Bird Nest Necklace The Prudent Homemaker

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I finished a necklace that I started for myself a few years ago.

I picked spinach, lettuce, white strawberries, and snow peas from the garden. I pulled radishes from the garden. I picked more lemons from our trees.

I planted seeds in the garden to replace those that didn’t germinate for Armenian cucumbers.

I planted more seeds for basil in the garden.

Strawberry Jam The Prudent Homemaker

I canned 4 pints of strawberry vanilla jam (using reusable lids). I also made 2 quarts of refrigerator pickles from the radishes from the garden.

Pickled Radishes The Prudent Homemaker

I also made 2 quarts of refrigerator pickles from the radishes from the garden.

I returned the hydrangea plants to Lowe’s that I bought last spring for a refund, per their one-year guarantee policy. (They did well for a while and then, despite being in the shade, suddenly died on me last year.) I was thinking that I was done trying hydrangeas.

Hydrangea The Prudent Homemaker

On Friday, I received an unexpected email from the local nursery manager (where I normally buy my plants) that said she had a 5-gallon white hydrangea for me as a Mother’s Day gift! I’ll put it in a pot by the front door, where it will be in full shade, and I’ll try again. 

This wasn’t the only blessing of the week. I entered a blog giveaway at the beginning of the week, and on Saturday I found out that I had won! It’s for a gift card to a home decor website. I’ve been perusing the site to see what I like best and how I can make the gift card go as far as possible.

My husband and I enjoyed a date out, thanks to a gift card that my brother sent me for my birthday. We should be able to go out 2-3 more times from his generous gift.

Apple Branches The Prudent Homemaker

I cut apple branches from the garden and put them in a large bottle to decorate the kitchen counter.

Nasturtiums and Dusty Miller in Milk Bottles The Prudent Homemaker

I cut nasturtiums, dusty miller buds, and lavender from the garden for the kitchen table.

We had some more unexpected rain. Normal rainfall in Las Vegas is 0.1 inches for the entire month of April, so the rainstorms we have had this month have come as quite a surprise (and have set records). There was enough rain on Thursday that I turned the drip irrigation and sprinklers off for the next day, and collected rain in buckets from the corners of the house (it rains so little here that houses are not built with rain gutters). I’ll use the collected rainwater on the potted plants in the garden this week. It rained again on Saturday–a longer, slow and steady rain, allowing me to continue to keep the drip irrigation and sprinklers turned off.

The storms brought cooler weather, which we really enjoyed! We had the windows open whenever it wasn’t too windy in order to cool the house. Being able to keep from running the air conditioners  (something I’ve dad to do some Aprils) is saving me $10 a day in electricity.

Winter modified a pair of flared khakis that she bought last month at the thrift store (for $4) into skinny-legged pants, using a pair of jeans that she liked as a pattern. 

Winter found some free sheet music for the song “Lavender’s Blue” that she printed to practice.

I made yogurt in the crockpot. I cooked a large batch of white beans in the crockpot and froze them to have ready for when the baby is born.

I made green salads from the garden, balsamic orange vinaigrette, lemonadepasta salad and crepes


 What did you do to save money last week?


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  1. My youngest son had his birthday today. I made his birthday breakfast and dinner at home.
    -my lawnmower engine has a leak. My son said it needs a new casket, found the gasket for half price online
    -ate dinners at home everyday
    -husband changed out the light fixtures in the panty and hallway. We purchased LED, they were on sale. We got an additional 10% off using military ID

  2. *Gathered rainwater for the garden from the downspouts during the storm train this week.
    Accepted grass clippings again from my neighbor, to use as mulch in my garden. All 3 tiers of the garden have a light layer of mulch now.

    Moved the glass cloches from the lettuce & spinach out to other areas in the garden to warm the soil for a week before planting more tender crops.

    Cut a handful of rhubarb from the garden & stewed it. Found a new rhubarb recipe that I want to try at Mennonite Girls Can Cook.

    Planted yellow onion sets in the garden & also in the new perimeter bed.

    Pruned the dead wood from the elderberry bushes & cut it into lengths to fit inside an empty #10 can for dry tinder for camping. I also dead-headed the spent grape hyacinths & tulips in the front yard, & cut the blooms from the dandelions in the salad bed.

    Fertilized the fruit trees with the spikes I bought back when they were on sale for a quarter each at the farm store. Cut a one foot section of pole from the wooden “curtain rod” I salvaged a while back (for the “ends”) from the neighbor’s trash, & used the hatchet to sharpen one end. Used a hammer to drive it 6” into the ground, then pulled it out & dropped in the spike, driving the spike in with a light tap of the hammer. Worked much better than using the little plastic caps they sell with the spikes, especially in the rain-soaked ground.

    Continued to pull at least a tree pot full of weeds every day. Some days I only pulled one, but most days I did 2-3 tree pots full. On one of the rainy days, I pulled the rest of the grass, roots & all, out of the mint bed. My mint bed is right beneath a downspout, & the grass pulls out pretty cleanly when the dirt is a soupy mess.

    Set more Lodgestones for the edge of the back perimeter bed, & used a variety of cardboard & more of the free newspapers under the dirt I knocked off the pieces of sod I cut out to lay the base stones. This time I alternated the dirt with layers of free “grounds for gardeners” from our local Starbucks, since I am nearly out of ground leaves. I picked up grounds three times when I was on the other side of town.

    Had to run into town to take some forgotten items to my husband at work one day, so on the way home, I stopped at Home Depot to pick up 4 more Lodgestones. The price was still $1.39 each, instead of $1.68, so I bought 8 of them instead. Now I have 24 stones total yet to set.

    Removed two more of the redwood timbers that used to edge the front of the back perimeter bed, cut them to size, & placed them at the back of the “new” bed, between the fence posts of the new fence there. They make a nice visual “back” to the bed & also help to keep weed seeds from the pasture behind us from blowing thru under the fence.

    Watched “Signing Time” & “Cheese Slices” on UEN.

    I have been looking at yard sales & thrift shops for a child’s tea set for my almost 5 year old granddaughter. I also looked online, where they run $69 for food safe ones. I found a food safe & dishwasher safe strawberry shaped tea set at Current, Inc, for less than $15. It will be her birthday present, sent in late October with a few packets of strawberry-lemonade KoolAid & a few packets of hot cocoa, preferably with mini-marshmallows. I also purchased a set of the wide-mouth pint & half pint jars in the “new” blue Ball, on sale, for use as a Christmas or birthday present for my oldest daughter, who loves them. I shop year-round for the holidays, looking for items the recipients will like, for a reasonable price, I try to be done with the shopping by September or October.

