Frugal Accomplishments

How We Saved Money This Past Week

Like many of you are right now, we are concerned with making sure we’re safe and that we have food to eat. We want to stretch the money we have in our account to pay for our bills during this time.

To that end, I am focusing heavily right now on making the garden as productive as possible. I’m looking at ways to fit in “just a little more” here and there by planting a little differently than I usually do (including planting Swiss chard every 6 inches instead of every 12-18, so that I can harvest some every 10 days from each plant), by growing more vertically, by underplanting (including planting carrots below and just in front of pole beans), by planting green onions in front of vertical crops (such as snow peas), by challenging myself to grow a little further out of season by utilizing shady spots for lettuce, and by growing more of what grows well for me (especially green onions and Swiss chard).

I decided we would take this week off for spring break, rather than next week, allowing me to get things done in the garden.

I planted the rest of my tomato plants in the garden. Several of the plants had two and some even had three in each section. I carefully separated the roots and planted each one.

I planted seeds in the garden for lettuce (in a shady spot), arugula, Swiss chard, red noodle beans, yard-long beans, Armenian cucumbers, zucchini, green onions, carrots, poppies, alpine (vesca) strawberries, radishes, chives, and basil. All of the seeds I planted were from past years and some were ones I had collected from my own garden (some last year but some several years earlier). I don’t know how many will come up (and survive to not be eaten the day they sprout by pill bugs!) but if not, I will plant again with more seeds that I have.

I used up the last of the celery in my fridge and planted the bottom stalks in the garden after keeping them in water for a few days. All had started to grow new leaves. In the past, I’ve had about 50% success with getting these to grow in the garden. I planted these in the garden.

I worked in the garden checking and repairing drip irrigation lines.

My careful water usage has paid off. Because of the rain and extra cooler than usual month, I watered less. My bill was half what I was expecting. Though we are allowed three days a week of watering, it was cool enough that it was not needed. I will continue to keep the grass watering down as many weeks as the temperatures permit. Some cooler weather and rain is predicted for this week, which will allow me to use less water.

The LED light bulbs that my husband ordered came. He and my son put them all up the day they came.

The children set up a tent and slept outside on a warm, non-windy day.

They drew with sidewalk chalk on our back patio, jumped on the trampoline, played on our swings and merry-go-round, played board games with dad, read books, played the piano, sang songs, danced, watched movies, read Harry Potter fan fiction, watched YouTube science videos, played Lego, filled up holes in the garden as fast as I could dig them, helped me plant bean seeds, played in the sprinklers, and rode their bikes, scooters, and rollerblades on the patio in the backyard. This is how we normally have fun at home, and we are normally at home the majority of the time.

I cut flowers from the garden to enjoy inside. I also cut some tree branches that needed to be trimmed and placed them in a vase of water to enjoy inside.

I watched Call the Midwife on Pbs.org. I rarely watch any television shows; if I do, I mention them here! It’s funny; I’m used to being home most of the time, and while everyone is talking lately about being home more now and having all sorts of time to watch television shows, I have to make time to watch shows and rarely have time to watch them. I have too much else to do! It was interesting, seeing the Diptheria outbreak and the families being told to quarantine in this episode.

I cooked a turkey Sunday, cooking a chicken in the oven at the same time. The chicken was made into two meals; the first with rice and peas, and the second one being chicken rice soup (using up two leftovers plus the broth from roasting the chicken). I used the turkey in enchiladas, museum pasta salad (that included canned mandarin oranges and snow peas and green onions from the garden), in sandwiches, and in tacos. For the tacos, we mixed the turkey with black beans. We used canned tomatoes and I cut lettuce and chard from the garden to go inside of them.

We made whole wheat waffles, lemonade, French bread, brownies, oatmeal often, popcorn for snacks most days, fruit salad from frozen peaches and blackberries from our garden, and chocolate cupcakes that don’t require any eggs.

I harvested Meyer lemons, snow peas, lettuce, beet greens, beets, and green onions from the garden.

We were blessed from a couple of people who dropped off a few things from the store for me as they were going to the store. I was blessed with eggs, some flour, and some spreadable margarine. It was nice to have them left at my doorstep.

I have a decent pantry, and while some things are growing slowly or not at all in the garden, others are growing well and will provide plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to us over the coming months. I am very glad that I planted fruits and vegetables that ripen throughout the year so that we always have something fresh from the garden.

I was considering a trip to the store (in a mask and gloves) after the first few days of the month had passed, allowing those who receive WIC and SNAP benefits to go shopping. If you did not see, there was a request on the news circulating to allow those who are most in need of food to go to the store at the beginning of the month and asking others to wait to go shopping until after that time.

Then, a new request came yesterday, asking people to not go grocery shopping for the next two weeks if at all possible. I have thought about what we want and need, and have concluded that I will wait longer to go shopping. I haven’t been to the grocery store since March 12th. I had hoped to buy some hams (which are now limited to 1 per person), eggs, milk, lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, carrots, potatoes, Greek yogurt, sour cream, and some Easter candy. I had already planned to make our own chocolate rabbits this year, but I would have bought some things to go inside plastic eggs for the egg hunt. I have some hard candy on hand that I will put in Easter eggs instead. We will skip dying eggs this year in order to make the eggs we have last longer.

Considering the current situation, the fact that we might not receive a stimulus check for months (the current news says it could take up to 20 weeks for a check; we do not have direct deposit on file with the IRS), I think we will do our best to do without going to the store for as long as possible. I will still need eggs, so I’ll have to figure something out there–my neighbor who works at a grocery store said that her store does not have eggs–paying for them from the cash I set aside for going to garage sales this month, but otherwise, I will wait to purchase any food. I’m sure it will be a long while before we can work again, and just like in the last recession (where we started living on our food storage in January 2007, a year before the recession was declared), Nevada is predicted to be the hardest hit again. Last time, the official unemployment number here was 25%, and 1 in 7 homes was in foreclosure. Self-employed and underemployed people were not counted in those numbers. I am preparing for the long haul by making cuts now (like not shopping for food) so that we can weather the storm as long as possible and pay our bills with what we have.

I know others of you are facing similar choices.

Having dealt with this many times before over the last 13 years, I will tell you not to worry too much. Make meals with what you have on hand the best you can. Go to the mobile food banks if you need to; here, they are allowing people to drive through with their cars and they will put a bag of food in your trunk. This may be the case where you are. If you have a space to garden, plant all that you can. Ask around for seeds if you need them; someone may have some older seeds to share with you that just might sprout. Know that though you may be alone in your homes, you are not alone. Look online for the help that is available to you for food, paying your bills, etc. As you are all around the world, your situations and the help available to each of you will be different.

What did you do to save money this past week? Share in the comments!

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187 Comments

  1. Just this week, some older friends of ours texted and asked if we would like some food storage items that they will never get around to using. I said “Sure”, knowing I could dispose of it in our composter or to my chooks if if was unuseable.
    They brought over 160 pounds of wheat in 4 big containers! I gave them some strawberry jam that I canned recently and a vacuum sealed jar of praline nut mix. They were delighted!
    The wheat was fine- will last for decades as long as it doesn’t get wet! Now I already have a few hundred pounds of wheat in my storage but I offered it to my daughter who moved from CA to 13 acres about an hour from us . She is just building up her food storage. She was over to use our longarm machine to quilt a client’s quilt, so I sent her home with it!
    Sometimes we are given or traded items that we don’t “need” but that others in our family or friends really could! Nice way to help others!

    Our son who works for the zoo was sent a $50 Kroger’s gift card from the zoo. He has already filed for unemployment about 3 weeks ago as well as getting his taxes filed. He has a refund of about $1500 coming. So now, it’s just waiting. In the meantime, we are appreciative of the extra help as we work outside.
    I was able to buy some more seeds as well as some soil to increase our garden. So far, I have planted cabbage, broccoli, spinach, Swiss chard, peas, yellow and white onions, lavender, and 3 lettuce varieties! Hubs and son are working on maintenance and upgrades on our raised beds as well as chicken coop! Being outdoors really is good for the soul and we already had materials to do these projects!

    My veggies that I planted on Saturday morning are looking happy since it rained overnight on Saturday and sprinkled yesterday too.

    I spent yesterday making masks. I have already made over 60 and sent them off or had them picked up from my porch and I still have another 85 to make in the next couple days. I have been grateful for the opportunity to serve in this way.

    Looks like a beautiful day today so I will take some time away from my sewing machine to plant a fig tree and some rhubarb we bought on Saturday. That will be my garden therapy!
    Hope everyone is staying healthy!
    Gardenpat
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

  2. I’ve also been planting seeds. I have been saving cans and yogurt containers to plant seeds in as well as glass containers if I need them. I hope the tomatoes and peppers come up. We are going to plant strawberries very soon. My husband is working on the container for them today. My radishes are already sprouting. As well as a few other things, I think lettuce. I have flower seeds that I hope to plant soon. Probably today. My husband, son, daughter-in-law, and niece have all been furloughed. I hope to garden enough to put food back and also share with my family. My husband fixed the rototiller,lawn mower and our water pipe this week, saving us tons of money. We have three chickens and we seem to get at least two eggs a day. Considering putting fencing in and getting a few dairy goats. We will have to weigh the costs vs. benefits. Part of the fence is up already. Looking forward to asparagus coming up. We are also staying at home. I plan to use what we have and hope that the garden produces enough that we will have fresh food to eat soon. I hope to get enough to share with family. We have done all of our cooking at home. I have been using the internet to find recipes using what I have. I tweak the recipes to use what I have. I am happy that we bought spices before everything happened. I also hope to grow basil ,cilantro, sage and coriander.
    I was happy to talk to my son, my daughter-in-law and my grandchildren using an video app. My granddaughter asked if she could come over after the coronavirus is over. She is six and looked so serious. I said that I would love to have her come over as soon as it is over. My goodness I miss them. Glad for technology though so I can see them and talk to them on my phone.
    I have been turning off lights and opening windows. Washing laundry with full loads. Feeling happy that it rained this week so I didn’t have to water our fruit trees again.

  3. I also planted yard long beans last week, and carrots, as well as beets and swiss chard. One of the carrot varieties was a free packet of Cosmic Purple carrots. I’m looking forward to seeing and tasting them. I also planted celery ends in the garden. Pill bugs are a challenge here too. I was able to harvest, asparagus, lemon balm, kale, swiss chard, lettuce, parsley and oregano. Seeds were sown in pots for more herbs and flowers. I fertilized peas, potatoes, rhubarb, and some strawberries and fruit and nut trees with old chicken manure. Mint was pulled from areas that were encroaching on the garden, and added to nest boxes and the coop floor after I cleaned it. My husband had a birthday. His gifts were a book, some nose rub I made him, and an item he asked for. He’d told me about a nut cake he loved, which his grandmother used to make. After asking his aunt for the recipe, I made a yellow cake mix and added an assortment of chopped nuts. He was happy, and requested pizza for dinner. I made a double batch of dough, and froze one for the future. I’m so thankful for your posts, Brandy, and this community. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2020/04/the-spring-garden-frugal-accomplishments.html

  4. Worrying news all around this week, of course, but I did have some good news come my way this week.

    I have served on the board of a regional college, where I get a small monthly stipend 10 months of the year. The three-year appointment ended late in March. I had applied for reappointment early in December, but hadn’t heard back. On Friday, I was told that it was being recommended to the Cabinet Minister who takes the appointments forward that I be reappointed. This is work that I really enjoy, since the College helps local students get ready for employment opportunities in the region. A little extra income makes a difference as well, when so many other costs will be unpredictable for some time to come. It won’t be long before a final decision is made.

    I set up Microsoft Teams on my computer this morning and tried it out with one of the College staff. We are getting ready to have a Board meeting online later this week, instead of all driving in to one center.

    The blood pressure monitor that I had ordered arrived in a week. (Amazon and other health care suppliers had quoted several weeks, and this electronics supplier shipped in two days.) My blood pressure turns out to be under very good control, which is a big relief. The arm cuff on the old monitor was much too tight, and was giving very inaccurate readings.

    Canada has focused most of its very generous financial assistance on people whose income has been directly impacted by the virus. Fortunately as a senior with steady pension income, this is not the case for me. My income is modest but it pays the bills, with dollars to spare most of the time. However, later this week, I will get a small stimulus rebate of Goods and Services tax paid. I’ll put some towards groceries, and see if I can hold onto a few dollars, since I have a couple of purchases to make next month. One Easter ham goes a long way in a one-person household.

    I was thinking about you and your budget this week, Brandy, in what must be very difficult times to come for businesses in your area, even after the virus subsides. Though you got through the recession, your skills at living frugally and well must be even stronger than they were at that time. All that practice, and so much work going into the garden. I am so happy that you have something like gardening to do that is enjoyable as well as providing so much food for your family. My thoughts are also with the others who join this thread each week, as you all find your way to making ends meet and keeping safe.

    We had 10 inches of snow on Tuesday. Neighbors normally shovel my front sidewalk, while I shovel a path to the car, and the driveway between the car and the road. This time, one of my neighbors shoveled the sections I normally do as well. It was a big relief, since it made it easier for me to get out to do essential errands, and for someone to get in to me if I were to take ill. It is warming up now, and the foot and a half of snow will likely all melt by the end of the month. We’ll be cutting grass by May 10, I expect. A different challenge for a different day.

  5. I am with you on trying to stay out of the stores for the next two weeks. I had a couple of things we needed (we are almost out of honey, and I needed oil other than olive oil or coconut oil to make homemade mayonaisse) so I ordered those from Amazon. We did pick up a grocery order last week and I was able to get everything on my list, so we should be set for a while.
    I repotted my tomato and pepper seedlings into larger pots. I have chard, carrots, lettuce, arugula, peas, and radishes coming up in the greenhouse. I set out broccoli and cabbage seedlings in the greenhouse beds as well.,This is the earliest I have ever planted in there, but weather continues to be a little warmer than usual and I, like you, am determined to get as much as I can from my garden this year. I should be able to plant more peas in my high tunnel next week (it is over a 4 X 8 raised bed).
    We hiked at the local state park one morning. It was a beautiful day and we saw very few people – all at a distance. Though the park is closed to camping, it is still open for hiking and fishing, and I’m very glad about that.
    I cooked a big batch of chickpeas from dried, baked sandwich bread, and made a batch of yogurt, a batch of homemade English muffins and some homemade graham crackers. I did some mending and made some cloth facemasks for my husband, myself, and some friends.
    My sewing machine (a 1995 Pfaff that has been used heavily since I purchased is used in 1999) stopped working. My husband has repaired it several times over the past few years, but the gears inside are wearing down. He got it going again, but I found another Pfaff model I liked on eBay and won the bid for it. It is supposed to be delivered today and I will be thrilled to have a more reliable machine. I purchased it from a sewing machine repair shop, so it has been cleaned and serviced by them.
    We were able to get what my husband estimates will be a cord and a half of firewood from a lot that is being cleared in our neighborhood. The trees had been down and blocked for a year, so the wood is mostly dry. All we had to do was drive over and load it on our trailer. I’m so grateful for this head start on the 4 cords of wood we need every year.
    I have been trying to make a point of contacting one person every day — a phone call, card, email, or text — who I know lives alone or may be struggling during this time. It helps me to stop thinking about my own worries and I have had some great conversations with people that I know cheered us both.

    1. Hi Cindi
      I am also contacting one person a day – I hope it helps some of them not to feel so isolated and it’s good for me and my husband to have some contact with others and hear how they are doing. It would be a good discipline to keep after the virus has subsided.

      1. I have been having my kids call people too. Grandparents and aunts love it. I told them to pick one person a day. My son called to talk to grandpa. His grandmother had him on the phone for 20 minutes before she passed it to grandpa.

  6. Your white garden is incredibly beautiful at this time of year Brandy! such a lovely thing to see outside your door.
    Here on Vancouver Island all appears fairly well as we concentrate on isolating and “lowering the curve” of cases.
    I have been isolated for 3 weeks at least now but am enjoying my time cleaning up the garden, planting a few things (it is still frosty at night)
    getting some needed chores done. A friend dropped off 2 bags of good books, bless her!! I’m grateful for this interesting blog to enjoy. Ann Lee S, V. Island, B.C. Canada

    1. Hi Ann Lee,

      Fellow Vancouver Islander here! I’m at home helping to lower the curve too :). Good to know another local (ish) reader of Brandy’s lovely blog is near by. Best wishes,
      Sarah

    2. Hi Ann,
      I have visited your beautiful island many times.
      We just made an offer on a house on Fidalgo Island which I think might be accepted. I believe ( in normal times) there is a ferry from Anacortes, on Fidalgo, that goes to Vancouver Island.

