I’m really grateful to be growing open-pollinated seeds. It makes it possible to collect seeds and replant them in the garden.

I collected green onion seeds from the garden and replanted them to grow new onions. I also saved seeds to plant later.

I collected snow pea seeds from the garden and will save them to grow peas again in the late fall.

I sowed seeds for basil, thyme, and Swiss chard in the garden.

I harvested apricots, plums (our flowering plums, which are supposed to be sterile, produced a few Mirabelle-sized plums–in other words, cherry-sized plums!), artichokes, lettuce, peppermint, arugula, radishes, and lemons from the garden. Because of the heat, the arugula and radishes were REALLY spicy!

I canned apricot jam from our apricots. I also froze apricots to use later in smoothies.

I am monitoring my grape vines carefully several days of the week. I am checking for caterpillar damage and immediately pulling off any leaves with eggs and newly hatched caterpillars. I sprayed my grapes with spinosad (an organic spray for caterpillars) as well, as these caterpillars will quickly eat every leaf, causing the grapes to burn in the sun before they can be harvested. They were rather devastating to last year’s crop and I don’t want to lose any grapes this year because of this.

I covered the blackberry vines in the garden with shade cloth to keep them from burning in the sun and allow them to grow larger. Our sun here is so intense that it makes berries towards the top 1/3 the size of hte berries at the bottom, and it will burn the berries at the very top so that they are hard as a rock and completely unusable.

I ground wheat from our pantry into flour and made banana bread. I cut up and then ground up the banana peels and mixed them with fertilizer to fertilize our fruit trees.

I sewed a couple more masks using fabric that I have on hand.

My son moved out of state using a shuttle service. It cost $140 (including his 4 suitcases that had loads of heavy books), which is less than it would have for us to drive there and back. He was able to use wifi that the shuttle provided on the way there to attend his online classes. His furnished apartment (that includes all utilities, including a cable, and has a large-screen television) is costing him only $180 a month right now! He walked to the Dollar Tree there and bought a laundry basket (which he needed) and filled it with needed items to bring home, including eggs for $1 a dozen.

We did a lot of rearranging this week. I am grateful that we painted the bedrooms all the same when we bought the house; there is no “girls’ room” or “boys’ room” specific colors, which makes it easy to change bedrooms. The rooms were very specific before and keeping them neutral has been such a help as we have rearranged things over the years.

I redeemed 2200 Swagbucks for a $25 Target gift card. I will use the gift card to order some items online with free shipping.

I cut flowers from the garden to enjoy inside. The zinnia and the larkspur were flowers that had self-seeded in the garden.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. This week has been one of a lot extra money coming in as a result of refunds due to COVID. We got a $364 refund on Wicked tickets we bought in late February for an April 29 performance. I know that sounds like a crazy expensive thing but Hubs knew I would love to go and got 5th row center seats just behind orchestra pit! We have never spent that much to go to a concert/event (and it’s rare that we go to any!) but after 49 years, he wanted to surprise me! We had been so looking forward to it!
    The second refund was $511 for plane tickets to fly next week to Houston for one of our grandsons’ high school graduation (we have 4 graduating this year!)While the airlines are still flying, we didn’t feel comfortable with it and graduation has been postponed and may end up being “virtual” + drive through. What crazy times we are living in!!
    So almost $900 in refunds on things cancelled. ? We also got almost $14 in Rakuten (Ebates) rebates this week.
    A friend asked me if I would make surgical caps for her next door neighbor who is a nurse. The nurses need to provide their own and she had a pattern for a reversible cap, bought thread and the amount of fabric the pattern called for but doesn’t sew and was desperate to hire someone to sew them up. I was happy to make her 4 out of the amount of fabric she thought would only produce 1! With her already supplying her own materials, I was happy to donate my time as a thank you for her service! https://pin.it/R5ho1mr
    Mask making has now reached 520- 23 more since last week.
    I quilted 2 quilts for a client- it took me less than a day on each. https://pin.it/3sgTqU3 and https://pin.it/4tuOvDC. Hoping for more quilts coming in to quilt! With that in mind, we are extending our 1-1/2 cent per square inch sale price.
    Our garden is doing well! I planted 1 year old green bean seeds in one full raised bed, but then a couple days later I was at nursery picking up something else and bought a 4 pack of green bean starts! (Can you tell I’m not a patient person? ?) Well, of course, with the rain we’ve had, my green bean bed is filled to overflowing with newly sprouted plants! So many that I had to thin out and transplant the extras into other areas of the garden! If they continue to thrive like this, we will have a bumper crop of beans (to go with our 100+ onions I planted)!!
    Hubs decided that raising worms for the garden is a good idea so he used some wood that we were given to make a 3 level worm condo he found free online plans for. He has it sealed and painted and his worms arrive Wednesday! He is SO excited! We made a place for it in a corner of the garden.
    More friends are stopping by today for porch pick up of lemon balm I am giving away because it has taken over my herb bed! My bed gets cleared and they are pleased- Win/Win! We also decluttered some more and found odds and ends (extras- crockpot, 3 hole punch, Handyman magazines, etc) that we don’t need so we offered those as free porch pick up to friends/family. If there are any left, we’ll put them on FB marketplace .
    All in all, a satisfying week! Stay healthy!!
    Pat in Ohio

      1. Mable- Knowing what a service our nurses and other health workers are providing, it was a privilege to provide the sewing!

    1. That is so funny! My husband and daughter just finished a 3-tiered worm bed as well! A friend gave my husband a bag full of red worms to put in the new “hotel.” My husband has enjoyed feeding them scraps and looks forward to the time when such wonderful compost is available.

    2. Gardenpat, I purchased some of your masks (I live in Seattle). They were so inexpensive, and are so well made, I wish I had your sewing abilities! Anyway, I think of you every time I use one and just wanted to let you know how much they are appreciated.

        1. Thanks, Peggy! It’s been nice seeing how far and wide these masks have traveled from me in Ohio! Stay healthy and thanks for your kind words!

      1. Donna- thanks for your kind words! These masks have been a labor of love and if you and yours are able to use them, it is all worth it!

  2. Hi Brandy! That is a gorgeous flower arrangement! I hope your son does well at school!

    My accomplishments:

    • Used free toiletries, washed ziplocks and foil and ran only full loads the in washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Ate dinner in 6 times. We had tortilla soup; stuffed zucchini (home grown) with angel hair pasta; chicken pot pies; homemade pizza; steak, zucchini (home grown) and baked potato; and salmon, broccoli (home grown and frozen) and baked potato.
    • Lunches included lentils; bean & ham soup; salads; and leftovers.
    • Breakfasts have been eggs & English muffins; cereal with home grown peaches; French Toast with strawberries; and banana nut muffins (homemade with a couple of bananas that were turning black).
    • Hung 3 of 4 loads of laundry.
    • Walked for exercise.
    • Used a card from my card stash to send to friends for their anniversary.
    • Decided to work on decorating my house. Went to Goodwill and got a ton of decorative items to use for a fraction of the cost if I got them new. Also found 2 sets of Christmas mugs still in the box to use as hostess gifts for the holidays.
    • We’ve been really good about wiping everything that comes into the house with disinfectant (I use a spray bottle of bleach mixed with water and paper towels) but heard that UV rays also kill the COVID-19 virus, so I saved some of my bleach mixture and instead laid everything I bought at Goodwill out in the sun for a while, turning to ensure all sides got the light, before I brought it into the house and washed it off with dishwater.
    • My husband did a bunch of yard work, trimming up bushes, etc. and had a truck bed full of yard waste. He is able to bring it to work and put it in their dumpster there (legally), so we save on not going to the dump.
    • I made a double batch of laundry soap. I used free soap I have gotten from hotels. Thank you for the tip on using my Kitchen-Aid mixer’s grating tool to grate the soap. So much easier!
    • My daughter gave me about 20 teabags she didn’t want.
    • Harvested some peaches and a few apricots from our trees. Small, but I cut them up and froze them. We only planted the trees last year, so I am happy to be getting anything at all!
    • Pulled out a puzzle I’d bought on clearance over a year ago and started it. Realized that I am not that great at puzzles and will be working on it forever! LOL!

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

    1. Just a caution. I have been making my own laundry soap for 7 years now. I noticed that on white sheets and towels and shirts, I could see brownish tiny blotches. They felt greasy. I tried everything and listened to all advice. It turns out, my washing machine manual tells me not to use soap in the machine or this could happen. (In small print) It had taken a long time to build up but all pipes, everything was gunged up with soap. I have spent about$30 on machine cleaning products, run vinegar, bicarb, boil washes you name it to clear it. Finally i have clean washing again but must use bought laundry liquid to be safe. After 7 years of polishing my green warrior halo, i am gutted.

      1. Did you measure it?

        I had a washing machine get clogged several years ago (front-loading). The repairman was going on about how people clog their HE machine with soap and then made several comments about how I had absolutely no buildup from my soap at all, which he was expecting to be the problem. He said that the homemade soap was fine, and that most people use too much soap in general. With an HE machine, you should use just 2 tablespoons of soap per load. I measure mine each time.

        My clog turned out to be the filter below the tub. He took off the lower front panel (it comes off with a star-shaped screwdriver) and there was my clog. Now we check that filter about every six months on our own. Something as simple as a bobby pin or a few tiny Lego pieces can cause a problem, and I’ve missed both of those in pockets before. But my laundry soap was not the problem.

        1. same here, wasn’t the soap but the bottom filter.Repairman said that people use too much soap whether home made (his wife makes theirs) or store. He would rather see pods used for that reason alone

  3. **I have been keeping my 3 year old grandson for 7 weeks while his parents worked out of state in hospitals. They didnt want to bring anything home to him so I was so glad to get to keep.him. They picked him up Saturday I now will do some things for me like really exercise and sew and quilt.
    **My son finished college and I am so proud of him. He has worked two jobs during school and paid for hi own tuition. He got a business degree, but will be a youth pastor. He has been an intern youth pastor for 4 years while in school. He is looking for a job and hopefully the church will pay for his seminary training.
    **We are building a house so are renting at the moment. I got two more large whiskey barrels and some soil to plant tomatoes and squash I had started in smaller pots. I transferred them to the barrels yesterday. We bought cheap.plastic pots and place upside down to fill some of the barrels so they wouldn’t need as much soil. My plants in pots are doing so good. I have baby tomatoes and the bean bones are attaching to the teepee poles.
    ** I am exercising with DVDs I bought before lock down at the thrift store for $1 each. I am also walking. I am tracking my steps and trying to get 10000 a day and will build on that. I am so out of shape, but I am changing that.
    ** I mended a pair of Jean’s with a patch where I rubbed holes in the thighs. I can atleast wear them around the house.
    **I sewed a pillow where it came apart at the seam.
    *I made masks for husband and son
    *I made a few blocks in a quilt
    *I am learning French through Duolingo
    ** I love to see your garden. I am getting so many ideas a d am planning out the garden and plants for our yard in the house we are building. There is another person I love to see her garden on instagram. She is in Australia and it is gorgeous. Jennyroseinnes is her instagram page. She has some videos showing it better.

    1. Good for you on making your health a priority! I just wanted to share with you a resource that I found helpful. About four years ago, I lost 50 pounds, very gradually, and have successfully kept it off for the past year and a half. One thing that helped me was this program: https://www.fullplateliving.org/ I actually paid for the program, but they have currently made it free of charge—I have no idea for how long. It is not a diet, it is a lifestyle change. The Full Plate Living program teaches you about how to increase eating high fiber foods. They do not sell pills or potions. They don’t sell meals. They just teach you how to eat healthier. I now eat more fruits and veggies and beans than I every did in my life, Not only did I lose my extra weight, but I also lost my pre diabetes, and my awful arthritis pain that I used to have in my feet. I am 54, and I honestly feel better physically now than I did when I was 24! Anyway, God bless you on your health journey! I just wanted to share this resource!

  4. I am wanting steps on how to dry fresh basil. I have a dehydrator.
    Last week we were able to eat lettuce from our garden! I am extending our tiny garden a little bit. I tried transplanting some peppermint that was growing in the tomato garden and it died. I started seeds of zinnia flowers inside. When I moved them outside they died. I am having success with a starter plant of lemon balm my neighbor gave me. I am learning lots and having fun! I hope to plant seeds in my garden later this week. My 7-year-old was gifted a bike so now all 3 boys have a bike to ride. I am making sure we eat all our leftovers. I had a bunch of cilantro that needed to be used so I made cilantro pesto. It is adding a nice change to our spaghetti and meat sauce.

    1. Renee, if you have more seeds, you can plant the zinnias outside if it is warm enough there!

      1. I do have more seeds! I planted them outside today. We got lots rain this week and digging the dirt was super easy. Thanks!

    2. Hi, Renee, you can likely just clip basil stems and hang them upside down to dry. I have a few cup hooks in my basement where I dry mine. It worked for me when I lived in KY too, but if you think it’s too humid, you could always finish them in the dehydrator. I would just put 2-3 stems in each bundle, not a whole lot, so that the air circulates well around them. Wishing you good luck!

    3. Hi Renee, Zinnia’s really hate their roots disturbing – if you don.’t want to sow them directly outside you can start them off in the cardboard tubes from the middle of toilet paper. When big enough, transplant them still in the tubes (the cardboard will decompose in the soil).

    4. I have an Excalibur dehydrator and it has an herb setting, which is around 90-95 deg. F if I remember correctly. I always strip the leaves off of the stems, spread them on the racks and dry until they crumble. Our climate is very humid and I can’t air dry herbs. I hope this helps.

