Cafe au Lait Dahlia The Prudent Homemaker

We picked apples, plums, peaches, and apricots from the garden. I cut two bunches of grapes from the garden.

We cut larkspur, gladiolas, and lilies from the garden for three flower arrangements inside.

I planted seeds for cucumbers yet again in my garden, as most of my seedlings have once again disappeared. Though I should have been harvesting my now, I know it is still worth trying again, as growing cucumbers is still much cheaper than buying them.  Hopefully, we will have some success with them this year. I do have 5 small plants growing, but they are tiny and are not producing yet.

I sowed seeds for vincas and zinnias in the garden. The zinnias are already up, as they love the heat. Sowing seed over buying annual plants is a savings, and they will fill my garden with beauty for very little. The zinnias are also a great cutting flower, and I hope to have many to bring in.

I also sowed seeds for several varieties of squash. It’s too hot now for most squash to produce flowers (I still have no zucchini, though I have 5 plants; they are not flowering when it’s 0ver 110º), but I hope to have them large enough for fall crops. I had to re-examine the garden to see where I could fit them, as they take up so much room. 

I got some shade cloth to use in the garden, a garden urn, and a marble cutting board for free from someone who was cleaning out a house to put it up for sale (the owner had died and the executor was donating and recycling everything that was left in the house). The urn and shade cloth would likely have been tossed into the trash.

I canned a batch of fig jam (with rosemary and cinnamon) and two batches of apricot vanilla jam with fruit from the garden. Neither of these two jams require pectin, which makes them even less expensive to make.


What did you do to save money last week?


P.S. The flower in the photo is my first Cafe au Lait dinnerplate dahlia. It’s my first time growing dinnerplate dahlias. This variety is listed at growing between 6 to 10 inches across. Because the heat shrinks flowers here, it is smaller; I measured it at 5 1/4″ across. I can still see it from the house across the garden. I’m waiting for my other dahlias to grow (this one seems to have grown much faster) and if they do well, I should have quite the show from inside the house! 

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  1. I just bought 4 bright yellow dahlia bulbs for half price. They will be late in the season blooming but I should have flowers to cut for the fall along with my mums. I cleared out a space of weeds where I have been composting for years. I wanted a place to plant flowers to cut for bouquets. My garden is doing well. I see small cucumbers and zucchinni forming just hope they get pollinated. We had rain last night so everything is refreshed. Have a wonderful day. I so enjoy your post.

  2. Nice finds from the estate clean out 🙂 I’m loving that dahlia!! I really need to get back to growing flowers. A bunch of our perennials have died off last few years. And though pregnant this time around, I spent my energy on MOPS meetings/next year prep & VBS prep. Perhaps I can find some hot weather varieties to enjoy yet.

  3. That dahlia is beautiful! I love having flowers in and around my garden and home as well. I’ve been preserving cucumbers and making toddler quilts for Christmas gifts and just gathered more cucumbers to preserve today. This is such a busy time of the year in the garden!

  4. * I have been eyeing some cute little grey and yellow bathing suit bags for a couple months now that would have worked out
    nicely as toiletry bags in our “bus” (you know, cause everything has to match LOL). I instead went thru my stash of fabrics
    and found a grey print and a solid yellow that will work and I even had some of the diaper making laminated fabric to use
    as the liner and made up a couple bags in sizes that will work for each of us.
    * I went thru my storage containers to find some that fit better in the cupboards of “the bus” which meant I didn’t need to
    purchase anything new. I also started on making a curtain to cover the lower edge of the bed and for the front of the sink
    cabinet. Cupboard doors aren’t going to get made anytime soon (hubby hurt his back!) and this will just make it look a bit
    more finished.
    * I harvested the first of my lettuce and cilantro and have some salsa to make this week 🙂 for a tex mex salad or two
    * I used my Penzy’s free spice coupon and picked up more granulated garlic.
    * Hubby and I went out for a late lunch/early dinner and ordered off the appetizer menu to make it a very cheap date.
    * We picked up lunch meat at the grocery outlet (3.50 a pound or less) and ground beef at Gordon’s for 1.99 a pound (sold
    in a 10 pound roll). I also bought a flat of strawberries for $27 which was more than what I wanted to pay but my back is
    acting up again so picking them myself wasn’t an option this year. I put them all in the freezer and will then make jam
    when the temps are lower in the fall and the heat will be a welcome addition to the house.
    * While I was at Lowe’s picking up more sprinkler heads and quick connects, I checked their clearance area and found 3 more
    barberry bushes and a coreopsis plant for $3 each. I am slowly adding them around the yard in areas to keep the dogs from
    plowing thru the more delicate plants.
    * I used my Kmart rewards coupon to purchase new jeans and a bra for myself and recieved $10 back in reward points that
    paid for the toilet paper roll holder for the bus and a can of spray paint to finish painting the baskets in the bus (and you have to be 18 in order to purchase spray paint! LOL)
    * Our waterbed sprung a leak and we didn’t notice it right away until the lovely mildew smell started so we are now searching for a new mattress that we can both be comfortable on and afford. I told hubby when we put this mattress in the bed that it would be the last waterbed one I was willing to do – I can not longer lift the corners to make the bed let alone actually cleaning around it!
    * Found another Tupperware storage mates container at the thrift store – I love them for the bus since I don’t have to worry about bugs getting into things or them breaking if they fall out of the cabinet.
    I think that’s it – It is so hot and muggy here that I am having to garden before 9 am or after 8 pm lately and with little rain (enough to raise the humidity) I am having to water almost daily so I don’t lose plants.

  5. Gorgeous flower. I love them but have not been successful in growing any. Let’s see… Frugal accomplishments: stayed home all week so no gas in my car. Cooked all meals but one. My husband and I had a date to the local university to see a performance. They are college performances but they are well done and tickets are very cheap so we go at least to one in the summer. We ate out as part of that date but we decided to go to a deli style restaurant rather than a steak house or more expensive type place. I accepted 11 pizzas, 6 bottles of dish washing liquid and 8 rolls of toilet tissue from a friend that works at a store and they were cleaning out a freezer that had went bad (the pizzas were still good but they couldn’t sell them so the got permission to give them to me) the dish liquid was free because they had it on clearance for 2.00 and a customer gave her 6 coupons for that brand at 2.00 off and she brought them all to me. She has been such a blessing to us. Paid bills on line and by phone to save stamps. Used up cleaners I have had forever but didn’t care for the smell of them. Once I have used them all up, I will be trying homemade cleaners. Turned off lights and kept the air off as long as possible. With temperatures of 99 with a heat index of 110 and higher and humidity levels at 78 percent or more, it heats up quickly but I can, with ceiling fans going, make it until around lunch or so. I wash and dry the laundry early in the morning to help with the heating up and I am cooking more crock pot meals so I don’t have to turn on the oven! I thinks that’s all. Have a great week!

  6. We had a terrible storm come through and knock down our sycamore tree onto our house. Thank God no one was hurt, and the tree scraped down the front of the house instead of going through the girls’ window. Our insurance paid for the removal, minus our deductible, so we paid $1300 our of pocket plus we’ll have to pay for the stump removal when that happens. We know the roof has some damage, and we are hoping it needs replacing, because then we won’t have to pay however many thousands it would have cost us to replace in 2 years like we planned anyway.

    Our reverse osmosis filter also went out this week, and my husband fixed it himself with a few parts and replaced the water valve. We will probably have to replace it all this year, but he now knows enough that he can do it himself.

