My husband and I celebrated 21 years of marriage this week. We don’t go out but a handful of times a year. Our anniversary is usually one of those rare meals out. We went out for lunch instead of dinner as it is less expensive and were the only patrons in the restaurant.

Watching the drought news (I read around five articles a day on the subject), I decided to order some seeds for the garden now for next spring. Most I can plant in the fall anyway, but I ordered large amounts of each so that I can plant at both times. I think seed prices will be much higher next year as more farmers leave fields unplanted due to lack of water, and the heat is already reducing yields for many farmers.

My husband and I laid sod ourselves in the garden, rather than hiring someone to do it. We now only have one area with sprinklers that is 302 square feet. We left this one area with sprinklers by the swings for the children to play in. Then we have two round areas on underground drip; one is 128 square feet and the other is 175 square feet (so half is on drip and half is on sprinklers for a total of 605 square feet of grass). These are by the merry-go-round and the trampoline so that the children can continue to play on them barefoot without worrying about burning their feet. The drip irrigation is supposed to reduce water usage by 30% for the grass areas, so we hope it does well. We have reduced our overall grass area by 75%.

My husband vacuumed the vents and changed the air filters on our air conditioning vents so that our air conditioner can run more efficiently (and much more quietly!)

I emailed both of the companies I ordered roses from earlier this year about their replacement guarantee because I had seven of the roses I ordered die (some were shipped when it was hot and came barely holding onto life). One place hadn’t responded to me (the other sent an automatic reply, so I am still waiting) so I called and left a message (neither is answering the phone). The first company has agreed to replace the two roses that died and will ship them to me in late October when it starts to cool down here.

I buried kitchen scraps in the garden to improve the soil.

My husband called two steel companies in town to compare prices. He found that one place was less expensive than the other, but prices were also about 20% higher than when we looked a few months ago. He started welding obelisks for our garden. These will be about half the price of buying similar ones, plus they are larger than any others that we could find.

My husband needed a new large tool to do the work for the garden as well as future metalwork that he has planned. We discussed borrowing over buying and decided that buying would be the best in the long run, saving him time and trips to go use his brother’s tool. In order to use the tool, he needed a stand for it, so he welded one himself using angle iron. He topped it with a scrap of the wood that we had left from buying some for the temporary worktables that he had made for the project.

My husband took my children swimming. We’ve had several offers this summer to swim at friends’ pools, so we’ve been able to go swimming somewhere close by many times this summer, much more than in past years. Our youngest has decided that he won’t go in a pool (not even a kiddie pool at grandma’s house) recently, so I stayed behind with him, as it was too hot to have him outside but not in a pool (119F/48C).

I gave one son a haircut.

My parents went to a few garage sales. I was surprised people were holding sales when it was so hot. My mom found me a few small silver-plated trays for $1 each, including the one in the photo above. She also found someone getting rid of a bunch of school supplies, which she bought for us.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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205 Comments

  1. Hi. Just a thought. If you wanted your silver more shiny, line a dish with aluminium foil. Sprinkle in some bi carbonate of soda. Lay your silver in it. Then put boiling water into your dish. Instant polish and no rubbing.

    1. Thank you. I have polish but she just gave these to me and I haven’t polished them yet.

      1. We live on a farm and I called 3 different farm supply stores to find the best price on twine for a round bailer. Our local co-op Southern States was $12 cheaper than Tractor Supply which was the highest. I’d looked on a local page and Southern States had a $10 coupon on purchases over $50. My husband picked up 4 bales of twine. 2 came to more than $50 and the cashier rang them up as 2 transactions using the coupon twice. For about 5 minutes on the phone I saved us $48 on the twine, plus $20 with the 2 coupons. $68 saved by comparison shopping. Not bad.
        I got a letter from Nielsen ratings with a $1 Bill in it. If I did their survey I’d get $5. Last week I got a $5 bill from them.
        Two of our nieces had a joint baby shower. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to go, so I mailed them cards with $20 in them. It’s a good thing I did, for we spent most of the day Saturday at the vets office with our 13 year old Australian Shepherd. He had been sick lately. While he was at the vet we went to Walgreens. I bought 1 thing at the pharmacy with my Flexible Spending Account. I received a coupon for a $7 reward off a $25 purchase. My husband needed vitamins and they were BOGO free. He bought 4 and got 4 bottles free, plus I got my $7 reward. They also gave me a 10% off coupon since this is my birthday month. The coupon is good all of July. I had a coupon for Long John Silvers for 2 meals for 9.99, so we got that and shared 1 cup of pop.
        It turned out to be an expensive vet visit with bloodwork and some xrays. He had cancer in his jaw and could barely open his mouth. We had him euthanized and cremated and it has been so sad and very hard on us. He was a good farm dog and friend. He was so gentle, but he was suffering. His name was Red. We spent alot at the vet, but with all the other savings we do it helps when emergencies arise.
        HAPPY ANNIVERSARY Brandy. My husband and I will celebrate 48 years on the 28th, and my birthday is this weekend.

        1. How lucky he was to have you as his family. Hope you find peace in all the good memories you have of him.

        2. I’m so sorry to read about your dogs passing. One of ours passed in February and we are heartbroken. Hugs to you and your family.

        3. Thank you everyone for your kind words about the loss of our dog. And also about my birthday and ANNIVERSARY. This is such a caring group and I have learned alot.

        4. Flora, so sorry to hear about your dog. My husband had an Australian Shepherd as a boy and it was the best dog he ever had.

        5. I am so very very sorry about the loss of your dear and faithful Red. May God bring comfort to your hearts.

        6. I’m so sorry about your pup. We went thru something similar last November 🙁 It leaves a giant hole!

        7. So sorry for the loss of your forever friend. We lost ours in January and I am still grieving. I planted forget my nots in her honor and they are now in bloom. I like to think she’s watching over us and her flowers….Maybe you could plant red flowers for Red.

      2. Saving money is simply not in my sight. My electric doubled. My trash service increased and I must pay extra for the previously provided recycling. I’m back to hanging my laundry out and hope to get the electric lower. My son has chosen to work at night and use my car. His new job will be about 2 miles away , so its very doable. I used a store credit for an unwanted baby gift and stocked up on various cheap can goods. I found that we were eligible again for the free baby gift box on our Amazon accounts. I ordered my mom baby wipes and will use the baby items in a gift bag later this year. I searched for several kindle unlimited books and downloaded them to my tablet. I listened to the newest Darling Dahlia book on my Audible account while pet sitting on the Fourth of July. I canceled my Audible subscription now that I’ve used all my half price credits. My daughter is being forced to move once again. Her landlord is selling his condo. She has decided to rent on her own, due to the many issues during her college life. Rent is horrendous in Atlanta. We discussed how to cut her expenses. I slashed her auto insurance from 150.00 a month to $75.00 . I have no idea how it crept up that high. Her iPhone is $140.00 . ( I almost fell off my chair ) We are putting all our phones on her account and bundling the service. I’m paying for 3 phones currently. The new bill will be the exact same service for 4 phones and only $135.00. I found that simply crazy. I’ve been paying $120.00 for our service. She’s going to pay half and I will.pay half. When the boy gets his paycheck will divide it by three. I imagine my mom will pass soon and I will nolonger need that line . She will buy a hotspot for her apartment for $50.00 and stream her unlimited phone internet to her tv and mac and not need internet or cable. I’m pulling things to stock her new apartment with. It seems like since she started out in her first dorm room ,that most of her belongings have walked away over the years . She’s doing very well in school and back at work full time. I did discover that my recent refills on my prescriptions are all for 90 days. Several actually are for much higher strengths. Because they aren’t extended strength, I can split them. Those 27 migraine pills can be cut into fourths. That is a bonus. I want to go on a short vacation but have decided to stay home. I found several really great deals online but after checking my stockpile , I found it unnecessary. We’ve had a trip planned for Harry Potter world during the last 18 months. I could book it now but am uneasy about it. I’ve decided to simply wait. The prices are unlikely to change and the park won’t disappear into thin air. We definitely don’t care for hot weather ,so I’m thinking the coldest time of the year won’t be booked full. Sugar cookie has dreamed of this trip for many years. Me, not so much. Stay cool my dear friends.

        1. I am doing similar things with looking at ways to reduce what are must have bills for my household as well. I found that Mint mobile is $15 a month for unlimited talk and text, with 4gigs of data. You dont get charged if you go over the data amount, you just dont get the fastest data necessarily after that. It’s hard when so many areas are going up in cost to not feel discouraged because the cost increases are subtle with an overall affect. But, at least you’re looking at things ahead and trying to lower the costs.

        2. Unfortunately the cooler months is when the parks are the fullest. We made that mistake one year when we went in November, thinking the same thing. Try Jan-February instead

  2. Happy Anniversary!
    —We have had rain almost daily this week. I did not know all areas do not have the same storms we do in the south. We will have a beautiful sunny day and then a dark shelf cloud will roll in and the bottom will fall out and we get a couple of inches within 30 minutes. We will have thunder and lightening, and it is like a laser light show. It is really impressive to watch. Then as quickly as it came it it will roll out and the sun will shine again. We have had a couple of those thunderstorms and then a few days where it just drizzles all day. I love sitting on the porch and smelling the rain and listening to it hit the roof and patio.
    —When I knew it was about to rain I ran and re seeded green beans, and put some tomato starts, coneflowers, and daylilies in the ground.
    —I had dug daylilies from a friend and my son helped me divide them. I ended up with 36 plants after dividing.
    —my basil is growing like crazy. I harvested some and made a Caprese chicken meal with basil and cherry tomatoes and served over zoodles. I am going to make pesto and freeze it.
    —last year I froze tomatoes when I had too many. I took 3 gallon bags out and put in boiling water to slip the skins off and defrost. I then cut in half and roasted in olive oil and basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, garlic, parmesean. I divided into bags and froze the roasted tomatoes to add to soups and marinara sauce. I had a lot of juice that I poured off and I froze the tomato olive oil juice in ice cube trays. I will add a cube when I stir fry chicken or zoodles or I can add to marinara sauce.
    –Aldi cherries were $1.49# so I got a bag.
    —I harvested tomatoes, basil, rosemary, squash, blueberries.
    — My son came home on leave so I made red beans and rice for him, with a skillet of cornbread. This is a dish that I used to let cook hours on the stove. For the 2nd time I made it in my Instantpot. It turns out just as good for authentic red beans and rice.
    —I mended the seam in his shirt and shortened the straps on mother in law’s tank top. I need to do my tank top. I wore a tunic that is too low cut to church so I put a tank top on under it. Well, it kept sliding down showing cleavage so every time they prayed I pulled it back up.
    —I am pulling out things from my inside freezer and using them. But have also added a container of vegetable soup and 2 bags of red beans and rice for a quick dinner on a busy night, and some grilled chicken I can add to a salad or tetrizinni type zoodle dish.
    —I sold a photography woodgrain vinyl mat I used to use when I was in business for photographing my embroidered items. I sold a painting for daughter and shoes for other daughter. I have a pile of items and think it isn’t worth a garage sale, but I can do better getting a tax write off to donate.
    —It was tax free weekend so we bought socks and underwear, notebooks, pens, and husband got a pack of white t-shirts. I got a pair of shorts.

    1. I’ m laughing at your adjusting your tank top in church when everyone’s eyes were closed in prayer.

    2. Bama Holly, I like the way you roasted and flavoured your tomatoes before refreezing and didn’t waste the olive oil etc either. I’m going to bear all this in mind when I harvest and prep our tomatoes later this summer.

    3. Beware day lilies! If interplanted they will spread out, dominate and eventually choke out everything else. I have been attempting to eradicate them from my flower bed for years and finally had to dig the bed, separate my flowering bulbs and perennials from those awful roots and tubers and replant what I wanted to keep. They are fine in a border of daylilies only. Interestingly you can eat the unopened flower buds and the young green shoots can be used like spinach. They keep coming so you can have several picks each spring.

  3. Just cleaned, cut and blanched green beans I picked from our garden yesterday!
    I filled 6-1/2 quart freezer bags with 24 ounces each!!! So the 6 bags equal 12 of the twelve ounce bags from the store! My freezer and I are pleased! https://pin.it/75sgJva into https://pin.it/6GL09YU.
    In between gardening, canning and freezing, I finally got Lenni’s Quilt #150 done for my 85 year old client. She is one prolific quiltmaker who still has 3 more quilts ready for me to load on Lenni the longarm this week!!
    Big block “O” made from scarlet and grey fabrics, hmmmm…. So it is quilted with footballs! 😆 https://pin.it/reNlYaW. And this morning, I just quilted up #151- https://pin.it/2TuKELN, so there are only 5 more to go before the next one comes in on Wednesday!
    Another lady brought over 3 quilts to be quilted on Friday afternoon. And this morning, I just quilted up #151- https://pin.it/2TuKELN and #152- https://pin.it/kexX3zc , so there are only 4 more to go before the next one comes in on Wednesday! This little side gig is becoming full time!

    My daughter (and partner in business) told me that after 3rd week in August, all three of her children will be in school full days, with bus pick-up at the end of their driveway. Since her husband is retired, she can let him put kiddos on bus and she will come down here to do some of our quilting orders 2 days a week! That will free up a bit of my time while giving her some extra income. A Win-Win!!

    We went to metal recycling dump with bits and pieces of scrap metal from decluttering and we got $44 !!!!! Look what we could have taken home!!😳😳🤣 https://pin.it/5gTPnBp
    Could we recycle these?? Planters or future “needs”?? You all know how Hubs and I love a bargain and love to recycle!! Lol!!
    In case you’re wondering, No, we did not bring any of them home!! 😂😂😂
    Decluttering and found an 18 foot long roll of insulation. We didn’t need it, so we sold it for $20! https://pin.it/2FSzYua and https://pin.it/1ht2f3K.
    We earned $200 bonus from Capital 1 Visa for getting their credit card + $5.60 in rewards money for using it. We had to charge $500 on it to get the bonus but we planned out purchases already in our budget. The bill for the $500 will allow us to use the $205.60 as partial payment and the rest is ready to be paid off right away as well. Apparently, because of statement cut off dates, it won’t be due until September 5!!!
    We had 3 of our grandkiddos- 12, 10 and 8 bring up all the old paint cans from the basement to the front porch. We will empty any latex paint into a tote a little at a time and let it dry. Then we are allowed to just toss it into trash. Same with empty paint cans! They made quick work of that so we had them pull up and stack most of our paver bricks by the gazebo that I had laid 2 years ago at a time Hubs was recovering from some heart surgeries. It has never been level the way we wanted it, so by hiring our little “grandies” to pull them up and stack them, the area is now open and ready for Hubs to grade and re-set pavers! Paid them each $15 for 2-1/2 hours of work! They were thrilled and we are not exhausted from all the bending and stair climbing!
    We had more rain that was not too little, not too much, but just right for our gardens! We consider ourselves blessed in that way!
    Hope everyone is getting through this challenging season.
    Gardenpat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    1. Gardenpat: thank you for laugh (Re: coffins)!Your posts are always entertaining!
      Patricia

      1. Patricia Koenig- I hadn’t been to the metal recycling dump with Hubs before. He doesn’t go often either- once a year maybe. So I was totally bowled over to see those coffins!! Hubs said they had a few outside surface scratches, but after the silliness, I kept thinking that it was a sad waste to be dumping them when there might be others in financial need that could have used them for an unexpected death. But we did tease our kids about it!! They DO know that we love a bargain!! Lol!!

        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    2. So funny about the coffins, but like you, I wondered why they couldn’t be offered to a family without the means to otherwise pay for one.

  4. Sounds like you had a productive and wonderful week.

    My contract was extended a further month, giving me an additional four weeks of 17.5% more pay than my substantive position.

    I picked up a Baby Alive newborn doll with lots of accessories for my daughter for either Christmas or her birthday as it was on clearance for $12.50! These dolls are normally out of our price range so I was happy to have come across it.

    At the same clearance they had cards with envelopes for 35 cents each, so I got birthday cards and a few specific upcoming events cards. These cards were normally between $4.99 and $8.99 each. I have been getting the children to make cards of late but I couldn’t pass on such a good price on high quality cards.

    We have a birthday celebration tomorrow for my mother in law. I got her a brown leather hand bag on clearance for $9, a scarf on clearance for $2.50 and Elizabeth Arden perfume on sale for $6.99.

    This past week we rode our bikes to the park to meet some friends. I took along some almond and cherry tarts to share. My friend shared her chocolate and banana cupcakes.

    My daughter made brownie on her own, which was a big achievement!

    School is back after a two week holiday so I’ve individually frozen lots of sweet and savoury goodies for school lunches. Schools do not supply food unless you purchase it from the tuck shop (cafeteria) on the day you want it for your children. Every fortnight I order my children a 50 cent ice block each.

    We bury all our fruit and vegetable scraps in the garden to improve our soil.

    Meals this week included lots of beans, rice, basic vegetables, eggs, bread, mandarins, bananas, apples, yoghurt, tuna, spinach, capsicum (peppers), tarts and brownie.

    Have a lovely week.

      1. Hi Dawnelle, I forgot that in America you use the word ‘popsicle’! The 50 cent popsicle is frozen icy lemonade on a stick 🙂.

      2. AKA an ice-lolly, a popsicle. I just love reading all the comments and having to pop out to google unfamiliar fruits and berries, birds, foodstuffs etc – I have learned a lot here!

