I dug 12 parsley seedlings that had self-seeded in the garden, and moved them to places where they can grow to full-size.

Blackberry Cuttings The Prudent Homemaker

I took a couple of blackberry cuttings and dipped them in rooting powder, and then placed them in the garden. If they root, I’ll have a couple more plants. I also took cuttings from my blackberry bushes to root, and I tip layered a few blackberry bushes in the garden to create new plants.

I planted more snow pea seeds. These are the 30 day “Little Snowpea White” seeds from Territorial Seed Company. I also sowed spinach, radish, and white strawberry seeds.

I planted tiny paperwhite and daffodil bulbs in the garden that had multiplied. I dug these in fall out of the center circle from the backyard. They will most likely take a few years to be big enough to flower. I planted them under the fig tree and under an apple tree.

I purchased 2 pineapple guava plants at the nursery on sale for $8.88 each. Right now they look like small bushes. I may leave them that shape, or I may prune them to be small trees as they get taller. When spring pots come on sale, I’ll plant these into pots on my patio. Adding some potted fruit trees to my patio is part of my plan to grow more in my garden.

I dug trenches and buried the compost in the garden from one of the two trash cans where I have been keeping it. After over a year, it is still not broken down (even the grass clipping were still intact) so it needed to be buried. With so little success in composting after trying again, I decided to stick to trench composting from now on, and I now have the trash can to use for trash, which saves me from buying a new can which we needed, as our old ones have been breaking. I have one more can of compost that I will bury in the garden next month, and I will use that can for trash as well.

Lettuce Seedlings on trowel The Prudent Homemaker

I carefully dug and transplanted lettuce seedlings in the garden. Rather than thinning my seedlings, I separate and replant the seedlings in the garden.


What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. I have to laugh about your blackberry plants. Here on the Pacific Northwest of Canada, they grow like weeds anywhere they can. They are the one fruit that I can get for free and in great abundance. We freeze them, make jam and juice. Ours are wild and the thorns are impressive and sharp. Picking usually results in lots of little scratches.

  2. They have to have afternoon shade here, or they will burn. The ones with the most shade grow the largest; the others are tiny. I grow thornless varities. Blackberries are extremely expensive here in stores. I’m so glad they grow here.

    Wild foods like that are not something you’ll find here. Even cactus aren’t native to our desert and have to be watered.

  3. Blackberries are expensive here and strangely are imported quite often. Blackberries are my husband’s favourite and when we lived elsewhere in Canada he would choke at the price. Absolutely refused to buy them, because of course, he grew up with these “weeds”. His parents used to bring us frozen packages of berries for our freezer. I never really thought about it, but the blackberries here do grow well in the shady spots. Definitely not thornless though…that would take the sport of or the picking..lol. Love your blog, btw.

  4. Hello everyone! Here is what we did this week.

    In addition to my usual frugal activities, including relying exclusively on our wood stove for heat, drying clothes in front of the fire, eating at home (or the homes of our friends) and combining chores when we do venture down our hill and into town. I meet an important frugal goal in an unexpected manner. I received a letter from my bank telling me about a bank account that I had forgotten about. I closed out the account and used the money to pay off the balances on two credit cards. I am grateful that I will not have to worry about meeting those bills in the months ahead. What a relief!

    My very handy man saved us the price of an electrician this week as he moved the light fixture from the wall in our bedroom to the beam above the bed.

    We were invited out to two dinners. I bought pickled beets and the bread and butter zucchini pickles I made this fall from a gifted zucchini. The pickles meet with rave reviews. Good food, excellent conversion, and the price couldn’t be beat.

    I printed a free printable and used a cheap frame to framed a picture for my guest bathroom. It matches the colour scheme and it made me laugh.

    Have a great week everyone!

  5. Hi Brandy and all from Australia. So sad that even after a year that your compost has decided not to co-operate with you, but seems now you have it sorted and it will add nourishment to your soil and plants now.

    Thought I would start off with blessings for the week –
    – Our next door neighbour gave us a huge bag of big luscious ripe red capsicums, we in turn swapped for some spinach and spring onions from our garden. Sad story here is they were rejected by the major supermarket they supply because they were a couple of mm too big, so our neighbour asked it he could have them and he gave him 10 bags. As they were rejected they were going to spray the whole crop with roundup the next day and destroy it all. So sad since we have so many people who are struggling just to put food on the table.
    – Able to supply a sister with 9 burn dressings from our medical stock supplies in our home at wholesale prices we paid for them. They have just purchased their house and are still getting on their feet financially, they were $20 ea 10 x 20 dressing pad in the chemists (I can tell you I was absolutely stunned at the price they are charging). I was able to supply them to her for 55c, 65c and 75c ea as I buy them in bulk from a hospital wholesale medical supplier. Just about have to mortgage your home it seems to buy dressing pads for a burn, truly shocking.
    – This medical emergency made me think how woefully unprepared we were on medical supplies as this one incident wiped out all of our supplies of large wound dressings. I am thankful for this experience to know how to better stock up on our medical kit in the home.

    Purchases from garden earnings –
    – Purchased a tyre pump that you can plug into your cigarette lighter in your car to pump up car, ride on lawn mower and garden equipment tyres. We had 2 foot pumps and both did not work when my husband tried to use them, so works out easier for both him because of his back injuries, and I due to getting more mature to use an automated one and saves so much energy 😀 and time.

    Grocery Savings –
    – Purchased 5 x 12pks of TP @ a saving of .013c per 100 sheets, saving $1.40 total on usual prices we pay @ Aldi. Not a huge saving but every dollar counts when you do it multiple times on different products, it can add up to substantial savings.

    Craft earnings –
    – Made $9.72 profit from the sale of an eye mask on Etsy.

    Preparation purchases out of craft money earned –
    – Purchased 50 x 10 x 10 combine dressings, 50 x 10 x 20 combine dressings, 50 x 10 x 20 low adherent dressing pads & stocked up on steri strips or butterfly bandages to keep our medical stocks up in the home.

    Large appliance purchases –
    – saved $150 on ticketed price for a new 489lt freezer.
    – We needed another one as we are blanching and freeze a lot of our vegetables to have a supply for the cold winter months.
    – The ticket price was $1699, when I asked what the best cash price was she said $1599, I then produced a printout from a competitor at the price of $1549 and asked if they would match that price and she said yes. I also mentioned that the competitor was offering a $200 eftpos card with their deal, she said she couldn’t match that. So I suggested they throw in free delivery which I got. We could have picked it up with our trailer and carried it up the stairs, but as my husband was having a bad back day and was struggling to walk, I quietly said I will ask for free delivery. The cheaper competitors store was also 45 minutes drive away we would have eaten up any saving in fuel getting there and my husband’s back was simply not up to the trip.

    In the garden –
    – Weeded & harvested garlic from the front garden.
    – Pulled out and cleared a row of climbing beans that had finished & saved the spent beans for seeds.
    – Pulled out and cleared a row of dwarf green beans and saved the spent beans for seeds for future plantings.
    – Planted a row of climbing beans.
    – Planted 2 rows of snow peas.
    – weeded 3/4 of a 9 x 2 metre vegetable patch.
    – My husband made a climbing trellis and tied all tomato plants up to support them and get them off the ground.
    – Picked turnips, tomatoes, snow peas, beans, spinach beet and strawberries for all teas and snacks.

    Water preservation –
    – missed 2 1/2 scheduled garden waterings due to rain saving 810 lts of town water usage.
    – used most grey water from washing machines and shower water to water lawns around the house on days it wasn’t raining.

    In the kitchen –
    – Made all meals from scratch
    – Made all bread from scratch using our bread making machine.
    – Cut blanched and froze 3kg of a mixture of green and yellow butter beans.
    – Cut blanched and froze 4.5 kg of turnips.
    – Cut blanched and froze 1.2 kg of red capsicum.

    House organisation –
    – Sorted the linen cupboard in the bathroom out and moved all quilts and blankets into our spare room on shelves to make more space to store 12 months supply of shampoos, conditioners, body wash, shave cream, toothbrushes etc.
    – Re-organised freezer and put all blanched and frozen vegetables into new freezer so we have room to store more meat and milk in the other freezer.

    Have a wonderfully frugal week one and all.

  6. We have blackberry vines in our yard that we planted. I didn’t even realize “thorn-less” was an option. LOL I must trim them in the spring (I missed my window in the fall). They didn’t produce much last year for some reason. The vines are planted near our fruit trees so they will get more shade some day. We have wild black raspberries that grow wild on our property that are very abundant every summer. 🙂

  7. Hello all! Happy Frugal Accomplishments Day! 😀 Last week:
    -I went through all my garden seeds and made a list of what I need to buy this year.
    -Made white bread, chocolate syrup, liquid soap from slivers, mouthwash, turkey pot pie, tacos, cinnamon rolls (from scratch) using saved cream cheese frosting I had in the freezer, smoothies that I turned into popsicles when my daughter wouldn’t drink it, spaghetti using cheap pasta and homemade spaghetti sauce. My hubby and I made a big effort to eat up leftovers. We had much less food waste this week.
    – Watched shows on tv using an antenna, amazon prime and Netflix.
    -Discovered $17 on a gift card that I had forgotten about. I used this to purchase food.
    -refilled my soap container at the bathroom sink using bulk purchased castile soap I had. I also added water to my dish soap to make it last longer.
    -Called Amazon and had a bogus charge refunded. They had charged me $10 for an Unlimited membership that I never signed up for. They said it would be refunded to my account.
    -I paid $1.65 per gallon for gas in my car
    -I mailed in a rebate form.
    -I purchased a new winter coat for my daughter on clearance. Her old one was getting to small and the zipper had teeth missing.
    -Completed my taxes online myself
    -Saved an empty dog food bad to repurpose as a trash bag
    -Recycling is now included with weekly trash pickup which saves me $50 per year
    -I called to follow up on an interview and was scheduled for testing, which I passed with flying colors. I now have to wait for the third part of the interview process (meeting with the big boss) and I won’t hear for a couple weeks.
    -my homemade perfume bottle was almost empty so I added more water and essential oils. It didn’t need more alcohol.
    Our daughter was in the hospital two weeks ago due to RSV and Pneumonia. She got better, came home, and remained better. She went back to preschool last week (held at our local public school) and 5 days later is now sick, AGAIN. My husband and I are beyond frustrated. she has been healthy for 3 weeks since she started school. We are strongly thinking about pulling her and homeschooling her. Between her disappointment of a teacher, constantly being sick, and bullying I can’t take anymore. And she’s only 5! I have been researching home school groups in my area and will be looking into a curriculum. I know Brandy homeschools her children, if she can do it so can we! Due to me having to work to pay bills this will fall largely on my husband’s shoulders, but he is fine with that. Any advise would be greatly appreciated!
    Have a great week everyone!