  7. I’m making mini omelets in muffin tin to throw in the freezer.
    I bought edelweis and seedless concord grape varieties for under $6 each to add to my varieties of grapes.
    I picked 3 tomatoes today in Iowa where I’m just getting my first ones.
    Once again I’m watching my niece with my two girls to earn extra cash. Pry $50 today for ten hours.

  8. Another busy week here, with no end in site. But that’s okay, it means I will make a little extra to set aside for the hard times I know are coming.

    We have just started harvesting stuff from our garden. This week we dug down and got enough baby potatoes for 2 dinners. I also harvested some lavender, feverfew, plantain, and Saskatoon berries.

    I stopped by to pick up some things from a co-worker. He gifted me with cherries from his trees (yum!) and 4 heads of very fragrant garlic that he had just harvested.

    We helped my youngest move. This was not frugal as the gas was quite expensive but you have to do what you have to do for your family. While we were in “the city,” I stopped by the cheap grocery store and bought 20 pounds of rice that we like and a nursery to pick up a few perennials and herbs that were being cleared out.

    I spent my lunch hours working on Christmas gifts while listening to a free podcast.

    Have a great week everyone.

  9. I am saving most of the black raspberries we pick from our property in the freezer. My husband asked me why I wasn’t making jam yet I said because it’s almost 100 degrees! LOL I said I make jam in the fall 🙂 He said “oh yeah” LOL

  10. Michigan strawberries are coming in and I made 3 batches of strawberry Jam. We have been busy watering our garden -we haven’t seen a significant rain since we planted it in Late May.

    It has been hot here too but not as hot as where you are. I’m sorry to hear about your zucchini not producing.
    Here are the rest of my frugal ways:

  11. You seem to have a great deal of success growing flowers which cannot normally take the intense heat. Do you keep the Dahlias out of direct sunlight?

  12. I have to say, it’s great to see that you can have such a successful garden in such a hot place. Mr. Picky Pincher and I also live in a pretty darn hot area, and we were nervous about how well a garden would fare. But seeing your beautiful garden in the 110-degree heat gives us a little hope. 😉

    1. I made yogurt this weekend. I strained the whey and tried to make a caramel from it, but that didn’t go very well. Next time!

    2. Mr. Picky Pincher and I watched movies this weekend that we rented from the library for free. I’m finally watching Lord of the Rings. 🙂

    3. I made yogurt cheese and it was divine! I simply strained some yogurt for 12 hours to get a loose cheese. It reminds me of goat cheese. So now we won’t need to buy goat cheese any more. I’ll also use it as a replacement for commercial cream cheese; this is healthier anyway and has live cultures in it!

    4. We made some great impromptu meals this past week instead of eating out.

    5. We successfully shaved $200 off our grocery bill this month! In addition to other cutbacks we’ve made, we’ll be able to save an additional $500 this month for our house fund. Yippee!

  13. So happy you are getting the dinner plate Dahlias’ to bloom! I was going to ask this week if you had any success – it’s like you read my mind!
    I made your banana bread – as muffins. A muffin with a hardboiled egg makes a very filling delicious breakfast.
    I hemmed a pair of Capri pants that I tore a hole just below the knee to make clam digger length shorts. I also took in a pair of capris that were to large in the waist.
    The people I house sit for told me to take avocados, cilantro and a bell pepper that they couldn’t use. This was such a blessing as I wanted all of these things – but passed on grocery shopping.
    My husband trimmed up the trees on our property.
    Made homemade chocolate ice cream with the Aldi ice cream maker I was gifted. I did use cream as called for but replaced almond milk for the milk. It turned out/tasted exactly like a Wendy’s frosty. My husband was quite happy.
    I hope everyone has a fabulous week!

  14. We have been using up some more of our crockpot freezer meals since it’s been too hot here to get enthused about cooking! It also is helping to use up everything in that freezer so we can clean it out!

    We were given some baguettes that we used to make dinner one night under the broiler. Leftovers were taken for lunches all week. I was able to make 4 dozen monster cookies for a funeral lunch without having to go to the store. I also took over napkins, cups and paper plates for the same funeral, again going to my pantry!

    I planted more lettuce plants to replace my lettuce that had bolted and also planted lettuce seeds so I can have continuous lettuce harvesting from the garden for the next few months!
    I bought extra lean ground beef for $1.99/ pound.
    Got some more books from the library rather than buying them! Oh how I love our library!!!

    Paid bills online.

    All in all, a good week.

  15. I got 3 boxes of mix Zinnia seeds from Dollar Tree. The boxes were FULL off seeds. I just kind of threw them into the beds in the back by the work shop/garage and the veggie garden. They get full TX heat. I water them every other day with water from my rain barrels. They are beautiful. Blooms and blooms. I put some old heirloom sun flower seeds in behind the Zinnia seeds. They are growing up tall too. (we have a 4 ft. fence on our veggie garden. They produce some shade for the veggies below. They are not setting flowers either any more as it hits 100 most days here. Our green peppers are doing okay and growing but that is about it right now. Even our cucumbers have stopped.
    Did all of the usual things to save a dollar. Did move our TV service and saved a good deal of money. Get a $10.00 discount too for giving a referral. Signed a 2 year contract. Will get gift card from Walmart for $225.00. Will use that for most of Christmas shopping.
    Worked hard Saturday on the doll clothes after my infusion on Friday. Something that was supposed to take 4 hours took more than 7. I felt great Saturday. Sunday was a bust. I was not able to get out of the chair most of the day. My doctor told me it was a possibility but I did not think it would happen to me. Missed church for the first time in ages. When I finally woke up and looked around and was aware of things it was after 9:00PM. That is bad. So my weekend was almost lost.
    Was offered a part time job today on weekends. Do not want it. But job offers don’t come my way too often.
    Your flowers are so pretty Brandy. How are the new dresses you are making for yourself coming along?
    I got some blood oranges on Saturday at the Sprouts grocery. They are so good. Super sweet. They were on sale for 88 a pound.

  16. Beautiful dahlia! Glad to see it this morning, I look forward to Monday mornings for your new posts and was happy to see such a lovely flower as the lead-off photo! Once again, thank you for your website, I am sure there are days when writing here probably isn’t the first thing you think to do 😉

    Last week was a good frugal week, made all but two of our meals, baked bread, stayed home and didn’t go out buying things, made extra meals and froze them for the future. Had bought a cheesecake on sale a few months ago and it lived in the freezer. I took it for a potluck dinner with friends and was a bit concerned about freezer burn, it was perfect and a big hit at the party. I am so grateful for my small chest freezer, it has allowed me to save a lot on groceries.

    My husband is a disabled veteran and he was told by the VA about a gym in Phoenix where veterans pay $25 a year for membership. We went, turns out that would include my membership too, and it is a stunning $15 million dollar facility for disabled people. Non profit. I gave up my gym membership immediately afterwards and will save $43 a month. For any ex-military US folks, check with the VA for their services or associated groups/organizations, it has made a huge difference for us. While the VA has gotten a bad rep, we have nothing but good experiences with them here.

  17. I’m so glad no one was hurt. I personally am glad I have no trees in our front or back yards, but there are several in the neighboring yards that could do damage to our house if they fall, and that worries me.

