Dividing Paperwhite Bulbs The Prudent Homemaker

I dug small paperwhite bulbs from the garden (that had multiplied) and transplanted them to another spot in the garden. In a year or two, these bulbs will be big enough to flower.

I carefully dug up and transplanted beet and Swiss chard seedlings that had self-seeded, and transplanted them into rows in another spot in the garden where they’ll have room to grow fully.

Lettuce Seedlings The Prudent Homemaker

I dug lettuce seedlings, separated them, and transplanted them in the garden. 

I dug and potted 2 small euyonomus bushes that I started last year by tip layering.

I planted seeds for spinach, snow peas, mache, parsley, radishes, lettuce and larkspur in the garden. This is a bit late for planting snow peas normally, but I am trying a new kind (also open-pollinated) that ripens in 30 days instead of 85 days. I hope this will allow me to have a larger harvest before April, when it gets too hot for peas here. My seeds came in the mail on Saturday, so I planted them right away.

Gallette Des Rois The Prudent Homemaker

I finally was able to make the galette des rois that I had been planning for the beginning of the year. It involved making my own puff pastry. I found a quick version recipe (in French) that I followed, and it turned out delicious! It was also rather inexpensive to make (the two crusts used less than a stick of butter each–200 grams, to be exact), which gives me hope to try making more recipes that call for puff pastry in the future.

I cooked a large pot of pinto beans in the crockpot, which we ate over several meals.

I made a triple batch of laundry soap.

Our lawn needs to be aerated. We looked at the price of buying a hand-held aerator versus renting. Renting a powered machine would make quick work of it, but it was $176 a day to rent! (Half-day options were also available, but still expensive!) Instead, we purchased a hand-held aerator for $30. The lawn needs to be aerated every 2-3 years, and we’ve never done it (the lawn is 9 years old), so it is getting thin, and the last time we overseeded, much of it didn’t take because of thatch. Now we have a tool that can be used every time we need to do this. I’ll be overseeding it in a few weeks (our last frost date is only 3 weeks away!)

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. My last 2 weeks were very frugal for me, I am energized and off to a good start this year (as far as saving money and living frugally).
    1. I did all the cooking (all except one breakfast) for the last two weeks. It is a big deal for me!
    2. Got some extra cash added to my Ebates account
    3. Got $5 rewards from Staples
    4. Got a free and super cute basket from a gift basket that we received at work over the Holidays. I saved it from trash
    5. Super frugal weekend because of the snow storm. Zero $ spent 🙂
    My full update can be found here:

    Stay frugal friends!

  2. Two of our neighbor’s cut down their Meyer lemon trees last week. They sent out an email to the neighborhood letting everyone know to help themselves before green waste pick up. There were hundreds of lemons on the cut trees. My husband & I were able to gather 30 lbs of fresh lemons! I took a bag to share with my coworkers and I am juicing the rest of the majority to freeze for the future. We’ve been enjoying fresh lemons in our water & I will make several lemon based recipes this week.

  3. We went to a birthday party and gifted books that my son has read and loved. We wrapped the presents in a paper bag we cut open and colored on. Believe it or not, it was the hit of the party because my son had put so much thought and love into the decorating of the wrapping paper. 🙂

    I got sixteen gallons of milk for free a couple days ago, and I’ve been canning it with my pressure canner. I found a couple of methods I felt were safe, and I went for it!

  4. We made a big pot of pinto beans too.

    Other frugal accomplishments:
    Canned 28 pints of meat that we got on sale. Sirloin roast was 2.69/lb, hamburger 2.19/lb, chicken breast 79cents/lb and bacon was 16.90/10lbs. Also 16 pints of broth, and rendered the fat for soap making.

    Made a doll sized quilt from scraps.
    Mended some clothes.
    Bought a few articles of clothes at the 50%off sale at the thrift store.
    Sprouted some greens.
    Baked crackers.
    Hand washed a wool skirt instead of dry cleaning it.
    And all the usual things like heating with wood, using our wringer washer, line-drying our clothes, etc.

  5. I used one of the smaller turkeys I bought last Thanksgiving to make soup. I use my recipe for chicken noodle soup—just substituting turkey for chicken, and increasing the amount. I ended up with about 30 quarts of soup, most of which I froze.

    It was a great week for produce sales; I got a 5-lb bag of potatoes for $1.00, 2-lb bags of carrots for 59¢ each and 8-oz packages of fresh white mushrooms for 69¢ each. I purchased a 2.5-lb package of stew beef on sale and using lots of vegetables, was able to make about 15 quarts of stew. I froze most of it for future meals.

    The grocery store closest to us had a Buy 2 get 3 free sale, which enabled me to get egg noodles for 87¢/package and blocks of cheddar cheese for 1.27 each. The same store had marked down ribs and Vienna bread, which are things we don’t normally buy.

  6. Had a frugal week here. Ate at home. Had a good weather week. Hung laundry to dry. There were several really good buys at the grocery store. Ground beef, buy 1 get 1 free. Chicken breast 88 cents a pound, and Fab laundry soap was 99 cents if your brought 5 at a time. There was also a coupon to save $5.00 if you spent $30.00. I got 30 pounds of chicken, 30 pounds of ground beef, and 10 containers of laundry soap. (enough for a year)
    We laid out our garden. Made a list of the plants we will need. I got some seed potatoes ready. Cleaned out a closet and started a box of things to donate. Got things together to start taxes.
    Cleaned the linen closet. Again found a lot of things to donate. Some things were not good enough to donate. I made those into rags for my husband’s use. I also got some clothes ready for donation from my closet.

  7. Your garden activity is starting to make me think about when I need to start planting seeds indoors. I’ll have to check when they need to be started so I can get them big enough for transplant in spring. Thank you for the inspiration, Brandy!

    We’ve had another quiet week here. I went out a little more this week than last week, but still kept my spending under control…yeah! My frugal accomplishments for this week are as follow:
    *Home cooked meals this week included meat balls with mashed potatoes and veggies, chicken souvlaki (homemade and frozen) with rice and carrots (that I bought on sale, then blanched and froze), chicken burgers with spicy potato wedges, hamburger helper with veggies, chocolate chip pancakes with breakfast sausages (breakfast for dinner), and roast beef with mashed potatoes, gravy, broccoli and coleslaw. Left overs made for great lunch options and the left over pancakes were put in the freezer for a quick breakfast option.

    *We had some good successes with my picky daughter’s lunch this week. I took some cold leftover pasta in the fridge and mixed it with a bit of oil and Parmesan cheese for one of her lunches. She really enjoyed it (I told her this was basically cold pasta salad, but she refused to let me mix in any herbs). She also took a baggie of banana chips that I had made in my new dehydrator as a test run. She made sure to tell me that I “must make more” when she came home. Apparently I will need to make a big batch of dried banana chips.

    *My daughter stayed home from school one day this week as a cold caused her to loose her voice. Being on the Autism spectrum, the frustration of trying to communicate would have most definitely caused behaviour problems at school. Of course the day she stayed home was pizza day (which we had prepaid $2 for a slice). So we stopped over at the school while running errands and picked up the pizza slice. My daughter enjoyed it with her dinner that evening.

    *By shopping the sales, I was able to stock up on 4 boxes of my daughter’s beloved fish sticks at $3/box. They normally cost $7/box, so I was thrilled to get them at this price! Fish sticks are her all-time favourite meal, so we often make them for her when we have something she won’t eat…like anything with ground beef.

    *Found boxes of Crunch’n’Munch (caramel popcorn with peanuts) on sale for $.50/box. Bought 2 with the idea that I can repackage it into a cute baggie and put it in my daughter’s Easter basket (and yes, I’m already preparing for Easter…it pays to plan ahead).

    *My mom’s newer car refused to start one very cold morning, even with a boost to the battery. I then had to rearrange my plans for the day to “drive Miss Daisy” to her dental appointment and then to the dealership where her car was towed…a 1/2 hour away. At least she has a really good warranty on the car and they replaced the battery for free.

    *Inspired by another commenter and blogger, I have been trying to slowly working on using up some items in my pantry/freezer items that need to be used up. I made up an expired cake mix into 24 cupcakes to use for dessert and for my daughter’s lunches. They tasted fine despite being 5 months past the best before date.

    *My husband and I went to our local mall and did some mall walking. It’s a warm place to get some much needed exercise during the cold snowy winter and walking around is free, therefore saving us the high cost of a gym membership.

    *Watched lots of free movies on our Android box, which saved us money by staying home. I highly recommend the movie “Room”, though the subject matter is definitely aimed at a more mature audience. This movie is based on a book, for those who prefer reading. I can see why it’s up for awards, though…very compelling and captivating story line.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone’s comments this week. Thanks for the inspiration, and have a wonderful week!

  8. Thank you for all the gardening reminders! I need to start some seeds when I get home from work today!

    Some of our frugal accomplishments this week include:

    I volunteered at a political rally for a candidate we support. I got a free campaign tee-shirt for it, and they were also doing free silk-screening of shirts that we brought ourselves. So we now have one-of-a-kind tee-shirts that we really like!

    This wasn’t really an “accomplishment,” but an acquaintance of ours happened to be a bartender at the event, and he gave us discounted drinks. It was a nice surprise.

    We attended a free fruit tree giveaway this weekend, and came right home to plant our backyard orchard with peaches plums and pears (The next giveaway is in three weeks, and we’ll be getting figs and satsumas).

    I made a big batch of lentil soup… enough for dinner last night, lunch today, AND some to freeze!

    Husband made smoothies for breakfast, to save some bananas that had escaped our attention.

