Plum Blossoms The Prudent Homemaker

I cut a few plum branches from the garden to add to the branches I had cut the week before, and made an arrangement for our table. 

I set out tomato plants in the garden this week. I decided to purchase the larger plants this year, with hopes of an earlier harvest (before it gets too hot for them to stop flowering at the beginning of June). I made sure to purchase those plants that had 2 plants in the pot, and I carefully separated them before burying them deep in the soil with fertilizer and some new soil.

Dorsett Golden Apple Tree in Bloom The Prudent Homemaker

I used a $10 off coupon at the nursery to purchase the tomato plants, along with some soil sulphur, new soil, and 2 plants for my dad.

The nursery sent out another $10 off coupon (wrapped around the grocery ads, for those readers who live in Las Vegas). I went back to the nursery later in the week to purchase more manure (having used all of the previous purchase of manure in the garden) for the grass, as well as a bit extra for the garden, and some more plants for my dad. The manure was discounted this week when you purchased more than 10 bags, so I saved an additional $5 off my total.

Apple Blossoms The Prudent Homemaker

I planted seeds in the garden for lettuce, sunflowers, poppies, Bells of Ireland (a new try in the garden for me this year; the package says they self-seed readily, so if they do well I should be able to collect seeds to expand my plantings next year), arugula, and borage.

After planting a female pistachio tree, I planted some more bulbs in the garden that had multiplied in the center circle in the back underneath it. They’re small and will take a few years to grow large enough to flower, but in a few years I’ll have more paperwhite and daffodils in the garden to enjoy.

Flying a Kite The Prudent Homemaker

The wind was perfect for flying a kite

I overseeded the lawn, paying special attention to the bare spots (Japanese beetle grubs are a constant source of trouble in the lawn, as they eat the roots), and then used our manure spreader to spread manure on the lawn. I raked it in and programmed our sprinklers to water the new seed so that it will take. I set the water length the recommend time for new seeds, and found it to be too wet (most likely as tempartures are still nice and not yet too hot here), so I cut the time in half. It was still too wet the next morning, so I cut it again by a fourth and spaced out the time a little more. In a few weeks our lawn will be a dark green, thanks to the manure.

I borrowed a tool from a neighbor. She had offered and I wasn’t sure I needed it, but I decided to try it out, and it worked well. I asked if she was interested in the two pots that I got for free last week, and she said yes, so I was able to give those to her as a thanks.

I used a free sample of sunscreen several days while working in the garden.

I juiced lemons from the garden and froze the juice to use throughout the rest of the year.

Garden Vegetables The Prudent Homemaker

I cut green onions, garlic chives, thyme, Swiss chard and beet greens from the garden.

I used several coupons at Target, along with Target cartwheel, to purchase some needed items, as well as some jelly beans for Easter. (I never did end up buying any candy for Valentine’s Day this month!) I also checked out the Valentine’s clearance items, which were marked at 90% off. I found something for Elsa’s birthday (a Frozen themed notebook with pens, a stencil, and stickers) for $0.40, and a heart-shaped felt sewing kit with embroidery thread, needles, and felt hearts for $0.79 for Wren’s birthday. Wren has been wanting a beginner-level sewing project, and I hadn’t yet thought of anything that would be great for her skill level (and still be finished quickly enough to give her a sense of accomplishment without being too long of a project). 

Bird in the House The Prudent Homemaker

Ezrom looked up from his schoolwork to find yet another bird trying to fly through the window–from the inside of the house. He caught it and took it outside. (Last time it was a hummingbird).

My husband began painting our trailer (that he built years ago, and added to a few month back) with free paint that was given to him.

I found a new-to-me site with some free spelling and penmanship printable pages. The old spelling site I used to use and share no longer offers freebies, nor does the penmanship site. The site is: K-12 Reader . I’ve updated my Kindergarten and First Grade pages with these links (note that the spelling continues to higher levels, if you need a free program). The site also has grammar and writing worksheets.

What did you do to save money last week?


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  1. Hello Brandy and all from Australia :).

    Here is my husband & my frugal accomplishments for the week. We are preparing and planting our winter garden vegetables now.

    Service –
    – Gave excess strawberry runners to 2 of our church members who are starting their vegetable gardens.

    Garden earnings –
    – Made $7 from the sale of vegetables from our home garden.

    In the garden-
    – Picked our first ever grown here sugar baby watermelon from the garden, so beautiful & sweet & saved the seeds to plant next year.
    – Planted 2 rows of snow peas seeds.
    – 1 row of parsley seeds.
    – 2 rows of butter beans.
    – 2 rows of green dwarf bush beans.
    – 1 row of beetroot seeds.
    – Planted a 5 x 2 metre patch of broad beans.
    – Weeded all the front herb & vegetable beds in the front yard.
    – Separated summer strawberry runners from the front yard & made another patch of strawberries.
    – Weeded a 9 x 2 meter vegetable garden bed in the back yard.
    – Picked watermelon, spring onions, sweet corn, spinach, strawberries, snow & greenfeast peas for all teas & snacks during the week.

    Water Preservation –
    – Used all washing machine and shower water all week to water the lawns around the house.

    In the kitchen –
    – Washed all baggies.
    – Cooked all bread from scratch in our bread machine.
    – Cooked all meals from scratch using meat from the freezer & vegetables picked from the garden.

    Groceries –
    – Purchased a years supply of mouthwash or 12 bottles on 50% off special saving $36 on usual prices here.
    – Purchased 2 bottles of magnesium tablets on special for my husband saving $8.70 on usual prices.

    House maintenance –
    – Knocked down all nails sticking out of timber on front and back verandas.

    Craft Earnings –
    – Made $21.90 profit from the sale of 2 eye masks on Etsy.

    Purchases from craft money earned –
    – Purchased 5 pairs of new cotton blend jogging shorts to wear around the house on Ebay from China for $3.78 ea, saving $31.10 on prices we pay here in shops.
    – Purchased 2 mini kitchen timers for $1.71 ea on Ebay, we use these to time our garden waterings & cooking in the kitchen.
    – Purchase 4 suction cup knife sharpeners from Ebay for $1.66 ea, saving $73.36 on prices we pay in the stores here.

    Have a wonderful frugal week one and all :).

  2. We ate all our meals at home from scratch. I have been more diligent about using up all our food with no waste by making things like soup, quiche, and stir fry.

    Doubled my pizza dough recipe and froze half for the future. I also try to keep pizza sauce made and frozen along with cheese to insure that pizzas can be easily made anytime we feel the need for a pizza night. We love pizza!

    For the last couple of weeks I have been coming in under budget in my grocery spending which gives us a little bit more wiggle room in other areas of the budget. I’ve been doing this by only buying what is on sale and what we need rather than what we want.

    I stopped in Dollar General during the week and found several items at a deep discount from Valentine’s day that I can add to our grandchildren’s Easter baskets.

    We had a birthday party for two of our son-in-laws over the weekend. We always do a potluck style dinner for any family get-togethers. There are 14 of us now so it helps everyone’s budgets to do it this way, plus not just one person has to do all the preparations for the meal. As part of our monthly budget we are putting money aside each payday for birthdays, Christmas, and other holidays.

  3. I can’t believe how mature Winter looks. She is turning from a sweet child into a beautiful young woman 🙂
    For frugal accomplishments:
    I got more money into my ebates account
    I cooked all diners myself 🙂
    I was able to change prescriptions me pay $0 instead of $40/month
    Paid outstanding copy’s with FSA card
    Ate free bagels at work
    Found a brand new frame on top of the recycling bin
    Longer version in my weekly recap:
    Have a great week everyone!

  4. Beautiful garden pics, Brandy! I can’t wait for spring, one more month here at least.
    Last week:
    I only spent $50 on groceries.
    We stayed home other than going to work.
    We had a friend of my father in law’s fix our second car. Now that I am working all day my husband needed the second car. It only cost us $50 and we purchased the two parts we needed ourselves.
    I am sick with a cold, I am using every natural/herbal trick I know to be able to function.
    Our toilet has not worked properly for a year. My husband found an inexpensive (yet has a good local reputation) plumber to come check it out for us. It could be due to our very hard water.
    I did the usual: turned off lights and appliances, saved warm up water, watered house plants with leftover water from glasses, washed and reused baggies and jars.
    Have a great week!

  5. Ezrom caught another bird! He seems to have a way with animals.

    My biggest frugal accomplishment which really was over the last 2-1/2 weeks and was mostly my SO’s….. We were able to clear out my father’s 2 car garage/workshop. It was very overwhelming, and I was afraid we were going to have to pay someone to clear it out and haul it all off or rent a dumpster. BUT we placed an ad on the local Facebook garage sale page and a man gave us $200 to pick through and take all that he wanted. Then a neighbor sent his 2 sons down to load up their pickup truck twice with all the metal and junk they could collect and turned that in for money as their payment. We paid a junk hauler $30 to take 3 huge damaged/water logged cabinets (he was across the street clearing a lot so I approached him if he would be interested in taking the bookcases). Then SO cleared out the rest of the garage filling multiple garbage cans and recycling bins at the house 2 weeks in a row, and we took some stuff back to our house that wouldn’t fit there. Another man that lives in the neighborhood took all the paint, cleaners, fertilizers, etc, saving me a trip to hazardous waste (he just inherited a small house and can use them to fix up his house). SO organized the leftover tiles and hardwood floor boards that we wanted to leave for the new owners on the shelves in case they need to make any repairs. He swept down all the walls and swept the floor and scrubbed it all – it looks great and we ended up with $170 left after it was all done!! It was so stressful seeing how packed full the workshop was (and it was so dirty and disorganized and most of it wasn’t worth anything), I felt like crying at times.

    I took $100 of the $170 and bought some flowers for a flower bed at my father’s house to add some curb appeal for when we sell it, mulch, and hibiscus to fill in where some had died along his front fence. The 2 large flowers I bought came in nice flower pots so I brought those back home to use at our house. I can’t have flowers in pots at his house as anything not tied down gets stolen or “disappears”.

    I sent an email to to see if they would be interested in buying some dishes from my father’s estate. I also contacted an antique store in the neighborhood to see if he was interested in coming to my father’s house and buying anything. Still waiting to hear back from both.

    I cashed in some hotel stay points earned from my son’s college orientations, family weekends, etc. I got 24 issues of Family Circle magazine.

    I worked 5 hours overtime.

    I had more ebay auctions close for $35 and started more.

