I harvested apricots, lemons, Swiss chard, a few cherry tomatoes, blackberries, and a peach from the garden.

I continue to experiment with seeing how little water I can use in the garden. Our temperatures are oddly cooler this year than normal, and I have been able, so far, to water potted plants every three days. I expect they will need to be watered daily once the temperature climbs above 100 (which it normally is right now), but I will take the savings that I can.

To that end, I was able to still open the windows in the early mornings to cool down the house. This past week was even cooler than the previous week, which afforded me an additional hour in the morning before I needed to turn on the air conditioner. I was even able to turn it off at 9 pm several nights, something I usually cannot do this time of year.

My bathroom shower head was leaking. While I waited for a repairman to come fix it, I kept a bucket under the drip and used that water to water pots in the garden. The leak was steady; it dripped 9 gallons a day! I also collected water from rinsing fruits and vegetables and used it to water potted plants, as well as rinse water from washing pots and pans.

Two of my daughters signed up for a free three-month summer gym membership that a local gym is offering to teenagers.

I read three e-books from the library using the Hoopla app: The Stand-In, The Comeback, and The Time of Our Lives.

My mother had recently offered some jewelry to me. She said she had several items she wasn’t using and if I needed anything, she might have something to go with a particular outfit. I went over to ask her if she had anything to go with one outfit, and came back with eight bracelets and a necklace.

I had returned a dress last year that I ordered online that didn’t fit. The store gave me a credit rather than refunding my money. I was able to use my credit towards a different (and more expensive) dress along with a sale to pay $6 out of pocket (plus my credit) for the more expensive dress.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. I cannot grow roses in my climate, so I always delight in seeing pictures of yours!
    My husband returned from Houston. He brought some tools he thought he could use from his dad’s shop, as well as a few household items. Most of what we chose to take were very practical items – vitamins, batteries, a vacuum cleaner, flower pots, a few books, and some small things that will remind us of his parents each time we see them.* I made two loaves of sourdough bread, a batch of yogurt, and another of granola.* Our town had a free electronics recycling day and we donated three old laptops and an old printer – all things we had been storing for years, wondering what to do with them. We also dropped off a bag of items to the thrift store.* I harvested rhubarb, lettuce, and asparagus from the garden.

    1. If you are anywhere near a Staples check out their recycling program if they have one. Ours gives you ten dollars in credit for each electronic piece you bring in.

  2. Happy Tuesday!
    How I saved(?) money for graduation weekend while hosting 3 extra families:
    – We used disposable dishes leftover from camping trips. It did not match and everyone was ok. Less dishes to wash and the money was already spent.
    – Made lasagna for easy lunch. Reheated well for late arrivals into town.
    – Double checked food preferences and times arriving and leaving before finalizing any fresh items. Ended up with extra stuff for nachos Sunday because I purchased too early and people’s schedules changed. At least they store ok.
    – Did Kroger delivery for free. Saves me about an hour of time.
    – Reused some graduation items from a friend’s daughter’s last year. Got a few extra items from Dollar Tree. And will use the display the choir had seniors make for decorations Will pass on extras to another family after this weekend.
    – Borrowed chairs and tables!
    – Hit Memorial Day weekend sales.
    – Bought soda cans for guests and will send some of them to party rather than keep all here forever.
    – Also did infused water and lemonade
    – Put bandanas and cooling towels in the coolers as temps were to be in mid 90s (hotter than usual).
    – Traded yard work for hosting location
    – Made homemade veggie dip, coffee cake for guests for morning etc. Help prepped foods for day of (marinades, spring rolls, cut veggies, etc.)
    – Made ribs (on sale for 2.99) for dinner night before graduation and all the extra bbq sauce went to party for pulled pork sliders.
    – Carpooled to graduation.
    – neighborhood pool for afternoon activity for kids to cool off
    – brought graduation cards for kids’ friends who may be in attendance instead of mailing
    – I cleaned out my extra disposable containers and put in a box to take to party to share any leftovers
    – We kept the party to closer friends vs huge open house

    Daughter is taking 6 hours for free online this summer as it’s free to high school grads at local community college. And books included! Yay!

  3. I have missed reading you. Thanks for posting today.
    I am suffing from “long Covid” and haven’y posted here for quite a while. I have read the messages and learned something every time I’ve come here.
    We sold our property in March. I was debt free within days of closing. I am fixing my home…which has needed it for years. Now this may not seem to be a money saving idea, but I feel it is in the long run.
    The man that is working on the house has “hired” my grandson as a helper. He is teaching Zayne how to do everything to fix the house. This saves me money in the now and it saves Zayne money over his lifetime.
    I buy everthing for the house through Swagbucks…Home Depot. I use my credit card and pay it off in days…saving the interest.
    I earn Swagbucks. I get Walmart reward points buying the same way. I, also, do this at Amazon. These reward points will be used as Christmas gifts. Making the gifts free to me.
    My household bills are about the same. I cut usage and the price inches up anyway. It is frustrating, but it’s okay as all of us are in the same boat.
    There is so much more, but I don’t have the enegy to go on.
    Brandy, I know you are busy, but I am so glad to see you here today. Thank you again.

    1. April was crazy busy.

      There have been some big things going on in my life this last month. It’s not been easy to do anything worth waiting about, especially when I haven’t been home, but also as I process my grief.

      Hopefully, I will be able to be more productive this week.

        1. Thank you so much, Sarah. I’m not okay today. I appreciate your prayers.

          1. Hugs to you Brandy.I am sorry you’re going through a difficult time. I’m praying God will hold you close and carry you through and give you many God moments of hearing from Him 💞

              1. Sometimes, down on our knees is the best place to be. I hope you can emerge from this difficult season soon. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. 🙂

          2. Please take time to care for yourself. I’m sure your readers understand if you need time off from your blog. You have so many tasks at home you are responsible for plus your blogging. My mind spins at all you get done on most weeks. Thank you for taking time from your busy life to post the lovely photographs & money saving info. I usually learn something new each week. I am sorry that this has been a difficult season for you.

              1. Brandy,

                I am praying for you. The Lord knows, sees and his approval or acceptance is all that matters. There’s a time for everything .

      1. Brandy, I don’t know what you are grieving about, but know my thoughts and prayers are with you.
        God bless and keep you in His hands.

          1. Brandy- We just had our Columbus Temple rededication after 2-1/2 years of it being closed for renovation. The Temple is a place of refuge where you can lay your sorrows and worries and find peace. Hope you have time to find that same peace in the LV Temple. In the meantime, I’ll add my prayers to all the others for your relief from the burdens you are carrying.

            Gardenpat in Ohio

      2. Brandy: I know God has a soft spot for you. Hope you find comfort and feel his presence. Take care.

      3. I’m sorry things are so hard right now, Brandy.
        Adding my prayers to those of others for you,

      4. Brandy I have never heard you share such personal thoughts and I am so grateful you did. I want you to know we all think the world of you and if you’re hurting everyone in this community is praying for you, thinking of you and wishing you peace

      5. Dear Brandy,
        I think I feel like Texasilver about your blog. I have enjoyed reading people’s comments and always learn something. People are so generous to share their knowledge and ideas. I have also particularly enjoyed your beautiful photos and the artful way your have laid out your blog pages. I’m so sorry you are grieving and are facing large, serious things. I assume your wonderful husband was not able or not there to repair the shower head. That worries me. I am not a Latter Day Saint; I am a Seventh-day Adventist, so I may be offering something you can’t use, but I think it’s good that you are on your knees, praying, I assume. I believe God loves you deeply and is hurting with you right now. II Corinthians 1:3-5 calls him the “God of all comfort who comforts us in all our affliction.” James 1:5 says if anyone lacks wisdom, “let him ask of God.” I get most of my answers and comfort when I sing hymns and read promises from the Bible. The last verse of the song “My Faith Looks Up to Thee” has special meaning for me. This past week has been difficult for me because I have been diagnosed with something and a scary surgery has been suggested. I came home and prayed about it. I ask God for forgiveness for any sin in my life; I thank God for letting Jesus come here and take on all the sins of the world–my sins and take the death penalty for all of those sins; then I tell God just what is going on and how I feel and what I am considering doing, etc. I read promises God has given me in the Bible and try to listen to what God has to tell me. When I did that this week I was given a thought of a remedy for my physical problem that I have tried, and it seems to be helping. I also heard from someone about a newer kind of physical therapy that wasn’t available to me when I had physical therapy. I am hopeful that I may avoid the scary surgery with its risks. I don’t know how things will be for you, but I will be praying that our loving Heavenly Father will comfort and help and guide you. “May the Lord bless you and keep you . . .”
        Elizabeth H.

        1. Thank you so much Elizabeth. All of that applies.

          My husband can fix many things but he is not here. His new work is far from home and I do not know when I will see him again. Thankfully, I had someone to call. I was reminded last night that for other situations I might be able to call on my nephew (he’s just 5 years younger than I am); he stepped in to take my husband’s place with my daughter last night at a father/daughter church activity.

          1. Dear Brandy, my husband was in the military, deployed 6 times and away for other things many times. He is now a long-haul truck driver and is still away most of the time. It is good you thought of your nephew. We have family here, and sometimes I forget to ask them or don’t want to bother them for help. Most of the time they love to feel helpful and love the time to spend together even if they are here to work on a project for us. I pray that soon you and your husband can work out some time together. If you both have cell phones or tablets or computers, there are many ways to talk or video chat together online for free over wifi, even without cell or data. I am not sure if that is an option. I know it is not at all the same as being in person, though. I pray you get some relief from your troubles soon.

            1. Thank you Erin. We have definitely been chatting online. Video calls are great for both me and the children. My youngest brought a drawing to show his father yesterday. That is a nice thing.

              Our new normal is very different than before. I have to be even more diligent about how I use my time as more household tasks fall on me now.

              1. Brandy, I am in my bedroom crying because my husband will be gone again for business. I am praying for you and your kids and husband.

                We are a homeschooling family and my husband worked from home. He was here most of the time. Now he is traveling a lot and it is so different for the kids and so much on me. Many don’t get how big the missing gap is when he is gone because their day-to-day flow is different.

              2. It’s huge, isn’t it? This is a very different lifestyle for us now. Nothing really changed for us during Covid; our lives were almost completely the same. Now it’s different and all on me at home. I’m grateful that I don’t have any babies right now but I am still struggling to get things done.

        2. Elizabeth, Thank you for the reminder just when I needed it, what to do when we face big things in life.

      6. I’m so sorry to hear you are going through tough times Brandy, I know everyone here will be praying for you and the family. Sending you love.

      7. Brandy I pray angels will attend you to strengthen and sustain you. The Lord will carry you. You have built a beautiful place for all of us to find strength, courage, and hope. I will add my prayers with everyone else.

      8. Brandy, I’m sorry you are going through a difficult time. Praying for you. I hope you will take time to care for yourself, and if that means taking time off from this blog, we will all understand. We appreciate everything you do!

          1. Brandy – I’m just now reading this week’s post. I have been a long time reader and have so appreciated your writing and time you commit to this blog. And have been so blessed over the years by both your writing and the community that has develped here. You have certainly shared so much over the years and for that I’m so grateful. I too will ‘bump you to the top’ of my prayers as a good friend often tells me. I believe in prayer and the comfort I receive. I hope knowing that others are praying for you will bring you some comfort.

        1. Adding my prayers to these for you as well, Brandy. I hope you find a little mental peace in the warmth of those who are lifting you and your family up in prayer.

