Harry Potter show, it was the first time at the theatre in about seven years and I enjoyed it immensely, the tickets were in a draw and were very cheap, but were front row so an excellent opportunity to see so many technical aspects.
    We also had our youngest granddaughters stay overnight, they asked for Ramen for dinner which I’d never made before, so google to the rescue, they ate every scrap, so I take it as a win. They played very well with our puppy, it was good for him to have socialisation with little people.
    Husband and I have both had our first COVID shot and our flu shots, our second shot will be in July sometime.
    Today we were able to stock up on rings and lids for next season’s preserving. The only thing not available at present are ball and mason products, I remain thankful for what I can get, we are warm, well fed and well and blessings always seem to appear when needed.

  34. I bought some beautiful clothing items from two thrift shops. I am excited about the pretty clothes for cheap. I’ve been pulling more carrots and asparagus and kale. I made a veggie soup this week. Cooked red beans from scratch. When I went to a few grocery stores this week I was flabbergasted at the rise in prices! Even at the so -called cheap stores things are getting pricey! I am happy we have a strawberry bed. I gave my son the first ripe one yesterday. It made him feel special. I’ ve been putting off picking all of the carrots I planted last year. Now I absolutely need to pick them before they flower. It has been raining this week. I like the rain. But I have not gone out in it to pick asparagus in the rain. So we need to pick what we can then mow it over so it will keep producing. It is starting to fern. We want more asparagus before we let it all fern. I feel bad that I let it fern, but I will continue to pick it after we mow this month and preserve it. Probably freeze it for winter. I did pick some yesterday and cooked it for us. Everything is coming up! I am so happy! We planted corn, beans and squash and it has all sprouted! I also planted spinach and beets. My cucumbers have not sprouted. I might try in a better spot. It is old seed. I still need to get okra in the ground. My hubby planted watermelon for me when the ground was very wet. I have not looked to see if it has sprouted yet. I’ll take a look today. Potato plants are growing as well as cantaloupe. My brother-in-law gave us a lavender plant, oregano plant and a rosemary plant. My husband planted it in a pot they gave us. I already had the soil. Basil and cilantro is coming up. In fact cilantro is in abundance. I am very happy about that! The flowering plant my son gave to me for Mother’s Day is still blooming! I love it! I’ve been enjoying looking at the pink flowers every day! We have been opening windows for fresh air. Turning off lights when not in use. Cooking at home. Enjoyed a hot dog with all the fixings at Quick Trip for 99 cents with my husband.

    1. Try soaking your okra seeds for 24 hours before you plant them. It will speed the germination process. We have great success with it last year, grew 8 ft tall okra plants and still have at least six gallons of okra frozen from the crop we grew. Good luck!

      1. Angie,
        Thanks for your advice about the okra. I still have a little bit of frozen okra as well. I plan to use it soon. We grew two varieties last year a green and a red okra. Wow! 8 ft tall! I don’t think ours got that tall.

  35. Brandy that is a huge hit in property taxes per month 😮 . Here in Australia we normally only get around a 2 – the most 5% increase in land rates here per year and the same with water costs. I am so glad you were able to plant so many lovely fruit trees and veggie seeds in your garden and the picture of the garden last week looked so lovely.

    We are noticing price increases in the cost of groceries here though and I agree we need to all be mindful of ways we can save in our household budgets to reduce the cost of living rising pressures.

    Purchases –
    – Bought both E10 and 95 fuels on low prices and filled up 7 jerry cans we had used over time saving $22.70 on usual prices.
    – Purchased 3.096 kg of whole mullet for $2.50 kg saving $13.93 on usual prices. I hadn’t had mullet in such a long time and it was great to teach DH how to scale and fillet the fish and of course I helped too.

    In the kitchen –
    – Made a batch of chocolate walnut brownies saving $16.69 on usual prices.
    – Made 3 loaves of wholemeal white bread in the bread maker saving $10.47 on usual prices.

    In the garden –
    – We split some more firewood we had cut for free previously and so far we have been blessed with many people who allow us to cut firewood on their properties and acreage business lots. Also we found a leak in a fuel hose in our hydrolic log splitter so looks like we will be dismantling it and buying some new hose to replace the split one.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful frugal week ahead 🙂 .


  36. This has been a week of giving and receiving. I received the coffee table from my mother’s home and gave our former one to a friend. I gave my sister a Bombay chest for her kitchen because I no longer needed the storage space. I am also getting a standing lamp from my mother’s estate and will send a current lamp to a resale store. We are still clearing out her things, but I am trying to only take what I will use or have room for.
    A friend gave me lettuce from her garden.
    Another friend was cleaning through her yarn stash. She gave me several hanks of beautiful wool yarn, many for socks or other uses. Probably more than $100 if I were to buy them. Then she gave me a garbage bag full of Shetland wool! It’s worth hundreds of dollars. I plan to open and share it with a friend who knits with Shetland. There’s almost a lifetime supply of yarn–or at least a few years if I did nothing but knit! I’ve made two sweaters using scrap Shetland, so I think there are a few more in my future!
    I read “What the Wind Knows” this week. It took me a while to get into the story, but was a lovely read.
    I held a dinner party last night. We were a party of five. It felt so nice to sit around a table and talk.
    I also hiked, went running, and did some workouts with weights.
    My community garden plot is coming along. I want to put in one additional tomato plant and some cauliflower. I accidently bought cabbage, so I planted that, but want cauliflower too.
    I hope everyone has a great week.

  37. I forgot to mention that I gave a set of Christmas china to my brother. The previous week I took two sets of china from my mother’s estate, one simple white plates with a gold band. Years ago I bought a set of Christmas china, service for eight, and so did my mother. It wasn’t expensive, but I have used it each year. My brother took my mother’s set of Christmas china. I gave him my matching set so he would have more for his family and I have lovely white china with a gold band that I can use year round.

  38. My daddy planted an acre of pecan trees in our front yard before this house was even built; 55 years later we still have the best pecans in the county. I know this because every year when I take them to the feed store to have them cracked the owner tells me. Hope your family is able to benefit as long and as well from your gardening efforts.
    Did not give up and eventually found Zaxby’s gift card that I knew had $5 left on it. We now have 2 very clean cars due to my search. Now if only I could find the missing $50 spa service gift card.
    Headed to Farmer’s Market (I don’t garden) this afternoon. They will have fresh strawberries and best of all fresh peaches. Can’t wait.
    Even though I hate cooking on Sunday I made big batch of my mom’s homemade spaghetti sauce. It calls for three pounds of ground beef but I bought 4 so I just used it all and make an extra large batch. I was able to share with my brother during his workday and my sister who is only 2 miles away. I’m having last little bit for lunch today. I dislike most leftovers but love my mom’s spaghetti even two days later.
    Everyone enjoy the holiday weekend.