    I’m looking forward to reading what everyone has accomplished. Have a great week everyone!

  6. Your daughter is really growing up, Brandy! Winter looks so mature now. Will she be attending high school or are you going to home school for that as well?

    Here are my frugal accomplishments for this week:
    *Meals made at home this week included pasta with sliced sausage (choice of red or white sauce), ham and cheese crescent rolls with salad, chicken souvlaki with rice and corn, meat balls with mashed potatoes and carrots, a forced leftovers night to clean up a bunch of stuff in the fridge (lots of groaning about this one), sausages with pasta side kicks and corn, and garlic chicken wraps with roasted parmesan butternut squash (first time trying this, but it was really good). Leftovers were also used as lunch options throughout the week.

    *Made more fruit leather this week. I tried raspberry/applesauce this time, using up some frozen raspberries from 2014. My daughter loves fruit leather in her school lunches and I like it because there is no added sugar, just healthy dried pureed fruit.

    *Baked pumpkin chocolate chip bread, pumpkin cranberry bread and 2 loaves of pineapple zucchini bread to use up some of the cooked pumpkin and shredded zucchini in the freezer (still have a lot in there though). To save on hydro, I made three of the four loaves at the same time. I froze all but one of the sweet loaves for later use.

    *Awesome pantry restock finds this week included 12 blocks of cheddar cheese @ $3.88/450g block (put in freezer to pull out as needed), and 2 packages of sub variety pack of cold meat for $1.99 pack (froze one pack for later use). I found a big bag of bananas that were marked on clearance for $1 (definitely over 3 lbs worth which is an amazing price)! They weren’t overly ripe, but had brown marks and some minor bruising so people didn’t want to buy them at full price. We will eat some fresh and I will dehydrate a bunch into banana chips for my daughter to take in her school lunches.

    *Found some caramel filled chocolate hearts on clearance from Valentines Day for $1.99/bag. I will use these for my daughter’s Easter basket by putting them in cute Easter themed baggies from the dollar store.

    *Attended the monthly Handweavers and Spinners guild meeting and enjoyed learning about antique spinning wheels that were made in Canada in the 1800s. In fact I believe we have one of these spinning wheels at the pioneer village I work at, so it was especially interesting for me.

    *Volunteered to help with something at the pioneer village this week. I took a bagged lunch with me and enjoyed some great conversation with my co-workers. A nice outing that only cost a small amount of gas money out of pocket.

    *Did some more mall walking with my husband this week to get some exercise in a warm, climate controlled environment.

    Looking forward to all the frugal accomplishments this week, as always! Have a great week everyone.

  7. We became wood scavengers this week! Found a cool DIY project online (free) to make planter boxes that go around single plastic buckets to create container gardens that have a nicer look to them. We put the word out to friends and were amazed at how many free resources we have been given for wood pallets, fencing, etc!
    We are teaching a gardening class in 2 weeks to our ladies’ group at Church and have been making planter box kits for them to assemble and take home as a free start to gardening for each of them! Hubby and I spent a few hours of our 45th anniversary on Friday (after using gift cards for a nice lunch out!) deconstructing wood pallets! We joked that since each anniversary year has it’s own thing- silver, gold,etc, that 45th anniversary must be a tradition of salvaged wood!!! Lol!
    While we initially were looking for wood scrap for the planter boxes, some of the pallets gave us 2 x 4′ s and particle board sheet that will make our new indoor seed starting shelving to hold 500 seed starts! We will have no cost outlay on this now! And another friend offered to let us have the wood fencing that he took down! One of our early Spring plans was to fence 30 foot of our side yard frontage and this might just work, since I was planning to paint it anyway!!! Whoohooo!!!!
    Other usual frugal things- reduced food waste by repurposing leftovers into lunches, totally new recipes! Made some more freezer meals, rotated some foods out of freezer and put them into recipes so that the amount we spent at grocery store was miniscule!
    Set up our mortgage payment to become bi-weekly instead of monthly. That will give us one additional mortgage payment a year + we rounded the bi-weekly amount up to the nearest hundred dollar (for us, that meant going from a bi-weekly $188 up to $200 bi-weekly) and that makes an additional 1-1/2 principal payments, so each year (of the 15 year note) we will be paying 15+ payments which will automatically reduce our mortgage from 15 years down to 12 without any real effort on our part!!!
    Life is very good when we see opportunities rather than obstacles!

  8. We had 2 birthdays last week. My grandsons are 2 years and 2 days apart in age. We had a big family dinner. Turkey, with the trimmings. Lost of left overs for this week. Used a coupon for a FREE office call to take all the dogs to the vet. Got their shots up to date for less than $80. Got the vet to give me a prescription for Dixie Belle’s medication. Cost $4.00 at our pharmacy instead of more than $20.00 at the vet’s office.
    Hung laundry to dry. Cooked at home. Home made birthday cakes. Boys went to a movie with their friends. I had got discount tickets on line for that. Did a lot of sewing this week. Made new sheets for the day care beds. Made 2 pillows too.
    Made flight reservations for a short vacation in May.
    Caught up the laundry. Read a free book on kindle. We though the closet with cleaning supplies. Did not need to buy anything. Yeah. No money spent there. Went to thrift store. Got 2 shirts for youngest grandson. Spent $2.00. Still need to find some jeans for both boys. Will keep looing for a sale. I know they need them, but they have 1 pair now that fits. I just need to wash them and hang to dry over night. It would just be a bit less of a hassle if they each had another 2 pair. Shorts season will be here soon.

  9. Have you looked into the book “Sewing School?” It is a book that teaches beginning hand sewing for kids ages 5 and up. It was co-authored by a kindergarten teacher who teaches hand-sewing to her students as well as running sewing camps. I checked it out from our library first and then ended up purchasing it to use with our sons. They have loved it, and many projects can be completed in about an hour.

    This week:
    I did our taxes.
    I made homemade yogurt.
    I came in under budget for our groceries for the month, which hopefully will yield some money to begin stocking my pantry.
    I applied for a scholarship for our 3 kids with the parks and rec department, which will save us 50% on things like swim lessons.
    My husband signed up to be our son’s baseball coach which waives the fee for our son to play.
    I cleaned our shed and focused on cleaning our house this week, even though we really don’t have much money to decorate. Having it be clean feels so much better!

  10. I haven’t had a chance to hit Target to check out the clearance rack, but I’d really like to make time to do that. I’ve been saving things in a box for birthdays and Christmas when I find amazing deals, too.

    I need to start making some gardening plans. I tend to go overboard and then regret it when I can’t keep up with everything during our extremely busy summer months, so I plan to make more realistic plans this time!

    We had a decidedly unfrugal week last week. 🙁 But sometimes you just have to roll with what life throws at you! And at least I learned something from it. We are going to bounce right back in to our frugal ways this week (assuming that my son with migraines continues to feel better).

  11. Twice this week I moved a large tree pot full of the heavy, wet snow from our back patio to the uphill side of each of the fruit trees planted on the slope of the back perimeter.

    Pruned back the blackberry canes to force the laterals, & pruned out the dead wood from the red currant bushes.

    Sprinkled 10 containers of dried coffee grounds from the shed on the upper & lower red raspberry beds, the strawberry bed & part of the blueberry bed, making room on the shelves in the shed for other items.

    The outdoor temperature went above 50 degrees on President’s Day, so I sprayed all the fruit trees again with the dormant oil spray.

    Picked up 8 more of the Lodgestones, using the last of the funds on the gift card & a few dollars in cash. I was able to purchase 37 of the 40 Lodgestones using the funds from gift cards, & used part of a pine cone check for the last 3 stones.

    Began working on another set of cloth diapers with flannel sewn down the middle third, to use as burp cloths, & completed four. One of the pieces of flannel for this set came from the flannel cloth bag in which a set of full size flannel sheets were purchased. The bag contained sufficient fabric to make centers for four burp cloths, plus three flannel emergency wipes, one of which is hemmed.

    Finished the maroon mittens while I watched the Republican presidential debate on CBC, “Cheese Slices” on UEN, & “Downton Abbey” on PBS. Placed the mittens I have completed in a clean, empty popcorn tin in the cubby to store them safely. I have 4 pair of mittens & 1 pair of fingerless hand warmers knitted & ready for gifts.

    Took down the Valentine’s Day decorations & brought out both the St. Patrick’s Day & the Easter decorations. Most of my Easter decorations are lambs, & the St Patrick’s decorations are green, so with the exception of the little leprechaun statues, they go well together.

    Cut & thinly sliced the zest from 2 large lemons & put it to dry on a small plate. While the zest is drying, the room where the place is located smells wonderful. Removed the white pith, then cut the peeled lemons in half & sliced them thinly, removing the seeds. Placed them in a quart jar with 2/3 cup of sugar that had been dissolved in a cup of hot water, then stirred & let it sit to make a lemonade concentrate, to use to make either lemonade or lemon tea by the cupful. I also dried the zest from the two oranges that I ate.

    Used several bananas that were turning brown to make gluten-free banana oatmeal pancakes, which I then froze to use for “breakfast-style” dinners.

    Bought 6 tenderloin roasts for over 50% off in the bargain basket. Each of these makes 2-3 meals for my husband & I, with no waste in fat or bone, so I am willing to pay a bit higher for them in the bargain basket.

  12. I sure do love beginning my Mondays with your inspiring posts, Brandy, and then enjoy reading the comments throughout the week. Your garden bed looks amazing. I did start lettuce seeds indoors, so the garden year begins here as well. I always look for cells with multiple plants at the nursery too, & can usually find some. A pistachio tree… yum! I’ve wanted to try Bells of Ireland for some time. The mother of a good friend promised me seed from hers, but then dementia set in. I’ll look forward to seeing how yours do. Such great Valentines clearance deals! I especially love the thought of the heart shaped sewing kit. A sweet gift for sure. I’m joining in here:

  13. I had my first sale on etsy! Elephant watercolor painting!

    Got the freezer really cleaned out.! Saved grocery money and will give it a deep clean before picking up 1/4 beef (raised by my uncle). Hubby hates the cost up front but agrees it’s healthier and ends up saving us $$ through the year.

    Used all the tax money to pay off debt! Feels so good! Should be able to finish paying off another next month leaving only college, van, and house! Such a great feeling.

    Started planning out the garden. Need place my first order next paycheck.

    Ran out of butter and was low on milk so I made a French loaf instead of my regular sandwich bread. Just as yummy! Will do that more 🙂

    Took the kids to storytime at the library and rented movies and books. . I got out of going and the kids love books. Back on our weekly schedule. !

