The Lily and the Bee The Prudent Homemaker


Note: I ordered a new camera,  Many thanks to those of you who have made purchases at Amazon through my links; I was able to pay for a third of my camera with affiliate credit saved up over time. For those of you who said you were sure I would get a deal–I did. For the same price as just a camera body, Amazon offered the option of a free camera bag that will fit 3 lenses and a free 32 GB SD card, so I chose that option. The pictures in this post were taken with my new camera. I know this site wouldn’t be the same without pictures! I’m excited to be able to take some shots I couldn’t take before, thanks to the the higher ISO.


Thank you to all of you who shared your favorite free online language programs. I spent some time using Duolingo last week to review French. I am loving the tips that they include with the review lessons; those have been very helpful.

I attacked the mending pile. I mended 5 dresses, a pair of pajama pants, and a jumper.

I cut apple branches from the garden for an arrangement on my entry table.

Mission Figs 2 The Prudent Homemaker

I picked figs from my Mission fig tree. This is the second crop from this tree this year. I love that Mission figs crop twice a year. The second crop is always much larger than the first.

I cut Swiss chard, green onions, chives, thyme, and red peppers from the garden.

I made popsicles several times.

My husband cut my hair. He also cut both boys’ hair.

I watched an episode of Poldark on

I collected lettuce seeds from the garden. I’m really glad I switched to all open-pollinated seeds. The lettuce section in the gardening catalogs is the most tempting to me; now I have plenty of seeds!

What did you do last week to save money?

Note: This post contains an affiliate link. 

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  1. Brandy, Something was wrong with your site earlier if this is a repeat comment please forgive.

    I wish I could see your garden but Michigan is just too far away. I would love to see the layout of your fruit trees. My husband doesn’t like too much in his way when he mows the lawn so I would love some tips!

    Our garden produce is coming in -zucchini’s were enormous when we came back from vacation.

  2. Congratulations on the new camera! As always, your pictures are beautiful!
    Last week I didn’t do anything new, just the usual. I had a very bad day Friday night at work and it took a lot out of me (the stress). I didn’t sleep well Friday night and suffered Saturday because of it. I did manage to do a few things though.

    I harvested LOTS of zucchini and yellow squash, basil. My tomato plants have lots of flowers, finally! I have lots more green onions to harvest as well. I saved green onion seeds and some of my lettuce has bolted, I am just waiting for the flowers to go to seed.

    I made coconut milk, coconut butter with the leftover pulp (we’ll see how that tastes), soup using spiraled zucchini and yellow squash, carrots, leftover beans from the freezer.

    We didn’t go anywhere last week other than to the grocery store. I spent $40 at Aldi for food.

    Both of our vehicles need extensive repairs. We are looking into a hybrid vehicle because we have to have a reliable vehicle. I don’t know if purchasing a new to us vehicle will work out. If not we will continue to limp along with the vehicles we have. A hybrid would save us tons of money on gas.

    I washed and hung the sheets outside. I used the dryer for the clothes on Saturday because of the rain.

    I did not order lunch with my coworkers as usual. All meals were cooked from scratch and eaten at home.

    I saved water from glasses, rinsing veggies, etc and used it I the garden. I dumped my coffee grounds around my tomato plants several times.

    Have a great week everyone!

  3. Hello Brandy,so pleased you were able to find a good deal on your camera! Yes the photos are a real treat indeed!

    What is that insect pictured in the Day Lily – is it a black Bee?

    Also, Brandy, will you be preparing a post in relation to the post a few weeks ago, when you expressed urgency in the need to stock up our pantries? I think the need related to World events and food shortages etc. I know many of your readers are also keenly waiting.

    Blessings to you and your family.

  4. I found some great deals shopping. Peanut butter for 99 cents, chicken leg quarters for 39 cents a pound, and bags of sugar for 99 cents. I took the opportunity to stock up as much as I could.

    I started my job last week and took my lunch all but two days. I forgot on those two days. My oldest daughter did all the cooking at home this week. I’m paying her a little bit because it’s such a big responsibility and she did a really good job. I’m glad she’ll have these skills when she leaves my home in a few years.

    I decided to use some unforeseen money to stock up and fill up some holes in my pantry. I bought sugar, bread flour, all purpose flour, and fruit. I also bought some garden seeds. I’m hoping to do some more when I get paid.

    Hope everyone has a great week.

  5. I am always in awe of your fruit! We are only allowed to plant a vegetable garden…no berries or fruit trees are allowed with our HOA. With that being said, we were low of fruit so I had to look for some sales. The best deal I could find were peaches for $.49 a pound at Harris Teeter. So, I bought a bunch of those. Also, I had remembered that I had a Trader Joe’s gift card that had $11 left on it. I don’t go there because it’s too pricey but someone had gifted me the card and I went a long time ago. I finished off the gift card with some bananas, $.19 each, baby carrots, onions, and pasta $.99 pound for some odd shapes we don’t normally buy. Thought that would be fun. Paid a few cents out of pocket and went over, I didn’t want the urge to go back over a small amount of money.

    I made your peach popsicles! Yum! There are only three of us so I only had six pops. Your recipe filled way more than that. While we were making it my daughter said, “I have Dixie Cups we can fill the rest in.” I have no clue where they came from but she had them. We made impromptu popsicles with craft sticks and Dixie Cups for the rest of the filling.

    Picked lots of poblano peppers, green peppers, tomatoes (these are in abundance – I’m in the South), Zinnias and Roses for the house.

    A frugal plus with a frugal faux pas….a person from my husbands work gave us two tickets to see a Broadway show in our neighboring city…Annie. My daughter and I went and had a great time. On the way out though in the parking garage, I nudged another car….a luxury car. I didn’t even notice it at first it was so light but some not so nice women flagged me down. I waited for the owner and she rejected my insurance but she has my number and we’ll comply. We will have to come up with that money should she call me back. 🙁 I don’t drive a lot…especially in major cities. I think I’m going to stick to our small town suburb for awhile. 🙂

    I finished up some paperwork for my seasonal job. I live near a large amusement park and they do a Halloween scare festival for 6 weeks in the fall. I do mending, small alterations, etc. in the costuming department from August through November. I get to work with young people plus have a blast while making some decent extra cash. This is my third year. The main work is during the festival on Friday and Saturday nights so this doesn’t interfere with my husbands work schedule to take care of our daughter.

    That’s about it. Thanks for this blog. It keeps me going!

  6. I also love open-pollinated seeds. A friend gave me “Red Heirloom French” lettuce seeds which I believe are a variety known as “Merveille des Quatre Saisons”. They grow well in our hot, humid climate and are beautiful in the garden. They produce a mild tasting, delicate leaf. Have you tried them?

    I enjoy your blog and pictures. Glad you found a new camera!

  7. My zucchini is going crazy! Last week, I made 4 loaves of zucchini bread, cheesy zucchini soup, foccocia bread with zucchini on top, stir fry, and grated up a bunch for the freezer. I finally gave up the battle and gave several bowls of cut up zucchini to the chickens, along with lettuce that is bolting and other scraps. I have since picked more, which is in the fridge and there are many more forming! Wow!

    I still have one row of lettuce that is good–not bitter or bolting from our extreme (for us) temperatures. I picked a lot and we had salad many times and I made a salad for a friend with 8 in their family. I finally got some new lettuce to come up–it took 3 tries. Lettuce doesn’t like the heat and it’s been hard to keep things wet enough because it’s so hot.

    I have been getting strawberries, raspberries and boisen and thornless blackberries every few days. I’ve been letting the family eat what they want and then freezing the rest. I also cut out a bunch more wild blackberry vines from around the berries I want–they are trying to take over–no fun at all!

    There have been a few snow peas, but they don’t like the heat, either. I am on my 3rd small planting of them, but each planting is only yielding me a few handfuls, then dying. The plantings are only a few feet of row, each, though. I’ve been stir-frying them with butter and garlic–yum!

    Our garden is in 3 parts–the berries, the area that we till and plant in traditional row crops, and the raised beds. One of the raised beds had early peas in it and was ready to be renewed. We did that this week. It was cleaned out, new compost was added, and my husband tilled it with the tiny tiller. I planted crops for fall in there–more snow peas, a few green beans for fresh eating, more lettuce, some carrots, a few snap peas around 2 tall tomato cages for climbing, some leeks and some chard. I’ve ran a sprinkler daily during the afternoon to dampen the soil so they will hopefully sprout, and to also cool the air around the nearby green bean patch. They are loaded with blooms and will drop their blossoms when it gets into the upper 90’s if something is not done. The weather is supposed to moderate into the 80’s now, so hopefully it was enough to save the crop. I hope to be canning beans by next week.

    I’ve been doing a little sewing between gardening. I made a skirt for my granddaughter and have another one 1/2 done. I’ve also been helping her sew on her fair projects.

    My husband cooked the last turkey from the freezer on his Traeger barbeque. He raised them last fall. There are 5 more in the barn growing now, and another batch of babies arriving at the farm store for him tomorrow. It’s his latest “project.” I made broth and canned it. I got 7 pints and 3 spaghetti jars (not quite a quart). We had turkey salad, cold turkey, hot turkey–etc. Our meals have been simple as it’s been so hot–tacos, salads, etc. We eat/drink a LOT of smoothies this time of year with frozen berries in them. I did do home-baked fish sticks one night and my granddaughter made chicken strips with help. Last night I made breakfast for dinner. I made a large crock-pot of refried beans.

    I got an email from my sister and it looks like she has peaches ready! I’m heading over there this morning to get some. They sound SO good!!!

    I did do some grocery shopping this past week and now am ready to cruise along on what I’ve got for a while. It seems like no matter how well I think I’ve planned I always run out of something! I’ve realized that I didn’t have as much white sugar as I thought and only have about 10 lbs left. I also only have a couple gallons of vinegar for pickles and the cucumbers are blooming like crazy. So, I will need to get a few more things before long, but for the most part we are still doing great using the storage items we have and the garden produce. In the spring, we used several hundred dollars from our tax refund to really stock up the pantry. It gives me a great sense of satisfaction to know that although we didn’t plan perfectly, we did get enough of many, many items to get through the late spring and summer. When added to our home-preserved items and our garden, we really aren’t needing to buy much at all. Often, what we have chosen to purchase are “wants”-not “needs” and are keeping them at a minimum–a great feeling! During the summer, I will be adding hundreds of items from our garden–canned, frozen and dried. In the fall, we will re-stock the basics, like dry beans, if needed. We’ve agreed to re-stock sugar, etc. if needed and other odd items we run out of, such as soda, foil, etc. in July or August. It’s still a plan in progress, but we are enjoying our little project!

  8. My husband got set up for his career transition program through the state. It pays to ask questions; because he was underemployed from the recession he could step right into the program without waiting 27 weeks of unemployment!

    Sliced and froze the last of the peaches. We will buy another half bushel this week.

    Have been enjoying the neighborhood pool for entertainment with friends. It is not splashy like the city Waterpark but really kids do not care.

  9. I made a couple of batches of applesauce from some apples I had bought for only $.33 a pound. I also bought some corn for $.10 an ear and froze it. It will be so nice to have fresh corn this winter. I hate the store bought frozen corn. I also made up some hamburgers and froze them. The meat was just a normal price, but I like to have frozen patties on hand for those crazy nights when I don’t have a lot of time to cook. It’s still much cheaper than carryout.

  10. Brandy, I’m so glad you were able to buy a new camera. I know how much you enjoy taking photographs, and the ones you featured today are absolutely beautiful!

    We’ve been struggling a bit lately with the eating out issue. The family is craving restaurant food for some reason and they are revolting against me when I keep insisting we eat at home. *sigh* To make it worse, everyone has their meals they like and don’t like which never seems to match. No matter what we make for a meal, someone doesn’t like it! I am soooo frustrated!!! I wish they would just eat what has been made and be happy that there is food on the table.

    Anyways, my frugal accomplishments for this week are:
    *Made two pans of lasagne up and put them in the freezer. I also made up a large patch of shepherds pie meat mix (meat, veggies and gravy) using two packages of ground beef. I divided the meat mixture into two freezer baggies for the freezer and made up one casserole pan with potato topping. My husband took one pan of frozen lasagne and the shepherds pie casserole to give to his mother, who is now home recouping from her toe amputation. We will use the rest for quick meal ideas for our family. I am so pleased that I was able to make three shepherds pie meals from what would have normally only made two!

    *My daughter had a play date this week, which went over lunchtime. I decided to let them make their own pizzas. I bought some Naan bread (on sale for $1.50/pack of 5 so I bought 2), and used cheese, pepperoni and various other topping that we already had on hand. The girls loved it and all it took was a little prep work. As a special treat, I bought some ice cream bars that were also on sale ($1.97 for a package of 8).

    *I am starting to harvest green and yellow beans from the garden…Yeah! Only picked a few so far, but many more are developing. I am hoping to freeze a bunch to use over winter. These are heirloom beans so I need to make sure that some are left to go to seed.

    *We had an exceptionally hot humid day this week at work…over 40C (104F) with humidity. It’s pretty hot dressed in 18th century clothing layers. Our supervisor treated us all with free Freezies to help us stay cool. Not historically accurate, but it was sure appreciated!

    *Had a lesson in how to cook with a Dutch oven with an open fire pit at work this past week. The girl showing me cooked a turkey pot pie. I’m hoping maybe this week to give it a try by myself. I just have to figure out what I want to cook in it. I consider this a good skill to know, similar to that of learning how to cook with a solar oven. I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to learn and develop these skills through my work.

    *Meals at home included crispy chicken wraps (cut up chicken fingers and used them in the wrap with veggies, cheese and salad dressing), grilled cheese sandwiches with potato chips, chicken stir fry with spring rolls, tacos, meat balls in Diane sauce with mashed potatoes and veggies, and hot chicken sandwiches with French fries. Used up left over’s for work lunches and I cooked a quick pizza one morning from play date left over’s before going to work and took it with me.

    I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer so far. Have a fun filled week everyone!

  11. We harvested lots produce from the garden (cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, basil).
    Hung laundry out to dry. It takes less time to dry it outside than in the dryer with the summer heat.
    Found free activities to do the the kids over the weekend.
    My husband and I took all my lunches to work. We didn’t eat out.
    Many little things we’ve done to save money over the past few years will will be a great help as we look for a new-to-us car to pay for with cash. We plan to make that purchase in the next 3-4 weeks.
    Have a wonderful week, everyone!

  12. I cut my hair. I went to the Army Core of Engineer park on a river about 45 minutes from me and went swimming for a dollar. I am usually leery about swimming in this river because it does have a few alligators, but there were people all around so I took the chance…lol. I used the $5 off $25 coupon at Dollar General and bought one of my adult sons food that he needed because he has been ill and not able to work as much. The heat index is over 110 here and I turned on the air conditioner, which means my normally $45 power bill in early summer will jump up a lot by next power bill….sigh. I save more by NOT doing things such as going into stores etc….lol

  13. This week has been up and down for me as I’m being treated for Lyme disease. The antibiotic to cure it has side effects that have been making me nauseated and food restrictions before and after I take the med.

  14. Dear Brandy,
    I am pleased for you about the camera! Your photos are a huge part of your blog that I enjoy so much.
    I saved money using up lemons, limes and oranges I was given. One thing I made was lemon butter that then became several deserts.
    Also I have been making roses. Every now and then I make these and fill up vases. it is very cheap and they look quite real. So it is a treat. I made a tutorial for anyone wanting to learn. They make great bouquets for gifts.
    The last few weeks have been great for savings. I have taken your advice and upped our storage and efforts to build up our pantry and supplies. Thank you for that. Love Annabel.