    1. TCR, I would love to know how you make your special sauce! I have never tried making homemade sauce — always buy Ragu — but spaghetti is my son’s favorite thing ever.

  39. Punctuation matters:
    I don’t hate cooking on Sunday. I hate cooking all the time, I just happened to cook this spaghetti on Sunday. Can’t even blame my mistake on auto-correct.

    1. This statement made me laugh. I hate cooking every day too – I cook because I hate eating out even more!

  40. I am so surprised to read about the skyrocketing lumber prices! Just yesterday I wanted to order wood for our projects and I thought there was some mistake on the webpage of our local shop because the prices were 70% higher that last year at this time!!! I was sure it was some misunderstanding! Now I am wondering if we should wait with the projects until the prices go down, or should we jump on the lumber while they are still where they are! ?
    My accomplishments:
    -I picked fresh flowers for the house on the nature walks with kids. Ok, they are “weeds” and odd branches mainly but I love to have fresh flowers. And they smell like spring meadow.
    -my in-laws send their daily newspaper to our address while they went to the cottage house. It was so nice to send the kids out to the postbox every morning and then read the newspaper and drink coffee before school.
    -I am renovating our greenhouse. It was made out of old windows and now the paint started peeling. I scrape the old paint off and oil the wood before painting it again. Taking care of the wood now will preserve the greenhouse for a long time.
    -I picked a bag full of wild garlic leaves. I made infused olive oil and whole week worth of dinners based around this lovely ingredient. My 9yo said that it tastes of summer coming soon.
    – we had some rhubarb from the garden, in pie and just with sugar.
    – We threw a Harry Potter bday party for my 9yo, using free printables and ideas from your pinterest board, Brandy!
    -Here in Europe people mostly line dry the clothes, so it is really not much of an accomplishment, but I now can dry my clothes outside and it makes them smell of sea breeze, so I don’t use softener.
    Big hugs

    1. In the United States, the cost of lumber has gone up 395% from last year. If it’s only 70% higher, buy it now. It will most likely get worse.

      Can you plant flowers (including wildflowers) on your property?

      1. We had a deck step break and had to buy 2 treated boards 2x6x8; they were a total of 35.00. I wanted to cry, but it will only get worse so I bought them. Hoping there are no more lumber needs this year!!

      2. Is this because of the bugs eating on the Canadian forest? I noticed that everyone on our island cuts their spare forest and sells it! I feel silly for not knowing any of this! To my defense we really have nothing but the forest here and while all prices are high, the lumber was the one affordable thing. I will get on this right away and order for all the projects.

        We can grow flowers in my garden. I am attempting a rose corner this year and hope to even have some peonies one day! I planted enough tulips last year to have one bouquet indoors this spring. But the gleaning is good here too. We have Lilly of the valley growing as thick as a carpet in the forest, we have white wood anemone(the violet one is protected), we have lots of wild cherry trees whose blossoms I love to see. I adjusted my taste in flowers to the possibilities but thanks to this blog I didn’t entirely give up on the dream of growing my own flowers eventually!

        1. The bugs are part of it. There were also a lot of factories that closed up during lockdown. Less lumber was produced as there was the thought that less houses would be built during that time, but people decided it was time to move out of the cities and it was a great time to do home projects, so the demand went up.

          Unfortunately for us personally, the cost of steel is now going up. We need to buy steel to make our obelisks, arbors and pergola in the garden. Wood doesn’t last here in the sun and heat, so we planned to make our things out of metal.

      3. Brandy, you are right…it could get worse. But don’t forget that lumber is a commodity (like corn and wheat) and goes up and down. It will happen when supply goes up vs. demand. We were fortunate to build our ex-vacation home on a downswing.

    2. My son wanted a bit of 2×4 to fix an issue with his garden boxes. We were shocked to see it cost $1/foot this year. And seems to be going up from there.

  41. I am finding shopping for food for one very economical–my pantry and freezer are still full of food but I’m working on eating it down. My daughter brought my groceries last week and said I only had 3 food items–the rest was cat food and a couple misc. household things. I have been trying to spend gradually and fix up some needed household items. This week it was two doormats for the porch doors, and a new sealing ring for my pressure cooker, which should arrive today. We received the stimulus payments and I am judiciously spending them–I think I’m at about $200 spent on the house and the rest still in the checking account. I need curtains in two rooms but it’s so boring looking at stuff on line, it seems to take forever! If it rains this week, I will do that. DD has picked out some curtains for my bedroom but I still have to check the width of the rod pockets so I don’t need to buy new curtain rods.
    I have eliminated a few more salty things from my diet and the swelling in my legs is better. Unfortunately they are still itching and driving me mad. I have been going through cortisone cream very quickly, and moisturizer too. That seems to be the most recommended remedy for now–losing weight and exercising more will take longer for sure. I’ve been cooking better meals and piling on the veggies, but I can only eat so much.
    I can’t handle too much garden any more but I have porch boxes and I think I am going to add a couple pots as well. Thinking of putting petunias in the porch boxes–morning glories haven’t done well the last couple years–I think we forget to water them often enough. Petunias need water too but provide more color, with any luck! And I think I’ll put in a few zinnia starts for more color around the front of the house too. That’s about it. Need to weed too. We have a drought going on so I’ll see how easily the weeds pull up! I think it’s time to leave the computer and get to work for today!!

  42. I often read but don’t comment. I am in Florida and find the price for food and goods going up tremendously. I have found food sales to be less, couponing not to be so fruitful, and began to feel discouraged about this all. In the last year I have started to keep an excel spreadsheet of my expenses on line and it’s a good tool to gauge my spending. In the last month I paid for my son’s hair to be cut, I can cut it at home….I spent $30. We went out to eat once and it was about $40. I know because of my spreadsheet where I can cut back, those are just examples. I have also been watching youtube videos for ideas and motivation from others who live frugally, your blog included. One bill I plan on adjusting is my cell phone service. A blogger recently mentioned mint mobile, they have plans starting at $15 a month with unlimited talk and text and 4 gigs of data. I reviewed my plan and found I use about 2 gigs of data. I plan on switching to this company in the next few weeks. They require you pay at least three months to start. I am currently paying $45 a month with xfinity (comcast) cell service with unlimited. Before switching to xfinity I was paying $115 a month with Verizon. It pays to shop around. I also lowered my car insurance by about $100 every 6 months by changing from esurance to progressive. That’s $1,200 a year saved on phone service, and $200 a year saved on car insurance. I’m sure I can make that difference saved go to something fruitful, even if it’s just to breath a little easier. Thanks for blogging Brandy, it’s refreshing to read about your cost savings general outlook on living with a budget and finances in mind.