  3. Brandy, would you mind sharing how you made pickles from radishes? Never heard of that!

  4. I put the radishes in the jar and filled it half with white vinegar and half with water, and then just keep them in the fridge. There are more spicy recipes out there if you want something different. I thought about trying one I saw on Pinterest last week, but in the end I just decided to do this again; I did it last year and I really liked them!

  5. What great news on your giveaway win! That is so awesome. Let us know what pretty houseware you end up buying. Also, a few questions about the radishes. How do you serve them and will picky children eat any?

    I continue to stay frugal by looking for deals and using coupons. Last week, I rolled bucks at CVS and got Scope, Ocean Spray juice, and shave gel for less than $3.00 total. Also, at Target I found $0.19 Cover Girl and a cartwheel deal on a mop and bucket. At Rite Aid, I stocked up on free hair care. All of my deals with pics can be found here:

  6. I also shop all year for holidays. Doing this helps me buy things on clearance, sometimes at 90% off. One of the easiest items to repurpose is candy. For instance, I’ll pick up bags of pink M&Ms after Easter and use them for a bridal shower in July.

  7. Hi Brandy and love the necklace you made, congrats on winning the home décor shop competition too how exciting, so wonderful of the manager to give you a lovely large pot of hydrangeas and they will look lovely next to the front door too.

    Fantastic to hear you are having wonderful date nights with your husband with the added bonus it was with a gift card that you got too. It was our turn today as it was by birthday yesterday (counting backwards now :p ), along with our wedding sealing day so we went out for a rare date day treat and got subway and bought it home. We couldn’t go yesterday as it was Sunday.

    Here is our frugal accomplishments for the week –

    Major financial accomplishments for the month of April –
    – We banked 51.74 % of our combined income less tax for our new home purchase.
    – In the bank we now have 6.16 months of our combined income less tax for both an emergency fund and house savings.

    General frugalities –
    – Took advantage of a free listing promotion on Ebay to list 109 of my handcrafted items saving $163.50 on listing fees.

    Craft hobby internet business earnings –
    – Made $8.35 profit from the sale of 2 curtain tiebacks on Etsy.

    Autumn Cleaning –
    – Went through 11 stored bags of winter clothing in the dressing room and sorted out what I had grown out of, what was really old, stained and or torn and threw away. Put summer clothing from the bedroom into bags in there and transferred winter clothing into the drawers in the bedroom to get ready for winter.
    – Sorted stored winter thermal undergarments & any other whites that needed soaking and put them in a pile in the washing basket and then soaked overnight with our handmade soaker and washed them so they are nice & clean & fresh to wear for winter.

    Water preservation –
    – Used all water from the washing machine and shower water to water the lawns around the home.
    – Used all vegetable steaming boiling water and vegetable washing water to water potted herbs on the back stairs.

    In the garden –
    – Picked, washed , cut blanch and froze 1.25 kg of silverbeet , 1 kg of spinach beet, and 1.22 kg of green capsicums from our garden and separated them into portion bags, dated and put in the freezer to stock up on supplies in case we have frosts or hail. It also makes it easier some nights to just pull prepared vegetables from the freezer if my husband is having a severe back pain or lack of mobility issues.
    – Picked silverbeet, spinach beet, carrots, snow peas, beans , capsicums and strawberries for all teas, snacks & vegetable juices.
    – Weeded 2 x 9 x 2 metre & a 10 x 1 metre garden bed in the vegetable garden.
    – Staked & tied tomato plants in the front yard and put more support ties on the capsicum to support them to stringers.
    – Planted an 8 x 1 metre vegetable patch with telephone pea seeds & amended soil with cow and horse manure, homemade garden compost and lime.
    – Planted a 1.5 square metre of garden bed with more beetroot seeds and amended the soil with cow and horse manure, homemade compost and lime.
    – Took seasoned pumpkins from the shed roof to store under the house for use over the winter months.

    Have a wonderfully frugal week one and all 🙂 .

  8. Brandy, I am amazed how much you still do being as pregnant as you are. I have always been impressed and inspired by you.

    This past week to save $ we:
    – Made our own bread, cookies and ate all meals at home.
    – Are fixing our front deck re-using as many of the old boards (that are still good) as possible. Especially the 4x4s which are expensive.
    – Put a load of wash in at night (when electricity is cheapest) and hang to dry outside in the morning.
    – Are attempting to live on 50% of my husband’s income for (about) 2 years. I am a SAHM and we have a dream of owning a property outside of town. This aggressive approach to saving will give us enough to purchase/pay for the property we have in mind.
    – Are tightening our grocery budget and spending only $100 a week for our family of 5. I know we can shrink it even more with some creative planning. Though, living in Canada, I can’t find food prices as cheap as I’ve seen listed in your blog.
    – Are limiting all other spending to only $200 a month. This includes diapers and toiletries. It’s going to be tight, but we’re excited (at least I am!) for the challenge.
    – Are creating a massive garden! I have 16 tomato plants (4 different varieties) I’ve grown from seed waiting to be planted. Celery, pumpkin, watermelon, squash, snow peas, radishes, lettuce, carrots, kale, and rhubarb. Along with heirloom cukes! It will be my first year using heirloom seeds.

    Thank you for inspiring yet again Brandy.
    Wishing you a safe and quick delivery and recovery,

  9. We have two apple trees and two pear trees in our yard. One apple tree is 3 years old. The “top” part of it died and my hubby cut it off, just leaving the “suckers”. It has never produced any flowers. I noticed Friday is has flowers!! Yay! Also One pear tree and the other apple tree has LOTS of flowers 🙂 I am so excited! I hope everything goes well and we get apples and pears this year! 🙂 My grape vines have grown also, although still not producing yet. It looks like one of my blueberry bushes has died also. I’ll give it more time and replace it later if it truly is dead. I had planted some herbs, lettuce, and kale a week ago, however it cooled off again so I am not sure if they will grow. I may have to replant.