  15. Something weird was going on; the site was hanging. This is the first comment that came through from you.

    I need to tidy the garden a lot more before I can take some new pictures, but you can look at my edible landscaping page (under garden on the menu bar) and you can see it when the trees were smaller, several years back).

    I make sure to cut branches back from the trees and keep them higher than my husband’s head for mowing. Of course, now the boys take turns mowing, but I still cut the branches.

  16. Yes, it is a huge black bee!

    I am not going to post about the whys on stocking one’s pantry. I am going to talk a bit about a related subject in an upcoming post.

    I have a lot of fruit to process this week, and a lot of garden work, so right now I am absolutely swamped, but I will post as much as I can.

  17. I’m glad you were able to get a new camera, Brandy! Where’s your Amazon link located? Living in a rural area, we place an order through Amazon almost monthly, since there’s many things we cannot find locally.

    Frugal things we did this week:

    Canned cabbage and carrots.carrots and a few peppers from the garden.
    Gave away several pounds of beets.
    Our neighbor let us pick her raspberries, picked and froze 3 quarts.
    Visited the Sanilac petroglyphs for free.
    Packed our own lunch for a road trip.
    Baked bread from scratch.
    Repaired our elderly neighbor’s porch with a board we had left over from our shed project.
    Got free compost from the village. (We do this quite often during the summer)
    Knitted a pair of wrist warmers from a free pattern on line and reclaimed wool.
    Bought 25 lbs of King Arthur bread flour at a great price from the bulk food store.

  18. Hello Miss Brandy and Readers,

    My kids were gone this weekend visiting family. I got to spend Saturday cleaning, figuring out ways to use ripened fruit and vegetables that got over looked, and just overall organization. I want to get my house deep cleaned and decluttered as much as possible before school starts. It is the end of the month and I don’t have much left in my bank account. I did stock up this month on pantry supplies so hopefully we will be fine. I do spend money on fresh produce from the Farmer’s Market because it is organic and stays fresh longer than store bought produce. I am not an “organic” only person but the produce is better for my daughter with health issues. I also am freezing fruit and veggies we can use later on this year. I am going to take a retreat and figure out a better way of managing my budget with continuous medical bills popping up. I am sure I am overlooking something. When I get blue my family takes the kids and lets me have a day or two alone to recharge.

    Frugal accomplishments
    Used ripe vegetables to make cabbage salad, cucumber salad, baked vegetables, salsa, regular salads
    Used ripe fruit to make a fruit salad, blueberry bars, and fruit blueberry crumble (yum!)
    Got nice produce for less than $10 at the Farmer’s Market
    Went to free activities-library, museum, concerts, movies, swimming, walking
    Got a “free” mini-retreat from kids
    Made 2 afghans for Xmas and started a third
    Made two simple scarves for my work wardrobe (from materials at home)
    Decluttered my wardrobe of some items. Will put away for the moment (maybe useful material/re-purposed clothing)
    Made tank of gas last 2 weeks
    Got 2 giant bags of fabric for $1/bag from the thrift store
    Did the ususal-turned lights off, kept doors closed, window shades closed in the heat of the day, thermostat set high at 78 F
    Found a dime and nickel for change jar

    Future plans to stay frugal:
    Redo August budget to manage medical bills
    Be creative about back to school costs including college expensives for oldest
    Buy more pantry staples if budget allows?
    Coupon more?
    Fill freezer for school lunches

    Best wishes. I hope everyone is staying cool.


  19. Thanks for asking, Jane! All of my links on the right-hand side of the blog for products that I use and recommend are Amazon links, as is the link in this post. I also have general Amazon links on the home page and other pages in the right and left-hand columns.

  20. Saturday we went to free breakfast on the farm and sunday we had free ice cream social and then life happen. My daughter came back from camp sick. By thursday up in er with allergic reaction. Hubby left to go on mini vocation with friends and everything went out the door. But there is alway a new week.

  21. *My husband received a big bag of cucumbers, and green beans from a guy at work. My step-dad also brought us some cucumbers, zucchini, and squash. Sadly, I let some ruin but saved the bad ones for my sons pigs.
    *We went to our 4th week of canning class. We used a pressure canner this week and learned about a dehydrator. We learned how to process green beans and I brought home a quart. I also brought all the scraps from the class for our chickens.
    *I cleaned and organized my spice cabinet to see what I have on hand. I have much more organizing to do this week.
    *I refilled all water bottles with water. The Powerade bottles I filled with Kool-Aid and my husband took those to work.
    *I cloth diapered as much as possible at home.
    *My husband bought a pork loin for $1.49 a pound and we got two dinners and two lunches out of it.
    *I boiled all water for bottles this week. Not a biggie, but I usually buy gallons and those dollars add up!
    *I took my daughter to her 3rd week of sewing class. She was given snacks while there.
    *I combined 3 appts. Thursday.
    *I went to a parent group where we learned about venomous snakes and creatures in Kentucky. We had breakfast foods, and my daughter and son did a craft. We left with lots of freebies. 2 Pair of new mens flip-flops, a pair for my daughter, a door prize of kitchen goodies(towels, dishcloths, water bottle, toothpicks, sponges),leftover muffins and bananas. The conservation lady also gave out cinch bags, pencils, and calendars.
    *I stopped at a local thrift store and bought my daughter a complete outfit and my son 2 almost new baby sippers for $4.24.

    Happy you got a new camera Brandy. Could you share some good links on how to use your camera? My husband bought me a Canon EOS Rebel T5 in April and I have yet to use it. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Have a great week!

  22. Jane, it is on the right side of the page for me near the top. You can also click on any of the Amazon links that are on here and any items added to your cart also give her credit.

  23. Happy Monday, friends. Brandy, I am so happy you got a new camera. Your pictures look awesome, as always!!

    So, a week ago this past Friday I moved back to SC. My family came up around 8 that morning and between my folks, my brother in law and myself, we managed to pack up my 2600 sq ft house and get on the road for SC by 7 that night. We spent Saturday unloading all of my earthly possessions into a 10×20 storage unit in the sweltering SC heat. I thought I might literally die it was SO hot outside. By Sunday, we were all completely exhausted, but happy to be done with the job. To say I miss the mountains and my beautiful old house is an understatement but I am keeping the faith that better things are on the horizon!

    Last week was not very frugal — in the hasty attempts to unpack the rental truck and get everything into storage, my boxes of clothes and shoes ended up in the very back of the unit, so i had to go buy a couple of pieces of clothing to help get me through the remainder of the hot summer months. I did shop sales and find deals, so that was nice. Between a $10 gift card and $10 merchandise credit, I was able to buy 2 camisoles at Kohl’s yesterday for only $1.88 out of pocket!!

    I cooked here at my parents house a couple of times. I baked a buttermilk pound cake Saturday night to have for my mom’s birthday yesterday. I split the batter into 3 loaf pans so we could take 1 loaf to my aunt whose birthday is today. I stayed home as much as I could and tried to combine errands when I had to leave.

    Along with all of my clothing, all of my Etsy inventory is in storage so I am scrambling to figure out the housing situation so I can get moved into a place permanently and get my shops reopened. All 3 of my shops have been closed for going on 3 weeks and well, no money is coming in. I am going out shortly to look at houses in some towns about 40 miles away. I am hoping to buy a place near a military installation. I will be getting at least 1 housemate and I would prefer someone in the service. Wish me luck on the house hunting front!!

    I want to thank you all again for your prayers and good thoughts during my transitional period. I really appreciate you guys!! Have a great week, fellow frugal friends.

  24. Somehow the other 90% of my frugal things is missing from this post. I decided to organize and clean out my fridge and was able to recycle/repurpose leftovers. Leftover dinners were portioned and repackaged into Rubbermaid sandwich containers and fruits/veggies and side dishes went into the snack size Rubbermaids. They made east to grab and go lunches for Hubby & son to take to work!

    I had several cucumbers and a couple jalapeños picked from my garden. Since my pickle relish supply of pints down in the pantry basement is currently 38 jars, I don’t feel that it makes sense to can the cucumbers into more relish! So I googled and found a cold salad recipe using diced cucumbers, jalapeño peppers, cilantro with a rice vinegar dressing and chopped peanuts on top! I had all the ingredients in my food storage and fridge! As strange a combination as this sounds, it was amazingly delicious! I made homemade potato salad using a red onion that was lingering as well as some extra eggs and of course, my pickle relish!!! Used up my homemade oatmeal cookie mix to make cookies for lunches and my homemade brownie mix to make brownies as an alternate lunch treat! I have always enjoyed brownies that are frosted but never seemed to make them. In the interest of food storage rotation, however, this time I got out a container of marked down to 49 cents after the holiday ready to spread frosting. Only problem, it was vanilla cream cheese flavor. Added some of my cocoa from food storage, a little at a time, and Voila!- Chocolate cream cheese frosted brownies! Oh, how tasty!!!!

    While at the store, I saw fresh green beans in the mark downs- about 12 pounds for 49 cents/pound. Now this is another thing I didn’t need because I still have about 32 filled quart jars of them in my pantry basement and in my garden, I will be harvesting bunches of them within a week or two! But I have a dear friend who has been anxious to buy and can some for her little family, so I bought them for her. She insisted on paying me the $6, so I immediately took that cash to the bank and put $3 into my savings account and made an extra payment of $3 on the debt we are snowballing! It may sound really silly to do, but in that way, last month we added an extra $140 to our savings account and also an extra $140 to pay down our debt! We’ll see how this month goes! I am optimistic!!
    When I woke up and looked out my bedroom window (2nd floor back bedroom) across the alley, I noticed that my neighbor’s beautiful green wooden fence had something written on it in a mustard yellow color! I was saddened to think that someone had defaced their fence! When I put my glasses on, I saw that my neighbors had stenciled the following words to their fence for all to see: “Small Acts Change The World” !!! Such a powerful message and how it affects me and my attitude ever morning as I read it! Perhaps it’s not silly to deposit $3 into savings or reduce a debt by $3!!! Maybe a smile to a stranger, maybe a small act of kindness, a word, might change the world!!! I’d like to think so!!!

    All in all, a very blessed week!!!

  25. Meredith, I am sorry for the bump. If the woman contacts you and requests cash so she can have repairs done, you might want to offer to pay the garage directly. I had a horse and buggy hit my car recently (did minor but noticeable damage). The amish do not have “car” insurance. They (the Amish elders) asked that I get a quote and tell them so they could pay the garage directly (which they did). It all ended well and honestly.

  26. I’m always intrigued with the lettuce seed section too. They’re generally a pretty plant when growing, and it’s fun to have different colors, speckles and shapes. I look at our biggest fig every day, but so far no figs. Because they had to come back from the ground after the harsh winter, I may not get any this year. I want to say I was so impressed with the graceful way you handled the less than kind comment posted last week. There are a multitude of ways this site inspires. Thank you for your presence here. Joining in here:

  27. Oh! I should check for Poldark! I meant to start watching it when it started, but I missed the beginning, so I’ve been avoiding watching the middle – I could get caught up!

    We had a good, busy week. I shared some things here:

    I’m glad you were able to get a new camera! As always, your photos are beautiful. My next ‘thing’ is to see if I can grow figs here – I have just discovered them recently, and I like them a lot! 🙂

  28. We had unusual heat in our area and I needed to work on my laptop which becomes very hot. I put all three of my plastic cutting boards in the fridge and used them in rotation as a “desk” on my lap to keep myself and he computer cool. Worked really well. I tried metal cookie sheets – too cold.

  29. Glad you were able to find a good deal on a camera. Love the lily photo with the black bee. I had never heard of a black bee before.

    My garden plot has been abundant. My beans are rapidly growing and hopefully I will have a good crop. The weather had cooled down for a week, but it was in the mid 90s again yesterday. I picked a bunch of patty pan squash, and shared some with my mom and a neighbor. I also picked tomatoes, basil, chamomile, thyme and calendula flowers. The community garden is in a park, and has a number of fruit trees. The apple trees are dropping small fruit very early, probably because of the heat and lack of water. So I collected some tiny apples. I also foraged for blackberries and plantain leaf (not the banana type, but a common weed/herb that can be used for tea and other purposes). The plum tree next to the garden was dropping plums and no one was picking them, so I picked about 30 pounds and put them in the donation cooler for the food bank to pick up. I kept a few for myself, but we aren’t big plum fans.

    I bought three pounds of apricots at a fruit stand and made six half pints of apricot jam. I can hardly wait to open a jar and eat it – the color is so beautiful and it looks so delicious!

    While this is not technically allowed at our condo complex, I have drying a few towels outside on our drying rack. With the hot weather, they are only out there for a couple hours, and no one has complained so far. I love crunchy towels! And they smell so good.

    When washing vegetables, I made sure to collect the water to water my plants outside.
    I had some of beets and daikon from our CSA share – neither are my favorite. But I have been reading about salads made from raw, thinly sliced beets and thought maybe I would try that out. So I sliced the beets and daikon very thinly on an old slicer I received from my maternal grandfather (one of the very few things I have from him). I dressed them with a vinaigrette made with grainy mustard, and….the salad was delicious! Now I have a way to eat beets that I actually enjoy them. Mostly I just tolerate them, because they grow well here and my husband loves them.

    Right now I have all the windows open and fans blowing to cool down the condo before it gets hot again. The cool morning breeze feels so good.

    I hope everyone else had a good week. I really enjoy reading everyone else’s comments.

  30. Good morning Brandy,

    How wonderful that you were able to buy a new camera and use the credit you had stored from Amazon. I did not know that one could order through you on Amazon. I need to find out how so I can also do this to help add towards your credit. I love the picture with the bee….it is so crisp and clear. Nice!

    My husband and I had a stay-cation Thurs-Sunday this week. We usually try to go somewhere for a vacation, but decided to stay close to home and save money. We plan a trip to Calif in Sept and will stay with my daughter to save on hotel and car rental, only plane fair. Thursday we stayed at home to catch up on garage chores and yard work together. Then we watched a free movie in the evening. Friday, we enjoyed going to a Lavender Festival in Sequim Wa. The lavender is so beautiful and smells wonderful. Some places charge money for their farms, but we searched for free farms, and found 3 to go to. One had wonderful live music, so we stayed there and enjoyed the music for about 1 1/2 hours, and shared a chocolate lavender ice cream together ~ Yum! Another farm had a table to learn how to do lavender weaving so I watched for a while, and plan to do this fun project with my step daughter soon. ( She learned how to do this in the South of France while in high school…) I have 2 very large lavender plants that are ready to pick. Mel and I each had lavender lemonaid for $1.00/ea at this was so refreshing on a hot day. This was a beautiful large farm with landscape with a large fountain in the pond. We sat on the ground under a shaded arbor to enjoy the cool drink.

    The next day we went to Mt Rainier at Paradise and hiked a bit. We were up about 5500 ft from sea level. The weather has been so hot here in the NW so we tried to escape the heat and drive to the Mountain. It was about 10 degrees cooler so hiking was still a bit warm. We brought and ate a picnic lunch and dinner there at 2 different picnic sites. The mountain was glorious and sky was clear and blue.Snow on the glaciers shown a bright white against the blue sky…so pretty. Mountain flowers apparently had bloomed earlier than expected this year since we have had a warm summer this year, but I was able to take a few pictures of the lingering mountain flowers to post on my FB page. It was such a nice day and we have a park pass for a year, so we plan to camp there in Sept, cross county ski in the Winter, and stay there at the lodge for our next year’s anniversary. During our hike, we saw Myrtle Falls…so pretty. God’s creation and art work is so amazing to me…I love being in nature. After the hike, we went into the Lodge at Paradise, and had a cool drink. A man played beautiful piano, so we sat on an old comfy lodge couch for about an hour just to listen and enjoy the atmosphere. Such a fun and beautiful day together and we were home about 9:30 that evening. Sunday, was a day of church and rest .