  8. I love how you making more blackberry plants. We love them and always want more. For the last couple of years I have just took the branches, tipped them over, and placed them in the ground to root. That has worked very well and I’ve not need to buy any more plants.

    We’ve been doing some free exercising in the mall last week. The grandbaby loves to go with us. This is also the last week of our No Spend January -we saved quite a lot but need to save more for our bedroom makeover.

    Here is the list of the ways I’ve saved this past week

  9. I am always encouraged to read others’ frugal doings. It always spurs me on to do it too!
    This weekend my husband and I went to a grocery store that we only go to when they have really great sales. They had pork for 99 cents a pound but we also found whole chickens for 39 cents a pound. We got 5 of the chicken. In the last couple of weeks we have some really good deals on meat so we won’t be shopping for any during the month of February. This will enable us to stock up on other things.

    I have still been saving a lot on gas each week. I drive about 75 miles a day for work but have paid $18 last week and the week before to fill up my tank (I had a quarter tank each time to start with). I also receive a mileage check from work for part of that.

    I did all of my usual frugal things: I made yogurt, a roast chicken, chicken broth, a new recipe for bean casserole using leftovers from ham and beans. I am determined not to waste any food! We ate all of our meals at home and packed lunches for work. I also mended the lining of a coat and hemmed a pair of pants. We had some warmer weather and so keeping the temperature down in the house wasn’t hard at all.

  10. We ran our credit report, and found an account that had been reopened. We resolved that to remove any black marks on credit. (Long term, saves $)
    My daughter is clipping coupons to raise $ for summer camp.
    My husband is finding free online classes to learn how to code. We keep placing our situation in God’s hands. His hours have been cut again.

  11. Blackberries…yum! I’d be trying to make more plants too if I had them in my garden. They are rather pricey in the grocery stores…and usually a bit disappointing on the taste too. I hope you will take pictures if your pineapple plants produce, Brandy. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seem one growing on a tree before.

    Here are my frugal accomplishments for this week:
    *I tried making homemade version of garlic bread sticks this week. They were similar to “crazy bread” you get from Little Caesar’s pizza. I made up a batch of homemade pizza dough, cut it up and rolled out the pieces into long strips. After baking them at 400F for about 10-11 minutes, I brushed them with a mixture of melted butter, garlic salt and oregano while they were still hot, and then sprinkled them with some parmesan cheese. They were so amazing; I had requests to make it a second time to accompany another meal later in the week. Simple but tasty items like these seem to make my restaurant craving family a bit more happy with having home cooked meals. I thought I would share for those struggling with this issue too.;)

    *I have been wanting to try making rice pudding for a while, but my husband and daughter didn’t seem interested…until Erika, from the “Make Do” Homemaker blog, posted a link to a pantry friendly, chocolate rice pudding recipe. Of course I had to try it, and of course my family loved it. After all, its chocolate, how could they not! Anyways, thanks for the recipe link Erika!

    *Homemade meals this week included pasta with Alfredo sauce and homemade garlic bread sticks, chicken breasts baked with cheddar cheese soup and broccoli/cauliflower side dish, cream of potato and bacon soup (made by my hubby) with homemade garlic bread sticks and chocolate rice pudding for dessert, breaded chicken burgers with baked potatoes topped with cheese and corn on the side, and chicken souvlaki with mashed potatoes, corn and coleslaw.

    *Great deals this week with groceries. I stocked up on 12 cans of Chef Boyardee canned pasta and 4 cans of Heinz canned pasta, at $1/can, for my husband and daughter who loves these for lunch options (and I like for no hydro emergency food). Snack crackers were on sale for $1/box (one day only sale), so I bought 10 more to add to my stockpile. I found a good sized bag of bananas on discount for $0.40/lb, which I plan to use most for dehydrating more banana chips (some will be eaten fresh). Bought a bag of apples marked 50% off, making it $2 for 4lbs of apples (may try dehydrating these too). I also price matched several items to get the best possible price and save money on grocery costs. I then used gift cards I received at Christmas dropping my out of pocket cost even further. They are predicting potential snow storms later this week, so I feel prepared if it happens.

    *Dehydrated 10 bananas into banana chips. I also made a batch of pineapple/apple sauce fruit leather and strawberry/banana/applesauce fruit leather. My daughter has been taking fruit leather, and sometimes dried fruit, in her school lunch every day with no complaints.:D

    *My breakfast hating daughter has been gobbling up the leftover frozen chocolate chip pancakes each morning since I made them for dinner last week. We pull them from the freezer and pop them in the toaster for an easy, frugal breakfast item. Guess I’ll have to make more for the freezer again soon.:p

    *Had a “date night” with my husband by going to Bingo. We were gifted 2 tickets from my MIL that paid for our Bingo strips (charity event). We took snacks with us, so the whole evening cost just $4 total (for the snacks we bought). Didn’t win unfortunately, but at least it was a night out!

    *Used another “expired” cake mix to make my husband a birthday cake. This one was marked best before Nov 2014. I used it to make a Boston cream poke cake (link: http://cincyshopper.com/boston-cream-poke-cake/). I served it with Sunday dinner when we my daughter had some friends from school over. Not a bad recipe and the cake tasted just fine.

    *Frugal fails: Somehow I was suckered into buying a rotisserie chicken meal deal from the grocery store this week. At least the leftovers served as lunch options. We then ate out twice in one day when my daughter was invited to hang out at the mall with 2 friends from school. Being on the Autism spectrum, hanging out with “friends” is quite rare and a VERY big deal for her (she was sooo excited to be included!). They wanted to eat lunch together at the mall, which was fine. Since Monday is my husband’s birthday, we opted to have a lunch at the mall as well to celebrate. Then we invited the friends back to our house and bought pizza for supper for everyone. This doesn’t happen often, so we were ok with the extra spending and everyone was happy!

    Have a wonderful, frugal and inspiring week everyone!

  12. That’s what I did to some (tip layering). I had to prune a few branches this last week, so I am using those for rooting. I want to add some to a spot that I cannot reach with tip layering, plua I would like to try some in a different spot altogether in the garden.

    I love what you are doing to save money for your bedroom! I understand not spending in order to save for furniture, and it is definitely worth it to be able to get what you want, especially when it is something that you will use for years. Good for you!

  13. Amber, it’s pretty much same in Poland. 😉 in season we would just take a couple of buckets and off we would go to pick up as many as we want. My sister still does!
    Shall I even mention wild raspberries? The store bought don’t even compare. The wild kind are so full of sun and flavor. Again, in season you can have as much as you want. They are only a forest away. 🙂

  14. Pineapple guava is neither a pineapple nor a guava. If you follow the link in the post, you’ll see what they look like. I’ve never eaten one, but I want to try something new that does well as a patio plant. I hope they produce well; I love having variety in the garden!

  15. I’ve been experimenting with compost for years, and have never had beautifully loamy stuff like you see in pictures either. J made me a sifter, and all the big bits go back in the composter for another round. I’ve gotten better about adding “browns”.. leaves, cardboard, and I think that has helped. I tried lasagna composting in one flower bed, but wasn’t terribly impressed with that either. I love it when my parsley makes babies! I’m not sure I’ve ever tried a guava of any variety (other than the tropical lifesavers… do they still make those? :o). I bet they’re yummy. Your post makes me want to dig in the dirt. Joining in here: http://www.abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2016/02/late-january-frugal-accomplishments.html

  16. Hi Rhonda and great to hear that your daughter is “hanging out with friends” at the mall, and yes it is a big deal for her to be included as well. How exciting and wonderful for her friends to think of her and include her too, something indeed to be celebrated considering her sensory issues that is a big accomplishment by her. I know as I fostered a few children with special needs as well.

    Fantastic that you and your husband got to have a nice birthday celebration and date meal together as well !, we all need to spoil ourselves every now and again.

  17. Last week was pretty good for us, other than some unexpected medical expenses. We did all of our usual things, like cooking at home, eating leftovers, and using what we had for little man’s birthday. We also were able to pick up a little extra money with me tutoring and Benny picking up about three extra hours at work. We’re hoping all of this will help us pay down the home equity line faster. Check out the details at my blog. I’d love to see you visit!


  18. Mandy,
    Having had RSV will weaken your daughter’s immune system for a few months, and make her more susceptible to asthma and getting RSV in the future again. This happened to a couple of our kids when they were younger. I know your pain! We had 3 kids when we first started homeschooling. We took it day by day, never committing to doing it forever. Now in our 17th year of homeschooling and with 7 children I am so happy we chose this route! We started college in high school and our oldest graduated a year early from college. Our second will do the same next year, and both did full-time internships while in college. Though not our intent to “push” them through so quickly, they recognize the value of having an extra year of earnings (and savings) for their future retirement–and no college loans.
    Best regards,

  19. Thanks, Lorna. We were all very excited that she was invited to hang out. She might even be invited to the girl’s birthday party this week as well (though I’m waiting to see the birthday invite before I know for sure). We can count on one hand the birthday parties she has been invited to, so another big deal if it happens.

    My husband’s birthday is today. His mother has offered to take us all out for dinner this evening to celebrate. Normally we pay for this ourselves. That’s why I consider our “lunch date” as part of his birthday celebration.

  20. What an interesting plant! I’ve never heard of it before, but I do live in Canada where this plant would definitely not survive. I hope you will keep us informed as this crop develops. I’m interested in hearing what it looks like as the fruit grows and what you think of the taste once you harvest some.

  21. Last year was the first year that I tracked our spending and so at the end of the year I was able to get an average for all of the categories to use as a budget this year. Sadly, we went over budget in most of the categories this month. That was disheartening. While my husband likes the idea of spending less and saving more, he is still a little too loose with money. He spent a lot of money on clothes for my daughter this month. We are going to Florida to stay with my in-laws in a week and she has grown out of her shorts and swimsuits, etc. So while she needed those things he bought stuff full price and spent more on bathing suits for her than I would for myself. And he goes to the grocery store for one item and comes home with bags. Sigh. I know that a lot of it is because he didn’t have a lot of money growing up and he worked hard to not be in that position but I’m definitely the saver in the family! Slow and steady I guess…anyway, it does help me to at least list the things that I do have control of in terms of being prudent with money.

