May Arrangement The Prudent Homemaker 

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I have been behind in my work in the garden, but now that the baby is here, I am working to get caught up.

Consequently, most of my money saving activities this week involved the garden.

Two weeks ago, I was speaking with the irrigation person at the local nursery. He gave me a watering suggestion for my grass. Rather than watering three times in the early morning before sunrise for 5 minutes each time, as the water district suggests, he said to water for 10 minutes at 7 a.m. and again at 7 p.m., as our heat here (116° in summer and right now in the 90°s) makes it hard for the grass to go so long without water. (We are not permitted to water here between the hours of 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. here.) I tried switching my water to once at 7 a.m. and once at 7 p.m., but just for the regular length of 5 minutes each time.  I’m watering 1/3 less, and after two weeks, my grass is much greener and not burning (which it was doing recently). As our water bill is tiered here and lawn watering is my largest usage of water, I am thrilled to use less. I will be keeping to this plan as the heat comes on, only adding to the length of time if the grass needs it. I am hoping the lawn will still be happy with this amount of water, at a different time of day, when it’s 116° and above (June through September, it only cools to 113° at 8 p.m. each night).

I mended a leak in the drip irrigation.

I collected shower warm-up water in a bucket and used it to water potted plants on my patio.

I planted seeds in the garden for Armenian cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkins, and butternut squash. I had planted seeds for all of these previously, but all but two plants either didn’t come up, came up and burned, or came up and were eaten by bugs.

I planted seeds for basil, red noodle beans, garlic chives, and morning glories in the garden.

I got some good, free exercise by weeding, pulling bolted plants, cutting back dead leaves from flowering bulbs, and pruning hedges in the garden.

Apricots The Prudent Homemaker 

I harvested apricots, spinach, lettuce, lemons, green onions, and garlic chives from the garden.

I cut flowers from the garden.

I cooked a whole chicken in the solar oven.

I turned five pairs of jeans that were torn at the knees into jean shorts for my daughters.

I turned one pair of jeans into a pair of capris for a daughter.

My husband mended my son’s tent before he took it on a fathers’ and sons’ campout that my two older boys went on with my husband.

My husband gave my eldest son a haircut.

My eldest son carpooled with friends to and from a free dance.

We went through the clothing boxes and found 4 pairs of shorts, several pairs of pants, and two dress shirts for my second son. The clothing boxes for my teenaged boys had had the clothing a bit muddled, and we hadn’t been able to find anything for my second son in the boxes, even though I was sure than just a year or two ago, my eldest son had worn clothes that could be passed down. I was happy when we found these, as it saved us from a trip to the thrift store for new items of clothing.

Four of my daughters and I watched the first episode of the Little Women television show on for free. I cast it to the television so that everyone could see it. I looked online to see what money was worth in 1850, so that I could tell my daughters that when Jo sells her hair for $25, that would be $753.40 today.

I opened the dryer after drying a load to find the lint screen broken and twisted in the slot. I have never seen such a thing before! I went to the Kenmore website to order a new part. They offered me 10% off my order if I signed up my email with them, which I took–and made sure to unclick all promotional emails.


What did you do to save money this past week?



I’ve had a few questions readers recently that I’d like to answer here (rather than in the comments) to make sure that everyone who has asked will see the responses.

I have had several readers asking me which laptop I purchased to replace mine, as they are looking at laptops for their university-bound students. I purchased this laptop.

I have been asked about how I have so much energy after having a baby. I made sure to have a high hemoglobin level before the baby was born (it was 13.6 a few days before I gave birth).  In addition to eating a good amount of iron in my diet (lots of leafy greens, including Swiss chard from the garden, and lots of beans), I took a multi-vitamin, an additional folic acid supplement, an additional b-12 supplement, liquid chlorophyll, and Floridex liquid iron with vitamin C. I also drank red raspberry leaf tea (I purchased the leaves in bulk from SF Herb.)

The wrap I purchased at a garage sale for $1 to wear after the baby was born looks like this one. It’s definitely been helpful in supporting my stomach muscles and my back. It’s also been helpful in healing my diastasis. My midwife said my diastasis is almost completely gone at my appointment this past week, which is amazing to me, as I did not heal like this after my last baby (I had a three-finger width diastasis this time and a four finger-width one last time). I’ve been careful to not lift anything heavier than the baby, having my family help me lift my two-year-old for diaper changes and washing up after meals, and taking care not to get up from bed in a way that will cause more separation (like a sit up). I wore a girdle after my last baby and did not have any luck with it, so I am very surprised and delighted to have such positive results this time with this wrap and being careful. 

I have not done many exercises for diastasis yet, but a reader asked me if I knew of any free ones, as several places online ask for a hefty fee to share them with you. I’ve found several free ones via Pinterest, including here, here, and here.




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  1. That is a HUGE amount of money Jo received for selling her hair!

    Some weeks are just big weeks – both with positive and negative things happening. Thankfully most weeks are quiet, same old/same old.
    • Paid a bill online
    • I decided spur of the moment and cashed in frequent flyer miles, hotel rewards, airport parking rewards, and car rental rewards – I’m going to MN and SD over Memorial Day weekend to visit Laura Ingalls Wilder sites. I’m so excited!! Now I’m madly re-reading the books that my grandmother gave me in 1971! This is a bucket list trip for me and I’m so thankful I can do it for minimal cash out of pocket.
    • Requested a list of sleep centers from my insurance company. Called around and found one that is 50% less than the local hospital meaning my copay will be $325 rather than $800. Now I’m coordinating the referral from my ENT surgeon.
    • Watched Moonlighting episodes on YouTube.
    • I have a new neighbor and we do not agree on where the property line is. She has threatened legal action. This neighborhood was created in the 1920’s and there are no surveyor maps on file at town hall. I called around to several surveying companies and found one that is $300 less than the others. This is really not an expense that I need right now, but the existing fence zig zags and we need clarity in order to have a peaceful relationship.
    • Returned unworn clothing items I purchased to wear to a second interview. I didn’t need them when I found another outfit that I own and that fits.
    • Made swag goal x 2
    • During checkout at the grocery store, an item I was buying didn’t ring up with the correct sale price. It rang up as $0.98 rather than $0.88 per pound. Two cashiers and one manager all tried to ring the item up with the same results. Following store policy, I received the item for free.
    • Went to several yard sales and purchased sterling silver hoop earrings, a polished pewter serving dish, and six Beanie Babies with tags to use in Operation Christmas Child boxes. In addition there were two large, “FREE” boxes filled with items. I picked up 4 plastic outdoor plates, a large plastic serving bowl, a couple of small, “non-brand” stuffed animals, and a small, framed chalkboard.
    • Roasted a chicken with carrots and potatoes on a day when the outside high temp was 59 degrees so the chicken helped warm up the house. Made a large salad of mixed greens, chicken, dried cranberries, and feta cheese with homemade balsamic vinaigrette. Made risotto with arugula and gorgonzola. Put together a salad of cukes with couscous, feta, and lemon dressing. Made spinach/ricotta white pizza from scratch, also made broth overnight from chicken carcass using slow cooker

  2. I so enjoy your posts each week. Thank you for your wisdom and encouragement. Here are a few ways I was able to save.
    . Made meals from must things on hand adding a few items.
    . Able to get Free personal pan pizza from grocery
    Used for lunch.
    . Eggs have been higher but was able to purchase .70 a dozen so bought several..
    . Made no bake cookies with things I have and no eggs.
    .made several boiled eggs used for breakfast and for deviled eggs to add to meal.
    . Planted lettuce..spinach..onions in large pot
    . Planted a group of flowers ..geraniums my husband found on sale.
    . Continue weeding flower garden and around our area
    Free exercise and looks so nice.
    . My husband mowed the lawn and I helped rake
    . Brought a few flowers in and greenery placed in my blue canning jars
    .Deep cleaned back grill..polishing glass outdoor table. I found a pillow to put in one of the chairs. No extra funds to put toward this
    So it was fresh and clean and turned out nice.
    I was able to place geraniums my husband bought in large pots we got free to add color.
    . I went through filing papers and cleaned out
    . Went through a few clothes that didn’t fit and rid out
    . Purchased a few stickers for .49 a package to add to a box of goodies for my grands visiting this summer.

  3. I love your flower arrangement, as usual, and wow, you’re busy, as usual! I’m always impressed with your productivity.