  9. The previous owner of our home did not do any upkeep with the lawn or garden in the back of the house. It was really an eye sore. We rented equipment in the spring to de-thatch, slice seed, and aerate our backyard. It was not inexpensive to rent but having my husband do it himself saved us lots of vs. paying a landscaper (we have a good sized back yard.) Our lawn looks significantly better. Your galette looks absolutely delicious! Here is my post for last week https://morebymelissa.wordpress.com/2016/01/23/week-in-review-week-3-2/

  10. Hello everyone! This past week was spent cleaning and sanitizing the house. My husband and I quit smoking. I quit for 8 months two years ago, however my husband did not and continued to smoke in the house. I eventually caved. My husband was ready to quit after seeing our 5 year old hospitalized for RSV and Pneumonia so I took the plunge as well. Please keep us in you prayers and good thoughts. As long as he doesn’t start smoking again, I’ll be fine :).
    -I was finishing the weekly cleaning of our 5 year olds room when I discovered mold all along the bottom half of two of her walls. I clean her room every week the same way and it wasn’t like that two weeks ago. I went to Menards and purchased bleach and mold killing primer paint (we are painting her room in spring) and took care of the problem ourselves (hopefully!). I washed everything washable in her room. I took the opportunity to convince my husband to get rid of some items that were in her room and some items that had mold. My husband is a packrat and has a hard time letting go of pretty much anything. I am a minimalist, so you can see how it can be interesting at times 🙂 I spent $30 and hopefully got rid of mold. We keep a very close eye on this. .
    -Yesterday was my husband’s birthday so we ate dinner out, which was a planned expense. He chose a cheaper restaurant than we had originally planned which saved at least $10. He requested a new pair of slippers as his present so that is what he got. I wrapped them using a cut off pant leg from an old pair of pajamas and twine to close the ends. My daughter and I made carrot cake, his favorite. We skipped ice cream.
    -I drink coffee, tea, and water at home. I always make sure to have ice water with me when I leave the house. If we will be gone for more than an hour running errands I bring a snack for my 5 year old.
    -I did purchase some groceries this week and spent more than I had planned but all purchases were necessary. All meals were cooked from scratch and eaten at home except his birthday meal.
    -I continue to use my reusable menstrual products instead of purchasing disposables. This has saved me loads of money.
    -I continue to use vinegar and baking soda to clean with. My batch of homemade ACV molded 🙁 I will save up more scraps to try again. I also am saving my citrus peels until I have enough for a batch of citrus vinegar.
    -I will be making homemade white bread, banana bread, and more deodorant and mouthwash today. I made brownies last week.
    -I have found mouse droppings in a couple locations when cleaning. I am using cayenne pepper sprinkled in the area and traps to try to get rid of them. I have a trap by my kitchen sink that the little buggers are leaving droppings on and around just to taunt me. I moved the trap to see if that would help and sprinkled cayenne.
    -I fixed a toy and will mending a pair of pants and my winter coat. The lining has a tear in the seam.
    That’s about it. Have a great week all!

  11. I spent a lot of physical energy this weekend. Shoveling 29 inches of snow will do that. I am definitely looking into a snowblower for next year. After 5.5 hours and our cars still not shoveled out, my neighbor and I paid 4 guys who were walking up the street looking for shoveling jobs. It was a bit expensive but totally worth it. She has a bad shoulder and I am in my early 60ies. We would still be shoveling today but they got the cars done in a little over an hour. Seriously, worth every penny.

    Having a food stockpile is so nice. Most of you have probably seen the pictures of empty shelves for grocery stores in DC and central Maryland. Grocery stores had lines up to 20 deep and most everyone had full carts, according to the news and some friends. I just needed eggs and bought those at 7-11. They were a bit higher in price but worth it to avoid the grocery stores.

    I have been doing just about all cooking at home, except for buying pizza when.a mid-Atlantic regional chain, Ledo’s, had a buy one 18 inch, get a free 14 inch pizza. It usually takes 10-15 minutes for pickup. This time it took an hour. I guess everyone wanted pizza for the weekend snow.

    Over the last couple weekends, I blew the dust off my sewing machine and made a pillow for my daughter from an old t-shirt that had a black and white drawing of a zebra on it. It came out very well, but I am wondering when the price of pillow forms went so high.

    I also made aprons for my daughter and a friend of hers who just got married. I plan to make several more; one for daughter’s boyfriend and a couple for me. I used online manuals when I ran into issues with the tension on the machine.

    My daughter and her boyfriend were supposed to come here Friday night and drive to New Jersey for the east coast reception for the couple who got married. The weather blew all of that out of the water, so the airfare will be refunded to me and there is no hotel cost. The reception itself was also canceled due to weather.

    Happy savings everyone and tame it easy if you are shoveling.

  12. Mari, I decided to make pillows for my niece and daughter for Christmas and was aghast at the cost of the pillow forms. They were about $8 for just one form! So I went exploring in the bed pillow section and found a brand new bed pillow for just $3. I took it home and cut the pillow in half, then made custom pillow covers to fit. They turned out great and it was a much cheaper cost. Now granted my throw pillows were more a rectangular shape, but if you want a square pillow, it is still cheaper to buy the cheap bed pillow and cut it down to size, than to buy the pre-made trow pillow forms. Just a suggestion for next time!

  13. I bought 20 pounds of chicken thighs at 49 cents a pound. I cooked half of them and shredded them for quick meal additions for me (hubby only likes boneless, skinless breasts)
    I made up the last dog bed for camping from vinyl that was gifted to me after sewing job was completed. One of the vinyls is actual Naugahyde so the beds should stand up to use for a looooong time. The beds are all stuffed with old bed pillows I saved for just this project.
    I sold a tote in my Etsy shop.
    I used a $10 off frequent buyer coupon on the dog food and then received a $4 off coupon in an email that I used to purchase the cat food. With these purchases we are very close to receiving another $10 coupon.
    I clipped all my dogs nails myself.
    Instead of throwing out the egg mixture from French Toast, I shredded bread ends into it, cooked it up in the bacon grease and fed it back to our hens.
    I brought home another 5 pounds of left over dog food from the kennel where I work to grind up and feed to the chickens and ducks.
    I made all of our dinners at home – Poor Mans Steak with potatoes and carrots, Minestrone, chicken tacos, French Dips, Tikka Masala are just a few.
    I put elastic in the waistband of 3 pairs of jeans to eliminate the gap issue. These are jeans I picked up for free awhile back.
    We bought potatoes and carrots for buy 2 get 3 free so those are stocked back up again.
    I know there’s more but I never wrote anything down this past week due to the stress I was under – stress makes me very unfocused.

  14. Wow, that puff pastry looks delicious! Recipes like that can be fussy and yours came out perfect.

    I had a pretty frugal week minus some unexpected purchases for the huge snowstorm that was predicted. The storm missed us completely here in New England so I didn’t end up using any of it—yet! I like being prepared in case another storm should happen soon.

    By shopping the deals and using coupons, I did find many good deals like free Pantene at CVS, $2.99 Purina dog food at PetSmart, $0.99 Gillette razor packs at Rite Aid, free fruit with checkout 51 and more. All of my transactions can be found here: http://thejewishlady.com/super-savings-saturday-12316/

  15. Brandy, what type of snow peas ripens in 30 days? I’d love to try planting those here. And the galette des rois looks delicious!

    This week:
    – I found a pair of nice black jeans (that I can wear to work) at Goodwill for $10. They fit well and I didn’t even have to hem them. I checked online, and they normally sell for over $100.
    – A few weeks ago, I bought a carpet spot cleaner machine at Fred Meyer. I got a great deal – on sale plus 20% more off with a coupon. I tried it out yesterday with some homemade solution (Oxyclean, Sal Suds, and hot water) on a couple dirty areas that were driving me crazy. It worked even better than I had hoped. Even though it’s not a large machine, I will be able to use it for the main traffic areas (and even whole rooms, although it would take a while). The unit cost less than what I pay for annual carpet cleaning, which I should now be able to skip this year.
    – Sewing tasks: I repaired the elastic in a fitted sheet. I purchased material with a coupon at Joann’s to repair the lining in my husband’s coat. I am almost done hemming a pair of pants.
    – Cooking: I started using the apple cider I made last fall from apples I collected at the park. I made all meals from home except one. We ate from the freezer and our winter share of vegetables that I picked up.
    – There is a problem with our stove. I called my dad (who lives halfway across the country) and he was able to diagnose the problem by phone. We looked at the manual online together, and he told me what parts I needed to buy. I did additional research online, and it looks like it is a repair I can do. My husband hates home maintenance tasks, so it’s either do the repair myself, or call an appliance service. Now I just need to order the parts.
    – A couple weeks ago, I found some pretty foliage in the flower discount bin at the grocery store (cost: less than $2). This lasted quite a while and looked so nice on the bathroom counter.

    That’s all I can think of now. Looking forward to reading about everyone else’s week.

  16. Your seed sowing reminded me I could be doing some winter sowing of perennials here. Good for you on the puff pastry! We made fresh pasta yesterday, for the first time in many years. There’s still snow and ice on the ground, but I just came in from hanging laundry on the line. It’s supposed to be mostly sunny today, and get up to 50, so I think they’ll dry OK. Joining in here: http://www.abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2016/01/a-winter-storm-frugal-accomplishments.html

  17. I printed out a free copay card to get my daughter’s Epi-Pen for free. I read some magazines for free on the digital library through my local library, and used a free YouTube video to learn how to pipe fancy icing on cupcakes.

  18. It’s called “Little Snowpea White” from Territorial Seed Company. It grows 40″ tall. They also have a purple flowered one that is 50-54 days called “Little Snowpea Purple.” Normally I grow Oregon Sugar Pod. All of these are open-pollinated.

  19. Caitlin,
    I would love to know how this turns out. I am wondering how it holds up over time, and how it tastes. I have only ever heard of people freezing milk.

  20. Rhonda,
    I’m glad you didn’t just throw out the cupcake mix, so many people that I know would have. My step-mother gives me boxes and boxes of food every year because things are expired. We eat it all up and are still around to talk about it! And my grandma told me that back in the day, food didn’t even have expiration dates so that gives you something else to ponder.

  21. Rhonda,
    I was just reading a post on the blog thriftymominboise.com. She has a tutorial on how to make a pillow without a form.

  22. I know some people are comfortable canning milk, but after reading all of the material from the FDA and the cooperative extension service, I wouldn’t suggest it. Botulism is nothing to mess with and dairy with it’s low acidity (inconsistent at that) and natural sugar content just seems like too much risk to me.

    I hope it works out for you and such, but I just wanted to add my “worry wort” bit in there.

