I harvested tomatoes, lemons, figs, swiss chard, and peaches from my garden.

I sowed seeds in the garden for basil, zinnias, and vincas.

I made a batch of apricot vanilla jam with apricots from my garden.

I used shower warm-up water, water from rinsing fruits and vegetables, water from steaming vegetables, water from canning, and rinse water to water potted plants in my garden.

The weather was very odd for this time of year and cooler than usual. I turned off the air conditioner for 2 days and was able to open the windows in the morning to cool and freshen the house all week.

I took figs to some neighbors. One surprised me by giving me chocolate in return.

I baked muffins from scratch.

We had several meatless meals this past week, including salads, black bean soup, and two frittatas (which used Swiss chard from the garden).

I took cuttings from the single decorative sweet potato vine that I purchased earlier this year, tore off the bottom leaves, and put them in water. By the end of the week, they will have rooted, and I can plant them in several pots in my garden. Last year I bought two plants and did this several times, filling several pots all from cuttings from two plants. This year, I’ve decided to grow them in different pots than last year.

I took cuttings from peppermint and basil plants. The basil is one that self-seeded in my garden. I’ll plant these new plants in my garden at the end of the week.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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  1. Brandy,
    You sure are a hard worker ☺️ It’s wonderful your garden is producing so well for your family!!

    A few frugal accomplishments:
    *paid an extra $250 toward mortgage principal
    *lunch was provided one day at work- I made it last 2 meals
    *husband power washed and spray painted our 2 outdoor chairs- they look as good as new
    *harvested and dried more lemon balm
    *had a few cooler evenings we could sit outside in backyard and birdwatch (free entertainment plus good for the soul); warmer nights we’ve been playing cards indoors after dinner (also free obviously)

    Have a great week ❤️

    1. Sharing: My daughter works at Starbucks and if you didn’t know….YOU CAN GET FREE USED COFFEE GROUNDS! They bag it up instead of throwing it away. They even put a nice sticker on it to tell you how to use it. Just ask the next time you stop by for coffee.

  2. Beautiful photos as per usual Brandy! I hope you are doing well as I’ve been praying for your grief! I know you have felt those prayers! You give so much to all of us so know that it’s always appreciated.

    **I have stayed at home as much as I can. There’s so much violence in my small town in NE Ohio. Senseless gun violence. I’m just better off staying at home when I’m not at work in my same town. Trying to stay off social media & my usage has gone down significantly. Instead I’ve been reading my Bible in addition to other Christian books.

    **We finally got some much needed rain over the weekend as it hadn’t rained at all in over two weeks.

    **Groceries are at an all time high. We do a big shop every 6-8 weeks so our pantry is restocked. Making soups, pasta dishes from our pantry.

    **Im glad my vehicle is paid off, one less monthly bill to worry about.

    **reading magazines I got free from Recyclebank. Sadly their offerings on free magazine subscriptions has decreased significantly over the last few years. Quite a few have just stopped being published because of all the info that’s available for free on the internet.

    I wish my fellow blog readers & Brandy & her family a happy frugal week ahead!

    1. Kelly, you and I must live fairly close to each other. I’m in Lorain. So different from when I grew up.

    2. You might be able to get free magazines from your local library. The library in central Ohio has digital copies in their collection

  3. Your figs look SO good!!
    This week, between Kindergarten graduations and High school graduation, I was able to make and quilt this baby quilt as a gift for a friend’s first baby. I easily “decoded” the pattern from a photo and used scraps (some really small oddly cut scraps) to make the top and then a vintage 100% cotton sheet from SA that I got months (or years) ago for $1.99. The sheet will give me another baby quilt after this one. I’m happy with how it turned out. https://pin.it/2KDzHEK and https://pin.it/27jYlJm. That makes over 20 quilts, including 2 king size and 11 lap size, that I’ve made since January, using only my stash of fabrics for top, back, batting and binding. This is why I can’t justify buying more fabric to add to my stash. At this rate, I still have a few more years before my stash is depleted!

    We were grateful for a short thunderstorm on Saturday which watered our gardens and grass after what the weatherman called a 2 week drought! The rain topped off our water barrels which we had been using to water everything. https://pin.it/1omQjUc. Temps were in the high 80’s to low 90’s so it was sweltering to us, but after Saturday’s rain it has cooled down to the mid-70’s!! We are grateful!!

    Harvested more strawberries from our garden- https://pin.it/2lsxDOT. Not a huge amount yet, but enough to enjoy at breakfast! Harvested several Bibb and Romaine lettuce heads and loved them in salads and sandwiches.

    We’ve been giving away several things this past week: 3 big piles of landscaping rocks, volunteer tomato starts, a lasagna pan, a taco shell maker, an expandable bread keeper, a big glass top patio table and several other things that were taking up space but we didn’t really need! It was fun seeing friends and even people who became new friends take things with excitement to start enjoying their new treasures! And I feel like that was a frugal thing to do because it helps us enjoy what we do have without distractions!

    We are still a 1 vehicle house while our friends use our other one until their car is fixed. This gives them some breathing space. It’s been 3 weeks now but we are flew out on Wednesday to a grandson’s HS graduation in WA, so weren’t in a rush to get it back!

    Life has been very good to us and we are grateful and hopefully can share that abundance with others. We probably can’t change the whole city/state/country/world but I am content finding opportunities nearby where I can lend a hand.

    Gardenpat in Ohio

  4. Your produce looks amazing, Brandy! I’m glad the weather was cooler for you for a bit, and you were able to turn off the a/c (!) which I’m sure was a bit of a savings.

    My frugal accomplishments this week:
    – my freezer (over the fridge) is breaking down, or at least I can’t figure out how to fix it yet, so I’m trying to eat as much as out of it before it goes kaput. I turned a lot of frozen breadcrusts into toasted breadcrumbs, and turned frozen now mushy bananas into cake layers, for my kids to turn into my birthday cake later this week.
    – I baked mini pizza muffins for my kids, using my pizza dough recipe (http://approachingfood.com/easiest-pizza-dough-ever/)
    – I made meals based on what I had in the pantry/freezer/fridge, just filling in the gaps with sale items, as usual. Lots of meatless meals such as pasta salad, or quesadillas, or soup from the freezer, or egg-based meals.
    – I did some mending of kids clothing, and stain removal.
    – I packed my lunch and drinks when volunteering at a school fundraising event.
    – I asked for a ride from a friend instead of spending on uber (or two hours on public transit)
    – I talked with a friend about trading childcare during the summer.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

  5. That is a good reminder to use cuttings for new basil. I sowed some lettuce leaf basil from seed, and it’s doing wonderfully, but I could also easily propagate for later harvests this summer!

    I spent Sunday afternoon working in the garden as our highs were in the 70’s that day. One thing led to another, and then I cleaned out 4 raised planters that were overgrown and planted seeds for zucchini, butternut squash, honeydew, and bush beans. I don’t have a large garden this year, but with some 10 gallon fabric grow pots that were less than $3 each I have been able to grow 6 different varieties of tomatoes and other things. My soul is satisfied, even if it’s not a large garden :).

  6. Brandy, I too am praying for you and your family. You have been such a breathe of fresh air for this whole community, now it is time for us to help you. And what better way than prayers. God hears all petitions.

    -It has been a very busy week, we had our 2 youngest grands here for VBS at our church, plus I volunteered to help out, so we were gone in the mornings during the week days. It is always a blessing to see these children on fire for the Lord.
    -My garden is doing well even though we have had very little rain the last month. I am watering. Thank goodness we have a well and we don’t have to pay for water just the electricity to pump it. So the electric bill will be up I suppose.
    -We turned on the air conditioner for the first time and it didn’t work, we had someone out and a part was ordered. We are waiting for it, the last 5 days have been cooler and we haven’t needed it, thank goodness. Here in MN we will have it on for a stretch and then off for a stretch, we don’t have to run it continuously.
    -I am still picking asparagus, this will be the last week and then we will let it go to grow the ferns for the energy for next year.
    -I was given 1 full gallon and a partial gallon of white vinegar left over from VBS. It was bought for a project and all of it was not used. Someone was going to throw it away, I said I would take it. I also brought home a carafe of leftover coffee, it provided me with iced coffee for 4 days.
    -When our daughter came to get her kids, she brought enough fresh sunnies and crappies for a nice fish fry. It was sooooo good!
    -We used leftover fish in fish tacos. We had a sheet pan supper of pheasant brats, potatoes, and onions. I used these leftovers chopped up finer and mixed into scrambled eggs. I am using every bit of leftovers with no waste. We also had beef kabobs and the leftover grilled onions and green peppers from the kabobs were chopped up and used in omelets.
    -Went to a couple of garage sales, got some clothes for my grands, some sewing supplies, some canning jars, and a couple of books.
    -I decided to get a bread machine, mine died about a year ago and I have been trying to make it in my kitchen aid mixer and raising and cooking in my oven. It just isn’t turning out well. I have made bread, buns, and cinnamon rolls and they all turned out perfect. I think it is the consistent low heat in the machine to raise the dough. Plus I love the delayed timer, I get all ingredients in at night and have fresh bread or dough in the morning. I did a lot of this previously. This machine can also do sour dough, so I am excited to try that. I think this is a purchase that will save me money. We were buying bread and now we will go back to making our own.
    -We went to two grad parties, so we were fed and I made the cards. Of course it cost because of the money for the grads, but I consider it a worthy cause!! Hopefully they will use it towards their future endeavors.
    -Only groceries bought this week were milk, onions (I used my last one from last years garden), and a loaf of Texas toast bread.

    Have a great week!!

  7. I love how much you’re able to harvest from your garden and trees. I’ve started working on my little back yard. I had an old cabinet and sink removed and the wall behind painted. I also had an area cleared of debris and weed clothe and gravel put down. Next up is to install some raised beds. I know I have room for at least one 4X4 and one 3X5 foot raised beds. I also have 5 totes to fill with dirt and put on the gravel. It’s a start. And I have all the drip irrigation parts ready to get my water lines set up. Inch by inch, I’m getting there.

    I also made yogurt from whole milk bought at the dollar store and yogurt cubes I had frozen. Used my InstantPot as a yogurt maker and was very happy with it. I also limited my other grocery shopping to store sales. My local store allows one store survey per month which results in a 5% off everything coupon once completed. I’ve marked on my calendar when I’m eligible to complete the next survey and am working my shopping trips around that.

    The weather here has also been unseasonably cool. I’m thankful that my AC units have been off more then on. Thankfully water is included in my rent but I still work at using it wisely.

    Continuing to keep you and yours in prayer.

    1. The work you’re doing in your backyard sounds very satisfying. I’m looking forward to hearing about what you decide to grow there.

  8. I had a thought regarding your husband’s travel. If he is staying in a hotel perhaps, he could see if that hotel has a rewards plan. He could earn hotel points from his stay(s) & earn free hotel stays at that hotel chain. He would have to join the hotel’s rewards plan but that is usually free. When I travelled for work, I stayed at hotels that I was enrolled in. As long as the cost was reasonable the employer didn’t seem to care where I stayed.