    My week was pretty good:
    – I had my family over for a Victoria Day BBQ at my condo. We all contributed something and it was delicious! I made my Best Ever Macaroni Salad ( which was a big hit as well as being frugal (I bought the pasta on sale for 50 cents/lb, used my home-dehyrated red peppers and homegrown dried parsley along with other pantry spices), my husband grilled steaks (purchased with a gift card he received as a Christmas gift), my dad brought fruit to grill, and my sister brought veggies to grill. I ate a veggie burger from the freezer from last summer. A delicious and inexpensive get-together!
    – I redeemed grocery points for $10 worth of groceries.
    – My mother found a few survivors of my dad’s Great Mint Garden Purge of last year, and passed them on to me, and I’ve planted them in my balcony garden. I’ve also planted strawberries and rhubarb. I need to plant a few more nasturtiums and sugar snap peas, as only one or two of each has come up, but overall, I’m pleased with my balcony garden. I’m currently growing 19 different fruits and vegetables (including 12 tomato plants!). I’ve taken Brandy’s advice and grown up (sweet peas and nasturtiums on a trellis on a wall), down (French Breakfast radishes, and am also growing on a repurposed metal bookshelf. And I still think I can cram some more items in there next year! My husband already calls it Las Amazonas, but…I would love to add more fruit bushes next year! I planted the green onion bases that I saved from store-bought green onions, and they’re growing very well.
    – I redeemed Swagbucks for a $10 gc to Starbucks.
    – A friend offered me some extra rhubarb from her garden; I gave her a jar of homemade granola as a thank you. I turned the rhubarb into stewed rhubarb using my grandmother’s recipe.
    – My mother gave me a kitchen herb kit, so I planted basil, parsley, and chives with that. Hopefully everything will grow and I’ll be able to use plenty fresh and dry the rest for the rest of the year. Even if they don’t grow, I’ll still have the dirt and pots and can plant something else.
    – I made several pitchers of sun tea from herbal tea gifted to me.
    – My workplace received a package with some very pretty paper grass used as a packaging material. Rather than throw it out, I took it home and put it with my gift packaging supplies.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone as usual!

  4. Wow, that was an amazing amount of money for Jo’s hair, wasn’t it?! What a great tip about watering from the nursery, assuming it still helps as the temps get hotter. I harvested lettuce, asparagus, peas, kale, and rosemary last week. We’re still planting some things in the garden, and weeding. We lost an older hen and our weak chick last week, which is always sad. One is always close to life and death on a homestead. Possibly my favorite frugal accomplishment last week was finding organic butter for $3.18. I bought all they had, 7 lbs, and froze it.

  5. So glad to hear that you’re healing well and enjoying time with your family.Thank you for posting links to your vitamins/supplements! I love Floridex, and I’ve had great experience with it to treat anemia for many years. Would you be willing to share what multi vitamin you take? I’ve struggled to find an effective yet reasonably priced option over the years.

    We worked through a tough weekend after our kitty passed on, and still managed to be relatively frugal:
    +Planted starts in the garden that we grew from seed including lemon cucumbers, sugar pie pumpkins, Armenian cucumbers, sunflowers, zinnias, and peppers.
    +Weeded the garden. The mallow (cheeseweed) is taking over! I found some recipes to use it in so it doesn’t go to waste. I’m not sure if we’ll like it, but it’s worth a try since it is so prolific.
    +I’m excited to see my grape vines full of tiny berry clusters! I bought paper bags at the dollar store to keep the birds away this year (thanks for the tip, Brandy!)
    +I harvested leeks, asparagus, spinach, and chives. I also made a flower arrangement from ajuga blossoms, chives, and poppies that turned out nicely.
    +I’m able to pick up some more work over the summer which will help us save and pay down bills, and I’m happy to be able to work from home on my own schedule.

    I’m very grateful for your time and excellent writing, Brandy, and for the great community that I look forward to each week. I hope everyone enjoys the week!

  6. Hello,
    I just posted this but I don’t think it went through so I will try again:
    We had a fun, frugal week at our house. I was able to get some great coupon deals to help me stock up at home. Here are some of the highlights:
    – We attended a fun, free, fishing event at our local park. My daughter (she is 7) caught five fish. We kept 3 and my husband cleaned them and froze them. We also had a free lunch while we were waiting to see who won the competition. My son won a $10.00 gift card to Dick’s Sporting Goods for catching the smallest fish. This was a totally free activity for us since the kids do not need fishing licenses, I didn’t fish, and my husband has a free licence for being a disabled veteran.
    – I was able to get very cheap Tic Tacs ($.14) at Walmart with Ibotta. I will use these in a candy bouquet at some point.
    – I had a free whole rotisserie chicken on my Safeway card. I was able to stretch this for 3 meals for my family of 4. We had chicken and potatoes, chicken and gravy over toast and chicken noodle soup. I was so excited to get a free chicken!
    – I worked, collected eggs from my chickens, watered my garden, dried some laundry items outside, ran Swagbucks and Earning Station and many other things to save/ earn money.
    – I posted these and some other ideas on my blog at:
    I enjoy reading all the comments and learning new ideas.
    Have a good week,

  7. I’m glad you have been able to get out into the garden. I can tell you really enjoy it, as I do:). I was able to spend lots of time in little bits and pieces out in my yard and garden this past week, as well. I can only seem to find 20 minutes at a time on some days, and more on others, but I’m using all the little time periods I can, and I’m seeing results.

    I, and my husband, cooked lots of different things this week: split pea soup, cheese and ham biscuits, turkey meat loaf, hot dogs, roasted rosemary potatoes, and more.

    We used an Applebee’s gift card we’ve had for way over a year for dinner one night. I was very disappointed with the meal I got. I guess we are really good cooks:). It’s a good thing we enjoy our own cooking, as that is what we eat most days. The place was crowded, though, so I can tell many others enjoy it more than we did.

    I used rosemary and thyme from my herb bed. I’ve got it weeded out now, and have many little parsley plants still growing. I didn’t worry too much when some of them got hoed out–there are way too many left. I’m hoping to dry some parsley and chives later in the season, once they have grown.

    I spent several hours cleaning in the kitchen. There is still so much cleaning to do around the house. We’ve lived here for 1-1/2 years now, which is hard to believe, but there is lots of dirt and grime. I even got the window washed inside and out and it made such a difference. I hadn’t realized how filthy it was! I just used soap and water, and a little ammonia and water for the window. I used a rag and a towel.

    We just had a simple meal of tacos for family Sunday dinner yesterday. No one had time to cook anything more, but we were all happy with it. My aunt brought some Oreos for dessert.

    We went to a parade on Saturday. It was a small-town, relaxed, simple parade with a marching band from the school, fire trucks, little kids singing with their school choir as they marched along….my favorite kind of parade. I put a couple of pictures of my nephew enjoying himself on my blog:

    Other than a couple of snacks which we chose to purchase, the parade was free, and we got lots of fun family time! A couple of the ladies from my husband’s work came along, and one brought her toddler, so that made it even more fun. It was really fun to watch him having fun, and his mama did all the chasing, while we sat and enjoyed watching:). There were lots of free things for the kids on the surrounding blocks and the road was closed, so it was safe to let them go enjoy them–a bounce house, free snow cones, free bubbles and other promotional items from companies, and free teriyaki chicken and rice from the Chinese food restaurant we sat by.

    The Chinese lady knows my sister and family because they eat there a lot, and have for years. So, she came marching out after the parade, grabbed Jake by the hand, and said: “Let me fix you up.” Before we knew it, my sister and I were in the Chinese place, trailing them, while she had the cooks make him up his favorite, fried wontons with sweet and sour, and gave it to him, all free of charge. She knew he didn’t want teriyaki chicken:). Since I was in there, I bought a cup of soup, because I can not eat the chicken (wheat in the soy sauce), and had a real treat as well. I love that soup!

  8. Wow, you were able to accomplish quite a bit this week, Brandy! It’s it amazing how just tweaking something ever so slightly can result in such a huge savings, both time and/or money wise. I love that you were able to re-purpose worn clothing into need items, as well as finding saved items to pass down to younger children. One question, though. What do you do with the baby when you are gardening? Do you use a baby carrier, or place the baby in a chair or stroller? Or do you have one of the other children watch him while you work. Just kind of curious how you handle getting so much done in the garden with a newborn. My daughter didn’t want to be put down, ever, when she was a baby and would cry constantly when I did!

