Blackberries and Strawberries The Prudent Homemaker 

With the continued beautiful, unusually cool weather that we had last week, I was able to save money by not needing to run the air conditioner, only running a few fans for a little while, and reprogramming the drip and sprinklers to not go on for several days last week.

Temperatures will return to normal this week and we’ll see 100º by Saturday. I’ve enjoyed having a cooler May than ever before.

Last week I picked blackberries and red and white alpine strawberries from the garden (I have one red alpine strawberry plant). The strawberries stop flowering when it gets hotter, but our cooler May has given us many more than normal. We enjoyed a fruit salad with breakfast one morning, made of peaches from our tree, and blackberries and strawberries from the garden.

I picked lettuce from the garden. It’s bolting now, but we still were able to enjoy several salads. I’ve left the plants in the garden to continue to go to seed so that I can collect seeds from each of them to plant again later. Since I only grow open-pollinated lettuce seeds, I can collect seeds from all of them for planting in the future.

I sowed seeds in the garden for zinnias, vincas, dahlias, armenian cucumbers, zucchini, red noodle beans, and butternut squash. Hopefuly none of these will be eaten when they come up, as my past seedlings have been (which is why I am planting seeds again unstead of harvesting now as I should have been).

I went shopping at the thrift store last week. I found two dresses for Winter ($6 each), and two blouses for Winter ($3 each). I found a skirt, a pair of pants, and three blouses for myself. 

I mended a doll, a pair of pants, a pair of jeans, sewed a button from my button jar on a pair of pants to replace a missing button, and turned a pair of torn pants into shorts.

My husband fixed several bicycles. We rode as a family  and enjoyed the beautiful weather.

I cut and dug a couple of euyonomus bushes that I had grown by tip layering and planted them in the pots I bought the week before from a Facebook garage sale page. 

I bought two pairs of Boy Scout pants for Cyrus from a Facebook garage sale page.

I collected dill seeds and a few more green onion seeds from the garden.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. We found strawberries on sale for $0.99lb so we got six pounds and made jam. We went to a yard sale and because we bought all the 3t/4t boy clothes they had, they gave us four puzzles that we are going to put up for Christmas for our two year old. We found 7 pairs of shorts at the yard sale and paid $8 for all of it.

  2. We have had a lot of rain here in the midwest (Kansas) and some of our ground got so saturated that water started to fill our basement window wells from the bottom (at a rate of 1 inch every five minutes!) I was grateful to notice it right before I was going to go to bed Saturday night and bucketed out 3 feet of water in our window well, only to discover that it had refilled an hour later! My husband and I had to take shifts the whole night to keep the basement from flooding through the leaky window wells. On Sunday a family member came and helped us put in two sump pumps in two wells that had been leaking to effectively pump out water before it could get to the level of the window. That cost us a little money, but it saved us the ordeal of a flooded basement (probably about a foot of standing water), which is what we would have woken up to had I not seen just a tiny amount of moisture in the laundry room before I went to bed.

  3. I love seeing your Alpine strawberries. So beautiful!

    -We had a neighborhood garage sale on Saturday. I didn’t think we’d be able to put stuff out as we has plans. They were cancelled at the last minute and we put some things out. We made $103 and our daughter made $35 from her things. I visited our neighbors and her daughter had brought over some clothes that were my size. I bought two dresses, a cardigan, and a pair of shorts for $3 total.
    -Didn’t do too well on grocery shopping as we had a gathering on Sunday I needed to get some extra things for. However, we will eat out of the pantry and freezer for the rest of the week.
    -Accepted some clothes for my daughter from her daughter that outgrew them.
    -Ate out and used a coupon to make it almost free.
    -Cut Roses from outside to bring inside.
    -Pulled up all of our Spring Mix lettuce. While we had a ton of salads, I’ll never do it again. The different types bolted at different times and it was a pain to plant, pull, etc.
    -Harvested plenty of green leaf lettuce (still have a lot of this left), oregano, dill, and parsley to use in dinners.

    That’s about it for this week!

  4. I’m glad you were able to get that water pumped out!

    My sister-in-law has a generator to run her sump pump in case of a power outage, so that she won’t end up with flooding when the power goes out during a storm. I hope you can get one for future storms, should you have that problem.

  5. Those berries look so good! We have blackberries that grow wild around here, but they aren’t ripe until August or September. I am looking forward to strawberries from the plants in the strawberry pot I have in my garden.

    We celebrated my husband’s birthday. He didn’t want any presents, and his only wish was to go out to his favorite restaurant in Seattle. I wore my dress from the thrift store, and we took the bus instead of driving (he has a free bus pass from his employer, and the cost of my bus fare was far less than the bridge toll and parking would cost). We had a nice early dinner, and I used some holiday money (that I found a couple weeks ago when going through some old cards) towards the bill. I took home the rest of my appetizer to enjoy the next day. It was a planned expense, and a nice celebration.

    In my garden plot, I planted some squash and calendula flowers that I had started from seed. Another gardener gave me some extra Swiss chard and kale starts that she wasn’t going to use, so I planted these as well. Someone else shared some lettuce and spinach with me. I will return the favor when my garden starts producing.

    I also was in charge of a frugal landscaping project for our condo complex. The condo board wanted some new plants along the entrance drive. At the request of the board, I did research on types of appropriate plants, arranged for the purchase of the plants along with fertilizer and compost, and organized the actual planting event (including distributing flyers to the residents). We had several volunteers show up, and the project was completed in an hour. Our on-site property manager is going to install a drip watering system in the near future. The total cost of everything for this project is far, far less than we would have paid our landscaping company to do the same work.

    Other frugal accomplishments:
    – Two friends and I met at a local beach for a picnic. I packed a lunch and we enjoyed the sunshine for a couple hours.
    – I made herbal iced tea from bulk herbs I had on hand, crockpot baked beans using some beans I had cooked and frozen earlier this month, and a tasty soup from random freezer and refrigerator finds.
    – I made sugar scrub from sugar, almond oil and peppermint essential oil.
    – I talked to an overseas friend on Skype.
    – There was lots of peppermint growing at the community garden. I picked some to use for tea. I also picked a few stalks of rhubarb from the rhubarb bed we established in the garden a couple years ago.
    – I mended the strap of my purse.
    – My mom and my sister and I met up at a farmer’s market. I bought a half flat of local strawberries (a special treat), and shared some with them. I saved two pints to eat fresh, and I chopped the rest and froze them in portions in my silicone muffin pan (which someone gave me a few years ago). Then it’s easy to pop out the strawberry ‘muffins’ and store them in a plastic bag in the freezer. (I do the same thing with roasted tomatoes later in the season).

    Hope everyone else had a good week. I really enjoy reading everyone’s posts. Thanks, Brandy, for hosting this great forum.

  6. Hello from sunny British Columbia. This is what we did this week to help our bottom line.
    This week transplanted volunteer lavender and strawberries and the rest of my herb seedlings

    Picked several lilac bouquets for the bathroom. I had no luck trying to recreate Brandy’s arrangements but my bathroom smelled divine all week.

    Picked comfrey to infuse oil for soap and salves. I also found an old plant pot abandoned by the previous owners to reuse in the garden.

    Hung laundry several times. I installed a temporary clothes line. The fancy, permanent clothesline will be in place once the new wood shed is complete.

    Planted nasturtiums and peppers. I hoping that neither the deer nor the gophers will eat them.

    Worked on a new table runner using fabric sent to me from a friend at Christmas and from my stash. I downloaded and listened to several podcasts while I sat at my sewing machine.

    We painted planter boxes using leftover paint. We used lumber left behind in the barn. The topsoil was purchased from a local nursery for $35 a pick up load. A great deal! Hopefully the deer won’t eat everything before we get a chance to put up deer fencing. The potatoes and carrots are just starting to sprout and the onions are growing like nobody’s business.

    Watched the flyers and was able to get a great deal on packaged chicken thighs. We reinvented leftovers for lunches and dinners.
    I took a snack with me when I went into town so I wouldn’t be tempted to stop and buy something to feed myself. I stopped and enjoyed my snack and a few thrifted (this months!) magazines at a public beach.
    I hope you all had an enjoyable week.

  7. Those berries are so pretty – patriotic! 🙂

    This weather we have had has been so different for us…it’s usually fairly arid here, even in springtime. We have gotten a lot of rain. This has saved me money because I haven’t had to water – we have a well, so when we water, our electric bill is increased. However, the flip-side for me is that I actually used the dryer once this week. I almost never do, because I hang the clothes outside or on drying racks in my basement. Our relative humidity must be up, because they were not drying on the racks. I left them 24 hours, which helped a lot, but then I popped them in the dryer to finish. It was still probably lower cost than watering, though!

    My frugal accomplishments for two weeks are posted here:

    Today I am planting flower seeds in the beds in front of our house. Yippee!

  8. Brandy, your berries are lovely! We planted black raspberry bushes last fall, and it looks like we might have berries at the end of the summer. We are pretty excited about that!

    This is more of a compilation of the last few weeks:
    -We went strawberry picking as a family. We picked 14 pounds of berries, no in addition to the ones that we ate, I made 8 pints of jam, 8 pints of ice cream topping, and we froze. 4 quarts. That saved us a bunch of money over buying jam and topping at the store.

