Lesser Goldfinch enjoying the lettuce seeds in my garden

I started a new schedule this past week to allow me to work in the garden during the coolest part of the day. I get up at 4 :10 a.m. to do laundry and work on the blog, and then go outside at first light around 5 a.m. I work outside until sometime between 6:00 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. and then come in and shower. I seem to have picked the ideal week to do it; the weather turned cooler than usual. We’ve had a lot of winds this year (much more than normal) and they have changed the temperature quite often this year. Instead of 110-degree days, we have days in the upper 90’s and low 100’s, and we’ll see more of the same (along with more wind) this week. I am relieved; it means the tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini will be able to flower more as they normally stop here for most of the summer. It also means I can open the windows in the mornings until 8, as it was cool enough to do so in the morning, reducing the need to run the air conditioner (and allowing fresh air into the house, which I love).

I don’t have a lot of weeding to do, as weeds are rare here due to no rain (the official city amount for the year is 0.06 inches, or 1.5 mm, with 3 counted days for the year of rain and none in the last 78 days), but there is still lots of work to be done in the garden.

I sowed seeds in the garden for zinnias, roselle hibiscus, watermelon, Swiss chard, butternut squash, and Armenian cucumbers.

I harvested lettuce seeds, cilantro seeds, poppy seeds, peppermint, parsley, basil, a zucchini, Swiss chard, and tomatoes from the garden. I dried lots of parsley because once it gets as hot as it is now, it burns very quickly in the garden.

I used basil from the garden to make some pesto for my dad as a Father’s Day gift. I have been making it without pine nuts for some time, and with water in place of part of the oil (I also use very little oil to keep the calories and cost down).

Years ago, I bought a baby century plant for $5 at a garage sale. It made a baby plant, which I moved into another pot. The baby plant has since made three more babies, and the pot is crowded.

I decided to redo the pots in the back of the garden to include these three plants, which meant replanting the existing plants that were in the pots into new spaces. This also means I won’t need as much water for those three pots in the back, as Century plants need very little. I planted the fourth agave baby into a pot that I am keeping on a table on the patio; it can stay there for a while until it outgrows that location.

I cooked three things in the oven at once to maximize my oven usage: chicken thighs, tomatoes, and the last of the butternut squash that I grew last year in my garden.

I used the three leftover chicken thighs to make chicken and rice soup, which we ate for two meals. I added parsley and Swiss chard from the garden to the soup. As wheat shortages worsen, I am making it a point to eat more of the rice that we have stored and to eat pasta less often.

I redeemed Swagbucks for a $25 gift card to Target. I needed some more skirt hangers and plastic hangers and I used the gift card to make my purchase. I like the plastic hangers as we use them to hang up items that are washed on delicate and hung to dry.

I combined the trip to Target with a trip to the library, which is across the street.

My son works at a grocery store. I asked him to keep an eye out for egg markdowns, as eggs have become so expensive. He said they had 18-count eggs marked on clearance for $2.49, but that they were ringing up at $2 for everyone. When he got off work, he bought three 18-count eggs for us. With his employee discount on store-brand items, they came to $1.80 per package (10 cents an egg). He brought these home in his backpack (he bikes to work).

I cooked both chickpeas and pinto beans from dried in the crockpot this week for meals. These were both purchased in bulk. My meal plans are light on meat, with just a couple of meat meals a week (and leftovers stretched as I did with the soup) and plenty of bean recipes and soups. I am keeping food purchases to a minimum and only using meat from the freezer. I am also using lots of frozen fruit (from our own garden) from the freezer to make smoothies.

I started some sauerkraut using cabbage that my mother gave us. They had purchased a lot for a picnic they were attending and had overbought on accident. I used these Ball fermentation lids and springs for the first time to keep the cabbage submerged and they have been wonderful! I bought them a year or two back for this purpose and I am happy to be using them now.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. Good morning, everyone! Thank you, Brandy, for another inspiring post. (Anyone who gets up at 4:30 is inspiring, LOL).

    It’s been another week of fighting a really nasty cold and mostly staying home and not doing anything…which in itself is really frugal! I won’t be able to use this excuse next week because as of this morning I think (hope!) I I rhink I have finally turned the corner on the virus.

    I went to the grocery store because we were out of everything. I got strawberries for .99 at Winco–the only bargain in the store.

    I made tartar sauce with a new-to-me recipe. Despite all of the substitutions (LOL) it was the best I’ve ever tasted.

    It rained and rained and rained! One morning I looked outside and my dwarf plum tree was tipped about 30 degrees. My friend Heather came over and pounded a T-post into the ground and I tied the tree to it. Keep your fingers crossed!

    I used a rebate check for $43.21 at Costco and my daughter reimbursed me for a $15.89 merchandise credit at TJMaxx for her dad’s Father’s Day present. I also used $22 in OTC drug benefits.

    For those of us that live in Idaho, this was the week for money in the mail! Our state constitution requires a balanced budget and there is a budget surplus. As a result, we got a check for $436.44 and my daughter got one for $75. Our son and daughter-in-law live in eastern Idaho (we’re up north) and received over $700. Woo-hoo! (I will probably spend it all on gas and at the grocery store, and I’ll bet everyone else does, too).

    I bought a freezer-friendly cookbook on eBay. The asking price was $10 and I offered $6, which was accepted. I am planning to cook double two times this week so I can add two more meals to the freezer.

    Here is a tip from my son. He researched cashback CCs and found one from Penfed CU that returns 5% for fuel when paid for at the pump. No annual fee. This will return .25 per gallon when gas is $5 gallon, in addition to any discount from loyalty points. He applied online and was approved. This will really help since he commutes 25 miles each way to work.

    1. Maxine, we’re in California and we have the same surplus situation here, but the state government can not seem to let go and return any of that money. They have been saying “Soon” for months now.

      NOW, they are saying “this fall.” Hmm, could they be hoping that money will sweeten our views of the incumbents right around election time? (Color me a touch cynical.)

      1. Well, this couldn’t have come at a better time! My guess (and it’s just a guess) is that it had to be returned by the end of the fiscal year.

      2. Funny, our state government decided they are going to give us a “tax break” on food (it is like 2.5% I think), But not doing it until 2023! So inflation on food is insane and they are waiting until then! Thanks for nothing.

  2. I found boneless whole pork loins (just over 9 pounds each) on sale at Costco about a week ago at my specific store for $1.99 a pound. But there was a big sign saying that at the register, another $4. would be taken off each one. No limit. ) I texted 2 of my daughters who each wanted 2 and I bought 2 for Hubs and me! I cut up the first pork loin cut up, labeled, packaged and into freezer in 4 packs of chops and just to do a cost breakdown, this is what I found! For my $15 of pork loin, I got 6 quart bags with 4 one inch chops in each. So basically 2 meals for us per bag. 12 meals= $15. So $1.25 per meal. 67.5 cents per 1” boneless chop!! I’m feeling pretty chuffed!!

    I’ve seen several people deciding to challenge themselves to use up food leftovers as a way to counteract the high prices at the store by not wasting. I decided to create a new board on my Pinterest called “Use it up” where I can save ideas I find and try to use up! First thing I saw is that we had extra hot dog buns from our family bbq last weekend. But no hot dogs left! How does that happen??🤔🤔

    Here’s the first recipe I just tried and put into my new Pinterest board (so I can find it easily) Hopefully, many more recipes will follow!! https://pin.it/4kX2OtH. To be fair, YMMV , but I am still using that big leftover bottle of Ranch dressing, so instead of mayonnaise and dry Ranch seasoning (which I have), I opted to substitute the dressing for the mayonnaise amount. I also still have a nice stock of cream cheese in my fridge from some awesome sales, same with blocks of cheese that I shredded. And then those hot dog buns with no hot dogs! So it was an obvious thing to try. It may not be for you, but I’m pretty confident that with the miracle of the internet, you can find ways to use up whatever dribs and drabs you might have before they go off! Hubs was skeptical, but 6 buns made 12 sticks and you can count how many are left on cookie sheet after he tried the first one! Lol! https://pin.it/GbfguJW

    You may remember the vintage quilt top ( https://pin.it/2RAuEMd ) that I acquired at an estate auction and then quilted and bound it. I sold it to someone who lived on the West coast (I am in the Midwest) . I pride myself on quick return shipping so I packaged, labeled the box and took it in to the post office. This was a Tuesday and it was expected to arrive by Friday. On Thursday, I looked and tracking and discovered that it took a surprise trip east to Puerto Rico (from Ohio)! I was heartbroken but Hubs said to wait and see what happened. Tracking said that delivery was going to be later than expected! 😱😱 I didn’t know if it would turn around and be shipped west from Puerto Rico or go east and circumnavigate the earth to get to its destination. Not sure which way it went but arrive it did! And only about 2 days later than expected! Client contacted me and got it- unscathed and absolutely loves it which makes my heart so happy!!

    We bought cattle panels to help contain/control our raspberry and blackberry bushes but then, on date night, we watched some more YouTube videos on gardening and saw tomato towers made with cattle panels! Zowie!!! 😍😍😍 Our tomato plants have been spilling into each other and into our walkways. We never seem to get their supports in place in the garden BEFORE we have the tomatoes planted and getting huge! 😱😱But here’s a view of our garden from one of our second floor bedrooms looking down at it: https://pin.it/3kuFjIL and here is the first of the 16 tomato towers built and installed in the garden : https://pin.it/1RoEi62. The price was dear but they will be stored afterwards in our shed and last for years so we feel like it is worth it! Here are the step by step tomato tower photos: https://pin.it/rPqtU6y https://pin.it/6IbJRyk
    https://pin.it/ipmUmw9. https://pin.it/6bnaRw6

    My friend who is downsizing sold me 15 boxes (1 dozen per box) of new wide mouth Ball jar lids for $1/box. She gave our daughter 2 cases of dry packed sugar and 1 case of flour. We also got 19 dozen pint jars, 15 dozen quart jars, 13 wide mouth half gallon jars (brand new with rings and lids), a WB canner, a pressure canner and other supplies! We gave them 2 dozen fresh eggs from our chickens! So our daughter and I were both abundantly blessed from this and our friend is glad that these will be used!

    Tiffany- last week you asked about Brandy’s homemade Ranch dressing mix. I just saw your comment and since mixes are a favorite thing of mine, thought I would chime in with a link to the Pinterest board I made with mixes I love. https://pin.it/1U7PvrD. It’s so handy to have a lot of these mixes premade on your shelf and be able to replenish them from pantry ingredients as you run low!

    Well, the miserable heat has gone for today (Monday) so we will be out “Making hay BEFORE (instead of while) the sun shines!” That was when it gets oppressively hot, we can be inside!

    Hope everyone has moments to slow down or stop and feel joy from those good things that are around them! As we go forward in challenging times, each success, no matter how small, just feels sweeter!!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. We used to have tomato cages that we made from concrete mesh (it’s very similar to cattle panels) that were 6 foot tall. I got rid of them last year when we made the 8-foot tall obelisks for the tomatoes.

    2. Garden Pat that’s what are tomatoe cages are made of only they are round. I have had them for years, they hold up and no rust with the galvanized steel. I also have trellises made from them, 2 half curves stick in the ground and rest the ends on each other and it is like a tent. Cucumbers grow up them and the fruit hangs thru the holes. I plant radishes underneath as they are harvested befor the cucumbers shade them out. We have smaller shorter rounds for the peppers. They will be around long after I am gone.

      1. JulieT from Minnesota- We have used the round tomato cages you are talking about but, for us, it seems like even the larger ones have not been sturdy or tall enough for holding up our toms! 😱 Must be that good Ohio climate/soil! 😉

        Very wise to use the galvanized steel so they won’t rust (ours are also) and sounds like you have made some adaptations and variations to be able to give you versatility! Gardening is definitely a “Your Mileage May Vary” sort of thing because everyone’s garden is different.

        We’ve tried the round cages, trellises and last year used the string method but none of those fit our specific needs completely. Fingers crossed that these towers will do the trick for us!

        This year, we’re you able to plant at your usual times or were you delayed by weather?

        Gardenpat in Ohio

        1. Garden Pat, we planted normal time but due to the cool weather things didn’t germinate as per usual. I had to replant my lettuce three times. It is only about 2 inches tall right now and with the warm weather not sure we will get anything. It is coming along but slowly. Every year is a new adventure with a garden. But we are grateful for what we get. It tastes so good!

    3. Garden[at – love the cattle panel tomato cages. We have used cattle panels for SO many things on our farm. They really are useful. Our tomato cages are probably about 15 years old and, as I discovered, so much more sturdy than ones I see made today (I have found that about a lot of things, sadly.) We needed more but didn’t want to buy any (and our cattle panels are all otherwise employed 🙂 ) so we wired them together to strengthen them and then used heavy wire to make an X shape between them providing more support for more tomatoes. So far, so good. Being creative is certainly a necessary ingredient in this frugal life and I enjoy the ideas you share. Have a lovely day!

      1. Mountain Mama Dawn- I think you’ve nailed the hammer on the head! These days, it is vital for us to be flexible and adaptable because of cost as well as availability of supplies! Personally, I smile inside a bit when I am able to “create” something out of items that I already have on hand rather than spending $$ at the store!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

    4. Gardenpat – Your comment about the discrepancy between hot dogs and hot dog buns reminded me of the scene in the Steve Martin version of “Father of the Bride” where the stress of his daughter’s upcoming nuptials has him losing it in the grocery store removing the superfluous buns from the packages. He says it is a conspiracy between the hot dog people and the bun people. Too funny! I have often made croutons when left with “superfluous” bread but love your creative solution. 🙂

      1. Mama Hen- I am constantly surprised at how many products we can use DIY mixes for without paying the ready-made price while still having the convenience!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

    5. Leftover hot dog (or hamburger) buns are also great for making french toast casserole, since they’re so airy and fluffy! I usually throw all my leftover or stale buns and bread ends into a bag in the freezer, then make the French toast when it’s full. Since it’s a mix of different breads, I’ll make sure I layer the fluffier buns on top, where they will get crispy, and the denser stuff underneath, where it can soak up the milk and egg part without getting soggy. (I actually tear apart the bread into rough chunks, and then layer as I explained above.)

      1. Natasha- That sounds yummy!! I will keep that in mind! So nice to have options for leftovers!!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

    6. Gardenpat,
      Thank you so much for sharing that Pinterest board about mixes. You are a money-saving treasure.
      Elizabeth H.