    My week was busy, as always, this week. Had some frugal wins and fails, as commonly happens in life. Our frugal accomplishments for this week included:
    *Meals made at home included baked chicken smothered in cheddar cheese soup with mashed potatoes and green beans, hamburger helper with corn, breaded chicken patties/strips with broccoli cheese rice and green beans, “leftover’s night” (which morphed into make your own meal for some) and ham & cheese crescent rolls with broccoli.
    *I found some candy bars on discount for $0.50 each, so I snapped up a dozen. They are short dated, but I’m sure that’s just a sell by date. These are perfect treats to take with us when we go on day trips or little outings this summer. Little treats like these help make excursions a bit more special, while still saving money.
    *Bought 4 tubs of soft margarine that were on sale for $0.50/tub and 3 packages of rice crackers for $0.88/pack. At the same store, I bought a bunch of capris, shorts, 1 summer skirt and summer pj’s for DD, plus summer pj’s for myself. They were not on sale, but relatively cheap and necessary. The store gave me 2 cards that I can use later for $20 off my purchase ($10 each card, no minimum purchase, but each card must be used with separate transactions). I will try to remember to go back and pick up some pants for DD as an early start for back to school clothes shopping.
    *Noticed several times now that I did not receive points I should have earned for items purchased at stores where I used my PC loyalty points card . Each time I noticed, I make sure to issue a points inquiry, which has resulted in receiving the point every single time. I estimate I have earned over $10 worth of points by doing this over the last 2-3 weeks alone. I plan to continue to monitor this closely from now on!!!
    *Planted an entire 4ft x 4ft raised garden bed with pole beans, green bush beans and yellow waxed bush beans. Hope it provides lots of beans that I can blanch and freeze for winter! Also planted cucumber seeds (going to try growing the plants up a trellis), 2 tomato plants (my mom picked them up at a garden centre), and some dill seeds.
    *We celebrated DDs 15th birthday this week. To our surprise, the support staff at the school made sure it was a really special day. They bought her an ice cream cake to share with her friends (and staff too), braided her hair, and gave her small gifts/treats. She even received a nice gift from her friends on the bus! Our gift was small and simple (she asked for a dog for her birthday, so I found a really cute dog stuffy, as well as a cat pillow, a unicorn key chain and ear buds). However, we will also be taking DD and her friend to aquarium in Toronto for a day of fun as part of her gift as well. My mom gave her very expensive head phones, that she can use at home. We took her out to dinner (birthday girl chose the restaurant, which is our tradition) and invited Nana (my MIL) to join us. We also bought her an ice cream cake for dessert (I suggested hubby could pick one up and he enthusiastically jumped all over the chance to have ice cream cake!), so DD ended up with 2 ice cream cakes in one day! Overall, it was a pretty good birthday celebration.
    *My work had a pot luck lunch on Friday. I made 4 different kinds of wraps (ham & Swiss cheese with lettuce & honey mustard, chicken souvlaki with spinach, feta cheese, & tzatziki sauce, BBQ chickpea with lettuce, grated old cheddar cheese & ranch dressing, and black bean taco with spicy Monterey jack cheese, and taco sauce). I used mostly from ingredients I already had on hand, many bought on sale or for a very cheap cost. I did buy a few items that we were running low on, with the idea that we would use the leftovers anyways. The wraps were very well received! The vegetarians thanked me for making something they could eat that was not a salad and they both loved the BBQ chickpeas, which was a new recipe idea for them! I only brought a few leftover wraps home.
    *While shopping at Walmart, we noticed the BBQ we bought a couple weeks ago was now on sale. Hubby still had the receipt in his wallet. So we stopped at customer service and inquired if they would honour the difference. We were able to get $22.60 back!
    *Took DD and her friend to enjoy the free fireworks in celebration of Victoria Day. DD scored a free bag of popcorn (her friend doesn’t like popcorn and declined the offer). We also took snacks with us to enjoy while we waited, which avoided me having to buy overpriced treats there. We all really enjoyed the show!
    *Frugal fail: I am extremely frustrated with the amount of eating out we have done recently. Some were planned meals out as celebrations, which I am OK with those. But, despite all the work I have done to help with meal planning (preparing freezer meals, buying convenient food, and even created a list of meal ideas for her to draw on), my mom insists on not making decisions on meals earlier in the day, so she can pull the needed items from the freezer. She then whines that she doesn’t know what to make for dinner at the very last second, when everyone is hungry, and tired. We end up getting take out. I expressed my concerns and frustration about eating out so much, as it is just not healthy for us. She reacted like cooking is such a burden for her, but heatedly has promised we will not be eating out any more.

    Looking forward to reading all the comments and catching up with frugal friends throughout the week. Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead!

  9. Libby, did you know that Laura and Almonzo lived in Westville, Florida for about a year? I don’t think she wrote much about that time, just that she couldn’t take the heat, so they moved on to Missouri. I live about 60-70 miles from there, but have never been. I love her books!

  10. Libby, what about Pepin WI? That is the site of LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS. The log cabin is a re-creation but it is on the site of the original acreage.

  11. *This is for the past 2-3 weeks. Harvested most of the non-heirloom rhubarb crown, since it is ready before the heirloom crown is. Sent some home with my oldest daughter, & made a rhubarb crisp, but stewed most of to use in rhubarb in strawberry gelatin. Rhubarb is high in magnesium, & eating foods high in magnesium helps minimize the side effects of a drug I must take for a few months. By freezing the stewed rhubarb, I can continue to use it in gelatin, which allows me to minimize the side effects for free, for as long as I need to take the drug, by just eating a gelatin with rhubarb every day.

    *Continued to pull weeds into my tree tubs & dump them in the garbage can. Weeding every day, even for a very short time, helps me keep them under control when I no longer have the energy for marathon weeding sessions over a weekend.

    *We have had sufficient rain to only water twice so far this year, for which I am grateful. I love it when the Lord waters for me.

    *Continued to dry some of the laundry every weekday on a wooden rack that folds out from the wall in the laundry room. It keeps the pollen off our clothes, reducing allergies, but still saves energy from the dryer & helps keep the house a bit cooler by using the heat in the air to dry the clothes.

    *Harvested radishes from the garden. Our purple iris & yellow iris are both in bloom right now. It lifts my spirits to look out the front window & see them around the dry stack brick tower at the end of the driveway.

    *Our computer is having issues, & we are sorting out the problem, so in the meantime, we are just using the IPad my husband was issued at work. That means I can’t use the printer, so I have gone back to keeping my journal longhand on the sheets that came with the binders, instead of typing it on the computer & printing it off.

  12. Margaret, I love the imagery of your balcony garden. I hope it produces many and much fruits and vegetables for you.

  13. Since I am back from my CA trip, I made 5 dozen French toast sticks out of leftover bread and put it in the freezer after flash freezing it. I had 7 sausages I found when cleaning my fridge freezer and used them with exactly 7 dinner rolls I was given to make sausage egg and cheese breakfast rolls. I made cranberry pecan chicken salad wraps ahead for lunches and we had freezer lasagna casserole one night and homemade frozen pizza another.
    The brick walkway I’m extending in my side yard using bricks from Freecycle is now about 40 foot long by 4 foot wide and only cost me my time to make! It isn’t as level as hubby would do, but we are both okay with that because it’s getting done while he and our son are gutting the third floor bathroom in preparation for the remodel we will do in the next 2 weeks! We already have the new jacuzzi tub (with discounts, we got this for $200 instead of the almost $2000 original price. Our daughter works there and has a discount and someone had ordered it and then decided not to take it because it was “bisque rather than ivory color”!! So it was clearanced to $400 before daughter’s discount! Did I mention that it is brand new, name brand and nothing wrong with it?!!!!)
    I finished another small upholstery job that paid me $200 for my labor. Now I am on to another small job recovering some dinette cushions from an RV.
    We listened to a couple free webinars through work about retirement and discovered that we may be much better off than we anticipated next May when hubby retires at 70!
    Our garden is doing well. Our chickens are happy. We sold another 4 dozen eggs this week! We had a fun date night Sat night just sitting in the side yard watching the chickens forage around the yard and just talking and dreaming and planning the next projects we want to do!
    All in all, a very good week!!!

  14. I read your post after coming in from re-planting beans in the garden — the first planting failed to come up. (I think it was too cool) I was reminded that re-planting is a part of gardening for everyone. Thank you!
    My pink geranium is blooming, so I cut some blooms to make a small arrangement for the kitchen table. Later in the week my lilacs bloomed, so I cut a big bunch for the house – love that lilac scent!
    We made a trip to the nursery and bought flowers and a few veggie and herb plants to fill in. I made up 5 hanging baskets, 3 large pots, and a window box of flowers. I enjoy these flowers all summer. I also planted flower seeds in some pots I already owned.
    I harvested lettuce, arugula, green onions, and rhubarb from the garden. I had to pull up the arugula in the greenhouse – it’s getting too hot in there and it was bolting. But I have more coming up in a shady spot in the garden, where it will last a little longer.
    I made chicken stock from bones I had saved in the freezer.
    We had a 30 cent gas discount on our Kroger card, so we filled up the truck and all our gas cans – we used the maximum of 35 gallons, saving $10.50.
    I transferred $35 from iBotta to my Paypal account.
    For entertainment, I watched the final episode of Call the Midwife and the first half of Little Women for free on, and listened to baseball games on the radio, or an audio book I downloaded from the library, while I worked on my quilt.
    I spent Saturday afternoon in the kitchen – I made two loaves of sandwich bread, 4 (small) chicken pot pies – one of which we ate for dinner, a pan of blondies for my husband’s lunches, and I mixed up four different batches of muffin mix – ready to add eggs and oil and pop in the oven.
    Saturday was the community garage sale. We were able to find a couple of jigsaw puzzles, a new robe for my husband (which he badly needed – and it was only $1), a beautiful skirt for me ($3) and a fishing vest for my husband, which he has been wanting (very high quality and new condition — $5.) I also bought a red quart mason jar and a couple of small kitchen gadgets (an orange peeler and a lemon juicer).
    My husband did several handyman jobs and earned $300, which we used for our garage sale finds, and put toward the trip to Alaska we are taking next month.