      9. Praying for you Brandy ! God has created you to be such a pillar of strength,wisdom and encouragement for so many women and He will see you through this difficult time in your life also.It’s comforting to know that you have a wonderful family and group of women around you who care so much about you.Hugs.

          1. Brandy – this blog has been a refuge for me for so many years. I’m sorry that there are additional challenges and struggles. My prayers and good wishes are sent to you. May the peace of our Savior be with you always.

      10. Hi Brandy. So sorry to hear that you are going through a difficult time. My thoughts are with you and your family. Take care!

      11. Brandy you are loved and appreciated. I read your blog faithfully and I have learned so much and shared your blog with many. I know personally what grief is and have experienced unbelievable storms in my life. Your blog is one the places I was able to come to and find wisdom, joy, but most of all peace. I pray that you will feel all our love and prayers for you. Shalom

      12. Prayers, Brandy. Thank you for being honest so we know to pray over you and whatever situation. I hope you feel comfort and everyone’s love.

          1. I am thinking and praying for you in your troubling times. Please look after your self, people will understand if you can not blog regularly . You have helped me manage some problems in the past.

      13. My heart is saddened by what you are going through. Grief has its own timeline. Lean into those close to you, it’s a gift of light to both even in dark times. Be extra kind to yourself. Sending blessings and big hugs to you and yours.

      14. Gosh, Brandy, I just read some of your comments on this post about how you’re struggling right now with a lot going on and I know it will be small comfort to you but in a strange way it really lifted me up. Sometimes I feel very alone in my struggles and start to minimise them, and sometimes I forget about things that I know help me. I have been reading your blog for many years now, although I rarely comment, and I am also struggling with a disruption to my household routine due to my husband being gone a lot more. It has strangely inspired me to know that you are struggling too right now with something similar (although many magnitudes bigger, it sounds like). Your blog is such a comfort to so many people. Even when you don’t post, I sometimes just click around random suggested old posts and get a little lift in how hard you try to make your home and family life nice for everyone. I’m going to stop moping and go and do something about that just right now.

        And I’ll be praying for you too tonight. I’m a Catholic so I’ll offer my bedtime rosary for you. I love how many peopme of different but strong faiths are in your comment section.

  4. There’s no grand money saving here but most of the time I operate on the “Every bit helps” theory. I saw a great quote this weeks that said, “Sometimes all you need for exceptional results is average effort repeated for an above-average amount of time.” (I forgot to write who said it.)
    We are eating kale, lettuce, raspberries and strawberries from the garden. I bought cheese on sale for $3/lb at Safeway. I sold an item on eBay. I so enjoyed drying 4 loads of laundry on the line this weekend. I don’t know why I get such pleasure in seeing the clothes blowing gently on the line, but I do. I have worked a good number of hours and remembered to submit my timesheet on time. I repaired a small defect in a spare bookcase and listed it on FB marketplace. I’ve had enquiries about it already so I think it will sell.

    1. Kara – That is a GREAT quote and one I have found to be personally true over and over again. And I agree that the small pleasures of life (like hanging clothes in the line) are so worthwhile. They are really what life is made of. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

      1. Thank you. I often feel quite alone and I really love this community. It is so nice to have common experiences and joys.

        1. Hanging clothes on the line is therapy for me. I listen to the birds singing and enjoy being outside. It sure beats paying for a psychiatrist!

    2. Kara,

      Thanks for the quotation. I am faced with a daunting task and the quotatio!n puts me in a frame of mind that everything is doable!

    3. Kara,

      Thanks for that quote by James Clear. I love watching the clothes dry on the line also….a great visual reminder of the blessings of being clothed and cared for.

    4. Yes, great quote, I will try and remember that! I have been cutting up branches from a tree we pruned and sorted everything in different piles – green leaves (for nutrient rich mulch), small twigs (fire starter or for adding to the wet winter compost) and branches (for the firepit and maybe for woodwork). It has taken a few days, and every day a blackbird has persistently made a rattling noise in the dry leaves in the neighbors garden just near by. I have enjoyed it very much, like having company while working.

    5. That quote is a great reminder. I learned recently that scientists believe raccoons are so good at beating various “raccoon proof” garbage cans not because they are exceptionally skilled or intelligent but because the raccoons just keep working away at the cans until they open. Proof that we can all accomplish great things if we just keep at them.

  5. I lost my last comment. Gas was $2.96 gallon in college town and $3.09 to $3.19 further south. Made hamburgers, hot dogs, spaghetti, corn from ingredients I had on hand. Bought Cherokee heirloom tomatoes, and Chilton county peaches, from the Farmer’s Market. Got eggs for $1.18 from Aldi, along with spinach for $1.84, bagels, sour dough bread, mild cheddar cheese. I still have not fixed my air conditioner at work house and it is 91 today. I am fine with the fan. The heat index is not too bad at the moment. I am debating on selling house as is to a neighbor. But that would mean I would spend even more on time and gas so I am undecided. It is not valued any more than when I bought it because it is in a depressed area so just will basically get what I paid for it back in the throes of the Great Recession, and it was extremely cheap, even for then. I really don’t want to make my commute even longer than it already is at the moment. Washed my work clothes by hand in bath tub to make them last longer. I clipped the grass tops either the hedge clippers to save on mowing the grass with gas so high.

  6. I was off work last week, so I stayed home(mostly). I deep some long over due cleaning, and decluttered a bit also. Several items left the house by way of a buy nothing group and then I dropped everything else off at a thrift store Saturday.

    My boss had a yardsale and I found a few things…hoodie for the teen , 2 new sweaters for when it gets chilly, 3 candleholders (two of them quite large), bracelets(teen), and a picture stand for $20

    I repaired a pair of pants

    Used up the chicken carcasses in the freezer and came out with 17 cups of chicken stock. I should be good for awhile.

    Drove to a town 30 miles away for a mammogram(all good, results came in fast). My only other option was having to take a day off of work in October for an appointment in my city(I have no idea why they only offer morning appointments for them).

    Read books on my Kindle

    Watched several movies on my watch lists

    My teens best friend family moved and my daughter said I probably had boxes if they needed them. Well, I did, so I gave them all of them, plus some reusable shopping bags I no longer wanted. Saved me a trip across the city to the recycling center.

    Combined errands.

    Listed some items on Marketplace (no takers yet, unfortunately)

    Decided to give lettuce and radishes another try at growing. I noticed sprouts today.

    The teen has been having problems with nausea and vomiting with no real cause or other symptoms. Her Dr wants her to take probiotics for a few weeks before she moves onto testing.

    I ordered hubby’s and son’s birthday presents from the same company to save on shipping.

  7. Brandy, I thought of you while I was at Winco today! They have strawberries for .98 lb.! At least mine does.

    I did some serious stain removal last week.

    I bought a selection of birthday, sympathy and get well cards at Dollar Tree. My great-niece will be graduating from Colorado State in December and I bought her graduation card, too (easier to find in May and June). Some cards were 2/$1, some were a buck. I used one the next day for a friend’s birthday. I also made her a batch of brownies from a mix.

    I bought baby back ribs for $1.99 lb., asparagus for .99 lb. and 80/20 ground beef for $2.99 lb…plus the strawberries. I am not making strawberry jam this year because I’ve still got a lot from 2022…when I still had a lot from 2021.

    I love pass-along plants! A friend divided her bleeding heart and gave me a piece–a very welcome gift because my bleeding heart didn’t survive last winter. Unfortunately, I broke off the top of the plant, but I planted the roots anyway. Wish me luck!

    I received a $20 wellness reward from my Medicare Advantage plan and exchanged it for a GC for my son’s birthday.

  8. Hello Everyone!
    I can’t believe how much water leaked from your shower. Great job utilizing that water! I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been grieving. Sending a virtual hug! 🤗

    I’m glad you mentioned returns Brandy. I’ve noticed stores changing their return policies recently. Macys went from a 90 day down to a 30 day return. Marshall’s has had a 30 day return policy, but the cashier was mistakenly trying to give me store credit within that 30 day window. Amazon has installed a self-return kiosk in our local UPS store. Customers will have to scan, package and label their own returns moving forward. I’m sure these changes are due to a downshifting economy, but it makes me less inclined to purchase and try something because returns are becoming a hassle.

    On a positive note, we had a nice rain showers today! No garden watering needed. ☔️🌈

  9. We survived graduation weekend and have officially graduated our first home schooled child. Only 7 more to go! We had extra house guests for 3 days. I’m very thankful that I meal planned ahead of time. We fed everyone at the graduation party on Saturday, but kept it to mostly very cheap items (carrot sticks and pretzels) or things we had on hand (tortillas for roll-ups, ham for ham bbq.) On Friday, we celebrated my daughter’s 15th birthday. She asked for BLTs and my parents saw bacon for $2/lb for irregular slices so I asked them to pick it up for me. On Sunday we held the actual graduation and we also hosted an expo for the homeschool co-op my husband and I run. We asked people who participate in the co-op to bring refreshments for the church members who would attend. It worked out well. Our contributions were the leftovers from the party the day before. On Monday morning our son left for his summer job. Even with the other 7 children still here, I’m a little lonely without him.

    We picked strawberries at a local farm. They’re now $1.60/lb and we picked 52 lbs. Most went into the freezer, but we did use some fresh over the last several days.

    I’m attempting to stay away from grocery stores this month. We’ve just spent so much money on food lately. I know some of it is just that everything is expensive but I also know there are things we can cut. So far I’ve spent $15 on food in addition to the strawberries.

    We need rain badly, but so far the garden is doing okay with watering once a week or so. Mulching seems like it’s made a big difference over bare ground as far as keeping things moist. There’s not much ready for harvesting yet. Just lettuce, a few radishes, a few peas, and garlic scapes.

    I accepted clothing from a friend who was given yard sale leftovers from her neighbor. I got several things for a couple of my daughters. I found a pair of shoes for my 13 year old son at goodwill for $3.50.

    When we went to the library we checked the ‘yours to keep’ rack and got 2 books and 2 DVDs for free.

  10. -Spent $20 at rummage sale for local DV shelter. Got tons of great brand new jewelry plus men’s shirts. Plus for a good cause. Most expensive item were $1.00 each (RLP shirts and Vera Bradley bags) jewelry was each $.50 and cheapest item was 5 cents.
    -Local 🎯 liquidation store had toys for 90% off. I am child free but loaded up for kids of family and friends. Some 90% items were in with 40-50% items— gotta scan.
    -Combined trip to town ( 17 miles away) for errands with picking up my sister as she left her car at shop for repairs. Spent quality time at library after errands but before she arrived. I love love love the library.

  11. Made three trips to the city organic recycling center, and picked up loads of free mulch and compost. Spouse replaced the leaky hose faucet so we’re not losing gallons every time I water. We are replacing the lawn (which was never very good) with native perennials, which will ultimately save money by using less water, and will attract lots of pollinators. Planted veggie, flower, and herb seeds from the stash alongside starts from the garden center–we’ll see how they do. So far the beans are sprouting! Tidied up my herb beds, repotted the peppermint in fresh soil, and tipped a little compost into the spearmint barrel (dangerous). Speaking of compost, started up the compost bin again. With a little luck, we will have a tasty summer, and dried herbs and pickles for the winter.

  12. Brandi, I sorry you are not having a good day. Hugs and prayers.
    We have been working in the garden and gotten several sweet banana pepper and a squash. We have lots of blooms and baby tomatoes.
    My work is so stressful and busy right now, with me working overtime. I have started back walking in the evenings to relieve some of the pressure. I have two wild bunnies that I see.
    My husband has been doing even more than he already does and I so appreciate his support.