  23. It’s been super productive around here. I have managed to finally, after years of trying, gotten a cleaning schedule implemented and am quickly making a habit of keeping the house clean. It’s a wonderful feeling to get all of your housework and laundry done for the day, have your floors mopped, sit down for a drink of ice water and realize you’re done until dinner time. It’s an odd feeling, but good *laugh*.

    My list for the week can be found here…


  24. We are eating on a small budget this month! But title is helping us clean out the freezer.

    I started an etsy shop! I’m excited about this adventure and creative outlet.

    My birthday is tomorrow and I’m taking the kids to salvation army to donate items and picking us a cupcake for each of us. .

    We have done more work on our house diy, vs paying someone.

    I spent $3 on a loaf of bread for grilled cheese sandwich and soup for dinner vs grabbing takeout after a late shopping trip.

    Read books from the library.

    Called the company about our steam mop. I went to use it and it powered up but would stream the water. They asked a few questions and my model number and sent me a new one for free! .

  25. When it comes to the tension, dumb question I know, but have you oiled the machine and changed the needle? A seamstress friend of my sister-in-laws was telling me that when I was having issues with my tension on the sewing machine. She said most people blame the bobbin, but it’s not the bobbin it’s usually the needle and needing to be oiled. I did as she suggested and it worked great after that. I’ve noticed that modern needles (compared to vintage ones my step mom sent me) dull a LOT quicker, so I’ve had to change needles more often when using universal sewing needles (I’ve actually taken to using denim needles for a lot as they don’t dull as quickly for me). Just a thought. Good luck :).

  26. We sold a gift I did not want the children to have for forty dollars on eBay. I had seen it priced on Facebook garage sale and knew I could double my money on eBay. We had a weird week, I bought a bit extra because of the storm. Mostly it was stuff I get anyhow that will keep and save me a trip. A few things were to tempt my sick children to eat. We were all sick and miserable so I have plenty of food left for this week.

  27. Frugal accomplishments for last week:

    – project use it up: finished two Yankee candle ginger citrus candles
    – Friend gave me a bunch of apples and grapes
    – Used coupons at grocery store plus Meijer had a 10 for 10 and get the 11th product free so I got a few free products
    – Got some great deals from goodwill on shirts and sweaters from Calvin Klein, Izod, American Eagle, Cynthia Rowley…along with two cute skirts and a Kohls Vera Wang dress that will work well for our trip in the spring
    – Had a meeting at Panera and didn’t get anything to eat or drink even though the other people did (I made sure to eat beforehand)
    – Someone got a hold of my husband’s social security number somehow (we were alerted through our credit card company). He has a discount through work for Life Lock so we signed up for that and alerted the three credit agencies. So even though we’ll be spending $16 a month on Life Lock, it’s worth it for the extra protection right now given someone got his social security number somehow.
    – Received $25 on ebates for a referral fee
    – Almost bought a nice down coat on a major sale but I already have a couple and don’t need another even though it’s a pretty color and a really good price.
    – Husband was out of town and brought home a tea k-cup, some shower caps and a bar of soap from the hotel (although we’re kind of kicking ourselves that we didn’t have him take the $500 voucher to be bumped but he was flying from the east coast before the major storm and may not have made it out and would be stuck there all weekend aft being gone all week)
    – Listed more things on eBay and sold two things for about $30
    – My son got to go with a friend to see the Globetrotters for free
    – Went out to dinner for a girls night and saved half my meal to have for lunch the next day

  28. Love puff pastry! I don’t think it’s that difficult to work with. Looks delish!

    Well, the main thing we did to save money was to stay in the house because we got ice. We weren’t in the thick of the snow storm….just the ice line. It’s still icy in places but the kids are back in school. Made homemade calzones, burgers, bread, garlic rolls, homemade and just used things out of the pantry.

    No gardening because it is a skating rink out there. I can usually start to clean up around the first of February and start planting Spring by early March. I am SOOOOO ready!

    Thank you for keeping me inspired….just nothing much this week!

  29. Brandy, I would love to know how you prepare beets!

    My frugal win was getting super nice ground beef, frozen, for 1.49 a pound! I made the smaller package into some delicious soup, and the rest will be used in the future. Also, I repaired my son’s jeans.

  30. Peggy,
    Meyer Lemons are delicious! We do not have citrus growing here in CO. I did purchase some Meyer Lemons at the store and am trying to plant the seeds. I’m not sure if they will do anything, but it’s worth a try 🙂

  31. I’ve received some windfall lately that I’ve put into my savings account. I use a credit card for all of my purchases and pay it off each month. The card I use gives me 1% cash back, plus 1% in rewards points. My quarterly income that I received a couple of weeks ago was nearly $60!

    Also reading last week’s frugal accomplishments, someone mentioned that they had received money from unclaimed property. I went online to my state and found two entries under my husband’s name. The address was where he had lived about 20 years ago, we were skeptical about how difficult the process would be, but Wednesday night, we filled out a very brief online form and Saturday afternoon we got a check in the mail for $117! That same day I also got an unexpected tax refund check for $59.

    Thanks to whomever made the post last week about unclaimed property!

    I’m also cleaning through my kitchen and downstairs pantry–time to see what I have and what needs to be used up! I put all my loose spices into jars and labeled them. It looks so much nicer than having bags of spices (I buy them in bulk).

    Also got a two-for-one tickets to the opera put on at my local college. Really great entertainment for my husband and me for $10!

  32. Mandy,
    Good for you and your honey! I am so proud of you 🙂 I never smoked but both of my parents did while I was growing up. I have always had earaches and problems with my sinuses. My Mom stopped smoking at 65 even though my Dad was a heavy smoker. I think it will be easier that both you and your husband are on track together, especially when you look at your precious child. I am praying that the Lord will give you both strength and the discipline to overcome 🙂

  33. Last week we continued our new habit of eating 99.9% of our meals at home. I generally try to make enough to freeze half for a second dinner for us, it really is nice to have lots of choices in the freezer when I don’t feel like cooking dinner. Due to a mostly full pantry, it looks like we can finish January having only spent $110-125 on groceries/supplies! This is a world record for us. I realize it is super low since we are using up items in our pantry and will increase as we resupply. But what a wonderful feeling to pick a recipe and realize that I have all the ingredients! And that most were bought at a great price. I am ecstatic about not spending money (versus the fun I used to have shopping), now it is equally fun to open the pantry door and have a wide selection. Thanks to all for the encouragement and teaching.

  34. i have bought plain pillows from the thrift store and use those as a pillow form. Sometimes they actually contain a pillow form so in that case, I take the cover off and just use the form. If you hit Salvation Army on their color of the week sale (Saturday’s here) you can get them for REALLY cheap (.69 cents I think it is here). I wash the pillows in hot water with a splash of bleach (can’t hurt it if you’re covering it up) to get rid of any icky’s that may be on it.

  35. I decided to start writing down all the frugal, money saving things I do each week. When I looked over my list for the week, I was surprised at how small things really add up! This week…
    *Picked up 10 free books from our church’s library. Periodically, the librarians at church will put a cart of ‘free’ books out. They are usually adult books, but this time it was all children’s books. Every December, I wrap 25 books for my children to open under the tree each night, starting on December 1st thru Christmas Day. These books will go into the stack for this year.
    *Took my youngest child to 2 different and free story hours in our community this week
    *Used a gift card to buy coffee from a local gift shop. I bought two bags and had enough points on my frequency card for a free bag of coffee. I also now have enough points for a free coffee drink on my next visit.
    *A friend just got back from Asia and brought us a bag of coffee from Vietnam.
    *I am a nurse and picked up work this weekend for a little extra income
    *I hand washed two items instead of taking them to the dry-cleaner
    *Our family ate lunch at my parents house Sunday and they sent us home with leftovers which will provide lunches for a few days
    *Went to our local thrift shop and bought greeting cards for $0.25 a piece. I haven’t store-bought a card in years!
    *went to the library for books, DVD’s and ordered books our library doesn’t carry from inter-library loan.
    *Ran out of lotion this week and found a brand new, large bottle of Cetaphil body lotion a friend had given me a few months ago. I won’t need to buy lotion for a while now. Glad I looked in my cupboard before putting lotion on my list and buying it at the store.

    I am off to read everyone’s comments! So much inspiration on here this blog…have a great week everyone!

  36. Unfortunately, we are having to do some furnace repairs done hoping to keep our 19 year old unit running a few more years. But, the blessing of being frugal is the ability to have the money when these sorts of things come down the pike. We are celebrating 34 years of marriage and my husband has an overnight work trip, so I am coming along and the hotel will be paid for as well as his meals. I will pack our snacks and gluten free food for me.

    We had less snow and ice than some, but travel was awful and so we stayed home and had soup all weekend and eating down our freezer and frig still.

  37. Hello Brandy and all from Australia :).

    Service –
    – Blessed to have an abundance of turnips to pick and take to church to give to others.

    Vegetable garden earnings –
    – Earned $23.85 from sales of vegetables from our home garden.

    In the garden –
    – Weeded & put mulch & compost around all tomatoes.
    – Weeded one round herb garden and one long herb garden in the front yard and mulched.
    – Picked turnips, strawberries, snow & greenfeast peas & spinach beet for teas and snacks.
    – Fertilised all tomatoes, corn, broccoli & lettuce.
    – purchased star pickets & baling twine from garden earnings to string up and support tomato plants as the wooden stakes we had weren’t strong enough.
    – Topped up 2 jerry cans of fuel whilst travelling out of town, out of gardening money earned and saved $5.67 total on prices we pay locally or 12c litre.

    Craft earnings –
    – Earned $34.43 from the sale of 7 curtain tieback cuffs & an eye mask on Ebay & Etsy.

    Water preservation –
    – Used most washing machine water & shower water to water lawns around the house.
    – Saved 270 lts of town water by missing a scheduled watering as it rained instead.

  38. Good grief I feel like a flop after reading these comments!! I so want to save my family money, especially in the grocery area. It’s an area I pray about daily. I’m glad I found your blog, as we are wanting to re-do our front landscaping before the hot Las Vegas summer is here. Thx!!

