Apples and Red Flame Grapes The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested Green Gage plums, Dorsett Golden apples,  2 bunches of Red Flame grapes, and the last of the blackberries from the garden.

I cut garlic chives, Swiss chard, and green onions from the garden.

I cut larkspur and roses from the garden.

Pink blouse The Prudent Homemaker

I sewed a peasant blouse for Elsa from some fabric trim I was given years ago; I copied a blouse she had to make the pattern.

I made lemonade using juice from the lemons in our garden. I made popsicle with fruit from the garden.

I used a buy one get one free coupon and a gift card I’ve had for years to treat my mom and myself for a cold drink while we shopping. I also altered my shopping plan to take advantage of a couple of coupons and sales.

Girls at the Piano The Prudent Homemaker 

What did you do to save money last week?



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  1. This past week has been a hard one!

    1. We traveled to see my dad for Father’s Day. It’s a five hour drive, so instead of eating out like we usually do, we packed a picnic lunch and snacks. We ate at a beautiful rest stop and enjoyed the great weather. Much better than cold drive-through mozzarella sticks!
    2. Last night I almost bought a lot of chocolate at the store as a treat, but I did not. Instead, I made a chocolate cake at home for snacking. I also made a vanilla frosting for the first time, and it turned out to be edible, at the very least. 🙂 I saved $10 doing this!
    3. We came under budget again this week for groceries. We’re on track to save $300 in food costs this month compared to last month. We plan on using this money for our house fund.
    4. Since we’re house hunting this week, it’s tough to eat healthy meals. Last night (even though I was tired and it was late) I cooked a spaghetti squash and froze it in individual portions. I can now make a healthy version of pasta or veggie lo mein. Yum!

  2. The blouse is very pretty!

    I began working with my 8 year old daughter on learning to use a sewing machine. She’s very good at knitting, crochet, and embroidery so I think she’ll pick this up pretty quickly too. She says she wants to sew things for orphans, but I’m not sure how to help her accomplish that.

    I was able to get 7 half gallon containers of almond and cashew milk for $11 (I’m dairy free right now). Also, I was at Aldi and they had corned beef briskets marked $10 off. I chose the two smallest ones and only paid a bit over $1 for both. At martins, there were boxes of natural granola bars on clearance. 6 bars for $0.59. I bought 12 boxes. We like to have them for in the car as we have to drive a lot. And I got pre-pattied hot sausage for $1.50/lb.

    A friend called to tell me about a community yard sale that was only children’s items. I stopped there and got a few things on the way to our day trip to Antietam.

  3. I spent some money last week. I finally got the Apple tree’s I have been wanting and a blue berry bush. I did score a free grape vine! Thanks for your inspiration of frugality and self reliance. I had gotten lazy. Getting back on track with your encouragement.

  4. Hello, Brandy!!! I’m a Russian girl who lives in Southern France. I admire you and your ability to save.
    I love reading your blog! Thank you for your advices and encouragement and wish you best of luck with everything you do!!! 🙂

  5. This week we ate 3 of our freezer meal dinners, had breakfast burritos that I made in bulk and froze for breakfast as well as free bagels we were given!

    I quilted a lap quilt I had made earlier from scraps to give to a friend who is recovering from back surgery. No out of pocket cost to me because all the materials were from my stash!

    As part of our decluttering we sold 2 aluminum extension ladders that we’ve had hanging up from the workshop ceiling and made $150 in the process.

    We also had $95 more in pallet projects that we got finished and paid for. The pallets are free and we are excited to use them as another little stream of income! So with the ladder sales and pallet projects, we earned an extra $245 this week! That certainly helps the budget and we used it to pay some of our recent medical bills! We have been average big between $100- $250 every week in miscellaneous sales since April and that has been a real blessing as we’ve added to our savings and paid down medical bills and mortgage! In the first 4 months of our mortgage, we have paid 8 month’s worth of principle payments! At this rate, our 15 year mortgage will be paid off in 7 or less!

    By taking advantage of a Chick fil A promotion, hubby, son and I each got a free chicken sandwich on the way home from work. Added a salad from the garden and some watermelon and it was a frugal dinner! Also, by using a promotion from Papa Johns Pizza, we got a free large pizza AND some free garlic knots which became another frugal meal for the 3 of us! Also, for lunch one day, I discovered that I had enough Subway points for a free 6″ sub, so I splurged and bought one and brought it home so I could have my own drink from home.

    I made some more mixes and seasonings from scratch t add to my pantry. Makes it so convenient to have on hand when I need them AND so much cheaper AND fresher than their counterparts in the store!

    Bought beautiful Sweet cherries for $1.49/lb. I just couldn’t resist them! Got eggs for 55 cents a dozen!

    I’ve been trying to use what I have in my freezer to (1.) rotate my storage and (2.) make room for summer/fall produce/meat sales!

    My garden is flourishing and soon I’ll be harvesting more from it! The 10 fruit trees in my mini orchard are all looking healthy and I’m confident that in a couple of years, they will be producing well!

    Signed up to work the special election in August. That will bring in an extra $168 for each of the 3 of us for working 1 day! It’s a small local election so it will probably be a slow day!

    I’m looking around today to see what our next decluttering “moneymaker” might be! Definitely makes it a win-win situation when we get money for what we decluttered!

    All in all, a week where we were blessed with lots of opportunities to earn and save!

  6. This month I have spent way too much on groceries, but still I have some frugal activities to report.
    – I bought three half flats of raspberries, tayberries and blackberries at the farmer’s market. We ate some of the berries fresh, and from the rest I made 17 half pints of mixed berry jam.
    – I read about a recipe for homemade shower cleaner: you mix up equal parts of vinegar (which you heat to boiling first) and blue Dawn dishwashing liquid. Spray on the shower and let it sit for an hour. I used this and it worked really well.
    – From the garden, I harvested green onions, nasturtium flowers and peas.
    – My weekly CSA vegetable share allows you to pick herbs from the farm. I picked basil, parsley and cilantro. The herbs are actually my favorite part.
    – I made a new batch of yogurt. The last batch I made took on the flavor of something else and tasted weird (there was nothing wrong with the yogurt though). I ate it anyway, although I did not particularly enjoy it. I hate wasting food.
    – I made deodorant out of coconut oil, arrowroot, and baking soda.
    – I mixed up hummingbird solution and used it in our feeder. (I do this every week).
    – My husband and I had a cheap date in the park. We picked up a few slices of pizza and had a picnic. Then we played bocce ball for an hour. It was a lot of fun.
    – I did all the things I normally do: made water kefir, cooked from home, walked to work, brought my lunch to work, watched DVDs we own, and used the internet for research and entertainment.

    Love your photos, Brandy. The blouse turned out well and looks so pretty with the sun shining through it. I enjoy seeing pictures of your kids as well.

  7. The blouse looks so pretty!
    My weak was full of work, which is good because it allows me to set aside extra money for when things get tighter at the end of the summer. This is what we did to save money this week:
    Covered a box with fabric to make a handy storage container.
    The Man cooked a turkey for Sunday dinner. I bought the turkey last summer for a ridiculous price – a little less than $9.00.
    Payed the property taxes and took out some cash for our new-to-us log splitter, bought on the local Buy and Sell. Hopefully, this will save our backs when splitting wood all winter.
    Since I am now almost broke till the end of the month, I figured I would be broke and well nourished. I stopped by the store and loaded up on fruits and veggies. I added more coconut milk to the pantry. It was on sale for $2.00 a can, which pretty cheap around here. I also got a liter of cheap olive oil to start infusing for my next batch of soap.
    While I was out and about, I spied some wild raspberries – already ripe! I picked a small handful and added it to my yogurt. Delicious and free.
    Despite working so much, I took the time to finish some projects. I find that working with my hands helps me to relax and keep things in balance. I finished a vest for winter, a quilt top, and a small project for a Christmas advent calendar.

    Have a great week everyone!


  8. We borrowed Spectre and Mockingjay Part II from the library. I am from Cincinnati, and I made 4-ways (chili, spaghetti, onions, and cheese) vegetarian style by making Cincinnati style chili with lentils. We loved it! We started potty training out toddler and used significantly fewer pull-ups this week.

  9. Hello Everyone! That blouse is so pretty! Last week:
    I stocked up on a few needed essentials (razors, milk, eggs), got a couple freebies (toothpaste), and purchased some much needed meat. I will now NOT be shopping unless an item is truly free. I plan on not spending any money for two weeks except bills and paint for my daughter’s room.

    We continue to not have any cable tv, wash and reuse baggies and jars, use family cloth, save shower warm up water to water plants/garden. We washed free shows on youtube and used netflix.

    We harvested the first ripe black raspberries of the summer. I used some in my smoothie for today’s breakfast.

    I took my lunches and snacks to work with me. I used a coupon to eat lunch out one day last week.

    I found some dresses in the back of my closet I had never worn and wore one.

    I tried not to go anywhere if I didn’t have to, saving on gas and my energy.