    -I continued to go through my fabric and pattern stash and found a few large pieces of fabric to make summer work tops. I need to get going on those!

    – I participated in an online Norwex party and won a free window cloth.

    -my husband and son have been taking bike rides each evening, allowing me time to cook dinner and get the garden planted.

    -My husband works for a grocery coop, and they had their annual member appreciation sale this past weekend- 20% off the total bill over $150. We have kept track of what we ate this past year, and so we checked our pantry to see what we were low on for those recipes. We were able to stock up on enough items for the pantry and freezer so that we should only need to buy a few items each week until Fall (and we got great deals!).

    -i accepted free summer clothing for my son and used $21 in Pinecone money to buy him a pair of good sandals off of eBay.

    -We turned off the AC and opened the windows. We ate most meals at home, and I made bread and hamburger buns.

  9. Lovely mixed berries from your garden! Blackberries are on sale, here, for $.99/6 oz. (I bought some for my daughter who is visiting for the weekend) and strawberries are $1.99/1 lb. at the store (I didn’t buy any).

    Last week wasn’t particularly frugal, but I mended a pair of daughter’s pants (sewed a back pocket back on as it was coming off), received a small basket of strawberries from a friend, took lunch from home several days and had all dinners at home. I also went grocery shopping on Saturday and bought several items as treats for my visiting daughter (she’ll be taking some of it back with her):

  10. Roasted a turkey. I cut off the back before I roasted it; combined with the neck and giblets It made about 4 quarts of stock which I used in a couple of soups this week. We had soup three times. We used the meat for a couple more dinners and lunches. I have some in the freezer for later meals. I made some rosemary olive oil bread, making some of it into sandwich rolls for turkey salad sandwiches. I made two slow cooker meals so I could attend my son’s track meets, making evenings much easier.

    Enjoyed rain watering my yard – I haven’t even tried the irrigation system I put in my front beds, yet, but it’s been nice not to worry about it. The new chives and thyme are settling well. My green onions look great, although some have gone to seed already. And I have some beautiful red leaf lettuce coming up. We have a few strawberries which should be ripe later this week.

    I used money set aside for the yard to buy a Home Depot gift card at Smith’s – extra nice since it was double fuel points. I have used most of it purchasing supplies for my garden irrigation system, but I have some left for other purchases. I also took some money from savings to buy an Amazon gift card; that went to purchase a text book I need for next fall. I’m hoping some summer study will make next fall a little easier.
    I’m a music major, but I almost went for French. My degree requires a minor so I’ve been counselled to go for French (which I haven’t used in 20 years!) I’m using a free app on my phone to revive my French skills, as well as studying the Book of Mormon in French. If I can get permission to sit in on a second semester class this summer, my adviser thinks I might be able to retake 4th semester in the fall and be ready to return to upper division classes in the spring. It will be some work but will enable to complete my degree in just 5 semesters, taking 12 credits or less.

  11. We had that problem (from MO), and you can get window well covers. They are a thick plastic and around $10-$15 a piece.

  12. We’re finally getting some warm weather! Pretty soon we’ll be able to harvest something other than rhubarb and asparagus from our garden. Here’s our frugal accomplishments for the week:
    Got free compost from the village for our garden. (They mulch and compost all the leaves in the fall and the villagers can take it for free.)
    Canned eight pints asparagus.
    Bought more canning jars at the garage sales.
    Ate out of the pantry.
    Hung the laundry out on the line.
    Planted corn, potatoes and pumpkins that we had saved the seeds from last year.
    Vacationed at home.
    Picked lilacs for floral arrangements.
    Gathered things for a garage sale.
    Harvested asparagus and yes, rhubarb from the garden (hopefully next week, we’ll have lettuce.)
    Killed the weeds growing by spraying them with vinegar with dish soap. (worked pretty good)

  13. I freeze fruit when it starts getting overripe. I usually use it to make bread, but SO and I both need to eat better and watch our calories, so I started making smoothies. Sometimes they are so thick it’s like eating sherbet YUM! I just use frozen fruit and a bit of water.

    I picked blueberries, strawberries and blackberries from the garden.

    I touched up the ceiling, wall and trim paint in the hallway with leftover paint. It actually made a huge difference and looks nice and fresh. I want to get some jobs done around the house that don’t cost anything before we spend money at Home Depot.

    I got a pineapple in the CSA. I planted the top in one of the pots I had repainted last week and leftover potting soil.

    Free in the mail – a box with samples of toothpaste, gummy vitamins, shampoo and conditioner, and wipes and another envelope with a sample of Nivea In Shower lotion.

    I completed a Pinecone survey. I worked on Swagbucks every day. If I was close to my daily goal I spent a few extra minutes before logging off the computer for the night.

    I went to Winn Dixie and got a dozen free eggs for downloading their app. I made deviled eggs for the BBQ over the weekend. I did a mystery shopping assignment at a grocery store on Saturday. I spent close to what I will get reimbursed plus I’ll get a small shoppers fee. I got things I need for the holiday BBQ. I stopped at Aldi to get hot dog buns, a watermelon and milk and also stocked up on butter bread that was priced at 50cents a loaf. At the BBQ, I also served homemade lentil sausages and copycat Sabrett’s onions.

    Have a great frugal week ladies!

  14. Meredith,
    I was glad to see someone else say they don’t want to plant spring mix lettuce again. We are a family of 3 and can only eat so much lettuce. It was beautiful and fun to watch grow, but I feel like I wasted money with it. The broccoli was ready to be harvested during the 2 weeks I was out of town, so we only got 1 small head of it. I found out everyone would much rather have romaine and iceberg mixed and forget the other stuff. Since I found out I can put romaine in water and root it and grow it like that, that is what I will be trying.

  15. Hello everyone! I am sorry something is eating your garden. I have the same problem, it’s very upsetting. Last week I started an elimination diet to figure out what is triggering health issues with me. This means no gluten, no dairy, no acidic foods and no caffeine (very acidic). This eliminated several things from my diet that is a staple. It’s been interesting. Last week:
    – I purchased a gluten free bread mix for my bread machine rather than a $6 loaf of bread. I will google search for a homemade recipe this week. I didn’t have time last week which is why I bought the mix.
    -I was able to use my clothesline last weekend to hang up clothes.
    – My daughter and I went to my sister’s house for dinner. I met some of her friends, who were delightful!, and relaxed for awhile. My daughter played with her cousin whom she adores. I took my own food because I couldn’t eat any of the food they made due to my diet restrictions and being vegetarian. It was a lot of fun.
    – I purchased two large bags of bananas for .99 cents each. There were a few with brown spots but otherwise I really don’t know why they reduced them. But I am glad they did! We go through a lot of bananas for smoothies and snacks. I found packages of kale and lettuce 2/$5, and Earth Balance peanut butter/coconut oil $3 each on sale. I purchased two of each.
    -I made gluten free bread, power balls with gluten free steel cut oats, vegetarian chili for dinner tonight and leftovers through the week for my lunch and will make gluten free muffins later.
    -I paid several bills online saving stamps and envelopes.
    -I have paid more attention to portion size for my 4 year old. She frequently leaves half her food/beverage sitting around because “she’s full” after three bites. I now give her half of a child size portion. She can always have more. This has saved LOTS just this past week! I am also making sure she drinks water instead of juice or milk when I am home.
    -I washed and reused glass jars and baggies, reused the blank side of used paper for scrap paper. I printed coupons for foods I eat from online for free.
    -I drank lots of water and tea this past week. I finished up my half full bag of Teeccino since I can’t drink coffee. The hazelnut flavor is delicious! I ordered more from Amazon since I can’t find it around here.
    -I put money in savings and money in savings for my next property tax payment (September).
    -Watched shows online for free. We are also looking into changing our internet provider.

  16. We’ve had a really frugal week.

    My husband’s employer hosted a casual barbecue for EMS week, and the four of us were able to enjoy a relaxing free meal, and I was able to enjoy a night off from cooking and cleanup. They had little bags of chips, which my sons went nuts for.

    The next day that my husband was at work, they still had leftovers, so he threw a burger on the grill and ate for free again. This was perfect, as he was going somewhere after work and wouldn’t have had time to stop at home to eat.

    I’m teaching my son to drive, so we drove up to the nearby mountain where my father has a cabin. Even though we only spent a few hours there, it still felt like a small vacation. We drove in our Prius, so the gas usage was minimal. We started to get hungry on the way home, but since I’d put black beans in the crock pot, we just toughed it out. I was able to mash the beans and make quickie burritos within a few minutes of being home, which hit the spot perfectly.

    I gassed the car up and was given vouchers for four free women’s Major League Soccer tickets. We already have two season tickets, so we’ll use these ones and sell the ones we already have. We’ll make $20 this way, and all four of us will be able to enjoy the game.

    A neighbor had a volunteer tomato plant show up in her garden which she gave to me. I planted it in a large pot I already owned, and I staked it with a long straight stick from someone’s yard debris pile.