  39. Kim,

    Are you planning on putting in any food in your front yard? We are nearing the time for all of the fruits and vegetables, as well as flowers and shrubs to go on sale at Star Nursery. If you don’t already know, their ads run Fridays through Wednesdays (nothing on sale on Thursdays). Right now they have Pineapple Guava trees in a 5 gallon for just under $10 on their website. Regular fruit trees in the 5 gallon size will be on sale for $5 off per tree in the next month (they always are this time of year). Citrus, grape vines, blackberries, etc. will also go on sale. Herbs will be in starting the 3rd week of February. Tomatoes come in on the 14th of February.

    Send me an email if you have any local gardening questions.

  40. We are in the planning stages as everything has to be submitted to our HOA. I’m open to any ideas you have and I absolutely love the idea of a a citrus tree!! My husband and I are both clueless when it comes to landscaping….if you could see our backyard. YIKES!!! I’ll definitely email you with any questions. Thank you!

  41. Expiration dates are set by manufacturers, not any health organization. They are to indicate that after a certain date the product will not taste its optimum best, not that the food will be okay on the expiration date of, say, March 1, but poisonous on March 2.

  42. Hi Brandy,
    I am new to your blog and have went through and read every post. It is very inspiring and I thank you for all your time and money saving ideas. I signed up for swagbucks through your link but I am unsure how you earn so many. It seems hard and very time consuming to earn all the swagbucks you do. Could you tell me what you do to earn so many? Thank you

  43. I agree! On the old tv show, “Married With Children”, Peg makes popcorn and her girlfriend is horrified when she looks at the box: “Peg! This says “Use by 2001!” Peg grabs the box from her friend, looks at it and says, “It does NOT! It says ‘BEST if used by 2001!'” [I applauded Peg’s attitude…]

  44. I have been continuing my frugal activities, but had a major setback this week. My refrigerator died, but a slow death. I noticed a problem when I took something out of the freezer, and it was mushy. The fridge is 20 years old, and it’s ice maker started leaking last year. Since it was still working fine, I decided to keep it and make ice in old fashioned trays. So now, I had to dispose of everything in my freezer. Very sad, especially since I am unemployed. I do have a big freezer in my basement, so not everything frozen was lost.

    I did research before buying a new unit. Since I have such a small kitchen, I need a counter depth model, which is less common, so more money. I decided to investigate Sears outlet stores, and ended up buying a new, but a bit dinged fridge for half price. It was delivered today and it will work out well. I put a large picture magnet over the obvious scratch/ding on the front.

    I did the usual, turn down the heat, cook everything from scratch with what I have on hand frugal tasks this week. I limited my car trips to save on gas. I baked. Checked e books and audio books out of the library.

    I have three job interviews this week. All of them are low wage, but they have benefits and are what I can find for now. Prayers appreciated for one to come through!

    Have a great week all!

  45. Kim,

    I don’t know if you’re brand-new to my website, but if you are, check out my White Garden posts. That is my front yard. I have 8 fruit trees there (4 lemons, a peach, and an apricot, plus 2 tiny potted mulberries) and it is a tiny yard. We also have an HOA. You can see that we had that typical kidney-shaped grass, one tree, and bushes before (normal Vegas tract yard). I now have fruits and flowers growing, AND I use less water than I did before, because there is no grass. My neighbors notice the flowers and rarely see the food.

    Star Nursery will help you with figuring out your drip irrigation needs for free.

    If you don’t know what you want yet, I would make a Pinterest board and start pinning what you like. When you see a recurring theme, you will know what it is that catches your eye the most–and that will help you figure out what you want.

    I have a few boards you might like, including an Edible Landscaping board, that might give you some ideas.

    You’re going to need new dirt for your plants to grow. Star has a Planter’s Mix that they deliver by the cubic yard. It works well.

    We redid our front yard 3 years ago, and I have been harvesting food and flowers from the first year. Our HOA took a while to approve plans, but I bought trees and bushes on sale, used all the coupons I could (look in the Val Pak and on the last page one the paper that comes wrapped around the grocery ads for $10 off $50 coupons for Star; they will probably have them soon), and we did the work ourselves.

    I used to hate my front yard, but now I absolutely love it!

  46. Congratulations. My husband quit twice in a two year period. The first time was so bad, I GAVE him his cigarettes back. The next time we were agreed to ignore one another for a couple of weeks, lol. Seriously it took a lot of prayer but he did it and has been quit nearly 23 years now. I’ll put you on my prayer list!

  47. Watched “Downton Abbey” on PBS.

    Shoveled the snow again from the driveway & walks onto the blueberry bushes & fruit trees in the front yard, as well as where the daffodil & tulip bulbs are planted, so those will benefit from the water when the snow melts.

    Knitted a pair of light grey & dark grey wool mittens for my 11 year old granddaughter for a Christmas present. While they were here for a brief visit, I let her try on the fingerless mittens I made (which were adult size medium women’s), and they fit, so her hand size is not going to change enough for me to worry about.

    Ordered a Maypole crabapple tree & a Crimson Rocket peach tree from Stark Bros. Both are columnar style trees that do not grow wider than 2-3 feet, so they fit & bear fruit in narrow spaces. One of these, probably the peach, will go in a perimeter bed that I am widening along the back fence.

    Filled the car with gas at the Chevron station for the discount & the free car wash coupon on my trip to town on Wednesday. Checked at DI, & bought two perfect quart mason jars with the Liberty Bell design on them. Stopped at Home Depot on the way home & bought 16 Lodgestones to extend the top tier of the garden into the perimeter beds now that the fence installation is completed. Those were paid for using my Christmas & birthday gift cards from my son. I used part of one of the gift cards a few weeks ago to buy a new pair of loppers as well, but forgot to mention that when I posted at the time.

    Bottled more sliced carrots.

    Bought a large package of 97% ground beef from the meat mark down bin over 50% off. Mixed it up into stuffed peppers that will be dinner tomorrow, to bake while we are a church, & 3 packages of meatloaf for the freezer. I used 3 of the foil tins from the cinnamon roll 4-packs to hold the meatloaves, which made them flatter than usual, but the husband prefers the crusty edges of the meatloaf anyway, so hopefully this will give him more of what he likes.

    Sprayed the fruit trees with paraffinic oil in warm water. The next 3 nights are supposed to have temps in the teens & twenties, so the egg cases should freeze & die now that they are coated with oil. I forgot to spray the Maypole crabapple in the front bed, but I will get it on the 2nd pass next week.

    Made a new staff for one of the shepherds in our yard display from a dowel & the wooden end I cut off from a discarded curtain rod in one of the neighbor’s trash cans. The end part I cut off is shaped somewhat like an egg, which will be a great shape for pushing into the ground to stabilize the shepherd & keep him from blowing around.

  48. Brandy, the gallette de rois looks interesting and I am glad you were successful. But I am not really sure what it is? Is that a pastry crust?

    I will have the last 3 weeks listed here. It seems if I don’t get to the post right away on Monday, I don’t get to it for the rest of the week. We’ve had plenty of cold weather, but very low on snow, which is not normal. I hope none of you in the Eastern area had anything serious happen due to the storm and you were able to get through just fine.

    We found a used car for our RN daughter, by chance, from a customer. They had a sign on their car when stopped at the shop. It is a newer model with all the safety features, though higher miles. They had a meticulous log book of maintenance over the last 4 years on it. She gave us money towards it, we loaned her some and the credit union had a very reasonable rate for an auto loan for the rest. She had been living with a cousin and car sharing with her as they work at the same hospital. Another nice thing, they have decided to make the roommate situation long term, as it is working so well. They work opposite shifts and Johanna can use her car now to come home and we don’t need to go pick her up.

    We had the birthday party for my mother and made the chicken souvlaki often mentioned by RhondaA. It was delicious. I made lemon parsley rice also, yogurt cucumber sauce, spanikopita. My sister made 3 Swiss rolls for dessert…2 chocolate with vanilla filling and 1 white with lemon curd filling. One sister in law brought a banana cream pie and a lemon meringue pie, the other brought the Greek salad and dressing. My oldest girl brought 3 dozen deviled eggs and my daughter in law brought vegetables and dip and macadamia coconut bars. Youngest son brought fresh cut up pineapple. We had 27 for the luncheon after church and another 14 stopped in for the dessert. We made everything ahead of time Saturday except for the rice which went in the rice cooker Sunday am and we baked the spanikopita while we were at church. We used my her mother’s set for 16 of Noritake china mixed with my set of plain white. For my portion of what I made the only items I need to get from the store were the phyllo dough and the cucumber. All else came out of cupboards or freezer.

  49. The galette des rois looks amazing- I have some puff pastry in the freezer to use up so I may try making it for us. Last week I cooked a spiral cut ham from my freezer- we ate it for a couple of meals and then we made a quiche and split pea soup this past weekend and we still have a bit more left so I will dice that and freeze it for later because we are a bit tired of ham at this point. I made homemade rolls to go with the soup. I went out to dinner with a friend Friday evening but we went early so we could take advantage of the half price appetizers and we shared a couple of appetizers and had dessert so it wasn’t a terribly expensive evening. I also went to a movie Saturday evening with another friend but she invited me over to dinner before the movie so we didn’t get snacks at the movie which saved that expense.
    I’ve been cleaning my toilets with baking soda and orange vinegar cleaner and it is working well so far. I’m trying to use more natural cleaners this year both to save money as well as to eliminate as many chemicals as possible.
    My daughter and I continue to enjoy streaming television shows since we eliminated cable a couple of months ago- we also have an antennae and get many channels with it so I can honestly say we don’t miss cable at all.
    Our weather has been milder which is nice because our furnace isn’t being used as much to heat our house.
    A not so frugal event last week was that our dog was shaking her head a great deal so I took her to the vet to be checked out. It was fairly expensive but most of the expense was for medication for her ears and a refill of her anti-inflammatory. It seems like she always has ear issues but I hadn’t refilled her medications in over a year so I guess she is doing better than I thought.
    I continued to work on Swagbucks every day and I met each daily goal. My plan is to have enough Swagbucks saved up to purchase a $25 Amazon card once per month and then to have enough extra to purchase another $50 gift card (probably Amazon) every 2 to 3 months in addition to the $25 Amazon card. I do Swagbucks on my laptop and the videos on my smartphone (using our wifi) while we watch tv in the evening- as long as I am consistent on a daily basis I think I will meet my personal goal.
    This week I plan to purchase the 1 dozen eggs for $1 (limit of 2) at Albertsons a couple of times and there are a few things at Fred Meyer that I plan to get but I don’t need to spend a lot on groceries as our pantry and freezer are pretty well stocked up.
    I hope everyone has a great and frugal week!