    – A friend had a group over for breakfast this morning and I had a free, fantastic breakfast and a fun get together
    – Mailed out three packages of things I sold on eBay. The postal worker gave me a tip to use a priority flat rate envelope instead and I saved $3 on shipping.
    – While my daughter was at dance, I stopped into Goodwill. I found some home decor things (two gorgeous brand new accent pillows, some new vase filler from Target, a food chopper, a frame for my daughter’s room, an amazing vase with faux apples, sunflowers and sprigs for a fall decoration for my dining room table for next year) and a shirt for my son. They couldn’t get the card reader to work so they ended up giving me $7.50 off as a discount for the inconvenience. Yea!!
    – My husband received a visa gift card from work for a particular project done well and we are using it to get a new sink/vanity for our powder room which we’ve wanted to do since we moved in two years ago. So no out of pocket for that!
    – Went to goodwill to drop off some donations and stopped in (twice at Goodwill in one week is unheard of for me but I was looking for something in particular). Had a 20% discount and I found some more amazing decor items and brand new crystal margarita glasses with the crystal sticker still on. And exchanged a coat that I bought previously that was too big for another coat that I like more for $5.60! (And came home and promptly put my old margaritas glasses in a bag to take to goodwill. I haven’t liked the style in years and never used them because of that. Now that I have ones I really like, I will be using them. Good way to prevent clutter…one in, one out although I’m not always great with that rule!)
    – Washed the feather filled pillow inserts from goodwill in the washer and dried them on low with tennis balls instead of taking them to the dry cleaner
    – completed the third of five free personal training sessions I won at the gym (sadly I only have one left because I had to cancel last Wednesday when both kids were home sick and my husband was out of town and they require a 24 hour cancellation or you are “charged” for that session)
    – For lunch I dug out of the freezer some baked beans I’d had in there and a partially freezer burned veggie patty. An odd, but pretty tasty lunch.
    – My son was sick so we stayed home this weekend and didn’t spend money other than at the grocery store for produce, lunch meat, lunch snack, etc.

  22. Last week saw the end of the January month and we did a fantastic job eating from the pantry! It has taken me quite a while to build up enough stock and variety, but now it is an incredible feeling to pick a recipe and know that I have the ingredients! I did the usual frugal items like eating at home, making bread, cooking enough to freeze leftovers. I went to buy salad material yesterday and a bunch of celery was $2.99. One store had it for $1.79 and I thought they were insane, until yesterday when I saw the $2.99~~~~ Is there a celery shortage I haven’t heard about 🙂 Needless to say, we are moving to a celery free diet.

  23. The Himalayan blackberry is on the noxious weed list in Washington state. These are the ones that grow wild all over the place.
    I like to pick them too, but I usually come back covered in juice and bleeding from the thorns. I also usually manage to get myself stuck in a bush at least once (the thorns latch onto clothing quite well). 😉

  24. This week, during breaks in the rain, I was able to do a little gardening work both at our condo and at the community garden (the season isn’t officially open yet there though). My plan was to buy seeds at our local garden store, but I ran out of time, so that will be on the list for next week. I received a gift card to that store for Christmas, and have some rewards credit there too.

    Frugal accomplishments:
    – At home, I pruned our rosebush and hydrangea. I have about 10 pots of tulips and daffodils that I took out of their storage area because they were starting to sprout. I fertilized them and still need to add some compost. It’s so exciting to see them start growing!
    – I went out to my garden plot, and was happy to see that my kale plant was still alive, despite being frozen for at least a week. I picked some kale which we had with our dinner. My garlic is sprouting along with some shallots (I think) that apparently didn’t get picked last summer.
    – I found a few clothing items for work at thrift stores, including a silk sweater.
    – I bought more grapefruit at the 2/$1 price. I found two pound bricks of Tillamook cheese for $5.49 at Fred Meyer (limit 2 with coupon). That’s all I needed as I have a lot of cheese in my fridge.
    – I bought some radishes. I ate them, and saved and used the tops in soup instead of throwing them away.
    – About a year ago, I bought an expensive pillow because I have some neck/shoulder issues. Over time, the fill compacted to the point where it was unusable. I was not happy so I contacted the company. They told me that I could send the pillow to them, they would add more fill and ship it back to me. So I did. The cost of $14 to send it to them was worth it. Now I have a usable pillow again!

    Have a great week, everyone!

  25. Thank you for the reminder about composting… We really need to get started on composting at our house!

    Our frugal accomplishments this week include:

    I finally started a grocery price list! I made a spreadsheet on Google Docs and am looking forward to following your lead and finding my own stock-up prices.

    I harvested enough kale from our little garden to make a kale salad.

    I hosted a new Book Club at our house…. I spent less on drinks and snacks for 5 people than I would have on just me if we had gone out somewhere.

    I started tomato, pepper and eggplant seeds indoors for our spring garden.

  26. It was a roller coaster ride of a week last week mood-wise for me, but we survived it alright. People are finally feeling better, housework will get caught up today (having sick kids home my son really blew through the bedding) and life will hopefully start to get back on an even keel.

    Got my taxes done and was exactly right on my numbers (went off the last pay stub for preliminaries and waited for the W-2 to come in to make sure). Gave the government everything they required to file the taxes, which was everything short of a retina scan, and will hopefully get our refund soon.

    Checked my credit report as my kids and I are on the “got hacked” list with the IRS from last year. We get a free three years of credit monitoring, supposedly, but I still went online and checked the credit report. So far, so good (I have no credit to speak of, really, so it won’t take much to send up a “red flag” on my end).

    The rest of my list for this week can be found here…


    Have a great week everyone!

  27. Mandy, based on what you were saying about finding mold in her bedroom and she is sick again, you really need to have a mold test done. I know there are companies that will do it but I think I have seen test kits at places at like the Home Depot. If it is mold, she is not really going to get better.

  28. How cool! I know how big of a deal the birthday party is for her as my son has only ever been invited to one and that was because the entire class got invited to it. Glad she might have friends to hang out with. It’s such a big deal for girl’s her age and having friends that understand her differences could be truly priceless :).

    Glad you liked the pudding. That stuff is definitely getting made around here again *laugh*.

  29. Shoveled 3” of heavy, wet snow (lots of moisture) from the driveway & placed it where it would water the trees & berry bushes.

    Upended one of the open topped garbage cans where snow & rain had collected & frozen to make a rather thick cake of ice. Placed the cake next to the apricot tree, where it can water the tree as it melts over several days. We are set for another round of storms, so I put the can back where it can refill & make another ice cake, for another tree.

    Watched “Cooks County” on UEN, “This Old House” & “Downton Abbey” on PBS.

    Finished another pair of wool mittens, with light grey cuffs & dark maroon uppers.

    Made some gluten-free chocolate cupcakes from a mix dated 2010, & substituted pureed beets for the water, adding a few spoonfuls of sour cream & a ½ tsp of baking powder to compensate for “age”. The cupcakes were delicious. Beets are high in nitrates (not to be confused with nitrates), so they can help regulate blood pressure, but they are not a favorite in the house, altho I love them. Since the mixes were on sale, & the one I baked was at least 6-7 years old (so I know they store well), I stocked up on both yellow & devils food. Saved 86 cents a package.

    Turned down the heat to 65-66 degrees during the day & wore my shawl. Opened the blinds on sunny days to let the sun help warm the house. Filed our taxes.

  30. This week has been relatively routine- brown bag lunches that I made ahead ( homemade larger versions of “Rev wraps” as well as dinner leftovers!)
    After receiving a medical bill for $556 that said my insurance didn’t pay it because they needed more info from me,one of my first big frugal things was to call the insurance company. They just wanted to verify that they were my only health insurance provider. I said yes and they immediately resubmitted the claim and I saved over $435 for that 5 minutes of my time!!! A few years ago, I might have forgotten to follow up or just paid the bill, so becoming more organized has definitely become a money saver!
    I became a beta tester for a frugal freezer meal planner and so she sent me 5 of her recipes to test out with 2 each. She sent me the grocery list and assembly instructions and hubby and I made a “date” of it Saturday morning by preparing and freezing the 10 freezer meals! Because my pantry is well stocked, I spent less than $30 total for the 10 meals! Each chicken dish was very different than the others- Thai, Italian, Carribbean, Mexican,and American! Love the variety and I reorganized my chest freezer so that there is now a designated area for freezer meals! They are each labeled, including cooking and side dish information. I sent her some detailed feedback and I’m hopeful she may ask me again in the future!
    We are doing a challenge in our church stake which will result in a cookbook for all of us and our local storehouse. We are asked to submit recipes for all kinds of things main dishes, desserts, baked goods, breakfasts, lunches, etc. using ONLY items found on our Bishops’ Storehouse Food Order! If any of you are LDS and want to give us ideas, we would be pleased! The major challenge is that the only spices that are available at the storehouse are salt, pepper and cinnamon! That is definitely forcing us to be more creative! (Gardenpat@ hotmail.com if you want to send us recipe ideas)
    In organizing my basement pantry, I discovered that I have 6 (#10)cans each of cheddar cheese powder and dry butter! I decided I would open one of each to see if they were still good. I figured that it would at least give me more shelf space if I had to toss them! The cheese powder was the beautiful light orange powder- not brown. It was still powder- not a solid hard chunk and the taste was perfect! I am excited now because I just saw a YouTube video on how to make cheese using my non-instant powdered milk and cheddar cheese powder!!! Anyone else ever tried it? I’m excited and have no out of pocket cost to try this! Made a baby quilt and quilted it for a friend using only stash materials. It features hot air balloons on a pale blue sky. The blue sky fabric was from a blue flat sheet that I bought at the thrift store for 99 cents. I used most of it as the backing for a large lap size quilt and the balloon sky fabric for this baby quilt (and a second identical balloon quilt because the friend is having twins) was out of the remnant of sheet left over when I finished quilting the lap quilt and trimmed away the excess backing! Not bad for 99 cents! Worked into 3 quilts!!

  31. I made an effort to rethink things that I normally just do out of habit this week.

    1. We buy bottled water from Costco but we stopped this last week and we’ve been using our reverse osmosis water. I don’t care for the taste buy I’m getting accustomed to it and we are saving money!
    2. We had bought some Carne Asada that ended up being really tough and not very good. I threw it into the crock pot with some seasoning and water for a few hours. I added a few things from my pantry and deemed it soup. It was very good and my husband and I had it for lunch the next day as well.
    3. I’d been searching for a larger patio set but they were just so pricey. I found a set on the online garage for $75.00 over the weekend. It needs a little TLC but it’s perfect for our patio. I’m now trying to see our old set to close the gap on the $75.00 we spent.
    4. Our bar-b-que ignitor had stopped working and instead of buying a whole new grill we purchased the part and my husband repaired it.

    I think it was a successful week!