    1. Happy anniversary!

      This week, I once again avoided the lure of Target, thereby saving at least $97.26 in useless but terribly cute tchochkes.

      I was able to buy several 1/2-gallon containers of almond milk for $1 off the usual lowest price each. A restocked freezer is a happy freezer.

      My best buddy and her daughter flew in from Texas, and we had a blast visiting the beaches, abusing her hotel’s pool privileges, and just catching up. I treated them to admission at a nearby so-cheezy-it’s-fun theme park. Absolute highlight of the trip, and we all went home with pictures of ourselves holding baby alligators.

      Glad we got that visit in when we did as the Delta variant has begun to take over here, and COVID cases are doubling every week. I’m afraid we’ll be in a very tough spot here by September.

  5. Congratulations and best wishes, Brandy, on your anniversary! The silver tray is very pretty.
    I bought some groceries on sale. Unfortunately, the yogourt my friend picked up for me has rice starch in it so I couldn’t eat it.
    I will give the second container to a friend. I am stocking up on Oasis natural fruit juices for $1 each.
    I bought a mini watermelon for $3.98, some organic grapes, some fudgesickle bars (the latter not on sae).
    No great purchases or savings. I discovered a pair of linen pants that fit from the laundry pile. I gave away some books
    to charity.

      1. Brandy, I hope you and your family are ok. I worry about you! Those temperatures coupled with the drought are quite frightening!

        1. Cheryl,

          Normal summer temperatures are 110-116 here. These are just a few degrees higher than normal and we have seen it this high before.

      2. I just never thought about rice being put into yogourt. Usually I check ingredients carefully but didn’t think to do it.

        Ann

    1. Ann, The Van Gogh tickets are on sale online. Quite pricey( around $50) but cheaper than a trip to the museum in Amsterdam which we had originally planned for August. We continue to open up and cool down the house several degrees in the mornings which keeps it comfortable until we open it back up in the evenings. Basically free air conditioning but certainly not doable in every climate. I finally have a couple of little green tomatoes on my plants so hoping for more. My Saskatoon berry bush is loaded and should ripen within the next couple of weeks.

      1. thanks, I! I thought it would be at the Glenbow but found it’s at BMO.
        Not many tickets left. Which date are you going? Too bad about the trip to Amsterdam!

        1. I just booked one ticket for my daughter in late August when she comes home to help with her Dad after surgery.

          1. My sister’s friend called her Friday morning. They were sick and they had tickets for that night. She asked me if I wanted to go but I already had plans so she brought her neighbor. They had a wonderful time. We are in NY.

  6. We have been hit with the monsoon and it is very hot and humid. We have also had Covid Delta Variant breakouts in the city prompting school to go fully online. Despite all that I think I’ve been lucky lately. I saw a FB post about a family of 8 leaving the country and needing to get rid of everything that could not be shipped. I was able to get
    some pants for my son,
    a shirt for myself,
    some dishes and kitchen supplies to replace ours that have broken over the years,
    a tote of fabric,
    a bucket of sewing thread that I really needed,
    hair clippers,
    a couple bottles of soap, shampoo, and other toiletries,
    some OTC medications,
    a few toys for my son,
    My friend went with me and was able to get some much needed things for her new apartment.
    I also was able to connect the family with a woman who ships donations to much needed communities in SE Asia. Luckily she scored many school supplies and crafting materials.
    I also picked up some children’s books and misc dishes that I was able to pass on to other people.
    I’ve been keeping an eye on the pantry and freezer to reduce wasting food. I’m trying to use up as much as possible and getting creative with dishes. Most have been successful.

  7. Hello! I have found that asking by email which social media platforms company uses to leave a neg reply there does miracles… actually i know or can find out myself… companies seem super worried about negative feedback in social media. Thought about roses.
    In heat i cook potatoes in microwave. I wash them, no peeling, but they have to be wet. Put them in small plastic bag like fruit bag, tie it up, put it on plate and into microwave. Time depends on amount and your model. Maybe 12-15 min. Needs some experimenting.

    1. Thanks. They have a five-year guarantee so I expect to hear back from them. They’ve been swamped with orders this year so it just seems to take some time. It’s too hot to mail replacements right now and will be for months, so I will just gie it some time.

  8. *My hubby and I attended some meetings held in our town by Light Bearers Ministry. This was our first time ever attending meetings by them, and it was a huge blessing to be able to go and hear the Bible preached! The meetings were a week long, and there were two nights we were not able to attend but they are recorded and posted free online so we will be able to go back and catch up. We learned that they are moving their ministry headquarters to our location, which I am thrilled about and I hope to perhaps do some volunteer work in the future.
    *My niece and her hubby drove up from Florida to attend these meetings, and asked to stay at our house. Of course I said “yes,” so I was able to enjoy a nice visit with her and didn’t have the expense of driving to Florida to visit!
    *Both this niece, as well as another niece who is staying with us for the summer were given flowers. They placed them in a large vase on the kitchen counter for all to enjoy.
    *My sister and her hubby drove up to see their daughter—the one living with me for the summer. This was totally separate from the meetings, but just happened to be the same weekend. It ended up like a small family reunion! We had 13 people to eat at our house on Sabbath. I served Haystacks, which is wonderful for people being able to put on or leave off whatever they like. Other people helped with bringing some of the Haystack ingredients.
    *For our large meal, I decided to skip using paper plates. No extra expense for that, I had enough plates and silverware, and there were plenty of willing hands to clean up the kitchen afterwards! I also used cloth napkins, which I love! They don’t fall apart like little paper napkins, and one load of laundry and they are all washed up.
    Pictures and more on my blog here: https://chickadeecove.blogspot.com/2021/07/frugal-friday-week-of-july-4-10-2021.html
    Looking forward to reading what everyone is up to!
    -Susan M. in Chattanooga

  9. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Happy Anniversary! Lovely that the two of you could eat out to celebrate. You are both working so hard making your new garden it must be nice to have had a break from it.
    We helped organise a BBQ social last week. We took three trestle tables and tablecloths to cover them and for our contribution I made Eton Mess pudding with strawberries and raspberries from the garden.
    This week we picked rhubarb, raspberries, strawberries, broad beans, lettuce, chives and Sweet William from the garden.
    I used up some of last year’s frozen fruit to make raspberry and almond cake.
    I found my favourite tea, cherries and interdental sticks on sale so I stocked up.
    My husband used old wood and wire on hand to make a cage to keep rabbits etc off some of our veggies.
    I am slowly replacing some of our pillows and in TKMaxx found a good quality box sided pillow at a good price. I write the date of purchase with a Sharpie pen on the labels of pillows and duvets so I know how long we’ve had them. I clean them periodically but still like to know how old they are so I can plan replacements.
    We have spent some time moving beds between different bedrooms and we are starting some more refurbishment in the house. There needs to be some money spent but we will look to buy some items second hand, refurbish some furniture ourselves and research best value for money for what needs to be bought new. There also needs to be some more decluttering and a few things are good enough to sell. I am excited about this next phase of work.
    Thinking of those of you living in the west of the US and Canada with extreme heat and wildfires. Stay safe everyone.

  10. Brandy, it sounds like the end of the garden remodel is near! What an accomplishment! I sure hope you get the roses replaced. I am sure many people will be losing plants in the heat.

    -Pressure canned 6 pheasants from the freezer. Breasts in chunks (4 pints)and thighs and legs (bone in- 5 pints). Saved some breast for pheasant kabobs. I need freezer room for the coming garden and beef we ordered. Both freezers are half full, but by October hopefully they will be groaning and the shelves will have many new jars!

    -Pressure canned 8 pints of diced beets. I have plenty pickled so they all were done to eat as vegetables. I love them as a vegetable and I use them in a lettuce and kale salad I make in the fall with beets, pears, and pecans.

    -Canned 2 pints and 10 half pints of branded cherries from 6# sale cherries. I will use some of the jars for Christmas gifts.

    -I also pressure canned the first of the green beans-5 pints.

    -I sewed 3 cloth Christmas drawstring bags for Christmas gifts this year. I was given a rectangle Christmas table cloth. I knew it would not fit my table (round) but would make great gift bags. I cut it in 3 strips. Folding in half. Sewing up both sides and doing a hem at top with 2 buttonholes for the drawstring. I used some long shoelaces I had for the drawstrings.

    -Picked up three large baskets at the thrift store. If I go in Tuesday it is 30% off for 55 and older. Paid $2.40 each. I will use these to put canned goods and other goodies in for Christmas gifts. Working on Christmas list and gifts. I think it is prudent to do this. I am hearing it takes 12-16 weeks for merchandise to arrive once the stores order it. No more quick turn around.

    -Harvested from the garden-lettuce, onions, snow pea pods, green beans, yellow and green zucchini, beets, and a handful of peas(ate right in the garden!). We finally got some rain!! 1.38 inches, plus it cooled down. So no watering and no air conditioning for 4 days!!

    -Meals: Monday-marinated grilled pheasant kabobs (used zucchini and onions from the garden)with lettuce (garden) salads and watermelon; Tuesday-Nachos with watermelon; Wednesday-Pasties from the freezer with beef gravy and home canned green beans; Thursday-Home canned ground beef made into ground beef and gravy over mashed potatoes with leftover green beans and sourdough bread; Friday-Cajun shrimp tacos with chips and home canned salsa; Saturday-braised instapot short ribs with mashed potatoes, cauliflower gratin, gravy, and cherries; Sunday-leftovers from Saturday.

    -Grocery deals this week were-cherries for $1.25/lb; Chobani creamer 2 for $7.00 (usually $5.00 each); peanut butter-$1.00 (although jar is smaller); Cremette pasta (all shapes) 1# package 3 for $3.00 (limit 3); and some beef in the clearance cooler- ribeye steaks x 2 for $5.00 each (12 oz each). These will be for our anniversary in August instead of eating out. Also 2# ground sirloin for $5.00 and flat iron steak (1#) for $5.00. There are some sales here but many have limits now, where before that wasn’t the case.

    Have a great week!!

  11. Happy Anniversary! It’s so special to go out just the two of you. I stopped at a yard sale while running errands this week. I have been looking for about a year now for something to use in my kitchen to use as a coffee bar. I found a dresser that was painted a gray-blue with white draw pulls. It was perfect for my country kitchen. The seller wanted $25 for it but I told her I only had $20 and she took it. I am so happy with it!
    I planted a cucumber plant for the first time this year and got our first cucumbers. They taste so much better than store bought. We also harvested zucchini and basil.
    I did no grocery shopping this week as we have more than enough and I want to use up what we have. I will have to go this week, however, as my mom is visiting from out of town for a few days and I want to get her what she is used to eating and I want to spoil her a bit.
    From what we already had in our pantry/freezer/refrigerator, I made lasagna, homemade bread, a very large salad, Tuscan white bean soup, and I cut up peppers and cucumbers to dip in homemade ranch dressing. I have some green tomatoes in our garden so I may make some fried green tomatoes this week.

  12. Hi Brandy firstly Happy Anniversary and I am glad you had a lovely lunch out with your husband 🙂 .

    Good that you have been reading on the drought and have ordered your garden seeds in advance and from what I have read it seems the drought is very bad there in parts of the States as well as Brazil. No doubt the cost of a lot of seeds and produce will rise because of it. You will find that the drip irrigation systems will save you a lot of water and water bills as long as they don’t spring leaks and reducing the lawn area around your home will help considerably too. The children will enjoy playing under the sprinklers in the hotter months to cool off.

    So lovely that your husband is so handy and can do many of the jobs you need around the home done himself without having to hire tradespeople or buy them and that both of you have been been able to lay the sod in the gardens yourselves. All of these jobs if hired out to tradespeople or items bought new would be considerably more expensive.

    Our Vicky challenge added up to $419.67 in savings last week 🙂 .

    In the kitchen –
    – Made 3 loaves of wholemeal white bread in the bread maker saving $10.47 over buying them.
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    In the home –
    – I washed all the $3.60 clothing we had purchased and we hung them on the clothes line to dry on sunny days.
    – Started washing all my winter puffer jackets to freshen them up when I had room in the washing loads while we had plenty of water in the rainwater tanks. It rained the day after and the rainwater tanks are full again 🙂 .
    – DH started ironing all of the new cotton and linen clothing so we can store some as well as use some now to replace other clothing that is worn out.

    Prepping and maintenance investments –
    – Bought a camping rv solar panel to charge the mobile, laptops and lawnmower battery if needed on the Dick Smith site saving $31 over buying it elsewhere.
    – Bought another drip irrigation timer from Dick Smith online saving another around $20 over buying them elsewhere.
    – We had the two front shockies and bumpers replaced on DH’s AWD and saved $90 by paying for it in cash. There was a few more parts that needed replacing than we thought so an original $840 job turned into $1000 but that is what an emergency fund is for and most of the money came from spare money in other categories of the budget so very little had to be used from the emergency fund.

    Purchases –
    – I bought a grocery e-gift card through RACQ saving 3% or $2.10 on usual prices.
    – Saved $6.50 on usual prices by buying bath cleansing puffs on special for 0.35c ea from BigW. Previously we bought bath sponges which are more expensive and don’t last long but DH liked these better so a big saving here.
    – On half price specials at WW I purchased 8 x old gold chocolate blocks and 2 x 60 pk echinacea, ace and zinc tablets and used $20 off rewards $ I had to save $60.50 on usual prices.
    – I found a long sleeved men’s cotton shirt that I can use for gardening on half price special saving $8.00 on usual prices at Target.
    – The save of the week had to be finding brand new 20 of each thermal long sleeved tops for $2.10 ea and long thermal pants for $2.35 ea for myself saving a huge $174 on usual prices as these styles were being discontinued. These will replace my well worn ones and give me some for storage and later use too.

    In the gardens –
    – I weeded two garden beds and put corn stalks in a pile to shred with the palm frond shredder for mulch or compost in the gardens.
    – DH finished cutting all the larger logs and sorted the small branches, ready to stack right size logs and half cut rounds in piles ready to stack or split into smaller pieces with the log splitter.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead 🙂 .

    Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

  13. -I bought two cans of Green Giant corn and two cans of diced tomatoes that were on sale, to put in my pantry. I placed an order with Amazon that was just big enough to avoid any shipping fees. This included 6 cans of pink salmon, which Amazon sells at the best price I can get locally when it is on sale, a container of Kraft parmesan at $1 less than the sale price here, two 2-lb packages of orzo, at 1/3 of the price I can buy it locally, and two bag of lentil chips, which are not available locally at all. The package arrived very, very quickly, but was bigger and heavier than I thought it would be. I asked the woman ahead of me at the post office if she could drop me off at my place. (She was on the library board when I worked there.) So, it turned out to not be a problem.
    -I splurged on two lb of cherries ($6 a lb) and one lb of sockeye salmon (almost $17). The cherries are excellent. I don’t know if they were picked before the extreme heat and simply are a variety with a long shelf life, or if the grower managed to avoid the damage that other growers experienced. The salmon is also excellent, much better quality than the fresh varieties I normally get, though it has been a long, long time since I bought salmon fresh.
    -My electricity bill was very low ($103), which surprised me given that it covered the heat wave, but it reminds me how inexpensive fans are to run compared to a furnace. My use was down over last year at the same time. I’ve been using as little hot water as I can as well, and the hot water heater is electric rather than natural gas. Our rates vary month to month, and in July the rate is supposed to go up 35% so the next bill will be different. My village utilities bill was also very low, $109. This includes water, garbage removal, recycling removal, sewer, natural gas whih I use only for the furnace. In the winter this goes over $200.
    -I have been trying to get hold of a couple of government offices to ask some questions about applications I am making, but the hold times are extraordinary, and the recordings say they may never get to you, but simply cut you off. I am going to write letters to go with my applications and hope for the best. I also followed up with the lawyer who is applying to be the executor on my sister’s estate, and we are now one important step closer. 1,000 steps to go, I am afraid. All of these calls are to help me set priorities for my budget in the coming months.
    -Someone brought me some painting canvases and frames that he found in the free/recycle shed at the landfill. I have to find some things to discard from the house in order to let these new things into my small house. I also get to mull over what projects I’d like to use these for.

    1. I don’t shop for groceries on Amazon, but your comments intrigued me enough to look into the price of orzo that you mentioned. After a little online searching, I just found that a boutique-style grocery store not far from my home has orzo on sale this week, and it’s about half the price that I paid. I’ve only recently discovered what a gem orzo is and have only bought it once, but because the sale ends today I’m going to do a little stocking up. Thank you for listing your weekly savings!

      1. I’m so glad! Orzo at a better price is always a good thing. I like orzo because it holds the taste of chicken broth better than rice does, whether I am making soup or just a little butter and lemon juice, or parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. It is super quick to cook as well.

    2. Elizabeth M.

      I love orzo! I was going to mention that Enmax’s price for electricity is going up to 10 cents per kilowatt hour.
      I think that’s the floating rate. I’m currently on a fixed rate of 6.59 cents which expires in 2023. I could go off that rate and tie in for another 5 years (so expiring in 2026) for 6.89 cents per kilowatt hour. I’m sorely tempted to take the slight increase and tie in for longer. I still need to do the math but it might be a good hedge against future increases. Elizabeth, you might want to check with your electricity provider and see if a) it is raising its floating rate and if so when AND see what the fixed rate would be. See if you can tie in your electricity without tying in your natural gas. If you have to tie in both, then inn addition to comparing your fixed electricity and natural gas rates, then not only compare the fixed gas and floating gas rates but also the transaction fee. I have a grandfathered deal so I get a transaction fee of 0.47 cents per gigajoule instead f about 0.99 cents. the long and the short of it is electricity rates are going up but you might be able to minimize the increase by going into a fiveyear fixed rate. Ann

      1. You are right. I should look into my electricity rates. I’m with Epcor. It isn’t tied into my natural gas rates, because these are negotiated by the village I live in, and billed through them. They always seem to cut a good deal.