    PlayDate with my sister and nephews and nieces. Brought spaghetti sauce and noodles for all to enjoy (less than $7 to feed 2 adults and 8 kids!).

    At home date with hubby. Enjoyed a movie and homemade sundaes.

    Found my oldest daughters old summer clothes that will fit my younger daughter, only will have to buy a few things.

    Took dog on a walk. This weather so welcome (57 degrees)!

    Bought dog food on sale and a new bowl. Her “old one” is 4 months old – she got big fast, so I will be posted on Fb group to sell.

    Made ham and bean soup yesterday from the ham bone at Christmas. Frugal-ist meal of the week!.. Also made panini style grilled cheese, egg salad sandwich, cheeseburgers, soup, baked oatmeal, breakfast panini (kids loved these :eggs, bread, bacon, small amount of cheese), crockpot chicken, tumeric rice, roasted veggies.

  14. We make a fresh lemon and ginger tea when we get colds. You can also add honey to help with a sore throat. Drink hot 2-3 times a day!

  15. Amazing your son caught another bird, and the picture is really great! I started to go through all of my seeds and I am set. I will only need to buy tomato plants and strawberry plants this year. Some plants are just starting to pop up here (we’ve had some real up and down weather.) I have a bunch of lilies that have just grown wild and taken over a part of the yard. Now that they have started sprouting I am going to dig them up. I have so many, digging up even a dozen won’t look like I’ve dug up any! We had a pretty frugal week last week despite the fact we were on school break. I found out the mall about 20 minutes away offers free programs during the week. I will be keeping this in mind as we look for things to do during April school break as well.

  16. Speaking of free printable pages, have you heard of Dover Publications?
    I signed up for their site and they send emails showing the latest free coloring pages. Their site has Free Samples marked at the bottom of the left side column.

    ***I am not affiliated with the company. I enjoy adult coloring pages and free is within my price range

  17. I need to come to your house for a garden camp so I can shadow you for a week! You just amaze me. I find it hard just to keep my little garden going and my regular landscaping in check.

  18. Yes; I have received their emails for years and I also have them linked on my homeschool pages. I have several activity pages saved on my computer for using again, like the drawing instruction pages and the dot to dot pages. If you save the drawing instruciton ones, you can put together a whole book of drawing instruction pages after a while.

  19. Thank you again for the beautiful photos!
    The spinach plants I had covered didn’t make it – looking back, I think they were on the verge when I covered them with the canning jars. It was a knowledgeable experiment at least!
    Every week I set $5 aside in a jar – this is guilt-free mad money – or real emergency money (to avoid using savings). I find it funny that I have a hard time parting with this mad cash.
    This weekend I treated myself at one of my favorite stores to some colorful knobs. The store bag is beautifully printed, with no identification of a store (name) – it will be used as a gift bag. I repurpose store bags as much as possible – hiding the store name/logo with felt flowers or such – it is nice that this one is ready to go as is.
    I had some lemons that needed to be used asap – so off to make your lemon poppy seed muffin recipe (we both love it) only to realize I am out of sugar. Since our dietary changes, we don’t use sugar very often – so I juiced the lemons and froze until my next stock up trip.
    Instead of a trip to drop off clothing donations, a friend mentioned she needed clothes in the size to be donated. I was able to send them in with a co-worker and not use gas to the drop off center.
    Used Shop Your Way rewards points on sewing needles. $0 OOP. I also saved enough Bing rewards to purchase (free to me) a Fiesta Ware soup mug. I choose Amazon’s free shipping to have it shipped. I don’t make much with these rewards – but the amount I do, does add up over time.
    Hope everyone has a great week!

  20. Good morning all! Brandy, your garden is gorgeous and I love the picture of Winter flying the kite and Ezrom holding the sweet little bird!
    I went grocery shopping this weekend and it wasn’t as frugal as I would have liked so I decided to start using a spreadsheet to track our grocery, household, health & beauty, and pet supplies and I also have pages within the same spreadsheet for weekly meal plans. It was eye opening to take the receipts and break them down on the spreadsheet- I do think it will help and I think the meal planning pages will help me to plan meals more efficiently by copying to other weeks. My biggest challenge is accommodating my high school daughter’s very picky tastes and still creating meals that my husband can take as leftovers for his lunches.
    During my grocery shopping I did use some coupons (mostly e-coupons at Fred Meyer) and I purchased a large box of Nutrigrain bars at Costco because of the instant coupon which took the cost per bar down to .19 each- my daughter only likes the blueberry ones but my husband and I can eat the apple and strawberry ones so none will be wasted. I cooked some pinto beans and froze part of them- I am still working on the perfect seasoning for our tastes but I am getting closer. I also purchased Tide and Downy on sale at Costco – I wrote the dates purchased on the bottles so I can get a better idea on how often I need to buy them- I think the large bottles will last us most of 2016. Fred Meyer had eggs on sale last week for $1.50 per dozen- I bought 4 dozen which will last us for awhile- my husband thought I was crazy but I plan to hard boil some to keep in the fridge as a snack or to add to salads and I will make deviled eggs for he and I a couple of times. This week Fred Meyer has milk and orange juice on sale for .79 per half gallon and butter for $1.99 per pound- even chocolate milk is included so I bought one for my daughter as a treat.
    One dinner last week that was particularly successful was homemade sweet and sour chicken with pork fried rice- it was as good as Chinese takeout- I was especially pleased by the way the chicken cooked up- and it was delicious leftover when I warmed it in the oven. I made the sweet and sour sauce from a recipe I saw online and it was delicious-it called for plum sauce and I used some of my homemade plum sauce. I also stir fried some green beans and added a little soy sauce and sesame seeds- they were delicious and I will do that again for sure. My husband made sausage egg cups and has been taking them to work each day- we had leftover sausage from pizza the week before and he cooked it up with some peppers and onions-he still has enough to make the sausage egg cups a couple more times. He puts 3 or 4 in a microwave container and puts a little salsa on top of each one- he loves them for a work snack.
    I purchased a large bag of broccoli at Costco 2 weeks ago and I am happy to say that I used the last of it with our dinner last night- some of it usually goes to waste when I buy such a large bag so this was a small win for me.
    My daughter uses a particular acne cleaning system-it comes as a set in the stores but she mostly goes through the face wash so she looked on Amazon and we ordered a 2-pack of the face wash only. I also ordered our dog’s dog treats from Amazon-they are cheaper than purchasing them at the pet stores that carry them locally.
    A close friend of mine came to town Saturday and she and I went out to dinner and the Rock and Worship concert- we had such fun! We went to the Bonefish Grill and ate off the happy hour menu and drank ice tea- she paid for our dinner and told me I am a cheap date! After the concert we came home and had tea and homemade snickerdoodles- it was perfect girl time. The concert tickets were only $10 each and the concert was wonderful. My friend spent the night with us because she lives out of town and surprised me with an early birthday gift- her birthday is at the end of this month so I gave her some of my hand knit dish cloths and an embroidered dish towel-no out of pocket expense and she loved them.
    I borrowed a book from the library that I want to read- Orphan Train and it is the “Boise reads” project this year. I almost purchased it on Amazon because I figured I couldn’t reserve it on the library website since so many people are reading it but I decided to check the library first and I’m glad I did- I reserved it and got a text 2 days later that it was ready for pickup. There is a free lecture later this week about the history of the “Orphan trains” that I plan to attend and the author will be here in a couple of weeks to answer questions- that is a free event also.
    That’s all I can think of for now- I hope everyone has a great week!

  21. Hi Brandy and all!!
    Brandy, can you tell me what type of fertilizer you use when planting your tomatoes? Also, what is your best producing large “slicing” tomato? I’ve had great luck with cherry tomatoes (sweet 100’s and yellow pear) as well as paste tomatoes (Roma VF Tomato, Polish Linguisa), but I’ve not found a slicing tomato that produces consistently well in the high desert. We don’t get quiet as hot as you, but very close. And of course, now we have strict water restrictions in CA (32% where I live). I get some production even in July and August (though it slows considerably).
    I didn’t have a garden last year due to the restrictions, but I think we’ve cut in other area’s enough to maintain a garden without a problem. I can’t wait to get out there!!

  22. We didn’t grocery shop last week, but were fine using up what we had in the fridge and freezer for meals. I also made bread.

    I’m cat-sitting for my neighbors and they said we could have their newspapers and not save them, so we read the paper since we don’t subscribe.

    I read the latest Maria Kondo book “Spark Joy” which I borrowed from the library and it has put me on a decluttering spree. I followed her directions and have gone through my closet. Many of the items I got rid of really needed replacing. I found some summer capri pants this weekend at an outlet mall for less than $10 a pair. The old ones I got rid of were worn and poor fitting. I gave a shirt to my mother (she wanted a white one and I had one I didn’t really wear) and pantsuit to my sister (again, I didn’t wear it). I’ll put aside some of the items likes handbags and shoes for a yard sale in a couple of months, but most things will be donated. I also culled several t-shirts with logos (I don’t particularly care to wear logo items). I got them free from work. I saved some for gardening, etc. but many will be cut into rags for cleaning and painting. I also had Maria Kondo’s first book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”. My aunt wants to start decluttering her space, so I gave her my book. My closet looks fantastic!

    I’ve pulled together my books and tonight I will sort through them, saving those I choose not to keep for the upcoming yard sale. My husband is excited about the sale and is going to sort through the garage (he is self-employed and has an office above our garage that he no longer uses) and will get rid of desks, etc. at the yard sale.

    I was able to bring home some cheese, apples, and a cucumber after a work event.

    I turned watery, reconstituted refried beans into soup. My intention was to make burritos, but following the directions to rehydrate the refried beans made them too watery. I added a little more water, some bouillion and onion, corn and chick peas and spices. All the topping for the burritos (avocado, cheese, tomatoes and cilantro, plus some stray corn chips) we placed on top of the soup. It turned out really well!

    Thank you to everyone for sharing and inspiring me to do better!

  23. My apologies, Brandy. I thought Winter was in 8th grade and would be starting high school next fall. I know a lot of families will home school up until 8th grade, then transition them to regular high school, which is why I asked.

    As for the meals, thank you, I’m glad you like them. I like to include them as part of my frugal accomplishments as I’m always inspired to try new menu items from reading what other people have prepared. I hope sharing my meal ideas might help inspire others too.