      1. Sounds easy enough! Thank you for listing the step-by-step details. My dehydrator does have a herb setting.

  5. I’ve also had an ornamental plum make a few fruits in previous years, and harvested them too. I’ve given up on ever getting fruit from the apricot that was planted 20 years ago. I can only add small amounts of arugula to salads this time of year, as it is definitely hot. It’s great hearing about your son’s new and frugal adventure. I harvested peas and asparagus, onions and lambs quarter. Laundry was hung on the line. Swagbucks were redeemed for a $25 amazon GC. I used a $15 off code for massage CEU’s I need for my license. The classes can all be online this year, due to Covid, which is a major savings in itself from in person classes. I’ve started freezing some of our eggs, instead of giving them all away. There will still be some to share. One of the local potters had sold organic plants and produce in the past. I was excited to see she was again offering some things, and picked up a large head of bib lettuce, and basil, parsley, and echinacea plants, plus she gave me yellow pepper plants, an extra echinacea, and some mystery butterfly plants. She asked for $10 for all of this, but I gave her $12, the price she had listed for these things online, and gave her a bar of my soap. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2020/05/may-blooms-frugal-accomplishments.html

    1. Laurie,

      Have you thought about taking your apricot out and trying with something else? I have done that with several things and am getting more fruit in the same space now.

      1. It’s always hard to kill a plant that’s living, but that is what I should do. The kiwis probably should be next in line. I’ve had several for seven years, and still no fruit, though we’re sure we have both male and female.

    2. Laurie

      Have you thought about grafting on a few pieces (scion wood) from another variety of apricot? If you get blooms but no fruit it could be a problem of
      no pollination and you might need two varieties.

      1. I’ve wondered that too. When I bought it, they said it was self-fertile. I know that even when trees are self-fertile, they usually do better with another tree. I don’t have another apricot, so I may have to look into that. Thank you.

  6. Happy Monday! Brandy…your flower arrangement is beautiful! Not much has changed for us last week. I am still working part time from home and then homeschooling my son for distance learning three days a week. We are continuing to go through our house and purge/clean. We were able to bring another car load to the Goodwill donation station. While cleaning, I found $300 I had stashed away as well as some unused gift cards and my Costco card which I thought I had lost. We put the money aside as we are saving for a new fridge as ours is on it’s last legs. We are hoping for some good Memorial Day sales. My husband has been working very diligently in the garden. Our zucchini has started to flower. We also have a few oranges that have started on our dwarf orange tree. This is very exciting! My cousin had give us this plant when we finalized the adoption of our son. Our tomato plant also has fruit on it now. The raised garden bed that my husband planted has not been doing so well. But it is the first year we have tried it. As long as we can get the same harvest as last year (tomatoes, lemon cucumbers and zucchini), we’ll consider it a success. We traded garden seeds with a good friend. When we dropped our trade off to her, we were able to sit in our car on her culdesac and have a visit (six feet apart) with her & her husband and dog (who is also social distancing!) on the tailgate of their truck. We zoom with them quite often, but it was nice to have an in person visit. We again picked up five days of breakfasts and lunches from my son’s school. I also picked up six large action figures from a Facebook garage sale for $15. I will use this as a birthday present for my son. I have seen these sets at Target for $50 +. Have a great week everyone!

  7. Lovely pictures! I wish we could grow food in our yard, but I live in the Pacific Northwest, and we would attract bears. Nonetheless, I have been saving money lately in a few different ways. The lockdown has given me an excuse to go through the garage and cupboards and make some hard decisions on all the junk I have been keeping – and although it wasn’t my original intention, I have ended up bartering some of these things with friends! Now I’m finding myself swapping stuff for bagels from a kosher-baking friend, and for fresh eggs from a friend who keeps chickens – and the real win for me is the extra space in the garage! My wife has been using the fresh eggs to make Caneles (rather fancy French ‘custards’) and we use the egg whites in fried rice.

    Other savings this week have been more technical – we dumped Netflix, saving a monthly fee for a service we don’t use much and instead relying on Amazon Prime Video, which is available to anyone with an Amazon Prime subscription and has lots of free content as well as programs you can buy if you choose to. I also dropped my T-Mobile phone contract after more than 10 years, in favor of Google Fi, going from at least $75/month to $20 plus $10 for every gigabyte of data I use when I’m not on WiFi. Things really seem to have changed with cellphone services in the past few years, and it is worthwhile for anyone to take a look at the service they are paying for, if they haven’t done so recently. Google Fi sell phones if you need one, but it works with most cellphones. Between Netflix and T-Mobile, I expect to save $80 or more every month from now on!

    1. So much grows really well in the PNW. It’s a beautiful place to garden. Would a hedge of blackberries keep the bears out of your yard?

      1. Actually, that would be very good attractant to the bears – and if they are after something, there isn’t much that will stop them. I’ve heard of them even tearing thru chicken coop walls to get in 🙁

        1. I thought maybe they could eat the berries on the outside! I did wonder. That’s really too bad, as you live in the perfect place for a garden!

      2. I know bears like fruit trees and berry Brambles, but an internet search just revealed that they like cabbage leaves and other veggies as well. No compost for us and we keep the grill cleaned here in the Rockies. Now I can understand the difficulty in your gardening. One of the reasons I wanted a greenhouse. Always learning from everyone here.

        1. It really is interesting to read of gardening challenges in each area, isn’t it?

      3. Blackberries grow wild here, in our part of the Pacific NW. They are a noxious weed that was brought in years ago by someone. They grow in huge heaps of brambles. People pick them. I’m sure bears adore them, but I’ve never seen one eating one. I did read about a community where some residents started feeding bears. The bears grew bold enough to break windows and go into homes, tearing things up looking for food. We have deer, elk, black bears, bobcats, raccoons, coyotes, cougar within a mile of our house, but have only seen raccoons, deer, elk, a bobcat in the backyard, a couple of coyotes in the front yard, near the house. We do not go outside wandering around to get things out of the car, etc. after dark though. Pets need to be brought inside in the evening. We hear coyotes frequently at night and have heard a cougar on occasion on a hill near our house. Raccoons and bobcats will also kill pets. Deer especially are garden eaters. We really need a deer fence. We live in an area that is fairly built up with homes. This is not a wilderness area. I understand why early settlers got rid of predators. They are beautiful to look at, but they make things unsafe for people and domestic animals.

    2. We live in the Rockies, with a lot of bear activity. So far I have been able to garden fine — I think having two dogs in our fenced yard helps a lot. I sprinkle ammonia on my compost pile periodically and though I have had two different bears check out the compost pile in 6 years, neither has returned after they got a whiff of ammonia. I also have a small greenhouse, which keeps out a lot of pests and allows me to grow tomatoes, which don’t ripen well otherwise. Before we moved to this house, I grew a lot of things in pots on my back deck.

    3. If you really want to garden, put up an electric fence to keep the bears out. They’ll mostly leave boring lettuce and other leafy things alone, if there’s not another big attraction like trash, beehives or birdseed.

      We have bears, deer, rabbits, groundhogs, chipmunks, turkeys, squirrels, birds, opossums…

    4. A local farmer here in North Florida, where we have black bears, keeps 3-4 big dogs like Pyrenees and also plays rock music during the night, with players placed along her fence line, to keep the bears out. She raises a garden, chickens, turkeys, goats and pigs, and bears try to get to all of it. So far, this is working. Obviously that won’t work for everyone, but it’s a possible solution for some.

    5. Simon,
      We save a ton of money using Ting. And they don’t spy on you like Google!

      The service is excellent: I can always get a human to help if there’s any problem.

  8. Beautiful apricots! I enjoy walking around my property in the early part of the day to see what is sprouting, how many tiny grapes are on my vines, how big the nectarines are getting, and any other growing thing. One of my roses has lots of buds and I’m hoping to enjoy those flowers on my dining table. I harvested a few radishes and a little bit of lettuce from my grow pots on my porch. My hens are healthy and happy and giving us a nice supply of eggs so I am baking bran muffins, rolls, and bread today. I’ve sort of figured out sour dough and will continue working on that. I ground up wheat berries for part of the flour for the baking this morning. The wheat was from 2008! See what happens when you don’t inventory timely? Oh well, it’s wheat, stored well, so it’s very usable.
    I had windows open last night to enjoy the cooling breezes. The windows on the east side of the house have blinds and drapes pulled to try to keep the house cooler (yeah, I know, don’t bake, but a girl’s gotta do something she enjoys). I pulled out a pack of chicken drumsticks from the freezer that I got on sale a couple of months ago. There are enough drumsticks to feed my family as well as a friend’s family tonight. I’ll fix a side of rice and add whatever fruits and vegetables I find in the fridge. If I don’t find enough, there’s canned applesauce. Add a homemade roll and I think it will be enjoyed. I’ll take some of the drumsticks and make a soup along with homemade noodles for tomorrow night. I think there will be enough left over to send in a lunch for my son. I’m grateful for the freezer so I can take advantage of sale items. I found a couple of candy bars that I stashed (received for Mother’s Day). I’m thinking cookies.
    I’m finding I accomplish a lot more of my big plans if I actually write stuff down so I can remember what I was thinking I would do. I have a list of chores that need to be accomplished and it’s posted on my back door so I see it every time I go out to tend chickens, children, or garden.
    Have a wonderful week and stay well. Utah is now at Level Yellow for the most part.

    1. Is there a known limit for wheat storage? I have hard red wheat that was giving to me, and it is sealed in food storage buckets (manufacture sealed, not just where someone dumped it from a back and re-used a bucket). It’s pretty old, but we opened one of the containers last year, planted some, and it sprouted. Just wondering if there is a number of years, or if a ‘sprout check’ tells us if the wheat is OK to use. Thanks!

      1. My wheat was well within the storage time frames; I just like to rotate things and use oldest first. I had a #10 can from the early 90’s that was very usable last year. My bread didn’t rise as well as it usually does, but that could be any number of factors. It tasted fine and the family didn’t notice anything different.

  9. Those beautiful apricots! How wonderful! Apricots are one of my favorite fruits, but they’re hard to come by here in Northern Utah for reasonable prices. We finally put in our own zone-specific apricot tree a couple years ago, but now it looks like we’ll be moving before we harvest anything from it. Bummer 🙁 Maybe our next property, though!

  10. 1. Took my sewing machine to be repaired & the repair shop gave me 2 free fabric face masks. (I gifted one to one of my co-workers.)
    2. Got several free Starbucks tall size iced coffee that the company is giving to health care workers. I am not usually a coffee drinker like my husband. I took the iced coffee home on several occasions, diluted it with more milk & ice & split it with my husband.
    3. Took a hot bath for stress relief. Left the water in the tub & mopped the floors using the water. I must say easier than hauling the heavy mop bucket around.
    4. Husband’s garden is doing well but the veggies have not ripened or grown enough to harvest. He tells me it will be soon.
    5. Hubby went to a friend’s house & was gifted several buckets of compost for the garden. I sent over several servings of homemade soup to the compost man. We are starting to compost but the compost mixture has to cure. The compost man & I have traded off cat sitting for travel in the past. However no one can go anywhere right now.

  11. What beautiful flowers! And what a nice surprise with the plums 😀

    Here’s how we’re saved money these last few weeks:

    * We’ve been able to open the window in the apartment several days this week, so that we have not had to run the AC.

    * My SO started their new job, and since it’s a delivery job, I wanted to make lunches that would travel well, were good cold, and could be easily consumed without the food having to be touched (access to hand washing is limited on the road). I made sub rolls, which I then made into sandwiches which I wrapped in plastic wrap. This isn’t a great solution in the long term, but it is decent for now, especially because I already have lunch meat in the freezer.

    * We continue to eat from our freezer and pantry; some of the recipes I’ve made: homemade hamburger buns and either pulled pork, porketta, and bean burgers; bean quesadillas; homemade pizza; chicken wild rice soup; and creamed spinach (using frozen spinach). I have also been making iced tea as a change of pace from drinking water.

    * We received a certificate to a local bar/restaurant from our landlord for paying rent on time, and we used that to have a date night at home. In addition to the meal (which the certificate covered the costs for), we also ordered a couple of cans of soda; they’re obviously marked up significantly, but they were still inexpensive to us, so we figured we could spend a few extra dollars on an item that is mostly profit for the business. We’re trying to find ways to support local businesses while also not spending a lot of money that we can’t really afford to spare either.

    * I got a teaching spot this summer- it’s only 75% of the pay compared to a regular semester (with the corresponding reduction in time working), but that is definitely better than 0%!

    I think that’s everything that’s happened these last few weeks. Stay safe and healthy, everyone!

    1. Could you send soups in a thermos? For hand washing I carry a package of baby wipes in my car and use those. Perhaps that would work for him.

  12. I recently traded chives, lovage, garlic chives and horseradish with a lady for some raspberry starts, but it looks like only one of them survived transplant. 🙁
    I have started a few early things in our garden and they are doing well with the cold frames. Now it is actually time to plant, so I’ll be adding more seeds this week, and then working on covers to keep the deer out. They are terrible here, and will destroy the garden in just a few minutes if it is not covered with netting.
    I cleaned out a shed this week and relocated some items that belonged in the barn, which makes it easier for me to know what I have on hand and not get things I don’t really need. This led me to find a couple of things that would make cute planters – a camp coffee pot that has some rust in the bottom and a cast iron ‘cauldron’. I will plant flowers in both of those.
    We are on the cautious side, and have been staying home unless it’s absolutely necessary. I decided to do what I can to make staying home evenings and weekends more ‘fun’. We moved a picnic table, cleaned up the old fire pit, moved some chairs over to it from another location, and made s’mores to celebrate that new space. I also discovered a natural cozy spot under a juniper tree – my daughter and I cleaned out the pine cones that had fallen there, added a thicker bed of pine needles, and trimmed a couple of branches. We take a quilt when we go out there and it is a really nice place to read or visit – it’s shady and cool on hot days, and protected from the wind. I am also considering getting out some Christmas lights and stringing them in an area in our back yard where we could sit out on a nice evening. Finally, we have a metal frame for a freestanding ‘porch swing’, but the seat (which was fabric) was damaged beyond repair. I have some fabric, and I’m just trying to figure out how to make a new sling/seat for it. I took some measurements of the old setup, and hope to have that done soon.
    We made a menu to use the things we are getting from the garden – some lettuce and asparagus along with some herbs. I think I’ll be picking our first radishes this week! We’ve been really good about having few leftovers and using them up right away. This morning I put some basmati rice, chopped tomato and a small bit of turkey sausage in the pan, then scrambled an egg with all of it and topped it with green onion from the garden and a tiny bit of cheese. It was really good, and it took care of all the leftover bits in the fridge!
    I usually plant morning glories all along the fence at the edge of our patio. I still have some coming up from re-seeding last year, but I’ve also inter-planted some herbs – basil, thyme, mint, cilantro, green onions, chives, etc. This area is protected from harsh weather so they should do well and have a longer season.