  14. My mom sent over Velveeta, strawberries, and canned peaches.

    I received a sample bag when I picked up my Walmart order. It had a 4 pack of oreo thins, an oatmeal and apple breakfast bar, and 2 snack pack of the bigger size Apple Jack’s.

    My 14yo made banana bread with 2 bananas we had going soft and a batch of chocolate covered strawberries.

    I had enough Amazon credits to buy one of the items the boy wanted for his birthday (desk size mouse pad)

    It’s been unseasonably cool so the air has been used at a minimum. A couple days, I could even open up the doors and windows.

    My 14yo is taking care of the neighbors dog for 2 weeks and they told her to please pick and take home any produce in the garden as it’s ripe. So far, we’ve picked 6 radishes, enough lettuce for 2 of us a meal, and a couple jalapenos.

    Finished and returned a library book on time.

    My neighbor across the road sent over a big box of meat. There was 2 whole chickens, 2 3lb rolls of cooked ham, 2 3lbs or so turkey breasts, 2 2lb bags of fish(pollock), and a bag of shredded BBQ chicken. I’ll probably pass on the fish and BBQ chicken, but the rest will definitely be ate.

    My husband bought a supplement for one of the dogs that you sprinkle on their food and its supposed to help with itching(he’s prone to hot spots) Well, Mr. Picky refused to eat it. We kept it the required 90 days and I put in for the refund and it was approved. We’ll lose money shipping it back, but it was over $100 so anything back will be nice.

    I got the 14yo her sports physical and thankfully she has insurance that paid for it.

    My husband promptly returned an item he ended up not needing.

    Back on Mother’s day, my son gave me money and stressed, I was to only spend it on myself. Well, I’ve been wanting a daith ear piercing for awhile, because I read that it was supposed to help with migraines. I finally got in to our favorite piercer last week(he’s very good, therefore very popular). After getting the piercing and getting a new piece of jewelry for another piercing, I had enough leftover to buy me and 14yo(shh, don’t tell my son, lol) lunch. Made for a fun afternoon outing.

    1. Your dog might be reacting to gluten or grains. Try switching his kibble or making food for him. We make food for our 3 dogs using ground beef or chicken (depending on sales), potatoes or sweet potatoes, peas, carrots, greeen beans, and salt. You can also add garlic during flea season. We add fish oil daily, bone meal powder daily, and vitamin E once a week. The vet says our dogs are some of the healthiest she’s ever seen.

      1. He’s already on grain free food.

        He’s so picky, I can’t add anything extra to his food or he smells it and won’t eat. He will refuse to eat for days if I offer him different food from what he’s used to. He is a hot mess and stresses me out lol. A total opposite of our other big dog, who will eat everything and has zero issues(my perpetual itchy one is a purebred Anatolian, my hobbit is a great pyrenees/rottweiler mix)

        He’s so used to taking pills because he has reflux and takes pepcid daily so it’s just easier to give him a benadryl.

    2. April-That is really interesting about the daith ear piercing helping with migraines. I hope it works for you and that you will let us know if it does! I had migraines for 20 years until a friend suggested I see a chiropractor. I reluctantly agreed and have been migraine free for several years. It’s way more expense than I like but my husband insists it’s worth it for our quality of life.

  15. It’s wonderful to hear about how your garden is coming along. It’s wild the grass gets too hot to walk on, when there’s underground or drip irrigation there. I know how lovely it is to have a handy husband, as I have one too. It sure saves lots of time and money. Last week, I gathered eggs, and harvested tomatoes, a tromboncino, a yellow squash and a cucumber, as well as basil, oregano, and thyme. Two blackberry pies were made with foraged wild blackberries. Laundry was hung on the line. We’ve begun moving things into our new workshop. I still need to stain and seal the countertops in there, and a few other things, but we’re almost there. An evening and the following day were enjoyed at a friend’s lake house, for some very welcome down time and girlfriend time. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2021/07/a-little-down-time.html

    1. Regular grass is fine to walk on; it’s the fake grass that gets too hot.

      I watched a man in a local gardening group this week using a temperature gun to show the temperature of the concrete in the shade (111) the temperature of the rocks in his garden (130) and the temperature of the dirt under the rocks (150).

      Potted plants often cook. I’m losing a number of plants due to the heat right now. Even though they are in the ground on drip irrigation, the sun is cooking them. They are young plants and can’t take the heat. I will have to replant in fall, if any plants are available.

      1. Brandy, do you have any shady spots to put potted plants in or even a garage area? Similarly can you create shade for the plants with tarps or even umbrellas? I know that sounds extreme, but the heat you’ve had in the valley is just insane.

        1. Shade cloth is very normal here. I don’t use it as I have fruit trees planted throughout my garden, which will eventually shade the garden. This year, I have new trees that are small. These are only a few degrees higher than usual. Summers are always 110-116; some years it goes higher.

      2. Wow! I think you are a very brave and determined soul to garden in such extreme weather. It has to be discouraging at times, but you persevere regardless. Thank you for your example to all of us.

      3. If you can use shade cloth or even old white sheets, you may be able to pull the plants through. My rhubarb, shaded (white sheet) will be totally ruined within 30-60 minutes of hot Southern California sun, yet bears profusely with the shading. If plants aren’t established before high 90’s or over, they require shade to get there. I have used lath, (thin wood strips), sheets, and shade cloth. Even heat loving plants like green beans, and zuchini do better when shaded, when temps go up. Best Wishes!

        1. Yes, shade cloth is normal here for many gardeners. I have used sheets before over my blackberries.

  16. Happy Anniversary to you and what a pretty picture! Thrifty actions this week included buying nuts in bulk (in freezer) for Christmas baking and found a black cane for 4.00 at the Goodwill ( instead of 35.00 at the local medical supply company) for husband’s knee recovery. I’ve been going through cookbooks with America’s Test Kitchen ( PBS) series at the library, copying 1 or 2 recipes to try.

    1. Look up the Big Alex cane on Amazon. The cane collapses, has the option of a 4 footed base or single footed base, adjustable height and an LED light in the handle all for $24. I wish I would have known about it when my husband had his back surgery. My son just sprained his ankle so badly he needed an airboot and a cane so he is using the Big Alex cane and loving it.

  17. My husband and I went through our freezer to see what we had. We have been really using down our stockpile, and I hope we find some soon to fill it back up. We often get deer given to us if friends have more than they can use, and my husband and son hunt, too, so that is always a blessing, but we have had some extra expenses and haven’t been able to replenish store-bought meat as much as I’d like. My son mostly eats a keto-diet, so it is obviously heavy on meat. Anywho… while going through the freezer, we found two lone chicken breasts that were getting a little freezer burned, so I boiled those, and then I actually saved the chicken broth. I never do that, but I was so happy to see 3.5 pints of gorgeous chicken broth in my fridge that I’ve decided to do it more often. We have made a menu this week using items we have on hand, for the most part. My husband likes to metal detect, but it has been too hot for me to go with him – so he has fun doing that, and I sit inside enjoying the cool air and reading books I already own or have borrowed from the library.

    Thanks for always being an inspiration – I look forward to the blog posts and the comments every Monday!

  18. STARBUCKS — “GROUNDS FOR THE GARDEN” In the link below read about the uses for coffee grounds in garden and house plants (plus many other uses). Read entire article — Coffee Grounds fertilize and also help increase worms in your garden. Starbucks has a program for gardeners – “Grounds for the Garden”. Anyone can stop by a Starbucks and pick up FREE bags of used coffee grounds to put in the garden (no purchase necessary). Almost all Starbucks participate — just find another one in your town if ,by chance, the one near you does not participate. Occasionally all the bags have been pickup up, so I have learned that if I am driving by a Starbucks on other errands just to stop and get what they have. I use these and they are wonderful. Starbucks puts the bags in a large container which is in front of the counter that is usually marked but sometimes I need to ask. Be sure to have a plastic container in your vehicle. They put the used grounds in the original bags the beans come in and they are not totally sealed. A small amount of liquid will drain out of the bags so it is best to have a large container with you in the car so no liquid ruins your car interior. I always stop at Starbucks to get grounds on the way home — they do fill you car with the aroma of coffee. There is no limit on how many bags each person can have.
    https://practicalselfreliance.com/uses-for-coffee-grounds/?fbclid=IwAR3crfxIhe5kO5MU8DR5Yn60WpSj-T5G6CX8n6QOpL5cPwr-7Zjn5T1zI5Y

    1. I wish my local Starbucks was more willing to participate. They were unaware of the program, reluctantly agreed to let me come at closing, and then at closing said they were closed (early) and that I couldn’t come in. Another time, I got there at closing at they were unaware that I had asked earlier that day, and they hadn’t saved me any grounds. I tried many times, and finally gave up.

      1. I’m sorry that your Starbucks is so uncooperative. Might there be a locally owned coffee shop that would actually save grounds for you? I’ve been trying out the Berkley method of hot composting (developed by the University of California, Berkley). It gives finished compost in 18 days. I use quite a lot of coffee grounds in it, and the method does really seem to work. It’s quite exciting to get compost that quickly. The other thing that I’ve been doing is moving my compost pile around. The house that we bought 18 months ago had bare clay soil, so dry it had 5 inch wide cracks. Plus weeds and rubble in places. I do the Berkley composting and every time I finish a batch, I move the wire enclosure, in which I mix the compost, to a different location. It seems to help the soil underneath it immensely, even though I don’t leave any compost in that spot. The zucchini I planted on an old compost site has been absolutely astounding.

        All that to say, I love my local Starbucks because they do have a bucket outside where they put the coffee grounds for gardeners!

        1. Interesting. I have tried composting many times and it was a disaster. Too dry and it blew all over. Then too wet when I tried it in a trash can. Nothing broke down and it just molded. I tried for many years and my husband asked me to stop trying. Trench composting (burying scraps) has been good and we are planning to buy some new worms for in-ground worm composting.

  19. We are not able to save much from day to day right now. Gas is going up, food is going up, utilities are going up. We are in the process of trying to refinance our house before the lower interest rates change. This would lower the payment by over $200 per month, freeing up some extra cash. Mostly we have gone on a spending freeze for awhile to step back and make some decisions going forward.

    We are stocking up our pantry as we are able and trying out an inventory system created by Prepper Nerd on a spreadsheets program. I forget what we paid for the service, but I was able to customize what and how we track things, where things are specifically stored and it keeps a running calories count and how many days of food you actually have in storage, based on number of people you are trying to feed. My husband and I went out on some errands on Saturday. When we came home, the kids had started inputting all of the canned goods. My dining room looked like it had been hit by a tornado! There’s also an app on the phone that you can use to update your inventory and I think that will be helpful when I’m shopping to see what we actually need.

    I tried out Zenni Optical and I was really pleased with the results. The quality was good, fast service, and much more affordable than WalMart.

    Happy Anniversary Brandy!

  20. Hi Brandy, I want to say Happy Anniversary! I’m so sorry about your roses. You have done so much work on your garden and it’s beautiful! This weather is so crazy. I have family in Arizona and they are losing some of their fruit trees. I’m in se PA, we have been getting rain, but I am so upset about our birds. We are losing our song birds, and they do not know why they are dying. 27 counties in PA are being effected. I had to take in my feeders and tip over my bird bath. I hope they find out soon why this is happening. Thank you for taking the time to put out the food shortage articles. They are helpful!

    1. I had four fruit trees die. I will look to replace them in fall. I hope there will be some available. There has been a very limited supply.

    2. Barbara, I am so worried about your songbirds! The fact that scientists don’t know why the birds are dying is scary and sad. I love to sit on my deck in the evening and listen to the birds call to each other.

  21. Hello Everyone and Happy Anniversary Brandy!
    Last week we were on vacation in Lake Tahoe. We stayed in a condo with a full kitchen and bought groceries at the store. I was amazed at the difference in grocery prices between CA and NV. The sale prices of cherries were $1 less/lb. than CA, chicken was $0.99/lb. and corn was $0.10 each! We ate well and packed picnics all week. The shocker was gas at $5.15/gallon!!! We filled up my tank upon returning home and were happy to discover that gas prices at Costco remained the same at $3.99/gallon (although no bargain). The heat was unbearable at 112 degrees as we drove home through Sacramento. I can’t imagine living through a heat wave, or regular summer temps that high!

    Our hens were productive while we were gone. (They have a self-feeder and self-watering system that my husband made and installed.) We came home to 18 eggs! I immediately watered my veggie garden and picked 4 cups of berries (boysenberry, raspberry, blackberry and blueberries), apricots, plums, sugar snap peas, lettuce, tomatoes, turnips, and a monster zucchini. I noticed that I have some small cucumbers growing and I’ll harvest some green beans and peas soon. The birds pecked some apricots, plums and blueberries while they had free reign of my garden. Something ate my melon starts down to nubs. : ( I ordered a full roll of bird netting from Home Depot and will cut it myself. The roll was 1/3 less expensive than an equivalent amount of individual nets. I need to cover the peaches soon!

    I’m planning menus that revolve around the seasonal veggies. Cabbage salad, stuffed zucchini boats, twice stuffed potatoes, sautéed zucchini, salads, etc. Excess produce I plan to dehydrate and can as my freezer is full. I have had a pressure canner for about 10 years (eek!) but have never used it before. I’ve been afraid of botulism! However, I’ve been watching RoseRed Homestead You Tube videos. She does scientific experiments regarding temperature and safety of pressure canning and explains the process. I’m thankful for her videos and I’m going to give it a go this year, starting with green beans. I did make that orange-cinnamon-plum jam that another reader recommended and it was a hit with my family! : ) Thanks!!!

    I hadn’t thought about a seed shortage, Brandy. You may be right! It’s wise to plan ahead. I haven’t been seed saving because I grow multiple varieties of everything to experiment with what works best. Our governor asked residents to voluntarily cut back on water and power usage to help with the drought and avoid rolling blackouts. I imagine mandated restrictions will follow. We’ve been fortunate to have overnight mist the past few weeks that helps with our lawn and garden.

    A few weeks ago I noticed my water bill increased by $75. I now have an additional $48 charge to my PG & E bill for “community energy electric generation charges” and my garbage bill increased $25/quarter, plus fines generated by their new trucks that take photos of our garbage if something unapproved gets mixed in. We’ll have to budget for these higher monthly costs. Thanks for the old paint tip, GardenPat!

    Our bathroom remodel is done! We began in late February and finished before vacation. We saved big bucks doing demolition, hauling debris, repairing dry rot, drywalling, prepping surfaces for tile, installing the cabinet, hardware, lighting, baseboards, trimming the door, reinstalling the door, and painting ourselves. Quotes reflected $19,000 in labor, not including any materials, for a regular hallway bathroom for children. We did hire professionals for plumbing and tile and we’re happy with the results and overall savings! We’re in an older home, original condition, and still have more remodel projects to go, but we’re going to take a break to recoup. Hopefully building material costs will reduce by the time we’re ready to tackle another project.

    Have a blessed, cool, and beautiful week everyone!

    1. There was a seed shortage last year as demand quadrupled. The fires from last year affected the seeds for this year (I read about it last year). The news from farmers in Oregon is very bad with severe drought. One of the things I learned about in the article I read last year is that most seed companies in the U.S. grow their seeds in Oregon, so the drought, heat, fallow fields due to drought, and ruined crops due to drought have got to affect it. I saw higher prices this year and some products weren’t even available from the regular Oregon-based company from which I order.

      1. I order most of my seeds from Oregon, too. Seed prices were higher this year but I was able to get what I needed. I’ve been unable to find an almond tree to replace the one that died. I read NW Xmas trees are strained from the unusual heat. I wonder how that will affect tree sales this winter? The drought and fires are bad news all the way around!

  22. This has been a strange week.
    I live in Texas and we are “cooler” than normal. July first is the average day for 100 degrees. So far we have been cooler than that.
    Even though it is getting into the high 60s at night the humidity is such we still need the a/c.
    I used a $25.00 rewards points on my Amazon this month.
    I continue to spend as little as possible on foods. I only spent $167.00 on food this month. That is for 4 of us. We are eating down the freezer as much as we can.
    I have started working on Christmas gift in earnest now.
    Saturday the “womenfolk” in the family went bridal gown shopping for my youngest daughter. After trying on many gowns she found “the one”. Her oldest called the soon to be step-father to tell him they had found the dress. He told Windee that he was paying for the gown. This is a savings of over $1700.00. He also asked if they would discount the dress if he paid cash. Windee told him they didn’t work like that. I told her to ask them…what’s the worst they can do? She asked and they gave her a 10% discount. Another little (not so little to me) savings.
    Windee bought shoes there for the wedding. They are covered in sparkly gems that look like diamonds. She bought them for under $50.00. They are tennis shoes. *laughing*
    They are having a very small wedding…so savings there too.
    I am still purging things from the house. It has become a challenge to see what I can get rid of and still enjoy my life.
    The garden isn’t producing like it should. I’m not sure why. So far we have gotten 3 tomatoes, 2 cucumbers and 2 green beans. Awful. We will try again in the fall.
    My radiator on the car is leaking. Pricing for a replacement is from $300 to over $600.00. Craziness for a car that is 21 years old.
    School starts again next month. My daughter is seriously considering online schools.