  13. Hi all. This site really cheers me, so Brandy thanks for the updates and also thanks to all the people that comment. I faithfully read each week but rarely comment.
    Brandy, I m sorry to hear you are grieving.
    I was just in a happy place for me and now not so great. So I’m trying to focus on good things.
    My savings seem to be few but I’m cherishing walking my dogs and doing things at home – organizing.
    I needed several sympathy cards so I found a 10 pack at Walmart for $8. Found almond milk 1 gallon at grocery outlet for $4. I wish I got more, as my husband went back today and there were no more.
    I’m really refiguring meals and using what we have.
    I look forward to reading everyone’s comments. I always learn so much from you all.

  14. Oh Brandi,I am so saddened to hear you are in a bad /sad/grieving situation.I want you to know you are in my prayers, as well as any others who a part of the situation.I pray a rosary every day and I mention by name those I know who need prayer, as well as ask for healing and comfort for all on Mother Earth.Know your “friends” out here have you in our thoughts.

  15. Brandy, I love the
    Amazon link to the porcelain rose earrings. I wore a pair of very similar earrings to my first prom in 1987. I thought I was so fancy lol. I still think they are very pretty!

    On the frugal front:
    DD and I carpooled with my sister to my nephew’s la crosse play off game. DD packed sandwiches and fruit for us to eat on the drive, and my sister kindly paid for the tickets.

    HH and I used a restaurant gift card to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. I am so thankful for this wonderfully imperfect life we have together.

    I stopped at a local grocery store to pick up loss leaders.

    I brought a friend who had surgery a taco hot dish and muffins made using pantry items. To save time, I doubled each recipe to serve to my family too.

    I enjoyed Hester by Laurie Lico Albanese and The Wager A Story of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder by David Grann on Scribd. Our book club all agreed that while The Wager was good, Madhouse at the End of the Earth by Julian Sancton was a much more exciting narrative.

    Shopped the garden center clearance section and purchased salvia and inpatients for 60% off.

    Attended and ate dinner at two graduation parties this weekend. It was fun to visit with family and friends I had not seen for quite awhile. I printed the graduation cards on card stock from my mother.

    I picked a large bouquet of deep purple irises from my yard to enjoy indoors.

    I am looking forward to a summer of frugal fun!

  16. So sorry to hear that you are having such a tough time right now Brandy – I’m sure that we are all thinking of you and wishing you the best, along with prayers for strength.

    It was a busy week – this month is just flying by! I got to make a trip to Costco as my friend who drives has now recovered from Covid. She also paid me the money that she owed me for the groceries I had bought for her when she was ill so that covered about half of my purchases. I bought butter for the freezer, my favourite cheese (which is a fraction of the cost compared to the local grocery store), enough yogurt for the month, cream for my coffee, a rotisserie chicken that will make 10 meals, raspberries and some nuts & seeds. At the local store it was bagels, salad greens, frozen veg, mushrooms and peppers. Twice I have treated myself to a quart of Ontario strawberries, $7/8 per quart! Stupidly expensive but they are a once a year treat – so sweet and delicious. The rest of the year I tend to buy frozen because imported strawberries always seem to be white inside and pretty tasteless. I’ve also picked up 2 dozen eggs – my favourite, extra large, free range at $5/doz I’m making a lot of egg cups for quick breakfasts – 7 eggs will make a dozen cups (I use my silicon muffin cups), along with all the added bits & pieces. This time it was a lot of chopped up leftover veg, 2 slices of ham from the freezer and some crumbled Feta cheese from Costco. I also made a rice & veg dish that I ate with some of the rotisserie chicken – that did three meals and the rest of the week was salads with fish for the protein. The one item that I purchased for the pantry was a liter of olive oil – 18 months ago this cost me around $8 – it’s now up to $13.49!!!! I try to always have one liter on the go and two bottles in reserve. Both of the reserved ones are dated late 2024 – important to stay ahead of things.

    I enjoyed a lovely social on Saturday when my church hosted a ladies “tea” – well the “tea” ended up being salad, spring rolls, samosas, two kinds of chicken and beef spare ribs that just fell off the bone! There was also desserts but I couldn’t even look at them. Supper that night was a cup of tea and a shortbread biscuit! A friend and I also drove out to a couple of parks along the lake where we can get in some good long walks. I made up some breakfast bagels for us – bacon, egg & tomato and filled two thermos’ with coffee and we enjoyed that at a picnic table by the water. She treated me to a scoop of ice-cream in return and then we stopped at a high end supermarket where you can often find some bargains. We both got salmon roulades (with feta & spinach) at 50% off – I bought two and she bought the other four. I also found one of the fancy bagged salads at half price so it was well worth the stop. I’ll eat the salad over the next few nights and the salmon is in the freezer for future meals.

    Did some mending, did three loads of laundry and dried it all on my racks, washed foil and ziploc bags to reuse and used up lots of bits & pieces from the fridge & freezer.

    While we are having some lovely weather (low to mid 20’s Celsius) I still want to send thoughts and prayers to all those affected by the forest fires blazing across the country. We had an air quality warning in effect today because of the smoke coming this far south. It was really noticeable and when I left the building for my walk the smell of smoke really hit me. I wore a mask and didn’t walk for too long but my throat was raw by the time I got home. I cannot even imagine how bad it must be for those of you so much closer to the fires. Take care everyone.

  17. My frugal doings:
    1. Found a seat cover for my car at the car wash. I laundered it. Hubby strapped it on the back seat using zip ties. It doesn’t fit exactly but it fits well enough to protect the back seat. I also found 2 rubber floor mats for the car. I found one floor mat for the driver’s side. Then I found the 2nd one for the front passenger side. I did have to buy 2 covers for the 2 front seats. I can’t get everything for free unfortunately.
    2. My sister broke the crock for her crockpot. She will give me the base that heats up. I have a crock but my base is rusted & in bad shape. I’ll gladly take the replacement.
    3. I’m working this summer to replace some funds that I had to spend for concrete restoration at my condo in FL. (After the collapse of the high rise in Miami a few years ago the FL law makers mandated inspections & repairs.)
    4. I continue to pick up change that I find. I see coins on the pavement, drive thru, & in coin return slots on soda machines. I started my change project on Jan. 1, 2023. I’ll see how much I have on Dec. 31, 2023.
    5. While in FL I picked up 5 loaves of day old bread at the senior center. I share with my neighbors & freeze a loaf for when I return.
    I wondered Brandy if your teen girls can shower & wash their hair at their gym so that you can save on your water bill?

    1. Texasilver and Brandy,
      I time my showers with my visits to the gym to save water/money, as well. I go 3x/week, and I make sure I do any hair washing or leg shaving while I shower there, too. The remaining days I sponge bathe at home!

  18. Frugal Moves:

    * I have talked before about not being a comfortable cook. I really encourage anyone like me to buy dry mixes for soup which include herbs, beans and all. I know it is not as inexpensive as making your own mixes but for me ( full time teacher) it totally works. I scored Anderson House Soup mixes for half off. I only bought the ones that have an Instapot version. Simply saute herbs, dump beans and a few other items like the 24 oz san marzano tomatoes I bought for .50 into the pot and push a button. Done in 30 mins. I can get 15 servings for the 5.00 outlay plus whatever I had laying around to add. This week was white bean chili. I added artichoke hearts that were getting old and a pound of ground turkey for two bucks. Just like the best diet is the one you will comply with, the best meal is the one you will actually cook instead of default take out. The chili will go vey well with single tamales I foodsavered ( a school fundraiser.)

    * Along the same lines, I had bought five pounds of mixed read and yellow potatoes for when my son came home. I forgot about them and they began to age. I cleaned them up, put them in the instapot with chicken broth. Mins later they were done. Smashed potatoes. No peeling. I smashed in the pot with milk and butter. I saved/froze at least ten portions for the two of us. I have been eating the rest everyday for breakfast. I fry them up, them put them on a plate and add to eggs over easy. Delish. I emphasis that for me, frugality means disregarding what is suppose to be “lunch” or “breakfast” That is how most of the world lives. We are brainwashed by media to think other ways.

    * Another frugal win is disciplining myself to eat the above two meals everyday with only then one meal having variety. This is very frugal since it uses up older stock and stops waste. It is even dietarily sound. The simpler and more repetitive meals are, the more you will lose weight. The “buffet effect” of having lots of variety actually leads to weight gain. ( See the book The Hungry Brain.) So it is a win, win, win. The one variety meal I have now seems very special.

    * Talbots sent me a $40 coupon to get me back to their store. I stopped going a long time ago. Too expensive and no longer my taste. Plus the quality is not as good on some items. I had to spend a min of $40. I did a little math. I could buy a $54.00 item 25% off. I bought a nice pair of high waisted, dark washed worked jeans. Tax, shipping and a little overage ended $19.00 total. Worth it.

    * We have a little cabin in Tahoe. ( We are very blessed.) I have invited two ladies I hiked with on the Inca trail in Peru two years ago. The towels from the cabin are literally 45 years old. I was uncomfortable about showing them to company. I found new package of 6 face towels for 6.00 . I hand picked the nicer bath towels and now the sets look great.

    * Frugal Fail: Mom got COVID . She is 88 . I went to her VERY expensive town and bought supplies because of convenience. I spent $200 for almost nothing. Sheesh. It was literally 60% more expensive then the places and shop. Oh well.

    * The best news. The district settled our contract for last year with an 11.5 % bonus and a $5,000 cash retention bonus. All included my retro pay will be $17,000. WOW! Like my husband said it feels like money found under a couch. I am going to prepay the mortgage for 5 months and refill my emergency fund that was depleted over the year during negotiations.

    1. What wonderful news about your retro pay! That’s a giant step forward on your mortgage, and I’m sure it will be a relief to refill your emergency fund.

  19. Brandy, I hope the routine of posting this week gives you some comfort or normality in your grieving time, as well as shows you your supporters here online. May peace surround you!

  20. I have nothing great or interesting to report on the frugality front. Just wanted to say I am sorry you are in a time of sorrow and sadness and hope things improve for you quickly.

  21. “Grief is love with no place to go.” (Unknown) You have been in my thoughts and prayers through the years, Brandy. I am going to keep it that way.
    You have no idea how much impact you have on my life.

  22. Hi Brandi,
    I’m so sorry to hear you’re in a hard space right now. Do grieve. It’s so important to process our emotions. As you journey through this time may you feel the thoughts and prayers of all those offered on your behalf. I’m holding you in prayer. Take care.

  23. I love the baby pink roses so delicate.

    The weather has been better this week, so I have spend more time in the garden. We have not had rain for a month now but I am still watering from stored rain water. I have picked lettuce from the greenhouse and potatoes from pots and a couple of potatoes missed last year.

    I have washed my laundry in cold water and dried all washing on the line as the wind has been about 25mph, the trouble is that the wind dries out the soil as well. I found books to read on the BorrowBox app from the library. Cooked all meals at home

    We had a couple of friends for lunch, both are now disabled so it gets them out for a while. Cooked chicken Shepard’s pie and had gluten free cake as one of them is celiac.

    We went grocery shopping this week, the prices are still rising. I am buying what I can find on offer and mark downs. I did a batch cook to use the oven while it was hot. This has replenished the freezer. I needed a smart pair of trousers for a day out, I had a pair I have had for several years in the wardrobe so I washed and pressed them. They fitted perfectly.

    I had to go to the dentist today for a filling thankfully our insurance will pay. There are no NHS dentists in this area.