    I have stayed home last weekend due to not feeling well. I also pulled a muscle in my back (seriously don’t know who I was reaching for something in the cupboard for my constantly hungry daughter when it happened). I rested all day yesterday.

    I used a coupon to purchase my hubby some razors.

    We ate at home, cooked meals from scratch using food in the pantry and freezers.

    My daughter and I visited my mom. I traded her some K cups I had gotten free for some tea she won’t drink.

    Not frugal: I don’t have health insurance. I lost it last October when I lost my job, the state of Illinois (where we live) says we make to much for me to have insurance but gave it to my daughter, and I can’t afford the $300 a month “Obamacare” insurance wants for the cheapest plan. I had to go to Urgent care last Thursday for an issue that developed suddenly. $200 spent and haven’t even gotten the bill yet. I am grateful, however, that I have the money in savings to pay for it but it still upsets me.

    We had a momma robin build her nest right outside a back window and we have enjoyed watching her and the babies. Our daughter will sit for a half hour at a time and watch. The babies have gotten big quickly.

    Have a great week everyone!

  10. We held a garage sale and made $140. I posted a few things in Ebay that didn’t sell, and I already have one offer. Who knew they hideous porcelain spice jars with pictures of cats on them that belonged to my husband’s aunt were a pricey collector’s item? Good thing we didn’t sell it for $3 like we planned in the sale.

    We are eating out of the pantry this week, so food was only $60.

  11. I just eat them cold from the fridge 🙂 I don’t remember if the children tried them last year. My husband and one son like radishes straight from the garden, but they are a bit spicy for everyone else. I noticed when I pickled them last year that they weren’t nearly as spicy, so I liked them better (plus I loved the crisp crunch!) and the children may like them better, too, but if not, at least my son and I will eat them this way.

  12. We’ve been weeding our very large garden and getting some much needed rain. I was really discouraged by our bathroom floor (tile) and wanted to find another flooring option. My husband took out some bad looking grout and re-grouted parts of it, and I found some good ways to clean grout online. It looks much better and I’m glad he persevered even when I wanted to throw in the towel (no intended!) Also, encouraged by a couple of ladies here in the comments sections I not only added some fabric onto my daughter’s dress, but I also took a dress that was falling apart (at the top) and made it into a little skirt for my daughter. She has worn it a few times and it makes me so happy. I’ve thought for a long time that with seven daughters and shopping second-hand that I’d better start learning more about alterations. I found a beautiful skirt for my 18-year old daughter to wear to a wedding, but I need to figure out how to take it in a wee bit at the waist without ruining the look of the skirt. Thank you to the two ladies who encouraged me a couple of weeks ago. It’s fun to save some of these clothes and even better to save the money and to pay off our mortgage early.

  13. I love your nest necklace, and your clever photo of it. I also won a blog giveaway last week! These will be paper items, which I’ll share once I receive them. I planted many seeds, including nasturtiums last week. We also planted our vegetable starts in the garden, and were discussing planting cucumbers this coming week. There’s not much to harvest yet, except a little bit of asparagus, arugula, kale and herbs. This week, I’ll be able to start picking spinach. I’m glad you’re getting some good rain, to help keep your garden growing. Joining in here:

  14. Let’s see:

    My husband and I visited his parents, who raise free range chickens. We walked away with a free dozen of eggs after our visit, which would have cost us $6 at the store!

    I taught Mr. Picky Pincher how to sew a button back onto his work shirts. He’s becoming quite the tailor!

    We made a few meals from our pantry, including beans.

    We bought a whole chicken, which we plan to use for several different meals throughout the next week.

    I used manufacturer’s coupons I found online and saved $2 on our groceries (hey, it’s something)

    Instead of buying expensive cookies at the store, I made pate de choux dough (not as hard as it sounds) for homemade lemon white chocolate hazelnut éclairs. Yum!

  15. It sounds like the graft may have died on your one apple tree and the suckers are from the root stock – you may or may not get “good” apples from it. Mine makes (LOTS) of plum sized hard apples which aren’t good for anything but maybe cider (going to try that this fall)

  16. Love the hydrangeas – I have lime ones that I am hoping my shrub and tree loving dogs didn’t kill. Every shrub and tree is “pruned” to Great Dane height :/ At least they don’t destroy anything in the house!
    * Hubby and I found a huge roll of automotive vinyl at a white elephant sale for $50 – normally this stuff sells for close to $20 a yard! I am recovering the couch cushions in the vinyl to protect it from dog claws and the occasional puke accident and then using drop cloths to make slip covers.
    * Not entirely frugal but we also found a 60-65 gallon fish tank for a fraction of what they are even selling used – we had all the other things we needed except the gravel. Gravel at the pet store was $17 a bag!!!! Okay, never mind that idea – we went to Lowes and picked up pea gravel for $2.88 a bag instead 🙂 I used my colanders and rinsed it with the hose outside and now we are just waiting for the residual clay to filter out.
    * Found a new to me desk chair that is much better for my back than my old one which had no back support and no padding in the seat.
    * I found a rolling soft sided cooler at a garage sale for $5 and it is like brand new. We wanted a rolling one to use when we go to the big airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin this summer. Bringing our own food and drinks in will save a bundle.
    * Found multiple fleece blankets at garage sales for 75 cents each. There is no stuffing to pull out like a comforter and they don’t rip easily so they make great dog blankets!
    * I found 3 stuffed toys for the dogs as well – Lady just gave them to me. At the same sale I also found a spice rack for our “bus”
    * I found 3 reference books for 25 cents each to keep in the “bus” – Michigan birds, Michigan snakes and Michigan reptiles and amphibians. I already own both an insect ID and a Fish ID book.
    * Sold 3 dozen duck eggs and sold a hen – all of this money has gone into my “greenhouse” cash envelope. My Mom, sister and I head out to the local greenhouses and go out to lunch. We used to do it Mothers day weekend but it’s crazy busy then so we started doing it later in May and during the week. I look forward to this every year!!
    * My Mom was at Greenfield Village in Detroit when they were handing out trees and shrubs for Earth Day (FREE!!) – she got me 2 Service-berry trees – I have wanted one for years. Now I just need to find a good spot for them where they won’t get wacked off by the lawnmower or chewed by the dogs.
    Otherwise, I just did as much cooking at home as I could, hung the bedding on the line to dry (and chased the dogs away from it – they think it’s something to play with!) and used up stuff from the pantry and freezer.