  18. I too love Zinnia’s! I don’t have as much room as you for flowers but I did get a small space going. I have been cutting them for weeks but it seems that they take more water than they have in the past. I did pick some oregano, basil, chives, and parsley for some dishes. Also, I picked TONS of tomatoes as they are thriving right now. We are finally starting to get some yellow squash too right now. We had some earlier but they started dying off on the vine. I was told that it had to do with bee pollination from a local nursery. I laid out some sugar water and now we have some growing to full size!
    We did have every meal at home except one, our anniversary dinner. Our anniversary is this Wednesday but we ate out last week because my daughter had a free evening with some friends. We used a Groupon we purchased to our favorite restaurant.
    Did Swagbucks every day and well as Bing Rewards. Got at least my lower goal (sometimes my upper) and did all of the Bing functions. In a couple of days, I will have enough to purchase Hulu with the Bing rewards (our treat to ourselves) and as soon as July 1 hits, I can order my discounted swagbucks card. I am saving for some school supplies for my daughter (lunch box, water bottle, etc.)
    Went to the mall….only because my daughter had a Barnes and Noble gift card from a Christmas gift she hadn’t used. She got a magazine, and some books. I stopped by a store that is notorious for extremely discounted new clothes. I found myself two shirts and my daughter one, all for $4 total. I have better luck hitting up those sells than the thrift store. my shirts are for the winter though but my daughter can wear hers now.
    Stay cool this week! Hopefully we can get some rain so our water bill can go down a bit!!!

  19. I LOVE that flower. Do you have any idea of the growing season needed to grow them? I have to make sure everything I grow makes it in three months or less :).

    My garden is pretty labor intensive this year. Due to the cooler temps we’ve had on and off and the rainfall we’ve had the slugs are trying to eat EVERYTHING in my garden they can get near. Luckily the rat tailed radishes and peas are up on trellis type systems so they are escaping the brunt of it, but my poor lettuce and chard are suffering (thank goodness I planted a lot of lettuce this year). I’m waiting anxiously for my potatoes and garlic to be done. I bought a new pressure gauge for my canner with the express purpose to can tomatoes come harvest time. I’m praying I have a bumper crop in my small little garden.

    I had a decently successful week on the frugal front. I’ve been trying to put together a…well free…anniversary for my husband and I to celebrate our 15th anniversary this week and made some gifts (they are up on the blog in the post I’m linking to) and my mind is starting to turn toward Christmas and what I can make free or as close to as possible. Luckily, I always seem to somehow come up with some idea or another.

    My list for the week can be found here…

  20. I have a friend that is moving and down-sizing at the same time. She gave me 10 boxes of books, three boxes of antique dolls and porcelain (I am selling these items) and a box of fabric.
    My daughter brought be a large box of quilting cotton that she got for free when she bought a vintage sewing machine for $5.oo.
    I bought 2 bolts of fleece at half-price. I was given a $20.00 gift card for buying so much (I use it for owl costumes I make for Halloween) and I got free shipping.
    I was given 6 pork chops…loin cut. The person doesn’t like that cut, but food is food to me. I put them in the oven and slow baked them to perfection. *laughing*
    I haven’t left the house this month so I haven’t spent any money for fast food.
    I’ve only spent $125.00 this month on food for the house.
    With the heat index having been around 120 all of the last week to 10 days I fear my electric bill will be so high next month that I will be struggling to save any extra.
    Oh and I decided to “save my fives” at the beginning of the year. I know it isn’t much, but to date I have $315.00 saved.
    All of this prudent living is due to you, Brandy. Thank you.

  21. I received a free magazine subscription
    I received a $6.93 credit from Amazon for a settlement (that I knew nothing about)
    I started using Swagbucks again
    Our Central Air quit working, I made an appointment with a company to come look at it because my hubby is stumped. We can get a free estimate and then decide when we can have the work done. My mom bought a house and is having central air put in Friday. After that we can use or have her two air conditioners. I need to have this fixed by fall, however, because the furnace was not working properly at the end of winter either. I think it’s the blower motor, hubby says no. We shall see….
    I took all my lunches to work and drank water. We cooked all meals from scratch and ate at home all last week. We made sure to use up leftovers to avoid food waste.
    I take navy showers, keep a bucket in the shower for warm up water that I use either in the garden or to flush our stubborn toilet. I have used the clothesline to dry most of our laundry. We put up our small blow up pool for out daughter and only filled it not quite halfway. She has tubes in her ears and can’t dunk her head anyways.
    My daughter had her kindergarten physical (two shots AND a blood draw! 🙁 ) I brought drinks and snacks with, however I did buy her a kids ice cream cone afterwards ($1.15). I didn’t plan on one shot and the blood draw.
    I received several samples in the mail: a can of cat food, k-cups, feminine products.
    My husband told me we were out of several key items we use frequently ( he usually does most of the cooking) so I made a list and drove a half hour to the amish store and purchased bulk oats, several spices, powdered buttermilk, powdered milk, and some orange gelatin my daughter was “dying” to have.I also got a container of sprinkles. I spent less than $30 for all this and would have spent well over $50 in the grocery store. We SHOULD be good on food items for awhile with the exception of meat. I did not purchase any last week because there was no good sales bringing the meat we eat to my price point. We took an inventory of what we have in our large chest freezer so we know what we have.
    My hubby and daughter have picked two big bowls of black raspberries from our property. Most have gone into the freezer to save for jam making in the fall (or when our air gets fixed). I did use some fresh in gelatin and a couple of smoothies.
    My husband replaced our light switch in the kitchen that had quit working.
    I replanted my armenian cucumbers, acorn squash, oregano, rosemary, chamomile, and basil.
    made sure to turn off lights and unplug things not being used.
    Helped my mom pack on Saturday morning for awhile and took leftovers with for us to eat lunch instead of eating out. I also brought a snack to share and drank ice water.
    I ran out of liquid hand soap so I used the lid from an empty cottage cheese container ( noone ever comes over to see it and even if they did I don’t care) for a bar of soap.
    We planted the ivy plants and a rose bush that we found by a dumpster. So far they are doing well.
    submitted a checkout 51 rebate
    made a fake “ice cream” out of a frozen strawberry banana smoothie, made chicken and dumplings, added rice to replace the dumplings for a casserole, made 2 steaks in the crockpot, chicken in the crockpot, salad using lettuce from my garden, an iced coffee drink.
    Using coupons and rebates I got 2 more tubes of toothpaste for free, 1 deoderant for .84, spent $4 on a pack of juice boxes (saving these for school), a roll of curad adhesive tape for free, 2 protein bars for free, 2 boxes of snuggle dryer sheets for .80 and 2 cans of pineapple chunks for free.
    I cancelled my amazon prime membership and am pretty sure I sold my treadmill to a former coworker. She is supposed to pay and pick it up tomorrow.
    That’s it for last week. I can’t wait to read everybody’s frugals! Have a great week 🙂

  22. We’ve also had challenges this year, with needing to replant. The cucumbers, squash & beans all have had multiple plantings, but they finally seem to be filling in. We put up trellises this morning for the cucumbers and beans. We’ve replanted squash so many times, at this point we’re not sure which plants will need a trellis (ie: tromboncino) & which won’t. Gardening is always an adventure! Joining in here:

  23. The bugs got our first ripe tomato, wasn’t even completely ripe:( . Heat and the humidity is taking it’s toll on the gardens, having to water every couple days, several seeds never started or started and then withered. I will be looking at what to plant for fall. I have all my seeds,just need to look at areas and what we need in the pantry. I’m going to have to repot several hanging baskets as they are now root bound. I’m still deciding if it’s worth repotting at this time since they won’t live more than a month or two as they are annuals and the heat is also taking it’s toll on them even keeping them in the shade.

    Going to be checking my pantry to see what is needed to stock up on and what is fine this coming week.

  24. I love seeing pictures of your garden. Such pretty flowers! I don’t know how everyone living in the desert can handle such intense heat. It’s 90 degrees here today in New England, and I’m just wiped out.