  7. Last Tuesday I made a point of getting all of the April bills paid and out of the way. I went out very early in the morning as I did have to do one thing at the ATM and then headed to the grocery store. I was able to walk straight in and they had restocked overnight so I got everything that I needed – mostly fresh fruit & veg, dairy and some frozen fruit & veg – the frozen food section has been empty the last time or two I was in a supermarket so I was glad to be able to get all that jammed into my freezer compartment!

    The shopping part was easy – it was getting it all properly cleaned and put away once I got home that took ages! A friend who lives in the same building called me yesterday as she was in the grocery store and did I need anything? I got her to pick up more salad greens, a cucumber, tomatoes, apples, bananas, strawberries and some milk so that means I will definitely not be going anywhere near a store for at least 2 weeks and possibly longer – the peak of the virus is to hit us over the next two weeks so I don’t plan on venturing anywhere except for a walk a couple of times a week when I put out the garbage & recycling. I was able to pay my friend safely as the money had been in my wallet for over a week and, since our money is made of plastic, it could be wiped down with Lysol!

    I spent my month’s grocery budget on all this food but it will last me even longer than that combined with all hat I have on hand so it was worth it. The only other money that I’ve spent is making some donations to local food banks who are still running and making sure that people are fed.

    Rather than have everyone file for EI the federal govt. has made an arrangement for people to logon starting today for $2000/month for the next 4 months. And as another alternative business & charities that show (I believe at least a 30% drop in income) can keep people on payroll as the Govt. will pay 75% of the wages – my office will use this benefit. And then, if you get pension money as I do and are still under a certain level of income you will automatically be topped up. Also, the monthly child credit has been upped by an additional $300 per month.

    In this province itself – hydro rates have been reduced to the daily minimum amount for all day and just this morning it was announced that parents can apply for an immediate payment of $200/child ($250 for disabled children) of a one time payment in order to help with keeping the kids at home. And in the city, all essential workers are being given emergency daycare at city outlets for free starting today. Mortgage payments and student loans can be deferred for 6 months, all companies and banks have been “encouraged” to overlook late fees and this morning it was announced that it looks as though CC interest will be reduced. Landlords have also been told to come to arrangements with tenants who are waiting for funds and there can be no evictions. My super had dropped by with some info that I needed (spoke from over 6 feet apart) and she said that our landlord was complying (although apparently only 2 people in the building couldn’t make a full payment until the funds come in from the Govt. and they were told this was fine). Grocery stores have pledged not to raise prices and if anyone sees gouging they are to report it! One very high end shop got caught charging $29.99 for some Lysol wipes that would ordinarily sell for $3 – they have been “Named and Shamed” and fined and the fines are for individuals as well as companies and they will hurt! Anyone disobeying the city’s distancing rules can now be fined $1000 each! It has been a bit tricky with the weather getting nicer so they have put concrete slabs in front of the parking areas of parks and have increased the number of officers patrolling parks. They want you to keep moving – you are to be out for exercise, not sunbathing and certainly not to play basketball or to take the kids for a playground “date”! The majority of people are complying but there are always a few who don’t think it applies to them.
    So all in all – I have no room for complaint. I am cleaning, cooking, taking an online course, catching up with family and friends via the phone or email and now I can work from home a bit so that helps me to stay occupied. I know that people are ordering in and ordering things online but it would really only be out of laziness or boredom for me to do either so that is saving me money as well. I can already see a ripple effect as I will be reluctant to spend a lot once this is over – on anything – just in case. I am very grateful for the encouragement here to keep building that pantry – even though my friends tended to laugh at me and I will never take a simple cup of coffee with a friend for granted ever again!
    The amount of gardening that you do is amazing Brandy and I am glad to hear that you and the family will be staying put over these next two weeks. I hope that everyone is safe and well and able to shelter at home without too much worry over bills and food.

    1. Margie, I am amazed at what Canada is doing! Four months! Wow! Here they are issuing a one-time payment to each family. It will take up to 20 weeks for them to pay everyone. There are ways for regular workers to file for unemployment, but it is a lot harder for people who are self-employed. We are trying to sort through to see if anything applies to us; there are loans that can be forgiven, but those are for paying payroll, something neither I do my husband do in our businesses.

      I expect it will be months before things can start working again, and I don’t know when people will have the means to buy houses and pay for family pictures again. We could feel the fallout from this for a very long time.

      1. What is happening on some of the photography accounts I follow, are family photos either on their front steps with the photographer on the street shooting or from inside looking out of closed or open windows.

        1. This is illegal and potentially dangerous. There is a lot of heated discussion about this on photography groups. I could lose my business license and be heavily fined; in some states, working when you are non-essential also carries up to 6 months of jail time.

          Even going for a leisurely drive in some areas can get you a ticket. A woman in the U.S. this week got a $200 ticket for going on a long drive by herself.

          Getting together with friends, even at a distance, is supposed to be avoided.

          I will be staying at home unless there is a reason not to do so. I believe this is the right thing to do. I did not even attend my own daughter’s wedding because of the virus.

          We’ve been asked to stay away from even the grocery store if we can. I can, and I will.

          1. Thank-you for your response Brandy, I had no idea until you outlined it about the potential ramifications.

          2. In the US, the restrictions vary SO much from state to state. It is so confusing and frustrating! Some states don’t even have stay-at-home orders yet.

          3. I have noticed several photographers are doing photo shoots differently. The parents take the picture of the kids and then the photographer is editing them. Adding backgrounds and adding in the Easter bunny holding newborns and such. Don’t know if you would be interested but thought I would share.

            1. It’s not something I will be doing but it is something that some people are offering. I don’t do composite editing. It’s a different style of photography.

        2. On the news a few days ago they said sole/self employed proprietors were also eligible for the business . I wished I could remember what contacts they mentioned to get your questions answered.

      2. Brandy, I’m in Atlanta and I listened to a local financial show on the radio yesterday. The host said over and over again that small business people – even without employees – are eligible for the loans. The amount that you can get depends I believe on your profit last year. The radio host is Wes Moss and his website is wesmoss.com. He said he has the info and worksheets about the loans on the website.

        1. We are looking into it. The forgivable amounts only apply to certain things, like rent. That could work for my husband but won’t work for me. I will check out his site and see if he can help make it more clear; it’s been a lot of confusion in photography groups.

          1. Hope his site is helpful. I remember him saying that self-employed people can’t apply until this Friday, so you may have some time to get organized for this.

            1. That is good to know. I will look. We have been reading and reading trying to figure it out and aren’t sure if we will qualify or not.

      3. Believe me we are very thankful! The Prime Minister even announced today that they are looking at others who may still be falling through the cracks to ensure that everyone is covered. I should also note that Toronto has a large homeless population and new shelters have been opened all over the city to ensure that they are looked after. I believe that the amount the federal Govt. has also sent out is $100 million to Food Banks all across the country to ensure that they will still have supplies for those that need them.

        Not to get into politics and I certainly don’t want to offend all of you in the US – but – I am truly shocked at the US response – and I pray that you will all stay safe and not suffer too much financially.

        1. No offense taken. I’ve seen a lot of individuals who don’t want to stay home. Google did a map of who is staying home around the world by country (probably by province as well in Canada as it is also by state here) and grocery store trips were only down 20% in my state, even though supposedly our state is one of the best at staying home more–but that was only 40% home. I looked at England by contrast and trips to retail and grocery shopping were down drastically more. My friend in England and I have been texting every day and calling once a week through Facebook phone calls. She is staying home for the 120 days that they have asked there.

          I got a robocall the other day that linked into a “town hall meeting” where people were allowed to ask questions. The first two people asked the same question: When can we go back to work?

          I guess some people don’t understand that we’re not just closing everything from a government perspective–there’s a real reason to be closed. But hopefully, people will start to stay home. I have seen people who were going out start to stay in now. I’ve also had people tell me they aren’t concerned at all.

          My parents live next door. We see them through the mesh gate but stay at least 6 feet apart and usually about 12 feet. We don’t see them much. And we stayed home from our own daughter’s wedding.

          I did make some masks and deliver them to a few doorsteps in paper bags for front line nurses, and had others come by and pick some up from our doorstep.

          The last photos I took were of a couple from Canada. They were told to self-isolate for two weeks and were tested as soon as they came home. That sounded like a great plan to me.

          1. Hi Brandy and Margie
            The financial response from the government here (UK) has been phenomenal and they are trying hard to catch everyone who might fall through the net. I know there will still be difficult times for many businesses and families. The huge amounts of money being made available will have to be found from somewhere so the next few years I expect our taxes will increase and things will be very tight. However I’m proud of the way this nation is putting people , particularly vulnerable people and health before economics. One fantastic announcement is that all deficits being carried by hospital trusts in the NHS will be wiped clean. This is such good news.

            1. My friend in England just sent me a photo a couple of minutes ago of the letter that came from the Prime Minister.

      4. I totally agree that this economic crisis could last awhile
        It may take a long time for people to catch up from this devastation never mind buy anything more than essential items
        That’s if we get thru this without major consequence

    2. Hi Margie,

      Good to hear from you. A quick question — is the top-up of pensioner’s income a provincial or a federal top-up?

      1. It is Federal from what I understand Ann – if your CPP and OAS fall below a certain amount (I’m assuming the $2000/month) then an extra amount will automatically be deposited to your account.

  8. Hello Everyone! Hope everyone is healthy and doing as well as can be expected during these times. I had quite the frugal week! We were very fortunate, due to the generosity of neighbors who had extra to share. We received three free tomato seedlings that a neighbor had started. She said she had too many for her garden space. One of the three she gave us didn’t make it, but the other two seem to be doing well. I received 20 free pants hangers (which appeared to be brand new!) for a neighbor. I will use these with the garment rack I ordered to dry things in our garage when the weather turns warm. My son’s school continued to give out five days of breakfasts and lunches, which we gladly accepted. I added water to the hand soap dispenser to stretch it a few more days. We continue to save water from washing dishes and shower water warm up to flush toilets. I purchased inexpensive plants at the grocery store to give to two of my co-workers who had birthdays this month. I dropped off at each house, including a birthday card for each that I already had. I paid bills on line to save stamps and gas for the ones that we normally pay in person. I enjoyed three magazines from subscriptions I earned using Recyclebank points. I then gave the magazines to my parents. We dropped off two birthday gifts (out of our gift closet) to two of my son’s friends who had birthdays last week. An unexpected surprise came from our insurance company. We received a $90 rebate check and put it directly into savings! One bummer last week was that our hot water heater started leaking 🙁 We had no choice and had to replace it. We were so thankful that we had the funds to pay for it! A local school tutoring business offered work books to the community for anyone who wanted them. We accepted two, plus two free pencils. My son’s school loaned out chrome books. After a few days, the charger broke. I emailed the teacher, requesting a replacement and how much did I need to make the check out for to replace it. She responded that the charger was probably already broken or close to it and dropped off another one at our house. A neighbor gave us 2 1/2 meyer lemons, some navel oranges and lavender cuttings and another one offered us 6 travel size tubes of toothpaste. Another neighbor offered us china plate holders for our china cabinet. She had ordered them and they did not work for her. We are hoping they work for us. I had always wanted something like these to stabilize what’s in our cabinet, but couldn’t justify the money to purchase them. Since so many neighbors had been so generous to us, I offered to pick up groceries for three different neighbors, who are not going shopping due to medical reasons, advanced age, etc. My mother in law stopped by the other night. She is the only one who we let come visit. She brought us a can of cooking spray, a bottle of olive oil and a pound of butter and a bag of my son’s favorite chips. I did go shopping one day last week and it will be the last trip for quite a while (we have heard from several different people that it is going to get very bad in our area in the next few weeks and to not go out if you don’t have to). I went shopping for my family and as well as my parents. My parents insisted on paying for our groceries as well. Both households are stocked for several weeks. When we delivered the groceries to my parents, my mom shared two rolls of paper towels and six bars of soap and some rosemary cuttings, plus a half bottle of gin. My dad also left us gas money. We waved at them through the window. Due to my mom’s cancer surgery five years ago and my dad’s age, they are not coming into contact with anyone. I signed up for a year subscription to a weekly entertainment magazine. I ordered a 1000 piece puzzle my son will enjoy from Amazon using gift cards earned from Swagbucks. Lastly, we decided to cancel our summer vacation that we had planned with some other family members. We received our deposit back for the cancellation. We will rebook and plan on going when things stabilize. Wishing everyone a happy, healthy week!!!!

  9. I have been contemplating whether or not to do egg dyeing here as well. I am wondering about doing a few blown eggs like we did in elementary school. Then we can still use the eggs without boiling them and let the kids just paint or color them.

    I don’t know what all you use eggs for, but I found some Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer at our grocer that ended up being about the same price per “egg” as real eggs since the price jumped. It worked well in pancakes; we haven’t tried it in anything else yet. I’m also planning to try using aquafaba (the thick liquid from cooked beans…apparently it can be used as an egg substitute in some recipes). Has anyone out there used it?

    1. I love your idea about blown eggs!

      I have heard good things about using aquafaba, but I do not buy canned chickpeas.

      I use eggs in baking, but also just to eat. In the past, I had dried eggs in storage. I had not purchased more, so I only have a tiny bit left.

      1. Brandy,
        You can use the liquid from any bean, canned, or that you cook yourself as aquafina … I’ve had mixed luck, but have found if I use it in place of half the eggs, it works pretty well. I’ve read that it actually makes excellent “meringue,” but haven’t tried that. I find the black bean liquid to be a good consistency, but you’d need to use it in “darker” items.

      2. Someone may have mentioned this already, but folks who can’t tolerate or are allergic to eggs often use “gelatin eggs” for cooking and baking, which would free up real eggs in other uses. It’s just plain gelatin in a little water, or dry gelatin added to the batter, depending on the recipe. There is more online about using gelatin for eggs.

    2. We talked about trying to blow out the insides, but then decided that we will hard boil one egg for each person to decorate. Usually I leave them out all day on Easter, but this time, they’ll go right in the fridge. DH and I will eat them hard-boiled, but the kids don’t care for them.

  10. All this has me inside of stores more because my home health clients cant get pick up times for groceries and I have to go to multiple places to get everything they need.

    I washed my truck for free at Sam’s

    Rented a redbox movie with a .50 off code

    We had a free pizza coming from Papa John’s. We ordered that one night and just had to pay for garlic knots

    Purchased 2 containers of ice cream marked down to 2.50 each

    Repaired 2 pairs of pants

    My girl scout coleader and I sorted through our troops craft supplies to sell. Both of our girls have decided not to continue so we are selling off items to use in our troop outing this summer.

    My mom sent over some honey buns, pringles, and canned soup she didn’t want

    Continue to declutter the house.

    Was able to keep the heat off the majority of the week. It’s nice to open up the house.

    Try to stay home when possible, but seem to be driving more while at work so not really saving gas.

    Aside from necessities, the plan is to eat from the freezer/pantry this week

  11. Thanks for the encouraging and informative post, Brandy. I’m so glad you were able to find a way to plant more. As always, you’re super-inspiring!