    This week I cut my own hair, washed and cut my little poodle /terrier mix doggy’s hair ( it is so expensive to get him groomed. I am wanting to save for dog clippers to buy and do this myself.) He looked so cute! I used the turkey I baked last week to make several meals , salads and sandwiches . I froze the bones for soup later next week. I made 2 pumpkin pies with my pantry foods and had frozen pie crust in the freezer. My veggie garden has lots of buds and flowers but is not producing yet, I must have started later than I needed to. So I am sure I will have an abundance of veggies in August and Sept. I have lots of lettuce however, and some have bolted, so I am waiting for these to flower and seed . I will use these seeds for my fall/winter garden. I am reading a wonderful book called “Winter Gardening in the Maritime Northwest” 5th edition. So, I have planned to start a Fall and Winter garden spot in my small yard.. This will need to be on the south side of the house, for the best opportunity for growth. We will need to get a couple more raised garden beds for this . This had been a fun book to read and learn from.

    I plan to can some fruit and jams this week to store. I found a flat of strawberries for $5.00 and have plums to use.

    Have a wonderful and blessed week~
    blessings, Patty from the NW

  31. I met a former coworker for lunch one day. He paid, and we talked about a possible job opportunity for me (which would pay quite a bit more than what I make now)!

    We went camping over the weekend, so it seems like I spent all week preparing for that. I did prepare and pack a lot of simple foods so I didn’t have to spend money on lots of processed (expensive) things. We had hot dogs, fresh fruit and veggies, pancakes and bacon, foil packets (with ground beef and veggies), etc.

    I am SO happy that Southern California got some rain. I was able to skip watering the garden for a few days and the seeds that we planted last week are coming up like crazy!

  32. We did a lot of projects to our new house.. paid all out of our pocket and did not hire out any work. One big one that is a work in progress is tearing out our two exterior walls in our bedroom- one had insulation that wasn’t stapled (so over the last 65 years has shrunk down to half the wall) and the other one had NO insulation.. with a bit of experience and youtube we are confident on diy. Both walls are insulated and one wall has drywall hung. … we hung floating shelves in the bathroom, added a light switch to the wall and wiring – the old owners had it on a remote, hung curtains. .. the house is looking more like a home every week!

    One meal out, which is a big for us!

    Went grocery shopping at Costco.. I have been successful the last two months for going grocery shopping every two weeks. And not spending more on groceries than I had been, .. in the next month I suspect my grocery bill will start going down as I am starting to gets good stockpile of basics.

    with our new house we had to upgrade internet due to the availability of our service, but it is costing us only $9 more a month and much faster than we had !

    With the move we found a huge tub of our oldest daughters summer clothes that now fit our youngest, thankfully we hadn’t invested any money into summer clothes as she has plenty now!!

    paid all bills online or over phone– no postage .

    Sold a handful of items on ebay. yay for decluttering and earning money!!

    saw a promotion for – invested for our kids and they LOVE it. Very happy. I have been searching items for homeschool and found lots of free things for my daughter (5).

  33. I love reading all the posts on frugal accomplishments,, there are always ideas to be gleaned.

    I had a slow week.
    Our local newspaper offers coupon bundles for $1.50 for 10. So i started couponing again. Lets hope i can stick to it. I don’t think the benefits are as lucrative in a small time as in a large city.
    My daughter house/pet sat for friends, i got to pick tomatoes and basil from their garden and they also gave us the food they felt might spoil while they were gone.
    My husband and i went yard saling and found a sink for our restroom for a fraction of the cost of new. Plus we bought our son two games for $1
    I was gifted a brand new pressure cooker, I’m excited to try it.
    U also went to 2nd Harvest and was gifted cherries, nectarines, apples and potatoes.

  34. Congratulations on your new camera! Your photography is always beautiful.

    I’m sorry I missed sharing last week. My husband and I had the opportunity to stay at a vacation home owned by friends of my husband’s family while our daughter was at a youth conference, so we gratefully accepted and enjoyed a little just-the-two-of-us vacation. We try to be frugal most of the time so we can splurge when it counts…but this was a relatively frugal splurge, if there is such a thing! We took most of our food since the vacation home had a kitchen, enjoyed one nice meal out, and did lots of free hiking in the nearby National Park. It was wonderful to get to spend time together!

    Back at home, I weeded in the front flower bed and our little vegetable beds. The front bed needs additional weeding, so hopefully the weather will cooperate.

    My second planting of green beans failed. I picked a handful of beans from the few plants that grew. I’ll get seeds from someplace else next time. I’m hoping to get a fall crop into the empty space.

    I cut a few flowers and brought them in to enjoy, displaying them in an old Atlas mason jar I found quite some time ago at the thrift shop. It looked very sweet and homey to me.

    I picked celery from my “junk garden” twice. One time I used the little outer celery stalks and leaves to make “Junk Stock” and the other time I cut some up for snacking, saving the tiny stems and leaves for future Junk Stock.

    I found green bell peppers on sale for $.49 per two-pack, so I purchased several packages, cleaned and halved the peppers, and froze them for future use. Bell peppers often go “on sale” for $1.00 each here, so this was a good price for me. I’ll use the halves to make stuffed peppers or cut them up for recipes as needed.

    I wrote about my cooking and gardening (mis)adventures at

  35. We did not go out to eat, though sorely tempted. And then tempted again. And then again. HAHAHA. We stayed home and had cereal, I have been battling eczema for weeks now and cooking and cleaning make it much worse, so we are kind of off our planned menu til I get it under control. It has not been this bad in a decade but I know I have to not push it as that will just make it worse.

    We spent a lot of money this week, but it was planned, on our realtors advice. We got a 100 incentive coupon thing from American Express on a flooring store. We were planning on buying flooring anyhow so we saved 100 dollars. We chose flooring that was on clearance. Installation was going to cost over 1000 dollars so my husband is going to try it. It’s a laminate, and is supposed to be ( I REALLY HOPE) easy. I got a birthday gift 50% off. I said YES PLEASE when my sister offered me the clothes she was weeding out of her closet. One of the things I learned from you is to be a grateful reciever. We picked our first cucumber and more will be ready tomorrow. We are picking our tomatoes early and letting them ripen inside since we have been getting so much rain that they are splitting and watery. 🙁 I love tomatoes. My Dad is having the same problem. I stocked up on soap on sale. I was able to keep a drs appointment under three hours, that saved me some money on our sitter. I brought the baby but left my older children with a sitter. We priced out some things we do not care about and were surprised how much we could sell them for. So they are going up on ebay. It was a very spendy week with the floor and paying for my sons school aand the dr. Oh yes, and we bought three new doors. We have been making the money for the bulk of these things through ebay and garage sales so the doors were “free”. I am sure we will sell enough soon to offset the cost of the floor. I think the floor is our last big expense on fixing up the house, and the rest is just cleaning and fluffing and some judicious craigslisting.

  36. I have done all the usual frugal things I do all the time. Hang laundry, cook at home, got free books for my Kindle and did a lot of mending. I finished up the house warming gift for our friend with the new house. I am so excited for them. Married 43 years and this is the first house that will be theirs. They have been renters.

    So happy you found a new camera, and got a good deal on it too. I look forward to seeing your pictures. You always make such beautiful pictures.

    Our garden is playing out right now. It has hit 101 the past week. Tomatoes are just not setting blooms. I still have several pounds of tomatoes to process this week. Our friend from church brought me 9 eggs. She said her hens are molting now so they are not laying as much as they were.

    I am going to have to make a doctor appointment. My arthritis is getting worse and the medications I have been on are not working like they used too. Sometimes I can hardly walk to the clothes line. I hate doing that, we owe so much money now in doctor bills. It hurts my heart to be so far in debt as we are almost never indebt. We are going around and around with the insurance company about a big bill. The doctor told us they had ‘pre approval’ for it, but the insurance company said they did not. Now we owe almost $18,000. My stomach hurts just thinking about it. At our age to have that debt is hard.

    We have cut some ‘extra’ expenses here to the bone. I have freed up $250.00 a month to put to the bill. That is the best I can do.

    I got a few good deals at the grocery store. Just $1.00 a pound for a pork shoulder and $1.00 a pound for chicken thighs. I got 20 pounds of chicken and 15 pounds of pork shoulder.

  37. Could you go to a park for a picnic with homemade food? You can even spread a blanket in your own backyard if you have one and have a picnic there? Maybe a change of scenery is all that they need. Sometimes I break up the monotony of home cooked meals by doing something like a breakfast dinner or we make something that requires their participation like homemade pizzas on English muffins or a taco bar or baked potato bar…these are often followed by an ice cream bar…just a couple of ideas I use at my house sometimes.

  38. It’s a carpenter bee. When we first moved to Vegas, I was amazed by them, as we don’t have all-black bees in New England. Thanks for sharing the photo, Brandy. I had forgotten about them 🙂

  39. She has no right to “reject” your insurance. Call your car insurer and notify them, and when she contacts you, have the insurer handle it.

  40. Brandy.. I made several jams today and one depression era peach jelly. It’s not looking like it will set up could this be used for Popsicle’s? I am thinking it probably could but since I’ve never made popsicle’s before wasn’t sure.

  41. I am so excited you got a new camera! That is such a fun thing to buy and something you’re sure to use often.

    I continue to stay frugal by shopping the deals and using coupons when possible. Last week, I got many discounted toys in the Target toy clearance, half-price yoga pants and sandals for me, chicken breast for $0.99/lb, and 7 packages of discounted produce ranging from $0.79/pack to $0.99/pack! I cooked and froze all of it before it went bad and was happy to find healthy food for such a low price.
    All of my transactions with pics can be found here:

  42. Well, this week was productive week around here. I got my pantry rearranged, got some foods storage in the mail and I made some laundry soap (your recipe, Brandy. I’ve tried home made laundry soap before, but it didn’t react well with my son’s skin. I’m REALLY hoping your recipe helps his eczema *fingers crossed*).

    Awesome pictures by the way! I love the bee shot!

    My list for the week can be found here…

  43. Good morning Tina,
    I live in the Puget Sound.Your garden sounds wonderful. I have a very small garden in my small yard and it is not producing yet, altho has many flowers. I am hoping to see an abundance in Aug and Sept. My friend has a farm and has lots of veggies and fruits. I have a farm share with her and receive a portion each week so we are enjoying the fresh produce. I am also looking for apricots and peaches at a good price to can. Do you live in this area? If so, did you buy your apricots around here?

    I also cannot have a laundry line in our development with the HOA. I do dry some of my wash on a drying rack as well.
    It has been so warm here in the NW. It is nice this morning with the cooler weather.

    Thank you for your posting.
    Patty from the NW

  44. Advice on laminate flooring that will make your life MUCH easier? Buy the laminate flooring tool kit (the box stores have them over by the laminate flooring). My husband and I tried to install it without the tool kit at our last house and it was a pain, but as soon as my sister-in-law told us to switch to the tool kit things went MUCH MUCH smoother and it was indeed easy at that point.

    Good luck!

  45. Lovely photography with that new camera! I’ve slacked a little in the coupon area. I did purchase a dress for $4 at the Goodwill that I will be wearing to a wedding in August. I have been busy sewing and tailoring to fit other garments purchased at second hand stores. I needed some dish cloths and dish drying towels and thought about some alterantives. Here is what I came up with: I found a men’s cotten robe (appeared as if never worn!!). Absolutely beautiful absorbent cotton! I cut it apart and made several sets of dish and drying cloths with the sewing machine. I think I’ll do that from now on. One day I found a waffle weave cotton curtain at the Goodwill, hoping it would go half price the next day so I waited. The next day it wasn’t there. It must have caught someone elses eye. Glad to have your photos once again!

  46. I told her to hold on so I could go get my card and she said she had to go. My deductible is larger than the repair is worth. So it would be 1000 and my insurance go up, or I pay a max 200 for the repair. This is the only accident I’ve ever had. I showed our neighbor (who works at a body shop) and he said it wasn’t anything big. He said he doubted she would even call me back it was so minor. Who knows. Just sitting impatiently!

  47. That’s what I’m hoping will happen. Our neighbor who works at a body shop said it was max 200 dollars (I have pictures) but I’d have to pay allstate 1000 for a claim (plus they would raise my insurance). I was honest and did all I could do. If she contacts me back, I am just going to pay the garage.

  48. Ha ha! I was going to ask the same. I’ve never seen a black bee either. They must like warm climates!:)

  49. Oh yeah, you can use it to make popsicles! I’ve been there before when a jelly didn’t set up and it works :). You can also use it for syrup for pancakes or as a glaze for meat. Another good trick is when you open the jar of liquidy jelly, place it in a pan and just boil it for about 10 minutes or until it sheets from a spoon. Pour it back into your jar and let it set back up and voila! Jelly!

  50. Rhonda,
    It is VERY discouraging when they don’t want what you/I/anyone cooks:)

    Have you tried smoothies? My crew will eat them 3 times a day if I let them. I just use whatever we have–mostly fruit, juice, crushed ice, frozen bananas, maybe yogurt, etc. and just whirl it up. Straws are very inexpensive around here, so we always use those to make it fun. I did the breakfast for dinner just last night and the leftover pancakes were served as a quick meal this morning.

    Another thing I do is make up a large crock-pot of refried beans. I have 1 who will eat those daily, if allowed. A Costco bag of corn chips goes over well here, too. I get one and parcel it out so they stay fresh and then do nachos some nights, using lots of refried beans, some cheese, etc.

    Due to my own frustration with this issue at times, I’ve tried a few things. When the meal is served buffet style off the island, they seem to be pickier. Why? No idea. When it is put on the table, and passed around, not so much. Because many of my children have sensory issues, they aren’t what most would call “good eaters” but they are all growing:)

    I insist on vegetables every day, and over time, they seem to adjust a bit. I just give an extremely small portion of each food to the reluctant eater to eat and don’t insist that they do. BUT, they don’t get more of their favorites until they have tried everything. Because we have children who have been deprived of food in the past, we will give them a snack 10 minutes after dinner if they are “still hungry” even if they haven’t eaten all of their dinner. BUT, it is always a piece of fruit or cheese, carrot sticks, etc. I never offer something such as ice cream if they haven’t eaten their meal, and in fact, rarely have any dessert. I know many friends who have done things differently, but we don’t want to make food an issue here more than it already is for these kids. I’m reminded so often that all the choices have been taken from these children, so I need to find some choices they can make that are acceptable. I will negotiate to find a vegetable they are willing to eat, usually offering 2 kinds at least. (I want lots of vegetables for myself and have a huge garden, so that’s easy for me). So, we might have salad and green beans, or squash and broccoli, etc. at the same meal. I was a lot more strict and rigid when I was younger with the older kids—I learned it didn’t work with the lot I’ve been blessed with. I’m sure for many families other methods work better.

    Also, with some of my “super-special-needs” kids, they tend to focus on a very short list of foods they like/want/will eat. So, for my autistic niece, when she visits, I just give her the foods she prefers. When my own son was at home, (aspbergers), I made him try a few more things, but kept reminding myself that he was truely happy with pbj, etc., and where I couldn’t stand to eat the same food over and over and over, he was really happy about it. So, I relaxed about it a bit.