  17. This week was unexpectedly expensive. I had to come up with money for gas to get to the training sessions, an official picture for my ID card, and ingredients so that I could take my lunch. Unfortunately, The Man hurt himself and part of our initial grocery budget went to helping him get better. Fortunately, we were able to find the cash.

    I spent one afternoon out with my mom. We made a visit to the thrift store and she sent me home with a lily for my garden that she got from helping her neighbor dig up her front yard.

    The Man listed a set of tires we don’t need on the local facebook buy and sell. They sold quickly and we spent some of that money on topping up our groceries and he set some aside so that we will have cash on hand for incidentals.

    When I was out with my mom, I picked up a 2 liter jar. These jars are getting harder to find and I like them for storing dry goods in my pantry. I also bought two dozen new canning jar lids. I will use these later this summer or fall for home canned goods. In total, I spent $1.50 in the thrift store on these pantry items. Later in the week, we spent some of the tire money on a case of beans for the pantry.

    Have a good week everyone!

  18. That’s a beautiful necklace. I think my mother in law would love something like that. I might make it for her for Christmas. Strawberry vanilla jam – that sounds amazing. I need to make this.

    I received a promotion at work. The extra money will go to savings and my husband’s Roth. We put our tax return into savings. The toddler and I played outside making “stew” with a bucket, water, and various sticks and flowers and leaves. He was entertained for hours.

    Here are some of my other frugal efforts this past week:

  19. I made bread and prepared freezer biscuits.
    Went to the local “Bent and Dent” store and got enough good quality lunchmeat for three months for $1.79 pound, as well as 4 pounds of cheese-ends for $1.29 a pound. Froze the meat in 1# packages, shredded the cheese ends, stirred them all together, and bagged-up in two cup portions for the freezer.
    At the thrift store I got a set of like-new Kings size sheets, two twin top sheets, a dress, and a swimsuit for $10.00. The twin sheets will be recycled into dresses.
    Pasteurized and froze three gallons of goat milk for “emergencies”–my DD just brought home two baby goats, and although they will be bottle fed with fresh goat milk for another month, I wanted to have it on hand in case we ran short and couldn’t get any for a few days.
    We did eat take out once this week, because we were all too exhausted to cook, but the rest of the week was home-made and from scratch.

  20. We are working on preparing our house for sale and a cross country move next spring and trying to be as frugal doing it. A not frugal step was hiring a professional home stager to give us recommendations for changes. We did gain good ideas from that session and have time to implement them without spending much or buying furnishings we don’t want to move.

    Last week we replaced 25+ year old white plastic patio set on our sun porch with a black metal bistro set from Rite Aid for about $60 since summer furniture is already 50% off. Also bought two matching little end tables to go with existing black outdoor chairs. I also found a solid color table cloth in our linen closet that can be used as a crate cover in place of the striped beach towel. Much more appealing. Found enough leftover paint in the basement to prime a dark feature wall we need to repaint. Future savings on our move by downsizing our book collection drastically and planning to get rid of 3 tall bookshelves. We almost always read library books these days. Usual cooking at home, doing own yard work, etc.

  21. Watch it -some of us love hideous cat themed spice jars! 😀
    I am glad it was worth more on Ebay – I am glad you went the extra effort. Sometimes it is just so easy to stick items in a free box or donate after a yard sale.

  22. The necklace is beautiful! Bit envious of your radishes – mine didn’t germinate this spring. I will try again.
    I switched back to cutting carrots into sticks instead of baby carrots.
    I fixed a semi precious fine jewelry. A link broke on the chain at the closure. I found a near perfect matching link (that could be opened) to attach the chain back to the clasp. I am very happy about this since I haven’t been able to wear this necklace for years.
    I read an interview (historical) magazine article online and there were so many things I wanted to look/research further. I was ready to go buy the magazine – just for that article – until I realized I could just print the article.
    I was given a bunch of modern/funny cards from my friend’s husband (she had recently passed). I will not have to buy a card for any occasion for many years.
    My inlaws are treating the immediate family to a family vacation. Lodging and food is paid for. I am very grateful for this trip to Maine, since the opportunity to visit again would be rather slim. If anyone has suggestions for Portland, Maine I would love to know of thrift stores, trails, cheap but delicious lunching spots.
    My husband & I spent our wedding anniversary moving 5 yards of mulch. He knows me so well. It was our anniversary gift to each other. He moved, I raked it and we didn’t have to dress up – what a wonderful day!
    I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  23. Melissa, we go down for the air show every year. You sound like you are actually paying to go in. We never do that, though my husband will go anytime he is able to get some free tickets over the years. We have friends we visit and we can see the airshow well from their house. Last year we stayed for the night airshow. Are you going to camp on the grounds? They have a huge camp ground.

  24. Hi Brandy,
    I’m just wondering if your strawberry vanilla jam is basically a regular strawberry jam recipe with a little vanilla added.

  25. In the last two weeks I have:
    Crocheted 2 baby afghans as gifts to give along with diapers and wipes.
    Gave my 3 sons haircuts-I have a gift certificate for mine so I will be using that soon. Hubby didn’t need one yet (and says he wants to hang on to whatever hair he has as long as possible!).
    I made eye-makeup remover, body wash, foaming hand soap and fabric softener using some old conditioner I had, mixed with vinegar.
    I received a whole bag of hand-me-down clothes from my boss from her grandson to my son which filled in everything he needed for Summer plus a heavy jacket handed down from my nephew to my son. All clothes were in excellent shape.
    That same son made his First Communion yesterday so we had a party for about 20 people. Including his clothing, I spent less than $75.00 for food etc. Most of the money he received as gifts will be going to his savings account.
    When I was at Wal Mart, I asked the vision center to replace my nose pads. They did, along with readjusting my glasses and cleaning them for me-for free-and I didn’t even buy them there.
    We painted one bedroom that 2 of the boys sleep in completely white including walls, baseboards and ceiling. It needed painting and we had a lot of white paint, so that is what we used and it looks great. My husband and the kids did the work themselves. They also painted the master bedroom ceiling and touched up the walls where needed with leftover paint in the original color that we had saved.
    We did our own yard work including mowing, edging, pulling weeds, trimming bushes etc.
    We decided not to grow anything in our raised beds this year because the wooden frames are falling apart and we cannot afford new ones along with the gardening soil needed to fill them. I have some seeds from last year that we will try to plant in containers on the back patio. We need to replace the outdoor carpet on the front porch and add mulch where needed so that is where our money will be going instead.
    I made some homemade fajita seasoning. We continued Spring cleaning and de-cluttering, giving away three bags of clothes and one box of misc. items. Next room is the kitchen. The basement is after that and we will be done.
    We ate all meals at home and took lunches to work. We made iced tea from tea bags to drink.
    Congratulations on the new baby and I pray everything will go well for you.