  24. Hi Brandy and everyone
    It sounds like you had a good week receiving jewellery and buying a new dress for very little out of pocket. What could be nicer. The cooler temperature must be a relief too.
    Our big news is that we sold our caravan. The money has been put into savings. We could also take that item off our insurance policy for a saving too.
    Our electricity use for May was slightly lower than the last two years and I have been able to reduce the monthly direct debit by £7. It’s now £100 a month and before the craziness started it was £58 a month.
    I bought some needed sandals in a sale and received £1.95 cashback.
    I was able to use a coupon for 10% off the grocery bill in Lidl and a coupon for a free packet of biscuits. I am shopping around a greater number of supermarkets to get the best deals in each one which makes my shopping trip tiring but they are close together so not too much fuel used.
    Inexpensive meals have been the usual quiches, omelettes and jacket potatoes with salads. Eggs have increased in price but they’re much cheaper than meat and fish.
    I have washed and ironed a big bag of new hankies I bought ages ago in a charity shop and it’s giving me pleasure to use them instead of tissues. So pretty and better for the planet too. They go in the wash with a normal load.
    We have planted out courgettes, squash and outdoor tomatoes. My husband built a frame for the squash with materials on hand.
    I’ve picked broad beans, lettuce, parsley, sweet peas, cornflowers, roses and Sweet William. We gifted some produce to a neighbour and I took a big bunch of Sweet William as a hostess gift to my monthly sewing group.
    I am reading books lent to me by a friend and she is reading my books.
    Stay safe everyone.

  25. Prayers for peace and strength. We are a multi faith family, I passed your name (B in LV) along to add to prayers for you.

    I screen shot Miriam in Finland line of “Grief is love with no place to go” to my phone . I’ve been on my knees (messed one up after already messing up the other leg) in the gardens praying while I weed, harvest and water. May was rough. June is harder . I need to remember this.

    I got 1 more meal out of the asparagus. Strawberries are coming on. Peas are starting to bloom. Lettuce, green onions, radishes and turnips are running me over. I shared the turnips and radishes with Amish neighbor. E our Amish neighbor told me he planted an extra row an acre long of sweet corn for us with his. That’s 2o7 feet so if they all make and make 2 ears (average amount) that is 103/104 ears of corn to process. I can usually get 1 cup of corn of the ear. We will eat fresh and freeze the rest. Should get us through to next year. For the first time in 15 yrs. they are now watering their gardens. It was either water it or have no food to feed the family. Hubby wants to do a row cover for a late fall/ winter garden bed. E, Amish neighbor is thinking about one or adding a small green house for his family.

    I dropped my Fit Bit premium. I got it when I was having heart issues and it would let me know my BP was too high. I haven’t had problems for over a year and money is just too tight. I did buy a new BP cuff using my Amazon points. I am pretty much stocked even with dog vitamins and such. We get the dog food at Tractor supply using our Good Neighbor’s coupon. Saves at least 1/3rd of the costs. Neighbor suggested I feed the dog (Charlotte) 1 egg at least every other day to help with her skin issues. The meds were $100 for 90 day supply. The egg is working better than the meds. We can get 1 dozen organic free range large(jumbo) for $2.50 . That’s a savings of over $80. Even the vet said he was going to offer that specifying organic free range to others.

    We combine appts. and errands on Tuesdays. I saw my ortho doctor, had Xray in office (cheaper than hospital) and nothing was wrong with the fake hip or the leg bone the ball is in but my IT band and bursa are in full anger mode according to my ortho. Got injection along with a strong suggestion to make an appt. with my pain doctor and get it dealt with and the offer to run a CT scan to see if it’s my cerebral palsy flaring if the pain doctor thinks it’s that as they can get it approved faster than he can.

    We went to Menards to kill time between appts and to get odds and ends and found basil marked down to 1/4 the regular price so I got their last 6 plants. I will be sending in for their rebate. Ran into an old neighbor that said he hasn’t been able to hire anyone in 2 yrs. They don’t want to work weekends and he is an electrician, heating and plumbing along with AC on call 24/7. He can give health ins, retirement and $20/ hr. limited to 40 hrs. so if you work emergencies or weekend you might not work through the week. Tried to find some for just emergency and weekend that was a no go also.

    Then went to Hubby’s EEG , He is 64. I have worried how he would handle the test especially since he just wrecked his truck and trailer 3 states away after at tire blew with 10 tons of equipment on the trailer. No one hurt and he is fond of saying the truck took one for the team as it seems to be the only thing really damaged but was drivable for them (he had 4 Amish with him) to return home with the 4 tons of equipment. Law Enforcement that was behind him and witness it called and told me that he handled it better than most. Didn’t slam brakes on and shove the gooseneck of trailer (trailer hook to bed of truck not bumper) and put it in the cab, didn’t over correct and roll the truck. Hubby had kept asking if he had done something wrong. Just trying to hang on to work truck as the personal truck needs to go to the junk yard soon (frame is rusting out)
    Prayers for peace and strength
    Blessed be

    ST Amish dad that was in front seat said Hubby never batted an eye, just held the wheel tight and let the flipped trailer slow them down. He had to use my credit card to pay the wrecker $5300. The business credit card has covered the rest. As we were driving down to his EEG, his insurance called and said as soon as the adjuster gets the truck done (going to dealership to get that done so dealer can fixed at same time). and the trailer adjuster (now tomorrow here at home) gets his section done they can cut a partial check to cover the wrecker BEFORE the credit card is due. Hubby said he was glad the EEG was after the accident so it would show how his brain was firing during this very stressful time on no income for the second month for the business and dealing with 2 adjusters. He has small vessel brain damage BUT the brain is NOT shrinking. His doctor is wanting to know what has caused it so we know the path of treatment. Could be loss of hearing (caused dementia for FIL) diabetes (dementia in Daddy and Pop) loss of eye sight (dementia in MIL) Ruled out vitamin issues. SIGH. He has 2 more tests scheduled(in Nov) and 1 possible as he used to have sleep apnea and finally had nose and throat surgery to correct that issue. He goes on Medicare in Oct. so add having to deal with that this month to be set up in time.

    Overwhelmed, on my knees. GOD’s got this because I sure don’t.

      1. Brandy and Juls, sometimes life kicks you in the stomach so hard that you can’t even take a breath. I guess we have almost all been there. You two are a couple of my favorite people even though we’ve never met. Life constantly keeps giving us “a new normal” , doesn’t it. You’re both on my mind.

    1. I was just amazed reading all you had been through and it never ceases to see what good people get through big challenges.
      I am so sorry for all you and your family are going thru
      Some how I hope everything works out

  26. I love that you looked at your leaking shower head with the positive lens of more water for your garden. That’s looking on the bright side! 🙂
    *Our homeschool co-op is taking a break from classes for the summer but we are still trying to meet up occasionally. We invited the group to a local lake and everyone had a great time swimming, fishing, playing on the playground and just enjoying the beautiful weather. A lot of fun for free.
    *My youngest son and I took on another mowing job for a neighbor so now we have 3 landscaping jobs. The extra money is always welcome especially with my current preservation of antique family photos/documents project. So far, I have been able to reframe several items using conservation methods for just over $100. Just one of the items would cost more than that if done professionally. Plus, I am learning new skills that I can use forever. Look that! My in-laws came by last weekend and they were thrilled to see these family heirlooms up and on the wall and preserved for the future.
    *Our handbell and vocal choir gave a community concert last Sunday night. We performed several pieces ranging from the 15th to the 21st centuries and combined with the Presbyterians for a couple of songs (we are Episcopalian.) The concert took place in our older parish which dates back to 1862. It is completely paneled in chestnut and feels like you are in the hull of a great ship. The acoustics are great! It was such a joy to play and sing in that space and audience really got into the sing-a-long portions. It was a packed house and people were also outside sitting on lawn chairs listening to the music waft out the open windows. A potluck supper followed and it was a true feast, as is always the case with our church. My in-laws, my parents, my husband and my boys were all there and we had the best time. It was a magical night and I didn’t want it to end. I continue to be so glad I am part of such a group and learning so much all just for my willingness to give it a try.
    *Sold some more items at my neighbor’s antique booth. Sold eggs.
    *We are eating from the garden more and more each day. I have finally had success growing broccoli and am so glad. It takes so much better than store bought (I can say that about everything, really, but some foods are really almost startlingly different in taste and texture when you grow them yourself and I think broccoli is one of them.) I transplanted some borage that had self-seeded in one bed to the bed I would like them to live in. Their little blue flowers are so sweet and the bees love them. My secret garden project is going well as I continue to convert patches of grass into planting beds with whatever cardboard comes our way. I added some camassia to my annual Van Engelen bulb order a few weeks ago and am excited to put them in this space this Fall. I buy myself daffodil bulbs every year for my birthday and decided to up my game this year with something new to me. More years under the belt should equate to more plants, right? 🙂 I am looking forward to seeing how they do. Love to learn new things all the time.
    *Finally planted 3 more blueberries given to me by my neighbor last fall. That brings our total up to 7 and it is fun to think how many berries we will have one day. Three of the larger ones are filled with berries.
    *Fed my garden with calcium and fish emulsion, both of which we have had for quite a while. My husband wondered if they were still good and took a big sniff of the fish emulsion which he instantly regretted. 🙂 I don’t think something that stinky can go bad but the plants sure love it. Within a day of application, our plants always green up dramatically. I’m also glad we have enough to carry us through this season negating another possible expense. Using up drips and drabs of anything and everything saves so much money.
    *My oldest son is rapidly growing out of all of his clothes so was glad to find a couple of shirts for him at Goodwill. Also found a dress for me for $4 and a vintage tea towel for 50 cents. My kind of shopping!
    *Am printing out these free article resources for my boys to use this summer. We now have my husband’s uncle’s printer and his stash of paper so this is truly a free resource for us. Here’s the link in case anyone might find this useful: https://about.readworks.org/summer-reading.html
    You have to have an account to readworks.org but you can make a teacher’s account for free.
    *Many thanks to all of you for your constant inspiration and encouragement. Reading all of your accomplishments is a very enjoyable part of my week!

  27. I have never commented before however have been reading this blog weekly for many years. This wonderful community you have brought together has brightened some of my most weary days.
    Brandy, I hope whatever troubles are before you , can eased by the prayers and caring thoughts of myself and the rest of this kind, and supportive community. It’s now our time to support you, as you have us.

    1. I’m also like you and never comment. I have been also reading her Blog for many years. I lost my wonderful husband of 52 years last month and know that pain and depression is almost unbearable. Brandy if you read this please know you are loved by many and I will keep you in my prayers.

      1. Darlene – I am so sorry for the loss of your husband. I hope you will continue to comment here. It is a good place. 🙂

      2. So sorry for you Darlene, this is a very tough time. When you’re ready, seek out support from other widows, it was the best thing that helped me. Big hugs to you.

  28. Brandy,

    I have been worried about you and regret to find that my worries were not baseless. We are neighbours and friends in spirit.
    Although the burdens on your shoulders and in your heart are heavy at the moment, I know you will find the spiritual courage to carry on and
    endure these challenges. My thoughts and prayers silently accompany you. If you need time away from this blog, we will all understand.
    Please be kind to yourself. Ann

  29. You will be in my prayers Brandy.

    I got up early today and went to town for an errand. On the way back I saw hundreds and hundreds of butterflies. Just beautiful! I stepped out of the car and they were all around me! I love butterflies! To be surrounded by them is amazing! I remember something similar as a child. I saw hundreds of monarch butterflies! I remember one landing on me and thanking God for the beauty.