  3. I love the picture of the bird. And the flowers are beautiful. I just love your pictures.

    We have had LOTS of HUGE windstorms as well. It sends dust and debris everywhere as they are building a new highway by us and also new apartments and townhomes in our city. I’ve had the windows closed because of all the dust. Our temperatures have been as low as 50s in the evenings and then 70s. But then we had a few days of 100 and then down to 70 only in the evening. The last 3 days have all been major wind storms. I don’t love wind storms, but I do love the rain that has come. We need water so badly here. I’m very grateful for the rain.

    Made meals at home, exercised at home, tried to combine errands as much as possible (gas is $5.09), spent less than $50 at the store for shopping, read books and watched TV shows. Cleaned my home, washed my dishes and enjoyed the bird song through open windows and in sitting on my porch. Took donations to Deseret Industries and got a receipt for tax purposes. This has been a huge blessing to us at the end of the year with taxes.

    I received 3 free serving trays from a bridal shower that are light blue with lemon/orange slice designs on them. My daughter brought them home from a bridal shower she helped to host. She also brought home some of the sweets/treats that were left over from the shower.

    I bought a almost completed flannel quilt from a garage sale for $2. It was made by my neighbor before she passed away last year. It just needs binding. I miss this woman in my neighborhood. It will be a nice reminder of her and her kindness in my life.

    We spread grass clippings in the garden to help with weeds. I’ve gone out every day to pull a few weeds and check on things growing. Everything is green!

    My dd got a JOB! She’s been looking for a few months. The job is 1 minute from our home at a carwash. She is in the booth taking cash/credit cards. Just FYI – they are paying my 16 yr old $11/hour to sit in the booth. I’m surprised at her wages. She works 8 hours/day. She can read, do homework, etc if it’s not busy. They’ve agreed to not have her work on Sundays. There’s a chair in the booth to sit on so she doesn’t have to stand all day. She packs a lunch/snacks and also takes her refillable water bottle. We opened a checking account for her – she already had a savings account. She now has a debit card and we are teaching her how to do money management with a debit card. She gets free car washes as long as she is driving the car. My husband already had her drive through his car for the deluxe with hand dry treatment.

    I babysat my darling granddaughter on Saturday. It is frugal fun for me. We went for a walk with her in a stroller. We look at flowers and point out birds. I fed her snacks from my pantry and we played with toys from my kids childhood, plus a few new ones I’ve found on clearance. She likes to play peek a boo and be “chased” down the hall. When I catch her, she likes me to pick her up and kiss her. Then I set her down and she runs down the hall again to be “chased”. I sit her on my lap and sing “Pony Girl” and “The Old Grey Mare” as she bounces up and down. Her hug and kiss goodbye are enough payment for my services.

    Wishing everyone a truly happy and frugal week. May we all be blessed in our challenges with inspiration and peace.

    1. Amy S, You brought a tear to my eye when I read that you sing “Pony Girl” with your granddaughter! My great-grandfather always sang that song to me & bounced me on his knee when I was a tiny girl. I still remember it clearly, even though he passed when I was 4 years old! Thank you for reminding me of a lovely memory!

  4. This week I didn’t buy any grocery .shopping. We cooked all meals from scratch using Remoska, pressure cooker , microwave and gas hob. Washed clothes at 20C and dried them on the line. I washed a couple of blankets and the kitchen and bathroom mats while the sun was out. I cleaned the washing machine.
    We are harvesting peas, broad beans, strawberries, lettuce cucumbers and sport potatoes. Carrots are almost ready. I will sow late carrots as the peas finish and cover them in the autumn if necessary. Carrots here can be left in the winter here. Lawn mowings have been used as mulch. The water butts are full again as we had a storm. In the UK there is a saying, 3 good days and a thunder storm.
    It was hot for us this week up to 33C. Lovely, I have spent most of the week outside. Friends came over for lunch on one day, my friend bought over some yarn for me she said she wouldn’t use. It wasn’t until she had left did I realise that one of the bags containing yarn had a receipt in it, £38 for one kilo of yarn.!I have started to knit a cardigan.
    I have a form I need to get to the bank, I will take it to the branch using my bus pass. This saves a 66p stamp.
    We are going to dd1 this week, its grandson’s birthday, he has requested Grans jam that he can use for his breakfast. He works nights. That was an easy present.
    Have a good week

    1. I was so excited on Saturday as it the high was only 33° instead of the 43° it was the week earlier! My 6-year-old was complaining that he was cold 😆

  5. I wish we could open our windows early in the day but the humidity is so high, the AC would have to work harder to recool the house and remove the resulting moisture.

  6. What a great deal on the eggs and how sweet of your son!

    My frugal accomplishments:
    *my mom gave me tons of clothes she was done with plus a quilt, rug, and curtains
    *MIL was purging too so got an antique lamp for my bedside table and a few candles
    *went to see Jurassic Park for my daughter’s birthday on Tuesday for $5 tickets and free small popcorns
    *cut end of lotion and scraped a good amount into a little jar
    *used a toothpick to get lip balm out of the tube into a jar I put all the remnants in
    📍Grocery store: skipped this week
    📍Buy Nothing Group: 3 cases of sensitive cat food cans, 2 superhero figures, 2 free Blue Apron meals, beautiful artisan basket, 2 bathroom rugs and a decorative pillow, box of granola bars, noodles, corn muffin mix and loaf of bread
    📍Facebook Marketplace: 2 milk glass oil lamps for $5 each, $2 unused lume deodorant

    Hope everyone has a great week ☺️

  7. Our May utility bill was startlingly low, due to the wonderful weather and not needing either heat or AC. June, however, will be more like normal. I agree with you about the wonderful feeling of having windows open for fresh air. We seem to eat less in hotter weather, nice for the budget.
    I’ve worked out a good routine so far to water my potted flowers and herbs in back and front of the house. In the garden patch by the front door, morning glories are searching for supports– it’s fun to see the stems grow sideways as though they can see where they are going. Lots of volunteers coming back from last year.
    In back, my self-planted milkweed doubled in numbers again– from one plant to two, and this year four.
    I have carrots growing in a very deep pot and when I thin them, I use the tiny pulled greens and roots in salads, or could put them in my broth bag in the freezer. Does anyone else remember the first story from “The Boxcar Children”, where Jessie made soup with those?
    Scored points for a fifty dollar gift card from my health insurance for having a regular screening done.

    1. I LOVED the Boxcar stories!! We read them back in the sixties so i don’t remember much. That was my favorite part of the school day.

    2. Yes! I read the Boxcar Children stories to my boys a few years ago and we enjoyed them so much. The first one is the best!

    3. I attended a very small school during 3rd and 4th grade. There were 4 classrooms, and the gym was used as the cafeteria and the library. I found The Boxcar Children there. We only had the first book. I checked it out all the time! As an adult I have enjoyed reading the other books. But nothing can match the idea of living in a box car. Thanks for the good memory.

    4. I bought the first two from thrift books for my 9 year old daughter to read for school this year. She loved them and we were able to find the next four or five in the series at thrift stores for $.25. Love it when that happens! ☺️

  8. Kroger in East TN(?) has choice Beef Brisket for $1.99lb. We have purchased one. We shall see!

    Made “Red Neck” Ice Cream, as we call, it for my son last night. It was to die for! In a blender pour one can of Condensed milk; 2 cups of heavy cream; two teaspoons of vanilla; and a dash of sea salt. Mix thoroughly. Should have a thick, creamy texture. Pour into large, covered dish and place in freezer for 5 hours. Lip-smacking good!
    (If I offended anyone with the term “Red Neck”, I apologize, but I am part Red Neck and claim it with pride!)

    Picked lots of squash, peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes. Have not put up very much as we are eating it as fast as I can pick it!

    Having to water plants and garden every day due to the extreme temperatures. We did have a two day break which
    was like heaven on earth! Not sure how long I can keep up the garden with these temps. It is beginning to wilt. They are predicting extreme heat through July and above average heat through August with little rain. My Newfies, who are from England, are begging to go back! Very hard on them. 🙁

    Tennessee is dropping sales tax on food for the month of August! Guess I’ll replenish my hoard then.

    Hope all is well. Onward, ya’ll, by all means!(Ryan)

    1. I hadn’t heard about the drop in food tax in TN in August. We live 2 miles from the TN/NC border and do much of our grocery shopping there. That is good news to look forward to! Thanks for the heads up!

    2. CherylB- I guess that’s another blessing I can count that I hadn’t thought about. Ohio doesn’t tax food! (Unless it’s takeout at fast food place rather than “eat in” that you order. )

      Gardenpat in Ohio

  9. Brandy, the ball fermentation lids look interesting. I would assume this is if you are making a couple of jars. I use a crock, a plate with a rock on it. My kids always used to laugh when they emptied the dishwasher and there sat a big old rock. I store the rock in the crock so I know where it is year to year. I usually ferment and can 20 pints a year. But could use the Ball to do small amount if I run out before ferment time again. A thought, thanks.

    My week here in Minnesota:
    -I made a baby blanket with a giraffe printed flannel on one side (from the clearance bin that I had bought several years ago)and brown minky fabric on the other (on sale and I was able to use an additional coupon). Plus I also sewed a soft book. I buy these panels when they are 50% off. I keep a couple panels and I always have scraps of quilt batting to use in them. This is a gift for a very good friends daughter, she is due with her first baby in a month.
    -My goal this year is to make or buy gifts from the secondary market or items I have bartered for. My son in law had a birthday last week, I bought him an older previously owned tap handle for his kegerator at a garage sale. He brews his own beer, mead, and root beer. He also got 2 quarts of honey I bartered for to use in making mead. I traded fresh asparagus and 2 quarts pickled asparagus for the honey.
    -Turned the air on June 14 for an hour in the evening just to take some humidity out. We kept the upstairs at 79, it was 91 with high humidity. We had such a cool and wet spring here in Minnesota so we haven’t run the AC yet. The front will go through and then another couple of pleasant days. Then the heat and humidity crank up! It was a warm weekend!
    -Divided and moved some flower plants this week. Filling in with existing perennials instead of buying something. Gave some away.
    -Lots of weeding and mulching of the garden. Plus we buried fish guts in 4 different places in the garden. Works great as fertilizer as it rots. Also put the trellis made from hog panels for the peas to climb on in the garden.
    -Hubby dug out one of my clothesline posts. It was leaning in as it had not been cemented when they put it in. So he cemented it in and restrung the lines with new plastic coated wire. Hanging out all laundry but the towels, so we are drying one load each week.
    -A month ago I cut off a pair of jeggings into shorts and hemmed them for my grand daughter. I saved the lower legs below the holes because it was stretchy denim. I cut one inch wide bands and then cut the bands open. I used these as ties for my asparagus. I planted 8 new plants this year and the fronds were falling all over. So I tied each one to a rebar metal stake. Worked great!
    -I made an apron out of 2 vintage dish towels and a vintage embroidered runner that I bought at a garage sale for $0.75 for all 3 pieces. I used double bias tape I also bought at a garage sale a long time ago to trim it. I made ties from some muslin fabric left from a curtain valance. Turned out cute. All made for about $2.
    -I canned 13 quarts of peach slices, plus we ate some fresh and I made a peach cobbler once they ripened. Nothing better than a juicy ripe peach!
    -We are got together with family for Father’s Day. We had a potluck. One of the family members bought 3 racks of ribs and asked us to smoke them on our smoker. We did that the day before and then put them on the grill the next day to heat up. I also made coleslaw. Nice meal and nice fellowship. The ribs were awesome. Something we haven’t had for a long time because of the expense.
    -I love June, everything is green, the days are long, the lightening bugs are out after dark, and the dragonflies and butterflies are all over.

    Have a great week!

    1. Julie, I put the cabbage in the 2-quart sized jars with the lids. I only have a few this size and I wanted to fit as much as possible.

  10. I love the picture of the goldfinch. And well done to your son for watching the price of eggs. It seems very handy to have a family member work in a grocery store.
    • I taught my husband how to make bread in the thrifted Zojirushi breadmaker. It turned out perfectly for him, so I think he will continue!
    • Harvesting zucchini (eaten roasted), our first tomato, plums, parsley, lemon balm, rosemary and thyme, lettuce, kale and swiss chard, strawberries and blackberries. Received juicing oranges, which I juiced immediately. Made lemon balm ‘sun tea’.
    • Worked my 2 regular jobs, and worked on paid sewing project on the side.
    • Line dried our laundry, as usual, it dries in just as short a time as in the dryer. Ran the gray water from the laundry out to the fruit trees.
    • Finished the sewing I needed to do to take down to son, daughter-in-law and grandson next weekend. He has completed his service!! I am deeply thankful for his safe return.
    • Not thrifty, but worthwhile-my daughter and I are both seeing a specialist that is outside of our insurance network. As our financial advisor says, “What good is wealth if you don’t have your health.” We save for such occurrences and we feel it’s an important example to set for our children-spending wisely on things that matter.

  11. I too have been getting up early to get a jump on the day when it is cooler – although not as early as you! But given your temperatures, it is certainly a smart move.
    .No money spent the weekend of the 12th aside from transit fare for church as my friend who lives downstairs is away this week so no outings.
    .No money spent this past weekend as the subway was down for repairs at my end of town so I decided to stay home to cook and clean. It had been over 30C and very humid for a couple of days but the temperature dropped suddenly on Friday night and it was around 21C with a cool wind all weekend so great for getting things done!
    .Day to day grocery shopping kept to a minimum – milk, English muffins, apples & bananas
    .Pantry additions were more cans of chunky soups, chilli & tuna, and then long-life milks, both shelf-stable and for the fridge

    .Large BLSL chicken breasts were on 4 for $10 so I bought 2 packs. Cooked 1 pack – kept one out to eat over 2 meals (they are large) and froze the rest to eat over the summer (3 half breasts and 3 halves cut up into chunks to be used in salads, stir frys or curries). The 4 that I left uncooked were packaged up individually and double bagged to freeze for later. I now have a good supply of chicken breasts, thighs & legs. I used $10 worth of Loyalty points. Stores are all well stocked and there are a few sales here and there – although I do find that my local grocery store tends to have more in-store sales than what appear in the weekly flyer – I suspect it’s to do with what gets delivered rather than what they’ve ordered!

    .I then cooked 2 pounds of ground beef, added 2 cans of lentils and then split everything in 2. I added Italian herbs and tomato paste to one lot and more “meaty” seasonings plus frozen veg to the other half. Made up 2 packages of each type and figure I will get 12 to 14 servings in all.

    .Then I caramelized a few onions that were getting soft (they just aren’t keeping well these days), peeled and chopped a bag of carrots that were also having “issues” and cooked a punnet of mushrooms. Used up some of these over the weekend but also froze some for future use. I did lose some salad greens this week so very glad that I got to everything else in time!