  24. Susan,

    In the tomato class I took here from the extension service, they recommend Early Girl and Better Boy. Large varieties are not recommended in our heat, nor are determinate tomatoes. Early Girl is nice because it sets before the heat is in. It’s 54 days. Tomatoes don’t set here in July and August. Early Girls is not giant, but it is good for sandwiches. As it gets hotter, they get smaller here, but they are like the size of the tomatoes on the vine that they sell at the grocery store.

    I put bone meal in the hole. This year I added a little epsom salts and a vegetable fertilier as well; I’ll see how it does.

    Are you watering on drip irrigation? That works well for us and really cuts down on water usage.

  25. I went to a Montessori preschool and kindergarten, and they had us doing simple sewing from the age of three. They had small squares of scrap cloth and largish buttons, and started us with sewing the button onto the scraps. Then we learned a simple 9-patch, sewing 9 equal squares together to make a quilt block. We placed the right side of the fabric together, and did a simple overhand stitch to sew the patches together. You can make a little doll quilt with a single 9-patch block, and they can practice by doing one patch per day.

    I picked up some movies from the library and did an in-home date night with my husband the night our son went to a sleepover, and after our girls went to bed. I made homemade cinnamon rolls for a special treat.

  26. Great score on those nursery coupons. Plants can be very affordable if you’re a smart shopper. I also checked out the V-Day clearance at my Target, but it was totally destroyed! Things were literally thrown into a heap on the floor and everything good was long gone.

    I am staying frugal by shopping the deals and using coupons. Last week I got 4 free lotions, $0.99 shampoo and conditioner, $0.38 baby bottles and more. All of my transactions with pics can be found here:

  27. Brandy’s garden pictures and other’s garden reports are making me excited for spring, which might be finally making an appearance.
    Here is how our week went:

    We drove my son home to his city over the mountain. There is a large hardware store there and we had collected enough of the store’s money to buy a much needed tool.

    We did well this week saving money on our groceries. We had enough punches on our punch card for a free jug of milk at a local grocery store. A couple of days later, I took my first long walk down my windy road to the same store to buy myself some coffee cream on sale for half price. It took about an hour, but I really need the exercise. The ham bone my mom sent us home with last week had enough ham on it for sandwiches and a meal of sliced ham and scalloped potatoes. The bone flavoured a big pot of ham and bean soup that fed us for an additional 2 meals.

    I darned a pair of wool socks and a hole in The Man’s sweater. I made laundry soap and dried my clothes on a rack by the stove. I can’t wait until it is warm enough to start using my clothes line again.

    The sun seems to be waking everyone up from their winter hibernation. I talked to a friend long distance using a free internet phone service. I spent an evening with some other friends eating and talking. The next morning I walked down my hill for a second time to have coffee with another friend at a local coffee shop.

    I hope everyone has an amazing week!

  28. Aw! I’m so glad you got a picture of that bird. It’s moments like that kids remember later in life as nothing feels quite as good as helping something that is in need.

    We had a pretty good week on the money saving front. By cutting back my grocery budget by 2/3 we’re saving money slowly and hopefully it will catch the bills that we have to make in the coming months without me having mind numbing panic attacks over how we are going to make them *laugh*.

    My list for the week can be found here…

  29. Brandy,
    I love the picture of your garden lettuces and green onions. A great reminder that I need to get planning on my garden! We had snow again last week in KY so my garden hasn’t been on my radar. 🙂 I recently picked up a book on growing a bee friendly garden and I was wondering if you focused on planting particular flowers that attract bees to your garden? In the past I have always included a few but I hope to include more this year.

    Last week I crocheted another baby hat as part of a gift that I mailed to a friend that lives in another state. I also included a few burp cloths that I made. I’m always trying to come up with lightweight inexpensive gifts to both make and mail for out of town friends. Do you have a go to baby gift?
    I was also able to speak with one of my daughter’s physicians over the phone instead of having to drive into the city for her appointment. Her doctor actually suggested it and I was simply thrilled! We attend so many appointments and therapy sessions that it is always such a blessing when we get to skip the actual driving part of an appointment. I also don’t think a copay will be charged!

    We actually purchased a membership to our local museum. This might not sound that frugal but we use it ALL the time. We also make great use out of the reciprocity agreement and visit other museums completely free. This is wonderful especially when we are out of state visiting family. 🙂
    We also spent much of the week enjoying the simple delights of winter: cozying up with good books, sledding, and making homemade hot chocolate. Pictures and links on my blog here:

  30. I grow borage for the bees, but I also have the fruit trees that blossom, and then other flowers that they visit, too, including larkspur, zinnias, chamomile, green onion flowers, etc. My plan this year is to grow more flowers in general, so we should have no trouble attracting bees.

    My go-to baby gift is an embroidered onesie, that I stitch by hand. I usually do the child’s name, but I have done flowers, too. I’ve also made flannel burp cloths and embroidered bibs, too.

  31. You are truly my gardening hero!

    This week, our frugal accomplishments include:

    I volunteered for my local sports league this season, so I got free registration, a $40 savings, as well as $25 in credit to spend on food and drink each week at our sponsor bar…. I use it for dinner Thursdays!

    We used leftover roasted chicken in a tater tot casserole to make a delicious breakfast!

    My husband participated in a beard and moustache competition (!) that he entered for free, but that came with a gift bag including several full-size grooming products. They will last for months, and save us a little money.

  32. Thanks Brandy! I will give Early Girl a try. I’ll see if I can sneak some bone meal in without my dog noticing. 🙂 She’s so good and doesn’t bother my garden generally, but the one year I tried to use bone meal she dug in my veggies. She’s much older now, so I think I’ll give it another try.

    In previous years I hand watered. This year however will be drip irrigation. I hoping that will keep my water consumption to a minimum.

  33. The herb “feverfew” has been know to cure migraines. I have seen it happen with three of my friends. Get it from the health food store. Take a few pills a day for about a month before you can expect any improvement. I grow it and dry then put it in capsules.

  34. Thank you for the K-12 grammar link Brandi, as I am helping my grandson via emails (Gr. 6). I will use be using those.
    I spread some new topsoil with fertilizer today but we are so far behind your growth …. here on Vancouver Island the daffodils are just coming out, although beautiful Victoria has plum trees blooming! I do enjoy your blog and use many of the recipes, hints etc.
    Ann Lee

  35. Hi Faith and congratulations on selling your first item on Etsy, how exciting.

    Always great to bring some extra money into the home. I have a shop on Etsy and one on Ebay. It regularly paid for 10 out of 12 months last year for all of our home telephone, internet and mobile phone usage and the other 2 months most of it, so helps immensely. This year we have been using the funds earned from my crafts for topping up medical supplies, clothing, building up our food storage to 12 months and any prepping items such as fire starters, water purification bottles & military mini field style water purifiers, and little gifts to top up our gift cupboards too.

    Next month we will go back to using those funds to pay for for all the internet and phone usage in the home as we have now purchased all that is needed for the home, clothing and emergency kits which will be good.

    Good luck & I hope it takes off for you and like us helps you pay some additional bills & or grocery bills in your home.

  36. Last week I completed our taxes and got them filed, so that saga is over. I always try to arrange a refund, although I know logically and financially it is advantageous to avoid a refund. We always put the refund in our emergency savings fund. It appears that we will get our refund next week, very speedy.

    We will be able to meet our grocery spending goals this month, so that makes both Jan and feb coming in on or under budget. There are two of us and one dog, and this years goal is $300 per month. I hesitated mentioning it because there are so many truly fabulous people on this blog who feed their much larger families on this amount, but for us, it is a huge improvement. Last year we averaged almost twice that. I spent time and money last year stocking up our pantry and now we should be in a stable state to glean the benefits. Thanks everyone for the encouragement and teaching. And for those that are spending $500-700 per month, it is possible to get to $300, eat well and live to tell the tale 😉

    On the minus side we ate out three times, which is more than usual for us, and the food was expensive and mediocre. Sigh. We are back to eating home cooking this week.

  37. Ann,

    My daffodils are just starting to open, and that is my plum blooming in the top picture, so perhaps we are not so different! The chard, leeks, and green onions grew all winter, and they should grow for you all winter on Vancouver Island without a problem. Check out Territorial Seed Company’s PNW fall/winter garden plans; they are perfect for you to see what you can grow all winter in your area, complete with planting dates.

  38. I love reading everyone’s posts 🙂

    It has been a couple of weeks since my last post, here is what we have done in the way of frugality:

    ~We switched cell phone carriers. We had At&t but were paying around $110.00 a month for 3 lines (my mom lives with us) and that isn’t even with a smart phone. We looked into Cricket and are now paying $75.00 a month 🙂
    ~We bartered some handmade soap for heirloom tomato seeds.
    ~I was thrilled to find that we didn’t need to purchase anymore seeds for our garden this year and should be pretty well set for next year with the exception of a couple of items.
    ~I received a free magnet and calendar from Shutterfly only paying for shipping.
    ~I had a credit from Amazon and used it towards a Dwarf Mulberry Tree and only ended up paying around $4.00 for shipping. We will keep it in a pot so in colder weather we will bring it indoors but keep it out when it is warm.
    ~I was ready to throw away some catalogs but am glad that I went through them first! I received a Breck’s catalog with a $25.00 credit and $4.95 shipping. I found a Burning Heart Dicentra (I have been wanting one forever!) and it was below the $25.00 so shipping was only $2.94 🙂
    ~I made moist dog food. I accumulate meat and vegetable scraps in the freezer over time. When I have enough, I place thawed items in the crockpot with a low sodium stock and add rice, sometimes cranberries too and cook down. Once cooled I run mixture through the meat grinder and place in small containers to freeze. Our pups get dry food but on the weekend I give them moist too 🙂
    ~Made more Ketchup, made more bread.
    ~Re-used baggies.
    ~Found a killer deal on Vacuum cleaner bags. We have an older model Electrolux and the prices of the bags have gone up astronomically! I found an opened box on e-bay for a song 🙂 My husband purchased the vauum in 1995, we married in 1997 and vacuum at least once a day (we live in the country, have 2 dogs and a woodstove). We have only spent $60.00 dollars for replacement parts the whole time. I highly recommend if anyone is looking for a vacuum, try e-bay for an older model Electrolux, we love ours!
    ~Thrift Store finds: A Lodge Enameled Panini pan with lid for $12.00. Looking them up online they sell for around $35-40 dollars. I also found some brand new furnace filters for $1.00 each and 16 wooden hangers for 50 cents 🙂
    ~I also found a couple of books on Amazon for Edible Landscaping (thank you for our inspiration Brandy!). They are used but I got them for very low prices and they came in excellent condition. I am really looking forward to incorporating more veggies and herbs throughout our yard, not just in the designated vegetable garden 🙂

    I think that is all for now 🙂 Thanks Brandy!!!