  26. Marivene, was it the rhubarb meringue dessert on MGCC? We made that Saturday to take to church meal yesterday. It was good. I added a bit of nutmeg. I like nutmeg with rhubarb. We used last years frozen rhubarb, I was out but my daughter still had some in her freezer. We enlarged the recipe by half and baked in an 8×8 and 9×13 pans. We had the smaller pan for ourselves Saturday night. They said the 9×13 serves 12 but we cut the pieces smaller as people like to sample more than one dessert.

  27. Just love your post and reading others ideas too on your site! We unexpectedly committed a frugal act without even knowing it! We had been doctoring along our 13 year old washing machine and have had an appliance repair man fix it twice plus various repairs my husband had made and it was time to purchase a new one. We had replaced the dryer over a year ago with an inexpensive basic model Maytag. I said I just wanted the same basic model washing machine that would match the dryer, which is what we bought. We bought both appliances on sale and also received an additional 5% off. The salesman had mentioned that all the new machines use less water now, but I didn’t think much about it when he said it. When I went to do my first load of wash, I peaked in to just make sure everything was going all right and saw that there was hardly any water in the washer, you couldn’t set the water level because there were no knobs for that, which I had asked the salesman about and he assured me that the washer “sensed” how many clothes were in the washer and adjusted the water level accordingly. I thought there was something wrong with our washer and got out the owner’s manual and read it, which reassured me that everything was right. Come to find out, the washer only uses one quarter of the water of what the old traditional washers used. Then I noticed the letters HE on my washer and realized we had bought an HE washer. The clothes get really clean and are rung out better so they don’t take as long to dry. I love my new washer and am looking forward to seeing my next water bill!

  28. Yes, they use much less water! It’s one of the reasons I was happy to get a front-loader years ago, as our water usage is tiered on our bill. It spins my clothes so dry, too, that they are dry in almost the same time as it takes to wash a load.

  29. Athanasia, yes it was. I tried it on Sunday, but since we have to bake gluten free here, the crust was a flop. The filling was good, but meringue is not a huge favorite here either. We do like clafoutis, tho, & considering that with the eggs, milk & a little flour & sugar for the filling, it pretty much WAS a fruit custard with a meringue top, I think we will just stick with those. No crust = no gluten-free issues.

  30. What a beautiful necklace you made for yourself, Brandy! It as also very kind of your garden center to gift you with a hydrangea plant for free. Was this something they were doing for all their loyal customers? Congrats on winning the gift card as well.

    This week’s frugal accomplishments are as follow:

    *Attended a mandatory training session for my upcoming seasonal job. We were treated to morning snacks as well as lunch for free (plus we are paid for the session). We used some ribbon to demonstrate the length that someone is to stand away from an entrance when smoking and I brought the 9m of ribbon home to reuse for gifts. I also won a brand new insulated travel mug!

    *My daughter had her teeth cleaned for free through her disability coverage. She has thankfully received my good genetics when it comes to her teeth…one of the few good genetic traits I possess! She’s not fond of the dentist, but was brave and did very well. She received a free tooth brush and was treated to a free cup of hot chocolate afterwards.

    *Signed up for my daughter and 2 adults to go see a free showing of Finding Dory at the movie theatre in June, through Autism Ontario (sensory friendly showing = volume turned down and lights are dimmed but not turned off). We’ll figure out which 2 adult can go closer to the time.

    *Made 2 batches of chocolate chip cookies for the treat trays we have been commissioned to make (recipe link: I anticipate there will be leftovers for us to eat later. I also baked a double batch of chocolate zucchini muffins (recipe link: to use in lunches, using up some of the grated zucchini in the freezer from 2014. I wrapped each muffin individually, placed them in a container and froze them so they are easy to add to lunches in the morning.

    *Meals made at home this week included tacos, turkey pot pies, pasta with red or white sauce, chocolate chip pancakes with sausage (made lots of extra pancakes to freeze for my daughter’s breakfast), grilled cheese sandwiches, and chicken souvlaki with rice and Greek salad.

    *One of our grocery stores had a really great sale. I bought 4 pineapples for $2 each (I will be dehydrating all of it because it’s just like eating healthy gummy candy that way), 4 bottles of BBQ sauce for $1 each, 4 bottles of Diana BBQ sauce for $2 each (we use this on meat balls in the crock pot), 10 Pillsbury crescent roll containers for $1 each (we make ham and cheese roll ups with these), a jumbo sized package of sliced & seasoned cooked turkey sandwich meat “ends” for $4 (repackaged into smaller packs and put over half in freezer for later use), 4 packages of breakfast sausages for $2 each, and 4 packages of English muffins for $1/pack of 6 just to name a few of the deals!

    *Dehydrated 2 of the pineapples and made a batch of cherry/applesauce fruit leather. I prepared the pureed fruit the day before and put it in the fridge so it was ready to go early morning. Unfortunately, the puree gelled up (I think it may have to do with the high amount of natural pectin in the 2 fruits I blended together) and the leather didn’t turn out clumpy. It still tasted good, though, so we’ll still eat it.

    *My daughter, along with several other kids, participated in a robotics competition through her school. It was so much fun to watch and didn’t cost us anything for her to be involved!

    *Attended a “meet & greet” for volunteers and seasonal staff at the museum I work at. There was free food and drinks for those in attendance and I won a door prize! I picked a little military tank key chain that my husband really like and gave it to him. My husband also ate enough that he didn’t want dinner that night, so I made a very simple meal for the rest of us.

    I so enjoy reading everyone’s comments every week. Thank you all for the frugal inspiration. Have a wonderful week everyone!

  31. It was just for me! I think she felt bad that she couldn’t get my special orders in after being told that she could order them through their distributors (but then they never made them available to order for her!) That wasn’t her fault and I told her not to worry about it after she emailed me to tell me that they couldn’t get them after all.