  32. Blackberries are all over here too, and thorny. I never pick them for that reason and they are not really accessible for me. They are mostly out along the hedgerows and along the woods. But the children will pick them and drop them off for me. I’ll freeze them for their use and I make jam. Thornless ones would be nice.

  33. We also grew up with wild blackberries in the Pacific Northwest. I was so happy last summer to be in the area at just the right time to pick the berries and bring them home! When our children were young and we lived at the coast, we would go out as family picking. Everyone wore long pants, long sleeved shirts and work gloves. My husband would take the ladder and throw it over the top of the bushes and climb up to get those berries that were otherwise unreachable. We would also take a pair of pruning shears to trim off some of the viney parts that had no fruit on them so we could get to the branches that had the fruit.


  34. It warmed up into the 50’s this weekend, so our family spent some time outside! I was thankful for warmer weather as the furnace didn’t run ALL.THE.TIME. This week seemed a little ‘mundane’ in the frugal category, but I was still able to do some things:
    *made all meals at home
    *redeemed a free cup of coffee at my local coffee shop
    *ate lunch after church Sunday at my parents house (we do this most Sundays and it is such a blessing (not just for the food!) in our week
    *sold 1 item on a FB garage sale site.
    *found Kroger pasta in the clearance bin for $0.49/lb. and Kroger dried beans for $0.69/lb.-picked up all they had!
    *had 4 -free tickets to the symphony to hear ‘Video Games Live’. My husband and I invited my parents to go with us. We ate dinner out beforehand and my parents bought our meal! (we had budgeted a dinner out, so this was an extra blessing!)
    *being more mindful of eating out of our freezer. The freezer is still pretty full, and I want to make more room by the time Spring arrives and I start filling it again.
    *reviewed Jan. budget with my husband and created our February budget. January was a great month for us…we stayed on track and were able to put quite a bit into savings. Two areas for improvement: food budget and electrical bill. The house we live in is all electrical-so in the winter, the bills are sky high, esp. when we have a cold snap. My husband and I talked about ways to lower our electric bill and I am being more mindful of this and on my kids to turn lights out, keep electronics unplugged, etc. And *sigh*, our food budget seems to grow all the time. Our kids are getting bigger and eating more and I am having a hard time keeping food in the house. This seems to be an ongoing thing (*struggle*) for me. I am always looking for ways to improve this area of our budget.
    *did all the usual…re-using baggies, composting, turning off lights, staying out of stores, borrowing books from library, etc.
    As always, I love all the inspiration and encouragement here…have a great week everyone!

  35. Wild blackberries grow all over Southeast Texas EVERYWHERE! When we have abundant rain, they are plump and juicy. I love wild blackberry jelly and cobbler and think they are well worth the effort to harvest!

  36. Mandy, how is the quitting smoking going? I don’t know how much smoke you allowed her to be exposed to but children exposed to 2nd hand smoke grow up with smaller lungs and more bouts of bronchitis and pneumonia. 🙁 (per CDC) Hopefully, once she gets her immunity built back up she will get sick less often.

  37. We are arranging for a test to be done. I contacted our homeowner’s insurance to see if they can help. They are getting back to me. We have since moved her bedroom.

  38. My frugal accomplishments for last week:

    I sold some things I wasn’t using on our local Facebook garage sale page ($45) and started auctions on ebay.

    We figured out what gift cards and points we have. We have several gift cards from holiday gifts and bonuses from SO’s employer to eat out as well as a Visa gift card to spend anywhere and $54 in points to spend at Kmart.

    We had $20 at a local gift shop that was expiring 1/31. Even though I did not feel like “shopping” we went anyway – so glad we did! We got 4 oversized fancy muffins and 2 small desserts. We ate the desserts that night, and I put the muffins in the freezer. We only had to pay $1 out of pocket. I wanted to get something useful or edible. We don’t need any knick knack type things.

    Made pear bread with pears that needed to be used up. Cooked some fresh spinach before it went bad and then reheated it the next day for dinner.

    Went back to work after my father passed. Ate the lunch provided at work and brought home leftovers.

    Went to CVS and got 2 lip balm, 2 deodorant and a toothpaste for $3.13 out of pocket and got $2.55 in bucks to use next time.

    Completed 2 Pinecone Surveys.

    Printed W2 from my previous employer so I can file my taxes ASAP to put the refund into my emergency fund.

    Started looking at the budget and getting organized with keeping better track of what I spend each week and keeping receipts and a new envelope system. Challenging myself to spend as little as possible.

    I’m nervous with no emergency fund right now. I need to cut spending and increase cash flow to get an emergency fund built up while at the same time starting to clean out my father’s house and sell what I can to cover his mortgage until we can sell his house.

    Plus all the usual: Washed out baggies. Wore clothes more than once before washing. Composted fruit and veggie scraps.

  39. I used to buy the wild ones picked for me by an older gentleman who lived near my aunt. They grew in such abundance that he picked and sold them just to occupy his time. I loved it. It stopped when my aunt moved in the nursing home and later passed on at 89.

  40. Picked up boneless/skinless chicken breasts for 1.12 a pound (this is the ONLY cut of chicken the hubby will eat and even then I have to trim it so there is NO fat or any type of cartilage or ligaments…..and he makes fun of MY texture issues!! :()
    Fail – Had to go to the vet this week (again) for a UTI in our youngest pup……$144 later and she’s on the mend – Now I have to steam clean the carpets where she’s had accidents – poor baby was so uncomfortable! One of the first things I want to do with the tax refund is to set up a vet fund for all of these in between appts that come up.
    Sold another tote on Etsy.
    Found an unused $25 gift card and used it to pick up the few pantry items I had run short on + greek yogurt.
    Finallly got all of my recipe notebooks put together and reorganized + made a new one for gardening, canning, saving and keeping track of the animal expenses and the egg output of my duck and chicken hens. This is a huge help and time saver when it comes to my weekly menu and goals planning. The binders were all bought at thrift stores for under .75 cents each and I prettied them up with papers I already had on hand. Everything is in clear page protectors that were gifted to me years ago (100+ of them!)
    Made all meals at home except for the pizza dinner my FIL treated us to.
    Made some about to go bad bananas into banana bread for the kids.
    Made up some gluten free pumpkin muffins to help me get back on track AND reduce my huge sugar habit……and as a result of the severe cutback I’m dealing with the effects of sugar withdrawal (NOT fun – it feels like you have the stomach flu with the nauseousness and diarrhea to go with it + VERY irritable and anxious – sugar addiction is no joke!). So far I’ve only caved a couple times but since most of the sweet things are only ingredients in the pantry and not made into anything, I have to think about it more and then I more often than not don’t make something sweet. This is also a help to my diabetic hubby who has now been put on insulin.
    Found a stick blender at Salvation Army for $3.00 – My old one died well over a year ago and I really find it easier and safer to do batches of tomato sauce and cream soups with it rather than the blender.
    Spent an hour again at the trainers house with our newest pup getting her socialized with some other dogs. The trainer is allowing me to pay her as I can and we may do a bit of bartering my sewing skills for her dog training skills. Freya is going to be such big dog that I am pushing hard to get her socialized before she outgrows even the adult labs and goldens. So even though it is an expense right now, it will pay off later with a more balanced adult dog who will do okay meeting others when we take her out camping with us.
    Not much else going on this past week.

  41. With gas prices going down, I experimented with the octane level that I put in my 2010 Jetta. The car calls for 87, and I have been putting in 85, the cheapest gas. Three times, I filled up with the more expensive 88 octane gas (costing me .10-12 more per gallon) but I learned the I got 20%+ gas mileage (22 mpg city vs 29 mpg using the higher octane gas. I figure that as long as the better gas costs less than 20% more, I am saving money by spending more. Your results may vary…

    Made some cranberry juice from the cranberries I froze back in November.

    Took the quarters that I have been saving and that I don’t need in the coin collection books I am putting together for kids, rolled the quarters and ended up banking $52.50 (I have been saving them for a couple of years).

    While cleaning out my large pantry I found my stash of heirloom tomato seeds that I thought I had thrown away accidently. I was very grateful to find them.

  42. Hi ladies! Happy New Year and blessings to all!

    January is typically a busy month for me, but I did what I could to cut expenses where I was able, in ways that wouldn’t exhaust me or burn up what remains of my free time and energy.

    Birthdays: for my mom’s birthday, I gave her a nice sized bottle of Vanderbilt perfume that I purchased on Amazon with left over grocery money that week, along with a pair of Sherpa slipper sox I’d gotten on sale during the Christmas season. Because my mom knows that I’ve been burnt out from work, she lovingly told me she didn’t want me to cook or bake for the celebration, so I picked up our favorite chocolate cream pie from Nations and served it with Peach Snapple iced tea. We used paper plates and cups, etc from the dollar store for easy clean up.

    For my oldest stepdaughter, I gave her a gold box of See’s truffles and twenty dollars towards a cake or special treat for her little family. (Darling and I don’t give her a party because she’s married and we figured that’s her husband’s job!)

    Christmas IOUs: I only gave out a few of these because I don’t want to overwhelm myself with “debt”! I did fulfill three in January. I’d promised Darling he could pick out a dress shirt, so we hit Penneys when they had a great sale and was able to get him two shirts for a great price.

    I baked my boss toll house pie, my specialty that he just dies over! He was very excited to receive it and said that he could barely sleep the night before!

    I also completed Dinner and DVD night for my sister and girlfriend during the MLK three day weekend. At first, I was regretting the IOU when she requested movies from the No Fun Zone, (She sometimes loves to act like a member of the intellectual elite) But thankfully Netflix and Redbox didn’t carry what she wanted, and so she agreed to a regular comedy. We had In n Out burgers, fries and large sodas as a special treat, microwave kettle corn, and a chocolate cake. Our friend brought a bottle of champagne, so we could get a bit silly and smackered for the movie. it turned out to be a great night for everybody!

    Storage: I stocked up on canned kitty and doggie food, and several boxes of Hamburger Helper for our “edible emergency fund”. All were on sale.

    At Home Dates: we hit the condo complex hot tub several times in the evening. darling and I find it very relaxing, and we love gazing at the stars. He’s nuts for alien stories so he’ll tell me all sorts of tales while we’re out there.

    We also had two movie nights of our own during the month.

    Cheap Dates: I’m a girl who very dearly loves to go out, but since we’re still tight, we try to keep going out simple. We went to Starbucks with a gift card after work one Friday; hit Coldstone Creamery one afternoon as a real treat; one rainy afternoon we spent a few hours in the upscale library the next town over, which has a stone fireplace and coffee shop; for a real splurge, my husband treated me to pizza for dinner at MOuntain Mike’s. Darling had been blessed with some extra side jobs, and the pizza place has a special–Fifty percent off any large pizza Sunday nights. With two sodas, tax and tip, we still only spent fifteen dollars, plus we had left overs for the next evening.