    Despite all that, I still get my feeings hurt when I make something that took effort, time, $, etc. and the kids seem so ungrateful. I try to remember that it’s my job to make food, ultimately, it’s their job to eat it or not. I can be super thankful for a husband who never complains about the food, so at least we’re in it together:) And, I remind myself of how thankful I am that I have food to serve, smile and eat my dinner:)

  51. I cannot even imagine a river with an alligator in it! When my husband traveled to Africa a few years ago on a mission trip, he was on a boat going down the Nile. He was just about to dip his hand into the water when he thought better of it–that river is full of crocodiles!!! So, every area has it’s dangers:)

  52. You sure crochet a lot! I’ll bet it’s fun for you as well as making all of the people who get the items super happy!

    I’m glad you are getting a little break. You have a lot on your plate:)

  53. I worked 10 more hours than usual last week. I get paid hourly so it was a nice paycheque to get. I work as a nanny and usually only work during the school year but I have been working the past few weeks. The unexpected income is helpful. I also got an end of the school year bonus from my boss.

    I sold a few things are our local facebook yard sale site. I have more things posted and am hoping they sell.

    Someone from Husband’s church gave him cucumbers and tomatoes from their garden. I love getting fresh produce from his church people.

    We bumped our A/C up to 80* this week. We were keeping it at 78* but we found we were getting cold! Having it at 80* seems to suit us for now. Hopefully this will save a little bit of money on our electric bill.

  54. Last week had a depressing amount of necessary extra expenses. But I did have one great frugal experience. Our community has a thrift store that benefits a local charity. Someone cleaned out their fabric stash and made a huge donation to the store. I found two beautiful pieces of silk I’ll make blouses from. Total price was five dollars.

  55. Hi Patty,

    Thanks for your nice comments. My garden isn’t so large either – I have a 10 x 20 foot plot at a community garden. But I manage to grow quite a lot of vegetables, and it keeps me busy in the summer. 🙂 August and Sept are the normal harvest months in the Pacific Northwest for summer veggies, so I’m sure you are right on track.

    As for cheap peaches and apricots…well, the ones I got weren’t cheap (they were organic and $3 a pound – this same vendor sells them at the farmer’s market for $4 a pound). There are several ways you can find good prices. Do you have a Yakima fruit stand in your area? They tend to have good deals. (There’s one in Bothell and one in North Bend that I know about, but I think you are further south). Or go to a farmers market and inquire about seconds (which might be too soft for eating but good for canning). One year Fred Meyer also had a big sale on nectarines (they were organic and $1.28 a pound if I recall correctly), and I bought a whole box and canned them. So check the ads. All of our local fruit is so early this year, and there is a drought, so the prices may not be as cheap as I have seen them in the past. Good luck.

  56. I had to travel out of town for work last week, but will be reimbursed for all travel and meal expenses. I stayed at a place that had a fridge and a mini kitchen, and only a mile or two from where I had to work, so went to the grocery store to pick up items for breakfasts and lunches. that way I was able to go back to the hotel at lunch and relax a bit. Even though I will be reimbursed for all my expenses, my dad used to say the difference between cheap and frugal, is that frugal people are that way with everyone’s finances. Cheap people are only frugal with their own.

    Made the DH a pot of chicken spaghetti sauce before I left for my trip, so he would be able to eat at home while I was gone.

    Listened to books on CDs that I had checked out from the library on the drive over and back. It was about 300 miles from home. will be reimbursed for mileage too.

    DH harvested a gallon of snow peas and 3 cucumbers while I was gone.

    Did 2 surveys, and was paid $6.

    When I got home on Wed. I picked our first two tomatoes, 6 cucumbers and 4 zucchini.

    Made a stir fry with broccoli from last year’s garden (we have non this year) and chard, zucchini, snowpeas, garlic and onions from the current garden

    I picked another gallon of snow peas.

    Found medium eggs for 99¢ a dozen. Also broccoli and cauliflower for 88¢ a pound. Oh, and cherries for $1.77 a pound.

    Made rice for use in fried rice.

    I found a recipe for pizza sauce in my Dad’s handwriting. He passed away in 1988, so this was wonderful. For my 3 sisters this year I am going to make them each a photocopy of this recipe and then give them garlic and oregano from my garden to use while making it. We are all in our 60’s, so don’t need more things, but will treasure this. Made a big batch of the sauce in the crockpot, and will freeze it in pint containers.

    Using Brandy’s rosemary olive oil bread as a beginning, I made herb bread, by adding oregano, parsley, basil and thyme to her recipe. I added a little more yeast and sugar, in case all the herbs made it too heavy. Took the advice of someone on here, and took it out to my car to rise. Boy, did that bread rise quickly.

    Made pizza with an herb crust, using basil, parsley and oregano.

    Dried laundry on the line.

    We slept in our basement, where it is cooler. It was 90 degrees in the house when we were ready for bed last night. We don’t have air conditioning, rarely need it in the Inland Northwest, but slept much better downstairs.

    It seemed like I did more, but that was quite enough considering I was gone Sun- Wed last week.

  57. sometimes it takes weeks to set i did rasp jam once it did not set up so i wrote rasp syrup and when i went to get syrup it was jam but lots you can make with it ie..cinn rolls only use it to spread on the dough make waffles or pancakes if you google shake and pour there is a wonderful recipe for pancakes that you make in a mix and put in qt jars then you add water and one egg shake well and pour I really liked the idea it makes seven jars but once we had them wow my fav . black bee we too don’t have that in central iowa we mud wasps that are black and we have the giant fuzzy black and yellow bumble bee type reg was then sweat bees and reg honey bees but no black ones. becky in central iowa

  58. We are also struggling to eat at home more.

    We had our son (our 2nd child) June 2 and for a lot of June my husband picked up meals on the way home from work or we ordered pizza. Once we got to July, we realized we had spent all of our eat out AND entertainment budget on fast food and pizza. We always have money left in those funds which go in a big vacation fund (we are saving to visit family cross country) and it felt horrible to have nothing to put in that fund.

    We had committed to eating at home in July but it’s hard to get back in the swing of cooking. Even our 3.5 year old is asking for McDonald’s or “Just call for pizza.”

    Thanks to all for the creative ideas to get kids to enjoy eating at home. I think we will try a picnic tonight! 🙂

  59. This week my husband built me a herb garden bed out of topsoil from our front landscaping that we are redoing and used wood we had laying around for the edging. Looking forward to putting my potted herbs in it and planning it this winter for next spring. I wasn’t quite sure what i was getting it ended up being 25 feet long by about 28 inches deep! Much bigger than I had anticipated.

    We went blueberry picking. Picked 12 pounds. I canned 12 half pints of jam.

    We picked lots of beans, radishes, lettuce, and cucumbers from the garden. I canned 7 quarts of zesty bread and butter pickles.

    A friend shared a recipe for zucchini cakes. I have a few zucchini that are just about ready to be picked. Its a take on crab cakes, but you use zucchini instead of crab. I love crab cakes, I hope the zucchini cakes come out okay. If so it will be a very frugal option!

    I put popsicle molds form Walmart. They were on clearance for 75 cents. I made blueberry popsicles.

  60. Hi, fellow frugal families
    This post is two weeks for me because we were beach camping for most of last week. Before we went camping an elderly neighbor asked us to pick their apricot tree. I didn’t really want to do it because I knew it would be a struggle to process the apricots before we left for our trip. The tree was heavily laden with a big mess underneath. We picked several shopping bags full and cleaned up under the tree. I knew I couldn’t can because it had been between 100-105 degrees for several days & we don’t have AC. I pitted the apricots and ran them through the food mill (the same one on the right side of the page.) I froze the resulting puree in flexible ice cube trays and ended up with several freezer bags of apricot cubes for smoothies. My kids also like to thaw a couple cubes and eat the puree on top of waffles.

    My oldest daughter who is staying at college for the summer came home for a surprise visit. She brought several lbs of cherries. After the kids had eaten all the fresh cherries they could hold, I pitted and froze the rest.

    I carefully planned and cooked ahead for our camping trip. We took brats that were on sale for $.99/ lb after the Super Bowl that have been in the freezer. I poached them until cooked through and then at the campsite they just needed a turn over the fire. I pre-cooked ham & made bread for sandwiches at the beach. I made cookies and muffins for snacks. I cut cucumber slices from the garden and carrots from the store.

    One of the youth leaders who attended camp the week before sent out an e-mail saying there were several Costco sized packages of all beef hot dogs left over from camp that were up for grabs. We took home 2 packages and took one camping & put the other in the freezer. Hot dogs are unusual for us, as they are so expensive, but the kids thought they were fun.

    After we came home from the beach, a friend was going on vacation and while I was helping her get ready, she started going through her refrigerator and tossing things out. I asked if I could take some home with me. From her refrigerator I used 2 cups of leftover chicken, 1/2 cup of sour cream, a zucchini, a bag of spinach, a container of swiss cheese cubes that my kids wouldn’t eat plain and some beans out of my freezer and some green salsa and made several family size meals of Enchiladas Suizas.

    She also gave me the contents of her fruit bowl; three pears, one green apple, a single banana and six oranges. All of which had seen better days. I cut the banana into chunks and put it in the freezer. I took two packages of cranberries out of the freezer along with some of the cherries and I used everything else to make & can 11 half pints of cranberry chutney. This is great at Thanksgiving or on turkey sandwiches.

    I found some ground beef @ the grocery store for $1.79/ lb, but it was the 80/ 20 type. I prefer to get the 90/10 because it is leaner, but I haven’t seen it for less than $5.99/ lb. I was deciding what to do with the 4 lbs I bought, when my friend gave me a 4lb package out of her refrigerator of 93/7 type ($7.99/lb). I combined the two types, added seasonings, chopped veggies and made seven, family size packages of burgers for the freezer. We ate one package for dinner on Sunday.

    With our water restrictions, we have let the backyard lawn go completely and the front lawn is barely alive. we use the shower warm up water, rinse water & other “found” water for the fruit trees and our tiny garden.

    The day after we got home from beach camping my husband (the scoutmaster) went on an overnight backpacking trip. He took a mix of homemade & store bought things for food. The troop is going on a week long backpacking trip in Yosemite in two weeks. They will climb Half Dome while they are there.

    This morning our youngest daughter left for girls’ camp up in the Sierras. I sent her package on Saturday. I have been watching garage sales & thrift stores for the past 6 months for items in her color (red) or with her designated superhero (Spiderman.) The items I collected went into my drawer until camp. I found her a red shirt for each day of camp for under $1 each. At the thrift store I found some red sheer curtains with gold sequins on the bottom that she can use to make curtains for her bunk for $1. At a yard sale I found a superhero sticker book for $.25. I went to find sunscreen at Target and on the clearance shelf were several tubes of sunscreen with characters on the front. There was minion sunscreen, scooby doo sunscreen and Spiderman sunscreen. It was less than the sunscreen on sale that I planned to buy. I found her a red journal on the clearance rack for $.50.

    My children have been participating in Mark Kistler’s free online drawing classes every Tuesday and are enjoying it very much.

    My two youngest turned in their book journals for a free book each at Barnes and Noble.

    I resisted buying curriculum for next year that I don’t need. I have a tendency to overplan and I need to simplify.

    Your website has brought back some of my joy in bargain hunting. Now when I find a great bargain I think to myself, “I can’t wait to tell Brandy and everyone else on Monday!”

  61. I worked on emergency preparedness. I got an $5 Ace Hardware coupon in the mail. I put it towards a new fluorescent bulb for our emergency lamp. We went to CVS and got 2 laundry detergent and a 4-pack of C batteries for our emergency lamp for $2.90 OOP and have a $1 buck to use on the next trip.

    I picked tomatoes from the garden from volunteers. Picked a pineapple that I grew from a pineapple top – and I will replant the pineapple top again after I carve the pineapple and also divide off 1 pup. I hand pollinated butternut squash. I have a 30 foot long big bushy butternut squash vine growing from my compost. It seems to grow a foot a day when it rains! It has several squash reaching a nice size already and is still flowering.

    Big Lots was having a 20% sale. I got an Old Spice shower gel, deodorant, body spray gift set for $4.80. They normally sell for $10-$15 at Christmas time. Expiration date is May 2016. I put it aside as a holiday gift for my daughter’s boyfriend.

    My son came home and picked up some things we were storing for him. While we were at our storage unit, I pulled a few things out of the unit – I listed a dehumidifier on FB garage sale page. A few things went into the garbage. I set aside a few things to donate or gift to a woman at work setting up a home. I hope to be able to go through the house and storage unit selling/donating/decluttering to get to the smallest storage unit possible. Not having any storage unit isn’t feasible with no basement, no attic, no garage, and no closet in the guest room – but I want to have the smallest one possible.

    I went through the upper shelf in my closet and cleared it out/moved things around. I then used the freed up space to store boxes of ziplocs, swiffers, and dryer sheets from Sams Club. Which freed up some space under the bed for our emergency supply of gallons of water.

    I was gifted a dinner of veggie kabobs, rice and a grilled pita bread from a co-worker who knows I am vegetarian.

    It seems like I didn’t do much, but I did a lot of the same old…washing out baggies, bringing home leftovers from catered lunches at work, spent only $6 at the grocery store, packed a picnic lunch to bring to the waterpark 2 days, composted, tried to conserve water and electricity, wore clothes more than once before washing.

  62. Diakon radish can be cut up and put into soup, it’s like a potato but won’t fall apart like one. It would be mighty tasty in miso soup-although it is summer. There are some asian dishes that you could make with it like kim chi but not sure you are into that sort of thing. I think I would attempt to fry some up just to see how it turns out.

  63. Thanks, I told my husband. I am nervous about the installation since we need it to look good enough to attract a buyer.

  64. Consider a cream called Topricin. You can get it on amazon. Be sure to buy from the company and not a resaler. I have arthritis and so do many of my relatives. It really helps. Maybe the pain will go from a seven to a three. And you can use as much as you want and does not conflict with other medicines. It is really a blessing.

  65. I love your fig picture. We have a turkey fig tree and I just picked the last of them last week. I’m thinking of trying your fig sorbet recipe soon. It looks delicious!~TJ

  66. I have baked bread for years and my friend gave this recipe to me and also our other friend who made into a machine bread but can be done by hand too with no difference the recipe is an old one from early 60’s before bread machines the friend who made it bread machine makes kits ahead i love this bread best and tho it is for white you can see i have been using my other favorites to make it like them this has the recipe for one loaf. this will show you things i did with it. this is by far my fav my friend who made this into a machine bread also uses for garlic knots and cinn rolls now remember you can do this by hand i have done four loaves the trick is to add only the ingrd given it is a tad sticky but the texture well worth it…in her stake they had this bread too one of my fav as well… so just wanted to share these two best bread finds i got all my bread pans from yrd sales i was so happy finding these after 41 yrs of trying breads i learned making it at church this said the first loaf of bread i ever made was for two loaves i killed the yeast i know that now but not then put it in two pans and waited half a day then i thought i know it needed to be in one pan i want you to know i was 18 and a new bride so then i thought ha it will rise when it cooks feeling proud of myself i pulled from this little oven in time for supper it was a brick we looked at each other and buried it in the back yard some day they will find it and they will think it just petrified that was june of 74 i knew you would get a chuckle i have come a long way since then and my husband stayed with me too.

  67. I just looked at the Fred Meyer ad, and peaches and nectarines are on sale for 99 cents a pound this week, through Saturday.

  68. Hi Kelly – I have made kimchee out of daikon radish and it was delicious. That’s generally what I do with it. I will have to try it in soup. Thanks for the suggestion.

  69. They have a program like that called WIA, which I believe is workforce in action. There should be a similar program in most states. A quick search for displaced homemakers with your state nam should lead you to the office where all those worker programs are administered.

  70. I got corn for .10 an ear too! I was so thankful. We don’t normally eat a lot of corn, but I am trying to put aside anything edible that I can.