    1. Laura-Though they are more expensive up front, I just bought a string of solar outdoor lights at Home Depot. They have the bigger “old fashioned” looking bulbs. I really wanted them to be solar so I could enjoy them guilt free. They come on automatically at dusk and turn off 6 hours later. They are so cheerful.

      1. Hi Kara and Laura
        I have been making our stay at home garden as welcoming as possible too and rediscovered some solar garden lights I bought at a charity shop before Christmas. They are multicoloured and so pretty late in the evening. We’ve positioned chairs and tables in different parts of the garden to follow the sun and get different views of the garden and my husband hung a hammock seat from the apple tree.

  13. Brandy, no one in the Pacific Northwest would knowingly plant a blackberry hedge! We have enough trouble keeping the wild ones at bay! Plus, bears live for berries! (huckleberries, anyway).

    Last week was as dull as dishwater! I didn’t have many frugal accomplishments, but there are these–

    * I stopped at a couple of thrift stores after they reopened last week and bought a butter dish (both pieces intact–hard to find) for $2.69 and a 2-drawer file cabinet, in great shape and even the right color, for $15. It was marked $20, but one just like it (in a different color) was $15, so I asked for the lower price, and got it.

     * I noticed that one of our auto insurance premium notices was rated the same as before we moved. I called the agent, expecting it would cost more to have it rated here. I was surprised with a premium reduction of $60 year.

    * I returned an unneeded item for a $7.91 refund.

    This doesn’t sound too frugal, but I am trying to help our local businesses. Today I negotiated detailing both of our cars for $199 each and ordered (through a local store) a Weather Tech back seat cover (we have two little white dogs and a black cloth interior). I have been very satisfied with our Weather Tech mats and all of their stuff is made in USA! On the down side, a friend who owns a dog kennel has not had ANY business since March 17!

    1. I know the wild ones have thorns and can be invasive there. All of the ones I grow are thornless. I read about people from the PNW picking enough wild ones to make pies! That is a lot of berries! I only harvest enough to maybe make 1-2 pies and that would be all of my berries, so I can’t imagine having such a wonderful abundance.

      1. I discovered a football field length of wild blackberries behind a local business last year and went three times to pick them. Now that I know about them, I’ll be strategic and get enough to make jam. Blackberries are weeds here in Oregon!

        1. When making jam, put half of the blackberries through a ricer or food mill to remove the seeds, then mix the pulp with berries that you don’t seed. I do this for raspberry jam, too, and those wild blackberries (yes, with thorns the size of small children!) have even more seeds than razzies. (Or make jelly!).

      2. 4 of our heavily Rocky slanted 5 acres are the wild invasive ones with thorns the size of small children. The only flat area for my garden is a 25x 12 area. I do compost and garden in the PNW but it’s certainly not without some great challenges. I reseed and replant with a vengeance. The wild blackberries we do use for pies and jam but it’s risky business gathering. Gardening is a new adventure every year.

        1. I reseed and replant here as well. I imagine the slugs there are no small challenge, either.

          1. Slugs by the hundreds… longer than your hand many times. I use an obscene amount of Sluggo and take very early walks in the garden to slug hunt. Voles, Moles, Slugs, Rabbits, Birds,Deer and Bears…. oh my! But I keep planting on and happily get enough for it to be more than worth it.

            1. Perhaps a house in a housing tract in the desert with poor soil, an insanely high pH of water and soil (8.2), 5 months of above 90-degree temperatures, and 4 inches of rain a year is an easier place to grow things after all! 🙂

          2. Brandy, do you. ever treat your garden/yard with fast-acting sulfur? Our valley has very alkaline water and the best thing I ever learned (at a class taught by the hotuculturist at our most wonderful locally owned nursery) was to annually sprinkle sulfur on both my yard and all gardens to keep soil ph at plants’ “happy” level. It’s not expensive and can be done pretty much any time of year (I do in fall or spring). It makes a huge difference in health of yard to and helps keep ph in range where plants can freely access any nutrients in soil or compost.

            1. When fertilizing my trees, I always use sulfur to lower the pH. It’s recommended here.

        2. I don’t know if it would work but I read somewhere that unprocessed sheep’s fleece laid on the ground acts as a natural barrier for slugs.

          1. I lived in the Pacific Northwest for many years and found the absolutely best (and non toxic) solution for slugs is beer. I used recycled disposable foil pie tins and placed them right in the garden. Pour a little beer in them…I don’t know much about beer because I don’t drink it so in this case, the cheaper the better. Slugs are attracted to the beer, crawl into the shallow tin, and drown. The container does need to be shallow and fairly large. A tuna can or something of that sort would not be large enough.

        3. Jennifer, I’m in solidarity with all your garden pest issues, save for (so far!) the bears. Mike McGrath, former editor of Organic Gardening, recommends installing a raptor perch to welcome an owl or two, which should show up and take care of the vole and mice problems. (We highly recommend his podcast “You Bet Your Garden”. Kinda corny, but chock full of tips. We’re still learning new tips and tricks, even after 30+ years of organic gardening in our Western New York climate.)

      3. Brandy, there are two types of blackberries up here on Vancouver island, one are the Himalayan berries, which grow in abundance and which bears do love, the other is a type that will grow along the ground following a forest fire, I call these the “wild” blackberries, we used to go out as a family (with dog) and pick buckets full, they are a far tastier berry than Himalayan, but harder to find (and pick!!) The memory of those in a baked pie will be with me forever!! Bears count on berries to fill up before going into hibernation. Ann Lee S

      4. Wild blackberries grow in abundance here (Seattle area) and you can pick as many as you want or need. The thorns are crazy sharp, as others have said. I return from every blackberry picking expedition covered in blackberry juice…and blood from where all the thorns have pricked me. 😉

  14. One of the two grocery stores in town has a monthly scratch and win, where you get 10% or more off all your groceries. ( I’ve never had more than 10%.) They have cancelled the scratch and win for the duration. The other grocery store has a loyalty card, and they have continued to offer rewards, so most of my grocery shopping is being done there. I had enough points to get a $10 gift card, which paid for cat food for the last half of the month.

    We still have night time temperatures forecast below freezing this week, so I have set a few herbs on the kitchen window sills until I can plant them next week. They look very cheerful there.

    Things are beginning to open up here, so people have begun coming from their home locations to stay at their cottages near here. We haven’t had any COVID in my town, or in the counties to the north, east and south, and only two cases in the county to the west, who had been quarantined directly as they returned home from a work location. New people in the area makes me want to be very careful, since I have some risks. I am reducing the number of visits to some places, like collecting the mail at the post office every two weeks instead of every week, but adding a few low-risk activities like visiting local provincial park on week days for some fresh air, exercise and mental health benefits. I’m not going into any stores on weekends, and will limit groceries to twice a month, one store.

    What beautiful flower arrangement, Brandy. Trees are just leafing out here. I’ll have huge lilac bushes in bloom in another two or three weeks, so not too long now.

    I had really emptied the fridge freezer and pantry after stocking up for winter, but I am making progress at getting basics back. Some things will wait, like flour and sugar for baking, since I do very little baking at this time of year. I am not even building much depth at the moment, but have got staples like oatmeal and pasta, and maple syrup which is more of a treat. Rice is next on my list.

  15. I am trying to one handedly be frugal… really, I broke my wrist falling over the dog because I wasn’t watching were I was walking KNOWING he lays right where I walked. SIGH. I went to the Urgent center instead of ER that saved us $450. I am going back to my orthopedic doctor for follow up and they told me to not buy any thing ,I’m in a splint and the gauze is coming out, said my ins would cover them giving me supplies to redo the splint. I hope it doesn’t go to a cast.

    I went out to the barn to tell Hubby we were ordering propane in June (cheaper) and we were under a tornado watch (get one tornado on ground once a year here) and found he had been keeping a lot of large cardboard boxes… bingo… they can be cut and place in the garden for walking paths instead of buying more weed barrier.

    We are reusing the empty soil bags for trash bags.
    I washed all foil, plastic bags, etc and started using reusable silicone covers I bought for bowls and such. I would like to have more on down the line.
    I reread Brandy.s 4o cents a day, and when you think you have nothing left to cut. I am just counting on the next year or two being very hard years.

    1. I very much think it is going to be very tight for many people, including us. This is why I am so focused on making sure the garden is productive as possible.

    2. So sorry to hear about your wrist. Hope it heals well. It’s a nuisance to have an injury when you’re a busy person isn’t it.

    3. Juls,
      if you can possibly convince them that you’re fine with the splint, I’d strongly recommend doing so. Also, keep doing range-of -motion exercises for your shoulder,
      I broke my wrist last year (New Year’s Day), wrapped it for one day and then the day after went to urgent care where they did radiographs to diagnose the break & put it in a splint. It took me a couple of days to get an appt. and when I went in the orthopedic hand specialist did more radiographs, said it was in the same position as before the splint, and then cast it. I had nothing but pain for the 5 weeks it was in the cast. THE PAIN WAS FROM THE CAST, despite having it redone twice When my family physician saw the cast, she thought my finger positions looked wrong. By that time I had only a week left so I gutted it out. When I went for OT, the OT told me the cast had been too far over my knuckles, preventing my fingers from moving properly. I should have been able to make a fis and bring my thumb across to touch the base of my pinkie. If you do get a cast, make sure it affords you that ROM. I was hardly able to move my fingers when the cat came off, Then, because I hadn’t been instructed to do exercises with the affected arm (raising it over my head, rotating it around in all directions), I developed a frozen shoulder which took months of muscular rehab (not OT) to overcome (the rehab also, by stretching everything that had been so stiff, helped my fingers). I know now so much about broken wrists, but they very expensive lessons because the muscular rehab (and the acupuncture and Feldenkrais sessions I tried before, that didn’t help) were not covered by insurance. I found OT totally useless and very painful for the frozen shoulder.

      The kicker is that we met a woman from England who’d had a worse wrist break than mine, which was simple, and the NHS cast it for one week and then put her in a splint. SHE HAD NO PROBLEMS. If I knew then what I know now, I’d have refused the cast. Your ortho may be more competent (but mine was a board -certified HAND specialist who screwed up my wrist).

    4. Juls, sorry to hear about your wrist. Years ago I broke my arm right below my elbow — it wasn’t a major fracture but I had a half splint held in place by a tensor bandage. Well I found I could very gingerly turn my wrist so I worked slowly with a trowel in the garden. (definitely NOT recommended). 6 weeks later, my doctor was removing the tensor bandage and the half splint. As he started to do so, I asked if I would need physiotherapy — at the very moment, a considerable amount of loam from the garden fell onto the floor and he said “no, you’ve had your physiotherapy”. This was of course totally incriminating and embarrassing and it is a word of warning to the wise(r)! 9also I could have separated the fracture and then really needed more severe treatment such as a cast or surgery. Juls, I hope your fracture heals quickly (without benefit of gardening) 🙂

  16. Your two older children are so independent at such a young age! Will your son be in the same place as Winter and her husband? If so, that would be great. My two younger children attended the same out-of-state university in New York state, and it gave me such comfort. Your children will be SO glad that they will finish college with little or no debt. Kudos to you for helping them find a way.

  17. Semi frugal week(just don’t ask how much we spent at Sam’s, lol)

    Used last of gift card for a purchase at Autozone (it had $6 and some change on it)

    Received a Menards rebate for $4.32, sent off for another rebate of 1.84

    Used food saver to seal up leftovers for the freezer(getting more comfortable using it)

    Had $1.92 in electronic credits on Amazon and put towards an ebook(only paid 1.07 for it)

    My mom sent over 3 cans of tomato soup, jars of peaches, and 12 pack of yoohoo she didn’t want

    Used $10 off reward for Papa John’s pizza Friday night

    Rented a Redbox movie using a. 75 off code

    Received a check for $139.86 from car insurance from their cash back thing because of the virus.

    Watched Cats(the play) online for free

  18. That is a really gorgeous flower arrangement!
    * This week has been quieter, mostly packing boxes for our move in 10 days, touching up the paint for the new owners, and getting rid or any unnecessary things.
    * By the end of tomorrow I hope to have sold a set of dining room chairs and a desk that won’t fit in our new place. I have a few more items to list and some that are listed but haven’t sold. I will drop prices as needed. I don’t feel comfortable having a yard sale right now–and I think online sales prices are better than garage sale prices. Most of what I need to get rid of are large items like furniture and rugs.
    * I finished knitting a striped sweater using remnants of various colored Shetland yarn. It turned out really cute! I have enough yarn for another one too.
    * I read the book “Becoming Mrs. Lewis” the story about C. S. Lewis and his wife Joy Davidman. It was a borrowed book, I really enjoyed it and I read it on a day I just couldn’t muster the energy to do much else.
    * I harvested rhubarb from the garden and made a cobbler.
    * The Washington Post newspaper has free online coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic so I have been reading it daily. Yesterday I went into their food section and found a video for Mug Cakes, where you mix the ingredients for a cake in a mug, pop it in the microwave for a minute, and you have a serving of cake! I tried a chocolate one with chocolate chips for me and a vanilla one with strawberry jam for my husband. It was fun and yummy and no leftovers to temp additional eating!
    Have a lovely week everyone!

  19. I love your pictures of the flower arrangement and apricots!
    One day maybe that will be me. ?

    We got 2 boxes of food from a friend with extra. A lot of nice things in there. ?

    Another neighbor gave us men’s toiletries. Enough for
    all my guys to have some for the next 2-3 months.

    With everything stocked up on we only spent $100 on groceries, household, and birthdays combined!!
    Since we had 2 birthdays that was a tremendous savings for our family.

    Using up the last of our lettuces, onions. Working hard on our other plants.

