I harvested lemons, green onions, parsley, mache, and lettuce from my garden.

I zested the lemons and dried the zest to use in cooking later.

I decided that since I cannot get replacements for my Texas Privet standards that died (the growers are no longer sending them to the nursery, so it is impossible to buy them) to purchase two rose trees instead of other Texas Privet that I would have had to shape into standards. The rose trees were significantly less money. You can see them on my recent Instagram post here.

I returned two things I bought online–one for a replacement (it was damaged) and one because the color was not at all the color it was supposed to be (sadly). I will use the credit from that to purchase the item in a different color.

I took four children to a chalk festival at a local library. We enjoyed several free things there, including watching the Young Artists Orchestra perform, drummers, seeing the chalk artists, seeing a shadow puppet performance, and doing some crafts.

The festival was during lunchtime. They had several food trucks there. The meals were rather expensive. We had planned ahead and brought sandwiches, fruit, and water. We left the library and had lunch at the nearest park, the children played on the playground, and we went back to the festival to see the last performance and the final chalk drawings.

It rained, so I was able to water the garden less than usual. The much cooler than usual weather is helping too; it was 57F (14C) instead of 90F (32C), like it was last year. Last year’s temperatures are the normal temperatures here this time of year. The cooler temperatures also mean my tulips look nice still!

I read a couple of e-books from the library: Someday in Paris and The Call of the Wrens.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. Our weather can’t decide what to do. Some days it’s 85 F and sunny, others it’s rainy and cool, like today. Whatever, I can’t control it.

    I made peppermint ice cream by mixing 2 small, crushed Palmer’s brand peppermint patties with a couple scoops of vanilla ice cream in the blender. It’s really tasty and saves freezer space because I have to buy only the vanilla ice cream. I also mixed the ice cream with chocolate covered Heath bar baking bits. That was also really good but next time I’ll combine it in the mixer because the baking bits tended to fall to the bottom of the blender.

    I was pleasantly shocked when my electric bill was only $58; it included a $7.50 credit from a lawsuit over the $9 Billion spent to build two nuclear reactors that waere abandoned after 20 years or so. I’m still working to reduce my bill and have changed my default dryer time to 20 minutes rather than 30. Anything not dry is hung up to finish it off.

    I mended a rip in a nightgown, removed the cap sleeves from another nightgown and hemmed the arm holes (I personally don’t like the look of cap sleeves or understand their purpose since they don’t keep arms warm), and mended a few other things. I also sewed a new top edge for a flat sheet after I couldn’t get the nail polish I spilled on it out. I tried several solutions I found online and even though it faded, the pink was still very visible on my white sheet on both sides and would not be hidden by my quilt because it’s on the top edge. I folded the top edge so there were a couple layers of fabric over it to keep it from showing through and top stitched the new edge in place. I’m very grateful it spilled on the sheet and not the quilt.

    I ate all meals but two at home and both of those were social/catching up events. Food made included sloppy joes from scratch using diced peppers and onions from the freezer (enough for 4-5 meals), ham salad (3 meals) using ham from the freezer, quesadillas, and salads. I cooked a package of bacon, shredded two kinds of cheese and cut up peppers, cucumbers and celery, all for quick salad and meal preparation.

    I listened to five books using Scribd, Libby and Hoopla. These included the first Darling Dahlias book and I have the second one checked out to listen to after I finish my current book. I also started four other books but stopped them a few chapters in because at my age, I’m not wasting time on books that don’t interest me or have the world’s worst narrator.

    1. I’m with you on the capped sleeves! And I don’t think they flatter anyone’s upper arms. I avoid buying them but never thought about just cutting them off, so thanks for the suggestion.

      1. Scribd is a paid reading service with what I think are tens of thousands of books, both audio and written, plus documents, blogs, sheet music, etc. You can try it out for free for 30 days to decide if it’s worth it to you. My annual subscription is $85 and they currently have a promotion of free Premium TuneIn radio, which I used to get for $100/year to listen to sports but have now gotten for free for the last couple years. My only issue is if I read too many books on there, some books become unavailable until the next month because they think I’ve gotten my financial fill but there are always other books available so I’ve discovered some authors that way. It’s definitely not as restrictive as Hoopla and has many, many more books than my library’s Libby. I initially read about it on the Home Joy blog several years ago and have found it very worthwhile for me.

        1. I was listening to a youtube channel and it had a paid sponsorship by blinkist, where you can listen to books but short versions of them that are about 15 minutes long called blinks. They offer a one week free trial, and I believe if you use the link from the youtube channel below, you can get 25% off if you decide to go with the service. I haven’t tried it yet, but think it could be neat. Another free trial to see if you like the service.


  2. The chalk festival sounds amazing!

    Frugal Accomplishments:
    *used a gift card for a lunch date with husband (I saved half for next day.)
    *made 2 loaves of banana bread with bananas from freezer
    *MIL sent us home with some leftover corned beef and red potatoes
    *creatively used up leftovers
    *had a fun game night at home for entertainment
    *found another of my British favorites has episodes on Acorn so using free 7 day subscription
    📍Grocery Store: butter for 2.49 & yellow cake mix for 79 cents at Aldi , 99 cent raspberries and blackberries
    📍Buy Nothing Group: 3 bowling balls

    Have a great week ❤️

  3. Reading about all you are harvesting makes me SO impatient for Spring to get here!!

    Using Flashfood app, here’s what I bought:
    2 beef brisket- totaling almost 32 pounds – each almost 16 pounds- 1 for us and 1 for my daughter. (Brisket was $2/pound final price) Mine will be cut up and pressure canned. https://pin.it/2HyPSzd
    2 family packs of BL chicken breast- totaling about 8 pounds- (chicken was $1.25/pound final price.)

    Rather than the original tagged prices totaling $203.10
    Or the sale price totaling $138.90
    My Flashfood total was $69.45 (50% off sale price)!!
    Total savings was over 65%!!

    I also bought (a few days later) 2 five pound chubs of ground beef at $1.79/pound. I’m going to pressure can another 12 pints of sloppy joes with that!
    I’m happy!!

    The friend who called me two weeks ago with the nearing or past sell-by date foods called me on Saturday because she had a bit more to give to us. Peanut butter, canned veg, cereal, boxed Mac and cheese and Hamburger Helper, etc .
    So we drove down twice to pick it all up, have now unloaded it and made an itemized inventory and will now post it to our local church as well as family and friends. Its retail value is over $900! What a blessing to share!

    There are a few cans that are dented (not bulging) that I am going to open and check the status of. If they are still looking fine (the dents are not significant in size) I will use them immediately. A few cans of carrots- I thought I could make carrot cake or muffins. A crunched but not broken box of CocoKrispies cereal will be made into Rice Krispies treats I can gift someone. And so on. Last choices are chickens and compost pile. Hope to have no waste from this, while only giving out the pristine cans and boxes.

    I’ve got the first of 10 quilt kits all made up for Project Linus event with our teenagers from Church in 2 weeks. Didn’t make a dent in my scraps. Here’s a photo of the part that is ready for the youth who will be sewing. The blank spots will be filled in by youth who is subcutting sections to make the other blocks. https://pin.it/7ccPXXo.

    After a week of court as a juror, he is now in the deliberating stage so hopefully it will conclude soon. He has earned $180 for this.

    I was able to add about $1600 to our savings this past week from savings throughout the month. This will come in handy because we are going to replace our final furnace that is over 20 years old with a high efficiency one. One of our daughters works a a big HVAC and Plumbing Supply place and knows one of their contractors that will give us a good price now that the winter season is past and we can purchase the furnace using her company discount. We did this a couple years ago with the other 2 furnaces and will notice a difference in cost of use for next winter!

    Our electric company sent everyone a notice that our rates, beginning in April, will be going up by about 28%. I do not look forward to that and am looking around the house for ways to minimize the sting from that!
    Using Gas Buddy app on my phone I was able to fill my gas tank for $2.99/gallon which was about 20+ cents/gallon less than most places.

    Wish we could share our rain with you, Brandy, and others who are feeling the pain of the drought there in the West! I’m actually happy to have the rain as a reason to stay inside and catch up on canning and sewing!

    I feel like my life right now is getting finished with one deadline project and then quickly moving on to the next one. But I’m grateful that I have good health and that I have the supplies/materials to execute these projects without a heavy price!

    Hope everyone is safe and well and able to power through these harder times with hope and a firm resolve!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

      1. Kandace- Sorry to hear this but I know that they are expanding, so (fingers crossed) soon they will be in your area!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. It has been an interesting couple of weeks in Kansas. Cold and nasty one day and warm the next. Unfortunately almost zero moisture and so we are back to having to water in order to work on the garden. I did get snow peas plated and some potatoes. It will be interesting to see if the potatoes come up. I have planted lettuce and a carrot tape. and am pulling some things out of the green house. I intend to do a bit of a “gamble” garden. Last year got hot so fast that many gardens did not do well.

      I also have been working and cooking out of my pantry. A big THANK YOU to Gardenpat. I have been using her muffin mix for quite a while. I made it with gluten free flour for my twin sister who is now gluten intolerant. I made a half a batch and made muffins for her and sent the recipe. She used what I sent for a coffee cake and said it was so delicious! She then made pancakes with it and was also delighted. I often make muffins for my staff and for my Sunday evening service which is filled with people living on the edge financially. Some worship with us from Union Rescue Mission and Salvation Army women’s shelter, others from a work release program and some who have been sober a long time and others who are still day by day. They love those muffins.

      I am grateful for this community, even though I do not post very often.


  4. Hello from the Bronx (NYC)
    The tulips are beautiful!
    It’s warmer today and sunny so I worked outside a little. No planting yet because we expect freezing temperatures later this week.
    I went grocery shopping early Sunday; I usually go on Saturday. I found many reduced prices in the meat department and bought chicken cordon bleu, brats, and pork chops all at 50% off. Some grocery items were on sale which also had Ibotta rebates—Cracker Barrel and Kraft shredded cheese, Chex Mix cereal bars, Hidden Valley granola bars and Carr’s crackers. I received $16 in Ibotta credit which was great as I usually get about a dollar, if anything. I like to bring granola bars when we travel.
    I noticed that we had 2 quart jars of mayonnaise in the pantry which have sell-by dates within a few months. With 2 people, we don’t use that much, so I looked for tips about using it in unusual ways. I read that you can substitute mayonnaise for oil and eggs in a cake mix so I tried it this past weekend. I used a lemon cake mix and added 1/2 cup mayonnaise (instead of 1/2 cup oil and 3 eggs) plus the cup of water called for in the directions. The cake turned out great! It seemed to have risen slightly less than usual but I was pleased with it and will do this again (especially since eggs and oil are still expensive here). I found a recipe for chicken casserole which I plan to make next week, using more mayonnaise.
    As other readers have mentioned, we are eating less as we get a little older. Gradually (very slowly), I have been losing weight as well. I am at the point when most of my clothes are no longer wearable. I took in what I could but many items have too complex tailoring for me. I found that dresses have been the most adaptable, I guess because they hang from my shoulders instead of sagging from my waist. Jeans and slacks are the least forgiving—I know a tight belt would help but that would interfere with my need-for-speed when I head to the bathroom. Going forward, I want to focus on getting dresses with self-tie belts and elastic waist pants so I can continue to wear the clothes even if they get a little big. I bought some leggings ($4 and $5 at Kohl’s on clearance) which I can wear with some of my now-oversized tops. I’ve never really worn leggings except under clothing for warmth or for my very infrequent exercise forays but I will give them a try.
    We have carpet treads on our wood stairs and the adhesive backing has worn out. We bought a roll of double-sided carpet tape but it just isn’t secure enough. Our dogs are older (16+ years) and they panic if there’s any slipping when they run up the stairs. I was looking online at new carpet treads when a recommended also-buy item popped up—carpet tacks. I’ve never used them but had a vague memory of a cottage cheese container in a cellar closet labeled “carpet tacks” clearly left by the prior owner. I unearthed the container and sorted out some to tap into the treads. I hammered the tacks on a couple of them to try; they worked perfectly and I finished the job yesterday. Problem solved and no money spent.
    I cut up some of my husband’s old worn-out tee-shirts for rags making them the size of Swiffer cloths for mopping.
    I appreciate the tips here and wish all a good week!