    My frugal week:
    – I baked some Very Cherry Crumble Bars (http://approachingfood.com/very-cherry-crumble-bars/) using cherries from my freezer that I had bought heavily discounted many months ago using the flash food app. When I defrosted the cherries, I drained them and kept the juice to make a cherry-flavoured iced tea.
    – I baked two loaves of bread and used one loaf to make my husband hearty cheese sandwiches for his lunches during the week (I just froze them, and pull them out the night before).
    – I baked a batch of morning glory muffins, using whatever I had at home, reducing some ingredients like coconut flakes to make them stretch further, and replacing the buttermilk called for with homemade sour milk. The recipe also called for raisins, but my daughter likes to eat those, and I have a limited supply until I go to the store again, so I omitted those from the recipe. So lots of swaps or changing of ingredients, but they still turned out great! I also baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies, a batch of coconut chocolate chip cookies, and a batch of granola.
    – I sprouted some mung beans and used them along with frozen vegetables to make fried rice. Plus, I made a batch of sauerkraut, a batch of pickled beets (http://approachingfood.com/everything-is-coming-up-beets-easy-mennonite-pickled-beets/), smoothies using fruit I had frozen, and a pan of enchildadas (http://approachingfood.com/easy-enchiladas/) using beans I had previously cooked and frozen.
    – Thanks to Brandy mentioning it on her blog previously, I had purchased a garlic willow ear oil a few months ago to have on hand in case my daughter developed an ear infection. Turns out it was I who needed it this week. It did help, and enabled me to avoid a dr’s visit (ideal in this time of social distancing).
    – A few small repairs: I re-caulked my master bath bathtub using caulking I already had, glued a kitchen utensil back together, fixed a zipper on a baby sleeper, sewed up the handle on my daughter’s stroller, and sewed a few holes in socks.
    – My mom dropped off some food (staying a socially distant 6 feet away) and I gave her a $5 gc that I had gotten free, as gas money.
    – We ordered a pair of hair clippers online and I cut my husband’s hair for the first time. Two more haircuts and it will have paid for itself!
    – I redeemed Swagbucks for cash to my paypal account, and sent a ‘tip’ to the virtual children’s music class that my daughter watches each week day these days.
    – I added water to stretch my store-bought plant-based milk.
    – I made my own cashew milk from raw cashews I had in my pantry.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone as always, and I hope everyone is doing as well as possible under the circumstances. Thinking of you all!

    1. Hmmm – I have a jar of cherries in he pantry and I’ve been trying o figure out what to do with them – these sound delicious.

      1. They are REALLY good, Margie! The recipe calls for 3 cups of cherries for a lasagna pan sized tray of squares, so you could probably halve it and use the jar of cherries. I also put a almond drizzle on top of the squares and they were soooo delicious! Hope you’re doing well and staying safe!

        1. It’s a really BIG jar of cherries – so may need to make some for the neighbours as well! 🙂

          I am doing well but it’s easier for me being on my own. I know that your husband is working form home and along with having the little one it must be difficult some days. I think that you are up around Yonge & St. Clair – just from some stores that you have mentioned so I hope that you can manage the occasional walk just for a change of scene.

          1. I’m sure the neighbours will appreciate the squares, especially in these days! When you put the filling in the tray before baking, it looks like it won’t be enough, but the squares bake up and puff up and the filling ends up being more than enough. I wish I had more cherries — the squares were sooooooo yummy!

            And good guess re location! As it happens, I’m actually in Etobicoke as well! Not super close to you, I think, but not terribly far away either. I am able to get out of the house for a walk, thanks! I try to go out for fresh air most days, although not all days. I’m as careful as possible, given that I need to use our condo elevator to get outside, and try to only take empty elevators and use my elbow to press the buttons, and then only walk on the empty residential back streets with my daughter strapped into her stroller. And I’m scrupulous about hand-washing (coconut oil makes a great hand lotion, I’ve found). I sewed masks for my husband and I as well, from fabric and elastic in my stash. I do go back to work (essential work) next week, but have come up with a de-contamination protocol for my return home each day, so that I don’t carry home any virus on my clothing, skin, or the few items I need to take with me. Strange times we’re living in, huh? Hope you’re staying safe too!

    2. I purchased the garlic willow oil too. My daughter got water stuck in her ear last summer while swimming. We used it 3 days and it was resolved. Simple and great — my daughter has some issues about going to the doctor since she had health problems a few years back. This oil allowed us to avoid the doctor’s office too. I recommend it!

      1. It hasn’t been a frugal week. My mother is slowly getting strength back but right now she still has to get her nutrition through liquids and nothing thicker than a custard. Nestlé Boost High Calorie with 530 calories and 22 grams of protein per 8 ounces has helped so much. I tried to start the car after 4 weeks and learned my battery had discharged too much. I need to jump it and then move it up and down the driveway weekly. Friends have made a few deliveries while we have been homebound. The pharmacy just started no-cost deliveries of prescriptions by mail. Amazon gave a month of free Prime delivery and I have been taking full advantage of it trying to make sure I have enough home health care supplies for at least six weeks along with things like a tiny ice cream maker so we won’t be dependent on asking our friends to shop for ice cream when mom wants some. Only my edible flower seeds order came up missing. Either the package blew away or the seeds were tucked deep inside an envelope that included the “When There Is No Doctor” book and I overlooked them while trying to minimize my contact with the shipping material. No refund and no replacement. Sigh. More seeds, a broad assortment of non-GMO seeds, have been stuck at a USPS distribution center in Colorado since the 3rd. But I received my herb seed sampler bought directly from the seed company and a small assortment of seeds for early spring planting and for lots of microgreens bought from vendors on Amazon.com. From Walmart, I have been able to procure more home healthcare supplies, food, paper products, cleaning supplies, and Iron Out. Fortunately, my usual stash of toilet paper is about 30 1000-sheet rolls so I still have a lot because it still unavailable to buy online for a reasonable price.
        I’ll need an iPad for my mom to have more than a voice-only visit with her doctor unless his corporate overlords update their policies. The visiting nurse showed up Friday and she stayed just outside the front door with her mask and gloves on while mom sat in her wheelchair just inside, also masked. The nurse used our equipment to check mom’s vitals and to rebandage the pressure sore on her heel. Since everything was stable, I signed the form to end home nursing for now. They wouldn’t show up when mom really needed a visit and since asymptomatic people can spread coronavirus and we live in a hotspot county, I worry too much about what the caregivers might inadvertently share to let them in the house. I just am so glad mom got an oxygen concentrator to use at night, and then a replacement when the first one broke.
        I look forward to receiving my first box of produce from Imperfect Foods tomorrow. Today, I get to reorganize the kitchen so I have more room for food prep and storage.
        I bought a spool containing well over 100 yards of 3/8″ elastic just before there was a run on elastic to make masks. I had intended to turn into a mask making machine. But momcare has hogged all my braincells. I don’t have the concentration needed to sew right now. But I have a relative who has sewed professionally who is making scores of masks to give away. She ran out of elastic. I had enough postage in the house to send a flat rate envelope stuffed with elastic to her. I hope she receives it today. I have ordered more stamps from usps.com.
        My niece the nurse has sore ears from her masks. If you are looking for a way to help, consider sewing headbands with two buttons on each appropriately placed to hold the elastic on a surgical facemask in place.
        Stay home, stay safe. Take good care of yourself.

      2. I know you didn’t ask, but I struggled with swimmer’s ear/water in the ear often as a child, and a nurse once gave my mother a simple preventative measure – each time you swim, tip your head over & pour 1/2 to 1 capful (maybe 1/2 – 1 tsp) of plain rubbing alcohol directly into the ear, let it sit for 5-10 seconds, and then drain it back out. The alcohol will evaporate any water or moisture left in the ear. Even now as an adult I do for both ears after every swim.

  12. Staying home saves me all sorts of money. I am one that loves staying at home so it has been nice.
    My daughter cut her daughter’s hair.
    We are gardening a bit and trying to decide what else we can grow for ourselves.
    My daughter bought nightlights that turn on when it is dark. She got them on sale for a few dollars. Her children are both afraid of the dark…they always have been. These nightlights are saving me, more than I thought, on my electric bill.
    During this horrible stress so many people are sharing there gifts free of charge. All of us are taking lessons online. The kids are both learning to play the bass. Windee (their mama) is having them learn a different language. Gaby is learning Russian. Zayne and Windee are learning Spanish.
    The 3 of them are meditating every night.
    They are also following some exercise person. Windee’s gym is closed due to the Covid-19 virus.
    All of these things are online for free.
    We are reading free books.
    Watching free movies.
    I read about a SEED leanding library. They send you seeds, you plant and you gather seeds later and send some back to them. What a wonderful idea. I think we should all try to do something like this in smaller groups.
    I hope everyone is staying safe. God bless and keep you all.

  13. I am blessed to have a fairly large food storage. There are a few things I have to get to supplement, mostly perishables. I wish I had a garden, we have room for it, but I have a really bad knee, so I can’t get down on the ground. So, my hubby won’t let me have one. I’m hoping to get him to make some raised beds for me this year. Right now we are pretty stable, he is working from home, and my grandson is doing virtual classes from my home while his mom works. One of the perks is I’m baking my own bread again! I’d forgotten how fun it is! Plus, I’m making 3 really nutritious meals a day. Before we had such hectic schedules that we ate a LOT of fast food. I’m enjoying a slower pace, more family and homemaking time. The ladies in our ward are good about checking to see if anyone needs anything before they go to the store, so I know if I do need something they will pick it up for me. I’m grateful for Heavenly Father’s goodness to us, and I pray that the pandemic wanes quickly, but that we never forget to appreciate having more time, and not get so busy again when it’s over.

  14. Thank you for all of the good information and encouragement in your post, Brandy. It is prompting me to go plant a few lettuce seeds (and a few more every week for awhile). I am not sure whether it is late winter or early spring here–the ground has thawed, but it snowed two days ago (didn’t last).

    Still cooking and trying not to waste a bite! Still getting caught up on no OOP jobs that have needed doing for a long time!

    We are turning a door into a desk. I stained and Varathaned it using supplies and brushes we already had.

    I made a heated rice bag out of flannel and muslin scraps for my husband’s cousin’s daughter. She liked the one I made for her mother.

    I mended a pair of my husband’s pants.

    I paid my bills online, saving time and $3.30 in postage.

    We made a trip to our vacation home (about 50 miles away) to drop off our snowblower and pick up the regular tires that need to be changed over. (We use the garage for extra storage). I brought back six cedar 2x2s, three 5-foot pieces of shelving and a bracket, all of which we will use here. It was a nice drive and good to be out for a change! (We purposely didn’t see anyone).

    We bought gas for $1.79 gallon.

    Stay home, friends!

  15. For seeds – check at your local Dollar Store. Also, some cities have free seed giveaways that are hosted by garden clubs. Also, some public libraries have seed banks where you can ‘check out’ seeds with the promise of returning home grown seeds from the harvest. In the US, some county extension offices will have seeds available. Finally, some states allow EBT/food stamp users to purchase seeds.

    I, too, live in Canada but do not qualify for the $2000 monthly income benefit right now since I did not have $5,000 earned income last year. There was talk today that the program may be expanded. It’s a program that is designed for self employed and contract workers who normally do not qualify for unemployment insurance here.

    Last week, I started to get my garden plot ready for planting. I also cut my own hair for the first time. The haircut is a little funny looking but I was happy with the result. The down side – I’ve been using a grocery delivery service which means my groceries are costing more then normal. Today is Day 21 with staying in my apartment or on the property.

      1. Ellie’s friend – yes, I will receive the GST top up, just over $400 per quarter. A lot less then $2000/month. But I’m thankful for every little bit.
        If the C.E.R.B. rules did away with the requirement to have had $5000 of earned income in the past 12 months, I would have been eligible for that as well. Cheers,

  16. Your garden is amazing, Brandy!

    I’m praying that the unemployment that is happening due to the virus will not take long to go away.

    My accomplishments this week:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and foil and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads the in washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Ate dinner in 7 times. We had steak, baked potatoes and asparagus; soup and cornbread made with leftovers from the freezer; turkey enchiladas made with homemade corn tortillas and lettuce; Polish sausage with fried potatoes and onions and cabbage; homemade pizza; shrimp scampi; and brats with cheesy potatoes and yellow squash.
    • Ate lunch in all 7 days too. We had a can of chicken green chili with tortillas; leftover salmon in a salad (him) and leftover steak in top ramen (me); freezer leftovers – white bean and ham soup (him) and leftover pork chop, potatoes and gravy (me); leftover enchiladas; tuna melts with applesauce; and quesadillas.
    • Hung 3 of 4 loads of clothes.
    • Did some sewing on a denim quilt I’ve been meaning to make for years. I had bins of old jeans in storage for this, but never took the time to do it.
    • Also found an easy to make face mask online. I have some cotton fabric and had saved the shoe polisher mitts I gotten over the years from hotel stays. When I took the seam out of those, it was almost exactly the right size for the inner layer. That made me laugh, as my daughter used to tease me about taking them. I knew I’d find a use for them eventually.
    • Made homemade pumpkin muffins with a can of pumpkin that had been on the shelf for a while.
    • Since our weekly trivia league has been cancelled, one of our team members found an app that allows us to play a game together via our phones. Not the same, but it was good to have contact with them like that. We are close group and really miss each other! So we’ll be doing that on league night until we can play in the league again.
    • I can’t stand the taste of dry milk for drinking, but I did use it whenever possible in baking.
    • Made chocolate chip cookies, but also included some off brand M&Ms that were in a Christmas candy cane thing. I’d stuck them in the freezer and had forgot about them. They worked great in the cookies.
    • Hubby planted some chive, green onion, arugula and carrot seeds. Hopefully something will come up!

    Stay safe!

  17. I was thinking just the other day about how hard this must be on realtors, salons and barbershops, day cares, pet day cares, tourist industries and the like. My company is an “essential” company but we are working from home. It means I get a little more time in the day due to a lack of commute, but not large swaths of time.

    I made two curbside grocery pickups this past week rather than go in stores, which means there was no impulse buying. We had just recently emptied our freezer and pantry to start re-stocking. This is not a good time to do that, but it’s a good time to already have a stocked pantry. I’m going to do the best I can and cook creatively.

    I haven’t had any time for yard work before now, but with the little extra time each weekday, I’m doing some work with the vines, weeds and sprouts that are non-stop here in Florida. The more I can prune and pull, the less I have to pay the lawn crew.

    I’m taking advantage of some of the free programs online from the library system.

    I finished a survey and earned my $50 gift card.

    I earned a $5 Amazon card for buying a kitchen utensil I needed to buy anyway.

    We are watching our church’s services on YouTube. Since church is a long drive from our home, this also saves us gas, although I’d much rather be in church if it were possible.

    I hope everyone stays well and is provided for throughout this difficult period.

    1. Real estate is considered essential here, but who is going to qualify to buy a home when they are not working?

      In addition, the Federal Downpayment assistance program just went away. This was a blow to many but at this time affected one of our deals, so the house will not close. I always say that nothing is certain until you have a check in your hand, and it is so true. I have seen deals fall out the day before closing because of odd things like this before.

      1. Oh, I agree! I think realtors may be able to work here as well, but as you say, jobs are so uncertain, and it would be hard to get out and look at homes, to my thinking. Nor would I enjoy the idea of people coming to look at my home during this time.

        1. We have been house hunting and it has been anything but normal. First we had to sign some papers. The realtor and us had to wear gloves, masks and of course keep the 6 foot distance. Only 2 of us could go in the house at a time. Our realtor brought disinfecting wipes for any surface touched, like the key box or cabinet doors… Luckily many documents can be signed via computer from home.

          1. Online signing is the best! It’s one of the reasons my husband can work from home so often.

  18. The pictures of your garden are calming and so inviting! I feel peaceful just looking at the photos.

    I set a goal at the beginning of the year to learn to bake with sour dough starter. Well, no time like the present to put that plan into action. I’ve have mixed results so far, but will keep on trying and hopefully it’s one of those things that requires practice, practice. practice. I’ve gone through over 25 pounds of all purpose flour since what I call the crazy began, sharing with family and neighbors. I was grateful to find a 50 pound bag at the store to replenish. I’m grateful my mother insisted that I learn to bake bread in my early teens and I’ve apologized to those who were subjected to my early attempts. My mom didn’t learn to make bread because she’s the youngest girl of 7 and the older girls would always just tell her to go away and let them do it. The summer I turned 14 my mother was no longer working full time and she decided we needed to learn to can and bake bread. Fortunately, one of her oldest sisters lived close by and was willing to patiently teach me bread. The first fruit I ever canned was peaches and they were NOT freestone. I remember it was a lot of work to remove the skins and then to remove the pit. That experience made me careful in the choice of peach tree that I have in my yard! I think I squished more peaches than I sliced.

    Last Mother’s Day my youngest son’s family gifted me chickens. I did not want chickens. I was a bit upset that I now had chickens, something else that needed to be fed, watered, and cleaned up after. Fast forward to now and I am thankful for those birds. I have enough eggs for us to eat and bake and enough to share with neighbors. My 3 year old granddaughter reminds me each morning that the chickens need treats because they give us eggs. Who knew chickens would enjoy oatmeal almost as much as my grandbabes?