  43. Good morning,

    I’ve been a long time reader of both the blog and comments but rarely commented. We have had a rather unusual frugal week. We have a almost 7 year old who is severely autistic and nonverbal and will most likely never be independent so our planning has been very discouraging through the years regarding our finances and trying to care for him. We discovered that we can get him therapy that would cost us over $100,000 a year through a state program based on our income. We also discovered this is based on our take home income, not pretax so we are making sure to add enough to our 401k to keep our take home low enough for this. This gives us hope because we could never afford this therapy and insurance doesn’t cover it at all despite it being the best and only proven treatment for his severity of autism. It also encourages us because we have kept our expenses low and can now make this adjustment in where our savings goes and instead of putting it in our bank savings, put it in a 401k. We built up our emergency fund and can now safely put more income in a 401k and as long as we are careful we can keep his benefits and also save more for his and our futures. This has been a great weight off of our minds. It helps us care for him now and in the future too.

    We also rented a chainsaw to cut down a tree that was leaning on our deck and cut it up and moved it ourselves.

    1. Those are both huge savings! Plus you are saving for retirement! That’s wonderful!

      1. It is a huge savings! Plus it allows us to spend more time each weekday homeschooling our other children and doing work and home projects that have been on hold for several years. I have fence stain for our fence and paint for our bedroom and bedroom trim that I have been meaning to make use of for at least 18 months. He is getting the therapy he needs, he loves being there and we are able to accomplish more. It’s a true blessing!

    2. That’s wonderful Meredith! Effective therapies are SO expensive and this will be helpful for him and not cost a fortune.

    3. How wonderful that your son will get the therapies he needs and you are able to save for retirement! My family attends church at an intentional live, work, play, worship farmstead community for adults with Autism (it’s such a wonderful place to spend time and to worship). There are so many wonderful communities and new therapies for people with autism developing everyday. Good luck on your journey!

  44. I did a larger grocery run than in a while to stock up on more items and got ingredients to make a couple Reuben casseroles. I froze the extra ingredients for later. I bought as much broccoli as the refrigerator could hold then froze it. I also got Epsom salt and vinegar for DH to make weed killer. I hope it works.

    I was glad I got a lot of washing and cleaning done ahead this week. DS got his second vaccine and he felt tired and not too good that evening. Overnight he went into full blown flu symptoms that lasted all the next day into the night. It took him most of the following day to get back to normal. I tried to keep him comfortable and hydrated. I spoke with a neighbor in a store and she told me her daughter was doing that with her first shot and she was concerned how she would be with the second.

    I had planned to make chicken noodle soup the day after his shot but decided to make chicken and rice (my Mom’s cure all) instead. I also made sweet potatoes with brown sugar, raisins, cinnamon, and little milk. The chicken and mashed sweet potatoes were from the freezer. DS ate both to my surprise as his fever had broken for the second time. He loved the chicken and rice and has decided he likes raisins now. He always ate them in Oatmeal Raisin cookies but didn’t like them in salads. I told him he’s changing like I did with black eyed peas. I didn’t like the smell or taste of them when I was young but would eat them anyway. On a visit to the beach my parents took us to a new all you can eat buffet. I got near the black eyed peas and they smelled good. Everyone was shocked when I decided to try them again after a few years and have loved them ever since.

    DH made appetizers of cut hot dogs baked in dough, broccoli, and tortillas with dips and salsa for movie night. We watched “Mr. Bean takes a Holiday”. We saw it in WV visiting DS at college so the laughs were new again. We visited around Morgantown a couple times then looked for things to do nearby. DS made a list of things in Pittsburg, PA (about an hour away), and we went on Saturday and came back and saw a movie in the evening. The Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh was wonderful. I would like to finish that list.

    I am continuing decluttering. We recycled the aluminum and metal. Have a wonderful week!

    1. Linda, I was sick like that after my second shot. My husband had no symptoms at all afterward. My son had very mild symptoms. My children have been like this after other shots (especially after receiving their MMR shots, though sometimes after receiving their Dtap shots as well.) We chose to do very delayed vaccines, so they were older when they received their shots, and illness after shots is pretty normal. I think we don’t notice it as much in babies and small children because they are tiny and might be fussy and tired anyway, but in an older child, it is quite notable, so I was expecting illness from the Covid shot.

      I just took two children in for their first Covid shots. Other than sore arms, they are fine, but I expect they will spend a day and a half or so in bed after the second shot in a couple of weeks. I am just planning for it.

      1. Thank you. I will pass on to DS this may be ongoing. The headaches were really bad. Other vaccines never bothered him except the flu shot. Evidently it stopped after his tonsils were taken out in HS. They probably should have been removed with his adenoids in elementary school but we were told they were fine. After years of prolonged “sinusitis” attacks with no signs of allergies and otherwise well a nurse suggested we go to an ENT to check his tonsils. He was worked in a day he was sick. The new ENT could see striations where he had tonsillitis over and over. Germs hid between the folds making it easy to get again. Flu vaccines were stopped long ago as he was sick after one for a week. I told him when he grew up he could choose whether to have one or not. We all had one this fall with no problems. I did tell him he must have good immunity if it made him feel that bad.