    Take care and have a great week!

  43. gas is cheaper at 1.64!

    bought canned beans on clearance… I’ve realized if a disaster strikes most of my ffood is kept in the freezer and not shelf stable stuff.. I am DEF learning to can next year.!

    switched dog food. My dog-girl was having some problems and the vet suggested switching. Thankfully that was the problem!

    Fixed our water heater ourselves! .. We have a problem every other month .. We are going to need a new one soon!

    Made a delicious dinner- – chicken and mushrooms, made a gravy with the chicken bits, flour, chicken stock, and added white beans, served over mashed potatoes and broccoli. SO GOOD. My hubby kept saying so too!

    -Enjoyed a quiet sunrise with coffee!

  44. Melissa,
    You might want to try Truvia a healthy sugar substitute ( stevia and erthyritol). I use it for sweetening and baking- a little goes a long way. Lost 16 pounds too!

  45. If one has a garden, your blog can be interesting. But I don’t. I miss the variety of posts you used to have more of like sewing projects, home decor, recipes etc.

  46. This is my busiest garden season of the whole year, and I’m working to make the garden more productive to save us money in food this year.

    I have some non-gardening projects and recipes planned, but first I need to get the garden chores done, or it will be too hot and I will have missed my chance to get food from the garden. I’m spending 4 hours a day in the garden right now, so it doesn’t leave much time to work on the other projects, but I’m doing my best. I can only go so fast 🙂 When you see my goals for this month (they’ll go up in the next day or two), you’ll see which specifc non-gardening projects I have planned (and I’ll post them when they are done). You’ll also see how much work I have to do in the garden this month. I plan on harvesting hundreds of pounds of fruits and vegetables this year, and cutting hundreds of dollars worth of flowers from the garden. If I don’t plant and fertilize this month, that will never happen, so I need to work quickly. Also, a lot of my recipes depend on what I have in the garden, so without the garden, I can’t post the recipes.

    I have lots of sewing and home decor projects to do, too, so don’t despair!

  47. Celery was outrageous in 2 out of 3 stores we checked last week. Rob finally found it for $1.29 per pound and got some. I walked away from $1.99, $2.29 and organic for $2.69 per pound in 2 other stores and had about given up. Thank goodness for cell phones. We were each in a different town on other errands, so each had a small list to buy. He got the celery or we would have gone on a celery free diet as well!

  48. I am working on some recipes for him. I cannot stand any of the fake sugars – they all give me headaches. But I am trying out some Stevia ones. You have to be very careful if you have pets with most of the sugar alternatives – they can kill them in small doses. So I am sticking with Stevia for now. There is a bit of a learning curve with it from what I am reading, especially since I am also trying to use coconut and almond flours which also have a lower carb load.

  49. I was able to do my usual things like use wood heat to heat our home, cook many, many items at home, and many other things. I posted them on my blog.

    I love seeing all of the things you can grow in your yard, Brandy. Now that we are moving for sure, and I’m no longer going to have my huge area for gardening, I have just been telling myself every day that many people can garden in a small space–just look at Brandy’s yard/garden! Now, to be truthful, if there’s any way I can work it so that I can get a small patch of ground, even 1/2 acre, I will do that. But if not, I’m going to make the best of whatever I do get.

    I’m glad you are putting your efforts into other things than compost. It sounds like it just doesn’t work there where you live. The trenching sounds like a great idea. You are using so much time on homeschooling and gardening, plus cooking and cleaning–sometimes you just have to pick and choose. I’m glad you are feeling well enough to be out in the garden.

  50. It’s been a pretty good week. Frugal accomplishments are as follows:

    Made two loaves of bread.
    Used cloth napkins for meals at home (we do use paper for the lunches that are packed for school/work).
    Reduced our electrical usage by 4% in January (compared to the same time period last year).
    Polished some favorite earrings using toothpaste. (Thanks to the lady who offered this tip. It worked great!)
    Made homemade chicken stock (used thyme from the garden).
    Hubs put a new coat of polyacrylic on the kitchen cabinets.
    Harvested carrots, sweet potatoes, and lemons from the garden.
    Opened the doors and windows to let in warm air a couple of days. (Temps have dropped again, but the warm days were nice while they lasted.)
    Made veggie soup using carrots, squash, and herbs from the garden. (We had tons of squash last summer, so I froze a bunch; it worked great in this soup.)
    Redid our cable plan; we should save about $45 per month over what we were paying. (I could probably drop it altogether, but the rest of the family would revolt. Ha!)
    Hubs planted the winter/early spring garden (Swiss chard, peas, lettuce, kale, onions, leeks, and I’m not sure what else–yay!).
    Hubs hooked up a second rain barrel and drained some of the water from the first one (stored it in a big trash can). After the rain yesterday, both barrels are full!
    Hubs repaired our BBQ grill (cheaper than buying a new one).
    Participated in a “Pantry Challenge” and reduced our average grocery bill by 68%.

    Have a great week everyone!

  51. Brandy and all–I recently spent 10 days volunteering with a church in Kaktovik, AK. so I missed the excitement, but we saw the point of having a well-stocked pantry. A barge had mechanical problems and did not travel to Alaska. My husband said that the bigger Fred Meyers was out of all milk and fresh meat within a couple of days. We are in Fairbanks so at the end of the road system. A friend in Wasilla/Palmer said the shortages weren’t as bad thee. (that is the area where Erika lives.) The family did not lack for anything, but it made us wonder what if the Kenai earthquake had hit Anchorage instead? We will continue to maintain our stocks because we live where we are dependent on outside deliveries. During that time, my husband found a ham and 2 turkeys for $1/lb which is extraordinary here! They are in our freezers. Fred Meyer finally had chickens for $.99 which is the best price we see. We still have 2 to use then will restock. I freeze leftovers whenever I have extra for my husband’s lunches and suppers when he is at his office.

    We thankfully take advantage of Fred Meyers over 55 savings day, stocking up on Kroger brands, especially eggs and beans. Our income is adequate but limited and it all helps stretch things. 2 favorite tips–celery freezes well, just chopped and bagged. Nice for soups in storms! If you have an electric stove, the back left burner is normally a vent for your oven. It will heat water almost to boiling and also keep foods warm.

  52. Hi Brandy and so relate to the have to plant and fertilise the garden to keep a supply of food up for the family too. We are doing the same as we are in the spring summer cycle here.

    We have been spending a similar amount of time in the garden trying to keep ahead of weeds due to lots of summer rains, harvest summer & spring crops, and blanch and freeze excess to cover us for the winter months ahead too and then begin planting our winter crops. Like yourself the garden is a priority in our home as it supplies us with all our vegetables and fruit all year round and harvesting at the moment is every day as all things are becoming ripe at the same time.

    Like yourself home decorating projects take a back seat when harvesting and planting need to be done. Usually I get a chance at night sometimes. While the rain is rolling in every afternoon, most of our gardening is done in the morning. Seed saving & herb & vegetable picking, herb separating & crumbling and blanching and freezing produce in the early morning or afternoon and if time I sew and do home décor projects in the evenings if I have all the housework done.

    Too many things to do and so little time I do agree Brandy :).

  53. Hi Mandy and good to hear that you are trying to get a mould test done in the home too.

    I would like to tell you of my story in regard to mould, dust, pollen, grass seeds and things to help you with your daughter’s possible reaction to the mould and the importance of getting it remedied. Not wishing to alarm you but she may very well react as I do, which is very severely. I was born with asthma and am highly allergic to dust, pollen, mould, and grass seed too, they should have put me in a large beach ball bubble :p to stop reactions at birth.

    In my infinite wisdom (not), I decided whilst renovating my own home to pull up the old carpet by myself and hire a professional to polish the wood floors. We lived in a coastal area, with frequent rain and mould was a problem in wardrobes and on bathroom ceilings despite a ceiling exhaust fan which I installed. I pulled up the carpet and underlay and popped it over the veranda ready for disposal, clearly it had mould in the carpet and underlay as well, within a half an hour of finishing I was having trouble breathing and noticed in the mirror that my lips were turning a lovely shade of Smurf blue, being a nurse and having past experience with my reactions I drove myself to the hospital around 5 minutes away. By the time I got there, things were extremely dire and I walked up to the triage and struggled to say can’t breathe get me in now. I noticed by this stage not only was my lips blue, but my whole face was, and that my airways were closing and I was beginning to loose consciousness. They kept me in hospital for 2 days the reaction was so severe.

    So lesson learnt the hard way in my stupidity, always wear a mask when doing renovations. I would also like to say that I did remedy the mould problem in the bathroom and cupboards by washing (whilst wearing a mask) with a strong bleach solution and repainted the areas with a special mould solution paint. That did work and it didn’t return.

    I still regularly wash all my walls each 3 – 6 months in every house I live in with firstly a solution of sugar soap, then I follow with a stong solution of diluted bleach and have not had any problems since.

    I would say to keep your eye on your daughter and if there are continued reactions to have the problem remedied professionally though.

  54. Hi Erika and that is so sad that any child is excluded constantly because they are different.

    I remember when my sons were young there was a little boy they went to school with who was I would say maybe undiagnosed ADHD. He was all over the show all the time, energy and mischievousness equal to I would say 5 young 5 year olds put together. He would do things like turn off people’s water mains in the street and when people went to use their water, would wonder why no water would come out of their taps. All of the neighbours would be on the footpath trying to sort the problem out. I would say to them just turn on your water main tap and it will be fixed, as said child I saw has turned them off.

    He would sneak into people’s sheds, grab ladders and climb on their roofs, the ladder would fall down and he would get stuck up there. The parents would always come to me first to ask as said child was missing or ring me as they knew I kept an eye on him along with my own children. I would say he is on the roof 3 doors up and you will need a tall ladder to get him down.

    Despite this when my children had birthday parties, I always made a point of inviting him. His mother and father did say to me when I invited him first, are you sure you want to invite him to the birthday party, you have to keep and eye on him all the time as you never know what he is going to do or get up to. I said yes.

    I decided to have my son’s joint party at a fauna centre with large walkways and parklands and enclosures of animals so the children could run and wear off some of their energy. I pre-warned the owner that we had invited one child that we would have to keep a very close eye on at all times, so I was totally prepared for any disasters.

    During the party he had tried to undo the safety pin on the fire extinguisher and set it off, then he ran down one of the walkways with great gusto and enthusiasm. I said to one of the staff which animal enclosures are down there and he said the crocodiles but don’t worry he can’t get his arm in there or anything, I said get on the radio to all staff up there to watch him and they did. Well I knew where he was headed instantly, fortunately I am a fast runner and ran up the walkway like crazy to the crocodile enclosure where he had just started to stick his arm through the mesh and into the enclosure. Of course I stopped him just in time and explained to him the danger of what he was doing.