    We are thankful for our family’s continued good health. I work weekends only so I try to stay home other than those shifts. I always tell the kids and neighbors to text me prior to the end of my shift if they need anything from the store. I’m not going back! The list is usually fairly short, such as a gallon of milk and some produce. I’m hopeful we can reduce that list down to the milk only if my garden is productive. I need to get some fencing to keep the chickens out of the garden before I plant outside. We’re about a month out from when we usually plant, so time to hunt down a bargain.

    This week is spring break for the 6 year old so we are trying to keep him busy without resorting to technology too much. He’s my chore buddy, likes to help with the chickens, dog, and cat. I can get him to help in the yard most days when it’s not too wet. We are trying to find as much positive in this time home as we can.

    Best wishes for a happy and productive week!

  19. Hello and blessing to everyone. It is so lovely to stay connected. I agree, Brandy, that we will be feeling the effects of this for some time. Thank you for relaying the information about staying out of the grocery store. We have been going about once every 10 days, but now I will go 2 weeks. Our daughter came home from college today. So bittersweet for her. I was thankful she brought some food with her. I cleaned her room, which I use as my sewing space when she is gone, dusted, oiled the sliding closet door tracks, and put installed the floor guide for sliding doors. Without the floor guide they flapped terribly, and came of their tracks quite often. We just hadn’t gotten around to that yet, but I thought it would make her room nicer.
    I picked lettuce and kale to eat with lunch today. I bought extra bread and potatoes when we were last at the store and have them in coolers in the garage. I didn’t have any more freezer space.
    I gratefully received about 50 strawberry starts from my neighbor. I sewed masks for her and her husband.
    We are having a family gathering on Zoom on Easter Sunday. My daughter found some games designed to be played on Zoom. We will enjoy those, we love to play games as a family.

    1. I just posted about our experience with house hunting right now What I forgot to add is that we are only going in houses where the owners have already moved out.

  20. We’ve had a busy week at home, and managed to accomplish quite a few money-saving activities.
    In the kitchen:
    I made two recipes from your website, Brandy–the chicken fried steak patties and the Italian dressing. Both were delicious! My daughter made a batch of homemade rolls. It was her first time baking a yeast bread and they turned out great. We are using the last of them making turkey and cheese sliders. I made a batch of homemade granola (http://thebudgetinggranny.com/homemade-granola/)
    Friday afternoon my husband got off work early. He works at a school and the teachers had been allowed to come in that day to close out their rooms since school is cancelled for the rest of the year. Some of them had an assortment of snack foods they kept for the kids in their classrooms, which they shared around. My husband brought home quite a lot of food. Granted, it is not all the healthiest stuff, but if we find we are not going to use it, we will pass it along to someone who will before it expires. It was a blessing to receive it. There are many snack-like items the grandkids can enjoy for treats.
    In the garden:
    I planted seeds in containers for lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, kale, radishes and peas. I also planted a variety of tomato seeds (which started sprouting today!) and even more chile pepper seeds. I always worry about my pepper seeds sprouting. They take a long time to germinate and I get impatient.
    When I was rototilling my garden area, I found two potatoes I had missed digging up last year. One of them was already starting to grow into a potato plant. I replanted them both. My stepmom also gave me some potatoes she had that were starting to sprout. I will plant those as well. They are brown potatoes. Now I will only need to purchase my red seed potatoes at the nursery.
    I am working on tidying up my strawberry patch. Last year was its first year (new plants) so I hope they will produce well this year. I planted my strawberries in the ground, rather than in a container. I was wondering if anyone knows if one way is better than the other?
    My husband and I watched our church service online on Sunday morning, and then in the afternoon we worked on our drip irrigation system. It was rather a mess since part of it had been removed when we had our new front porch built in the fall. I was glad we had all the parts we needed to fix it and also enough to put drip irrigation in an area I previously had to handwater.
    We spent Saturday morning burning some branches and leaves in our larger garden area. We got it all cleaned up and then my dad tilled it with his tractor and spread fertilizer. This is the area we grow our tomatoes and chiles in. I had previously planned to only garden in our smaller garden area, but with all the things going on, I, like many, feel I should grow as much as possible in our available space.
    Home and Family:
    My older daughter’s co-worker gave us a bag of little girl’s clothing that is just the right size for my one-year-old granddaughter. So many cute little summer dresses! We’ve been looking for a picnic table for the play yard and my daughter found one on the Facebook yardsale for $10. My daughter and her two young children live with my husband and I so we are always looking for savings on kids’ things.
    My older daughter and I have a housekeeping job we do weekly. While I was dusting the bookshelf, I found a book that looked really interesting, so I asked to borrow it. It is a collection of letters and diaries of women who traveled west in covered wagons from 1854 to 1860. I may learn some things from these women about how they got by using what they had!

      1. Nancy,

        I am just planning on buying strawberry plants from my gardener, a single mom. Thanks for the good reminder about slugs.
        I read somewhere that sheep’s wool (with lanolin) keeps slugs away — I’ve always wanted to try this. I may plant my strawberries in hanging baskets
        I have to contend with birds, squirrels, coyotes (coyotes will even dig up carrots) and slugs. I have some netting that can be used for birds and squirrels. My deer fence has netting that needs replacing so I’ll cut the old netting to reuse as squirrel etc prevention.

  21. Thank you for the Chocolate Cake Recipe. I am allergic to eggs so this is great. Thankfully our income isn’t affected. My husband is retired and I work part-time and have been working from home. We are blessed. We have always bought ahead on sale so we didn’t have to hunt for toilet paper or anything else. My husband does the shopping and has always done it that way. Sometimes people have teased him about it, but boy are we glad now. We are getting ready to plant here in Oregon.

  22. Brandy, I am so very thankful for the knowledge and encouragement gained from your blog and other similar blogs over the last several years. My husband’s factory has closed indefinitely. He will be able to work at home for a while, but eventually they will run out of work to do. He can then use the paid days off that he has been saving, he has around 2 months saved up. So, we feel secure at least for a few months. After that, who knows??? I’m confident that we will be fine. Our mortgage company sent out a letter allowing a 3 month grace period on mortgage payments in the case of job loss. That is a nice comfort to me!
    – This week I decided to stay out of the grocery store as long as possible. I have a weakened immune system from some medication that I must take. We used some money that was set aside for a trip to make an online order from Costco. It’s a little bit more expensive than the prices in the store and a tip is required, but the delivery is free. Our delivery is set for this Thursday, but we have no idea if we will actually receive all the things on our list.
    -I had to make a trip to the pharmacy for medication refills and was thrilled to find a display for seeds!!!! I only purchased the ones that I know will grow in my area and grow easily in pots. We are still planning on going ahead with our house sale as soon as the stay at home order is listed, but I can easily move potted plants to our next home!
    -Found lots of old bagels hidden in my freezer. They were too hard in some places for regular use, but I sliced them and made seasoned bagel chips. My family loved them and requested more!
    -Trying to stick to my meal plans so that I don’t waste any food. Made homemade bread, flatbread pizza with homemade sauce, spaghetti with spicy sausage, stir fry, pancakes and sausage (froze pancakes for later use), tuna pasta salad, chicken soup.
    -Opened my box of Easter supplies and was happy to find egg coloring kits that I purchased last year after Easter for 9 cents each. We have lots of eggs that need to used up, so it will be fun to be able to keep our egg coloring tradition this year.
    -I’m planning on making some candy and sugar cookies for Easter, if the butter arrives that I ordered from Costco. I have a spiral ham in the freezer bought after Christmas for $7, so that will be Easter dinner.
    Hope everyone has a safe, healthy and happy Easter!

  23. As always I am envious of your garden. I realized you can use EBT to purchase seeds…since we cannot yet buy our groceries, and financial independence is not within our reach, working towards food independence is. I used a portion of our EBT purchasing power to get some seeds at Walmart. So far we are attempting Sow Easy brand of oregano, in a cup on the window sill in the kitchen. I plan to try to start a few things inside tonight repurpsoing milk cartons from free school lunches as containers.

    Here is something we did at home using what we had this past week

    https://realandrawahidingplace.wordpress.com/2020/04/04/a-little-friday-fun/

    1. You can also use EBT to purchase grape vines, berry bushes, and fruit trees. Your store options for places that take them may be limited, but a past reader of mine said she was able to use them at Walmart for all of those things.

  24. I spent money only one day last week. We ordered dinner from a little diner in our town that we don’t want to close. They have the best fish & chips. We ordered by phone and picked up with very little contact. I dropped off egg cartons and two homemade dishcloths at my former neighbor’s house. It was just down from the diner. Just put it on her porch. She had three dozen eggs waiting for me. It was lovely.
    I am now furloughed until the governor releases the stay home, stay safe order. My work is considered essential, but I am 66 and considered high risk for health reasons also. The partners in my firm agreed to allow me to go on emergency unemployment.
    It is still too cold here to plant our garden outside. We had a skiff of snow on Saturday night. It is supposed to get up to 60 later this week.
    I have started keeping a journal regarding COVID-19. I know I find my grandmother’s journals interesting – maybe someday grandchildren will wonder what life was like.
    We are okay not going to stores. Sometimes meals get interesting, but that’s okay. I do have flour and we had pizza over the weekend. It was delicious.
    When I thought we might have stay at home orders I bought 3 heads of cabbage and 2 bunches of celery. They keep for a long time, so we can have fresh vegetables. I have carrots and onions from the garden, so can make stir frys too.
    Hope you are all doing well – stay safe everyone.

  25. Congratulations on your daughters wedding. I too watched Call the Midwife and thought how ironic. Praying for our scientist to come up with a vaccine. Our state just an announced school closed for the rest of the school year. Grateful our Governor is taking this seriously (WA state). I was going to suggest our Fred Meyer offers pick up orders. I do mine on my phone and have them load it in the trunk and I don’t have to have to go into the store. They have waived the 4 fee too. Wait times are longer but if you can wait a week it’s worth the piece of mind. My attempt at homeschooling is getting better , my daughter has a good work ethic and she does all her work without having to be asked. My 7 year of son is a little less enthusiastic about school at home but we are working and it. My autistic son is harder to homeschool but we are doing what we can and focusing a bit more on life skills as his autism is on the severe end. So far my husbands job isn’t looking at layoffs, praise god! But we are saving as much as we can and since we are home our spending has been so much less. Working hard on being more frugal. Thank you for your encouragement to me and all your readers. I’ve recommended your site to many friends.

  26. Brandy, I can’t thank you enough for how informative your website has been for more than a decade now! I don’t have a full year of food storage (not even close) but I do buy in bulk and have several months of dry foods, and have a full freezer as well. I love how you keep track of the littlest things you do to save money!

    We’re adjusting to having my husband working from home and my sons doing their college classes from home as well. My job (as always) is to make our home a safe harbor and to stretch the pennies. This week I’ve baked homemade bread, baked gluten free muffins (with dried banana flakes), and made every single meal at home. While take-out and delivery restaurant food is still allowed, we decided right away not to budget a single dollar for restaurant food. We had homemade pizza last night; I had purchased a 6# block of mozzarella in February and we shredded it all and froze it in bags. This week I also shredded and froze 4# of cheddar cheese. I made lemonade with lemons from two neighbors, and froze the zest. I bought 50# of popping corn in March, and we eat it for most snacks. This week I learned how to make kettle corn, which is a nice treat!

    We celebrated my son’s birthday Saturday. I put up the streamers I made years ago from curling ribbon I bought in 1995, and hung a Happy Birthday banner I’ve had even longer than that. I baked a from scratch caked, iced it with from scratch icing, and made a batch of from scratch ice cream. We gifted my son a Kindle (they were on sale) so he can read library books and other books we already own. He’d broken his awhile back and was borrowing his brother’s whenever he could, but with both of them home 24/7 there was some squabbles. We also use the Kindle to put on books he needs for college, borrowing them from the library. We signed up for Disney+ when it was first offered, paying for 3 years in advance, which came out to under $4 per month. They released the new Pixar movie “Onward” and we watched that the evening of my son’s birthday. He said he had a great birthday even in quarantine, which is saying a lot for a young man who’s quite extroverted and had really missed seeing his friends at college everyday.

    My husband left the sprinklers off after the last rain, and today we have rain again and so much expected this week I suppose we’ll be able to leave the sprinklers off for a couple of weeks (unless it gets really hot).

    On the spending to save side of things, I ordered hair clippers today! I’ve been married for 30+ years and my husband has never wanted me to learn to cut his hair (he’s completely refused), but since he didn’t have it cut before we started our own stay-at-home plan (5 days before our state ordered it), he’s come around to the idea of me cutting it for him. I used the money from the hair cuts budget category for my husband and son, which we clearly weren’t going to be able to have done until June at the earliest anyway.

    I still have eggs — I had 9 dozen 3.5 weeks ago and am down to 2 3/4 dozen. We aren’t going to the shops, but have been able to order produce and grocery basics from a local business (usually deli + meal kits, but they branched out into whole produce and other groceries). I placed an order for delivery this Friday, and will get more eggs then. I feel so disconnected from this Lenten season — online services just aren’t the same — and I really want to color eggs before the Easter Vigil Saturday evening. I ordered potatoes so I can make potato salad and egg salad — we’ll be certain to eat every single hard cooked egg!

    1. My husband says the difference between a good haircut and a bad haircut is two weeks! So don’t worry!

      My daughter told her husband he is going to have to cut her hair for her. He was worried about that. She explained it’s a simple straight cut across the bottom to trim it! She also ordered clippers to do his. It will save them a lot of money over the years. It has for us; I’ve been cutting hair at home for almost 20 years now.

      Good luck! You’ll do great!

      1. Thanks Brandy! I’m sure my son’s will be easy since he didn’t let it get too long, but my husband’s is at least 3″ long on top. Worst case scenario we buzz the whole thing at the longest setting, then go shorter on the sides and back and use scissors to blend. But I want to do a good job so we can keep it up after everything opens up again!

    2. There are lots of YouTube videos showing you how to cut hair. Just do a little at a time. It takes longer but is better for a beginner. If i can do a squirmy 2 year old you can do it.

  27. FRUGAL
    * Harvested chives, boysenberries, tangerines, artichokes and collards from the garden
    * Started many seeds in saved pots and containers, many gifted last fall through our Buy Nothing Group
    * Got back to cloth diapering and cloth wipes for the baby
    * Made my son’s birthday cake from scratch
    * Someone put a broken old radio on the street for the scrappers; I was able to salvage an antenna from it that worked perfectly to replace the broken radio antenna on our existing music player.
    * Used an Amazon slow-shipping credit to buy an ebook that we couldn’t get through the library
    * Cut up a flat sheet and some cloth napkins to make masks for the family
    * Traded (no-touch porch dropoff) with a gardening friend: extra seeds and pots for extra tomato seedlings

  28. Congratulations: Your first son-in-law! Long life, health, and happiness to them!
    My Dad gets hundreds of charitable solicitations each week, many with small “gifts”, and from them, he sent me some tomato, squash, and zucchini seeds. I figure any seeds packaged for such purposes must be pretty hardy, so I planted them, as well as some others I had from last year, in peat pots to move outside in a few weeks. (Squirrels, assemble!)
    I duct-taped the bottom and toe part of my yard sale purchased flip-flops to try to hold them together for another season. I wear them mostly to walk out on the back deck to the clothesline, to protect my feet from the walnut shells underfoot. (Squirrels again!). I realized that the time-consuming part of hanging clothes is the pinning, and as there was little wind today, I just draped things over the lines and rack. I put them in the dryer for the last few minutes to finish them and take out the stiff parts.
    Except for the towels. I love loofah-scratchy line-dried towels. They are also a sign of spring!
    The neighbors surprised us with chicken dinners over the weekend. How lovely of them! We are observing social distancing and saving money by staying home. Be well, all!

  29. It has been a frugal week. The weather has been mild, so we haven’t been running the heat or A/C very much at all.
    I continued raking leaves as the trash cans were emptied, to avoid using garbage bags. Our trash is picked up twice/week, which is nice.
    I made yogurt in the crockpot from a gallon of milk about to expire.
    We’ve saved money by staying home and not going anywhere. I don’t have Amazon Prime, which I think avoids a lot of impulse purchases.
    Looking to buy a new-to-me minivan, and reading reviews online. Most likely will buy a Honda or Toyota, due to reliability ratings. I would love the Nissan NV, but I think they’re a little pricier, and I really don’t need one. A minivan will work great for us.
    We decluttered some toys, some of which we sold, others we gave away.
    I am planning an Easter dinner using mostly what we already have. I know I have a ham in the freezer that has been in there a while.