    I should specify, too–she’s like the manager over the managers of all the local stores and is in charge of ordering for all the stores. She was the manager of our local store over a decade ago and when I ran into her in February she remembered me AND what I was growing at my old house 13 years ago!

    I do share quite a bit about their store locally when I speak, on Facebook when they have coupons (which is often in the spring), and I’ve mentioned them here on my site. They have the lowest prices I’ve seen locally, and great service, so I’m happy to promote them. Since I sent this woman the link to see my garden pictures on the site, she knows that now, too 🙂

    Her email was a total surprise! She just emailed me to tell me she had this hydrangea for me to try out as a Mother’s Day gift. She’s just a really nice person.

  32. We had a good week. My granddaughter moved to a new apartment. She had young strong guys to help her move but yesterday we went over and spent about 4-5 hours helping to remove things from boxes while she put them away. My husband set up her new ironing board and I gave her lesson 1 in ironing! I can’t believe my daughter didn’t teach her some ironing skills. From about age 11 on, that was one of our summer chores–doing our own ironing. Mom did it for us during the school year just to save time. In her kitchen, there is a big but shallow cabinet which can be used to store spices and her fairly large collection of olive oils and vinegars. (A friend of her’s has parents who own the business and always brings gifts when he visits.) The moveable shelves were a little bendy for bigger bottles, so my husband brought one home for a pattern and today cut out 9 more shelves for her from scrap plywood. They are quite a bit stiffer, and as soon as she decides how she wants them finished, he will do that and her mother can take them to her when she goes to help later this week. We had a good time talking to her and getting work done at the same time. It’s a lot of work to move even a one person household. Her mother helped her two or three days last week–the old place was an hour’s drive, the new one is about 42 minutes–although it’s all expressways and therefore a boring drive.) She chose an apartment in a beautiful old Victorian house–honestly, the details inside are lovely. She will love living there once she gets things settled. She sold a lot of things and still has too many, in my opinion. She will need a few new pieces too, and will be checking thrifts and Craigslist. Kitchen is smaller so she may want to buy a china cabinet to hold wine glasses and platters and vases in the dining room. She needs the space in the kitchen for essentials.

    My week was spent mostly doing inside things, which included a pie, several meals, and a lot of paper-sorting: getting rid of old tax returns from the attic. Shredded bags and bags of papers with identifying numbers on them. The pile is getting smaller but there are still some left to do. Mended a couple things, too. Hoping to continue along these lines during this week as well.

  33. That necklace is beautiful and I am going to have to try pickling some radishes — I have never heard of doing that before.
    We had snow and frozen rain all week, so most of my garden work involved covering and uncovering things to keep them from freezing. I planted more lettuce, carrots, and some broccoli seeds — today I see the lettuce and broccoli are up. I also have sweet peas coming up. I planted strawberries in the greenhouse and two of my tomatoes in there are already blooming. I planted 84 sweet yellow onion sets in the front flowerbed. I have to grow most crops in the fenced back yard to keep the deer from eating everything, but they won’t eat onions, so my flower bed is now lined with onions.
    I had to make a long drive one day and packed my lunch rather than stop and buy anything on the way.
    A friend gave me seeds to plant strawberry popcorn and I am looking forward to trying that out this year.
    I made a card for my MIL for mother’s day. I turned in some survey points for a $25 Amazon GC to give her and made her a bracelet similar to one she admired that I was wearing.
    I made a menu plan for three weeks worth of meals utilizing food I have on hand. (I, too, am trying to pay some medical bills so trying to save wherever I can.)
    The only thing I have in the garden that is big enough to eat is collard greens, but we are enjoying them as often as possible.

  34. Yes, we will be camping but leaving our 3 dogs at home. I am uncomfortable leaving them in the “bus” when we’d go to the airshow – too many what ifs could take place so they will stay in the kennel where I work for the week. We have been tho this once before. My hubby has a pilot license but hasn’t flown in years (diabetes and the cost per hour to take a plane out). This is not “my thing” but I am going for him. I do LOVE to watch the military planes – gets me every time I see the missing man flights go over. It will be a very expensive vacation (unless we get perks for volunteering which hubby is looking into) but hubby has diabetes complications with his feet (pretty bad nueropathy) and who knows how much longer we’d be able to do this type of trip.

  35. This past week, we were able to move more firewood over to my sister’s house, along with a load of outside items like tillers, hoses, etc. It is saving us a lot of money to store whatever we can over there during our time of transition. We worked on the garden that we are sharing over there, and have plans to work on it more this Saturday.

    I was able to do quite a bit of cooking at home, and kept targeting the food storage items I want to use up before we move.

    I was able to get some clothes for Patsy, mostly, since she is absolutely bursting out of hers all of a sudden. I hit good sales, bought very sparingly, and now she has 1 pair of shorts that fit, another pair of clearance jeans that fit ($7.47/pair) that I MIGHT turn into shorts, and a few tops, a skirt, a dress, and some leggings. I was pleased with the sales I got. I got J a few things, but she really didn’t need much, but was glad for her help sorting through all of the clearance items, looking for Patsy, who still needs more. I want to go to a garage sale, but have not found one I can attend that has what I need so far.

    Last week was my last week of work for a while. My piano students showered me with gifts, cards, flowers, $, etc. It was so nice of them. There were a lot of tears and hugs, ending with a great recital on Friday night.

    I did a few more things, too, which are on my blog.

  36. What a nice surprise! Can you please tell me where you get your reusable canning lids? Thank you:)

  37. I’m glad you posted the recipe..I had never heard of this either and have planted radish in our garden 🙂

  38. My frugal accomplishments:

    I went to CVS and got the free 2-pack of toothpaste, 2 free ocean spray drinks, and the 50cent shampoo and conditioner. I rolled over bucks and split the orders.

    Time got away from me, so I sent my son a Dominos e-card so he can order pizza during finals. It saved me from having to buy a card (or make one) and postage.

    I picked 3 small bowls of black raspberries in the garden with lots more still to ripen on the bush. I added them to a container in the freezer. I’m saving them up to make a cobbler.

    I completed a Pinecone survey.