    I continue to stay frugal by shopping the sales and using coupons/rebates whenever possible. Last week I found tissues for $0.25 a box, $0.50 Starbucks iced coffee, $0.62 Fig Newtons, paper towels for $2.99 and more. All of my deals with pics can be found here:

  25. I’ve been enjoying the produce from my garden. I’ve harvested radish, beets, beet greens, lettuce, turnip, raspberry and, just today, my garlic. Garlic is early this year due to the warm spring weather we’ve had. I’ve replanted turnip, beet, chard and radish. I made Brandy’s turnip gratin. Yum! My only change to her recipe was that I substituted a 4-cheese blend for the mozzarella. I used what I had and am so glad to find another yummy recipe that uses evaporated milk. I also made a much smaller version of the recipe and not the 9X13 pan called for. It’s certainly fun to cook some times.
    Offered some extra beet greens with a friend and also offered to pickup some sale items I knew she was looking for at the grocery store near me. Today, when I dropped off her things, she offered to pickup raspberries when she was going to the farmer’s market. I don’t usually go to this market as it’s a bit of a drive for me. This is the first time we’ve done this kind of exchange and I’m thrilled. Love having found a friend to share shopping finds with.
    Today is a hot one for our area so I’ll be making quesadillas on the stove top and serving a green salad from the garden. Fresh picked raspberries and yogurt for desert. Doesn’t get much easier then that.

    Is there any chance that your cucumber seedlings are being munched by cutworms? Would a cardboard ‘collar’ around the seedlings help keep them alive? Make the ‘collar’ from the cardboard inner tube of a TP roll. I had trouble at the beginning of spring with crows turning up the soil in my garden looking for grubs. I stopped them by placing some small stakes and netting over the new seedlings.

  26. Wow, that is such a stunning photograph, Brandy!

    My frugal accomplishments for this week are:
    *The kitchen painting continued this week, so meals continued to be simple convenient foods. Meals included chicken fingers with white rice and broccoli topped with grated cheese, BBQ hamburgers and hotdogs with corn on the cob (from the freezer), lasagne (freezer meal), perogies topped with cheese, bacon bits and sour cream, roast beef with mashed potatoes, gravy and corn, and hot roast beef sandwiches (using leftover roast beef) with cold salads.

    *We were very low on many food items by grocery shopping day. My family wanted me to buy a roast chicken meal deal from the grocery store for dinner (since I can’t go shopping until evening when I work), but I convinced them that we could make something at home with what we already had. That’s a huge frugal win this week!

    *I caught a mistake on my grocery bill and returned to the store to have the mistake corrected.

    *Took lunches and insulated travel cup with ice water to work every day. Lunches included leftovers, various sandwiches or wraps. I usually take fruit and sometimes another item like cottage cheese, nuts or a homemade bake item (e.g. muffin).

    *My supervisors at work took pity on us during the hot, humid weather and bought popsicles for all the interpreters to enjoy with our lunch. It was truly appreciated by all! Thankfully a thunderstorm rolled in Monday night and brought cooler weather for the rest of the week.

    *I received a $200 cheque this week from a service group to help offset the cost of my daughter’s camp fees. She will be attending a camp specific for children on the Autism spectrum for 2 weeks this summer. The cost for the 2 weeks is over $4500! I have other funding that I’ve applied for as well to help with this cost, but a good portion was paid by us.

    *Replaced 2 hooks on a bra that were damaged during washing.

    *Signed my daughter and family up to attend a really cool free event through Autism Ontario. It is a ghost hunt at a museum along the St. Lawrence River where an entire village was flooded over. There will be paranormal investigators present, trying to make contact with the dead. It takes place in August, so we are going to make this a mini family vacation as it is a few hours away from where we live.

    *My husband and I attended an Air Show at CFB Trenton airbase. It was expensive to attend ($50 for the 2 of us), so not so frugal. But we did leave my daughter with my mom, thus saving on paying for her entrance and no babysitting fees. It was so nice to spend a day out with just my husband on a fun “date”.

    *Attended a free music concert in the park with my mom and daughter. The feature artist was Serena Ryder, who is from this area. We took drinks and snacks from home.

    *I pulled some items from my gift stash to give my daughter’s school support staff as year end thank you gifts. They were bought on sale after Christmas for minimal cost out of pocket.

    *Bought an end of year thank you gift for my daughter’s teacher at my work’s gift shop. I received a 20% employee discount on the purchase.

    *Made homemade bread to give as thank you gifts for my daughter’s principal and the teacher who supervised the robotics club (she’s retiring this year). I split the dough from one batch to make 2 smaller loaves perfect for giving (it makes a rather large loaf normally).

    *I had my daughter write out thank you cards for all her EAs, teacher, and principal on some thank you cards we already had in our gift wrapping stash. I wrapped all the gifts with supplies from the same stash.

    *Made treats using mostly ingredients from the pantry (only bought coconut flakes) to contribute to the grade 8 graduation party.

    I will be reading everyone’s comments soon, but too busy tonight. Looking forward to reading them, though! Have a great week everyone.

  27. Will be an expensive week. The AC went kaput.
    Otherwise, we did okay. Home days are automatic money savers. Hung laundry all week, bucketed water, read some free magazines from a friend, made four Christmas gift necklaces from hardware store washers- love Pinterest, and found some dye on clearance at Hobby Lobby in the perfect color! I was gifted some sturdy fabric and am covering some bar stools with the dyed fabric.

  28. Hello Brandy and all and hope you have all had a frugal week 🙂 . That flower is just beautiful Brandy !.

    In the kitchen –
    – We cut, washed blanched and froze 2kg of silver beet from the gardens.

    – Blanched, peeled, cut and soaked in a lemon juice solution 4.2 kg of cured sweet potatoes from our garden.

    – Made an apple pie from tinned apples and other items from food storage that lasted 2 nights for tea for the 2 of us.

    – Continued to eat our $3 large pot of sweet potato, carrot and onion soup.

    – Cooked all bread from scratch using our bread maker and items in our food storage.

    – Had a pantry week where we eat tinned fruits, meats and other items in our pantry along with some fresh produce from the gardens so we can rotate through our food storage and replace with fresh stock.

    General household frugalities –

    – Washed and clothes line dried all laundry.

    – Turned off power points to unused appliances in the home.

    – Did most of our clothes washing at night in off peak electricity times and hung out in the mornings.

    – Hand watered the lawns with grey water from the washing and showers to save on town water use.

    – Watered potted herbs and some new seedlings in the garden with vegetable washing and steaming water from preserving our garden vegetables.

    – Missed 1.5 scheduled garden watering sessions due to rain saving 405 lts of town water use.

    – Did glass cleaning in the house and bathrooms with old flannelette sheet rags instead of using paper towel.

    Service –
    – Gave a pumpkin and 2 sweet potatoes to each of 2 local struggling families from our gardens

  29. You have to be over 18 to buy spray paint because high and junior high schoolers spray in a bag and inhale the fumes to get high. I used to work with kids brain damaged from repeated inhalant abuse.

  30. I can tell you from personal experience that if a neighbor’s tree falls in your yard and does damage, YOUR insurance will have to pay, not their insurance. The exception is if you see a dangerous tree situation and give the homeowners a letter telling them you see the hazard and that they need to attend to it. Send certified and keep a copy. Seems unfair but we have Allstate and that is what happened to us. First tree we had to pay for roof damage. Second one, they had to pay because we had sent the letter (at the advice of our insurance guy) telling them it looked like it was about to fall and this was notice that the hazard existed. Verbal notice will not do it.