  15. Would she be able to cook a casserole, if you got it out of the freezer and left it on the counter, with a pile of other items to cook for sides, such as a can of beans or corn? Or made a little list, with the refrigerated ingredients clearly written on it and the rest on the counter in a little pile? Or even said on the note, “There is a frozen pizza in the freezer, that’s dinner tonight, can you make a salad to go with it?” It sounds silly, I know, but it really helps my husband on super busy days when he gets home before me from work. (I have to point out that he does like to cook, and does so frequently, but sometimes he is just to tired to think it up). Just thoughts. I hope it goes better around there!

    I’m glad your daughter got the headphones. My niece goes through pair after pair, but they are necessary for her to cope with life. I hope your daughter enjoyed them as much as my niece does. Hopefully, she isn’t quite as hard on them as my niece is:) :).

  16. That is great that you’re healing so well after this baby! I’ve been working on adding supplements to my regimen to help overcome some health issues in the hopes of another pregnancy. I think it’s working, as I’m feeling better than I have in ages, and my lab work has come back normal. I’m very grateful for a great OB and finally finding a good GP. I’ll keep your recommendations in mind for a future pregnancy.

    I’ve also been spending a lot of time on our gardens, though it’s not nearly as hot here as it is where you are! I’m enjoying all my fresh herbs and seeing the blackberries bloom. It’s been fun having my five year old begin to learn the names of many plants and flowers, seeing him identify them other places than in our garden.

    We’ve had a pretty good week, with lots of showings of our house. We’re hoping it will sell quickly, so that we can get started on building our new house. (We just can’t juggle two mortgages at once.) Here are our frugal accomplishments for the week:

    I hope you’ll stop by and leave a comment if you can! It really brightens my day.

  17. Sorry for your loss! Losing a pet is so hard.

    How do you mulch your asparagus? Mine has been planted for three years and barely produces, and I’m wondering how I can make it more successful.

  18. Hi Brandi!

    I was able to get gas 60 cents off at Kroger.

    Stayed under budget again! I am in awe of your food budget.

    Ate most meals at home.

  19. Thanks, Athanasia! I’m pretty pleased with how much I’ve managed to fit into a small space, and how I’ve managed to overcome some of the difficulties associated with my particular balcony. I’m hoping to significantly increase my yield in almost everything this year. And I can’t wait to harvest the blueberries, rhubarb, and strawberries! Yum!

  20. The frequent rainfall, after a long, hot, dry spell, means I’m not watering the garden every day, thank heaven.
    I kept my grocery bill under budget again this weekend, for which I’m glad, because I had some other expenses crop up.
    My old tennis shoes finally gave up after 12 years. I’m resisting buying any new ones, and I’m watching the thrift stores for good used ones. I always disinfect shoes and air them in the sun well before I wear them. I wash them if possible, but most aren’t washable.
    We were given a bag of summer squash by our egg man. We love the local favorite dish of squash and onions (sliced and fried together in a little bacon fat), and another friend has already given us some huge sweet onions. I keep bacon drippings in a jar, so we are having squash tonight.
    Our blackberries are starting to ripen.
    The longevity spinach is big enough that I no longer need to buy greens. I use this “spinach” shredded as a salad base, chopped and sauteed with a little garlic as a greens side dish, chopped and added into dishes calling for chard or kale, and in dishes such as tacos.
    I had never heard of diastasis before this blog! I wonder how many women have this and just live with it because they don’t even know it exists, much less how to treat it? It’s good to hear that yours is getting better, Brandy.

  21. Well, we are dryer problem twins this week, however mine took my husband tearing the dryer apart to fix it.

    I am in envy of anything growing in people’s gardens right now. Our weather is still winter-like and refusing to give up. My heater is still on, my soil temp is around 35 degrees and I am wondering if I am going to be able to grow anything this year the way it is going.

    If you like Little Women, be sure to look up the Japanese anime versions on You Tube from the 80s. They did an excellent job with the cartoons. My daughter loves them :). I definitely need to check out the new PBS series.

    My list for the week can be found here…

  22. Your flower arrangement looks fantastic! What kind of flowers are those? Well the past few weeks have been hits and misses…
    – Used all of my saved up money from bd, Christmas and all gift certificates I bought thru Swagbucks to get my container garden in. Planted lots of green beans, pickling bush cucumbers, several tomato and green pepper plants, okra (every southerner plants), sunflowers and picked up several already large combo of herbs that were already potted. We had so much rain last week that all that I planted is sprouting and growing already.
    – Rhubrab is almost ready to pick and have been looking for recipes on how to save and use. My grandma would always make me a special rhubarb cobbler when I would stay with her during the summer months when I was younger. Just me!! No one else liked it…
    – For Mother’s Day, I was gifted a few more tomato plants from neighbor’s and they told us that he got a new tiller and has made a larger garden than he has ever made and he will be gifting us some produce on and thru out the months to come. MIL gifted money to help me get my hair done (colored and cut). My boys gave me a cookbook that is out of print now but DH found it somehow. (Cooking with Jack Daniel whiskey).
    -Found out that the Reality Center is going to hire a full time cook for the lunches and I will not be cooking on Thursday’s anymore at the first of June. That’s okay since I is the only day I get to myself and DS is comfortable being by himself now plus our budget for food was getting out of hand. I would get reimbursed for it but not until the end of months. We will miss all the gifted extra food but we will be fine.
    – My car needed the wheel bearings replaced on both wheels on the driver’s side. DH took time on a Saturday to do the front to save money but the back one had to go into shop since it was more detailed. We had a credit at the shop for a past job but still was expensive but we need the car. DH Trooper had to go into the shop also due to engine was smoking=another expense. Thank goodness for stocked pantries in everything!!!
    – The dryer heat value needed to be replaced again. DH took it apart and fixed it himself. Saved us a huge expense. Part was only about $30.
    -Gifted watermelon, tuna/noodle salad and a huge mixed lattice salad with cucumbers from Reality Center.
    – DBIL got married over the weekend and we got to bring home leftovers from the reception: many different finger sandwiches, grapes, strawberries, 2 different cubed cheeses, 2 gallons of tea, mac& cheese and of course, wedding cake.
    – Grocery freebies= 18 count eggs, 1 lb cheese, one frozen bag of Brussel sprouts, 2 boxes of Cheez-Its, cookies.
    – Made a large batch of pancakes for DS’s breakfasts.
    -Sold one thing on Ebay.
    – Cleaning out pool by ourselves to get it ready for summer use.
    – A couple of trees fell in the backyard due to a strong storm so another expense to get them cut down since so large (we can’t do it ourselves) but we will be able to keep the wood for next winter.
    So yes we have had a couple of bad days but are grateful for the blessings in between. Just makes me work harder in the next couple of weeks to be more frugal. Everyone have a blessed week!!!

  23. I knew it…I knew you were pregnant when you said you were too sick to go on your family vacation!!!! Several times I almost asked, but thought I should probably wait for you to announce it. Congratulations on your pending little girl, Margaret!

  24. I had not heard of diastasis until my last baby, so if I had it before, I didn’t even know. The worst part is that stomach exercises, such as sit ups and planks, will actually make the muscle separation MUCH worse! This makes it so easy to exacerbate the problem, rather than fix it, if you don’t know that you have it. The good thing is that I can be fixed, even years after having a baby, and it doesn’t have to mean surgery for most people.

  25. Brandy you inspired me to make a small bouquet for my table out of what is growing in the yard-which currently consists of branches of my Schubert cherry tree(white blossoms), my apple tree( white blossoms), my crabapple(pink) and a red petunia from my hanging basket. It all smells great. This week I got a great deal on sliders( mini burgers) that worked out to $1 a box( after pts back) for 18 small burgers-we will grill some tonight for dinner-Victoria day holiday here. We are expecting company tomorrow so DH and I and our soon to be 19 year old daughter got to work cleaning. DD has found work as a kindergarten assistant until June 15 at the school she used to attend so that is great for her. She met her birth grandparents for a birthday lunch yesterday, while DH and I went to buy 2 new umbrellas at Ikea for $3.99 each and while there we had a nice lunch for $13.50 for both of us. I found a website called European destinations to more economically plan my trip to Europe in Oct. I also found a great airfare from Calgary-London return for $365 US-which is a steal( tickets are on a local airline but purchased from a British website much cheaper-go figure), As with everything it sure pays to shop around.

  26. Tee hee hee! Thanks, Rhonda! Yes, I waited a while to announce it as it was a very difficult first trimester (all-day and night morning sickness to the point that I was vomiting blood and my face and neck were covered in burst blood vessels) plus, after a miscarriage last fall, I wanted to be sure this one was going well. And it is! Am very excited as it will be the first grandchild on either side of the family. So Brandy’s info this week on which supplements she uses to keep up her energy level will come in particularly handy! I’ve also been pretty frugal with how I’ve been preparing for baby, and will post what I’ve learned next week.