    1. Hello Kat – I was just in the Bronx this weekend at the gardens. The weather was awful on Saturday wasn’t it? Glad it’s nearly spring – great idea to use the carpet tacks! Poor pups – I woudn’t want any sliding on my stairs either!

    2. I work in a store that has very tall escalators, and Guide Dogs for the Blind trainers come in daily with their dogs to teach them how to use the escalators. The trainers have “booties” for the dogs (I think that they are plastic or rubber) so the dogs won’t slip and it seems to work very ewl

    3. Re: pants too loose: Until I get around to shopping, I have my jeans tied on the side with a piece of string between two belt loops to pull the waist just a few inches tighter to fit better. Doesn’t show under my shirt or get in the way with fastening. The string even goes through the wash so I don’t have to think about it.

    4. My waist is much smaller than my booty and thighs so I started putting elastic in the waist of my jeans. I just seam rip an opening in the inside of the waistband and put in a length of elastic. Using matching thread I just zigzag thru all layers to keep it in place and keep the hole from unraveling. Since I rarely tuck in shirts, it’s never seen. It avoids a belt that digs in and makes those need for speed trips less of a hassle.

    5. When I was younger, I could never find pants that fit my waist (very small) and that I could still get over my booty and thighs. My mom used to sew two darts in the back of my pants, one on each side of the center. Since the darts angle down, this worked great!

  5. My new furnace was installed today. It was a necessity, but is a much more efficient model than the old one. I also had a programmable thermostat installed. I am good about turning the thermostat down and up overnight, but this may help me avoid nudging it up a bit on very cold nights. I don’t think my old thermostat was very accurate, so I may program it for lower temperatures as I see how it goes.

    The installers had not had instructions to install a programmable thermostat, even though that is what my estimate had been based on. It was only by chance that I mentioned how happy I was to be getting one. They happened to have one in one of their trucks (two people came in two trucks), which saved a trip from the next town over. I don’t think I would have been paying for this extra trip, but it saved someone the cost of it!

    I’ve had a dripping tap in the basement where the water gets turned off for the house, and each furnace repair person who comes in spends a little time working to tighten it up without any additional charge. There’s no drip at the moment. I am planning to have a plumber come to do a few jobs once spring is here, but I’m happy if people who are here get one of the jobs done.

    I’ve spent several days doing some enthusiastic cleaning. Now I’d like to get some papers and photos organized, so I’ll be scheduling some time for that in the coming weeks while I wait for the snow to melt. I can see some bits of lawn around the edges, but it is still cold enough for more snow at least half the time. This is all pretty normal for the time of year here.

  6. The chalk festival sounds like fun! I bet you all enjoyed it. I planted more lettuce and swiss chard, today, several varieties of each. Some months ago, I requested that my husband begin saving bones from his meals in a bag in the freezer. There were a good amount last week, and while we still have the woodstove going some days, I wanted to put them on it to simmer. Afterwards, any meat was pulled from the bones. The meat and broth filled just over two 32 oz. yogurt containers. I froze one, and the other is being doled out to the pups, which they’re loving. This week, he began freezing another bag of bones. I also simmered a pot of sweet potatoes on the woodstove for the pups and chickens. I made Winter’s Delight Jam, which helped me clean all the cranberries from the fridge and freezer. The jam is quite lovely. I feel good about having a head start on gifts for this year’s holidays. My husband and I worked on a fence extension around the garden, for the deer. Our 4 foot fence wasn’t tall enough to keep them out, so he added extensions to the posts, and we’re stapling up 4 foot fencing above the original fence. We’re trying a new experiment in potato planting. We filled twenty 15 gal. grow bags with soil, and placed them along the bottom of the solar panels. They’ll get lots of sun, and the rain runoff. Hopefully, the bags will keep the wireworms and fire ants out. I made a batch of cashew parmesan using homegrown herbs, and made pasta with our herbs and veggies, to enjoy with it. That’s about it for the week. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2023/03/a-few-little-projects.html

    1. Just another typical week for us. While in a grocery store an employee alerted me that he had filled the dumpsters. He said I was welcome to go remove any thing in there. I physically climbed in to remove a case of in date Hellman’s mayonaise. The right item often inspires me to climb in. The shipping box had been crushed but 11 containers were perfect. I’m amazed that my mobility is still excellent. We’ve had several tornadoes in our state. Thankfully ,we have all been safe. I’ve had an extended stay at my college kids apartment. She is out of town and her flights home have been delayed. I’ve had the opportunity to go to several stores I normally wouldn’t have access to. Trader Joes leaves banana boxes of food on their back dock , marked sharing. I retrieved some lovely fruits and vegetables to stock my daughters and my own pantry. My daughter will have a delay in pay this month and the groceries are welcomed. I recently sighed up for the CVS care pass. I’m finding it quite valuable. In addition to the $10.00 voucher each month , I’m finding they are sending me several $5.00 off a purchase coupons each month. Free item coupons are also coming. The local CVS is next door to my favorite dumpster ,so it is no extra expense to drop buy. I visited the local Goodwill store. The prices in downtown Atlanta are not ridiculously high like they are in my own hometown. I found a dress new with tags for 99 cents. It was the color of the day and a lucky find. I’m on budget but the AC has now been turned on so I will have to watch it carefully. I have no clue what are summer rates will run. That’s scary.

  7. Your tulips are still pretty, but the lettuce is gorgeous! We won’t be able to plant for at least another three weeks or so.
    I was sick for three days last week, left work early, and then stayed home all weekend. That is always frugal.
    Prior to that, I picked up a chicken at Costco. I always look for the biggest one I can find. Had it for dinner one night, then took all the meat off the bones and put the bones in the crockpot with onions, carrots, celery, salt and pepper and bay leaves and let cook overnight. Made chicken enchilada casserole with some of the chicken, then made a big batch of chicken noodle soup – which was great when not feeling well, and chicken quesadillas. Used onions we have stored, and corn from the freezer in the soup and quesadillas.
    A neighbor aerated our lawn. He got a new “toy” and was going around the neighborhood having “fun”. This is the same neighbor who used his snowblower on our driveway after our bigger storms. Looks like making bread is in order again when I am feeling better.
    Gave DH a haircut before I was sick.
    Made blueberry/huckleberry jam muffins again.
    Made pesto chicken, using homemade pesto from last year’s garden.
    My DH has been eating the pickled beets I made last fall. He said they were really good, so I tried one. I’m one of those people to whom beets taste like dirt. So they tasted like dirt mixed with vinegar. I told him he could have them, but if he really likes them, I will make more next garden season.
    Other than the Costco chicken, I had all ingredients at home for all the cooking I did.
    My DH picked up 5 jars of peanut butter from Fred Meyer. They were on the digital deals for 99¢ each. He is the peanut butter eater of the family so…..
    I hope everyone has a wonderful week.

    1. Nancy, I am glad you are feeling better! Had to laugh on your description of beets😂 I am also one to whom beets taste like dirt and the dirt with vinegar made me laugh!

  8. Brandy, I have read your blog for years but I never comment. I just wanted to say how much this site means to me. Thank you for your consistency with posting, I always look forward to reading.

  9. The chalk festival and concert sound really fun! So glad you and the kids could go. * I dug out my leftover seeds from last year and found a little seed starting “kit” I had left over, which is nice. I’ll work on those later in the week as well as the indoor herb garden kit I got for my birthday earlier in the month. I don’t think I’ll need to buy anything this year. *My husband is out of town for business this week. I keep things pretty simple when he is gone. I did schedule two lunches out with friends. I have Christmas and birthday gift cards for both so I won’t have to pay anything out of pocket. It will be fun to get out with a couple of friends I haven’t seen in a bit. * Still doing the same things: keeping my weekly grocery pick up order within the budget, cooking from home, reading, knitting and crocheting for entertainment, watch shows from either free sites or our couple streaming service. Meals I’ve made have included chicken stir fry, spaghetti with homemade meat sauce, taco pasta salad, tacos, and leftovers.* With the news being so grim lately, I’m focusing on keeping my faith strong and making sure the people I love know I love them. Also, trying to bloom where I’m planted, trying to do some good within my sphere. * I hope everyone has a safe and thrifty week!

  10. Such beautiful pictures! Are the tulips still blooming?

    My frugal week:
    – I combined coupons, sales, and price matching, as always, when grocery shopping. My best deal was a free package of waffles (cost $3.50, 2.50 back in points, plus a dollar off coupon).
    – my eldest was able to join in my youngest’s gym class, for free.
    – when my youngest was diagnosed with croup, I was able to use her puffer leftover from when she had the same a few months ago, instead of having to buy a new one.
    – I packed lunches for when we out of the house during mealtimes, instead of buying meals.
    – made some new penpals: no-cost entertainment!
    – visiting my parents, my kids played so happily with vintage toys from my childhood
    – I cut my father’s hair. My parents do so much for me, that it gives me great joy to be able to do something small for them, like save them money on a haircut.
    – I turned leftover rice into fried rice. Always yummy, and no waste!
    – I made pizza using my homemade pizza dough (http://approachingfood.com/easiest-pizza-dough-ever/)
    – used a coupon to buy my daughter a cake pop from Starbucks. She was happy with the treat and I was happy with no money OOP!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

    1. They are! The weather is crazy weird at 14°C instead of the usual 32°C.

      At this point most of the tulips look better from a distance.

      I am grateful for that pop of color at the end of the garden.

    2. I sent out a couple letters this week, too. Fun to write and receive responses, all for 60 cents – a fair bargain, I think!

  11. I have been steadily “releasing with love” clutter from my house.

    * We are now empty nesters in a 2,000 square foot house. There is not a reason in the world I should have to stuff anything into anywhere. I redid my linen closest and now it looks like a page from Real Simple magazine. A few items on each shelve.

    * I donated nearly ALL my spices to our home EC department at school. I have an epiphany: I don’t’ cook using single spices anymore. I had large TONE bottles from Sam’s that were still half full and nearing the end their usefulness. I will use up the spice blends in packages I have such as Lipton onion Soup, Old Bay, etc . . . and then I will buy a few. I researched ones that sound perfect: “Cavendar All Purpose Greek; Everything but the Bagel. FoxPoint seasoning by Penny. I usually find pre made sauces like pesto, seasoned polenta, etc. . . so cheaply at the outlet that I never use my own. My pantry looks awesome and my world feels lighter. No kidding. I think I had a small place in my mind that was worried about the spices going bad. In a podcast I listened to it said every item in your house owns a pieces of your brain. Interesting.

    If anyone has a spice blend they can’t live without, let me know.

    * I donated at captain’s chair that was nicely made but uncomfortable and I will put out with a free sign a 1950s settee in pink that was in my grandfather’s house but has been stored in the garage for years. I have a picture of it. Someone will love it.

    I am bringing my old printer to my mom. I told her I would get take out than decided to make spaghetti and meatballs tonight and take the rest of her’s tomorrow. That will save $50.00

    1. Mary Ann,
      We’ve filtered down our spices as well – the two blends we use the most are from a company called Primal Palate (https://shop.primalpalate.com/ ). We use their Super Gyro on anything Mediterranean/Italian-ish, and their Taco Seasoning on lots of other things. I actually buy them in the “bulk” bags, which is something like half a pound of spice blend. My husband uses the taco spice mix on turkey breasts in his smoker – he makes two breasts and we eat one sliced and then pull the other and make enchiladas with it, giving us four meals or more, depending if we have guests. I use the taco spice in CrockPot chili; mixed into refried beans as a topping for sheetpan nachos; basically anything I used to use chili powder, garlic etc etc in, now I just use the mix. The gyro mix is great with lamb and beef, but also makes a great rub for his smoker meats and on pork. We’ve also used it in pasta dishes, even quiche and scrambled eggs.
      In grabbing the link, I see they have a spring warehouse sale, might be a good way to get a deal if anyone needs anything. I have used Thrive Market in the past and get a bit off regular retail on them there. (No affiliation on my part with either company.)
      I’m sure there are other brands with similar mixes, if you were to look at the ingredient list – we’ve stuck with this brand because our son and I have sensitivities to some of the things other brands add in.
      I hope this gives you some ideas – they have a bunch of other mixes on their website as well, but I haven’t tried those yet. (Thinking I should! 😀 )

    2. Old Bay and a Cajun one (can’t think of the brand but probably Penzies) + Chili Lime from Trader Joe’s
      We also like the Penzies Fox Point.