    My son and I stopped at a Goodwill on our way up to the cabin. He bought himself a a new from-Target shirt and spent his own birthday money. I bought a $3.99 gift for my mother, but used a gift card that I was given from the Goodwill PR department.

    I listed a few things on Craigslist and one thing on eBay. I’ve had no interest yet, but I know that everything will eventually sell.

    I’ve arranged to go into work for a half day to catch up on continuing education. I’ll make a couple hundred extra dollars doing this while on the clock rather than at home. Also, I recently got a raise for hitting the milestone of working twenty years at the same company.

    I cleaned one of my mother’s VRBO guest cottages. I help her run her business, and she rewards me well. All money I earn goes towards a college fund for my teenage sons.

    I listened to all of Gretchen Rubin’s free Happiness podcasts on my hand-me-down iPhone. They were fantastic, and it inspired me to find other free podcasts to listen to.

    I wrote out a check to my neighbor door neighbor for six months of garbage service. Our two households share a single garbage pickup, which saves us both $168 [i]per year[/i]!

    A pretty usual week here at Casa Wolk-Stanley!

  17. hi brandy, I have a question for you please… I am looking to start a home garden and would like to know what temperatures are acceptable to grow things like lettuce, cucs, tomatoes etc.. I currently live in Hawaii but im not starting a garden here, as we are military and will probably be moving back to the north eastern or mid western states in a year, I see things on ads to grow your own vegetables like ” zones 4-7″? what does that mean?

  18. I had a great week! We picked lettuce, spinach, and strawberries from the garden. The strawberries are doing well because of the abundance of rain we’ve had for the past month or so. I’m still waiting for the blackberries to ripen. It looks like it will be toward the middle to end of June. I’m am so excited to harvest them. We love berries in our house!

    I made lots of bread this past week as I do every week. I made white sandwich bread, lemon cranberry muffins, lemon blueberry muffins, pumpkin bread, and slider rolls for our black bean burgers that we had Monday night. I had to make extra bread to have bread for our sacrament meeting. My bread is so popular that a lot of people have been asking for the recipe.

    I’ve been cooking a lot of beans here. We had your black bean burgers one night for dinner. They were excellent! I made them into sliders instead of burgers because that’s the size homemade bun I made. They turned out well and the family loved them! It’s amazing that something so simple and so frugal can be so satisfying but they were. I’m making lentil sliders this week using the same recipe.

    I only spent 74.13 of our 100 dollars a month food budget. I got lots of great things – cheese, butter, milk, bread flour, corn tortillas, bbq sauce, cherry pie filling, cream cheese, graham crackers (I know I should make these), and peanut butter. I put what was left of our food budget into savings and I am determined not to spend it. I also have a goal of not going to the store for the next month. This will be a challenge for me because I like to shop. But I am determined to make it. I made a menu for the entire month and I will use that as a guide to plan my meals so I won’t be tempted to shop.

    Even with all of these cuts, I am looking for a job. I am returning to school in August and I am determined to pay for it out of pocket rather than get loans. I applied for around 15 jobs. I hope I hear something soon. 🙂

  19. I cut my 14 month old’s hair for the first time, and thanks to a you tube video for guidance, did a nice job for my first time! I know this skill will save us lots in the years to come. I also kept the windows open this week as much as I we were able. I’m thankful our weather is not quite as hot as yours…yet!

  20. Different areas of the country are different climates. Those zones note those, particularly the first and last frost dates. The first frost dates is in the fall. For some areas that can be mid October; for some areas that is mid-December (and more variations, but it gives you the gist). Then you have a last frost date in spring, which can be mid January to mid May. In between those times you can get cold enough for plants to die. The lower the zone number, the colder the climate. Southern parts of the country can be zones 8 through 10; Northern parts are 3 to 4. Hawaii is more like an 11–you don’t get frost there.

    Some plants need the cold to produce fruit (such as certain fruit trees and berry bushes) and so may be marked as only good to grow through zone 7. In hotter climates like mine, you can grow the tree/bush, but you won’t get any fruit because it isn’t cold enough in winter. Some trees don’t do well in extreme cold (zone 3 has the most trouble with this) and so need to be “hardy” enough to grow in that zone. That basically means when it gets 10º below, or 20, 30, or 40º below 0, the tree won’t die. Each zone, when you research zones, usually lists winter temperatures. Plants will list them too.

    There are also cool season vegetables and warm season vegetables. Tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, cucumbers, green beans, melons, and squashes are warm season vegetables and must be planted after one’s last frost dates. Before that, if a frost comes, those plants will die. Cool season vegetables can often be planted a bit before that date (even a month or more) and can continue to grow a bit after the last frost date. Some plants can tolerate colder temperatures than others, which can extend your growing season.

    Cool season vegetables can often be planted as soon as the soil can be worked (i.e. the ground is not frozen solid). In southern climates, the ground never freezes solid, so some things can overwinter–and should in those climates.

    This means the time to plant things in different areas varies greatly. I plant lettuce in January; now it is too hot to plant it. For those in New England, now is an ideal time to plant lettuce.

    In cooler climates, people often start vegetables indoors 6 to 10 weeks before their last frost dates, so that when they temperature is warm enough, they can plant plants outdoors, and make the most of their shorter growing season.

  21. We’ve had a pretty good couple of weeks. My husband wants to start up a new business venture, and has found a way to do so within the framework of his existing employment, which means he will still have a guaranteed income and we won’t have to invest our lives’ savings into getting him established. Since I’m on a hiatus from work, we’re saving quite a bit of money in gas, my lunches, etc. – It helps that I am still being paid. (I’m in the process of negotiating my exit; but it will take time to get everything sorted.) Me being home has been great because my in-laws have had some health emergencies, so I’ve been able to help them out, too. I’ve managed to do quite a bit on the home front. We’re using two cupboards that were just taking up room in our shed in the new bathroom for storage there, and they work perfectly. We tiled above the sink over the weekend, and hung up a blind on the window that we’ve had for years. (We bought two when they were on clearance; one we used and the other was just sitting there.) I want to make a bit of a valance for the window still and will be fabric-shopping today for that. I’ve done a ton of decluttering – I have a small car, but got rid of a bootload of toys (believe me, my boot is very small, so it’s not quite as much as it sounds; but it was probably half the toys that were in the storage cupboard). At the moment my boot is full of board books, since my kids are too old for those now, and a large bag of my clothes. By rearranging things, moving linens from the hallway storage into the bathroom, and decluttering, I was able to empty out one-third of our storage cupboard and four bookshelves! Three of the bookshelves are now full of toys that had been in storage; and I’m keeping the other one for now because the existing bookshelves that we use for the kids’ books are quite full and I anticipate we’ll need this one soon; but it feels really good to no longer be weighted down. While cleaning the storage cupboard I also found our old stereo. How old is it? Well, it has a dual cassette deck. My daughter’s really getting into music, and so I pulled it out and put it in her room so she has her own radio. She’s thrilled!

  22. Good for you, Brandy, for finding some clothes for yourself at the thrift store. I know you usually avoid spending money on clothing for yourself. Recently you posted about your oldest daughter and your youngest daughter. You mentioned your boys in this post, but haven’t posted on what they are up to lately. I always enjoy reading about your children. 😀 Oh, and the berries look so delicious!

    This week was about staying warm, when a cold front moved in. I actually had to start a fire in the wood stove a couple days in the historic building I work in. That’s pretty unusual for me. I tend to tough out the chilly weather, but this time it was just too cold to avoid. Anyways, here are my frugal accomplishments for this week are:
    *Made up a big batch of broccoli salad (raw broccoli, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, and grated cheese mixed with coleslaw dressing. Can also add onion and bacon bits if desired) to take in my work lunches.

    *Took a pair of jeans, with legs that were a bit short for me, and turned them into jean shorts. While I had the sewing stuff out, I replaced some hooks on a couple bras that had broke off in the washer and mended the holes in all my knee high socks that I wear with my pioneer costume for work.

    *Cut some yellow Irises and Hosta leaves from the garden to make a simple flower arrangement for the table. They stayed fresh and in bloom all week. Brandy, you’re floral arrangements have inspired me to bring the garden into the house for us to enjoy.

    *Enjoyed lots of yummy free treats at work this week as all our new historic interpreters learn the ropes on how to cook in a wood stove or with a Dutch oven on the open hearth. Also cut some beautiful Lilac blooms to add to the ambiance of the building I work in. They make the building smell so wonderful!

    *Found an amazing deal on “Isle of Man” 14year old extra old cheddar cheese, $1.99 for 250g brick, which is regular priced @ $5.99/block (I also bought cheap 450g blocks of cheese on sale for $3.97 as a price comparison). It was one day past the “sell by” date. I bought 7 blocks and put 6 in the freezer for later. Someone else pointed the sale out to my husband and stated “even if this cheese was green I would buy it at that price. Just cut off the green parts and eat it. It’s really good cheese!” He was right, the cheese is amazing!

    *My husband gave me permission to buy myself a new bathing suit as my mother’s day gift. I haven’t bought one in years! I was able to find one I liked when the store had a 50% off sale. Yeah!!!