  45. Not too much to report on here; I feel like the past week or so I’ve fallen off the frugal wagon.I need to follow my menu plans again and make some for June soon. I’ve had an arthritis flare up in one knee and it’s made walking/gardening’ doing anything at all really painful. Plus it’s reminded me that I’m getting older and that is not good for my ego at all! However, it could be worse (like needing surgery) and it’s getting better now that my doctor and I have readjusted medication. And I’ve lost a bit of weight so that helps as well. It also means that the shorts I couldn’t get into last summer are now way too big. Cant’t win for losing as the saying goes. But I will continue to simply hike them up until I can try on some new ones.
    Gardening is going slowly as you can imagine. I’m thinning out some plants in the front garden, rearranging others as well as interplanting veggies. The Kale that overwintered is now going to seed. It will be interesting to see if I get any new plants from it. In the meantime, I’ve planted buttercrunch lettuce between the plants. And I’ve replanted swiss chard. I’ve also put in some San Marzano tomato plants and will add cherry tomatoes soon. Next will be bean seeds, some peas and the cucumber and zucchini plants I have in small pots.
    My DD’s 40th birthday was last week and of course, with the pandemic and lockdowns we couldn’t do a big party to mark the occasion. So, a few of her friends had asked what if anything was planned. They were going to go over to her house to do a quick visit about supper time. Instead, I invited them to our house as a surprise for DD. She was so touched she burst into tears. We had a simple BBQ of burgers, hot dogs and potato salad. And I made a chocolate/espresso cake with peanut butter frosting. All washed down with a couple of bottles of bubbly. Oh, and we borrowed a couple of inflatables from my DS’s neighbour. The Stay Pufft was inflated after dark in her front yard so she would wake up to it. It was perfect as their Dad used to rent Ghostbusters at least once a week for them when they were much younger. The other inflatable was a birthday cake that we inflated in our back yard. All in all, a very inexpensive celebration was had for a decade birthday.
    Oh, funny story, when I went to look for my round cake pans I discovered they were either at the cottage or down south. So I went to a neighbour to borrow some. She handed me 3 brand new pans from, as she called it, her “Pandemic supplies”. They hadn’t been used at all. When I return them later today I will also bring them a cake. It’s a really easy 3 layer cake and they will enjoy it.
    I continue to borrow books from the library and we trade other books with the neighbourhood.
    One of my neighbours was saying she’s terribly bored these days so she’s considering having some neighbours over once a week to do some sort of craft or simply visit for an hour or two.
    We have enjoyed watching an oriole feed at a neighbours home made feeder. Now the female is visiting as well so we think there must be a nest nearby. And I had a hummingbird visit a feeder yesterday. We’ve all turned into bird watchers through this pandemic and it makes us giggle at the thought.
    In a week or so we will have a new young family move onto the street. I think I will make them a map of the houses with neighbours names and who has children, dogs etc.
    The weather here in Toronto has been quite warm and we actually did turn on the AC for a couple of days. Now it’s back to seasonal for another couple of weeks. There’s a bit of a breeze so I can dry the sheets and towels outdoors. That always makes me happy but I sure wish the pollen would stop now. Everything gets covered overnight and creates a bit more cleaning than I like.
    Take care everyone. I look forward to reading everyone’s weekly notes.

    1. That’s really sweet about your daughter’s birthday.

      My parents had planned to take me out to a rather nice, expensive restaurant on my 40th birthday. The day before, my daughter fell in the backyard and shattered her elbow. I spent my birthday waiting for her to come out of surgery. We never did get to go to that restaurant, and I still wish we could go. How kind that you threw her a party. Even as adults, it’s nice to have our parents do something to celebrate our birthdays.

    2. Patsy – my bubble friend and I have also turned into bird watchers – and yes, we laugh about it! Have you been down to Colonel Samuel Smith Conservation area? It’s at the foot of Kipling across Lakeshore and on the grounds of the Humber south campus. When you drive in – keep to the right – go past the parking lot across from the off leash park and on to the second parking lot. The trails and the birds are amazing!

    3. I have not lived in a neighborhood since my 20’s and your description of your neighbors and the friendliness made me smile just reading it. I did not realize how much I missed it. I love your idea of a map of the neighborhood!

  46. Forgot, started carrot seeds in a box. Found a farm nearby that sells more greens and black eyed peas later. Also, the farm we started getting strawberries from also sells blueberries. We needed to find a new place. Baked a box of sausage patties to eat and freeze. Found Cinnamon bagels to eat with cream cheese at Aldi for 1/2 price. Froze a bag. They are too large to eat a whole one some days.

    Brought some purple rhododendrons in for an arrangement. We also lost this bush a few years ago and after a radical cut it is growing taller and beautiful again.

    We are continuing to walk. I started using small barbell type weights for exercising core and upper body and I can see a difference after a few days.

  47. Things here in Michigan are getting pricy. Our gasoline is $3.10 per gallon. At the beginning of the year it was $1.79. I had to switch the gas budget with the savings budget!! I am looking forward to being at home for a majority of the summer. I went to buy blades for our zero turn mower and the man at the counter said that next year the price would double. I bought two sets. It seems that every non food item has increased by roughly 5.00 and paper products about 2.00. We decided to purchase 2 five gallon jerry cans and then filled them with gasoline. After much searching I was able to replace my fruit trees. It took me two weeks to find a peach tree. I also bought a gala apple, honeycrisp apple, yellow delicious, a royal anne sweet cherry, and a sour cherry tree. My bare root plants arrived this week. Of course it rained for two straight days. (Not complaining as we had virtually no rain in April..very unusual.) I will be planting 4 seedless grapevines, 10 blackberry plants, 10 raspberry plants, and 100 strawberry plants tomorrow. I won’t get anything this year, but look forward to more fruit next summer. It has been in the high 80’s and 90’s here. I reluctantly turned on the A/C. Our temps are predicted to drop so I will go back to opening windows. I fought with a washing machine that would lock me out and try to balance and spin the loads for hours. I went to an appliance wholesale business and bought an older push knob washer. I will recoup the cost of that when I sell my other one. I needed a bigger fridge and held out for Memorial Day sales. I found the model I wanted. When we picked up the washer the owner said that they had just bought two semi loads of scratch and dent appliances. I was able to purchase the refridgerator model I wanted for $251.00 less than the best advertised Memorial Day sale. The fridge has a small dent on the door, but I am always hanging quotes and schedules on the door so I figured the savings was totally worth it!! I will be moving our small fridge down to the basement to store extra milk, eggs, butter and produce. When I find sales I buy a lot. This month I also purchased 10 pork loins at 1.69lb rock bottom for this area. Then GFS had 81/19 hamburger for 2.49 lb. (An amazing price around here)! I purchased 60 pounds. I made 5 meatloaves out of 10 lbs, and browned and froze the rest. My freezers are bursting. I am grateful these sales came along to help me replenish for the months ahead. Now on to gardening. I will get that all planted by the weekend. I was able to get The Kitchen Front and really enjoyed it. Made me think maybe learning to forage might be fun and economical. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend. I am so grateful for my blessings!!

  48. I don’t feel very frugal this week. After bringing my husband home from rehab for a stroke, we realized we would have to hire someone to stay with him during the day, and have luckily found someone, but the cost! I am reaching out for assistance, but so far, I’m not finding what I need. He is eligible for some home care through the state, but only for 10 hours a week, and I work 40 hours a week. I can’t quit my job and stay home, because 1.) I need the benefits from my job and am too young to draw SS and 2.) I can’t physically do the task of caring for him. He’s not a large man, but he’s still taller and heavier than me, and can’t support himself on a walker, sit up from a prostrate position without help, bathe himself or transfer to and from a chair or bed.

    I’m doing what I can, though: I put a net over my blueberries, to keep the birds off of them.

    I’m saving all our meals’ bones for bone broths.

    I’m picking herbs from my garden for cooking.

    I’m checking for lowest gas prices before I fill up.

    I’m cooking from home, and while currently our meals may not be of my usual caliber, I am getting us fed.