  27. Your flower arrangement is beautiful! I hope that your husband and sons have a great time on their camping trip! I would love to do more camping with my kids, and I hope to get my son involved in scouting next year so that we can.
    This week I got to go to a cousin’s wedding. I had to leave early to get home for the babysitter, but was still able to go to the ceremony and part of the reception. Everyone looked beautiful. I was able to give a gift that I got marked down 75% off at Kroger after Christmas.
    There were a lot of good sales on fresh produce at our grocery store, and we have been enjoying delicious fruit.
    Received another hospital bill from the birth of my 5 month old daughter, where our portion has now exceeded $10k, after insurance paid. I have asked for itemized bills, I have asked for discounts, they have offered payment plans, etc. She was a c-section, and healthy, but we didn’t realize her birth would be so expensive. We already pay almost $20k/year for health insurance. I am so thankful that we don’t have ongoing medical needs.
    I bought laundry detergent on sale.
    We ate most meals at home, except for when my mom bought fast food for my younger son and myself.
    My older son’s last tball game conflicted with the wedding, so he didn’t get to go. At least it saved us from the team party afterwards, which would have been pretty expensive for the family. They all went out to eat. I did contribute our $10 portion toward the coach gift. I love that our son got to play this year but don’t like all the extra expenses that pop up. May seems like such a busy and expensive month.
    A friend gave us some books that her daughter didn’t want. Perfect timing, as my daughter loves to read.
    I took my kids to several garage sales, a church event, our neighborhood pool, and many other things to get them out of the house.

  28. I’ve also noted issues with getting my PC Loyalty points and have had to notify them a couple of times! Ever since they switched to the new card there seem to be issues – points not given – points for things I didn’t buy????? – receipts not listing what the point breakdown is – very frustrating!

  29. I created an entire list of meal ideas that she can choose from already! I even put suggestions like “make extra chicken and use it for another meal during the week”, or “these sides work well with this meal”. My mornings are pretty busy trying to get myself and DD organized for the day (breakfast eaten, lunches made, get showers done, convincing her not to take electronics that are a distraction, encouraging good behaviours at school, etc.), so I don’t really have time to plan out an entire dinner as well. My mother is very organized and she is retired. She is perfectly capable of picking a meal for dinner and getting out what she needs during the day. In fact, my brother was up this weekend and she had a list of what she could cook while he was here (including stewing meat thawing in the fridge) before he arrived on Friday . I think she just hates cooking and is finding every excuse not to do it.

    As for the headphones, DD is extremely hard on them! We buy a lot of ear buds throughout the year because of this. At over $10 a pop, we should invest in stock on these darned things! The very expensive headphones grandma bought her are wireless. We’re hoping they last her a bit longer than the ear buds!

  30. The apricots look delicious. Fresh, free food is the best. I’m glad you are healing so well since the birth of the baby.

    We had a busy week. My youngest daughter had her Junior prom this weekend. Colleges were ending for the year so Hubby and I drove around by the dorms and got a truck load of stuff in great shape. I am hoping to sell most of it on Craigslist. I got 50 of my tomato plants in and also 50 lettuce seedlings. The rest is here:

  31. Last week was a whirlwind.

    * I used a gift card to order labels I needed for a vendor event.
    * We gladly had family over for lunch, and it was fun to make a meal out of what we already had at home.
    * I used lamps instead of big overhead lights when appropriate.
    * I helped a friend clean her home for move-out. Yes, it cost me my time, gas, and cleaning supplies, but it was absolutely worth it. 🙂
    * It was a joy to deliver a small birthday present for my client’s one-year-old, and it meant so much to him (even though the gift was a few pieces of fruit his daughter loves). Not all gifts have to cost lots of money. It’s the thought and effort that goes into the gift that counts most.
    * It is a blessing to be healthy enough to cook all meals at home and send my husband’s lunch with him to work.
    * I put together a door prize for a vendor event this week using products I had at home.
    * I line-dried all our laundry.
    * I gladly made bread in the bread machine for my husband.

  32. We were invited last minute to a potluck. We made cake mix cookies (had ingredients on hand) and cole slaw. I just went to the store and picked up a bag of shredded cabbage for $1.67 (used mayo, vinegar, salt and pepper already on hand).

    Listed one lot of clothes on eBay. It already has bids and does not end until Wednesday afternoon.

    My husband brought home two whole huge pizzas from work. We have been enjoying them.

    I worked a cleaning job and made $75.

    We went to a few yard sales. I found a huge bag of legos. I washed them all of in hot water and a little bleach. Part of them will be a birthday gift the rest I will sell on eBay to make the money back I spent on them. I also bought my youngest daughter a pair of white church shoes. They are a little big on her now; which means once she outgrows the ones she wears now she will already some.

    Thanks for letting us know about the Little Women series. I’m sure my girls will enjoy it.

  33. I didn’t know that Laura & Almanzo lived in Florida! What a drastic change from South Dakota 🙂 Hope you get to visit one day.

    The Wilder farm on which Almanzo grew up is in Malone, NY, which is tucked into the corner of Vermont & Canada.

  34. Arrrggh! I should have checked to see where Pepin, WI is before booking everything. It is so close to MSP – only 1.5 hours. I’m madly trying to rearrange to see if I can get there too.

    Thanks so much for letting me know 🙂

    I was also trying to squeeze in Mankato, MN which is the setting for the Betsy & Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace.

  35. I have decided the only purchases I am making for Grands is puzzles and books everything else I see I want to purchase for them I will put that amount in a bank account for them for college instead. Even if it is just .49 or 1.00 I am putting it all up for college I figure they will need it !

  36. We are embarked on our retirement adventure. (I just retired one month ago.) My husband and I are both working as seasonal rangers at a National Park in Virginia. (We live in the Rocky Mountain region of the west.) The park service gives you a uniform allowance to buy your ranger uniform – but some items are so expensive – leather belt, flat hat, leather hat band, boots – that it really only pays for one shirt and one pair of pants. Of course you can spend your own money – but I refuse to do that. So I feel fortunate that with some items from my husband (he has been working for NPS for 8 years) and with hand me downs from co-workers, I have assembled 5 shirts and 3 pants as well as a jacket and some brown leather shoes. We are living in a furnished apartment in a rural area, outside the park, while someone we know is renting our house for the summer. It is fun to learn about a new area. We visited the park many times in the past when we lived in Virginia, so we know the park well – just not all the area. I am enjoying learning about the grocery stores, the farmer’s market, the libraries, the parks, etc.

    Last week on our days off we camped at the national seashore at Asseteague Island. The wild horses were out and about and the ocean was a bit wild due to high wind the first day. We saved money by camping and by bringing some of our meals in our cooler.

    When I drove across country (alone because my husband started before my retirement date arrived), I enjoyed listening to books on CD (some recommendations from this blog such as the excellent Nightingale by Kristen Hannah and All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doeer) and then I then returned them to my library by Priority Mail (about $13) so I got to listen to 4 books cross country without purchasing them. Now I am listening to books from my local library in Virginia as I drive to and from work each day. I also enjoyed The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, by Lisa See recommended here and the sequel to The War that Saved my Life by Bradley .

  37. Brandy, you’re amazing! What else can I say??

    Libby, your Little House trip sounds wonderful! Back in 1989, I was in my Anne of Green Gables phase and dragged my family to Prince Edward Island. Not that they didn’t have a wonderful time, but they weren’t quite as enamored of Anne as I was. I used a combination of frequent flyer miles (not as plentiful then as now) and two tickets we got for being bumped on an earlier trip. We flew to Boston, did the American heritage stuff and drove to PEI (took the ferry from New Brunswick). Great trip–and I hope yours is, too.

    Here are my frugal accomplishments for last week:
    (1) I earned $150 in poll worker pay.
    (2) I returned my library book early (no fines!) and checked out two more. Love the library! I read The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah and highly recommend it.
    (3) Discovered Medicaid will reimburse me .15 per mile for transporting my DD to the developmental disabilities center. I take her in on Mondays and bring her home on Thursdays–two one-ways. It is 50 miles each way. However, I have to drive roundtrip in order to accomplish each one way. So I will drive 200 miles and be reimbursed for 100 miles, or $15 a week. And I was already doing it, anyway. I’ve still got about 6 weeks to claim mileage. (I found out I could have been doing this all along, but it isn’t retroactive).
    (4) Make do and mend–I resewed the loose hem in a bath towel; fixed a plastic planter with duct tape (it only has to last 6 more weeks); and DH took apart my non-working iron, couldn’t find anything obviously wrong, put it back together, and it works! (Not that I plan to use it much).

  38. You’ll be amazed at how low the ceilings are in the houses! The surveyor’s house, particularly. (I wasn’t able to go in Ma & Pa’s town house — it was under renovation then.) They were very short — Pa Ingalls was only 5′ 7″! Laura was 5′.
    Also…no one knows for certain where Ma & Pa’s claim shanty was, though they have a general idea. (I’m not sure they know where Laura and Almanzo’s shanty was, either — the one that burned down.)

