Apple Blossoms The Prudent Homemaker

Dorsett Golden Apple Blossoms

I transplanted a potted pomegranate tree that I had bought last fall into the raised bed (where the espaliered apples used to be). It can get larger in this spot than in a pot and give us more fruit.

I transplanted the lettuce seedlings from the same pot into the raised bed.

I found three tiny lettuce plants that had self-seeded in the rocks next to our driveway. I dug them up and transplanted them to the raised bed.

I used rainwater that I collected in buckets last weekend to water the garden.

I placed jars over my artichoke seedlings to help them to grow faster.

I harvested lettuce, arugula, radishes, Swiss chard, green onions, parsley, and garlic chives from the garden.

I sewed a few gifts for my daughter for her birthday using fabric, elastic, and ribbons I had on hand.

I used boxes to wrap her gifts that I purchased last year at Christmas. They are pretty white and gold boxes that I can reuse at each birthday, and just tie them shut with ribbons. 

I read two borrowed books.

Iris The Prudent Homemaker

White Wedgewood Iris in the White Garden


What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. I love reading about all your gardening accomplishments, Brandy! And of course also love reading and learning from everyone here.

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    – Someone gifted my workplace with a bottle of candy, and I was able to take home the large wide-mouth mason jar the candy came in. It now holds my (homemade) dehydrated fruit!
    – I earned $5 for my paypal account through Pinecone Research
    – Redeemed my Starbucks Rewards points for a lunchbox; saved me $7! (I used Swagbucks to get Starbucks gift cards, then use them strategically to get the most points, and redeem the points for lunch boxes. In the 9 months, I think I spent $4 of my own money on Starbucks, maybe $75 via Swagbucks gift cards, and got maybe 4 lunch boxes free. The gift cards totally subsidize my social life, plus I end up with free lunches. I’m really happy with my system!)
    – Cat-sat and received $120 cash, plus two books that the cat owner had finished with. Cat cuddles, books, and money – my ideal part-time job!
    – Made a batch of my favourite iced tea, using tea gifted to me (Oolong Jasmine Mango) sweetened with the syrup from my home-canned peaches.
    – Mended a pair of leggings
    – Made freezer mashed potatoes to use up the last of my potatoes, and portioned them out into 2-person servings for easy dinner sides.
    – Took two friends (plus a daughter of one friend) out for coffee using my Starbucks gift card from Swagbucks. I was able to catch up with some friends I hadn’t seen in a while, while treating them to a fancy-pants drink, without any money OOP. I do like that!
    – While meeting up with one of my friends, I stumbled across an ice carving festival, so we took my friend’s daughter to go see it. There were booths handing out free samples, so we each got two free cookies, plus a coupon for a free tea at David’s Tea (which I tucked away for the future). We got some great photos of the daughter with different sculptures, and we all had fun. Friends, a free festival, and free full-size samples make for a great Saturday!
    – My mother had asked for shortbread cookies instead of cake, to celebrate her 70th birthday. Thanks to Ann Lee, who posted a great Scottish shortbread recipe on Brandy’s February goals post, I made genuine Scottish shortbread as a gift for my mom! I used my mini alphabet cookie/fondant cutters to emboss the letters M O M onto three separate shortbread cookies when they were half-baked, then finished baking them, packaged them up individually in cellophane bags leftover from Christmas gifts, and tied them up with fancy ribbon gifted to me from my sister when she de-stashed her card-making supplies. This will be a little gift to round out her other birthday gifts. Inexpensive, but cute!
    – I wanted to make her 70th birthday shortbread cookies a little nicer (a milestone birthday, after all!) so I made three different types of shortbread to serve with tea for the birthday celebration that I hosted. One was the shortbread cookie that I mentioned above, and the other was a whipped shortbread cookie! I made one dough but two kinds of cookies: first I used my cookie press to make some cute flowers. I didn’t have any candied cherries, so I used the red bits from my leftover mixed coloured citrus peel from my Christmas baking. Then I added chopped dark chocolate to the leftover dough and baked that up. I used a high quality chocolate bar that had been gifted to me, so no additional cost there. Here’s the recipe: I buy lots of butter when it’s a loss leader and freeze it, which makes baking with butter much more affordable.
    – As a gift for my mom, I downloaded e-books I already own (there’s one author that we both love), on to a USB stick. The DH had a USB stick that he wiped clean, and then I packaged it up in a fabric gift bag that I had in my ‘to be reused’ stash. My mom got a e-reader recently, so this will be a nice treat for her, and she’ll get a kick out of the fact that I managed to do it without spending any money!

    Here’s to another great week for us all!

  2. A crazy busy week here with the weather adding to the craziness! One day 76 degrees and the next 30 degrees for the high!!! Ohio in late winter/early Spring!!!
    I bought canning jar lids on clearance for 50 cents/box of a dozen lids! They had both wide mouth and regular lids- both are the same price! Since I am running low on lids and I can a lot and am constantly using what we have on the shelves and then refilling those jars, I bought out all they had at that particular location! 77 boxes of regular lids and 119 boxes of wide mouth!!! Spent almost $100 but have a rebate for a little over $10 coming back, making the final cost 44-1/2 cents per box of a dozen lids! That’s almost 2400 lids and I will definitely make good use of them!!

    I picked up my Zaycon chicken order- $1.35/ pound for 40 pounds of BLSL breast. I cooked some in crockpot and shredded and packaged for freezer, cut up chunks and cooked and packaged for fast dinner making, cut up and flash froze some into chicken strips. I still have 15 pounds to package into meal size portions!

    Board of Elections called me to work at the May 2nd Primary election. Typically those are pretty quiet days and I’ll make $158 for the day! That will be a great extra stream of income!

    We have assembled our materials (all from material we had at home!) to build our chicken coop and decided to buy starter hens so that egg production won’t need to wait for 6 months!