  30. I am also in Canada and applied for the govt benefit of $500 per week as I had just started a new job and have no work at present due to Covid 19. My DH applied for EI also. Today he grocery shopped for our DD’s grandparents and vacuumed while I shoveled snow, baked blueberry oatmeal muffins and made scalloped potatoes for dinner. I have 2 teen nieces with Covid 19 in IND but fortunately they are doing well. DD and her BF will be flying to Ontario tomorrow to do their uni exams online and start work for the summer. Naturally we are a bit anxious about them flying these days but hopefully all will be well. We will likely see them in August on their way back West.
    Brandy I do hope your family will receive a sizable check and quicker than you are expecting to help with your unemployment and bills-I am sure you will stretch it very far. Thank you so much for your blog and your weekly posts.

    1. There is a stimulus check which will be mailed automatically, but may take up to 20 weeks. There is also unemployment, which has to be applied for. Being self-employed, we have never qualified for that before, but now self-employed people can apply. Then there are loans, parts of which are forgivable, for business owners. We know they work towards certain things, like payroll (which we don’t have; real estate agents are independent contractors and my husband and I are not employees of our our busineses), but other things may count as well, like rent.

      If all of these things come through, we will be fine, eventually, when they come in, but we have to learn how to apply for them. We don’t want to end up with a loan at all, yet alone at a rate that we have no clue about, nor do we know how long it might be before we could start paying on it. That’s a worry–with no income, how does one make loan payments? It’s a question both in the U.S. and the U.K. for those who are self-employed. There’s a lot we don’t know yet.

    2. I forgot to add it breaks my heart to see farmers pouring tankfuls of fresh milk down the drain because the processors have too much-such a waste.

  31. Your positivity is much needed. My funk goes up and down with the tide, it seems. I irritate myself!
    I’m trying to keep busy with things i have. I pulled out a small wall hanging that is made up of bits of appliqué and all over embroidery. That and making a junk journal are my focus at the moment.
    Our water bill hasn’t been reduced by half, yay you!!, but the electric did go down by 10.00. I’ll take it!
    Except for fresh vegetables and milk, we haven’t bought mush food. Like you, i won’t be getting a ham for Easter. My husband eats ham sandwiches most days for work, when he’s working. He’s the one who said we can pass. I’ve already put our name on a list for a half pig in the Fall.
    I did order some seeds and plants for the garden. Free shipping! They will be shipped in May. I really hope something will grow this year. My growth rate is depressingly low in this climate. I only got tomato and pepper plants and one small rosemary. (I love rosemary.) And seeds of beans, cucumbers, and salad greens. A friend gifted me some extra seeds of beans and greens, as well. Cold crops do well here if i can keep the slugs away.
    We face time with our daughter and her family every Monday. A few times, the one year old will say our names and we’ll get an extra visit. Our other grandchildren put videos up on YT for us to watch. That son works at Kroger and is busy all the time. I worry about him the most. My husband has been enjoying some sausage he made, and smoked in his handmade smoker, that we received on our Christmas visit.
    I made a mask for myself out of an old kerchief.
    Tomorrow, or this week, i’ll have a prescription filled here in town. This will save me the two hour round trip to the big city. Not to mention, the time and gas. I like going to the big city because that’s where all the cheaper stores are. (meijer, walmart, target, etc..) Plus, the thrift stores. We have nothing here anymore except family dollar and dollar general.
    I wish everyone a good week! I hope you’re all well and stay well! Good luck to you and your family, Brandy! Maybe this housing market won’t be as bad as the last time.

    1. momsav–i find my moods go up and down as well. I am dealing with kidney stones right now, so i am down. I have found that if I keep busy with projects around the house I am happier, but when you are in pain, its hard to get much done.
      I have a daughter that works for Publix. I worry about her too. How much we need our grocery workers!

  32. I’m on the same page as you, Brandy, when it comes to gardening this year. My husband has been growing vegetable starts in the greenhouse for us. (He built this a couple of years ago from pieces of salvaged wood, some plastic siding and a plastic film roof.). We had a discussion when this whole thing started, basically agreeing that this was going to be the time for everyone to garden. He, therefore, transplanted more baby starts than normal. Some of the early things are ready to put out, such as cabbage and onions. After I put broccoli, cabbage, and onions out in my garden, we had quite a few cabbage and onions left over. He was able to give some away to at least 4 different families. His other starts are coming along nicely, and there will be some to share from those, too. It’s just too early for them to be planted. I wish we lived closer…I’d drop some on your doorstep. We’ve planted several seeds in the garden, such as snow peas, boc choi, lettuce, etc. and they are all up now. I plan to plant another batch of them this week. I prefer several small succession plantings over one large one of these items. I firmly believe that we will use every single vegetable this year that I can possible grow, either for ourselves, our extended family, or our neighbors.

    I’ve been unable to do things as normal, as I messed my wrist up somehow. I am getting very good at video doctor visits, but finally had to go get x-rays and bloodwork. It’s not broken, but they are unsure exactly what the problem is, so they are treating me for several different things….covering their bases! It’s slightly better each day. Both Rob and Patsy have had telemedicine appointments, as well. Rob got his prescriptions renewed that way.

    So, I’ve only sewn one mask so far. But, I have fabric and elastic set out and plan to try another one each evening. I’ve been able to share elastic with my mom and aunt so they can sew some, too. It’s not possible to get 1/4 inch elastic here right now. I had a few yards, and it will do for now.

    My daughter that still lives at home is doing a lot of extra chores, and learning some cooking skills. She made a wonderful chicken-peanut stir-fry. Twice. I put a link to the recipe on my blog: http://beckyathome.com. We substituted home-grown frozen broccoli for the fresh and added 1 Tablespoon cornstarch to the sauce mix to make it work with what we had.

    One older daughter came and cleaned for me several times over the past 2 weekends to help me out.

    We’ve decided to stay out of the stores for now, as is being advised. There seems to be some chatter on the news that the social distancing is actually working here in Oregon, and we want to do our share. I pray that it really is working. We are making a list and my husband will go out and get the items all in one trip when we need something urgently. We will wait for the rest until then. We do have to get prescriptions frequently, but we can drive through for them.

    We still get to work. We still get to see a few family members. Most of the time, we care for the children at their home. It’s been declared essential to care for handicapped people. One day a week, we’ve decided to bring our nephew here to do school and spend one night. That way, he gets a change of scenery. His mama has started to work from home 1-2 afternoons per week. She needs privacy for that, as she is practicing over the computer during those times. (She does therapy and prescribes medicine for those who need it in her practice). His parents are homeschooling him part of the time, and we are doing the other days. My mom, aunt, and their much older sisters help with the kids as well. It takes a team! Because we are all together multiple days per week, and have been for months, we were able to keep this as our small circle, like one larger family. That being said, there are several of my adult children, another sister, my husband’s mother and sisters, and many others that we cannot see at all, because of social distancing. I miss them, but we are trying to be safe. We’ve been talking lots of different ways, using apps. We are sanitizing everything at both houses frequently, and my brother-in-law disinfects all of the items that come into his house. All this extra cleaning is taking quite a bit of time, but we want to do everything we can.

    It’s actually funny that your daughter’s new husband has to learn to cut hair. He might surprise himself. My husband happens to be by far the better of the two of us at cutting hair! By far!!!

    Stay safe everyone, and hang in there!

    1. Becky,
      I use hair ties instead of elastic. Seems to work and I found they were available for not too much.
      Trish

  33. *I made some sweet rolls to share with neighbors and also a loaf of bread for us. We are eating from out pantry, which is well stocked, and have only ventured to the store occasionally for lettuce and other produce. I like shopping at Winco, but I find big box stores too crowded, even with people keeping their distance. If I need to shop I am going to a small store that is closest to me. It is a bit more expensive, but it’s closer to home and I only see a few people shopping in the store.
    *I was able to sell a lot of appliances through online postings this week. I sold a chest freezer, washer and dryer, dishwasher, and refrigerator. Since we are hoping to move in the next couple of months, I am trying to sell the higher end items from our house because I don’t think I will be able to have a garage sale before we move. I am also giving a stove to a friend who can use it.
    *I picked up supplies from Joann’s and made 5 masks, which I returned to them. The previous week, I made masks for my husband and myself from the little fabric I have on hand.
    *I also watched “Call the Midwife” while I was knitting. So interesting about the diphtheria epidemic they showed–it seemed so mild compared to what we are experiencing!
    *I cooked a lot, continued to clean and organize, and gave my car a thorough exterior wash,
    *Twice a week I still visit my mother, who is almost 94, and take her meals. She gets care in her home, but does need the company.
    *I am counting my blessings and am grateful to have health, a place to live, the necessities of life, and friends and family.

    1. I like Winco, too, but I have heard there are very long lines and it takes hours to get your food. I can go without shopping and leave it for those who cannot wait. I already preferred to go shopping when the stores were near empty; I don’t like to spend a long time in line. I cannot imagine spending three hours in the store as one woman told my parents at the front of Winco a few weeks back. She arrived at 5:00 a.m. and did not get out the door until 8:30 a.m. She warned them to not go in because of that.

      So many people shopping does not sound like a safe place to me! So, we will make so with what we have.

      1. I haven’t experienced lines that long, but have gone mid day instead. Still, the lines to either get through self-checkout or through a checker are about 15 minutes, which means standing in line with others. I am sticking to smaller stores right now because I think it is safer if there are only a few people in the store at a time.

  34. Brandy I’ve enjoyed your blog posts for years. Thank you for providing a place to learn new skills that someone may not have when it comes to taking care of the family and home. I love all your recipes and I especially enjoy your garden. During this time we have went from 2 incomes down to one. I’m doing the same as you by trying to use what we have and stay out of the stores for the next few weeks. This week I’m putting spring items into the garden, greens, lettuce, radish, chives and onions. I’m also planning on planting as much as I can in the space I have. I’m very concerned for the months ahead.

  35. I just wanted to share that you can plant dried beans and peas that you purchased at the grocery store. I have done this several years and they do produce.
    Thank you for your wonderful blog and your encouragement. Cindy Jane

  36. Hi to all. I’m not sure when i posted last, so hopefully I do not repeat myself.
    My husband is an essential employee so he continues working and is able to use a company vehicle during the state shutdown. So we are saving on gas and it is shorter commute for him since he can go straight to work instead of carpooling from a local grocery store. He continues to take coffee and his lunch everyday. All meals have been made at home. I made apple pie and also peanut butter cookies for desserts. We only grocery shop at Walmart instead of several stores. It is saving us time and our sanity during these trying times. I don’t think it’s saving us $ but it’s ok.
    My mother has set up a Zoom meeting for me & my 4 siblings. We did it for the first time on Sat – what fun to see everyone – with all of our families -2 grandchildren was 16 people! It was fun. We plan to do again this Sat.
    One sibling continues to post pictures from the 60s & 70s – I’m enjoying that! These have all been on slides that haven’t been viewed in years.
    I continue to use celery from our garden in different recipes and eat lots of garden tomatoes.
    Also getting my exercise from walking our dogs.
    We normally have someone come clean, but since of the shut down … it’s me 🙁 so I’m getting lots done! I’ve been spoiled!

    I appreciate this website, I have learned so much from you all.
    I hope all has a good week and wish everyone a blessed Easter!

  37. I’ve been following you for years with much appreciation, but never had time to comment. Now that I’ve been temporarily laid off from my part-time job, I’ve been enjoying home making again immensely and soaking in every minute with my family.. My kids and I have been baking cookies, bread, muffins, and granola and sprouting alfalfa. My husband and I have been cooking meals from scratch and enjoying being together at a slower pace. When it stops raining, I head to the garden to plant seeds and pull weeds. I’ve been using scrap fabric to make cloth masks for family and friends. I was in a fender bender last month. I chose to forgo the rental car for various reasons. The insurance will pay me the rental rate instead for the inconvenience. Next week distance learning ceases for Spring Break. I will do some of those watercolor tutorials you suggest with my daughter. Thanks for the inspiration over the years! You helped get us manage eleven years on one income (before my part-time job).

  38. I tried to keep away from spending this week, but then discovered that since my car came back from the mechanics last week, the check engine light was on. So back to the shop it went again on Monday–and I discovered it also needed inspection, and decided to have buy new tires for spring, have the snow tired taken off and the oil changed at the same time–then I should be done with everything needed for the new spring season. I haven’t found out the total price yet as they didn’t call me back. I’ll find out tomorrow–they might have had trouble getting new tires here on short notice.

    I have also been trying to keep my husband satisfied with homemade bread and also homemade cookies, but I can barely keep up with him. He has been spending a lot for bakery products at the store. I made cookies twice this week, but then I have eaten more than I needed to! He is not much of a cake eater, but will happily put away pie. A pie is only 6 servings the way he cuts it, so I’ve concentrated on cookies. More servings for the time involved.

    I ran out of oats for granola so we’re without for a few days. My grocery list is growing long this week, as the additional baking means running out of certain ingredients I will have to replace. Also, my husband took meat and vegetables to the basement to put in the freezer. I discovered them the next morning when I went downstairs to do laundry—he must have set them down to change the cat litter, and they were all left sitting out on top of a laundry basket all night. Three packages of meat and two of vegetables. This was the second time in about three weeks that there were refrigerated items left out too long to be used. I will put the meat into the freezer from now on. He is no longer able to remember what he is doing for very long. I can’t blame him for it because he can’t help it, but I just can’t foresee the multitude of ways he can forget! About the only thing he can still do to help me is carry dirty laundry downstairs and set the table. This leaves me almost more things to remember than I can keep track of!

    I have a couple little household things to do–like changing a washer, and fixing a light switch–my son in law says to make a list and he’ll try to take care of them. Except he makes a project and a half out of the simplest thing! I would really like to be able to fix the easier things myself but I’m not sure I can. I can read You Tube for instructions first.

    So, just trying to keep up, like everyone else. Would like to hire someone to help part time, but this doesn’t seem to be the right time for that!!

  39. Brandy, I’m curious if you barter/trade much in everyday life and if you envision that helping at all during a potential economic downturn. Not sure exactly what I’m asking here, maybe it pertains to your photography business (I know, tax implications to this!), maybe it pertains to trading food (chard and onions for someone else’s backyard eggs), etc. Just curious if you have done much bartering and if you find it useful or if it is too much work and time is better spent just being frugal overall. Thanks for your insight. Blessings to you and your family!

    1. I wrote you a long reply and then it disappeared. In short, yes, I have bartered, and I do trade some now, but not much.

      I think trade will happen, but I think more importantly if we can just give of our means and our abundance, that is the best thing.

      1. Yes, give of our abundance! I think so many of us are in a much better place right now as a result of implementing your ideas over the years — thank you!

    2. I know you asked Brandy about bartering, but it is a mainstay of my everyday life. I have bartered for decades. I do count it as money on my taxes. I’m not sure you always have to count it, but when I barter my work it is income to me.
      I have bartered for just about everything and enjoy it.
      Try it with friends. Try it with family. Try it with anyone. In this day and age I think people will like and appreciate the idea.

  40. I am working from home which is both a blessing & a curse. A blessing in that I still have a job. A curse because I (& my students) have had to convert to on-line teaching with little to no preparation. Staying at home saves $ though monotonous. I have worked on household chores like cleaning out closets to occupy the time (when I’m not having an on-line crisis). Hubby is working on the messy garage. My retirement fund has taken a terrible hit so I may be working longer than I planned. Our lifestyle is modest & we can live on a low income. I came home March 14 on a plane. Grateful the virus did not hitch a ride with me. If I still worked at a hospital I would go to work without much concern. It was the nature of my work to care for sick people. That being said, I follow the CDC guidelines & use common sense. Like most of the commenters here, I have lived below my means. When there is a recession we frugalistas have something ready just in case. The “just in case” arrived.

  41. I never thought I’d be even vaguely thankful for the past years that took us from no debt except our mortgage with a stable income to financial, family, and medical disasters that have left us renting and still in debt. I’m still not happy about such severe trials; however I was raised on a farm with skills to keep and use a deep larder and to make due. So, what am I thankful for? I’m thankful that my trust in God is unbelievably strong, our family is very close and we support each other, my children have peace, my husband has matured, we are recovering our health and we know that no matter what happens, we will be OK. Please know that each of us will get through these trials and good will prevail. Peace be with you.