    .I was on a roll so also ended up making 3 loaves of fruit cake! I was going through pantry items and decided that I should use up some of the various packages of dried fruit that were all half full. I’ll take some into the office later in the week but will also keep some on hand for expected company and some I’ll freeze for later (if I can find any room in my freezer compartment)!

    .All this cooking led to me once again rearranging things in the freezer and pantry – something that I seem to do every couple of weeks now! If something needs to be used sooner rather than later then I move it to the kitchen counter to keep it front and centre! It also allows me to better see where some gaps may be.

    I also decided to try making a few pantry meals in order to try out some canned items. This week I used canned diced potatoes, baked beans and canned Vienna sausage. The potatoes & beans were fine of course but have to say that the sausage wouldn’t be my first choice of a protein. Would I eat it if I was hungry – certainly – but, given the choice I would use regular hotdogs instead. This week I intend opening a can of chunky soup (I have some flavours that I’ve never tried) and serving it over rice to see what I think of this option.

    Did have dinner with friends on Friday night (hadn’t seen them since pre-pandemic) and then we went to see 2 Pianos – 4 Hands – I was really enjoying it but had to leave at intermission due to the subway shutting down. This show and 3 others still to go are all part of a subscription package I paid for back in 2020 so I am finally getting my monies worth.

    .All the regular things – take snacks and water bottle to the office on the days that I go in – wash & reuse ziplocs – use the library – try not to waste any food!

    Hope the weather isn’t too crazy where you live – we are back to about 32C but feeling more like 40C for the next couple of days so I won’t be doing any cooking!

  12. Lovely photo of your goldfinch! I am glad that you are happy with the fermentation lid system; I bought a set just two days ago and was wondering if they actually worked!
    The usual frugalities were observed: bread baking, home cooking all meals, line drying as much laundry as possible, mending.
    I did buy some more canning jars as I counted my empty jars and made my canning plan for the season. I post it on my fridge to keep me on track. Because of the anticipated shortages later this year, I will be putting by more than usual, as well as more variety. Thus more jars are required. Wide mouth lids are almost impossible to find, but regular lids are available, albeit expensive. Currently there are plenty of new jars with lids available everywhere. I find that, with the high cost of lids, it is usually cheaper now to buy new jars with lids than to buy jars used! Go figure!
    There was a front page article on anticipated citrus shortages coming up for us in Canada. So when I saw lemons on sale, I bought. I have a large jar of salted and brined lemons fermenting on my counter, which will last a year in the fridge. If they last that long! I tried a bit of lemon rind already, and it was delicious! The other lemons I made into lemonade concentrate and then waterbath canned it ready for the summer’s heat – if we ever get any. It was a lot of squeezing.
    Strawberries should (finally) be ripe this week, and I will buy in bulk from my local farmer to make our strawberry jam for the year. I anticipate wincing at the price, but I tell myself that I want to support the farmer and I know his costs have skyrocketed. We had an orchard for ten years, so I experienced firsthand the trials and tribulations of making a living growing things.
    Have a great week!

    1. Why the shortages on citrus? Is it imported from the U.S.? I read daily about shortages and crops worldwide but I haven’t seen this one and would love a link to read more. Thanks!

      1. I’ve seen that warning as well – apparently the issue is in Texas – that deep freeze did a number on their citrus trees and the problem will extend into next year! I’m allergic to oranges but do like to have lemons and limes on hand so I am starting to freeze slices. I have some lemons already but limes were 79 cents each last week so passed on those for now.

        1. I live in Oklahoma and a hail storm wiped out 85% of the local peach crop. News said to call before heading to the orchard because they may or may not have peaches.

      2. Brandy, It was on June 12 at nationalpost.com. “A Summer Without Citrus:Weather and supply chain issues”. (I couldn’t get the link to post, but you should be able to read it from that info.) It appears mostly to be an issue with cold weather in Florida. I thought of you when I read it, what a good idea to grow your own citrus.

        1. I hope it will be good. Last year we had a hard frost and lost a tree. The other new trees lost all their branches. My husband is worried because half of the trees are citrus trees now and a bad frost would do them all in.

          1. Writing from Ontario – we are already having trouble getting lemon juice. You can but the no name one but not the “real lemon” brand

          2. Easy trick to combat tree frost. Put white lights on them. Make sure they are not led as you want them to get warm. Admittedly, I’m in zone 9, so we don’t get snow or anything, but it should work for you Brandy, save maybe a real hard frost if you get those. My friend in Sacramento (also zone 9) has done this to all her fruit trees. She leaves the lights up and just plugs them in when needed (or wants the yard festive).

            I do the old school trick mom taught me of tossing an old sheet over my lemon tree for frost as I’ve trimmed it to a more bush shape so I can reach everything. We’ve both never lost anything to a freeze. (That I’ve covered.)

  13. I love the picture of the bird. Gorgeous.
    I didn’t write down what I did this week, but we stayed frugal.
    Worked three days and brought breakfast and lunch al days.
    Made a ham last Sunday, so had chef salad for lunches, and leftover ham for dinner.
    Worked in the garden the days I had off, at least when I could between the raindrops.
    It has been over 280 days since we had 80 degrees. My garden needs some sun and heat. Maybe this week.
    I think most of our first planting of corn seeds rotted in the ground due to cold temperatures and so much rain. The seeds we planted for the second planting have already started to come up. The broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, potatoes, onions, snow peas, carrots, beets and chard have been loving this weather.
    My black and white beans have come up okay, as have the bush beans. The basil and peppers have been suffering.
    Made a big batch of ham fried rice with the scrap ends of some leftover ham. The bone and more scraps went in the freezer for split pea soup at a later date.
    I continue to do my physical therapy exercises – I have not had a repeat of my back issue.
    My DH loves rhubarb crisp, so made one for him for father’s day.
    Washed bedding from our room and guest bedroom, and hung on the line to dry.
    Hope everyone has a good week.

  14. -We continue to enjoy fresh asparagus, kale and herbs from the garden. Mulberries should start to ripen this week. I replanted beans that didn’t germinate. I made sourdough muffins with leftover bananas, sourdough bread, and banana date blondies. I had been craving strawberry shortcake, I tried jiffy muffin biscuit mix instead of paying $5 for store bought angel food cake. That day, I didn’t have the time to fully make my own biscuits. I made whip cream, which I haven’t done in a long time.
    -Sold a few items on eBay. Money in, junk out.
    -Spoke with our business electric company. We have overhead lights that are quite expensive. We didn’t set them up and did not know how the program worked. A few phone calls and they are getting updated with LED lights, which should save us about $150-200/month.
    -We got sushi and sake from the grocery store for an at home date night instead of going out to a restaurant
    -Continuing to practice Spanish on Duolingo. I’m on track to reach my goal this year.

  15. I haven’t been able to buy the freeze-dried oregano I have been getting off and on for the last year. The regular bottles of oregano on the shelves are now powder rather than crushed leaves, which I didn’t want. I did see an oregano plant on an end of season shelf at 30% off, so I did get that a few days ago. It has new growth since I got it so it is happy on the sill above my kitchen sink.

    (I don’t normally keep houseplants since the cat dumps the pots over at night and eats the plants. She doesn’t go on kitchen counters though, and she doesn’t have a way to get up to this sill. It will work through the summer anyway. The window is too cold for plants in winter. I have grown herbs in a container outside for years, but the man who worked in my yard last year discarded the soil and a bag of potting soil. It is too heavy to carry home new soil.)

    I was pricing a couple of things on Amazon, and found I could get a one-week Prime membership for 99 cents. A new offer, for sure. I used the membership to order masa harinha with free shipping. I can’t get it locally. I use it for making corn bread as well as tortillas. Last September I froze some whole jalapenos, which I dice really finely and add to the cornbread batter, which gives it some heat. It is great with chili.

    After people shared their stories of infestations, I felt so badly for everyone’s losses. I priced storage containers, but I could replace the food many times over for the cost. They are too expensive for me, other than containers reused from other things I buy. I do put flour and oats in the freezer for several days when I get it, but I am extending that to rice, pasta and anything made from any kind of grain, now that I am buying food for somewhat longer term use. I’ll buy something to protect dry cat food now that I am buying more than a month of food at a time. This is more to discourage mice than insects, though. A down topic to end on!

  16. I made the last payment on an ongoing expense I have had for 13 years- it felt great!

    My best saving was going to a small corner store ( belonging to a big chain) where I got 24 x 500 gram ( slightly less than 1 lb) of Aberdeen Angus mince for £1.67 each (marked down from £4.40), 3 x 500g turkey mince for £1.81 ( marked down from £4.65), 3 x meatless mince for vegetarian daughter marked down as well and 2 packs of marked down sausages. In all ( for whole shop) I spent approx £50 and saved £80. I managed to manoeuvre it all into already packed freezers. I also made beef burgers and turkey meatballs while daughter quickly made veggie burgers. This is a tiny store that caters to young commuters ( who don’t seem to have freezers). When they have food near the use by date it is really reduced. It is a very short car ride from me ( I can walk it but not with the loot above- took me 2 trips to buy and take to car). Free parking on road outside. I love yellow stickers!

    Son back from uni. My MIL collected him ( 150 miles away) saving me money and time ( I was very grateful). He is walking dog ( a lot of people around here pay dog walkers £11 an hour- we never have- free and lovely exercise). He has mowed garden and helped with other chores/ jobs ( I have a secret list!).

    Daughter finishing school and deep in exams. After her exams she is going on holiday with my MIL (to France/Italy). This will be a treat for both of them as my MIL has not been on holiday for 5 years ( my late FIL was frail then there was Covid). I also think family are very reassured that elderly MIL has sensible granddaughter with her. MIL has paid for tickets/ hotel. She then comes home and goes on holiday with us (to Sardinia- paid £4 for flights) followed by accompanying my sister up to Scotland ( booked train using railcard). She will stay with my sister and see other grandmother. My sister is coming down to London to house and dog sit while we are away, I paid her train ticket- I think this is a bargain as house and dog looked after ! I think this is a nice family celebration for daughter finishing school.

    Broccoli was reduced to 17 pence a head ( or 2 small heads) in shop recently. We have eaten a lot of broccoli. I peeled the stalks and chopped them up and used them in stir- fries. Very tasty.

    Eventually claimed for something I should have claimed for ages ago. Ah well- better next time.

  17. Went back over the budget. Called both our IRA guys and made appointments combining them with other appts we have so no wasted gas.
    We dropped the electric bill by $15. We have both paid attention to not running fans when not in the room. Turning the AC UP when we are gone (but low enough to not stress the indoor dog) . Not turning on AC unless it’s over 85.

    I hang the daily laundry on the kitchen porch clothes line and block the sun from getting in the kitchen.
    I canned pork butt for the first time. I will probably stay with canning loin as it was a mess of cutting it for the quart jars. I tossed the bones and scraps in the roaster and cooked it. Will have enough for a couple meals without turning the oven on.

    I harvest daily. Salad items is starting to hit every other day.

  18. Havent commented for awhile but this is my favorite place every week. Just reading here puts me in a frugal mindset. Two weeks ago I started a full time job after being a stay at home mom for 20 years. At 45 years old I have never had a job that was considered full time. To say the last two weeks has been hard is a major understatement. All you full time working women are amazing! I feel like I am running behind in every aspect. Some of my health problems with arthritis have flared up, which is not helping my attitude. On the frugal front, we have spent more eating out and alot more on gas. I have had really no time or energy so have not been cooking cheap meals and instead bought some convenience/quick foods. The first two weeks I worked reduced hours while in training. Starting tomorrow I will leave my house at 7:45 and not get home will 5:30 so I am making sure to have meals figured out. I just was way to tired to care what anyone ate. I had the weekend off and today, Monday, due to Juneteenth being a holiday. I went to Kroger today and it was glorious! Grocery shopping and getting deals is my favorite hobby. I got alot of markdowns at Kroger. Lots of canned fruit for .59 cents and Campbells chicken noodle soup, also for .59 cents a can. I bought all they had. My daughter is going to be having her wisdom teeth removed and that will be something soft she can eat. Also got Orville Redenbacher microwave popcorn boxes with 6 packs for $1.50. We have lots of food in our stockpile and I am so thankful. I am only making food with what I have or of I need one or two ingredients. No fancy ingredients that will only ever be used for one recipe. Meals I made in the last two weeks that I can think of was meatloaf, mashed potatoes and corn, meatball sandwiches with pasta salad, a new recipe for ranch chicken potatoes but I won’t make it again. I also always serve a fresh fruit and veggie with every dinner. All I am buying at the grocery store is staples we need, milk, HBA products that are needed and deals. I am still finding produce $1.00 or cheaper per pound but on all things I feel like I am having to work harder to find these deals. Gas did go down six cents! So that is a plus. Also, our dryer quick working, again. The last time was 3 months ago. Same problem with the belt but this time my husband and son just spinner the drum and it fixed it. Our dishwasher also stopped working the weekend before I started working. I am researching them, they have changed since we bought ours 10 years ago. Almost all of them come with a third rack. Hopefully in the next week we will get a new one purchased. The day after it broke, I went to Walmart and was going to buy a drying rack and they were $25! Way to much. The next day I went to a garage sale and found one for $1.00 that looked brand new. I was very happy and it has been getting alot of use and after the dishes get put away I just store it in my broken dishwasher! I can’t wait to read what every one has been up to this week and see how your saving!

    1. Hi Jenn,
      You will get your “sea legs” working full time ;). It will just take a few months until you figure out how to rearrange your world. Your weekends will be action packed! As with any big change, it will take you a while to get more efficient. I worked full time all my life, no kids and one husband, and managed it. With a husband that always wanted one weekend day for us to have fun, that meant my other weekend day was a blur. I will say I love being retired so that I have time again, and I also have more time to cook and save money.

    2. Jenn – it will get easier. I have worked all 47 years of my marriage. Including when my children were young. My advice – cook on the weekends. Make double of recipes and freeze them. I would make the next night’s dinner after the kids went to bed . There were weeks when we ate leftovers every night. I would also make a huge batch of spaghetti sauce in the crockpot Actually the crockpot became my best friend. Hope this helps

      1. I knew a lady with 5 kids who made a week’s worth of menus every Friday night or Saturday morning, bought groceries Saturday morning and prepped a week’s worth of meals as she put her groceries away. She had her Crock Pot going, browned ground beef, prepped veggies, etc. It worked for her–they rarely ate out and never bought take-out. Just another way of going at it.