    We recycled some plastic storage containers ( after decluttering them) to help organize our bathroom linen closet better! I did the same thing in another room to help organize and not only were the containers free because I was recycling containers I already had but afterwards, it made the closets feel so much easier to access what I needed!

    I started another quilt- this time a baby quilt using Springtime colors! It will be done in the next day or so!
    Just made funeral potatoes for the second funeral that I’ve brought food to and helped serve at for the second time in two weeks! So grateful for my full pantry!!
    Have been more attentive to avoiding food waste in fridge and this week it’s been very successful! We’ve eaten leftovers and also gotten creative to use up partially used foods. Case in point- tonight we had meatball subs for dinner. They used up last 6 hot dog buns i had, a partial bag of homemade frozen meatballs and a partial jar of spaghetti sauce in the fridge!
    Donated another big bag to Goodwill! I’ve now lost 95 pounds in the past 10 months so it’s been great to cull things from my closet that are too big on me any more!
    All in all, a very good week!

  3. I stayed home most days saving on gas and mindless purchases. I repainted two bookcase/desks in a lighter color. I am painting my wooden TV stand in gloss black and adding brass “corners” making it more oriental looking. I repaired a standing lamp with new socket, it works!! I cleaned under 200 feet of cedar hedging after it was clipped. Using new rolls of stick on shelf paper ($1.) from thrift store I cleaned, purged, and organized 4 kitchen cupboards. So nice to open now!! Bought 5 lbs. tiny white potatoes for $1.97 and smoked chicken sliced for .97 per 100 gr. (500 gr = 1 pound approx.) The photo by Brandy of the almond tree flowers last post was so beautiful, love the white iris as well. Closed off two rooms not often used to save on heat costs. I’m glad you tried the shortbread Margaret, your gifts sound wonderful. Ann Lee S

  4. Margaret,
    You recently mentioned a Vegan Spice cake your mother made. I made it today with Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour and added 3/4 t. xanthum gum. It turned out perfectly and tasted really good. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe. It is so much easier to turn a recipe into gluten free, when I don’t also have to make it vegan, which I need as well. I did “cheat” though and put vegan cream cheese frosting on it as it was for a special occasion. Fabulous, just fabulous! Thanks again … Chris

  5. Trying to stick with the pantry challenge and keep my grocery budget under 200 per month. For Feb to date I have spent 96.45. Being extra careful to turn leftovers into another meal. Tonight I had some lemon sauce left from making Chinese chicken. I baked a cake big enough for just us two using the lemon sauce instead of the buttermilk called for and pouring the remaining sauce over the still warm cake for a glaze. Leftover poached chicken and a few wilty veggies are chicken soup with leftover rice stirred in. Leftover peaches and cottage cheese plus a little yogurt have a new life blended with some orange jello.. Leftover onion soup added to bread dough to make onion hamburger buns. Black beans made a batch of Brandy’s. Black bean burgers. One day I sauteed onions to top a burger pattie and added BBQ sauce and a green salad for a meatless meal. Anything that is left from parings and food prep is fed to our chickens. They are just starting to lay well again. We are enjoying microwave baked potatoes shredded into hash browns and fresh eggs for breakfasts. We had snow fall again today so gardening is a ways away for us. I am still cooking winter squash from last falls harvest and tucking it into the freezer. Have a good week everyone

  6. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    Finances –
    – This week we banked another $538.80 making so far this month $1868.27 banked for the month into our saving for our home with cash bank account.
    – Found out today that both DH & I are eligible for 50 stamps each a year on concession rates saving us .40c per letter we post throughout the year for my hobby internet business. This will save us $40 over the year in postage.

    Household and in the kitchen –

    – Made all of bread and meals from scratch at home.
    – Made a huge pot of sweet potato and carrot soup from our home grown vegetables which we ate for 3 meals saving on the cost of meat.
    – Made lots of lovely carrot juice made from juicing our home grown carrots.

    Groceries and appliance purchases –

    – Purchased a slow / cold press vegetable juicer to replace the one that stopped working which remarkably was reduced the day we went into the store 😀 . It was reduced from $549 down to $359 and that included me haggling the price down by a further $40 as it was the last one and a display model. A good saving of $190 all up.

    Gardening –

    – Purchased 3 cubic metres of horse manure from a local horse stud for $20 and put it in our garden beds and rototilled it in to amend our vegetable garden beds.
    – Used potash and charcoal from last years winter slow combustion fires and added that to our soil for further soil amendment.

    Water –

    – Used saved grey water from our showers and washing machines to hand water our lawns all week.

    Electricity –

    – Used our solar lanterns instead of mains powered lights to light our home all week at night.

  7. We are going to whiplash with our weather from mid 50-60s to mid 20-30s … I want to PLANT in the gardens so I enjoy reading about you and your gardens Brandy. I read the frugal posts here and at Frugalwoods daily. I did our taxes at Credit Karma. I usually have to pay for our 1040 but Credit Karma did it for free along with electronic filing.

    We might plant blueberries in a container as Hubby constantly runs them over with the lawnmower even when they are in a fence line.

    Rest of it is here

  8. We had another busy week around here. We got our taxes finished and will be receiving a nice refund. That is the happy news! On the other hand, some expenses have cropped up–not really a surprise, but the extra money will come in handy and be used well.

    We had a beautiful day on Saturday and the children (daughter and nephew) got to play outside for several hours. It’s been so rainy that it was a real treat for them and me. I have some daffodils that have started blooming. I so enjoy your lovely flower pictures. I’m ready for spring, I think, but after the gorgeous day, there were snowflakes in the rain yesterday, so it’s not quite here yet!

    We got some skirts for the girls at a yard sale for $1 each. We also pulled out the sewing machines and serger and some fabric I already owned and got some spring/summer sewing started.