    This week I made asparagus soup from the asparagus we picked. I need to pick more and pickle some. I was going to do it on another day, but my son had given our asparagus that we picked that day away. That was ok. I can still pickle some after I pick some more. We are trying to use what we have so we don’t have to spend so much in the store. Every time we walk into the store I am astonished at the prices being so high. Today I am making homemade bread so we can save a few dollars not buying it this week.

    We are staying out of stores for the most part to save money. Not even thrifting, which I love to do. But we don’t really need anything right now. Yesterday, we made coffee at home instead of going to a coffee shop. We had considered going out and changed our minds. I was glad for the savings.

  30. Brandy, I’m sorry that you’re going through challenging times. Is there something I can do for you (besides praying)? This is not a perfunctory question, genuinely asking you from a place of care. Xx.

    1. Thank you so much, Farhana.

      Prayer is what is most needed. Thank you for your prayers. I am so very grateful.

      Insha’Allah, things will come to pass as I hope one day.

      I am trying to say Alhamdulliah in all things and am looking for the blessings even in the grief.

  31. Brandy, thank you for letting us know you are struggling with very hard things and grieving! We are so thankful for the blessing you are to our entire online community! We all appreciate you and are so grateful for how you encourage us and teach by example. We love you and certainly I am praying for this difficult season!! Hug and prayers to you!!

  32. Sending support and “cyber hugs” your way, Brandy!

    I see several graduates mentioned – congratulations to all!

    We had family in town for Memorial Day weekend and a day extra on each end of the four-day. My dad insisted on paying for dinners out, which was lovely for our budget – most places have such large portions that we ended up with lunches as well. One night I asked them to just bring their leftovers and we reheated everything at our house, which kept them from having food wasted when they left as well. Such things are an exercise in patience and gratitude for my husband and me as well; my father-in-law is the same way and delights in treating everyone. We’ve learned to hush, say thank you, and let them have their joy instead of being sour and trying to fight it (thinking we want to save, and they “should” too). They know their funds and it’s clearly their fun to do this during a visit. And how can I say no to a few nights of not cooking? haha

    As my dad and stepmom had not been to the area, we came up with some neat things to do, like walking around Tombstone and the rose museum (I know we have rose and history fans here, you might enjoy the info: https://tombstonerosetree.com/ ) and touring Saguaro National Park. My husband and father are both retired military, so both got the multi agency lifetime passes from NPS for free with their military IDs, so free entrance for both vehicles into Saguaro.

    My son’s summer term at college began – both professors are using free, online texts and resources so there was no book cost this term. (Which helps save as his tech and textbook fees will be fairly high for fall term.)

    Placed several holds at the library which came in as two separate batches; picked them up on the way back from the college those days.

    Received a notice that Kindle Unlimited price is going up, and a discount offer at the current rate with a one-year lump sum. Normally I would have just canceled, but have gotten a great deal of use from KU lately, so I took advantage of the offer and will reassess when the term is almost up. If nothing else, it keeps me from buying things in print willy-nilly now that I don’t have the concerns about military moves and books counting against our weight allowances. I have made a great deal of use from KU, several books a week, so it’s worth it. (Especially as I found a book club book for my ladies’ shooting league that I would not want a copy of; I can borrow it, read, and return just like the library, which doesn’t have a copy.)

    I did purchase a few books on Kindle for a deal, selecting items that have been on my wishlist for a while. Then realized I also have Kindle Rewards points, so I redeemed them and ended up with two free additional books this week.

    I received gift cards for my birthday from parents/step-parents and my in-laws; will monitor sales and wishlists for making the most of those blessings.

  33. I’m sorry you’re going through something so difficult, Brandy. I pray that you find peace.
    While it seems odd to go from that to this, I’ll do so in the hope that my drivel might be a moment of escape.

    *Best find of the week was a garage sale TV. Ours was about 25 yrs. or older. It was headed for the electronics junkyard as a dinosaur, but we took it. It worked perfectly for us for 15 yrs. and then we think the picture tube was kaput. Anyway, the new-to-us TV is about the same size, so clear, and was only $17!
    *Normally we can’t open windows here in the morning because the humidity is miserable. However, we’ve had extra cool temps after 4am so I haven’t been turning on the AC until early afternoon.
    *I’m doing some Frankenpiecing of clothes to make some new things.
    *Gratefully accepted some craft items from a friend. Kept what I could use and will pass the rest to a HS art teacher in fall.
    *Hubs had the opportunity to car pool this summer and took it.
    * Eating cold meals and freezer meals to avoid the oven.
    *Our favorite small pet store sent us a 25% off coupon, which saved us a whopping $13 off a big bag of dog food. Dog food prices have really gone up.
    *Got $1 per gallon of gas off with fuel points. We bought just a little more than usual, but really used the 4x days, etc.
    This was a first. We filled both cars and the gas can for the mower.
    *Used the library for entertainment.
    On my nightstand – Nancy Drew in The Haunted Bridge
    In my craft room CD player – Jesse Stone in The Bitterest Pill.
    With my Bible study – I’m doing a bit of hopping around.
    By my reading chair – Mitch Rapp in Separation of Power.
    We’re watching season 11 of NCIS.

    A good week to all and special blessings to you, Brandy. May the Lord bless and keep you, may His face shine on you, may He be kind to you, and give you peace. (I can’t think of the verse….)

  34. First, I want to offer my sympathy over your sadness, Brandy. Thank you for taking time to post in your time of distress. Peace be with you.

    I’m feeling a little odd in that my oldest grandchild just graduated high school. I’m starting to see that generation come of age, and it’s just a weird feeling.

    And since this is our money-saving comment space, here are mine:

    I harvested stevia and dried it.

    I harvested some of the greens I’m growing that tolerate hotter weather.

    I’m washing more laundry manually, and hanging almost everything up to dry, unless it is so thick it will sour before it dries. Even then, I try to dry it some on the line or drying rack as well as use the dryer.

    I’m stretching my meals further. It’s better for my wallet and my waistline.

    I put blood meal I already owned on my raised bed plants that like more nitrogen, then used old wire garden edging over the plants to keep the dogs from digging in the dirt because of the blood meal. The wire is working.

    I am saving my warm up water and re-used the water from my water-bath canner as well.

    I used the bird-feed store’s bonus bucks to buy $15 of bird seed for $5.

    I keep the a/c set on 78 or 79. The upstairs is set on 85 for the middle of the day, when no one is up there. The nights have become too hot and humid to leave windows up at night, so the a/c stays on all night as well, but at a warmish temperature since the night brings a little bit of cooling outside.

    Here’s wishing brighter days and happier times for everyone.

  35. I hope you have a better day soon. Your photos are so beautiful. Do you ever sell prints or the right to print them? Like your flowers and such?

  36. Brandy,
    I had a feeling that something was going on in your world so I’ve been praying for you and will continue to do so. I saw a snarky comment from someone on your Facebook page and wanted to comment back to them but decided no good would come of that…praying for that person too because she must need prayers.
    I feel like we have been spending money hand over fist but some of it will reap rewards. We purchased a new garage freezer to replace the ancient one that had become very unreliable and I threw out a lot of food that seemed risky to keep. I ordered some baskets from Amazon to use in the new freezer to stay better organized ( I was able to use Swagbucks to buy the baskets).
    I cooked 2 bags of beans and part of a bag of Puglia lentils (I have many bags of Rancho Gordo heirloom beans and need to start using them up). I made marinated beans, white bean kale and tahini dip, and braised lentils with fresh fennel and I froze some beans for later. These items are the basis for dinners this week along with fresh vegetables and grilled chicken. I have been terrible about meal planning lately and we had more takeout meals than we should have so I’m trying to get back on the right path.
    I redeemed Swagbucks, Evidation, NCP, and Receipt Hog points for Amazon giftcards which added $120 to my Amazon account. The freezer baskets were $98 so I’m glad I had points to redeem.
    My daughter and I used to be very frequent Starbucks visitors but I got Sip Club by Panera for both of us and that we are really enjoying it and saving $$. We get just our drinks most of the time but Panera adds special discounts to both our accounts frequently and some of them have been advantageous for us to use (like a free Pick 2 meal).
    Last month I got my mom a photo album for Mother’s Day and put about 60 photos in it- there is plenty of room for additional photos to be added. She has a digital frame in her house that I add pictures to frequently but I knew she would prefer an album she could look through and I was right. I bought a second one for my Dad (they are divorced) and he will get the same pictures in his album for Father’s Day. Buying 2 photos albums at the same time allowed me to take advantage of a sale at Michael’s.
    Best wishes for a happy frugal and safe June for all…

  37. I haven’t commented in a while, but I have been reading when I can. Joining in from the Seattle area.

    My husband and I have separated and I have been staying at my neighbor’s place while she is out of town for two months while I look for a new place to live. This has been a great money (and sanity) saver. I will pay my neighbor back for a few incidental costs but otherwise it is free. I have taken care of her mail and plants for years during her annual trips so she is happy to have me stay in her place. She even told me to eat anything I wanted from her freezer, which was very kind.

    I am working as many hours as I can at my front desk job, and also pursuing getting my massage license back so I can restart working in that field. I need a certain number of continuing ed hours, and have found many free online classes. I also found an in person CPR class (required), which was only $30 (usually it is over $100).

    The vegetable share at the CSA farm starts this week. It is already paid for, so I will enjoy many fresh vegetables in the coming weeks.

    Brandy, I am sorry for the difficult time you are going through. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    1. Tina, I am sorry to hear of your sad news, but so glad that you have a place to stay.

  38. Dear Friend,
    First let me say that there was a time in my life where it took everything I had just to open my eyes and get out of bed. I literally had to take it step by step…I would tell myself to open my eyes, then sit up, then put my feet on the floor, then stand up…You get the picture. I would wake wondering what disaster, crisis or problem I would have to face that day. All I could see were the problems, crisis, and fears. Finally, to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, I reached the stage where the only place I had left to go was on my knees. Slowly I began to see the positives each day. They may have been small( a pretty flower, the smile of a stranger, a child’s hug), but it was when I began to focus on the blessings that I began to work through my sadness and stress. My faith grew as well as my ability to cope with things being thrown at me in life. Always know you are not alone. Jesus is with you every step of the way. Do not be hesitant to reach out for help. My Navy wife training made me think I had to do everything. But finally a friend said to me that I was denying others a chance to bless me and my family by not accepting or asking for help. I know it is still hard for me to accept the help from others. Then I remember my friend’s words. Things will get better, Brandy. You have a lot of people praying for you and your family all the time. The scripture references from others are helpful, too. I also know how difficult it can be when your spouse is gone for long periods of time. I always knew when my husband’s deployments would end. Something important would break 2 weeks before he came home. I believe that was God telling me hang on; help is on it’s way. The Navy would give me a date. Something would break which gave me a different date. My date was correct 100% of the time for 20 years. God is good. Hold that in your heart.