  12. Brandy, your beautiful pictures make me anxious for my own tulips to bloom. They are up, but nowhere near blooming.

    My husband concluded the first 6 weeks of the elimination diet and no allergies were found, meaning we can stop. The last few weeks were easier than the first because I got the hang of it, plus his potassium is back in the normal range and he could eat virtually all fruits and vegetables at the end…as long as he didn’t go bananas (pun intended).

    The temperatures warmed up to the 50s last week and I worked on outdoor spring cleanup for an hour on 4 days. I have severe arthritis in my back so my limit is about an hour at a time. However, even I am surprised by how much I got done–the raised veggie beds, about a third of the planting beds (on the dry side of the house) and leaves raked. (Our deciduous trees are only 5 years old so there weren’t a whole lot of leaves…but they still needed raking). I am making leaf mold. And the biggie–a friend came over and together we pruned a couple of overgrown dwarf fruit trees. It was a case of the blind leading the blind, but somehow I feel that the two of us did a better job than I would have, left to my own devices! I am planning to continue an hour a day (weather permitting) until the job is done. I am not in any hurry because we can’t plant until mid-May at the earliest, but I do want it done.

    The plastic tube on the handle of my galvanized watering can broke. I made a wrap from an old piece of quilted bedspread, bias tape and velcro. It wraps around the wire bail and is a pad for my hands.

    We took a 2-day mini-vacation in western Montana. The highlight was day passes for the newly-renovated hot springs–and, boy, did soaking help my arthritis! We stayed at a cheaper motel nearby. We couldn’t get a reservation at the resort, anyway, but we saved a bunch of ca$h by staying 9 miles away.

    I only read one book last week–Running with Sherman by Christopher MacDowell, about an abused donkey who was brought back to good health and ran in the burro race in Leadville, CO, within a year of being rescued. I have another book checked out to start later today.

    I got 80/20 ground beef for $1.99 lb. (limit 3 lbs.) and 6 lbs. of bacon for $3.33 lb. in 3 lb. packages. Otherwise, it was just the usual frugal stuff.

    Mari, don’t forget that if the top of a sheet is damaged, you can simply turn the sheet upside down and put the bottom at the top. The hem will be narrower, but that has never bothered me. This also evens out the wear on the sheet.

    1. Glad your husband’s gotten more answers…. but no going bananas. (haha!) I hope you’re feeling back up to par now as well, as you’d mentioned not feeling well during the changes. Just a wee bug and gone now, hopefully!

    2. Maxine, I did think about that and hope I never need to think about it again. My bottom sheets definitely get flipped around but since no one lays on top of them, I don’t think the top sheets wear out as much.

      1. Quinn’s Hot Springs on Hwy. 135. You can access it from I-90 at St. Regis (exit 34) or it is 2 miles south of Hwy. 200. If you decide to go, you will find lodging is booked several months out. You can book day passes for the pools online 4 weeks out beginning at 10 am Mountain time each Wednesday. The pools, dressing rooms, etc., are all new, and by far the nicest of any hot springs in the intermountain region.

  13. Used $25 in petsmart rewards towards dog food

    Chili I made for one night became chili dogs the next

    Bagels and donuts at were brought in at work. I got one each and brought home for my husband

    Used a 20% off code at McDonald’s

    Ate breakfast and lunches at work

    The weather was nice a couple days so was able to turn off heat

    Hubby and son cleaned up backyard

    Renewed my Amazon Prime account with Amazon Student for cheaper price (might as well take advantage since I’m taking classes)

    The kid picked up a dozen chocolate chip cookies from McDonald’s with her discount

    Walked the track at school after work

  14. Your lettuce is lovely and makes me impatient for ours to be ready to harvest. A non-gardening friend told me lettuce she buys in the store lately lasts only 2 days in her refrigerator when it used to last much longer. Even more reason to garden. Nothing like picking a few leaves as needed and letting the garden be your storage. I will plant extra to share with her.
    *As I have mentioned in previous weeks, we have been spending more money than usual in terms of gas as we travel to my husband’s uncle’s hometown to take care of his affairs. Another life circumstance where we are glad for our regular frugality so that we can be of service at times like these. His celebration of life was held last week and it was lovely. I selected a number of photographs of him throughout his life to display on easels and also made a storyboard on a tri-fold display (we had an extra one we did not use for a recent homeschool science fair.) For $5, I purchased a package of black photo corners and used them to hold snapshots to the board telling the story of his life. I included newspaper clippings from when he made Eagle Scout as well as copies of a family tree to represent his extensive genealogy research. It had the look of a vintage photo album and I loved putting it together. Virtually no expense but time and I enjoyed spending that time with him through his things. I laid other personal items such as his Bible, a book on our family history, his Eagle Scout badge and BS sash and Sheriff’s Deputy badge. Almost everyone present had known him his whole life so there was a lot of interest in this display. It was a very special day and we were honored to be a part of it and happy to be with family we had not seen in a while.
    *Some of the most wonderful things we now in our possession are some vintage and antique family photos we did not previously have. Old photos are a passion of mine – the combination of that along with another uncle in my family who runs a frame shop means that I have framed and reframed a lot of things. I am always on the look-out for old frames at thrift and antique stores and have quite a collection. They are coming in handy once more with this new collection of photos we wish to display. Some of the photos are already in frames but none have dust covers on the back and many are in need of repair of some sort or just good cleaning. I have been doing all of these things and am glad I have all the supplies on hand to do so. I am also making small cards and affixing them to the back of each frame with the same photo corners I used on the display board. Each card identifies the person(s) in the photo and the dates of their birth and death. I think this will help anyone in the future know who these people were and that we cared for them. I love history and old things so this is a real labor of love for me.
    *While we are assimilating some new things we are encouraged to go through the things we already own and have passed a few things on to our neighbor to sell in her antique shop. I do this pretty regularly and every little bit helps.
    *No grocery shopping this week as we eat from what we already have on hand. The chickens are in full swing and we regularly get 16+ eggs per day. So, lots of egg dishes figure in our meals. I recently came across this post and am enjoying the variety. All of her recipes are wonderful! https://smittenkitchen.com/recipes/eggs/?format=photo
    *I also enjoyed this post. Not everyone’s pantry looks the same and shouldn’t but I appreciate the recipe suggestions with each category of item. https://smittenkitchen.com/2020/04/how-i-stock-the-smitten-kitchen/?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email
    *I mended a few items of clothing and cut up several worn-out things into rags.
    *I split a hive of my bees making two from one. This is called an artificial swarm and is a way to try to stay one step ahead of the bees and give them more growing space to reproduce before they decide to swarm (and possibly leave) on their own. Considering a nucleus (5 frames of bees and a laying queen) runs about $175-$220+ these days, this is an important way to increase my apiary and save money.
    *Used HSA account to pay a medical co-pay for one son.
    *Bought rabbit manure from a boy in our homeschool co-op. He raises rabbits to sell in effort to raise money for summer camp. I asked him if he would sell me some manure as fertilizer. His eyes lit up and we quickly made a bargain. I got some high quality fertilizer for my garden and helped support a young entrepreneur. My boys are very enterprising themselves and I always appreciate when others support them and try to do likewise.
    *Hope all of you are finding time to play in the sun! Thank you for all the inspiration and encouragement. 🙂

    1. Dawn, it sounds like an amazing celebration of life, and your husband’s uncle sounds like a wonderful person who impacted many.

      Love your mention of labeling photos – as our family’s genealogist, I’m always wishing someone had done that “back in the day” on the now-old photos. Future generations will bless your name, for sure. 😀

      1. Definitely, thank you! My mom had saved genealogical photos for years, but none were labeled. My dad doesn’t know who they are… so it’s wasted.

        1. Robbie – Perhaps there is someone remaining in your family who could identify the photos for you? I have been texting my MIL to ID the ones that I know her brother knew in his head but did not have marked or had in a file folder with a particular family but I don’t know exactly who each person is. Even though she is not as interested in this sort of thing as I or her brother was, she has enjoyed identifying the photos and telling me all she knows about that person. I hope there is someone in your family you can do something similar with. Though, I am sure you enjoy having them and knowing they are kin. That can be enough. 🙂

      2. Melonie – It was a very special day for a very special person. 🙂 I did the labeling project on the photos I have from my family a few years ago after my Mom got a family photo album and it took quite a bit of detective work to figure out who some of the people in the photos were. We both vowed then and there to always have photos labeled. It has been a fun way for me to feel as if I know some of my relatives in a real way even if they passed before I was born. Plus, my husband and I both come from a long line of great storytellers so we have heard about so many of these people for years. It is wonderful to have their faces to look at every day.

    2. Mountain Mama Dawn, I think it is wonderful that you are taking the time to label the old photos! So many times at estate sales I see old family photos and wonder who they were. So much information just lost to history and time.

      1. Pam – I have had similar feelings so many times when going to estate sales or even antique stores. It saddens me to think nobody in the family is cherishing those photos. And the wedding dresses! Don’t get me started. 🙂 But, the good thing is that we can do what we can where we are and honor those people by knowing them in whatever way we can. 🙂 I will tell you that, amongst our family photo gallery walls, I have a few photos I bought at an antique mall many years ago that just spoke to me. I had horses all my life until a few years ago so that may be part of the reason – one is of a lady all dressed up standing in front of a house cradling a newborn foal and the other is two dapper gentlemen standing at the heads of their horses. They both appear to be about the early 1900s-1910s. We call them Great Aunt Edith and Great Uncles Horace and Hubert just for fun. It has always made me happy that we love them and have welcomed them into our home. Plus, just from a photography standpoint, they are beautiful images. It’s funny the things that make you happy but this is one of them for me. 🙂

      2. I once read a story about a woman who was upset when old family photos had no labels. But finally she came across one that had writing on the back! She was so excited! Then she read: “The two of us–a week ago”. lol

    3. Dawn, the celebrating of life sounds wonderful and I’m going to start affixing name and date information to my pictures as well.

      My store bought and garden picked greens both last a lot longer if I store them in glass jars. I usually wash and then thoroughly dry them using a salad spinner from Ikea. They can also be stored unwashed, just making sure they are as dry as can be, and then washed as needed.

      1. Mari – Good hint on the lettuce! I told her to poke some holes in a plastic storage bag with a needle and put the lettuce in there wrapped in paper towels. I have done that and it seems to help it last longer but, of course, my preferred way is to pick leaves as needed from the garden. Soon! 🙂

      2. That’s interesting. I store most of my dry foods and lots of leftovers in glass jars but I’ve never thought to do greens. I will certainly give it a try. Fresh vegetables and greens are the foods most likely to have to be thrown out at my house.

    4. Dawn I thought your writing was beautiful how you honored your husbands Uncle, extremely kind and such a wonderful tribute
      I always wonder what will happen when I die, will anyone miss me or know about my life and its amazing to read how you honored him

      1. Pam – Thank you for your sweet comment! We do miss him and taking on the role of stewards of these precious family items is healing and productive. I do well with a purpose! 🙂 Having spent all my life in homes with 99% antiques, most of which were passed down through the family, I feel like all of those people are still with me through their belongings. I know things are just things in the end but I do also think that things that were special to someone and especially those thing used every day hold a bit of that person in them. In our house, it is not “the desk” it is “Oldemor’s desk”, not “the cabinet” but “Great Grandpa’s cabinet.” We refer to all items by the person who had them originally. I never really thought about it as this is how I grew up and have done the same with my children. I have had people ask me if I worry about my children damaging antiques and I have to say no. For one thing, things are meant to be used and loved but I also think, by being around them and by hearing the names of the people who owned them, the items are not just furniture to put your feet on (though we do that, in some cases) or beat up. They are members of your family and are treated as such.
        I imagine there are special people who will cherish your things. I will say that the things they value may not be what you think, however. My grandmother started giving some family things as gifts for birthdays and holidays when she was in her 70s (and she lived another 20 years!) I have and use all those things but she was surprised when I asked her for two categories of items when she no longer used them – her French-made barrettes (she had long hair she always wore in a flat bun with the barrette at the bottom) and her green juice glasses (she always served me grape juice in them and I thought they were so fancy.) She was so surprised that I wanted those things, especially the glasses (“But, those are just cheap things I bought at Kmart in the 1970s!” 🙂 ) You never know what will remind people of you and what they will hold dear to their hearts. Thanks for your comment. Hugs!