    I’ve been cooking up a storm from items that have been “lost” in my freezers and cupboards. I really want to use some of these items up before summer, since I plan to grow a large garden and re-stock with fresh items.

    I wrote more on my blog:

  9. It’s so amazing to me that anyone’s garden is producing this time of year. I know Las Vegas has very different weather than New England, but it’s still February. So neat you have fresh food!

    I continue to stay frugal by shopping the sales and using coupons/rebates whenever possible. I found tons of discounted candy and cards from Valentine’s Day clearance. Barnes & Noble is having a huge $2.00/item sale as well. I was able to stock up on books and gifts. Food-wise, I saved last week because Blue Apron sent me some meals to review (such a blessing!) All of my deals with pics can be found here:

  10. I love that you saved those little lettuce seedlings. I sometimes just pick them, but that’s being wasteful, I suppose! This week I tried to save money by shopping at the thrift store for some new jeans. I was tempted to go to the mall, but we are really trying to save money, and I was delighted to find a pair in exactly my size and preferred wash with tags (brand new) on them at the thrift store! I had prayed before going, and really needed them – it was neat to see how God provided. We also signed up our kids for a one week camp at our church that is free. I had been wanting them to go to a VBS-style camp but many cost money around here – this is a new one our church is starting.

    A family we know posted that they are looking for other families to train in how to take care of a farm. They want to train other families in basic things like milking goats/cows, taking care of chickens, pasture management, etc. so that they can have different families take turns watching their farm when they have to travel. I signed our family up and am looking forward to our kids having this type of experience (as well as myself). We also get discounts on dairy and other things the family sells, which I’m hoping will help me build my cheese-making skills :).

  11. Gotta love those garden volunteers! I harvested arugula and other winter greens for a salad. Noticing I didn’t have any good wrapping paper for a child when I went to wrap my great nephew’s gift, I used a piece of large white paper that came as packing material, and stamped it with a set of stamps I recently won ($3) at a Hospice silent auction. Our peas are coming up nicely, and we prepared our beds for potatoes yesterday. It’s lovely to be out in the garden again. Joining in here:

  12. Brandy, I hope you will share a post on the gifts you made. Always so inspiring to see what you made! Love the pictures of the garden. The snow is slowly disappearing here, but there is still plenty of time for more in our area.

    It’s been a bit of a rough week with my daughter. She’s going through some normal growing pains right now that are a little harder to navigate when you’re on the Autism spectrum. Anyways, here are our frugal accomplishments for this week:
    *Made a batch of chocolate rice crispies (normal rice crispies with cocoa powder added) from pantry supplies I had on hand. I individually wrapped 5 squares, set them aside my daughter’s school lunches this week, and offered the rest for dessert/snack option to the rest of the family.
    *Baked a pan of oatmeal chocolate chip cookie bars on Sunday for next weeks lunches with pantry supplies. Again, I wrapped up 5 bars individually, set them aside for daughter’s school lunches, then offered the rest to the family as dessert/snacks.
    *Meals made at home included breaded chicken patties with noodles & sauce side dish and mix of leftover veggies (corn, carrots and green beans), hot turkey sandwhiches (using the frozen leftover turkey from Christmas) with french fries and corn, pasta with choice of sauce, stuffed chicken breast with corn and choice of potato wedges or sweet potato fries, breakfast bowl, and grilled cheese sandwiches with optional sides of dill pickles and baked beans.
    *My daughter had a dentist appointment this week. It was covered under her ODSP (disability), so no cost out of pocket. My daughter and I were both given free toothbrushes after it came up casually in conversation that I needed a new one too. Unfortunately her appointment was right around dinner time. So I used a gift card to buy take out afterward, to avoid the inevitable grumping from the family that dinner was late.
    *Went to my monthly Handweavers & Spinners Guild meeting and came home with some free supplies for basket weaving. I hope to use the material to learn more basketry skills this summer through my job at the pioneer village.
    *Defrosted and reorganized one of our freezers this week. Found a few surprises, but it feels good to know what is in there and more organized so I am able to find things easier.
    *Groceries were a bit higher than normal this week, due to buying some more expensive pantry stock up items (e.g. I bought a big bag of powdered milk which costs $24 but lasts quite a while). My budget works over a two week period, however, so I will just need to be careful with how much I spend next week.
    *Used a gift card for a free lunch out for my husband and I. My daughter used a portion of a gift card she received as a Christmas gift to buy a free lunch for herself and her friend. She also ate her leftovers for lunch the next day.

    [b]My joyful & precious life moments this week are:[/b]
    *On family day (Canadian holiday) we watched “Forrest Gump” as a family for free through Kodi Genesis. My daughter had never seen it before. However, we ate at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. when we visited the Santa Monica Pier. My husband and daughter both bought t-shirts with quotes from the movie on it. Despite her initial resistance to the idea of watching a movie, she really enjoyed it. As a treat, we shared a box of chocolates that I bought on discount after Christmas.

    That’s it for us this week. Thanks for all the inspiration everyone! Hope you all have a wonderful week filled with lots of beautiful moments!:D

  13. We continue to eat out of our food stores from last year’s garden including cabbage, potatoes and lots of food I canned in October. Our chickens are beginning to lay in earnest now too. 🙂 I started several varieties of tomatoes, peppers and flowers in our “basement” garden. But it will be months before we have fruit from these tiny plants as we are still under several feet of snow. What a blessing it is for you, Brandy, to be able to have fresh food from your gardens! (I’ll have to admit I’m a bit jealous!)

  14. Melissa, it’s really growing on me. I used to not like it much but now I LOVE it! I mix it with other lettuces for a salad and also have put in on sandwiches. I have read it’s important to pick it young to keep it from being too hot, and also that it will get too hot when the temperature warms up, so I am enjoying it now while it is cooler outside and not quite as pungent.