    In frugal ways:
    *I have finished my doll donation project. I wanted some type of bag for each doll’s clothes. I was going to buy some Dollar Tree paper gift bags then decided I could make drawstring bags and use up more of my fabric stash. I made 11 drawstring bags. Everything turned out so cute. I hope there are 11 little girls out there who will love them.
    *We used our solar chargers to charge all our devices and the batteries for our electric mowers. No cost to mow the yard.
    *Hung 3 loads of laundry.
    *I found 2 loaves of whole wheat bread marked down to .66 each and a bag of 4 lemons for .99. I did not buy any other groceries.
    *Transplanted 4 volunteer tomatoes and 4 volunteer cucumbers.
    *I harvested 2 heads of broccoli, green onions, lettuce, peas and a handful of strawberries from my garden.
    *We were gifted a hand embroidered pillow 33 years ago from a 12 year old friend. It has a decorative place on our bed. It is very special to us. Unfortunately, over the years the fabric had begun to disintegrate. So I took it apart and used some fabric from my stash to reconstruct the pillow. I washed the embroidered piece, ironed and sewed it on to newer fabric similar to the old. It turned out beautifully. This is a much treasured piece. We have known this girl since she was 5. She practically lived with us before we got our kids. She is now in her late 30’s. I have told my family the pillow goes with me to the old teachers’ home when my time comes.:)
    *Meals were from the garden, pantry and freezer.
    Thank you, Brandy, for hosting this site. Please take care of yourself. We are all here for you.

    1. Thank you Marley.

      My husband’s work is called a deployment as well. Because it’s not a military deployment, people are confused, asking me when he’ll be back. I have no answers. It’s hard for them to comprehend.

      1. One of yhe hadest things to deal wth is the absence of a beloved spouse…whatever the reason.
        Bless you.

  39. I hope you’re doing ok, Brandy. I’m impressed that you were able to get as much done as you have, considering that you’ve been away a bit and so busy. I’m going through a season of change myself, and although I know it will be easier on the other side, the transition isn’t necessarily easy. We’re thinking of you!

    A few of my frugal accomplishments from the past week:
    – I spent $5 on a flashfood box, and got a huge bag of okra (any suggestions for cooking them?), a 4-pack of corn, 2 red and 2 green bell peppers, and half a dozen apples.
    – I made a number of inexpensive meals, such as pasta salad, falafel bowls, and fajitas (using the flash food bell peppers), and that helped keep the grocery bill down this week.
    – I made pizza mini muffins for my kids using my easy pizza dough recipe (http://approachingfood.com/easiest-pizza-dough-ever/)
    – I preventively fixed the toes of my running shoes again, by placing sticky moleskin on the inside as a makeshift but effective preventative toe patch.
    – borrowed a lot of books from the public library, met up with friends for walks, skyped with an overseas friend — all no cost entertainment.
    – oh, and I got a part-part-time job! This will be a huge financial help, especially as I managed to negotiate for benefits despite being part-time. I’m so pleased about this.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

    1. Margaret,
      Okra is great in jambalaya, a Cajun rice dish. You can make it vegetarian by using black eyed peas (or whatever legume you prefer) in place of meat. It’s used in Indian cuisine as well — I really enjoy charred bhindi (Indian for okra).

      Also wanted to join others in telling you, Brandy, that I’m sorry for this sad season, and I’m praying for you and your family, too.

  40. Brandy, Wishing you peace as you go through these difficult times. I hope your husband is able to get back for a visit sooner than expected.
    I will be offline for a month or so on a planned trip to Europe. The trip has been budgeted and paid for. I am keeping my luggage to carry on to save money and for ease of travel. I have received a seniors discount on a couple of items-train in France, hotsprings in Iceland etc. So still saving where I can. I hope everyone has a frugal month and it will be interesting for me to compare prices overseas. I am sure some of them will make ours seem more reasonable.

  41. Dear Brandy,
    I read your newsletter every week but I have responded very little. Being 80 and living alone I don’t make gourmet meals, worry if the house is clean or not, but I enjoy what everyone says and pray for those going through difficult times.
    I am so sorry to hear that you are going through difficult times as well so definitely will add your to my prayer list. Your are such a blessing to us all and I hope all good blessing will soon come to you.

  42. I had a comment typed out and somehow lost it (user error), so here goes again! 🙂 I feel like I don’t have too much to report this week, but I so enjoy reading everyone’s comments, suggestions, and conversation. I like to read all of the joys, concerns, and struggles here to add to my prayer list. We all need that support, or that celebration, in different seasons of our lives. This community is always so supportive and encouraging. Brandy, please know that we are all here for you even if we are not there physically.

    We have been doing the usual frugal things – we turn the air up when we are away, and down some (75-76, with fans going) when we are at home. I am at the age where I get hot far too easily, so I can’t sleep with it much warmer than that. It also does not cool down enough in the evenings, especially with humidity, to open the windows. We run fans and keep the blinds & drapes closed as much as possible. They are predicting 100+ temperatures for next week. And so it begins. Haha.

    We cooked and ate almost all meals at home, including lunches and work snacks. Meals included beef gyros, Philly cheesesteak style pan pizza with the leftover gyro meat, chicken tacos, grilled chicken breasts with risotto and green beans, brisket taco bowls, chicken salad bowls, and a few others I cannot recall. Grocery bargains: we bought 10 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts for $1.77/lb, 33 lbs beef brisket for $1.87/lb (we bought the limit of 2, trimmed and divided them to freeze for several meals), cheese $1.49/lb, 5 bottles Sweet Baby Ray’s bbq sauce for .99 cents, and a free box of k-cups. We also were able to use an additional $15 off coupon for doing a store pickup on the order (this is a store we don’t often shop with), so it ended up being an excellent deal, and we were able to restock our freezer with meat. Chicken is $1.77/lb at another store this week, so I may pick up some more to fill in. We are focused on changing the way we shop to limit ourselves to Aldi once a week, or going to other stores solely for the loss leaders or clearance items. Recently we have gotten into some bad habits of running in to the closest store (not the cheapest) for 1-2 things during the week if we need something, and of course that ends up costing more. It is a bad habit we are determined to break!

    I have started watching my eating and weight again – I had let it go for a while and gained some. Lunch this week has been a delicious cold bean salad – chickpeas, lentils, fat free feta cheese, and bruschetta sauce with herbs. I love mediterranean flavors, and in the hot weather a cool salad is a nice lunch option. It is delicious with a fork or in a pita, and full of protein & fiber. I’m really trying to watch my sugar intake as well, as that is an area where I struggle. Also portion control, willpower… haha.

    Not-so-fun news: My car was rear-ended by another driver one evening on my way home from work. I work in a busy downtown metro area, and was sitting stopped in traffic when the other driver ran into me. He was very nice (although quite upset) and nobody was hurt. I am grateful that he took responsibility and that insurance will cover everything. Rather than get a rental, we are down to one vehicle for the time being while my car is repaired. A few years ago, my previous vehicle was hit by another driver while I was parked in a public parking garage. The damage was repaired, but it still hurt the value when I sold it. My car is pretty new and while it is disappointing, it is fixable and nobody was injured. We also need to get the air conditioner in our other vehicle looked at (it blows cool – not cold – on one side, and hot on the other) while it is under warranty and before we are in the triple digits every afternoon. Fun times.

    I hope everyone here has a lovely week!

    1. Glad you are okay!

      I love Mediterranean foods too and struggle with the same! Trying to get back down to where I was at before? weight-wise.

  43. Dear Brandy, It’s great to see your post this week. I read above you have several things going on in your life. I hope that they all work themselves out, and sometimes time is what does that best. I’m glad you have your children and other family near by. I’m sending you hugs from Florida. I know what hard times are like. You will get through them.

    In Florida things are quiet. I am tired lately and working hard to finish paying off some accumulated debt with a second job. It’s tiring but I believe having a plan will make this happen quicker, much quicker than ignoring it. Nothing else exciting from my corner. It’s getting extra hot here and the grass grows like crazy all Summer…

  44. Brandy,
    My heart goes out to you. As all others have said, know I will be praying for you as well.
    Please know we all support you and are here for you. If there is any way I can assist with
    anything, I am more than willing.
    On the frugal front: I am doing all the things we all do on a regular basis. What has really stood out to me the last few weeks is that my two sisters and I all live very close to my parents. This is by design on our part. Now is the time in life when that is paying huge dividends for us. My parents are now in their middle 80s and needing lots of daily assistance. We are able to share the honor (never burden) of helping them. Many hands make light work. I am so very thankful for my two sisters and all they do for my parents. It warms my heart to see them give so freely of their time, effort and love. It would cost thousands of dollars monthly if they had to pay for the in-home care we are providing them. My sister also cares for their yard and flower gardens and it is a pure pleasure to see how well maintained they are every time I drive in. I took my mom to her doctor appt the other day and before we drove home, I went thru a fast food place and got her some French fries and a coke and she was very delighted at her surprise treat. Small things sometimes bring the greatest joy in life.

    1. Thank you Kim.

      I think it’s great that you can help your parents and divide the work.

      My parents just celebrated their 50th wedding anniverary. My brother took them on a trip to Hawaii. I certainly couldn’t afford to do that, but they live next door to me, and I’m sure that one day, most of their care will fall on me, as he lives in another state.

      1. Hopefully your parents realize you will be helping them when they need it and appreciate it. You are a kind daughter, a good wife and mom, and a beautiful person.

        1. Aww, thanks!

          I think they will remain independent for a long time. Right now, they help others who are older.

  45. A few frugal accomplishments from last week:

    *received a free donut at work
    *we’ve been keeping thermostat 2 degrees warmer this summer than last year
    *took pictures of books I was interested in at Barnes & Noble and reserved from the library
    *added to compost, washed baggies, used up or froze leftovers
    *great deal on (2) 90 count packages of vitamin gummies from Amazon (original price 27.50; paid 5.19 using subscribe and save, coupon, plus multi buy discount)
    *my husband was “employee of the month” at grocery store he works at and was gifted a $50 gift certificate 🎉

    Have a great week ❤️

  46. Luscious rose pictures!
    * Locally grown strawberries are ripe, but cost $65 for 15 lbs buying in bulk from farms! I will be watching for price decreases as the season progresses. No jam at those prices!
    *We bought garden perennials at half-price as the planting season winds down. 2 plants for $10.
    *Siding for our garden shed was costed at $1500 for the wood, no labor. But we found what we wanted on Marketplace as someone else had leftovers from their project, for $400.
    * We pay our bills via credit card, then pay it off in full each month. The points thus accrued have amounted to free airline tickets to Italy this fall! Our itinerary, local transportation and accommodations will be self-directed using a Rick Steves guidebook from the library. I’m excited!
    *Reconnected with a high school friend from *ahem* decades ago via social media. It was fun catching up.

    Enjoy your week!

  47. The tomatoes are beautiful! I can’t wait until we have some. How nice you’re having some cooler weather. We are here as well, and really enjoying it. Last week, I redeemed Swagbucks for a $25 gift card, using a 12% discount and $1.50 credit. I made batches of Golden Paste for the pups, and vegan cashew parmesan on Memorial Day, while watching the canner with baked beans processing. It’s become a habit to collect the aloe ends from smoothies for several days, blend it into fertilizer, and feed various plants. I’ve been gathering mullein flowers for a skin oil, after seeing one of it’s uses is for eczema. I made a batch of bird suet and hummingbird food. I stopped feeding the birds sunflower seeds a number of weeks ago, due to the cost, and they’re going through about two suet cakes per day. I tried the first of the garbanzo beans I canned in March, to make hummus, and was very happy with how flavorful it was. Fresh pea soup was made with some of our peas. Pasta sauce was made, using our butternut squash, vegetable broth and sage. I started an additional six potatoes, planted in feed bags this time, and all are up and growing. I brought four of our tomato seedlings to a neighbor, who is beginning container gardening, and said she could use these. I harvested peas, lambs quarter, and chard for us, and dandelion greens several days for the pups. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2023/06/homestead-days.html

  48. Brandy I am sorry that you are grieving. Praying for you. Take care of yourself.
    I haven’t been commenting a lot lately I been in hospital try.to take care myself. Doctor think it is lot of stress.
    My garden is going great tomatoes and peppers looks great. Zucchini is flowering and so are the cucumbers.
    I do read all the comments. I thank you for posting on your blog and Facebook account.