        1. Dawn your kindness is amazing, I know feel better knowing someone who I may not have guessed will cherish something because it meant alot to me- I also refer to my pieces by who gave them to me, Grams table, Grampa Peter’s stereo console
          Your comment healed the sorrow I was feeling and gives me hope
          Thank you

    5. What an incredible gift you were given, and an incredible gift you are giving to future generations. My husband’s parents passed away and we received loads of old family photos, unlabeled.😬 I could tell my MIL had tried to identify who was in the photos as there were notes in her handwriting, but she was unable to figure out many of the photos passed to them. Hence, lots of photos who we know are some distant relative but have no clue as to who. Many will likely end up in the bin for this reason…some are even from the Wild West time. So sad. My mom was really good at labeling the photos from their life (very few from her parents’ lives as they were very poor). I have not been so diligent, and the advent of digital photos means I don’t print out many. I really need to go through these and print and label the ones I want to keep o my descendants won’t have a clue, just as we don’t have a clue. Thanks for the timely advice!

  15. Beautiful pictures, as usual!

    This week we cooked at home, and my son and I ate any leftovers for lunch the next day. I finished a jar of pickled beets this evening and will add hard boiled eggs to the liquid left in the bar for my son-in-law.

    This weekend was beautiful. I planted some ranunculus corms. I hope they produce. I sadly do not have my Mom’s green thumb, but these are my favorite flowers. I spent time outside, reading and relaxing in our garbage-picked lounge chairs or porch sitting in our garbage-picked rocking chairs.

    My husband brought home a ton of medical supplies like gauze pads, wraps, flushes (for wounds or eyes) that someone was throwing away.

    I noticed today that most of the meat in our freezer has lovely manager’s markdown stickers on them. My husband is very good about hitting the right time for those.

    I’ve been reading books I own or from the library, listening to the Bible from an app while I work or listen to Pandora (with ads so that it is free), and playing card games or dominos with my family for entertainment. I sent out two get well cards to loved ones and a couple letters to penpals.

  16. Hello!

    I haven’t posted in awhile, but have read the blogs and comments every week.

    We recently took our children to Disneyland. We saved money by finding a good hotel deal. Breakfast was included, so we ate late morning and skipped lunch. We also took an Uber to and from our destinations, which was much cheaper than renting a car. We used coupons and offers toward dinners, and took our own snacks and drinks everywhere we went.

    I have received some nice freebies in the mail lately, including over a dozen different seed varieties from a gardening company, a voucher for free oatmeal from Bob’s Red Mill, some personal care and household samples, and a few other free food vouchers I’m forgetting. I find most of these offers on sites like FreebieShark and Social Nature.

    My local grocery store offered a $25 cash reward with a $75 purchase. I stocked up on their best deals. I also earned 9% cash back on Upside.

    I colored my mother’s hair for the first time and she received many compliments. She said she will have me do it from now on, rather than paying a fortune at the salon. I really like the brand Tints of Nature hair color. It’s relatively healthy, and fume free, plus the color lasts a long time. I buy it when it’s on sale. I also purchased new hair cutting scissors. Mine were several years old, and despite sharpening them often, they were very dull.

    Library books that I have recently read and enjoyed include: A Waiter in Paris (a memoir) by Edward Chisholm, and Chicken Soup for the Soul-The Joy of Less, by Amy Newmark. I also finally spent a Barnes and Noble gift card and purchased the Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps, and Timelines. I had been considering it for awhile. I’m looking forward to setting aside more time for Bible study, and this book seems like a wonderful reference guide.

    I found a really nice, flat back basket for my front door at a thrift store. I spray painted it white. I will switch out the colors of flowers and bows throughout the year. I did pastels for spring, but will switch out to red, white, and blue later in summer. I haven’t found much else at thrift stores recently.

    I stocked up on uniform pants for my son at The Children’s Place. They were offering 20% off, plus an additional 15% if I picked them up in store.

    I stocked up on butter ($2.49) last week at Aldi!

    Have a great week!

  17. Those tulips are really amazing! Sounds like the chalk festival was fantastic – my kids used to love sidewalk chalk. We especially enjoyed using it before typhoons (hurricanes) as the kids on our street could fill the entire block with artwork and it was gone with the storms, so no one from the Housing office minded. We went through a lot of chalk in heavy storm years. 😉

    My husband had a cold two weeks back, and generously shared it with me LOL. I was able to make use of medicines on hand from the FSA stock up and not have to buy anything new (or go in any stores). Used my handkerchiefs and found a pack of “Boogie Wipes” saline wipes from a past stock up, much less drying on the nose.

    My folks passed on a Garden Tower Project container garden (which they bought with a coupon a few years back, but decided they don’t have room for at their new home) and 30 of a 60-pack of eggs (on sale at the Kroger affiliate, $13/60count). My husband picked them up on the way back from an event that was on the road they live off of, saving gas. We will have big ten-egg quiches several times, which feeds us dinner for two nights (or dinner and breakfast the next day), and the eggshells will help build the compost. The Garden Tower will be half-filled with strawberry starts; a Tower holds 50 plants so I will plant 25 to account for runners from each. My ultimate goal is to have 100 plants, based on the one year fresh+storage amounts suggested in Melissa K. Norris’ book, The Family Garden Planner. Should they all produce each year, that would be enough for us and to share with my folks.

    We used one of their $1 off/gallon discounts at the Kroger affiliate to fill up my car; we have one more to use which we will fill up my husband’s car with before the end of the month. (They had two as well and have a small car so they don’t fill up often and tell us to go use the “points”.) Big help as gas prices didn’t go down much late last year, and this month started going back up again. We are nearing $4/gal again in our area for regular unleaded.

    Not feeding us this year, but I’m excited to have seen 7 of the 8 rhubarb crowns I planted have pushed through the soil, and two tiny, worm-sized asparagus shoots coming up of the 18 I planted. *happy dance!* I am trying to get as many perennials established as possible, to hopefully add to the larder for years to come. Other than garlic and potatoes, I’ve focused on those as the budget allows. I think this will be much-needed in the future, even if it will be hard to not harvest this first year as they get established.

    While taking it easy to recover, I read through blog posts, a big basket of library books, Kindle books on free trial, and a pile of magazines my mom had passed on. Thank you to everyone who shares blogs and book ideas – my wishlist is as long as my leg now as I add two for every one read 😀 but your recommendations are wonderful!

    Received a mail coupon for Midas and my husband’s car was coming due for an oil change, so he made use of the discount and got the service done.

    Purchased a T-shirt for a friend’s birthday coming up and added an item to put aside for my husband for Christmas, getting free shipping and a “combo” discount for buying two shirts.

    My husband was sorting through his closet items and found a baggie with laundry strips in it from a business trip – he brought them to me and we have four “free” loads worth of laundry soap. A silly thing to be excited about, I suppose, but it felt like a win. haha

    Had a consult with the vet to go over our dog’s lab results – due to some technical glitches on their end, her lengthy message didn’t actually make it to us, and then the appointment we scheduled for the in-person explanation was deleted and we had to reschedule another two weeks out. Because of the issues, she told the desk staff not to charge us for the visit. Looking at the numbers, we decided to continue with the current treatment plan which uses herbs and supplements to manage her condition – still costs money, but nowhere near what an Rx pharmaceutical would be each month (and the herbs are things I stock in bulk anyway as an herbalist).

    Wishing everyone a lovely week and a happy April-to-be!

  18. I used to love getting the little pamphlet from the library that listed all the upcoming activities and events they would be having. It was always a wonderful and educational time to be had for my children when they were young. Thank you for the memories this brought to mind!

  19. How wonderful that the tulips have lasted so long – they are just beautiful. What another lovely outing with your children – it is wonderful that you have found so many things to do these past couple of weeks. Here in Toronto the city has now made all the historical sites free so that should allow a lot more outings for families – the entrance fee to things like the big museum is ridiculous – don’t know how families manage it. I have already visited many of these sites but Fort York often has different exhibits etc. throughout the year so I will check it out.

    I finally did a bit bigger shop last week – especially since I had friends coming to brunch on Saturday. Also, Avian Flu has arrived so I am stocking up on chicken and eggs – I will add another dozen to the freezer later this week. I took some chicken that had been in the freezer for a few months, cooked it and then portioned it into servings and put some back into the freezer for ready meals. I then portioned up some new purchases and put them into the freezer to be cooked at a later date. It wasn’t cheap but didn’t want to risk it getting even more expensive or not being able to find any at all.

    I bought 1 kg of bacon for brunch, plus bagels and cream cheese and had everything else in the pantry or fridge. Certainly a lot cheaper than eating out and I have leftovers to use up this week, including about 1/4 of the crust less quiche that I made.

    I gave the fridge and freezer a good clean and rotated more food. I ate at a friend’s one evening and I reciprocated by preparing a picnic to eat during our Sunday hike – eating in the car as it was sunny but still just above freezing. Another friend treated me to lunch out one day as a thank you as I had helped her with a few things lately – it was lovely.

    I’ve continued with the Spring cleaning and decluttering. I took a bag of items down to the laundry room for anyone to help themselves to – it’s very handy to be able to do this. I got caught up on some paperwork that had been hanging over my head for a while now – but still have to get this year’s taxes sorted. We have until the end of April so still have time – just need to buckle down.

    I am working my way through more library books and I have a 30 day free subscription to BBC Select so I am watching lots of documentaries – I especially love historical ones or ones about art so lots to choose from. I hope everyone has a wonderful week.

    1. Hi Margie from Toronto,

      Thanks for letting us know about avian flu arriving. I will shortly stop feeding the birds outside. It is almost time for them to catch bugs anyway! I will stop up on chickens. Ann

      1. Apparently new signs have gone up in the parks and conservation areas about not feeding the birds, ducks, geese etc. Last year it was just a reminder that things like bread really wasn’t good for them but now you will be fined if caught. I think it’s also a way to keep people from getting too close – just in case.

  20. Beautiful flowers as usual. I’m so glad it’s been cooler for you for a bit! The festival sounds like great fun.

    Like Kat I haven’t planted yet here on long island [zone 7] but I am planning on it for next weekend after this last little bit of cold. We did get the hoses set up and my husband fixed one hose that had a broken sprayer – I’ll use it without one until he has time to repair it properly – but at least I can water!

    Butter and eggs have left the stratosphere here finally – I’m so grateful!

    I took 3/4 of a gallon of milk that was starting to turn and made a double batch of waffles as well as 2 quarts of honey lemon yogurt.

    I had gotten some dry dog food at a crazy cheap price [kibbles and bits for less than 30 cents a pound] and I’ve been mixing it in with our dog’s regular dry Iams – she loves the variety but it’s not enough to throw her off so I’m pleased with the savings.

    I managed to overwinter my parsley inside and it’s doing well, I’ve been trimming it back and will be dividing it into several pots next week. I also made sure that the other herbs I found for a reasonable price had several plants in each pot that I will divide. And I’ve got some potatoes that sprouted that I’ve stored to plant next week too

  21. Planted lettuce, spinach, cabbage, kale, and broccoli in the garden shortly after my husband tilled it with the tractor. He made it much larger this year to help combat the rising costs. We sat down the the kids that night and mapped out the garden and everyone chose two plants that they will be responsible for weeding. I was surprised at how excited they were to do that- no grumbles at all- but ask me again mid July! 🙂 Two years ago I found a patch of what I thought were irises in our woods. I dug them up and planted them all around the house, but they have not bloomed the last 2 years. I was thrilled to see buds on every plant while walking around the house the other day. Irises are my favorite flower! And they were free to me! I think the patch may have been the former owners landscaping when she was younger and better able to care for the property. By the time we got here the trees and woods had encroached on them and they were all but swallowed up. So thankful I got to revive these beautiful blooms!
    I used one of the hams I got after new years for .50 lb to make four meals for us. Ham and potatoes, ham and pepperoni pizza, ham and cheese pockets, and ham and bean soup. I still have the bone in my freezer to make ham, beans, and corn bread on a cooler day (if we get any more of those). My maternity leave ends this week, and I’m not looking forward to returning to work. But, I spent time cleaning out my purse and going through my clothes. Not many of my clothes fit just yet- I have about 15 lbs to go- but I did set aside some dresses that will work until I get there. I will not spend money on new clothes in a larger size when I have lots that will fit me in just a couple of months, hopefully! I also pulled out and cleaned my lunchbox, pump parts, and everything I will need to return to work. I plan to spend tomorrow and Wednesday just snuggling baby as much as I can.
    Have a lovely week everyone!