    I’m avoiding the sites or places where I know I’ll find something I can use. Even if I can use it, do I need it?

    1. Do you have an Adult Day Care center in your area? I checked the one in our area for my MIL when she was supposed to go home from Rehab and they served hot meals and snacks. I toured before lunch and it looked delicious. They also gave baths if needed (had special equipment to help them in and out) and time outside in a fenced area and other things I cannot think of right now. They also had crafts for them to participate in if they wanted to, television, and recliners they could nap in. There was a lot more to it than I expected. Ours opened at 7:00 A.M. and closed at 6:00 P.M. If the person was ambulatory (wheelchair accessible) they could be picked up by a van. Between state and Medicare my MILs would have been covered, but they can find out the insurance end for you.

      1. We don’t have such a thing, unfortunately. We have a senior services center, but they only are open for lunch on week days and provide a space for occasional talks or get-togethers. Most of the seniors who come for lunch are in fairly decent physical shape, and many drive themselves there. My husband needs more physical help than they can provide at the center. There are better options in larger cities, but my small town is very, very limited on what it provides.

        1. Our Hospice doesn’t do this, but my friend found a county close by that provided 8 hour home care to our area also. She needed that for her mother for several years when she had some surgeries and became wheelchair bound. Our Area on Aging provides 4 hour per week care. I hope everything goes fine for you since they know your husband does not live alone, but we had a few bad experiences with my MIL. They were there for bathing, light housekeeping, laundry, and grocery shopping. She was a lot older but very observant. She would call and say something didn’t make sense and she was right. We had to have several replaced and finally asked that they use another agency. It is sad to be dependent on someone that isn’t honest. Most of her help were very honest and caring and left for better jobs due to getting their degree in nursing. I will be thinking about you both. When my son was in kindergarten my Father died and a month and a half later my Mother was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. She was put on oxygen and started chemotherapy. She thought she would return home as they told her she had a “little bit of cancer” so she wouldn’t let me bring all the things she needed to our home or forward her mail or prescriptions closer. The next 6 months were a blur. I can feel what you are going through. Just do what you have to for now, take shortcuts on the meals, and have some quiet time when you can.

    2. Good Morning, JD!
      Hang in there! The road you are traveling is not an easy road. You need to give yourself a lot of grace in this season of life. Being frugal is responsible, but some things are out of our hands. You are making wise choices, putting your husbands care first. With all you have going on and still working 40 hours a week, please be kind to yourself. You are doing an amazing job!
      Mary from Michigan

    3. JD,
      Like you, we learned that Medicare does not cover in home help when our 92 father was preparing to leave rehab after a fall and then diagnosis of Lewy Body dementia. Do to Covid we were just recently able to get him into a care facility. In the meantime, we had to pay $2400 a week for 2 home aides per day (2-8 hour shifts). Here is what we learned:
      1. Call your local Department of Human Services or Social Service agency. They have people who specialize in senior care options and charity agencies.
      2. If your local high school offers CNA training call the teacher and ask if she can recommend a student who might want to earn some extra money helping your husband on a part time basis. You would be able to offer below the regular home service aide hourly price. If there is a community college or university nearby you can try their nursing program for the same arrangement. A fellow teacher I know has done this for her father. She has 3 high school students work around her work schedule to fill in when she is at work and unavailable to look after her dad. She pays them each $15/hour, which is well below the $25/hour home health aides run here.
      3. Call and get on any and all waiting lists at charities like Catholic Charities, Jewish Charities, etc. You do not have to be of that religion to get on most of the waiting lists for their volunteer aides/sitters.
      4. Go on line and look on care.com. These people are vetted.
      5. Ask around. There are retired nurses and others who might want to work a few hours throughout the week for a reasonable fee.
      6. Check with your nearby college or university for adult day care.
      We did all these things and were able to piece together coverage for our dad. The resources for seniors in this nation is sad. It is good to be frugal and save up for situations such as this. It was a shock to learn Medicare does not cover what is needed at the end of one’s life.

  49. Last week I made bagels and bread. My husband so likes the homemade bread recipe that he’s agreed we can stop buying bread. Though we used the discount store it’s still a savings of early $5 a month. John made still more mower repairs. Today will be first cut since everything was replaced so fingers crossed and prayers said! May has been pricey where that mower is concerned.
    Happy to say that we’re seeing gas prices drop a little. Not by any means below $2/gallon but blow $3 so it’s a savings. Husband is quick to point out that we have to have it so why complain? But like others when we adjust for increased costs we have to move it from another category and cut down in a new area in order to increase.
    I skipped going out to shop and instead pulled fabric from my drawer in the sewing room and ta da! found a coral pink sheet that exactly matched the color in my printed pillow cases I made into covers for throw pillows for the guest room. As I was working with putting a piece of the print on the band of the curtain I saw that another color reminded me of a second fabric on hand. I used that to create a trim on the printed edge. There was a single white sheet I could use as lining for the pink curtain and now I have the cutest pair of new curtains for that room. It made me very happy to create that from ‘nothing’.
    Over the weekend we had a small family gathering to celebrate a child’s birthday. We bought cupcakes and fried chicken because time was scarce to make anything but it was all purchased at a grocery store and wasn’t horribly pricey.
    I responded immediately to a medical provider request for insurance information with what they required so hopefully that bill will be taken care of and we’ll not have to pay out of pocket for it.
    As always we’ve hung clothes to dry, saved dishwater to water plants, cut flowers from the yard to grace the house, eaten most meals at home and made good use of all our leftovers. Most of all, I’ve stayed out of stores pretty much altogether, regardless of what sales were on. I am at the end of my grocery budget for this month but next month I’m going to try to spend it weekly rather than in a one month sum. I believe it will generate a bigger savings for us. My goal is to stick to budget this month, and in July to do a pantry/freezer/shelf cooking month and use the entire grocery budget to stock heavily on some very low areas of our pantry. By then I should be getting produce bags from a local grower so the need to purchase produce will be cut and I can concentrate on stocking well.
    In other news my husband suggested a four step renovation plan for the kitchen. My plan was modest and budget worthy but his idea will accomplish the same job in stages that are doable and for which we will pay cash as we go, saving to reach the next stage as one is completed. I think this is a brilliant idea on his part. And it now has me looking at two other renovation projects in a stage by stage process which means we should be able to get all done at far less expense to us.

  50. I’m impressed with your use of such a small space to grow blackberries! I hope your garden grows as prolifically as usual, despite the later planting.