    You should also stop in Mansfield, Missouri, where Laura and Almanzo settled. Fascinating.

  39. I cook for everyone every night. Tell Mom to try this Cook a bunch of Chicken ,Ground Beef and like two roast then proceed to make meals for the week leave out whatever is needed for the week and freeze the rest.
    I will make like 15 chicken breast 4 pounds of ground beef and two beef roast . I will freeze like 4 chicken breast and maybe a pound of ground beef and the rest will get eaten . Ground beef cooked into patties and just cooked up as ground beef will make hamburgers , go with pasta for spagehtii night and then as tacos, make chicken for a stir fry, bbq chicken and burritos then the roast and leftovers are for the weekend and let mom not cook for Saturday and Sunday giving her some days off from cooking and if she cooks a bunch then other days are mostly assemble .I make for a total of nine of us and only 3 are small children.

  40. Hi Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 and hope you all had a good week.

    Brandy I am so happy to hear that your diastasis is healing well as it must have been very painful 🙁 . There is nothing like a good free workout in the gardens from our experience here too.

    Here is how our week went last week –

    Finances –
    – Banked more money into our saving for our home deposit bank account bringing it to 25.67% of the way there.
    – Made $57.11 from the sale of saved bean seeds and dried sage picked from the gardens and a customer order for 7 curtain tieback cuffs. I banked this to recoup some of our pantry budget we spent on a bulk pantry stock up in February. I now only have $8.47 to make up.
    – Listed 10 more items on eBay using a free listing promotion saving $16.50 on usual listing prices.

    Purchases –

    – Purchased 2 x 36pk of toilet paper, 10 x 10lt food storage containers and coupled those on special with another 20% off voucher on eBay, 6 deodorants at 53.5% off usual prices, and 10 tins of lychees on 27% off special saving $101.99 on usual supermarket and hardware store prices. We are continuing to build up our food storage to a 12 month level as we see good specials and then stock up to save.

    In the gardens –
    – Picked 5 bunches of silver beet and picked 72g of strawberries from the gardens saving $19.48 over purchasing. We are saving the strawberries and freezing them until we have enough for making strawberry jam.
    – DH dug out the rest of the native lilies from the other side of the house and transplanted it in the newly amended garden bed on the opposite side of the house.
    – We counted saved pumpkin and cucumber seeds from the gardens and I listed the pumpkin seeds in my eBay shop for sale and sold 100 already.

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.
    – Processed garlic leftover from planting 1 part garlic to 2 parts olive oil and froze it to use for future meals. This makes it soft enough to spoon out to use for cooking meals.

    Sewing –
    – Made 7 curtain tiebacks for a customer order and another set of 4 that I listed on the internet.

  41. I started reading this blog years and years ago. I always so admired everyone’s comments and felt motivated and inspired to keep on with frugality. I feel as if I fell off the bandwagon, and kept reading just for some motivation never thinking I could share. This past week:
    – I stopped at Goodwill on .99 day and bought many plain polos that our children’s sport coach will logo for us inexpensively. I was also able to buy many tee shirts and shorts for three of our children, all for .99. My kids enjoyed looking for the specific color tag for about five minutes. 😀
    – A local dentist office held a free cleaning/dental service event for the community and we were able to take our four children for cleanings and one child needed a filling, all free of charge. We also got many free toothbrushes and toothpastes, and flossers. We are so fortunate.
    – One of our children lost a golf club (ugh) and we were able to order a replacement from his coach at a 50% discount.
    I do feel like food is an area I’m falling behind in, and a lot of it is from trying to focus on a low carb diet, which I feel make it more difficult for me to cook. I’m by nature a baker, and when I can’t use the oven and I can’t make homemade carb heavy goods (pizza, bread, rolls, pancakes, pastas…) I’m at a loss.

  42. Brandy, I love your pictures. The flowers are just beautiful!

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocs and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Got my Friday Freebies of a candy bar, a bag of chips and a Lara bar. Also got 4 lbs. of strawberries for 75c/lb.
    • Hubby sprayed for bugs himself instead of hiring an exterminator.
    • My daughter brought over 5 lbs. of potatoes that she and her husband won’t eat as they are doing a low carb diet right now.
    • Got blinds hung up on 3 of the windows. Our new (to us) house came with no window coverings, so we are doing it bit by bit. We chose the windows that get the most sun to start with to help keep our energy costs down.
    • Paid off another 6 months of our mortgage.
    • Worked 4 ½ hours contract work.
    • Took my lunch to work the day I went in.
    • Hubby got lunch free 3 times, plus a free dinner, as his boss was in from out of town.
    • Got a few Ibotta rebates.
    • One of my brother-in-laws passed away unexpectedly on Mother’s Day. My sister lives in Iowa and her grown children live in different states. They all flew to be with her and together they decided to do his memorial service in Arizona on the 19th as his parents live outside of Phoenix and cannot travel far. I volunteered to host the service at my house as her husband would not have wanted it to be in a church. I was in charge of all of the food for her family of 6, plus assorted other relatives who gathered at my house (breakfast, lunch and dinner from Friday morning through Sunday lunch, including the food for the Memorial get together on Saturday for 35 people.) Each meal had some food leftover so we will be eating a smorgasbord of meals from those all week. My sister is paying me back for all the food I bought. Not that I would have wanted to plan it this way, I got a lot of points on my credit card paying for everything.
    • I was supposed to go on a work trip with my husband to Switzerland next week, but decided not to spend the money on the ticket, as my husband and I will be needing to take a couple of trips to Iowa to help my sister sort through her husband’s things and also to Portland to help my niece and her husband with things on their house that my brother-in-law was going to do.
    • Checked out another Agatha Christie book from the library.
    • It wasn’t as hot here this week, so the AC didn’t have to run as much.
    • Saved bacon grease.
    • Found a large picture at Goodwill for our living room that I was able to purchase on their ½ off Saturday. I only paid $30 for it and it is just what we wanted!

    Have a wonderful week, everyone!

  43. Don’t forget Independence, KS for their home in the Indian Territory. I think that’s the setting for LHotP.(book)

  44. Your mentioning chicken and gravy over toast brought back memories. My mom can cook, but one of my favorite of her dishes was leftover chicken and gravy on toast (little mustard slathered on the toast). Now I have a mad craving. Luckily I have all these ingredients. Thanks for the dinner suggestion!

  45. i’ve never commented before but here are a few of my frugal accomplishments:

    1. found a laptop on clearance. i follow a website and saw one clearanced at a local store from $440 to $69.00, that gave me extra money (had a $300 budget).

    2. opened all windows and doors, as well as curtains to let the warm breeze in and warm the house (it was 52 this morning)

    3. used coupons at eye doctors and saved $50 on each pair of our glasses.

    3. clipped and cut coupons from recycling center (saved me $15, i usually buy inserts).

    4. used above coupons to cut grocery receipt from $283.17 to an out of pocket cost of $5.44

    5. used no extra electric for lights or television until 8pm.

    6. filled swimming pool from the old well on the property (clear clean water), saved $600 in water costs.

    feels good. every couple bucks adds up!

  46. I devoted a chunk of time to swagbucks this week. I googled and read several random posts on how to increase my daily amount . I would love to collect a 50.00 gift card each month by doing very little. We will see how this goes. I did numerous legitimate surveys this week and cashed out for a 25.00 Wal-Mart card that I will use for household and pet items. I saw a 25.00 Bath and Body Works card on sale for 20.00. The store has a huge sale usually this time of the year. I am hoping to buy clearance items using a coupon and my gift card to get me 3 lotions, 3 body wash and 3 of their 3 wick candles . This will give me gifts for my 3 kids for Xmas. Last year , I got 6 washes and 6 lotions for under twenty dollars. These made great unexpected gifts when we needed one. 1.00 puffy sponges were added to each set.
    I added 30 lbs grits to our stockpile for 6 dollars . I bought 8 lbs of chopped steak for 2.98 lb. Usually 5.75 a pound. I was delighted to buy 10 dozen eggs for 1.25 a dozen. I used the remainder of SNAP to buy sugar cookie a few random requests. Captain crunch. Fish sticks, granola and a bag of frozen pancakes. We got her stuff for 1/2 off shopping sales. I know I am getting old and time is passing but 5 plus dollars for a box of cereal is painful. 2.00 bogo and w a coupon is a compromise. I managed to score 30.00 from Ibotta and 4 Fandango movie tickets.
    I generally buy groceries once a month but feel I must go back to shopping with coupons and loss leaders each week. Rolling ECB’s at CVS will replenish most non food items for the home. The continuing rise of gasoline here leaves me looking for ways to adjust my limited cash to cover the increase. We have pretty much limited our excursions to once a week. That helps a lot but we are at 3.10 with it expected to hit 4.00. Our great adventure this week found me a set of knitting needles for 20 cents and a black bowl for 40 cents. I decided some time ago to not buy anymore sets of dishes. I now collect all black pieces for a few pennies a piece at the thrift store. Brought that bowl home which promptly replaced the one that got broke the next day. Too many things to worry about here and dishes are just not one of them.
    I started picking up random Coke caps that I see. Those points add up and actually .net some pretty nice freebies during the year. I started entering in free Kelloggs codes too. I need to check my recycle bank coupons more often too. These little freebies I can pick up actually give sugar cookie a few little extras in life.
    I picked up 2 prescriptions for 90 day supply saving 4.00. I also used a different coupon than good rx and netted 1000 points from swagbucks. I have one other prescription that is expensive and the good rx coupon has made it affordable. But this other company lowers the price almost another 50%. I am always amazed at things I normally wouldn’t even take time to notice that are actually valuable to me when I stop and look.
    I added one large case of baby wipes to my son’s friend that I am collecting for. I hope to have a years supply of diapers and wipes by the time it gets here. Coupling can work miracles.