  71. Years ago, while in a very, very lean time, I learned that for my family, it was the variation rather that the restaurant they wanted, so I researched some of our favorite eat out foods. The most important was Chinese. I discovered how to simplify sauces and make the dishes we loved for very little (garlic chicken, General Tso chicken, fried rice, egg rolls, crab Rangoon). I would use our garden produce, rice is cheap, and Chinese reduces the amount meat required. That has now become a habit, and even though we could maybe eat Chinese out once in a while, no one asks anymore. They are content with it as a treat at home. We make our own pizza, burgers, fries, and fancy salads too, all staples from our more wasteful days.

  72. Hi Meredith
    I was absolutely distraught last summer when I scraped another car in a parking lot because I was driving my husband’s very large truck. I left a note and when the owner called she was very nice and asked how we wanted to do it. I said if she got a quote from a shop I would pay the whole thing. I was very nervous about how much it was going to be and for two weeks it bothered me. Then she ended up calling back to say she couldn’t bother going to the shop since it wasn’t very noticeable and not to worry about it.
    I’ll pray for you that it will turn out the same for you. And I have promised myself that if anyone bumps my car I will let it go as well. All the best with it

  73. – In preparation for our upcoming vacation I pitted remaining cherries and froze them for later use
    – Froze remaining pint of blueberries
    – Redeemed two codes for free songs on iTunes from Starbucks
    – Listed 8 things on eBay
    – Found a less expensive place to get dog groomed, plus she offers 20% off first cut
    – Got buy one get one free chili at Wendy’s for dinner for husband and myself
    – Utilized buy 10 for $10 get 11th free sale at Meijer (ended up spending $33 and saving $28 with specials)
    – Redeemed 20 cents on Ibotta
    – Had $1 off coupon for my sons haircut plus got a $2 off coupon for next time as a thank you for donating to paralyzed veterans
    – Redeemed a free pick two at Panera and split it with my daughter
    – Went to the grocery store before heading on to the island to pick up milk, bread, eggs, etc because it’s a lot cheaper
    – Drove just slightly out of the way to stay overnight at my parents on our way to vacation to avoid the expense of a hotel
    – Visited our old town so the kids could see their friends and drop off the dog at our friends who are watching him this week (saving about $250 in kennel fees)

    Since we’ve been on vacation it’s harder to do things inexpensively but we’ve been eating breakfast and lunch in and have been having a great time with 25 of our extended family members!

  74. I was sick last week with strep throat so I didn’t do much but I took some days off work and was able to tackle my mending while I sat on the couch. I skipped a week of groceries since my husband won’t do it and we just made do with what we had. Then for this week my store offered $15 worth of points if I spent a certain amount which was a little over my weekly budget but since I saved all of last week’s I stocked up on staples (flour, powdered milk) and bought some more expensive things for the pantry such as nuts. This way I’m stocking the pantry and I’ll be able to take $15 off next week’s budget too.
    The veggies are coming in nicely, I’ve gotten so much lettuce, herbs, peas and now green beans and raspberries are coming in. One night when I was sick and only up to making buttered noodles for my son’s dinner I took him out to the garden and showed him the peas and he picked and ate about 20 pods making me feel a little better for being able to give him a veggie!
    The hot weather is finally here and I can count the fact that I don’t have AC as being frugal, up to this past weekend no one was really needing it around here.

  75. Brandy I think you really had a lovely response, very Jesus like. I can’t say I would have done the same-thank you for the inspiration.

    -Line dry clothes
    -cashed in on my Walmart savings catcher
    -made banana nut bread from old bananas, the other 2 I tossed in the freezer for next time
    -used coupons and ibotta app
    -ate leftovers
    -deactivated FB account
    -baked bread and cut it into 3rds to freeze since I’m the only one who eats it
    -have stayed home and spent several hours outside for my 2.5 year old son to get some energy out, even when we come home with multiple warnings he still gets mad because we didn’t stay out longer-sigh he wears me out that’s for sure
    -menu planned for the week, since shopping weekly we have not necessarily “saved” money but we haven’t had to throw away no where near as much food
    -wrote a letter for a friend that I’ve been meaning to for the past 7 months and sent a different friend a picture of me and my son bookmark-I think she will really like that–I used stamps that I purchased from Christmas (I’m a stationary addict-although I haven’t bought any new stationary I have quite a collection)
    -for the shapes and colors learning card set, I had some felt on hand that I cut out so we can match the shape and colors together, its a little more interactive for him-and he already knew rectangle so imagine my surprise lol

  76. As always Brandy, your pictures a beautiful.
    I found 8 lbs of strawberries for $.50 each. Cleaned , sliced and froze in bags.
    Aldi has a dehydrator for $19.99. I picked one up since I’ve been wanting to try it. Don’t know if it will be a frugal flop or not.

  77. Continued to snap receipts for receipt hog. Saw it suggested in a readers comment a couple moths ago and already have almost enough for an son gift card.

    Have been able to hold off on grocery shopping for the past few days. Just picked up banana and should be good until end of week.

    Hubby needed work socks which can be expensive. They we’re buy one get one half off, used 15% coupon and got a $10 kickback coupon for a purchase next week. Only need to spend the ten bucks to get it!

    Hubby wanted pizza last night. Got. Large meat lovers for him to have leftovers for lunch this week. I didn’t want to buy an entire whole pizza for me so I just made nachos with leftovers at home. Saved $20 on the price of a pizza right there!

    Started making some had towels for Christmas gifts. Using thread,material scraps and buttons from my stash so the only cost is $6 for the towels. I will end up with 8 towels or 4 sets in the end so 4 gifts for $1.50 a piece is good for me.

    I have been trying to collect wild flowers around the area to dry and collect the seeds for my mothers Christmas gift. I have never done this so any advice would be appreciated.

    Using digital and paper coupons when shopping. Checking sales and usin what I already have as well.

    Found a brand new package of 22 sees starter cups at goodwill for 1.99! Found them online for tendollars!! Set them aside to give to my sister for Christmas. She uses these every year to start her garden veggies so this will save her money.

    Went through my closet and revamped some pieces of clothing so that I can wear them to work. Haven’t worked in 8 months and many of my professional pieces were in such bad shape when I left my last job that they were donated or thrown away. Don’t have a lot to spend on business clothes and they can get pricey. Between what I stil had, revamping a few pieces and a couple great thrift store finds I should be set for A while. Trying the concept of a capsule wardrobe so many pieces can be mixed and matches ! Hoping to not need to purchase anything else.

  78. Harvested Red Haven peaches, blackberries, onions, garlic, blackberry leaves & dill. Dried the dill weed on a plate for a week before putting it in a jar. Topped the blackberry canes to force the laterals & chiffonaded the blackberry leaves from the trimmed cane tips to dry on a plate. Continued to freeze blackberries for a future batch of jam. Spread the garlic in the shade in a garage to dry after digging it. The peaches were not quite ripe, but the birds had begun to peck them, so we picked & placed the peaches in one of the ripening bowls to finish. It was one of the young trees, so there were only 7 or 8 peaches, but I refuse to teach the birds that my peaches are food for them.

    Took my young grandson back home. He came to visit for a few days. While he was here, he helped me hand water, remove some weed trees, replace the support for a latch on the shed door, & spread mulch. He also deconstructed a white lattice that was broken beyond repair/use, breaking it down small enough to fit into the garbage can. We recycled together & he divided the money he received into 2 envelopes, since this is something that both he & his sister do with me. I had saved a full punch card, so when we recycled, he was allowed to “spin the wheel” at the recycling plant. It landed on “shirt”, but they were out of shirts, so he was allowed to choose what he wanted from the other prizes. He chose a 12 pack of A&W Cream Soda & the woman gave him a frozen Otter Pop as well. While we were grocery shopping, we found a clearance bin of Auguson Farms hot cocoa, marked down to $2 a can, in various flavors. Some did not expire until Nov of 2023, & others expired Nov of 2016. At that price, we stocked up for both our family & his.

    Removed the arbor for the peas & mulched the area where the peas & garlic had been, preparatory to planting something there for a fall garden.

    Bought 2 packages of turkey tenders & 1 package of boneless pork ribs deeply discounted from the meat markdown bin. Repackaged them into freezer bags: 4 of tenders & 1 of ribs. Each of these will make at least 2 meals for my husband & I. I also bought 10 packages of unsliced Canadian bacon for $1 each from the markdown bin. These went into the freezer. They are great with eggs, waffles, pancakes, or beans.

    Continued to hang laundry inside to dry, to cool the house, & also utilized the swing bar solar dryer on the patio for larger items like sheets & comforters.

    Reclaimed water from the kitchen sink to use on the berry beds & garden.

    Walked to church & several other times this week, to strengthen my right hip muscles & correct the sciatic nerve irritation. It is as cheap as therapy comes.

  79. I am grateful for finding this community. Just had to say it.
    Here are my frugal accomplishments (and failures) for this week:
    Monday – back to work and a frugal fail of a day. Came home to a crockpot full of chicken that flipped the breaker and did not cook. Instead it sat, in all its rawness, on the counter, in our over heated house for the whole day. So, chicken in the garbage ($$) and we went out for dinner ($$) instead. And filled up the truck ($$). And bought me a new sewing machine (30% off but still $$). I love my new machine and I have never owned a brand new one, and we paid cash for it without sacrificing any other bill but still, What the heck!!
    Tuesday – Managed to scramble up something for our lunches to take to work (usually we take leftovers). Really tired when I got home from work. It takes a bit of energy to get back into the swing of things. Being tired does keep you from spending money though.
    Wednesday – no money out (whew!) Harvested our first tomatoes from the garden. And my roses are starting to bloom. Gratefully accepted a bag of hand-me-downs from a co-worker.
    Thursday – a day off (I’m only working 3 days a week). Hang several loads on my new super duper clothesline, played around on my new machine, cleaned the house, made peach bread to start using up last year’s canning to make space for this year’s canning, had leftovers for supper.
    Friday – made iced coffee. Hung laundry, took in recycling, ordered a new set of sheets using my airmiles reward points. Made soap with my neighobour
    Saturday – a day out in the bush with my Sweetie ( No cost to enjoy the beautiful weather and stunning scenery.
    I hope you all have an amazing week.

  80. had to smile about the bee photo. Here in England my partner has a tiny cottage garden, 25′ by 12′. We have planted lambs ears, think the proper name is stachyis. The bees love it including one who had stuffed her saddle bags so full of pollen we were wondering how she was going to fly back to the hive. She was nt content and went on stuffing even more pollen in. she did manage to take off but her tail end was well down.

  81. Ugh! So sorry about the crock pot incident. Things like that are so hard to take. I hate throwing food away, as I’m sure everyone is, so I had sympathetic flinch in your direction.

    A new sewing machine, though! That’s exciting :). I remember back in 2002 when I bought mine. Between that and when I got my new mixer were definitely in the “highlights of my adult life” category for purchases *laugh*.

  82. Hi Nicole,
    Thank you! I still haven’t heard back from her either. What you said is what my husband thinks is going to happen. I just hope it does! Someone did scrape my bumper about a year ago and didn’t leave a note. Leaving the note, being nice, and doing the right thing is what would make me let it go. Still nervous but I just need to be thankful that no one was hurt.

  83. Becky.. on the peach jelly it is really watery. I have had some semi gel (different kinds) that we used for syrup. My plum jam didn’t set up either. I should know better than to try to do more than more batch at a time, sigh! That is o.k. though that can be used for ham glaze and pancake syrup.

  84. Erika

    I was talking to my elderly neighbor (83) last night and told her the jelly didn’t set up, she said to rebatch it using another box of pectin. I hate the idea of maybe wasting another box of pectin so not sure if I’ll risk it or not? Her peach jelly is heavenly but her peach tree is loaded this year so she didn’t need my peels. I also thought when I threw those peels away that I should probably have saved them, ground them up with the food processor and added them to the dogs food. Anyone else have ideas on how to reuse the peels after making jelly? I don’t compost anymore as we have had a huge rat problem in our area the past 2 summers. Thankfully not on my property but in our area of town and we think it’s the resurgence of composting. I will compost this winter when my garden is done and I have extra dirt to cover the veggies that I am composting but not in the summer months.

  85. I haven’t posted here in quite some time but I do read every week. I was hoping maybe some of you would have a bit of advice for me–
    For the past few years we were really struggling financially to the point of almost losing our home. I sank into a very scary, deep depression. My husband finally started working full time again last July, we were able to modify our home loan, and things were looking up despite the amount of debt we had. Then in March my father-in-law abruptly moved in with us. Our house is roughly 1600 sq ft with 3 bedrooms and we have four children so we were already cramped. My father in law’s plan was to turn an unfinished space above our 2 car garage into a room-an idea my husband and I weren’t too keen on but then he got sick. He has been in and out of the hospital and obviously not feeling well enough to build anything so everything was at a stand still–meanwhile all four of my children were sharing the master bedroom so he could have a place to sleep. We were at a loss as what to do, and through much debate we finally decided to construct a small room on the main level which was part of our living room. I lost half of my living room and morning sun from two windows so he could have his own space and my children could have their rooms back. My husband and I did all of the work, depleting nearly all of our savings. The room is complete and he is moved in there but the rest of my house is in shambles, a domino effect of construction. We have spent every weekend working on projects and are simply exhausted. He has yet to utter a thank you. All of this to say that just when things started to look up, it all went downhill again.

    I feel like I make progress being frugal and then my father in law sabotages my efforts. He runs his window a/c all the time because of his breathing problems, washes all of his laundry in hot water (oil heat), takes long showers and runs the water while brushing his teeth/shaving, leaves lights on, and doesn’t clean up after himself. (I yelled at my 8 yr old for constantly missing the toilet and it turns out it wasn’t him at all, it was my FIL!) And when I bring these matters to his attention he tells my husband I’m being mean and rude. Last month he invited his daughter to stay with us for a week and never bothered to ask us if it was okay…

    We are a one income family and my husband works so very hard to provide for us and I just feel like his father is taking advantage of him. I’m trying to deal with the situation but I’m at my wits end and just needed to vent. Has anyone else dealt with a similar situation?

  86. Gardenpat

    I love that sign too! And yes, a powerful message indeed. and I don’t think it’s silly to save money anyway you can that is great and inspires me too.

  87. Another frugal that came up last night talking to my sister. She has a mil that lives with them and they have a mil suite. Mil is no longer able to walk unattended hence she will no longer need all the dishes, tupperware, etc. that she has so my sister was going to donate it to Goodwill. I told her to please save it for me.. I use and buy Tupperware all the time. I told her what I can’t use dishes, pots and pans etc. I will add to my pile of items to sell in my yard sale looking like next year but still.. charity begins at home. We have our whole front yard at the moment covered with large pots that our container garden is in so no room to set up a yard sale but maybe in the fall?

  88. Love seeing all of your beautiful photos! As a HS grauation to myself (almost ten years ago), I purchased a Cannon Digital Rebel. Over time I have lent it out more than I have used it, and because of that I am missing a lens case and a battery charger *sigh*. I need to make getting those parts replaced a priority.
    We have been burning the candles at both ends for over a month now. EVERY weekend we are doing something, so last weekend while my parents were at the high lakes in Eastern Oregon we went and stayed at their coastal cabin for a way to escape the heat. That was the goal, and then it turned out to be eighty five degrees on the coast! Jeesh! It was still frugal for us though, we were able to stay for free and utilize my parents kitchen. We did buy fresh oysters 🙂
    This coming weekend we will be heading up to Kent WA, about an hour from Seattle. I haven’t ever been, so I am excited. We are looking to rent a car for the drive to avoid the wear and tear on our cars and I booked a hotel room for two nights that includes breakfast and a swimmign pool. I think there will be many fun free things to do in Seattle so that will be great, I plan on packing a cooler of food for us as well. My sister in law is watching our puppy and my child with be with his Father for the weekend so no cost to us there. Still have to get the bride and groom a last minute gift, I am thinking a nice bottle of vino.
    This week my son is at his Fathers, so we are saving around $120.00 in childcare costs alone, and I have managed to pay for his summer daycare from his child support I receive, which is a huge blessing.
    Husband and I will be pre-qualified to start looking for a home in August (EEEEK), and we are so looking forward to that. I see a really big garden in our future.
    We have been doing a lot of prepping around here for earthquakes. I have been feeling the urgency to prepare for awhile now, and am making it a priority. All I ask is that my son is either with me or with my husband if it happens. He has a general idea of what to do if he is not (he is eight) but still…I am thinking I will put together a plan for the three of us and give it to my siblings, so if they were trying to locate us they would be able to.
    Everyone have a safe and frugal week!