    His parents thanked me so much and told me days later what a wonderful time he had, and that he was never invited to parties because of this. We continued to invite him every year and he did settle down each and every year after that. The mere fact that he enjoyed himself so much was the reason I thought it important to invite him, and to see him laugh and have fun was something I treasure to this day.

  55. Thank you Brandy. I have used your resources before and she has always enjoyed them. 🙂 I have requested A classical Mind from the library, too.

  56. Mandy: this is premature, but keep an eye on the bullying. I wish, in retrospect, we had pulled our son out of school when he was bullied in elementary and middle school. I don’t think learning to handle being bullied makes a kid stronger – I think it causes them to feel insecure. We should have pulled him out of school and homeschooled him; he is very bright but there are downsides to public education!

  57. We, as parents, were just as excited about the get together as our daughter was. I’ve learned over the years to be cautiously optimistic about repeat invites, though. They often don’t lead to regular hang out sessions. We’re still happy when the occasional offer comes her way.

  58. I wish more parents were more accepting to differences like you, Lorna. My daughter has had her fair share of problems in school due to her many sensory issues related to her Asperger’s diagnosis, especially when she was younger and not in control of her emotional outbursts. She would have meltdowns which often included screaming and trashing a classroom. Whenever they happened, the rest of the children would have to be removed from the class until they could calm her down and remove her. By the way, she was not the only child in the school to have these types of problems, either.

    One day, we received an open invite from the school for parents to attend a educational session on Autism. My husband, mother and I decided to attend. Well, the meeting was not what we expected…it was a lynch mob gathering of parents who were angry about these “hostile” children being in the classroom…and what was the school going to do about it. The presenter was stopped and the parents refused to listen to what she had to say about Autistic children and their differences. At one point, the parents were even asking why “these children” were not kept separated out in portable classrooms. This by far was one of the worst and disheartening meeting I’ve ever attended!

    Ironically, the mother of the child who invited my daughter to hang out at the mall, was one of the leaders of this group of angry parents…thus my reasonable skepticism in the birthday party invite. If it happens, I’d be happy to allow her to attend. I’m just not running out to get a present until the invite has been handed to my daughter.

  59. We have a number of dogs and cats – all rescues. We’ve found that pet insurance is actually a cost saving for us. We have two little ones (poodle and shih tzu) and one big (choc lab) and given that they are rescues but we don’t know their histories we’ve found that the issues that pop up are usually major and with pet insurance we can afford the bills that come up. I know it is an expense up front but does help when those tough decisions have to be made. We also keep a vet emergency fund going to cover the gaps.

  60. Careful with the pet insurance, though. I was a veterinary technician with over 10 years experience in the industry. Anything that is “per-existing” medical conditions will not be covered on a new plan. So despite paying a monthly fee, if your pet has had a problem with something in the past, the pet insurance company will refuse to cover it! There is an exception for those who have a newly adopted a pet, regardless of age. If on the first exam they have no know or obvious illness and you get pet insurance right away, then the insurance company is then obligated to cover anything that happens in the future. Also interesting to note, if an ongoing medical issue becomes too expensive, the insurance company can and will inform you they will no longer cover the expenses related to this medical issue (make sure you read the fine print).

  61. Thank you for telling your story. I am glad that you are ok and now know how to prevent future reactions. We are keeping a very close eye on her. so far it’s just a stuffy nose, no other symptoms. I have notified her Doctor of the situation as well.

  62. Thank you, Kathy! I agree, bullying does not make a kid stronger, it breaks them down. I have read to many stories of teen suicide. I have spoken to both her teacher and principal regarding this issue. When I picked her up today she informed me of another situation but told me she reported it to her teacher. I will be checker with the teacher tomorrow to make sure she did something about it (she usually doesn’t -hence the problem). My husband has already warned her we will show up with the police if proper action is not taken against one particular child. This child has something going on with him, he cannot control himself and hits, scratches, etc other children. He is especially drawn to our daughter, meaning he likes her, but I think he doesn’t know how to express it. I have reported this issue to the principal when the teacher failed to do so and also suggested that maybe testing needs to be done or the proper authorities need to be notified?

  63. We are having a snow day today so all the schools were cancelled except the University. They have enough students on campus to keep it going. My daughter happens to not have classes on Tuesday so she is home. My husband only has to walk down the drive to his workshop.

    Did the usual last week of composting, recycling, hung clothes to dry inside when possible to not use dryer, used the woodstove, cooked from scratch, used our preserved items. Mended holes in a pants pocket, rip in pajama pant, darned an unraveling mitten cuff, sewed on a couple buttons. Starting to think about wedding present for husband’s sister.

    Made cream of broccoli soup, 2 loaves white bread, oatmeal choc chip cookies, lemon poppyseed muffins, banana-nut bread, chili, stir fry vegetables, egg drop soup, fettuccine alfredo with broccoli, cauliflower and carrots and 1/2 with leftover ham and 1/2 without and using up a half pint of whipping cream that we did not use at Christmas. Made cole slaw, a couple jello salads, bagels. Took a block of cream cheese and mixed cinnamon and brown sugar and vanilla into 1/2 and then rehydrated dried onions, parsley and chives and added those and some garlic powder to the other half for flavored toppings. Made spaghetti sauce using my canned tomato sauce and 2 cup container from freezer of chopped eggplant, onion, peppers, zucchini, carrots, celery that I cooked in fall. We like chunky sauce. After the sauce was done I added a packet of previously cooked Italian sausage to half. Made new batch cooked pinto beans then blended them and froze into 1 and 2 cup containers for the freezer. We had bean and cheese burritos too. Used up 3 opened bag of tortilla chips with a lot of small and broken chip by making haystacks and topping them with leftover fried potatoes, some corn, onions, black olives, chopped HB egg, whatever anyone could find. Topped all with cheese and baked them in the oven and then added salsa and yogurt and chopped cabbage.

    Bought 5 pound bag of grapefruit, was 2.50 on sale and had a 1.00 coupon that the store doubled to 2.00 off. Bought 2 gallons of milk, 2 pounds of butter at 2/5.00, 3 doz eggs from the farm, combined store sale and double mfg coupons on toilet paper, deodorant, body wash, contac solution, tylenol and aspirin, dish detergent, baby powder, BOGO vitamins, mayonnaise and brown sugar, and 2 bags of Valentine candy for the candy jar.

    Working on wedding arrangements. Susie’s 2 sisters and sisters in law will handle organizing and cooking the food. We need to take care of the church and hall…set up, decor, servers etc. As usual, will be a large wedding. The date is June 4. Just a small wrinkle is that she needs to move out of her apartment by 4-30 so we decided she will move in next door with my daughter’s family. They have the room and they are good friends. Susie is the youngest of the 8 and was only 8 when we got married. Bernie has a house, but it’s still somewhat of a fixer-upper, though he has done much work on it. He put a pitched roof on…had been flat. Why anyone would build a flat roof up here is beyond me. As soon as there is a break in the weather they are going to expand the garage. My husband will put in one night a week there and he thinks between the two of them and help from her other 2 brothers on the weekends and his family members that they can do an inside makeover ready by the wedding.

  64. Have you ever tried cutting your celery about 2″ from the base and just putting the base in water. Within ‘days’ it will sprout just cut as needed. I’ve got one I started last week and the sprout plant has already grown about 4 inches! I do the same with green onions. I have been known to keep a pot of potting soil on my deck near my kitchen and I just put the roots directly in the dirt with much success.

    Those are horrible prices for celery. Good Luck!

  65. I am SO sorry to hear about that hostile meeting. We did foster care for teenagers for 15 years and many of our kids fell on the fetal alcohol spectrum, so they, too, had sometimes pretty severe behavioral and emotional issues. It is hard to watch the way they are often treated—painful for the child but also for anyone who cares about them. And it can be so exhausting dealing with outbursts or changing your plans in an effort to avoid an outburst. There were times I thought I could hear my heart breaking when a child would come home with tales of being bullied or, almost worse, ignored. I hope you have a good supportive group of friends and manage to carve out time for yourself…I am not sure why I am writing this, except to say you are not alone and I’ll keep you in my prayers.

  66. Tadpole,

    What great news on the forgotten bank account! What a blessing!

    I love to use zucchini for Bread and Butter Pickles and I also use it for relish. Even better that you were gifted the zucchini 🙂

    The print is funny, I love hanging funny artwork in the guest bath 🙂

  67. Your posts always inspire me Lorna and I love how organized you are about posting 🙂

    That is a shame that all of that produce will go to waste. All of your talk about gardening is making me antsy but our growing season here in SW CO is so short, we do not plant until June 1st and the first frost is usually the second week in October, sigh. BUT I am grateful that I am learning what does well and to chose varieties that mature faster 🙂

    Would you be willing to share your etsy site? Do you advertise on Facebook? We have had a few sales through Facebook.

  68. Erika,

    My husband and I recently froze our credit through Experian, Transunion and a couple of other credit agencies. This will keep us from receiving credit card offers and lessen our chance of identity theft. I understand that this was through the IRS, our information got hacked into through the VA system last year as well. But at least this might help with other things 🙂

  69. Marivene, I wish we could see your mittens, they sound beautiful!

    I have heard that beets work well in baked goods. I finally got my husband to eat beets, preferably roasted so I may just venture into baking with them if we have a good harvest this year 🙂

  70. Brandy, if this posted twice I apologize!

    This week:

    ~We did pretty good with soap sales so we were able to purchase more soap making supplies.
    ~For a Valentine’s Day display I took a cute planter that I had and used floral foam and moss which I thrifted along with pruned apple tree branches. I then took some small, red crocheted hearts a friend made me and used that along with baker’s twine to make a garland for the planter. It came out cute and we received a lot of compliments on it 🙂
    ~I found pasta on sale at Krogers 49. a pound when you purchased 6. I bought 6 pounds and it came to $3.00 and change.
    ~We are having a Ladies Valentine Brunch next week and for favors I made Relaxing Lavender Bath Melts. I had all of the ingredients already to include Yogi brand Honey and Lavender Tea (which I got as a free sample) 🙂
    ~I ran out of perfume about 6 months ago. I found a recipe online for solid perfume so I made some Honeysuckle. I even had a cute vintage cameo pill box to place it in.
    ~I have been creating an inventory for our freezers (again!). This helps me to be able to see what we have and need as well as how to ration for the year.
    ~With that, I found that I had an abundance of blueberries so I am making juice with that. I have been craving blueberry juice but refuse to pay $5.00 or more for a quart.
    ~Re-used baggies 🙂
    ~We were able to purchase diesel fuel for $1.63 a gallon. We are used to paying $3.00 or more so we just might be purchasing some jerry cans to fill and keep on hand and some for gas for the mower and atv too.
    ~Continuing to make seed tape. Instructions are here: http://www.gardengirltv.com/how-to-make-seed-tape.html
    ~Picked up some Sunflower and Zinnia seed packets from the dollar store 4/1.00.
    ~ My husband and I have been doing research on fodder for feeding our hogs. It looks like it will be beneficial both cost-wise and nutrition wise.
    ~Grated and froze lemon peel and juice for future use.
    ~I need gloves so I went to the thrift store. For 25 cents each, I found: a pair of really nice lined, suede gloves with fur trim, a pair of workout gloves, a pair of racing gloves by Rossignol (which I will use for gardening gloves, a lambswool scarf from Italy and a Spring scarf. They all washed well and I just let them air dry. I also found an Eddie Bauer top for $1.00. 🙂

  71. My mother planted a blackberry bush in our CA backyard and in a year, it took over the entire garden plot! No matter how much we hacked away at the plant, it just kept growing back like a weed! Luckily, we had the thornless variety so our hands weren’t victims.