    Congratulations to your son! I’m sure my 16 yo would love to move out. He’s not done with high school yet, and plans to go to trade school. He is wonderful with working with his hands! I will hate to lose him as he does so much around the house/yard for us.
    That is another thing that saves us money. My husband and older boys do a lot of maintenance & repair work around the house and vehicles.

    My one way of saving is that we eat at home 99% of the time. So I save on on groceries and cooking myself. I also have a friend that trades/barters and gets us a fair amount of the other things we need.

    Have a wonderful week! ?

  20. Oh my goodness that bouquet!
    After getting a quote for digging up a section of lawn for planting, my husband and I decided to do it ourselves a bit at a time. It took us a week (grass is hard to skim off), but we saved $600. It’s all for flowers; it’s been planted in zinnia (with an alyssum border) so we’ll have cut flowers all summer long for our home and for gifting.
    Since we’re staying home, I’m trying to work up the nerve to cut my husband’s hair. Got the clippers, check. Now I need the courage!
    Your blog is wonderful, and I imagine more and more people will enjoy it and find it relevant in the coming days! (I hope that will be true of my blog, too!) Take extra good care, and thanks for all the inspiration!

    1. My husband handed me clippers after three haircuts into our marriage. His encouragement to me was, “The difference between a good haircut and a bad haircut is two weeks!” You can do this!

    2. My only suggestion is to make sure the guard is on as tight as it can be. My husband decided one evening that I could cut his hair. I tried every argument possible to convince him that I am really good at my day job, but I was NOT a hairdresser. Nothing would convince him otherwise and I started cutting his hair. You guess it…….the guard flew off and he had a beautiful, almost bald spot in the very back of his head. I couldn’t help myself and I started laughing hysterically on our front porch. He wasn’t amused, yet he wasn’t angry at me, either. After all, it was his bright idea. Needless to say he has NEVER asked me to cut his hair again 🙂

      1. I just read a story about a woman doing this yesterday! I’ve never had the pieces come off, so how funny to read about it two days in a row!

    3. My husband has had 35 years of at home hair cuts provided by yours truly. YouTube can be your friend when trying anything. I did a quick calculation and we have saved several thousand dollars with these little at home haircuts. Go for it….

  21. We started the week with rain, which was very much needed. I was able to turn off the irrigation for a couple of days. We cut and split about a cord of the firewood we have collected so far.
    Kroger had strawberries for $1 a pound – as low as I ever see them here. I purchased 8 lbs and made 5 pints and 4 half-pint jars of strawberry jam and a large strawberry shortcake. I also purchased 4 large pineapples and canned 11 pints of pineapple.
    We used part of our stimulus money to purchase a grain mill, 50 lbs of wheat berries and 25 lb each of popcorn and oatmeal.
    I canned 7 pints of pinto beans and 5 pints of garbanzo beans from dry beans. I love the taste and convenience of canning beans that I cook from dry.
    I transplanted my tomatoes and peppers into the greenhouse. We ate lettuce, arugula and green onions from the garden.
    We got takeout one night from our favorite Mexican food restaurant. The restaurant is 40 minutes away, in the town where we do most of our shopping. We were there picking up some online orders, plus I had a doctor’s appt. The food would have been stone cold by the time we got home, so we parked at the far end of the parking lot and ate in the car. I don’t know when I have enjoyed a meal more. Even though the circumstances were unusual, not having had takeout in so long, just sitting in the quiet with my husband, watching birds in the trees nearby – I appreciated every minute and every bite!

    1. That is a sweet story! My husband and i shared sandwiches when we went to the city recently. We both commented on how it was an enjoyable lunch in the car.

  22. *Received a refund check in the mail from our car insurance, $21 added that to the $32 from last month it was a nice surprise.
    *Attended three retirement webinars to collect information. I was furloughed until 7/31. They have no idea if we will go back. I’m currently making plans just in case.
    *Gave two haircuts, frugal for them.
    *Sewed some mask to pass on to friends and family.
    *Went to the store with my first gift card. I still couldn’t buy something I thought was too expensive, even if it ended up being free.☺

    1. Wasn’t sure how it would work but I clicked over to Amazon from your site. I was buying a birthday gift so tried it out. Hope it adds a bit for your use.

  23. I bought a dozen jars of organic strawberry jam from Costco for our food storage because I’m not going to grocery stores (for sale berries) and our local grower raised prices last year, making the purchased jam our least expensive option. While I was at Costco (first time in a store since 3/14) I spotted jars of lemon curd on closeout, with a best by date of March 2021. I grabbed 6 jars thinking we couldn’t use more than that, although looking back I realized I could have bought several jars for the gift pantry.

    Also at Costco, we used our three item limit to buy 3 packages of pork shoulder at $1.99#. I used it as a teaching moment with my son, explaining how we should get the most we could with the three items. I spent $85 on 42.5# of pork. I cooked the first package Saturday — I was able to fit 10# into my large slow cooker, which fed us dinner and provided 5 more packages of cooked pulled pork for future meals. I ground the 4# of pork I couldn’t fit into the slow cooker and packaged it in 1# portions to use with beef in meatloaf. It’s been a long time since I’ve found pork shoulder for less than $1.99#, so I decided to go with it. I froze the other two packages of pork.

    When I baked sourdough sandwich bread last week, I swapped in olive oil instead of the usual butter so I could share a loaf with our neighbors. They responded by giving us 7 avocados from their tree. I used sourdough discard to make a batch of pancakes and we ate them several mornings.

    I cultured yogurt using starter powder I bought and froze in 2018 — it was past date, but I tried it anyway and it worked fine. It’s a mesophyllic starter, which means I don’t have to use heat to culture it. This is better for us in summer when it’s hot, because I don’t want to add heat to the house and because electricity costs more in summer. I’ve since cultured a few more jars.

    I’m regrowing green onions in water. I made peach sorbet using canned peaches from my food storage. I’m still popping plenty of popcorn for snacks. I asked my dad if I can have his upright freezer that he isn’t planning to move across the country. I also said yes when he offered me canning jars, a dresser, and a shelving unit with baskets.

  24. Beautiful apricots!
    I’ve decided to take on the task of digging a 50′ long trench that needs to be anywhere from 14″ to 24″ deep so our backyard can properly drain again. With my labor and the cost of the materials, we will be saving over $2000 (based off of what was quoted). This came about as my hours have been cut at work, so what can I do to save the household money? And I am hoping to have killer arms when this is done. 🙂
    All is planted in the vegetable garden, some started from seeds, some bartered, some gifted and a few bought. Now it just needs to grow. Prices at the grocery stores for produce have started to go up. So I am hoping for enough to enjoy fresh and to can like years before.
    The mister repurposed an old 2×4 and in the garage, created a bar with nails to hang some garden items when they need stored.
    Virtual hugs to any in need!

  25. I am especially happy to have this forum of virtual friends because here there is support not just for frugality, but for being prepared if the worst happens and some foods become hard to get or prohibitively expensive. We are both introverts anyway, and my husband works from home anyway, so the virus has not impacted our personal lives much. I realize that I am very privileged and millions of others are suffering greatly…meanwhile, my frugal practices this week included using every bit of our leftovers, using the thinnings from my flats of greens waiting to be planted outdoors in our salads, and pulling weeds and feeding them to our chickens (we only have four but they are sufficient to keep us supplied with eggs and then some. We stopped keeping chickens for a few years and I am happy to be back at it, not just for eggs but for amusement!) I have expanded the number of vegetables we are growing this summer; we have a huge garden anyway, enough that we are just finishing the pickles and various dehydrated vegetables from last year, but I have added more pumpkins and potatoes because they are versatile and keep so well for so long with very little effort needed to store them. The funniest frugal thing this week was that my husband’s flannel pants that he wears all the time in the house during the cold Alaskan winters, were so worn that some parts could not be made into rags. I was cleaning a closet and found flannel pants I wore when I was 80 pounds heavier, years ago. They were identical to the style he wears: drawstring at the waist and elastic at the cuffs, although in more vivid colors than the muted ones he prefers. Without urging from me, he tried them on and, though a bit baggy, they fit just fine. As he says, he never wears them out of the house or when company is over, so who cares if they look “girly?” Why spend a lot on new flannels for him? So, he has five almost new pairs of flannels for next winter, saving us quite a bit over buying him new ones. Besides, now I can tease him when he puts on bright yellow plaid pants. I count myself lucky to have a guy who is of a like mind when it comes to thrift.

    1. Mable, your story about the flannel pants made me laugh — my husband would do the same thing! He currently wears a long-sleeved T-shirt that I bought for myself, but the arms were too long. It’s maroon, so not a girly color, and he could care less that it came from the ‘women’s’ department — I mean, there’s no way to tell.

  26. I’ve given up on the book temporarily and am doing gardening clean up for today and tomorrow but just at my home. I’ve heard there’s a cougar that’s been seen on our street.
    I’ll be keeping my eyes open. The best clump of my hepatica is blooming. It’s beautiful. I’m going to soak some more seeds before planting them.
    The weather is beautiful here.

    To Elizabeth M.: It’s very wise on your part to be really cautious about covid now that cottages are opening up.
    To Brandy: Yes, I think it will be very tight times…that’s why i have a garden plot.

  27. Brandy: I wanted you to know I was thinking of you, I remember how much I missed my girls when they left home to go to college. Thank you for providing this space for us to learn and be. Your efforts are always appreciated.
    Be well.

  28. The bouquet is lovely! Your comment about the small plums reminded me that last year my husband picked two bags of small plums and brought them home. He made a batch of freezer jam with them all by himself and it was really good! We had some small savings this week:
    -Made pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie baked oatmeal from pumpkin bought on clearance.
    -Our tomato starts are growing well. We will be ready to plant them Memorial Day weekend. These will hopefully supply our tomatoes for canning for the year. Last year our tomatoes did not produce well and I did not have enough tomatoes canned to last the whole year.
    -We didn’t buy materials for raised beds for the garden as planned. The store was out of the wood we needed. Saved $150.00
    -Reworked the soil in a planter that hasn’t been used in a while. I am going to grow a variety of greens in it.
    -Moved a rosebush to try to make the area near our porch prettier. The flowerbed has needed to be redone for a while.
    -Sold our old broken car that has been sitting. Will not need to pay insurance or registration on it. Even when it worked we didn’t drive it much as I usually ride with my husband or use my daughter’s car.
    -A friend made us two fabric masks to wear if we do need to go out. We’ve been avoiding stores as much as possible and utilizing the grocery pick-up service.
    -Harvested the first three strawberries of the year from my plants. They were delicious! Last year was their first year, so I’m hoping they will produce well this year. Lots of little berries and blooms!
    Details on our week here: http://thebudgetinggranny.com/savings-and-goals-journal-4/
    Have a great week!

  29. I’m getting a little boring in my list. Sometimes lately I feel like I’m caught in that old movie “Groundhog Day” where the character lives the same day over and over:)…….yep, I worked on my yard and garden for hours and hours. Again. It doesn’t sound glamorous, but it’s keeping me sane and happy at home right now. I’m also getting a lot done, so that feels good, too. I harvested snow peas, lots of lettuce, basil, cilantro and green onions. Again. And, I cooked and cooked and cooked. Again. I cleaned and disinfected the doorknobs, bathroom and counters and lightswitch covers with bleach-water. Again.

    I did do a couple of different things, though. I went to the store for the first time in weeks–my husband’s been going for me. We’ve been going every other week, and this was the week. It was fun to pick out my own cucumbers. (Yes, I’m easily amused these days;)

    My husband and daughter made a worm hotel.
    My daughter has been showing a renewed interest in sewing all year, and she finished a skirt started a long time ago.
    I finished a dress I’ve been making for her. Pictures for all those sewing projects are on my blog: http://beckyathome.com
    She painted a lot of rocks red to put in the strawberry patch to hopefully fool the birds into leaving my strawberries alone.
    My husband rounded up some free netting from a grape farm. They discard it after each season. He’s going to use it on the blueberries when they ripen. He used up all we had on hand to net the lettuce. Of all things, the birds took some of mine down to stubs. We have a lot of birds in our yard. It may have something to do with the birdhouses all around, the bird feeders my husband fills with food……
    We have been teaching my nephew the names of birds and I try to identify any that come around that we don’t know. We do his homeschool 1-2 days per week, so are always looking for learning activities that he can do. I let his parents worry about whatever the school wants done for the on-line learning except Language Arts, which I do each week, modified to his level. Recently, at his home, they grew caterpillar larvae and got Painted Lady Butterflies. So, I had him look at some slides on the microscope of butterfly parts. Things like that, as long as he’s learning and engaged with useful, productive activities….that’s our goal. My daughter is done with her school for the year, except for a few math lessons. We are doing Biology when we have time, it’s for next year, though, so there’s no pressure.

    I love the flower bouquet. I love Larkspur flowers, especially. Even here, in the mild, mostly rainy Pacific Northwest, I’ve had the sun burn my blackberries, at my last house. They were the thornless ones. Now, these at this house….I think they are Marions….I dug up the bushes from the previous owner because they were encroaching on the neighbor’s fence, and moved them over 3 feet onto a support. Then my husband sprayed the fence line with Crossbow. And…I’m still killing them along the fence line with a hoe 3 years later! At my sister’s farm, she has the wild Evergreen ones at least 30 feet tall in trees, and we can go over there and climb a ladder to pick them when the season is favorable. (Some rain in the summer makes better berries–some years they are quite too dry to make nice, large berries). It is interesting and a learning curve to garden in each place.

  30. What a stunning flower arrangement! I love it.
    We have had 2 days of rain, so we are saving money on our water bill.
    I sold 2 more items on ebay, and used recycled shipping materials.
    We made scones, gluten free sourdourgh bread, gluten free crackers (with sourdough discard), peanut butter/chocolate chip bars, and all our meals.
    I borrowed my daughter’s favorite movie from someone in my Buy Nothing group. We watched it the evening that she finished finals. So fun!
    We have walked or biked for all errands nearby. The weather is still cool enough to do that.
    I have been busy sewing for my etsy shop etsy.com/shop/FabricSpeaks so I have had less time to cook. My husband has been stepping up to help with that. Good man! I have sold a few items, I am so thankful. Like Brandy’s, my husband is a bit older than me and I am hoping to supplement our income with my little side business, and perhaps build it up so it can help when he retires.
    I darned one sock. The other one is still waiting!