  39. I have a question about selling things on eBay and Etsy. I’m talking about if you do this regularly and have some monthly income from these sources (not if you sell just a couple things a year). If you do this where I live (Washington state in the US), there are state and city regulations that require you to set up an actual business with licenses and fees to be paid. A special tax also has to be paid annually based on what you earn. Is it like this in other areas? I have had a home based business in the past, and I think it would be fun to sell things on eBay and other sites, but I don’t want to actually set up a business. I am also loathe to get into trouble with any of the relevant tax/state/city authorities if I do not do this. How do other people deal with this?

  40. I chuckled about your “salvage wood” anniversary. A few years ago we spent a romantic Valentine’s Day inoculating oak logs with mushroom spores 🙂

  41. Do you by chance have a link to that DIY project? I have garden boxes (plastic) that I really want to have a wood box built around. Thanks!


  42. We were traveling back from Florida at the beginning of the week, hence the comments about saving money in the airport at the beginning of this list! It was hard to come back to cold winter after having a lovely week in Florida!

    – packed two pb&j sandwiches and leftover snacks from my in-laws to take to the airport (however we had a lot of unexpected delays so we ended up needing to buy some food anyway after the sandwiches were gone)
    – My mother in law sent us back with the rest of the snacks she bought for the kids (goldfish and honey buns)
    – My husband had four passes to the United Club so we could spend a few hours in there during our delays (found out after we already bought food that they have free snacks and drinks! I did have some nice free wine though!)
    – Packed empty water bottles to fill up once we got through security
    – Husband was able to bring back some snacks and drinks from his work meeting
    – Got back from Florida and replenished our cupboards and fridge with Aldi deals
    – Went to Meijer for the remaining stuff I needed and got $2 in Ibotta rebates (had a coupon for $2 off a Quorn meatless frozen product and a $1.75 Ibotta rebate on it also making it only 50 cents)
    – Found really cute Valentine’s Day pillow and blanket sets for 50% off (so $5) at Aldi. Got one for my son, daughter and niece for Valentine’s Day next year
    – Sewed the bottom of my dog’s bed to extend its life
    – Got a beautiful yellow INC coat from goodwill for $3 and there’s a slight tear in the lining…sewed that and it’s good as new.
    – Mended a hole in my sons t’shirt
    – Mended a hole in my cardigan
    – My car needed a new hard drive and it was replaced for free. I got some work done while I was in the waiting room and enjoyed a complimentary cup of white peach tea and hot chocolate.
    – Made a photo book of our Florida trip and only had to pay shipping because I got a code for a free book in my kohls bill (over the last couple years I have made about 12 Photo books for free from various offers!)
    – My husband worked from home on Friday and I didn’t go anywhere so we had a “no-drive” day
    – Instead of tossing the grapefruit I’ve had forever I cut it open and discovered it was still good and really tasty

  43. Hi Hilogene and thank you for mentioning your monthly grocery budget as it relates closely to our own here in Australia as our groceries are a far higher price than in the U.S due to our low currency conversion against the U.S at the moment. It sounds like you are doing well cutting down your expenses so much from what they were as we have been doing.

    Our grocery budget is $280 a month as we are now transitioning into monthly shopping now from fortnightly. We have noticed a considerable drop in our grocery spend by shopping monthly so far. Mainly because we have reached a grocery level where we can now wait for specials on most of the items we regularly purchase, I have decided to work on stocking up 1 particular item in the groceries each month and it seems to be working. We will get a more accurate view as of next month, but I have noticed now that I am far more diligent in checking prices on all of our items before I purchase anything, including checking out the dollar stores in our area which offer far better prices on some of the items we buy than in the supermarkets. I have also noticed by shopping the sales that our household grocery store AKA food storage is getting far larger for less money as well. For household items & clothing which are so expensive here in Australia due to our lower currency rate, I check on the internet and purchase a lot of items from overseas places such as China, Hong Kong & sometimes Indonesia, which saves us a huge amount on these costs should we purchase them here in Australia.

    Just to give you an idea on price rises here in Australia I will mention that we purchased a ride on lawn mower a neat year ago for the cost of $5100, the equivalent size, brand, specifications and model now here is $9200. I previously mentioned this in this blog estimating it had risen to $7800 – $8500, well guess what I underestimated. Our second hand clothing, furniture & bric a brac stores in our country area that I have seen to so far have clothing that is more expensive than buying them new in the stores. I love to support charities but not when it is in detriment of my own finances. A new skirt for instance here in Australia is $29, and I purchased far nicer new on the internet recently for $11.80 delivered to my home. I saw a couple more clothing charity stores the other day and will work on dropping in there and browsing and see what sorts of prices they have to cut costs too.

    We used to shop fortnightly and the bill was around $220 a fortnight for just the 2 of us, we do not have animals and we were stocking up all of our groceries to a 12 month supply then. So like you are struggling along and getting better & lower grocery costs as the time goes on in spending.

  44. No, I just made it up recently. I take boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut them into bite sized chunks, then season the raw chicken well with seasoning salt (cheap version of Lowery’s seasoning salt) and let it sit for a few minutes. In a frying pan, I heat a bit of oil and a bit of butter (about equal portions and just enough to saute the chicken in), and a good helping of minced garlic (about 1 tablespoon or 2-3 cloves), then saute the garlic for a few minutes until slightly golden. Add chicken to the pan and saute the chicken until cooked. We used this chicken to make the wraps, adding our favourite fillers. I like lettuce, grated cheddar cheese or feta cheese and a bit of ranch dressing, but my husband likes to add a bit of spice with a splash of hot sauce and maybe some salsa. You can easily modify to your own taste and what veggies/toppings you have available. I hope you like it!

  45. I love looking at your garden, Brandy. If I can get the house ready to sell, and list it, I may plant a few things in pots. Because we have no idea how long we are going to be here before it sells, it’s not worth growing my usual mega garden. I can do a garden with my sister this year, but it won’t be as big, or the same. Next year, I’ll make up for it, but I won’t say I’m not having a hard time with it.

    I have been spending hours and hours sorting, cleaning, throwing away, hauling things to thrift store, selling on e-bay, and burning trash this week. I was able to sell a few things on e-bay, found a piano book I did not know I had for my daughter, made a gluten-free chocolate cake and a few more things. Some parts of the house are looking excellent. Some parts are still not looking how I want them to. I’m going to keep reminding myself that getting it to look right for a potential buyer might earn us thousands! My husband reminds me that it will never be perfect–to just get it as good as we can.

    I’m going to get a routine check=up tomorrow at the doctor, because we still have our regular insurance for a little longer. I want to get through all of the routine things before it runs out. It’s been good insurance, and I figure we will not be able to afford as good of coverage when it runs out, so I’m covering my bases.

    Rob went to get the camper back from the shop on Saturday. There is one more thing to be fixed. As much as I want it back, he left it there. Now is the time to get everything fixed–not later when we are between houses and need to stay in it for a few weeks. Almost all of the work that is being done is warranty work, so that’s good.

  46. I didn’t keep track of what we did last week, so this posting will be sketchy. Ah well.

    In addition to our regular things (books/movies from the library; making our own bread; gardening; etc.), the key frugal accomplishments were:

    Hubs fixed a problem on his truck’s ac/heating by repairing a hose (the cost–less than 50 cents!)

    I cleaned up our “craft closet” and found a bunch of gift wrapping supplies. (Lesson learned: Keep things tidy and you won’t waste money buying things you already have. :))

  47. Hello Amanda , I am in Lexington where are you located in Kentucky ? I have been following Brandy for a few years now and love her blog . I have learned so much and love to share some of her wonderful ideas with friends

  48. Becky, not only can it earn you more, it can help your house sell faster (so fewer mortgage payments to make) and you will not have as much to move, which can save you thousands alone in moving costs if you are renting trucks. Plus, it will make your life nicer when it comes to unpacking boxes at your new place, as well as nicer before you move, having fewer things to deal with!

    A bit of a garden is not a bad thing when it comes to selling. Depending on when you can plant and when you are planning to move, you can still put in some fast-growing items, such as lettuce and radishes. The yard won’t have a big blank spot, people will see the potential for a garden, and you’ll still get to harvest those items. Most houses take at least a month to close, unless you’ve got a cash buyer, and in some areas it takes longer, so keep that in mind when planting.

  49. Hilogene, I agree with you about people on this blog who feed large families on very little- and I am still trying to find a $$ amount that works for my relatively small family (3 plus a dog and a cat) but as of right now I am glad that I am focusing on it because I know I can improve from what I was doing. I agree with you on the eating out- when we do it, we are almost always underwhelmed by the experience. Last night was our wedding anniversary and our home cooked dinner was so much better than anything we could have gotten in a restaurant unless we spent a small fortune. My teenage daughter loves to eat out- especially on nights that my husband is working but I am breaking her of that bad habit that I created by writing a menu plan and sticking to it. Progress comes in baby steps at my house….

  50. *Well, our daughter’s car is toast – estimated cost to fix it was $7,500 (no, that is NOT a typo) so needless to say – we sold it, as is, with full disclosure of what the dealership thought the problem was. We used our tax refund money (which was supposed to get us ahead on stocking up, doing a couple things on our bus/RV and getting the reservations set for a trip this summer 🙁 ) + our daughter had to clear out her savings as well to pick up a used car. I just hope THIS car doesn’t have any issues……
    *I sold an unused desk and 2 rabbits this week and put the money in to stocking up on pet food. My hours had to be cut at work so we are trying to quickly get the pet food up to a 3 month supply – my job has always been used for feeding and vetting the pets. Luckily, I won’t lose my one benefit – free yearly vax and heartworm testing for 2 of our dogs. This saves us somewhere around $250-$300 a year.
    *I filled out a survey to get a free cheesy bread or cookie dough with our next pizza order.
    *I filled out 2 rebate forms – usually I forget until it’s too late. This time I made myself do it as soon as I got home. $6 for one and $25 for the other.
    *I stocked up on more pumpkin while Aldi still has it for .89 cents for the puppy and my pumpkin muffins.
    *I made all our meals (except the pizza night take and bakes) at home and stuck to the menu – even when there were complaints.
    * I started my perennial herbs in milk jug “greenhouses” and set them outside. I normally would just buy them since I only need a few of each but I decided that really was wasting my little bit of gardening funds so I bought seeds instead.
    I made myself some microfiber cloth pads that fit onto my old school swiffer. I picked up the cloths at the dollar store (2 in a pkg) and cut each cloth into 2 and sewed down the short sides to make a pocket for the “mop” head of the swiffer. Now I will no longer need to buy the over priced cleaner pads for it and I will also reuse the last container for these mop heads – that way I can keep them soaking in a cleaning vinegar solution for quick, easy mess cleanups.
    I think that’s about it this week. Hope ya’ll have safe, frugal week!