    My daughter had several enjoyable days playing in the sprinkler at home while it was watering the garden and raised beds. I also brought out her trampoline we had stored in the garage because she hadn’t played with it in over a year. She thinks it’s fun to jump on it outside now. I put it by her swingset her dad got for free.

    Have a great week everyone!

  10. On a day like today here in PA, a popsicle would be so welcomed. The headband on your daughter is beautiful – I love that rich red.
    My gas station has a loyalty card program. I am 2 visits away from earning a $10 GC. As long as I spend $1 – it counts as a visit. I will need to fill my tank 2 more times this month.
    My mom gave me two more tomato plants. In our households there are never enough tomatoes to can – we make a lot of Brandy’s Tuscan tomato soup, sauce, pizza sauce, Rotel style tomatoes and regular diced tomatoes. We make enough for ourselves to last until the next harvest and occasionally share a jar with friends. The past 2 years, I have been trying to increase those recipes with a few more jars.
    I rescued practically new tissue paper from the trash.
    I hope everyone has a fabulous week!

  11. What a kind thing your daughter wants to do! What about looking in to something like Little Dresses for Africa? There are lots of charities that take homemade clothing donations for African children. Many are looking for pillowcase dresses, which are easy to sew, and can be changed up and embellished by someone who wants a more creative pattern. I am sure there are MANY charities, and not just for Africa, I am just more familiar with that one.

  12. Thank you for your most awesome website, Brandy!

    This week I harvested baby broccoli leaves for stir fries and soups. Earlier, I left two inches of the fibrous main stalk of broccoli in the ground when harvesting the big stalk and crown. Tender leaves flourish from the sides that can be harvested every four days..

    I harvested wild purslane (resembles jade plant that grows close to the ground) from the garden. It was so delicious when scrambled with eggs. When soaked in water, a lot of tiny black seeds fell out. I saved those to replant and share with others.

    I harvested excess male pumpkin blossoms, cut them open, removed the base and pistil, and soaked in water to crisp the petals. I then mixed a bit of Bisquick and water batter. Coated the petals and fried them in a thin layer of olive oil. Remove oiliness by placing on brown bag.. Absolutely delicious! I usually get about a dozen male flowers to one female flower.

    Have a good frugal week, everyone!

  13. For your daughter and her sewing, check the humanities website. We used to make tshirt dresses for girls in other countries using the LDS humanitarian aid services . They may have a pattern and a place to drop the dresses off when your daughter is finished making them.

  14. Jenifer..same here we can and freze rhe tomatoes, share with neighbors who ask i have one bag of tomatoes left till harvest on August.

  15. How sweet that she wants to sew for others! I’m sure you can find a foster care program that may take donations. I hope she one day accomplishes this goal.

  16. This last weekend we were going to go to walmart to buy snacks for our 3 day trip to my sisters wedding this next weekend but we stayed home instead and I am going to make do with food we have. I took another persons goal of emptying out their deep freeze before buying more groceries so now im only spending $25/week on fresh produce and dairy until the end of 2016. This is helping me pay off one of my student loans. I work two days a week out of the home while my mother-in-law watches my two girls and on two other days I watch my sisters daughter for $5/hr tax free. This is all going to my student loan as well. While my husband did pay for us to eat out twice this weekend, since its not part of my budgeting and we keep separate accounts, im not considering this as breaking my no spending goal.

  17. I live in Northern Ontario, Canada, in a zone 3.

    Last week it was my daughter’s 5th birthday. We did many things to save money:
    * We hosted her birthday party at our house.
    * I made all the food at home ourselves. Including a delicious Black Forest trifle.
    * We reused all birthday decorations (we’ve had them for over 10 years! We just remove the tape, pack them away and use them again for the next birthday!)
    * I made all party games myself. (“Place the Face” made out of bristol board – instead of pin-the-tail – and balloon wars and clothespin toss and a princess craft and a toy hunt and cupcake decorating).
    * We gifted my daughter a huge box of size 5 clothes. I slowly collect the clothes over the year by shopping second hand stores. She loved opening the box and seeing her new wardrobe! (Some of the clothes she’d even picked out herself but I tucked them away when we got home and she forgot about them).

    For our regular weekly savings we:
    * harvested rhubarb and made rhubarb sauce. Yum!
    * used my fall decorations (scarecrows) to actually scare the birds that were eating my veg seeds out of my garden. Using something for it’s actual designed purpose? Crazy. I know.
    * used rain barrels to water garden and fill kiddie pool in back yard.
    * line dried all clothes.
    * planted strawberry plants. Replanted carrot and parsnips seeds that didn’t come up (or were eaten!).
    * bought 25 lbs of peaches at a sale price of 88 cents a pound. When I got home I realized I’d been charged regular price (4 times as much!) but when I went back to the store they were unable to correct the problem through their cash register so they refunded my money and gave me all 25 lbs of peaches for free! Amazing!!
    * I used the money saved from the “peach incident” to stock up on peanut butter (at the same store).
    * We “went out” for ice cream. Meaning we packed bowl and spoons, drove to the store, bought a tub of ice cream on sale then drove to the park to enjoy!

    Your photos are beautiful Brandy! Have a great day!

  18. That blouse is so pretty! I need to look into finding a pattern like that for my daughter. She’d look good in something like that :).

    My week was super busy and actually ended really productive too. So far I’m keeping my garden alive and growing despite being invaded by, it seems, every insect on the planet (not the usual up here).

    My list for the week can be found here…

  19. Jenifer, I got a laugh out of what you wrote because I misread it: I read that you rescued practically new toilet paper from the trash! Thanks for inadvertently making my morning start out with a laugh.

  20. Also forgot to add, my husband worked 8 hours overtime and 12 hours at a side job, so he worked a total of 60 hours last week. I’m so thankful for such a hardworking man. I looked into mystery shopping opportunities and housekeeping jobs on, but there’s nothing in our area. I thought about advertising to help clean out garages, basements, attics since I have some experience.

  21. This week:
    *I cooked a large pot of black beans. Used some for a new recipe of black bean burgers (which was delicious) and froze the rest for later use.
    *A new coffee shop opened in town and sent out coupons. I enjoyed a latte for $0.99
    *My husband used some overripe bananas and made 4 mini loaves of banana bread
    *My husband made his weekly sourdough bread. We keep 1 loaf out and freeze the other for later in the week.
    *Found a bike for my daughter at a local bike shop. The store was having their side walk sales and it was in the used section. It was an additional 35% off of the already discounted price.
    *Used Kroger fuel points for $0.40 off per gallon
    *BSCB was on sale for $1.39 per pound at a specialty store. Had my husband pick up 25 lbs. Froze all of it for later use.
    *Made homemade detangler.
    *Took my children swimming numerous times at both my parents pool and our neighbors. Very thankful for free pools to swim in over the summer
    *Used my ‘free coffee reward’ when I met a friend for coffee. This past Spring, she and her family moved a couple of states away and they are back in town visiting. It was wonderful to catch up with her.
    *Made homemade eardrops (vinegar & rubbing alcohol) to use in our ears after swimming to prevent swimmers ear/infections.
    *received a free sample in the mail
    *our neighbor asked if I would wrap a wedding gift for him for a wedding he is attending in July (he’s an older gentleman with no women around anymore) He said if I wrapped it for him, he would give me strawberries. I took him up on his offer and for wrapping 1 box, I got 5 quarts of fresh strawberries! I definitely got the WAY better end of the deal!
    *Took my oldest daughter to camp for the week. During check-in, parents were given coupons for free coffee drinks at the camp coffee shop. There were popsicles and cookies for families to enjoy as well.
    *Paid $9.00 to enter a state park in Michigan and spent a wonderful afternoon at the sand dunes and beach. Lake Michigan is stunning-clear water and lovely sand. The Great Lakes have so much to offer and I am thankful I live within driving distance of them.
    *my neighbor gave me a gallon-sized bag of asparagus and 1 dozen eggs for free. (4 of those are duck eggs…so those will be interesting to try)
    *all my usual: turn off lights, unplug, using library, no cable TV(we haven’t had cable in our entire 12 years of marriage-I am sure this has saved us thousands!, reusing baggies, saying ‘no’ 🙂

    With all the good things that happened, I had some Frugal Fails too:
    *wasted some food due to poor planning and honestly, laziness. Ugh!
    *overspent on a Father’s Day gift for my husband…also due to poor planning on my part.
    *went out to eat at times we didn’t plan. Those ‘small’ purchases add up so quickly and I am irritated at myself for not packing food and planning better.
    BUT….all tings to work on. I am resolved this week will be better and I can ‘tighten the belt’ with some of these loose ends.

    Have a great week everyone! Looking forward to reading everyone else’s posts. It’s encouraging to know I am not alone in my quest to live within my means, save and generally not waste. Thankful for this group.

  22. Sara in MD, have your heard of KAS , Knit a Square? My daughters and a lot of their cousins do that. I’ve even knitted a few squares and I am a terrible knitter but it is just a square, back and forth, no pattern to follow. I can’t mess that up too terribly. I also heard of an interesting group where soft shoes are made out of denim, like old jeans. I don’t know the name of that group though.