  22. I’m itching for spring temps here…I’m guessing our tulips are still at least 2-3 weeks away, especially as we’ve had a much colder spring than normal. It’s still getting down to the low teens at night here! I ended up having to disbud all my ranunculus plants in my high tunnel as the lower-than-normal temps had damaged them. They’ll still survive; I’ll just have to wait a little longer for blooms.

    Potty training is finally going better, which has freed up mental space for me again 🙂 I’m also excited to think about all the money it will save us from hereon out not to have to buy diapers for awhile (although I’m pregnant with my fourth and last baby in just a couple months, so the respite will be short).

    Here are some of my own frugal wins lately:


  23. I really enjoyed your Instagram photos from the chalk festival!

    HH filed taxes for both daughters, his aunt and us this weekend. We need to pay in a very small amount, but no interest free loans to Uncle Sam, so we were satisfied.

    We helped DD2 transfer funds to a HYOSA and Roth IRA. We need to do the same for ourselves since interest rates are so much better than what we are earning at our bank.

    HH started garden seeds indoors. He might be a little overly optimistic-at this rate we will still have snow in May.

    I listened to the play Copenhagen by Micheal Frayn published by LA Theater Works Audio on the Scribd app. I really enjoy the intersection of art and science.

    I took my car in for recommended service. I am hopeful that the preventative maintenance will prolong the life of the vehicle and tires.

    Had a simple date night with HH-went for a walk and stopped at local brewery to have beverage and listen to live acoustic music.

    Had neighbors over to watch the women’s NCAA basketball tournament on TV. I served beverages and simple snacks I had on hand. I am truly grateful for friends who enjoy simple gatherings as much as we do.

    I continue to purchase primarily produce, dairy and loss leaders. This week I stocked up on marinaded pork tenderloins (HH’s favorite).

    Visited with old friends at their recently purchased and renovated home instead of going out. Our house is in need of updating. It was encouraging to see first hand that it is possible to do updates without breaking the bank.

  24. Your tulips are beautiful! It sounds like you had a nice time at the library! Fun! We watched a concert at a coffee shop one evening and even got to talk some of the band members, they were very nice. I hope to see them again. I love to watch talented and enthusiastic people! We enjoyed time together over coffee twice this week. I made tea at home. It too, was enjoyable. We celebrated birthdays of three family members this week! We didn’t spend an arm and a leg, yet everyone was sincerely happy with their gifts! That made me so happy! We planned things we thought they would like and they did! We spent time in a recording studio for free. We worked on GarageBand at home as well. We spent time with family. We enjoyed seeing deer and lots of birds this week. We used the internet for entertainment as well as information. We stayed out of stores, even thrift shops. We used cloth towels and handkerchiefs. Turned off lights, unless in use above us. I cleaned for exercise and peace of mind. I love a clean house. We cooked, even when we didn’t feel like it. I made things that didn’t take much time on those days. We are using up everything that has a best by date that needs used. I am making soup often, beans often and chicken leg quarters that I bought when they were anywhere between 38 cents a lb and 69 cents a lb when bought. I want to use everything we have now before we buy anything else. We also are planning a garden. I hope I can grow enough things that I can help our budget as well as share with family. I am feeling better. Probably because I am eating healthier, no sugar, no processed foods, more fruits and vegetables and I have found that sometimes my body needs meat. I seem to have more energy the next day after I eat liver or red meat. Of course I eat those things along with veggies. Then have beans or lentils the next day. We cooked chicken leg quarters this week then boiled the bones for broth. Made barbecued chicken, chicken enchiladas, and chicken curry salad. We froze the broth right away for another day. Everyone loved the enchiladas. My sister asked for the recipe. My son asked for more! My husband threw it together. He can cook! We make our enchiladas all different ways and sometimes we make quesadillas. I made an Indian lentil soup with spinach that I got on sale for 68 cents a bag. I was able to buy blood oranges, 2 lb.. for 68 cents. I made two prime ribs that we bought on an extreme meat sale and froze until this week. We ate it with steak sauce. cook some sliced with onions, peppers, and Rotel tomatoes and a bit of cream cheese along with cumin, garlic and paprika. We rendered the fat and used it instead of using vegetable oil or butter. It truly was a treat. We gave the crisp fat to my son’s dog who loved us for it. We made homemade bread at the beginning of the week. One day my husband stopped at a bread outlet and bought two loaves and I was happy to not have to make bread for a few days. Although, it smells wonderful at this time. Even thought we can’t travel at this time, we enjoyed dreaming about traveling. We looked up places we would like to go, practiced languages together, looked up some new languages that we haven’t studied before or hadn’t studied in a long time. We looked up places we would like to stay, checked prices on hotels, plane rides, travel times and restaurants. We did all of this over coffee and a then talked together during a ride home while listening to and watching a gentle rain. We enjoyed it so much! Dreaming is free!

  25. Along with many others, it seems our weather has been up and down. A lot of rain for us the past week. I’m still sick and hoping to knock this chest infection out that has been going strong for a few weeks. Rx hasn’t won the battle yet. I’m thankful to see that so far this month our spending on groceries is below the USDA Thrifty Level in food purchases by more than $160 for my husband and me, while it has also included groceries on the road and some extras for when we have the grandkids. Unfortunately, mice got into a few items in the garage pantry, so those items weren’t enjoyed by us. I spent time reorganizing to move canned and jarred items lower and learned my lesson that our field mice like tortilla chips and peanut butter pretzels from Trader Joe’s. I made a few larger meals last week and we’ve been having soup leftovers, bruschetta, meals with many veggie sides so reheating is simple. I found a different type of black bean taco recipe that I’m looking forward to making tomorrow, and bought peppers on sale so will saute peppers and onions to add to them. Leftovers can be easily turned into quesadillas adding some corn as well.

    Frugal fail – I did burn a full tray of sliced ciabatta bread for bruschetta tonight when I was helping my grandson get his pjs on early, forgetting that I had put them under the broiler. Phooey. Usually I burn nuts, so at least it was much less money lost there.

    We’ve been enjoying a fair number of theatre movies with our Regal Unlimited plan. We saw The Lost King, and tomorrow will go see A Good Person. I also saw The Quiet Girl (maybe already wrote that – days are blending). With the weather so dreary, my husband has gone to a few other movies that I’m not interested in, even for free. I’ve picked up my painting again, trying to learn as I go, and feel good about using art supplies that I’ve been gifted and have purchased over the past couple of years.

    GardenPat, I haven’t yet used the Flashfood app but am hoping they have more fruit/veg/hummus items in the coming days. We don’t eat meat/cheese/dairy/bakery items and many of the items on Flashfood for my Meijer are just those things. I went into Meijer on the weekend to find where I pick it up once I place an order, and was glad to see it seemed an easy process. … You are doing so much good in your community with helping distribute the food through your church, picking up from your friend, etc. A lot of time and care invested that will ripple out to so many.

    1. Bonnie in the Midwest- Glad you are checking out FF! I am really spoiled because living in such a big city, There are no less than 14 stores offering Flashfood that are no more than 10- 20 minutes from my house! It seems that different ones have more of one type of food (produce, deli, meat, dairy or canned goods) than another store. So, good luck! The nice thing is that you can do your search and purchase at home, without driving over to no joy!

      Gardenpat in Ohio

  26. Oh the tulips are lovely.

    We didn’t do a large shop this week only bread hot cross buns and milk bought. A while ago hubby fell over on my kitchen bucket and broke it. The bucket was a 6 litre size, I find this size easier now I am older. While going to the bakers on the bus using our free bus passes and having to waste 15 min for the return bus we popped into a small hardware shop, there was a 6 litre bucket for £2.99 the cheapest I had seen was £7.99 so a bargain.It came home with us.

    We have had a lot of rain this week so the water butts are full again, so I found some dustbins that at the moment were not being used for storage and moved rain water into them and put on the lids to stop them going green. It was like being a kid again playing with the water. Now the water butts have space to fill with the rain forecast for tomorrow . I shouldn’t moan about to much rain, I wish I could send some to you. I have covered some of the veg beds with old secondary double glazing panes and managed to plant the broad beans, I have sown some tall peas, leeks and lettuce in the greenhouse. I put up the supports for the beans and peas while the ground is wet and soft. I found 2 small metal plant buckets beside someone’s rubbish they came home with me, they will be planted with something.

    I have made yoghurt and another batch of cider vinegar. I finished the jigsaw it’s my daughter’s so I will return it next time I see her ,
    I can swap jigsaws in my library. I have started crocheting some more dish cloths with cotton yarn left from knitting a cardigan. I cooked all the meals + some for the freezer, at home using my Remoska . All washing was washed in cold water and was dried on the airer.

    I have seen the news from the US this morning and hope everyone is safe. Sending thoughts and prayers.

    1. I know about last year’s hosepipe ban. I am glad you have water to use for your garden. That is wonderful!

      1. Brandy, just read an article in our newspaper that the snow water equivalent here in CO is at 141% of the average. April is normally a very snow month, so I hope it translates into a lot more water for Lake Mead.

  27. More of those gorgeous tulips, I can’t get enough!
    Called our power company energy saver assistant program, because I’m 98% sure my 20 yro programmable thermostat died Friday night. The batteries looked low and when I changed them everything went haywire and the furnace won’t come on now. Sometimes I miss good old on/off switches. They will come out to assess tomorrow. Here’s hoping I have power then because it will be during our next storm and so far that’s equaled a power outage. If they approve, I should get a new one installed at no cost. I’m happy at one time my husband created a man cave in the garage, and sure enough, I found a great little space heater out there that’s keeping the bedroom cozy. Saved money by setting the dishwasher to run during the night at off peak time. Used the last couple of days we had of sun, to warm the house. Bought additional trimmer line on sale, but will return as it’s not heavy enough given how much growth we’ve had during rain and too wet to garden. Brought heavier via Brandy’s A link. Hung clothes to dry in the garage to save on electricity given all the rain. Still eating from pantry and avoiding groceries until after our next storm to avoid any power outage grocery loss. Having someone coming to the house spurred a declutter and deep clean sorely needed as I’d procrastinated during my recent illness. Saved a library book due to expire by turning off my wireless on my kindle till I finish. Got a new hard copy library book to have on hand in case power fails again. Still need to contact my insurance about all the wind damage, but keep thinking I should wait till these windstorms are over in case more damage shows up.

  28. We went camping, taking all food and enjoying free activities including swimming and bicycle rides.

    Groceries for the week consisted of milk only as we are stocked up after some recent clearance purchases.

    I am planning for a bridal shower party this upcoming weekend and should be out of pocket about $25. I am using what I have on hand, borrowing a game and being creative.