      2. Echoing Nancy’s suggestion on using a crock pot if you are able to for some meals when working full-time. I didn’t for years and now wonder why. This bean soup recipe below is easy, cheap, but bland so I add hot sauce when I prep it and again to taste when serving. That turned it from meh to yum. no pre soaking required…https://www.budgetbytes.com/slow-cooker-white-bean-soup/

    3. Jenn in Indiana – Congratulations on your new career! I agree with everything Hilogene in Az said – it will seem overwhelming for a while, but you’ll get into a routine after a while. I have worked full-time since I was 18. You do have to plan things out more carefully and your evenings and weekends will be busier. The crock pot will become your best friend! I start a lot of meals before I leave for work in the morning, so dinner is ready (or 90% there) when I get home from work. I also often get things assembled in the crock pot the night before and then set it in the refrigerator overnight, to start in the morning.

    4. Hang in there, Jenn. It will get easier! I have always worked full-time but get summers off (I’m a teacher). When school starts back each year, I am always super exhausted for a couple of weeks. It’s like the summer makes me forget what it feels like to work! It helps if we have some meals in the freezer that can just be reheated, but I’m not always that organized. Once we get in a groove, things are better. The crockpot and Instant pot are lifesavers for us! I hope you’re enjoying your job, and that the added income brings your family happiness.

  19. Our old pick-up truck has needed repairs. My hubby is doing all of the work himself (on the weekends) to save us on the cost of labor.
    My oldest daughter and I made low sugar grape jelly for the first. The jelly turned out great!
    Our school district is providing lunches at the local parks a couple times a week for the month of June. My girls have enjoyed the lunches and getting to play at the splash pad afterwards.

  20. Hi Brandy and everyone
    I hope your new schedule works out for you and you get plenty done in the cooler temperatures of the morning. Early morning is a lovely time of day.
    I put a couple of items I wanted to purchase in the online shopping basket, let them sit for a few days and then removed one of the items. I ordered a new swimsuit at 40% off.
    I still had a couple of bags of redcurrants in the freezer and it won’t be long until we’re picking this year’s so I turned them into redcurrant jelly.
    Coffee is still on a deal so I bought more this week. My husband appreciates his coffee.
    We invited two couples over to have afternoon tea in the garden. I just made one cake and we drank lots of tea and elderflower cordial. We are all keen gardeners and enjoyed a three way plant swap. I received a bouquet of flowers as a hostess gift.
    We picked/ pulled raspberries, strawberries, beetroot, new potatoes,radishes, broad beans and carrots. I picked sweet peas and Sweet William for the house and we gave flowers and veg to two neighbours. My husband pricked out half a tray of Pak choy seedlings and we gave the remainder to a friend, she has never eaten it so is keen to grow and try it.
    My car has been making a worrying clunking noise and our nice local mechanic inspected it and thought it could be one of two problems, one expensive to solve, one much cheaper. He ordered the cheaper part first and happily that has sorted the problem, to our great relief!
    We declined an invitation to a social event which would have meant a long journey and an overnight stay. We are managing our money/ resources and outgoings so we can have a holiday later in the year and we didn’t want to be knocked off course by a party.
    Stay safe everyone.

      1. I can see the comments today, thank you. For whatever reason they would not pull up all day yesterday. Penny S.

  21. Hello Brandy and All!
    It seems the heat dome has settled in Tornado Alley as it is HOT! Yard work has been minimal and pretty much limited to watering and bird baths. I think we have another week of it. There are pop up thunderstorms somewhere in Kansas nearly every day, but we haven’t gotten one. When we do, the next early morning will be a weeding day.

    Our goldfinch are smaller and nearly all yellow. Yours looks more like our western meadowlark. It sure is a pretty little bird!
    As for our savings and extras:
    * Got only 2 of the loss leaders- orange juice and bottled water. We had a water issue a couple of weeks ago so it was good to replace it. We drank bottled water for 3 days.
    * We both donated blood last week and each got a $5 Amazon GC.
    * The Mr. had a side job for a couple of hours, which was great.
    * He drove right past Sam’s club so he stopped and picked up salad greens and a couple of hot dogs for dinner.
    * I did a lot of mending and made a big dent in my pile. As I sew, I can’t help but wonder how many people would throw away the items from a lack of basic sewing skills. I know at least 2 women that can’t be bothered.
    * Had plans for a BBQ on Saturday that was a drop in business anniversary from 11-2. I think he underestimated the crowd as we got there just after noon and there was little left to eat or drink. It was wicked hot so we stopped on the way home and got shaved ice. That was pure heaven!!
    * For beautifying, my kitchen was the place. I found some small 6-8″ pussy willow wreaths half price after EasterDe. I hung 2 sets of 2 on some of my cabinets and they look so pretty! I also saw a display of vintage potholders (see Pinterest) in Midwest Living and immediately dug mine out of my linen chest. I hung them all above the pantry door. It’s like a tribute to the housewives before me! They were made by my Mom, my Grandma, my Aunt, and my Great Grandma. I love that they’re where I can see and appreciate them daily!
    Lastly, my reading:
    On my nightstand – Gamble by Felix Francis.
    In my craft room CD player – First Family by David Baldacci.
    With my Bible study – Beautiful in God’s Eyes by Elizabeth George.
    By my reading chair – The Quilt that Walked to Golden by Sandra Dallas, a non fiction sub titled Women and Quilts in the Mountain West. This book is very good and is about so much more than quilts! Sandra Dallas also wrote a wonderful book called The Persian Pickle Club about a quilting group in Kansas during the Depression. I loved it. It even has a little mystery in it.

    Well, I’ve yammered on enough! Good week to all and drink plenty of cool water!!

    1. My son took a photo on his phone and used it to identify the bird. I couldn’t find the bird in my Audobon bird book and I was so happy to finally know what it was.

      I hope my library has the book you recommended; I am going to look now.

      1. I hope you didn’t think I was questioning your bird ID. I just thought it was interesting how similar they look in a picture. My husband bought me a Kansas bird book for our first Christmas here. I love marking off the type and date when I see them in my yard. I often wonder what my neighbors think when they see me at the windows with binoculars!! ‘Look! There’s that nosy Gladys Kravitz again!!!’

    2. Hi Debby
      Isn’t it Kansas where a tornado whirls Dorothy off to The Land of Oz?
      Best keep your sparkly red shoes in the wardrobe.

      1. Yup, that’s our claim to fame!! No sparkly red shoes for me. I look horrible in red! I’m better off in Emerald City green!

  22. It was another great, frugal week in Houston, TX!
    I took some rice out of the freezer that I bulk bought and will store in 2 L soda bottles a friend saves for me. Lucky timing, because the store I went to for cheese (.95/8 oz) had ice cream on sale for 2.19/1.5 qt, with $1 off coupons outside the freezer door. I let the kids each pick a flavor, at that price! I’m thankful to have had the freezer space after moving the rice.
    I did a lot of mowing with a (self-propelled) push mower. The lot at the house we recently bought is 1.27 acres, but partially wooded, in a college town an hour and a half away. I bought a $20 garage sale push mower that I can keep there, instead of paying someone to mow. I bought some canning tomatoes from a local man, and he delivered them to the house while I was mowing, and I’ll be making salsa from them.
    Good grocery sales: onions 3#/.99, tomatoes .47/# (not as flavorful as the homegrown ones), pasta 3#/$1, .99/# strawberries, and several other things I’m forgetting. Inexpensive meals were tortilla pizzas, pigs in a blanket, spaghetti, and a goulash-type concoction. We did a good job eating leftovers this week.
    I told my dad about the $8 Sam’s promotion, and he got it to use for gas. Sam’s prices aren’t that great for my family and the things we buy, but the gas makes it worth it for $8/year.
    I made a pan of chocolate chip cookie bars, which we topped with the sale ice cream, for a Father’s Day dessert. We celebrated with my parents and brother and his family at our neighborhood pool (free), with Little Caesar’s pizzas. They’ve gone up to $5.55/each from $5 for a large, but they’re still a good value. Everyone seemed to like my dessert.
    I made brown sugar using molasses and white sugar.
    We swam at a friend’s house and took some chocolate chip cookies that my daughter made.
    Someone was selling some blow-in insulation leftover from a remodel. I got 24 bags for $100, which will really help with the electric bill. They must have drastically over-ordered. Somehow I got myself and 6 other people, the 24 bundles of insulation, and our packed lunch into the old Honda minivan, which I drove to the other house in College Station to take the insulation. While at the house, we saw a lot of deer, including two twin fawns. We got on the roof to trim trees, but I only let the 7 and 9 year old get on the roof with me. Luckily, it’s a 1 story house. But, the prior owner replaced the roof less several months ago, and I don’t want any of the oak branches to fall on it.
    I sold more things on Mercari and Facebook Marketplace.
    I bought gas at Sam’s, which was cheaper.
    Have a great, frugal week, everyone!

    1. That insulation was a great deal and will save you so much money in the long run!

  23. Hello!

    We are currently on vacation in the Bahamas. We are having a great time, but wow, food is outrageously expensive at the resort where we are staying. I knew this would be the case though, so we brought lots of food and drinks. The only problem is there is no refrigerator, nor microwave, so my options were limited regarding what I could bring. We eat all of our breakfasts and lunches in the room: oatmeal packets using the keurig, muffins, peanut butter, Nutella, tuna kits, and bread that I brought. We went to a nearby grocery store but didn’t find much. I had hoped to get some produce, but surprisingly, none of it looked good.

    Before leaving for our trip, we celebrated my husband’s birthday. I made his favorite Hershey’s chocolate cake, an oldie, but a goodie!

    I found a dehydrator for $5 at a thrift store sale! It is a good brand and is in great condition. I am a “newbie” to using one, so I picked up three books at the library.

    We had some rain before we left, so I set all of our covered patio and other various pots out for free watering!

    I received 11!! bottles of free multi vitamins from a Ripplestreet program I applied for. I was shocked how many bottles they sent. I thought it was just going to be one. They are mostly kids gummy varieties, so I won’t have to buy any for a long time!

    I also received a free bottle of an Aussie brand hair product from Proctor and Gamble.

    We rarely buy souvenirs on vacations, except we like to buy a Christmas ornament. We have found lots of unique shells and things this time, so instead, I’m going to have the kids make one modeled after one we saw in a shop. It will give them something fun to do when we get home.

    We used up all perishables before we left, and I made some freezer meals for when we return.

    Have a great week!

  24. We attended a display village fun day. We received free rides, food and entertainment and didn’t get home until bed time. The free food we received included sausage on bread with sauce/ketchup and grilled brown onion, cupcakes, buttered popcorn, soda, slushies, sno cones and fairy floss. My children enjoyed a free petting zoo, giant slide, giant jenga, inflatable bouncing castle, face painting, soccer games, decorating garden pots and balloons twisted into animals of their choosing.

    We took our chairs to enjoy the free twilight screening of Sing 2 under the stars, with complimentary buttered popcorn.

    Total out of pocket expenses for tge day were $0! Grateful to have fun and to receive lunch, snacks, dinner and drinks for my family. What a treat.

    While there we received the following which I took home (all free). Some were handed out by a local radio station, others were given out in tote bags from companies either promoting themselves or as a gift for playing their fun little game. We got a soccer ball, three medium sized footballs, four medium packets of crisps, four large iced cupcakes, an assortment of larged glazed iced donuts (three), soda cans, juice poppers, two notepads, three pens, three plastic water bottles, a stainless steel water bottle, three mini waters in bottles, a thermos, a handful of wrapped confectionary, 6 lollipops, two bubble containers with wand, a sealed packet of buttered popcorn, two keychains and a pencil case. It felt like Christmas at out house the next morning.

    We also took home the three pots we decorated. They filled them with soil and let us choose seeds in a packet that were stapled to a card with instructions. They put it all in a bag. Seeds we chose were two packets of coriander and one packet of verbena. My children enjoying planting and watering the next day.

    I also kept the containers the buttered popcorn came in while we watched the movie. They will be useful for all kinds of food. For morning tea tge next day I filled them with banana and yoghurt for my children.

    I cut up all the donuts and cupcakes we bought home as they were all large sized. I froze them and they will make a good snack in the childrens school lunch boxes.

    No grocery shopping needed this week as we have enough.

    Have a great week.

  25. I used shredded chicken that I picked off carcasses in chicken pot pie.

    I used Amazon gift card I received from Amazon shopper panel for a bottle of melatonin.

    I redeemed a code for a frse papadilla from Papa John’s

    I split cost of going to see the new Top Gun movie with my mother in law (for hubby’s Father’s day/birthday) , my son purchased the snacks.

    Some grocery deals…$1.98 jugs of Simply orange juice(3) and .99 1lb packs of mushrooms (4. Most will go on the dehydrator)

    Found 2 movies I have on my Netflix dvd list on Amazon prime(I’m still working to eliminate it)

    Managed to go to Hobby lobby and spend nothing(my mother in law wanted to while she was in town). Come fall time I might be in trouble though, lol.

  26. Brandy I cannot believe how early you get up! I wish I could do that!
    Frugal things for the week:
    Carpooled last week for taking kids to camp. Arranged all prescriptions to come in on one day to minimize driving.

    Called our internet and phone provider to ask about different specials and ended up saving $15 per month for the same service.

    Making meatless meals a few times per week and when we do have meat it is very limited. Eating out of the pantry and freezer this week and next to save money.

    Found a few things on clearance for the kids and while they were good deals I put them back because the kids didn’t really need them.

    Our oven stopped working this weekend. After googling and trying a few things I fixed it! So happy and I hope it lasts. The stove is pretty old but we just replaced our washer so I really don’t want the expense of anther appliance.

    I have been enjoying an extreme grocery budget challenge series of videos on Mindful Family on YouTube. I haven’t watched her videos until the now so I cannot recommend her but I have enjoyed this series.

    Have a great week everyone!

  27. Great savings on the eggs and I am glad you hit your sweet spot in the morning.

    I saved unused water to water potted plants.
    Trimmed basil as it grows to air dry for this fall and winter. Still saving plenty for fresh uses. Harvested a lot of kale and enjoyed a kale, apple and toasted nut salad.
    I’m giddy to see blossoms on my squash and cuke plants.
    I am an early riser but do not enjoy morning workouts. I have started doing free 15 min yoga or Leslie Sansone workouts on YouTube before I head out for the day and it has really helped me mentally.
    Hope everyone has a calm week!

  28. I made pedialyte ice cubes out of the leftover pedialyte from when my son was sick. It has to be used in 48 hours, but he doesn’t ever drink the whole container that quickly.

    My mom brought us a jar of peanut butter cups. They’ve been a nice treat.