  15. Hello Brandy!

    The weather in Southeastern PA was gorgeous last week! We had several days in the 70s which was a new state record for February. We took advantage of the beautiful weather (before it disappeared on Sunday) to work in the chicken run.

    Last week I mended my husband’s pants, shortened boy scout pants and hemmed them, and started two dresses for my girls. However, I’ve reached a stumping point with my pattern. I was hoping your readers could help. Here is the post (complete with pictures): Any help would be most welcome. Please and thank you!

  16. Please share how to make freezer mashed potatoes. That’s a great idea! And your shortbread sounds gorgeous. What a great gift for your mom.

  17. What a find on jar lids! I need to get some this year and would love to find a sale like that! Still, canning is a great deal any way I do it:)

    Congratulations on the weight loss. That is a huge accomplishment.

    Also, it would be awesome to see your quilts. I think you are a regular quilt-making factory there. You seem to finish so many. I’m sure the recipients are delighted with them.

  18. I am living vicariously through all these wonderful gardening posts. We still have five inches of snow on the ground, so it will be a while here. I did score a bunch of free flower pots from a neighbor who is moving. She held a moving sale and I stopped by, looking for three pots to re-pot some houseplants. She gave me three the size I needed, then added four window-box style boxes I can use in the greenhouse. I have had such a bad time with chipmunks eating my green beans the last two years that I am going to plant them all in the greenhouse this year and these pots will be perfect. We went out of town for a couple of days to ski. We pre-paid for the trip back in November, so that made it cheaper, and we took food for all our meals the three days we were gone, except breakfast the last day. Otherwise, we ate all meals at home last week and I did a lot of scratch cooking — bread, chicken stock, and oatmeal cookies. When Amazon had their one-day sale last week I bought a $50 gift card to Safeway for $41 and change — I will use this for future groceries. One of the boot heaters in my ski boots broke and my husband fixed it, using cables he had saved from a previous pair of boot heaters.

  19. Amy,

    I don’t menu plan for the week. I have 4 1/2 months of menus on the site already; a 2-week pantry-only menu and 4 month-long seasonal menus. I don’t always know what day things are going to be ripe in the garden and that can often affect my meals for each day. I usually have a general idea of things that will be ripe for the month and I go from there.

    Right now we are harvesting a LOT of Swiss chard from the garden. It will bolt in April and I want to make sure we eat it up before then. I needed to pull out some plants last week in order to plant the replacement rose bushes that came. I made Swiss chard as a side dish but also made Swiss chard soup, but made it thicker– a cross between my potato soup and Swiss chard soup. I imagine I’ll be making more of that this next week to make sure the chard gets eaten. I am planting more chard seeds this week to grow for this next year, so that we’ll always have some chard ripe in the garden.

    I made a turkey last week, some Spanish rice and corn to go with it, and some homemade macaroni using a combination of powdered cheese and mozzarella. I made a crepe cake with Nutella for my daughter’s birthday. I pulled some sliced peaches from the freezer and made a peach tart. We had a couple of fruit salads using canned and frozen fruit.

    This week I’m sure we’ll eat the rest of the turkey and I’ll make several soups for lunches and dinners. I’m still trying to empty out the freezers to make room for this year’s garden produce.(right now I need to juice my lemons and freeze the juice to have all year).

  20. Wow! You all are an inspiration!

    I started my tomato seeds (what I don’t plant will be sold at the local farmer’s market), utilized 13 pounds of lemon (zesting them for a citrus salt, dehydrating some, canning the juice of some) any way I could, and used products that we already had in our home to make household cleaners when I was deep cleaning the home.

  21. Hi Friends! It is inspiring to read everyone’s accomplishments. I will be retiring early in June so I am gearing up in this area!

    We had lots more rain in SoCal so I did not do much gardening, but I harvested the last of the Meyer lemons and one lone avocado.

    At Costco, there was a $5 off coupon for Oxi Clean, so I took advantage of that. While I was there, I purchased another $4.99 rotisserie chicken…..since our boys are out of the nest now and it is just hubby and I, that chicken created 2 dinners, 2 lunches, and bone broth for a peasant soup that I made that turned out fabulous. I actually still have chicken leftover from making the bone broth that I can use for fried brown rice this week.

    Hubby and I saw LaLaLand for $5 each at a matinee. That was our date night and I thought, well worth it.

    I shopped at Sprouts this week and potatoes were $1.50 for 5 pounds so I bought 10 pounds. 🙂

    I read a free book that was offered on kindle.

    I packed my lunch every day this past week for work. 🙂 Menu planned for this week.

    Have a great week!

  22. I am wanting to try to make a quilt but don’t know where to even start. I have tried to look online but it seems really overwhelming. Any suggestions?

  23. Brandy – are artichokes annuals for you? I’d love to grow them but just don’t have the space.

    My best frugal accomplishment was staying home except for one trip to the thrift for Senior’s day and one trip to the grocery store. I did a very small shopping trip for milk and the weekly sale items.
    I continued working on my goal of cooking at least one meal each week with ingredients from my pantry.
    I ate all meals at home even though I would have loved some take-out one day.
    I turned out lights when I left the room and unplugged electronics each night.
    My joy – knowing it’s all the little things I do that make it possible to live well on my retirement income.

  24. Brandy,
    This is a little off the beaten path but I’d love to see how your “in kitchen pantry” is organized and if you have lined the shelves? Love reading your blog.

  25. They are perennials, but they don’t always come back. They last 2 to 3 years and then I have to plant new ones.

    They do take up a fair amount of space. The space I had them in became too shaded and so I am now growing some in other places in the garden that get more sun.