  72. We’ve looked into pet insurance but they will NOT cover the things that are breed related – for Danes that is gastric torsion or anything with the joints (torn ACL) so for us, it makes more sense to get an emergency fund set up for those types of things. Those surgeries cost in the thousands. My BIL just had his Great Pyrenees “knee” repaired and it was $4,000 dollars as it required a specialist. OUCH! but I would not hesitate to pay it as I am so very attached to them and they always give unconditional love no matter how crappy my day has been.

  73. both my daughters we sick there preschool year because they this was there first time among all the germs. Last year my youngest was homeschool and was never sick. This year she went back to school and now we are sick again.

  74. Hi Rhonda we can only hope that the experience of your daughter hanging out in the mall was perhaps the mother’s way of admitting that she had over reacted to previous situations, a peace offering perhaps. With a bit of time and experience by this mother you never know she may gain knowledge and experience about Autistic children and become more tolerant eventually.

    After looking after a foster child with the same spectrum disorder I understand your pain at the reactions of the general populous.

    You are right to be cautious considering previous experiences with this mother, monitor the situation and when given the opportunity perhaps explain to her the challenges you face each day and the types of symptoms and difficulties your daughter faces may help her understand the situation better.

    Good on the other parents for standing up to unfair treatment of the special needs wonderfully different and unique children within the school too.

  75. Hi Rhonda and you should see my previous post regarding this as well too.

    I would liken this situation in behaviour at that meeting to the way a herd of elephants protect their young baby calves when a lion approaches the herd and threatens them. They bundle all the young calves up with their feet and or trunks and put them in the middle of the elephant herd to protect them. Just like human parents do in a way, they protect their young as best they can. There is two types of behaviour that both animals and humans exhibit, it is called the fight or flee response. In the case of the elephants they usually flee protecting the young calves in the middle of the pack if they perceive a threat, with the mother elephants and sometimes the male bulls protecting the heard or if unable to flee they will stand their ground and fight.

    If you look at the elephant herd, that is all the parents who were at the meeting including yourself protecting your children. Their thoughts were that your daughter is the lion in the above scenario, and deemed as a threat to the safety of their children. Like the elephant herd does, so do humans act in packs it is called “pack mentality”. Their reaction is one of fear and a lack of understanding and knowledge. All they see is the behaviour your daughter exhibits on the outside at her sensory overload times as deliberate and they think she can control it.

    The parents concerned do not have children with these challenges, and therefor simply do not understand and are acting in fear in packs to eliminate the threat, thus their suggestion being isolating all children with disorders in their own classes and segregating them.

    As you have said perhaps the parents are offering an olive branch to make them better understand the challenges your daughter has along with yourself in day to day caring.

    I do not know if the school has information and handouts to give to other parents in the school to help them understand the different disorders of the children in these classes. If not may I make a suggestion that you speak to the school and suggest that they make other parents aware by sending home pamphlets for them to read to give them knowledge on these disorders, so they are not so fearful and then know what to expect and the signs to look for as well.

    I hope this helps, but I do think the school could perhaps help greatly in this situation, here being a couple of suggestions –
    – by sending pamplets home for parents to read to give them more information.
    – they could also have an information evening for parents, having some of the parents such as yourself offer information on your child’s disorder and answering questions. This suggestion would only be if there is not great hostility by a pack of parents involved.

    I hope this helps and look up pack mentality and fight and flee response too, it may offer you a better idea of the response you received.

  76. Hi Sharon and it is good that it appears on the outside I am organised :p, when in actual fact I am paddling like a wounded duck to get all the work done on our never ending gardening, harvesting, food preservation, craft, home chores, emergency preparation supplies, grocery shopping, & adding to food storage done. My husband & I have a saying which is “put it on the list” for tasks that need to be done as we think of them.

    Wow that is a short growing season, so I understand better how the planting season in the States is so busy for everyone who has a garden.

    Sure I don’t mind sharing and have two internet hobby sewing sites that I have 1 on Etsy & another on Ebay where I list the crafts that I make and do custom orders for people for home décor and various other items as well.

    My Etsy craft store is – https://www.etsy.com/shop/dragonslair64?ref=hdr_shop_menu
    My Ebay store site is – http://my.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?MyEbayBeta&MyEbay=&CurrentPage=MyeBayAllSelling&ssPageName=STRK%3AME%3ALNLK%3AMESX&gbh=1&guest=1

    I am not on facebook, but I do believe that there are a few of my customers who have put treasuries up on there with my products in them. The reason I am not on facebook is because I do not wish to be tracked or contacted from violent family members that I have had to move away from & not have contact with unfortunately.

  77. My kids are also growing and eating a lot of food. The hardest time for me is after school till dinner is ready. They have a snack when they get home (I try to make is hearty & healthy), but they just want to keep eating till we sit down to dinner.

  78. My mother was a nurse. As a child, I rarely got to stay home sick from school with a cold. Her motto was “You got it there, you can take it right back”! I remember going to school with some pretty nasty head cold, too. I learned to suck it up and work through it!!!

  79. One of the biggest hurdles parents of Autistic children have is having a school who also understands the disability. That starts with the principle and trickles down to the teachers, and then to the parents. At the time, we did not have a principal who understood Autism or how to meet their needs. Several children on the Autism spectrum were pulled from the school by upset parents after this meeting. I, on the other hand, feel I am paving the way for other parents and refuse to pull my child. The only way the school system will ever learn how to deal with Autism, is to have the issue in their face and be forced to deal with it.

    The following year, our school had a new principal. She herself had a special needs child and was far more compassionate to our situation. She encouraged me to join the parent council meeting as she felt I really did have something to contribute to the school. The mother of the child my daughter when to the mall with was the head of the parent council…and happens to work at the high school. The feeling I always get from these parents, who are so quick to judge the situation, is that they assume the parent of the child doing these behaviours is not doing anything or doesn’t care. That is far from the truth. Once they got to know me better, the parents realized the behaviours my daughter exhibited were not a result of bad parenting. I consider that a small victory in this fight!

    As for your suggestion of sending home information, the problem is that it is a violation of my child’s right for privacy. Although I am all for educating other parents, not all parents of Autistic children feel the same way. The meeting that we attended was meant to be an educational session for parents…and look how that turned out. Most parents are too busy or not interested in learning about these disabilities unless it directly affects their lives. It’s very difficult to teach those who have no interest in understanding other peoples plights in life. That’s just reality.

    On the other hand, in my experience, children are far more accepting to differences than parents are. Those are the people we need to focus on. In the future, those children will become adults and they will take this understanding and knowledge forward with them. They are the key to a more compassionate society.

  80. I just marvel at how your family comes together to help one another, Athanasia! I’d be lucky if my husband was able to convince even one of his brothers to help us move a few boxes. They definitely wouldn’t commit to helping fix up someone’s house that wasn’t their own. In fact I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t even try to fix their own house…just hire someone else to do it.

  81. I enjoy coming here every week to read everyone’s accomplishments. Very inspiring.

    Instead of buying learning posters for my son (shapes, colors, etc.) I decided I’m going to make some.

    While my toddler and I went for a walk my husband took two huge boxes and made a fort. We’ve been decorating it with markers, crayons, and stickers. Hours and hours of fun for cheap!

    Here are other things I’ve done recently to save money:

  82. Hi Rhonda and thoroughly agree about privacy and yes I also agree that those parents that are not affected think it is a parent’s discipline problem that is the cause of the behaviour.

    With the pamphlets sent home to other parents, I would suggest that no child’s name be linked to any of the pamphlets, but just generic information be sent out on the multiple disorders in general. I understand that some parents with children with any disorder would not like their child’s condition made known to the general school populous for from what you have said past aggression and judging by the other parents.

    It should make a difference if even one parent reads the material that is sent home, and you never know that information may just trickle from them to a few others.

    Totally understand why some of the parents removed their children from the school in the face of the adversity that they received. In the “pack or herd mentality” that was present in that meeting people will exhibit aggression and in this case not logical behaviour when they fear something they don’t understand or have not ever experienced.

    Good on you for standing your ground and I wish you luck with installing some understanding in some of these parents. In the meantime keep working on bridging the gap by accepting birthday invitation for your daughter and at every opportunity integrating your daughter in social activities. Surround yourself in positive people who can both support and understand you and your families situation.

    Every child no matter what their disorder needs to be integrated with love and understanding into a group of similar aged children and have positive social experiences.

  83. Hi Cindy and so relate to snakes being from Australia, but unfortunately we seem to have the largest amount of venomous snakes in the world here. We have to watch out for in the country here eastern browns & red bellied black snakes, along with Redback spiders which are all very venomous.

    Said thing is when you hear the rattle or in our case hiss it is usually to late. I believe you can and have seen here Kevlar chaps or coverings that slide up over your jeans for your legs that go up to your thighs and you can also get Kevlar gloves as well going up to the elbows to protect you from snake bites. The Kevlar is impervious to snake bites and their fangs can not get through the material. It would also offer some protection against thorny blackberry bushes too I would imagine, dual purpose really.

    Our snakes when they come out of breeding or after hibernation can jump from the ground to knee height and above to bite you. As a rule though if you leave them alone they will leave you alone. It is only if you surprise them or stand on them you have trouble. You just have to remember when lifting rocks and things to wear thick gloves and turn the rock away from you and not towards you in case there are spiders or snakes under there :).