  31. I save all the $5.00 bills too. My husband just gave $25.00 to add to my collection. We use this money to ‘treat’ our self each year for an anniversary trip. It does add up. I too have almost $400.00 in just $5.00 bills.

  32. It’s been hot and smoky here, so we’ve had to run the AC more than we’d like, but we’re thankful we have AC when we need it. 🙂

    On the frugal front we:

    * Harvested and froze yellow squash and zucchini.

    * Used the blanching water to water potted plants and roses.

    * Harvested grapes (ate some fresh and dried a quart of raisins so far).

    * Used a gift card to get a free pair of swim trunks for Hubs.

    * Ate all but two meals at home. (This should be a no-brainer, but it continues to be our Achilles heel.)

    * Harvested lettuce, green onions, tomato, and basil (made a delicious salad).

    * Made homemade honey-mustard dressing.

    * Composted or gave the chickens the scraps left over from making the salad.

    That’s all I wrote down this week. I always enjoy reading about the efforts of others and gleaning new ideas.

    Have a great week everyone!

  33. I live in Fairbanks, which has a shorter season than Anchorage. We grow spectacular dahlias; I grow only dinner plate varieties. You do need to start them indoors well before the final frosts. Check out Jeff Lowenfels, the gardening column for the Anchorage paper. It is also online…he will tell you when to start them the week or two before you have to start them.

  34. Mandy, it’s been ten years since I worked as a medical assistant giving kindergarten physicals. In California there were four shots given, a tiny amount of blood drawn to measure iron (IIRC) and the under the skin TB test given. It was a nightmare, the children were traumatized and it was the worst part of the work day. In fact, I thought I heard there was another immunization added since then. All necessary, in my opinion, but I think we were as upset as the kids. I remember one little girl told us that “we broke her heart.” 🙁 I don’t miss that at all.

  35. That flower is beautiful! Last week my frugal accomplishments were:

    picked 1/2 gallon of blackberries from our brambles

    picked 1 pint of raspberries from our brambles

    picked 1 pint of blueberries from our bushes

    We are looking forward to having a great harvest of more of the above as well as grapes, quince, apples, pears, and peaches. Not sure our figs or kiwi will produce this year. The birds got to our cherries before we could.

    bought pre-made Italian style meatballs for $1.69 or 1lb packages. I can’t get ground beef this cheaply here

    made kitchen scrubbies by reusing the rough mesh bags from produce came in, folding them into a square and sewing them together

    made grape popsicles

    made pineapple popsicles

    bought pork chops for $1.19/lb on markdown

    took advantage of the cooler evening temps and went bike riding with the family

    shopped thrift store for some clothing items we needed. $37 later we had 7 pairs of jeans,/pants, 2 new bras, 8 t-shirts, 2 blouses for me, 1 chamisole for me, and 11 books I couldn’t resist for our homeschool. This store is the least expensive in our area. Jeans as low as $1.25, shirts as low as .75, books for .50 a paperback, and the bras wree $1 with new tags on them.

    I know there’s more but my brain is going blank at the moment.

  36. This is my first time posting, although I look forward to this post EACH week and have been a reader for many years!
    I had several frugal moments this week.
    -Watched several movies on amazon prime and netflix
    -Used an online code on a fabric order to save 15% at a speciality website
    -used melted ice in coolers from daughter’s birthday party to water flowers
    -Used gifts that were purchased on sale after Christmas for daughter’s birthday party
    -On a recent trip home from a weekend family get together, ordered a pizza for $10 to share with 4 people and used drinks left over from trip that we brought back with us.
    -Split the cost of vegetables being put up with my parents

  37. Try replacing ac with window units . We are only home in the wee hours of the am and the evening so we put an ac in the bedroom and a small table and chairs in there as well. We have enough cool air for the kitchen in the am and the bedroom and bath stay cool with the window unit. I take the dinner to the bedroom and we eat on the folding table and chairs for now later we watch a show or work from the bedroom then lights out and the ac window unit all night so we just use window air for now. Cost of the new unit under $200.

  38. I’m glad to read of other people plotting garden do-overs this year! Our tomatoes and carrots are going strong, but everything else needs a second chance, I think!

    Some of our frugal accomplishments this week include:

    We attended a promotional party at a retail store for a product that friends are involved with. We got to socialize with our friends and have a good time, complete with free refreshments!

    We spent Saturday helping friends restore a vintage travel trailer they are turning into a mobile eco-boutique. While this didn’t save us any money directly, it was a free, fun day with friends, and we got to help them save time and money. They did feed us breakfast and lunch, as well 🙂

    We picked more tomatoes from the garden.

    I tried a recipe for a Cuban pastry (Pastellitas de Guayaba) that turned out beautifully. We haven’t found a bakery that sells them in our new city, and now we can stop looking!

    We entertained friends at home Sunday night, and hosted two other couples for less than we would have spent for just the two of us to go out.

  39. Dinner plate dahlias are pretty spectacular. That one is a gorgeous color.

    Things have been super busy, but I still managed some frugal accomplishments last week.
    – Picked peas, nasturtiums and fresh onions from the garden. The garlic is almost ready to harvest. My beans are coming up nicely. I was able to use a trellis that a former gardener had abandoned, in addition to the one I already have.
    – I foraged for salal berries and thimbleberries (native Pacific NW berries). I pass the salal bushes on the way home from work, so I have decided to take a container and fill it up each time I pass them. I am freezing the salal berries for jam. I ate the thimbleberries right off the plant. 🙂
    – I bought a flat of blackberries and made 14 half pints of jam. I made soft set jam so I can stir it into yogurt, which is how I generally eat it (or just with a spoon). It tastes like summer in a jar. I will pick some wild blackberries later in the season when they are ripe. They are much seedier but still very good.
    – My husband goes to a number of baseball games (Seattle Mariners) throughout the season with a friend of his. His friend was unable to use his ticket for one game, so he gave it to my husband. So he and I went together for a night out. We took the bus instead of driving, and brought snacks and an empty water bottle. We did have dinner there. It was a fun date night.
    – One nice evening, I packed a picnic and my husband and I went to the park and ate, then played bocce.
    – I dried some clothes indoors on our drying racks.
    – I got a bunch of canning lids on a good sale. I now have enough for next year too.
    – I combined errands, cooked from home (except for two meals), brought my lunch to work, walked to work, and made yogurt bone broth, and water kefir.
    – My mom shared her newspapers with me so I got to read them for free. She also gave me some berries and bought me lunch one day.

    Now I’m off to make more jam! Hope everyone has a good week.

  40. I wouldn’t miss it either, Anne! It broke my heart to see my daughter so hysterical. They also wanted me to approve giving her the Hep A (?) vaccine but I refused after asking lots of questions. I figured 2 shots and a blood draw was enough.

  41. Sj my daughter and her friend are going to be in Vancouver she needs luggage storage on 7/12 they are headed home that day later but check out is 11am and they need to store luggage until they Leave. Do you know of any place that might do that? Also any must sees in your lovely city. Thank you patti

  42. I am an RN in NY and though I agree immunizations are prevention it is barbaric to give child multiple shots at one time and draw blood
    Why is it done……
    It’s always about money
    Worked for a big insurance company for 15 years after working in a hospital 20 years
    Insurance coverage dictates care
    If MD want to get paid they follow insurance rules
    So sad for patients never is their wellbeing first although everyone says it is

  43. I prefer too the ice milk or frozen yogurt. My husband’s family makes the rich ice cream with eggs and cream. I have lightened it up for us and it still tastes delicious to me.