    Frugal Struggles:
    *Now that I’m back to work, the job of making dinner falls more on my mother’s shoulders (we live with her). However, my mother keeps waiting until the last minute then proclaims she has no idea what to make for dinner (she’s retired and home all day). Since my mother doesn’t have the same frugal mindset as myself, I’m trying to be more proactive with our meals. This weekend I made up a shepherds pie and put in the fridge to have this week. I also made homemade pizza on Sunday, to use up some pepperoni that was about to expire (I’m the only one willing to pull out the bread machine to make the dough apparently). Hopefully this will help ward off the takeout and “convenience meals” we keep having.

    *Struggling against the weather this week with my garden. We have had a cold front roll in causing frost on a couple nights. Thankfully the tomatoes are in pots and can be moved inside. However, my pepper plants are in the garden, so we’ve had to cover them with a tarp a few times. I hope they survive! All the other veggies that are sprouted should be cold tolerant. I planted some seeds in pots last weekend that are less cold tolerant. We left those pots out without covering. Does anyone know if frost will negatively affect them if the seeds are not sprouted yet?

    Looking forward to reading everyone’s comments. I never know what will inspire me. Have a great week everyone!

  23. I love that a 14-year-old cheese had a sell by date! Ha! I’m CERTAIN it was good a day past that! Too funny!

    My older son actually put out flyers last week to earn money for Boy Scout camp. He was able to pick weeds for several neighbors and earned part of his money for camp!

    I do buy some things for myself, but I dislike clothes shopping as I have a hard time finding what I like. I had been hoping to find a dress for myself last week at the thrift store, but I didn’t end up with any that I tried. I don’t have as much trouble buying flowers for the garden and that’s technically for me :). I actually bought a pair of shoes online on sale for myself last week, too–I probably should have included those in my list! Shipping was free, too, so that was nice. They are navy Mary Jane dress shoes. I have several navy dresses and have been looking every season for a pair of these online, never finding any. I hope they wear well.

  24. I forgot a few things – I was on chicken duty for the neighbour last week and collected about 18 eggs over 2 days. I hemmed a pair of pants – now I can wear them! They were always a tad too long for me and the hems were destroyed (particularly since they were the pair I wore for our 14 hour day at Disneyland!) So I trimmed off the horrible bits and re-hemmed them and now they’re a good length. Also, I made myself a jewellery holder out of an old picture frame. I’m sure you’ve seen the idea repeatedly on Pinterest. We used to have a mirror in our bedroom but I moved it to the new bathroom because, well, bathrooms need mirrors, so there was a nail in the bedroom wall with nothing on it. I figured I had two choices – I could either pull the nail and patch and paint (urgh) or I could find something to hang up. My jewellery boxes were a tangled mess, so I made myself a jewellery holder and put a few of my vintage brooches and some of my favourite necklaces on it – choosing pieces that matched the colours and style of the room – and, two jobs sorted – now the necklaces and things are less tangled-up and I have something hanging from the nail.

  25. We had window well covers, but the rain wasn’t getting in that way. Somehow the ground was so saturated in that area that it was coming up through the bottom/gravel. That is the bigger question we have to deal with – why is that area so wet compared to others? One thing we are doing soon is re-grading that area, but we may have to do an even bigger re-grade which is not the most frugal option in the world. but as my cousin’s husband said, you should spend your money to get the water away naturally, otherwise you will be paying someone to clean it out of your basement.

  26. The garden is planted…..I’m so excited and relieved!!! I need to pick up a few more plants but it’s 90% there and my husband has put a wire fence around to keep the bunnies out of it!

    * our neighbor came over and helped us move some dirt with his tractor. We were pretty exhausted from trying to shovel and move it manually so this was a huge blessing!
    * got a box of crackers and a frozen pizza plus 2 candy bars for free
    * my son had his last track meet and we packed our lunch, snacks and drinks.
    * my son needs to keep math fresh over the summer so I am borrowing a math book from the school
    * took the kids to the movies (a big splurge) but had one free ticket.
    * used a free code for a redbox rental
    * my husbands truck needed some repairs.. Called around to price out the repairs and different places and saved about $400
    * kids have been out of school since Thursday thru tomorrow which saves us on transportation costs
    * my daughter made a meal last week of chicken fajitas ~ very good. I am enjoying her expand her cooking ability 🙂

  27. my spring mix is only just starting to come up now but I have already been thinking that I shouldn’t have planted so much at once. I received the seed pack for free because my boss at work doesn’t grow anything and she got it in a gift basket so even if my small family can’t use all of it at I won’t feel like I lost money. Maybe I should give my boss a bunch of it back!
    I also have a dozen red loose leaf lettuces growing but they won’t be large enough to harvest from for few weeks. We’re only about two weeks into frost free weather.

  28. I’m still struggling to find time to do all the things that would help me save money – mending, growing more, cooking more from scratch. But I did come under budget for this week’s groceries by cleaning out my freezer. I made ham bone soup with the Christmas ham bone and we enjoyed the last of my son’s birthday cake that I had put in the freezer since it was right after Christmas and I had had enough sweets at the time. Being only 3 I don’t think he realized that it was leftover cake, he got super excited when he saw it and he kept saying “thank you Mommy for making me cake!” That was enough to make me happy for the week 🙂

  29. Hello! I just got laid off so thankfully I have followed a frugal lifestyle first learned here and have a pantry and freezer of food that I can cook from. I was even able to pass on some leftovers and some frozen foods to my daughter this past weekend. I am on a 30day clean diet with no grains, sugar, dairy or legumes so that is helping some but to be honest I am cooking with what I have even though it isn’t totally clean – and am eating those things in moderation. I have noticed a difference with what I am doing so it is all good.

    I have been buying only what is needed and that is it! I walk into the store with tunnel vision on what is on my list and that is that. I am however, still getting an item that is no more than $2.00 or less for my pantry and more often than not it is a spice or canned tomatoes, tuna or canned chicken.

    I have harvested my parsley once and it is ready to harvest again. I got a cup and a half last harvest and it looks like I might get the same this time and if the low temps continue I hope to get another harvest. I have basil to harvest as well although my oregano and sage has been attacked by some kind of bug and will have be cut back and thrown away. I’m sure it’s an effect of the weather.

    We have had a ton of rain and it ruined my onion harvest. I pulled them recently and they were no bigger than a golf ball and some of them had wire worms. That was a scene out of a science fiction horror movie! Really creepy and yucky and I threw away half of those onions. Usually my onions are softball sized. The peppers in the same bed seem to be doing okay but we shall see.

    We have had rain almost every day for weeks now and have had so much rain that we had tadpoles and now frogs in the garden from all the standing water. After not seeing a frog for a couple of years it was amazing to see them jumping all over the yard. A few days ago we had to mow before the next storm hit and I was running around trying to save all the frogs from the mowing path. We had another storm this evening and my rain gauge says we got 3 inches of rain and this is about average lately every time it rains. When I tell you that we can just about go fishing in the back yard I’m serious – I mean, we did birth frogs this year.

    On the good side, we don’t have to water and we don’t have to turn on the air too often. I keep the ceiling fans going and when it gets too humid I turn the air on for a bit and then turn it off. For the most part I have the ceiling fans going and with the windows open at night we are good until the next afternoon. Right now it is about 7:30 pm and it is in low 60’s.

    Another good note – our lakes are full in our DFW area! Even in my home town of San Angelo, TX the state lake was at 2% and is now at 13%! Awesomeness!

  30. Yes, Janelle, we are a family of three too. We have a 7 year old and one of the main problems I didn’t mention was that the arugula was way too spicy for her to eat. She can take it from the store but not out of the garden. I couldn’t keep up with the mix. While beautiful, it wasn’t worth the work. The “lettuce” seeds from Aldi were a bigger hit with our family!

  31. Busy weekend here getting the last of garden done. Planted potatoes this year for the first time. Anxious to see how they will turn out.
    Planted nasturtiums from seed and very happy that most sprouted. Much cheaper than buying the plants. Your nasturtiums were what inspired me to grow them this year.
    My MIL gifted us with a rain barrel and my husband got it set up this weekend. It has been very dry here all of May, but hoping to get to use it and save some on the watering bill.
    Made a batch of peanut butter cookies using dough I had in the freezer. Put together 5 mushroom, egg and feta cheese burritos for breakfasts this week. I freeze them and just heat them in the microwave at work. Many that I work with pay $4.75 every day for a breakfast sandwich. I prefer my burritos which cost me less than $2 for the entire week.
    I started another app called Perk TV to help save some money for our vacation. Made $10 in about a week just running videos on the phone after I finish with Swagbucks.
    Glad you got some cool weather. It will finally get to the high 80’s this week so hoping my strawberries start to ripen.

  32. We’ve spent a lot of time working in our garden the past week. We mulched all but the outer perimeter with leaves today, between the paths and around the plants. It’s worked very well to conserve moisture in years past. It’s been over a month since we’ve gotten any measurable rain. I’m very concerned with all the flowers and herbs I’ve planted this spring. Watering just doesn’t compare to a nice rain. I asked my SO about your grapevine caterpillars, and he said the powder form of BT will not burn plants. But, when they’re on the underside of leaves, that can be difficult to treat. I hope the spray will work without harming your leaves this time. Joining in here:

  33. It’s actually a liquid concentrate that you mix with water and spray on the leaves. I bought it at the local nursery several years ago and never used it. It could be too old, but I doubt that’s it. I can easily reach under the leaves; it says on the bottle, however, that they have to injest it in order for it to work. I’ll try again and hopefully have better luck this time.