  89. Brandy I thought I needed to purchase these specific items advertised for you to get credit! Wow! We buy stuff from Amazon all the time like our disabled son’s diapers, college textbooks, you name it. I had no idea I could use your link for anything I buy and you would get credit. I will do that in the future!

  90. Tattler Rings and Lids:

    I noticed following Brandy’s link they had advertised reusable rings sold alone. Do the rings wear out? I am thinking of buying them and of course I’ll order thru Brandy’s link but have never used them and couldn’t see anything on the site explaining using them.

  91. Last week I filled in for a co-worker. She and I share a receptionist job at a physical therapy office. So some extra on my next paycheck. That goes into a special savings just for travel to see grandkids. My husband gets home before me so he helped to get dinner ready. On Friday, my day off, I went to lunch with some friends at Newks. They have sandwiches, salads, etc…I love the shrimp po boy, so got that, a real treat! After that we went to the FSU campus to see my friends son and daughter in their STEM camp presentation. Several teams of kids did presentations, and it was like being with the cast of Big Bang Theory! I had no idea what they were talking about! The kids also did a mini piano recital, beautiful! As we were leaving, my friend told me that the camp was free! I thought they had paid a hefty tuition for the kids to go.

    Lots of pain in my shoulders, neck and upper arms, so I have had to take it easy. It feels better. I would love to hang out laundry, but holding my arms up is very painful. Our power bill was $187.00, higher than we are used to in the summer months. The power company has raised their rates, so working on getting the bill down as best we can. My husband is awful about leaving on lights! I go behind him turning them off. Trying to use the dryer on a shorter cycle, some things just have to finish drying by hanging on the back of a chair or on a hanger in the bathroom.

    Going to visit our daughter and her family in their new home in St. Augustine the first weekend in August. Would love to stay in a hotel with a pool so the grandkids can swim, but rates are high, so we will stay at their house. She said the grandkids really want to do the trolley tour downtown, so they are waiting for us to visit so we can all go together. We did this in Savannah a few years ago, so looking at around $20 per person I think. Glad to have some extra cash for the trip!

  92. Anna,

    I have been able to reuse them over and over without any problems. I think the rubber part can eventually wear out (the top plastic part does not) but it will be a long time before they need replacing. You can buy the rubber rings without the plastic lids if you need replacements. People have used these for 20 plus years.

  93. Roxie

    In our city our hospitals will help you file a “Hardship Claim” it took off about $1300 of our “after insurance” cost expenses. We owed $2000 something after our insurance part was paid so that was a relief to get some knocked off the bill. Call the hospital Business office and ask if they have a hardship fund I bet they do.


  94. What do you do with the figs?

    This past week I have been preserving lots of food. Our older neighbors have prolific peach trees and they gave us a key to the back gate and told us to pick whatever we want. They hate to see it all fall to the ground and so do we! I have canned peaches, peach jam, peach pineapple salsa, pineapple salsa and regular salsa. I have frozen LOTS of peaches and shredded and cubed zucchini (from our raised bed and some from the neighbors).

  95. Beautiful pictures! I never saw a black bee before!
    I took a circular wrought iron plant stand and am using it for an herb drying rack. It usually holds my rosemary (which is outside enjoying natures humidity).
    I was given a cross stitch kit that my mom had picked up at a yard sale. I can’t wait to finish it to hang.
    After 15 years together – my husband finally loves leftover night – I credit this blog. I am so giddy over this. Leftovers are my lunches but sometimes I want to make a salad from my garden and freezer space is a issue – win – win – win!
    A friend gave me her cukes. She didn’t have time to pickle, so I offered to do it for her. I kept a few pints and I also have the coveted “grams sweet pickle recipe” now. I promised to commit to memory.
    I wanted to say thank you to the responses with flying with food. I will be traveling only domestically. Packing a sandwich will be another option to stay “frugally fun” on these once in a lifetime adventures.
    I hope everyone has a fabulous week!

  96. Last week I canned 7 pints of pickles, which was the first time I’ve done any home canning in years. I love the sight of those full jars on my counter! :o) I continued to harvest vegetables and herbs from our garden. Dried thyme. Researched recipes using lemon balm as ours is growing beautifully. Was treated to supper by my mom. Also she took us shopping at Kohl’s using her 30% off coupon so we could buy items daughter needs before going back to school. This was a big savings for us.

    I wanted to also say that I believe one of the main reasons we are attracted to Brandy’s website is because she shows how living with limited financial resources can still be beautiful, meaningful living. In our consumer driven economy it is easy to forget that the best things in life truly are free. In the end what our children will remember (same as it was for us) is the love. It’s really the best gift we can ever give.

    I read in the book “Be Thrifty” that the first definition of “thrifty” in the Oxford English Dictionary is “the fact or condition of thriving or prospering; prosperity, success, good luck.” The word thrift originated from the verb “thrive.” I don’t know why the idea of being thrifty seems to have negative connotations to it, when it really affords us the chance to experience a better, more full life. A more intentional way of living. To thrive.

    I had a habit over many years of recording gifts given and gifts received at Christmas. I quit doing so a few years ago, but the other day I ran across those lists and read them over. I was surprised to see how many of the gifts we received we no longer have or use for a variety of reasons. I was reminded how transient “things” are, and how difficult it is years later to even remember gifts given to us. We still love and care for those who gifted us, and I appreciate their generosity in giving to us. However, it’s our relationships that stand the test of time, not our stuff. I threw those lists away and I felt like I had a new (and better) outlook afterwards.

    Blessings to you all!

  97. I want to mention this before I forget…the Stark Brothers Nursery newsletter just recently had a very detailed, with pictures and illustrations, of how to espalier the fruit trees. Brandy does that for some of her trees. They said apple and pear are the most common.

  98. Meredith, how would they know if you planted berry bushes among your shrubs, in the back yard maybe. Or a cherry tree? Do they ban you from planting ornamental shrubs and trees with berries? Because those are important food for wildlife in the winter.

  99. Rhonda, have you ever tried those websites that offer the copy cat recipes for famous name brand foods? The two I can think of off-hand are the Famous Amos cookies and the KFC cole slaw. We make the cole slaw often. You could let them find the recipe and then say you will make it at home, show them the cost of what it would be to buy out and the much less cost of homemade. Then put the difference saved toward something fun at the end of the summer, or sooner.

  100. Alligators, oh my! We were in FL one spring with the children, we had 3 at the time, and we went to Wakullah (sp?) Springs and took a boat ride and saw alligators all over the place. It is where they filmed the old Tarzan movies. There was also a place nearby with swimming and a small beach area. People were swimming! and there were alligators farther off! We waded in only about 6 inches (as we’re all such chickens), just enough to clean the sand off the children after we were done playing.

  101. Rhonda, we go to the William Tell festival in New Glarus WI every few years and it can be very warm some years plus they are out in the sun and they are wearing heavy costumes there. The actors put flat ice packs inside their clothes, in between the layers.

  102. Gardenpat, even with the side effects I am so glad that they caught your Lyme disease and you have begun treatment.

    So you put pickle relish in potato salad? Is it dill relish or sweet? Is it a mayonnaise type potato salad?

  103. Becky, if you look at her blog you can see the projects! I especially like the latest scrap afghan.

  104. Is this a new version of POLDARK? I feel like we watched this on PBS years (20 or so) ago. I know they redid THE FORSYTHE SAGA and that was very good. We have the DVDs on that one.

  105. One of my brothers did this in his ranch house. The house was all carpet when they bought it. He started first with the entry way, found it easy, then moved to the living room and just kept going until he had the whole house done, bedrooms and all. They say it is so easy to keep clean as they have a Hoover FLoormate that is great for cleaning up pet hair (they have 3 dogs).

    Our house is all linoleum. Except for our new addition of the sun room, we put low pile carpet in there. He says he will come and help if we want to switch to the laminate someday.

  106. Roxie, you should contact the Insurance Commissioner of your state and send them all the facts on your case. Type up a nice letter, send copies of bills. They will look into it. Every state probably works different, so you can call them first and find out how to go about it their way.

  107. Thank you so much Tina, I will go to Fred Meyers. I also know that Puyallup has several produce farms and I plan to search for these too in hopes to find a good price. My husband and I usually have a day date once a year to explore the produce farms near by. I do not believe we have a Yakima fruit stand but we have Tacoma Boy’s in several areas that sometimes have good prices too. Thank you again 🙂 Patty from the NW

  108. We actually had to fight with my daughter to get her to go with us to the gas station to get gas. She’s not a big outdoors kind of girl because of the bugs (Asperger’s/sensory issues). Otherwise it is a great idea. I do try to incorporate “make your own” foods as much as I can and i try changing up the menu when I have the time and energy to do so. I work in the summer, so I have less time to do this right now. I love the suggestions, though, so thank you for your comments!

  109. The biggest problem I have is that everyone has different tastes. My husband likes spicy food, and my mother (whom we live with) gets indigestion whenever she eats anything with even a little spice (even sweet peppers or tomato sauce will cause tummy upset). My mother is a passive complainer, too. She’ll claim that she eats everything then I listen to her complain about how she has indigestion afterwards. My husband is a cook in a restaurant, but refuses to help out with the cooking because “he does it all day at work”. Then there is my daughter who has Asperger’s. She has systematically eliminated almost every protein source from her diet due to sensory issues (too chewy, doesn’t taste good, doesn’t like the texture, etc.) over the past year or two and if she eats something too often, she gets tired of it and will suddenly refuse to eat it at all. I refuse to be a short order cook! So there we are in our dinner stand-off trying to come up with a meal idea at 5 pm at night. I don’t have a lot of time to make up a meal plan ahead of time while I’m working, not that it would improve anything, because I’m sure someone would complain no mater what was made. I do my best to make some “pre-made fast meals” when I have my days off, because if it takes too much work for anyone to make, it won’t get made. It would be nice if I had more support and help from the rest of the family on this!

    I do appreciate all the suggestions. It sounds like you’ve been in this position. Knowing that I’m not the only one dealing with this dilemma really does make me feel a bit better.

  110. Boy can I relate, Amy! It somethings feels like the more they eat out the more they crave going out. It’s a very vicious circle and hard to break!

  111. I agree that variety seems to help. That is one of the reasons I love reading comments about what others have made for dinner. They certainly help me come up with new ideas to try! Thanks for your comment, Janet.

  112. Trying some of those copycat recipes is a good idea. I’ve seen some on Pinterest. Maybe I need to look for a few and actually try them. I might have to wait until fall, though, as I don’t have as much time to play around with meals when I’m working in the summer. Thanks for the suggestion, Athanasia.

  113. I also thought I had to order those specific items for Brandy to get credit!

    Brandy- you might want to mention this fact in a main post. I wish I had known this sooner, as I made 2 Amazon purchases this past week.

  114. I’m with you on this, Athanasia. I don’t think I would be very comfortable going swimming knowing there were alligators lurking in the water. I suppose if you grow up with them though, you get more comfortable predicting what the gators might do. We don’t have many poisonous snakes or spiders here in Canada either, so they would freak me out too. Funny how we all have different life experiences.

  115. Anna, have you ever considered trying your hand at crocheted rag rugs? There are instructions and tutorials on the internet for this. You rip or cut the fabric into strips, sew them together to make a fabric yarn then use this to crochet with. We do this for weaving, but there is no reason you couldn’t use it for crocheting with. It might be a great way to use the fabric from some of those worn out clothes, whether it be jeans, t-shirts or cotton bed sheets. Rag rugs make very beautiful gifts as well. In addition to being used as a throw carpet, they can also used as place mats and/or table runners or sewn into useful handbags or purses.

  116. Holly, I like the idea of the mock crab cakes. I would think they would taste similar as you are probably using all the same seasonings as you would for crab cakes. I am going to try this. Real crab is so expensive and I don’t like the fake crab heated, only cold.

  117. It’s been a successful week in the garden and yard this week! My basil plants are growing so well this year. I have already been able to make a large quantity of pesto and most of it has gone into the freezer for later in the year. I have also dried some of it and am filling a nice size jar that I will also be able to use throughout the year. I am also doing the same with the oregano from the garden.

    I saved a seed from a butternut squash last fall and planted it…to my surprise it sprouted and is doing very well. I can not wait to see how the plant produces. My daughter and I love butternut squash and sometimes it is just out of my price range and we do not get to have it as often as we would like it…so this will be a treat!

    I spend most of my non-working hours outside in my back yard when the weather is good , I find it very peaceful and relaxing. Nothing like having a cup of tea on the patio with a good book and looking at the “gardens”. A friend of mine was making more room for his edible garden and was going to get rid of several plants so I “rescued” them. I have increased the size of my flower garden and I am loving it….each year I try to plant at least one additional perienal plant and it helps save me some money on the amount of annuals that I plant. Each year I keep a record on how many of each plant I buy and what areas they go into so I don’t over buy when I visit the nursery.

    Till next week!

  118. I remembered another frugal accomplishment from last week (although it wasn’t my accomplishment.) My 12yo dd is going to a camp that requires her to wear hiking boots. We found the boots months ago at a thrift store, but it wasn’t until the last minute that we realized that none of her socks will work. She wears the low profile socks. These boots require ankle socks. I was just getting my emergency cash out of my wallet for a mad dash to Target two hours before her packed luggage had to go on the truck, when my doorbell rang. It was my Visiting Teachers (2 ladies from church.) When I explained why I didn’t have time for a visit, one of them turned to my daughter and asked what size shoe she wears. This woman is a recently retired ER nurse who wears the same shoe size as my daughter. She explained that in the ER she was required to wear the thin cotton, cushioned bottom, fold over ankle socks and now that she doesn’t have to wear them she has moved on to cute & colorful socks. She went straight home and brought over 6 pairs of clean white ankle socks for my daughter to keep. Which is exactly the number of days of camp. What a blessing.

  119. Amber, good idea on freezing the apricot pulp. I like to eat frozen fruit too, like your children. In the summer when we have a wider variety of fruit at one time I like to make frozen fruit snacks in 1 cup containers. Make the fruit all bite sized…I’ve used every fruit combo, even cantaloupe and honeydew. There’s always that last bit of fruit that needs using.

  120. Our church puts up a table during growing season and people bring extras in Sunday am before church and you can take what you want…it may be loaded by 9a but it will be bare by noon.

  121. My son hates protein. The Thug Kitchen has a tofu pop recipe that is delicious. Thug Kitchen is very….dirty? Scatalogical? I was gifted a copy THAT I DID NOT ASK FOR. Annnyhow, it actually does have some great recipes in it. The chocolate pops are a block of shelf stable tofu, chocolate chips, and almond heat and blend, I’m sorry I don’t recall the proportions. My son is very picky and he loves these. You might like making chicken pot pies and freezing them, my mom sounds like yours and feeding everyone is exhausting. I add some cocoa powder to the mix to get a more complex flavor.