  26. Kim, we turned the in-kitchen pantry into a mudroom with a door that leads to the garage, where I have my walk-in pantry. In the kitchen itself, I have one cupboard of spices (the one just left of the stove), and inside where I keep my printer and school supplies I have 3 small buckets on the floor with gamma lids (flour and sugar). On half a shelf I have a gallon of olive oil and a gallon of vegetable oil, a gallon of vinegar, and a plastic container of brown sugar. Everything else is out in my walk-in pantry.

  27. Hi All,
    My four year old grandson was getting tired of being in the house this cold, rainy winter so Papa and I took him for an outing over the weekend. We went to the beach in winter and yes it was really cold but grandson was bundled up and didn’t seem to notice the cold. His favorite activity was to walk the marina and look at all the boats. He studied each boat carefully and wanted to know the name of each boat in the marina. My husband and I were freezing after this so we headed into a little café for lunch. We ordered grandson a cheeseburger kid’s meal. This was a very generous kid’s meal made with real food! My husband and I each got a big, hot bowl of clam chowder and we all shared grandson’s fries. Grandson shared half of his cheese burger with Papa. This was a very economical lunch especially since it is in a tourist part of the area. Grandson got to spend a good amount of time outside. On the way home, I stopped in at the hair salon I normally frequent to get grandson a needed haircut but they were booked full for the day so they gave me a coupon for $5.00 off our next cut. That was a nice surprise. Lastly, we stopped in at Marshall’s and I got very nice brand name shirts for my husband, son and grandson for thrift store prices….$3.00 each.

    My husband and I had a great day playing with our grandson and my daughter and her husband enjoyed the break. A fun and frugal weekend!

  28. This past week we received our tax refund. I had done our taxes for free using free file from We used the refund to pay off a credit card, renew some license plates, pay for a car repair and oil change and to stock up our pantry and freezers. The money went as fast as it came but I feel good that we are stocked up and we are down to only one more bill to pay off. Last month I had purchased some much needed clothes but I had one shirt that didn’t quite fit right plus I had received a gift card for my birthday. I used the money from the return and half of the gift card for to purchase my son some socks and underwear. I was treated to dinner out a couple of times for my birthday and that was quite enjoyable as I don’t eat out often. I took a load of items to Goodwill to donate and looked around while I was there but found nothing. I made our meal plan for the month which is a life saver. I often move meals around, but at least I have the dinner ideas knowing I have the ingredients on hand to make them. I also picked up a few cookbooks from the library to look for some new meal ideas.

  29. I would say go to the library and borrow a couple books on basic quilting. It’s really not hard at all, except the part about cutting accurately and having your seams come together at the right place. You can rip it out if you’re not happy–and there are no pre-conceived standards–each quilter decides for herself what is “close enough.” It’s probably the quickest and easiest way to learn a bit in a short time. You can trace patterns on to parchment paper from the books to save buying patterns. You can also start with something small, like throw pillows or a table runner, and try out your skills before you invest in fabric for a larger quilt.

  30. Went out to do errands this morning. Got some good markdowns that made me happy. Then to the Goodwill. They are having a special on Mondays. Their color tag of the week is special price of 1.00. I got a whole box of soy candles plus 5 items of clothing with sale tags still on them. A couple of those items will be put in my gift closet. Came home to homemade chicken and rice soup using up all the bits and dabs of leftovers.. I’ll smile for days!

  31. The weather has been lovely so the heat hasn’t been needed very much this past week. We ate out more last week than usual, but did at least spend some time with good friends that we hadn’t seen in ages. Made homemade bread machine bread with added oats, and pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds….I am not a bread making wizard so am hesitant to go too far off the recipe. ;). But this worked well and gives me the illusion of eating healthy food. Sold a leftover air conditioner from our recently sold RV! Yeah! Slowly but surely we are getting rid of things we don’t use and turning them into little piles of cash.

  32. I filled a five-gallon bucket with homemade laundry detergent.
    I mended a dish towel that had lost it’s hem.
    I trench composted in the back yard some more. My goal is to turn this sandy, poor soil into real dirt for gardening. I also planted a green cover crop last fall — peas, clover and buckwheat — to help fix nitrogen.
    I’m pulling berries out of the freezer to make fruit syrup for our pancakes we’ll have on Mardi Gras.
    I’m eating leftovers for lunch almost every single day, and I love them.
    I’m “roasting” beets in the crock pot, using the old crock pot metal baker that I got at a yard sale for 10 cents.

  33. I’m chomping at the but to get really started on this year’s gardening! Last winter we had no snow- today, we had our third snowfall of at least an inch. I know that sounds tiny to all of you in New England, but it’s more than I’ve seen in years. Now on to my frugal accomplishments for the week:
    -My parents asked for some help with their new FitBits from my husband (he’s a software engineer) and offered to make us dinner and the next days breakfast in return. I love not having to cook!
    -As the days have gotten brighter, we finally have 10 hours of sun or day again, we’ve reduced the number and length of electric lights that are on.
    -I did some bulk ordering of household goods; TP, tissues, soap, etc; from Amazon subscribe and save. Because I had 5 items I got an extra 15% off. Plus the kids have been using the two large boxes everything came in to play with. They have been boats, beds, and houses so far.
    -I made all meals at home but one. I also made a double batch of homemade BBQ sauce, using some and freezing the rest for later.
    -I watched several videos on YouTube on the One Yard Revolution channel about gardening practices. He had many ideas about how to grow lots of food in a little space and do so without spending a lot of time and money.
    -I started some seeds last week, but my garage is to dark and cold so I bought a grow light. Luckily, it was 50%off. Instead of buying a warming pad, I am using an old heating pad that I already have in the house to warm up the soil under my eggplant and tomato seeds.

  34. Your iris are beautiful!

    Frugal Efforts:

    * Continued w/ the pantry challenge.

    * Ate mostly home-prepared meals.

    * Harvested green onions, Swiss chard, and lettuce.