  51. Thanks for the encouragement! This is feeling like a job that never ends….so every bit of encouragement helps. I can keep cleaning and sorting after it’s listed, and get rid of more, I just want it to look good on the surface! (And in the closets because I would open them and look if I was thinking of buying:))

    We hope to list it in the next couple of weeks. We will move as soon as it sells, which could be fast, or slow–no way to know. We will park the camper at my sister’s house, and alternate between her house and campgrounds for a few weeks until we have found a new house and purchased it. Although it will be tight for space, with all 3 girls plus us, we will save a tremendous amount doing that vs. renting an apartment. Also, it’s a nice camper, with a small bunkhouse at the end with a bed for each girl. I’m hoping to take a small trip or two to the beach or to visit friends, since we will already be loaded up:)

    Because my husband does not have a job, we will shop until we find what we have the $ to buy outright. We will not qualify for a loan. We kind of know what we may have left, but nothing is a sure thing until we have the cash in hand, so I’m not sure what the new place is going to look like. We have done hours and hours of internet research to make sure that there are actually houses out there in our price range, and there are, so it should just be a matter of finding “it” and buying it.

    So, we will pay storage for a lot of our belongings, which is another reason I’m being so ruthless when I sort. I also know that our new house will be much smaller with the amount of $ we plan to have left over, so I won’t have room for it all. My brother-in-law has a semi-truck trailer parked at his place that we are loading the items from Rob’s shop into. His tools and things would be so expensive to replace that we are grateful we can hang on to them until we see what living situation we are facing.

    Although these decisions have been difficult to make, I am at peace with them. I’d far rather be proactive and make hard decisions, then to just sit back. Once we own a house free and clear, and our living expenses are very low, it will give us many, many options instead of my husband being forced into a job that isn’t right for him just for money.

  52. Hi Ann,
    We used to live in the Victoria area and loved that you could garden all year round, barring the odd winter with unusual cold temperatures and snow. Terratorial Seeds are no longer in Canada but we have used West Coast Seeds for years. I believe they used to be the same company. West Coast Seeds is based in Delta.
    Another Ann

  53. Lorna,
    Thanks for the comments on your budget and ways to save.

    Why are your Australian prices increasing so much? I seem to recall a tax on imports? Is that what is affecting you? At least hopefully your meals, poultry, fruits and veggies can be Australian, or are those prices high too?

  54. Amazed by the abundance of Meyer lemons behind Winter! As your kids get older, it must be getting tougher to keep them full but you’re doing an amazing job.

  55. Hi Sharon and what a great saving on swapping your cell phone company, saving $40 a month is huge !.

    I love bartering also and getting heirloom tomato seeds is always good, we all should work on keeping our heirloom varieties going in all of our gardens if we can, only problem is the cost you pay for them if you have to buy them.

    With your vacuum bags we find the prices to be exorbitant as well for our vacuum cleaner as well if we purchase them though standard sources. We too buy the aftermarket variety for our Kirby vacuum cleaner on Ebay and find we pay only about 25% of the cost and we buy them in bulk amounts which lasts around 2 years. Seems vacuum cleaner bags have now reached what I call mortgage your house for prices as well.

  56. I am having a good start to my week. Yesterday, I had a rare day off work so I checked out a few stores. I found a new, wonderful, winter coat for my daughter for $5.00 off the final clearance rack! This will be a Christmas gift. Last year I did a very poor job of purchasing/making Christmas gifts throughout the year. This year, I am doing a much better job. I found a pack of 5 very nice dish clothes on clearance at Target for $2.50. I used thin, cotton yarn I already had and crocheted an edging for each one. I will pick up a bottle of nice dish soap to go with each one and have five more Christmas gifts ready to go.

    I also purchased a nice pair of tennis shoes and a clearance shirt for my 3 year old grandson’s Easter basket. He loves Legos and I managed to find a Lego set on clearance for $5.00. This way his parents can save their money by not having to purchase shoes for Spring/Summer for him. I like to purchase useful gifts. I only have one grandchild so I can splurge a little on his Easter basket.

    It feels good to have his Easter basket ready to go. I also feel good about having a nice start to Christmas- it really helps keep the cost down when you can find great deals and spread the cost over the entire year. I hope to keep this going, adding a few things each month.

  57. Hi Beth and Hilogene and got to agree coming up with a grocery budget that works for your own family is the challenge. It can be especially hard if you have people with allergies or finicky eaters in the family as well. Your grocery spend is also higher initially when you are building up to a 12 month or higher grocery storage in your home from scratch, as we were. But it will once done save you many dollars in the long run buying on special and having the peace of mind to know that you have back up supplies in times of trouble, loss of job, or in our case simply can’t go shopping because of my husbands back injuries and mobility problems.

    The main thing is that we all work on our own individual budgets and improve them by spending less. Any progress we make for the better is fabulous.

    Do agree too that the eating out experience on the very occasional times we do it is also underwhelming as well, the taste of the food definitely does not come up to scratch compared to picking fresh vegetables out of our garden each night for tea. The wonderfully fresh taste & smell we get does not compare.

    My husband & I are saving for our first home to buy with cash, so particularly for us it is important for us to cut down our expenses and to increase our savings. My husband is on what I would call a fairly good military compensation pension (full pay military), and I on a carer’s pension to look after him, still together we are on wages that would only make one middle wage earners salary each month. We also are renting a home while we save, so that is another expense to consider as well.

    Still we are able to save around 46% of our combined total not net pay through growing our own vegetable gardens, shopping the sales on everything, by me picking up a little money through crafts I sell & vegetable sales from our gardens, and my husband from odd paying mowing jobs he can pick up.

    It all counts !!, and that is what we are all here for is to encourage each other, hopefully get a bit better at saving money each month, and ultimately seeing a change for the better in our individual finances.

  58. This comment has nothing to do with today’s post but I just stopped by to say that many times over the years (has it been years?….hmmmm) I have been in a particular situation where I needed encouragement from someone “who’s been there”. And so I read “When Queens Ride By”. I have read it many times. This sweet story has never failed to lift me up. And today, I needed to read it again. Thank you for being ever consistent in your encouragement through your blogging. I think there are many of us who sometimes just need a little pat on the back from “someone who’s been there”. And we get that from your writing. At least I know I do……
    Thank you

  59. Hi Tina and in your case I would perhaps look up the website of the tax office in your country to see what information they have on their sites to guide you so you are within the boundaries of your countries law. If the information is put in such a way that unless you are university professor you can’t understand them, give them a phone call. Also you could contact the taxation accountant that you may deal with who works out your taxes each year, and run this scenario past them, they are usually really up to date with the current tax laws and regulations in your country as well.

    I know here in Australia you do not have to register a business unless you are earning over $50,000 per year, which in my case I am not. We also have the ability to be sole traders if your income is under this figure as well without paying a business licence fee etc.

    I do know that in Australia as I am on a pension, I am allowed to earn a certain amount before my pension is affected and don’t need to report these earnings unless I reach over a certain figure, which I currently am not.

    I hope this helps and gives you some resources to work with.

  60. Most welcome Faith, I am all for encouraging anyone to be as self sufficient as they can by earning extra income where they can using the gifts and talents that they were born with. Yes we all have talents and one of yours appears to be watercolour painting.

  61. Hi Hilogene and most welcome for the grocery tips.

    The difference is that most of our items here in Australia are imported machinery, grocery & appliance wise, a lot of our primary industries have simply closed down and moved bases overseas or gone broke not being able to compete with cheaper items being produced in places like China and the like. Another major factor is that our currency has devaluated 40% in a year against the U.S dollar, thus raising the price of items dramatically, sometimes up to 50% or more in price. I watch the stock markets carefully and knew this was going to happen and prepared accordingly by putting extra funds away to purchase items we needed back then.

    With fruit, vegetables, meat, milk & cheese we are fortunate that we still have a lot of farms producing these items here in Australia and the prices are not too bad, except for vegetables prices that have soared. Even then there are a lot of farmers who are struggling at the moment with either drought, flooding, pest invasions and the like. Some farmers have had to simply walk away from their farms things have been so hard and they have gone broke and lost everything. Even the amount of farmers have reduced due to environmental conditions they have faced and soaring debts. The rate of suicide in our primary producers in these areas have skyrocketed.

    We are fortunate that we planned ahead on growing all of our own vegetables & herbs on our 1/2 acre here so our prices of our vegetables are very low. With the selling of some of the vegetables from our home garden and what my husband brings in from paid gardening work occasionally it means that the vegetables we eat are technically free, so can’t complain about that.

    Another factor is our large supermarkets that a lot of our farmers supply have unreasonable expectations on exact sizes of vegetables they will accept down to the millimetre sizing. We recently heard of a local farmer who had his whole crop of capsicums rejected because they were a couple of millimetre too large, he the next day destroyed the whole crop with roundup.

    When we purchased our lower end industrial ride on lawn mower our currency was worth $1.10 per $1 of American currency, so things to purchase then were a great price and cheap. My husband and I keep an eye on what the currency conversion rates are doing, and purchase everything we need when our currency rate is high against the U.S dollar. We recently purchased an additional freezer for the kitchen as we had been told prices would soon be rising around 50%.

    I believe a similar devaluation of currency against the U.S has happened in Canada too so they are suffering similarly.

    Just to make life even harder for us the government is bringing in a 10% import tax on all overseas purchases in around July this year as well, so even items we purchase from overseas will cost more as of then too. You will notice I have in my posts been stating I am buying all of our needed items of clothing, small appliances and prepping items for a few years ahead before this happens to beat further price rises as well.