  31. I started back at work helping the elderly man. He has been depressed and his doctors said as long as I take precautions I could go back. I had slippers that were new, so I brought those there to wear inside instead of my sneakers. His daughter got gloves and masks for me to wear. I took him for blood work and a doctor’s appointment. He wanted to eat out. I explained that we still can’t. Instead we got pizza and ate it outside at his table. He was happy with that.
    I planted most of my garden. Hubby built me a new garden bed. It will be carrots and greens. I still need to plant them. We have our first fig on our fig trees. We didn’t get any last year so it is very exciting. My kale never died from last year since it was a mild winter. I have been picking it every 3 days. I offered some to a friend that is currently out of work and is worried her job will be gone for good. She happily accepted. Hubby and I went over and hung out with her and her husband social distance style. She gave me a bag of chocolate that she had made into golden snitches for a baby shower that was canceled. The kids loved them. She also gave me several favors that she made for the shower. Bottles of hand soap and washrags made into owls. They were so cute. It was nice hanging out and laughing. We plan on doing it at our yard this weekend. I plan on lighting the fire pit.
    My youngest daughter’s car radio stopped working. Hubby tried to fix it but no luck. So he ordered a new one and installed it himself. He also fixed a broken window screen.
    We received a check from our daughter’s college as a refund for some services she was unable to use since she has been home schooling for half of the semester.
    My daughter cut my hair. My daughter gave me an IOU for soft serve ice cream for Mother’s Day. We went on Wednesday when it was buy one get one free.
    I used the ham bone and made ham and lentil soup. It was enough for dinner one night. I packed away away enough for another dinner. I brought some for the man I help too.
    We haven’t had the AC or heat on all week. We ordered oil and it was $1.09 a gallon. We should be good for the whole summer now. All laundry has been hung outside to dry. Stay healthy everyone.

  32. Brandy your beautiful floral arrangement is stunning and made me look twice to see how it was put together.
    Here in the midwest…
    -We have enjoyed our meals at home and stretching what we have. I sorted and straightened the pantry and found things that I had forgotten about.
    -I repaired a grey sweatshirt, using matching thread, did a tight zig-zag like a button hole stitch and it’s hardly noticable. It’s my go-to for mending .
    -Getting a “good workout” installing some landscape pavers and rention walls to eventually start some “north wood” gardens. We are in zone 4 and I researched what grows and what does not. We moved here 3 years ago and have worked to make this house our home. My husband is all about “do it” yourself and has instilled that in me.
    -Reusing railroad ties, that held up a hillside and stopped erosion for years, to now shore up the lake bank.
    -I have started some seeds and will transplant soon.
    -I was able to give some fabric and elastic to my sister-in-law who is sewing for her soon to be granddaughter.
    -Enjoyed face time with sisters and our children. It brought tears to my eyes when my granddaughter hugged the screen good bye.
    -We reconnect a table top to it’s base. It worked and it being used.
    -Cut and stacked firewood .
    -Washed house windows and felt joy when the sunlight streams thru clean glass panes.
    Stay frugal friends-
    Thanks Brandy for this wonderful community made possible because you share your gifts with all of us.

  33. Hello! Brandy your photo of the apricots is amazing! I love how you always include a leaf in your basket, makes for a beautiful picture.
    Like many of the readers, I have spent many hours working outside in the garden and yard. The weather was perfect this past week so I tried to spend most of my time focused on my garden. This past week I received and planted seeds for lettuce, spinach and sunflowers from my buy nothing group. I was also gifted a pot of chives. I moved my strawberries to a sunnier location and placed used coffee grounds in the area. I have noted Becky’s idea of the red rocks around the strawberry patch to deter the birds. Our lawn was damaged over the winter due to the salt spread on our icy roads. We were able to use leftover top soil on the bare patches and fill in with grass seed. I cleaned out many of my perennial flower areas to make room for growing more food in my garden. I was able to list all the plants on my Buy Nothing Group and they were all claimed from my front porch. I also cleaned out a small shed in our back yard and posted some free plastic garden chairs that we no longer use.
    My husband dragged home a garden bench from a free pile that looked promising. We took it apart and I painted the wrought iron sides with black spray paint and then painted the slats a light cream colour. We put it back together and sold it for a profit of $45.
    Inside my house did not get very much attention….the only project I completed was painting 2 doors. Our meals were simple as we are getting low on fresh supplies. Laundry was hung on indoor drying rack, no purchases at all this past week.
    I am very grateful you are hosting every week Brandy! I always look forward to reading everyone’s accomplishment. Thank you for making this a positive and encouraging place.

  34. Hello from Estonia! Brandy, your photos are stunning as always. It is so nice to read about places where Spring has arrived since we are experiencing the coldest May in a long time. Tonight we had 5’F. The only good thing in this is that there are still no leaves on the big oak and maple trees in front of the house so the evening sun shines into our kitchen and living room.
    Since it is so cold, there is almost nothing growing in the garden. I have cut chives and ramsons (a type of leafy wild garlic) into salads, also I have made ramsons butter to eat with black bread. From my mother’s garden I got some rhubarb for cakes and pies.
    I mended a bunch of socks and a shirt.
    Due to quarantine, we have been at home on most days during the last two months, working from home. For the children there is “distance schooling” at the moment. Our petrol bill for April was only 1/4 of what it usually is!
    Since the weather is so cold, we need to heat the house more. I cook on the woodstove whenever possible, so some heating and cooking will get done simultaneously. A few weeks ago we employed a gardener (a friend who had less work than usual due to COVID-19) for a couple of days to take care of our hedges. He also cut down a huge old ash tree that was nearly dead – husband has less experience with cutting down trees and this tree was just next to the road so it was good to have professional help. My husband and the boys have been cutting it into firewood. Ash makes very hot fire so I have to be careful to mix it with other wood that we have, but it is good for cooking if something must be boiled or fried fast.
    At the beginning of quarantine we bought many things for our pantry since we had no idea how long it all will last and how things will develop. Now we are slowly eating through it. We keep buying milk products, fruit/vegetables and meat when it is on sale, though. And on some days we buy too much of something, like there will be banana bread or some other baked thing with bananas for today’s dessert because there are too many bananas at the moment.
    During quarantine we saved some money and we consider hiring a builder for some repairs at our house. Our middle son’s classmate’s father is honest and thorough man who knows about this type of work that we need help for. This week we hope to get the first informations from him how much it would cost and how long it would take. Some things we will make ourselves as they are simple like painting, but there is a lot of woodwork to do and we think it will be better when it gets done by someone who knows how to do it.

  35. I spent many hours in my garden this week. We had an unexpected temperature drop a week ago and my tomato plants were damaged. Instead of replanting, I pulled off the frostbitten leaves, fertilized, and this week they are sprouting new green growth on the tops. So we will see! I’m hopeful they will make a comeback.

    Cooked all meals from scratch. We have not eaten out in 10 weeks. Our budget has thanked us. This experience has been one of growth for me….Ive learned to make sourdough bread, my garden is the best its ever been, and good meals are on the table every night. My husband has pointed out many times how much he has enjoyed me being home. Its exhausting, hut homemaking is rewarding….I see the fruits of my labor, unlike at work. I enjoy living and creating, not just surviving until the weekend so I can do it all again the next week. Its been eye opening.

    The kids helped me make a homemade banana cream pie using ingredients we had on hand. One day I also caught them picking and eating spinach leaves right out of my garden. It was great to see and I left them to eat their fill, as long as they didn’t waste it. And they didn’t. I planted more spinach. We have been diligent about spraying our fruit trees this year and it has paid off….my peach tree is loaded with fruit. I can’t wait!

    I made your orange vinegar cleaner and used it in my carpet shampooer. My carpets got nice and clean and are soft. Ive been trying to use natural cleaners because my mom will be visiting in a month. She has COPD and many chemicals and scents irritate her lungs. I want her to be comfortable, so I’ve been focusing a lot on cleaning and have purchased some air purifiers. She was recently laid off and lost her health insurance. She went to go pick up a prescription with a manufactures coupon and they still wanted $560 for it.. it aas an inhaler that has no generic. She didn’t get it, but instead has been using her nebulizer morning and night.. she says she actually feels better without the inhaler and is breathing more comfortably. She sounds better over the phone. The state of Healthcare in our country is really something. I’m secretly hoping that she fairs better here in our weather and decides to move and be closer to us 🙂
    Have a great week, everyone!

    1. Bobbi, can she apply for Medicaid online? That could help cover the cost of her medicine.

    2. We found inhalers for both my SO and one of our dogs through Canada. Both were extraordinarily cheaper. The ones for the dog arrived this week – from a pharmacy in NZ! If she is over 50 she might contact the state or local branch of senior advocates. They might have other resources, including help from the drug company. Mary

      1. You should all be protesting to your government about the price gouging of your drug companies. I think it is unfair to you (and to Canadians) to get your drugs through Canada and I think you should not count on relying on that as who knows how long the government of Canada will allow such prescriptions to be filled online to outside of the country. Here the provincial government has limited prescription drugs to a one month supply so we cannot get more than one inhaler per month to prevent against drug shortages during covid which means we cannot have a backup inhaler in case of accidental loss of an inhaler (it happens when gardening, walking etc.). I am glad for your sake that you were able to get the prescription filled but be aware that the system in your country will never change without your electoral voice.

        1. I agree Ann – I get a number of prescriptions and I am now limited to a 30 day instead of a 90 day supply. While I understand and sympathize with those in the US who find it easier and cheaper to get drugs from Canada – I’ve always wondered how this is possible. We need prescriptions for most of the items people talk about getting online and through the mail and I don’t quite understand how this happens.
          If our government is now limiting what Canadians can have then why are they allowing non-Canadians access, especially as it seems to be a matter of finances rather than actual availability. Don’t want to be mean, and I do think what Americans are charged is just disgraceful but as Ann says – this should be something that you take up with your government, healthcare providers and pharma companies.

          1. The other thing I wonder about is aerosol inhalers if they are being shipped by air. That is really a potential hazard. Also, our drug costs although not subsidized directly or paid for us are, I think, subsidized by the federal government somehow. You all have my total sympathy for astronomical drug prices but it is rather curious that we are limited to a 30 day supply.

          2. I found a good online article about the issue. It says “A recent study estimates that the entire Canadian drug supply would be exhausted in 183 days, if only 20% of U.S. prescriptions were filled using Canadian prescription drug sources. There are other consequences, too.
            “Why Cheaper Drugs from Canada likely won’t cure what ails US”, theconversation.com

            It comes down to Canada has a centralized board that ensures the prices of drugs are reasonable. It, like any other countries, refuses to pay exorbitant prices. I would also wonder if drugs accessed online are made in Canada…

  36. Hi, everyone!!! One of my favorite ways to relax throughout the week is to see what everyone has been up to on here. I was picking up a couple sale items at Aldi and I always check butter prices. It was marked $1.88. I bought 8. I would have bought more but I didnt get a cart since I was only planning on picking up a few items. My arms were overloaded when I got to the register. My husband is working 36 hours of overtime this week. Unfortunately, a few co-workers have tested positive with the virus and quite a few in his department have been put on quarantine. They are wearing masks and being careful. I feel bad for them because my husband works in a steel mill and it is extremely hot and humid and muggy and dirty. Praying my husband stays healthy. I am grateful for the extra money to put in savings but also worried. I have been wanting to plant my garden but we kept getting frost and now way to much rain. Hopefully soon. A lady accidentally sheared off our wood mail box post. How she didnt hurt herself I don’t know but thankfully she was okay. Her car spun in our yard making a mess. Instead of buying a new wood post, my husband is using one from our playset we are in the process of tearing down. That is when it finally stops raining and he has a day off. Have a great week everyone!

  37. What lovely photos! This past week we were given 2 bags of dog treats from a friend whose dog is fussy. Our girl isn’t, she eats anything! Our car insurance rebated us 20%. My son & husband planted our garden, we have 3 types of tomatoes, zucchini, beans, 2 types of lettuce, 2 types of cucumbers and a variety of peppers. I planted basil, oregano, cilantro, sage and parsley in pots that I had originally thrifted & reused for years. We finally have spring weather here and we are loving having the windows open for fresh air, no heat or AC for us which is a savings. I don’t think I have mentioned that a robin chose the top of the light on our front porch for a nest. My daughter snapped a picture of 3 perfect blue eggs that I am going to print & frame to hang in our kitchen, so basically free art! Have great week everyone!

  38. Well, I completely missed last week’s post… I spent the whole week so busy with household things and rarely tore myself away! I organized my sewing space, deep cleaned the house top to bottom, started organizing the garage (again!) and cooked a lot. We also put in (most of) the rest of the garden. I’ve loved looking out my bedroom window and seeing things come up-everyday there is more and the potatoes are growing visibly each day!

    I’ve spent some time on instagram talking about how we do different things to save money, budget better, and make a home. It seems to be a blessing to some and it’s fun for me. I’ve always been terribly self conscious on camera, but I’ve been posting videos and it’s not as terrible as I’d feared!

    This month is a “5th Friday” month so I ordered my household items in bulk…walmart has next day delivery available again…as well as needed clothing items. Last week I had gone to Wal-Mart and found several pairs of shoes for the children for $2-4 per pair (even for my daughter who wears a women’s 10W). I also found matching navy blue church dresses for my 3 youngest daughters for $5 each.

    I accepted goldfish crackers and corn flakes from my mother in law. My husband’s grandparents are moving and we accepted a picnic table and several craft items.

    We ate all meals for the last two weeks at home.

    The children and I have been taking a walk every morning immediately after breakfast and chores. It’s been a great start to the day and it’s free!

    I finished matching skirts for all 4 daughters (they love to match) and started another one for my oldest who has a birthday coming up. I did some mending. It’s much more enjoyable to sew since my space is neat and tidy!