  34. 2% is REALLY low. Wow! What a blessing! I cannot imagine 3 inches of rain; a “good” rain here is less than a 10th of an inch; we had some rain last night, and it was .02 inches. That’s a [i]long[/i] rain for here (it was over 30 minutes); most of the time it is a small smattering that lasts less than 20 seconds and then is gone.

    Your comments about the frogs are so funny!

  35. My week was a frugal up and down. We had started paying someone to do our weed whacking once a month $40 since my husband’s health is not good and I have not had the arm strength to pull the weed whacker string. We bought a new one yesterday that is batter operated and bought a extra battery about $179.00. I can use it so we will save about $120.00 this year still in the hole a little bit but will pay off over the next 2 years. We only had fast food once this week pizza on Friday night. We did go out to lunch while on a road trip Saturday but since we can not go on vacation due to my work schedule, having 3 dogs and not wanting to board them this was a vacation day for us. I made a very big lasagna today from scratch and we will have 4 more complete meals with the leftovers. I found at Dollar Tree Aluminum trays with the lids (3 in a pack) for $1.00. I put the lasagna in those, labeled and froze. I will reuse them again. My cherry tree in the front yard I had given up hope on it ever bearing cherries.. I found 3 cherries on it yesterday so looks like it’s finally going to start producing. I have cherries on my tree in the back yard it’s a dwarf bing cherry they are green right now hoping I can get some before the birds do. While at Dollar Tree.. I bought stems of silk flowers, one of those plastic cone things that you put the flowers down in the ground with and found these glass ceramic angels that are knick knacks. I put the angels up against those cones and saw that they fit snugly against them. Brought them home, hot glued them to the cones and made beautiful flower arrangements for the cemetery. Cost for each about $6.00 versus at least $15 to $20 for ones already made into arrangements. I found shelf stable milk both soy and regular $1 a box.. quart sized that I added to my pantry. They have a year shelf life. I keep powdered milk but I am lactose intolerant so the soy will work well for me. I also found Peach Nectar in boxed containers $1 each which I will use to make Peach Jelly. Peaches here are very very expensive and usually not very good quality so this is a cheaper alternative. Box life year. I also found 28 oz. cans of pears for $1.00 we eat a lot of canned fruit when we can’t get fresh cheaper so these are a good pantry staple too. We have a 70 year wedding anniversary to go to next Sunday.. was able to find dress clothes here at home to wear instead of having to buy them. I kept all my work clothes from when I worked in a office years ago and some still fit. Dh was fretting about a necktie found one he had here, he doesn’t know how to do the knot so will go to youtube to figure it out. In the past we always had to have a sales rep. in the store make them up for us or before that his Dad. He wears a necktie once every cpl.years or so. I bought another gc this week, this one a Kroger card and got dbl. points for it. This goes in our emergency supply box for hard times.. they are good at least a year. I also had coupons $3 off on Bic Razors. They were $5.29 at Krogers so I got them for $2.29 each pack, bought 4 so we should be good for razors for awhile.

  36. Our local store had fruit at some great prices that I have seen in awhile.
    watemelon regular price is 7.99 sale 2.88, raspberry and blackberries 1.00 a pint and grapes .88 lbs strawberry 1.00 a pound.
    My receipt said I save 68.00.
    End up going town three days in a row.
    went to the library
    had two cookouts made fruit salad for both now I my fruit is gone.

  37. Hi Brandy. I had taken a break from commenting on your posts due to some life changes, but now things are getting back to normal. In a one week period last November the husband and I closed on a house (with a substantial down payment), my car was totaled through no fault of my own, and I made an already paid for cross country trip to see my family. Shortly after this were moving expenses, paying for the last of apartment lease, finding a new vehicle, and medical bills for the wreck. I had no idea of the costs involved in moving from an apartment to a home! Luckily most of them are one time expenses.

    All of these things were amazing opportunities to learn and grow as a couple. Between that time and now things changed in my life in a drastic way. We decided that it was time for me to go back to school to finish my degree and leave the restaurant (bar) industry. So we have had all of these life changes and are now down to one full time income and my very part time income. We have worked on getting our expenses down as much as possible and I continue to do so, so that I may go to school without any debt. That’s right we are cash flowing my education! Here are my frugal accomplishments for the last week.

    – Meal planned and ate zero meals out. We are in the process of lowering our grocery/household goods budget to about $200 a month
    – Organized the freezer and wrote a list of ready freezer meals on our chalkboard. If hubs doesn’t want what I cooked for dinner he has options. He doesn’t mind eating at home or bringing lunches to work as long as its not too repetitive.
    – Purchased kitchen towels and made rags from scraps to eliminate the need for paper towels.
    – Made homemade dryer sheets from rags dipped in cheap fabric softener and air dried. Once the sun returns to northern Nevada we will be drying clothes on the line.
    – Mended a small hole in a favorite pair of jeans.
    – Ordered a diva cup and mama cloth to reduce feminine hygiene expenses.
    – Did not use central heat or air for the past two weeks and turned off the sprinklers. Reno has been getting so much rain and unseasonable weather.
    -Collected warming bath water for used in the garden. Once the rain started we used it to flush the toilets and the put in the kiddie pool for the pups.
    -Listed two items on eBay.
    -Organized our storage and donated items. I also keep a Rubbermaid container with gift wrap, bags, etc. It was so unorganized that I would end up buying gift tags and things of that sort were time I saw them on clearance especially after Christmas. I organized everything and told hubby not to let me buy anything gift giving related until it was all gone! I had over 200 holiday gift tags!
    -Started a rag rug for in front of the patio door

    Goals for next week
    – Continue working in garden including thinning out all seedlings
    – Have an “eat from the freezer” week
    – Finish the rag rug
    – Call to cancel hub’s extra work insurance. He is double insured and that will save us $17 a month
    – Cancel credit tracker from when we were watching our credit score to buy the house. Save $12 a month
    – Workout 4 days

  38. This has been a great week- bought 3 – ten pound bags of chicken leg quarters for $3.49/10 lb bag! Bought several other meats on mark down that will fill our freezer! Bought raspberries for 99 cents/ box and froze several ziplock bags!
    Cooked up 12 lbs of ground beef and packaged into quart size ziplocs and froze for quick meals! Took 12 more lbs of ground beef and, using a post-summer mark down patty maker- made 48 hamburger patties. Put them on parchment paper on a cookie sheet and flash froze them. After about 4 hours, I packaged them into ziplock bags with 8 patties in a bag ( since there are 8 buns in a package)!
    With landscape timbers on sale this weekend, I bought gift cards on Friday(double fuel points) for Lowes and then bought enough to build a 2 foot x 24 foot long by 12″ deep raised bed garden! Borrowed a friend’s truck and bought topsoil with compost and leaf compost mulch to fill the new bed and add more to some of my existing veggie beds! Planted my red currant bush, 8 blueberry bushes and 3 raspberry bushes in the new bed! Total expense- $63. for all of it!
    Made a second garden bed by the front porch with timbers left over,
    Harvested more Romaine and butter crunch lettuce from our garden and noticed I have one big broccoli head on one of my plants that I will be harvesting soon!

    All in all, a great week!

  39. No matter how llittle lettuce I plant, it always is too much to eat at once. I leave it on the next door neighbors’ door steps and used to take it in bags to work before I retired, to share with whoever wanted it. We pretty much all did that with our excesses.

  40. I’m on a GERD diet and have to watch tea and spicy foods in addition to the typical high fat, high acid foods. If you’re still experiencing issues those may be items to consider.

  41. Tadpole, I’m looking forward to reading all your comments. I live in Southern Ontario and I’m curious how we differ here in our growing season to where you are in BC. So far it’s not much different than us.

  42. I was gone most of last week. To prepare, I made up meals for my husband to eat and feed the kids. I froze them and put up the schedule of where he needed to take the kids and what to eat each day. He can cook well, but there was no time for him to do much between all the driving, working full time, etc. He did cook a ham on the Traeger on Saturday and had dinner ready when my niece and I got home in the evening.

    We were watching 3 siblings of my niece (the cousins), which my husband did alone until I got home, plus their dog. He took them to garage sales, let all the kids have a little money, and buy an item. They were all very satisfied with their purchases and, of course, as a good auntie and uncle, we let them haul it all home with them on Sunday night:) Fabric scraps, yarn, toys, etc.:) Their family does not go to garage sales, so this is a HUGE treat for them! We were supposed to keep them until Monday night, but my sister was rear-ended in LA traffic (she was sitting still in traffic on the freeway and someone did not stop) and the rental car we drove down there was totalled. I’m so thankful she is ok, just very sore. She had just dropped my niece and I off at the airport, so we were not involved. So, she and my brother-in-law had to fly back. My sister and I had a wonderful time with her friend at Disneyland during our trip. It was so kind of her to take us as her treat! We also tried to eat things like cottage cheese, apples, etc. in our room for most of the breakfasts. Eating out in LA is far from frugal, though. Packing the dorm room, my niece’s graduation ceremony, etc. all went well. One evening we ate in her college cafeteria for free, using up extra meals on her plan that would have gone to waste.