    1. Can you use one of the products they make that pours in the radiator and is supposed to stop the leak? Bar’s and K-Seal both have products. On a 21 year old car, it might be worth it to try and see if that stops the leak!

  23. Congratulations on your wedding anniversary! Your luncheon celebration sounds nice.
    I hope everyone is managing through the extreme weather. Even in the Bronx we had some flash flooding. My husband was diverted from several roads coming home from work but made it safely. We had water in the basement for the first time ever but after being mopped, the floors dried with no problems. Hoping the heat, wildfires and droughts get under control before there’s too much further damage.
    We had family and friends for a backyard picnic on Independence Day. It was wonderful to see everyone. My older daughter and niece drove from Ohio and spent a few days. My younger daughter came from Delaware (after working a night shift) and joined us on the 4th. I was so happy to have the birds back in the nest!! It was lovely to catch up with everyone. We’ve had good leftovers—I froze chicken sausage with onions and peppers and long rolls in 2 dinner size packages for later. We ate ribs and potato salad the next couple of days. I chopped the raw vegetables for stir-fry. I put sliced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella that were left on 2 rogue hamburger buns with basil from the garden and cooked them like grilled cheese sandwiches. So delicious.
    We went to a restaurant for dinner while we had company and my sister, BIL and MIL joined us. It was the first time my husband had been to a restaurant in over a year (and my second time after a lunch with friends). The food was so good and I took home leftovers (which I always enjoy). We saw our favorite waiter who we met 30 years ago in another restaurant which later closed. I was a little teary-eyed remembering the meals, celebrations and milestones we have enjoyed at his restaurant and was happy to hear that he and his family are all well.
    I attended a baby shower this past weekend. It was a real neighborhood gathering and I loved seeing old friends and acquaintances, especially many of the girls who had been in my Brownie troop 20 or so years ago!
    We are having the best blueberries ever this year. The netting my husband assembled has really kept the birds out and the berries are big and sweet this summer. We’ve had blueberry pancakes and smoothies. I want to freeze some before they’re all gone. We also had lots of lettuce (but it’s bolting now) and lots of kale. Tomatoes are growing but they’re not ready yet.
    Grocery store prices are climbing here as everyone has been experiencing. I bought white albacore tuna 10/$8.80, pasta 3/$2 and some other sale products to stock up. Cheddar goldfish were 3/$2 and I like to use them as croutons on salads and soup. Meat has been high so I am holding off except BSCB which is usually $1.99# about every other week. That’s our go-to choice especially in the summer. I cook the chicken with seasoning in the crockpot and cut it up for salads in addition to the usual stir-fry, white chili, cutlets and soup. I even substituted cooked chicken in a taco casserole I made to use up leftover tortilla chips and salsa from our picnic.
    It’s always wonderful to read this blog and all the comments. Wishing everyone a good week!

  24. Congratulations to you and your husband, Brandy – and so glad to read that you both had a well deserved lunch out together.

    It has been an odd July weather-wise here. Normally July is a gorgeous month, hot, but without too much humidity but this year its is hot, humid & rainy for much of the time. Saturday was a perfect Summer day but all this week it is to be dull & humid with lots of rain – not another truly nice day until Sunday! I know that I shouldn’t complain about all the rain given what the western half of the continent is going through but I do worry that it will also affect our growing season due to the lack of sunshine.

    The only groceries that I have bought in the past week are some fruit & salad greens plus a litre of milk. I did eat out twice – met a friend for a breakfast sandwich and a coffee last Friday – but – we supported a local cafe and it is the first time we’ve had a chance to meet in nearly a month so it was a lovely treat for $10. Luckily their patio area has a hard cover so we were able to eat comfortably even with the rain pouring down! I passed along the next two books in the Mitford series which she is really enjoying and I’ve told her to pass them along to a couple of other friends as she finishes them. With any luck they will keep circulating for a few months and maybe by then IKEA will have those bookcases that I want back in stock! Saturday I went out for a long drive in the country with another friend and we did eat lunch out on a patio and then later I treated for some ice-cream. There is still only a few things to do for entertainment here so eating out while socializing is pretty much it. But – I do always take water and a few snacks along as we don’t always stop for lunch – but we do like our ice-cream.

    The Art Gallery of Ontario emailed to let me know that they are reopening before the end of the month and that they have extended my membership until February 28, 2022 which was unexpected but very welcome. I had planned on renewing once things reopened but this will give me a few months reprieve. Now I just need to check on my Museum membership – although another friend has said that she is buying the one with guest privileges so I can tag along with her for a bit. I will renew mine but I’d like to get those couple of small bills paid off first as the membership fees are quite expensive.

    I did get my hair cut and it was not cheap but I do not begrudge a penny as it has been 10 months! I feel 5 pounds lighter! When I left the salon I stopped by the pharmacy to pick up my 3 month supply of 3 separate meds – all at zero cost!

    I took some time this past week to go through the pantry and rearrange a few things. There was a couple of things to throw out but nothing terribly expensive and it has made me think about what I will buy instead of those items moving forward. I have also made note of where the gaps are when planning for the future. The freezer is still very full and I added 3 servings of chicken curry this week as HM ready meals. I made the curry using up my last 4 chicken thighs and some veg that needed to be used up – ate it twice and then packaged up the rest for the freezer so 5 meals from 4 thighs. I also used up a couple of buns that have been in there for ages by toasting them and having them for a couple of suppers using up some back bacon and cheese for simple meals. I don’t cook a lot in the Summer so rely on salads and occasional sandwiches, plus lots of yogurt and fruit or raw veggies with humus – that sort of thing.

    I actually did a bit of mending this week as I noticed a tear in a favourite shirts (so glad I noticed it before it got worse) and while the sewing box was out I darned a few socks. I also did a bit of hand laundry so that I could extend the time before having to do a few big loads – saves me time and money as I have to use the laundry room in the building – the washing machine is $2 per load and the dryer is $1.50 for an hour (but you can add extra quarters so I try to organize things accordingly to get the most for my money). Everything done by hand was hung up to dry and normally the only things I use the dryer for are sheets and towels as there is simply no where to hang these up in my small apt. Still, it’s been interesting to see how long I can go between loads.

    Well, back to my office work now as I still work from home at least 3 days a week. I did a bunch of website updates this morning and now I have a bit of research to do before our staff meeting via Zoom this afternoon. It is to get very hot & humid with thunderstorms so I won’t be heading out today. Once work is finished I’ve got some new library books to get through so it will be a nice, quiet day. Have a wonderful week everyone.

  25. Last week I managed to clean out some dresser drawers (mine) and came across a couple pair of slacks I forgot were there. I also have several pair of workout pants I can use for around the house, as the gym I went to closed. My niece gave me some clothes she can no longer wear but so far I haven’t found any that fit me. I have more to try on. She lost a lot of weight after learning she was diabetic. My DD’s friend will get them after I go through them. Although I might ask my niece to donate them or give them to someone else as I really have plenty of clothes and someone else might need them. There are still some very nice capris to try on.
    DD and I have made a couple trips to farm markets so we are eating well. Nothing like fresh raspberries on my cereal in the morning. They are $4 a pint but a pint will do about a week’s worth of breakfasts. Also bought some green beans and discovered after cooking that they need some strings removed. I will do that before cooking next time. Most of the beans we get don’t need strings removed.
    We had two inches of rain in one day last week, causing my cellar to partially flood–it was simply a matter of not being able to handle all the water at once. It has gone down now and we opened the door yesterday but the breeze died almost as soon as we did. We need to get the floor dried up. DD will also come over today and help me put some soggy cardboard boxes into the trash as they pick it up tomorrow. That’s one way to start cleaning up the basement, I guess! I will be glad to have some of those things out of there.
    I have been thinking about cleaning out kitchen cupboards as it doesn’t take so many dishes etc for one person. I am not entertaining much anymore either. I was going to make a list of things I don’t need and circulate it among my many nieces and nephews who might want some of them. Wine glasses, coffee mugs, etc.–I have lots that are just not used. That would give me more kitchen cupboard space for things I do use!! Not that I’m short of projects already, but anything that gives me more space would help to declutter.
    I did talk to the billing office at the memory care facility where my husband lives. They sent me a bill for $12, 250.00 but after they “found” the last two checks I sent, it was revised and I have a $100 credit towards next month. I was paying for a service they were considering starting but they have not started charging extra yet. That’s about the only money I’ve been able to save lately. I need some yard work done and a couple little plumbing things, and I had to re-register my car when I discovered I had been driving a couple weeks with expired registration. The state no longer sends notifications, my young friends tell me so we have to remember that ourselves now. I was able to do the transaction online as soon as I realized I needed to, so all is well now. They register cars for two years at a time in this state, so it wasn’t cheap but it was essential.
    I keep finding too many things that need attention around here!!
    Congratulations on your anniversary. It’s nice to have some time together without children in the background for a bit. And nice to remember the memories of your wedding and just starting out together too.

  26. Congratulations on your anniversary!

    The bargain of the week was cherries for .99 lb. at Winco. I’m pretty sure they were cheap because some were slightly deformed. Who cares–they’re cherries!

    So, I bought a case of the cherries, ate a few and put up 12 quarts. Jules, I’m with your Amish neighbors when it comes to lids! Everything was canned either in one quart pickle jars with twist-off/pop-up lids (my faves) or in regular mason jars with reused lids (some are on the third use). All sealed, which by now doesn’t surprise me a bit. I still use new lids for anything that is pressure canned, though! Also, years ago I quit making sugar syrup. I pour 1/3 cup of sugar over the filled quart jar (half as much for a pint jar) and add hot tap water. It makes a light syrup while the fruit processes. If there is a little undissolved sugar in the bottom of the jar when it comes out of the canner, it will still dissolve. This is easier and less messy than making syrup and doesn’t heat up the kitchen or take up room on the stove.

    I picked another 1 lb. 1 oz. of strawberries last week, for 16 lbs. 6 oz. for the season. They’re done, but a few berries are still ripening here and there. I picked 1 lb. 8 oz. of raspberries for 2 lbs. 12 oz. to date, with more to come. The tomatoes are beginning to set fruit, the green beans are blooming and I picked my first zuke, with 3 babies still on the vine! Not bad for a tiny garden!

    Having problems with the Swiss chard, and maybe someone here knows the cause and solution. There are tan/brown patches on the leaves that look like some kind of scald. I went online and saw scorched-looking lines that look like spiderwebs or slug tracks, which are indicative of bug damage. But these are large splotches and I don’t see any insects on the underside of the leaves. Anyone have any ideas?

    I read 3 more books from the library last week, including The Alice Network, which was excellent, and Keep the Home Fires Burning. Home Fires was kinda mediocre. It tied up some of the loose ends and left a lot more unfinished.

    I mixed up a batch of Miracle Spray so my husband would clean the bathroom, LOL.

    FOR ANNE, who is looking for a cheap way to stream PBS–PBS Passport streams about just everything PBS has broadcast for decades. In Idaho, Passport is free for a year with a minimum $60 donation to Idaho Public Television. This may (or may not) be true for PBS in other states. If $60 is too steep for you right now, many/most PBS stations will collect pledges monthly…so ask. If you already contribute to PBS, you may be eligible and just don’t know it!

    Frugal fail–I cleaned my refrigerator and threw away entirely too many science projects, IYKWIM. My biggest problem is that my husband will make himself a hotdog or open a can of soup for lunch instead of eating leftovers. We had a talk about this today. Hopefully, with all of the junk out of the fridge, he can SEE what’s there and eat it up. Sometimes he just needs a reminder that it is not OK to waste food!

    1. Maxine: Great deal on the cherries. I will have to check our Winco. With the Swiss Chard, the hot weather and smoke we have been having lately, that may cause the discoloration. I know it has mine in the past.
      Are you water bath canning the cherries? How long? Since we are geographically close, I could probably do the same length of time as you.

      1. 25 minutes per quart.

        Winco still had cherries for .99 as of yesterday. (I stopped myself from buying more). Probably worth a call to your nearest store. If they don’t have them, and the trip is worth it to you, call the Coeur d’Alene store. Cross back over I-90 from exit 11 to Appleway, and you’re there. It’s across the street from Cracker Barrel, which you can see from the freeway.

  27. Happy Anniversary lovebirds!
    This week was a nice summer one. We walked down to swim at the beach everyday. Now that travel is not recommended many local tourists come to our beach for summer vacation. It feels like we are abroad, even though we only have to walk for 5 mins to get there. The commune installed lots of water toys out in the sea: trampoline, slides etc. so it’s also like a free water park! On Sunday we went to a near by island (10 mins by a public boat). I packed food for the day (the return boat is in the evening), muffins, cut up fruit’n’vegg, water and thermos of coffee. We played at the beach, walked around nature paths and even got to see milking of goats(they are kept there to keep the plants under control). We had a great adventure and only payed 2 adult bus tickets for it!
    On Monday my 9yo was invited to visit the Kon Tiki museum with his granddad. Do you know the story of Thor Heyerdahl who sailed across the Pacific on a balsawood raft to proof a theory he had? Check it out, perfect for summer and nice homeschool material for a little older kids.
    I saved some milk cartons for freezing berries (lessons from last weeks comments).
    We ate lots of berries and mushrooms from the forest. My hubby hauled 1kg chanterelles from the forest.
    I did 4 workouts from YouTube.
    I got the fabric for the curtains, so there is hope… It was cheap one from IKEA but I like it. By making the curtains myself I will end up paying only 1/3 of a price of cheapest ready made curtains.

    Brandy, when are you visiting Winter?
    All best to everybody!

    1. Kinga – I didn’t know that there was a Kon Tiki Museum! As a kid I found that whole adventure so amazing! Here in Toronto we usually have a “Tall Ships” festival down at the harbour each Summer and a lot of other boats/ships will also arrive. A couple of years ago a replica Viking longship traveled from (I believe Norway) across the Atlantic and friends and I followed their progress online. It was a really big deal when they finally arrived here and I was down at the harbour to watch them come in. Being brave enough to sail small ships and a raft across oceans is truly amazing!

    2. Hi Kinga
      I love the book about the Kon Tiki expedition. You’ve reminded me to re read it. I am also lucky to have visited the Kon Tiki Museum, when I was sixteen my parents took me to Norway for three weeks. We had an unforgettable holiday and the scenery and wooden churches were beautiful.

  28. Happy anniversary Brandy! Well done on 21 years and a lovely family ;). Glad that you can buy your seeds early and avoid any risk of shortages or crazy prices. For frugal accomplishments, I redid our budget for the balance of the year to reflect expected expenses and savings. I have used Quicken for the past 10 years, and my software was old and not updated. I had refused to spend $35 on an annual subscription to use their new software…so I analyzed all the free options. After a few days trying out other choices (lots of stress and I was horrified at the detailed personal information and account detail the other vendors required), I decided to spend the $35 a year to use quicken. I returned some dog medicine that didn’t work (it had a try it for three week guarantee) and received my money back. For the month, we have eaten out twice, all other meals eaten at home. I updated our freezer inventory. Since there are only two of us, I find that cooking and freezing soups are the best use of my time and freezer space, right now I have six different varieties in the freezer! So wonderful to have all the “take out” choices;). Let’s hope for some rain here in the desert southwest! Thank you for the updated photos of your garden on Instagram, I love seeing your progress!

  29. I don’t comment every week but I always read through. This week I had something that maybe not everyone knows (and might not apply to various services, but JUST in case!). For our garbage service, if the lid of the garbage can is slightly ajar with a bag showing, they charge $5.36 for that “additional” bag. I learned the hard way! There is no notification although it does show up on the bill- unfortunately I did not notice being on auto-pay/paperless. Won’t do that again!!

    1. That additional garbage charge is sneaky! We pay quarterly to our local county (council) for property taxes (rates), water, water access, sewerage and weekly garbage services with two large wheelie bins provided. Totals around $3,500 per year. Some other counties are around $4,000-$4,500. Property taxes (rates) are based on your rateable land value, which is a below market value assessment. With our property taxes (rates) we also get vouchers each year to go to the local rubbish tip/dump/waste management facility, however, we don’t use them. Sometimes we also get vouchers for a few free native plants too.

      1. That is fascinating that all your charges are combined! I pay all those bills separately (property taxes, water, garbage, etc.).

    2. I forgot to mention that if we leave the lid of the garbage bin slightly ajar due to too much rubbish the crows come and take everything out and spread it all across the road, yards etc in search of food. This is a huge incentive to close the lid! No additional charges though if it’s over packed.