    My frugal week:
    – I made soup using packaged instant noodles (http://approachingfood.com/ginger-garlic-veg-ramen-soup/)
    – I made another batch of chocolate granola
    – I used money earned from sb in PayPal account to offset the cost of shoes for my toddler
    – I used items in pantry to make meals: toasted Swiss cheese and pesto croissants, creamy pineapple popsicles (milk powder and canned pineapple), minestrone soup, pork kebobs and BBQ chicken from the freezer (had been purchased on deep discount many many months ago). I used leftover kebobs to top a salad for my lower carb eating husband.
    – I borrowed hardcover library books for my toddler and a dozen e-books for myself.
    – a neighbor gave my toddler a large box of sidewalk chalk; I gave her a container of chocolate granola as a thank you.
    – I made flourless chocolate chocolate chip cookies, and fried up for my daughters lunch the egg yolks leftover from making the egg white only cookies.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

  51. I so enjoy reading everyone’s posts each week. I love how this has grown over the years. I went back to the first year of Frugal Accomplishments and there were less than 20 comments…I loved it then too, but having over a hundred now is really fun. Thanks to everyone for participating but especially to Brandy for creating and sustaining this beautiful space.
    We celebrated my husband’s birthday Sunday with a homemade meal of spaghetti, homemade rolls, salad and pie. I decorated using one of the fabric banners I made years ago and copies of pictures of my husband through out childhood that I copied out of his baby book. It was a fun little surprise. Our kids who live near were here and then we zoomed with the other three families. We have a wonderful tradition that we all go around, youngest to oldest, and say something we love or admire about the birthday person. We did this on zoom. Grand kids and in laws participate too. It is all of our favorite part of birthdays. He got some thoughtful gifts and was happy with the celebration.
    Meals made at home in addition to the spaghetti dinner were enchiladas, pasta salad, tacos, breakfast for dinner…we are pretty simple around here.
    I had my online grocery order ready to go and I was a couple bucks under budget, when my hubby asked me to add some items to the order. I did but it put me over my budget, so I looked back through and took off a few items that weren’t an immediate need. I check my pantry, menu plan and then make my list. If I’m under budget at that point I add things to increase our food storage. We didn’t get much for storage this week, but we stayed within the budget. Like everyone else, I’m noticing increases. I looked up fresh cherries, as they become available this time of year…they were almost $9 for a bag. So, I’m waiting. Hopefully they go down, but if they don’t I’ll have to evaluate how much we really want them. Oy!
    We had our little 3 year old Clementine for a Grannypapa sleepover and she wanted toast for dinner! ha! We always let the grandchildren choose dinner…cinnamon sugar toast it was! We added an orange to the menu for the littlest bit of nutrition. Then we watched The Princess and the Frog and had a little ice cream. She was delighted and we were very entertained.
    I needed to purchase a new pair of jeans so I found looked and found a sale for my favorite catalog. Thankfully I found a code for free shipping. This purchase spurred me to look through my clothes and found a few things to toss and to donate. I have more space now. I try to only keep clothes that fit well and I feel good in.
    I’ve been enjoyed the deck on the back of our home. It is comfortable and has shade in the evenings. It is a very peaceful place. Peace is valuable.
    Today I got the last of my dental work done (two crowns, two fillings). I’m thankful for our dental insurance. Tomorrow is my mammogram, next week is my regular checkup and the week after is a skin check with the dermatologists. I HATE going to the doctor, but I’m being brave and considering this type of preventative care thrifty, especially with good insurance. I have to fit in the eye doctor and then I’m caught up.
    Everyone have a wonderful week! I consider you all my friends and wish you all the very best.

  52. I love the pictures of your fruit. I grew up on an orchard in north central Washington. Primarily apples, but also pears, peaches, apricots and walnuts. We also had a wild blackberry bramble large enough that my father used to drive the tractor through it, to the middle, and then in a circle so we could harvest more. They were very thick and very thorny, but very delicious. My mother used to make a peach and blackberry cobbler. The pictures of your fruit reminded me of that, even though those are apricots. Brought back lovely 60 year old memories – so thank you.
    Not many frugal things, but a few. I made a batch of chicken tortilla soup using corn, black beans, salsa, chicken broth and chicken from the freezer. The corn, black beans and salsa all were from garden produce. I also made a batch of sausage and gnocchi soup. This is not an inexpensive soup – and the only things from the garden are the onions and garlic. But it is delicious. 🙂
    I made shrimp fajitas with shrimp from the freezer, some of the 33¢ red bell peppers I purchased, stripped and froze awhile ago, onions from the garden (last years) and fajita seasoning my sister makes and gives me for Christmas and my birthday each year. She won’t give me the recipe, but gives me the result.
    I dug out part of a chive plant and potted it to give to my new daughter-in-law. She and my son just bought a house, and she wants to garden. She made dandelion jelly, and gave us a small jar. YUM!
    I only worked three days last week, and took breakfast and lunch all three days.
    We got quite a bit of rain over the weekend. We were over 3 inches below normal for this time of year – so we appreciate every drop. I am not looking forward to wildfire season. Even if we don’t have a lot of fires, we seem to get the smoke from California, Oregon, the rest of Washington, and sometimes even Alaska and Canada.
    Wishing everyone a wonderful week.

  53. The potential for so much fruit is exciting. I just found my first peach on my first fruit tree. 🤗Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were pork/veggie stirfry with yumyum sauce, beef/veggie fajitas with corn, baked drumsticks with baked potatoes and salad, lots of leftovers.
    *Sent a sympathy card and a thank you card from my stash.
    *Realized I hadn’t received a bank statement in several months (the mail is a mess!) so I went online and downloaded the last 3 months to balance our checking account.
    *Went to visit friends who live on the Chesapeake Bay. We bought groceries together and cooked all of our meals. Our son came to our house and dogsat for us. I did bake him a few treats as a thank you.
    *Received a free lunch at work.
    *Gave myself a pedicure.

  54. The last couple of weeks have been so busy, that I completely missed reading last week’s post here. I was so busy that I wasn’t even aware that I hadn’t until I opened up the blog this morning and was surprised to see 2 posts I hadn’t read! The new garden is looking great:).

    I’ve been busy because I’ve been helping out a family member who had a pretty major surgery. Thankfully, several family members are splitting the jobs (24/7 care for a little while, then all day for a while, cooking meals, taking to appointments, etc.). After being gone for up to 15 hours per day for 6 out of 8 days, I was just tired, so I rested over the weekend. It’s been other people’s turns, so I will go over there all day today, but it’s the first day since last week.