    I used coupons and extra care bucks at CVS to get a bottle of shampoo for free and a tube of mascara for 60% off. I added the mascara to my back stock makeup bin. Make up is so expensive, so I always try to buy the stuff I use when I see it on sale.

    We lost power for about 6 hours this week during a storm. I’m not sure if it saved us any money or not. Of course, we weren’t using an electricity during that time, but then our air conditioners had to work double time to cool the house back down once the power came on. The storm watered our plants, but also knocked down two of our apple trees. They weren’t completely knocked down and nothing appeared broken, so we drove some stakes in the ground and pulled them back upright. We tied them to the stakes. Hopefully, their roots weren’t too badly damaged. I guess time will tell.

    There were a few receipts in bagging area at Aldi that others had left behind. I grabbed them and scanned them into FetchRewards. Between those receipts and mine, I earned about $1.

    Our blackberries are just starting to ripen. We picked about 3 cups worth and my son had been loving eating them.

    My boss approved my request to work 2 more hours per week. Now his boss just has to approve it and then I can do it. That will be more money in my pocket. While I’ll be working a couple more hours, my schedule will fit our family life a little better, as I won’t be getting home as late. I only work 25 hours per week right now so that I can spend more time with our son. Once he’s in school I’ll probably work a little more. But I’d rather have to be a little more frugal now and get to spend more time with him.

    I also got a 3% raise at work. Which is great, but also disheartening when inflation has been so high. I will raise my retirement contribution another 1%. I do that every time I get a raise. I’m up to 14% now.

    I’ve been unsubscribing from email lists, just a few each day. Hopefully, that will curb some of my impulse spending. But more than anything, I’ll be glad to have some of the back I spend managing my email!

    Not exactly frugal, but I finally got my additional band for my wedding ring. I wanted one that represented the addition of our son to our family, but I didn’t want to pay that much for it. Our jeweler is retiring, so he was selling his remaining inventory for 50% off. Lucky for me, he had the band that went with my set!

    1. A reader once suggested powdered Powerade to me instead of Pedialyte. I keep it for illnesses. I can make just one sippy cup at a time this way and it tastes better than Pedialyte, so the children actually drink it. They would actually drink it more often but I save it for when they are sick.

      1. Interesting tidbit- I used to work on an ambulance. We stocked powdered gatorade. For peds, we mixed it half strength. Literally it was the same thing as pedialyte, at a much cheaper cost with a longer shelf life! Ive used his on all of my kids, and they have all survived.

      2. Great idea! I picked up pedialyte popsicles to have on hand, too. But, honestly, they are pretty gross.

  29. Homemade sauerkraut is the best!! And in glad you were able to find some affordable eggs!

    My frugal week:
    – made homemade hummus (http://approachingfood.com/ultra-creamy-hummus/) and served it with homemade pita bread
    – harvested lettuce, chives, cilantro, and green onions from my garden.
    – I signed my daughter up for a free transition to kindergarten program.
    – I redeemed Swagbucks for $10 to my paypal account.
    – I redeemed a Starbucks birthday reward for the biggest possible frozen mocha drink, and redeemed loyalty points for a free cake pop for my daughter.
    – I signed my eldest up for the summer reading club at the local public library
    – I baked some lemon poppyseed muffins using Brandy’s recipe, and gave them to my old workplace while still warm. Inexpensive networking!
    – baked cheddar, bacon, and green onion muffins for father’s day breakfast. Used the cheddar, bacon, and green onion as toppings, as they go further that way than if I had stirred them in. Used my reusable silicone muffin liners. The green onion I grew myself, and the bacon was leftover from a meal and frozen.
    – sold a baby mobile to a secondhand kids store, and bought a book about Toronto, a swim top for my youngest (I already have swim bottoms for her), and a brand-new pkg of velvet scrunchies (for school) for my eldest using the proceeds, with only $2.40 oop.
    – I baked vegan banana muffins using my silicone liners for a playdate I hosted. The recipe called for flax eggs, but I’ve also just used flax eggs when recipes called for eggs but I was out. An inexpensive snack! And I made homemade playdough to use with cookie cutters as an activity.
    – plus lots of frugal summer fun: picnics, playgrounds, sprinklers, etc.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!!!

  30. What a great photo of the bird! Well done! Glad to see your blog up. I had cooked all our meals for weeks and was completely burned out, so I suggested we go out for lunch (it is just me and my husband, we are retired). I mentioned to him all the meals I had cooked, for weeks, and he said, oh, that can’t be, we have eaten out quite recently. Sigh, so I looked up our spending notes and it had been weeks. So we ate two meals out last week, for crazy high prices, and I am back to cooking again this week. I am sorry if this sounds spoiled, but sometimes all the housework, shopping and cooking gets to be drudgery. I will say that the high prices are a big motivator when I get to feeling uninspired….lunch for 2 where we split a good hamburger and fries for $30! For the other meal, we went to a good Italian restaurant, we each had an appetizer, two small salads, and with tip it was $65! The world is crazy isn’t it?

    1. Hilogene, it doesn’t sound spoiled at all. I am retired, hubby is not, but after cooking for weeks, I often want a break and to go out for a meal. That meal price usually shocks me into cooking for many more weeks!😂

      1. I’m the same way. I cook and clean and cook and clean. Then we go out because I’m tired of cooking and cleaning. The price always makes me want to cook for many more weeks as well! Hubby likes to take me out for a treat, but I know that our budget will spread so much farther if I cook at home. Then we can spend on things we really want!

  31. We used basil from the plants we are growing to go with some tomatoes I bought from Aldi. We worked on turning off lights, keeping air conditioner a bit higher if possible to save electricity and money. We have made sandwiches this week, we just haven’t felt like a lot of hot food at home. Although I did use the slow cooker to make a potato casserole. Played instruments for entertainment and worked on music. Spent time with family. I wore light clothing, such as dresses and capris instead of jeans to keep cool.

    1. My husband and I visited a little town library today and were able to check out books! The library is part of a group of libraries that a library that we belong to is in. There are 44 libraries in this group. We love libraries, book stores, music stores, and thrift stores! Being able to check out books from the little libraries that we visit is fun! AND it is free! I love free entertainment! The library we visited today had music books! I loved that! So we had a cheap date today and it was fun! It is funny, I have always got so giddy over borrowing free books from the library! I’m just so grateful for the opportunity to do so at these libraries!

      1. We can return books from any of our three member libraries to any branch and not have to drive to another town to return them. I hope you have the same option.

  32. This week has been busy but we are making lots of progress in the backyard and the garden. Temperatures have been super hot hitting 100 daily with high humidity. We have worked around it as best we can. In the garden I sowed seeds for Kentucky Blue Lake Green Beans and another row of corn. I also planted green onions, marigolds and sunflowers. I still have to reseed some of the okra that I planted as the seed was washed away by a heavy rain storm. I was grateful that we didn’t have to water the garden for two days after triple digit temps. Everything In the garden is growing well. I harvested our first yellow squash, bell peppers, cubanelle peppers, sun gold tomatoes, and one jalapeño. Considering that I just planted the garden on June 4 and most was started from seed I think we are doing pretty well.
    I dried spent blooms from my marigolds and have seeds to plant. I have planted tons of zinnias, marigolds, sunflowers, hydrangeas, daisies, and lantana. I am trying to focus on flowers that return year after year and that I can gather seeds from. The sunflowers won’t return but they are lovely and pay dividends in driving bees and butterflies to the garden to pollinate.
    I purchased chicken thighs and ground beef on sale. I found apricots and bought seven pounds. I made 7 1/2 pints of jam with the fresh fruit and it is fantastic! Your recipe Brandy…thank you!! I had purchased a large bag of lemons that needed to be used so I roasted a package of the chicken thighs with lemon zest, thyme and garlic, juiced some for the apricot jam and used the juice of the remaining lemons to make a gallon of lemonade for us to enjoy. I made a large pot of great northern beans with kale and garlic to go along with rice and veggies this week. I am finding it so important to batch cook each weekend so that we can have easy meals during the week and garden chores can be tackled along with work and all the other household chores that we have to take care of.
    We are staying home so there is lots to do and more time to do it in.
    Enjoy the week ahead everyone!!

  33. What a wonderful photo of the Goldfinch! Your schedule impresses me, I would never be able to get up at 4:10 a.m.
    I want to thank you for giving this place of information, encouragement, and kindness. I love reading your posts and the comments since a long time, but never wrote something as writing in a foreign language is a bit of a challenge for me.
    I harvested strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, snow peas, lettuce, the last cilantro, and the first zucchinis from the garden. My tomatoes and chili plants are carrying fruits and I hope they will stay healthy.
    I canned 30 jars of strawberry jam with strawberries bought from a local farmer. To be sure to be prepared for the winter months, I wrote down a plan of how many canning jars of vegetables, fruit etc. I will need for our family of four. With the strawberry jam, I reached one of my canning goals, so I’m very happy.
    In the last months, I read a lot about canning and searched for recipes and a way to preserve vegetables in other ways then pickling them. Then I found out about pressure canning, which is nearly unknown where I live (Germany). You can get a pressure cooker or a water bath canner, but it’s not possible to buy a pressure canner. I talked to my husband, and we decided to buy a pressure canner online. It arrived three weeks ago. So far, we used it to pressure can chicken breasts, asparagus and vegetable broth and are happy with the results. As canning jars with metallic lids must be imported and are expensive, we’re using canning jars with a glass lid which are sealed with a rubber ring between the glass and the lid. The rings are cheap, reusable for several times, and the glass canning jars and lids can be used for many years.
    I’m really worried about the upcoming winter. Our utility company has already tripled their prices. Unfortunately, we have a gas heating and prices for heating gas will surely continue to rise. Possible gas shortages in winter are a big issue. To face the situation with positivity, I picked up a sewing pattern for warm booties (Jalie 4025) and started to sew a test pair. If I like them, I plan to sew these booties as Christmas gifts for family and friends. That way, I can use fabric scraps from my stuff that are too short to sew clothes from them.

    1. Lids have become very expensive in the U.S. too. They were almost triple the price when I saw them at the store last week. I have a few reusable lids with a rubber ring but I will be ordering more now.

    2. Hello Tanja,
      You may, already, have down comforters (my family calls them feather beds), but if you don’t I recommend them to help keep you warm in the winter.
      My mother’s family came from East Prussia and a feather bed was what helped them survive outdoors, in winter. It was one of the few things they carried with them, as they escaped Russian troops during WWII.
      Our family still uses feather beds to keep us warm and our gas bills down, even though we are now blessed to live in a land of plenty.

  34. Brandy I am glad you were able to use your swagbucks dollars for items that you needed 🙂 . Always good when you can harvest seeds and lots of other produce from your gardens to use in meals and work in the cool of the morning during hot weather in the gardens. That is fantastic that the weather was cooler and you could keep the air conditioner off for longer which will save more in electricity costs. Lovely your son works in a grocery store and he was able to get the markdown eggs at an even better cost with his staff discount.

    In the kitchen –
    – Baked two loaves of wholemeal white bread in the bread making machines saving us $6.98 over buying them locally.
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    Earnings –
    – Made an extra $120 by doing two paid mowing jobs.
    – Earned $224.80 by selling unwanted household items at the men’s shed. We have been using these funds to finish our food storage buying to the level we wanted and only had a few items left to purchase.

    Finances –
    – Added a little more money to our emergency fund.

    Purchases –
    – Put in an online stock up and normal grocery order and by buying cc corn chips on half price, using a $15 off promo code, $10 off rewards card $, and a further 4% off e-gift card we saved $40.26 on usual prices.

    Electricity savings –
    – We decided to turn off our grey water pump and only run it once a week to pump out the water saving money on standby electricity usage and costs. Every little bit helps 🙂 . Our last quarterly electricity bill was $85 as we had so much cloudy weather our solar panels did not produce as much power as usual.

    In the home –
    – DH sorted out his winter wardrobe and put all the other summer clothing in vacuum seal bags in the storage room.
    – I started sorting out fabric, ribbons and threads in the sewing room into the storage containers we purchased. Now I have all the threads, ribbons in two storage drawers and two containers of fabric put away neatly but still more to do which hopefully I can get most of it done today.

    Hope everyone has a frugal week ahead 🙂 .

  35. Hello, lovely people! The bird photos is gorgeous. I come from a long live of bird lovers. I have several birdwatching books that were my grandfathers and we look at them regularly. He kept a bird journal for years where he would note down every day which bords came to the feeder outside his window. I have it now and have done the same thing on and off over the years. Another treasured thing is a bird poster I got and hung up when my children were tiny. My oldest could name all the birds on it by the time he was 2 and is still very good at bird ID. I smile every time I look at it and will never take it down. That’s the wonderful thing about photos – they stir up so many thoughts and memories. Thank you for always sharing such lovely ones!
    *We enjoy walking through our woods and have expanded on many of the deer trails to make it a bit easier to traverse. My boys ride their dirt bikes through the woods, too, and my husband wanted to make one creek crossing a bit easier as well as prevent the dirt bikes from tearing up the bank. So, using materials already on hand, we built a bridge. It is sturdy and lovely and cost nothing but a few hours of work on a sunny day. I love projects like that.
    *All of our meals are now based on what is in the garden and what we have on hand. I like the creative exercise of figuring out what to make and have found some interesting recipes on-line just to avoid getting into a rut of what I already know.
    *My youngest son and I treated a chicken for bumblefoot. It is a staph infection chickens commonly get from scratching something sharp or jumping down from a high perch causing an entry way for germs to get into their foot causing a hard scab and lameness. We soaked her foot in Epsom salts for a few days and wrapped her foot (with materials on hand.) On the third day, we were ready to do a bit of surgery to remove the infected core but it had improved so much the scab just came off revealing healthy skin beneath. So, what we thought was going to be a somewhat invasive procedure ended up being pretty simple and low cost to fix. We are glad she is better and that we were prepared and able to help her.
    *We mowed the yard of some family members for pay. Every little bit helps and we enjoy helping them.
    *I ordered a 6 month supply of our cats’ preventative medicine from CanadaPetCare.com. I mentioned this once before but could not recommend it completely as I had not ordered from them before. I can now say that the ordering process is easy and, while it was shipped from the UK, it arrived quickly. Shipping is free and they do not require a vet prescription. The item I ordered cost $50 less than I have paid in the past. So, now I can heartily recommend them to anyone with pets.
    *Like another person mentioned here recently, I am no longer able to wear monthly contacts and have switched to dailies. They are certainly more expensive but the comfort and better vision I now have is so worth it. Costs are kept down using our vision insurance and rebates. I also do not wear contacts on a daily basis so a year’s supply actually lasts me two years plus there is the savings of no more cleaner, saline solution or cases. All in all, a worthy purchase and all frugal measures taken make it more possible.
    *I fixed a window screen in my youngest son’s room. I don’t even want to know what a replacement would cost.
    *My mother gave me some back issues of Country Living magazine. I read them over a few days in rare moments in the rocking chair on the porch and then passed them onto my neighbor to enjoy. We often do this sort of sharing and we all enjoy it.
    *Our Father’s Day celebration was a cookout at our house using food items already in the house, from the garden and a few bought on sale. My parents brought some sides and we all had quite a feast on a lovely day. My father says he wants nothing other than to spend time with us so that makes gift-giving easy. 🙂 My husband enjoyed the silly Dad jokes my boys made up. They are really quite creative.
    *I finished “The Forest of Vanishing Stars” which was recommended by another reader here and enjoyed it so thank you, again! I did not realize it was based on true accounts until the end which made it even more of a moving story. I am currently reading an illustrated version of “Still Glides the Stream” By Flora Thompson (the Larkrise to Candleford author.) It is a beautiful story and beautiful to look at with illustrations of old paintings of rural scenes and dried flowers throughout. A truly enjoyable read. Thank goodness for libraries!
    *Wishing all of you a peaceful and lovely week!