  30. Happy Anniversary Brandy!!!!21 years of marriage – what a blessing!
    We have kept busy this past week with all of the usual things – work, home, gardening, and preparing for our son to start kindergarten in August.
    Unlike many areas of our country we have had an abundance of rain which has been a great blessing. I have tomato plants in my garden that are over 7 ft tall. We harvested two bushels of tomatoes from the garden this week, several large bunches of basil, 5 lbs of pole beans, 8 green peppers, 25 banana peppers, several pounds of cherry tomatoes, and a few yellow squash. Our crowder peas have begun to produce pods and we should have a large harvest from them in the next week or so. Our two chestnut trees are full of nuts – at least double what we had last year. Once the nuts fall we will harvest and sell them as no one in my family cares for chestnuts but many people love them. I canned homemade tomato sauce – 5 quarts of Italian spiced to add to spaghetti & 3 quarts of Chili spiced. I also put up 12 quarts of diced tomatoes and there is another bushel of tomatoes sitting on my dining room table to be canned – what a blessing! Green Beans were washed and prepared for the freezer, 8 pints of banana peppers were canned, and the remaining veggies were eaten fresh. I made a large batch of pesto using walnuts and froze for later use.
    I took advantage of sales at Kroger and purchased 5 half gallons of milk for $0.88/each, 5 lbs of bacon for $3.99/each, and bing cherries for $1.97/lb. This is the lowest price for cherries I have ever seen and I bought 28 pounds. I have pitted the cherries and froze them and will use them to make a pie filling that we will freeze to use throughout the year. I finally have gotten over my fear and made homemade yogurt in my instant pot – oh my goodness it is delicious! This is a huge savings as my son sometimes will eat 2 servings of Greek yogurt a day and even though I get them on sale…$1/serving adds up quickly.
    I made a whole quart of Greek yogurt for $0.90 and it tastes better than store bought. Even with regular priced milk we will save about 75% off of what we normally spend on yogurt. Now onto granola!
    We enjoyed all of our meals at home except for one lunch. Friends invited us over to swim at their pool and we had lunch at their home. They gifted us half a dozen eggs from their chickens, some vitamin supplements and lent me two books. She came to my home to help with canning tomatoes and I sent her home with jam, salsa, fresh tomatoes and we enjoyed dinner together.
    I purchased school supplies for my son and used an online code for 25% off. We decided to stay home next week rather than travel and will enjoy some local activities for far less out of pocket expense.
    Costs are high but I am trying to replenish our stock as much as we can afford to throughout this season by shopping sales, growing all we can and stretching every dollar. Be encouraged dear friends…we truly are in this together 🙂

  31. Happy Anniversary, Brandy!

    My frugal week:
    – made two batches of brownies (http://approachingfood.com/gluten-free-brownies/) and a batch of pretzel buns (http://approachingfood.com/preservative-free-shortcut-pretzel-bites/)
    – I redeemed PC Optimum points for $10 of groceries
    – redeemed air miles for $10 of groceries
    – found $15 on the street. Paid for a dinner out! And by dinner, I mean pizza and drinks.
    – price compared to get best prices for decorations for my parents 50th anniversary
    – sent a gift box to a friend – used coupon to get 25 percent off of the flat rate box, shipped homemade chocolate granola, homemade caramel corn, homemade cranberry jam (http://approachingfood.com/better-than-store-bought-cranberry-sauce/ – I had some canned in my pantry), plus re-gifted items, items purchased using air miles etc. Made for a very nice but very frugal parcel.
    – picked raspberries from my condo balcony, and lettuce and mulberries from my parents garden.
    – I keep regrowing green onions in water
    – took my daughter to the local outdoor pool again, after making free online reservations
    – did lots of stem/steam activities at home using simple supplies such as ice cubes, baking soda, salt, etc. Inexpensive and if it inculcates a love of learning, basic understanding of the scientific process, and critical thinking skills over the years, all the effort will have been worth it. Plus, it’s fun!
    – repurposed a plastic organizer insert as a sensory play bin
    – picked up a couple of coupons for my mom while at the grocery store.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

  32. We are continuing to clean out our fridge and freezer before our move. We’ll probably move next weekend. Excited about that! We used some frozen bananas to make banana bread. We used some frozen pulled pork shoulder to make pork tacos. We used some leftover shredded turkey to make a mini turkey dinner. Yes we know it’s July! There was enough turkey leftover from that dinner to make turkey noodle casserole last night. We also used up the last of our frozen Rhodes rolls. Now we’ll make our own from scratch for much less money. We will finish cleaning out the fridge and freezer this week. Then next week we’ll probably live on sandwiches.

    We did spend some money though. This month is going to be expensive with our move and other things. We paid half of the airfare for our oldest daughter to fly in from Pennsylvania. That was 233 but it’s worth it to have her here for a few days before school starts again. My second son is also coming in but he is able to pay his own way. They are both coming in to celebrate my dh’s birthday.

    Happy belated anniversary Brandy! Glad you got to go out. My dh and I celebrated our 25th back in January. We went out to Olive Garden. It was pretty nice. Expensive though!

    Hope everyone has a great frugal week!

    1. Ha ha, here in Australia Christmas dinner in July is a thing. Some stores sell Christmas food on special in July. Just because it’s a novelty for us to eat turkey etc when it’s cold weather.

  33. Brandy, Happy anniversary to you and your husband!! It is wonderful to have such long lasting love and life together.

    I have been following national and local news in Las Vegas (I lived there over 10 years ago and still read the news there). I have read news stories about record setting heat and sometimes wonder if people will leave the region simply because it is inhospitable for daily life for such a portion of the year. I now live in Florida, and know that here our worst heat of the year seems to be in August. I wonder if the heat will continue for Las Vegas and increase in temperature out there as well. I hope that you and your family are safe. Sorry to hear about the plants, your above comment about the heat reading instrument show how hot it is when the ground absorbs and radiates heat.

    In my own patch things are going well. My son and I have done several free things so far this summer including going to a local botanical garden, going to a baseball game for the 4th of July with fireworks afterward, and this past weekend going on a sunset and dolphin boat ride. The garden and ball game were free, and my ticket for the boat ride was free leaving me to pay for just my son’s ticket. My son has also started a two week stem camp through the school district. He had to apply with a teacher recommendation and get accepted. Yesterday was his first day and he is beyond excited. This camp is also – free – with breakfast and lunches included as the school is Summer meal spot with free breakfast and lunch. Although we have paid for parking or food in some of these events, it’s felt so nice to see and do these things with savings in mind.

    I anticipate food prices going up in cost especially with the drought out West and fires in the West as well. I received some $5/30 coupons for Aldi and used them to buy flats of canned goods. I bought a 12 can flat of black beans, 2 12 count flats of green beans, and 2 12 count flats of corn. We also bought three cases of water from Costco. All of this is good preparation for the future, and also helps us be more hurricane prepared in the event of a major storm here in Florida, which is most likely to occur through September. I have a plan to continue buying flats of items that are shelf stable for one or two years minimum. As I’ve been doing this lately it’s helped me see where the price increases are in items and even stores. For example tuna was .50 a can and is now .62 a can. Goya items also seem to have had a large price increase. It’s interesting to see how things change.

    We are clearing out the last of our items from our second house in preparation to sell. We are taking a number of cylinder blocks to our primary home with a plant to create a garden bed along the two fence boarders we share with neighbors in our back and side yard. One boarder I will use for vegetables, the other I want to plant flowers. This will also reduce the amount of grass we have to mow. It’s a bit of heavy lifting but I’m excited to prepare the yard for this.

    Thank you for sharing your life with us. Stay hydrated and cool!

  34. I received $80 in quarterly rebates from using my credit card. I pay it off monthly, so this is always a lovely bonus to get!
    I had $40 in Kohl’s cash to spend last week. I looked for some household items, but didn’t find what I was looking for, so I got a comfortable, loose-fitting dress.
    I picked apricots from a communal tree, plus chard and surprisingly, some lettuce from my community garden plot. I also planted beets and carrot seeds.
    With some of the apricots and foraged rhubarb, I made a cobbler. I also made a cobbler from blueberries and peaches that I had on hand. We were invited to a group picnic in a nearby canyon (7 miles from me). It was potluck and there was a lot of food and wonderful people. It was lovely to gather with a large group! And the weather was at least 10 degrees cooler. We ended up bringing back part of a chocolate cake that one of the attendees didn’t want to take home.
    I substitute taught yoga twice last week in my community group. I didn’t get paid, but enjoyed the experience.
    I read Jennifer Ryan’s “The Spies of Shilling Lane” and really enjoyed it!
    We saw our grandkids one night–hadn’t seen them in two years. It wasn’t frugal, but we took them ice skating (a cool activity in summer) and to dinner. It was wonderful to see them after so long!
    I had a long telephone conversation with a friend from Florida. So nice to catch up.
    And, as always, I hiked, knit, read, worked on watercolor paintings and did a bit of organizing and minimizing.
    Congratulations, Brandy, on your anniversary!

  35. Summer isn’t my favorite. Our highs have been higher than usual here in western Maryland, with very high humidity. It feels like wading through a dryer when I walk outside lol. I am told heat is more tolerable where the humidity is lower but I don’t have any experience with that! But I am so thankful to live in a place with four distinct seasons. I can always say, “this too shall pass.” Fall will come with its gloriously cool weather soon enough.

    -Our garden hasn’t done well. We haven’t had a major deer problem before, but we have one now. On Sunday we put up a temporary fence using inexpensive posts and 4 strands of fishing line. I’m hoping the deer will be confused by the invisible fence and stay away. We did finally get a few wax beans but that’s the only thing we’ve harvested so far between deer and bug damage. We aren’t going hungry, though. An orchard owner who is friends with my mom allowed us to pick blueberries. We got about 20 lbs and he charged me $8. My mom also asked if I wanted the green beans she canned the past 2 years since she’s getting a bumper crop this year. She also passed along 6 quarts of canned chicken leg quarters.

    -I took inventory of what the kids need for their fall/Winter wardrobes. I plan to take a couple of kids per week to a very cheap thrift store to fill in the gaps. Since it’s early, I’m hoping to procure everything we need and not have to buy new.

    -We spent the day on Saturday at a family reunion with swimming. In the evening we attended a free firemen’s car show. The kids wanted snacks and to ride the carnival rides and we let them spend their own money. It seems like a waste to us, but they enjoyed it.

    -My husband borrowed a box trailer from his mom. We’ll park it by the house and store everything from our room in it while we redo the drywall and add insulation. Our room was only intended as a storage room and needs the insulation desperately. And when the roof was leaking the drywall was ruined. So this is an exciting thing for us. We have everything except the insulation and paint on hand. A friend from church has volunteered to do the drywall work for free. What a blessing!

  36. Interesting thoughts about the seed prices for next year, and I wouldn’t be surprised—the price of so many things is increasing lately. I’ve mentioned here before that I went for a big dream of mine this year and started a cut flower farm, and it’s been a really challenging season so far. I live in Central Utah, and our drought isn’t as bad as yours Brandy, but it’s getting there. The reservoir close to us is completely dried up, and I’ve already had to decide which plants to prioritize (it’s a hard call because I need the flowers for the business but I really really want the vegetables for myself!). The heat’s definitely been taking its toll on our garden, and we’re “only” getting to 100-101 or so (as compared to your 115-120). I can only imagine. I did buy some annuals on clearance to try one more time to have some color in our window box (the heat keeps killing everything there), but I don’t know that these latest ones will make it either. Fingers crossed!

    I’m not very good at mending, but I put on my big girl pants this week and sewed some buttons on a pair of my husband’s pants and two on a dress of my own. It might not have been the prettiest mending job, but I think they’ll stay on, at any rate!

    I’ve started being a lot more mindful of water usage and waste, and I’ve taken a leaf out of everyone’s book here and started using warm-up water and water that was used for other things (such as keeping cut flowers in, for example) on the dry spots outside.

    I finally grit my teeth and began potty training in earnest for my second (I despise potty training—by far my least favorite thing about parenthood so far, lol), which should save us a lot in diapers as we’ve had our two youngest in diapers ever since my 3rd was born (my second and third children are only about 17 months apart).

    Other than getting a couple gallons of milk and a bunch of bananas from the store this week, we shopped our pantry and are working on getting the food in our freezer down to a more reasonable amount to manage.

    1. Torrie, I know it’s an expense to install (because we’re doing it again right now), but if you can install drip irrigation lines on your farm, it will help with water cuts next year. I like using the lines that have emitters inside every 6 inches; it’s great for spacing flowers and vegetables. Many farmers in Idaho, Washington, and California has received 0% of their allotted water, and most of Utah shows a drought in as extreme a state as Nevada according to the June 2021 U.S. Drought Map.

      I think having a cut flower farm sounds incredibly exciting! I wish you all the best!

  37. How nice that you had such a nice anniversary date!

    My dad was like your husband, and welded, did carpentry, designed structures, did wiring, plumbing, and mechanical repairs. My husband could do a good bit of that before he was disabled, but not as much as my dad. Those skills are invaluable! We need more men passing these skills on, and not just to our boys.

    I tried to purchase disposable gloves at a CVS this week. I need them when working with my husband at times. The cashier said they wouldn’t ring up, so he called the manager. She said they were literally overwhelmed with boxes of gloves, so they were free. I got a box of 100 gloves for free!

    I made a large batch of baked beans in my pressure cooker. After we ate a few servings, I used my food saver’s hand held attachment to seal up and freeze the rest in a zip top bag.

    I made a breakfast casserole of numerous vegetables and cooked in it the flawless Corning Ware stoneware covered casserole dish I got for $3 at Goodwill.

    I thawed out some frozen leftover homemade chicken “chili” for our meal tonight. Saving leftovers is a good way to avoid take out or last minute grocery trips.

    I renewed my club membership at the bird food store. Even at $25 a year, I save more than that amount, and some years, a lot more. We feed a lot of birds so we go through a lot of food, plus I get discounts on everything I buy, and occasional freebies. I also get Bird Bucks to use whenever I get $10 worth.

    All my packed (leftovers) lunch today at work is in re-usable dishes, and my silverware is silverplate I bought for next to nothing at a thrift store. My insulated lunch bag is five years old.

  38. Happy Anniversary!

    Joining in from the Seattle area. The weather continues to be sunny and around 80F, which is perfect for sitting on the patio and taking walks in the park (both of which I have been doing on a daily basis). It is just so strange to wake up to nice weather every day. Usually our summers are more variable, with occasional rain. The drought continues, but thankfully we do not have the hot temperatures that the southwest is now experiencing.

    The nice weather had a positive impact on the farm where we pick up our weekly vegetable share. The past two weeks, we received lots of zucchini. This week there was a box of extra kohlrabi, with a sign saying to help yourself. So I took two. The staff member present told me to take more – they had several more boxes to put out. No problem there, as I love kohlrabi! She also told me that they had offered the farm’s extra zucchini to a local food bank, but they would not take it. Apparently the food bank was full up on zucchini!

    Other accomplishments:
    Used chard, beet greens, onion, and zucchini from the farm share to make a big batch of green soup. Froze extra for future meals.
    Cut peppermint from my patio planter to use as tea.
    Made iced tea every day. I use the decaf Irish breakfast tea from Trader Joe’s, two teabags per quart. Then I squeeze in half a lemon, and add four drops of liquid monk fruit extract. It is so refreshing!
    Forgot to list this before, but last month, a former neighbor gave me a bunch of free rhubarb, part of which I used fresh and part of which I froze.
    Found a tablecloth at a thrift store for $2. I need to alter it to fit our small table, but I should be able to make napkins out of the fabric I will cut off.
    Hacked a pattern to make myself a pair of shorts. They turned out just right and are very comfortable.
    My mom shared newspapers and magazines with me. I passed on a few magazines to her as well.
    My husband planted two shoots from a succulent. Hopefully they will take. The first try several months ago was not successful.
    Did all the things I normally do: cooked at home, used up leftovers and freezer/pantry food, made water kefir, read blogs and library e-books, and watched streaming TV and Youtube.

    Have a great week, everyone.

    1. How very nice to have zucchini! I have tried replanting seeds for a possible shot at getting some for fall. I had to rip out one store-bought plant that I have been unable to rescue from aphids, and the wind broke another off at the ground last month. The third store-bought plant isn’t growing at all. Try as I might, I cannot get zucchini to grow and produce anything for us.

      1. Brandy, people here laugh about zuchinni. It’s SO prolific. In fact just today I got a paper grocery sack FULL from a desperate friend who has way too many!

          1. It would be for you especially! I loved it too. I made 6 loaves of zucchini bread and grated/froze a bunch of 2 cup increments!

        1. Zucchini tends to be prolific where we live too. One year we had 97 zucchini from a single plant! I had several weeks where we gave away zucchini because we had simply way too much. We had zucchini every way we could think and find online and then we had frozen, shredded zucchini to meet all our needs for two years afterward!
          Lea

  39. I haven’t commented for a long time. Both my jobs have become very busy and while I could offer less days availability to one of them last year is very much in my mind and I will make hay while the sun shines.

    Recent savings have been good. By shopping the reduced rack in supermarkets I save at least £50 a shop. About a year before the pandemic hit I bought a chest freezer. It paid for itself within a few months- I could store all my finds. During the pandemic we ate it down and more recently I have restocked it ( with reduced stuff of course). I don’t buy meat/chicken or fish at full price if I can help it. There are turkeys and geese (bought when prices dropped after last Christmas) in the bottom of the freezer.

    I went to the secondhand uniform sale at my youngest’s school. Spent £55 and saved myself about £225 on uniform. I bought a lot because usually the sales are on a Friday ( when I am working) and I don’t get to them. She now has enough to take her through the whole school ( has big sister’s old uniform when she grows into it). We have her outgrown uniform collected to donate back to them.

    I was given a voucher for John Lewis (well known UK shop) by an employer. That has paid for 2 lampshades and a desk lamp for my daughter. I chose to collect from the store rather than pay shipping and my teenagers will do that tomorrow.