    My niece, daughter and other niece left early Sunday am for a trip to Victoria, Canada with my aunt. I loaded the 2 girls that were here with me up with 2 bags of groceries from my pantry. They plan to eat out sometimes and eat that food sometimes. My aunt plans to treat them to high tea for their birthdays and used her time share to keep the lodging costs very low. The girls are paying for their expenses with their earnings.

    We took the kids bowling on our way to their house, about an hour from ours. One of the cousins is autistic. It is very, very hard for her to even stay 2 nights away from home, so we were distracting her and using time up doing something she likes. We used the KIDZ Bowl free coupons my kids have, and just had to pay for the cousins. If anyone doesn’t have those coupons, just Google Kidz bowl free, and I think they are still giving them out. You sign up and they email you a coupon for every single day all summer for the kids to bowl 2 games per day. You have to pay shoe rental, which is a small fee at our bowling alley.

    When we got to their house, my niece made us some pasta (the non-autistic one). She was feeling quite the hostess, and it was served with love and about 2 cups sauce for all 7 of us:) My sister’s plane was delayed, so we didn’t get back to our house until midnight. Whew! I slept a lot yesterday!

    I barely had time to check the garden, but it looks like several things sprouted while I was gone, and I will get down there and plant more this week. It looks very wet, so it needs to dry out before I can work much down there.

    My 14-year-old daughter won a gift card to Fred Meyers. She traded it to her dad for cash, since she wanted to order some clothes from Penney’s. I went through e-bates and we ordered them last night. I keep forgetting to do that, so thanks for the reminder everyone! We can use a FM card any time for groceries and so many other items!

  43. I made pasta and potato salad for Memorial Day. I split the pasta salad and brought it to a party Sunday and had leftovers for here Monday. I baked cookies and brownies. I used a cocoa based recipe because I already had cocoa. I have figured out I can run our dryer for forty minutes, and not the hour I had been doing. I had a five dollar off coupon that I paired with a ten dollar off sale. I got emailed a book to review. Because I did so well staying under budget with groceries, I was able to stock up at the meat sale.

  44. When we lived in Southern Michigan, we had a few times where we had toads, not frogs, after soaking rains. I, too, tried not to mow them over when the grass grew so fast. It’s quite the sight to see your lawn jumping!!

  45. Last week was a so-so week for frugality. We packed all of our lunches for the week, but then went out to dinner (I had coupons) on Friday night with my husband and eight year old son to Izzy’s and spent $20 OOP. I had bought a coupon book when some high schoolers were trying to raise money for a trip. And my son had received a coupon for a meal there when he passed all of his addition/subtraction tests at school. Then my husband and I went out for breakast Saturday morning since it was just the two of us, a rarity for sure. We went and looked at houses for sale and found one that we really liked. We are both first time home buyers, so we need to contact a realtor and a mortgage company, etc. I would really like to find a house on an acre, but that might be above our budget, so we will have to see.
    Also last week I had to put a new battery in my car, to the tune of $125.00. I did have Saturday, Sunday, Memorial Day and today off, but I went in and worked some OT on Sunday to help off set that cost.
    Did the usual grocery shopping, including household items and it came out to around $87.00. I am hoping our garden will off set the cost of veggies this summer, but so far it has been overcast here and my yellow squash leaves have gone from green to yellow…but my tomato plants alreaady have green tomatoes on them!
    I made my son’s Bug Out Backpack this weekend, using things around the house. Am going to take the time to explain it all and go through it with him today. I included a small address book in it in a ziplock baggie with everyones name and number and address under the sun, just in case we were ever to get seperated.
    I went through and reorganized my first aid supplies and stock piles, and moved it all to one centralized area. I also went and took our label maker and labeled what the first aid kit contained, our laundry area, etc.
    Since I have today off (a rarity, I almost never take time off of work) I will take my son to go pick strawberries at a local farm and freeze them. The I will go to the community college and see about appying and getting all of my transcripts transferred…I am going to try and go back to school this fall. Eight years off and on to get pre requisites done for an RN program…I might have to repeat some classes if they aren’t any good still but I am determined to do something I love for the rest of my life. Who knows, maybe I wont get into a program and stumble upon something else that I love.
    I think that is all for now, much love from Oregon!

  46. Tadpole, good luck keeping the deer out. We don’t even bother to try as they can jump 6 feet. We’ve seen them pulling out freshly added items from the compost pile. If you have areas where you can leave brush and not clean everything out completely maybe they will stick to that.

  47. We had a fairly normal week in that we only bought what we needed. My husband hit some great sales at the grocery store and stocked up. We did not eat out at all and we held a potluck barbeque. We have the largest house and a yard since most of our friends are in the city or the inner suburbs and since we are happy to host, it is a good excuse for people to come to us. We cleaned up the house and I had the girls go through their toys and pull out anything they were done with. Trains, bristle bricks and the giant stuffed tiger found news home with smaller kids and the doll carriage, unit blocks and art easel will be sold. The girls like the idea of using that money to pick new toys since as a general rule we do not buys toys except for holidays. We are pretty sure that Dunkin Donuts is going to become a line item in the budget, I have had an unusual amount of blood work in the past two weeks (we don’t think that disaster is about to strike but everyone watching carefully) and children who wait patiently and quietly get a donut at the hospital when we are finished. Even preregistering it is nearly an hour to hang out and that is just difficult for a preschooler. I thought I lost a ten dollar bill and realized that is how much I spent last week on rewards. Ouch. My sewing skills leave something to be desired and both girls winter coats have failing zippers and I looked into paying for new zippers. It was going to be $20 per coat (these coats have been though at least two children already) and Lands End was having 30% off everything including clearance so I was able to get both girls brand new coats for $25 each. I am being a bad low consumer but this made more sense to us. My stepson went through his clothing and we determined he needed two pair of shorts so I went to Schoola and used a 50% off and free shipping code. Everyone has what they need for the summer except one backpack and it may sound crazy to buy coats in May but it works for us. We had over 100 inches of snow and the girls were cold. It is 90F right now and I can’t believe that a month and a half ago the ground was still white.

  48. Heather, the 4-7 covers the Midwest and NorthEast area you mention, though 7 a and 7b would farther South. That is actually 8 zones they are talking about as each zone has an “a” and “b” . We are 4b. We don’t plant the warm season vegetables that Brandy mentioned until around Memorial Day as our last frost is normally supposed to be 5-15. We did have a frost/freeze warning for 5-20 and 5-21 last week but they did not happen. Only got to 35 F by us. Once you find out where you are moving to, post it and I am sure there will be someone on the list who is in that area and can give you advice. It will be easier to plan once you pin down what is best for your area.

  49. The city where I live had massive flooding several years ago (before my husband and I moved back). They received 60cm (just over 23 inches) in one hour. City streets turned into rushing rivers, with some underground store fronts completely submerged. I would guess about 80% of home owners had water damage and flooding in their homes in varying degrees. Afterwards, the streets were lined with furniture and personal items destroyed by the flood waters, mixed with the backed up sewage lines. The nursing home where my mother worked was flooded and they had to move all the residents to a temporary facility for months until the building damages could be repaired. It was awful! I hope you don’t have problems like this, Teresa.

  50. I missed 2 days of work last week due to excruciating back pain that left me unable to move! I hope my 3rd epidural injection on Friday of this week helps because I STILL have shooting pains down my left leg. 🙁 Also found out my Pain Management Dr is leaving town…my Family Dr, an Internal Medicine specialist will NOT prescribe narcotics and sometimes they’re the ONLY thing that help…so I’ll have to ask Pain Dr for a better prescription WITH refills before he leaves for Texas on June 16th. Thankfully, I have sick time available to cover the missed work days, if I didn’t, I’d have gone to work anyhow & just suffered through.

    My husband and I have reconciled and are back together…we have LOTS of work to do to ‘fix’ things so to speak but being a family is MUCH cheaper than maintaining 2 households..although that’s not the reason we reconciled 😉

    I got several free magazines in the mail courtesy of RecycleBank. My husband CANNOT believe that this company just gives away magazines but I assured them that it’s true. I’m in my 2nd year of this and I LOVE getting all my favorite mags completely FREE!!

    Hubby planted a small vegetable garden. Tomatoes, green peppers, banana peppers, some corn stalks, zucchini, cucumbers and yellow squash. We shall see how it goes this year. Last year, it wasn’t so good.

    I read the local newspaper for free as my brother-in-law brings it down for us to read after he is finished with it.

    Getting items together for a garage sale. I have a TON of scrapbooking stuff to downsize. It’s sad how much money I spent on that stuff. Too much!