  44. I have a short list already on my blog. But I missed a couple of things, too. For instance:
    * Cut and ate our own garden grown lettuces yesterday. It’s just now ready here.
    * Used up some cashew milk that I’d bought quite some time ago. It’s been open for over a month but was still fine (as far as I could tell). Used it in my homemade low-carb ice cream recipe.
    * Have started to line dry many heavier items. We’ve had lots of rainy weather so far and it’s only recently been sunny, warm days.

  45. It broke my heart watching her get her shots. The blood draw didn’t hurt her and she stopped crying when she didn’t feel it. We only make her get the ones that we are legally required to, which is several unfortunately.

  46. Speaking of gardening woes: ALL of my spinach has either withered and died or just disappeared, something is eating my kale ( I have it in a fenced in raised bed and a pot inside the fencing, i think it’s a bug) and only a couple of my lettuce plants have come up, but the lettuce is so bitter I can’t eat it yet.

  47. Roxie , if you save some of the zinnia heads you will get plenty of seeds for next year. Just keep some on the plant until thoroughly dried, then crumble and pull out the black seeds. Store in a cool place, maybe by you the refrigerator would be best.

  48. Thank you for that information. Unfortunately, the house behind was foreclosed on at least 6 or 7 years ago and has remained empty. I can’t even find out what bank owns it, because it was left in the old owner’s name on the county auditors website and he is no where to be found. The only thing we have been able to do is get the electric company to trim the branches where they were laying on the lines and trim the branches ourselves that were hanging over the fence into our yard. We just keep praying nothing happens with it.

  49. I picked a few more tomatoes and lettuce this morning. Cherries were 1.99 per lb. and apples were .80 per lb. so I spent part of my $25/week budget on fresh fruit. We already ate an apple and over a lb of cherries this morning with my two year old and my two year old niece.
    I made goulash with added canned squash I needed to use for my husband’s and my lunches for the rest of the week. I used deer/beef meatloaf that was leftovers.
    I’m trying to procure more varieties of grapes that will grow well in Iowa to diversify genetics. I’m hoping this will give me more consistent crop when the summers vary each year.
    Yrsyetday I found my girl shoes for 25 cents and a pair for me for $1 at a thrift store.

  50. MJ, keep up the effort! I read a few of your blog entries…scrapple? We make scrapple too every December. Were you just at Wisconsin Dells? ( You mentioned Knuckleheads )

  51. I canned tomatoes that were given to us.
    My daughter has promised me some of the blackberries she picked off the fence line at her work place, which is situated 8 miles from town in the countryside. She was allowed to pick.
    I’ve put up some of the blueberries I picked, but most are being used in recipes, yum.
    Our own tomatoes are suffering in the high heat and higher humidity, but we are still getting a few that had already set before the weather worsened. They are so good! Our beans are done, our squash and cukes failed, but the eggplant and hot peppers keep right on.
    Brandy, just curious, do you practice companion planting? Does anyone else?

  52. Mandy, McDonald’s has ice cream cones for .59 here, unless you have a favorite small business you are patronizing, which is always good. But I took my mother on a road trip this past weekend and everytime she saw the McDonald’s sign it was in for an ice cream cone.

    Make sure your lettuce is getting plenty of water, pick it in the a.m., and dunk in cold water immediately on picking. This should help with bitterness. Some lettuce though is naturally more bitter than others.

  53. Rhonda, I am glad your weather has cooled. We had some 90F and humid days, then a big storm and back into the 70’s. I wonder if we had the same storm system.

  54. Robert, sounds very cozy at your house. We have an attic fan that sucks out hot air and pulls in cool. Easy to install if you are handy.

  55. We too had AC problems and had it fixed last week. This was a bit pricey, but it’s too warm here to be without it. We did pretty good on other frugal fronts though…
    *Ate almost all meals at home. We did eat out for lunch one day but this was a pretty inexpensive meal out. Me and my husband usually have lunch dates out instead of dinner dates.
    *Ate leftovers for lunch and used up a few things that had been in the freezer for awhile.
    *I continued to pick and freeze wild black raspberries to make jam. Also, the red raspberries have begun to ripen the last few days and I picked those as well. Used half for eating, and froze some as well.
    *Checked the weather and waited for the rain one evening instead of watering my herb garden and blueberry bushes. Thankfully it rained a good amount since it was beginning to get very dry here.
    *Tried to remember to turn lights and fans off when I left a room, and turned the AC up a little during the day to save on electricity costs.
    *I continued to stay away from Sam’s since I always spend way too much money there!!

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  56. The dahlia is beautiful. Purple is my favorite color. We always have to dig the bulbs up here every year…will you have to do that or can they stay in the ground?

    We did most of the usual…composting, recycling, using up, hanging clothes to dry, cooked at home, ate at home. I only work 2 days a week in summer, but can work any days I want so I try to coordinate them with the days youngest daughter works in town. It would be nice if we could carpool but this summer since we have my brother in law we need to be gone alternate days so someone is here for him days. My husband and nephew have been extra busy with a large order, they even brought in a cousin to help, and they need to be ready to install July 5. So they really need to be done by Saturday. Normally my husband’s brother can entertain himself …we have a corner in the work shop for him, but he still needs watching. Naturally, for all of us (his extended family) , summer is the hardest time, along with early fall due to farm busyness/business but he is such a blessing to be able to spend time with.

    Did no grocery shopping except for 2 gallons of milk for 5.00, 2 half gallons of organic milk BOGO, 2 doz farm eggs, 2 pints of organic whipping cream BOGO, butter (one unsalted, one salted) organic BOGO. Bought 16 ears sweet corn for 2.00. Bought 2 quarts of organic plain yogurt BOGO. Our grocer has been bought out and they are getting rid of many items, apparently to replace with the new owner’s brand. I am not happy with change when it affects what I am used to, but I will keep looking for the discounted items.

    Stopped at the thrift store and saw door mats (coir?) and bought 4 for 2.00 each. Will store in garage until need replacement. Bought 2 like new long sleeve blue chambray shirts, one for 4.00, one for 2.75. My husband wears long sleeve for work even in summer but light weight fabric rather than flannel. Didn’t find any flannel in his size. Before he wears them I will reinforce the elbows with denim patches. He will not wear jeans, so I have my sons give me a worn out pair now and then and I use the good spots to make patches. I have to patch all his work shirts…bony elbows that he rests on a lot while working, plus the patch gives a little extra cushioning from bangs. Also bought a few knickknack things to use with displays in the library…a fake green pepper and fake apple to add to my basket for fall display “Pick a bunch of veggies–Veggie Tales!” and a floral patterned sheet that I can cut a large circle out of to cover a display table for spring and or Mother’s Day display. Those were .25, .25 and 1.00 each.

    Since the men have been working long hours in the shop we have had the nephew and cousin eat dinner with us, too. Caleb’s wife sent 2 lbs of sliced ham in with him Monday and Big Jeff (I also have a cousin Little Jeff in the same group) brought 5 bags of chips. That was all nice so that helped with lunches. One night was chicken-green chili enchiladas with rice and beans, then baked lemon butter fish with angel hair pesto and garlic bread and coleslaw, then tuna macaroni salad and creamy cucumbers and more coleslaw, then soft shell tacos with meat or beans and nachos. I cut up a large watermelon and they had that all week, plus apples. I left a variety of sweet stuff too…peanut butter cookies, ice cream with toppings, crumb cake with broiled frosting. Friday they fended for dinner themselves as I was gone..they gave my daughter money and sent her to get a bucket of fried chicken from the grocer deli and a bag of tater tots. They finished the coleslaw.