  23. We also grow and can tomatoes to make into sauce and diced tomatoes. I am growing more this year to hopefully share with our mothers.

  24. Hello

    I am a widow with 3 children I work 36 hours a week. I have been reading this blog for about a year. I have found it inspirational.

    I am planning to cut down my working hours to spend more time with my children. At the moment I get home at 6pm after picking up my 4 year old from after school care ( I have alternate Fridays off) My 12 and 14 year old make their own way home. I am blessed- all my children are very good but I think it would be best if I were home more.

    My plan is to work only 3 days a week. On the other 2 days I can be home for my children and run the house ( don’t want to talk about laundry baskets) .In order to do so I need to cut costs. This website has been very helpful.

    So- really just wanted to say hello to everyone.

  25. A reader mention tshirt dresses……. They are very simple to make, basically all you have to do is sew a rectangle of fabric on the bottom of the shirt gathering it up as much or as little as you would like. Depending on the size of shirt would depend on how long you will want the dress.I have heard of cutting the tshirts off but would need more fabric to make them long enough, I just sewed it on, Oh forgot to mention you will probably have side seams & of course hemming the bottom. Rule of thumb try to have it come about 2 inches below the knee. I made a bunch of these when our dd was younger she is now a teenager & would rather have skirts 🙂 Find tshirts at goodwill & use cheap or donated fabric & pretty cheap overall.

  26. Super cute new dress for your daughter ;). I love the tiny size and the lovely fabric. Really nicely done.

    Last week was a frugal one food-wise. We finished up all the frozen meals in the freezer and finished up other leftovers in the fridge, so now the fridge is mostly empty and I can clean it easily ! Did minimal grocery shopping and no other shopping, having the hot weather in Phoenix really helps me stay home.

    Cooked a huge batch of BBQ pork ribs in the crockpot as well as baked beans. Had friends over for dinner for a wonderful evening and still had lots of leftovers to freeze. We are getting ready to use our travel trailer so I am now cooking ahead meals for the freezer…to make dinners easy on the road.

    Have finally made the shift to downloading e-books from the library versus buying kindle books online. When time allows, I am a huge reader and this probably saves me $20 a month. I had to adjust to NOT reading the newest book today…instead worse case, I can read it in two weeks after I wait for it online. It took me a few months to get adjusted but now, when I see a book I want to read right now, if it is already checked out by someone, I put myself on the waiting list and check something else out. Super easy.

  27. The top you made is so lovely, Brandy! I’m sure Elsa will look beautiful in it. It was really nice to see a picture of all your girls together…thanks for sharing it with us.:D

    We’ve been experiencing a heat wave here in Ontario something fierce the last few days. It’s hard to work in a pioneer village when experiencing such intense heat. So many layers of clothing and no electricity are not very comfortable to work in! :p This week’s frugal accomplishments include:

    * Many of our meals this week were quick, easy items as we are currently painting the kitchen including cabinets. It’s hard to cook from scratch when your entire kitchen is ripped apart. Our meals this week include baked chicken breasts smothered in cheddar cheese soup with white rice and cauliflower, chicken burgers with salad, breaded stuffed chicken breasts with corn and salad, cheddar sausages with homemade baked macaroni & cheese and green beans, and leftovers night/spaghetti dinner.

    *Took my lunch and an insulated cup with ice water to work every day. I have been using left over chicken to make wraps for my lunches, including chicken Caesar salad wraps (romaine lettuce, bacon bits and chicken mixed with Caesar salad dressing then rolled in a wrap), chicken souvlaki wrap (leftover chicken souvlaki, lettuce, feta cheese and tzatziki sauce – could add cucumber, tomato and black olives) and chicken and cheese wraps (lettuce, grated cheddar cheese, chicken and ranch dressing rolled in a wrap). So simple and yet so delicious!

    *Bought 2 flats of local strawberries for $25/flat. I made sure to look at all the farms market booths for the cheapest price before buying. Some were as high as $28/flat! As soon as I got home I washed the berries in the sink with water and a couple splashes of vinegar, then hauled and froze all the berries (minus a container for eating fresh). Due to the kitchen remodel and the current heat wave we’re experiencing, canning multiple batches of jam wasn’t possible.

    *My mother needs new curtains for the kitchen, but the style she wants isn’t easy to find. She decided to rip apart the old, faded ones and use them as a pattern to sew new curtain. She still needs to buy the fabric for them, though. After she’s done with the faded fabric pieces, I will be taking them to my work so they can use the old fabric for weaving rag rugs to use in the historic buildings. I’ve already donated another set of faded curtains and a tablecloth for this project.

    *Bought a new-to-me summer top at the thrift store. I like adding one or two pieces each summer to keep my wardrobe interesting. This particular thrift store allows you to collect points. I was able to get $1 off my purchase using some of my points, making it less than $5 for the shirt!

    *Some frugal fails this week: 1. I had a long list on items I needed to purchase from Costco, including some items I don’t regularly buy (e.g. anti-bacterial cream). The total came to just under $200…ouch!!! It’s much harder shopping sales when you’re working. 2. Due to the kitchen being painted and everything in the kitchen spread everywhere, we opted to get fish & chip take-out for dinner one night. The cost was less than $20 for all four of us, though, so not bad. 3. Took hubby out to dinner for father’s day, as eating out is one of his favourite things to do. He opted for Chinese buffet, which isn’t as frugal since I can’t bring home leftovers. We enjoyed it, though!

    That’s it for this week. I always enjoy reading and learning from everyone. Hope you all have a great week!:D

  28. Hello Brandy and all from Australia 🙂 . What a beautiful peasant blouse you have made for Elsa, I just love the design and fabric.

    This weeks frugal accomplishments are –

    Power Saving –
    – Doing our clothes laundry at night during off peak electricity times and hanging out in the morning to save electricity.

    – Using cut and sourced by us free fallen timber to heat the home during this cold winter.

    – Turning off power points to appliances when not in use.

    Craft Saving –
    – Made $17.20 from the sale of saved seeds from our vegetable gardens. This will now enable us to pay the home / mobile and internet costs for the home next month. With these savings from our budget we will put around $80 extra into our saving for our house with cash bank account.

    In the kitchen –
    – Roasted a large chicken purchased on special and had it with steamed vegetables picked from the garden. The meat including the first meal will last 4 meals for the two of us costing all up with free vegetables from our garden 0.95c a meal for the 2 of us.

    – Cooked a large batch of sweet potato, carrot and onion soup from free vegetables picked from the gardens costing $3 in total. This will last for 4 meals for the 2 of us at a cost of 0.38c per meal each. We added some evaporated milk for cream and served it up with a dob of sour cream swirled through and garnished with chopped parsley picked from the gardens.

    In the garden –
    – A few worthwhile experiments is I replanted sprouted tomatoes from our previous tomatoes that got hit with fruit fly just as winter and frosts were approaching and am now picking it appears frost resistant tomatoes from slightly sheltered microclimates in the garden. I shall save the wonderful seeds for next season and plant again in winter 😀 .

    – Experiment 2 in the garden was to lay slightly eaten spinach leaves and other green waste from the garden upon picking on top of the mulch to amend the soil, I am pleased to say that our earth worms in the soil have multiplied dramatically and the soil looks much better and richer and fluffier too. So shall continue to do so.

    – Harvested between 30 – 40 kg of sweet potatoes from a garden bed space of 2 x 4 metres. Yes another experiment is we purchased 3 sweet potatoes for $5 from our local farmers market and cut them in half and planted them to see if they would grow. So from an investment of $5 we now have $120 – $160 worth of sweet potatoes curing in front of our fire which is what we would have paid for them in the shops had we had to purchase them. As it is cold here since harvest we made a makeshift root cellar by cutting holes in the sides of cardboard boxes and placed damp towels on the top to cure our potatoes in as they need higher temperatures to cure and that experiment has also worked beautifully. Simple living frugality and lateral thinking works every time 🙂 .

    – Planted a 1 x 5mt patch of climbing beans and snow peas after amending the soil with home made compost and cow manure.

    – Made a few more layers of compost from vegetable peels leftover from teas in the kitchen.

    – Harvested strawberries, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsley, peas, cherry tomatoes and snow peas from the gardens.

    Water savings –

    – As we have had 68mm of much needed rain in the last 2 days I have missed 1.5 scheduled garden watering sessions saving the use of 405 lts of town water usage.

    – supplement watered new seeds and seedlings planted with water from the rain water tanks.

  29. What a great photo of your girls! You really are a talented photographer.

    I continue to harvest from my community garden. I reseeded beets and chard for another crop. At my garden, there are berry beds for members to harvest from. I harvested the first, for me. raspberries. I tried a few blueberries but they aren’t ripe yet. It looks like this will be a banner year for blackberries.

    I continue to eat my home-cooked meals even when I’d rather order take-out or go through the drive through. I’m very careful about turning off the lights and fans when I leave the room.