    I used material I had on hand to make a number of masks for friends and family who need them but do not have the skills or equipment to do so. I am honored to be able to help. I also added some paper-type surgical masks and plastic gloves I had on-hand to their packages. I just needed to outlay money for the mailing.

    Frugally…
    *cooked meals based around what needs to be used up first. I’ve been cooking from the freezer for awhile now and am finding I’m finally making a dent in making sure we use our food while it’s still good.
    *no food waste this week
    *trimmed my husband’s hair
    *Found(!) and used sheet holders on a sheet that has started to loose it’s elasticity.
    *now that my husband and son work together (essential business), they commute together saving gas and wear on the car. Glad the roads are clear and they do not need to take the more expensive truck.
    *looked ahead and realized that we will need a few items coming up in the next couple months and went ahead and ordered them now just in case. Sticking to needs only; not wants. Mostly we are really saving our money and buying as little as possible! Thankful for a deep larder. Sometimes I’m most excited when I choose not to purchase.
    *I continue to seek out and listen to free audio books, movies and exercise videos online. My daughter tried something new and did her first (free) instagram live yoga class. She did a stress reduction stretchy session which was great. Not just seeing her, but seeing how many others joined in. She’s such a blessing.
    *we have stuck with our plan to start a fire instead of turn on the electric heater even with the drop in temperature this past week. I do have the heat on in my bedroom since I still get chilled from being ill. Fortunately, our house holds the heat well being a log cabin. My DH doesn’t want me cold, but I’m in buckle down mode now and enjoy a good fire.
    *I have a small amount set aside to donate this month and was thinking about buying takeout to support our local community when my DH told me that his boss is buying lunches for the shop. I’ll let him support the local restaurants and I’ve donated to our local HAM radio club to keep our repeaters going instead. Happy to help keep our emergency communications solid.

    This week I was finally able to stay up for most of the day with just a couple short rests. I participated in a friend’s Zoom Bible study that lasted 2 hours and made it through. Of course I still get rather tired and am always frustrated with the lack of strength and energy, but progress is being made. Learning even more patience I guess. So thankful!

    Blessings.

    1. You know, it’s been so odd. I am so at peace about making it through this time financially. I have been through this before several times in the last 13 years, and even a few before this, and God has always taken care of us. The ways in which he has done so have surprised me more than once, but we have made it through with His help. I do not fear how this will work out. I know the best thing I can do is to be wise with our expenditures and make do with what we have, stretching what we have to make it last as long as possible.

      1. I feel the same way…cautious, yes,but at peace. I have seen numerous people online as well as people I know I’m real life struggling with a very real fear. But Praise the Lord, I don’t have a spirit of fear. I definitely think the fact that we’ve seen God faithful through innumerable situations already is a huge part of that!

        1. You and Brandy (and I’m sure many of us) have the right attitude.
          For me faith in God is so helpful.
          I have found the faith and fear can’t both live in my body at the same time.

  42. Yes, as others said, punch a hole in both ends of the egg and blow them out. I still have some of the ones we dyed as kids. Back then we also made designs on them out of the tape in the first aid kit.

    I find your archive on here a great resource for more pantry meal ideas. I’m eating a lot out of the pantry, but unfortunately when I have needed food price shopping is no longer an option as it’s difficult to find food on the shelves. I’d just happened to be running low on AP flour when this started and feel blessed when I found some in stock, and on sale no less! Got a chicken on sale I roasted and now have plenty for several meals.

    We’ve had a lot of rain the past several days and hopefully it will allow me to dig up a new area to plant. Before that I repaired an old string trimmer at no cost, so cleared the area I will turn into the new bed. I hope to get tomatoes in the ground this year as the past few I tried in containers had low yield. My artichoke came back with no water or help from me to surprise me and is growing like a weed. It’s at the end of my former garden that got completely taken over by blackberry vines when I was down for the count with both legs in casts. Someday I will win the battle to tear that out. Meanwhile, I’ll try to carve out a bit of new space.

    Stay safe everyone.

    1. Maria, have you grown artichokes before? They always die after producing but then they grow back most years if your climate is mild.

  43. I’ve only been out once since the March 15 and haven’t shopped since March 12. The one trip out included drive thru pickup at pharmacy and at mobile food bank. Since I usually spend 99% of my time home alone this stay at home order hasn’t really affected my day to day life. I have plenty of food on-hand including frozen milk and shelf stable milk and milk powder. Also had four dozen eggs and got another at the mobile pantry. Also have powdered eggs and a pint of frozen eggs given out at the mobile food pantry. Only items missing are the fresh fruits and veggies, but I have canned and freeze dried fruit and canned and dehydrated veggies. Two more loaves of bread in the freezer than I’ll need to start baking bread. I’ve started sewing face masks for the regional hospital per their pattern. I have seven completed and another three nearly finished. With the new rules about using face masks I’m keeping one for my dd, another for a friend and one for myself. The pattern is easy to sew but very time consuming as it has six pieces. I have plenty of cotton fabric and after a diligent search found some cotton thread.. I’ve also been starting seeds inside for the garden. The earliest I can plant outside is May 15 but I usually have chives, volunteer lettuce and rhubarb and maybe asparagus before then. The last two years we’ve had to much rain, horrible insect problems and rabbits so my gardens have been dismal. Hopefully this year will go better.

  44. Thanks so much Brandy, and everyone who has left comments. The support, inspiration, and encouragement from all over the world feels like a lifeline to me right now. I am not aware of any other time in history when the entire world has been “in the same boat” quite like this. Here in South Africa, we are “locked down”. If your job is considered an essential service, you need to carry a government-issued document with you to travel to and from work. Besides grocery stores, medical and essential services such as electricity and water services, no one else is permitted to leave home for any reason other than a medical emergency or to get basic foods. Our stores are well stocked, and prices of fresh foods are low, but large parts of stores are covered up or sectioned off. You can buy stationery supplies, but not toys, light bulbs but not electrical repair items. Whoever can is working from home, and children are using Google Hangouts and Zoom for virtual lessons.

    Our lives don’t look vastly different. My husband has worked his own business from home for the past 20 years and we have homeschooled all our children. Our eldest daughter is at home full time now, she usually works in the afternoons as a au pair. We are so grateful that, like Brandy, we learned some big lessons in the fallout of the 2008 recession, and we have no debt, worked hard to pay off our mortgage early, saved a decent but not huge emergency fund, and my husband is accepting any work offered to him right now (he is usually selective).

    That said, we are bracing ourselves. I’m using the vast amount of fabric and yarn I have on hand to make as many of my children’s winter clothing as possible (we are Southern Hemisphere so heading into winter). I’m purposefully going through our fridge every other day to make sure I use up any fresh food on hand that will go to waste if not promptly used. I’m trying, yet again, to get the garden producing. I previously had a very productive garden, but then we got two Rottweiler puppies (in Johannesburg, large dogs are a common security “fixture”). They have been terribly destructive, and killed all our laying hens too.

    So, like you all, I’m being more intentional with my frugality than in a long time. Here are some of the things I did this past week to stretch our resources as wisely as I’m able:

    – I sorted through two packets of strawberries and one of raspberries that had mostly gone bad. I washed them well, cut away the good bits and pieces and made a small amount of jam. It made just one small bottle, but is absolutely delicious, and cost almost nothing.
    – I purchased a tray of tomatoes cheaply. Most will still firm, but some were soft, and others softened while waiting to be used. I roasted them with onions from the pantry and herbs from the garden and made them into pasta sauce (stored in the freezer).
    – I used more-than-usual lentils and more-than-usual tomatoes (which were going soft) to stretch ground beef for spaghetti sauce. I cooked up a large amount and froze it in portions.
    – I stretched a whole chicken into two meals.
    – I used leftover roasted butternut to make spiced pumpkin muffins as a snack.
    – I’ve been using more potatoes. I buy them cheaply in large sacks (we call them ‘pockets’ here, 10kg per pocket with I think is about 20 pounds).
    – I’ve been making more soup. I love soup but my family aren’t huge fans. They have accepted it.
    – I serve oatmeal for breakfast 4-5 mornings per week.
    – What vegetables I can’t use before they go bad, I peel and dice and freeze. These are added to soups and stews.
    – I’ve learned how to make dinner rolls. A batch of dinner rolls is easy to make using my kitchen aid, uses ingredients I always have in my panty (I bake our daily bread too), and is an inexpensive way to bulk out a meal, and well-received by everyone in my family!
    – I’ve trained the children to eat bread crusts (I think you call them ends or heels) rather than feeding them to the birds or dogs.
    – I have completed two sweaters for our year-old son, and am almost finished another for our 4 year old. I have sorted out fabric from my stash to make each of our three sons two pairs of warm pants.
    – I cut up two old, beyond repair pairs of flannel pajama pants and overlocked (I think you say serged?) the edges to make hankies. These sit ready for use in a high-traffic area of the house, helping everyone to remember to use them rather than Kleenex or toilet paper to blow noses.
    – I keep the children’s bath water (the 4 youngest ones use the same bath water each evening) to flush the toilet through the following day. I simply fill a bucket from the bath and pour this into the cistern whenever flushing. Odd perhaps, but it reduces the water bill for very little effort.
    – My husband repaired a pair of our sons shoes.
    – We have become militant to about using water and electricity sparingly. To that end, I use my “Wonderbags” extensively to help cut down on cooking time, and even my daughters and husband have suggestions about using the oven to its fullest potential when we use it.

    Brandy is right: every little bit helps. And I think its the only way we will see our way through the coming hard times! God bless you all!

    1. Tracy, you have such great ideas! My family is also eating oatmeal most mornings again and soup is on the menu almost every day; my husband is not a fan of soup but he eats it. Today it will be chicken noodle soup.

    2. Tracy – it is so interesting to read how people all around the world are coping and you sound as though you are doing an amazing job!

    3. Tracy, I talked to a friend in France this afternoon. He is French and South African. He has not heard of some of the shopping rules you have there but said he is curious and will be calling them to see how they are doing.

  45. Brandy thank you for your uplifting and thoughtful post this week. It really makes me feel like we are all in this together. Thank you for all your positive thoughts this week.
    I am extra thankful to be a Canadian in these times as our government has introduced many programs for different situations. I have been laid off and my husband is self-employed and we believe we will both qualify for these benefits. I am counting all my blessings daily.
    This week I would have normally coloured my own hair, but since I didn’t have the product in my house, I realized that no one but my family is seeing me at the moment, I am trying not to spend on anything except true necessities and I didn’t have a true need to go out to the store. I also packed up my make up bag for the time being, save for my moisturizer.
    I baked some carrot muffins and some cookies; my husband and I are enjoying an afternoon tea break every day now.
    I did some surveys on Swagbucks and I was able to redeem for $25 Amazon gift card that I will use for household essentials.
    I made my own cleaning solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water to use in place of Lysol wipes.
    My husband and I reviewed our financial goals that we set in January. We are realizing that our savings goals will not be met and accepted that we will be using our emergency funds. We then made some household goals for projects that need to be completed using the supplies we already have.
    I had planted old some seeds and more than 50% have germinated. They are indoors at the moment so I move them around to the sunniest locations during the day. I will plant some more this week. Our weather in Alberta is unseasonably cold this year, I still have 30 cm (12 inches) of snow in my garden.
    I started making a Christmas gift with supplies on hand.
    Thanks to all who contribute to this beautiful site, I look forward to coming here each week to learn and be inspired.

  46. Congratulations to Winter and her new husband. We are hoping everything will be able to go ahead for my daughter’s wedding this July.

    It is crazy scary here in NY. I live on Long Island where it is getting bad. My son is still working(mechanic). Thankfully we have 2 bathrooms. He is using one and the rest of us are using the other. As soon as he gets home he gets right into the shower. I feel I have been cleaning so much more. Everyday I am scrubbing bathrooms and doing laundry. Lets get on to the savings.

    My youngest daughter’s college sent us a check for some of the fees since she is now doing everything online. We have spent no money on gas, takeout, or entertainment. I am avoiding all stores. I have ordered a few things from Amazon. All grocery time slots are booked. My neighbor got one for late next week so I will add a few things to their order. A family friend works at a warehouse store. She called and asked what do we want. She is going shopping for family and friends. 1 per shift. I gave her a small list, milk, soy milk, bananas, lettuce, oranges and apples. She said don’t you want meat and pasta and paper goods. I told her we were good. Just the fresh stuff. They were out of lettuce and apples but we were happy with what we got. I do keep powered milk but we don’t like it for drinking, just baking. I have been working in my garden too. I am doing potatoes for the first time. Hubby built me a stand for them from wood that we already had. I planted more strawberries. The plants I started a few weeks ago indoors are doing great. I transplanted them into bigger pots. I planted some more herbs in pots that I found last year that someone was throwing away. I transplanted a few raspberry vines that started growing around the yard. I planted my peas. My kale is growing nicely. It didn’t die because we had a mild winter. Can’t wait until May when I can plant everything in the ground. Stay healthy everyone.

  47. Thank you for the chocolate cake recipe idea. My husband’s birthday is Sunday & I’m going to try making the cake since I already have those ingredients on hand. Also thanks for telling of Call the Midwife on PBS. I had watched some episodes on Netflix.

  48. Another week down. It seems that my husband will be working rebuke from now on. He is in construction and has been laid off since early December, but apparently road construction is considered essential. It feels odd to have him returning to work when so many others are facing unemployment.

    I shopped on Saturday because I had to pick up prescriptions for my husband (he’s asthmatic so we’re trying to limit exposure for him). I purchased items for Easter dinner since we won’t have our usual festivities with extended family (that was not frugal!). Other than that, we stayed home except to go for a walk and a drive.

    I sewed two pairs of leggings, a clothes pin bag, and started sewing several linen bread bags. I also made new cloth baby wipes.

    I made two gallons of yogurt, granola, bread or biscuits several times, a large pot of beans, and many other things.

    I was diligent about turning things off when not in use.

    Several of my cleaning supplies were running low, so I made 7 new cleaners from ingredients I had on hand, plus the solution for the cloth baby wipes.

    My husband spent a lot of time cutting wood for our heating fuel for next winter.

    I spent a lot of time thinking about what we need to change to be better prepared for unexpected things. I have been through several hard times in my marriage and I learn more with each one.

    Does anyone have any unique ideas for celebrating an anniversary at home? We often have date nights at home, but our anniversary is the 16th (fifteen years!) And I’d like to do something special and different.

    1. Can you make a nice dessert for the two of you to eat after the children are in bed? Look through your wedding album? Talk about your goals for the next ten years along with your dreams? Play a game together?

    2. Check out the dating divas website! So many great (and free!) ideas and printables!
      For my last anniversary I wrote a state of the union letter to my husband, talking about everything we have gone through together, where we are now, and my hopes for the future. It was special and meaningful, and he was very touched. Can’t get cheaper than the cost of paper and ink!

    3. I have made coupon books for my husband. One would say free back rub, free dessert of your choice, free Saturday, King of the remote. Some were silly. My daughter made me for mother’s day a love jar. You could do that too. It had notes in it why she loved me.

  49. Brandy you can go to IRS on line and give them a place to direct deposit your money. Our bank informed us that we really needed to go mobile and direct deposit and auto pays with our banking as they are seeing branches closing out.

    Also Did you know that onions shouldn’t be planted near legumes as it will stunt the harvest?

    I have stayed at home, expanding the garden. Should get asparagus this week. Lots of extra bills this month but in the long run will save us more like fruit trees and berry bushes. and new grape vines. I am doing a lot of inter planting, like berry bushes with the grapes or rhubarb with the grapes.
    Staying out of the stores. Hubby picks up the milk when needed as he is out anyways for essential work. He hauls pallets for companies that ship goods and farming seed and equipment.

    Will be reading here daily. Right now taking tomato juice from last year and making and canning pasta sauce.
    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2020/04/getting-nothing-done-but-spending-money.html

    1. I did not know that about green onions. Hmm. I could move them once they come up. That’s easy enough to do and I just figured out where I can plant some more green onions in the garden today! My existing onions are going to seed and I will be collecting seeds from them–and planting them right away as well.