    I combined errands, stopped in to check on my father’s house, went to the bank, then to the mall. I had a reward for a free pretzel for National Pretzel Day. I brought one of the free ocean spray drinks from CVS with me so I wouldn’t have to purchase a drink). I also had a $10 Victoria Secret coupon for my birthday (I spent 54cents OOP on a pair of cotton panties), and a $10 coupon from JCPenneys. They were handing out coupons when I got to JCP so I got a second $10 coupon. I bought 4 shirts (2 for work and 2 casual) for $12 OOP. I was trying to minimize what I spent at JCP but also wanted to get things I needed, so I’m happy with what I purchased.

    My father’s house was listed on Friday and over the weekend received several offers for above asking. SO GRATEFUL! I started making a list and prioritizing about what to do with the money as I want to spend it carefully.

    Have a great week!

  39. Marivene, when you say you watched signing time on UEN was it through the tv or was there a video streamed of it via their website? I love your thoughtful gift for your granddaughter.
    Brandy…. that Necklace is just beautiful!

  40. Happy Anniversary!! It sounds like a wonderful day – We celebrate the same way you do!

  41. UEN is the Utah Education network, which is channel 9 on our TV. I try to watch it every week, but it comes on at 3:30pm on Mondays, which is often just not possible. I believe it is available for purchase as videos, but I have not done that, since watching it on TV is free, & the videos are not. I am just trying to expand my sign vocabulary, which is pitifully small, so I can use it more, since at this point, I just communicate at a baby/toddler level… milk, juice, treats, more, please, thank you, etc.

    I have two grandchildren, ages 9 & 11 for whom sign was their “first language”. Their tonsils were overgrown & put pressure on their ears, & they could not hear well – – and thus did not speak much. The physicians would not remove the tonsils until the children were 2 (which still seems stupid to me.) Their mother taught them sign language so they could communicate their needs/wants without being frustrated until they could hear well enough to learn to talk. Both of them remember quite a lot. In fact, one was having great difficulty spelling in school until her mom start having her “spell” the words in sign to practice them; dramatic improvement very quickly. I have another granddaughter, nearly 8 months, who is learning sign language at her day care, as part of the curriculum.

  42. Melissa V, quite a few apple trees are grafted onto crabapple root stock. Have you tried making crabapple jelly with your hard little apples? You just simmer the apples in water until soft, then strain out the liquid, & proceed to make the jelly. The taste is quite mild, & crabapples are high in pectin. I have 2 crabapple trees, & combine the simmered juice with many low-pectin fruits to make jelly with just the juice & sugar. I particularly like crabapple/elderberry jelly.

  43. Congratulations Debbie on the great result after your hard work on getting your father’s house in order and listed on the market. You must have done a wonderful job going by many people offering over the asking price 🙂 .

    Great OOP on buying underwear and work shirts too, you deserve it and good to be able to spoil yourself a little. We all need to do that occasionally.

  44. The “stew” sounds a lot like my daughter’s “Chigwood Soup” recipe, made when we first moved here and she was 3 1/2 years old. (The “Chig” part comes from discussing why one should not sit on the grass without some bug spray applied 😉 )

  45. All of my grand-nieces and grand-nephews have been taught to sign as toddlers. None of them have hearing impairments. The sign language was used to communicate with the as-yet verbal toddlers. The signing helped alleviate some of the toddler’s frustrations at not being able to speak. They were taught how to sign yes, no, please, thank-you, thirsty, more (as in ‘more please’ to say when they wanted more to eat) and ‘all done’ (to communicate when they were done eating). I was really surprised how easily they learned and how useful it was.

  46. SJ, that is why it is part of the curriculum at the almost 8 month old’s school/ daycare. I find it very useful. One of my favorite uses when raising my own children, was the ability to tell them clearly, without saying a word, to “stop it right now” while we were in church, or at a concert, etc.

  47. I haven’t tried that – if the tree doesn’t get taken down first that may be another use for them – Thank you! It was supposed to be a dwarf Gala – it is a standard since it is at least 20-25 feet tall and we got I believe one year of actual Gala apples before the graft died and we started to get what my Dad calls horse apples (and yeah – I know that can mean poop too LOL)

  48. Mandy,

    Have you tried adding “blueberry food” to your blueberry bush? I am determined to grow blueberries and lost my first bush last year not realizing that they really like acid in the soil. My new bush this year started turning brown and looked like it was dying. I ordered a blueberry acid mix fertilizer from Amazon and the bush literally came back to life in a few days.

    Good luck with your apple and pear trees! Very jealous 🙂

  49. On the frugal side, it was time for hair coloring. I used to go to a salon and between haircuts and color, I estimate I spent $1,100 on hair a year!!!! And it wasn’t even that charming. So I started coloring it at home each month and getting $8 haircuts and it looks exactly the same as the salon. So for anyone who hasn’t tried hair coloring at home, it is possible and not hard to do. Get a friend to help the first time…that reduces the stress. I asked my husband to help 🙁 All he did was complain about the chemical smells and the chemicals themselves surely weren’t good for me and I should just not color my hair and go gray. sigh. So he was fired as the color assistant.

    Also last week, ate all but two meals at home, cooked quite a few double meals (so the extra portion gets separated and frozen immediately), cooked a batch of kidney beans for the freezer, made bread and did a freezer inventory to help plan this week’s meals. This blog is great inspiration…early last week I was not very enthusiastic, I meandered over to this blog and read through Monday’s entries and it changed my attitude the whole week. Brandy thank you again, as well as thanks to all the contributors.

  50. Hilogene – I totally agree about hair coloring. I’ve been going gray since 16. I think twice I paid for a professional color and it didn’t last any longer than Nice and Easy, took more time (I am not good at sitting still) and was very expensive. I wear one of my husbands old worn out button down shirts when I do it. That way if I drip (which I have) it doesn’t ruin my good clothes. That and an old shower cap (since I can’t sit still).

  51. Hilogene and Jenifer, the hair issue is an interesting one . I recently decided to let my blonde colored hair grow out. There is probably quite a bit of white underneath so I don’t think it looks too funny. Actually I think the white silvery stuff looks kind of shiny. I went to a beauty school for my last haircut. Twelve dollars for shampoo, condition, cut, and blow-dry. The problem occurred when the instructor came over to check it out at the end. She was really confrontational about why I quit coloring my hair. I mean she demanded to know why! I just told her I was tired of coloring it.