    * Hubs is in the process of making new planter boxes for herbs (the freebie half-barrels we’ve been using are falling apart).

    * Made cookies, bread, soup.

    * Accepted produce for our hens.

    * Hubs brought home a couple of sandwiches for himself and son.

    * Accepted popcorn.

    Joyful Activities

    * Read books from the library.

    * Enjoyed looking out our windows at the green foothills.

    * Watched a couple of lizards scampering around on the woodpile.

    * Harvested fresh veggies from the garden for a salad.

    * Spent time w/ my hubby and son.

  35. Our temperatures probably aren’t too hot for it here since we barely get out of the 80’s so it goes summer into fall. I don’t know how many times my daughter replants throughout the season.

    My son started adding it to top their homemade pizza. Pile it on after the pizza is done baking, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with a little more grated cheese and slice. It’s good.

  36. Check out Missouri Star Quilt Company! Every week they do a new free tutorial of a quilt pattern using easier shortcut methods! That might be a great place to start! Plus- you can cut your own scraps into the sizes that they sell- charm packs are 5″ squares of fabric, layer cakes are 10″ squares. Quilt making doesn’t have to be expensive!

  37. • Ate all homemade meals: B, L, and D
    • Roasted a chicken then made broth in slow cooker
    • Planned out grocery shopping to stay within February budget
    • Made spicy peanut noodles with chicken
    • Made a pot of chicken taco soup
    • Made a pot of Aldi steel cut oats with added flax seeds for breakfast during the upcoming week. I’ll eat it with frozen sliced peaches that I put away last August for a taste of summer 🙂
    • Made Swagbucks daily goal x 1
    • Thank you to the person who wrote a couple of weeks ago about planting “throw away” seeds that may or may not take due to planting at a risky weather time. I planted lettuce and bok choy seeds in our cold frame, that we’ve never used.
    • I’m going to France this spring to visit the French family I lived with 30+ years ago as a student as well as travel for a week. I’m so excited!! My flights have been “erased” with credit card points. This past weekend I reserved all hotels for France, including staying at this castle!!
    • I’ve been saving my credit card points for three years and am able to “erase” all the hotel nights  BTW I pay off the cc every month.

  38. Our frugal accomplishments for the week:

    * I cooked all meals at home/packed lunches, and I still had lots of leftover enchiladas all last week for easy lunches and dinners.

    * I went to Aldi and stocked up on chicken breast for the freezer- $1.49 per lb! I also picked up some produce deals while I was there, so we shouldn’t have to go shopping until next week or the week after.

    * I edited the meal plan based on the enormous amount of enchiladas, which meant I could move 2 meals later into the meal plan, which saves me money for March! Also, March’s meal plan is complete, which will help save me time while moving into a busy March.

    * I ordered a bunch of clothes from Schoola when they had their $1 president’s day sale, including new pants for my SO. If they’re too long, I’ll hem them. I also picked up a few tank tops for myself to replace some that are getting holes. I got a total of 20 items for $27.

    * I also ordered some items off of Amazon when they had the one day discount of $8.63 off of a $50 purchase. I used rewards from Crosswise Media, Smart Panel, and Slidejoy to cover the total cost.

    * I made a large batch of popcorn for a cheap, healthy snack.

    I did have one frugal fail as well- I had so many projects to do this weekend that I wasn’t able to get time to go to my mom’s house to do laundry, which means I paid $2.50 to wash and dry my SO’s work clothes. Ouch 🙁 I also had a few non-joyful experiences this week- the SO went to the dr with foot pain, I went to the dentist with tooth pain, my car got stuck on a snowy hill (the joys of living in the upper midwest), and my SO’s cat had a stroke (she’s doing okay now, though she’s still having some issues walking). These experiences serve to remind us to take good care of ourselves and those important to us, though that may not always be easy!

    Also, I wanted to say thank you to all who reached out to me last week about tutoring- I really appreciate all of the input! I hope your week is full of joy!

  39. And if you have a quilt shop near, they probably have classes. My husband started classes this week. And my mother took classes years ago at local community college.

  40. Eleanor Burns has easy weekend quilts. She describes step by step. You can find her books at the library.(also checkout a quilting 101 book.) Easist to start is a rag quilt. Signup w JoAnns if you have one in area. You get ad and coupons in your mail. They also have an app you can use coupon codes. Don’t try to buy everything at once. Fb has pages, plus see if anyone you know is into quilting. Most will be happy to show you, if you are serious. Ir can be addicting and can be expensive. Brandy lists some of the big sales throughout the year. Memorial Day and Labor day are two. Getting holiday items after the holiday are easiest. Like right now Valentine’s Day and Christmas is on sale.

  41. Yay, you! I would love to see France. I hope to go to Ireland in the Fall. I have a niece there or I wouldn’t be going.

  42. Missouri Star on youtube is a great idea. Also, there are Craftsy classes: They run sales frequently.

    I will be posting about my sewing room. Come by for a visit.

  43. Brandi, you always have such beautiful pictures. I would bet that your yard is a beacon for people walking or driving by.
    .This week feels like nothing was accomplished. Food waste is always an issue but I did better this week.
    .I cut the toothpaste tube in half and have been using the last dribs and drabs.
    .I continue to save the shower water for the laundry. This week I even used the boiled egg water; Although for what is slipping my mind!
    .I cashed in coke codes for a ten dollar GC to Amazon. I’ll probably use this for books for the grands for Christmas. My son told me he’s not happy about the other grandparents getting the kids so many toys. It’s unreal. They have no appreciation.
    .I made yogurt from marked down milk I froze some months ago. I’ll probably mix it with homemade jam.
    .I made all meals at home.
    .I made some blackberry and blueberry syrup. It is so good! The berries were all foraged.
    .I signed us up for two hours of free dental care. This is the first time we’ve been able to do this.
    .I sold an item on eBay.
    .Today, I walked a very small inside track at the local Tribal center. Twenty two times around is one mile. I walked two miles as fast as I could go to get the heart rate up. For every mile you walk, you’re given a wooden ‘coin’ worth one dollar at the farmers market this Summer. Since I love a challenge, I hope to be there every day this runs to see how far I can go. Plus, fresh food=a no brainer!
    .Spoke to all of my children this week; That always brings me joy.
    Wishing you all a fabulous week ahead!