  50. The down side to making throw pillows without a form is that you have to wash the entire pillow every time it needs washing. I like the idea of having a cover that can be removed and washed frequently and a pillow form that can be washed occasionally as needed. Just my two cents worth.

  51. Beth – you might talk with your vet and see if your dog has food allergies. My golden retriever had ear issues as a puppy. Found out that his food allergies first show up as ‘bad ears’ and also as itchy paws. Not something I had been aware of as an issue. I found a dry dog food that has all but eliminated the allergies, as long as he doesn’t hoover up the kitchen floor or get fed a treat somewhere.

  52. Hello All – It’s been a while since I checked in. My father’s dementia worsened and I was having to care for him, then he was hospitalized, then moved to hospice. He passed away peacefully last weekend. He did not have any real assets and left no final preparations. I had to pay for his cremation and attorney’s fees since he didn’t have a will that we could find and my sister doesn’t have the means to help. This pretty much wiped me out financially. And on top of it my sister and I will have to cover his mortgage until the house is deeded to us and then we finally sell it. Once it is sold and we get back what we spent, there may only be a small inheritance for each of us. So…forced ultra frugality indefinitely! I’m looking forward to the inspiration I find here –


  53. The pillow forms do go on sale at Joann Fabrics from time to time. I know this because I have a couple ahead in my closet, taking up space. I need to makes some new pillow covers next.

  54. I also live in Colorado, and am planning to buy a small lemon tree this weekend. I have read that you can keep them indoors in the winter, and they will just barely survive, but then place them outside for the summer, and they will grow and thrive then. My husband tried growing small lemon and lime trees inside (year round) several years ago, but had all kinds of problems with them. I’m hoping that taking them outside for the season will help them become more hardy.

  55. Mandy,

    Unfortunately I know way too much about mold. Our last house had toxic mold. It’s a very long story. We ended up having to abandon the house and throw all our belongings away.

    If there was mold on two walls that wasn’t there previously, it makes me wonder if you have a leak. Are they outside walls? This mold could be a factor in her illness.

    I would suggest that you do lots of checking. If there is mold, I suspect there is water coming in from somewhere. I’d really investigate that. Also, mold spores really spread. If it was close to the floor, your carpet and pad could also be moldy. The first thing to do is solve the problem that is causing the mold.

    I don’t want to be a doomsday person. But I would have a mold remediator come look at it. To really deal with it properly they’d have to set up a containment area, remove all contaminated materials–sheetrock, carpet. It’s usually done through a window so that it doesn’t drag through the house. They clean everything out and then run a special machine to filter the air for awhile. Mold really permeates things like mattresses, etc.

    I don’t want to be alarming, but there can be very significant problems caused by mold.

    Good luck to you.


    The problem that occurred in our daughter’s room in our house caused terrible health problems for her and for us.

  56. Hey folks, I haven’t been around to comment in months, though I do usually read through all the comments at least bi-weekly. Some of you may remember that last summer, I unexpectedly moved from my beloved farmhouse in the mountains of western North Carolina, back to my hometown in South Carolina. The move has been difficult to say the least, as I really didn’t want to leave the mountains. Upon moving back to SC, I began house hunting in areas near my hometown and also back in the mountains but recently found a place just 10 miles away from my parents and we submitted the offer a week ago Friday. After some back and forth, they agreed on a sales price $16,000 under listing and if all goes well with the impending inspections, we’ll be closing the first week of March!! It’s a 1960s ranch style house and it’s mostly original and I LOVE IT!! Plus, it’s on 2 acres so I am thrilled at the possibilities for gardening, chickens, and whatever else I want to do there.

    So, that’s my 6-months in SC update and now for my frugal accomplishments:

    *Stayed home the majority of the week, leaving only on Wednesday to run over to the new house, Saturday to run errands, and then church yesterday.

    * Put $10 of gas in my car on Wednesday, which shockingly gave me nearly half a tank of which I still have 1/4 left.

    * Made meatloaf, brinner, hamburger vegetable soup, chicken noodle soup for dinners throughout the week. Came home from church and made something to eat instead of stopping by Bojangles for a biscuit like I normally do. Ate a lot of leftovers throughout the week.

    * Continued to list and sell on Etsy, though this month has been horribly slow. Hopefully things will pick up soon.

    As usual, I am sure there are other things I did but I can’t remember. My brain is totally preoccupied with New House Syndrome. This will be my 13th move since 2001 and I am so happy to be putting down roots, finally. I was so worried about my move home, and even for months afterwards because my heart really is in the mountains, but this is where I need to be for now so I am finding joy where I am with the understanding that if it’s meant to be, I can always move back there someday in the future. Have a great week, everyone.

  57. SJ thank you yes we moved her to wheatfree a year ago but at this visit the vet said we should probably take her off chicken now also because chicken is the second most likely food to cause allergies in dogs behind wheat- we have been making her wet food that we mix in with her dry food- and we were using chicken and white rice with veggies to make her wet food. She licks her paws also- we are still trying to figure out what all she can’t have…silly dog probably costs more to feed than 2 kids

  58. Pretty decent week here.

    Went to the track at my son’s school twice to walk/run (no gym or class fees); walked the dog with my husband the other days.
    Made a big green salad and gave the peels, etc., to our hens.
    Saved the dish rinse water for the potted flowers and roses.
    Made several loaves of bread.
    Called the bank re: some erroneous fees and got them reversed.
    Made Italian dressing using Brandy’s recipe and dried basil from our garden.
    Roasted brussels sprouts from the garden.
    Hubs bought 2015 seeds for 75% off. Even if they don’t all germinate, it’s still a deal.
    Son used stuff we had around the house for a school project.
    A neighbor was having a yard sale and gave me a dressmaker’s form and some supplies for son’s project–for free! (Now I have to clean out the craft closet so that I can actually start sewing.)
    Hubs noticed one of the tires on my car was low; sure enough, there was a nail in it. He was able to get it repaired instead of having to replace the entire tire.

  59. Hi Maggie, I’m sorry to hear about your refrigerator. It sounds like you got a great deal on the replacement though. Best of luck on the job interviews! You’ll be in my prayers!

  60. Lucky you! I just read on the Food Network site that you can freeze lemons whole. You can zest off the frozen lemon, if you need the juice simply microwave 10 sec. I had an overabundance so I decided to try. HTH

  61. walking on your lawn in golf shoes will aerate the lawn.
    currently i can’t see my lawn, it is under 2 feet of snow.
    Thank GOD for food storage.
    Barb in PA

  62. Hmmmm. This week I was able to fill my car with gas at 1.43 a gallon by driving about 2 miles the other direction from my school. The place I stop on my normal route home is 1.59 a gallon. This route home doesn’t add much time or mileage, so once a week I will be going that way so I can fuel up at the lowest price. Got chicken for .29 a pound. Made all meals at home. Shopped for my grandsons first birthday at a local consignment boutique and got a very expensive boutique outfit for 10.00. These are normally fifty dollars or higher. Found a Leap Frog toy with all of the parts in new condition at the same shop for 4.75. This also became a gift for this grandson. Made chili for this grandsons birthday party on Friday night and had enough left over to do loaded baked potatoes the next day for lunch. Went to a friends house on Saturday night for a fish fry and she gave us all of the left overs which made another meal for Sunday night. Tried a laundry detergent from the dollar tree for 1.00 for 21 loads. Keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn’t cause an allergic reaction and makes my sons eczema flare up. I tried Brandy’s homemade detergent again and within a week he was covered in eczema again. It must be the borax. Also purchased a huge bottle of dishwashing liquid for 1.00 at the same dollar tree but found it doesn’t work as well so it was a frugal fail. Only spend 20.00 on groceries and we continue to eat from the pantry. Hoping to stock up on a few items this week that I am running low on such as sugar! I guess that’s about it. Have a blessed week!

  63. You can always google translate from French to English. Then copy/paste. I’ve done this before in Spanish, worked great.

  64. I had a expensive week last week, but I tried to make it as frugal as possible. Our microwave/ oven combo unit died. To buy a new one would have been over $1500 so I found a used one on craigslist for $400. It was a much better price than buying one new. I also sold some things on our community facebook page and made another batch of my granite cleaner.

  65. I was able to do a lot of cooking at home and continued on my project to use things up that need to be used. I am finally starting to see a few gaps on the pantry shelves and a few spaces in the freezers. However, just as I was congratulating myself, I was gifted several loaves of bread that needed to be frozen……:) I have actually ran out of a couple of items, but no one has noticed yet and I have tons of food left. I will continue this project during February.

    I was able to use some sweetened, condensed milk from 2011 (perfectly fine), and many, many other items. I had extra cooking to do since several young adults and men came over and helped us do some heavy barn cleaning on Saturday.

    It was also my turn on Sunday to bring quite a bit of food to our extended family dinner. This week, there were 11 people, but next week, there will probably be 15-20. It varies by who’s available.

  66. Myra,

    I started making laundry soap years ago because I was allergic to other soaps. I found I couldn’t even touch the Fels Naptha, which is why I tried making it with Oil of Olay, which doesn’t give me any problems.

    Borax is a pretty common ingredient in most laundry soaps. If he is allergic to that, you could try making your own soap with just washing soda and a bar of soap that doesn’t give him problems (maybe Aveeno?)

    Good luck with finding something that works. I used to be able to buy laundry soap, but I switched to making my own after the one that didn’t give me any skin trouble started adding perfumes, and then I had problems.

    There are some liquid detergents out there that might work for him that are advertised for allergies. I know once my mom found something that worked for me, it was such a relief.