    1. Yes, he is doing that. We also signed up for a credit card that gives rewards points.

      1. my husband used to travel a lot. He got a lot more points if he changed hotels every 3 days. It is counted as a seperate visit/stay and rewarded more points. With your water situation it may also be worth looking at what it cost to wash his clothes at the hotel before coming home. I know he probably isn’t in Europe, but I was so surprised when we asked our house mother ( at hotel, what they are called) what it would cost to wash clothes. I had two broken ribs and a broken sternum. It was $5 a load and she washed, dried, and folded neatly and put in the wardrobe for me.

  9. Brandy, I hope you are feeling better this week.

    We had T&L and 1/2 inch of rain over two days last week and I was able to turn off the sprinkler system for several days. Water is plentiful where I live, but conserving is the right thing to do. I probably saved a little bit on my water bill. If I didn’t read this blog, I might not have bothered.

    I thinned my chard and replanted the bigger thinnings. The butternut squash is growing like crazy but the zucchini didn’t even come up. All but one of my bean seeds came up and they are doing fine.

    Grocery deals last week were more strawberries for .98 lb., butter (limit one) $1.99 lb., bacon $9.99 for 3 lbs. Otherwise, prices are sky-high and increasing every week…same as everywhere.

    I dealt with the 10 lbs. of ground beef I bought a few days earlier for $2.99 lb. (This is a job I loathe). I made two unbaked meatloaves, four 1/2 lb. packages and 4-1/2 lbs. of patties and froze it all. I also made a double batch of macaroni and cheese, divided it into 3 pans, ate one and froze two. My stash of ready meals was quite low and adding the meatloaves and mac-and-cheese helped a lot.

    I have never cared for fresh or canned apricots, but in the last few months I’ve become addicted to apricot jam! Definitely planning on making apricot vanilla jam this year, even though I’ll have to buy the apricots.

    A few months ago I bought a Zyliss vacuum sealer. It is a hand-held gizmo for vacuum sealing reusable ziploc-type bags (you can’t use regular ziplocs). I always wanted a food sealer but didn’t want to be bothered. This thing is da bomb! It’s cordless and about the size of an electric knife. You can open the bag to take something out and then re-seal it. I used it for the ground beef and bacon. When I freeze raw meat, I wrap it in plastic first since I wash and reuse the bags. I use regular ziplocs for veggies, etc., because they are cheaper.

    Hope that you and all of the other readers are having a good week.

  10. Brandy, I hope the care and concern of the community you built here is fortifying.

    On the frugal front:

    I brought a friend who had surgery an inexpensive meal of baked ravioli, salad, and Rice Krispie treats. To save time, I doubled the recipe to serve to my family too. I delivered the meal in aluminum pans purchased at the Dollar Tree. While there, I also picked up a loaf of bread on sale for 50 cents.
    I sowed seeds for cosmos and hollyhocks.
    I was able to turn off AC for 5 days.
    Enjoyed free coffee and a cookie while getting my car serviced.
    We went boating and packed lunch to eat on the water rather than eating at the marina’s restaurant.
    HH tackled a few heavy duty gardening jobs rather than hiring a landscaper. We may need to hire a tree removal service though. This spring MN had a string of very unusual 90F days in April followed by freezing temperatures. The trunks of two trees split as a result. The maple tree appears to be healing, but the smaller, younger oak seems to be dying. The tree was grown from a seedling that my now college-aged daughter brought home as a kindergartener after an Arbor Day assembly-so sad!
    Was able to buy DD a pair of jeans, a dress, and a pair of dry fit pants as well as a multi pack of socks for $40 on clearance at Old Navy online. Old Navy carries tall sizes which fit our DD well. It can be a challenge to find anything that fits, so clearance items that fit AND that she thought were cute was a big win. I set aside the multipack of socks to use in Advent calendars or Easter baskets.
    I went to Goodwill to look for items for DD’s first apartment this fall. I found a new 8×8 baking pan, a microwave popcorn popper with tags, and new quart and gallon Target brand reusable zip top bags.

    Thanks to Brandy and all commenters for taking the time to post during a very busy season. I really enjoy reading each entry.

    1. Julianne – My offspring are tall too thanks to a tall husband. Try American Tall online – they make clothes specifically for tall people. While pricey, they have good clearance sales. Although I am not from MN, I suspect that your family, like mine, gets their height from some Swedish ancestry!

      1. Stephanie, Thank you for the tip. I am not familiar with American Tall. I will check it out. Yes, lol, HH’s family does have some Swedish blood.

  11. My Amish neighbors are now watering their gardens something they just don’t do unless growing for sale or they won’t get enough food to feed the family of 12 through the winter. She borrowed one of my large metal bowls to “save” the rinse water from her dishwashing to use to reheat for washing the next round of dishes. Trying to save on water since we have went almost 3 wks. without rain So when I did hand washing of pots and pans. I used my square rubber pan to rinse in and then used it for watering the pots on the kitchen porch. Thankful for the rain that came through yesterday. Not enough but better than none.

    I harvested strawberries for the freezer, fresh eating and making a no bake strawberry pie making my own glaze as Son 2 was bragging that he could make glaze from scratch .LOL.

    I harvested snow peas, scallions, radishes , turnips , 3 different lettuces, mustard greens, red and golden cherry tomatoes, spinach, parsley and strawberries. We have eaten salad at least every other day. I used the turnip greens and radish tops in the salads. Some of the radishes were pithy so I sliced them thin and added them to the stir fry.

    We only got milk at the store. Due to Hubby’s health, He has Dementia but his doctor wants to try FOOD medicine instead of pills first. I had to order some supplements to add to the cooking that I don’t normally use. I told him we would use the grocery budget to cover it as it’s on the expensive side. We are almost stocked food wise… peas should be coming in this week, E is growing extra canning (yellow) corn for us and I hope the freaking yellow wax beans and Roma green beans finally come up otherwise we will be short on those 2 items. Tomatoes have blooms and the zucchini went from buds to blooms with a zucchini the size of Hubby’s little finger in 1 day after the rain. One of the Amish bartered me 5 gallons of beets for 5 gallons of asparagus. She just sent message today that the beets probably in a month will be ready.

    We got the update that the truck frame was not damaged in the accident so insurance okayed it to be fixed. Parts were ordered and when it comes in the dealership plans to get the job done in 2 days. Two parts for the hitch was ordered from Amazon and Hubby called the adjuster and told her he could have ordered that himself and not paid the shipping. She said the same thing and was a little upset they did that without clearing that order through her first. I just laughed maybe because the insurance company is paying that bill instead of us.

    We still haven’t heard about the trailer or the wrecker bill. Hubby will be following up tomorrow on that. He did go see the dozen Amish he hauls for and tell them his is done and closing the business. He might do some odd jobs later but he won’t be doing big loads or long distance.

    Hubby spent the time going through Medicare info and decided on straight Medicare with AARP supplement… has 2 different Plan D he is looking at. I made an appt. with local lady that does that kind of stuff to help him chose which one is best for him. I will be going through this in Oct myself. I like using someone that actually lives in this community.

    It was in the low 40s this morning and I had to turn on the furnace. June and turning the furnace doesn’t seem right.
    Prayers for strength
    Blessed Be

    1. Wishing you well as you navigate through your husband’s new situations. So glad for you that you have good neighbors!
      My husband made similar Medicare choices and we also met with a local no-fee agent to help sort through the options.
      Hope the rain keeps moving your way!

    2. I just got on medicare and also used a local no-fee insurance agent to help me. He helped me understand all the different terminology that is used. And he completed the paperwork while I was meeting with him in his office. I chose traditional medicare with a medicare supplement (Plan G). I did not want an ‘advantage’ plan even though most people I know went that way. In my county, plan G is the highest level of coverage available for the medicare supplement insurance. Learned that I can always go ‘down’ to other levels but once the initial choice is made, I couldn’t go ‘up’ to a different level. I wanted a plan that would cover all Part B medical costs and only Plan G level policies cover that here. I pay a little more each month, but have only the medicare deductible each year to pay as needed. The ‘advantage’ plans here have huge out of pocket deductibles on top of the medicare deductible each year. I also learned that even though medicare is a federal program, what is availabe is based on county of residence. Good luck with wading through everything.

  12. Our local library’s summer reading program kicked off last week, and each of my kids were given a reading log, bookmark, and coupon for a free kids’ meal at a burger joint. They can earn additional prizes for filling in their logs each week. We’re all big readers, anyway but who doesn’t love a little incentive?

    I am a terribly pale person living in hot, humid Florida. I am not a fan of slathering on sunscreen because I sweat it off again the minute I step outside, so I bought a two-pack of long-sleeved Hanes UPF 50 Cool-Dri shirts from Amazon for $11. They are amazing! I worked in the yard for hours over the weekend and no sunburn, didn’t even get pink.
    It’s been too hot here to get much from our vegetable garden except a few handfuls of blackberries. But our next batch of cherry tomato starts sprouted, and we added a few more pepper plants.
    We moved our chickens to a shadier spot. They’ve been enjoying their new territory, and we’ve been enjoying more eggs.
    I was able to save a button-up work shirt with Dritz Fray Check.
    My son made $40 mowing yards last week. My daughter made $10 cleaning our neighbor’s pool. I’m happy for any opportunity to reinforce our family’s philosophies on spend/save/give.
    My husband was home for two days and then flew off again to spend a week looking after his aunt, who is terminally ill. We were able to keep in touch via Signal. Staying with her in Puerto Rico made him very appreciative of what we have at home. There is so much need there, and the area she lives in lost power almost every day while temps were in the “feels like 110°F+” range. He was able to finish several handyman projects and install a window unit AC for her while he was there.

    1. You you happen have a link to that shirt deal? I’m also an extremely pale person and sunscreen doesn’t like me.

  13. This week we are leaving for a short vacation on Thursday, so we haven’t been to the grocery store. We are staying in the timeshare where we own a week, so it is greatly reduced to stay any other time, too. We will take mostly food from home, especially all the meat, and just buy a few things at the local grocery store. We usually eat out once while we are there, and on Sunday, the kids are coming up for a cookout for Father’s Day.

    We have been blessed with kindness this week and last – last week a customer brought me in a dozen doughnuts. I’m not sure why except that I am always friendly with her. Today, my husband was gifted a package of “fancy” coffee by a customer. My big sister in sorority sent me flowers “just for being me,” which was a lovely surprise.

    I’ve still been either walking to work or catching a ride with my husband or son. We have been spending a lot of time visiting in our backyard or sitting on our porch. I’m continuing to read books I own; I had my husband pick out my current read because I just couldn’t decide. He chose one because the color caught his eye, and it’s pretty good! I also have been continuing my gratitude, book , and quote journals. These give me happiness time and again as I go back through past entries.

    This is a quirky little thing I did this week – my indoor-outdoor cat is shedding a lot, so I brushed her thoroughly. I collected a handful of fur, and for some reason, I just threw it in the back yard, where she later thought it was a critter and was stalking it! 🙂 But then later, my husband saw the small house wrens that populate our bushes pulling tufts of the fur loose, to use in their nests we presume.

    1. Alice – I love the story of your cat’s fur possibly becoming bird nest material. I had horses most of my life (until a few years ago) and often saw nests made with the horses’ tail hair. So ingenious! Thanks for your comments. 🙂

    2. That’s funny about your cat’s hair.
      We put the dog’s hair from brushing them out for the birds and every year when we clean out our bird houses, we find nests lined with their fir. We currrently have bluebirds, swallows, chickadees and robins nesting around our house (and probably others — these are the nests we have seen.)