  29. Hi Brandy and everyone
    The chalk festival sounds really fun and I’m sure your picnic was much healthier than the fast food on offer.
    I think roses are the answer to many ornamental gardening problems, provided they grow in your climate you can’t have too many roses!
    I picked/ pulled parsnips and daffodils from the garden. We are eating plenty of homegrown homefrozen veg to bridge the hungry gap. We sowed four varieties of tomato, two of courgette and white and pink cosmos. We planted out our pea seedlings and sowed more.
    My husband rationalised the greenhouses and cold frame and rescued several plants we had propagated and left overwinter ( abandoned really, so many plants so little time!). Both greenhouses were given to us free provided we dismantled them and took them away and my husband made the cold frame himself from scrap timber, all we bought was the glass.
    I bought seeds for two varieties of cucumber from Lidl for 29 pence a pack.
    Inexpensive meals were two different veggie soups, quiche( eat twice) and chicken liver and veg stir fry. I used blackberries from the freezer for blackberry and white chocolate muffins.
    British back bacon was £13 a kilo at the butcher this week, the same as some cuts of beef, crazy!
    I used thrifted fabric from my cupboard to sew a shoulder bag to house a morphine syringe driver for our local hospice. I followed a tutorial on YouTube.
    Our daughters took me a while ago to the Donkey Sanctuary in Devon for a delayed birthday treat. We had the nicest day and in their shop I bought Christmas cards for this year which were hugely reduced in price.
    For years I have wanted to buy a particular craft kit as a gift for a dear friend and at last the price has fallen to come within my Christmas budget so I snapped it up.
    A daughter asked for novels for her birthday and I bought two, buy one get the second half price and used a book token to purchase them so no OOP and money still left on the token. We had also budgeted for a family meal out, I appreciate how fortunate we are.
    I am reading avidly myself at the moment to keep on an even keel, life ‘ out there’ is so concerning.
    Stay safe everyone.

  30. The chalk festival pictures were beautiful. I avoid Instagram, except to check on your posts occasionally.
    I wrote down essential recipes (makeup remover, wet jet cleaner) and tacked them to a spot for future use.
    Hosted a Pysanky get-together. I provided the eggs and spent $8 on light snacks/drinks to feed 12 people. My friend taught us techniques and brought the dyes. She left me the dyes to create more. It was $12 well spent.
    I used a worn hand-embroidered dresser runner and used to hand-stitch Anne Woods dancing hares (free pattern). I was able to make 2, one for me and one for a friend.
    Planted some cooler-weather vegetables in the garden.
    Hope everyone has a calm week!

    1. J in PA – I love the pysanky egg party idea! We have decorated blown out eggs for years but I would love to learn how to do those intricate designs. One of our family’s favorite picture books of all time is Rechenka’s Eggs by Patricia Polacco. Just beautiful!

  31. Hi everyone!

    This week I’m just going to share a recipe as promised. It’s a bit long, but I hope someone will find it usefull. We have made a lot of mistakes along the way and incorporated what we have learned in the recipe, so it’s a tried and true version.
    It’s the recipe for our danish sourdough rye bread. It is very tasty, heavy and filling, with a lot of whole grain and kernels.
    I’ve tried to translate the measurements, but I might have chosen some odd units. Please forgive me! I hope it makes enough sense to be usefull! Some electronic scales have both US and metric units – this would make the recipe a lot easier to use.

    1. day:
    freshen up your sourdough:
    mix about 200 g (7 oz) sourdough with
    180 g (6.3 oz) wholegrain rye flour and
    300 g (10.5 oz/1.27 cups) lukewarm water

    and leave at room temperature for 24 hours (in a bowl covered with a clean kitchen towel or something else where the air can escape – a tight vessel might explode because of the CO2 produced!)

    2. day
    3 hours before making the bread (21 hours after freshing up the sourdough) soak
    400 g (14.1 oz) cracked rye kernels in
    500 g (17.6 oz) of water

    Make a flour mixture of:
    470 g (16.6 oz) wholegrain ryeflour
    100 g (3.5 oz) plain wheat flour
    45 g (1.6 oz) dark malted rye flour
    100 g (3.5 oz) sunflower seeds
    100 g (3.5 oz) flax seeds
    10 g (0.35 oz) salt

    when making the bread:
    Take 480 g (16.9 oz) of the sourdough mixture (after it has been left at room temp. for 24 hours as mentioned earlier) and use this for the bread. Save the rest (about 200 g / 7 oz) in a container (NOT airtight – leave the lid on loose) in the fridge for next time you are going to make bread.

    Mix the 480 g sourdough with the flour mixture, the soaked rye grains (including any excess water) and an additional 620 g (1 lbs and 5.9 oz) of water.
    Stir well and then put the dough in 2 big bread/loaf pans. The dough is quite wet, and sticks easily to the pans, so right now we prefer to line them with baking paper. But if you grease well with butter and sprinkle with rye flour, this might also work.
    Leave to raise at room temperature for 10 hours. Before baking check that the breads have risen about 50%, from 2/3 of the loaf pans to 1/1. Stick a knitting needle down to the bottom of each bread several places – this is to let out the steam and prevent the top of the bread to lift like a loose ‘lid’ when baking.
    Turn on the oven at 200 C (392 F) and put the loaves in a preheated oven. Bake for 1 hour. Take out the loaves, remove them from the bread pans and return them to the oven and bake for another hour without the bread pans (check on them after 45 minutes). Take out the bread and allow to cool completely – if in doubt, let it cool some more. Store in a freezer bag in the fridge. Even though it is tempting to eat it at once, wait for at least 24 hours before cutting the bread, as it will otherwise be too wet in the middle and feel unbaked when you eat it – this disappears after 24 hours, and the bread is even better after 48 hours. So a bread that keeps well!
    A note on the temperature: our oven is limping along, and not always as hot as other ovens. You might have to bake at a lower temperature, most rye bread recipes says 356 F (180 C). On the other hand, it is not nice to have a rye bread that is not properly baked through as it gets ‘sticky’ and unpleasant in the middle. If this happens to you, toast individual slices of bread, which makes them a lot nicer to eat, and then bake the bread warmer or for longer next time.
    A note on sourdough: if you don’t have rye sourdough, you can easily use wheat sourdough the first time you make the bread (we did this). Rye sourdough tends to get a bit more sour than wheat sourdough along the way, so it is nice to keep them separate.
    A note on timing: We find it easiest to start the long process in the evening right before we go to bed. We just put the sourdough together with the ingredients to freshen it up. 24 hours later we mix the dough and put it in bread pans just before we go to bed, and then its ready to bake in the morning.

    The lettuce looks so nice Brandy! I can’t wait to harvest our own, but we have just had snow, and the next week or so looks quite cold in the weather forecast.
    Have a nice week everyone!

    1. Cam – Your bread recipe sounds wonderful! I have made lots of bread but never rye though we love it. Thank you for taking the time to write it all down for us. 🙂

    2. Thanks Cam I am really excited to try this. I had an amazing bread recipe for a type of rye bread from my host sister in Finland but I am having trouble translating the ingredients to Australian. It has ‘syrup’ but not sure which one

      1. Hi Emma and Mountain Mama Dawn – thank you! Emma – the syrup in your recipe might be malt syrup (rye or barley), which is often used in rye bread. It has some of the same functions as the malted rye flour used in my recipe (color and flavour) allthough it is more sweet.

  32. Hello, frugal friends from the beautiful south west Virginia mountains! This time of year I love the colors I see out my kitchen window. Lots of spring green, yellows of the daffodils and forsythia, and the pink of the redbud trees. I love the chirping of the birds and watching them in the yard, field and sky. The temps still vary from day to day, but it looks like no freezing for the next 10 days. With that in mind I went ahead and planted some more older seeds in the garden. I planted lettuce, beets and radishes. The beet seeds came from Monticello and had last year’s date on them. Mr. Fix It reconnected the rain barrel so we can start collecting rain water for watering. Rain is predicted this week. In other frugal ways we:
    *used what we had to create a trellis for peas and cucumbers to grow up on this season.
    *Used our military discount at Lowes and Joann Fabrics. I needed velcro for my Christmas doll project and used the discount along with a couple of coupons to reduce the price by 65%.
    *Mr. Fix It and I made my last post surgical doctor visit into a date by going out to lunch on the way home. We used a gift card given to us to pay for it. We both had enough leftover to eat for dinner that night as well. Total cost for the 4 meals was $4.88. $4 was the tip. The .88 was what we owed after the gift card.
    *We used the T Mobile app discount for .10/gallon off gas.
    *I am turning off the stove early when cooking oatmeal, noodles, rice, etc.
    *With the weather turning warmer we have turned off the heat.
    *We are using our solar chargers to charge our devices and batteries. Thanks to one of our frugal friends in California we realized that keeping our gas powered generator was a good idea. As our California friend discovered having the solar generators is great but if there is no sun to recharge then it would be a limited benefit having them. While we can think through all kinds of scenarios it is hard to think of all possibilities. I learned something from that reader in California whose name I cannot remember. I really need to start writing down names with my thoughts when reading the blog. Anyway, thank you for sharing your experiences, friends.
    *At the grocery store I bought only sale items for the pantry and freezer. I found center cut pork chops for $1.99/# and chicken legs for .99/#. I was able to stock up on peanut butter for .99/jar. I found grape tomatoes for .99/pint so I bought 2 pints. I found 2# of onions on clearance for .99 and dark cocoa powder for 2.50. Milk and eggs were the only items I bought at full price. Eggs here have gone down to double what they were a year ago, not the quadruple price they were. I bought one 18 count carton which will last us 6 weeks. With the sale prices and digital coupons I saved $24.94.
    *My friend gave me a quart of fresh milk (with the cream!). I made some homemade cream cheese.
    I wish everyone a safe, joyful week.

  33. It’s been another great week in Houston, TX!
    I added some kids clothes to a box to take to the consignment store.
    I took the kids swimming at a free indoor pool, where I’m teaching my youngest daughter to swim.
    I used up leftovers and made grilled cheese sandwiches at home when I really wanted to stop for fast food.
    A friend shopped for me at the used uniform sale.
    I cleaned the van myself while waiting for the kids to get out of school.
    The weather is cool, so I opened the windows and the AC is off.
    I signed the kids up for a free VBS this summer. Our church charges, and it gets pricey. We’re skipping it at our church. I could volunteer to lower the cost, but then I’d have to pay for the baby to go into the nursery, making it a wash. Instead, I’ll sign up for the free Protestant VBS programs. 🙂
    I cooked extra rice to go with our dinner. The extra I made into rice pudding for breakfast the next morning.
    Precooked bacon is marked down to $1/package at Kroger. I don’t usually buy this, but the kids like it and can easily microwave it, so I stocked up. Thinking about going back to buy more, since lunch meat is so expensive now.
    Some friends gave us some hand-me-downs, yay!
    Hope everyone has a nice, frugal week!

    1. Your comments about VBS reminded me of when I was a child in the early 1950s. VBS was how my mother (and every other mom in the neighborhood) got a break from 24/7 parenting during the summer. We were Lutherans (2 blocks) first, then Methodists (our own church–3 blocks). Very ecumenical, LOL. Each session was 2 weeks long, so we had fun for a month and my mom got a break. We even learned something!

      1. Maxine, same here! I went to my own church’s VBS, then several of my friends’. We had fun (and learned something) and my mom (an elementary school teacher) actually had a bit of a break on her summer vacation!

    2. I am 63 years old and have never in my life heard of a church charging for VBS. Of course I now live rural with closest town having a population of 600 instead of Houston TX but still. When I lived there I used to go to singing Christmas tree at big Houston church where my friend was a member and it was only after going a number of years that I discovered she was buying tickets each year. I was appalled and never went back.

  34. I went to the library in the town we moved to and got a library card. It is a small library, but seems to have a lot going on. My friend and I have signed up for a cake decorating class for Saturday. We went to our first tball game last night for my new grandson. It was so much fun. I love how the parents and the coaches are working together to teach these kids ball. Nothing like living in a small town. There was a spring festival in town this past Saturday, lots of vendors, music and food trucks. We bought nothing, but did make some donations to the new animal shelter and rescue squad. My husband and his best friend went fishing and caught 9 fish in 2 hours the wind got up so they are going back this weekend to get some more so we can have a fish fry with family. We are planning some activities for Easter weekend with our family and church friends. We have been eating all meals at home using up our combined pantry. Ready to plant some flowers and our garden.

  35. Gas was $2.97 in University town and $3.19 a couple of hours further south. Middle son changed out my electric breaker. He works as an electrician’s helper in addition to his painting/construction gigs.