  122. We have tried them and they are great. Also, I found that what I was really craving on nights that we went out, was peace and comfort. I thought we could get them at a restaurant but obviously no. It was always days when everyone was stressed and cranky. I keep frozen refried beans in the freezer now and on hard days we have burritos or pbnj. What I really needed some nights was just not a lot of dishes or to make dinner while everyone( including me), whined. It was a lot easier once I realized that. U

  123. Anona, isn’t that nice just being able to sit and enjoy and watch nature around you, just carrying out it’s everyday doings.

  124. Thanks, I would looove it if the cleaning is easier. We have to move, but we are going to lose at least 20-40 thousand dollars. So we are trying our best to get it ready as cheaply as possible while still using nice things that will appeal to buyers. It is definitely a budgeting challenge. I wish the housing market would improve here, but I don’t think it will for another decade and we cannot wait. It is painful to spend money fixing up the house to sell it, knowing we won’t get it back. We have to move for my husbands job.

  125. To make it look it’s best make sure to stagger the pieces. The easiest way to do that is to start the next row with the last piece that was cut. I hope that makes sense. Also, make sure to unpack and mix several boxes together before starting and keep mixing. This will keep your floors from having islands of color and patterns. Gives a more natural look. If possible place all the boxes in the room where they will be laid several days before beginning. This is called acclimating. It will help avoid gaps and buckling later. Leave as much gap from the wall as your base will cover. Again to allow the flooring to expand and shrink with the weather. Each manufacturer has a max recommended run (the longest wall) that the boards can be laid in. If your rooms are fairly small it shouldn’t be a problem. Flooring should be laid in the opposite direction of the floor joist if possible. This is for stability. My husband installs flooring and I try to pay attention 🙂

  126. I am from Panama City and have great memories of swimming in Wakulla Springs as a child! We just took our boys there a few months ago and thankfully, it was too chilly to swim because I surely think differently now as a mom!

  127. We have a volunteer squash plant in one of my raised beds…I’m 99% certain that it’s a zucchini from our composter. It has produced several male flowers and one female, so I hand fertilized the female flower. Should be interesting to see what come out of it? I didn’t plant zucchini this year, so it’s an extra bonus for sure.

    We discovered a smallneighborhood pool. It costs $1 per person to get in instead of the usual $3-$4per person for the big public pool. We are very excited by this new option.

    I found a great bargain on long sleeved shirts for my son for fall/ winter, so he is ready for school now.

    I picked coneflowers from my yard and used them as a decoration in our bathroom.

    My neighbor gifted me with a LOT of basil (ours has not been growing for some reason). I made several containers of pesto and put them in the freezer for winter.

    My son had a vast Lego collection from when my husband and I were children. I was trying to find a storage solution and found a drawstring mat on Amazon. I made a replica with fabric I had on hand, which saved me $40. I also made fabric laundry bags for our family for our upcoming family vacation.

  128. Brandy may I ask what camera you used before? Your photos are always beautiful! I have a beginner’s Nikon DSLR that is really about done and just don’t have the budget yet for the one you purchased. Your photos have always been a real treat!

    This last weekend we had the first of two yard sales we will have this summer from moving and are using half of the money to start stocking up our pantry again. With moving in the spring we tried eating a great deal of what we had in the months prior to moving so we are low on many things.

    I canned two batches of blackberry jam and froze some corn that I was given. I was given permission to pick green beans from a neighbors garden this week.

    Your blog is very inspirational.

  129. Frugal accomplishments:

    Attended free programs for the kids at the library; remembered to return the movies on time; checked out new books and movies

    I needed to bring a side or dessert to small group this week. I feel like I always bring cookies, but since making something else was going to involve a trip to the store, I made cookies again. The recipe is egg-free, saving some more money.

    Reduced the amount of breakfast we’re all having. I only use humanely raised and handled eggs when our own chickens aren’t laying, so eggs were getting expensive. We didn’t need to eat as much as we were having.

    Used Walgreens prescription savings card to save on a prescription not covered by insurance.

    I haven’t used Swagbucks for a while, but after someone here mentioned using it for textbooks last week, I got back on. Maybe my few little Swagbucks can build up and make a difference in the cost of books for my boyfriend, who is attempting to go back to grad school next fall.

    Something I always do: I try to remember to carry a reusable bottle for us when we go to town, but it’s something I often forget, so I keep a case of water bottles in my car so I don’t have to stop for drinks. The case from the grocery store is cheaper than bottles at the convenience store, plus I don’t have to unload kids from car seats.

    I stopped drinking cokes. I’ve been having stomach troubles and cut them out to see if it would help. I bought instant tea to have in case of caffeine headaches (I don’t have room in my little RV fridge for a gallon of tea), but I haven’t need it. I’ve just been drinking water and my one cup of hot tea in the mornings. My sodas were more expensive (I’m allergic to high fructose corn syrup), so this will save me quite a lot.

    Ordered pictures from Sams. Since I didn’t have an account yet I got 50 free prints to give to my mom and grandma.

    Ordered pizza after church and it turned out the pizza was on sale. Even if it wasn’t, carry out pizza is much cheaper for us than eating out (especially when eating out after church often includes an arcade!).

    Went grocery shopping by myself. Shopping without the kids saves me so much!

    Placed an essential oil order and opted for the cheapest shipping.

    Thank you, Brandy, for giving us this opportunity to learn from each other every week!

  130. Hi there,

    I was taking a look at your blog and thought I would subscribe via email. As I thought, I have already subscribed but I do not get the blog posts. I am sure I subscribed months ago.

  131. I tried posting a comment too. I think I pressed send about 10 times. Then I panicked thinking it might appear 10 time. It hasn’t appeared at all so I’ll post it again.

  132. Congratulations on your new camera Brandy.

    With the weather being so cold this week I’ve tried to stay busy on my days at home. I just love cooking and baking good wholesome food for my family and as Annabel says ” feathering my nest “. I had a lovely day with Cath form the Cheapskates Club. Of course we talked about all things frugal as well as the up coming Adelaide workshop. So exciting !!! Here’s what else I got up to this week –

    * Made a couple of cards for my stash.

    * Made up lots of biscuits using a packet mix bought after Christmas for 5 cents. It was meant to be a gingerbread house but I don’t have time for such a fiddly thing.

    * Emptied the bottom of the wheat bix packet into the Dried Seasoned Bread Crumbs container and gave it a good shake.

    * Kept the curtains 90% closed during the cold days. They were open just enough so that we could see our way around the house.

    * Hand washed the dinner dishes a few time this week.

    * Fed the chickens handfuls of grass and clover to keep their vitamins up during the cold weather

    * Finished using up two lipsticks by digging down into the tube to get every last bit of it. I got another 6 weeks use out of each one.

    * Found an old eye shadow in my travel toiletry bag that didn’t have enough in it to take away. So I’ve put it in the bathroom cupboard and have been using it every day.

    * Bought my mum a bunch of flowers for her birthday. The tissue paper the florist used went soggy straight away and wasn’t a nice color. So I used some of my stash of florist colored plastic wrap to make it look better with craft ribbon I had on hand. Gave my mum a handmade card from my supplies.

    * .Made a bulk batch of fruit crumble topping mix.

    * Redeemed a rain check for 4 litres of Moro olive oil for $20. I’ve had this rain check for almost 12 months but waited until I was low on stock in the pantry ( and I needed the room to store it ).

    * Wiped out the fridge using water and a microfibre cloth. I saved the water from rinsing out the cloth and used it to water some pot plants outside.

    * Came in under budget for groceries from June 16 – July 15. I only spent $237 out of $270. The left over money went into the food slush fund to buy future food specials.

    * Bought lots of chicken fillets from Tasman Meats for $5.99kg. They were portioned into meal sizes and frozen.

    * Made a double batch of pumpkin scones using cooked and mashed pumpkin I’d frozen last year when it was cheap.

    * Saved the washing machine water and dried most of the clothes on clothes horses.

    * Made 1 litre of homemade yoghurt.

    * Froze 3 single serves of left over meals. I’m trying to get a stash together as next Tuesday is the last of my major dental work. I’ll only be able to eat pureed vegetable soup and custard for a few days so I won’t be wanting to cook for the family.
    I have a few pictures of my fugal tasks on my blog

  133. Those laundry bags will be the best! In the past, I’ve given drawstring laundry bags-about the size of pillowcases, made from cotton fabric-to nieces/nephews/kids for Christmas to take to camp, vacation, etc. One of my children still uses hers after many years and it sure keeps the dirty clothes seperate from the clean ones, which is sure nice in a suitcase/duffel. Also, super helpful if you have to go to a laundrymat on vacation. Thanks for bringing that to mind–it’s been enough years ago that I think I could repeat that gift to some of the younger kids this year.

  134. I totally agree with you…..Sadly, we have people that walk around the neighborhood that would find them and tell me to remove them. It’s in the CCR’s that we can’t have them. I can’t plant anything without approval. Yes, I even have to get ornamental shrubs approved. I can’t have more than two pots on my front porch. Trees of any kind almost always get denied. The builder who built our house planted some trees in our back yard before building was complete. A year later, the HOA people came and asked for our approval letter on them which I had to contact the builder on. I count my lucky stars I can have flowers, herbs, and vegetables!

  135. I think you hit the nail on the head with this one. Sometimes you just want to come home and stick your head under the covers. The last thing I need is to hear everyone whine about dinner, and I certainly don’t have much energy to make it either! Making things and putting them in the freezer for the week does help, but it certainly cuts into my day off. If it helps keep the peace, I guess it’s worth the time and energy.

  136. I saw those too when I bought my first package this year. When I read the instructions, it does clearly say to be careful not to use a sharp knife to break the seal. I have my suspicions that not everyone follows this guideline (I know what my husband is like:p), thus resulting in needing to buy new rubber rings.

  137. Good morning! It’s already Wed. and I’m just getting around to reading and posting frugal accomplishments…the time is flying by and school will be starting again soon!
    Mainly this past week I have become more aware of getting back to our water conservation efforts. Because we didn’t plant a spring garden, I was slacking in this area of capturing our water and recently started doing that again. I put the pan under the drip spout from the A/C and use this water for the strawberry plants and the citrus tree. It has taken some doing to get back into the habit of checking it for overflow as well, but that’s why they’re called “accomplishments” right? 😀
    I also closed out our food budget early and have decided to go on a two-week cycle rather than a monthly cycle. I was finding that I was over-spending on sale items because I would try to buy for the entire month. By the time I was at the end of the month, I was averaging $100 over my budget and we can’t sustain that. I am hoping I caught this early enough and by pacing myself, I can reign this in. Now, rather than $300 for the month, I’m budgeting $150 every two weeks and, I’m happy to report, at 5 days in, I’ve spent less than half (about $65) so I already feel like it’s helping me to stay on target. Ideally I would like to bring the two-week amount down to $125 or so in order to have some wiggle room when I do find those good bargains or to add dried goods to the pantry.
    One shopping trip that never seems to be frugal is buying school supplies, but I was very excited to take advantage of a rebate on printer paper which will make each ream of paper one cent! The other aspect that made it more frugal than in years past is that I only have one child attending a brick-and-mortar school this year (well, in our case, concrete-and-stucco, LOL!). Since she’s only in first grade, the supply list was pretty short and we had many of the items at home already.
    Along those lines, I enrolled my oldest (who will start high school in a couple of weeks—which doesn’t seem possible!) in the homeschool program we will be using and saved 10% on the enrollment price by allowing the school to send our lesson plans electronically. I am happy this was an option because it will save paper and ink which will ultimately be better for the environment. I won’t likely print the plans out and it has been nice to pull them up whenever we need them rather than fumbling through a large stack of papers. I also don’t have to find a place to store them! Bonus!
    We’ve been saving on gas by not doing too much driving, staying home or only making short trips. Cooking from scratch and baking breads, bagels and donuts (Brandy’s recipes) has helped keep costs down, too. I think the insulated drapes I hung earlier in the summer in our front room are helping with our electricity bill. We try not to use any electricity between 2-5 p.m. when the rates are the highest. It has been a milder summer in some regards, but having the dark curtains helps us get through that three-hour period a little more comfortably.
    I think that about covers it for this week. Hope everyone has a great week and I’m so thankful for the sharing here. I always feel so blessed by the friendships and support I find here.

  138. Amanda,

    I was using a Nikon d-40 before. Chances are good that you have a newer model than that one even if yours is older. I knew it would eventually die and I had been saving up to replace it. I bought this one because of the higher ISO capabilities. I could never shoot above 200 ISO before without it getting grainy. That made a lot of shots impossible. The figs I shot above at 800 ISO after sunset! I could never have done that before even a couple of hours earlier. The shot would have been very grainy. (This will also make a huge difference on my indoor shots; I didn’t publish pictures of Ezrom’s pinewood derby activity because of the graininess of the shots. I can now take some pictures inside my home that I could never capture before; they were just too dark).

    I did make sure that my lenses would work with my new camera. On Amazon you can look up your lenses and then make sure they are compatible with your camera. I put in the cameras that I was looking at to make sure.

    I’m happy to know that I can now take pictures at dinnertime, rather than just at lunch time to 3 p.m. This is a big deal in the garden as well, because with our normally sunny days (without clouds) I often need to wait until late in the day for a shot that isn’t in the hot sun (shaded by walls and the house next door) and then I had to use a much slower shutter speed–impossible when there is any wind for a garden shot.

    This camera also has a 100 ISO option, which is a huge help for daytime pictures outside, where the bright sun reflects on you from the ground in our hot sunshine. I took a picture on Sunday of my husband, my son, and my father-in-law in the shade of a building in the afternoon and I shot it at 160 ISO.

    This camera has a much higher megapixel option. I set it at the middle option, which is more than twice as high as I had on the d-40, and the crispness is amazing! Combining that with higher ISO capabilities means a huge difference in quality. If I want to make a poster-sized picture, I can do it without losing detail.

    Now, that said–my mom recently got an i-phone. The quality of pictures she is taking on there is pretty amazing. She just blew up a panoramic scene from Sonoma and one from the Grand Canyon (my dad is a picture framer, so they will frame these). These are poster-sized prints. I don’t have a cell phone, but cameras on those have come a long ways. (Fortunately, I also don’t have a cell phone bill, so that helps with purchasing the camera!)

    Hopefully you can save up for a new one before yours dies completely. There are other options out there, but they didn’t have the higher ISO. If I was going to spend the money, I wanted the higher ISO.

  139. What a blessing to find this conversation going within the Frugal Accomplishments thread! It’s nice to feel some solidarity with other moms that just want to get through the dinner hour without so much fuss. I feel like I have been failing miserably with keeping everyone happy around the dinner table, but I don’t want to cave into the “short-order cook” scenario either. I love the ideas posted here and I am encouraged to pull myself up by my bootstraps! Thank you for all the great suggestions as well as some of the like-minded frustrations that help me feel less alone on this journey. 🙂

  140. I love your optimism, Garden Pat. Maybe I’m just feeling more emotional lately with different things that have happened over the summer, but your comment brought tears to my eyes…happy ones! Appreciating everyone’s efforts, small or grand, most definitely will change the world. Thank you for the reminder.

  141. Mmm, turkey sounds good…a couple of you have mentioned it now. I have some in the freezer. Time to make sandwiches.

  142. Lisa,
    I soooo sympathize with your situation! While my FIL does not live with us, we carry some financial responsibility for him (even though my husband has two siblings that are two-income households while we live on one). I wasn’t keen on moving him closer to us, but it seemed like he was on death’s door. We were advised against having Dad live with us because we had small children at home and he was/is an alcoholic, not to mention his precarious health at the time. That was nine years ago…needless to say, it is a stressor in our marriage and my husband seems to think I’m just supposed to accept this. Things became very strained financially about 3 1/2 years ago when my husband was forced into a lower paying position. The pay cut was significant enough that I had to have that very awkward talk with my husband about having a serious discussion with his siblings regarding chipping in to help with Dad’s expenses. It has fallen on deaf ears.