    Best of luck; I know too well the trouble with this problem!

  67. Greetings!
    While everyone else was getting three feet of snow, we had a clear day. Til today; blah! I’m so over it for this year and we still have months to go!
    *Aside from shoveling, i’ve been cooking from the freezer. This was my birthday week, so i did get a few days of light work and meals out.
    *Spoke to all three of my children this week, as well as the grands.
    *Sold several things on ebay
    *We watched a few movies this week. A few were rented from the local movie store, supporting local. Then, i went to the library to borrow a few more. I seem to be in a movie mood; must be the snow..
    *Bleached the shower liner when i did a load of towels. This saves about 5$ each time i don’t buy one. At a thrift store, i found two liners for 99 cents each, so i bought those to have when the need arises.
    *Continue walking every day, although it’s not far enough to reach the 1000 mile mark come Dec. I won’t beat myself up about it, but i need to find incentive and energy. My daughter’s getting married in March, so i am also trying to cut back on calories to lose a few pounds.
    *I’m going to make Brandy’s black bean burgers today. I had some at a restaurant this week which reminded me to get a move-on!
    *The usual washing bags, shopping sales, buying from thrift stores….
    Wishing everyone a productive, frugal week!

  68. Hi Debra,

    So sorry for the loss of your father. I’m sure it was a blessing to him to have you there to care for him and take care of his wishes.

    I hope that things will go smoothly for you as you settle his estate.

  69. I’m so sorry for your loss and financial hardship on top of that. I lost my dad five years ago and it’s still hard some days. You are in my prayers.

  70. Congratulations on the new house! And keep your chin up. You might find you love your new home over time as much or more than your old one. We bought the house we’re in now four years ago and honestly I didn’t like it when we went for it. It has a tiny kitchen and is right near a major roadway, so I worried about the kids. But my husband loved it so I sucked it up and went with it and I’ve learned to truly love the place over the years :).

    Good luck with the closing and the move!

  71. Myra, my son has had TERRIBLE eczema from day one (he’s seven now), so I understand the struggle. The only laundry detergent I found that he could use was Seventh Generation Free and Clear and turns out that gave the rest of the family eczema (irony at it’s finest). So, I finally switched to home made laundry soap and just wash my son’s separate and run it through another cycle of laundry with no soap once it’s clean. It works like a charm and has improved everyone’s skin. Just a suggestion :).

  72. We saved a thousand dollars on our new fridgerator, I was really pleased to get the one I really wanted with that savings instead of buying a cheaper one that wasn’t optimal for the space our our usage of it. It’s amazing how prices change when you whip out your cell phone and call the competition standing right in front of the product. I thought it was funny that at first they were trying to charge more for the white version than the stainless steel, and then later because the white version was being discontinued (we found out after calling) we were able to get more off. I’m pleased, and think the design of this fridge will make it easier to reduce waste. I’ve held on with a very old free to us fridge forever, so the new one will be quite the change in our kitchen. Don’t be shy, call!

    Also, I really hope when people sell toys intended as gifts for children for profit, that the children actually get to use that money, not the adult as I think commonly happens. I don’t think adults should be able to restrict gifts (unless they are morally questionable or already have one). I find returning/selling/profiting from a child’s gift unethical. That is the child’s decision.

    Brandy, I am so excited to see your garden sprout.

  73. Debbie I am so sorry for your loss and the unexpected financial burden. Praying for comfort, strength and the Lord’s peace to see you through. I am also praying for His provision for you as well as a quick sale of the home.

  74. Hi Myra,

    I have tried several different recipes for laundry detergent and they all have bothered my husband and myself. I also tried Charlie’s and at first it worked but after about a year it just didn’t seem to clean as well. I have found that Mrs. Meyers works great and does not bother our skin. I also have eczema so I am limited as well. I use White distilled vinegar through the rinse cycle and IF I use dryer sheets they are Mrs. Meyers. I know that the cost is more than regular detergent but I love knowing that I have a product that will clean, is made with natural ingredients and I don’t have to worry about it irritating our skin. We don’t have a place locally that sells Mrs. Meyers so I started an account with epantry: https://www.epantry.com/referrer/28881/
    I can get the products for cheaper than traveling out of town and even using Amazon prime. I also signed up as a VIP (additional cost) and get free shipping. I love the selection of fragrances they sell and they do not only sell Mrs. Meyers. Sorry to ramble but I was just happy to finally find a product that doesn’t bother our skin 🙂

  75. I was blessed with several free meals as friends continued to bring me food and another friend brought me a box of disposable masks and wouldn’t accept payment for it.

    I cooked from the freezer, fridge, and pantry.

    I picked lemons and oranges from the garden, as well as flowers and greenery to bring inside. I started a new batch of orange cleaner with the orange peels.

    I air dried all laundry.

    I knitted myself a new phone sleeve with yarn and a button from the stash and, later, added a bit of faux leather trim cut from an old handbag I had kept for the pattern. http://www.bless2cents.blogspot.com/2016/01/updated-phone-sleeve.html

    I finished crocheting a set of hot pads with strips of leftover fabric in the stash.

  76. That’s awesome! I’ve never even thought to try freezing lemons, and I freeze so many things!! Thanks for the info.

  77. I don’t know if you have a Costco near you but you may want to look into their dog food. Our dog has issues with wheat and the Costco Nature’s Domain dry food is grain free and costs about half of what other grain free brands sell for around here.

  78. That is some beautiful dirt you have! We bought a push aerator a few years back – and use it yearly. We went from poor growing grass to flush green front and back yard (we really needed it in the back yard). I feel like it is a money saver as you feel the cost of a pair of clippers is a money saver.
    This past week I have been fighting the itchy finger to buy clothes. Every year at this time. But I haven’t – thankfully!
    House guests had their flights cancelled and rescheduled and cancelled and were with us 3 extra days. Thankfully with a well stocked pantry we did just fine. To help with housebound entertainment – we made your Rosemary Olive Oil bread. 3 loaves gone in 24 hours! My husband even used it to make toasted (grilled) cheese. We were taught an old fashioned card game that also kept us company and I see us playing it again and again.
    I hope everyone has a great week!

  79. So glad to see you are back. My condolences on your father’s passing. My father’s situation was very similar to yours so you have my empathy. Looking forward to your comments again.

  80. Hi Lori. I remember your story of leaving your home in the mountains. I’m so happy to hear you are settled and starting a new chapter in a new home. It sounds like you have a great attitude about all the changes in your life. Best of luck on the new place! May it be the happiest of homes.

  81. There is a borax free laundry soap recipe a friend of mine uses. It’s on a blog, Dr Karen S. Lee Wholistic Vitality. I know nothing about the blog, but thought the soap might work for you. 🙂

  82. Hi Leigh 🙂

    I probably need to just up and buy one 🙂 I thought I would give the seeds a chance first. We purchased a very small fig tree and have that growing inside. It is doing pretty well if we keep it in one particular window 🙂 May I ask where in CO you live? We live in SW CO 🙂

  83. Outside walls that lack proper insulation will mold. Try to keep things away from those walls so the condensation doesn’t get trapped which is usually what causes the mold to form. The wall needs space so the moisture can dry out regularly. Congrats on quitting!

  84. Good day ladies 🙂

    This week I accomplished saving by:

    ~Making my own Lip Gloss/Balm
    ~Making Ketchup and BBQ Sauce from scratch
    ~Also made my own Taco Seasoning and Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Mix. (I like to use these in Taco Soup)
    ~I made some valentines and used what I had on hand instead of purchasing supplies (this was hard :))
    ~I have been wanting a cover for my Kitchen-Aid (it sits on the counter), I recently found a large pillow sham in what seems like a barkcloth material for 75 cents at the thrift store and also some pompon trim for 25 cents. I trimmed the sham to fit and stitched the trim on for a cute cover that costs a lot less than if I were to purchase one 🙂
    ~Started making seed tape for the garden. I really dislike pulling out plants and thinning. Each time I pull I think ‘waste” so I decided to give this a go this year. Planting is still a long ways off but I will store the tape in a ziploc bag and freeze until ready 🙂
    ~Purchased some Spinach and Genovese Basil seeds from the dollar store 🙂
    ~Watched and re-used ziploc bags.
    ~We sold quite a few bars of soap at last weekends Winter Market, that went towards some fresh produce and the rest will go towards pig feed
    ~Still saving feed sacks for credit 🙂
    ~My husband started making Kombucha a few months ago. It has helped us with our tummies. We end up with so many scobies that we started keeping the scobies in a bucket with apples and water added daily to add to our hog feed. We ferment their food and it helps them digest better and they are healthier from it. And they love the flavor 🙂
    ~I haven’t been baking as much and we had some milk that had started to turn so instead of using it for bread we mixed it up with feed for the pigs, They cannot get enough sour milk! We also have a friend that saves us the whey from when she makes yogurt and the pigs feast on that as well.
    ~Earned a few swagbucks. I’m giving it another shot.
    ~Purchased glasses for my husband and mom that lives with us through Zenni and saved tons!
    ~I love to read (books are my ‘one’ weakness 😉 ) I recently borrowed a great book from the library called the Hand’s On Home. I am thoroughly enjoying it and when the price lowers I will be purchasing it for my library. I think it would be a fantastic gift for the new bride or any gal really. http://www.amazon.com/Hands–Home-Seasonal-Preserving-Homekeeping/dp/1570619913/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1453839520&sr=1-3&keywords=the+handmade+home
    ~My honey and I went antiquing on our anniversary. I saw a beautiful oil lamp and we almost bought it. I checked out e-bay and found one that we liked even better and with shipping was half the cost of the one at the shop. We want to start collecting oil lamps and love the light in the evenings.

  85. I purposely buy that dish soap and use it in my refillable hand soap pump in my kitchen because it is lemon scented. Fills it several times for a buck.

  86. Do you mind sharing how you found the copay card for the Epi-Pen? My mother-in-law gets hers through insurance for just $35/2 pack but for my daughter’s (after insurance) we spent $400/2-pack!!