  14. Good Afternoon Frugal Friends.. Brandy your photos are so beautiful you should enlarge and sell them without a frame the flowers in particular are just gorgeous. Thank you for continuing to inspire all of us.

    My frugals this week are trying to not run the central air, today is rainy and cool so it’s off for now.
    As usual borrowing books and dvd’s from the library.
    Last night I made 7 small jars of Caramel sauce using sweetened condensed milk in canning jars in the crockpot for 7 hours the recipe said 5 but mine took 7 on high heat. I checked prices at Aldi’s comparison the cans of sweetened condensed milk versus buying a jar of premade it saved me at least $1.00 per jar versus buying it. 2 of my jars were recycled olive jars from Aldi’s not safe according to canning standards but it works for us.
    I have line dried outside when I can line dried inside when I couldn’t trying to not use the dryer if at all possible.
    My garden is doing well so far no produce yet but that is normal for Ohio.

  15. That rare, cool weather sounds like such a blessing — as does the rain in your area!
    *I had a lot of on-sale pork tenderloin pieces in my little freezer that weren’t being used very quickly. I found a Pork Vindaloo recipe for pressure canning, and came away with 6 jars. Not only did I free up freezer space, but I know the ingredients are safe for my dietary-restricted daughter to eat.
    *I bought a gently used huge collection of Brio wooden trains for $60cdn, that will be put away for a little grandson’s Christmas.
    *Strawberries still are at very high prices here, so I’m saving money by not making strawberry jam this year. I have jars left from last year that will stretch if I make more blackberry jam later. The blackberries are free here, as they grow wild in old lots and abandoned edges, so I’ll just forage more than I usually do.
    *We sold some non-used items on Varagesale, a neighbourhood-based social media selling site. It makes buying and selling very civilized.
    * OK, this has nothing to do with frugality at all, but. I came home laden with groceries on a nice hot day last week, and, lo and behold, a snake was basking in the sunshine right at my front door! What a shock! (I guess it was frugal that I did NOT drop the groceries!) That has never happened before. I had to call for reinforcements (husband) who said it was “only” a garter snake, and shooed it away. Which means, I guess, it might be back sometime. Great.

    Best wishes for everyone’s week!

  16. Ooh, Apricot vanilla jam sound delicious!
    This week we did a few things to save:
    * I foraged quite a bit — salmon berries, dandelion leaves, plantain leaves, hedgenettle, wild rose buds, and stinging nettle seeds.
    * Garden is finally beginning to produce — radishes, spinach, lots of sugar snap peas (yum!), lettuce, mustard greens, green onions, and a variety of herbs. We’ve been eating veggies and herbs fresh, as well as drying some for later.
    * Washed laundry by hand using my sink-mounted wringer, and hung it to dry on a sunny day.
    * I made my partner a kilt for their birthday using a fabric and pattern we already had on hand.
    * We had a quiet birthday celebration at home for my partner — our adult son plus partner and our teen son all gathered. We ate homemade pizza and the biggest watermelon ever, plus we enjoyed homemade milkshakes, all while playing board games all day. It was fun and relaxing 🙂
    * My teen son wanted to add a balmoral (a type of hat) and a lace-up shirt to his highland kilt, ahead of ScotFest up in BC (Canada). I found free patterns online for the hat and shirt, then used wool felt I already had for the hat and muslin to make the shirt.
    * I was gifted a ton of garlic scapes, which I used in an egg & rice stirfry recipe I found online. It was delicious and definitely will be made again!
    * Our toaster quit popping up some time ago and the heating elements have been slowly dying, but we’ve been limping along. I was able to get a much nicer 4-slice toaster from our local Buy Nothing group this past weekend, along with a very, very nice Cuisineart blender. It made milkshakes for a crowd much easier, as all we had before was a small bullet-style blender!
    * Our neighbors were moving out and disposing of unwanted things. I was given a new brushed nickel shower caddy (to replace our old rusting one from the dollar store). I also took a bag of socks, which I’ll wash and disinfect. They are my size and all seem to be in good condition. These will be appreciated, as most of my socks have been darned a million times.
    * I harvested a bunch of the comfrey that grows wild around our community garden bed and used it to make compost tea for the veggies.
    * I made rosebud hydrosol, and then used it with aloe vera to make a sunburn spray (it’s wonderful). I followed directions online on how to distill out the hydrosol with a stove and pot. I also started up three jars of infused oils that I use for various wound and muscle ache salves.
    * My doctor gave me the go-ahead to stop taking my two medications. Not only will this save us the co-pay, I am looking forward to being free of the side effects I have experienced over the last few years.

    We’re traveling next week, but plan to take food with us for the journey and then will spend the week quietly visiting with family. Lots of picnics and hiking is planned, which should be frugal!

  17. Those figs look delicious and the roses are gorgeous.
    I purchased flowers last week and after ten days they were looking worse for wear. I pulled the arrangement apart, trimmed the stems, tossed out the flowers that couldn’t be salvaged and added some greenery from my garden and a couple of geranium blossoms (the only thing really blooming right now.) I ended up with a really nice arrangement I can enjoy for another week, at least.*I’m doing a pantry challenge for June. So far all meals have been from the pantry and freezer. My only purchase this week was a bag of apples. * We replaced our gas grill and my husband turned the bottom half of the old one into a cart to hold a belt sander he inherited from his dad.* I watered all the potted plants on my front and back porches with collected rainwater. It’s been quite rainy and cool here, so I was able to turn off the outside irrigation for much of the week, another big savings.* I baked two loaves of whole wheat sandwich bread* I cooked a big batch of dried pinto beans in my Instant Pot and canned them – 6 pints of ready-to-eat beans.* I decided to see what I could do to use up some of my fabric scraps. I was able to cut some red corduroy into a pencil skirt, and pieced together some knit scraps to make a long-sleeved T, with a geometric pattern on the front, and made another top from cotton scraps. I have three new items of clothing for no extra cost, and a little more room in my fabric storage.* Thursday we took the day off and visited the local hot springs, using passes gifted to us by our friend who works there. We took a picnic lunch to enjoy on the beautiful grounds. That evening, we attended our electric co-op’s annual meeting, which included free dinner and the gift of a nice coffee mug and a rechargeable flashlight. At the end of the evening, when the crowd had dwindled, they told those of us who were left to help ourselves to food to take home, so I collected enough for dinner another night.* I harvested lettuce, asparagus, rhubarb, and sugar snap peas from the garden.

  18. Brandy, your flowers are always so lovely! I hope your week is going better.

    Our blessings:
    1) We got a letter that my husband is moving to the next stage for disability review. Prayers appreciated!
    2) My daughter only has one general education requirement needed for college because the rest was finished in high school!! If your child has the aptitude and the opportunity, definitely seek out dual credit classes!
    3) She also was accepted in a separate seminar program for new stem/pre-healthcare students that starts the week before college begins for the rest of the school. No extra cost and books/ meals included!

    How we saved money this week:
    – Called car insurance to validate we didn’t need extra insurance on the oldest who now has a permit.
    – Signed up oldest for 2 free community college classes while she looks for part time job for summer. They are online and have no books.
    – Carpools! Carpooling to scouts and soccer practices and bundling errands with them. It is easy to forget that.
    – Husband is finally on my health insurance and we’ve already met our deductible so medications are no charge.
    – Got salmon on sale at Fresh Thyme and got fetch points back for hitting $35 in purchases. Stretched for 4 meals.
    – Got free delivery for our purchase at Kroger so husband ordered dish soap etc. so we didn’t have to make an extra trip. But… he did it for the wrong day so it didn’t help in the long run lol.
    – Avoiding Amazon grocery as there’s now a delivery fee.
    – Daughter used her grad money to buy a laptop for college.
    – While she’s looking for summer work, I’m paying her for some extra chores my husband can’t do, putting into her 529.
    – Trying to get garden going but the birds and rabbits have been a challenge!
    – Long term saving is ordering a new backpack for my son from LL Bean. It lasted 3rd-9th grade so worth the extra cost.
    – Working on meal planning. It is so hard for me to get in the swing of that.
    – I bribed my department with a “brownies and brainstorming” session. Making my bake sale brownie recipe and bringing in extra plates and napkins from graduation party.

    In search of:
    Low-cost recipes that are meatless and don’t involve beans or lentils (picky eaters. Sigh).

    Have a blessed week everyone!

    1. Now that eggs are a good price again we have been having frittatas with whatever leftovers we have. Also egg salad sandwich’s with homemade bread with a side salad. We do pancakes or waffles with whatever fruit we have. Strawberries are in my garden now so we have been having them a lot. I always do a double batch and freeze them for easy breakfasts. Homemade pizza is easy and you can put whatever veggies you have on it.

  19. Gas is 2.93 in University town and $3.19 two hours south. Bought sourdough bread, 97 cent eggs, cheese, corn, blackberries, mushrooms, avocados, at Aldi and tomatoes from a farmer. Had boiled eggs for breakfast, cheese and tomato sandwiches for lunch, chicken with mushrooms for supper.

  20. Hello all!

    Brandy, those figs look amazing! I’m still waiting for mine to start fruiting – we are 8b, so a bit behind you. I recently saw a Tucson news headline that the water authority in Las Vegas will be allowed to shut off water if residential customers, worries me for your family. I seem to think you’ve said you fall under the annual usage mentioned on this article though? So hopefully all will be well for y’all! https://www.reviewjournal.com/news/politics-and-government/nevada/2023-legislature/agency-now-has-power-to-limit-residential-water-use-in-las-vegas-2790451/ Phoenix will be limiting new builds, apparently, and I’m wondering if our city council will stop things after the neighborhood they’ve just approved (we are further south). Definitely a good reminder to me to keep conserving and getting ideas from you and the community here! It was so exciting seeing your mention of rain on Instagram, too!

    I received two class action settlements, one for the Yahoo! breach and one for Zoom. The Zoom one offered different payout options, so I selected Amazon; for Yahoo! it gave a virtual Discover card so I used that to purchase another Amazon credit. Added to gifts sent by a family member, it gives us options and I do appreciate the ability to use folks’ referral links to hopefully send a bit of commission as well. (I alternate between you and another lady whose content I find so useful; I hope it helps a bit!) I then used a little of it, along with some digital credits, to purchase a Kindle book on my wishlist. My son used a portion of the family gift to replace a broken item and purchase a part to repair something else. The title I purchased was a “Great on Kindle” one, so I earned another credit to boot. Woohoo! 🙂

    Used a Kroger fuel reward to fill up at $1 off/gallon.

    Consolidated errands to one trip after dropping my son at class, and tried to take the most efficient routes + returned library books at the drop bin between places.

    Used a Lowe’s gift card from a family member to purchase some items for projects around the house.

    Had a tech perform maintenance on our air conditioner and hot water heater; the maintenance was covered under a contract purchased last year when I had the furnace serviced. He found one part that was out of manufacturer spec, which he said could wait, but when it does fail, the entire unit will shut off & we’d have no AC until they could make it out. With a senior dog and summer ahead, I went ahead and had him replace it. 10% discount due to our contract. He also suggested a hard-start assist which I approved, in the hopes of prolonging the life of the unit, also discounted. (The HVAC is original to the house, so 17+ years old. My hope is to delay replacement for at least a year; he can’t guarantee, of course, but said he wouldn’t be surprised if that part just gave us another three to five years. That would sure be nice!)