  47. Add my congratulations, Margaret! My daughter has gone through just about the same as you. (Ectopic pregnancy but now past the four month mark for this one.) So happy for you!

  48. Brandy did I miss your announcement on your newborn son’s name?
    I went to the discount grocery store and found blackberries 12 for $4.99 . I froze most of them . Trying to stay out of the stores . My husband hasn’t been getting as many hours lately and we started making trips to our camper. Geez the gas prices sure have gone up ! We rarely go out to eat, movies, etc . Camping is our hobby. Have a good week everyone!

  49. Julia, I have found amazing success with searching Pinterest for great recipe ideas. You can seach for frugal, low carb recipes and will probably get a bunch of ideas that you’ve never thought of pop up! Do a search every once in a while, as I find the posting don’t change much over a short period of time, but do if you check less frequently (maybe every other month or so).

  50. I just love your arrangements. I have always enjoyed growing a vegetable garden. This year, I added in some flowers that are supposed to repel bugs. But I also added David Austin roses and Salvia to my landscaping last year. I’m starting to dabble a little more in flower gardening, although I’m not nearly as good at it. I’ll probably add more flowers when we build our new house and add in landscaping around it. I do want to add some peonies around our flagpole.

    This week we didn’t really do much on the saving money front other than just not spending it. We still have not turned on our air conditioning. I enjoyed watching some Royal Wedding coverage.

    I made zucchini muffins from zucchini in the freezer. I also made two homemade pizzas. We ate leftovers tonight. I’m trying to cook more when it’s time to cook, that way I don’t heat up the house much. I’ve been working on cleaning out the freezer. But I did add more rhubarb to the freezer tonight. My strawberries are showing lots of little berries. I am just waiting on them to ripen up. I also seeded more lettuce. All of my stuff is starting to pop up – beans, corn, potatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, butternut squash, acorn squash, zucchini, cucumber, spinach, tomatoes, peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, onions, parsley, basil, cilantro, etc… My blackberry and blueberry bushes have blooms on them. The wild blackberries that grow behind our house are also bloomed out. We’ve been eating a TON of rhubarb and asparagus. We just planted fruit trees last year. I noticed two little apples, one cherry, and 6 little peaches forming on our trees. I have no idea if they’ll actually turn into anything, but I am so excited to see the growth on these trees!

    I have accepted a new job. I will be doing the same thing I do now, but in a hospital setting instead of a school setting. It is more money and better insurance, so I think it will be a good financial move for us. I am excited to get started there, as it seems like a great place to work!

  51. I have been picking Asparagus daily. We got 21 chicks but the neighbor’s dog killed 5. We found the dog in the pen.
    I have been enjoying our purple irises and a rose bush. Planted tomatoes, peppers, basil and cilantro. Oh yes we also put cantaloupe rind and seeds in a barrel of dirt and the seeds are growing. Eating at home every meal. Enjoying having a dishwasher. Worked for my son. Enjoyed movies when babysitting for my other son after the kids were in bed. Free exercise in garden. Trying to get our little house organized. Also sold some unwanted items on craigslist. Will look for more things to sell. Brought some asparagus to a neighbor and she gifted us some oranges. Freezing some asparagus for winter. Been enjoying the quiet at our little farmhouse and watching sunsets and sunrises. It is absolutely beautiful out hear, and so quiet. Love it! Also played piano for entertainment.

  52. This week I was clever with my leftovers and managed to make “new” meals with some of them. One day I went to lunch with my sisters, and made my husband a burger when I got home. Supplemented this with some of the enormous amount of fries I was served–I heat them in a little oil in a frying pan to crisp and warm them. Served a veggie on the side also. Actually the fries made two meals worth! The rest of the package of ground beef was combined the following day with some leftover sauce from another night and we had spaghetti with meat sauce and a salad. The second half of the fries was served with corn, bratwurst, and home made rolls another night. A good way to stretch what I ordered out into other meals. My sisters and I try to have lunch once a month, just the three of us, as one lives about an hour’s drive from the other two and we don’t want to get too busy to see each other. We meet in the middle at different restaurants.

    Parts of two days spent getting blood work and seeing the doctor. This is getting routine as we get older! Also, my husband suffers from early stage dementia, which we call “forgetfulness” and it has become apparent that I have to get a pill box for him so I can make sure he is taking all his pills everyday. He only takes a few, but he’s apparently been skipping the baby aspirin and I have to supervise this now. Seems like every week I get an extra “job” as a result of this. He also doesn’t enjoy going out as much as he used to, so I am trying to cook even more meals at home, and using a little of the money saved for some more costly treats to add to meals at home. When he was sick with the shingles, I made it more than half the month with no eating out, except for one take out sub we shared one night. We have to adjust our roles as we get older, like we did when we had small children. My daughter has also come over when she can and done a bit of housework for me–she did that one afternoon this week when I had an errand to do, so the errand was done and also some vacuuming got done at the same time! It’s such a help, and she only lives 2 miles away so it’s fast for her to run over and help. She has a medical problem which they are testing her for now and if that gets sorted out she may have more time to help.

  53. Didn’t realize you too are in Calgary. Very interesting about the return YYC to London airfare. Super deal but who do you fly with?

  54. Where will you stay in euope? Friends of mine bought a book about staying in convents and monasteries in various countries and had really vey accommodation.

  55. My niece has been given a couple of pairs of the wireless ones, and they work well for her. She just forgets to charge them. A lot. But, when she remembers, they are awesome. She is also hard on them, so hard that more than one of us can give her a pair for Christmas, for example, and she needs more by her birthday in May! I hope the wireless ones work as well for your daughter as they do for her:)

  56. I went to the museum to see photographs of Frida Kahlo. I had a special card so it only cost me $4.00 instead of $15 or $20.

    I am trying to eat down the contents of my freezer about the fridge. Tonight I had sour cherries from last summer. My cherries, pear, and plum trees are loaded with blooms. I hope the broken arm will heal sufficiently to enable me to make jam by mid-summer..

    I am starting Cherokee yellow beans inside the house. I will be planting Scarlet runner beans, beets, peas, carrots, over the next few days.

    I am sad that my David Austin rose, Strawberry Hill, was partially eaten by a deer or hare. The remainder of the plant is doing well.

    I am enjoying all of the butterflies in the yard –– Mourning Cloaks, Satyr Anglewing, and today the first Yellow Swallowtails. free entertainment!

  57. Brandy, I know you answered about how you have the energy, but how do you have the TIME to do anything with a little baby? My son shares a birthday with yours and while I feel like I *could* be up and about, all my time is spent breastfeeding and burping and changing him, and then I get a few tiny slots of ten minutes or so to shower or make myself some lunch.

  58. Hello everyone, here are my frugal accomplishment for this week.
    My daughter bought 2 pair of pants and they are always a little wyde around the whaist, so I made two seams in the waistband and now they fit perfect.
    We attended a boattrip with our little skif (?) though the canals in a nearby city. You had to decorate your boat with flags and lights and we where also dressed up. On shore there where differt acts and bands playing musik, the finall act was a water organ with lights and fire and musik. We had a wunderfull evening and took our own snacks and drinks with us.
    Eating a lot of vegetables from the freezer, we must empty it before the new harvest is coming. I always clean it before new stuff gets in once a year. My oldest son had a little group of friens over (under our porch) for a few drinks and some snacks (home made) because of his birthday. Working on my quilt I want to finish this summer, so when the new season starts I can make a new project. Bought a refurbished I-phone for our youngest son on line. We pay some for of it as a birthday present and he has to pay me back the rest. (he mows the loan for a familie, does news papers once a week and has to work 4 week in his school vacation).
    Now I have to mend two pair of jeans for my oldest son. (he does not want to buy new, because he is saving money to go on holiday to Spain with some friends).
    Baked a cake as a birthday gift for a friend.
    As always: line drying the laundry, cooking from scratch and cycle to and from work/school.
    Have a nice week every one.