  44. Wow, what a great adventure you are planning, Libby! The castle looks amazing. I’d love to travel and explore more of Europe. Hope you have a wonderful time in France.

  45. I organized my freezer and continue to stock my pantry. I made cupcakes from a mix purchased last year at 50 cents and used leftover homemade chocolate frosting I had stored in freezer (it thaws wonderfully…just have to whip it again). I attended a very nice event at no cost (through my work) and was able to fit into an evening gown that I wore some 15 years ago (I’m excited I could still wear it too!)–my husband wore a nice suit he had rather than renting a tux (other men wore suits as well; though most wore tuxedos). I found a deal on Snickers at CVS…B1G2 free (we ate one now, I’m saving one for Easter basket and one for a summer road trip to visit family). For Valentine’s Day, I used chocolate purchased on sale at Christmas and I made a postcard with things I love about each child using “WordArt” on the computer. I’m not sure why I’m receiving them but have gotten another $10 off $10 (regular price item) from Staples!

  46. Hello everyone!
    Brandy your pictures are beautiful! I hope all your plants survive in the bed where the apples were!
    We were able to turn the furnace off for a week!!! Lower bill for the win. We had to turn it back on Thursday when winter returned

  47. Hi everyone! I learn a lot from here …
    Since we are moving, I am trying to use up what we have. I have made all meals from scratch and using up mixes we have.
    All money saved is going toward our new house.
    For February I was able to payoff my car and two medical bills so that is a big relief. More money into savings!
    March plan is to continue with homemade meals and to payoff a repair bill and continue with more $ to savings.

  48. This month I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed by money. I always love coming here and reading Brandy’s updates and the comments that follow. Lots of good ideas and lots of encouragement on this site!! Thank you ladies (and gentlemen). I know there are a number of Canadian readers by the comments here – so let me share a great deal – if you go to Shoppers Drug Mart right now and make ANY purchase you will receive a $10.00 voucher for your next online purchase at The promotion is while supplies last. I always shop at BeautyBoutique through Ebates – this is a great deal if you buy any products that they offer. The voucher is good until March 31. I have posted my updates on our spending last month here:

  49. Hi Margaret,
    I “cheated” on the vegan cream cheese frosting as I’d found a can of Pillsbury frosting at one of my favorite discount grocery stores. There’s no dairy and a bare minimum of soy (lecithin) so I grabbed 2 cans to see how if was okay. For canned frosting, these were not too bad and much more frugal than trying to do something with soaking raw cashews. However, the can of chocolate fudge was not near as good (an earlier choice for my grandson’s birthday on gluten-free, vegan chocolate cupcakes). I prefer the frosting I can make over that!

  50. Margaret, I totally get your “system” with Starbucks. I do something similar with my gas station for GC. it’s almost like playing a little game.
    Kitty cuddles and good reads are pretty awesome too!
    Have a great week!

  51. Hello Everyone!

    This is my list from the past two weeks:
    -For Valentines Day, I spent a total of $4 OOP. (my daughter wanted to use Sweedish Fish in her valentines) My girls made homemade valentines for school from things we had around the house. I made a special dinner with pantry items and food built in to my regular grocery budget. I gave my children love notes and gifts from my gift stash. I invited my parents to our special dinner as well. It was a sweet, low-key time celebrating our family.
    -my parents gave us a Chiptole Gift Card for V-Day. A special treat!
    -downloaded all my Free Friday deals from Kroger. I will redeem those this week
    -my daughters are playing volleyball through school during the month of February. There was no cost to participate in this activity and they get exercise!
    -got free samples in the mail and signed up for more free samples to come
    -received a free Better Homes and Gardens mag. in the mail
    -received free Parents and Family Fun mags. in the mail
    -my aunt and uncle stopped over for a visit and brought me some clippings from their forsythia bush. Just yesterday they started to bloom. They look so pretty on my dining room table! Like so many others have said, we have been having unusually warm weather in Ohio- so perennials are starting to bud/bloom
    -same aunt and uncle brought me a huge head of cauliflower they found at Kroger for $0.88
    -at baptism at church last week and had an all church lunch after the service. Everything was provided by church-so we all ate a nice lunch for free
    -continuing to eat down our freezers. I combined the upright (older) freezer with the chest (newer) freezer, but I just couldn’t quite fit everything. I am working hard at making meals with what’s left in the upright freezer so I can defrost and unplug it until later in the Spring.
    -continued with the usual: library for books/ DVD/Story hour, recycled, turned lights out, made all meals at home, b/c of our usually warm weather, there were many days the furnace did not kick out at all.

    Have a wonderful week!!

  52. Gabrielle,

    I looked at your post and would offer this…I almost never follow the patterns directions for sleeves. Instead, I fold the unsewn sleeve in half (after getting the gathers or pleats as I want them and stay stitching them) and mark that point with a tiny snip or fabric marking pencil. Next I pin the right side of the center of the sleeve to the right side of the shoulder seam. Continue to pin both sides down to the edges. Finally I stitch the entire side and sleeve seam from hem to cuff taking care to match the seams under the arms.

    Sounds complicated, but this is such a time saver when you figure it out. At least it is for me. Hope it helps.