  87. to continue…We held the party next door at my Eliana and Theo’s house as they have room for seating that many people at once. We had the huge kitchen table, then set up other tables in the front room. If it was summer we could have had it at our house because we would use the outside for overflow…not at this time of year. After lunch there was a lot of visiting, some cribbage playing and dominoes, some of the folks came prepared and went out to the pond for a bit of ice fishing, much help with cleaning up after lunch, then time for the dessert and the late visitors to show up. I know there was more food at lunch than I remembering ( was the 17th) …sides and relishes, plus I forgot my 3rd sister in law, they brought scalloped tomatoes and zucchini gratin which got broiled in the oven before serving. Everything was so good.

    We did the usual of composting, recycling, using things up. Wasted no food. Redeemed saved UPCs off dog food bag for our free bag after 12 from the feed store. Put new elastic in a pair of long underwear. Darned hole in sock, holes in knit gloves, reattached elastic edging to a camisole, working at putting a new back side on a favorite comforter. The top is good but the back has worn spots…it is in the quilting frame and took an older sheet in similar colors for the backing and basted it on. A lot of the machine quilting has come loose too so once we baste and roll the edges we’ll take it out of the frame and my youngest is going to machine quilt and sew up the edges.

    We have another wedding coming up…my husband’s youngest sister, never married, will have a June wedding. She lives not far north of us and spends most Sundays and special occasions with us. She kept crossing paths with the single brother of another church member and so we began to include him in our activities. He (Bernie) made a time to talk with my husband that was about asking her to marry. My husband is the senior male, so head of his extended family. Of course he said yes, so Bernie asked Susie, she said yes and we have a wedding to plan!

  88. This week we found many good sales at the grocery store. We picked up 20 pounds of pork for 0.99 a pound, whole chicken at 0.77 a pound, and apples for 0.50 pound. I also got 2 dozen cans of a variety of beans that are organic at 0.77 a can. Those were the best prices, but I also made good use of coupons and store incentives for free mouthwash, deodorant, and some other deeply discounted personal care items. I’ve gone back to really watching the sales and couponing. It’s been fun – something to do in the down time of winter. For entertainment this week, I have been reading a book that someone left in the lounge at work marked “free”. The book is Cross Country Quilters. It’s make me feel inspired to sew.

    Other frugal things were dropping the heat down to 64 on warmer days, packing lunches, cooking from scratch, and combining errands.

  89. This crossed my mind honestly. We don’t have the money for all of that right now unfortunately. Both walls are outside walls and out house is made of cinder block.

  90. Another cheap pillow firm option is clearance at tj maxx and home goods type stores. Really ugly covers sometimes have down pillow forms for only 2-3 dollars!

  91. Hi Debbie and I admire that you looked after your father and your love for him, I am an ex nurse and know how hard it is to look after someone with advanced dementia. Sorry to hear about his passing and hope that you will remember the good memories you all had with him.

    Sometimes in families the financial burdens usually fall on just one person predominantly, which is this case is mostly yourself. It is wonderful that you prepared and had some savings to be able to help in such a tragic situation, you are to be congratulated.

    I as yourself was left with financial burdens of around $50000 dollars in bills and damages that were not of my doing and run up in my name by family members. My husband & I were on a pension and like yourself could ill afford the devastating financial results it had on us.

    We did however with determination knuckle under, we even budgeted down to the last tin of baked beans, and got the debts my family left us paid off in 5 years. So from us to you, we send you our love and moral support and would like to let you know that it can be done with lots of sacrifice and careful planning.

    We hope the house is sorted shortly for you and can be sold so you can get back on the right track again.

  92. Beth – I feed my guy a kibble only available through the vet: Prescription Diet Z/D. It’s made specifically for dogs with food allergies. My guy can eat that but can’t eat the treats in the same line. You’re right – it does cost a lot but for me it’s worth it. Since you’re in the US, you should be able to order from the website Drs Foster and Smith. I have no affiliation with the website.

  93. Debbie,
    I always enjoyed reading your frugal posts. I was wondering if you would start posting again. I am sorry to hear that you have been going through all this. Good Luck and I am very sorry to hear about your father.

  94. Stefanie, I do not agree with you about toys intended as gifts for children. Parents have the primary responsibility for raising their children “as they see fit”. If there is something they do not want their children to have, & someone else gives it to them, I do not think it is the “child’s” decision. The decision was already made, by the parents. I see nothing wrong with standing your ground.

  95. Yes, you can freeze lemons and limes! I always freeze them and then simply defrost in the microwave for about 10 to 20 seconds and you can juice or zest as needed!

  96. We always go in with neighbors for the Aerator (and De-thatcher). We rent one for half a day everyone takes a turn and pitches in $5 or so. Well worth the effort. One year it’s the Aerator the next is the De-thatcher.

  97. Hi Sharon and congratulations on selling a lot of soap at the markets, and even better you were able to buy a lot of produce with the money earned.

    Intrigued on how you make your own seed tape, if you wouldn’t mind sharing how you do it.

    Also if you wouldn’t mind sharing the recipes for your ketchup and bbq sauce too that would be fabulous. We have a huge crop of tomatoes that I would love to try to make into ketchup and other things. Been something I have been wanting to try for ages.

    Thanks in advance.

  98. My husband is a cook and he usually mixes up the marinade. He has worked with a man who was from Greece and learned how to make it from watching this man. I asked him what ingredients he used and he said oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, a bit of basil and paprika. There are lots of variations on Pinterest, but here is a pretty basic recipe to work from:


    When we make it up, we use a large package of fresh boneless, skinless chicken breasts and make a big batch at once. The chicken is cut into chunks, then mixed with the marinade, put in the fridge for about 12 hours or more, then packaged up, marinade and all, in family sized servings for the freezer. I skip the skewers because they punch holes in the freezer bags. When we want to have souvlaki for supper, I just thaw the bag, dump the contents into a bake dish and cook it lake any other chicken, until the pink is gone. You can also use dark chicken meat, pork, or even lamb if you’d like, to make the souvlaki.

    Hope this is helpful, Susan! If you have more questions, please feel free to ask.

  99. Sharon,I found that book at the library and have loved it as well. It is a treasure trove of information. It would make a great gift for a new homemaker as well as seasoned ones.

  100. Hi Tricia and agree that working with your neighbours and sharing is the way to go.

    Our next door neighbour knows a lot of farmers who produce vegetables, when he sees they have excess produce they give it to him. He then brings some of it over to us if he knows we don’t have it growing on our property. In return we trade for other vegetables he doesn’t have such as spring onions & spinach, it works well. He is also an apiarist so we buy bulk honey at a hugely discounted price too.

    We also help our neighbour order things for his business on the internet, as he is BC or before computers and is not technologically savvy. So he gives us the cash, tells us what he wants and we order it and have it delivered to our home and give the product to him when they arrive.

    Our neighbour also has family members who work in supermarkets and when they want to throw out vegetable seeds that are in date , they ask is they can keep them to which they say yes. Any excess seeds that our neighbour and his mum can’t use he gives to us, and again we trade vegetables from our garden.

    We also go halves in paying for trailer loads of manure, so that means only $10 ea instead of $20 ea, he also has a much larger trailer than us which they load it onto for the same price, so win win for us both.

    Our neighbour also owns a set of trailer ramps which we are currently saving up for, he lets us use them whenever we want, so we can load our ride on lawnmower on to our trailer if we have to travel with it to help others for service. We also share garden equipment with each other should one of our pieces of equipment break down which is handy.

    It is so good to have good neighbours that you can work with and it is mutually beneficial for all involved and saves each person some money or provides products or groceries or services to the other in the process.

  101. You give me hope that I, too can attempt puff pastry! It looks fantastic!

    This week I
    1) used left over taco meat and made a mexican shepherds pie in the crock pot! yum!
    2) Didn’t drive anywhere for 3 days! No gas spent, no money spent!
    3) We have been eating down our pantry, which has resulted in a few interesting meals
    4) I didn’t buy a new car 🙂

  102. Erika – I don’t have an account of the type needed to comment on your blog but I wanted to say THANKYOU! I am a very sloppy housekeeper and get easily frustrated and overwhelmed when i can’t get it “perfect” You photos are honest and I love that and your schedule was an “aha” moment! I am gonna see if doing a deep clean and then just a maintenance schedule will work for me as well. Thanks!!!

  103. Brandy, You are an inspiration! I’m considering you a mentor of mine.

    I’m curious…how much land do you have at your disposal for your fruit tress and your garden?

  104. Sara,

    We have a .24 acre lot. Of course, not all of that can be used for growing–there is the house, the driveway, a large patio, and concrete on the side. I also have a place for the children to play.

    I strive to make the most of it. People are always surprised to hear that we have over 40 fruit trees. Most are semi-dwarf, and a few are potted.

    If one looks for ways to get more out of the space they have, there is often a way to make better use of one’s space. I’ve been evaluating how I can make what I have even more productive this year. I’m excited to get more out of the same growing space!

  105. If you click through to jen@frugalsteppingstones or just us the link in her comment the info about the
    Epi pen is there.

  106. I wanted to let other readers in the area know about the deal hubby and I just came across. Gordon Foods in Comstock Park, MI has boneless/skinless chicken breast for $1.12 a pound in their 40 pound cases (this is fresh – not frozen) You have to ask someone to get you the box. I just got done vacuum sealing all 40 pounds chicken breasts (the only kind my picky hubby will eat) and 10 pounds of burger. We weren’t planning on getting that much but when ya find it that cheap you rearrange your schedule to get it put away properly! 😀 Luckily, I had some Indian curry and butter chicken in the freezer I can pull out for dinner ’cause it shot my whole dinner hour hehe! I know they have stores all over the area – but I don’t know if that price is the same for all of the stores.

  107. I have seen many cases, in my line of work, where parents have sold for drug money, gifts intended for the kids. It is very sad. I am also seen narcissistic parents sell the gifts intended for the kids and have used the proceed money to buy themselves personal gifts. That is sad also. I understand where you are coming from, Stephanie. I certainly do understand, like you, if the gift is morally questionable, the parents not allowing the gift.