  36. We were able to pick sour pie cherries at a local u-pick farm. We picked 32 lbs at $1/lb. I will trade 10 lbs with my mom when she has blueberries available. I froze them but will pull them out this week and can some pie filling and jam. My husband picked up free pallets and has started building a fence around our main garden. We’ve had deer damage everyday and I’m so tired of it! We will add two strands of electric fencing around the top and we are borrowing the fence controller from my parents. I harvested a few bush beans and a little bit of Chinese broccoli from the garden. A friend shared a new recipe for homemade laundry soap. It is a powdered version but doesn’t call for oxi-clean so it’s a bit cheaper. I purchased a box of borax, a box of washing soda, a 4lb box of baking soda and 3 bars of fels naptha. It cost $21.88 but she says you only have to use 1 tablespoon up to 1/4 cup depending on how dirty the laundry is. I’m planning on calculating the cost per load because when I buy liquid detergent I never pay more than 10¢ per load. I haven’t found any good grocery deals recently and it is disappointing. But we’ve been eating less and more frugal meals in general. My husband being supportive of this is such a huge help! The heat is back today after a few mild days and I plan to spend the day cleaning. It’s cheap exercise and it always makes me so thankful for our safe little home when it’s all neat and tidy! Be safe this week, friends.

    1. Cherries were $8 a pound here last summer; a good deal is finding them for $5 a pound on sale. I know those are pie cherries, not sweet cherries, but I am blown away by the prices! We have one u-pick farm here and cucumbers are $2 a pound.

        1. I follow their account on Instagram so I can see what they’re growing and when. It’s rather expensive, but now they are almost less than the grocery store.

  37. Hello all
    Beautiful pictures Brandy!
    One of the biggest and most frugal things for this week… I stayed out of all stores. Hubby and I spent time on a motorcycle ride (gas isn’t any cheaper for this type of recreational activity $ 6.39). Still spent an amazing day together. It’s been very warm her ( central Illinois). Have cooked all meals in the solar cooker-bread, dirty rice, veggies, homemade French fries, lasagna, burgers, and today will be meatloaf. It keeps the house cooler by not using indoor appliances and it’s not costing money to cook dinner. I’m pleased to be saving money if even in small amounts. It all adds up. Hung all laundry out to dry. Kept a/c just below the level (78) for hubby. Read free kindle books. Redeemed a code at Redbox for a free movie rental. Repaired several pairs of fraying jeans. That’s about all for this week. Hope everyone has an amazing day!

    1. We just spent a huge amount of gas money to drive over to the beach this week. Lots of traffic and mediocre food when we got there. I don’t care, I have to get away occasionally. When we got home at 4:00 in the afternoon, it was 104 degrees here. I don’t care how high gas goes, cabin fever drives me away sometimes.

  38. The bird is so pretty. We get several migratory birds at our feeder, including Eastern/American goldfinches as they pass through. They are very pushy at the feeders, but they soon leave and let our native birds come back to eat.

    I found the cheapest place so far to get my cruelty-free contact solution is Vitacost. I got their code in my email for 16% off, so I ordered three bottles of solution and some vitamins that I am running low on.

    My bank lets me do a search for coupons while shopping at online sites. I order my makeup online, and found a coupon while in checkout that took 10% off my purchase.

    A freeze this winter got many of my lemon blossoms, but I now see some green lemons peeping out from the leaves, so it didn’t get all of them.

    I’ve spotted some wild beautyberries forming on some plants around my yard. I’ll be picking those to use in jelly and/or wine later.

    My oregano has grown enough after transplanting that I’m ready to harvest some for drying.

    I’m looking for Christmas gifts already. I usually get all my Christmas gifts on sale and/or by using Swagbucks by starting my shopping early.

    Have a good week everyone.

  39. Brandy and others – what type and size of canning lids do you use? My local grocery store has a shelf full of canning jars and lids and no one seems to be buying any of them here. I could pick up some lids for people if things get really difficult. At the moment I think I might just pick up a few and put them aside in case they are needed later.

    1. I still have some as I stocked up a few years ago but I also have some of the reusable Tattler lids that I linked below. I plan on getting more of those.

      The price of new jars is three times higher and so is the price of canners. 8.2% inflation is such a lie!

  40. Good morning Brandy, I love reading your posts. You are very thoughtful and well spoken when it comes saving money. Much like you I am trying to evaluate items in my pantry that we don’t always go to. I made chili this week which will feed us well for a while, and create some meals to store in the freezer. The items were mostly from my stock pile/pantry, and then I rounded out the rest with a purchase at the grocery store. Grocery store items are very expensive at the moment. I am interested to see if there will be good sales come 4th of July.

    I work for the public library system in my county and am aware of many different offerings for patrons. This week patrons can go to the Naples Botanical Garden for free with their library card. We also are offering Florida State Park passes to library card holders, they can check out a pass once. It’s a newer program just launched this Summer. I’m going to look in to parks that aren’t too far away so we can have a day trip but minimize gas. We also have Cultural Enrichment Passes for local attractions. I plan on doing a few of these for free entry to local places. We have a lot we can do for free or cheap, however staying close to home is a big consideration.

    In other news, we are in rainy season and lawn mowing is in full swing! I am also planning on adding some new trees this year during rainy season. I am trying to decide which trees to add. Banana are high on the list, as well as mulberry and pigeon pea, which are both bushes, but can get to be 5-10 feet tall and take up some space. I’m hoping that in time I have more of a food forest to enjoy as I get older with the property.

    Have a great week!

    1. Ashley, thank you for the information about the passes! Two of my sons and their families live in Florida (Naples), and I am passing this along to them. I have been to the Naples Botanical Garden several times (free since I belong to Leu Gardens in Orlando, where two more of my children live) and it is beautiful!

  41. I always enjoy hearing about everyone’s weeks. Love the photos! * I’ve been stretching out my grocery order to about 10 days, instead of every seven. * For Father’s Day, we used the last three Omaha Steaks we got for free as a reward from my husband’s work. Went out to grill them and found we were out of propane. Oops! Broiled them instead and they were yummy. We also had loaded mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts, with ice cream for dessert. Everything was from the pantry. *It’s wayyyyy too hot here (even with a/c on) to work on my afghans, so I’ve switched to making 9×7″ rectangles, to join together later (when cooler) for afghans. Warm Up America is the wonderful organization that came up with this idea. It’s a great way to use up scraps or leftover yarn too.* reading library books and watching shows for entertainment. Endeavor just started up on pbs again, so that will be fun for a few weeks. * I’ve been very mindful of my blessings lately…especially clean water, a roof over my head, enough to eat, air conditioning, people to love. I hope everyone here is blessed this week.

  42. We are unseasonably hot here in central Minnesota – 100F(38C) here yesterday. Our typical temperatures for this time of year are around 85F(29C). I did a lot of watering early in the morning and then again in the evening to keep the plants healthy. I have peppers, herbs, tomatoes, and flowers in pots that need watering daily if we don’t have rain that day; they dry out quickly in even non-hot conditions!

    Frugal things this past week have included:
    * Having Father’s Day celebrations at our home with homemade pizza and salad rather than purchasing food out. I did take my Father out for lunch on Sunday – one of his small pleasures at 90 years of age – but it was just the two of us and planned for. We celebrated with our family and both my parents the evening before with the pizza and salad.
    * Drove the shortest route to return the children to their summer camp jobs, even though it meant driving in heavy traffic on the freeway (which I despise). This saved gas and wear and tear on the car.
    * Made cookies to send back with the children for snacks rather than purchasing snacks.
    * Since the children aren’t home for meals right now, husband and I are eating from the freezers and pantry. We’re hoping to use up enough to clean out the second refrigerator’s freezer, so we can unplug it until the garden produce really starts coming in in mid-August.
    * Harvested strawberries, lettuce, rhubarb, and basil from the garden. Made the rhubarb into rhubarb sauce for the freezer for later. Dried the basil for later as well. We had our first “real” strawberry harvest this year – about 6 cups total over about a week and a half. Since my strawberries are all volunteers, that’s pretty good!
    * Attended a free carnival and a graduation party for entertainment this weekend.
    * Sold still-usable children’s outdoor toys (sand shovels and buckets, roller blades, etc.) that our children have long outgrown. Will use the money to purchase items for the garden.
    * My husband refilled the fluid levels in my ancient car – power steering fluid, windshield washer, brake fluid and oil. My car is old enough that they are all easily accessed and refillable without taking the car to the mechanic/dealership.
    * Our daughter made me a lovely butterfly suncatcher at camp this last week and hung it in my kitchen window as a surprise before she went back. It’s lovely!
    * Picked multiple bouquets for the house from the flowers in the yard.
    * Trimmed the rhododendrons and removed two volunteer trees. Sore arms and legs and a cleaner, nicer looking yard for zero dollars! Sharpened the blades of the “pruners” (as we call them – they’re really pruning shears) and the loppers after we were done using them so they’re ready for next time.
    * Finished reading 3 library books and listened to 3 more on my Libby app. Returned the three physical books and one of the audiobooks. I still need to finish the other two. Put two more audiobooks and one more physical book on reserve. I have several friends who have recommended books lately, which I love!

    That’s all I can think of for now.
    Thanks for sharing the lovely photos, Brandy! The bird photo is stunning.

    That’s all I can think of for now!

  43. Brandy, what a wonderful goldfinch photo.
    Finally, a beautiful day! We are doing the final proofreading for our book. I have had to fix a couple hundred footnotes following a glitch.
    Elderly cousins are clearing out their home. I am to be the recipient of 5 paintings by my talented great aunt. This means a lot to me as I love her paintings. As well, I can have my choice of paintings by my cousin himself. I may put some of them on a silent auction online to raise funds for my church or a charity.

    I saved. money by buying a case of Heinz beans ($9.99 as opposed to $13.99). I am hoping to still get about 7 bunches of Alberta asparagus and try making soup with my soup making blender that I haven’t tried out yet. I am tired of high sodium canned soup and want to revert to my low sodium pre-pandemic days. I will stock up on canned soup for my pantry.

    I can hardly wait to finish the book — then massive housekeeping and gardening call! I have a hummingbird!

  44. I avoided the grocery stores this past week. I cleaned out my main pantry and had to toss some VERY old items. Now I know more of what I have in my working pantry. I still need to go through my long term pantry. I’m waiting for a really hot day since it will be in the cool basement. Did some tutoring and earned an extra $40. Someone gave me free tickets to a major country concert, so got to enjoy that with a friend.
    My garden is finally growing well. It has been a strange, cold, wet, spring so it took it a while to take off. Harvested the first planting of carrots, a few green onions, and basil. Found some onion sets and seed potatoes (Walmart and online) and got those and put them in containers/raised bed. sowed more green beans and carrots. Replanted sweet potatoes and tomato plants.
    I started going through all the “stuff” that needs gone through and am selling some, donating some, etc. Hopefully will take a load of nicer clothes to a resale shop soon.
    I have been researching a “larger” freezer (only have a 3 cu. ft. one right now). It will probably be worth the investment to get a bigger one.
    Not much else, just working on projects around the house.

  45. Good Morning. I am very grateful for this community. As so many others, I look forward to reading the posts despite the fact that I am in different circumstances than many. I have both a black thumb and an aversion to the kitchen ( simply because I have a lifelong battle with compulsive overeating.) Nonetheless I find kindred spirits in my core belief that this world will be saved by careful stewardship of resources – reuse, recycle, make do, use it, use it with compassion to the maker, and use it up. Although not always frugal, I try to buy consignment, thrift, second hand and anything that can avoid the landfill. I am not perfect but this blogs reminds me that incredible ingenuity and intention can be displayed on a daily basis.

    I haven’t seen this written about much but I would like to mention the appliances that do have a price point which could be seen as not frugal but actually save me a lot of money. I know not everyone can buy them new but there are incredible deals in thrift stores, ebay and garage sales. When I have bought new, I remind myself of my hourly wage as a 32 veteran teacher. If it saves me time (especially during school) it is a good stewardship of my precious energy. So here are my fab frugal appliance uses this week:

    Every year I have my carpets cleaned in the summer. After talking to my good friend a housekeeper by trade, she gave me the name of a home carpet cleaner that is worth the money. It was 20% off and around $200. Now I will be able to to our ranch office as well as our cabin by the lake for less than one professional cleaning. I use to pay $200 each summer anyway.

    I need food to be healthy and tasty for my hubby. My Vitamix is indispensable and I have had it for years. Any fruit or veggie that is about to go bad or is too small a portion to serve goes in the freezer. I just tested positive for COVID ( I dodged the bullet for 2.5 years as a teacher). I do not have to go to the store to eat healthy fruit and veggies because I have just turned to smoothies. When a meal for hubby is a little pathetic ( perhaps a spare hamburger cut in half because I only have hot dog buns left) I make a huge smoothie which he loves and is probably the only fruit or veggie he ate all day. Simple. It also makes awesome heated soup with no clean up since it self cleaning.

    We are farmers. I bought a table top nutrimill years ago and have wheat hubby brings me in case I need flour. Don’t use it too often because I try to stay away from flour but it makes me more secure knowing I have it.

    I just made groat bowls for the week with my Instapot ( circa Dr. Greger How Not to Diet.) I was able to donate all my old crockpots because of this machine. Groats are unprocessed grains. I buy bulk rye, lentils and oat groats. Hubby brought me sorghum he grew. ( This is called milo around here.) I have a giant glass container with all of it mixed together. I put two cups of mixture in 4 cups of water in the Instapot and cook for 50 mins. I put each serving in individual Tupperware with dried fruit, walnuts (from our trees) , and flavored balsamic vinegar for health. Super health, cheapy and very shelf stable.