    I am crocheting myself/ family pure cotton facecloths using wool bought off eBay ( Debbie bliss). As it was discontinued wool it was very cheap. I much prefer these to cotton wool pads and they are better for the environment. Crocheting relaxes me.

    I went to Scotland with my youngest to see my family- first time away in 18 months. Flights were booked using avios points and the hotel was paid for using money earned by selling children’s clothes ( grown out of) on eBay. It is amazing how little bits add up. I booked the hotel as a treat because it had a pool. My youngest really enjoyed swimming for the first time in ages. My family came for dinner and insisted on paying. My sister drove us everywhere.

    My older daughter went up to Scotland to visit my family on her own. I bought her a 16-25 railcard using Clubcard rewards ( basically £10 rewards buys a £30 railcard). This gives a 30% discount. She had a great time. She stayed with my sister. When I took her to the station we stumbled across a sale. I had been meaning to buy her a small present to celebrate her doing very well at school (As) as well as being made Head Girl next year. I bought her a small silver necklace ( so she could keep it forever)- the saving from full price was huge.

    Us going up to Scotland separately meant dog always has people at home and my elderly mother got two visits instead of one. She was so excited to see us. While I was up there I bought her a daylight lamp for her new flat ( she has moved into sheltered accommodation). I got the best price I could online. On both visits we brought down the contents of a lot of boxes from her old house. I gratefully accepted bedding/ curtains/ crockery etc as I have 2 children moving out in the next 2 years ( I think). This saved a lot on shipping costs.

    I bought my son a present for finishing school- end of a sale and earned avios points. I was able to have it engraved for free. I think it is nice to give them something they can keep.

    We will not be having a family holiday this summer. I’m not confident enough to book a flight to another country at this time so we will enjoy our home. Yes it is a saving but given the tragic reason for this ( that the whole world has suffered) I don’t feel like celebrating this saving.

    I collect avios points whenever I can. Over the last few years this has been the reason we can afford flights. I also collect nectar points ( on eBay/ train tickets etc). My Tesco Clubcard points can no longer be converted to avios points so am thinking about how to get my best rewards from that. Lidl is cheaper than Tesco ( usually- for basics) but during the pandemic I tried to do online shopping whenever I could and Lidl doesn’t deliver. I may need to start visiting Lidl again.

    Sometimes I forget all the regular ways I routinely save money- rags for cleaning ( no paper towels), ecoegg for washing, toilet rolls bought in bulk, food taken into work ( not bought) and stock made for dog to have with dried food ( no tins)- vet recently said he is in perfect health.

    Another saving ( I think) is that I bought an airfryer on sale. I hadn’t realised how useful they are. Now, unless I am cooking a huge amount I no longer use my oven. Pretty certain the airfryer is cheaper to run as well. I don’t have to wait for the oven to heat. Another bonus ( in the summer) is that the whole kitchen doesn’t heat up when I use the airfryer.

    Well that’s all for now. Brandy thank you so much for this lovely site. It gives me so much inspiration and keeps me motivated.

    1. Congratulations to your daughter on good grades and being made Head Girl. You must be very proud of her.

    2. -We’ve been picking raspberries, mulberries, herbs, lettuce, kale, and tomatoes. We harvested garlic. I replanted bare spots in the garden. I bought more mulch to try and stay ahead of weeds. We have been eating out a bit but I have forced myself to eat at home most of the time. When we go out, we stick to locally owned spots. Like many of you, I’m trying to stock up more, so I did a big trip to Aldi. We have had a lot of rain and extreme swings in temperature, so we haven’t had to water the garden very much. I’ve let some plants go to seed at your advice, to collect seeds for next year. I only use open pollinated, heirloom seeds.
      -We have been looking for months for a large trailer for work. New ones are back ordered for months due to covid. We found a used one on Marketplace and I immediately messaged them, and we were able to pick it up same day.
      -Tenants broke an old door that was an odd size. I was able to find an old used door that worked. This saved probably a thousand dollars and months on order.
      -I’ve sold a few items on Marketplace and eBay.
      -We lost power for over 24 hours due to storms. We have a lot of food in the freezers (meat and beans) and canned fruits but not much “ready to eat” protein without refrigeration. I will be trying my hand at pressure canning some venison stews and more canned beans. We swam to cool off, so sleeping wasn’t too uncomfortable. We are going to be more seriously looking into solar power.
      -I am still carrying more “baby weight” than I would like. The past few months my youngest has gone through some sleep changes and I lost my morning routine. I’ve restarted a half marathon training plan. I did it 2 years ago with great success. It is definitely frugal to fit back into my wardrobe.

      1. Susan, we are researching doing solar ourselves. It looks like it can pay for itself in five years (as opposed to the 25 years here that it takes if I were to pay a company to do it). If we don’t get batteries and still hook to the grid, we may be able to make it work for a lot less.

    3. I completely agree that the air fryer can be a savings! We have a toaster oven/air fryer combo and use it practically daily – it’s amazing for reheating leftovers! (I don’t use a microwave).

  40. Love reading everyone’s comments as there is always something to learn and inspiration to be found.
    We live in the mountains with creeks, ponds and a river all around us so the idea of droughts is pretty foreign but floods are not. We had a torrential rainstorm last week with hail. We were very fortunate to have little damage other than debris from our creek overflowing our driveway (which has happened before but, thankfully, has always held.) A few neighbors in the area were not so lucky with bridges washed out, creeks overflowing and buildings filling with water and equipment moved about. I am always encouraged to see all of the neighbors out and about as soon as the rain stops visiting and helping one another. Nothing like a storm to create some rural socializing!
    One neighbor, who is a woodworker, saves his shavings for me to use in my chicken coop. Nice to not have to buy them from time to time.
    An out-of-town friend and her children came to visit for the day. They live in town so a visit to us is like a day at camp and we always have a great time swimming, fishing, playing with the animals, picking yummy things out of the garden and just visiting. My friend always brings me produce we don’t find locally here and this time it was peaches. Yum! Have been eating and freezing them all week.
    The children and I head to the beach for a few days to enjoy some time with my husband’s family. I am not a huge fan of the beach in summer (too hot) but love to see family and my children enjoy riding the waves. My husband will not go this year as he finally got some help arranged with a neighbor to work on the interior trim of our house. We built our house ourselves (starting 3 years ago) but still have many projects to finish. It has been a wonderful experience but we have hit a stall with the trim so he is glad our neighbor, a retired woodworker, is available and willing to help. My husband took off the whole week so they should get some great progress made and then I can plan on painting. Building your own house requires a lot of patience and creativity but we have found those are useful skills in life, in general. My husband staying home will also make things easier as we will not have to arrange care for all the animals.
    I am finding it harder, as my boys get older and bigger, to reliably find clothes for them at thrift shops. Thankfully, they couldn’t care less about brands or style and prefer basic things. I just think children (especially boys) wear clothes out (which is a good thing, overall) so you often find only dressier clothes, not everyday items. I have had some luck with Children’s Place sales over the years for things I haven’t been able to find used so I may have to go that route. My oldest, who will be 10 the end of this month, is more the size of the average 13 year old so he can actually wear some men’s extra small or small shirts which I can find sometimes. That gives me more options. And grandmothers who live in different towns and are always on the look-out for us helps our chances of finding things exponentially.
    The garden is bursting and we eat something from it with every meal as well as continue to have loads of eggs for us and for trade/sale to neighbors. We had some losses in the bee yard last winter so we are leaving the honey for them this year. Will be fine for them and we still have quite a bit left from last year. For beekeepers, we don’t eat as much honey as one might think but do love it and love having them around. I could sit and watch the bees work for hours. It may sound funny to some, the idea that being around thousands of potentially stinging insects is relaxing but it truly is to me. My youngest son is my apprentice and he hopes to work a hive of his own next year (and keep 50% of the honey sales from that hive.)
    Hope everyone continues to enjoy their summer!

    1. Mountain Mama Dawn, I love your posts. They give new insights to me. Which mountains do you live in, if you don’t mind my asking?

  41. We made the heart-breaking decision to stop watering our garden. The soil is not good soil at all. Mostly clay and all the tomatoes we were getting would immediately rot. Same with the squash. We got quite a bit of spinach and kale in the spring, some peas, and then it got too hot too fast and combined with mineral deficient soil, it was just wasting water to try and keep everything hydrated. We’ll try again in the fall.
    I’m starting to prepare for my shoulder surgery in 3 weeks. We have the financial reserve saved (from a error in our taxes and the IRS refunded a fine we shouldn’t have had to pay) and I’m freezing meals for my family. I’ll use my husbands and late-father-in-laws old button up shirts for a couple months to wear. We need to find a recliner for me to sleep in and purchase an ice pump machine. We decided to invest in this machine (rather than use ice packs) so my husband can use it in the future for his knee and shoulder surgeries. I have a really low tolerance to pain and I’ve heard amazing things about being able to have continual ice water on the shoulder versus trying to balance ice packs. We’re starting up our homeschool school year a little early to get a head start on things before we have to start with our reporting to the charter school in August. This will be a long recovery but so needed! (I dislocated my shoulder in January for the third time as an adult, turns out I have fracture on the humeral bone that catches when I move it a certain way and will always dislocate. So, this surgery will tack the tendon to the bone and prevent future dislocations)
    We finished up a family reunion down here in southern Utah and it was way too hot for all the outdoor activities we had planned: picnicking at a park, going hiking, etc. We did go to a local reservoir that was okay since we could stay in the water. We moved the picnic to a church, and went on a hike a little higher in elevation. Our town did pass up it’s record for hottest day at 117*, so that was definitely a memory for our family reunion!

    1. Lisa, have you considered adding bagged steer manure to the garden? Worm castings is another great option, along with adding in some sand to your clay.

    2. Lisa, I’m sorry about your garden. Have you considered raised beds? Maybe you can build a few for next year. It can cost $200 to fill one, but we used the soil from fence post holes, all of the half-finished compost we had and topped them with a few bags of garden soil. It is unbelievably fertile and drains perfectly. It does settle, so you might have to top them off every year or two, but the soil is so rich that you can grow a lot in a very small space, and use less water. Tips: My beds were built with leftover lumber, but I’ve seen beds built with cement blocks and with lumber salvaged from pallets. Our beds are 4 feet wide and 10 feet long and we have drip irrigation. You can set up drip lines (use the perforated tubing that Brandy recommended) that connect to a hose. Don’t build them too close to a fence or building because you want access from all directions. Don’t ask me how I know this one, LOL. Also, check broken bags of soil and other amendments at Home Depot and Lowe’s. If they aren’t already marked down, ask the manager. My friend gets tons of it every year for 50% off.

      I make my own compost, aiming for 2/3 brown stuff and 1/3 green stuff. It is not perfect, but it works. I no longer have many leaves, but I’ve been using paper shreds, garden and kitchen waste (not too many grass clippings) and whatever chicken manure I can scrounge. I get paper shreds from the vocational center/workshop where my daughter works. Chicken manure isn’t too hot if you compost it. Some years the compost gets finished, some years it doesn’t…mixed with soil, it will continue to decompose in the bed. As for worms…”if you build it, they will come.”

    3. One thing you can be doing is either make a compost pile to add to your garden or just dig and bury vegetable and fruit scraps in random places to amend the clay. Also if you can get any wood shavings or leaves to lay over the area. And, yes, any composted manure, peat moss, worm castings, mushroom compost. We are in a newly built home so I am right with you on having red clay instead of nice garden soil.

      Brandy, we have clay and a lot of people say to add sand. I have done some reading from some gardening experts who said it is not recommended because the clay and sand plus water form a concrete when dried. I personally have not added sand to know if it is true, but I suggest trying on a small area to test it.

  42. I have not written for several weeks since so much of our lives are routine. We are having a dryer summer than usual. We have had heat also although it doesn’t compare to others hear! Our highs are usually 85 but it is hard to cool our houses since most rooms have only one window. (Great for Fairbanks cold winters but not so great for summer.) Our new windows open which is a nice change from only having 3 that opened before.
    My husband has been enjoying his gardens this year. We cannot really compost here but we save all materials for burying in the gardens. It has greatly improved our community garden plots and and beds in our front yard. We have a major problem this year with voles. My husband has trapped over 50 in the 2 locations. A neighbor has done even more to protect their garden. We tried burying pots with water, but have not had any success. We did days with each grandson helping at the gardens which was a good time with the boys. Our granddaughter is working and taking a college math class.
    We have not been out of Fairbanks for 17 months with the covid outbreak. Hopefully we will be able to at least travel to Anchorage this fall. We can’t afford to go in the summer because motel rates double. Much of the time, Fairbanks has been an epicenter for the state with covid cases. Canada is still closed to travel from the US, so it feels like we live on an island.
    One of the ways we save money is by stalling as long as possible to turn on heat in the fall. Many people turn boilers up in August, but we will not turn ours up until late September. We use blankets when sitting and wear extra clothes. We only heat to 64 all winter unless the temperatures drop to -50. Waiting that long to turn heat up allows us to adapt to cooler temps. We have to run the boilers all year so that we have access to hot water.
    We have strawberries for the first time this summer. So far we have shared 8 strawberries but they have been delicious! We aren’t sure what we will do with them in the fall. They are in pots, so we don’t know if they will survive in our garage this winter.
    Thanks to all of you who share ideas with us! Happy anniversary and thanks to Brandy for making this site available to everyone!

  43. Your flowers are gorgeous.
    This is for 2 weeks. It has still been really hot here (Close to 100 and we don’t have air conditioning). We have been sleeping in the basement and are very grateful for it.
    I worked 7 of the last 10 workdays. Took my breakfast and lunch all days. At least there is air conditioning at work.
    We harvested multiple things from the garden – snow peas – which are now done, due to the heat, some lettuce which turned bitter in the heat. We have since dug and replanted hoping for some cooler weather. We also picked broccoli, garlic scapes, cabbage, cauliflower, basil, onions, zucchini, and dug a couple of hills of potatoes. They weren’t really ready, but we wanted to check them out and we planted plenty.
    I processed and froze broccoli and cauliflower.
    I weeded the garlic, carrots, beets, basil and onions.
    Made chow mein with cabbage, onions and snow peas from the garden. Made Brandy’s rosemary roasted potatoes with some of our really small potatoes we dug. They were worth heating the house up for. 🙂
    Washed all the sheets from the beds and hung them on the line.
    Dried other laundry on the line. (My solar clothes dryer)
    Put cages around some tomatoes, and put posts and ties on the others.
    Made potato salad with potatoes and onions from the garden, as well as dill pickles made from last year’s garden bounty.
    Made homemade baked beans with white beans from last year’s garden and onions from the current year’s garden.
    Planted cilantro and additional chard. Hope to get a harvest before it gets too cold. (Sounds strange saying that in 95 degree weather).
    Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead.

  44. Happy 21 Year Anniversary to you and your husband! You have accomplished so much during your marriage. I admire your devotion to each other and your family and your goals. I’m so thankful to you for providing this site for inspiration and guidance. Things have been in so much turmoil in the world. I appreciate the grounding from reading yours and others comments about staying frugal and being mindful with our resources. There is ALWAYS another way to try and save money and still live a beautiful and grateful life.

    *My very best savings deal was finding 3 packages of skin on, bone-in large chicken breasts with 3 breasts in each package on clearance for $1.20 each. I bought all 3 packages. I re-wrapped each set of 3 in freezer bags and seasoned them salt, pepper and Lawry’s garlic salt. I haven’t found meat priced that low in so many years. I felt so blessed. We also found cans of Campbell’s Chunky Soup that were $1 – not as great a savings. But the expiration date was April of 2023. I bought 10 of those for our food storage. I found a large bag of chopped romaine lettuce on clearance for 75c. I used that for several meals for salad and also to put with our sandwiches. I bought Barilla pasta (the red lentil and chickpea) for 49c which is pasta my daughter can eat because it is gluten free. I was able to get several items for free through Ibotta and Fetch.

    *I went to Winco and purchased a 25# bag of popcorn, oatmeal, gluten free flour and gluten free oatmeal to put in buckets for our food storage. The gluten free is definitely expensive but we will need it for my daughter if things go crazy with food as they are predicting. I was also thrilled to find raspberries at their store for $2.00/2 pints. None of the other local stores have had any raspberries and it is a fruit my daughter can eat.

    *My husband discovered a sprinkler head that wasn’t working and repaired it our his own supplies.

    *I treated a friend to lunch who had recently had major surgery. She was finally released by her doctor to go out and use a cane. We both Mexican food and I used a gift card.

    *The heat here has been 100 and up each day. We have had very bad air because of smoke from wildfires from Arizona, Oregon and here in Utah. We have been cautioned to not be outdoors for long periods of time because of bad air quality. It will be a completely sunny day, but we can’t see much sun because of the smoky air. To combat the gloominess we’ve plugged in twinkle lights, opened the blinds after the sun/heat has passed from that side of the house and find activities to keep us occupied at home. Lots of library books and exercise at home and movie watching. We get our jobs done in the morning as much as possible so that we can be indoors during the hot parts of the day.

    *My petunias, zinnias and gladiolas and other flowers are blooming beautifully. I love their colors and brightness.

    Have a wonderful week.

    1. Amy, will raspberries grow in your zone? If it’s cooler than here they should do well for you. I would love to grow them, but they burn here.