    My daughter’s babysitting children were on vacation last week and next so she was able to do a lot with her uncle, especially while I was gone. They went two times to the bargain children’s type movies, the public library, the tennis court, the zoo. My sister and I took my mother over to Minnesota for an impromptu family reunion arranged by the daughter of one of my mother’s favorite cousins. This is a family that lived here on the family property so we grew up with this girl, an only child. But now the mother, my mother’s cousin has been diagnosed terminal. They wanted everyone together while she was still feeling able to have people around. She has ALS, quite a shock at that diagnosis, and it seems to be progressing quickly. The daughter, my cousin (we call everyone cousin if they are our age and aunt or uncle if our parent’s age) is the same age as my sister and I…she and her husband and children spent much of their life abroad as missionaries and her mom, a widow, always went with them. Now they have retired to MN and to pastor a church there. 2 more of my aunts and another cousin went along. We used my sister’s minivan, she and my cousin did all the driving. We all split the cost of gas and 2 motel rooms for 2 nights. We took snacks for the drive over. It was a very very nice weekend, seeing some cousins I had not seen in years and meeting their families. We took a slow drive up there Friday, enjoying the scenery, Saturday was the reunion, Sunday we visited their church and then a drive back. It was a joyful and sad time.

  57. I also got an Amazon credit for $16! I used it to buy my boys wide brim summer hats which I can usually find at thrift stores but no luck lately. I went ahead and paid full price because it’s so important to me that they spend lots of time outdoors with no sunburns.

  58. I am having a bumper year for cucumbers which only two members of my family care for but not a ton of tomatoes. My plants are huge but they are all bush and very little fruit which is odd. I am getting a little fruit on the citrus and avacado trees but that’s a huge win since they were planted this year in our new house. I ordered raspberry plants online and only 1 out of 6 survived and I’ll be surprised if it makes it. It may be the soil or water or sun who knows. I am hesitant to spend another $30 on new plants to try again. I finally ripped out all the Swiss chard and kale that we stopped eating because we are all sick of it. I gave it to my friend for her chickens. I started the soil fresh with new peppers, eggplant and basil. Hopefully it’s not too hot here for them to survive. We went on vacation and invited neighbors to pillage the garden but no one did. We came home to 10 huge cucumbers, about 50 zucchini, some oversize, and few tomatoes. It was kind of fun and I brought a big bag to a friend who brings me eggs. I love your flowers but I’ve never made an effort to plant them. I had lots of hydrangeas in my old house and I miss them dearly. If I see a sale on white hydrangeas I would love to plant them in the shade on one side of our house where there is just dirt.

  59. We came back to “home base” from the coast and are parked in our RV at my sister’s again. We worked in the garden quite a bit and harvested beets, lettuce, snow peas, basil, and cilantro.

    I cooked beets, pinto beans for re-fried beans, and got a menu planned for the first time in a while. I have been working hard on using leftovers and reducing the items in my tiny camper fridge. I will need to go grocery shopping soon.

    I posted more things on my blog.

  60. For anyone in Arizona, water use it wisely is partnering with nurseries to give away a FREE 1-gallon, Arizona desert-friendly plant. It is part of their plant something campaign that promotes low water plants. You can pick from a red yucca, Texas sage or lantana plant. No purchase necessary. The coupon is on their website – here is the link:

    I think I am going to pick up a Texas sage for my backyard!

  61. I would love to have a bedroom window unit, but our HOA doesn’t allow them. The $ damage wasn’t as bad as I feared cuz my husband’s friend knew what was wrong. Bless his heart- he did it fast and only charged us cost. Going without an AC in KS isn’t for wimps!

  62. Greetings!
    Another beautiful photograph!
    My son and his family came up to see us for three days. We paid for the hotel and i bought the two boys each a sweatshirt. (The youngest was car sick and there weren’t extra clothes. After he was sick the second time, he was put into his brothers new sweatshirt. So, i’m more than happy i bought them!) Other than those two expenses, i did okay.
    *We ate all meals at home. I had lots of fruit for the kids. They didn’t eat very well until the last night when they spent the night with us. Boxed mac and cheese was the requested meal and who am i to not honor that? After dinner, we watched Minions on netflix, and had popcorn. They both slept through the night. I was so happy to have them!
    *We went to two free waterfalls and got our daily allotment of exercise.
    *Since i work at the cruises, i snagged two free tickets for my son and daughter-in-law to go. They took the baby, as well. They had a wonderful time while Grandpa and Mimi watched the boys.
    *We spent a chilly hour at the beach while one boy splashed and the other ran around in circles.
    *We spend time at the tot lot where everyone made new friends.
    *I went to the used book sale at the library and found two books to read. Donations were accepted. I got the tightwad gazette (111). I had the whole set at one time but donated it years ago. Silly me, i should have hung onto it! I got home and went through my books. I donated two boxes to St. Vinnies and i didn’t shop while there! I went from there to an auction. After looking everything over, i decided they didn’t have anything that was worth my time. So, i left.
    *Aside from seeing one son, i spoke to my other two children during the week.
    *We’ve had enough rain that i have a full rain barrel for watering plants. I’ve cut more chive flower heads for vinegar, thinned more apples from the trees, transplanted some alyssum. I’ve also replanted basil, which has yet to come up, (bad seed?), more beans and lettuce.
    *I bought five dozen eggs at 88 cents a doz. This is two weeks in a row at that price.
    *I’ve sold two items on ebay.
    *I’ve been riding my bike a bit and still walking.
    *And, just because i can, i ate pumpkin/squash pie for breakfast one day. (Actually twice, but who’s counting?)
    I wish everyone a wonderful week ahead!

  63. I was really worried that the dahlia was the wrong one, since they are pictured as being a peachy-pink. But by the end of the week, as it opened more, it had turned that color.

    My second one opened this week and it is peachy pink with a section (about 1/5 of the flower) that is all yellow! So strange!

  64. They are supposed to need 8 hours of sun a day. I planted them under some trees to try to keep them from burning, butthe one in full sun is the fastes growing one and the first one to bloom! It’s been open for over a week now and it hasn’t burnt! So I’m very happy about that!

  65. I wish you luck with your flowers! My new hydrangea has succombed . . .

    What a blessing from your garden! In 15 years of gardening I cannot count 50 zucchini total. Right now I have 5 plants and now flowers–you have quite the blessing!

  66. Most nursery stores guarantee their plants to survive at least a year. Raspberries aren’t that difficult usually—I would check with the place you bought them from and see if they will replace the plants that didn’t grow.

    I have bought a $15 shrub twice now and not had it survive–I will probably have to clean the entire desk to find the reciept, but I’m about ready to—that’s a pricey shrub in my opinion!!

  67. Amy, that was a great list of almost 200 ways to save water on the website you linked. The plants look beautiful, especially that lantana. We don’t have any of those up north here.

  68. Libby, you can prune out the non producing vines on your tomatoes so they only send energy to the fruit. Check the organic gardening website if you don’t know how to determine the productive versus non producing.