  49. It has been a cool, hazy week here in NC. Today the high was 68, it was supposed to be 80. My spring garden vegetables are liking this cool weather, but summer veggies haven’t really taken off yet. I picked more beets annd chard and made pickled stems and beets. We used lettuce in salads, lavender in lemonade, and the chard and beet leaves in smoothies. The blackberries are just starting, picking an handful a day. The bushes are loaded. My blueberries and strawberries don’t look to be stellar, so hopefully I will have tons of blackberries to make up for it. I am roosting tomatoes from suckers and low branches I pruned.
    *Our electric and gas bills were very low this month, under the average and efficient home averages. No AC yet and no need to use it until it gets much warmer.
    *I brought home 3 bananas from work that were getting tossed and make skinny monkey cookies with them. We have been eating lots of salads. This weekend I got a text from Panera for $10 off an order, my husband and I split a salad and watched, “ A Man Called Otto.” A free cheap date we both enjoyed!
    * I continue to make my laundry soap from my ivy and line dry my clothes.
    * I am staying out of grocery stores and just getting the bare minimum when needed. I don’t find deals hardly at all these days. I practically begged the produce manger to sell me older berries this week, he refused and said they were throwing them out, despite me telling him I would gladly buy them!
    * We walk in the evenings, and I walk first thing in the morning, and go to free classes at the senior center.
    * I found a pair of tank tops for walking at Marshall’s, they had wide shoulder coverage. It was affordable and I have trouble finding modest tops for warm weather to exercise in!
    * I have been reading books in the Maggie Hope series about a British WW2 spy, they are enjoyable.
    * Blessings to each of you ladies as you seek to steward your homes and finances with grace and wisdom!

    1. I agree. The deals are hard to find anymore. Everything is double or triple what I used to pay, and more and more, I am having to go online to order basic things that I can no longer find in the store, like Walmart’s brand of hand washing dish soap.

    2. Fair warning, I cried all through A man called Otto. It was a good movie, but wished I’d been prepared for that.

      1. Me too! Also touches on delicate subject matter for some people. (It was a good movie but pulls on your heart strings).

  50. Beautiful pictures and congrats on your home grown produce. Every little bit helps.

    I picked lettuce from our garden and have used it for hamburgers and sandwiches. It’s Butter Crunch. I put out more lettuce seeds of 2 different varieties. They’ve already started to sprout.

    We had a baby blessing and we’re asked to bring paper products. We saved these things from my husbands moms house when we cleaned it out. We needed to bring enough for 35 people. We had everything – plates, cups, napkins, plastic ware. And we still have plenty of it to use. We were gifted a bag of leftover pulled pork and were able to use it for dinners.

    We had family members over for dinner and we’re able to use our already purchased hamburger patties and buns (bought on clearance). I had very ripe bananas that needed to be used up. I made banana bread cake with homemade chocolate frosting for dessert. We then spent the evening enjoying the newlywed couple opening some of their wedding presents.

    I picked my peonies and filled several vases for my home. The house smells really good.

    I continue to plant in my garden and flowerbeds, weed, deadhead and trim.

    Have a great week.

  51. I am sorry you are going through such a hard time now, Brandy. I am praying for you, your husband, and the rest of your family. It is so hard to be apart from one’s spouse, especially when the end is not, and cannot, be seen. When I took my first pastoral call in Indiana, my husband stayed in Philadelphia to finish packing up our house and preparing to move, whenever we got a buyer for our house. It took a long six months before the closing was in sight and he could set out. Of course, every situation is unique, and difficult in its own ways. Thank you for creating this lovely community, from whom I have learned so much. Please consider taking a break from blogging if that will help you during this time. And I hope you are able to find strength, support, comfort, and peace from your faith, the prayers and support of this community, and the practical help and love of those around you.

  52. We have my grandson up for a month. It keeps him from having to go to daycare while school is out. He is almost 7. I have signed him up for free bowling, you have to pay for shoes, and we have a neighborhood pool. This week he is going to VBS.
    * We are working on projects, the goal to make our home a sanctuary. We found a guy that has a sawmill and planes cedar, so bought boards and stake pieces to make 4 raised beds and obelisks. So, I have 6 beds now. I had a compost bin with half composted stuff since I add to it daily. We put down cardboard, the half composted material, dried grass clippings, soil we got by a scoop from garden center, then bagged raised bed soil. We usually mix in some composted manure, but Lowes didn’t have one bag. I bought some strawberry plugs to make a bed. Then I have one of green beans, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, and will do the rest in more green beans, squashes, and pumpkin today. I read you can take squash or zucchini and shred it. Then dehydrate at 135⁰, powder, and use in place of flour in recipes and it is supposed to be very good.
    * Next project, we are going to rent a tiller and till along the left hand side of the yard along the side fence, which is about 40-50 feet. I bought 3 peony plants, have sunflower seed, zinnia seed, some Coneflower and other perennial seed, and two different bags of bulbs to put in along the fence. I will continue to add to it, and will add in 2 dwarf apricot trees when time to plant those. I will put some tomatoes in large pots mixed in, to get more tomato plants.
    * I save all the water I can to water potted plants. We have two rain barrels I use to water the vegetables and flowers.
    * I try to support local farms to buy beef and produce, even if I spend a little more. I want them to be here if things go south with supply chain or crops in different parts of the world that supply the grocery store. I am taking grandson to a U-Pick blackberry farm Friday, and waiting on the u-pick blueberries (a friend’s son bought the farm) to ripen to get a gallon there. My berries are young and I don’t get much. I will have my daughter get a bushel of Chilton County peaches when she comes to get grandson, and I will can them. I got a half bushel of green beans and canned last week.
    * We have been going to auctions and last week I got a huge cupboard for my sewing room. I am painting it a boxwood green. I also got this rusty crusty shop bench with a vice. It has a metal base, with a wood top that is 4 inches thick. It has so much character. I’ll use it as a worktable in my sewing room. I also got 2 oil lamps and an American Fosteria pitcher and vase that match Mama’s crystal glasses.
    * I sold some shoes and had a P@yp@l credit. A shop put a collection of 100 fat 16ths of Tilda fabric, so I used the credit to purchase it. I can’t wait to make a quilt with it!

  53. Brandy,
    Sending you special blessings from the Holy Land. Even if you didn’t say anything to give away the exact nature of your grief, your emotions shout out from between the lines and are heard by many. I, for one, am thinking of you very often, and will continue to hold you in my prayers and thoughts. I hope that you can find peace and that you can get back to the routines of your life.

    1. Thank you so much, Talia. It’s been hard to do the normal things for a while now and I haven’t had much to write about.

  54. I thought I’d posted but it might not have gone through. Brandy, please remember that we are your neighbours, sisters, friends.
    We will hold you in our thoughts and prayers and hope that the burdens you are carrying will soon be lightened. Ann

  55. Brandy, you have provided this community with so much service, for week after week, and year after year. I thank you for that. Please remember that we are here for you too, in any way that we can be. Please don’t hesitate to let us know if there is any kind of help we can provide.

    My very best wishes to you.

  56. Yes, please do remember, we are your neighbors, sisters, friends. We lift each other up with each other’s presence. If it’s a difficult week, maybe post that with a talk amongst yourselves comment.

    My frugal is very little if any on groceries as I’m not eating much. Finding a mother cat and kittens in my patio room, and trying to sort that, has been anything but frugal. In a financial difficult time, lots of things breaking/needing repairs from weather, and a medication change is trying to teach me the lesson of sitting with panic. From this board I learned there is such a thing as pet food pantry program, so got my first delivery today, which is a blessing. (FYI, inexpensive clumping cat litter is unusable, so not frugal.) I waited several months for a printer price drop as mine broke some time ago. This will help me apply for financial water and power programs given a printout was required vs electronic. It will also give me the option to attempt to sell some items on eBay. After 3-4? months without hvac, the power company program is coming next week to investigate repairing. So happy for that and the weather for June has been mild. So paying attention to the blessings mixed in with the worry. Hope everyone gets the blessings and peace they need!

      1. Brandy, you are such a blessing to all of us. I’m sure that many here feel like we are family or cherished friends. Your strength and resolve has lifted many of us up through the years; now it is our turn to gift that to you. That’s what friends do. Please know that it is an honor to be there for someone when they need it, to listen and support. Life is not just all the joy and good, it is also the sorrow and mess, and I am sure many would agree that we are here to listen to what is happening in your life with love in our hearts and to help in any way we can, just as you have for us. Sharing the burdens you are carrying (or any of us carry) will give us a chance to give back. Please don’t hesitate to do so. Let us help you. Many prayers from my heart for you and your family are going up to God’s ears. Judging from the comments here, God is having an “It’s a Wonderful Life” moment with all the people praying for you and yours.

        1. Thank you, Laura. There are several large things that are private sorrows, but I have faith that all will be as it should, and I am grateful for everyone’s prayers.

  57. Like some others commenting this week, I have been blessed by this blog for many years but have only infrequently commented. How lovely to read of all the prayers that are being raised to the “throne room” on your behalf. It is a testimony to the lovely space you have created here. You and your family are in my prayers daily. Take care of yourself.

  58. Dear Brandy,
    I lit a candle to Mary, Virgen de la Milagrosa, for you. I believe you have readers of every faith who hold you dear and are praying for you. I hope knowing this eases your burdens.
    Kat (Bronx, NY)

  59. I hope things start looking up for you soon Brandy. It is hard when you are the Mom and so much is on your shoulders especially with your husband gone. My husband traveled for work for 10 years- although he was home every weekend, so I know it is rough. I hope your husband can possibly find work closer to home soon. Hang in there! Many are praying for you…

    1. This won’t be closer to home. It will be far away for many years. He may be able to be home in the winter months but he may not; we are not sure yet, and so, we adjust to a new normal.

      1. Oh, Brandy. I’m sorry. I hadn’t read all the comments, so I missed this news. What a difficult transition for your family! I thought your husband was a real estate broker; I had no idea this was a possibility.

        So many prayers on your behalf!

        1. He still is a real estate broker and has agents working for him. The Feds announced in March 2022 that they were going to kill the housing market by raising interest rates, and that has definitely happened. It could be years before recovery. This time, we are dealing with it differently: a second job that pays something. It’s a very different lifestyle in some ways for me and especially for my husband. I am grateful for video calls.