    I returned something to the store that I could only try on at home and it didn’t fit. In times past, that item would have never made it back to the store and only cost me money. On the second try, I found something that fit.

    Called a friend back when she called me since I pay a flat rate every month for long distance. I pay an extra $20/month for unlimited calling from Canada to the US. It is money well spent.

    Bought a few dvds at the thrift store on discount. Much cheaper then going to the movies or paying for the movie channels on cable.

  30. Found some really good deals at a local convenience store chain. XL eggs for 0.69/Doz!!! I only bought 2 but hopefully when I go to work Tues night, they’ll still be on sale as that’s a terrific deal. They were 0.99/doz last month.

    Worked a 7 night stretch, which is normal. off for 2, work 3 off 2 then start over with 7 days. Our labor contract runs out 6/30/16. We have NO idea what our union is fighting for and vice versa. I work for the State of PA. My dept has no local union rep involved with negotiations this go-round. I guess I’ll find out about voting on a new contract soon enough.

    I just try to stay home as much as possible. Now that my fave TV show is back for Season 4(Orange is the New Black) on Netflix…I’m catching up.

  31. I like to eat wild purslane, but it is a terribly invasive weed at the community garden where I have a plot. It started to take over my garden last year, and I spent hours pulling it out.
    I did some research on the plant. It can regrow from any part of the plant (leaf, root, stem) and the seeds are viable for 40 years. So be careful when you plant it. 🙂

  32. What a sweet thing your daughter wants to do! There have so many great suggestions for organizations that help with those in need – especially overseas. Here’s another: Lutheran World Relief – quilts and sweaters are two big ones but we also do bibs, diapers, shirts, pants, dresses, and several other things.

    Best wishes as you and your daughter help others,

  33. Sarah we too are in Maryland (Rockville) When I was young I would offer help to folks and allow them to pay me only a tip (instead of by the hour) I made good money and they were happy paying only what they felt like tipping. I did a lot of work around homes in this way.
    Cleaning houses, shoveling snow, raking leaves, babysitting, elder care , etc…

  34. Last week, I shared a ride to the airport with a colleague. She had never used a particular ride sharing service before, so I sent her a code for a free first ride, and we both got to ride for free!

    We harvested tomatoes, greens & herbs from our garden.

    My husband was approved to have all of his college expenses (tuition, books, supplies) paid for by the department of rehabilitation, due to his learning disabilities. This is going to be a tremendous help to our single-income household!

    He repaired our gate using a $3 part, instead of getting a new gate like we thought we might have to.

    I used our FSA to pay for a prescription and some medical expenses, using pre-tax money.

  35. Hello Brandy and everyone!
    That blouse for Elsa is gorgeous. I would love something like that for myself. And the photo of your children really made me smile.
    I had a good week, frugal-wise:
    * I had a bunch of potatoes sprout, so I planted them in my compost pile. I hope we at least get some potatoes out of this.
    * Two days in a row we had to run a bunch of errands. Instead of stopping for a fast-food lunch, as we would have at one time, I packed a lunch, which we really enjoyed.
    *We attended our annual homeowner’s picnic. We ate free barbecue and got to know more of a our neighbors.
    *My dog needed a new collar and instead of spending $8 – $13 for one, I made one using directions I found online. We already had the webbing and buckles I needed. I did buy some pretty pink ribbon with a coupon at Joann’s for less than $2. The new collar looks great!
    *I was able to get 4 6-ounce packages of raspberries for free, using coupons.
    *A neighbor had a moving sale with great prices. We brought home a big box of items for $20, including a hammock to replace the one that dry-rotted two years ago, some garden tools and some kitchen items I have been wanting (silicone spatulas, two different biscuit cutters and a ceramic pie plate).

  36. Like many have said: that blouse is so beautiful!!

    We harvested kale leaves from the garden. Our tomatoes and jalapenos have both flowered.

    Hubby and I are back on the bandwagon of paying off debt. so good to be on the same page again, this last year with all the fixing the house we have not been very good stewards of our money.

    We are on track to pay off a credit card (0% interest but should not have done so) and chop down one tree (that currently blocks our garden) by next month.

    I have sold 2 items on my etsy shop.

    Traveled with my husband to Indianapolis . I took the kids to the park and ate a picnic that we packed from groceries I had. Splurged and took the kids to the childrens museum another day.

    Under grocery budget for this week so far. Carefully planning my Costco needs to stay under still. Extra will go into savings. And will be adding meals to freezer.

    Got stuff from our storage unit. Need to finish going through – some donated. some thrown out/recycled . and some put away. One more load and we will be done with it and be able to put that monthly cost to better use.

  37. I agree with the first person who posted, this last week has been difficult to say the least. Did the normal things to be frugal. However, my efforts have been side lined by some un expected medical billing errors that I am still trying to get fixed. Went to the doctor’s office on Thursday and they ran my debit card 3 times claiming it was not ‘going through’ yet, my account shows it went through 3 times. Then the 2nd doctor appointment indicates I will need surgery. That is set for July 9, and will cost us a couple of $1000.00 to meet the deductible. Fun fun fun. Then I get to go to the TX Oncology starting on Friday for at least 3 treatments, possibly more, at a cost of $200.00 each. Can any one say OUCH?? To make matter worse, I am not done with doctors. I still have a couple of other tests I have to do.
    The heat here is high. It shows on TV that it is 95, yet the bank reads 101, the car reads 103, and the outside thermometer that is with our rain gauge reads 104. It is humid too. We had the wettest May on record with more than 30 inches of rain in some areas and it still hangs around to be humid. I feel like I am going to melt when I take out the trash at the end of the day.
    Our garden is starting to fry and it is only June. Our tomatoes have quit putting on blooms. The plants are still green, so we keep them going with water etc. and hope when it cools down that they will set tomatoes again. Our cucumbers are still going strong. Made some pickles this last week. Made some more salsa for the boys. They love it with my home made corn chips. (I bake them in the oven)
    I trash picked a small book case this past weekend. With a good cleaning and some paint I made it a new toy box. I laid it on the back and added some rollers we already had. Now I can move it when the kids are not playing with it. Free is a good price.
    The blouse you made for your daughter is very cute. It is very similar to the doll dresses I am making for all of my dolls. The pattern calls it a ‘peasant’ dress, but I think it is very cute. I make it 3 ways. Long for a night gown, mid length for a dress, (I put a bow on the waist) and short for a shirt to go with pants. I have made mine in 2 different patterns. Meaning the sleeves are a different print than the dress part. A couple of times I have added a band of the sleeve fabric at the bottom of the dress to make it ‘fancy’ etc.
    Made a big batch of strawberry muffins. I have some lemons and plan to make a pie and a lemon cake. (if I feel good enough to go into the kitchen)
    The picture of your girls is very pretty. I love those kinds of pictures. Thank you for sharing.

  38. Happy Monday, folks. I haven’t posted in months, but I try to read every week. I am so inspired by you all.

    As some of you may remember, I had to move from my beloved farmhouse in the mountains of western NC almost a year ago, back to my hometown in eastern South Carolina. I’ve spent the last year searching for a suitable house, both here in my hometown, and back in the mountains. I thought I’d found a place locally in January but after an inspection, we decided to not go through with the sale.

    I found another house here locally in late April, and after putting in a backup offer on the house and waiting an agonizing 10 business days, we received word that the place was ours. We closed this past Friday. You guys, it’s my very own house!! I have spent the last 3 days cleaning, ripping up carpet, painting, and while there is still a ton more to do before I can move stuff in, I am thrilled to know that there is an end in sight. All of my possessions that have been in storage for the last year will finally be back in a house.

    Anyway, not too many frugal things this week, but I am so excited to get back on track in my own house. There’s a couple pecan trees out back, and a pear tree that is absolutely loaded with fruit. The house is on a half acre of flat, usable land, so I can put in a garden, and move the clothesline to a better spot! And the house is on a well and septic so no monthly water bills. Woohoo.

    You guys can follow my progress on my blog. I’m adding pictures as I go. Come take a peek at my new-to-me retro ranch!!

  39. I love the eyelet blouse–have always had a weakness for that fabric. Use it for decoration a lot.

    Nothing unusual this week, except for extra housecleaning on our part, just because we needed to get rid of some dust. Very hot weather here so gardening ceased after the first couple days of the week and we moved indoors with our efforts.

  40. Crazy busy week and I am glad it’s over. I managed to keep our spending to a minimum so I’m happy about that. The only thing I was irked by was mistakenly thinking a bottle of salsa was spaghetti sauce and having to punt on dinner that night cuz there wasn’t time to cook anything else. So, we grabbed a foot long sub from Subway and split it. It was their $5 foot long of the month so it wasn’t too bad. We had ice water from church to go with it . We got a free and delicious dinner for volunteer appreciation another night. Despite this wicked heat wave we’re having here in KS, I kept the thermostat at 80 during the day and 76 at night. I’ve been swimming at the Y pool for cool exercise. Still hanging laundry, combining errands, and keeping the tv off. No cable here either! Reading under the ceiling fan is my big plans for the week.