  36. Last week was not a frugal week as we bought a new car. However we chose one a year old and pd cash or it could have been much less frugal.. I have been reflecting on people’s struggles with enough water which reminds me of a story my 91 year old Mum told me. She said on her wedding day the first thing she did was go to the public baths for a shower and a hair wash as they had no indoor plumbing back then in England. She also used to boil our diapers on the stove. Getting indoor plumbing was a real boom to women everywhere.
    This week I received a free lunch for my birthday from a kind, local business. Also my bank mailed me a free gift card to McDonalds and the car dealership gave us a coupon for .10 cents per litre off gasoline for up to 50 litres or a $5 saving. Frugal shopping planned this week include Costco and the discount produce store.

  37. I’m passing along the Chalk Festival idea!
    *I found a $25 grocery card I’d received a few years ago when a grocery store was caught price fixing. It was received just before Covid hit and the store moved out of our area, so I’d forgotten about it. But I checked online that it was still good, and was able to use it when visiting my daughter’s home as she had a branch store nearby. I cook suppers when we are there to give her a break, so no out of pocket expenses this time.
    * I needed a casual spring jacket and found one in a winter clearance section for 75% off. Isn’t that strange?
    *I found two high-end blouses at a thrift store for $2 each. They look very expensive and fit my singer-daughter perfectly. She needs to look both well put together and business-appropriate for rehearsals, etc and these fit the bill at an unbeatable price point. They have special custom buttons on them which I will reinforce with new stitching to save aggravation and time down the road. (I do this all the time to avoid buttons popping off unexpectedly.)
    *We pruned my daughter’s fruit trees and gave them their dormant oil spray. I love pruning fruit trees!
    * I counted and organized my canning lid supply, which is sufficient for this season. Mentioning this as a reminder for those planning on home canning this year to not count on supplies being available at the last minute!

  38. Brandy, your photography is second to none. Always gorgeous!

    Much to do this week! Tilling the garden; planting; putting in blackberry bushes and apple trees! So excited! Gardening of any description thrills me to my marrow!

    Getting an estimate to replace 15 custom windows upstairs and replacing siding with cedar shakes. Got my lottery ticket! I live in an old house and all the windows are custom! Expensive no matter how you approach it. Hope to be able to save the old windows for a green house( if we are able to afford this!) We really do live in the money pit!

    Found several meat items on sale and in the markdown section at Ingles here. Chicken, pork and even a few steaks.

    Made a large pan of Chicken Fried Rice which should last for 2 meals and also grilled some hamburgers using buns from the freezer. Eating as much as we can from our freezer reserves. Still doing well with the goal of zero waste.

    Put my Mega ferns on the front porch only to find out we may be in for a freeze the next few nights. Sigh.

    Many blessings to everyone. Onward, y’all, by all means!

  39. After spending two days on hold and on the phone to renegotiate my phone and internet services, I then went online to to look at my bill. It was all wrong so I then phoned them back – as a result, it has been revised from $103 to $52.00. Now I just have to correct the mobility phone bill. I greatly enjoyed meeting a cousin I had spoken to but had never met. We met by zoom and now will do one more zoom next weekend.

    I saved money on Easter chocolate (nut and peanut free) at No Frills. I am not buying many groceries this week. Thankfully it is pension day shortly.

    I reviewed some information related to our book for another researcher who is looking at a related historical question. It is nice to have a “colleague”. Ironically, he sent us information from our provincial archives which we previously had been told did not exist. Fortunately, it is not a question of the new information contradicting our information; it just adds to our information in the book. I will take a lengthy break from those topics but it was nice to help someone.

    I tried my hand at taking snowflake photos. Unfortunately, I got outside too late as fresh snowflakes are required. Still, I know the technique.

    I’ve been watching birds as soon the winter birds will disappear into the woods and quietly nest. I won”t see much of them until
    next fall. I pray that they are safe from avian flu.

    Yesterday it looked like Monty Python’s flying circus with squirrels chasing squirrels and chickadees chasing chickadees.

    I spent $36 and save $12.95 at Safeway. I got a lovely but small chicken.

      1. Yes, and we were very relieved to see that we had “guessed” or deduced correctly. We had most of the same information but from
        a different angle. Even once we had a reference for one of the lists, the archivist had a challenging time to find everything. It was filed in a
        very different way. Some of the federal records in this area or subject were transferred to provinces in 1934 but some that should have been transferred never were and some were destroyed. A late friend searched in person at several different archives for a certain report and never found it; we accidentally stumbled upon it. Some of these records from the 1800s can be filed in mysterious places!

  40. Hello! I’ve been working on my winter sowing and transplanting what I can (peas and broccoli). Getting seeds from library this year to supplement my existing, but I’ll still go and get some ground cherries and fennel because those seeds will be worth it to me to get vs buy the produce.
    Was able to negotiate an extra grant so my oldest can attend college! Such a blessing as my husband was laid off in October, had not received a dime in unemployment yet and is also trying to navigate finding work with a disability. She will be on the mom and dad room and board scholarship too.
    Spring break is time with my dad.
    Have a good week!

    1. Robbie,
      You might also consider looking up the grants, scholarships and loans available for women from P.E.O. (Philanthropic and Educational Organization).
      Online search P.E.O. International. Then click on Projects or grants, etc. I’m not sure which state you live in but some state chapters have special scholarships in addition to the main ones. If need be, there are loans for upper years with a long payback period and 2% interest. Good luck. With the extra grant you may not need additional help, but good to know about it!

  41. -Went to local Jr League store on 50% off day. Got some new-in-box games for Easter bags. I paid $1.50 for one that retails for $30 and $1 for one that retails for $18. If there is a Jr League store in your area I would highly encourage you to give it a try. They have great quality stuff.
    -Went to local 🎯 liquidation store on 50 cent day, I love love love nail polish and jewelry. Got tons of $9-$12 nail polish and $13 earrings—only 50 cents. Some I’m sharing but keeping most for myself.
    -Went to frequent shopper day at TJMaxx and Marshall’s; won $50 in gift cards (spent mostly on the grands) and they gave me enough of the promotional canvas tote bags to use for my Easter happies for our kids so they’re getting Easter bags instead of baskets.
    -We pay no attention to our water or electricity bills and honestly make no attempts to save money there. Both are on automatic drafts and I’m not sure we ever pay close attention to how much they vary from month to month. We are a two person senior citizen lady household so our water is never over minimum amount each month. I pay bills for my brother’s farm and did notice that the minimum amount for his hunting camp water has increased by 26% starting last month. It’s still less than $25 but yikes on 26% increase.
    -Free porch pickup of complete set of the Highlights magazine state geography boxes. Looks like current subscription is $19 a month so almost a thousand dollars for all 50 states. Can that be right ? Giving to my sister for when the grands visit her house. I live rural, only 12 houses for 4 miles and 3 of those are my family. No buy-nothing group here but almost every time I go to big city to pet sit I get some sort of great freebie for kids or good deal on home decor in their neighborhood.
    -While in big city I took advantage of proximity to Hallmark store and used a ton of coupons and rewards for almost free greeting cards. Next day I got tons of American Greetings brand cards for free at thrift store. They get so many donated they just give them away. I also love love love sending cards and have 3 pen pals in senior facilities that I send to weekly. Plus several birthday cards to friends and family each month.
    -I always buy gas locally before I head to big city since it is 40-50 cents per gallon cheaper and much safer

    1. Yes, Highlights magazine is extremely expensive.

      I cannot imagine a water bill so low. With the new rates, I’m paying much more than that.

      1. Wow! What an example of how widely varying costs are across the country. We are a few blocks from a Great Lake (no water shortage or water transport costs to speak of). Our monthly cost just to have water service is $42/month for water plus $39/month for sewer before a single drop comes out of the tap, or goes down the drain. I didn’t know anywhere had such low water costs except for people who have their own well. Very interesting.

      2. Our personal water bill at home is $17 a month. But we don’t garden. We farm (soybeans) for a living and have no interest in gardening either for fun or food. So all our water is in-house use. Well someone usually gives my mom ferns for Mother’s Day and I water those enough to keep them alive.

  42. Walmart just started delivering via Instacart in my area and they offered $15 off a minimum $35 order for three orders delivered by April 7. I got some drug store and grocery items today and then realised my Canon printer needed a new ink cartridge. So I placed my third discounted order for delivery during a three-hour window starting at 7 a.m. tomorrow. That saved me another $2, the same deal I got with today’s delivery. I’m over nine miles from the nearest Walmart and getting here from there involves driving through a small city and a village so the Instacart person gets a 15% tip for his or her trouble.
    I’ll be glad when I have access to a working car again. Right now, I have to wait for the title to mom’s old car to be transferred to my name and for insurance to also be in my name. Only then can I get a mechanic to inspect the car and give me an estimate of what it will take to get it running after it was driven so infrequently since mom broke her hip in February of 2020 and not at all the last 10 or 11 months. Depending upon what the mechanic says, it might be heading to the junk yard. I will eventually be moving and given my retirement budget, I will need to live in an area with good public transportation or start working at least part time to support a car. But right now, I live in an area with incredibly limited public transportation. It is majorly inconvenient to live in an area where you cannot even get to a rental car agency except two days a week with 24-hours advance notice (for the senior bus) unless you bug your friends. I am hiring a friend who does eldercare to drive me across the county to the county offices so I can get probate started and update the deed to the house. Otherwise, I’d have to rent a car for at least two days or ask a different friend to do a really big favor.
    I think most of the probate paperwork can be done by mail. But an employee who finally answered the phone (after more than 56 rings!) of a not-quite-local branch of one bank needing to see a copy of mom’s death certificate so it can be scanned into their system strongly suggested not sending it to their branch via the US Mail because things end up missing. Ugh! At least that bank branch is between here and the county offices so I can show up in person.
    Mom’s death certificate had three errors on it: her maiden name, her dad’s last name, and my middle name were all missing a final “e.” The state would have charged me $50 for the correction and the county quite a bit for 10 new copies. I emailed and called the funeral home since it was their mistake. They submitted the corrections and I received 10 new copies of the death certificate in the mail today for no additional cost. For those businesses that just need proof of death, the uncorrected death certificates will be sufficient. So I now am not the least bit worried I ordered too few copies.
    While I know my maternal grandfather’s first name was usually spelled Russell, it was spelled Russel on my mom’s birth certificate so that is the spelling I used on her death certificate. There will be at least one obituary in a newspaper and in it I will include both spellings of his name as “Russell (Russel)” so anyone researching the family tree in the future will know that both spellings were used.
    I have a feeling I’ll be drowning in paperwork. At first I feared I’d have to list every single thing mom owned on the probate forms but I learned today that there can be broad inclusive categories such as household items and clothing for things that really have little monetary value individually. Whew!
    I wonder what painting appraisals normally cost. One appraiser said her fee is $500 for an appraisal based on photographs for one painting and $250 for each painting after that. We only have one painting that must be appraised because it was mentioned in the will (and that my grandma bought for $5 or $10 when her neighbor across the street was cleaning out an old shed and getting rid of some paintings a not-famous but good landscape painter left behind when he moved). The second painting by the same man is small and I very much doubt would sell for as much as the proposed appraisal fee.

    1. Holly, I was not aware that your mom had passed away. I’m sorry–but I’m not. She had a long life and, from previous posts, it sounds like it was well-lived. Her last years were difficult for both of you. I know how difficult it is to be a caregiver and you certainly were faithful. I found that clearing out my mother’s and then mother-in-law’s possessions to be the hardest part, and thankfully we did not have to go through probate for either one. Best wishes as you continue your journey.

    2. I remember needing to have documents notarized when I closed my Dad’s accounts. My local bank branch would notarize for free for customers as long as an apppointment was set up. Worth the effort to make an appointment for the free service.

  43. Beautiful tulips!

    **Powerful winds ripped through my town in NE Ohio on Saturday. We lost power around 2pm & it wasn’t restored until 11pm on Sunday. Had to throw out about $100 worth of food from the refrigerator. The amount of trees that were downed during the wind storms caused a lot of damage throughout the town. Up to 45MPH wind gusts. Our water heater runs on gas so we were able to shower. I was unable to wash my hair since I couldn’t blow it dry.

    **However, my MIL had two new generators (she forgot she had them) that my husband assembled on Sunday so when/if we lose power for an extended time, we are prepared. I do have a lot of candles which provided some light during the outage.