          1. I was thinking and wondering how many families are having to change their lives as your family is doing, so much has changed ” the new normal ” are such true words. At my house husband retired in 2016 expecting to work part time or per diem…. well the reality is for him illness changed his course and I was hoping to retire and that can’t happen for a variety of reasons like the inflation of everything, daughter’s family had a major life event and changed day to day life in major ways that we as grandparents stepped up our help to ease the burdens on these young couples.
            Never would have guessed we would be here but grateful for every positive thing in our lives.Every day I get up and start with what I am grateful for, love and try to twist the day towards positive and negative things I know they will be temporary

  60. Brandy—
    My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. Jesus knows every concern and sorrow that we carry in our hearts. Remember that He promises to wipe away every tear (Revelation 21) and we can talk with Him about everything. You have truly been a blessing in my life and that trickles down to a blessing to my entire family, even if they don’t realize it. Take the time you need to rest, both emotionally and physically.
    On the frugal front line, we had a family wedding and our house was the closest to the wedding location, even though we were still an hour away. My parents came from twelve hours away and stayed with us for a week before returning home, same with my brother from several states away. I did not purchase anything new to wear to the wedding (my nephew) but choose to simply wear one of my dresses I wear to church. I did not think our family would be in any of the formal wedding pictures, but I was mistaken and we were in one. Oh well! My dress may not have been fancy, but it was clean and neat and was navy blue with a sprinkle of flowers on it and I had advised my teen daughter to wear a navy blue dress she already had. My hubby wore a blue tie, so at least we were not all in completely different colors! We had a lot of extra utility and grocery costs, with extra people at our house so I gratefully accepted some leftovers from the reception and used them to help feed my company the next day. My teen daughter has a part time job on the college campus where she is going to attend, so she is earning a little bit at least to help with her future expenses. The college is about a mile and a half away from our house, so not bad for my driving her in and picking her up again.
    Our daughter will be starting a free college class the end of July, which will last until the fall classes start. I hope to go through my tubs of homeschool supplies in the basement and seriously pare down, hopefully selling some things and giving away others. I am a trained elementary teacher, so may save a few things in case I decide to do some online tutoring. Right now I am not ready to commit to anything job wise. I have been homeschooling for 25 years straight, so this is a big transition time in my life. I want to first spend time praying, before promising to do anything in particular.
    Looking forward to learning from everyone!

    -Susan M. in Chattanooga, TN

    1. Susan M
      I so enjoyed your sharing about your wedding, it sounds absolutely wonderful.
      All your ways to save, and how you accomplish life events etc is inspiring
      Thank you

  61. Hi Brandy,
    I don’t post much but I read your blog a great deal, and have been reading it weekly (sometimes daily) since I began my frugal journey. I love how you focus on beauty being found in frugality. I am so sorry to hear you are grieving. Please know that you are in my prayers.

  62. Brandy – it is your time to receive, rest and abide with the Lord. All of your readers who have benefited from the beautiful space you have created here are praying for you and your family – that your burdens may be lifted and every tear wiped away.

  63. Brandy I feel for you. Hubby went to work in Alabama while the youngest 4 stayed home with me in Ohio. No zoom and barely any internet. It was hard especially for the kids. The boys were graduating, Daughter 3 was graduating a yr ahead and Daughter 4 was graduating 2 yrs. ahead. He almost didn’t make it home for their graduation. Was really hard to get past some of the feelings it cause. But he needed to go and do the work.
    Make sure you let your family know when you have a need. You can always pay it back in kindness.

  64. Brandy,

    I just read the blog and wanted to let you know you are in my heart and my prayers. When my husband died in Sept. of ’21, you and your readers were so kind and caring – I have never forgotten the grace and kindness I was shown here and I hope you will feel all of that returning to you. As you said to me in those first weeks/months of shock and grief, “Take all the time you need. We will be here.”

    1. Thank you so much, Ava. I am touched that my comment made such a difference to you.

  65. Agree with Kat; so many of us are praying for you and your dear ones, in all our different ways. Your generous sharing of knowledge and encouragement has produced such a lovely community of kindred spirits!

    Some years back I went through a time of losses, turmoil, and intense sadness. In retrospect, I realized that it was a great blessing to have had little ones in the house. One has to get out of bed, because one has to take care of them, and that’s that. Then after a while, one of them says something funny or does something endearing, and the sun peeks out from behind the dark clouds for a moment. (Probably not the best analogy for Nevada, but you get my meaning!) And little by little, I figured out how to absorb the losses and move forward with life.

    You are an extremely intelligent and resourceful woman, and you will too. I too am praying for you and your family.

    1. Thank you Chiara. I agree with you about small children being such a blessing in this way.

  66. I am sorry to hear about this, Brandy. I will pray for you and your family! Reading your blog was holding me through so many hardships. We are all here so grateful for you! My grandma says that out of pains of grief a new heart is born. One which is already partially in heaven, so that we can have more heaven among us.

  67. -Went to the thrift store looking for sheer curtains to use to cover my dwarf cherry trees when they get closer to ripening. I found a large one I can cut in half for $5.50. Much cheaper than the coverings sold in garden stores. These trees are caged with fencing wire to deter deer. I will just put these over the top and clothes pin them to the cages.
    -I also got 6 pint canning jars for $0.35/each; a summer dress for $4.00; 3 quilting patterns for $1.40 each; 2 sewing patterns for $0.60/each; a kit to make a wool stitched owl for $1.00; a pair of knee high rubber boots (name brand) for $10.00; a pair of ankle rubber boots (name brand) for $9.00; and 3 heavy vintage glasses with fall leaves for $2.50 for the three.
    -I have been on the lookout for new rubber boots as mine currently have cracks in the foot of both boots and are leaking. I had looked at new several places and didn’t like any of them or the prices. God is good and has now blessed me with 2 pair for 1/4 of the price of one new pair.
    -I finished the beaded ornament and will get it backed and put together. My car project now is a cross stitch of a teapot with a friend saying. I got the kit previously from a thrift store for $2.00. I will finish this and make it into a table runner for a friend whose birthday is in November. She loves tea so this is perfect for her.
    -We continue to pick asparagus, we eat it fresh and we are sharing it with friends and family. I pressure canned 6 pints for making asparagus soup this winter. Just drain it, blend, add cream and Parmesan cheese and heat gently and consume. Yum!
    -I canned 7 jars of pheasant from birds we had in the freezer. One didn’t seal so it was used. I then took the legs (many pin bones) and pressure cooked them. The meat then was easy to separate from the bones and I froze 2 packages of meat pieces from this.
    -We had stir fry from a jar of pheasant that didn’t seal. I used veggies that needed using from the fridge-celery, green onions, cut corn off 2 ears of corn, asparagus, carrots, and broccoli. Great way to use veggies that need to be used up and won’t go bad.
    -I make kombucha each week. Right now I am using a cinnamon tea I got on clearance at Trader Joe’s. I am flavoring it on the second ferment with home canned apple juice. It is so good and so thirst quenching.
    -My honey I bought last year was crystallized when I bought it, it was from a year before and the business gave me a VERY good deal. I needed to liquify a couple more quarts. Instead of heating it on the stove in warm water, my husband said, set it on the deck in the sun for the day and see what happens. By evening it all had liquified and no energy was spent.

  68. Brandy,
    You have been in my thoughts and prayers. I too am grateful for you and your blog, and the people that gather here. It has brought me much joy. I pray that God will bring you and your family happiness and peace of mind. I know that I already left a comment. But, you truly have been on my mind and I wanted to let you know that I am indeed praying for you.

  69. Late coming in this week. I have written out a prayer list of all of those with needs here in these comments including you Brandy and will be praying for you. My situation was slightly different. My husband was a Paramedic and emotionally/physically unavailable for a week or so at a time. I dealt with many things alone and struggled at times with all that was on my plate. No one understood his schedule nor the depth of tired he came home with after his shifts and how long it took him to recover from all the trauma he dealt with. Now how difficult it was for me. Some family thought his not being home meant that I had time on my hands to spare…Not at all true. Anyway, my prayers are not any more valuable than anyone else’s but altogether they are like lifting you up.

    My son’s children are receiving foods from the school system in our county and he was overwhelmed by volume, so he brought me bags last week and this one. I was much amuse/pleased/greatly blessed to find carrots and broccoli in this week’s bags because I had neither and had just entered a pantry freezer challenge (self induced) and wondered how I’d stretch what I had. Fruit juice and dried fruits and all sorts of other things came in those bags, a bounty, a real bounty of things. I rescued two tomato plants from the compost bin and potted those up along with three white eggplants and 30 onion sets my son also gave me. I’ve been planting all the long neglected bulbs and daylily and such that I’ve had sitting around and was surprised that so many were still viable bulbs that had apparently just ‘rested’. I’ve been scattering seeds around and about everywhere I can. I took advantage of a special sale on Botanical Interests to get some pretty heirloom flower seeds and a few herbs. Was pleased to find they included a packet of Mesclun as a bonus. The box is also nice enough to use as a seed packet file. The mini blind in the guest room, which I’d long meant to replace with two inch faux wood slatted blinds finally broke. I found what I’d wanted to replace it with at Lowe’s for about 1/2 what many other sites wanted. Since we’d already purchased the same blinds for the rest of the house, I know the quality is good and worth every penny. I got cashback from my credit card as well, this turns into gift cards, usually for Lowes or Home Depot. Went to grocery to pick up milk and such and got $3.50 on Ibotta. I don’t normally do that well with Ibotta. We’re in the midst of a heavy birthday season. I had many gifts already set aside for the younger ones and just needed to purchase a few for adults.
    Things have been difficult here for various reasons and it’s hard not to lose sight of the blessings but I’m trying.

  70. Brandy, I have been reading your blog for over a decade. My heart hurt for you when I read that you are holding down the fort on your own. Our family was in a similar position for several years. We had a two-year break because of COVID and being permitted to work from home, but once travel restrictions were lifted, that was that. There have been a lot of tears and prayers, and I look forward to the Lord answering them in His time. I will be praying for your family as well.

    You have cultivated a wonderful community on your blog. I have gleaned so much good advice from it over the years, and it was heartening to see how many responded kindly and with prayers for you. I look forward to those prayers being answered. In the meantime I will try to always remember to shop using your Amazon links as “every little bit counts.”

  71. I forgot to add in my previous comment that our family also likes to video chat while my husband is away. If any other families that could use this, there are several free ways to video call each other over WiFi. My favorite here in the US is Signal but there’s also WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook Messenger, and of course Zoom.

  72. I am late reading your posting. I’m sorry to hear of your troubles. Sometimes things happen which are beyond our control. I am an atheist so no prayers from me but I trust that all will be as it should be in due course. I’m glad that your parents are close and can be a help to you at this time. Find peace in your beautiful garden, my friend.

  73. I’m just now reading this, Brandy, and please know that you, your dear husband, and your sweet family are in my prayers as you deal with this lifestyle change. You are a true gift to others and it hurts my heart to know you are in such pain and grief. Praying for your peace and comfort and a possible better resolution to the geographic distance that now exists. Hugs to you!

  74. Dear Brandy,
    I’m just now visiting. After reading about your current situation, and all the lovely prayers from this community, I consider it an honor to bind my own prayers with those of these good souls for a perfect, timely resolution to this and all difficulties and dilemmas in your life.
    I am very grateful for you and this site. You do a beautiful job and are offering a wonderful place here for kindred spirits.
    Many blessings to you and yours. Thank you.

  75. Brandy, I am so sorry for your difficult times. My husband travels much for work, and I understand how hard it is not to have your spouse around with children to care for and a house to run. And most unfortunately, I am not the same person when he is not around. I feel such a weight on me without his presence, and everything becomes harder, even with a solid routine in place. Just his being nearby seems to fortify me for the day and the day’s work–it’s not even a conscious thing, but I know it must be because I struggle in his absence. It’s something I very much need to work on.
    You are in my prayers.

  76. Brandy,
    I like many others are praying for you. All transitions are hard, and this one in your life more so than others. Having your husband and partner so far away for the first time is heartbreaking. I am reminded of one of my favorite scriptures, Psalm 94: 19, “When the cares of my heart are many, God’s consolations cheer my soul.” and Psalm 56: 8, You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your record?” May you know God’s peace, grace, comfort and strength as you navigate the days ahead.

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