    We already have a GST of 10% on all non basic items we purchase in Australia that goes to the government. The bringing in of the 10% import tax on all purchases from overseas are the governments way of evening the playing field on imported goods verses Australian goods unfortunately. But bottom line is that will carry through to us and mean higher prices all around again for us the consumer.

  62. Mandy,
    My naturopath recommends 2000 mg of vitamin C daily as a preventative, and 1000 mg of Vitamin C every 2 hrs. if you feel a cold coming on. I usually beat any cold in 3 days now, whereas before I would get many colds each year, usually bronchitis, and once in a while pneumonia. I teach preschool, so am in the cold firing line regularly!

  63. Hi Elizabeth and I do agree with you, and also love the story “when queens ride by”, a good reminder that in the bad times it is particularly important to look after yourselves and your family.

    All of us need, especially when the cost of living is rising so much around us to have people we can both get advice, recipes and encouragement and bounce ideas off.

    A little unknown fact about my husband and myself is we lost our home we owned due to legal action by my greedy family members which was finalised in December of last year. Sad fact is that a legal move that was supposed to protect me, turned into family members who wanted it all now rather than waiting for me to pass. So we are starting again from scratch in our 40’s and 50’s to save for a new home while renting.

    I cannot tell you the hurt and betrayal I felt when my whole family was involved in this, and the many nights of tears.

    Still as we know we cannot dwell on such things and that we must endure our trials well.

    I look on this experience as good and as a learning curve, which has led my husband & I further to the road of self sufficiency, saving and frugality. Honestly I would say this experience has made my husband & I happier & more united as a team to learn new skills, grow vegetables and makes me look at the challenge of saving money and made me appreciate more what we do have.

  64. Debbie, it sounds like you and your other half did an immense amount of work. You must be so relieved to have that done, and so resourcefully.

  65. Rhonda, I never thought of adding cranberriescto pumpkin bread ,though that seems a natural. Did you use crasins or chopped frozen cranberries?. I have both.

  66. Becky–Your plans for moving sound good. However, if you can locate some inexpensive seeds, I would encourage you to feel free to plans some basic vegetables. Some people would appreciate finding a ready-made garden! We served one church in farming country where the people refused to plow up the garden spot for us–we would have taken time to come and plant it. It was a warning of how we would be treated. We left after 2.5 years. Having a camper to live in will be a blessing! Even though we missed the garden one year, we found a good farmer’s market with many Amish and Hmong farmers.

    Your husband sounds very talented, so we pray he will soon find a new position. when my husband was in Seminary, we worked at a funeral home. It did not pay well, but we learned so much useful information.

  67. Brandy, your pictures are lovely! This week I saved a dollar a gallon on gasoline at the Kroger with my grocery points. I found 4 audiobooks on overdrive through our public library, so I can listen to them while I clean. A good friend of mine gave me a garbage bag of girl clothes for my 7 and 9 year old. They were in excellent shape, my girls thought it was Christmas. 🙂 I sifted through my youngest son’s and daughter’s clothes for items to take to Goodwill. The weather has turned here, and by the time I need warm clothes for them, they will need a bigger size. I gave an old desktop computer we no longer need to a woman in our ward. I painted our master bedroom a light green. I have some curtains in the master bedroom that I’m going to modify to make them more aesthetic.

  68. I’m hungry just from reading this. Thanks for sharing your recipe. I plan to make this very soon, probably with a sriracha mayo.

  69. I am so glad that we are careful with our finances in general and particularly because I need $2000 of dental surgery. The periodontist says I had bad luck because I did everything right. Ugh. I took a bag of outgrown kids spring/summer clothes and shoes to the consignment store. Usually I choose cash since this store has pretty high prices, this time I took store credit because the fall/winter was on clearance and they had plenty that the girls will need in the next year or two. Other than a pair of $4 sneakers, everything else was no more than $2.50. I managed to stretch that $37 credit until it screamed. My five year old was trilled that I found a Pottery Barn fairy wand for $2. The wand that was her holiday present was poorly made and fell apart in a month- it no longer matches her wings but she doesn’t care. I still have $1 credit left for next time. This same child announced that her shoes were too small and she was right. I was able to go into the closet and check the shoe bin for the next size which we had and she is happy.
    Like many here, I am concerned about the future and am picking things up as I find them before prices really go up. My husband’s job is secure but my health isn’t and having a stockpile makes his life easier. I was able to buy laundry detergent for free with coupons, on sale and CVS extra carebucks when I picked up prescriptions last week and bought the girls long underwear for next year for $3 each. We have been organizing and decluttering in general which helps make being home a pleasant experience. Other than when my inlaws treated us to pizza we have eaten all our meals at home. I have been ordering books off or from the library. I have a few bags of things going to specific children or the thrift store ready to go in the car. Batching errands saves gas and means I am not driving all over the place just because. I love seeing pictures of your garden- it snowed here last night.

  70. For those who are not used to taking that much Vitamin C, be careful…it will give you serious diarrhea if you take too much at once! Start with smaller doses and work your way up to higher doses gradually. I learned this the hard way!

  71. Brandy, Just a quick note to thank you for your blog. I live in rural West Tennessee. I am inspired by your blog and have learned so much. My husband and I are empty nesters and are trying to get debt free. I so admire that you are able to feed your family on such a low budget and kudos for homeschooling. In this crazy world you are really raising your family in an admirable way.

    Last week I cut my Westie’s hair and my husband’s hair. I estimate this to be around $60 savings. I also cooked from the freezer and tried to use up my produce instead of allowing to go to waste, which sometimes happens quickly. I also worked in our garden. I cut back our blackberry bushes and apple trees. I fertilized lightly with triple 13 and then put chicken compost on the blackberry bushes. This doubles as a mulch and fertilizer. I am hoping to plant some peas, lettuce, and Swiss chard in my garden soon.

    Thanks again for inspiration and beautiful photos. Blessings. Kim

  72. I also use West Coast seed with good success. I grow their Early Cascade tomato. It’s a small slicer but does well in my short season climate.

    According to their web site, Territorial Seed will ship seed but not plants to Canada.

  73. Brandy, all the signs of spring in your yard are lovely and we will be at that point someday. Yesterday we woke up to ice fog and that was beautiful in it’s own way.

    We did all the usual things…laundry part hang on lines, part dryer, part drying racks. We recycled, composted, ate mostly at home, used our wood stove to heat the main family rooms, used up leftovers, reused ziplocs. Took my lunch to work

    Cooked mostly from scratch…baked 2 loaves white bread, orange-nut bread, banana-nut bread, raisin bran muffins, chicken stuffing casserole, chicken broccoli rice casserole, cheese and onion enchiladas with green sauce, refried beans, vegetable soup, tapioca pudding, poppyseed coleslaw. Took several meals out of the freezer…cabbage rolls, baked beans, hamburgers and veggie burgers. Made BLTs. Made puppy chow snack mix. Whoa that stuff is sweet! I said they had to use it as a dessert.

    At the grocer bought two boxes of mushrooms for 1.00 and cooked them up with butter to go on the burgers to make mushroom swiss cheese burgers. Bought hamburger buns too. Bought 2 gallons of milk for 5.00, 2 lbs of butter for 5.00, BOGO vitamin/minerals that I use, pears for .99/lb which is the cheapest fruit (beside bananas) right now. I put most of them in the crisper drawer and will take a couple out at a time to ripen. We like pear and cottage cheese salad, so bought more cottage cheese. Bought celery, on vine tomatoes on sale 1.99, ice berg lettuce 2 heads 1.00 Used the tomatoes and lettuce up in BLTs and the Mex. salad to go with the enchiladas. Was given a dozen eggs by co-worker.

    Ate once at oldest daughter’s house. Had a potluck birthday lunch at school for co-worker. Traveled Saturday with husband, sister Susie and her Bernie, my youngest girl and oldest son and daughter in law to husband’s other 2 sisters families. The men made venison jerky and sausage out in the garage. We (plus 2 sister in laws) worked on the wedding plans, part of which was to decide what to do with a quilt top. Their mother had made a quilt top for all the children but never finished them until closer to the weddings. She passed on years ago and Susie just became engaged. The sisters think they can get the Amish ladies to quilt it, it’s kind of the quiet season right now for them. We got it all assembled as to how they like it, basted etc. While we were over there middle daughter dropped in with her cousin and we all ate a nice lunch. By the end of the day the meat was in the smokers and dehydrators and we will pick up our share next time we visit.

  74. Thanks, Lorna. I wondered how this was regulated (or not) in other areas. From what I understand, where I live, it would have to be set up as a business.

  75. Great comment, I have read “when Queen’s ride by” at least three times, I get tears in my eyes each time, it is that wonderful and uplifting a story. I just kept forgetting to come back to the blog to say thank you. Thank you Brandy!

  76. I am doing small things in the yard and garden as the weather allows. Yesterday I put cardboard around my blueberries and then put compost in the center. I raked pine needle on top of it all for mulching.

    I saved at the grocery with marked down produce and meats. I hit the $50 mark and was able to save $10 on a gas card. Got my meals planned to keep using up things in the frig, and emptying out the freezer to get it ready for garden produce. I am working on my fermenting skills and got a library book to expand my limited repertoire. The library is my favorite freebie hangout.

    Hope everyone is safe with the crazy weather here in the south.

  77. It is too early to plant around here, yet, except for things like peas. I live in Western Oregon, and although it’s mild, it is super wet, still. So, my garden is a large area of berries, a large area that we plow, and 4 large raised beds inside the fence (deer) and 2 outside for the children. If I can get through all of this sorting and cleaning, I may plant a few things in the raised beds. I have a few leeks, some Swiss Chard, and a little overwintering purple sprouting broccoli in one of the beds that I need to go check on. I will dig up a few of the raspberries, and my aunt will keep a pot of them for me at her house for the next garden. I agree that planting a little won’t hurt, especially for fresh eating. We have no idea if it will sell quickly or take a few months–no way to know until we list it. I just don’t think I’ll plant an entire raised bed to bush peas for shelling and freezing like usual, or enough green beans to can 100 quarts, like usual, and I’m not growing the 75 tomato plants in my greenhouse, like usual, etc. Instead, we will eat up the home-canned goods we have, since I always can more than one year’s worth, and help with my sister’s garden for things I do need to can–or u-pick this once.

    I had a friend already work on the flowerbeds for me a bit. I hope to get them in order and then plant some lettuce or something little in the garden, for me if it takes a long time, or for the new owners if it doesn’t.