  53. Congrats Gardenpat, that is awesome on your 95 pound weight loss. That is hard work!! I need some encouragement in that department for sure!!…Vicky in Ky

  54. Thank you both so much. I am super excited!

    It has been so helpful to have a big “carrot” like this trip hanging in front of me to focus my frugality.

  55. I love how you get rewarded for walking!!

    That farmer’s market food is going to taste doubly good this summer 🙂

  56. Happy March everyone!
    I have been fighting multiple rounds of ear and sinus infections and am trying to avoid surgery. I am trying group acupuncture next month (1/8 the cost!) And found an essential oil earache blend online to help with the pains even that fluid is built up. Hopefully the two will keep me from surgery!
    Mended daughters pants.
    Sent a few boxes of donations to goodwill. Another box of toys for the St Elizabeth home.
    Husband cashed in points for papa johns.
    Got books from library and recycled items for a girl scout project.
    Carpool with a friend for kids play practices.

  57. Seems I forgot to say that I sew the sleeve on first, clip if needed, and press…than I sew from hem to cuff

  58. I get a sinus infection from food allergies. If I eat dairy or sugar, I get a sinus infection. (I’m also gluten-free because I have celiac.)

    My brother also gets sinus infections from dairy and sugar. You could try taking the top 8 allergens out of your diet and see if you improve. Good luck.

  59. As always, I am envious of your garden!

    I remember you sharing where/how you purchased your sewing thread and now I cannot seem to find the post to save my life. I’m not sure what term to search for on the blogs. Will you please point me in the right direction? TIA

  60. I had 10 lbs. of potatoes purchased for 99 cents that were maturing too much. I made a big pot of baked potato soup – 15 servings. Now I need to make shepherd’s pie with the remaining baked potatoes.

    Our church had a Festal Evensong for the last Sunday of Epiphany followed by a high tea. We used the collected silver tea sets of many families loaned for the occasion. I made shortbread to contribute to the scones, finger sandwiches, crumpets and clotted cream. The tea was Yorkshire Gold and was very tasty.

    I have been watching Amazon Prime videos – too much, and not going to the library , as I frequently do. However, I have watched favorites -Home Fires, Inspector Lewis, Endeavor and The Tunnel – so now I can return to reading books for a while. I also watched all of Victoria, so I didn’t have to wait for each episode to stream on PBS. I have been enjoying the new season of Mercy Street on PBS.

  61. I’m not Brandy, but if I remember correctly her sewing supplies come from either Wawak or Joann.

    Good luck in your search.

  62. Lorna, what an impressive amount saved this month for the house! You added to last week’s already great total. So happy for you:) I’ve thought that your use of the solar lights at night was so clever. Have you been able to notice a difference in your electric bill from using them?

  63. Hi Lynn and thank you for your encouragement 🙂 . We ended up saving more for last month as we had our last pay of the month the day after that post. Our total savings were $2241.54 and 51.99% of our after tax incomes and we also paid our power bill last month too.

    We saved $41 on our quarterly power bill which we were quite pleased with and are a two adult household. From researching the average power usage most households use between 8 – 15% of their power consumption section of their bill on lighting. Included in the above amount was a $10 rise in metre readers costs.

    We combined the power savings on a number of fronts by making sure all the power points were turned off at the wall when we finished using appliances, adjusted down our fridge and 2 freezer temperatures to recommended more economic running temperatures as per our electricity company website recommendations and cooked in bulk and just reheated the next night for our meals.

    It does make a huge difference when coupled with other changes we have implemented. I believe from reading on the internet and talking to friends over in the States that your power bills are substantially higher than ours due to lots of charges 🙁 . Our charges for meter reading, daily service supply etc add up to about 1/3rd of our bill. We are also about to get another increase on our electricity charge daily service cost which will increase our small bill by what we estimate will be over $8 a quarter.

  64. I took the time to make my own popcorn and take it into work, instead of going to the little store and making a purchase. Not only did I save money, I am sure the popcorn I make is healthier than what I buy at work. Continue to cook from scratch and cut back on my eating out. I use to eat out 2 to 3 times a week and for the past two months, I’ve only eaten out 3 times a month.

  65. I think I can relate to your sons dilema. My children are lucky enough to have 4 doting grandparents and even two great-grandparents. They all love to buy my children gifts and my house fills up fast. I have had to politely ask them to instead give them “experiences” like spending time with them or taking them for a special outing instead of buying them things. I have to say that books are the one thing that we do appreciate because we use and enjoy them.

  66. Happy March everyone
    I have been continuing with my pantry challenge. There were lots of good meals this week using pantry and freezer items. One day I cooked black beans and used half of them to make Brandy’s black bean burgers. Made homemade buns to eat them. One day I made hoagie rolls using the water from boiling potatoes as the base. Ham and bean soup made sometime this winter and frozen made a very welcome appearance. Now there is a chicken thawing out for roast chicken with roasted veggies and pasta I just cooked to make a pasta salad using up lots of leftover veggies. Any little bits of leftovers go to the dog or our hens. My goal for the year is to have no food waste sent to the landfill. I have a gallon container on my counter to collect any scraps or egg shells. I take it to the chicken coop when I go to check for eggs.
    Last summer I bought a heavy king size quilt at a garage sale that we have enjoyed having on our bed. It was too wide for our queen size bed so yesterday I cut it down 14 inches and added that fabric to the top of the quilt so it would cover the pillows better. Made me feel good to finally get to that project……and gives me motivation to tackle some of the other projects that have been on the back burner….you ladies inspire me. Thank you!

  67. Lorna, a 52% savings rate is incredible! Just so thrilled for you as it puts that house closer and closer within reach. Congrats too on the continued power savings, despite the rise in costs. We too try to manage our power, though not as stringently as we could/should. Have a great weekend and I’ll eagerly await your next report!!

  68. Hi Lynn and thank you for your encouragement 😀 , we are extremely happy with that and hope that we can keep up saving at that rate.

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