  50. Brandy- I’ve been reading your blog for a long time. I just want to tell you how beautiful I find your posts. You seem so family focused and you always find the blessing in challenges. Your pictures of your gorgeous yard and beautiful family are amazing. At the end of reading your blog posts I always feel centered and hopeful. I’m assuming others do as well. That’s quite the gift to send out there into the world- especially at times like these. Thank you!

    1. Oh, that’s so sweet!

      Here’s one of the blessings I’ve noticed: less junk mail! That’s a huge deal, especially in an election year when I get triple the amount of junk mail as normal with candidates sending out postcards 2-3 times each a week. My mailman used to come between 6 and 8 p.m. Now he comes between 11 and 12, and I only get a few things each day. It’s SO nice!

        1. That’s true! The only ones I’v received are info calls from local politicians which have actually been helpful. I suspect the lockdown in India has a lot to do with it! Something to be thankful for.

  51. Brandy,
    I have to admit I am worried for all of us but at the same time I know we are the ones that have the skills and experience to get through this and help others.
    I live in Washington State and they just announced today that our kids will not go back to school this school year. They even said there is a possibility that come fall, they might not return to school then either. That made me wonder what the parents that are working will do with their children if there is no physical school. I guess that will mean one parent has to work while the other one stays home with the children-immediately cutting their family income probably in half. At least they gave us a few months to prepare. I feel very sorry for the seniors -no graduation ceremony and lost scholarships.
    I also wondered if they know something we don’t- do they think the parents will still be home unemployed? Very concerning.
    Brandy, I took a tip from you and have been busy planning my garden. I am adding 3 new garden beds this spring. I had already planned to do this so I had most of the supplies needed. I am planting blueberries, strawberries, flowers and pumpkins in those beds. I am also going to try planting potatoes in containers. I am already using chives, parsley and lemon balm from my garden. My ruhbarb should be ready soon- I freeze it and then when my strawberries are ready, I make ruhbarb-strawberry jam. I also make a rubarb strawberry cobbler which I look forward to each year.
    I called my 96 year old father-in-law who lives in assisted living and has been a farmer all his life. He lived on a 50 acre farm and always had a huge garden. I asked for gardening advice-how to get the best yield. To my surprise, he still had all his gardening knowledge and was happy to share it with me. Unfortunately, my husband did not inherit any of the gardening skills. I hope my pumpkins do well because I will cook them up and use them to supplement my dog’s food.
    I have found groceries to be very expensive here now-Target had 2 roll packages of paper towels priced at $24.99 and no I did not buy any.
    My husband pruned our apples trees and then used the branches to weave into wreaths-kind of like a grape-vine wreath look. We were able to get 3 wreaths which I will use as gifts. We use most of the trimmings to made waddling fencing around our flower beds.
    I pray everyone stays safe and healthy and thank you for this very special group of people- a true God-send in these days.

  52. Hi Brandy and everyone else,
    What a lovely and encouraging writing today Brandy, thank you. And to all the folks who have commented, thank you as well. I read every comment and while I didn’t make any comments, I certainly enjoyed reading them. Thanks to all for the time, effort and kindness in the comments.

    I hadn’t thought about it until reading Brandy’s comment about how she has been through business downturns many times and is not panicking right now, just making adjustments to ensure the ability to last through this tough time. I haven’t been worried, and was wondering why, I decided all the steps through the past five years (including all I have learned from this site as well as others) have led me to a spot where we have our bills paid and food in the pantry and will be able to last through this time. Now I am looking around to see who I can help through this time…if this had happened when I was 30, I wouldn’t have had any idea what to do 🙁

    Happy Passover and Happy Easter to everyone.

  53. Oh my goodness, this is such an unusual time! I find myself praying all throughout the day for the world. I have not been shopping in a couple of weeks, and I really do not want to go now. I am currently growing and harvesting lemons, avocados, kale, swiss chard and herbs. Our apricot tree has many baby apricots, but I will have to beat the birds to get any once they near ripen. I am regrowing celery, romaine lettuce, and green onions on my kitchen counter and the other day I took seeds from my last fresh tomato and a red pepper and planted them-why not? 🙂 Today I mended a pillow cover that has been sitting for mending for months! Walking for exercise, not much else! XO

    1. Hi Steph,
      I had this problem with my growing peaches. You can use the plastic boxes that strawberries come in, to protect some of your fruit. I laced the container onto the peaches and they acted like mini greenhouses.
      Of course, my tree was small and there weren’t many peaches to cover. I live in a windy area and the laces tied to the tree branch stayed on. It looked sillt, but it worked.

  54. Brandy, it can’t be said too often that this blog is a great service to us all and we appreciate your hard work.
    I hadn’t known until I read what you wrote, Brandy, that we’re being asked not to go to the grocery store (we don’t have a TV, don’t watch the news, and prefer to try to keep ourselves calm and not riled up during this whole Wuhan virus crisis). I had to go to muscular rehab for therapy today and was going to get a few things, at the grocery store while out, but decided we can do without for the 2 weeks.

    I read that the average American family spends $250-$300 A YEAR on paper towels and that was AMAZING to me. I only use 100% made of recycled paper towels when the cat pukes, or I need to pre-sprout seeds! Thinking of all the unnecessary killing of trees pains me.

    This past week I gave up on the 2017 collard seeds I’d planted–none germinated. I found a local seed supplier here in S. FL (EONS) and ordered from her. Shipping was free, though I wasn’t happy about the plastic envelopes used for the seeds. I bought 2 different collard types, papaya (we eat them green), kale (supposedly heat tolerant– we’ll see) and purslane. Do anyone have tips for growing purslane?

    I collected cranberry hibiscus seeds from my plant and after they didn’t grow well simply planted in a pot, I soaked them overnight before planting, and they are all sprouting. I also soaked and germinated okra in cardboard egg cartons and tore off the bottoms before planting them. I read that okra doesn’t tolerate its root being disturbed. My pole limas and bush limas are up and doing well. I just read that in tropical climates, pole limas can be perennial! I made cuttings of cassava and sweet potato and rooted them in water to plant. I also have an edible called Gynura procumbens that is very ornamental and is a nice cooked green. I have Moringa and pigeon pea plants waiting to go into the ground once rain starts to be fairly regular. They’ll be in places I don’t usually water by hand.
    .
    Brandy, I think I asked before if you;d ever grown Moringa or Pigeon peas. Both are heat tolerant and so easy to grow. I bought a bag of pigeon peas at the grocery store and just soaked and sprouted the seeds, If anyone wants some, I’ll happily send them, but they don’t do well with cold. You might be able to get a harvest if you palnt them soon. Here they live for several years, and are very pretty small trees. They’re also nitrogen fixers. Moringa can be kept as a hedge and are incredibly nutritious, but will die back when it freezes.

    I wanted to start an edible water garden in a large fibreglass container we have, but I realized it was just too big. I remembered seeing an old aquarium in the neighboring back yard (where no one lives) and we got it and dumped the dirt out. Unfortunately, it leaked, but we’re doing repairs on old wooden sash windows and had a piece of broken glass that fit over the hole. I bought aquarium sealant and the tank’s holding water, so I’ll be growing water mimosa, water celery, and Bacopa monnieri that I bought from a pond store; all are edible.

    We still have library books and DVDs and tonight played Trivial Pursuit. We keep busy, but miss socializing with friends. It’s very frustrating that now that everyone has so much time we can;t get together. Of course that’s a very small problem in the scheme of things.

    Thank you all

    1. I haven’t grown moringa, but I have heard it does grow here. I grow Swiss chard year-round and am planting more of that. I also grow New Zealand Spinach.

    2. I am reading news from several sources all over the world and also talking with friends worldwide via Facebook’s phone calls and video calls. Today, a friend shared with me images of the letter she received from the Prime Minister in Britain and what they were asked to do. I thought about the postcard we received in the U.S. and found myself wishing that I had kept it for my journal, as this is such a historic time in our lives.

      1. Karen,
        There are MANY, MANY corona viruses. This one started in Wuhan, therefore that’s what I call it. It came from that place (you may want to check to see what research facilities are in Wuhan). Ever heard of the Spanish Flu, the Hong Kong flu, the West Nile virus, Ebola, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever?

        I don;t understand this unwillingness to name this virus for its origins.

        1. Then Cara I’m afraid that you would have to rename the Spanish flu. It got that name because Spain was neutral during WWI and actually reported on the virus that had been raging through Europe = everyone else censored it so as not to add more stress and worry to those fighting. Turns out that scientists now believe it actually started on an American Army Base (I believe in New Jersey) around 1916 and that more than likely it came along with recruits from the more rural areas of the US and that it originated in pigs.
          Really a virus doesn’t care…

  55. Brandy,
    I just wanted to say that your blog is so nice to come to when things are chaotic. I know I need to trust that God is in control. I pray for my children the most. I want them safe. I know that God has always provided and I am grateful. I just need to keep reminding myself.

    1. Hi Tammy, Keep your spirits up — you are actually in a good position, you have your family, house and little farm so you can be almost self-sufficient for food. You are in much better shape than before you moved out there. I’ve been dreaming of your asparagus. I wish I had sun here so I could plant some. I am going to pick the buffaloberries off the plant that grows down the street and I’ll make jelly. I’ve never made that kind of jelly before. I asked the neighbour whose boulevard the bush is on and she says she will keep her eyes open for bushes where her horse is pastured. I am hoping that some or all of my fruit trees will bear fruit this year. Last year was the only year when none of the trees bore fruit.

      Proofreading of the book preparing for layout continues. Further information came to us (miraculously) which entailed in writing a bit more. I am still shovelling my snow one-handedly. We haven’t had a huge spring snowfall yet but we usually do. It is a late spring but the bluebirds are back. They are usually not seen in the city but when it is unseasonably cold or snowy, then they visit the city which is warmer than the surrounding countryside. Many were seen two days ago near my neighborhood — I was a little sad I could not get out to see them but I am very happy they are back!

      In Calgary the university students have set up a grocery delivery service bringing food to seniors and other high risk people. It is superb.

      Blessings to everyone. Ann

      1. Ann,
        Thanks for writing. I’m glad you are getting food from the University students. You are right, my husband and I are in a better position than before. I worry about my boys and I am sad that I don’t get to hug my grandchildren or the rest of my family because everyone is quarantining themselves. My boys are afraid they will expose me because I have diabetes and asthma. But they do call me everyday.
        If you were nearby I’d bring you asparagus. The jelly sounds like a nice idea. We enjoyed birds one day. There were so many in our yard! Then is started to rain and they flew to the trees. Now our yard is filled with dandelions. I thought about picking the greens or even the flowers to eat. i’ve heard of dandelion jelly but have never made it. Maybe I should try. It might be nice. When I was a child my grandma told me a story of how her mom always picked fresh dandelion greens for her dad at the first sight of them in the Spring. It was my great grandpa’s favorite. So Great grandma picked them special for him. My grandma used to tell me that they didn’t realize they were poor because everyone around them were poor. They were happy, they had each other.

        1. Hi Tammy,
          The students just offer free delivery — the groceries aren’t free. And it’s only for seniors or other high-risk people but I tried it again today. A lovely lady who isn’t a student. There were a few misunderstandings — but I am glad to have everything. I have put a block of cheese away n my freezer for ext month and one in the fridge. She got me a huge bag of beans that barely fit into my freezer. I’d asked for peas but she probably just couldn’t hear me on the phone. I bought Joyya ultra filtered milk so I now have 4. That is also for next month. Someone on this blog told me about the ultra filtered milk. I bought fresh milk so I can make yogourt with it as I wasn’t sure about making yogourt with ultra filtered milk. . They are expecting a surge here in May so I’m stocking up a bit in anticipation of that and trying not to use my pantry but just current groceries. They were out of their frozen turkeys at a great price and hams too but I bought a ham. Just as well because of the green peas. I think they may suggest no-one go to a grocery store during the surge.

          I too have thought about making dandelion jelly and as Brandy says I think it tastes like honey. I hope to make quite a bit of jelly this year. I’m also going to grow cabbages and see if I can pickle some to put in the pantry. I sympathize with your asthma and other health issues: it is important for you not to go to stores or anywhere. Let others do the shopping. Ann

  56. It certainly has been an interesting and challenging month. I contracted Coronavirus while traveling and have been ill for over 3 weeks, but getting better every day. I’m also 34 weeks pregnant which makes things more concerning. When I started reading your blog, I was a broke student in grad school. I’ve since opened my own healthcare practice and had a very good income, my husband is also self employed. We have loosened the purse strings but overall lived frugally. I got very complacent and was definitely wasting money, especially eating out. This has been a wake up call to get back to basics, since we have been unable to work for almost a month, and we are looking at taking time off again when the baby comes in another month or so. We have been trying to navigate various small business grants, loans and unemployment like you, which we normally aren’t eligible for. I have been cooking and baking a lot more, when I feel good enough, and my parents have been helping watch my DS since we were all exposed together. I’m thankful for a fully stocked pantry and freezer. I’ve been starting more seeds and making plans to take out some shrubs to add in more food beds. Family has been grocery shopping for me to fill in the gaps, like milk and fresh produce. I get eggs delivered from a local farmer. There are a few things I need to get for the baby but this keeps me from buying more baby clothes and unnecessary stuff. Also I’m trying to devote extra time to potty training so I don’t have 2 kids in diapers, although the fatigue makes this difficult to be consistent all day. I wish I could say my house is getting cleaned up or decluttered, but I’m enjoying some extra one on one time with DS before the new baby comes. Hope everyone stays healthy and safe!

    1. Susan, I am glad you are getting better.

      This was a sobering watch about the reality of the forgivable loans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIfHyVvVh-g&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR3N-oAlwBpb-m8Zbzap3vIRBJ9JLPP9NXVIjFWRzrrD63AKdy8qqytvj9c

      It looks like we won’t qualify for that, even to cover the cost of paying rent for my husband’s office.

      Unemployment for self-employed people is next; we are looking to see if we would qualify and for how much; it’s not just $600 per person, but based on what you made previously. That’s what we know so far but we are learning more.

      For us, the stimulus check may be all there is.

  57. Brandy, You will be further impressed to hear I applied on Monday for the Canadian 2,000 response benefit and received it this morning. I was amazed it appeared in my bank account so soon.

    1. And if you are below a certain income level, the Government of Canada deposited an extra gst payment of $440 into our bank accounts this morning.

  58. Hi Brandy, thank you for all of the good advice. I’ve been trying to build the pantry for some time and am now starting to see that trips to the store can be spread further and further apart. I am thankful for your help in that. I have penned a menu through the next 2 and a half weeks. It can go longer, but for some reason that seems overwhelming right now. I’ve been doing more with the garden too. Adding grow lights this year has been a huge help in getting things going sooner. We are under cloud cover mostly through March and some of April.

    Right now, I have lettuce, kale, spinach, radishes, arugula, and peas started. Some lettuce is ready to harvest. I’ve been succession planting every week by moving starts from the grow lights to the pots or raised beds. Though we are under elearning, I have been using some down time to document what I am doing and build content on my youtube channel, a plan in mind. I’d like to move my blogspot website and update it as well. I just need a good host to go through. If anyone has a suggestion, let me know.

    Take care everyone and hang in there.

  59. First I would just like to say thank you to Brandy for this blog. I have enjoyed reading and commenting for a few years now, and I believe in the current situation (and what’s to come), this blog will be especially helpful for a great many people who are having to adjust to a new way of life. I know I frequently recommend this site to others. I also enjoy the “community” of this comments section.

    – I work for a church, and my state is on a stay at home order through the end of April (as of right now – who knows if that will extend). I’m working from home and staying quite busy, as I manage communications. Worship is all being done via streaming. Holy Week and Easter is our busiest season, and it feels so odd to be at home during this, but we are doing the best we can and have gotten positive feedback from the congregation that we’re continuing to serve during this time. I do wonder how long this will continue – I just can’t see life snapping back to normal on May 1. My husband’s job is essential (manufacturing for government) so he’s been going to work as normal. I am quite grateful that I still have a job and a regular paycheck, and my husband still has a job. We do have savings as well (although our retirement funds have taken a decent hit due to the stock market), so I feel we will be fine, but I worry for so many. I am so thankful for the frugal “skills” we’ve obtained over the years, I know we are prepared for whatever comes.
    – My husband is convinced we have both already had the virus – in January he had a lengthy business trip to NYC and came back sick. About 10 days later, I came down with it. We both had high fever, excessive coughing, fatigue, body aches, and we both tested negative for flu although we were told it was ‘definitely something viral.’ It took me almost 2 months to recover from it and after my third doctor’s visit I actually started to wonder if I had something else going on that was affecting my immune system, since recovery was so unusually difficult for me. Finally after 2 rounds of antibiotics (after it went into bronchitis – something I’ve chronically struggled with since childhood) I managed to recover. If they do come out with an antibody test I’d be interested to know if we truly did have the virus.