    I found out that the late frost here destroyed a lot of the orchards to the north, while the ones slightly south seem to have suffered less damage. All in all, I think we’re going to have less local produce available to purchase. We depend on those things so we’re keeping in close contact with orchard owners so that we can put in orders as soon as possible. I’m also trying to stretch the time between our grocery shopping trips to have more money available for bulk produce purchases. We’ll cut back elsewhere.

    We prepaid most of what it will cost to raise our hog this year. We’ll still have to pay for butchering in September.

    1. I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one who stands at my bedroom window staring out at the garden! It’s a great view.

      1. I do the same thing!!! Only I have a window from my bedroom, as well as one just a few feet away in my bathroom, both overlooking our garden. I absolutely love looking out each morning as I get ready each day. I confess though that it does delay my getting ready time since I am enjoying listening to the birds sing and enjoying looking at the flowers and veggies grow!

  39. That vase arrangement is real gorgeous. Brandi if you think your cutting flowers are enough for local selling you should really think about it. I think i remember so many summers ago,when you started giving garden tours to locals from the website and you had people come. How about virtual tours with paid content?
    Well I haven’t posted in awhile. I got sick back in March 18 which is about the time when the world shutdown. I got furloughed from my job by the following week which couldn’t be helped as I was sick but its been hard emotionally but it was probably for good. I just started working after being a SAHM after so many years. Had plans to save which I did and have the kids do extra classes in music and sport as I did growing up. We weren’t able to before but plans have been reset I suppose. I don’t know if it was the covoid-19 but I had all the symptoms.The fever and the burning of the lungs was the worst of it. I was in 3 weeks isolation from my kids and hubby in my home as a precaution. The loneliness really is a downer and physically when i did rejoined my family it has taken me another whole month to recover to my normal activities as a mom to 2 young ones. I was just so tired and needed a lot of breaks. I have spring allergies being here in Dallas so that doesn’t help the situation. By grace I am thankful my hubby has a good job, works at home and he was able to take care of our kids and responsibilities fairly well during that stressful time.
    Now I home school our littlest one with spectrum books from Amazon and my older one is finishing off his online school session-this week in fact. I will be summer-schooling him as well. I just learn to take the little joys of life everyday as it comes.
    At end of April, my sister had asked me to participate in a fundraiser to bring water for the people in the villages of Malawi, Africa. Can you imagine not being able to have access to water readily, having to walk miles to get to a river and then carry heavy water buckets back for your families. It was an amazing fundraiser and very humbling. It started out as a fundraiser with a mere goal for $50K by a christian nonprofit called Villages in Partnership and as of yesterday I am told for 33 teams across the country they were able to raise $200K. For a malawian living on $1/day thats a substantial amount as to what can be done as per digging wells etc. especially during this pandemic times. My team did pretty well raising close to twice what we originally intended and landed up being 15th place. I take this to be a highlight of my year as my childhood years till my early 20s was spent in Malawi and though my parents aren’t missionaries they still live in Malawi and are emotionally invested and tied to the communities in that country.
    Anyhow as per other frugal things, I have been switching off our A/C from keeping it running on. I open the windows always as the weather has been real good in Texas with a few all-rain days. I am grateful that we had stocked on asthma perscription meds for both my kids. My son has it bad in Spring and needs his meds almost everyday but not as bad as we had in NJ. We moved here since Sept. 2018 from NJ and in this new home/community just completed a year. I do our laundry on the low-usage hours of the day-late at night.
    I have been planting everything i can get my hands on from my kitchen. We indians cook alot with seeds, so mustard seeds, coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, chia seeds,chillies, ginger, garlic etc. My husband did manage to get some flower seeds for my joy but we will see what comes up. My husband is really good at guessing I don’t need much makeup or clothes but its these simple pleasures that bring joy. I had gotten a Meyer lemon tree for my summer birthday last year and unfortunately it died of root rot/fungus by end of Fall. Hoping to grow other fruit trees in the back. Our backyard is simply now a blank canvas with weeds and barely no grass now and I am looking forward to making the most of it without removing the wide-open space that the kids love for soccer.
    I continue to make our “dosa batter” every week(indian staple), make some other homemade snacks as well with my air-fryer. We still have a GC for foodhub from my hubby’s workplace so we will see where we can spend it soon as a treat. Oh i have been enjoying working out everyday from a site called Popsugar and if you follow your fav. instructors on Instgram you can get their other workouts free on IGTV. I really wish you readers a wonderful summer ahead and to be safe. God Bless!!

  40. Love, love, love your flowers! Just so thankful this week that everyone (except me as I’m still in recovery) is working and we are doing OK. Not enjoying the paycheck to paycheck living, but we just cannot touch our savings with such an uncertain future. We already were pared down; however, like others here, I’m still looking at ways to cut expenses and grow food. My goal this week is to reorganize the pantry now that my husband has put the new shelves up. We rescued a set from the neighbors outgoing trash but had to order (five dollar) connector pieces. The shelving is now broken into two units.

    My son only has four classes to finish college and he started one online yesterday. He’s paying for the rest of his college classes as he’s taking one at a time. He should have graduated this spring had back surgery and this virus not happened. Oh well, he has a good job and isn’t going anywhere (haha), so there is no hurry.

    Frugally, we are doing the same things as last week…exercising for free, yoga online, making sure there is no food waste, buying only the essentials, etc. Not frugal, but amazingly satisfying, we actually ordered a takeout pizza! I’ve tried and tried, but cannot make pizza that even comes close at home. I make calzones and hot pockets instead.

    Blessings to all.

  41. Brandy your garden and flower photos bring me so much joy. I have enjoyed daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths this spring but its too early for my other perennials. Our weather has been so unusual for May. My gardening plans are still on hold. We had widespread flooding in our county with 5″ of rain in the past 48 hours.
    My children raise and show chickens for 4-H. All 4-H activities including the county fair were cancelled for this year. I took my children to buy new chicks anyway. They need something productive to do this summer. They will be able to show these mature chickens in 2021. I happily had the children move the chicks out of the bathroom into their new coop this morning.
    I am still working on my storage room. It is a big task, but I am more concerned than ever about making sure we are set with supplies.
    I found strawberries on sale for .99 a quart. Did not think I would find them on sale this year. I purchased 10 quarts and made 14 quarts of strawberry jam plus a few leftovers for eating. I had my sons help me with crushing berries and measuring sugar. We were down to our final jar of strawberry jam so this was perfect timing.
    Meals at home were spaghetti soup, nachos with homemade guacamole, orange chicken with rice, pancakes, cabbage casserole, pork loin and potatoes, and spaghetti. (My husband’s favorite meal!) We have sandwiches or leftovers for lunch daily. Breakfast is either eggs, oatmeal, or granola.
    My son was able to repair my grinder so I am back to baking bread. I had been making white bread but my whole wheat recipe is much more moist and my children actually prefer it.
    We received credits for a cancelled vacation rental and auto insurance. These were put into savings.
    I cut my husband’s and 4 sons’ hair. This has saved me thousands of dollars over the last 28 years. My husband’s mother had always cut his hair. When we were first married he asked me to cut his hair. I think it took me two hours! I was terrified. My sons have extremely thick hair so I have also taught myself to thin hair (thinning shears from amazon), trim eyebrows, and also to trim my daughter’s ends. I even cut my dad’s hair a month ago. He was surprised at how professional it was. (I guess practice brings improvement!)
    Slowly getting asparagus from my plot. The weather has really slowed it this year.
    My dad has raspberry bushes growing on his property and he gave me permission to take as many as I care to.
    I watched an online meeting about growing herbs. It taught me a lot and I am excited to try my hand at growing and drying my own plants.
    I am losing weight and am grateful I stored my smaller sized clothing so I don’t have to purchase a new wardrobe. Time and again when someone needs something I am able to take it out of our attic storage and I feel so relieved that I don’t have to make an unneeded purchase. My daughter outgrew some clothing and we were able to gift it to a family in need. We are planning to go through some more of her things that she doesn’t use often to help them more. My 13 year old has gotten taller than his 19 year old brothers. He needed new pants badly. Our thrift stores remain closed. We shopped for new pants online. Prices were 70% off plus free shipping. Grateful he could get some new pants at a great price.
    Thank you all for sharing your lives. It might seem that your routine is boring or uneventful but I glean knowledge and ideas every week. I appreciate focusing on everyone’s positive accomplishments during this uncertain time.

    1. I made 14 pints of strawberry jam not quarts!
      I also wanted to thank Chris M for the chocolate sour cream cake recipe! I had overestimated the amount of sour cream for my twins’ open house last year and I froze the remainder. I thawed a container of sour cream and the cake turned out well. I’m sure the texture was a bit different, but everyone gobbled it up. I sprinkled it with powdered sugar for a simple topping.

  42. Although I am back at work, I am trying to continue on my decluttering mission for this year. So far, I’ve been keeping it going.

    My husband was always so bad at not putting things away if he thought he might need them again, be it in two hours or two years. Since his stroke has sidelined him and he won’t be using any of that anymore, I’ve been putting a lot of stuff away. I’ve carried a lot back out to our shed, which is on my list to be decluttered, but not until winter, when it is cool enough to stay in a metal shed and work. I finally cleaned off our side porch and it looks so much better! It’s free, gives good exercise and improves the look of the house greatly. The front was already done, and our back porch is about half-way done.

    I used a $50 gift certificate when grocery shopping last week. I shop for two weeks at a time, to avoid extra exposure, so I still spent more than that, but I was glad to be able to use it.

    I called the manufacturer of my husband’s continuous glucose monitor when his stopped working, and they are sending a new one free of charge. That’s a relief.

    My dog is a strong chew-er, and toys that she can’t destroy are expensive. It can be tiresome, but I hunt for and re-locate her lost toys every time, rather than pay that money again to get her new ones. She needs the chewing, so I make sure she has good chew toys, instead of shoes and furniture. A dog isn’t necessarily frugal, but she’s a great companion for my home-bound husband.

    The usuals — packing leftovers for my work lunches, cooking at home, growing some vegetables and fruits, hanging out as much laundry as I can, and trying to avoid the lure of re-opening stores.

  43. Hi All!
    It sounds like there are a lot of wonderful projects happening. I love the red rock idea for the strawberries! There seem to be more birds this year. My husband noticed it, too. Our garden is springing to life! I harvested quite a few strawberries, which I have washed, sliced and frozen. I’m saving them for our 22nd wedding anniversary Friday. I’ll make strawberry shortcake. In addition to the strawberries, our lettuce and broccoli raab are gorgeous and delicious. I continue to harvest carrots, green onions, and herbs. As soon as my self-watering pots arrive, my herbs will be transplanted. This will give me another bed for veggies. Self-watering is a must as I am not diligent about watering and have learned the hard way. ? I’m planning to re-do valances and panels in our family room and kitchen. After 16 years, a fresh look will brighten the heart of our home. I saved $35 by looking through my pattern stash. I will use. McCall’s M4536 Brittany valance pattern, bought years ago at $0.99, rather than a similar M’Fay pattern. I think I can save $9/yard using a coupon + Memorial Day sales. Now for a whole lot of math to determine yardage with pattern repeat! My daughter wants a hair trim. I ordered hair shears and have been watching You Tube. I figure it’s an investment for the family. In addition, I canceled Starz since the Outlander season is over as well as our gym membership. We don’t plan to return after SIP lifts. We can workout safely at home. Have a blessed week!

  44. I’m like a lot of you, I feel like a shortage of food may be in the future and high Food prices. I implemented zero waste in the kitchen and doubled my efforts in the garden. I should have the dehydrator, canner, going at all times. Right now I’ve got the leftover bread ends in the dehydrator to make bread crumbs. I’ve already done basil and mint this week. I bought a book on foraging and learned 3 new plants that are edible in my yard and taught the kids.
    I was saddened to learn California schools are having drastic cuts in funding. I’m facing the possibility of homeschooling and your website and recommendations have been very valuable to me. I have already gotten the supplies for the kindergartener, still working on the others.
    I hope people are taking frugal steps right now. You can’t suddenly wake up one day and live a self-reliant way. It takes years to accumulate tools and skills, it takes planning to be the little pig with the brick house, so to speak. Your blogs since 2012 are very inspiring.

    1. I read about California school funding cuts yesterday. Good luck with homeschooling! Check what your state laws are for fall. Each state has different requirements on how you register as a homeschooler. Our school days have continued as normal for us right now. I never expected that it would be such a blessing, but it has been!

  45. Just also wanted to add that these are my other savings during the time I was in isolation:
    Chatted with my TV/Internet provider and got them to give basic internet with the good internet service. We actually have basic cable and even an alarm system provided by our community for which we pay HOA for. Save about $25/month for this now. we have amazon prime and youtube to fill in the gaps for the kids.
    Chatted with my bank to see about a HELOC option or Refinance options. THis took time but we are sort of holding off as refinance still as it still costs us and we are making an extra payment on our mortgage anyhow for a 30 yr. Still an ongoing debate between myself and hubby as to doing it and unresolved.
    When I was sick I actually had to pay $500 OOP to the hospital which was just about the time my hubby decided to upgrade some parts of our health insurance. It kicked in and so by May 15 we got everything paid back by the hospital.
    Reusing jars,egg cartons and containers around the house for all the plantings of seeds and starters. Also reusing lots of cut veggies to regrow them as well.
    Saving egg shells for the single bed of tomatoes that my hubby insisted on us growing. I know they need them eventually.
    Fingerling potatoes are next to be planted and I just use plastic straws and bits of cardstock I had lying around as plant markers.
    we used our $3400 Govt. quarantine rescue check to pay off my CC which is a blessing. I don’t like debt in any form but moving state to state is expensive and so is settling in a bigger home though its a 700 ft more with a substantial yard than our starter home in NJ.
    my youngest had her bday earlier this month but we made a bday cake for her with frosting, printed out some free cut downloads from a site called uncommongoods.com (really cute and clever downloads for different themes)and did an art for mother’s day too as it fell around then. Posted it on FB to send it to the moms in our lives.
    Thats all I can remember now-Have a good week!!