  51. Another couple weeks have gone by so I probably won’t remember much. Mainly we had my middle girl graduate from Nursing with BSN 6-16. We all attended the ceremony and then had a luncheon put on by all of us parents after at the house she shares with her brother and an elderly couple. The party was joint with 3 other classmates of hers whose family also was from out of town…All together there were 45 people. Some of the food was homemade, some ordered from the grocer deli. We brought along 2 folding banquet tables, lawn chairs and a canopy and the men set those up in the backyard along with a number of card tables. We used what tablecloths we had, we did buy chinete type paper plates to use so we did not have to bring dishes along. We did bring extra silverware. It was nice to see the families who we have run into every once in awhile over the last 4 years. Now all will go off to different parts of the world.

    We have had cold weather up until yesterday when I think it actually reached 80. We have also been getting plenty of rain. We didn’t get much into the garden this past week, but then my daughter has a lot in the hoop houses already. The strawberry plants are doing nicely. She has harvested greens and pea shoots. We picked a lot of asparagus, ate some, sold some, and put lots of the end stems into the freezer for soup in fall. We picked rhubarb and chives, sold rhubarb. Dried chives.

    Cooked mostly from scratch. Made white bread, rye bread, banana nut bread, cranberry orange nut bread, blueberry pie, rhubarb pie, rhubarb cheesecake bars, turkey soup from frozen carcass, spaghetti sauce, sloppy joes, vegetarian sloppy joes, baked beans, cole slaw, 2 jello salads, meat loaf, lentil loaf, peanut butter cookies twice…over the last 2 weeks. All made with items on hand, either from the deep freeze or pantry.

    Took lunches and snacks to school, hung some clothes to dry inside still. Heat is off for now. Read a number of books from the libraries, watched HULU…started watching the Mary Tyler Moore show from the beginning.

  52. Last week started frugally — I stayed home mostly and when I had to go to town, I tried to combine errands. I did meet with a new friend for coffee which she insisted on paying for. That was nice of her and we had a lovely 2 hour conversation. We’re still relatively new to this town, having just moved here last October, so meeting new friends is important.

    The fiance and I had dinner out Thursday night with some friends, too. We shared an entree and side and both drank water so our bill for dinner was on $10.16. That’s 1/3 of what it would normally be. We’ve decided to do this from now on since we know the portions at this restaurant are always huge.

    Friday we had to drive from our home here in western NC to eastern SC for the weekend. My birthday was Friday so when we got into my hometown, my parents took us to dinner. I wasn’t really hungry so I just had an appetizer. They also bought me a delicious birthday cake.

    The whole reason for our trip to SC was for my sister and her fiance’s engagement party which was held on Saturday. My fiance and I spent the majority of that morning and afternoon helping to set up for the party which started at 6pm. I helped my sister’s best friend doctor up the food she’d bought from a caterer. Unfortunately people these days are beyond rude and will RSVP that they are attending and then not show up so there was a ridiculous amount of leftover food. Neither my sister nor her friend wanted any of it so my parents and I packed it all up and took it back to their house after the party and yesterday before we drove back to NC, they insisted we load up our cooler with the majority of it. So, I brought home gallon sized bags of green beans, baked beans, mac & cheese and pulled pork BBQ. They also gave us a dozen eggs, several cups of cut up watermelon, boiled peanuts, 8 huge tomatoes from the farmers market, a container of cole slaw and potato salad from the party, and a bag of 36 yeast rolls. I repackaged everything into more manageable portions for the 2 of us and froze what I could. I will use up the rest of the stuff for meals this week. I prefer my own beans and mac and cheese but since these were free, I will enjoy them! 😀

    The other week I came home from some errands and noticed that our lawn had been mowed and trimmed, just 2 days after my fiance had mowed. I was a bit perplexed (and to be honest, a bit annoyed bc I don’t really want people messing around our property, especially when I am not home) but I figured maybe a neighbor just did a good deed or perhaps a lawn company was hired by someone and they accidentally cut our yard instead of the intended one. Today, a man came up the drive and told my fiance that he’s the lawn guy, to which we replied that we hadn’t hired anyone to do the yard. He said the investment firm that we are renting our house through has hired him. So, evidently we have a lawn service that will come every other week. It’s too bad he mowed it so short the other week that the grass started to burn. I hope this investment firm doesn’t think they are going to tack that onto our monthly rent though, because our lease states that we are responsible for maintaining the yard, which we’ve been doing since we moved in last October!

    That’s all I can think of for now — it’s pouring rain, again, so it’s bedtime for me. I will enjoy the sound of rain on our metal roof here at the farmhouse and be thankful that we haven’t had to water anything at all so far this spring! Have a great week everyone.

  53. Not a lot this week.

    Paid a bill online and saved a stamp and a check.

    I broke my iPhone, which wasn’t frugal, but I took it to a repair place and in twenty minutes they had it fixed. It cost me a hundred dollars rather than the five hundred it would cost for a new one.

    Had to make an unexpected hotel stop due to weather. Got the state rate with teacher ID.

    I met my boyfriend’s sister for the first time at her birthday party. What on earth do you buy for someone you’ve never met?! I ended up going to Lowes and buying her a pretty potted flower, which rang up half-price when I got to the register!

    I didn’t go to the grocery store this weekend because I didn’t have time or need much. Since each trip usually runs me about a hundred dollars, that’s a pretty good savings.

  54. Marianna

    What a pretty name first off.. never heard that one before. That is quite something to be proud of working full time and making all your meals at home. I struggle feel like such a wimp sometimes and I only work usually 4 days a week though that is increasing a little over the past week and into the future till we get some people hired. So good going!

  55. The daily rain has continued for the most part, so I continue to gather water from the downspouts for the garden. It has been wet enough that the soil is soaked, so all I can really do in the garden is weed & prune. We have had over 300% of normal moisture in May just so far, which is quite unusual for a desert state.

    Dead-headed the iris as needed. The hail really shreds the flowers badly. Cut 2 of the poppies to see how they would do as cut flowers, but they drooped over & wilted within a couple of hours. The iris do not cut well for me, either, but the climbing roses do, & the red ones in the front yard are beginning to bloom. Ran out once this week to cover the tender plants in the garden with the cloches when another hailstorm led the front edge of a storm.

    Picked up more grounds for gardeners at Starbucks.

    I dehydrated 4 trays full of cut rhubarb to use later, while the weather was cool & the added heat from the dehydrator was helpful.

    Made jam using 1 cup frozen red currant juice (from last year), not quite one cup of frozen sliced strawberries from last year, with water added to make 1 cup, & 3 cups of sliced fresh rhubarb. I added 1 cup of sugar to the fruit mix & let it macerate for a couple of hours, then simmered it until the rhubarb softened, about 5-10 minutes. Brought it up to a boil & added 4 more cups of sugar (1:1 fruit/sugar ratio), then brought it up to a boil again. Boiled for 4 minutes while stirring & then put it into the jars. It filled 5 half pints plus half of another jar. The red currant juice provided the pectin, as well as a deep red color. The strawberries were the dominant flavor (the whole house smelled like strawberries!) but the rhubarb added just enough of an undertone to let you know it was there. It turned out delicious & I am pleased with the recipe; it’s a keeper. It did take about 5-6 hours to set, but my only cost was the sugar & the inserts for the lids.

    Placed glass cloches over the spots in the top tier where I will plant butternut & Boston marrow squash next week, to warm the soil.

    Made sure the garbage can was completely full when I pulled it to the curb for the pickup on Tuesday, trying to time my weeding & pruning to match the pickup, since it is only once a week.
    *Had my hair cut using a coupon that gave me $6 off the price.

    Filled 5 bags with items for the thrift store from the guest closet downstairs. I am trying hard to empty the junk from that closet, so I can put in a closet “kit” and finish it. Took the bags to the thrift store when I was in town on a different errand, trying to group errands to save gas money.

    Cut the buttons to save from a worn out shirt.

    Began to remake a lace pillow sham meant for a bed pillow to fit a square pillow form. The sham was a heavy crocheted lace & had three holes in the lace part. Cutting the sham to fit square pillows instead allowed me to use it over a Christmas poinsettia pillow to let it be used year round, a win-win. I bought this set of 3 shams several years ago for 25 cents at a yard sale. Only one was perfect; the other 2 had holes, but a quarter was still a good price for the one & I figured I could remake the others, eventually. Eventually is now.

  56. This week I have been using things up from my freezer. The kind of little bits and pieces that are easy to forget about!
    Also I am working a lot of my pantry. Here in Australia it is not so common for people to have big pantries and much preparedness. My family are on a farm and so Mum always has had a pretty decent pantry. I am learning a lot from you Brandy and the LDS websites which are fantastic. Again we dont have that here or LDS canneries etc.
    One of my US friends shared pictures of her pantry which I shared on my blog today. Teri’s pantry is wonderful. This is what Im aiming for! Currently I am channeling any savings into a fund to go to a wholesaler we have here that sells a lot of Italian products, beans, herbs, pasta, dried goods… and have a stock up as the prices are really good. Have a wonderful

  57. I laughed at the “sell by” date too. It’s already been around for 14 years, I don’t think an extra day or two will cause it to spoil. My gain though. The store can no longer sell it at regular price once that “sell by” date is past. So I got it at an awesome price!