    – We are still down to 1 car (mine) so we’re saving gas with me staying home full time now. As a side benefit, I am staying much more caught up on the household chores – cleaning, laundry, cooking etc. Most meals were at home although we did order from a couple of local restaurants to try and support them during this time. I’ve made pizza, fish filets with rice pilaf, chicken tikka masala and rice, tacos, chicken with twice baked potatoes and caesar salad. All of my breakfasts and lunches have been at home. I did have to venture to the grocery store on Sunday afternoon and was disappointed to see most people disregarding social distancing guidelines and shopping like nothing is out of the ordinary – large groups milling around browsing and not minding the 6-foot rule. Very frustrating. Our local news keeps reporting that people are getting complacent and ignoring the stay at home order, because they “want to get out of the house” or are bored. So frustrating. I hope they realize they are the ones who are going to cause it all to be extended. I have been doing most of our shopping online with delivery. We have a good pantry and household good storage, so we can manage for a good while. I have not left the house in several days, and have no plans to.

    – Other random frugal things: I have been walking when possible and subscribed to some walking videos on YouTube that I can do at home for additional exercise. I planted tomatoes, 2 kinds of peppers, and several types of herbs. I’ve debated planting lettuce, but it is probably too late. We are supposed to be around 93 for the high today! I may try anyway, I do have a nice shady spot that would work. I bought a drying rack off Amazon for hang drying laundry indoors (my old one gave up late last year). On one of our last grocery shopping trips before all of this got bad, my husband ran into a clearance sale on laundry detergent and bought a huge amount, so we are completely stocked on that for quite a long while. I also traded in my car (I can’t remember if I mentioned this last week or not!). I had a small sports car and traded it for a small Nissan SUV. I love all the space, the value, and it’s a large savings on my insurance payment, too. I will also be getting a nice refund for the additional warranty I’d had on my previous car, so excited to put that into savings.
    – I hope everyone stays safe and healthy.

  60. Last week I saved money by:
    -Cooking every single meal by using what we have on hand. Made bean curry, homemade biscuits, salad, coleslaw, heated up vegan bbq from our favorite place in Portland, Oregon, split pea soup, bananas pancakes, protein pancakes, baking a couple of cakes and cookies(comfort food).
    -Sending food to my MIL in the hospital by using free delivery from Uber(she will be there for a while and is tired of the hospital food). I have some underlying conditions and she is in the Covid-19 ward, so not save for us to deliver.
    -Going for a walks to get exercise
    -Replanting seeds from peppers we having.
    -Organizing pots/seeds to grow a garden
    -Stayed out of stores, which I plan on doing this week too.
    -Zoom meetings to stay in touch with my friends

    1. I’m not suggesting you go to visit your mother-in-law but I had to visit my brother during the swine flu outbreak. He was the only patient on the ward or unit who did not have swine flu. I expressed my concern to the nurse and she pointed out that all of the swine flu patients were in isolation so it was probably the safest ward in the whole hospital — especially since each rom was a negative pressure room where the room air did not go out into the hall or the hospital. The most dangerous place was the elevator. Stay safe! Don’t visit her.

  61. I have loved Brandy’s posts and website for several years. I love all the comments and I read them all every week and have learned so much that are now regular routines in our home. I don’t always comment, but I am always reading and retaining! I am fortunate that I am able to work at home for 19 hours a week and my employer is adding 19 hours of Emergency Building Leave to our salaries so I am still making full-time money but working part-time. My husband works for a major insurance company and they had a Business Continuity Plan for a Pandemic and they are allowing all their employees to work from home. True blessings! My DD (age 13) is home-schooled and her day is the same as always. I have allowed time for pandemic journal writing, several “Read Books Only” days (as she as really taken off in wanting to read), Science Experiment Days and Life Skills Days just to add some fun into a stressful time in history. My home-school group did a fun virtual photo day where the kids took 5 photos in their yard or on walks of the Early Signs of Spring. It was great to see how creative kids can be. I have plenty of items in the freezer and fridge to cover our food needs. I keep a bag in my freezer for leftover tidbits… a spoonful of corn, or peas or green beans, leftover pasta or rice from making a dish and I didn’t need all that I made, I keep leftover meat tidbits in separate freezer bags. Then I when I have enough I make Freezer Soup… it always ends up tasting great… I even like to add in heavy cream or half & half that is about to go bad and make it a creamy soup. Frugal Share of My Week: I was gifted a giant bowl of leftover homemade salsa from a Holiday event in December. I knew that we couldn’t use it all while it was fresh so I froze it in freezer bags. I just pulled one out and used it in Chicken Santa Fe (cubed or shredded cooked chicken (leftovers), a can of corn, a can of chopped black olives, a jar of chunky salsa (homemade or store-bought) (I used the free salsa). Heat it all through, add some shredded cheese and serve with crunchy taco chips or broken taco shells (you can toast flour tortillas in the oven until crispy) or you could serve it with rice. I actually thought about Brandy when I made this dish because I did not say no to the offer for the leftover salsa even though I had no idea what I would do with all of it (from Brandy’s “When You Need Food” post.) I smiled and was so proud. I hope everyone stays safe and stays home. Prayers to all of you in The Prudent Homemaker’s Circle of Friends!

    1. I do the same thing with freezing leftovers for soup, but instead of putting into bags, I put it all into a plastic container about the size of a large cottage cheese container (1 quart?). That way I can also save liquids like when I rinse out a tomato sauce can or spaghetti sauce jar. I add that to the container. I also add the leftover liquid from when I can pinto beans. Then when the container is full, I know it is time to have soup!

  62. I have been summoning the food of my ancestors and eating wilted dandelion greens, blackstrap molasses with homemade biscuit bread and butter, grits, beans, with raw sweet onion, shrimp, catfish, and other greens such as turnip greens, mustard greens, and collards. I cooked a small pumpkin and made a pumpkin custard. I then added water to the blender, added tomato paste, canned milk ,and spices to blend up a tomato soup with pumpkin in it for more vitamins. I gently simmered it on low on the stove. I plan to make cornbread, to eat with the beans and greens also. I definitely have enough food for three months. I made refrigerator mulberry jelly and fig jelly from the last of the frozen mulberries. My tree is ripening early this year so I should have lots of fresh mulberries soon. I am walking an hour in my neighborhood each day, I am teleconferencing in for emergency court hearings since we had a courthouse employee exposed to Covid 19 and we are not allowed back in the building at the moment until it is sanitized throughly. I am grateful to still have a job since two of my kids lost their jobs due to the pandemic. I hope and pray all of you stay well, and I pray for you Brandy in your job struggles at the moment.

  63. I always enjoy your posts and have particularly enjoyed all the comments this week. I am fortunate as I still am allowed to go to work in the hospital I work in, and I am going to come out of this with more skills and responsibility, and a more interesting job (I hope).

    I’m not sure a phone call will be sufficient in future to catch up with friends as I am really enjoying facetime and zoom catch ups.

    Some imaginative meals have come out of using forgotten items in the freezer and pantry and my kids have accepted the challenge that we do without an ingredient or substitute something else and just re-name the dish. We have shortages of most basics in the shops at the moment but the worrying thing for me is realising I might not find my cat’s preferred cat food. As I said to the checkout operator in Aldi yesterday how can I explain to my cat what is happening…
    I really like the idea your Life Skills Days Amy and I am going to start this with my rather reluctant son.

    1. Thanks! My daughter doesn’t love it either, but it’s the perfect time to work with her. She’s actually starting improving on the cooking portion of Life Skills.

  64. First of all I’m so very sorry you weren’t able to attend your daughter’s wedding- that is a terrible sacrifice for you to have to make during this terrible time. I made navy bean soup from dried beans, split pea soup, chicken enchilada casserole as well as a chocolate layer cake and lemon bars- I had all ingredients on hand and shared some of the items with my mom who lives alone. I’m doing her shopping as well as ours- I’ve been going about once per week. I got some strawberries and raspberries at a fruit and vegetable stand near my house and I made jam- the strawberries were $9.95 for a flat of 8 and the raspberries were $11.95 for a flat of 12.
    I’m not driving as much so my gas has lasted over a week. I had purchased several blank cards at Trader Joe’s for .99 each and shared some with my Mom- I’m writing to my 96 year old great aunt weekly as she is in a care facility and isn’t able to have any visitors. So far I have written to her 3 weeks in a row- her daughter who lives across the street from the care center but can’t visit says Aunt Mary is rather enjoying the quarantine because she is getting so many cards, emails, and calls from various family members.
    Last Sunday I invited my daughter to a movie at a specific time (she is college age and lives at home with us and she was upstairs doing homework much of the day)- I cleaned the tv room and we sat down together with snacks and watched an old romantic comedy and it was lots of fun.
    I’m sure others are doing similar things that I’m doing to lift my mood but I will mention what has been helping me- every morning I turn on my Alexa Echo to a station called Sunny Radio and I choose what essential oils to diffuse that day from what I have on hand- it has been helping my sense of peace a great deal.
    I learned yesterday that I will be on an unpaid furlough for up to 3 months starting next Monday but I will be eligible for unemployment which is a blessing especially with the additional $600 per week that is being offered. I plan to work on some much needed house tasks including organization and getting rid of unneeded items. I will also do a lot of yard work and plant a garden. My son and his wife are expecting their first baby in the fall so I will also work on at least one project for the baby.

  65. Thank you so much for blessing us with this blog. I appreciate it more than you know and learn SO much every week. This week we put in bell peppers & tomatoes and are preparing a place for zucchini, cucumbers, cantaloupe and watermelon. We are working hard on our backyard space and are hoping to be able to put in grapes & blackberries if I can find a suitable variety for our area (southeastern Arizona) this fall. My second to the youngest is taking every available dance class on zoom that her studio is offering. This is so fun because she can try classes she doesn’t usually take free of charge. We have made sure to cook meals that will provide enough leftovers for lunch the following day. This is very important since all five kids are home. We have also been providing craft kits to lots of families in our area free of charge (we just drop them at the door). Although this doesn’t save us money it is helping to clean out things we haven’t used in quite some time and it’s a great service for my girls to provide to other families. I hope everyone stays healthy and safe over this next week.

  66. We live very close to my son and grandchildren and we have not seen them since the first of March minus facetime. My grand daughters turned four over facetime party my grandsons birthday is very soon and we will again do facetime. My husbands birthday was this past week and we did facetime my son is required to go to work each day so he dropped off gifts on his way home (I gave my grandsons gifts while he waited on the porch) My husband is in his mid 70’s and I have auto immune. We can not see them. We all use to live together and we miss them so very much. The children are beside themselves as we use to see them everyday. We are saving where we can . Saving our sanity as well.

  67. I am keeping my 3 year old grandson while his mom and dad work as travel nurse/x-ray tech in a hospital out of town and don’t want to expose grandson. I have printed on cardstock memory cards and he loves playing with that. He also loves for me to give him a deck of cards and he finds the matches, and matching dominoes. I bought markers and have been printing coloring and school pages. We make pancakes and he cuts them out with spring/Easter cookie cutters. I had him lie down on paper I taped together and I traced his head and arms stretched out. He colored it and we are sending his mom a hug in the mail.

    I planted a bunch of seeds in pots outside and also started seed indoors. So far I have nothing. I am going see if I can remember to put out in the sun and then bring in at night after today’s storm is over. I planted in 2 liter bottles and a strawberry container making green houses. I hope it isn’t a flop. We are renting while we build so I am having to plant in pots this year.

    My husband works on base and cannot bring work home, but has some training he can do at home. He was going in until this week when they closed his building because someone tested positive. He had 4 weeks sick and 4 weeks vacation if it comes to that.

    My father in law is 5 hours away and is on hospice. We have been paying 2 girls to sit with him. The day girl cooks and has been shopping. She was trying to order more food and husband questioned why he needed food. She got an attitude and said food is expensive. He looked up and between what he has bought to take and her purchases almost $600 for less than a month has been spent. So he found someone else and left this morning to go meet with her tomorrow and show her everything. The other girl sat yesterday and he told her he didn’t need her for a few days since he was coming He didn’t want to fire her yesterday in case she left his dad alone. So, he will be notifying her tomorrow. The. new girl is sitting for $9 an hour. The other one was $12 an hour, so we will be saving $3 × 12 hours a day.

    I didn’t buy a ham for Easter. I am glad I didnt plan on a normal celebration since husband left to go see about his dad. I have some frozen hamburger patties and think I will make them. I have a roast, chicken thighs, chicken breasts, 2 fajita chicken packages, hamburger, and chops I cut from a boneless pork loin. We also have sausage and about 8 packages of bacon.We also still have 2.5 carton of eggs, and 2 cauliflower crust pizzas and 2 regular pizzas, and deli turkey and ham, and pepperoni. I can stretch this to last awhile.

    I have been cutting husband’s hair weekly for 30 years. I am on my 2nd pair of clippers. This .month will be one year I have been letting my silver hair grow out. I am 51. I was spending $120 every 6 weeks for root coverage. I get so many compliments on my hair now. I did have the colored parts stripped on December and highlight put in so you can’t notice the demarcation line much at all.

    I have been exercising walking around the neighborhood, and doing DVDs of Firm, Body Revolution, and T25. I am trying to do 3 weight workouts and 3 cardio workouts, plus walking. Yesterday I signed up for Beach Body on Demand trial for free for 14 days. I made a reminder on my calendar to cancel in 14 days. I want to try some Piyo. We have been eating low carb but I am more relaxed at the moment.

    I cut my dads shirts into 2.5″ and 3.5″ strips years ago. I got them out and am working on a trip around the world quilt. I have done a stoplight and log cabin top, then put it all away while I had an embroidery business. I am not trying to do embroidery jobs at the moment and suspended my Etsy shop and am doing some personal items. I have made masks for medical friends. I am making my son and future daughter in law masks today. They work at ChickfilA and Monday are required to wear masks.

  68. Hi Steph,
    I had this problem with my growing peaches. You can use the plastic boxes that strawberries come in, to protect some of your fruit. I laced the container onto the peaches and they acted like mini greenhouses.
    Of course, my tree was small and there weren’t many peaches to cover. I live in a windy area and the laces tied to the tree branch stayed on. It looked sillt, but it worked.

  69. Hello! Thanks for writing! I read the comments little by little over the week. This week’s frugal things: I accepted more tomato plants from my father in law and planted them. I planted watermelon, cantaloupe, butternut squash and red peppers. I planted cilantro where lettuce hadn’t grown. I replanted peas where they had failed. I looked into buying fruit trees but they were sold out.

    I made jello jam. I used oranges since they were affordable and strawberry jello. After boiling the oranges and sugar I used the immersion blender to blend up the pulp before adding jello. https://www.justapinch.com/recipes/sauce-spread/jam/make-your-own-jell-o-jam.html
    I made Easter boxes by covering boxes with paper I had and I filled with things from my gift stash from store closures and end of season sales.
    I also learned to make sourdough bread with a starter I made.

  70. Can I make the eggless chocolate cake a white/yellow cake by just omitting the cocoa? Or would I need to add something else? Thanks to anyone who can answer!

    1. Replace the missing cocoa with flour and it works just fine. I did it the other day. I’m low on all-purpose flour and even used partial whole wheat flour and it was fine!

  71. For anyone wondering about the dumping of milk and plowing under of crops, one blogger has written several posts about the “outside the home” and “inside the home” food supply chains. This is a conservative political blog but the food supply articles are more on the informative side and explain a lot of things I’ve never thought about concerning contracts, processing capability, and packaging. FYI, 55% of food in the U.S. is eaten outside the home. Now that so many restaurants, school cafeterias, etc., have been closed, that percentage has shifted dramatically and explains why the demand for food at home is so much higher. Today’s article explains it very well.

    https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2020/04/15/ag-secretary-sonny-perdue-discusses-challenges-shifting-food-supply-chains/#more-189240

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