  69. We had some hot humid weather and rain, all good for the garden. We’re still getting lettuce that my daughter is growing under shade cloth. As of last week we harvested 38 quarts of strawberries from our patch. They are less and less now but we’ll be able to pick enough yet for holiday desserts. Raspberries very soon, not quite. We picked cilantro, parsley, mint, rosemary and basil. Peas are doing good but we never can grow enough to last for the year. We eat up so many just while shelling. Well on our trip back from MN we passed a farm stand selling shelled peas.. I bought 3 five pound bags, put them in the cooler and blanched and froze them late that night. I kept out about 6 cups for eating fresh as is and sprinkled on salad etc and 3 cups I cooked and served with dinner tonight. I packed up 14 qt freezer bags but I’d need 3 times that for the year. I’ll still have to buy frozen peas. We have baby fruits on everything …tomatoes, eggplants, squash and peppers. Slicing cucumbers are close. Same with zucchini. The weekend is to be hot again in 80s so I think everything will explode. The corn that is supposed to be “knee high by the 4th of July” is hip high already.

    I finished canning rhubarb sauce very lightly sweetened, 36 pints total. Finished canning strawberry jam, 14 half pints, 6 of the 4oz jars as my mother likes the little size, and 15 pints. My daughters help with canning. The oldest who takes care of the gardens says we will get a second crop later from some of the plants. The patch is still new to us…this was my mother’s day present two years ago We always did pick your own before.

  70. Hi Brandy and everyone
    How wonderful to be able to read so many comments with clever ways of saving , making do, sharing, and caring and learning or trying new ways.
    As I say, one is never too old to learn.
    I have saved time this week because we had visitors which necessitated cooking big batches. Having lots of left overs I’ve had meals quickly prepared for us.
    Dessert made by placing a layer of runny orange marmalade in bottom of cake tin …on top of baking paper and then pouring in the cake batter from a packet cake . Warmed for dessert. Cold as cake with coffee. Brilliant and easy.
    Caught up finally on my blog which I really enjoyed.
    Alexa-asimplelife visiting from Sydney , Australia….on a cold Winter day

  71. It’s possible we do have the same weather patterns as Pennsylvania it is just south of Ontario. We’re usually a day or two delay from what you get, I think. I find the weather movement often swoops upwards or downwards as it moves across this region. Our weather has been rocking back and forth this year. We will have high, humid temps for a few days, then cooler ones for a few days, only to go back to the high, humid temps again.

    We have had less rain than usual for the month of June as well. Surprisingly my garden is doing well at home, but the gardens at work are really struggling from animals eating the plants. They look really sad, but are great for interpretation as the pioneers had to depend on what they grew and this demonstrates what a struggle it would have been for them if the gardens didn’t grow well that year.

  72. That dahlia is gorgeous. I am pretty sure the deer and rabbits would eat it down to nothing here, but I can enjoy your photos and live vicariously.
    We cut a cord of firewood in the national forest. The permits are $10 a cord, so a good value. We burn 4 cords every winter to heat our house, so three more to go!
    We worked our community volunteer day. I helped paint a woman’s home and my husband did yard work for a different woman. She sent him home with a big bag of rhubarb, which I put in the freezer. My plants aren’t yet big enough to produce much, so I was thrilled to get this.
    It is comforting to read of others having to replant things in the garden. I have had to replant zucchini and basil twice, and am just now getting some chard up. We harvested the first sweet peas — a month behind last year. We had them with a few baby carrots, also from the garden. We are regularly getting lettuce and green onions and a few strawberries. Something ate about half my brocolli plants, but I think the rest will produce soon and I will plant more for fall.

  73. Yes, it’s a great site that I stumbled upon. I think it came up in my news feed on Facebook as a recommendation. Lantana’s smell amazing in addition to being pretty. 🙂

  74. Athanasia…You are so productive it really impresses me! Since you said “over to Minnesota” I’m wondering if you are in South Dakota. I grew up there, and that is exactly the way we’d say it. My mother was impressive like you…having a huge garden, canning, raising chickens, helping with the farm work and and cooking good hearty food. And sooo frugal. If only I could be one-fourth like her.

  75. When you mentioned that your fig jam and apricot vanilla did not require pectin, it got me thinking. I have been looking for ways to lower cost and increase healthiness by using basically all fruit for a long time. When I searched today for jams without pectin, I found this site that gives instructions for how to make any jam with no pectin and way less sugar. I was thrilled, and thought you might be interested. Thanks for the inspiration and your wonderful recipes!

  76. totally new to dinner plate dahlias…went off to look on Pinterest. Ooh will be exploring this new world. Looks like a great flower for economical weddings too. [img][/img]

  77. Aww, that’s too bad. But with your green thumb, if it didn’t make it, it wasn’t meant to be! I tried them in SoCal and they always looked sickly and bony. When we moved here, I found 3 at Lowe’s in early November. They were $1 each so I planted them the second I got home and waited for spring. Best $3 I ever spent on green “sticks”. They are still blooming beautifully 12 years later. I have a brown thumb so I have to credit the location.

  78. Hi Tina, I always like to read your posts, as I live near you and can relate to all the places you go. Plus you seem like a very energetic, creative person. I like to pick thimbleberries and salal. There is alot of salal on the trails of Bridle Trails State Park. I wondered if it would make good jam. This week we picked about a quart each of red huckleberries and the tiny, low to the ground blackberries. We put the red huckleberries in pancakes.

  79. Janet – It is possible to can any fruit/fruit spread/preserve without sugar. The main thing is to make sure the acid level is safe, by adding lemon juice in the correct amount when necessary. If you are interested, you might check whether your library has the book “Canning and Preserving without Sugar” by Norma MacRae.

    I make jam using Pomona’s Pectin. You can make low sugar jam, fruit juice sweetened jam, or jam using sweeteners other than sugar (honey, maple syrup, xylitol, Splenda, etc.). It has a traditional jam texture like when using standard pectin. I bought bulk Pomona’s Pectin (one pound) two years ago, and I still have at least half of it left (and I have made a lot of jam).

  80. Thank you! I have had no trouble in previous years (at a different house) so I was hoping for the same here. A friend told me it could be a soil imbalance too so I just need to do the research.

  81. I am in Southern California too! I bought a variety called Canby which was supposed to do well in this climate but to no avail. I tried blueberries in our old house and those died too. At least I got those blueberry plants on extreme clearance so I didn’t waste as much $. Oh well you win some and lose some!

    My parents used to have HUGE blackberry bushes at their house and I have such great memories as a kid getting all scratched up and turning purple with dripping juice from picking all day. At least my kiddos have the pleasure of picking strawberries which are doing great this year.

  82. I bought them online and that a great idea, maybe I can see if they will return them. I am guessing though that it is my fault because I haven’t really been dilligent with making sure the sprinklers hit them properly or maybe the soil isn’t good enough.

  83. It sounds like you have a wonderful family; just like a picture postcard!
    I’m so sorry about the ALS diagnosis. I had a great-uncle who had it. He lived many years after the diagnosis. With all you’ve shared, i’m sure this cousin of your Mother’s feels loved and blessed to have such a great family.

  84. Susan, I follow her on Facebook, and I saw those this week! They are amazing! I hope mine get bigger like those (her Cafe au Laits are that large in her photos) when the weather is cooler. But even if they don’t, they are still beautiful!

  85. Brandy, I LOVE the color of your dinnerplate Dahlia’s. I also enjoy making flower bouquets for my home and the size of your Dahlia’s are much easier to incorporate into beautiful arrarrangements. Bigger is not always better. Lol
    You continue to inspire and encourage…
    Thank you!

  86. Thank you Shirley, but I have lots of help. My mother, plus I have five grown children, 3 still in the immediate area, plus many like minded cousins, in laws and church ladies.

  87. Momsav, I think pie for breakfast is a fine idea. I just saw a recipe where you put chopped pecans and brown sugar layer in crust then you pour filling over, then more nuts and sugar on top and bake. Better to get the excess calories in early always so can wear them off 🙂

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