    Almost 2 years ago, I found Brandy’s wonderful website/blog and have been an avid reader and guest ever since. I would encourage you to read through this blog thoroughly to glean ideas from this amazing community.

    I know this doesn’t help put your house back together in the short term, but I’m wondering if your husband would be open to the idea of having your FIL living nearby, but outside of your home. At least you might save enough on your utilities combined with your other frugal efforts to start putting a little away here and there to make the other repairs to your home. It is a very sensitive topic, believe me. I actually had to have the conversation with my husband about moving Dad from an apartment to an assisted living facility which was even more expensive than just apartment living. Dad just gave us no other choice, though. He could not be trusted to live independently; inconsistent with his medications, drinking, and smoking in the apartment (which caused a couple of thousand dollars in smoke damage!) forced our hand into moving him to a place where he would have better care.

    I think what complicates things for you and me is that these men are not our own parents, even though we try to love them as our own. I sincerely want what is best for my FIL, but he has made choices that limit what we can do for him and still have a clear conscience. It’s all I can do sometimes to continue pretending like everything is fine when we’re spending hard-earned money on carton after carton of cigarettes for a man who shouldn’t even be smoking…and his other children turn a blind eye while allowing us to shoulder this burden. I think what is most insulting is when my FIL gets on my husband about what he is NOT doing. Really??? He just took him to a Dr. appt. yesterday, he cuts his hair, we bring him over to the house for dinner on most Sundays, and he nickel-and-dimes us practically to death with unnecessary requests for food and toiletries that are already provided in his home (just not in the quantities he feels he needs apparently).

    I guess I needed a little platform to vent as well…I will keep you and your family in my prayers. It is my hope that things turn around for you and your family without too many hurt feelings along the way. And, before I forget, congratulations to your husband on the new job! 🙂

    God Bless you!

  143. Vicki, I know I had the same problem and I solved it as such and it is working fine for me now. First you have to go to a post, like the current one you are reading. At the top under the heading it says subscribe to this post. I fill that in. That sends me a link in my email. I just check everyonce in awhile for a new posting ( in the box right before the comments ) and then go to the top of that new post and do the same. I don’t get the link until I subscribe, but now that I know that I am not missing posts.

  144. Vicki, I tried answering your post and it went to a strange place, down a couple posts. I don’t know why it moved.

  145. My MIL has MS which means, for her, a problem controling body temperature. In the summer she gets REALLY hot. She bought a vest type thing that has slots to put cool packs into to help cool down her torso. She loved it but it was rather…..ugly! So she had a couple more made for her using nice cotton fabric.
    Maybe your co-workers could find something like that.
    She also uses a neck cooler that a tube of fabric sewn to leave ties at the end with the middle filled with those gel crystals that are used in gardening to absorb water and then release it slowly. Those are soooo nice that I went and made one for myself for work (almost no AC) in a funky quilting cotton. Made is a quieter fabric they can be quite unobtrusive for a work enviroment.

  146. Roxie-
    If any of your doctors or other health needs are through a hospital, you might want to consider calling the hospital, telling them you can’t pay the bill, and asking to apply for charity coverage (that is what it is called in my state). By law, the hospitals cannot offer this to you, you must affirmatively ask about it. The hospitals here say they must provide a certain percentage of their health services as charity care (for free) to maintain their nonprofit status with the IRS, so I imagine it applies to hospitals in all states. I have recommended this to other people (who were working, but at low paying jobs), and they did qualify for it. So long as you qualify for it, it can help you and everyone indirectly, because if the hospitals lose their nonprofit status, they will charge more to all of us. There is a hospital in an affluent area here that was at risk of losing its nonprofit status because it wasn’t meeting the required threshold for amount of charity care the IRS requires it to provide…nobody was asking for it there!

  147. Gardenpat, I,too, put relish in my potato salad. I also chop up a small sweet pickle and add a tablespoon of juice from the pickle jar. I don’t add anything else but eggs, potatoes, relish, mayo and a little mustard and a sprinkle of onion powder. I always mix it while the potatoes are hot and have almost over cooked them. Makes a creamy blend with chunks of tender potatoes. Wow, guess I had better go put some potatoes on, for some reason I’m getting a craving for…

  148. * we have a tub that we had refinished that was bubbling up around the edges. Thanks to the warranty it was fixed at no charge
    * my mom bought me a slicer for my birthday (so excited to try this)
    * hosted a family BBQ for my daughter who just turned 16 ~ provided grilled burgers, watermelon, chips, hm cake, and drinks. It was great to see everyone and not too bad on the budget
    * I am seeing tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers in my garden
    * free bag of tortilla chips with coupon
    * my mom bought my son 2 pairs of shoes

  149. Andrea, your reply has been the bright spot in my day! I often feel so isolated and it’s nice to know that there are indeed others facing similar situations. Thank you! I have been a reader of Brandy’s for many years but I do think I should go back over the content again–I’m sure I’ll rediscover some ways to save–thank you for suggesting that. I’m going to try to focus on what I CAN do instead of complaining about what I can’t change and posting here will hopefully keep me on track. Thanks again for your encouraging words and prayers!

  150. I have worked with abusive folks all day long my whole career, for almost 30 years: murderers, rapists, child abusers, domestic violence, and yes, “emotional” abusers. Your FIL appears to fall into the “emotional” abuser category. While we owe older relatives respect, we do not have to put up with abuse. I have seen divorce after divorce caused by this and have actually walked in your shoes with a MIL. When older relatives make irresponsible financial decisions and continue to do so, we are not obligated to “fix” it. Your children are your responsibility and you cannot rob Peter to pay Paul, i.e.take care of FIL to the detriment of your children. I know this seems harsh to FIL but he is not trying to contribute. Your husband may have unresolved emotional issues left over from childhood and have trouble standing up to him but, for your children’s sake, because your financial well being impacts your innocent little children, husband is going to have to step up to the plate and be a man about it. Rules have to be established and followed. Take the window air conditioner out, since he cannot seem to be reasonable. He must pay his portion of the electric bill, as well, as the food, gas, and water bill. He needs to pay you back for the construction of the room. If he cannot do all of this, then he needs to go live with another one of his financial well off children, or find a place to live that accepts his social security. Yes, we should help the elderly, but there is a difference in helping and being a doormat. Boundaries have to be set with emotional abusers and with siblings who refuse to do their share. I sound harsh, but children and your financial well being for those children are the first responsibility. An overgrown whiny, grown man/child you did not birth nor raise is not your responsibility and no company should be allowed unless you are asked first. It is your house, not his. He is the one with bad manners. If he bad mouths you after all you have done, then he has thirty days to leave. He is being an abuser and disrespecting your home.

  151. When I was in college, I worked at a camp for physically handicapped and socially disadvantaged kids. Food issues were rampant. A lot of them never got unlimited amounts of food, and the counselors took turns serving. The server had to eat 1/2 an hour before the campers did (you only served your cabin, up to 14 kids) but you ran back and forth to refill serving bowls for the entire meal. It’s very gratifying to see kids ask for and eat five servings of a vegetable!! On the other hand, there were containers of peanut butter and jelly which we could access at any meal. We usually made anyone asking for them wait about ten minutes until everyone had been served, but if they really were not going to eat, then the peanut butter and jelly went on the table. Most of them ate SOME meals, at least. A few of the seriously handicapped kids had to have a feeder (as did at least one of the counselors!!) but we did have some great times in the dining hall there.

  152. My go-to meal when I had a house full was “taco night” – the ‘shells’ could be traditional tacos, tortillas, tortilla chips OR, Fritos. I would cook up plain hamburger and then many bowls of fixings: cheese, olives, salsa, etc. Everyone could take what they wanted and add the spice they wanted to their own meal.

  153. Although I am past 70, and my garden is much smaller than it used to be, I do BUY half a bushel of butternut squash most years in the fall when they are cheapest, and cook, mash, and freeze them for the winter. Half a bushel lasts us at least a year, and the work is all done at once! I think they were $11 last, but in mid winter I have paid $8 for 1 when I was expecting company. So well worth buying in quantity when they are abundant.

  154. One major frugal accomplishment for me–last week my sister mentioned that if I saw any used ice cream makers, to let her know, because she is looking for one to make ice cream with her granddaughters. I said–I know where there is one right now, and you can have it for free. So today it came out of the cupboard in the kitchen and I washed it all up and my husband ground off a few rust spots, and she will probably get it next week. She was thrilled when I called and told her it’s ready to use as soon as I see her. And I have one more thing I no longer use out of my house!!

  155. I know what you’re feeling. But even if you do end up having to pay some money the worry you are going through right now is the worst part. You are right, the important thing is that no one was hurt.

  156. Hi Tadpole
    Everytime I hear a story about chicken being spoilt in the crockpot I think about when I went into labour with my son and left a French chicken stew cooking in the slow cooker when I left for the doctors. When my husband stopped off at the house about 20 hours later he had to throw it out. What a waste of all chopping and prepping I did nine months pregnant and the money! I thought I was being smart cooking some meals ahead of time!
    Sounds like the rest of your week went a lot better than the start of it!

  157. Lisa – so sorry you are in this situation, but you are definitely not alone. We faced a difficult situation with my father, also. Since the house has to be put back in order, could you perhaps do some rearranging and give him the master bedroom so he would have his own bathroom and you would not have to clean it and he couldn’t run the window A/C so much? Or perhaps give him one of the children’s bedrooms and one of your children could take his room so you would have more control over the A/C? Maybe tell him that if he continues to run the A/C so much then you will switch him with one of the children? If he likes his current room, maybe that will help him be more cooperative? Also -depending on how much you want to save money – you could do his laundry so you could control the temperature of the water and make sure you run full loads, although that would create more work for you obviously.

    I wish you the best with this difficult situation

  158. Having been picking and freezing green beans and raspberries everyday this past week. The raspberries will make great smoothies when paired with the $0.99 a pint blueberries from Aldi that are already in the freezer. Also eats loads of cabbage. Will have to start freezing that as well.

    Bought a 10 pound box of bacon for $19.99. Divided it up into 1/2 pound bags and ended up with 21. I do weigh them so the box must have been overfilled. Fine with me!! Like it for breakfast meals and also to flavor green beans, fried potatoes, baked beans, and soups.

  159. I have an Aldis dehydrator and I like it. It doesn’t have any bells or whistles but it gets the job done eventually.

  160. I find it odd that you would have to pay a deductible at all. Normally you only pay a deductible when you are having your own vehicle fixed, not when your insurance is paying out on a liability claim. Most car insurance doesn’t have a deductible at all if you carry only liability insurance, as we do on one of our older vehicles. Check with your company! As to your rates going up, that is certainly a possibility and you could end up paying more in higher rates than you would if you just paid to have the other vehicle fixed.

  161. My husband’s mother, who died in 1972, left recipes in her handwriting for his favorite potato salad and enchiladas. We framed them with a photo of her. It is indeed a cherished keepsake.

  162. Lisa, I too am sorry you are in this situation. We are facing this with my mother in law.
    I would agree with Debbie, to take over the laundry. It would be a small start.
    Would there be a way of having the other siblings help even a small amount with money or coming to help put your weekend projects?
    If not. Do you have friends or church members you might be able to ask for help – with small fixing up to dos? Maybe getting some of your house back into shape will help with the outlook of it all. If your
    FIL didn’t buy the AC, could you remove it? With my MIL on a similar issue we told her “it” broke and we were saving to replace it. Not soon after she didn’t miss it (her mind isn’t going – just her sense of saving)
    Is there anytime that you could just take for you – go for a walk, read, even for 15 minutes? This might not change the man, but might help your mental state.
    Are there any church,YMCA programs he could attend to give you and your family a bit of respite?
    I hope/wish for your shoulders to stay strong.

  163. And this is why I bought a house built in 1939, long before HOAs came along! I even have outdoor clotheslines, which most HOAs around here prohibit.

  164. I always smile when people talk about watching Dowton Abbey because I believe I watched it back in the early to mid 70ies, but it was called Upstairs Downstairs back then! Everything old is new again – and I can still remember crying for a full hour when Hazel (that cad James’ wife) died! 😀

  165. Another suggestion I have is to make pulled chicken or pulled pork- you can make it in your crockpot and freeze part of it for the nights you need quick meals. I use it to make pulled pork or chicken sandwiches or burritos or quesadillas- all quick last minute meals. I also used to make 5 pounds of taco meat at a time and freeze it in 2 cup portions- I could pull it out for tacos or nachos- my son and his friends could have tacos or burritos in a matter of minutes from the frozen taco meat I also kept canned refried beans and shredded cheese around at all times- this was back in the days when my son was in high school.

  166. Mrs. LC – I have never read about freezing cabbage. How do you process it? Do you have to blanch it?

  167. Hi Tina! About beets, try to undercook them (that thing Italians call “al dente”). For me, everything tastes better when undercooked, like brocolli, green beans, etc. Hope that helps you love cooked beets also 🙂

  168. Good morning Brandy! This week was not at all frugal, with family coming from the countryside (I live in a very large city – Sao Paulo) to go shopping. Gladly I stay strong and only buy a scarf for about 3 dollars. Then, on Sunday, my mother in law had a domestic accident and broke her left arm in 3 places. It was so hurtful to stay with her until she got her surgery! But now, on Friday, she is already home and much better. Thankfully, she got medical care and all the treatment will be paid by the insurance company. She has an old and very good insurance plan and she had been treated by fine specialists. Now, we, family, are going to take turns to take care of her. She is such a good and lovely person that this will be more a pleasure than a task. God bless us all and thank you, Brandy, for all your work!

  169. Hi Mary!
    Downton Abbey is actually a different story/show. There was a remake of Upstairs Downstairs a couple of years ago, but Downton is a newer show about a different family and location. If you liked Upstairs Downstairs you will love Downton Abbey. If you’re interested, only has the last season but you can find earlier seasons on you tube.

  170. That sounds really good, Beth! I’ve never made pulled chicken or pork, but I’ve seen a number of recipes on line and it seems easy enough. I just need a day to commit to trying it. I like your idea of making up extra and freezing it for quick meals, and making taco meat up too! We eat tacos a lot, but I have made a taco casserole as well. Thanks for the great suggestions!

  171. Also, what can you use the frozen cabbage for? Can you make coleslaw with it or just use it as cooked cabbage?

  172. Leticia Cinto;
    Prayers for your MIL for a speedy recovery! What a lovely comment, ” this will be more a pleasure than a task.”
    Sounds like you have the same type of relationship I had with my much loved MIL. We are both blessed!!

  173. If you are wearing any under petticoats, what we would do was soak the bottom half in cold water, wring them out and then put them on. (This was with heavy 1840s style corded pettis.) It really did help cool us down, and none of the visitors were any wiser 🙂 Keep cool!

  174. your vacation sounds like ours. We go camping every year with anywhere from 10-20 of my husband’s family with us. We have 5-8 campsites depending on how many get to go.

  175. Rhonda, if you are interested, you can shred and fry the cabbage with butter and salt and then freeze it. When you thaw it out you add it to a bag of cooked noodles and you can also add potatoes or bacon. Old Slovak recipe.

  176. I freeze cabbage, a couple heads a year. I use them for making cabbage rolls. Nice and soft when they thaw out so no need to cook or steam them. You can make freezer cole slaw also.

  177. Don’t you love it when solutions to frustrating situations suddenly work themselves out! What great timing that your Visiting Teachers showed up when they did. : ) Little things like that make me so happy!

  178. Becky,
    You are a real blessing to those children. Even if they are never able to articulate it, the obvious care and compassion you feel as you raise them is literally transforming their lives. Take heart and know that our Lord and Savior gave these special children to you because you are just the right mom for them.

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