    Finally I did purchase an Airfryer. Our oven is nearing 35 years old. It is going to break any minute. The self cleaning and the timer are already broken. There are just two of us home now and I don ‘t want to heat up the house with the oven. It will be interesting to see if my utility bill goes down. The Airfryer fits my quick and healthy criteria. Frozen veggies are beautifully roasted as is frozen fish with breading ( much cheaper than fresh fish.) plus smell is much better. I am going to try and “fry onions.”

    Also during my quarantine I continue on my course work for my diploma in gemology. My next career will hopefully be vintage jewelry appraiser. Again, let’s honor the beauty with a history rather than constantly crying fo new.

    All in all, pretty productive week for an illness. I just have to taken things very slow and finish the anti virals. Good week to all

    1. What you say makes a lot of sense Mary Ann – there is nothing wrong with spending money on tools that make our lives easier and – in the end – more frugal when they are well used.

  46. Brandy, I too am amazed at what you get done in a day-and I am sure the early start helps. I am an early riser too but enjoy a quiet cup of coffee and catching up on world news, emails etc first thing. Sometimes I do get busy with cooking early in the morning. I am impressed that your son can bike home with eggs and not break any. The best price on eggs I have seen lately is 25 cents Canadian per egg a couple of weeks ago so you got a great deal.
    Frugal savings this week include free exercise on my bike, making a rhubarb-oat crisp from my plants in the backyard and picking spring bouquets from whatever I can find flowering in the yard( crabapple, lilac etc). We too have been making a few frugal soups-especially appreciated as June has been quite cool and rainy-although gorgeous today.

    I just received the Costco ad in the mail and noticed the olive oil my husband purchased the other day is now $4 off. I think they have a policy that if you bring in the ad within 30 or 60 days they will match that price-which would give me $4 back to spend on something else. They always have my receipts on file in the computer so hopefully not an issue-I did this with Vitamin D a couple of months ago and they did refund the difference-every little bit helps.

    Other meals prepared this week include homemade pizza( DH makes the dough, then I add sauce, lots of veggies, small amounts of ham for flavour (if we have it) and of course mozzarella-which we buy in bulk at Costco. We also made BBQ burgers with homemade buns.
    Planning for more fun activities now that I am feeling better-we have company popping by for a quick visit this afternoon and my SIL has invited my sister and I over tomorrow afternoon to visit and play Scrabble-something we all enjoy! DH took me on a quick drive in the mountains the other day-we were not lucky enough to spot any wildlife but of course we enjoyed the scenery, fresh air etc.

  47. Hi All,
    Brandy, I often get up at 4 am but only for a few minutes and then go back to sleep. I have no idea what time you go to bed at night but suspect it’s before the sun goes down. I’d be a basket case if I got up that early every day. More power to you.
    I was invited to a baby shower recently and I had a moment when I said to myself “what would GardenPat do?” and then I went to my sewing room, hunted up a panel with cute cartoon animals on it, some quilt batting and some gingham for the back and sewed a quick quilt. The hardest part was remembering how to do mitered corners. There are a few smallish errors on the project , but it was well received. So, thank you GardenPat for the inspiration. Now, can someone inspire me to tidy up the sewing room?
    We got a very high utility bill for our property in Florida. We suspect it’s the new meter that was recently installed and have called the company to come out and check it. We already had the lawn crew check the irrigation system for leaks.
    It was our 47th anniversary recently. We always take available kids out to supper but everyone was busy so we delayed it for a bit more than a week. It was the first time in 2 years we’d been inside a restaurant. Lots of fun. I did get a lovely bouquet of flowers from DH but only because my DD chivied him to do so. We don’t tend to do gifts , just cards.
    Father’s Day saw me cooking a turkey that had been in DS’s freezer but he needed to move it as his basement floor is getting new concrete put in. The only thing I needed to buy was a bag of potatoes to make mashed. Now we are using up the leftover turkey and I’m making broth to can. for dessert I made a rhubarb pie with free rhubarb. There’s still some left over so we’ll finish that tonight with a simple supper. It’s too hot to cook today 34*f and 55% humidity. I’m thinking cottage cheese and fruit will suffice.
    This week I made some buttermilk/blueberry muffins that turned out really heavy. But it used up the leftover buttermilk and some of last years berries. The muffins are more cake like.
    We have several neighbours moving and setting out things at the curb side. We got 2 jigsaw puzzles, an extendable dog ramp for our car and an outdoor propane heater for the patio or front porch. one elderly neighbour couldn’t find anyone who wanted her excess furniture and it broke my heart to see a full dining room set and several other pieces go into a junk truck.
    With DS’s basement renovation going on he has no hot water available and no laundry facilities either. He drops over here every morning for a shower before work and I’ve been doing his laundry for him. Just like the old days.
    I’ve been trying to use up various veg and fruit from the freezer before crops start becoming available this year. And I washed out several of the zip lock baggies to reuse.
    My lettuce is about done now and I haven’t yet re-seeded. The kale is doing well as are the herbs. One of my mints died this winter as did my sage plant so those were replaced today when I did a bit of weeding before it got too hot.
    I cleaned my washing machine using a product I bought. I’m not sure what it does or even if it works. I need to get the seal replaced at some point as the current one is pretty ugly looking.
    This week my bookclub met and we picked a roster of books for the upcoming year. I think we’ve got a good mix and we had a lot of fun in a backyard laughing and giggling over the descriptions of certain books.
    For my Toronto friends, there’s Scottish Country dancing in Edwards Gardens on Tuesday nights. Music and they encourage you to join in and it’s free.Starts about 7pm.
    Thanks everyone for posting as I always get good ideas for meals to prepare using items I have here at home. I sit with a pen and paper and constantly go “oh, I can make that with “x” from the freezer”. That way I don’t always have to go to the store and I don’t waste as much food stuff.

    1. I aim for between 9 and 10 p.m. The closer to 9 the better in order to get up early.

    2. Brilliant! Just take notes while reading the blog for things I want to try or learn more about! Why didn’t I think of that….?? Thanks so much for that idea, Patsy!

    3. I’m glad to hear that the Scottish Dancing has restarted – a few friends have attended over the years. I used to do that dancing but I now walk with a cane so can’t participate. They are fun to watch though and Edwards Gardens is beautiful this year now that all the repair work has been finished.

      1. Hi Margie. Your mention of Edwards Gardens brought instantly reminded me the many times I used to go there. Whenever I get back to Toronto ( more less and les now) I always go to the gardens. Thank you. Sorry to hear that you need a cane now.

    4. Patsy,

      If you find some inspiration you to tidy your sewing room, let me know! I need the same inspiration too…


      1. Lea and Patsy, my sewing room is also our home office, so you can imagine what a mess it becomes. This is how I cleaned it up: I started at the door and began working in one direction. I only did the first wall, then started in the next day on the second wall. In 4 days, I had it all cleaned up without too much effort. “Divide and conquer.”

      2. Lea and Patsy,
        I have been trying the ideas from Flylady.net (free and she really helps you feel better about clutter and cleaning etc…).
        Every weekday or whenever (procrastination day), Set your timer for 15 minutes and de-clutter or organize. If you can, reset the timer up to 3 times but then take a break for 15 minutes. It’s absolutely amazing how much you can actually get done in only 15 minutes and feel good about it. That room will be awesome by the end of the week:)

        1. I love this. It might take a month of this method to get MY sewing room clean, though!

  48. Thrifty actions of the week: We cut our travel expenses in half by not renting a car and instead offered to fill up the gas tanks of various family members for rides to and from airport an hour away. My sister gave me 5 quilts that my grandmother had hand stitched. Instead of sending them , I purchased 2 suitcases at the thrift store for 4.00 a piece=8.00 to take along to the airport with us. I figure the weight of these priceless heirlooms, plus having them tracked/ insured would have cost more than $8.00.
    The major airline we took, had problems with finding a pilot and crew replacement that caused delay. We sat on the tarmac for an hour and half waiting for a gate to open up. Then luggage of quilts ( because of lack of workers) took 1 hour. Flying definetly is not what it used to be, at this moment in time.

  49. Hello Brandy,
    Thank you for another post full of great photos.
    I always thought of myself as well organized and prepared but a few days ago we had a fire in our firepit and our 9 year old grandson got a burn on his arm. I was not worried because I knew I had all the first aid supplies I needed.
    I had to dig and dig to find what I needed- not organized at all! I got the burn attended to and wrapped with gauze to keep it clean. What I didn’t realize was that I had to re-wrap it several times as he played or washed his hands and got it wet. I went thru all my supplies with one little burn. The burn is already healing and is just a small mark.
    I have since bought new supplies and have them now organized all in one basket that is easy to grab and go when needed. I’m thankful the burn was small and healed well but I am also thankful to find out that I needed way more supplies than I thought and I needed them to be organized and easily accessible. I feel more confident now that we had a trial run.
    My daughter and her husband are re-modeling their kitchen so they can’t cook their boxed meal delivery so they gave us the two meals to use and they have cancelled deliveries for the summer. I have never used these boxed meal deliveries before so I am excited I get to try them as it is nothing I would ever buy for myself.
    We have been having lots of cool, cloudy weather but today it warmed up and the sun is out and should remain this way for at least a week so I am hoping our garden will finally start growing. I am also looking forward to drying my laundry outside and not having to use the dryer.
    Hope everyone has a great week.

  50. *We moved to the next town over in 2020. Our vet is a 25 minute drive. I finally decided to change to one in our new town. The puppy was due shots and they got him in the day I called. The charges were a lot less. Just a mental picture. We moved from a very affluent town where it is all designer dog in designer cars who aren’t really dogs, they own the house. Moved to country farming community. I chuckled to myself while paying I looked out and the lady that just left was pulling out in an old farm truck loaded down with hay. The kid that was holding the dog leash I couldn’t tell if it was a boy or girl with their cowboy hat and boots 🙂 It just hit me that I would never see that at the old place.
    ***I went to u-pick farm and got organic blueberries for $2 a lb. I picked 13 lbs and have bagged to make things later.
    ***I made a quilt for my daughters birthday. I had made a heart quilt in January and she loves it, so I made one just like mine. https://www.instagram.com/p/CfEa4-mLtGH/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=
    ***Sunday was my daughter’s birthday, and she passed her boards to be a Dental Hygienist on Friday so we also celebrated that with Father’s Day. I had a brisket from our quarter cow. We don’t have a smoker, so I tried a recipe where you cook it in a crock pot then finish it in the oven. It came out really good. I pulled out corn I froze last summer and home canned green beans, and made fritters with home grown yellow squash. 1 used my peaches I just froze to make ice cream. I had to go to Publix for ice cream salt and noticed the Knorr rice and pasta side dishes fir $.68 so I got 10 packages. Macaroni and cheese was also in sale so I got 4.
    ***My son bought a home on five acres that has an extra 3 bay garage and 2 barns. There are crates of canning jars scattered in 3 buildings. He gave them to me. It must be a out 8 dozen. I brought home 4 crates and will get more later. This is the 3rd windfall of jars I have gotten. I was worried I’d run out and God keeps blessing.
    ***One of sons high-school friends made it on America’s Got Talent. He and my son had a band and he was at my home a lot. Nate is playing keyboard in the audition. He has autism, but you wouldn’t know. He went to the Naval Academy and was a pilot. https://youtu.be/3dOM9f7nqQ0
    ***I have watered plants with warm up, cooking, and bath water. It is so hot my stuff is baking and not doing well. We got two rain barrels hooked up, but no rain- got to love that.

    1. Bama Holly,
      Thanks for posting the link to your son’s friends audition! I really enjoyed watching it! Congratulations on the windfall of canning jars! God does bless us.

  51. I’m a bit late joining in, as I’ve been visiting a dear niece. When I got in this evening, I saw my husband had harvested the first two cucumbers, just in time for summer. I also like using the plastic hangers to dry hand washed delicates on. There were several days we were unable to open windows due to the heat and humidity. We were both very glad when we could open up to fresh air again. I hope the goldfinch leaves plenty of lettuce seed for you. I left two of our lettuce to go to seed last week. Several areas were mulched, before the hottest days. I cut a bouquet for the house, and also gardenias, which I placed in a bowl. They smell delicious. The Japanese beetles arrived a couple of weeks ago, and I began handpicking them for the chickens last week. Blackberries, mulberries, lettuce and lamb’s quarter were harvested, and basil and purslane were used in pesto. My first outdoor shower of the year was enjoyed. A few carrots were dug. My husband dug and I gathered our potato crop. Another round of lettuce was seeded. Happy Summer Solstice, everyone (& Winter to those down south)!

    1. I hate Japanese beetles. When I first encountered them at our previous home, they were gorging themselves by skeletizing the leaves on the fruit trees. They gather in big clumps and seem to be slow-moving when they feed. I took off my sandals, put one on each hand, and smashed them together on the branches. Not sure if the chickens would have liked the squashed ones, but I felt good about it.

      1. They will drown in a bucket of soapy water; you can knock them off into one.

  52. A beautiful picture of the little yellow bird. I wondered if your caption “enjoying lettuce seeds” was tongue in cheek. I wondered if said bird was eating seeds that you planned to harvest for next year. My husband has a fit when birds bother his garden.
    1. I made a yellow cake from a mix to take to church. What a disaster. It turned out flat as a pancake & dry as dust. (It is hard to ruin a cake mix.) I threw it in the trash & emailed the company. I had another misadventure w/ one of their mixes a few months ago. I thought just a fluke but not twice in a row. Anyway they are going to mail me some coupons for a replacement.
    2. Found about 100 Halmark Father’s Day cards plus envelopes in a dumpster. I will take them to the Habitat for Humanity resale store. Perhaps they can keep them for next year to sell.
    3. Used some Walgreen’s cash rewards to buy some nutritional supplements I take.
    4. Found 2 mangos on my evening walk.
    5. Made a replacement cake (from cake mix disaster) with items I had in the pantry.

    1. I have a bowl full of lettuce seeds. There is plenty to share with the birds.

  53. My son’s open house went well! The food I ordered from the local catering company for which I won a $250 GC in Dec 2020 covered the entire cost!

    We had a lot of food left over. Including a full pan of baked chicken & penne pasta. We froze it. Hubby ate the leftover salad my mother purchased. Froze the remaining California veggie mix to be used in a soup at a later time.

    My son received a nice sum of cash gifts which went into his savings account. Towards college expenses.