  41. You can let your chickens eat it as increases the omega-3 fatty acid. Our goats like it too. I have never tried it eating it.

  42. I love to see what everyone is doing. It is so encouraging, especially when trying to be frugal can be discouraging sometimes. I love the blouse! Your oldest daughter is turning into such a beautiful young lady.
    This week I mended some items that were sitting in my ironing pile for FAR too long. I read magazines I got from the library. We’ve stayed home a lot and played in the sprinklers. I’ve line dried our clothes. My husband cleaned out our dryer to keep it working a little longer. It came with our house and was in a bad state five years ago. Keep chugging dryer! Probably the biggest savings this week was potty training. I’ve been putting it off, the dreaded task:( , but actually he’s done really well! I just couldn’t justify buying more diapers when he’s big enough to not need them.
    Thanks Brandy and everyone who posts. You truly bless and enrich my life more than you can ever know. Thanks for helping us to get by and remember what’s important!

  43. I, too, love the blouse you made. I so admire your creativity. You remind me of my dear sweet, much-missed mother.

    Your fruit looks delicious. We also harvested grapes (an entire colander full!) and Anna apples.

    Other frugal efforts included:

    * Using white vinegar in the laundry.
    * Making bread (a regular activity for us).
    * Collecting eggs from our hens.
    * Using a homemade garlic-based “brew” as bug spray in the garden.
    * Eating leftovers from our son’s birthday party (we were able to cobble together several meals).
    * Using cloth napkins (another regular for us).
    * Working from home (hubs did this three days).
    * Harvesting produce from the garden (the aforementioned grapes and apples and [u]tons[/u] of zucchini and yellow crookneck squash).
    * Adding a tiny–and I do mean tiny–bit extra to the principal payment on our house.
    * Driving older, paid-for cars.
    * Combining errands.

    That’s all I can think of for now. Have a great week everyone!

  44. When my grandma was still alive, she coordinated with a few of her friends and they made dolls to give homeless children at Christmas. One woman would do the rag doll, one the clothes and another a purse to keep them in. One of the women had a granddaughter that worked/volunteered at the homeless shelter. Maybe do something similar for Operation Christmas Child? Or find a local abused women/children shelter? These little girls would benefit as much from a rag doll or blanket as clothes. Just an idea? 😀 I love that your daughter is so caring!!! Good job mama!

  45. Roxie,

    If it makes you feel any better, it was 115º here today. I got sunburned while walking across the street a couple of times (seriously!)

    The tomatoes will stop setting flowers; they can make it through the heat if you keep watering them. Here it doesn’t cool enough for them to flower again until October (though sometimes a storm in July can drop the temperatures enough for a few flowers).

    I can’t imagine 30 inches of rain in a month. Our city averages 4 inches a year (and that’s downtown; we get less than that in my part of town).

    Squash is the same way; it just stops flowering in the heat.

    I feel your pain on medical bills; we’ve had a lot of them lately.

  46. Brandy, I’m a long-time reader and appreciator and a first time responder. Thank you for all of your work and your ability to live and inspire others to live prudently and beautifully.

    To save money this last week we butchered between 40-50 chickens that we raised. After we bagged some whole and some cut-up, we boiled the backs (as well as a few older chickens from the freezer) and canned the meat and broth — about 30 pints of meat and 40 quarts of broth. We also made a pot of chicken and dumplings using onions, potatoes, and carrots from the garden.

    We made a triple batch of granola bars and 21 sheets of raspberry fruit leather. We picked a gallon of raspberries from the garden.

    I made a blackberry pie for my husband for Father’s Day using blackberries from our garden/freezer.

    We also gathered eggs, fed the pigs scraps from the kitchen and helped our cat learn to catch mice. I made crock-pot refried beans and then froze 20 bean and cheese burritos for future lunches.

    We planted more basil in the garden and cut lavender and a hydrangea from the yard for a table centerpiece. I got some books from the library and returned an unread/unwanted book to the store for store credit.

  47. About 2 years ago I bought a lavender cotton duvet at the thrift store for $3.00 for my bed. It wasn’t the right color but I really loved it so I finally went to Walmart and got some Rit dye for it. I used it in the washing machine and I now have a bright yellow duvet. So for less than $6.oo I have a like-new duvet for the bed.

    I made another batch of muffins using the last of the cranberries I had frozen in November. They will make great additions to our lunches that we take to work each day.

    I made chicken stock in the slow-cooker. I made a double recipe of brown rice that will go with our pinto beans for dinner one night. We had the family over for a cook-out on Saturday to celebrate Father’s Day and a birthday. There were enough leftovers for our dinner on Sunday.

    I am re-reading The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn for extra inspiration.

    We found organic baby spinach for 50 cents for each 6-ounce clam shell and we bought four. They were going to go bad quickly so I cooked them all and froze what we didn’t eat right away.

    I found a movie on Amazon that my granddaughter wanted for her birthday for $5.00. I also found some art supplies for her at the dollar store.

    I made liquid laundry soap. I have been making my own laundry soap for years now. I know I have saved lots and lots of money by doing it. Have a great week!

  48. We were in Las Vegas a few years ago, when it was time to fly home Las Vegas got a big rain. They were closing down the casinos because water was coming in the doors. Las Vegas does not have a water drainage system. The air port shut down and no planes took off for hours. That made us late getting home, when we went to pick up our dog from the kennel, it was closed. The next day was a holiday and we were not able to get our dog till Tuesday. Ended up costing us a lot of extra money too….
    I have been in Las Vegas when it was 118 degrees. We turned it our rental car at 10:00 that night and it was still over 100…..I do not think I could stand living in an area so dry. I have been asking my husband for years to transfer to Colorado. His company has offices there….we have been there several times…I could sure get used to living there…I just can not take the heat. Part of my medical problems are made worse by the heat. It actually makes me sick to my stomach. Just a few minutes and I am sick as a dog.
    In your picture your skin is so fair I am not surprised you got a sun burn quickly. Just be careful out in that sun.

  49. Well, she may be a little young for this if you haven’t “explained things” yet, but there is a charity that sews colorful menstrual supplies and a little sack to carry them. Hard for us to imagine, but in some parts of Africa, girls have absolutely no access to supplies and so either miss many days of school, or, worse, have male teachers who will get supplies for them in return for “favors.”

  50. I’ve seen patterns for peasant blouses on Pinterest, Erika. Looks pretty easy to make, too. Adjust the size and you could make one for yourself as well.;)

  51. I hope you will continue to post some of the things you are doing to cut costs, Sheena. I’m sure you will have some great ideas to share with us as well!

  52. I have my mom watching Orange is the New Black with me. We’ve only watched 2 episodes of season 4. So funny!

  53. Good luck to you Sheena. I was divorced for many years with five small children and I know how hard it can be to visit these blogs sometimes: On the one hand they can be so helpful and full of inspiring ideas, on the other hand, it seems that everyone else has the omnipresent father/husband…and it stings just a little bit.

    I am so sorry for your loss but am happy for you that you have found a way to be home more hours with your children.

  54. Set the last 7 of the Lodgestones I have, so I am done with laying the edge wall for the back perimeter bed for a while.

    My husband brought home more free newspapers from work.

    Picked up free grounds for gardeners at Starbucks.

    Picked our first strawberries, currants & pie cherries. My youngest daughter helped me net the cherry tree while she was home over the weekend, to reduce loss to the birds. While our granddaughter (son’s daughter) was visiting for a week, she helped me pick strawberries, currants & pie cherries, as well as thinning peaches on the last of the peach trees needing thinned. All of those, except picking strawberries, were new experiences for her 4 year old self. I loved picking cherries into a container with her, getting it almost full & hearing her say, “Grandma, picking cherries is boring – Oh, look Grandma! Another red one!” She also helped me pit the pie cherries & freeze them with a little sugar – great adventures for little ones!

    Harvested lettuce, spinach & sugar pea pods, as well as rhubarb. My granddaughter loving taking the peas out of the pods.

    Dehydrated elderflower.

    We planted a Redpointe maple tree in the front yard to provide shade in future years.

    Continued to pull 2-3 tree pots full of weeds every day except Sunday.

  55. Roxie, every time I walk past my Cabbage patch dolls (from my childhood) I wonder how you are doing and what a wonderful thing you do for kids. The bookcase sounds like an awesome find. I to like rollers on furniture (saves my feet when vacuuming).

  56. I am not doing as well as I had hoped to be doing. I have been sick. Friday I start taking iron infusions for it. I have fainted 3 times now. No energy. At the end of a work day I feel like a dish rag…I wish I could say I was resting and getting some sleep but that is not true. I am so tired but I am not able to sleep even with prescription pills. (Lunesta) I am told the iron infusions will help but will take time. I sure hope so.
    I have collected 20 dolls now. (all from thrift stores or ebay) and have made each of them a new dress and diaper. I want to make each doll pants, shirts, gown/pajamas, and 2 dresses. Then I have come up with an idea to make a draw string bag to keep the doll and clothes in. That means a lot of sewing. I have a lot of the clothes cut out. I cut out things when the babies nap. (I have a large box on my desk with patterns, pins, and fabric ready.) I can make a simple dress in 15 minutes. Believe it or not it is the diapers that take a lot of time…that small rolled hem and Velcro or snaps. I will get there. I know that with the Lord’s help I will make my goal. I feel it.