    We just got back from California to visit relatives so I haven’the done too many frugal things. I did start an herb garden on my patio. I was, once again , visiting the dumpster room at our condo complex. As I was tossing our garbage, a couple came in and asked if I wanted a large box of food, as they were moving to another state. Of course I said yes. I got a huge box of Costco stuff, like organic diced tomatoes, cans of tuna, chicken breast, etc. Quite a wonderful gift.

    I wish we had an Aldi store near us. We do have a Trader Joes. Did you know that they are owned by the same German company? One thing that I think is great is that I read that they are one of the top stores for treating their employees well. At Trader Joes you do have to be careful not to buy too many treats.

    When we were visiting San Francisco, I did notice something rather nice in the Mission district. People neatly pile the things they don’t want against the sidewalk for others to take. I saw a cute wood table, a stack of nicely folder women’s clothing, and quite a few kitchen items. I thought it was such a good way to share.

    Well Brandy, I bet your children are so incredibly excited about having a new baby. Take care.

  52. Melissa, I hope they can find your husband a desk volunteer job…signing in at the campsites…first aid or water tent maybe?? Does he have a disabled car tag to help with parking? Though there are lots of shuttles to catch to move you around from place to place.

  53. Hilogene, thank you so much for the laugh today. I thought your comment about your husband was so funny, I read it to my mom! I can so relate…my husband would have reacted the exact same way as yours. Honestly, I wouldn’t have even bothered to as him. It’s just not worth the stress!!!

  54. I was glad when my hair finally went all grey. Cheaper, easier to care for, my hair is in better condition and there is one less chore for me to keep track of. I wish I had stopped dying my hair earlier but I went quite grey early in my 30s and for a while I listened to a hair dresser who shamed me about “looking old.” Then I realized that of course she wanted me to dye my hair—more money for her! And dyed hair did not make me look younger—unless I wore it combed over my face to hide the wrinkles! I have saved a lot of money over the years since I stopped dying my hair. Effortless frugality.

  55. Thanks for your encouraging little note. I laughed when you wrote that the only time you looked younger was when your hair covered your face. I can relate.

  56. Just an fyi marivene… Dollar Tree sell. Cocoa in a group of packts at their store. It might b seasonal tho…not sure. Great gift for your grandaughter.

  57. “And dyed hair did not make me look younger—unless I wore it combed over my face to hide the wrinkles!” Thanks for my laugh of the day……and for making me laugh at myself for thinking hair dye could turn back the hands of Time! LOL!

  58. He is still moving around pretty well at this point – he takes a pharmacy full of pills and injections 2x a day now. He is not yet to the point where he needs a handicap sticker. I just know that in the future he may lose parts of his feet if the nueropathy continues to worsen. He already heals very slowly and occasionally gets the ulcers on his lower legs. I don’t want to wait until there is more money (cause we’d be waiting forever) and then him miss out on something he so wants to experience. We also hope to get to the Wizarding World as well while he is still in decent health but that will have to be next year (maybe – wow is THAT expensive!!!)

  59. I have rather long hair for “my age” (48 and hair is past my bra strap) and I told my husband that he just had to deal with it – I was done coloring it – I am no longer young and grey is just a natural part of aging. I only colored it a few times and the last time just did not take. It has turned white around my face and is peppered and streaked through out the rest of my blonde hair. I do have a line about 3 inches up from the ends where the last bit of colored hair remains. I’ll get that cut off when I get the ends trimmed (which is only once a year 🙂 ) My Mom started going grey at 18 and I never knew her w/o the grey. When we needed to find her in a crowd she was always easy to spot 🙂 She tried coloring hers once and it ended badly hehe and she never did it again so I have had a good role model for letting nature take it’s course when it comes to aging.

  60. Elisa,

    I use a shampoo that takes away the brassy color of my gray. I was using a shampoo from online but now use Clairol Shimmering Lights. I get it at Walgreens. It is a purple bottle. It helps bring lut the lovely silver color of my hair and my husband adores how it looks. I colored my hair once when I was 17 and said never again so I learned to embrace my natural hair. Besides, silver hair is a sign of wisdom and glory:-)

  61. Does it work on blondes going grey or just darker hair going grey?? I find the brassiness is bad in the winter but once I get out in the sun a few times it loses that coloring.

  62. Thanks, Brandy! What type of radishes? They appear to be like the long Daikon (white) ones. I am going to try this because I can never eat all the radishes before they ruin.

  63. Hilogene, I read once that the average price spent on hair per year was $700. $1100 is even worse! Our hair care involves nothing more than some shampoo and conditioner, combs and/or brushes, hair elastics and good strong bobby pins. My hair when down reaches tip of my tailbone. My three daughters have hair just as long and longer. I think you are being sensible and frugal.

  64. I forgot all about it but my oldest girl made pickled radishes last year but they were just the globe radishes sliced. It was more of a relish, for putting on sandwiches. Our jar is long gone…they were just a refrigerator pickle, not canned. I think she got the recipe off the internet or magazine…she is more willing to try internet recipes than I am. I never have much luck. I will have to remind her to make them again

  65. Melissa , I pray your husband can maintain reasonable health for a good many more years. And very good not to leave animals in the camper…the noise can be very loud, the ground shakes. I think it is the Harrier that can be heard over the whole town. Then of course sometimes there are re-creations of battles with booming noises. Lot of people leave town and rent out their houses. Years and years ago we watched the Concorde come in and take off. For some thousand $$ or so you could take an hour ride up over Canada and back. Though they could not go super sonic over the continent.

  66. Ironing was always my favorite chore, growing up. It was relaxing and you could daydream a lot. Now we iron so much less, what with wash and wear. My grandma wanted everything ironed, even her aprons plus all the sheets and pillowcases.

  67. Becky, did you find a house yet? Will you start up with the same students in Fall or will you need to find all new students due to the move??

  68. Re saving water: We try and use grey water: I wash fruit and vegetables in a bowl and reuse the water in the garden. Same with the rinsing water from sprouts.
    The children and I shower in the (plugged!) bathtub using natural soap. The grey water gets caught and either scooped directly into watering cans or into a rain bucket (water butt). You may need to use a bit of disinfectant (Eau de Javel, 1/2 teaspoon per bucket) to prevent it from stagnating. Oh, and you also may need to shower at different times of the day.

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