    1. Sheeba,

      Consider a refinance through another company. Banks charge the most fees and higher rates. If you can drop at least 1 percentage point, it would be worth it.

      1. Sheeba, my son and daughter-in-law refinanced in March. They are saving .9 of 1% (interest went from 4.25% to 3.35%) , but the appraisal put their equity at more than 20%, which meant they could drop PMI. Net result: with no out-of-pocket re-fi expenses, they are saving around $2,000 a year. Plus, they closed in early April, and don’t have to make their first payment until June 1 = 2 months with no house payments. It couldn’t come at a better time!

      2. Is there a possibility since your family is in the real estate business that you could do a post on paying off your mortgage during these times??
        I have been cruising youtube trying to find out what we can do. I just know our biggest expense as with many in this world your shelter whether renting or owning a home will be your biggest expense. if you lose a job and have savings practically you would use your savings and not a CC to pay off your expenses but what if you are sitting on equity and you know as a buffer you only have so much months that your savings would cover-what would you do?

        1. Sheeba,

          I don’t think most people have several hundred thousand dollars in savings to pay off their mortgage.

          It sounds like you’re talking about taking out a second from your equity to pay your first? That doesn’t make sense to me.

          If you’re struggling and have savings, I would pay your mortgage first. Your emergency savings is for just this–an emergency. Use it.

          Utilities next, but if you are having trouble, check into what help is being offered from your local utility companies. For example, our power company is offering pay half, defer until September, then add the rest on for 18 months spread out. (It was in their latest email today). Do all that you can to keep your utilities as low as possible.

          You can use the food bank for food, so no need to go into debt there. If you have no income, you might also qualify for SNAP, but start with the food bank. SNAP has stricter requirements and you have to apply by state. Here is the info: https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/recipient/eligibility

          Sell anything you aren’t using/don’t need. It’s hard because you may not be able to have a garage sale now, depending on where you live. But if you can, sell what you can. We’ve had tight months before and I’ve used garage sales to pay our bills. As a lot of people have been cleaning out their homes, and thrift stores haven’t been open, your friends might have items sitting around, waiting to be donated. Tell them you’ve lost your job and are having a garage sale to pay your bills, and if they have anything they’ve cleaned out recently that they were planning to donate, you would be willing to pick it up from their doorstep if they’ll let you sell it at your garage sale.

          Here is my post on having a successful garage sale: http://theprudenthomemaker.com/how-to-host-a-successful-garage-sale/

          If you can’t have a garage sale, list items for sale on local Facebook garage sale pages and Craig’s list.

          Look for new jobs. Apply for unemployment. Do what you can to stretch that savings to cover your mortgage and bills for as long as possible.

          I’ve done this before more than once. More than twice, even. Good luck on the job hunt.

          1. Sheeba, you are clearly doing a lot of things right, and Brandy has given you lots of good ideas. I understand the desire to lower your house payment, but I don’t get how a HELOC would accomplish this in any way. It would just add another monthly payment! If you can do a re-fi, now would be the time. Interest rates are at historic lows. A good place to start would be with a mortgage broker, not the bank. BTW, most people pay off their homes over a period of many years–usually decades. Some accelerate it by making extra payments or paying extra every month. Some inherit money (usually from their parents), but this is usually toward the end of the mortgage.

            The one thing Brandy didn’t mention in so many words was a budget. A budget will tell you if you have enough money coming in and how to allocate it. Talk this over with your husband, don’t spring it on him. As I said, you are clearly doing a lot of things right, and this will go a long way toward helping you stay on budget. Something else you can do, and you can do it today, is to cancel memberships, subscriptions and contracts. I’m embarrassed to say I neglected cancelling Weight Watchers for 6 months after I stopped using it. Prepaid cell phones can be big moneysavers, they don’t require a contract and you can keep your phone number. If you have two cars, and your husband works at home, can you sell one car? If I were considering this, and I owned one car outright and was making payments on the other, I’d sell the one with the loan (there are a few reasons you might not do this, such as being upside-down on the loan, the other car needs tires and a new transmission, etc…………..but I would not necessarily keep the newest and best vehicle. Also, you will be able to drop insurance and licensing on the car you sell.

            1. Maxine,
              Great points. The only thing is, she can’t refinance if she’s out of work.

          2. Thank you for writing this -I appreciate it… i know I may have to do more research for our situation…I appreciate your writing in response nonetheless…

          3. I was assuming (and one should never assume!) that they bought the house before she went to work, therefore qualified on her husband’s income alone. But you are right, if they qualified on their combined income, she would need to have a job again.

  46. Hi Brandy. I am just writing to thank you for taking the time to run this blog/website. I have read it nearly daily for over 10 years and cannot thank you enough for the hints, tips and glimpse into your life. In good times and bad, I think of you and the readers who post and I am so very thankful for the community you have created. I’ve lived a better, more enriched life and never felt alone during difficult financial times. (As a side note, I’m so happy you spelled out that you receive a commission on any Amazon purchase made going through your link. I will always click through your site from now on as a small token of appreciation.)

  47. Wow, i can’t believe a second child of yours is leaving the nest! That must be tough. I’ll bet the younger siblings miss them terribly.
    I seem to be in a funk, yet again. This malaise is making me lazy. I find ways to try to trick myself into moving. I still walk with two or three friends almost every day. If i were on my own i’m sure i’d find an excuse to not walk. I try to do yoga every day. I mostly succeed.
    The freezers are full so we haven’t spent much money on food.
    For years, we’ve been discussing buying a gun. We finally bought one last week. I’m still not sure how i feel about it. We are not hunters so this is only for protection. We will take a safety class when one opens up which is free. The gun was a trade-in so it was a decent price.
    I spent several days weeding all the beds around the house. I even turned over the compost can and distributed that where it was needed. Whatever didn’t break down went back in the can for the next batch. I’m still waiting for seeds (?) and plants to arrive, this week, i hope. I did find some spinach and kale seeds on a rare trip to walmart last week. A friend gifted me two zucchini plants that really need to be planted out. Our official last frost date was the 15th so we’re right there.
    I baked cookies from dough i made and froze some weeks ago. My husband thinks i’m a genius! hehehehe
    For once, i baked two very different items in the same oven heat. That rarely happens for me.
    I’m still enjoying flowers i received for Mother’s Day from my children. I didn’t care for the container they came in but a friend did. So, she’ll put it to good use.
    I still save shower warm-up water. Since our house is so moist, we turned the dehumidifier on upstairs for the summer. That water is great for dishes. I heat it on the gas stove before using it.
    That’s about all i can remember. Nothing much but that’s how it goes sometimes! Have a fabulous week!

    1. I use my dehumidifier water for laundry. We have extremely hard, rusty water. It is hard to get soap sudsy. Even with a large water softener and rust pellets the water is still hard. I love it when it’s time to run the dehumidifier so that I have softer water to add to the laundry!

      1. Are either of you in the area of MIchigan where the dams breached causing devastating flooding ? Added misery for sure.

        1. I’m about 30 minutes South and West of Sanford. My aunt lives there and had to evacuate. She is in a hotel in Midland currently. She has no idea if her home is still there or not. Such a stressful event at an already difficult time. I cannot believe the devastation. Both Wixom Lake and Sanford Lake are gone. All that water is moving south through Bay City, Midland, and Saginaw where the Tittabawassee river empties into Saginaw Bay on Lake Huron. We have had our own flooding and road washouts along the Chippewa River. I am thankful it wasn’t like our floods in 2017. Thank you for asking.

          1. I, too, have been thinking of the people of Michigan. I saw the photos of the flooding. Thoughts and prayers for you all.

          2. Quick Update: My aunt’s crawlspace flooded but her home was spared! We are so grateful for this blessing. She was able to return home this evening. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Many area residents were not so lucky.

        2. I’m in the U.P., a long way from the floods. We’ve been discussing moving and Midland was on the list until this happened. My husband went to school there. Such a disaster!

          1. Momsav-I’m not sure that the dams will be repaired and create the lakes again. The company that owned the dams had been in violation for many years. Who knows how long litigation will take? Midland is really a lovely city, We like to enjoy many community events there. You’ll have to see what happens in the future.

  48. Greetings Brandi, I have followed you off and on since you first basically started your blog now web site. It is great to see you have a fantastic site still. I added you to my FB page a while back so I could keep up the contact.

    Like everyone is the Seattle Puget Sound Region we have been under lockdown.. My family’s day to day life those has not really changed fortunately. I know so many are having a hard time. My son works from home. My grandson is homeschooled. I teach online economics for a CA University. My husband is bedridden. We receive a steady retirement and Social Security. We though have been in hyper drive making sure we have updated our food storage. All I have done since February has been to teach 75 online students and order from Costco and Amazon supplies we need for the several months at best and at worst the next several years. So my savings have been future savings. Recently my teaching load moved from 2 classes to 1. Yes I am taking a cut in pay but I am loving the time to now organize. I have most of the raised beds filled with growing veggies. Last week I have enjoyed lettuce and garlic tops. They are like green onions but that garlic taste has made my baked potatoes delicious. Fortunately these garlic came from a bag of garlic I bought during the winter from Costco. I planted a potted orchard in 2010. We set up hoses to water them years ago. Now we have the best hose watering system for the raised beds. I have been working on my long term storage more than anything. The big savings is we are not using the car hardly at all. Each month the insurance company has been refunding me money. Fortunately my son and I in December traded my Honda Odyssey and his Honda Fit to get a Honda CR jointly. It saved us $600 a month between us in insurance and payments. I saved money this last week by not needing the lady usually cleans my house but during this time I have had her help me put in the garden instead. I am not having her come into the house for her safety and our safety. I didn’t need her help this week. Savings $75. Last week we put together a new over the sink dish drain. I am really excited about it. I got it on Amazon. Yes spendy but it will help me have more counter space, sink space and less paper plates. My personal goal now is to bring order to this long term storage and get the kitchen organized. Since February I have tried to say ahead of the “panic” buying. I could see what would happen so I ordered early the items I knew that would disappear from the shelves that I used regularly. We have talked abut chickens but at this point I am using a local Milkman service for eggs and milk weekly. Being local they have a steady supply at least at this point. With the just-in-time supply chain under strain I am trying to establish local buying also. I joined a Seattle Backyard gardening group on Facebook – free. They have already proved helpful. As I said I have been buying long term to save money in the future. Fun to see what everyone else has done!

  49. All of the work you are doing in your garden is inspiring! Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were crispy haddock with corn on the cob, ground beef and mac, seared salmon with roasted red potatoes and brussel sprouts, grilled steaks with baked potatoes and tossed salad.
    *Hosted a ladies bible study on Zoom.
    *Ordered 10 – 4×6 pics from Snapfish with a free coupon code. I’ll use one of these to frame for a Father’s Day gift.
    *Ordered a circular puzzle and a pair of Reebok joggers for future gifts when I saw them on deep discount.
    *Received a $38 rebate from our car insurance company.
    *Accepted a basket from my mom with cookies she didn’t care for and 2 peanut butter cookie mixes that were almost out of date.
    *Friends of ours brought over pizza and we ate outside. I made homemade salsa with items we had on hand along with tortilla chips. We had an outdoor fire and provided s’mores.
    *Potted some cilantro seedlings for a friend of mine.
    *Walked with a friend for fellowship and exercise.
    *Paid bill online.
    *Had a free pizza lunch at work one day.

  50. What beautiful photos, as always! And what a deal on your son’s travel expenses and housing! It must be so satisfying to see your children make smart decisions as they start to leave the nest!

    My frugal week:
    – I baked a loaf of no-knead bread, and served it with homemade grape jelly made in the fall from free grapes. I also baked a pizza, as well as Shortcut ‘Everything’ Bagels (http://approachingfood.com/preservative-free-shortcut-everything-bagels/).
    – I needed to buy some clothing as so much of mine is simply worn out. I was able to find a really good online sale, 30% plus 20% off, plus an additional 20% promo code when I signed up for their emails. I made sure that returns were free if necessary.
    – I took advantage of a free shipping sale to buy a jar of my favourite night cream. I compared the discount from the free shipping to a discount code I had, to see which would save me more. I will also get a free hand sanitizing spritzer included with my face cream, which will certainly be useful in these times.
    – I was able to get some high-end strawberry and chocolate tea from a client and re-gifted some to my childcare provider, packaged nicely in a recycled jar. I also made several batches of iced sun tea.
    – I took home some unwrinkled kraft-style paper from items shipped to my workplace for my daughter to draw on (I quarantined it for a week first).
    – I made several batches of a lemon garlic tahini dressing, and used it as a dip for carrots for my work lunches and as the dressing in chicken Caesar salad.
    – My workplace bought us pizza for lunch one day and I ate reheated leftover pizza for lunch for two additional days. I’m quite ok with eating reheated pizza if it means a free lunch!
    – I baked Brandy’s lemon poppyseed muffins to bring to work as an apology for having to miss a day of work when my childcare provider fell ill. I made a glaze out of lemon juice and icing sugar to top the muffins with. Not only were my coworkers happy to have me back at work to share the load, but they were happy to have freshly baked muffins too! Much more frugal (not to mention healthier) than bringing in a box of doughnuts!
    – I grated a cauliflower to make cauliflower rice and froze it, to make sure it didn’t go to waste before I could cook it.
    – I went shopping in a store for the first time in 6 weeks (with appropriate safety precautions in place), and bought plants. I bought a four pack each of grape tomatoes, zucchini, parsley, and basil, as well as a coleus and a dahlia, all for under $15 including tax!
    – And finally, I cut my husband’s hair at home.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone, as always!