  45. It was a good, frugal week!
    It’s been so wet in Houston, making it tough to work in the yard, but I can’t complain! All the clouds have helped keep the electric bill down, with the A/C running less.
    We mostly ate at home. The meals out were at Burger King (with coupons) and at Sam’s. Both of these places let me feed the family for ~$3/person, if I order strategically.
    A neighbor was moving, so I told him I would trade a plate of cookies for the odds and ends he didn’t want to take, but weren’t quite trash. We ended up with three boxes of (half full) cleaning products, paper plates, even some light bulbs. Both of us thought we got the better deal.
    We made homemade popsicles.
    I lucked into a lunch meat clearance at Kroger, where many things were marked 75% off. I bought a lot to freeze, which we will eat over time on sandwiches.
    I sold a balance bike and some girls shoes.
    I went to a salvage grocery store, and found a lot of goodies that I don’t usually buy, like candy coated cashews, protein bars, and individually portioned snacks.
    We invited some friends over to watch a movie borrowed from the library.
    I printed the Pizza Hut Book-It summer reading coupons that my kids earned, but we still haven’t used them yet.
    Houston has been prone to flooding, seemingly more in recent years, and I wonder if this is a place where my children and (eventual) grandchildren could or would live. With your area’s water problems, I wonder if this will eventually effect housing? My long-term goal is to move to an area where my children could settle down, should they choose. The immediate area where we live is no longer affordable for young families just starting out; I couldn’t afford it if trying to buy now.
    Have a great, frugal week!

    1. There is a bill here now to build another 850,000 houses, but there is concern about how we will have water for those houses.

      In the last 20 years, we have increased the population by over 750,000 while cutting water usage by 40% in the tri-city valley.

      However, there isn’t much left to cut. They outlawed grass in medians and business buildings, grass in the front yards of new homes, have water rules and times and fine for breaking them as well as for leaks, and most people have rocks for yards. Water-saving devices indoor are normal, as is drip irrigation outside. 90% of water used is reclaimed and reused.

      The Colorado river has had a 20% reduction in flow and we are receiving less than half of our annual rainfall. A dry winter is predicted.

      I wonder if the bill will pass. A lot of new homes are being built right now.

  46. I thought for interest sake I would check how much we pay for utilities. We are 2 people living in a 1657 sq foot 2 storey with an unfinished basement. We use gas for heating, hot water and fireplace and electric for everything else.

    Average price for last 12 months was 279.27 per month-this includes gas, electric, water, sewage and garbage removal, compost and recycling.

    We heat our home for approx 8 months per year-Sept 15-May 15 and set the temp at 20C. We do not have air conditioning.

    I know that many people live in more challenging climates with bigger families and may pay more despite their best efforts.

  47. Brandy, can you refer me to the type of garden irrigation emitter you use that has drips every 6 inches (you mentioned this in a comment). I talked to a landscape installer guy who said no, emitters or drip lines wouldn’t work because of our sandy soil, and he suggested spray heads in the 4 corners of the garden (which I really think is wasteful and will simply water the weeds). Also, curious about the vegetable scraps being put directly into your garden areas — you’ve said in the past that composting doesn’t work well for you (I can’t remember the specific reasons other than maybe it would require too much water that could be used on the garden instead?), but you find that the scraps decompose in the soil well enough to be useful? I always avoided doing that, because I assumed they would be too “hot” (like chicken manure or something similar) and kill the plants, but that must be completely wrong.

    1. Emitters are wonderful, and my soil is half sand. It most definitely works!

      The ones I buy from the nursery say Dura-Flo Jr 1/4″ Dripperline 6″ spacing in 100 feet lengths. They are produced by Agrafim. I buy them at my local nursery. They also have one with 12″ spacing.

      I agree with you about the sprayers. It will encourage more weeds, PLUS powdery mildew, blackspot, and other fungi, and use more water (and waste more water!) Your landscape guy isn’t familiar with this, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. I find that people can’t answer questions about the stuff they don’t know. The underground drip we put in under the grass is really unfamiliar to people here, but I talked to someone who installs it all the time in gardens in the Middle East.

      Look up “trench composting.” That is burying scraps in the soil. I know someone who does this in a row where she isn’t gardening that year. The next year she puts them in another row. I have been putting mine throughout the garden. I am looking to do them in more specific spots with worms, as an in-ground vermicomposting. This is how I will do it once I buy worms. I watched a video on it and have been reading about it. I just need to get it set up.

      1. Thank you, great info! We have what I’ve always called spaghetti lines (with emitters) in our shrubs, potted plants, etc. — just never thought that would work well in the vege garden, but now it seems like a really good idea.

        1. OregonGuest, if you’ve already got a drip system, extending it to your veggie garden should be a pretty cheap and easy job. You will need the plastic pipe to extend your existing system and then the perforated line and the appropriate connectors to get the water to the rows. The guys at the irrigation supply company (probably not HD or Lowe’s) can walk you through it. Shouldn’t need the regular spaghetti line, emitters, etc., but don’t quote me on that.

  48. Again, Happy Anniversary, Brandy and I envy you your very handy husband!
    I cut & dried more passion flower vine that’s out of control and also we got about 11 fruits. I used the juice in the bottled kombucha I make. I also cut and used chaya when we ran out of greens to cook as well as adding false roselle and purslane to our salads to stretch the romaine lettuce. They also add nutrition. We picked up fallen mangoes on our walks.
    Today I got stung by 3 bees and was able to deal with the resultant itching and being sick to my stomach from the venom with homeopathic remedies. Without them I may have had to go to the hospital, so my years of study, classes and working with a holistic vet as a veterinary homeopath paid off.
    Thanks for the blog!

  49. Happy Anniversary! It sounds like you had a nice week. Your son may be like my youngest brother. Our family went to the beach every year before school started for a week. My brother loved the ocean, but one year he didn’t even want to walk in it. He preferred the sand. The next year you couldn’t hardly get him out of the water so someone had to stay in it with him at all times.

    My week. In the kitchen:
    –Froze 2 gallons of blueberries and packed in quart bags.
    –Baked a box of sausage to freeze and a pkg. of bacon to use.
    –Froze 3 lbs. hamburger divided.
    –Froze 3 lbs. cooked hamburger divided.
    –Chopped up vegetables for the week ahead.

    I needed to wipe out some remaining grease on a baking pan and ran out of paper towels (don’t buy often). I remembered Mom using newspaper to wipe grease from pans. I got a couple pages from an AARP Newsletter and used that. Its funny how things come back to you when they are needed.

    –Sewed 2 buttons on DS’s shorts. I couldn’t sew them by hand the way the fabric underneath was done. The button also sat like a bowl in the very middle touching the fabric making it very unsteady. I ended up figuring a way to freestyle it with my sewing machine.
    –Sewed the embroidery back on a summer gown. I also sewed a couple more places that looked questionable to keep them from coming apart.
    –Sewed zigzag around two fairly new wash cloths where the binding was failing.

    DH and DS installed a doorknob and two sets of hinges from the garage. We bought a bunch to replace ones that had been painted several times by previous owners or discolored to make them all new. They were purchased from a discount store that sells very varied items. Some are overstock I was told. We bought a bunch of hinges, some doorknobs, wall plates and some window locks. It was good to see them working on them again; shouldn’t be too much left to do. Small changes like that look like big improvements. When we first bought the house all the bifold closet door knobs were so small you couldn’t get your fingers under them to grasp them very well and they looked awful. One Saturday was what we called “Dabble Doodad Day” where we looked for small, inexpensive items to complete small fixes or make our home more functional and beautiful. The limit was $20 for everything. Among other things that day we found some oval brass door knobs with a trim around them for the closets, and we still love them.

    We walked when possible as the humidity was bad. We had planned to do some more trimming of trees Saturday but the clouds eluded our area and temperature felt 8 degrees higher than it was so we did something else. I have continued decluttering and rearranging things. DH and DS donated more items from MIL’s home. DH went through his medical file and some other papers and shredded them. I have a few items to wash and donate.

    I have lost 8 lbs in two weeks mostly by lowering carbs and continuing core exercises.

  50. I haven’t commented for a couple of weeks because life has been crazy! I know it always is, but sometimes it’s crazier than other times.

    Last Sunday, on the 4th of July, my daughter delivered her second baby. He was a little early, only about 8-10 days, but we weren’t expecting it that day:) My husband rushed over after our 6 a.m. phone call and took her to the hospital and brought the older baby here to me. We thought we had time. Which was good as there were 30 people coming for lunch after church. I didn’t make it to church. We had a new baby by 8. My sister rushed over here to help my husband get ready for the party, I dashed to the hospital, and got to hold the new baby. The Covid rules are strange. If I hurried up and got there, I could see them. If I waited for her to be transferred out of labor and delivery, I couldn’t. I would be the second visitor, therefore, not allowed. I posted a nice picture of Rob holding the baby once he came home on my blog: http://beckyathome.com

    The party continued, as planned. It was to celebrate my mom’s 80th birthday, Rob’s mom’s 89th birthday, and baby’s 1st birthday, plus the 4th of July, so both sides of the family were coming. People were coming from out-of-state, as well as closer by. The ones from far away were mainly Rob’s relatives we had not seen for a long, long time. It’s not like we were going to say “go home.” Neither did we want to, but I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. Thankfully I had done a lot of prep work the week before, especially the day before, and people pitched in. I had planned on going to church, so hadn’t planned on working through the morning, but was gone quite a while. It all worked out and was a lovely party.

    None of the baby’s birthday decor made it to our house–the paper plates his Mama bought, the balloons, etc. I guess they will have all that for next year. My sister bought a huge “Happy Birthday” balloon, we found one lonely napkin pack that said “Happy Birthday” in the cupboard, and we stuck a candle into a cupcake she brought. He loved it! I had been buying groceries on sale, as I found them for this party, such as shrimp for skewers made from $3/lb shrimp. Rob Bbq’d burgers, hot dogs, shrimp skewers, marinated chicken breast I got for 97c/lb, and a huge trout he recently caught. I also used lots and lots of garden produce and made salad, coleslaw, and Rob did a veggie grill basket with a combo of purchased and grown veggies. People brought food and sodas as well. There was an amazingly small amount left over, but there was enough, and I was satisfied.

    Needless to say, we’ve been spending a lot of time holding babies this week. I’ve driven them to numerous appointments as the baby dealt with jaundice and baby #1 had his 1-year check-up and shots. I’ve cooked several items and taken them over there and helped with grocery shopping. We had the 1-year-old for a couple of nights, and there were times when Mama and both babies were over here, and times I was over there. Whenever Rob and I have work with my niece/nephew or both, and have the baby, we just put him in a stroller and head off down the street first thing. It benefits everyone to get a walk and we go to a near-by park a lot where the kids can swing or slide, except when the equipment is too hot, even in the morning, a few times.

    In the mornings and evenings, I’ve been out weeding and weeding and weeding. The heat has ruined quite a few of my berries, but I’m trying to pick and preserve what’s left. I don’t think I’ll get any blackberries this year. They weren’t shaded enough and didn’t get enough water through the heat wave. Our town broke all-time records and hit 117 one day and 114 at least once more. When it dropped to 104, everyone was out walking in the early morning and saying things like “it’s going to be nice today” and things like that. Crazy!!!!! 104 is NOT NICE! We are running the water way more often than usual. Thankfully, there are a few cooler days ahead, so I will be able to slack off on that a bit. It is so good that the beans had not bloomed yet when the heat hit, so they are covered with blossoms. Hopefully, they will set well. I like to can a lot.

    I’ve harvested lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, beets, and tons of zucchini. It’s growing so fast in this heat I absolutely can’t keep up. Last Sunday, I got my first one. I’ve got 6-8 during the week and there are at least that many more out there I need to harvest in the morning. I need to find people to give some to.

    To top the week off, a close family relative fell and broke her leg badly on Saturday. My sister was able to get them transported via ambulance to the hospital, as she was the closest in location to get over there the quickest. She stayed with this relative all day and all night Sunday, expecting surgery at any time. The doctors delayed the surgery twice, for several reasons, so we’ve been swapping off being down there with them. Yesterday, I was gone from here about 14 hours, because I was the designated visitor for that day. I packed lots of food and drinks, not knowing the policies for this hospital or what would be available, and saved myself buying anything. They got the surgery done today. Now recovery. The family is already arranging for a niece to come stay for a few days, and different ones to help out once this person gets released. I’m so thankful for our large, extended family that always pulls together in these crisis situations that seem to keep occurring. I cannot imagine how much money we save our family over and over by caring for our own. The time comes now and then when we can’t do it–it’s beyond our capabilities, but when we can, we do, because it’s always more comfortable for someone to be cared for by family, we think, and that’s the biggest motivating factor.

    1. 104 is almost nice here . . .hahaha! Nah, it’s still hot. Just a little cooler. It should cool down to 106 tomorrow. It was 114 and up for over a week so 106 sounds pretty good.

    2. Congratulations on the new grandbaby! You certainly had a busy day – you are a wise woman to have planned ahead!

    3. Wow, what a busy few weeks you’ve had! I love that your wonderful family all pitch in when someone’s in need! You’re all a treasure to behold!

  51. Happy Anniversary, Brandy!
    This week I pulled up the pea vines and planted more beans. I don’t know if I’ll have a long enough season to harvest them, but I had extra seeds, so decided to try. We enjoyed chard, lettuce, cabbage, carrots, the last of the strawberries, and some herbs from the garden.
    I canned 5 pints of coleslaw, using my home-grown cabbage and carrots. I did a batch of green and a batch of purple. The purple looks so pretty in the jars! I also froze a package of chard.
    I made a batch of homemade yogurt and one of granola.
    I cleaned and reorganized my freezers to make room for the beef we’ll pick up next week. .
    We split and stacked another cord of firewood.
    We attended a free concert in the park with friends. We took a picnic dinner to enjoy.
    We were able to borrow the walker and shower chair my husband will need after his surgery next week, and save on paying a rental fee.
    I modified a T-shirt so that it fit better and sewed a scrunchie and a sleep mask.

  52. Happy anniversary!!

    I didn’t plant a vegetable garden this year because the writing was on the wall for drought here (California), plus the city decided this year to redo our reservoir, so it was drained last winter. I expect things to get dire before they get better. So besides my herb garden and Meyer lemon I’m devoting water/garden space towards a monarch butterfly/pollinator habitat and the rest unplanted. (This yrs monarch butterfly count had 0 in nearby Pacific Grove a.k.a. butterfly town USA.)

    I got two really nice vintage cement bird baths at an estate sale for a very good price and I made a third one as a butterfly puddler out of a large clay pot saucer. I need to learn more about how to use them properly.

    To be water wise, I use clay pot ollas* in parts of my garden, but now I’m using actual gray water for some of the non-edibles. Therefore, I’m trying to be really mindful about what kind of soap I use as well.
    *There is a semi local place that sells them for only $10 which is about 80% off other places.

    Found a plant I wanted for butterflies not sold in nurseries here at the farmers market and saved on shipping.

    Repaired some hoses and mostly letting my grass die, saving more on water.

    Reorganized my panty with free mason jars and completely revamped how my kitchen works with a wood “island” cart a neighbor gave away. I’d always thought my kitchen was too small for something like that and it barely fits, but it does and it’s a game changer. I can’t tell you how happy that little bit of extra counter space means to me!

    Even more diligently planning errands around must do trips. Gas is nearly $5 a gallon now, so will go to the grocery outlet tomorrow as it’s on the way home from a dr appointment.

    Bought a tool to repair holiday lights instead of buying new as I’ve kept white lights up outside for pandemic neighborhood cheer.

    Blender cold composted kitchen scraps and added to the garden.

    Got free, grown from pesticide free seeds, native milkweed seedlings from a local monarch group leader who moved. It must be at least 20 plants so I’m going to be really set for next year. Now I need to focus on native nectar plants. My goal is to become a certified wildlife habitat as well as a certified monarch way station. Technically, the birdbaths made me meet all the criteria, but I want to fill in with more pollinators first. I’m going to try planting some seeds to see if they will still take this late as I got behind this year.

    1. What wonderful plans for your garden!

      Can you install drip irrigation to water the milkweed plants?

      1. Right now the milkweed is small so have them in containers I’m hand watering. I’m looking into our city rebate program for converting lawns and would do drip then. (My ollas are extremely water wise and will use them next to my driveway even after I do drip in the main area.) I’m thinking of doing a wildflower* nectar plant boarder with milkweed mixed in near the front sidewalk. The neighbor who moved (also a professional beekeeper) used the strip between sidewalk and street for this and it was gorgeous with long bloom times. I don’t have that strip, but think it would work as a nice edge between food plants and dog walkers on the sidewalk. I’m not sure yet what to do with the rest given one side has a large shade tree I want to keep. I want a potager, but not 100% on how to do it with sun/shade/food. Yet! The city has plant lists you need to go by to get the rebate, so need to delve into the many rules, but it’s just been upped to a $3k rebate, so want to get the full amount and have a useful edible/pollinator yard in the end.

        *neighbor recommended a seed mix he always uses, “Honeybee 32 variety wildflower seed mix” on eBay. It’s not expensive and comes in many sizes. I’m going to buy some now because I think you are right about all types of seeds being in short supply later. I’ve had a difficult time even now finding transplants/seeds in nurseries or seeds in stock online.

          1. Sidewalks are nice, but I do really like how your house sits forward on the lot so you’ve got a big backyard. I wish mine did that. I’m just gonna have to figure out how to make the most of the front. Your white garden is lovely. Do you have any gardenias there? They grew great for my mom when she moved to the desert.