  84. Hi Erika. I like to read your blog, but I can’t post a comment, it won’t let me. So came here to comment. I read your post about how you asked your husband to take over the finances due to your high stress level. Just wanted to encourage you some. I have no idea of your faith, but the Bible always tells us that God will take care of us. “But my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Yes, we should handle our money well. But the struggle is His. Just hoping you find comfort in these words!

  85. Tadpole, zucchini relish is wonderful! My sis-in-law made it all the time and people would beg for a jar of her relish. Can’t grow wrong with zucchini!

  86. Hi Rhonda and yes us nurses are harsh mothers :). I did not send my children to school though if they were sick though or showing outward signs of colds and flus and things.

    My son’s went through a phase of in the mornings rubbing the sheets and blankets over their faces vigorously to make their faces hot and flushed and would call me in their bedrooms and tell me they couldn’t go to school as they had a temperature and were sick. I cottoned on really quickly to this trick and would extract them out of bed, give them breakfast and then put my hand on their foreheads and amazing no temperature at all after around 10 minutes. My reply is well no temperature you are going to school.

    This worked perfectly till youngest told me one morning he was sick and couldn’t go to school. I took his temperature with my hand as usual, and he had a slight temperature but in my view not enough to keep him home, so off he went to school. By around 11a.m in the morning the school rang me and said he is really sick, we think he has chickenpox and has spots all over him. Well when he left home there were no spots anywhere on him as he got dressed in the lounge room each morning so I saw absolutely no spots.

    Sure enough he had come down with one of the worst cases of chickenpox I have ever seen, by the time I picked him up he had really nasty red raised spots from the top of his head in his hair down to his waist. His temperature was also really high.

    So moral to the story is that if the children hadn’t constantly been crying wolf sick all the time, I may have taken him more seriously and kept him at home. But OOPS, definitely wrong on this occasion I am afraid to say.

  87. Tadpole,

    I LOVE Zucchini Relish and think you will too! here is the recipe I use:

    Zucchini Garden Pepper Relish

    4 medium zucchini (about 1 1/4 pounds), finely chopped. (Or cucumbers to weigh the same.)
    2 medium onions, finely chopped
    1/2 sweet red pepper, finely chopped
    1/2 sweet green pepper, finely chopped
    2 tablespoons pickling salt
    1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
    3/4 cup cider vinegar
    1 teaspoon dry mustard
    1 teaspoon celery seeds
    1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
    1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    1 tablespoon water
    2 teaspoons cornstarch

    Toss together zucchini, onions and red and green peppers in a large non-reactive bowl. Sprinkle with salt and stir well. Let stand for one hour, stirring occasionally. (If using cucumbers, let stand for 4 hours, stirring occasionally.)
    Drain vegetables and rinse; drain again, pressing out excess moisture.
    Combine drained vegetables, sugar, vinegar, mustard, celery seeds, hot pepper flakes and turmeric in a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Brain to a boil over high heat, reduce heat and boil gently, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender; add water if necessary to prevent sticking.
    Blend water and cornstarch; stir into vegetables. Cook for 5 minutes or until liquid clears and thickens, stirring often.
    Remove hot jars from canner and ladle relish into jars to within 1/2-inch of rim. Process 10 minutes for half-pint jars and 15 minutes for pint jars. (Adjust processing time for your altitude.)
    Makes 4 cups.

  88. Thanks Lorna! I look forward to checking our you wares 🙂 I understand you not wanting to participate on facebook. I am sorry.

    Well, I’m glad that I am not the only one that says “Put it on the list”. With so many things to do it is quite easy to forget things.

  89. Hi Sharon and most welcome. That darn list gets longer and longer each day, but have to admit that it is much better to be busy than sit around and stagnate when you are retired :).

    I think the link to the Ebay one doesn’t work that I listed above, but on ebay I go under the seller name of sewingcreations15 that might help a bit more there.

  90. Hi Mandy and glad I could help, you will find the washing down of walls and things regularly will help a lot, I also use a damp cloth and go around all the skirting boards and flat surfaces to get off all the dust quite regularly too. The reason I use it damp is so that the dust doesn’t fly around everywhere, then I take it outside on the veranda and shake it out and then wash it in the washing machine. Stops me having swollen googly gold fish eyes from dust reactions :p.

  91. That’s a great way to use up all of those broken chips! I have one casserole recipe where you crush them on the bottom of a casserole dish, then add taco-type toppings, then bake–sounds similar. It’s yummy. Your recipe sounds like a great way to use a lot of odds and ends!

    It sounds like your husband has a project for sure!

  92. Brandy,
    I never knew what I did was called tip layering ..that’s good to know. It’s hard for me to decide where my blackberry bushes need to be so they have been moved around a lot. I hope this is my last spot!
    Thanks for all your encouragement. Have a great night!

  93. How nice to get them for free. We used to pick blackberries all the time as kids in the wood. I don’t know where to find any wild anymore…

  94. I love your garden posts. I do not garden very much because of very long work hours but the garden posts remind me of my gardening grandmother, who raised me.,

  95. Lorna,
    May I ask what sugar soap is and where it can be purchased? How much bleach would you put in a gallon of water to clean off mold? Also do you add any kind of soap to the bleach water?

    This is a task that I must do right away!

  96. @ Sharon: I am not overly worried about my credit as I have none and haven’t had any in years and honestly having no credit the odds of getting a credit card at this point for people trying to rip me off are slim. So, I’m not overly worried about me. Now my kids social security numbers being compromised THAT bugs me, but nothing to be done about it. They are keeping a track on their numbers and making sure nothing funny pops up. Here’s hoping everything is fine.

    @ Rachel: Thank you. Yes, Blogger is notoriously nasty about allowing comments…well unless you are a spammer than you somehow get through from time to time *laugh*.

    When it comes to finances my husband and I are still talking about what to do. My husband keeps telling me I’m doing a great job and wants me to keep doing the books, but I am getting so stressed out having no cushion in the bank…I’m just not one of those people who can cut things that close without freaking out. So, we’re talking about doing a true partnership for a while and doing weekly meetings to figure out where every penny is going and where we might be able to improve and such. That seems like the best step forward as at least than I won’t feel like I’m juggling flaming swords and running chain saws without help anymore. I’m kind of hoping with my husband keeping an eye on things too that maybe we can figure out ways to save money I haven’t thought of yet, too.

  97. Just a bit of encouragement. My garden is currently an area of about ten feet by three feet and I’m able to get a TON of produce in that small space. I grew loads of cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli, chard, lettuce and other things in my little garden space the last four years. And I have an exceptionally short growing season in Alaska :).

    Good luck and I hope gardening works well in your new place!

  98. Hi Susan and I believe sugar soap is known and is the equivalent of TSP in the United States if that helps. It is also good for washing down all of your kitchen cupboards with for getting off grease residue from cooking and I use it to wash down all of our venetian blinds after winter to get rid of the soot and dust residue left from running our slow combustion stove.

    The solution for the bleach is 3 parts water to 1 part bleach with no added soap as the sugar soap is the soapy part you wash with first. I use it as is for washing down the walls after I use the sugar soap. Make sure you have the windows open for ventilation though and wear gloves and a mask too is my advice. The bleach solution is also a good disinfectant for wiping down toilet walls with too.

  99. Thanks, Lorna! Can you explain about the paint to prevent mold? My bedroom walls are stained cherry wood, with polyurethane on top of the stain. Has wainscoating witb sheetrock and wallpaper above. Do you think the paint would work on this wood? What is the paint called?
    Our bed has the head against the wall. Dust and mold is on the wood behind the bed. There is no headboard. I have cleaned the wood behind it and the mold comes back.

  100. Actually I have a cleaner I believe I will try. It is orange vinegar, with some Borax and some soap in water. I could clean with that and then use the bleach solution. I dont see how you manage to wash all walls and surfaces several times a year, with the garden and everything else you do! I know I should do that. Just dont know if I have the energy to do it!!

  101. Hi Susan and I used to work in building hardware and yes I sold and mixed paint for customers, so you probably have the right lady to ask that has the experience ironically.

    Before painting you will have to wash down all the walls with TSP to get rid of grease and dust so the surface is clean.

    Ok with your walls with polyurethane on them you will have to get a prepping agent to paint over the wall before you paint them as the paint won’t stick to it otherwise. In Australia we have a substance called esp which you paint over the polyurethane so it can be painted over. I would advise you ask you local hardware store about what this is called in the States.

    After you paint this stuff on you can then paint over the top, again ask your hardware store about paints that include mold inhibitors in them, they are more expensive but they do work.

    If you are planning to use a lighter colour on your walls you may have some problems covering the Cherrywood colour as it is a dark rich browny red colour from what I remember. You can paint a lighter colour over that however but will have to do around 2 coats of undercoat (I would go over it with a light grey undercoat) as it will cover the cherrywood better than a white undercoat. Then go with your top coat, again with the Cherrywood you may have to go with 2 top coats.

    If possible move your bed a few inches away from the wall to allow ventilation where the mold is building up behind the bed and that will help with the mold. I hope this helps.

  102. Thanks, Lorna! Dont think hubby would let me paint the cherry a different color. I was thinking of just painting something clear over it. So you believe the tsp would be ok to clean the wood? I think I will just clean it well and do it more often and not paint. Thanks for your advice!

  103. Hi Susan and we live in a old workers cottage that is totally made of wood and we wash our walls around twice a year with TSP or known here as sugar soap and it is fine and hasn’t effected it. Our walls are painted a light cream.

    Ok with painting the cherry wood walls with the already existing polyurethane finish wash first with TSP. Lightly sand with fine sandpaper, wipe over with a slightly damp tack cloth for getting rid of the polyurethane dust and paint over with another coat of clear polyurethane. Wait for it to dry and see if you like the finish and it is glossy or well covered enough, if not give it another light sand with fine sandpaper and wipe with a damp tack cloth, and do the second coat.

    That should rejuvenate it and make it look like new again.

  104. “I purchased 2 pineapple guava plants at the nursery on sale for $8.88 each.”
    Although I spent some time growing up in Hawaii this one is new to me and I just had to look it up.
    It am not familiar with the Texas growing season but it sounds as if it can be difficult to grow. Have you grown them before now?

  105. Pam,

    I’m not sure what zone you’re in in Texas, but I’ll guess a zone 8 or warmer, depending on how far south you are. I’ve read that pineapple guava can grow outside all year long in zones 8 or warmer.

    I’ve never grown them before–or even tasted them!– but I’m working on increasing the variety and bounty in my garden this year.

    They’re also called feijoa.

    Here’s what I read about them:


    And this:


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