    Using the light blocking curtains I ordered a few months ago, plus ceiling fan in the room we’re in, is helping with the AC use as well; we’re hitting high 80s F and the AC isn’t turning on until after lunchtime. I’ve noticed the dog camps out under the ceiling fan, so she’d probably rather the AC be on more, but it’s a balance job with the electric rates, so I’ll keep it warmer unless any of us show negative effects.

    I hope everyone is doing well and having a lovely week!

    1. I haven’t heard the law pass completely. I am NOT under the amount, nor are 20% of the people in the county. It is very worrisome. The amount doesn’t take into account large families.

      1. Hi, regarding the insane idea of limiting the amount of water a household can use, regardless of number of people…perhaps your church could apply some pressure. Politicians only seem to pay attention to large groups of people ;(. Or large donors. Sigh. Another idea, assuming you still live next door to your parents, might be to have a pipe run from their house to your garden. You could pay them for the water, but at least you would have some extra. Might not be legal but at least you are related 😉

      2. Oh my! If it’s not actually the law yet, hopefully some folks can get the legislation amended to account for family size. I also saw a mention of folks with larger properties – I wonder if there’s a group that is trying to band everyone together and fight this. I absolutely understand conservation, but to not look at family size or property size or at least set up some way for folks to request an exemption is just so odd to me. Sending support!

        1. It also outlaws septic tanks and forces people to hook up to the sewer system at their own expense, which is around $40K.

          1. This number and being forced took my breath away, we couldn’t afford this and would not live long enough to pay for it monthly
            OHHHH my gosh I am speechless

          2. I lived in Scottsdale (suburb of Phoenix Arizona) until last month and our house was on a septic tank. The new laws said that if we expanded our house or added a bathroom, we would be legally required to join the city sewer system, at a connection cost of $40,000. Another family in the neighborhood wanted to enlarge and renovate their house, found out about the connection fee, and ended up selling their home and moving away. They spent two years in a legal battle over it, so I assume they lost the battle…and then moved.

      3. You might consider inviting city leaders, at least your own city council person, to come take a tour of your garden as an example of living sustainability in tough water times. It would make a beautiful photo op for them. Then when you get them there make a pitch on how large families suffer under a one size fits all water program. Here, they did finally realize that and made adjustments to water allocation.

  21. Oh, your figs are ready! Mine are getting plump but are still very green.

    I continue to put row cover over my raised vegetable beds every night. Since the plants are just starting to produce, it remains to be seen how much this will help, but I’m hoping it will make some difference. I already owned the cover – it’s simply frost cloth I used the last two winters when we had frost or freezes.

    I don’t know why, but I’ve found two perfectly good items in my work’s shared parking lot, at different times. I let them lie until it was obvious no one was coming back for them. One was a new-looking 6′ tarp blowing around and one was a new-looking microfiber cleaning cloth lying in the grass. I took both home and I am watching to see what else this parking lot decides to produce.

    I’m making progress on sewing more gifts.

    I harvested more blueberries, greens and boysenberries from my yard.

    I transplanted three of my rooted flower cuttings back into their original planters, which are still a little empty. I hope to fill them up without buying any more plants.

    I used the pressure cooker instead of the oven this weekend to save time, energy and heat in the house.

    The satellite tax collector’s office is right on my way to work. I’ll drop off my latest tax payment in their outside drop box instead of taking time off work to go in person, pay the extra fee to pay online or pay for a stamp to mail it.

    I prevented myself from buying something on sale that I really wanted, but had absolutely no use – or space – for.

    I am using a leftover paper bag to drop the dried seed heads of lettuce into. Next year I’ll do as I did this year – shake the closed bag vigorously and open it over the plant container.

    I hope this finds everyone doing as well as possible.

  22. How wonderful you were able to turn off the A/C. I can imagine that’s a very rare occurrence in June. And I saw your ten minutes of rain post! I’m glad the weather is cooperating, so your electric bill can be a bit lower. Last week, I got some pretty good deals at Dollar Tree, including lentils, northern beans, tissues, sponges, parchment paper and seeds. I got a cantaloupe for $2 at Food Lion, and used a $3 reward toward my entire purchase. The cooler night time temps mean we have not had to turn on the A/C yet this year. A wool hat and gloves were handwashed. For a dinner, I made colcannon with our cabbage. I harvested mulberries, gathered eggs, and picked dandelion greens for the pups. Knowing we were going to have a cool night and following morning, I soaked garbanzo beans and pulled bags of veggie scraps from the freezer, and simmered them, and canned both the next day. Batches of bird suet and hummingbird food were made. I sewed a button on a shirt. Lambs quarter, peas, and the first blackberries were gathered. Peas were blanched and frozen. We attended a jazz concert in our little community, then met with friends at the local wine bar, which was a fun evening. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2023/06/late-spring-days.html

  23. Hello, everyone!

    Brandy, I was late reading last week’s blog post, and was sorry to hear that you have been having a difficult time! My husband was forced to take a job out of state a few years ago. It was very challenging, but staying busy with our kids made the time apart pass quickly, and thankfully, FaceTime really helped. Eventually my husband was able to find a job in our home city. I hope that will be the case in your situation as well!

    —After trying for YEARS to grow cucumbers (zone 6b), I’m finally having success! I tried 2 new varieties from Baker Creek: Jibai Shimoshirazu, and Beit Alpha. Both are very disease resistant and do well with high humidity. They are very prolific and taste great!

    —Some of my grocery clearance finds included: jumbo size bags of Nestle white chocolate chips for $1, and Edy’s ice cream half gallons for 50 cents each.

    —I did a Fetch survey for 500 points, and I keep playing their bonus game for extra points.

    —I earned $12 back on Upside for grocery and gas purchases.

    —I read the book, “Only the Beautiful,” by Susan Meissner…..loved it!

    —Took my daughter to a free orthodontic consultation, and it turns out that she does not need braces! Thrilled!

    —I recently pruned an orchid and it is already blooming again.

    Wishing everyone a wonderful week!

  24. This is for the last two weeks. I did not post last week but read everyone’s comments. Brandy, I hope and pray that you and your husband will find a way to work through these challenges in your life. My DH travelled a lot for work, even after he was out of the military.
    We went to the cemetery on Memorial Day, as we do each year. Each year, my DH thanks his grandparents for coming to the United States from Italy. He usually thanks his grandfather, but this year also thanked his grandmother, as she was left behind in Italy, and joined her husband two years later. Her sisters-in-law chose to stay in Italy and not come to the United States on their own.
    We finished planting the garden. Planted the cucumbers and zucchini in the row garden. Also planted green beans, a second planting of corn and Swiss chard, 5 additional tomato plants that we had, a second planting of snow peas, 4 eggplant that a friend gave to my DH, and lettuce.
    The weather was gorgeous most of the time. I washed 4 loads of laundry, and was able to hang half of it on the clothesline.
    Got 2 packages of blueberries. Ate some and froze some in one cup amounts. Made blueberry muffins, with huckleberry jam swirled in.
    Got shredded cheese, 2 pounds for $4.99. Got 2 bags.
    Went to my son and daughter-in-law’s house. The plan is for me to go twice a month to give them a break while I get to watch my granddaughter. This was the first time, so they hung around the house doing chores and other things they have not had time for.
    A friend helped my DH on a project on our outdoor water system. I made a batch of brownies as a thank you. Made a batch of herb bread. Just two loaves, since there are only two of us.
    One store must have had an overstock of medium cheddar and Monterey jack cheese. This was Tillamook brand. They had them for $4.99 for a 2-pound loaf. I got three.
    Made rhubarb crisp twice, a dozen hard-boiled eggs, white chicken chili with beans from the freezer, chicken broth using a Costco chicken carcass and lovage from the garden, a couple of wrinkled carrots and some of my dried onions.
    Made regular chili with beans and hamburger from the freezer.
    Hope everyone has a good week.

  25. Apricot Vanilla jam….mmm I haven’t made that in a while.

    I mended an underwire bra. I folded a small piece of felt over twice and hand stitched it over the hole. Works for me every time.

    Used greens from my garden to add to meals. Accepted extra vegetable plants.

    Trying to not have to remember gratitude over attitude so much, but giving myself a little extra patience this year.

    Downloading podcasts before getting in the car and using YouTube for free work outs. I am throughly enjoying FitbyKit.

    Hope everyone has a calm and productive week!

  26. My two giant dogs ripped my newish comforter 🤬 but I mended it. (Still mad at them over it)

    Used a 20% off at McDonald’s

    I came home one day with a $10 ham, and so did my husband, lol. Put them in the freezer.

    Sent off for $8.55 and $1.53 in Menards rebates

    My neighbor is amazing at growing things and she sent over a big bag if lettuce, kale, and spinach.

    Earned .85 on Ibotta

    Borrowed my neighbors mower again. Since my husband was at work when I mowed, they also came over and did the weed eating and some other trimming along the fence lines for me. Paid them in grilled chicken that night. 😋

    Ate breakfast and lunches at work

    Kept the air off as much as possible. It’s been chilly when I leave for work at 6am.

    Read my book club book for free on Kindle Unlimited

  27. I harvested peppers of all kinds, zucchini, squash, cilantro, basil and blackberries from our garden this week. Everything is coming in nicely except my cucumbers and nasturtiums. I may end of having to buy some seedlings for those 🙁 The first of so many flowers that I planted from seeds are starting to bloom…zinnias are the first on the scene but marigolds of all varieties, cosmos, coneflowers and sunflowers are not far behind. There are so many blooms on my peas and green beans right now I think it is safe to say that we will eating and freezing lots of fresh green veggies for the winter and I could not be more excited about it.
    We finally finished the fence for the second garden last week and I am loving the new space. The cost was minimal compared to what we would have had to pay if we had someone else build the fence and install it. The fence will serve us for years and provides protection to a space that will produce fruits and veggies that will add to our freezer and pantry.
    I made a trip to Sam’s and found chicken drumsticks for $0.98/lb, strawberries for $1.50/lb and several other bargains. I am continuing to cook from our freezer as much as I possibly can and the bottom is in sight! My brother in law gifted us with a huge sack of herbs from his garden and I have enjoyed fresh mint and a squeeze of lime in my water daily. A neighbor gifted us 18 eggs from his chickens and we have enjoyed those as well.
    I have been in a cleaning and organizing frenzy. This past weekend I cleaned my son’s bedroom from top to bottom clearing out clothing that no longer fits, toys that he no longer plays with and making a plan to rearrange his furniture. We will be painting soon and I wanted to complete this task so that the room is more suited to a growing boy and the things that interest him at this stage of life. I also gave the master bedroom a deep cleaning. Typically this kind of cleaning makes me want to buy cleaning products but I resisted the urge and used what we had on hand. I also stayed home all weekend so gas was saved as well.
    My son has Cub Scout camp this week and along with it the appetite of a horse. I baked homemade blueberry muffins, peanut butter cookies, and white chocolate chip cookies. I also did quite a bit of batch cooking preparing baby back ribs in the crockpot, mashed potatoes, green beans, homemade biscuits, Italian turkey sausage, and baked chicken. This will make for easy mealtimes during the week with the only need being a quick side, salad or fruit for a homemade meal in minutes.
    I plan to do a stock up grocery trip this weekend and am scanning the sale ads to ensure that I get the best prices that I can on the items that we need.
    Enjoy the week ahead everyone!