  57. Thank you for continuing to post your frugal accomplishments. I haven’t posted in awhile, but I do follow your blog regularly and enjoy reading everyone’s accomplishments. I’ve been trying to be even more frugal lately and think that posting will encourage me to stay the course.
    *We start a new monthly budget on the 20th of each month secondary to when I get paid, and we were significantly under budget last month. Hopefully this can continue. We are trying to pay off a car loan and then will work on paying off our mortgage as that is the only two debts we have.
    *I picked a bunch of wild black raspberries that are scattered over our property. We have quite a bit of land, mostly wooded, and this year there are a ton of raspberries growing. I’ve been washing and then freezing what I’ve picked and when I have enough I plan to make some jam. I’ve never canned anything before, so I’m reading the Ball Blue book guide to preserving. If anyone has any other beginning canning book recommendations, please let me know.
    *I mended my baby girl’s sleep sack instead of buying a new one.
    *I bought a new duvet and duvet cover for our master bed. I had read online about duvet clips to keep the comforter in place and was planning on buying some but then I read about just stitching the corners inside the duvet cover. I already had the needle and some thread so made two small discreet stitches in the top two corners and now the duvet won’t slide around and I didn’t have to buy anything extra. It should be easy to cut the small stitches out and redo when I need to wash the duvet cover in the future.

  58. Brandy, that is such a nice picture of the girls…I love the youngest hands resting on the oldest forearms as she plays.

    We have had a busy and a catch up week here. The weather and sun and rain have all conspired to get the garden going full speed. We picked almost 7 quarts of strawberries in our first real picking. We picked peas, scallions, parsley, cilantro, basil, mint, chives, lettuces, spinach, radishes and baby boc choi and kale.

    Did the usual of hanging clothes to dry, reusing, recycling, composting , cooking and baking at home. Actually did little of the last as used a couple meals from freezer, had dinner with sister in law Susie and new husband Bernie at their house, was given a batch of orange frosted sweet rolls from nephew’s wife, was given a loaf of whole wheat bread by one of the library helpers, my oldest gave me a container of chicken salad sandwich filling she made, husband cleaned and grilled fish he caught, youngest daughter made a campfire and showed her babysitting children how to make pudgie pies (iron pies? not sure what else they are known by) and they made plenty for all. The girls and I went to a baby shower at church, meal provided. The men did go get fried chicken and bring it home for their meal. Then Sunday was Father’s Day and my oldest boy hosted the family.

    So all I made was strawberry shortcake, strawberry frozen yogurt, a spinach green onion bisquit quiche, mint ice tea, ice coffee, egg salad sandwich filling, penne with alfredo sauce and fresh peas, 2 loaves of white bread, potato salad (cold) to take to the Father Day meal and a cheese tray.

  59. I haven’t talked to her about that yet, but I might be interested in doing something like that. And thanks to all the above replies!!!

  60. We’re outside Cumberland. This is how I was thinking to do it. I always figure I’ll work as hard as I can and the customer can decide what it was worth to them.

  61. I love reading e-books from the library. My favorite part is that I can download them at home and don’t actually have to go to the library and pick up the book. Saves so much time and money!

  62. I love the blouse! So pretty!

    We had a quiet week Friday we did go to see the symphony orchestra. I had won 2 tickets at work and it was scout night so both children were free as they wore their uniforms.

    Saturday we went to a screening of finding dory sponsored by our orthodontist. Then we went to the farmers market.

    Made homemade pickles. Yum.

    Have worked really hard to not eat out, not that I did it much to begin with. Drumsticks from the store are cheaper than ice cream at the shop, and it hits the spot just as well on a hot day.

  63. We started out with [u]Better Homes and Gardens You Can Can![/u] (You might be able to find it at your local library; Amazon also carries it.) We also use the[u] Ball Blue Book[/u].

    You’re blessed to have wild berries on your property. Homemade jam is delicious!

  64. Thank you for the heads up! I will pass this info on to folks I share the seeds with. Some of my young relatives have been buying purslane seeds to plant to supplement their organic diet, as they live in arid regions and can’t seem to grow vegetables successfully. As much as I love to eat purslane for its nutritive value, I also want to garden responsibly! That means I should harvest while plant is young and before it goes to seed. Also, container gardening for purslane should help. Thank you for getting me on track to think this through.

    Thank you to Brandy for hosting this site, and thus making it possible for us to quickly learn from others’ experiences!

  65. Hi Roxie and a fellow anaemic and ex nurse too here and was diagnosed in Christmas last year. Hold in there it will take around a month to get your iron levels back to normal. Tired yes I totally relate, I kept passing out too, okay if you are at home not so good if you are out somewhere :p .

    Rain yes plenty of that here of late too, except it is winter here and we live on a mountain range. We had almost 3 inches in a day and icy westerly winds here. We even have more rain forecast for tomorrow and Friday too.Thank goodness for a combustion wood stove, we have almost been welded to it.

    Take care and if you feel dizzy at all sit wherever you are, better to sit than fall from a standing position believe me, I did this while grocery shopping and sat in the middle of the aisle. I got the strangest looks from fellow shoppers until DH explained my condition 😮 . It gets better you will be pleased to know and with regular medication you will get your strength back in no time 🙂 .

  66. Roxie, good luck with your surgery. I’m praying for a speedy and full recovery! Great idea on the bookcase toy box! I have an old bookcase I’m going to recycle into a growing box. I’m trying to get lettuce closer to my house and this will fit into the area. Again, good luck, speedy healing and TOTAL recovery!

  67. Last week’s accomplishments:
    1. Sewed the arm back onto a stuffed animal.
    2. Made 4 loaves of bread, 3 of which were used to make freezer pb&j
    3. Cut my daughter’s hair
    4. Sold $93 worth of things on FB garage sale
    5. Sold some old textbooks for $65
    6. Reserved the water I used to boil eggs to water my tomatoes
    7. Used my Shopkick app to earn gift cards while out doing my grocery shopping. (I will use these gift cards to help off-set back-to-school costs)

    I’m sure there were more things, I should have written them down throughout the week.

  68. Brandy, your blog always inspires me to Celebrate Life and continue to be good Stewards of the blessings God has given us. The photo of your girls is beautiful. It reminded of of my favorite movie “Little Women”!
    Thank you for always making time to inspire others.

  69. My first didn’t show any interest in potty training and when she was almost 3 years old I finally had enough and just told her we ran out of diapers and let her roam the house with just a t-shirt. Only took 2 days and she did great!! I can’t wait for my little one to potty train. She is almost 18 months now.

  70. Roxie, I am sorry. My mom had recently gone through sleeplessness, getting weak and fits of passing out and so much more – it was un-diagnosed Anemia – it was breaking her spirit (she never sits long). With numerous iron infusions, iron pills, cooking with cast iron…it was a very long recovery – but she is back to her spunky self (well maybe a little slower) I will keep your recovery in my prayers.

  71. We plan our garden to feed us for the whole year, but we have plenty of space. We also include my mother, until last summer we’d have included my husband’s sister as she only lived in an apartment and now they have their own garden going. My gardens are joint with my daughter’s family next door so add them in and then extra for the 2 as of yet unmarried of our children who live away from home. My oldest son and his wife and her parents do their own garden too.

    Since Eliana does all the planting now I asked her just how many plants did she put out this year? 78 she said. She is adding in paste tomatoes which we have never done before. I am not a big paste user so I would just buy a tube for the refrigerator. But I will be interested in trying something new. I never can spaghetti sauce as I make it fresh each time from canned tomatoes and juice and onions, peppers, zucchini, eggplant…that are either fresh or in the freezer. We make salsa, juice, diced, whole, jam and marmalade all canned, and I’ll freeze quarts late in season when I don’t have enough for a canner load.

    I am so looking forward to our own fresh tomatoes to eat. Cherry tomatoes are close.

  72. You all do so much!! I did eat from my little box garden lettuce, kale and peas, made scones as a thank you gift for a friend, my main saving was repairing another loose gate post with cement I mixed in a pail. Finished painting the repaired fence which really cleaned up that garden corner, paint on sale of course. Gave myself a manicure. all from this senior lady, Ann Lee.

  73. Just a curious question as you mention several times in posts having separate accounts and others occasionally say that too. Is there an advantage to that? Is that recommended by some of these financial counselors that are popular? We have a home account and a business account but they are both joint.

  74. Ach, it makes my heart ache a bit when people say they don’t have to go to the library 🙁 But at least you are still using the library:)!!