    **Had to purchase fast food for some meals since we had no way to cook anything for me to bring to work for lunch. Hubby ate cold canned soup(Progresso) during the outage
    **purchased pasta sauce at 0.99/jar at a grocery chain called Wegmans while I was in PA visiting my family. That’s the cheapest price I’ve ever seen. I bought 10 jars as we use pasta sauce a lot.
    **Eggs are coming down in price here. We can’t have chickens as we live in the city limits.
    **got mine & my husbands hair cut & had mine colored by my Mom who is a cosmetologist/hair dresser. Just costs us the trip there & gas, which has also come down in price. &2.95/gal in my NE Ohio town.

    **save for the fast food, we have been cooking all meals from home. I have a fairly well-stocked pantry for just my hubby & I. We do share the food we’ve made with his parents since we can’t ever eat it all within a few days.

    Hope everyone has a fruitful & frugal week!

  44. For anyone in the USA who likes to keep track of gas prices, or needs to budget for upcoming spring/summer holidays and breaks, my husband suggested the AAA gas site. This is what he used to plan for our military retirement move last year, so we at least knew what things would be like in the states we needed to drive through. I hope it is of use to someone:

    (If nothing else, it has me feeling grateful – I was not thrilled at the price of filling my car last weekend, but learned our county average is still much lower than the surrounding counties.)

  45. Here are my happy saving/earnings for just today. I sold an item on Ebay (unwanted gift), sold an item on FB marketplace (item left by my daughter when she moved out), gave away chives on buy nothing and was gifted 10 fresh eggs! Volunteered at the community garden and came home with 3 free kale plants.
    A happy day.

  46. We’ve been seriously struggling financially about three months now mostly due to my husband not paying things on time or at all (I think something more is going on and am making a stealth call in to his doctor to give her a heads up about what I’m seeing). Other than pet food and some milk, we’ve lived on food storage but 3 months is about the limit we can go (I need to update my lists to make sure I am storing more cause I had figured on it being good for 6 months). Top of the list to stock up is frozen veggies and canned beans! Lots of re-evaluating going on.
    We switched our trash company after they raised prices by $30 per quarter.
    I have lettuce and bok choy I am harvesting daily from my hydroponic tower. I’ve got tomatoes blossoming in my green room under lights and strong pepper and snow peas too. I’ve started several annual flowers from very old seed and propagated 8 geranium and 7 coleus plants from plants I overwintered inside. I even have Siberia pea bushes started from seeds I saved from the bushes at our last home! I already planted snow peas, carrots, radishes and spinach seeds outside (5a – a mile from lake Michigan lakeshore) some of the seeds were 4& 5 years old so we’ll see what happens. I have quite a few seeds saved from last year so will only need to purchase a few varieties.
    I have a beautiful new (and probably only) grandchild (boy) Oleander Blue – Oli for short. I made them up a bunch of meals for the freezer, I refinished a gorgeous waterfall dresser for him, made new Roman blinds and found lots of like new books at the Goodwill Outlet and my husband made a custom book cubby for him too. I also went and took care of their critters when they were at the hospital. So not much money spent but lots of special things that Oli can use for a long time.
    I reopened my sewing business and am trying to make lots of smaller projects – gift bags that can double as storage and be used indefinitely (thank you Brandy – your Christmas wrapping gave me the idea), boxy toiletry bags and pencil cases, shopping totes with a pouch for the Aldi quarter. I have sooooo much fabric that I hope to make a dent in it with smaller projects.
    I’ve started collecting free pallets, wood and fencing so we can add chickens and maybe ducks later this year or next. I’d also love to add a rabbit or 2 just for the manure – I miss having really nice built up soil that I had created at our old home. Manure is so expensive to buy. I do have all my quail manure but it is definitely not as nice as the rabbit.
    Hope all of you stay healthy and find good deals this next week!

    1. Melissa,

      Please remember to check out food banks in your area. There are a lot of outreach programs here with pickup places all over town that started during Covid. It can help what you have left go further.

    2. Hang in there, Melissa. Your resourcefulness and creativity will carry you through this time. We are rooting for you! Keep us posted. 🙂

    3. Hi Melissa just an idea for you on your sewing business. I have been watching on YouTube ” Christine’s Home affairs” she has great tutorials and does a quarterly report on her sales from her business. Very helpful
      Good luck with your venture
      Gaila in the NW

  47. The tulips are so lovely! Mine were dug up last week by a hungry badger! It was looking for food under the snow and dug up half the flower bed! I saw some tips online on how to keep the badger at bay, but with the kids around it seems a bit dangerous to put out boxes with ammonia. Maybe I will try this when we are gone for the Easter break. Did you ever try freezing the bulbs and then planting them out again? Maybe not such a good use of freezer space?
    This week I got that strange feeling squeezing at my throat when I went into the shop and saw the food prices. Cherry tomatoes were equivalent of 6 USD. I mean, for 2 branches. Just as I came home I saw my 4yo water the tomato seedlings, which I read as a secret message of hope. I thought about the books you sometimes mention here, Brandy. Did you write a post with recommendations which I somehow missed? Could you link to it? I feel that reading some of those books now would really help my mood. I would really appreciate it.
    Since last week I was focusing on water conservation. Then on Monday we looked trough our bills and were astonished to find that our utility bill rose. From 500 to 3000 NOK. There was some talk of raising prices but I didn´t see that coming. I am glad that I just listed all the ways of conserving water. I will look for more ways to be frugal. I will start by rereading this blog! Thank you so very much for creating this resource! I am very, very grateful!
    I worked on my garden budget last week. Last year I wanted drip irrigation, but I got rainwater storage instead. I am happy to have done that. This year I will install drip irrigation and so I researched that and am spending some time everyday after dinner on learning about it, measuring and planning. I want more flowers in my garden. I decided to start some meadow patches. Nowadays there are many mixes of meadow seeds. Usually this kind of arrangement needs less weeding( those are the weeds), less water, is more resistant to diseases and some mixes I saw are also going to last for couple of years. I think that it may be the a great way for me to focus on the veggie garden while still getting that pop of color and lovely feel. Without spending much money.
    I learned how to prepare glazed tofu this week. As we are still fasting from meat, we are continuously finding new meatless meals to try. Glazed tofu will be on the menu also when we eat meat again. There is also many variations of this dish so we will still experiment with that technique.

    1. I have been working on a list of books so I will let you know when it is done. There is so much to do at home and I am not nearly getting it all done.

      Bulbs can be refrigerated but never frozen. They can be chilled for 10 weeks here. Freezing bulbs turns them to mush and destroys them. This is why they are planted at a certain depth. In places where the ground freezes in winter, they are below the level of frost. Here, it doesn’t freeze, so planting them higher keeps them colder in winter and makes them more likely to return. I will leave them in the ground, fertilize them, amd hope for them to return.

      That is a giant jump in your utility bill! I am feeling it here with the water but I have been able to use less electric and gas so I have been okay here.

      1. Your knowledge of gardening is very impressive! Thank you for sharing. I didn’t mean to rush you with the book list, I just thought I missed it. I will be looking forward to it!

        1. No worries! I am just overwhelmed with responsibilities right now and not getting nearly enough done, unfortunately.

  48. My Hubby’s frugal week… He saved 2 pots of coffee and 4 kettles of tea. Ate leftovers from the freezer and some odds and ends of fresh veggies that was getting old. He hung the wash he did on the clothes line, turned down a couple of jobs that he wouldn’t have broke even on. He turned off lights about 30 minutes before normal. He didn’t drive a total of 5 hrs. to make pit stops to see 4 of the 6 kids. Why Hubby’s frugal week? I was down with what we thought was a Crohn’s attack but might have been stomach bug as 2 of the kids we had been around came down with it and the my GI said only a CT scan with contrast would tell which it was… I didn’t waste the money for fuel or the testing since the treatment is the same thing. We just found out that Hubby has small vessel brain disease… mild dementia. He wanted to see if he could handle running the house without me if something happened. Except for not knowing where the popcorn popper was, he did fine. He asked if I would find his old popcorn skillet and hang it on the peg board with the rest of the skillets. It’s in the basement on top of the one frig. Not a problem.

  49. I’m later than usual this week.

    The lettuce photo looks so much like my lettuce right now – it’s really pretty. Lettuce in the stores never strikes me as “pretty.”

    I had my car’s oil changed, tires rotated, etc., and used $9 of points earned from my last oil change to reduce the price by that much.

    I bought a dress on Thredup and paid more than usual for it, but I had looked that brand up online – stores here are carrying that brand for $400 and $500 per dress. I paid $43 and it looks new.

    I’m still harvesting carrots as well as lettuce from my raised beds. The marjoram and oregano survived the four-night, hard freeze, cold snap earlier this year, and are coming back in full force. The rosemary and chives are a little slower, but they didn’t die and are growing again.

    I scooped some worm castings from my worm bucket into an emptied and cleaned milk jug and added water, to make worm “tea” and feed the huge peace lily at work. My “donation” for the office didn’t cost me anything.

    I popped a new ink cartridge in my fountain pen and kept on writing.

    I saved the upper and lower back when I cut up a chicken and will cook them to make chicken soup. I pick the meat off of the bones and have a nice bone/meat broth base for my soup.

  50. My daughter and grand-son will be with us at least through the end of the year whereas it had been planned they’d be here until end of March. Facts: in our area, rent costs are through the roof and out of her wage range despite earning a sum that appears to us as wealth. A single mom with car payment, insurance, phone bill, food, etc. cannot afford to make it in this area without a lot of assistance. Child care costs added to rent and the usual living expenses means that her salary and commission are gone with nothing left to cover gas or necessary items besides. Toss in bad credit as is, and things are what they are. After going over her budget, figuring debt payment, etc., we all sat and looked at each other and said, “Then for right now you stay here.”

    Two days later my son announced that he now must go into his office twice a week come summer and asked would I be willing to take their 3 kids for them…So Gramma’s daycare is the season I will be in. It’s going to be fun! I hope…

    My daughter is paying towards rent/food here and it is a help with the extra groceries we need. I’m shocked at how often we run out of not just one or two things but multiples of things. I’m not heavy handed with my usage and I do budget meals most of the time but this has been a challenging season. I increased my grocery budget this year by several dollars and think I may have to adjust it again. I am not resupplying my pantry at this rate, merely spinning my wheels restocking the things that we have used from the fridge. I cook all meals at home save the once a week trip to the fast food place for the grandson to play on playground equipment and Saturday lunch which we have now referred to as Sanity Saver Saturday dates.

    After discussing with our daughter we decided to stop holding off on doing the renovations we want to make in our home and try to move ahead if the contractor is available. We went to price the cabinetry and counters, flooring, etc. at Lowe’s last week on our Sanity day. My husband felt the prices were outrageous, but I laughed and assured him he was lucky I was not a different woman. We are not changing room configurations or having to add plumbing or do electrical work. The estimate for the cabinetry, shower, flooring and two vanities is under $4500. I am perfectly happy to work within a low budget. I’ve chosen good solid basic items. I don’t want fancy finishes. I just want it to look nice and serve me well the rest of my life. In the baths we’ll replace the vanities, replace our garden tub with a walk-in shower, one large enough to hold a shower chair if the future demands it, and the roll tile flooring with more roll tile flooring. We redid the kitchen flooring several years ago and have a box of tiles left that we should be able to lay to cover any unfinished areas when we do the kitchen cabinets. Honestly we could do the kitchen ourselves but my husband won’t, so we’re hiring a local handyman to do the installations. Truly we can probably have the kitchen knocked out in a single day since it’s all stock supplies and straight run on the formica countertops.

    I bought a pretty golden yellow hibiscus that day. Well I realized yesterday that there were also red blooms on it! I looked in the pot and saw that there are actually four plants. A third one bloomed and is a striated red and white. I can’t wait to see what color the fourth plant is. These can be winter hardy here so I’m going to separate them and put them in big pots.

    I made broth this past week (6 quarts) and made soup for supper one night out of 2 quarts of that and the meat I picked off bones. I grated some stale bread from the freezer to make a quart of breadcrumbs. I made applesauce (2 pints) and apple jelly (4 pints). The applesauce didn’t make it to the pantry. The jelly did. I made bread (for use), muffins, banana nut bread (2 loaves, 1 went in the freezer), French toast (more stale bread).

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