  28. I hired my gardener’s daughter to weed the scree bed on the boulevard. It was somewhat frugal as my gardener would charge $60 per hour to do it herself but her very knowledgeable daughter only charges $25 per hour. I have done all the planting of bedding out annuals myself. We are about to have an electrical storm so I hope we do not get hail, for my part, since I have got almost all the bedding-out plants in. I had weeded out the quack grass from my peony bed but there was still some to do. After the first weeding, my knees hurt so much I could barely walk. So I didn’t save money but saved myself by hiring the daughter. It looks beautiful and today the first of the 22 peony plants are in bloom and one of the few roses that survived this past winter. I took photos.

    I had two really pleasant experiences this week. First, I spoke to one of the contributors of the book. He lives out of town, in the front ranges of the Rockies. He said that he has read the book cover to cover twice. I had phoned to ask him if the wildflowers were in bloom early. Yes they are! I had a friend with whom I used to go but he had a stroke and can no longer drive. Other friends have cats or dogs or horses so I cannot go with them due to allergies. Anyway, this man said that he and his wife would like to do something special for me. He is going to drive all the way into the city, pick me up, take me to a favourite spot and then for a drive down the beautiful road in Kananaskis country. I will be able to see the high altitude alpine plants without hiking. I may not see the orchids beside my favourite trail as we decided it was foolhardy for me to hike it with my knees but we will go to a pond where there are lots of benches and picnic tables and where the ospreys fish from the pond.

    The sorting and decluttering continue outside when there’s little smoke. It is slow going. yesterday, I filled an entire blue bin for recycling but only made it halfway through a box. While I do that, I am also watering the trees and flowerbeds. Usually i don’t water until July but I have had to do so due to the very hot weather.

    I sat in the backyard for a while and watched the butterflies. At the moment, there are 4 Canadian Tiger Swallowtails, 2 White Admirals, 2 Red Admirals, 2 Fritillaries (orange). They chase each other to protect their territories. They are not landing, but finally one did land and I got a photo. Free entertainment.

    I have been rather cautious about being in the backyard because a moose has been seen on my neighbour’s yard.
    I will probably watch the NHL game tonight. Free entertainment although I really hate to see the greatly increased level of violence. And I really hate all the gambling ads for online gambling.

    I have been stocking up on toilet paper. It mysteriously always goes on sale during the summer. Soup is also on sale so I hope to stock up on it. When we go for our mountain drive, we will each take our own lunch – I will put a couple of sandwiches in the freezer, then take them out on the day of the picnic/drive. No Frills has juice boxes on sale so I’ll take a couple of those, some bottled water, an apple and perhaps some chips.

    The second nice thing that happened is I met my new neighbours who built a monster house. It turns out that the man is
    a person who rescued me one evening in a very neighbourly way. He had not forgotten and certainly neither have I. It is these “little” things that bring a smile in one’s heart, in the mind’s eye.

    1. What a treat your trip to Kananaskis will be! Well deserved, after too much time at home, I would say.

  29. I found a local grocery outlet and for $23 received 16 large hot dog rolls, a large loaf of raisin bread, 6 x tins diced tomatoes, 2kg capsicum, 4kg potatoes, 2 x 8 pack snacks for the children, 6 x microwaveable meals (420 grams each) and 2 x packs of sweet potato Cruskits (savoury crackers).

    We went to a joint birthday party and took two gifts for a total out of pocket expense of $5.75. We received afternoon tea and the children took home a gift bag with a toy, candy/lollies and chocolate. I put some of the food away for an upcoming holiday. The children had a water fight, using the toy in their gift bag.

    We continue to eat fish we caught locally, which I froze. I also made a lentil and vegetable stew as well as a penne, lentil and mince meat bolognaise.

  30. Hi Brandy,
    I continue to wish you grace and peace and easing of your burdens.
    I have been traveling recently and saving money when I can. Not sure if I posted about this already, but I took a cheap flight to Indianapolis ($78 round trip) for a First Communion—no luggage (only a personal item allowed) and very early departure going with a very late flight home. I used hotel points I had saved for 2 nights sharing the room with my daughters and one of my sisters. Breakfast was included. My nephew cooked for the celebration. We were very happy to eat party food the day after!
    I visited one of my sisters and her husband, after booking a flight round trip to Florida for $148. I stayed with them and got to swim every day. We cooked at home, went to produce stands, and ate out for two inexpensive lunches—Indian food and Mexican food.
    I visited my other sister and her husband, using airline miles for the flights. I stayed with them and, again, got to swim every day. I took a taxi from and to the airport, but otherwise traveled mostly by jitney (the bus) or walking. We grocery-shopped, cooked at home and also shared restaurant meals.
    I then had a baptism in Louisville to attend. The flights from NY were expensive so my sister and I bought flights to Columbus ($167 round trip) and my daughter who lives in Dublin, Ohio drove us, along with our niece, to Kentucky in daughter’s hybrid vehicle. The four of us shared a hotel room (breakfast included) reserved with all the hotel points I had left, pooled with my sister’s points. My nephew and his wife, who are the parents of the baby who was baptized, hosted a party for all of us. The sister I traveled with and I treated the group to pizza the night before the baptism and my other sister and her husband fixed all the other meals in their condo. They even sent us off with sandwiches to eat on our ride home. All in all, it’s been a wonderful season of family celebrations! I tried to do everything affordably and the only disappointment was that my husband worked and missed the adventures.
    While visiting my daughter in Dublin, Ohio, we went to the Discount Fashion Warehouses nearby and I bought 3 Chico summer tops for $6.99 each, a bathing suit top for $4.99, a Victoria’s Secret bra for $10, a Loft nightgown for $.50, and a White House Black Market belt for $4.00. I went with a list and I was thrilled to get most of what I wanted.
    I made rags from some sweatpants and pajamas that are too large for me now but not nice enough to donate.
    I haven’t gotten much in the way of grocery bargains. We finally got Flashfood at our local Stop & Shop but I only bought because there was a $10 off, then $6 off coupon. I haven’t seen good deals on the app yet.
    I will have spinach to pick soon so that will be nice.
    Wishing everyone a good week and good health!

  31. It’s been a great, frugal week in Houston!
    My oldest two boys are participating in a free Astros baseball camp. It’s a bit of a drive, but a great experience.
    I bought a wedding gift for my cousin’s wedding using an old Bed, Bath and Beyond giftcard before the store closed. I dressed the kids in their Easter outfits for the wedding, which was a lot of fun.
    We swam with some out-of-state family at their hotel pool. I made muffins and took fruit as snacks to share.
    I packed meals for myself and all the kids at our swim meets. The concession stand would be fun, but there’s nothing wrong with food from home. We’re there to swim, not buy junk food.
    At Goodwill, I found a uniform skirt for one daughter ($2), Lululemon leggings for my tween daughter ($10, but the full length style she likes), and four pieces of vintage RevereWare ($7 total) that I didn’t need but wanted.
    We checked out books and enjoyed the cold library AC on a hot afternoon.
    Joe V’s loss leaders were apples 8/$1, bell peppers 5/$1, oranges 4/$1. Their bananas are always 3#/$1, and their bolillo rolls are 8/$1.
    One son went to a birthday party and took a gift from the gift closet, likely a duplicate or unneeded gift, so nothing out of pocket. While he was there I took the other kids to the .99 Only store. They had a lot of lunch meat close to the sell-by date, so I asked the manager if he would mark it down. He sold it all to me for .50/each, so I need to freeze what I bought to make it last longer. It’s various types of Oscar Mayer lunch meat. The kids are embarrassed when I do this, but that doesn’t bother me one bit. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.
    I learned how to braid one daughter’s hair a different way from a youtube video.
    I offered to water plants for a neighbor while she’s out of town.
    I sold an item on Mercari. FB Marketplace has been really slow.
    I was accepted to be a secret shopper at a new pizza place. The kids will enjoy that.
    I was too tired and exhausted to cook one night, so we just made quesadillas. For some reason this is easier for me than grilled cheese.
    I’m trying to focus on a huge, huge savings goal of buying some acreage. It’s a long way off, but each dollar I make or save is one dollar closer to my goal!
    Have a great week, everyone.

  32. Now that the garden is all planted I have been working on my kids room since they both moved out earlier this year. I garbage picked a dresser. It was in great shape and it just needed knobs. We had some so it cost us nothing. That went into my daughter’s old room. That is going to be the guest room. We have a full size bed in their already. Hubby is taking over my son’s old room. He brought his drums up from the basement and is making it into a music room. He can have friends over now for a jam session.
    The swiss chard and lettuces are in full swing. I chopped and froze a gallon size bag of swiss chard. I made a frittata with some. I made beans and greens with a huge bunch. Hubby loves it. I made a pasta dish with chicken, swiss chard, garlic, onions and sundried tomatoes(from last years garden). I have been having a salad for lunch almost everyday with homemade dressings. I dried a pint of cilantro. We had home made pizzas with fresh basil. I also made the sauce and froze several containers for future meals.
    My boss brought a dozen donuts into work. There were only 2 of us so at the end of the day she told us to bring them home. So we shared them. I have been bringing lunch with me everyday. My boss treated to McD’s one day. I got a large fry. I don’t really like it so I was happy to have the fries with my egg salad.
    We got some rain. 2 glorious hours of a hard rain. The garden is very happy. We are still picking strawberries. They are slowing down.
    I had to hang the wash inside because of the smoke from the wildfires. We kept the house closed up and were able to get by with just fans.

  33. 1. I am working full time for 6 weeks this summer. We will appreciate the income (daughter getting married in Sept), but it’s a real stretch for me with my health problems. I’m trying to focus on the good that it is for us, and for those I am serving.
    2. Enjoying the calendulas that have freely reseeded around my garden.
    3. We don’t have AC, so this is our ‘cheap season’ for gas/electric-$55 combined. We still conserve as much as we can. The weather has been cooler, which is lovely.
    4. Received 6 free bagels from a neighbor, an apple free at work, and kale, lettuce, raspberries and strawberries from our garden. 5. Attended family day at the winery where my daughter works. We had a lovely meal, received 3 free insulated water bottles, and 3 free hats (I will gift 2). and best of all had a relaxing few hours with my husband and daughter in a beautiful setting.

  34. I needed some new scrubs. I try to thrift scrubs as much as I can, but I find that they are hard to find second hand. I had been buying scrub pants at Walmart, but I’m not super impressed with the quality. I ended up ordering two pair of these from Amazon: https://amzn.to/3oVSOdZ

    I’m really liking them! They are more breathable than my others, which is nice for summer. And the elastic seems to be good quality. For less than $20, I was happy!

    I had to buy some cleaning supplies, so I spent a bit more this last grocery trip. I found a generic furniture polish that seems to work well. It’s about a $1.50 cheaper for the same size.

    The deck is almost finished. I’m so excited to be able to relax out there.

    I checked out a book from the library.

    The weather has been cooler here the last couple days. It had been getting pretty warm and I thought I’d need the AC soon. But we’ve been able to open windows and night to cool down the house quite a bit.

    I think that’s about it for the week.

  35. Apricot vanilla jam sounds wonderful. I have an oatmeal fruit crispy squares recipe that I would love to try that in. I’ll keep an eye out for apricots in the store, though we won’t see them for a while yet.