    That’s wonderful that your son is able to work at small jobs around the neighborhood to earn money for camp. I think I remember your oldest daughter doing the same. Sounds like your children could develop a business!

    I like shopping, but I can appreciate the frustration of trying to finding something you like. For every 20 items that I try on, I may be lucky and find one thing that fits properly and looks good. I also find many shoes to be very uncomfortable, so I only have a few to draw upon when I have a function to go to that I need to dress up. Otherwise, its running shoes or comfortable sandals. You indicated before that you and your children have wide feet. I too have that problem. I often buy men’s shoes that have a sex neutral look as they are the same width as a women’s wide width. Men’s shoes are easier to find than wide width women’s shoes!

  58. For poppies, you need to seal the stem with a flame before placing them in water. Then you can bring them indoors. They still don’t last long (since they don’t last long in the garden, either), but they will last all day in the vase that way.

  59. Our big frugal accomplishment this week was refinancing our home. We went from a 30 to a 15 year mortgage and with the lower interest rate our monthly payment is only $50 a month more. We will have our mortgage paid off much sooner. Refinancing saved us thousands.
    We worked on the garden, hung out laundry, made bread and most meals from scratch, and took lunch to work all week.
    This week our house, including the kitchen, is unusable as we install new tile. Through the generosity of friends and family, we are having dinner with others at their homes all week so our little ones are able to play and we don’t have to eat out.
    Hope you all are having a wonderful week and enjoying spring!

  60. The fencing we put up is a shade over 6 feet and our property backs on to Crown land so there is lots of forage for the deer. Despite all this, I know that all this work might be for naught but a girl’s gotta try. If nothing else, I suppose that I can take comfort in knowing that I am fattening them up for the freezer.

  61. That is too funny. My arugula was nasty. I made a salad and had to dig it out. After we finished eating, I went outside and pulled it up. I think I may have let it get too big before trying to eat it.

  62. Gardenpat that sounds like a very productive week to me. I like the idea of freezing the patties by 8 to match the buns. I have never understood why there are 10 hotdogs per package and 8 buns per package. We usually end up freezing the last 2 or making beanie weanies (sp?)

  63. To finish, as I had to quit yesterday as it was time to serve dinner.

    I put new elastic into the curtains we use in our old VW bus when we go camping. We got the bus back from cousin in law who did some body work and painting on it. I mentioned that we bartered for that, so money exchanged. I saw a bunch of old buses on pinterest and some are done up very nicely. Right now its just a “Plain” green and white…I would like to paint some flowers and rainbows, birds, that type of thing. We’ll see. Also mended hem of a pillowcase, elastic on underwear, saved some denim off a pair of my husband’s worn jeans to use for future patches on the jeans and I also will patch his elbows. His elbows wear out fast all the time so they need patching and for working in his shop he doesn’t need fancy. Also cut up the inner area of a worn flannel fitted sheet for rags and took apart the elasticized area and saved the fabric that wasn’t worn. Darned the heels of 3 socks and the elbow in one of my sweaters.

    Shopped very little except for milk 2 gallons for 6.00. Bought bananas .35/lb at the gas station. Used fruit from the freezer in baking. Bought 2 bags of red salad potatoes 3 lb each for .88 ea. They were limiting to one per customer so I had to check out again. Had my husband pick up more…he went back through 5 times! Put them in the root cellar…they should last us til the 4th July sales come up.

  64. I planted my garden last week. We have a huge one. I grow for multiple families not just my own. My mother is 92 so I grow for her, My SIL is disabled, so I grow for her. My neighbors trade eggs for produce – so yes please, what do you like? Anyway, I planted by seed spinach, 3 kinds of lettuce, 4 kinds of chard, carrots, green onions, cucumbers, summer squash, kohlrabi, beans, another planting of snow peas, corn and black beans. I planted yellow onion sets – they will be my keepers. Also put in some fingerling red and candy onion plants. Planted 3 kinds of cabbage and also cauliflower and rosemary plants – these were purchased plants. Planted 46 tomato plants – about 8 different varieties, that I started in the house March 1st. We always go overboard. If everything grows – great – we can donate to the food bank. If not, some things will come up great. We will put in the peppers next weekend, and a second planting of corn the weekend after that.

    I brought breakfast and lunch to work each day. Made 10 baked potatoes on last Sunday, so DH and I each took loaded baked potatoes from the garden for lunch. Had broccoli frozen from last year’s garden and then a little cheese – and YUM!

    Made tostadas for dinner 2 nights with homemade, refried beans and taco meat with black beans from prior gardens in it.

    Made homemade pizza on Friday night.

    Went to a movie with my eldest son. He used his military discount and I had a $10 gift card so the tix were $7.00 for both of us. Did not get snacks. Made popcorn when we got home.

    Seems like I should have done more, but the garden is huge, so planting takes a lot of time.

  65. Tadpole,
    had to laugh…at your statement, fattening them up for the freezer [sounds just like my hubby,ha]
    We have a fence around our garden too.. We also take old pie pans [the kind that you buy ready made
    pie crust in]. Punch a hole in the top, take some string and tie them to the top of the fence..About every 6 -7 feet.
    The wind blows them and the noise keeps the deer out, or rather it did last year.. Pray it works this year too.
    I have already tied my pans on this year.. Best wishes.

  66. Hmm, the graduation was 5-16, why I wrote 6-16 I don’t know. Time goes fast enough as it is.

    I had to quit my post again as again it was dinner time. We bought a watermelon a couple weeks ago, I don’t remember where it was from but it was very large and very good. They were on sale for 4.99. They had a nice thick white layer of the rind and I was tempted to make watermelon pickle but thought I’d wait til later. We eat lots of watermelon in the summer. We also did buy 8 ears of corn for 2.00. They were not very sweet. They were plenty large but must have been picked too long ago. Nothing like our own. I cut the kernels off the cobs and made a corn casserole with the rest of them. I am so anxious for our own fruit and vegetables to come in.

    I bought 3 boxes of Huggie baby wipes they were 9.99 ea on sale for 8.00 and I use a 1.50 coupon off on one. I only had the one coupon. The store keeps track of baby product purchases and in December you get 10.00 of if have spent 100.00. I have at least 3 baby showers coming up between church and family and probably more and I like to give either baby wipes or disposable diapers and other useful baby items. So I know I will reach the 100.00. I did last year. I have to save up some more coupons though.

    Brandy, HULU has started running the CSI Las Vegas series, all 17 seasons. I am guessing it is not really filmed in LV, but rather in S. California. I did watch some more of the MURDOCK MYSTERIES…I think I mentioned them before. They take place in Toronto turn of the century and bring in historic figures like Alexander Graham Bell, (?) Tesla, H. G. Wells, for example, and the beginnings of forensic science. They would be suitable for teens to.

    Someone mentioned a month or so ago that they were having trouble organizing their sewing room as it was so small. I know everyone can’t do what we did, but my sewing room is the biggest of the 3 bedrooms. It is not a “master suite” like some houses, just a regular room. We actually have the smallest bedroom…we didn’t need extra room for other than bed and dresser. Husband has office over in his workshop. The largest bedroom has all the sewing supplies, machine and table etc. We keep the card making supplies, wrapping paper, knitting stuff, quilting frame (unassembled) etc in there. It is often used as a guest room too and is the room my brother in law uses when he lives with us 3 months at a time. It has 2 twin beds foot to foot in the corner. One bed slides part way under a table when not being used. My daughter has the middle sized room but she has one of those bunks with the double bed on the bottom and twin on top.

  67. Thanks for sharing the jam recipe, it sounds wonderful! How do you juice your currants? Do you use a steam juicer?

  68. To juice my currants, first I freeze them. It ruptures all the cells, & I get a lot more juice. After they are frozen, I dump them into a large pan & let them defrost, then add a little water & simmer for 15 -30 minutes, or until it looks like all the currants are split. I ladle the mix into a colander lined with cloth ( usually what used to be the back of a t-shirt & strain. I freeze the juice unsweetened in the Ball 8 oz freezer containers, so it is pre-measured for adding to jams & jellies. I label the first run of the juice, which is clear, differently that the juice I squeeze out later, which is cloudy, so I can use them appropriately.

  69. Yes it is filmed in Southern California. I don’t watch that show, but my husband and I watched a couple of episodes years ago (we didn’t care for it). We laughed when we recognized several places that we knew from Southern California. The desert in California (where we both grew up) is much more green than the desert there, and has different species of plants.

  70. Hi Rhonda. We’ve been fortunate with no flooding in our area but some parts of the state have seen what you described. I feel horrible for those people. I really do appreciate the rain but it is causing some serious problems for a lot of people.

  71. Ada, that is so thoughtful of your friends and family. No one needs to be thinking about meals when the house is torn apart.

  72. Mandy,
    Here’s the best gluten free homemade bread recipe I’ve tried–and I’ve tried many! My family thinks it’s even better than the mixes. I’ve been making it for over a year now (2-3 loaves a week) and it’s the only bread my family eat . I have modified the recipe and reduced the amount of water to 1 cup instead of 1 and a half and I also bake it for 30 minutes uncovered then cover with foil and bake for another 30 minutes. That works better for me. Good luck! Here’s a link to the recipe.

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