    This weekend is shaping up to be a busy one. We have people coming to help Friday and Saturday. We are starting to haul things away to storage to make things look nicer and emptier. If I get any extra hands, I can always set them to working outside, if the weather cooperates, but inside is my first priority right now.

  78. I’m so sorry that happened to you, Lorna. It’s hard and scary to start over, isn’t it? You sure seem to be doing well at making the best of it, though. My latest joke has been, I’ve always said to my husband, “I’d be happy living in a shack, as long as I had you, dear.” And then, God said, “PROVE IT!” I had to take a good, hard look at my attitude a few times. How shallow am I? Do things really matter so much. I say they don’t, so why is this so hard? And my answer is still the same, my husband and children are what I need. I just choose to laugh about it, rather than cry all the time. Sometimes, there have just been enough tears for a while, and I just need laughter. I’m trying to look at this as a great adventure, that I will look back on later and see the blessings through the tears.

    I have very supportive friends and family (not all of our family, just some of them make up for the rest) who remind me of things like “Only God is eternal–nothing on this earth is–and He’s the only one we can rely on,” or “Well, you could have been a widow, with no husband and no money, so it could be worse” (that one actually took me aback, but it was meant well and is true, and was a good enough friend to get away with it) or just send some soup, like someone did on Monday or drive 8 hours to help me on Saturday, which another friend is going to do. (She does have other business in the area, also, but is spending a bunch of her time here helping me instead of visiting around to other friends and family) I’m touched and thankful by how much people care for us–even the pediatrician is worried and offering job advice, and asks about Rob when I’m there instead of him, and my doctor wants me to look on the bright side, count my blessings, etc. (This and more said in the middle of my check-up) The dentist has given us a hearty discount on our dental work, and cares deeply for us. I’m blown away with thankfulness over the love I’m receiving.

    So, you are doing a great job of looking on the bright side, already. Keep your chin up!

  79. Hi Becky and thank you for your kind words and they are so true. The previous house was just “things”, and are not now at all important to me. I feel that if the house meant more than a mother, daughter or sister did, then they have all that they have ever wanted, but they may eventually think back in times of trouble and ask is this something I really should have done.

    Like yourself I have some wonderful friends who I regard as family, who I know that we can rely on if necessary. I know that when we left our last house (not a home in my eyes due to stress), that around 20 friends turned up from church to help us and the furniture removalists load the truck with all of our belongings. All knew the situation, the violence from family we had experienced, and the fact I had been guided that it was time to go and move on suddenly one morning, and it was. We still are in contact with a lot of those friends today, and a lot come to visit us here in our new temporary home around 2.5 hrs away from where we previously lived. One of the memories I hold dear of that harrowing day & I still remember one of our friends who had 5 children was that even the little children who were aged 2 to around 10 were picking up palm nuts off the driveway and putting them into buckets & putting them in the bin to help, it was so touching and humbling that people would help us so much.

    When we moved into this new rental home it turned out that a family we were very good friends with from church had two sons and their families living in the exact ward we moved into and attended. Sometimes things just work out for the best, even though at the time, it is harrowing and full of uncertainty. We had taken a trip out here over 3 days to see if we liked the area, got home and started packing just before Christmas and moved in the early new year 2 years ago. We have never looked back since & my husband & I are so much more relaxed, calm and peaceful now.

    In that time we have built a wonderfully large vegetable & herb patch from scratch and never buy vegetables, have set up 2 collapsible water tanks, purchased all the garden equipment we needed & a new trailer from occasional work we have picked up, 12 months food storage and have been blessed to probably by the middle of the year have saved up enough for a block of land. We will continue saving over the next few years to hopefully buy the land and build a home or buy and existing older home with cash without borrowing. That is at least the plan for the moment :).

    Seems both yourself & I Becky are on a grand adventure together, and when we know we are guided and loved by both God and friends it makes it all the more a special adventure. Like us Becky you too will be looked after and things will fall into place at the right time, the right house at the right price. Things have a way of happening for the good if we just keep our faith and endure.

    We both know

  80. Vitamin D is one of the supplements I was told to take because of the RA. I have not had a cold, URI, whatever, in over 20 years and I too, work with children every day at school. Vit D boosts the immune system and in N America, especially the more northern states and Canada where some of us live, there is quite a bit of Vit D deficiency among adults and children. I don’t know about other areas of the world, but I would think N Europeans may have the same problem.

  81. We always have a jar of cranberry sauce in the refrigerator. We eat it from fall till summer. It is good added to yogurt, with sandwiches, anything. We live very close to cranberry country so we buy 5 pound bags at a time from road side stands. Some I can, some I freeze.

  82. Kimberly, yes, this is a good site. Brandy mentioned it on a column about art supplies, I think it was. I have been able to search with a word for exactly what I want…I have a developmentally disabled brother in law who lives with us part of the year. He loves horses and I found horse coloring books for him, easy readers, a poster etc that I would have had to randomly search stores to find such specific items. And probably never found. I also found sheets of stickers for .40 that cost 1.99 or more at the store, if I could have found the specific theme I wanted. I am already planning for the library’s summer reading club and I have found again, stickers and other small prizes specific to the theme.

  83. Beth, there is a series called the Orphan Train Adventures by Joan Lowery Nixon for middle school readers, if you have children of that age.

  84. Lorna,

    There are many of us baby boomers that have similar stories. I hope one day we have groups where we can join forces. I too have family that has betrayed me and left me homeless and without family. It is a very tearful time and it totally rips at your heart.
    We must pick ourselves up and put one foot in front of the other and move on! Know that there are others out there fighting the good fight right with you. Blessings to you and your hubby!

  85. Lorna, reading your posts makes me tired! 🙂
    You accomplish so much (as do the other ladies here). I have been working on starting pepper seeds and continuing with the seed tape. I cannot wait for Spring so we can plant!

  86. Hi Lorna!

    It is a significant savings! And Cricket is actually owned by At&t so they use their towers. Service has actually been better and more information is given on messages. Before we would get notification of a message a couple of days later, no time or date of message was given. Now we know exactly when someone calls, a big help. We are very pleased all the way around 🙂

    Isn’t the price on Vacuum Cleaner bags outrageous? I couldn’t believe how much the price increased. We have tried universal bags, my husband says that they don’t work as well 🙁 I had read a tip years ago from a gal that would take forceps and pull out what was in the bag to get more life from it before replacing it. I may give that a try 🙂

  87. Roberta, I had to smile at your organizing and cleaning comment 🙂 I have around 4 hole punches due to lack or organization 🙂 It makes a huge difference when we are organized, no waste (time looking or duplicate items) 🙂

  88. Lorna, I am so sorry that you have been hurt, especially by family 🙁 I am glad however that it has brought you and your honey closer together 🙂

  89. Hi Paula and you are most welcome.

    We are all on the same path to saving money here, and the only difference is that we tweak the hints and tips from both Brandy and all here, for saving money to suit our own individual families circumstances and what works for us the best.

  90. Hi Sharon no good if your messages on your phone were getting there days later, if there was an emergency it would have been all too late. Good that you have sorted the problem and fantastic saving while you were at it.

    If your vacuum bags have the opening with the cut V’s in it you can open it with your fingers usually and empty most of the contents out that way and yes I would give it a try with a pair of tweezers to remove the fuzzy bits to save money as well. I do know the branded Electrolux vacuum bags cost a sheer fortune.

  91. Hi Robert and thank you for your kind words I very much appreciate them. Having a starting again without family baby boomers group to support one another would be a fantastic idea. I agree about the situation totally ripping your heart as well.

    Unfortunately here in the world there is a lot of elder abuse of both parents and grandparents, which can be both physical and or financial. They are now setting up support groups and organisations here in Australia that specifically deal with these issues. The latest statistics is that elder abuse here in Australia has now reached higher proportions than domestic violence. The sad part is that abused parents and grandparents do not report the abuse through embarrassment most of the time. So the current figures they have would of course be much higher in reality.

    I know I am not alone in this fight and it appear you too Robert have gone through this harrowing experience as well, I am sorry that you too have suffered greatly at the hands of those who were supposed to care & look after you.

    We are indeed as the old saying says “brushing ourselves off and getting right back on the horse again”. Both my husband & I know that we are better off on our own without the family, the resulting violence, and the constant requests for money by moving away and cutting ties altogether. We did not let them know where we moved to, and put ourselves on the silent electors roll so we can never be tracked or bothered by them again and with the house sorting put our address as care of our solicitors office.

    Sounds strange but I now feel safe to open up my front door and go out into the yard without fear of constant violence, and do the gardening. My husband & I are totally enjoying our new found freedom.

    In the scheme of things when you look at the situation, we are the ones who have won here, we now have our freedom and the will to move on and have and live happy, content & peaceful lives.

  92. Hi Sharon and yes I have to agree that is one of many blessings we have had through the experience is that we are so much closer as a married couple and work together fabulously.

    We have a saying in our home that we are Teflon coated, and when we have do do thrown at us with life’s experiences it just slides right of us, and we just carry on regardless.

    A strange phenomenon has happened since we have gone through all this is that all of our friends at church and in general if they or their families have problems the spirit guides them straight to myself or my husband. The questions always start with these words “you will know or may know about this” followed by the problem, which yes we have always had a solution which has multiple options to solve their problems.

    So to look positively as I always do, our problems and experiences in life have & will continue to help others solve their problems too.

  93. Hi Sharon and our accomplishments make us both tired by the end of the week too :p. A lot of our friends say we put them to shame and are a wonderful example of self reliance in action.

    I do have to say that we were both down with some sort of stomach virus that was going around during this week too and my lovely husband had the flu, which put us both down for a couple of days. We are back up and running now, but did spend the days we were well catching up on things that needed to be done.

    Have to say I didn’t think we got that much accomplished till I looked at my diary and realised, well yes we did get quite a bit done.

    As we always say, who needs a gym when you have a huge garden to look after, we get ample exercise and practice squats all week with planting and kneeling for weeding :).

  94. Thank you everyone for the suggestions. I will definitely be getting some vitamin c and d! On day 4 of the cold, just when I thought I had it beat, it got worse! It’s been a week and not showing any signs of getting better.

  95. Great job on clearing out the workshop. I went through the same thing when my grandma passed and we bought her house. It took me a month to clean out the house. The house, breezeway and garage were literally filled with “stuff” and junk. I am glad that is over for you now.

  96. Thank you Debbie. I feel I’m not really that imaginative of a cook, but my family likes it. I enjoy reading of your tropical garden with pineapples and bananas and such.

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