    I used $15.75 in loyalty points to buy cat food at a Canadian Tire store in the next town over. (It is not really a tire store anymore.) This is one of the cat’s favorite brands of cat food, and it settles well in her sensitive stomach, but I haven’t been able to buy it in my town in a year and a half.

    I am trying to sort out a frugal fail. I had got a good deal on a mobile phone plan, just $10 a month, but had decided to buy my own smartphone. The phone came, but it was locked rather than the unlocked one I had ordered. I am now trying to return it, but Amazon wants me to print out the labels and paperwork, which is turning out to be an extended problem, partly because I don’t have a printer at home. So, I am currently out the money for the phone, but don’t have a working mobile phone. It will probably be July before it is completely sorted.

    I am trying new frugal recipes using pantry ingredients. I’ve been adding cooked penne to spicy canned chili. This will be an ongoing favorite in the quick meals category. I have very little wheat flour left, but plenty of oatmeal and some corn flour, so I’ve able to work around this. I don’t have many servings of meat left to have before my next pension comes in, but I am enjoying quite a few vegetarian meals. I bought lentils and eggs, as well as the canned chili, so there are still a lot of protein servings. I’ve been checking Julie Pacheco’s YouTube channel for easy, frugal and tasty recipes. She is very upbeat, which I need at the moment, and has lots of ideas for doing things a little differently, and not too many ingredients. She uses store-bought ingredients rather than having her own garden, so this suits my situation. Ingredients are much more expensive here than what she can buy them for at Walmart in the US, but there are a lot of ideas that I can use. She does use a lot of canned vegetables, when frozen are better value and nutrition, but a lot of the ideas she has are really useful for me.

      1. The link that would allow me to forward the labels and return permission kept forwarding it to me instead of the library email, though it was set up to send to the library. I can’t print it myself when I’m up at the library because the email has a double ID system, and needs to contact me by phone when I access it at a computer that isn’t my own. When the librarian and I figured out how to bypass that, she printed it off for me, but missed an item. She did it later and then dropped the labels, etc off at my house on her way home. Then I found that there was additional printing that needed to be done from the covering email, so another trip to the library, or from her to me is needed. I don’t have a car, so every trip to the library costs $14 for the seniors’ bus, or $20 for a taxi. I’m out of cash for the taxi, and the seniors’ bus bill for the month is adding up. I will probably ask the grocery store just down the road to print the last bit off for me. It has been raining or really smoky from forest fires, so I haven’t walked down there to do that yet. The simplest things can go on and on!!!

  36. That photo of the blue & white vase with the pink flowers is just gorgeous! I would love to be able to redecorate my whole apt. in those colours! Still sending you lots of prayers and good thoughts at this time of change.

    Bit of a dramatic week as a BIL had a massive heart attack and has been in ICU ever since. He is making slow progress – they think that he has a bacterial infection of the lungs that caused the heart attack. My sister and niece both know CPR and saved his life. I am so glad that my work requires that we are all certified and pays for the classes as needed as you never know.

    On Saturday a few of us attended the funeral of a colleagues mom – another went to the Celebration of life for the office manager’s dad and another helped officiate at yet another funeral = all on the same day! Everything comes in threes!

    Still kept grocery purchases to a minimum this past week – bought asparagus and then was gifted a home grown bunch so I have been eating it all week! Ate more salads, had breakfast for supper one night and settled for cheese on toast another. Caterers for a film company who are renting space at the church had lots of extras one day and invited us to help ourselves so had a lovely cooked meal and settled for cheese and toast with a cup of tea for supper. Made more egg bites, cooked up a bunch of veggies that lasted 4 days as a side and settled for berries and yogurt another night. I’m out a lot the next few days so probably won’t do another batch cook until the weekend. I made up some dried milk, took butter out the freezer from my stash and defrosted frozen blueberries – so lucky to have things on hand.

    Had my sixth Covid vaccination last and next week I’ll get my first Shingles shot – it’s free so need to get it done. I’ve had chicken pox so I know I’m at risk. My stepmom and some friends have had Shingles and it is not fun!

    I’ve continued with decluttering and have a few sweaters put aside to donate but hope to find a few more items to get rid of from my Winter wardrobe. I won a lovely scented candle in a beautiful holder last week but I don’t like scented items so it will go into the gift cupboard. Read a fun library book this week – “The Three Dahlias” and I think someone recommended it on this site so thank you. I had decided to cancel Britbox and Acorn for the Summer but when I went to do this I was offered them both at half price plus PBS at less than half price for the next few months. On the other hand my cable provider has increased their price again – I’m just gearing up to make that phone call – it’s usually close to an hour’s worth of work to get through to the correct person and to get them to reduce it once again. I only want the very basic as I find streaming a lot more cost effective now.

    The weather here is so strange – nice and sunny one week with high temps and down to low 20C this week with lots of rain – down to 12C tonight! Wish I could send some of the rain your way Brandy.

    1. Margie – Sending prayers for your BIL’s health to return. So thankful his family had the skills to save his life. That’s wonderful!

    2. I’d run to get a shingles vaccination if it were free here in Alberta. I got a prescription for it, but it was $250, and that was few years ago. My mother had it, and it is something I would definitely like to avoid!

      Asparagus is my favorite vegetable. Something to put on my shopping list for the end of the month. I am still enjoying spaghetti squash gifted by a friend, and she says there’s plenty more when I finish what I have!

  37. Such beauty in all your pictures!

    So, we had a terrible thunderstorm a few days ago. The strangest thing happened. It blew through my garden and took out my corn. Nothing else was touched. Looked like a giant just walked through it. Broke my heart! Went to the seed store to replace the kernels(for next year) and they cost 22.95 per pound! Might have to rethink corn! Something is eating my okra plants. Have replanted 3 times. Nothing eats okra plants! My blackberries bushes are doing well, but the birds have eaten all the berries. Next year I will use netting. My Herb planters are overflowing. Love fresh herbs!

    Late freeze destroyed my 20 year old Butterfly Bushes. Today I dug up the stumps and replanted new ones. I use them near my Hummingbird/Bird feeders. The birds and butterflies love them!

    Bought some Geraniums to go in tall planters for my front porch. I have two Mega ferns, but I needed some color. Worked out well.

    Bought a beef roast on sale that was 2.00 per pound cheaper than stew beef. Cut it up and it made two packages. Cooked one today and made a large pot of beef stew. Used up several potatoes that were older. It should feed us for a couple of days. Am freezing lemons peels. We usually use half a lemon daily, so I thought I would freeze the peel for zest and for candied lemon peel when I get enough.

    My husband’s company is switching insurance carriers. Our new insurance will cost twice what we were paying and give us less coverage. The employees are about ready to mutiny! The head of the company has called a company wide meeting for Thursday. Say a prayer. Not sure how anyone can pay those premiums!!

    Am reading, “This Tender Land” by William Kent Krueger. Also, am reading, “Un-Off-End-Able”. This book might well change my life. It is by Brant Hansen.

    Take care, Miz Brandy. You are in my prayers. Onward, y’all, by all means!

  38. Hi Brandy and everyone
    It’s so nice that you are having cooler weather and can save on your aircon. It must make gardening a bit more bearable too. Chocolate is such a good trade! I’m sure your neighbours loved the fruit.
    We picked strawberries, peas, broad beans, lettuce, spring onions and lots of flowers this week. We have given away lettuce, spring onions and lots of bunches of Sweet William to family and friends.
    A friend gave me some magazines and a Streptocarpus plant she has grown from a cutting.
    Our dishwasher is on the blink and the upside is we’re saving electricity. If the washing up isn’t too greasy etc I’m putting the water on the garden.
    I redeemed a coupon for a free bakery item and £2 off the grocery shop.
    Our flower arrangers group held a free workshop which included tea and cake too. The teacher was really good and I learnt so much while having a lovely social afternoon.
    The weather here is hot( UK hot not Nevada hot) so gardening has to be done early morning or evening. I am able to do some handsewing inside in the cool and we’ve enjoyed wonderful swims in the sea. June!
    Stay safe everyone.

  39. This year has been so dry. We have only had 5 mm (o,2 inches) of rain in the last 10 weeks, and no rain at all for the last 8 weeks or so, just sun, sun, sun. It is very unusual and worrying. The farmers expect a bad crop and there is no sign of significant rain in the weather forecast. We also had a serious drought in 2018, where most of Europe was very hot and dry, and last year it was very bad in southern Europe, so bad that some villages in France had no water left at all. I water the vegetable plot, the pots and some of the important or newly planted fruit trees. We have drip irrigation in the vegetable garden, and I use a lot of mulch to conserve water – I also cover the drip irrigation pipes with mulch to lower evaporation. My experience is that the mulch about halves the amount of water I use.
    Like you Brandy, we save all water from rinsing and steaming vegetables, warming up/cooling down water from the kitchen sink and shower and use it to water trees and bushes that will not survive this if they don’t get watered. I’m very glad you inspired me to do this, and it a surprisingly large amount of water!
    We have made a competition to use the least amount of water for showering, and so far my son is ahead! He was down to about 9 liters, which is about a 1 minute shower. Some of this water even ended up in the bucket to take into the garden. It’s a balance though, as he is very keen to win the competition, but also needs to get clean 🙂 I don’t have a chance, as I have long hair, and it takes more water to rinse the soap out than it does for my husband and son.
    I don’t flush the toilet every time, and of course we make sure to fill up the washing machine and dish washer.
    We harvested asparagus, snow peas, lettuce, asian greens, kale flower buds, lovage, perennial fennel, arugula, garlic flowerstems, radishes and the first new potatoes. From the first of June and until the end of October, we will make all of our own vegetables except for carrots and onions, that we still buy. Such a lovely time of year!
    I biked to all appointments.
    We are eating meatless dinners about 5 times a week. My son has asked to cook dinner for the three of us once a week of his accord- he’s 11. Of course we said yes, and he does everything himself, but I still have to stay close and give advice often during the process! I don’t know how long it will last, but he will surely learn something and cooking is a lovely frugal habit, that he can enjoy for many years to come! Last time he cooked, he exclaimed: Oh mother, it is so stressfull to cook, so many things to handle at once, I am glad you do it most evenings. I was smiling inside 🙂
    Bought a pair of second hand shorts for my son. We plan on buying him sandals using credit from a returned gift.
    Best wishes to you Brandy, and to all your readers.

  40. I’m still working on staying away from the grocery store. So far I’ve spent $104 ($83 of it was the strawberries we picked on 6/1) of the $200 I plan to spend this month.

    I ordered a couple of books for my dad for father’s day used online. He doesn’t mind receiving used books and it saves about 80%. I’ll pair them with a tin sign from the Dollar Tree.

    I accepted clothes and shoes for a couple of the kids from my pastor’s wife.

    I harvested peas, lettuce, spinach, and radishes from the garden. After almost a month of no rain, it rained most of the day yesterday. I’m so thankful! I reseeded (again) in spots where things didn’t come up. I really want to utilize every inch possible of garden space. I had planted a bunch of beans which were supposed to be bush beans, but they’re not! They’re pole beans! I stuck in several random stakes but I’m still not sure how well they’re going to do considering the way they were planted. Several other people on Instagram said that the same thing has happened to them. I wonder why.