    Been staying home on my days off from work. I work three 12 hr shifts a week at the local hospital which is 3.8 miles from my home so that definite helps with these gas prices.

    My union is attempting to negotiate a wage increase across the board to retain and recruit more RN staff as the other local hospital pays substantially more. The hospital is offering us a pittance which still wouldn’t compare to what the other hospital is paying it’s RN staff. My unit alone has lost 9 RNs since last August. Not one hired to replace them.

    My family lives 90 minutes away. We are driving up there on Sunday to help my parents with their new dryer and while we are there, my mom will cut our hair & color mine. So, it’s a wash with the gas we use to make that drive.

  54. We sold our newer car back to CarMax for more than we paid for it new. Before buying that one, my husband had sold his previous car for what he’d paid for it. As he does all of the repairs and maintenance of our vehicles, he had wanted the good warranty, etc., to start last time. It ended up being fine financially. We have a car fund that we save for the next one so the money went into that and he and his brother each got one of their parents estate’s old trucks. It needs about $2k in repairs/tires/rims, and a guy near his folks has offered his home garage with lift, allowing my husband to do the repairs easier. He already found a deal on tires/rims and got those the morning of our trip.

    We drove down to Florida to visit my brother and SIL, about 1,000 miles. Gas was cheaper in every state compared to ours. We are staying with them but we arrived to find him in ER, so will see if it’d be easier for them if we got a hotel room for several days to keep any intrusion to a minimum. They got hone around 3 a.m. blood transfusion needed as byproduct of chemo. I haven’t seen him since Oct, but we talk twice a week on the phone.

    Packed our food for the drive, and picked up extra fruit, etc , when we arrived. Not frugal, but needed, is the petsitter who cares for our cats and gives one her insulin shot twice a day. Her prices have increased as gas has, too. Understandable.

    One question to put out there: my local store, Meijer, seems to put the price increase at point of sale first, not the shelf, so you get to check out and sometimes 25% of items are priced higher. I don’t have a lot of good markets near me, have spoken to the manager, show shelf photos of some items/prices to the cashier and have left items that had too big a price hike. I’ve emailed the national office and got a reply from this manager to come get a $20 gift card. I said that’s not the solution. The prices need to be correct. Everyone else is facing this, too, and a lot more who shop here cannot afford the surprise at the register. We pick different items at the shelf if we know the correct price, as at register it’s too late. How would you handle this ongoing issue? I can get some things elsewhere like Sam’s club.

    On tablet and it keeps auto “incorrecting” to different words so I hope I didn’t miss many errors.

    1. I’m shocked at the issue with the prices but I know that others have mentioned the same problem. Is there not some sort of consumer protection office that you can report this to? Here in Canada the rule is – if the price at the cash rings up higher than the pricetag showed then you get it free – up to $10 and that is per item. Now the stores don’t advertise this of course but it is the law. Perhaps that is what keeps them a bit more on top of things…

    2. Bonnie- My mom in FL complains about the same issue with incorrect pricing at their Walmart. Maybe make a consumer complaint with the attorney generals office for your state for repetitive over charging and give details. Usually you can do this online. Encourage others to do so too, Also, maybe everyone needs to report to a local news station.to further expose this problem. Things are tough enough without intentional fraud! Taking pics and calling it out every single time is a slow process but beats paying the difference. The more they get away with it, the more it will continue. So frustrating!

      1. I could be wrong, but I thought stores HAD to honor the price on the shelf. I mean you can’t really advertise one price,then charge a higher price, can you?

        1. They don’t. It depends on the store policy.

          I had a manager tell me that the price on the shelf was wrong, period, at a Walmart once.

          I was livid.

    3. I agree with Gina. Posting about it on a local Facebook page would put the pressure on too.

      From a practical standpoint, there may be a time of day or week when shelf pricing catches up with computer prices. At my store the shelves are caught up around 3 or 4 in the afternoon, though most prices are changed on the shelf early in the morning. Ask the store manager when the best time of day is to avoid this.

      Honestly, though, I would drive to a store at a distance with a proper scanner policy, and just shop less often

    4. Bonnie in the Midwest- Don’t know where in Midwest you are, but here in the greater Columbus, Ohio region, we haven’t had that happen at the 3 different Meijers that my daughters and I use.

      Sorry you’ve had that problem! I would keep contacting Meijers Corporate offices.

      Gardenpat in Ohio

  55. Happy Wednesday, Brandy! I’m just catching up on everyone’s comments now. The photo of the bird is beautiful! Some things that I’ve done this week that come to mind are:
    – Changing our electric company supplier and locking in the lower rate for 30 months. The rates are going up 50% effective 8/1 and the company said the average customer will see an average increase of $71 a month for the next six months at least.
    – Paying our auto insurance in full for a savings of $200.
    – Eating all of the food in our fridge and pantry and really lowering food waste.
    – Made my own laundry soap.
    Have a wonderful week!

  56. Last week I tried to post unsuccessfully so I hope this works this week! Last week, my big find was a box of old produce, $7 for 30#. I asked the produce manager if I could buy the entire box and he said yes. I offered $10 and he said $7, which was wonderful. There were pears, apples, avocado, grapes and such. I dried fruit, used it in my kombucha , made an apple cobbler, apple cider vinegar and used some for eating. I was getting low on apple cider vinegar so that was exciting to have enough to make a gallon!
    The garden is struggling with the heat, mid 90’s here in piedmont NC. The lettuce is bolting, picking the last of the beets, and the kale, zucchini and chard continue to grow if watered! Made fermented beets and squash that a neighbor dropped off, along with cukes. The blueberries and blackberries are ripe, so picking those for eating and freezing. Every couple of days I make peppermint tea with stevia from last year and fresh peppermint . I save the pulp and put in more stevia and make a second batch, which still tastes good.
    I am swimming at the neighborhood pool with a friend/ client I work with. After a decade of no access to a pool, this is a blessing!
    The gardenias are in bloom and make for lovely centerpieces and I even put a jug in my bathroom. Just turning the corner you can smell it, it is my favorite scent in the world!!
    We were eating salad everyday until the lettuce bolted, I am trying not to cook, as it is so hot! I made smoothies for a late breakfast and chocolate avocado pudding for a late lunch. I have been taking bags of kale to church to give away, we have lots of pregnant moms( including my daughter), eager to eat healthy ! The tomatoes are still not ready to eat.
    Thank you each and everyone for making my little corner of the world more beautiful and joyous!

  57. My vegetable garden is a wet muddy lake! We had the wettest and coldest May here in 34 years. June has not been much better. It’s finally starting to warm up a bit. The neighbor on the garden side has been doing some work on their hillside, and the run off is now draining into my garden area, leaving some of it underwater… so, that will have to be addressed. My garden is not doing well. I have had to replant seeds 3 and 4 times to get some to come up, I think it’s because it has been in the 50’s so much of the time. I’m battling bugs, birds, bunnies and a huge army of slugs. I did manage to harvest some lettuce before the slugs got to it. I have since moved some of the lettuce (luckily, they are in planters) to make it more difficult for the slugs and bunnies to get to it. I also discovered that the slugs and bunnies have so far not been interested in red lettuce, so I’m going to plant lots more of that. My Snow Peas are the only thing that is really growing well. Tomato plants are stunted at about 10″ tall, but I do have small tomatoes on some of those. I just fed them, and I’m hoping that the warmer weather this weekend will help turn things around. Beans, which are usually 2 feet tall by now, are only around 8″ tall. It’s discouraging, but I am thankful for the things that are growing. I’m trying to do more container gardening, as the things in containers are doing better this year than the things in the ground.

    *HUGE WIN: my husband (he is in charge of the non-edible plants and front landscape beds, while I am in charge of the edible plants and vegetable garden) has agreed to let me move some zucchini and pumpkin starts to a landscape bed in our front yard near the street. This is the first step in my secret plan to turn our front yard into edible landscaping, don’t tell him!

    *Found some candy and hot chocolate mix from Christmas in my pantry that we are using up. I add hot chocolate to my coffee to make homemade mochas.

    *My mom bought me a tank of gas in exchange for driving her to some activities.

    *I was able to trade with a neighbor some toys in exchange for mint, oregano and horseradish plants. I also gave her snow pea starts, and she is going to share some flowering perennials with me. I joined my local plant and seed swap group on Facebook.

    *I baked bread this week, made crockpot carne asada, grilled burgers and hot dogs, made cupcakes and made snacky dinner trays from what I had on hand. We also leftovers and sandwiches several nights. I froze the extra chocolate buttercream frosting from the cupcakes to use for the next batch.

    *I was able to add several items to my gift box from thrift stores and clearance sections.

    *I am now doing almost all of my shopping at Winco, just picking up a few things at Kroger Fred Meyer. I have been priced out of all the stores, except Winco. Still trying to add to my pantry, but it is getting harder. Last week I added to my pantry: 6 pounds pasta, 4 cans spaghetti sauce, granola bars, Knorr Noodle Mixes and Olive Oil.

    *Frugal Fails: I dropped a large bottle of vanilla extract on the floor. Luckily, it was plastic, but the cap broke I still lost half the extract. I put the remainder in a mason jar. That was around a $10 loss. I cleaned out my fridge and found so much old hard bread and bagels, they get pushed to the back. I probably threw out $20 worth of bread. New goal is better management of bread items.

    *My new hobby is turning things off! I admit that I never really worried about it before, but it’s different now. Trying to turn off lights, computer monitor and mouse, and everything else. Using lamps more, as my overhead lights are all connected and use more energy.

    Happy Summer!

    1. Just a suggestion, Maybe this will help if you have stale bread again…I had been making bread crumbs from stale bread. I save all bread we won’t be eating in a paper bag pulled into little pieces. Then when ready I use my grinder attachment on my Kitchen Aid and there you have it — breadcrumbs — which you can season or keep plain. You do need to pull/cut into little pieces so it goes down the hopper easily. I had stored in an old breadcrumb container. I’m not sure otherwise what would be a good way to store them. Maybe a paper bag again?

  58. Hi friends! I have been reading faithfully each week but sometimes commenting just gets away from me!
    I started back at work after about 6 months off on medical leave so getting back in the swing of things has me a little rusty. It definitely requires me to be more on top of my meal planning and shopping since my schedule is quite strict and rigid (8-4:45) but luckily I am working from home. A perk of working full time (for me) is since I have very little free time on the phone/internet I am definitely not spending any fun money.
    -As I mentioned, I have been diligent with meal planning. I sit down Sunday afternoons and plan out meals and snacks for the week. I can check on what I have available on hand and what may need using up ASAP. I may shift around the meals themselves but I know I have all the ingredients on hand to make the meals planned.
    -Today I put two jars out in the yard to make sun tea! I am so excited to have tea later.
    -My garden is doing great! We have had endless rain here in the PNW for literally months. But yesterday the sun FINALLY made an appearance and I am so excited to see how happy it makes the vegetables. They noticeably perked up today!
    -I did not go out and get a fancy coffee drink any day the past week even though I really wanted to. I gave up coffee per my doctor’s instructions and it is brutal. It has been over a year and though I have adjusted I still just miss the routine of it. Ugh, coffee just is the key to my heart.
    -I happily accepted a random assortment of fresh grocery items from my parents who were headed out of town. They didn’t want anything to go bad while they were away and I was happy to help! I made blueberry muffins with the berries, avocado toast with the avocados and sourdough bread (YUM) and biscuits with the buttermilk. Other random tidbits were either frozen or incorporated into meals.
    -I read library books and added more to my hold list based on a chat with a dear friend on the East Coast. We try to catch up weekly and whenever one of us has a great book to share it always gets added to the list. I also try to follow along with a few recommended reading lists (ie the Boston Public Library has a great monthly suggestion) to find new ideas that I may not have come across otherwise. I just finished Somebody’s Daughter and it was incredible.
    -I haven’t left the house during the week so that really helps save money on gas/any additional spending.
    -Last weekend was a bit community garage sale and it was great to be out and see everything! The sales have been on hold for two years because of the pandemic so this was really fun. It was overcast and drizzly but Portlanders are unbothered! We had a great time wandering around looking at the beautiful homes and I got a couple of awesome things! I was most excited about a handmade drying rack. I got to meet the gentleman who made it himself 40 years ago! And it is incredible. I love being able to meet the person who put such careful work into something so useful. They had 5 or 6 available and I was so glad I was able to get one (I already have two so it seemed unnecessary to get more than one). But I really love seeing my clothes all hung up on the beautiful racks in my dining room.
    -I wasn’t feeling well so was unable to go berry picking as planned but I was able later in the day to get to my farmer’s market and picked up a flat of strawberries. I washed them, removed the stems and froze them all! I needed to stash some for strawberry peach jam making next month as the seasons don’t quite overlap. I love all the delicious jam combos.
    -I am having a friend and fellow garden enthusiast over for dinner tomorrow and we will eat exclusively food that we grew or harvested. My dad is an avid fly fisherman so I have some yummy fish to grill up for us!
    That’s all I can think of for today. Hope you all are doing well and Happy Summer!

  59. I have still been able to find exceptional markdowns at our local Kroger store. This has made my grocery budget stay right where it’s always been. Keep looking for those markdowns everyone! They can still be found.

  60. I am taking a break from the book. Yesterday was sunny so I worked on it outside. Just as I was packing up, a Red Admiral
    butterfly perched nearby and I got lovely photos. Then my hummingbird came by – she hovered for quite a while looking for the feeder
    but I had temporarily moved it – she couldn’t find it so I’ll relocate it back to its original spot. I have been enjoying catching up with
    everyone’s posts.

    I am glad I have a pantry. One of my friends who regularly shops for me has covid (mildly); the other is away on holidays. It is good to be prepared for such things.

    Back to the book! So close to finishing it.

  61. This was a busy week with some ups and downs. Got an abundant amount of fruits and veggies from our local food pantry. They are getting larger than normal deliveries and offering it to anyone that will use it. This week I received beets which I pickled and canned, oranges that were processed and made into marmalade and canned. I chopped onions and placed in dehydrator and took to patio to work. My hand me down dehydrator of 20+ years has passed on. I order a new one which should be here tomorrow. I have the onions, sweet potatoes and some fruit to dehydrate. I washed and jarred grapes, celery and strawberries. I have the strawberry tops soaking in vinegar. I am ripening nectarines and peaches in brown paper bags and going to pop in the steam canner to make jelly today.

    My garden is suffering in the heat. I have only harvested 1 squash and 3 jalapeños. I am debating whether to keep on our cut my loss and try a fall garden.

    Fixed my retractable clothesline on the patio so I can dry clothes outside again.

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