    We did manage to get our large garden planted, a little at a time. In fact, I planted the last batch of peppers yesterday. Now I will fill in areas as they empty out with things like lettuce and then fall crops, but that’s a ways off. I’ve been harvesting lettuce and spinach and froze a little bit of spinach. There is a lot of yard work to still do, but my husband did fill the yard debris bin with branches he trimmed off a tree that is getting out of hand. That is one huge difference of living in town vs. the country. Out there, we just let the trees grow. Here….not so much or we will look like a house down the street—completely hidden from view from all the bushes, trees and plants growing wildly in their yard. While the flowers and bushes there that are growing wildly are actually pretty, I prefer a more manicured look. I love that I can fill that bin every week, and it’s included with our garbage bill–they just haul it away.

    I’ve cooked so much food, as I’ve been taking food to both my family member multiple times and another close family friend with a new baby, plus our food of course. My husband has barbecued chicken several times, as it was on sale for 77c/lb. I spent about $75 at Safeway, using all the downloaded coupons. It was the first shopping I’d done for a few weeks. We hit the pantry and freezers hard, and I was so thankful for them. I simply didn’t have time to shop. My husband has been good about grabbing some milk or whatever and also cooking for our daughter while I’ve been gone so much. I was able to load up the fridge, and also sent my husband down to Fred Meyers for $1 peanut butters–he got 20. We use quite a bit of that around here, and I love that price. I will say that prices have gone up around here, as well, except that they seem to be putting out some really good loss leaders, such as butter for 97c/box last week, and this week I noticed Tillamook cheese for around $5 and ice cream for 97c/carton. I’m going to make sure we get some of that!!!

    Pictures of my week are on my blog: http://beckyathome.com.

    After being gone so much, I just wanted some time with my baby grandson, so I borrowed him for several hours on Saturday. Then, I enjoyed playing with him while his mama went and did Doordash. She’s been making some decent money doing that lately. And, he doesn’t cost a dime to play with.

  55. Good morning everyone-

    Brandy, your pictures are also so beautiful! I have so enjoyed reading everyone’s comments this week. You are all so inspirational.

    Frugal things for this week:

    -Our township gives a coupon to the dump twice a year. We took advantage of this to get rid of some rusty chicken wire that I removed from my garden fence saving $40 and getting the unsightly pile off our property.

    -Packed lunches and drinks for my husband. He drives around all day for our business and will either not eat or go through a drive through (neither are ideal!).

    -Our riding mower died so we invested in a John Deere mower. While not immediately frugal we hope that this is the last mower we will need to buy! It can also have a snow plow put on the front which will be helpful as we age and snow blowing becomes physically too much for our long driveway.

    -Planted more in our garden.

    -My daughter wanted a raised garden bed of her own and I was able to find enough wood in the garage to build her one. I want to encourage her love of plants and give her ownership of her own garden. She decided to plant flowers and radishes. We purchased about $8 worth of flowers and we already have radish seeds for her to plant those too.

    -My mother in law gave us a bag of goodies which I greatly appreciate. I gave her a bunch of freshly pulled radishes for her to enjoy.

    Have a happy and frugal week everyone!

  56. I love that you can grow such an interesting variety of fruit! Pink lady apples are our favorite. They are so crisp and have that lovely sweet-tart flavor.

    I’ve still been picking salads from my little container garden most days. I set out boiled eggs, shredded cheese, bacon bits, pepperoni, croutons, etc and everyone just adds what they want. I’ve been using up my old seeds as microgreens, and those get tossed in with the salad. Such an easy, tasty lunch! (I have pics of my deck pots on my blog: https://www.savingsinseconds.com/) The plants in my Garden Tower were fading so I cleaned them out and reseeded. The new plants are coming up already. No matter what I do, though, I cannot get the carrots to really take hold in my raised beds. I’ve reseeded so many times, covered, pre-sprouted….I am to the point that I want to do a carrot dance around garden. Everything else is coming up pretty happily (tomatoes, peppers, green beans, squash, zucchini).

    Our family got into a bad habit of eating out quite frequently over the past couple of years. The kids and I had a long commute to/from school and work, and we were often tied up in our “school town” for many hours each day. We went to the drive thru several times a week. Last summer my husband changed jobs so we were able to move very close to school/work which is wonderful! The adjustment, though, has been hard — we have a larger house payment and my husband took a major pay cut when he changed jobs. We are MUCH happier overall, but definitely have a leaner budget. So I’m trying to train my family to rely on the food we have at home instead of stopping for a snack or meal all the time. I have always cooked 3-4 meals per week, but now I’m trying to do all meals at home (unless we have a special reason). It has been so hard to change this habit. I feel like the bad guy all the time because I keep saying no…… I’m very thankful to everyone who comments here; you give me the encouragement to keep working on being more frugal.

    Instead of having date nights, my husband and I love to go to yard sales together on Saturday mornings. It’s our favorite thing to do together. He really wants to find an old pickup truck that he can use to haul stuff from Lowe’s or whatever, and we are struggling to save up the cash for it. I suggested that we could look for items at yard sales that we can “flip” to make some extra money. Wish us luck! If anyone has good tips on doing that sort of thing, I’d love to learn.

    1. Carrots are generally the least expensive vegetable to buy, so don’t feel bad if they won’t grow for you. You can plant something that is more expensive to buy instead. (They take three weeks to germinate so they are probably drying out.)

  57. My Mother in Law was put on blood thinner and it cost $113 a month after insurance. We called the manufacturer and they sent a card so it will now be $10 plus what insurance pays. I am on a medicine that was $120 a month and through the manufacturer get a coupon making it $138 for 3 months. So always check to see if they have a discount card or coupon.
    * We planted my Mother’s Day hydrangeas and 2 peach trees. I am trying to find a dwarf Fuji and dwarf Gala apple. I am also looking for large pots for the patio to plant lemon and Satsuma trees where I can bring them in during cold spells. All the ones I have seen are $149 and above. I don’t want plastic, I want ceramic pots, but boy are they expensive.
    * I cut my husband’s hair. I have been cutting 31 years! We have bought 3 trimmers in that time.
    *Sold a box of bags I had bought for my business when I did craft shows. I sold for $10.
    * Watched Atlantic Crossing, Escape to the Chateau, This is Us, and Home Town Takeover. I am meeting my daughter to get my grandson on Friday. We usually meet halfway in Prattville, AL. I looked and Wetumpka is basically the same distance and I have never been. So we are meeting there and will be able to see the downtown area they have fixed up on the show and have lunch.
    *We grill out most nights then sit under the covered porch while the sun is hot, then move to the patio and watch the sun go down.
    *We got a puppy last October and planned to do obedience training. We never got around to finding classes and just looked online and worked with him. He sits, stays, leaves it, gives high fives, shakes, retrieves and brings it to you, and other commands. We saved a lot on training fees. We can take him out front and he stays with us until we throw a ball and is doing so good not to run off. If we leave the door open he won’t go past the porch. He gets excited when we walk and he sees another dog or child and we are having to work on not disobeying and going to them.
    * I am walking each night. I am so disheartened how much I lost being sick with pneumonia. My lungs are just shot and I have no endurance. I am adding a little at a time. I feel like a stuffed sausage in my clothes, too.
    * I am getting grandson for 4 weeks! I signed him up for swim lessons and VBS. I am planning to meet my former pastors wife at the Birmingham Zoo one day. We are meeting my Army son in Nashville( midway for each of us) one day. Our neighborhood is doing a monthly movie at the pool and church has one, too. So, I am finding some things to do.