  75. Wraps sound like a nice change for sandwiches.

    Did you try putting the ice pack between some of the layers of your clothes? I think I mentioned this before, that I saw the performers doing that at the Wilhelm Tell Festival. They wear quite heavy costumes and the outdoor setting puts them right in the sun for the matinee performances.

  76. I use the paste tomatoes to make tomato sauce or just can them. They are firmer, and take less added tomato paste or cooking to get them to thicken up than the regular ones do.

  77. I guess that’s the blessing and the curse of working! Not home as much, but able to buy what you need. I’m glad you could get what you needed. Costco can be very expensive because everything is between $10 and $20 per item. It adds up fast, but lasts a long time!

    Sorry you are so hot. It makes you appreciate what the real pioneers went through, I’ll bet!

  78. I’ve been struggling to get to the internet very often, but finally made it so I could post my Saving Money post this week.

    That is probably the biggest way we have saved money–NOT paying bills we used to pay, especially our house payment, since it sold and we are living in the camper.

    Of course, there are extra expenses, such as a laundromat, but we have lowered our expenses tremendously!

    We are house hunting, but have not found anything we can afford, that we like. It’s going to be a challenge, but we are determined to not get caught in the trap of “if only we had a little more….”

    Right now, we are camping at the beach again, so that’s fun!

  79. I read TC TG once a year just to keep my brain in the right place! I also find that even though I’ve nearly memorized it, I always seem to find something new that may not have pertinent to me before.

  80. I also use my boiling water leftovers. I use it to kill the weeds growing in the driveway cracks. It’s free and safe for wildlife. 🙂

  81. Brandy,
    Thank you so much for continuing to post your frugal accomplishments. I have been reading your blog for years and it is so encouraging. The picture of your girls reminds me so much of my own childhood. (I am the oldest of 6 and also play the piano.) I am so impressed that you made a pattern from a shirt. Do you have a tutorial on your website about that? I would imagine you just trace around the existing shirt and then add a seam allowance. Is that all you add? Any tips on the sleeve?
    This week we enjoyed a trip to the zoo, gardening, having friends over, and staying at home. It’s amazing how much fun you can have in the summer just enjoying your own home! Details on my blog here:

  82. Roxie, I am so sorry to hear you are not doing well. I pray the medicines take hold and become effective soon. You are a busy person, I know, and it must irk you so to be waylaid this way. May I add your name to our prayer chain at church?

  83. We have been busy every night this week due to Vacation Bible school…hard to find computer time. Or more like , I sit down in chair with kindle and doze off.

    We did some canning last week. I did 14 pints of rhubarb sauce, very lightly sweetened. I like it sour for eating. I also use it in place of applesauce in recipes. I will keep making it over the next couple weeks. I’ve also put 5 qt Ziplocs full in the freezer. We sell so much at the farm stand when it first come out…everybody wants it then but when interest slows that is when we really use for ourselves. I aim for at least 40 jars of sauce and 25 qts frozen.

    I made one batch so far of strawberry jam.

  84. Love reading your blog Brandy…..always something to make me smile and nod. …..and your fruit makes me green with envy. We cannot grow fruit here in NSW due to Fruit Fly.

    Some of my savings these last few days include:-

    Made a double portion of spreadable butter with butter and grape seed oil
    Made Anzac slice biscuits (cookies) instead of buying
    Made a meal for myself of bits from the freezer. Pasta, a rissole, tomato sauce, a cube of frozen spinach and a bit of grated cheese. Very delicious.
    Tomorrow with family coming to visit for a week I am using foods from the freezer again.
    Cheered myself up by finding flowers in the garden ( being winter here in Australia, there is not too much to bring in for a vase) and made a little video to remind myself that there really IS colour in my garden if I look
    Requested a recipe from my daughter to make a delicious slice.

    I’m sure if I thought longer I would find more ways that I saved.
    When it becomes a way of life you don’t even notice 🙂

  85. No, I haven’t tried the ice packs yet. I didn’t think of it, honestly. Would have probably helped, but it might be difficult to hide when my blouse is rather fitted.

  86. I find that I will have a huge load of things I need every so often that comes with a big price tag. Thankfully it is not very often.

    You are absolutely right about appreciating what the pioneers went through. In fact, I was very clear with several children that what they were suffering standing in my house was nothing compared to those pioneers, not to mention me who had far more layers of clothing than they had!

  87. Athanasia, when my town in Calif. added an addition onto the library my brother always said he paid for it! He would have 12 books out at a time and almost never got them back when due!! lol Books have been, and will always be, an important part of my life. My mother never graduated from high school but she never stopped learning. I am happy that a new library just opened close to me here in Albuquerque and I’m stopping by for my card today!! Yeah!

  88. I have not posted in several weeks so this are things that have been done over that time.
    * Hubby’s work has picked up again – however, just as we are getting some breathing room, his Jeep needed $900 in repairs (clutch)
    * We sold the trailer we were working on (we “flip” vintage trailers) which will easily pay for our trip to OshKosh in a month – however, the printer finally died (20+ year old beast) and hubby cannot be w/o one for his job – he found a used printer from a print shop for $200 which was $300 less than what we thought we’d have to spend to get the type we wanted (it takes a toner cartridge – NOT ink which gives you alot more prints per cartridge). OH and now the dishwasher has decided to act up :/
    * I have discovered that I am no longer immune to poison ivy and just when I thought it was healing, it decided to give me full body hives which sent me to urgent care – thankfully, insurance covered it and the steroid prescription was only .49 cents!! 🙂
    * I finally have some lettuce big enough to pick from for dinner this week. My peas are covered in blossoms but no pods yet, my potatoes have already started blossoming, my carrots, cauliflower and tomatoes are looking beautiful but my yellow beans – out of 20 or so seeds planted, I have 9 plants…..voles apparently like bean seeds :/ I have started hand picking off some of the bugs but I am completely baffled by my Marigolds – what in the world would be eating Marigolds and LEAVING the cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes and pepper plants??? I cannot find what ever bug it is anywhere – anyone else ever have this problem? (although, I guess that is why I planted them in the first place hehehehe – to keep the bugs away from the veggies)
    * We used our home protection plan we have thru the gas company to get our air conditioner fixed at no cost to us for parts or labor – just in time for the humid heat wave that hit 🙂
    * I sold several more dozens of hatching eggs and the money has been put into my emergency vet fund.
    * I used a $10 reward coupon to purchase treats and bones for the dogs and a $15 off coupon I received in the mail to order more food and litter for the cats and dogs.
    * I made covers for the dogs vinyl beds using fleece blankets I picked up at garage sales for .50 cents each. Fleece can be bleached if necessary and dogs are much less likely to try and shred it so it should hold up to my bored Danes when they will be boarded in a month.
    * I can’t remember which one of your readers is doing it – but she is buying her stones for her garden a few at a time – I thought that was an awesome idea and have started purchasing the mulch I need for between my raised beds a few bags at a time. I can only do a bit at a time anyways due to a weak back (ruptured disk acts up if I do too much at once)
    * I added elastic to 2 pair of jeans and a pair of shorts to make the waist fit me, I mended 2 shirts with pin holes and added a cuff to a pair of jeans that were too short.
    * The kids and I had a bonfire which turned into some great entertainment as we watched our huge Dane puppy chase moths in the grass 🙂
    * The feed sack totes I have been making from plastic feed bags are no longer selling, so I have bagged up ALL of the “stash” and have it listed for sale on Craigslist. I will be painting the old cabinet they were all in and using it for our new “drop spot” at the door for keys, umbrellas and all of the dog walking supplies. I already purchased the paint on sale yesterday.
    * I found 2 Barberry bushes on clearance at Lowe’s for $3 each. The Danes won’t chew them or run thru them since they have thorns!
    * I used my rain check at the grocery store to purchase the blocks of cheese they were out of a few weeks ago for $1 per 8 ounces – we bought 12.
    * We are only feeding 3 of us for dinner for the next 2 months while our daughter works up North as part of the medical team at a children’s camp (it saves us money but I miss her!)
    * I buzzed hubby’s hair and trimmed my own bangs.
    * I made another raised bowl feeder for our older Dane to use when he is boarded. I use a Tidy Cat litter bucket and bolt a metal bowl to the hinged lid (he is allergic to plastic!) – the food then can be put in the bucket for travel. I use a empty ice cream pail for our beagles food since she doesn’t need a raised feeder and doesn’t eat near as much. I had already made one for our younger Dane to use but I’m not sure the bucket will hold enough food for her for 5-6 days the way she is eating right now!
    * I made two 20 foot long leads for the dogs to use when we are out at the lake. I already had the snap clips given to me and just bought a long length of rope rather than purchasing the more expensive webbing. In the past when I have needed the “hardware” for making dog collars or leashes, I have purchased $ store pet items and taken them apart.
    * I purchased a rotating spice carousal for our bus at a garage sale however, much to my disappointment, it doesn’t fit ANY of the spice bottles! So instead of donating it, I modified it slightly to hold the small bottles of my craft paint 🙂
    Besides those, it is just the regular – turning things off or just not using electronics, only watering when the garden really needs it, staying out of the stores as much as possible and limiting using the vehicles 🙂

  89. When I did Civil War reenacting, we wrapped the smallest cold pack, or sometimes an ice cube, in our hankie and put in our basket. Dabbing your wrists or face really helped!