  108. Hi Brandy and you do so well to fit that many fruit trees in the more compact area that you have, and still have areas that the children can have recreational space in too.

    I noticed in your previous weeks blogs you were having challenges with more shaded areas in your yard. I have done some experimenting here too and have found if it is not a completely shaded area that snow peas will grow all year round. We have temperatures of 34 oC here at the moment in summer and I grow snow peas in areas under trees at the moment. The shade lasts for around half the day and they are sheltered from the midday heat between around 11 a.m to around 3 p.m. I just treat them with a bit more water from the rain water tanks and they grow wonderfully. Just thought I would tell you of my success in the hope that it may help you maximise your crop growing areas.

    We have a larger area of .5 acre, but still challenging as the house and sheds take up almost half of that space as well. The back area around the same size as yours we have 3 x 9 x 2 mt vegetable patches, along with another 10 x 5 mt patch for our larger crops such as pumpkins, cucumbers etc and a few rows of smaller vegetables. We grow a lot of climber vegetables which helps with space and maximising what we can grow too.

  109. I found a garcon apron in a sturdy striped fabric on sale for $9 that I thought was a bargain because the ladies version of it was $18. I had decided there was enough fabric in it to take it apart to make the bib section for a ladies version at half the cost. But to my surprise, at the register it was half price — $5, so to me that is a real bargain and not a lot of work to get what I wanted!

    After reading about high yield Meyer lemon trees, we bought two for our side yard to grow in pots. We have a lime that only had 4 limes last year so thought we’d give these lemons a shot. Limes here (Japan) can be $1 each and lemons are a bit less, so it would be a huge savings if these Myer lemons produce at all. We had decided to bring the pots inside but after reading up on “chill hours” realized that we should probably keep them outdoors over the winter to increase fruit production. We had a couple of nights around freezing or just below and so far so good. We have bark mulched all three citrus trees for just in case. We have huge orange trees growing in our neighborhood so I should have known that citrus they could handle our weather. I’ve learned so much about gardening from Brandy and had no idea these citrus trees need many hours between 32 and 45 degrees to create blooms. If I were to bring them inside during winter, I would likely reduce production. Does any one else know more about this?

  110. Hi Stephanie and in regards to morally questionable gifts others may give to children, I am all for restricting it , just my thoughts for example a Playstation game with an M+ rating for a 8 yr old I would deem not acceptable. I would also in that case actually tell the gift giver and apologise explaining that the game was too old, too violent, too advanced for my child etc and request perhaps that they get a refund on the item. But that is just me and what I see to be acceptable.

    I remember having a ban on gun toys for my sons ( past domestic violence in my life by their father predominantly my reason), and my sister bought them laser guns, you know the ones with the annoying whirs and flashing lights. I let that go, but as a sort of sisterly love thing and to return the favour I bought her son some years down the track a toddler drum set. Well that certainly worked, no more laser guns and she rang me and told me she had hidden the drum & symbol set as it was driving her crazy. She with love explained how she could see why I had a dislike or ban on certain play things for my children after almost being sent deaf by her overenthusiastic 5 year old.

  111. I would love to see a map/layout of your garden. I am always amazed and intimidated by how much you have packed into it. It’s very hard for a novice gardener to imagine! Also simple before and after pictures of any pruned trees or bushes would be so helpful. I thought you might find this article about food variety from our local paper interesting.

  112. Hi Holly and sorry it wasn’t me as I don’t have a blog.

    You may have got some links to some information I have found useful that I have posted on here though. If it was something in particular that you can remember I can repost the link to help you.

  113. Hi KD and an interesting article. This is why it is important for us to plant some heirloom varieties in our vegetable patches and keep save the seeds from our crops. By doing so we are keeping some of the old varieties in our gardens for generations to come.

    Years ago people would save their seeds and pass them from generation to generation partly through wedding gifts to their children, which was a fabulous way of keeping the same wonderful varieties growing through the ages.

    I know I have been saving my seeds and have a seed bank in my home and have lots of friends who grow heirloom varieties and pass some seeds to me to grow in my garden. I then keep the seeds from those almost spent crops to replant here and pass on to other gardening friends and also sell some to offset some of my gardening expenses here. Blessed also to have friends who are multigenerational farmers and they give me excess produce they may have, and again I carefully save the seeds and the benefits go on and on.

    Only problem is my little undercover workers cottage veranda is starting to look like a herb and seed drying factory, however it is really neat and organised.

  114. I have two sons with severe eczema. I know that people want to use “natural” products that they make at home, and they would like those products to be cheaper as well, but sometimes, one just has to splurge on products that are meant to alleviate skin conditions like eczema.

    First, all dry detergents exacerbate eczema, so only use liquid detergents. Second, using several of the “ALL CLEAR” or “ALL FREE” detergents made for sensitive skin are all pretty good. The best one I have found over almost 30 years is “ALL FREE CLEAR” fabric detergent. However, I have been able to use Costco’s Kirkland version of the scent and chemical free liquid detergent with great success. Nether of my sons have ongoing trouble with eczema and only have outbreaks due to stressful events or exposure to certain chemicals.

    For fabric softener, use plain white vinegar, and your child’s eczema should see some good progress. There is nothing worse than watching your child scratching himself to death and getting big nasty, red rashes all over that cause such misery. Better to accommodate and be frugal in other places.

  115. I’m in Grand Rapids MI as well. Family fare has split chicken breast as well as different varieties of pork for $.99 this week. We bought 30lbs.

  116. Hi Lorna, thank you! My honey has worked hard at perfecting his soap recipe for the past several years so it has been nice seeing that people like his soaps and they do not irritate skin. 🙂
    the link for instructions on making the seed tape. A bit tedious but I am sure that it will pay off 🙂

    I guess I should be more specific regarding my ketchup and BBQ sauce recipes. I use canned tomato paste (the horror!) We have such a short growing season here and I have yet to harvest a bounty of nice, red, ripe tomatoes. Green tomatoes however I have been blessed with so if you need any recipes for those, I am your girl! 😉

    That being said, here is the recipe for the Ketchup. We like this recipe because I can control the sugar, spices and salt and it makes a thicker ketchup rather than some other homemade ones I have tried. I have not canned it (want to) but am not sure on acidity and ph for safe canning.

    Homemade Ketchup

    4 (six ounce) cans of tomato paste
    2 cups filtered water
    3/4 cup vinegar (I use ACV)
    2/3 cup Evaporated Cane Juice (or sugar)
    1 teaspoon Onion Powder
    5 teaspoons Kosher Salt
    1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
    1/8 teaspoon each: Cloves and Allspice
    A good shake of Red Chili Flakes (crushed red pepper flakes)

    Place tomato paste in a pan and slowly add water, stirring until smooth. Add vinegar the same way. Add remaining ingredients and stir over low heat till simmering. Cool, place in bottles and store in fridge.

    BBQ Sauce

    1/2 Sweet Onion, minced
    3 cloves Garlic, minced
    3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
    1 2/3 cups Ketchup (I use homemade :))
    1/2 cup White Vinegar
    1/3 cup Brown Sugar
    1/3 cup Worcestershire Sauce
    2 teaspoons Chili Powder
    1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

    Put olive oil in a saucepan on medium heat and saute the onion and garlic until they are soft. Then add the vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and spices. Mix well and simmer for 30 minutes. Let cool, place in bottle/jars and keep refrigerated. Yield is one small saucepan 🙂
    * I often double or triple this with no problems.

    We have tried a number of homemade BBQ sauce recipes, but this is the one we love 🙂

  117. Hi Sharon and thank you so much :D, my husband grabbed the recipe when I printed it from the printer for the ketchup and BBQ sauce, read it said ohhh yum, we shall try that. Fortunately I have a husband who is really earthy like myself and loves to experiment with new ideas, recipes and loves things homemade wholesome and preferably without preservatives as well.

    Great idea on the seed tape too and have printed that out as well, who would have thought that TP could be used for seed tape !, brilliant. I get so incredibly frustrated with small lettuce, carrot & herb seeds trying to space them correctly sometimes it drives me crazy, having large hands does not help in handling small seeds either :).

    I also looked at the book you suggested on Amazon and that too looks fabulous and will try and source it here. I am an avid reader of all things and love to learn new skills at any given opportunity. My friends just look at me and say “well is there anything you can’t do”, I do have to say many things, but on the homesteading self reliance front there is always something to learn to improve your skills and constantly new techniques to explore.

  118. You are more than welcome Lorna 🙂

    My husband is the same way, we are blessed. I hope that you enjoy the recipes.

    I get so frustrated trying to plant tiny seeds. I still consider myself a beginner gardener so hopefully this will work and I won’t get discouraged. I picked up cheap TP from the dollar store for the seed tape, I didn’t want to use the good stuff.

    I love learning new things and there is always something we can glean or learn. My husband and I try to learn at least one new thing each year. Last year was quilting for me, and he learned how to make Kombucha and how to cure and brine meat. 🙂

  119. Sometimes we take a very small piece of raw bacon and sew it on the mouse trap and when the mouse tries to get it he can’t and gets caught. Also they love peanut butter. I hate mice so just wanted to mention things that worked good for me.

  120. This comment brings up a funny memory. When my first son was born my mother-in-laws best friend sent him a ton of beautiful newborn clothes, from Nordstroms! I had already bought nice secondhand clothes and been gifted tons of baby clothes from my friends with boys. I took those clothes back and exchanged them for good shoes for myself. I didn’t really feel guilty about it because no little one needs fancy outfits. Unethical? Maybe a bit, but I couldn’t return the baby clothes to her anyways. That would have been very rude. Just to note my children have more clothes and toys than they need, and are very happy children, and I still wear the shoes!

  121. Debra I am so sorry for your loss. My mom has Alzheimer’s and thankfully she has my dad to care for her right now, and my sister and I help out when we can. We are starting to make preparations though, in case something happens to my dad and we have to take care of the legal stuff. I wish you many blessings and hope you are able to find comfort during this time.

  122. Sharon, I started lemons from seed the year before last, and now have 3 seedlings that are a foot or more tall. They live outdoors in the summer and indoors in the winter, and like you, I’m hopeful to someday have lemons.:)

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