    1. Have you looked on Home Depot’s website? I usually use fiberglass pots, as they last well here in the heat (plastic and resin disintegrate after one to two years).

    2. Holly, my husband had pneumonia a couple of years ago. He was in the hospital for 3 days and it took 6 months for him to feel well again. Be patient!

    3. Holly, tell us about Wetumpka! Not necessarily here, because I think readership declines at the end of the week, but in a future post. I am watching Hometown Takeover, too. Seems like such a cool little town. I am impressed with the way they have gone about it–revitalizing commercial and public spaces as well as a few key homes. I was especially impressed with their reno of the civic room, both for what they did to it as well as creating a nice public space for residents and guests to gather. I like that they are bringing other HGTV stars into the renovations…although I have to wonder why some even bothered to make the trip. I don’t expect any of them to actually do any of the work, but a few don’t seem to put much heart into it, either.

      I’ve wondered who is paying for this. HGTV? Or the owners? It would make sense for the owners to apply and for part of the application process to include how much money they were willing to invest.

  58. This week I really buckled down on my frugal activities as I found myself with an unexpected house bill. I bought my first house about six months ago and it can feel like a lot to manage on my own sometimes. It’s 112 years old and there is a never ending list of things to do. But I’m doing the best I can!

    This morning I got to eat the first three strawberries from my garden! How exciting that was! I have never been good with house plants so I was worried that I wouldn’t do well with a garden either but so far so good! I am actually really enjoying it. I look forward to having lots to enjoy fresh as well as to can later this summer. I also put in some fruit trees so in a few years hopefully they will bear some fruit!

    I made soup for lunch today that I had previously made and froze. While eating I realized that the bowl I was using, as well as the utensils, were purchased when I was in college some 14 years ago. It gave me a chuckle that those items were still solid and putting in use! My parents are not at all the frugal type. I had no idea how well off I was as a child and as an adult I am well aware that I had many things afforded to me that others did not. I was however taught that if I wanted something I needed to earn it so as an adult I have always worked very hard to provide myself with what I need. I have no problem washing plastic bags for reuse, line drying my laundry, buying generic items, eating in season, drinking mostly tap water or tea brewed at home.

    Back to the garden, I did order some neem oil after reading all your wonderful comments about how it may benefit my strawberry plants! I am hoping it will take care of the spittlebugs. Thank goodness for the internet! I am learning so much!

    It is that blissful time of year in the Pacific Northwest when no heating or a/c is required. I had screens put in my windows about a month ago so I can have my windows open for all the fresh air and it is wonderful! This is also helping keep my energy costs down.

    I made all my meals from scratch this week. There were definitely times when I really wanted to get takeout but I reminded myself that there is plenty to eat in the pantry and freezer and no takeout is needed.

    My parents are moving in the coming weeks and their purging of supplies has really benefited me. I have been able to go through their basement storage to take pantry staples so they don’t have to move them. Pasta sauce, spices, oils, rice. This will go into my storage and go a long way in reducing my grocery spending.

    I, like everyone else, am so grateful for this online community of like minded individuals. I hope you are all having a lovely day and staying safe.

    1. Just don’t spray anything when it’s over 90 degrees. It can burn your plants in the heat.

  59. As a lot of you I’ve been using my library a lot the past few weeks getting free movie rentals and new edition books that I would have had to buy at the store, huge savings especially since at least 3 of them after starting reading them I did not like them so that saved me at least $30 to $40 off buying. I love our library. I too have been gardening gambled putting my green bean seeds in early before our last frost cucumber seeds too and both survived I had to cover them up with blankets but they survived and are thriving. I have 54 green bean plants 8 cucumber plants, and just finished planting 21 tomato plants. I was blessed to find a good supply of canning lids last week and now have enough to cover a year or more of canning. I watched a you tube video on composting and they suggested sawdust to be added in to the compost well I don’t know a carpenter but a friend suggested checking with a lumberyard and sure enough a local one close to me does sell it a 5 foot tall bag by about 60 inches wide wish I knew the weight anyways it was only $10.00. I filled 2 metal garbage cans and will be giving the rest to a neighbor for his compost. I bought too many tomato starters so after I planted mine I gave the rest to 3 of my neighbors. I continue to sew personal cloth TP in preparation for projected rising prices of toilet paper in June while we won’t completely eliminate paper the more I can use cloth the less I have to spend on a disposable product, frugal and better for the environment. I am hanging clothes outside to dry now that our weather is warm amazing how fast they dry.

  60. Biggest accomplishment – finished all report cards etc. for end of school year and am now on summer break! Over the last month, I have received over $200 worth of gift cards from students and their families. Everything from Dollar Tree to a Visa gift card, to several Starbucks cards; I will be enjoying those cards all summer long. I had to giggle as I was reading your post, Brandy. You: I planted 8 fruit trees. Me: Wow and I was feeling accomplished buying 3 more herb plants for my container garden. lol. I have run out of space on my window sills, so I ordered a plant stand to sit in front of my sliding glass door in the kitchen (door not used as I have no deck.) I filed my taxes as late as possible because I always owe. This year I got a refund and it is already in my account. (wooohooo) Garden-wise, I don’t have nearly what I had last year planted at this time, but hopefully I can get some more done in the next 2 weeks. Grocery savings: Dollar Tree’s grocery section was fully stocked so I purchased a bag of beans, jasmine rice, boxed milk, and a 1lb bag of pink salt (among other things). Purchased a rotisserie chicken (cheaper than one I had to cook myself) and deboned it and have all the meat in the freezer, I need to make and can some more broth after vacation.
    Now that summer is here I am working on getting a 2nd income stream started and may also tutor for some extra money to go toward some house improvements.

  61. We grow perpetual spinach and think it’s fabulous. Don’t worry about it bolting. All along the bolting stem it will produce softer smaller leaves which are just as delicious. Chop the bolting stem off at the base and it will plough right along just as if it never happened. Ours (in a milder climate!) bolt multiple times a year and we just pick the small leaves off to eat like baby spinach (cooked, admittedly, not raw)

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