            1. Gardenias are very near to impossible to grow here. I have tried. Our soil and water are very alkaline and they can burn in the sun. I tried growing them in pots with potting soil and adding acidifiers, but I didn’t water them with bottled water–so they died. We grew one in California.

              1. Ugh. I’m in 9b and can’t get them to grow here either. I’ve tried several times, so did my mom, but they grew wonderfully for her when she moved to Hemet (near-ish Palm Springs). Of course my neighbors have one they ignore and grows fine. Go figure!

  53. Happy 21st Anniversary Brandy! Congratulations on creating such a beautiful family and life with your husband. Your garden re-do sounds like it’s right on target; I don’t do instagram so have not been able to see your progress but from your posts, I can understand the huge task you took on. I hope that you can post a video on your blog one day.

    As of yesterday, we have had 8.25 inches of rain this month; it will likely be the wettest July we have had in a while according to forecasters. Our area receives about 60 inches of rain a year with July and Aug being the drier months. Tropical Storm Elsa gave us nearly 2″. In the very early hours of Friday, our iphones woke us with a blast from the national emergency weather service alerting us to a tornado in the vicinity. Our little island was spared, but a nearby island was hit with 2 tornadoes with wind gusts of 75 mph. Luckily there were no injuries and no major damage; just the usual loss of power and downed trees. As the potential for tornadoes had been predicted, before we went to bed Thurs night DH secured our house windows and patio sliding glass doors with our hurricane shutters, made sure our generator was working, and anything that could turn into a flying projectile in our yard was stored indoors. The trellis that DH had built for the cucumbers was uprooted, and the poor plants with their little cukes had a rough time of it but we were able to salvage several of the plants. The tomatoes, peppers, eggplant lost some flowers and some bent/broken stems but made it thru pretty well. The zucchini and herbs look better than ever and we have picked the first zucchini and a handful of cherry tomatoes; continue to pick berries.

    The positive side to all this rain is that we have not had to water our yard at all this month. This saves electricity as our sprinkler system is on a well and the pump is run by electricity. The sprinkler system waters our lawn, flower beds, shrubs and trees; we hand water using metered water the raised veggie and herb beds and containers holding more herbs and annuals. Our central air has also had less use as the temp cools down after each storm and the nights have been in the very low 70s.

    Family and friends joined us over the Fourth of July weekend and as we fed 20 people (9 under the age of 10), were happy with all the grocery sales: seedless watermelon for $2.99; fresh corn $0.10 per ear; ground beef 20/80 for $1.88 lb; all beef hot dogs for $1.99 pkg; bumble bee solid albacore tuna 10 cans for $8.88; eggs for $0.99 doz; peaches $0.99 lb; blue diamond natural whole almonds 19 oz pkg for $3.99 – this was a digital coupon and limit 1 everything else could buy multiple; fresh salmon for a decent price; Washington state cherries for $1.99 lb limit 5 lbs. Fortunately, the Fourth was a sunny day and a lot of grilling was done – burgers, hot dogs, chicken, salmon, corn, mushrooms, onions. The day before I prepared many dishes, but will list here a make-ahead delicious appetizer – Marinated Feta with Cherry Tomatoes (using basil, parsley and thyme from our garden)- from the June 2021 Southern Living mag that was a hit; and baked 2 of their Gingered Peach Galette – recipe in the same issue- served with vanilla ice cream – which was delish. Also made raspberry-almond muffins and blueberry sour cream cake (using berries from our garden); frittatas; Italian sausage with fried peppers and onions. DD and her family gifted us with 3 potted miniature sunflower plants (each plant has many stalks with beautiful blooms); our friends gifted us wine – Moscato – my favorite – and Corona beer.

    1. Mari J, do you by chance live on one of the islands off the coast of South Carolina? My daughter lives on Johns Island and her phone went off as well, and there was a tornado near her. Thankfully, you are all okay! It was a long night…for her and for me!

    1. Thank you for the article!! We are into the summer bounty here in Michigan so I will make a point to head to the farmer’s market to pick up stuff to can/freeze. I would much rather pay them that the big grocery stores! My “garden” has totally failed (buckets 2 gallon and 5 gallon) – all my plants are yellowed and I thinking it may be the potting soil I used which has feed in it for 6 months. I am dumping some of the buckets out and mixing in with the sandy soil we have here to see if maybe that perks the plants up although the marigolds that are planted in the same potting soil are blossoming like crazy!

  54. Mother’s casket we rented*yes rented from the funeral home* was sent to the scrap yard. She had a viewing but was cremated afterwards. Dented or damaged or obsolete floor models also get sent to scrap yards. It’s really not that unusual.

    I weeded and harvested today. I think I have enough purple beans *turn green when cooked* to can. The birds ate the blooms on my scarlet runner green beans. I left them to see if they will rebloom. My flowers pots that looked dead and I was going to toss them, but they have turned green again and a couple of them have blooms. The birds are hitting the blackberries hard along with the berries look like they are dehydrating right on the vines.

    I told Hubby we needed to check to see which font we were using when printing as Century Gothic uses the least amount of ink followed by Times New Roman and then Calibri. I think I have been using Arial. He couldn’t remember what he used.

    To keep us on budget for groceries and eating out I have taped 2 sheets of paper on the wall. I deduct what is spent so we know when that budget is gone. BEFORE we go anywhere Hubby has been checking the balance. I noticed he quit bringing up eating out. He was just paying for it out of his cash he sometimes gets from Amish for small jobs like moving the bull 1 mile in the trailer instead of the Amish trying to walk the bull that far.

    Blessed be everyone, stay safe, stay hydrated.
    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2021/07/frugal-week.html

    1. Interesting note about font!
      Also, printing with greyscale instead of black-and-white or color uses less ink.
      I get quite frustrated with printing things that have lots of ads or extra info, so I cut-and-paste the parts I want into another document or email and print just that.

      1. Thanks for these notes on fonts and printing. In the 16 months I have been working at home (or living at work as we say now 🙄) my orders of ink cartridges doubled, then tripled. I am always looking for ways to reduce paper and ink usage. Thanks

  55. Happy Anniversary, Brandy!
    We had a lot of big bills this week, so it has been a bit depressing. The dog and cat were due to their check-ups and vaccines, There’s almost $500 right there. I pre-paid for their parasite tests in April, so that lowered the bill we got a little bit. Thinking that I need to shop around for a vet. Most of my friends go to other towns to less expensive Vets. I may have to sacrifice convenience for cost. Our flights and hotel for a necessary visit to family turned out to be almost twice what we hoped for, credit card bill came for that. (The rental car bill will be 3 times what we used to pay.) So, I’m trying to look for ways to save a bit, while still enjoying summer and being able to finally go out and do things.

    *I harvested from my garden: sugar snaps, romaine, leaf lettuce, basil, cilantro. The beans are ready to pick, and the tomatoes are starting to get some color. So thankful to finally be in a location where we get enough sun to plant a garden. This year was experimental, so I’m grateful that I am getting so much from the garden. I’m starting a garden book to plan to next year, and putting in fall vegetables soon. I see now that I need to stock up on seeds!!

    *Made Stir Fry and rice, Homemade Pasta-roni, Fried rice with leftover rice and vegetables, BBQ Chicken, Chicken Salad with leftover chicken, Homemade pizza with Homemade Sauce. Ate leftovers for lunch. Working on lowering food waste. Reminding myself that the more I prep & plan, the more I can save!

    *The upstairs of our house has a odd layout and bad airflow. We found that placing a fan in front of the air vent cools down the upstairs, allowing us to set the air conditioner at a higher temp. I’m turning off the air and opening up the house most days now, as it’s only in the 70’s.

    *Used a very old giftcard to get some things I needed from Burlington. Yet another store with very low stock. They moved a temporary wall to make the store 2/3 the former size, and the shelfs were half empty. We received a $5.00 Costco Giftcard from a class action settlement, so my husband used that and our Costco rebate check to stock up on some things that he enjoys, but we don’t typically buy. We had to replace a couch a while back, shopped around for the best deal and quality and found one at Big Lots. The Manufacturer sent us a $100.00 coupon and a $50.00 coupon to use at Big Lots. That will almost pay for another small piece of furniture that we liked there!

    *Did several deep cleaning sessions at my Mom’s house. This was a Christmas present to her, so it saved me money and made her happy! She gifted me a large Oil Lamp (the size of a regular large lamp) that she no longer uses. I’m happy to have that to plan for future power outages.

    *Hope everyone has a great week! Looking forward to reading how everyone has saved money!

    1. I picked up several packets of seeds at Dollar General for a quarter and fifty cents each. They’re in cold storage until next year. Even though they aren’t huge packages, I figure they must be pretty hardy to be sold there.

  56. Brandy,

    Your site is such a joy – thank you!

    I am looking to order Microgreen seeds. Where do all of you order your seeds from?

    Also, any advise on sprouts/sprouting?

    Thank you,

    Becky-TN

    1. Becky, I usually use normal seeds for microgreens (I order my almost all of my seeds from Baker Creek, Renee’s Garden, and Botanical Interests but you can use seeds from anywhere.) You don’t really need special seed, it’s just that you eat the plant just after germinating instead of letting it mature. You do need a lot of the seed, though, because you plant microgreens very densely. Some of my favorites — that I use regular seeds for — broccoli, radish, and brussels sprouts. I hate radishes but love the radish microgreens in a salad. I have purchased special microgreen blends for sunflowers and chard, but you could definitely use regular seeds for those as well.

      I learned how to grow them from watching YouTube videos, try looking for Keep on Growin’ with Mike VanDuzee. CaliKim also has a good video (although I did not add the worm casting tea that CaliKim suggests). This is also a good article which suggests covering/weighting the seeds to get them to sprout: https://homemicrogreens.com/cover-microgreen-seeds Good luck! It’s fun to grow microgreens and they grow so quickly from seed to harvest.

  57. Congrats on your anniversary! Every anniversary is a milestone, especially in this day and age. My husband and I have been married about 3 times as long as my parents were married!

    We’ve been picking 3-4 zucchini and yellow squash every day. We shared with many people, and I put several quart bags in the freezer for zucchini muffins in winter. Today I found 3 monsters that must have been hiding from me, so I am going to use them to make zucchini muffins tonight. The bush beans have run their course so I’ve replanted another round. I also reseeded lettuce, spinach, and other greens to get a fall garden started. One section of my snow peas are still producing, which really surprises me — they are usually done in June. I have pulled out the other pea plants, but these are still going strong even with the temperatures being in the 90s many days.

    Got a lot of amazing fruit at Aldi this week. Cherries were $1.49/lb, pineapple $1.70 each, blueberries $1.49, and several more; I ended up getting a different fruit for each day. Better than dessert!

    Had great yard sale finds this week, including 2 poolside chairs that I’ve been wanting. I found some new items that will be great stocking stuffers. Still on the hunt for a dorm fridge and microwave, though. https://www.savingsinseconds.com/why-you-should-go-to-yard-sales/

    This was a fun frugal parenting moment….My daughter recently started a job as a grocery store cashier. She wanted me to give her money to buy lunch during her shift, which I gently declined but suggested that she could pack a lunch like I do for work. I told her I would buy any foods she wanted to pack if she let me know in advance. Her grandma was here when that happened and told me (privately) that she could give daughter money, but I asked her not to. This was an important life lesson. So, dear daughter spent a couple of weeks buying lunch daily at the store during work, going out with friends in the evening, etc. and generally enjoying her new independence. In the car last week, she checked her bank app and was startled to find that most of her earnings were gone. The next day and each day since— she packed her lunch. 🙂

      1. Brandy,
        I’ve had better luck with independent coffee shops than with Starbucks. I just take them a 5 gallon bucket and pick up twice a week, exchanging an empty bucket for a full one.

  58. I have waited all summer long hoping to see an eagle flying overhead. A friend stopped by with a new air filtering/cleaning machine for me
    (not a gift) in case the smoke becomes really bad tonight as expected. I am somewhat fortunate because my trees filter out a lot of the smoke often and the smoke sinks into the ravines on both sides. It may get worse for me tonight, however. Anyway, I was outside picking up my air cleaner when the long awaited eagle circled overhead. And of course I didn’t have my camera. My only consolation is that the hazy sky would have affected the quality of the photo.

    Elizabeth M. Epcor is also raising its floating rate for electricity. I’ll be interested to learn how you fare. Ann

  59. Happy Anniversary! I love when we happen to be the only people in a restaurant instead of it being super busy!

    This week I have been harvesting black raspberries from some wild berry bushes on our property! These are new this year and very welcomed as my son loves berries and I find them rather expensive at the store.

    My parents are staying with us while they house hunt. They just moved here from across the country to retire near us. It’s wonderful to see them and to have extra hands to help out. My dad is very handy and has been fixing lots of broken things around the house. He likes to be busy and I am thankful for the help! My husband is too busy this time of year to get many of these projects done. Other than the berries I am not sure we have been frugal in many ways. Have a great weekend everyone!

  60. So, just to let everyone know my experience flying this week, I flew Frontier, nonstop from Atlanta to Salt Lake on Monday and came back overnight Thursday, landing in Atlanta at 5 a.m. The good news. The plane ticket was under $285 dollars. The parking at Atlanta’s airport (I wanted it under the covered deck) was $57. I packed my bananas and pretzels and some cheese. I did buy a water and a diet pepsi. They were $2 a piece. The bad news: the plane was absolutely packed both ways. No social distancing, I saw no empty seats, although masks were required, I saw several with the masks underneath their nose. Also saw several who fell asleep and had taken off their masks and were snoring. The plane arrived late for the trip back, and as soon as it was unloaded, they loaded us up, like in ten minutes. There is no way the plane could have been sanitized in that length of time. It was unbelievable. So, good quick trip A+. Sanitizing Covid protocols D-. Nice flight attendants A+. Passengers, seated next to me, all nice A+. Those are the grades I give for my flights.

    1. I’m sorry you did not have what the industry should be providing!
      I had very full flights, but all passengers and employees were masked, (with lots of announcements to remind us), masked in airports, masked on shuttle bus. I might have had shorter flights than you had, though, during which it would be easier to stay masked.
      Stores and restaurants in the airport were short-staffed and under-merchandised, a few closed.

  61. Our biggest save was finally getting up the gumption to cancel cable. We’re in our 70s and all this streaming and other ways to get television programs mostly leaves us with our eyes glazed over. We’re from an era of just turn the tv on and to the channel that you want.
    We just didn’t want to tackle it, but we forced ourselves and found out there are just 3 0r 4 programs on the major broadcast stations that we want to keep and apparently will be able to. We took the research a step at a time so we weren’t overwhelmed. We have an antenna installed already and now have to search for our programs and figure out how to record them. We cut our bill by $140 a month, although we will use up a tiny amount of that in buying a couple of streaming services.

    Like everyone in the southwest, I, too, am losing some plants to the heat even with emitters, so when I pull the dead plants out I’m remembering to close off that small spout so no water is wasted.

    I did a complete sweep of my pantry, inspired by Terri Cheney, and labeled everything with a big black date on the top. I made myself aware of what I no longer needed to purchase and what I was pretty short on. Also, there were a few things that really needed to be used this week in a meal. Being organized feels so good.

    1. I don’t know if you saw this in my post about halfway down the comments, so I am copying this here:
      FOR ANNE, who is looking for a cheap way to stream PBS–PBS Passport streams just about everything PBS has broadcast for decades. In Idaho, Passport is free for a year with a minimum $60 donation to Idaho Public Television. This may (or may not) be true for PBS in other states. If $60 is too steep for you right now, many/most PBS stations will collect pledges monthly…so ask. If you already contribute to PBS, you may already be eligible and just don’t know it!

      I would like to add that we, too, are in our 70s and sometimes resistant to changes in technology (OK, usually resistant). These are the services we buy–
      Hulu Plus–we chose this one for our main programming because DH is addicted to Fox Business News and we also get the local channels, including PBS (but only what is being broadcast in real time). We have an antenna but haven’t used it since the locals were added. Right now it is also giving us Starz. I don’t know for how long, because we aren’t paying for it.
      Roku–lots of free programming with our Roku streaming device, which has a very simple remote that even I can use. Lots of old movies and TV series.
      PBS Passport–this is how I am getting my British fix. (I used to subscribe to Acorn for $5 month). You can watch Downtown Abbey again! My favorite series to stream have been Foyle’s War and Poldark. With Poldark, you really want to watch them in order.
      Amazon Prime–free video with Amazon. Occasionally (2-3 times a year) we will rent something on Prime that we can’t get any other way.

      I’m sorry to tell you that I am married to a TV addict, but he can always find something he wants to watch with the above.

      1. Our library offers a pass for Acorn tv. I have to sign in once a week to use it. It gives me Acorn for free.

  62. Thanks Maxine. We were just now puzzling over how to get TCM and could not find it, I will look into Hulu Plus. I would happily shoot PBS a check for $60 as I have been meaning to send them something lately, I’ll check and see if that works in California. We are quite spoiled with recording everything and then turning it on when we feel like watching TV so would prefer to do that.

    And we have watched the heck out of Brit Box and seen all of our favorite series several times. We have Amazon Prime because of the shipping and also Netflix is free to us through family.

    I am writing all of this down to research as I will forget what everyone told me as soon as I close the laptop. 😀

    1. See if your library offers a free way to access Acorn for British tv shows.

  63. Here in East baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana , our library offers a free link to Kanopy to watch British films, movies, etc.

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