  51. I am so thrilled – the Hakurei turnip seeds germinated in just 2 days. They are in jiffy sevens right now and when they are a bit bigger I’ll put them into the big garden pots. Then I’ll cover them for a few days with mason jars. My tomato plants were delivered today. They look very healthy — one variety is Oregon Spring which matures quickly, produces heavily, is meaty and perfect for sauces. I was surprised to see that my main rhubarb plant is ready to harvest. I will probably just freeze it for the short term and use it for jam later. My strawberry plants need transplanting. They are blooming and have set their first berries. I am thinking of making carrot jam this year — has anyone done that? I could not believe it that one of my clematis plants is up two feet. I managed to get the dead leaves and stems cut off . I have a few more peonies to tidy up and then that bed will be done. I may plant the odd cabbage between the peonies — don’t know yet. We had rain so I seized the opportunity to do a bit of tidying up in the flower bed on the theory that it wouldn’t be as dusty as when it is dry. It was a bit better for my allergies. I know it sounds funny but I feel, finally, as if I’ve arrived at home. It is a state of mind. The book still requires work but I am starting to clean up — some things I cannot do because of my arm but I do as much as I can do. Because of needing new glasses I can’t see well but I’ve been watching a little warbler — a flycatcher — flit high up in the air, catch insects and then return to the same perch and then start all over again for about half an hour. And I saw a hummingbird so I need to get the feeder out..

  52. We are home bound and boring. The most excitement is watching the chicks grow and occasionally spotting a swallowtail butterfly in the backyard.

    * started more seeds: 2 kinds of peppers, a local variety of milkweed, cantaloupe, and patty pan squash
    * I’ve been experimenting with germinating mango pits from grocery-store mangoes: two of them have sprouted and put the larger one in a pot of soil this week
    * Harvested boysenberries
    * Making more face masks from a flat sheet–I’m a new sewer so work slowly but it’s coming along
    * Oats, chia seeds, salt and water go in to the rice cooker at night before bed and it’s ready and warm in the morning thanks to the porridge setting and the timer.
    * I’ve been buying “whole seed” versions of many spices–partly because they’ll keep longer and partly so I can use the seeds in the garden to launch new plants.
    * Our basic staples are topped up because we’re a little worried about a “second wave” of infections as things open up and we want to be able to stay home for a long stretch if need be.
    * canceled Epix subscription after watching the series Belgravia

    1. Jen A, grocery store culinary spice seeds are often treated to prevent germination. I’ve not had any luck germinating even organic culinary spices in seed form that were purchased from a wholesale distributor (so presumably fresher.)

  53. I love your flower arrangement Brandy it is so pretty and colourful 🙂 . Good to see your son got to his apartment by a cheaper means of transport and it setting himself up well and the rent is really cheap including all the facilities/services he is getting in the price too. Glad you were able to harvest so much from the gardens plus a few surprises .

    Our savings added up to $546.56 in savings last week :).

    Service to others –
    – DH and I volunteered to deep clean the local RSL sub branch for opening Saturday. We swept, dusted, wiped over all surfaces with soapy water and then disinfectant and did the same with the floors and mopped them twice, once with soapy water and once with disinfectant. It took us 4 hours to complete it but it is sparkly clean and smells of a lovely pine fragrance now.

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    Finances –
    – Paid an extra part payment off our mortgage.
    – Deposited more money into our 3 month living expenses emergency fund bringing us to 64.77% of the way there.

    Purchases –
    – From IGA on markdown we purchased a tomato and smoked garlic topside roast and jam and cream roll, on near half price specials we also purchased blocks of Old Gold chocolate and on half price special cup of soups saving in total $26.56 on usual prices.
    – From Woolworths on special we purchased on half price specials Steggles family roast chickens and Old Gold chocolate saving in total $20 on usual prices.
    – Bought a set of trailer ramps to replace ones that broke here on eBay saving $50 over buying them elsewhere.

    In the gardens –
    – Pruned the tomato bush branches off the bushes that were touching the ground.
    – Separated out and transplanted out silverbeet seedlings growing too close together.

    Firewood –
    – From our secret squirrel location we cut free 3 cubic metres of large ironbark logs up to 40cm in diameter for firewood saving us $450 on buying it in.

    Have a wonderful week ahead everyone 🙂 .


  54. The past few weeks I have been working on reducing food waste. I am getting better. Still just basically just driving to work and back I did see a few friends in a socially distant way last weekend. Free and good for my mental health.
    I got my car into the shop for repairs and it was cheaper than I had budgeted for, so that was good. However, it has additional problems that would cost me more than the car is worth. Now I am faced with shopping for a new used car in this pandemic. Thankful that this car that I am driving now should last a few more months.
    Thank you Brandy for everything you do !

  55. I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s accomplishments, and enjoy this blog. Thank you so much, Brandy. I agree that there are likely tough times ahead, and I think blogs like this will be so helpful for many people when we all need to support one another. I’m so grateful for this blog and like-minded folks! I harvested my first round of romaine lettuce from my Aerogarden – it was a HUGE bounty, just about 3 weeks after initial planting. Excited to see how it regrows after harvest, although I have several other seed pod kits to try in case it does not regrow well. I am just excited to have lettuce during the hot weather here. Also harvested a couple of small tomatoes and peppers from the patio container garden. I am still working at home. I work for a large church and our campus has been closed since mid March. I know we are closed through at least June, so I honestly don’t know when I will be back in the office. We may not go back to in-person worship until the fall. I am so grateful for all of our employees, we still have paychecks and health insurance. My husband is still working as normal – his job is essential (DoD manufacturing) so he hasn’t missed any time. At home I have been keeping up with cleaning, laundry, etc. so that is nice. And obviously I am saving money on makeup. Haha. We have eaten most meals at home although we have been trying to support local restaurants as well by ordering. Our weather has been quite warm compared to some of you here – 80s/90s during the day and upper 60s at night. Running the a/c due to humidity and temperatures, but fortunately it has not been running too much, and we use fans indoors to circulate the air. We went to our first estate sale in months last weekend. I bought a new condition KitchenAid mixer (back when they were made in USA by Hobart) for $30, in a color I liked no less, so I was quite excited about that. The least expensive I have seen them at previous sales was $90 and that was in poor condition. I previously had a newer model (purchased for us in 2000 as a wedding gift) that I had given away last year to a friend who bakes often and really needed one. This one is actually much nicer than the one we had before and I like the color better, so I am thrilled. Have been staying stocked up on staples – pantry goods, and especially meat for the freezers. If we use something up, I restock it the next time I’m out, rather than waiting for one larger shopping trip. I have been doing the same with gas since the prices are so low, I top off when I go out so keep my tank full. I have a lot of concerns about the food supply and especially meat prices with everything going on. I believe prices will continue to rise and more items will become scarce. We are already seeing “rationing” and restrictions here – most stores are limiting meat purchases to only 1 or 2 packages per customer. I hope I am wrong, but I know that is why many of us have started trying to grow more and take precautions to prepare. I hope everyone here has a lovely week and stays safe and healthy!

  56. Planted spinach and swiss chard in the garden last night. We hope to do the rest of the planting this evening after work because rain is forecasted for tomorrow and Friday. Our last frost day is around May 15th. My biggest win was that I was able to sell my beekeeping equipment. I’m also making myself use up the unusual cuts of frozen beef in our deep freeze before moving onto to anything fresher. I made oven roasted ribs last night and they were delicious. It may sound odd, but I never had ribs at home growing up so I had no idea how to cook them.

  57. The amount of fruit you grow is truly remarkable. My potted lemon gets maybe 2 fruit at most. Of course no apricots grow here, that I know of.

    We’ve had so much rain here and plants are very happy. I swear my okra plants that were struggling, even with every day watering, grew about 6”! Turmeric is starting to leaf out and yams are going crazy. We put in tall wooden supports found on bulk trash and I planted more yams to grow up them. We made salads that included cranberry hibiscus leaves and pellitory (tastes like cucumber). We used nut pulp from making nut milk in savory pancakes for breakfasts. With so much rain, it’s been cool so we’re still enjoying soups.

    Our window restoration project is moving along (I need to paint the frames today or tomorrow) so our contractor can replace them next week. Other projects are moving along, and this past Saturday, we went out for brunch with our Family Physician to our favorite restaurant (we always eat outside there, anyway) and visited with friends at their home afterwards. It was such a welcome change!

    We’d picked up a bunch of stuff people moving, or purging, were throwing away, and stored it for months. The state is opening up and Monday I called and I found out my favorite thrift store (St. Vincent’s) has been open the entire time so I didn’t have to store all the stuff for those months! We took lots of stuff there and it was good to get rid of it!

    Wishing all a happy weekend!

  58. *I’ve been picking up free school lunches every day. My kids don’t like the lunches so I have been re-making them for meals. The free milk and chocolate milk have been a great blessing. As well as the fruit and veggies included with each lunch. I’ve put much of the meat in soups/casseroles/salads. The bread has been used to accompany the meals. The school is less than 2 miles from my house so I or my husband can combine with other errands.
    *We had a small family event to celebrate. I used gifts I had on hand to give to our family member.
    *I have a senior in high school. Our neighborhood ward organized an event where each senior was in a vehicle with the parents driving. The vehicle was decorated by posters and balloons that our ward provided. The senior was given candy from the ward to toss out to the ward members as they drove by their homes. Music was played and the neighborhood was able to celebrate these graduates that they knew as most had grown up in the ward. It was a wonderful way to celebrate the graduation in a more personal way. We were surprised to have candy/money given to each graduate from the ward members. My daughter received $52.20 which will be a blessing in her savings account. No money out of pocket for us for the event except for the gas used to drive our truck. Each graduate was dressed in their cap and gown. Pictures were taken by cell phones and shared on our neighborhood page.
    *We did do graduation announcements but went with the cheapest option for prints and my oldest daughter took her pictures and edited them for her. They turned out so beautiful! She is graduating with high honors and will be using her scholarship to attend a local university to get a degree in nursing.
    *My husband and I went out for a date night with friends and used gift cards for our meal. It was wonderful to see friends again.
    *My garden is growing very well so far! Onions have started to come up and one potato plant. Everything else appears to be green and healthy. We’ve been blessed with cooler temps and some rain. I’m also loving my flower beds and all the beautiful colors that are in them. My peonies just started blooming this week.
    *I have enjoyed the cooler temps by also spending time outdoors sitting in a rocking chair under one of our shade trees. I get hot very easily and so I really enjoy the cooler temps and shade! I love to listen to the leaves rustling and seeing them wave hello to me with the light breeze. I feel so much peace as I enjoy the quiet in the late afternoon. I can see my garden and hear birds chirping. It brings me a quiet joy.
    *Our library has opened again and I’ve been able to pick up books to read. I missed my library so much!
    *I have been doing cross-stitching in the evenings using items I already have on hand. I also have been watching shows on Amazon Prime.
    *I love your pictures, Brandy, and this blog. Thank you for the opportunity to read so many inspiring posts each week. I so appreciate the encouragement to start a big garden. It has been truly wonderful to see things grow!

  59. This was small-amounts-of-cash-matter day.
    My son won $25 in our local newspaper Bingo game. I think not many people play, as he has won before. If he is looking at the paper anyway, it doesn’t take much time to check the numbers.
    I sent for gift cards from our health insurance rewards program, from points I had earned from reading perky healthy living short articles. Even though we have one policy, my husband and I can each get points separately.
    I use my cell phone, “Son of Flip Phone”, only for emergencies when traveling or now with curbside pickup on the rare times I go shopping. My plan is ancient, and the company was sold, (Virgin Mobile to Boost Mobile). When I logged on to add the required quarterly payment, previously $25 plus tax for a set amount of service I never use much of, the website just said to make a payment and didn’t list an amount. I put in ten dollars and seem to be set for another three months. As I have built up a good amount of unused credit that rolls over, not having to add $25 four times a year will save me a lot if I can get by with perhaps $5 each time.
    My husband is making cinnamon rolls and I measured the rolling pin Once Again so I can try to remember the size to measure out the correct dough size. (ten inches of marble, four for each handle).
    I was very impatient to plant things in my yard, but waited until the frosts had really stopped, and planted seeds right before it rained for two days. I am so pleased that I have seeds sprouting– parsley, basil, green onions, lettuce, marigolds, and carrots– and volunteer morning glories and pansy plants from last year. Some seeds were new and some a year or more old. I hope to get some flower seeds planted tomorrow before we have a week of rainy weather. I have trouble watering tiny plants without drowning them, so I’d rather the showers do it naturally.
    I started sweet peas inside, the only thing that survived of what I attempted, and moved them to big pots outside. So far, the squirrels have left them alone, perhaps because I put black plastic forks, tines up, in the soil around the edges of the pots, so digging in there would be uncomfortable. I hope this works until they bloom! as I’ve had sweet peas before but never any blossoms. For trellises, I put up yard sale things, one a grapevine swag and the other a sun shaped metal picture holder.
    I cut my bangs, rather erratically, yet it gives the effect of a whole haircut for my short hair. No one outside the family is seeing me now anyway.
    I love the seed head photos at the top of this page! So delicate and fragile looking, and so strong!
    Thank you all for sharing your accomplishments here, and Brandy for hosting.

  60. Hi, I am thankfully for this blog. My husband is back to work and so this will help us, my small check has been doing it since March and with the govt. quarantine rescue check I have enough pay all the bills until July without dipping into saving. My middle son has help with groceries. My garden is doing good especially with all the rain we have here. I have order some peaches from the Georgia peach truck. Thank you for all that you do and everyone who comments I have learn so much from all of you.

  61. I ordered more beans from Walmart.com and had them shipped to my daughter, along with canned carrots and beets. I also ordered more rice and tuna and had it shipped to my oldest son who lives about four hours away from me, depending on traffic. I ordered more beans for myself and had them shipped to me. I am trying to stay out of the stores as much as possible. I can easily take food to my two youngest kids because they live within about an hour and a half from me. I just want to make sure all of my kids are stocked in basics. I am still harvesting mulberries from my tree but this should be the last week. I still think I need to stock up on beans, pasta, canned tomatoes, canned greens, and horseradish. I eat horseradish with almost everything….. lol. I could use a little bit more in “fancier” foods also, but I am concentrating on the basics at the moment.

  62. Today we enjoyed a salad from our garden. We have been picking asparagus. Turning off lights, Using curbside service at the library. Using the internet for entertainment.
    I may be homeschooling both of my grandchildren this coming year. I am looking forward to it!
    I enjoyed reading everyones comments.

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