  90. When my youngest daughter was 2ish she would wait too long when playing outside so she’d race in, put training panties and shorts in diaper pail, then get clean ones from her drawer and go back out! My husband told her is she was smart enough to do all this, she was smart enough to get in to potty before an accident. He told her the next time that happened she would have to stay inside. She was potty trained in a day!

  91. I had an unexpected expenditure. My AC stopped working and the temperature quickly got into the 90’s inside the house. I had to spend a few days in a motel. However, I had a room with a mini-fridge in it. I was able to bring soft drinks, sandwich makings, and fruit from home so I didn’t have to spend any money eating out. That eased the pain of writing the check for getting the AC fixed.:)

    I found a beautiful vintage flat sheet in a local thrift shop for fifty cents. I’m going to attempt to make a skirt from it. I already had everything else I needed to make the skirt. I hope my 50 cent skirt turns out as well as the beautiful blouse you made for your daughter.

  92. Terri, I hope you’re feeling better these days. Sometimes our hearts and minds are willing but our bodies say heck no! Are you getting a little “me” time on your sweet porch area? Having the Grands around can be a mixed blessing, love them to pieces but can’t keep up!! Take care of yourself and don’t try to do it all yourself. Others may not do it the same way, but it gets done. Blessings.

  93. Athanasia, I can’t speak for anyone else, but my husband and I didn’t have a joint account until several years after we were married. We still have separate personal accounts but also have one for joint household expenses. We did it this way because we were both established in our own lives and habits before we were a couple. When we became a couple, his income was far greater than mine and I ran my own business. We also filed taxes separately for a couple years after we married, as it was more advantageous to us.

    After several years, we decided to partly merge finances. We both had changing work situations with fluctuating income, and it made more sense to use a joint account for household expenses. We still have our own accounts for our personal spending. We have different ideas as to spending/saving, and so this situation works out better for us. We are both pretty independent and opinionated, so it keeps the peace.

    I wouldn’t say either situation is better – it’s whatever works for the people in the relationship. In my first marriage, we had only joint accounts, and that was fine. But I don’t think that would work so well with my current husband (even though I am far happier in this marriage). 🙂

    I have had people tell me things like ‘you aren’t really married unless you have merged all your finances.’ I thought that was the dumbest comment ever. My husband and I get to decide what is best for our marriage, and outsiders don’t get a vote.

  94. Lorna, your sweet potato, carrot and onion soup sounds very good. What did you use for seasoning? Just salt and pepper
    or something else? Did you puree it or leave it chunky?

  95. Linda, thanks for the little stories about your family…I am glad the library was an important part of it. Your brother must have liked to read!

  96. Ann Lee, I know I have never repaired a fence on my own or dealt with cement…I am impressed you tackled those projects.

  97. Becky, now I can get to your website OK. Just don’t know what the glitch was before.

    Camping at the beach sounds so pleasant.

  98. Brandy, an absolute gorgeous photo of your children. You must be very proud. I love having a look at what you do with your week and often think about you. My children have moved out now to attend university yet I think back to the time when they were young and I was at home with them every day. They fondly remember those times and I think what a wonderful foundation that is for children. So greetings and warm thoughts from a very cold ‘Phillip Island’, Victoria, Australia. Home to fairy penguins, migrating whales, wallabies, wombats, birds and the occasional snake! Kind regards Christine (the temperature struggled to reach 5 degrees today), even the dog didn’t want a walk. Xxx

  99. I’ve not posted before so I’ll include a couple things I’ve recently done. First I still had a bag and a half of oranges in my refrigerator I didn’t want to waste. From the outside they didn’t look all that great. I peeled them all. I popped the peels in mason jars with vinegar for myo cleaner. I tossed the fruit into my blender then poured it into ice cube trays. We’ll use these in our smoothies. I made mock jam (using big zucchinis or green tomatoes and jello) several years ago. I made too much. I didn’t want to throw it out but my family didn’t want it either. I found a recipe for myo nutri-grain bars and used the mock jam as the filling. My family loved it. I also had saved the last bits of candle wax and poured it into ice cube trays this winter. This week I melted some of it to freshen the bathroom but also dipped wooded matches in it to make them water proof for our storm kit. I know you all will understand me when I say that I find it exciting to find ways to re-purpose & use things up that I already have at home.

  100. Hi Athanasia and thanks for your kind comments and yes the soup was lovely. We made a huge batch larger than I am listing below which serves 8 people, I always halve the serves through as they always seem small to me as I & DH are active adults and healthy eaters.

    We cooked the carrots, sweet potato and onion soup with low sodium chicken broth added evaporated milk for cream and a little milk to make it half and half, ground cinnamon and nutmeg.

    About 1.5 lbs of peeled sweet potatoes, 1 lb carrots, 1cup chopped onions fried off, 3.5 cups water, 3 cups of less sodium chicken stock, 1/4 cup of half and half (we used half evaporated milk other half milk) ,1/4 tsp ground cinnamon & nutmeg. Garnish fresh flat leaf parley chopped and a swirl of sour cream. If you eat salt and pepper which we don’t as we used high sodium chicken stock, add 1/2 tsp salt ,1/4 tsp of freshly ground black pepper.

    We cooked it with the evaporated milk and milk with spices added, blended it in the blender and added a bit of stock to each batch. We like ours quite thick so didn’t add all of the stock back in. Result a thick yummy soup and yes it tastes better the second and third time around as the cinnamon and nutmeg infuse a stronger taste as well.

    I hope this gives you some more ideas to add to your families menu 🙂 .

  101. Sorry, Athanasia. I do still go to the library. And our local branch is incredibly popular – some days you can’t even get a parking spot, which is what frustrates me. On Sunday the library opens at noon, and there is always a crowd of around 50 people outside waiting to get in.

  102. I also love to watch shows on youtube, especially Lifetime movies! Search for any movies or shows just as you would music and you’ll find tons of good stuff. With an HDMI cable, you can connect it to the TV.

  103. Melissa, I too have had something eating my marigolds, & am not sure what it is. I love your idea of taking apart the pet items for the pieces you need. Great idea, as that stuff can get expensive!

  104. i love seeing the blouse reminds me of thirty yrs ago i made tshirts for our girls with applique on front care bears i also would pick up jeans with broken zippers that were in free boxes at yrd sales i would cut inseams and lay raw sides tog the legs making sure the outside seams were lined up i would take the small pant pattern and pin side seam tog to make it a one pc pattern and would lay so pinned side seam layed lined up on side seam one pr for the younger girl i would slide pattern down to the hem and use the hem the older girl i would use the part above the little pattern that one i would have to hem but you only have to sew inside seam and waist and hem if not on hem this made them look store bought as i utilized those already made side seams.

    i had a bad bought with viral pneumonia April and May flu shot wore off and here in Iowa flu hung on. So i know it will take more time to get back to before. This last week i moved up to the upper level a sewing center i still have sewing room on main level and kept two of my machines set up down there for heavier work and took one sewing machine and the serger i got at a yrd sale for ten dollars upstairs to sewing center. it was a lot of work but wanting to get going on Christmas gifts. I have fibromyalgia so often i will be up at night so this way i can work on level bedroom is on. Yrd sales favorite finds…one yrd sale i found the first three seasons of physic for five dollars all tog my fav funny show right now can get on Netflix but it may not be there some day like they did with monk. I also found a food saver at another for ten dollars this one was black it will be a back up to the one i have now also got at yrd sale for same amt yrs ago it was brand new. i tested it so that was good to find. and i went to a last of the sales thinking hmmm it did not look promising but a lady said we have books 25 cents each there were some gardening books but i looked thru while i waited for my friend and i found three weaving books have never seen any ever before at yd sales i was sooooo happy as i have been trying to learn ever since my sister gifted me with a jack loom it was a kit in 1920’s and she refurbished it for me at the same time i was refurbishing a rug loom i got on mark down then half that price at goodwill. For mother’s day i got a gift card for amazon and craftsy put their loom weaving class on sale so i got it the books were a frugal fun buy so i am learning you can see the loom my sis gave me here the bench seat the woman who had it at the time had it made from her crib we used scrap fabric and wood and made the loom catcher on the front. here you can see me trying to learn but scroll down and you will see the rug loom…hard go teaching myself but i am learning a lot……i am inspired by all of you.

  105. The first few years after we moved to our current house I bought marigolds, only to–within a few days of planting–find them reduced to leafless stems sticking out of the ground 🙁 . I was completely stymied, as I’d always had good luck using them as bug repellent at our previous homes. Finally I caught the critters in the act . . . it was slugs! We live in the woods, so will get slugs in the area when it’s damp, but I grew up in a wooded area and my mom always seemed to have good luck with marigolds. Can’t explain why our slugs love the plants, but I finally gave up trying to grow them.

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