    1. I accidentally planted pole beans last year and couldn’t figure out why they were so, well, WILD. I didn’t realize what I’d done until I went to plant the rest of the seeds this year! Needless to say, I bought new seeds!

  41. We have only 1 Flash Food location where I live, and yesterday, they placed a lot of chicken and pork on the app. This does not happen often, so I bought a lot. I bought 50lb of meat for $78, which was $1.57 a pound. I spent the evening repackaging things into meal-sized portions for me and DH. I came up with 35 meals of meat, and many of those meals also make a lunch for me the next day. My deep freeze is fully stocked. I also get a beef pack each month (I buy a quarter side of beef and get it in packages monthly so I don’t have to store it all.), so my new challenge is to buy no meat (except lunchmeat) until after my birthday, which is in late December. This will help my grocery bill.

    DH and I have been discussing some short-, mid- and long-term financial goals, as DD has graduated college and will be coming off our payroll sooner rather than later. He ahs aging, divorced parents, so two plans need to put in place there, and then there are some fun and necessary goals we want to achieve. I want to be out of debt by the time we are 60 (2030), and so we have to keep that long-term goal in mind as well.

  42. Hello Brandy and fellow fugalistas,
    Brandy, I’m so thankful that the wonderful community you curate is lifting you and your family in prayer. I hope you are in better spirits.
    **This past weekend, we had thunder storms with high winds and hail. I’m thankful for the much needed rain. I was able to cover my petunias, and tomatoes plant so they didn’t suffer hail damage.
    ** This week’s frugal included: Making my own bread utilizing a garage sale purchased bread machine to make the dough. I don’t like the shape of the bread or the hole in it, when I cook it to completion in the machine, so I bake it in the oven. Yay for bread that doesn’t cost $6!
    ** Made sultana (raisin) poppy seed orange zest flavored scones from pantry ingredients. Enjoyed some at home. Shared some with the dentist as she is gracious in accepting payments for an expensive root canal.
    **Stayed home two days and tried to bundle my errands to save gas and car mileage.
    **”Shopped” my gift closet for birthday presents for my cousin.
    **Covered my blueberry bush with netting so I don’t have to share quite as many berries with the birds. This is the first year I will harvest enough to produce a pie. I’m so excited! I’m thankful to “past me” for purchasing the netting when I saw it in the oddlot store for $2!
    **Made fresh pesto with basil from my containers garden. Used walnuts instead of costly pine nuts. It provided me with two pasta dinners.
    ** Skipped all, but one digital download coupon (grapes) as I didn’t need what they were offering. The grapes will be part of our fresh fruit for the week.
    ***Stay thrifty, my friends. 🙂

  43. Brandy, your pictures are beautiful as always. Continued prayers for you and your family. We have had some rain twice already and they are giving rain for tonight. We are having cooler temperatures as well so we have not watered the garden all week so far. We have harvested squash, cucumbers, and peppers out of the garden. We have baby green beans. We had a meeting and lunch at work yesterday. I took leftovers home for dinner last night. I have made zucchini bread twice, my husband loves it. We had some family over Sunday evening and grilled out steaks we have been collecting on sale. We grilled some chicken extra to have for lunches. I am still working over at work. Every little bit helps and bringing my lunch to save a little bit more. I have been reading library books and walking in the evening to release some of my stress. My husband walked with me one evening. I see all kinds of wildlife on my walks, bunnies, turtles, birds, deer and turkeys.

  44. Help everyone!
    Our weather is still quite overcast and cold. It seems crazy that we need to warm the house in the morning still!! Our garden is coming along more slowly this summer because of this. I’ve been able to harvest only a few palmfuls of berries, but better than nothing! We have quite a few carrots, from which I made a lovely Carottes Râpées. Yum!! I have a giant cabbage left (variety is January King) and I am making a stuffed cabbage for dinner tonight. I don’t usually keep beef broth in my pantry as it’s rarely used. I used bullion instead. My chard is bolting and flowering. I’ll try to collect seeds.

    My son is home from college for the summer and I definitely notice an uptick in consumed food! 😆 I feel like I’m constantly cooking and baking, and trying not to waste. Sandwich bread, cornbread, cookies, coffee cake, muffins, etc. We’re trying to eat from our freezer too. The price of 18 eggs is now about $2.50 which is much better than the high of $7!!

    Both teens have summer jobs. They’re saving for college tuition expenses. One takes lunch to work and the other eats for free during break.

    I made 2 more fabric shopping totes using leftover cotton material. They’re not the most beautiful, but the cashiers always comment how sturdy they are. The bags hold much more than a plastic or paper bag and they’re washable.

    I joined my local buy nothing group recently but haven’t offered or asked for anything yet.

    Brandy, your figs are gorgeous! I bought a fig tree 2 years ago. No fruit yet. How many years does it take?

    Wishing you all well! I hope those of you with smoky air will find relief soon! We’ve been through that several times and it’s no fun. 💨

    1. It should start fruiting in the third year. make sure to cut off lower branches now to encourage it to keep growing upwards this summer.

  45. We traveled to Utah to meet our new grandson. Not inexpensive at all, but totally worth it! It was only three days, but just lovely. We stayed with another daughter nearby, which saved a lot of money (and was so fun) and were able to use loyalty to points to be able to rent a vehicle for just $18. * I’m working on getting some patriotic decor up. I made some fabric swag banners a few years ago, so hung those and tied some red, white and blue ribbon around a white vase I have then put some American flags in it. Decorating a little for each holiday perks up my spirits. * Finished another set of embroidered pillow cases for Christmas. * Reading library books and listening to an audio book on libby while I embroider. * Menu planning, grocery pick up and cooking from home. It’s the simple things that add up. Hope everyone has a nice week.

  46. -$50 pair of pillowcases from Macy’s for only $1 at big city thrift store
    -$75 remote control car for only $9 at local Target/Amazon liquidation store
    -$32 Lego for only $4 at same store -brought snacks and drinks with me to big city pet sitting trip
    -filled gas tank to the brim before I left home because gas is 40-50cents more in city
    -using Hallmark coupons and rewards while I’m near a HM store in big city.
    -Watching all sorts of streaming services that my pet owners have and I don’t. I love documentaries and Shiny Happy People was fascinating.
    -contacted corporate customer service about 2 snack food products that were less than perfect. The contact with Nabisco was totally via text. First time I’ve experienced that. The companies are sending coupons for replacement products.
    -Receiving a $15 gift card for answering a few follow-up questions about a seminar I recently attended.

  47. Hello, frugal friends, from the mountains of Virginia! It has been cooler than usual for this time of year which has helped my greens and peas produce lots, but the tomatoes and peppers are slow going. I have planted zucchini 3 times already with nothing coming up. Something is eating my sweet potatoes. They were free to me but I was hoping to have some this season. I am frustrated over the zucchini. I tried looking for starts at the local stores but no one had any left. Oh, well, maybe the farmers’ market will have some in a month or so.
    On the frugal front:
    *at the grocery store found whole wheat bread marked down to .50/ loaf, 4 count/box yogurt pouches .99, and crescent roll dough .50. I bought 3 yogurt boxes and shared with my adult children and bought 4 tubes of crescent roll dough.
    *We have not needed heating or ac so that is a huge savings.
    *rain watered my gardens
    *I am making a skirt and a throw sized quilt using fabrics from my stash.
    *used .10/gallon discount for gas
    *cleaned and organized my kitchen cupboards.
    *read frugal blogs including Brandy’s and the Bluebirds to remind me of things I can be doing to save money.
    We are leaving for LA (Lower Alabama) tomorrow. We have packed lunch ready to go as well as waters and snacks. We are using our military discount on hotels which will also give us points for future trip in September. Our hotels include breakfast.
    I wish everyone a safe, healthy, frugal, blessed week.

    1. Marley,
      ” LA (Lower Alabama)” haven’t heard that in while. A true blast from the past. Thanks for starting my morning with a laugh.

    2. Marley, we have had the cooler weather here in piedmont N.C. as well. We haven’t had to turn on the AC yet either! Our lettuce and kale have liked this weather but the summer crops are coming along slowly! It has made for beautiful weather to garden in and walk in!

  48. I was able to receive more strawberries and lettuce from my garden. My potatoes are sprouting. I watched a few videos on YouTube about using cardboard boxes with potatoes. Fold the flaps down from the top and bottom and place it over potatoes plant. As the plant grows on top – it can be filled with mulch/grass/dirt/etc. I like this idea because it’s easier to contain the matter that I put on top of the plant to protect the growing potatoes. I will use grass and dirt mixed together. The cardboard boxes will break down and add nutrients to the soil. I removed all tape and stickers from the boxes. I’m excited to try it and see if I have a better yield that my attempt in buckets from last year. I sowed the potatoes directly into the soil. The potatoes are the 12 potatoes of our harvest last year. I saved them all year.

    I’m not having luck with the green beans growing. I sowed seeds directly as per recommended by our local extension office. I’ve only had 4 plants come up. I’ll keep trying to sow more seeds. Everything else is growing quite well. Even my 2 peanut plants are perky and happy.

    I was able to stumble upon a 1/2 price garden plant sale. I bought zinnias, double blooming petunias and a delphinium for my flower beds. Also a few other perennials. I got 30 plants for $44. I love my flowers. I’ve fertilized everything. I will use sticks from around our yard to “stake” the zinnias. I also have gladiaolas that keep coming back every year – which is not usual with our winters where I’m live. I divided my iris’ and shared with an acquaintance.

    We entertained our cute 2 year old granddaughter again with activities at home. Coloring, playing in the water/kiddie pool, jumping on the tramp with her aunt, snacks from home, the usual toys that I’ve accumulated from our buy nothing group.

    From the Buy Nothing Group I was able to get a HUGE distressed white framed clock and a cute Minnie Mouse rolling bag. I think I will fill the small rolling bag with other free things I get throughout the year and give it to my granddaughter at Christmas.

    I shopped only the true sales at the store this past week. I picked discount meat of lemon chicken, hamburger patties, stew meat, steaks, precooked whole chicken (that I will use for other meals). I found Colby Jack cheese on clearance for $1.22 and I bought the 2 that were left. I froze the rest of a chicken and rice casserole that I can pull out when I don’t feel good. I got 2 cottage cheese containers filled with the leftovers.

    My doctor wanted me to try a new medicine that we discovered needed to be preauthorized by my insurance. Without it the cost would be $1700. It took some finagling but we got it preauthorized and I only paid $15. The other medication he recommended for me cost 45c. I haven’t had success with all the meds I’ve tried and this one actually seems to finally be working to help me. I’m so thankful for the $15 price tag.

    Continue to get free car washes at my daughters work. Takes just a few minutes to vacuum/dust my car. I like my clean car – it lifts my spirits. I don’t keep a garbage bag in my car so that I can encourage myself to take all my garbage each time I drive. My daughter did give me a free car scent – Watermelon! I love it.

    Exercise has been working outside gardening, taking my granddaughter for walks, cleaning, and Walk At Home with Leslie Sansone. Or sometimes just a lovely anxiety attack 🙂 Kind of kidding. I still love to do Marlene’s gardening – one bucket of weeds at a time. Or one bucket of trimming/organizing at a time. We scored a free plastic 2 step stepstool. I had been looking at buying a gardening chair, but discovered the stepstool is perfect for me to sit on the top step and still lean over to plant and weed. It’s easier for me to get up again with my crazy knees. I love free/already have stuff!

    Reading daily – I finished the last two Laura Childs books that are the Tea Shoppe Mysteries. I also read The Advocate’s Nightmare by Theresa Burell. I have that entire series and enjoyed it. Reading daily helps me focus and concentrate. I’ve discovered that I do better if I read 30-40 minutes than in bits and snatches. I do take my books to any appointments to read as well.

    I have been opening the windows everyday with our much cooler temps. Today is the first day in over a week I haven’t turned on the A/C. I’m able to leave the windows open over night and then turn on the fans during the day and it’s perfectly wonderful. We’ve eaten several meals on back patio. I like to take a book out to read during the day as well. My beautiful shade trees and blooming flowers are so peaceful and lovely.

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  49. Those figs are the most beautiful color. I love still-life paintings or photos that showcase the beauty in all plants. Thank you for always sharing them with us.
    *I could not bring myself to write about this last week as I was so heartbroken, the words just couldn’t come. We lost Zoe, our sweet dog of 14 years. I know many of you have lost beloved family members like this so I know you all understand. No matter how many times you go through it or how many animals you still have, it never gets easier. One of the more touching moments in all this is the way my neighbors rallied around us – we had food dropped off, lots of hugs and words of encouragement and one neighbor with a track hoe helped us bury her (she was a big dog.) I am so grateful to live in a community where people and animals live close together and loss and grief is shared. She is in a lovely spot under a cherry tree across a bridge my husband built at an opening to one of our woodland trails. My boys and I foraged some ferns in our woods and planted them at her grave next to the large stone my neighbor placed there as a marker. My youngest son has a knack for finding heart-shaped stones in creeks so we have a collection of them. We put the largest one on her stone marker. I guess the frugal part of this is that no money has been spent to mark her importance in our lives but things were done which were meaningful and very “us.” I continue to take my morning tea outside with her as I have done for years but it is just different now.
    *The “circle of life” part I have to share is that we adopted a 2 month old puppy 2 days ago. We have always had rescued animals and feel that opening our home and hearts to a new friend in need of a home is one of the best ways to honor the memory of those that have passed. My husband named her Pippi (as in Longstocking – one of my favorite book series of all time. He’s a good man! 🙂 ) and she is healing our hearts with her silly and sweet ways. Our boys were younger than all the dogs we had during their lives thus far and we want to give them the experience of training a puppy – a wonderful lifetime skill that my husband and I learned very early and have done time and time again. The frugal aspect of adoption I have mentioned before. Our county’s Humane Society (the one we work with on fostering kittens and mama cats) is a bargain. For less than the average cost of just one visit to a vet, each animal gets all the medical testing and vaccines it needs, worming, a microchip, and spay/neuter surgery when old enough. You can’t beat that. Her adoption also came with a voucher for a free exam at our vet and another for supplies from a local pet store that amounted to about $90 worth of food, treats and supplements. I think this is just one example of something that is good for the heart being good for the wallet, as well.
    *We finally got our truck back from the collision center. Some of you may remember that my husband and oldest son hit a deer back in November. Our truck has been at the shop ever since due to a worldwide shortage of the shifter cable needed for its repair. We tried everything we could think of to find one but nothing happened until the collision center found a used one out of the blue a couple of weeks ago. It worked and we got our truck back. Being a one vehicle family is not difficult for us since we homeschool and my husband works from home but living on a farm without a truck can be challenging. We made do with using our trailer attached to our Highlander and borrowed a truck from a friend for a while so it all worked out. Our insurance company paid us immediately for the repairs so that money has been sitting waiting and the bright side of waiting so long means we had a long time to be ready to pay our $500 deductible. During the wait, we had several people in the industry suggest that we trade in the truck and get a new one making the repair “the dealer’s problem.” That didn’t seem right to us on many levels, the least of which being that the truck is in great shape and will last us forever once fixed. We would lose money in the long run that way. So, as has been true so many times in our lives, patience paid off.
    *We had some needed repairs done om my husband’s uncle’s truck that we inherited. Now, we just have to decide if we will sell it or not. We don’t really need 2 trucks but this one is a diesel and much bigger than our other truck so may be useful for certain farm jobs and costs us very little to own as long as it doesn’t need many repairs. My husband can do almost anything but he is not a diesel mechanic – that is a real specialty skill set. We shall see…
    *Due to these repairs and looking ahead to gas expenses for our family reunion at the beach next month, we are keeping expenses to a bare minimum. So, no grocery shopping (which is easiest to do this time of year with the garden.)
    *My youngest son got a gift card to a movie theater for his birthday so we have gone to the movies twice this month – more than we have gone in their entire lives. We made sure to sign up for their rewards program and go on the value day where tickets are $5. His gift card will last a long time, that way. Free fun is good!
    *Gratefully accepted 3 boxes full of dry and canned goods from a neighbor who receives them from the senior center. He gives us all the things he cannot eat or does not care for. I used to worry about this when he first started giving it to us but he assured me he gets so much food he would weigh 500lbs if he ate it all. I am glad he has more than enough and glad he is generous and shares with us and other neighbors. We give him eggs in return and everyone is happy.
    *My parents offered to buy my husband a chair for our sitting room for Christmas. He has back issues and is only comfortable in certain chairs for any length of time. So, we have been looking for a recliner that we can stand the looks of and he finds comfortable. We have been looking since Christmas and it seemed we were looking for a unicorn. As usual, we checked the used market regularly but none were in good shape or would fit our space and many new ones are prohibitively expensive. We finally came across one on Wayfair that was on sale and really pretty (did not look like something that would launch you into space 🙂 ) My MIL thought we were crazy buying a chair online that we couldn’t sit in first. But, we are thrilled. It’s well-made, beautiful and my husband can now sit through a whole movie with us without getting up a dozen times or being uncomfortable. So grateful for this practical and thoughtful gift.
    *We have continued to do yard work for our neighbor with health issues. She gave me a catmint plant and some more comfrey which I had wanted for another garden area. She has been able to do a bit more as she feels able so, in addition to helping her, we are getting to spend some time together. Just another way helping others feels good. 🙂
    *We got 5 chicks from the local feed store. We have one hen who is broody and had been sitting on eggs. We were hoping she would hatch them out but, when we candled them, saw that they were not fertilized. We tried putting the chicks under her but she was not interested and just went back to sitting on those eggs. It was worth a try but they are in my oldest son’s room now until they are old enough to go outside. We will be glad to have 5 more hens to entertain us and share their eggs in the future. Chicks are harder to come by than usual this year due to Avian flu and the prices reflect that (about twice what they cost a couple of years ago) but it still is worthwhile to have this delicious source of organic protein and all the entertainment that chickens provide. You just can’t be sad around a chicken – they are too funny. 🙂
    *So grateful, as always, for this kind space where encouragement, inspiration and compassion is in abundance. Thanks to all of you for your contributions and for Brandy’s tireless efforts to keep it going. Have a good week, all!

    1. Hi Dawn. Condolences on the loss of your wonderful old dog, and congratulations on your new puppy! I had to laugh at your adventures to find the best recliner for your husband, as I’ve recently dealt with the same issue. My husband has multiple progressive neurological issues, and has lost most mobility, so he couldn’t get out of his recliner by himself. So, his hospice nurse suggested we try a power lift chair. He can get out of it a little better, but it really does look like it could launch him into space! (As you said.) It’s the ugliest thing in our house, and he can’t learn the remote control. So I have to “release” him from it (work the controls), and then he can stand up independently. He is precious to me, and I love helping him however I can, but that chair is U-G-L-Y. Haha. I’m glad you found a pretty chair for your hubby, and that he’s more comfortable.

    2. Dawn, I am sorry about your dog. We have had 5 dogs (sometimes two at once), each lived to be 14-15 years old, and the current pup is 6. I know how you are feeling. I still miss every dog we’ve ever had and I think about them a lot. The other night I was thinking about Molly and Lulu and I even got a little weepy. They become such members of the family and their love is unconditional. ((( Dawn ))).

  50. Using water resources carefully has always been sort of in the back of my mind, but after reading here, I finally spent the time to translate my water utility bill into something I could understand. It is a single digit number that may vary each month, and I found in the small print that the measurement is in 100 cubic feet. I found an online calculator to make that into gallons and am glad to see that even with watering my potted flowers in the last month, we are in the range of average users.
    Not that we can’t attempt to do better, of course. I am in the currently very dry midwest and do not like it! though the temperatures have been cooler than usual and we haven’t had to run the AC.

  51. We enjoyed a lovely weekend away at DH’s granddaughter’s graduation in Kalamazoo. It was a beautiful drive there and back (from South Bend, IN), and a wonderful visit with his family. We saved money because the graduate and her mom planned all the meals ahead of time and brought many of the ingredients from their homes. We enjoyed preparing meals in the Airbnb where we stayed. Two evenings we were able to eat dinner outside in the backyard. I searched online for egg casserole recipes, with ingredients I already had, and that was my contribution. I had never made one before, but it was a hit and all got eaten. We came home with lots of watermelon, way more than we 2 could eat, so I gave some to my sister when she dropped off a bag of strawberries she got from a u-pick farm nearby. The strawberries were delicious and inspired me to make strawberry shortcake–another first for me–and so yummy with homemade whipped cream!
    The graduate and her boyfriend are planning to travel to Scandinavia this summer, so tomorrow they will visit for lunch and leave her car with us.
    This trip was also my first vacation in several months away from the congregation I serve. I was grateful to have a break and that the congregation liked the supply pastor (her first time at our church). We will be away much longer in September to attend my niece’s wedding in Jackson Hole, WY, so I plan to ask the same pastor to supply then too. This long trip will be our main vacation this year. I was able to find coupons for two pre-wedding activities (rodeo and Snake River float trip), so that reduced our cost for those fun events. We have reserved an Airbnb for that trip too, to share with my son and fiancee, and my daughter, at a great savings from paying for hotel rooms for all of us.
    I am a regular reader and have learned so much from Brandy and all of you in this wonderful community. Thank you, and best wishes for a frugal and peaceful week.

  52. Brandy, praying for you as you learn a new normal for your family.
    * I found some pepper plants marked down to $1 from $5, can you believe they are that expensive! Got the last three, and also bought some yarrow plants, impatiens and pansies for .50, and they look like they will make it! I have been weeding, planting and watering in the cool of the day and it is just lovely. I have picked blackberries, chard, kale and lettuce. My blueberry bush is lush with greenery but the berries are sparse. Lesson learned, don’t over fertilize with free coffee grounds that DH brings home!!
    *This was VBS week and I was in charge of snacks. We had leftover watermelon from today that I can bring to the cookout tomorrow and some free chips.
    * My husband and I have walked every evening and it has been beautiful and I have foraged some blackberries on the way. I also walk early in the morning and my days just go so much better with this lovely gift of walking! I have been faithfully doing the free classes at the senior center, for my exercise, too!
    *A friend that I help care for had a birthday so I got a card from Dollar Tree and am making her banana bread. Little things bring her joy more than books or things as her memory is declining.
    I hope you all have a beautiful week!

  53. Ellie in AR- A cook that I watch also can’t stand the “hole” in her bread from the machine. After the dough is mixed and before the rise, she take out the dough, removes the little stirring thing, then puts the dough back in to rise and bake.

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