  59. I remember the first time I saw oyster crackers and was gobsmacked at how the kept Pa alive in the blizzard referenced in On the banks of Plum creek. So little!!! I’m sure they were all stunted from severe malnutrition.

  60. Ellie’s friend, I received a Strawberry Hill rose for my birthday in February. We had snow on the ground when it arrived, so I planted it in a 5 gallon bucket. All of my cheapie roses (three Icebergs and a Blaze climber) leafed out, but not Strawberry Hill. They are going to send me a replacement next spring. If I got it for fall planting, I would lose the 3-year guarantee.

  61. Ellie’s friend-I will be staying at budget hotels and flying on WestJet-$750 Can if purchased on their website vs $460 Can ($365 US) if purchased on the British website.

  62. Maxine, can you tell me where you found the information for the mileage reimbursement? I wonder if it is also for Medicare?

  63. Betty, having nine is much different than when I had five and fewer little ones. I have children who are excited to hold their baby brother while I cook or go to the bathroom. They also are old enough to help make meals, so I have helpers making lunch and dinner with me or even instead of me while I nurse the baby. I get more done with a larger family than I could when I had just one baby because I have helpers. Last night I mended some drip lines in the garden while a family friend who was over held the baby. It took me about 15 minutes to make the repairs and test the lines (evidently I had several more places where I had cut the lines on accident while pruning last year than I thought!) but having someone else hold the baby helped. Then my eldest held the baby and gave him a bottle I had pumped while I sowed a few seeds for food and flowers in the garden and helped my toddler fill up endless containers of water to water the plants (his idea; he kept asking me to help him fill them). The baby was fussy and so I took him (turns out she had forgotten to burp him) and I held him after that. That was a long time for me to work as I had helpers; I usually work in 5-10 minutes spurts while he is sleeping or someone holds him. After dinner, like last night, is when I try to work in the garden in short bits, as it is cooler then. My husband can hold the baby then while the children do their chores and get ready for bed.

    This morning I have been awake since 3 a.m. with the baby (in fact I stopped typing my reply to you so I could nurse the baby). I finally got up and put a load of laundry on at 4:45 (my usual time to be up). I’ll have to take a nap this afternoon; I’ve had to do that a lot because of these early mornings with the baby. I managed to read and publish a few comments on the blog after I put the laundry on, and reply to you, but that’s it so far, and it’s already 5:30, so I’m off to get ready for the day.

  64. I had a jury trial, and I polished my shoes with vegetable oil. No one knew…lol. I also wore a very nice thrifted suit. Unfortunately, my neighbor was weed eating, and sent a rock through my window. It is below my deductible ($441) so I had to pay out of pocket…ouch. He agreed to mow my lawn for the summer in exchange for that amount. I hope he does that. We had a very bad thunderstorm, and it knocked all the mulberries off my tree, so that was the end of mulberry season. I dyed my hair ($3.00), cut my hair, and did my nails. That always saves me a lot of money each month. I cooked a pot of dried pinto beans (with a hambone) in the crockpot, and later added rice and greens. That will be lunch and supper this week. I am trying to get ready for retirement in less than four years. I listened to the Public Broadcasting system Saturday night of bluegrass music. My favorite frugal thing this week was a nap…lol.

  65. I loved k forward to this post every week. I always learn something from you or a reader.
    My husband and I never go to the movies because it is so expensive. A couple of months ago I decided to try movie pass. Figured if it didn’t work out I would cancel it. So far so good. We have seen more movies in the last 2 months than we have in the last 2 years. Our theratre company also had a rewards program. Every time we go, we earn points towards concessions.
    I joined topcashback and ordered a coffee let from Walmart for $11.87 and was refunded $15.99.
    Earned $3.35 from ibotta.
    Started doing Shopkicks and have almost enough points for a $10 giftcard
    Only purchased marked down produce, saving me about $10
    Have kept my grocery shopping to less then $55 a week this month (and that includes household items and stock ups)

  66. Last year, my friend’s Strawberry Hill rose boomed while mine (acquired from the same supplier at the same time) did not but the foliage was plentiful. But for the deer/hare this year it would have had blooms. Now we’ll have to wait and see. Good luck on your replacement!

  67. [list]
    I did some deep-cleaning using vinegar and old rags.

    My husband had a dentist appointment and paid a miniscule amount out of pocket thanks to our excellent health insurance.

    My husband pumped up the tyres on my car.

    I bought one lunch from my allowance and my husband received free pizza at his work one day. My in-laws also invited us for pizza one night. All other meals were prepared at home and my husband took leftovers as work lunches. I made up some more frozen pasta lunches using leftovers and free chillies.

    We have reduced our portion sizes and cut out most snacking so we’re finding ourselves with a lot of extra food lately. So far, we have managed to avoid any waste.

    For Christmas, we had given some friends recipe books with the dishes they always ask for me to make. Along with this, we put a voucher for one three-course meal of their choosing. We organised for most of these dinners to take place last week and they were a great success! Everyone loved the idea, it was a frugal gift for us to give, we had great times and delicious leftovers.

    I’ve used the oven several times this week, always making sure several things were baked at once and the residual heat was used to warm up the kitchen.

    I walked 3.6kms to an appointment instead of catching the bus. It was a beautiful day and refilled my soul. Hoping that I lost some weight in the process! 😀

    I bought some needed items at a discount chemist.

    I swept our tiled floors instead of vacuuming.

    We received a discount of 4 cents per litre on fuel thanks to our loyalty card.

    I volunteered once and will be reimbursed.

    We completed our weekly catalogue delivery round and found two recycling bottles on our walk.

    We had an appointment with our bank to be able to pay off our mortgage even more efficiently.

    My MIL gave me a food processor which I had been wanting for a while.

    We washed two full loads of clothing and dried them inside on racks.

    We saved warm-up water, washed out Ziploc bags, ran only full loads of dishes, combined trips, took our water bottles everywhere and opened and shut curtains and blinds to keep the house as warm as possible.

    My frugal fail was that I had to my pyjamas in a rush for a hospital sleep study. I usually wear either onesies or nighties, neither of which would have worked with the required wiring. I might just wear the pyjamas as a lazy weekend housesuit in the future. 😀

    Wishing everyone a wonderful week!

  68. I guessed it was something like that! This is our first and while Im pleased to feel that Ive recovered from pregnancy and labour fairly quickly, I wasnt quite ready for the idea of doing things while baby naps to be so laughable! Its just me and my husband and hes about to go back to work, so me and the sofa and the TV are about to become best buddies. I have visitors come over but its not the same as having people to call on 24/7.

  69. I cooked for the week on Sunday. I’ve taken a very part-time job, in addition to my full time job, to pay a hospital bill. And it makes getting dinner on the table a challenge. So I cook enough on Sunday to at least get us through Thursday night’s dinner.
    Now that it’s warmer, I’m grilling more. Grilling helps a lot with batch cooking. I can grill a few different things without spending a lot of time.

    Congratulations on the baby!

  70. Cindy, Almanzo wasn’t that tall either and in real life he had many health problems. Our image of him is usually the big strong actor that played him in the TV series.

  71. My best friend and I went to PEI about 20 years ago to see Green Gables. I thought it was pretty commercialized but we had a fun trip. New Brunswick is beautiful!

    Brandy, the handle on my dryer lint trap cracked last week! Right now we have it duct taped but I think I need to check into purchasing a replacement. What a coincidence that yours also broke. On a different note, did you enjoy Little Women? I feel like they represented the book well but while the acting was good, the characters didn’t feel “true” to me.

  72. Marcia R: What a lot of caring underlies your descriptions of you and your sisters, and your husband, and your daughter. Such relationships are a treasure.
    I don’t understand the enormous fry orders that come with most sandwiches. Appreciated hearing how you make the most of them.

  73. I like hearing what other people have in bloom in their gardens, so I can estimate how far north or south they live. My irises are just starting and the rhubarb is ready.
    We’re making the change from winter to summer oven heat saving. In cold weather, after I turn off the oven, I leave the door cracked to let the heat into the room. (We have no small children or pets). In hot weather, when I turn the oven on, I put a pan with a few inches of water on the back right burner, where the oven heat vents out. It saves the heat from being wasted in the room and heats the water to be used for rinsing dirty dishes. I use a small yard sale pyrex glass kettle, as it shouldn’t corrode from our very hard water. My Mom always put her tea kettle on a hot burner or over the oven vent burner, even when she didn’t need heated water, to protect against anyone touching it as it cooled.
    Best garage sale find: A moving sale with two partial giant-sized bags of grass seed. I probably got 25 pounds for my $5, and am set for the next decade or so, even after giving one bag to a neighbor. We had a tree taken out and filled in the dead spot, and strange little open spaces always show up in the yard to be filled over.
    Successfully froze and thawed guacamole purchased on sale in airtight single serve containers, (thank you, Athanasia, for the encouragement on that a few weeks ago).
    Husband watches Alton Brown “Good Eats” and has been making hash for a few months now– mixing together whatever was available in a frying pan with potato, onion, egg, planned leftover meat. He uses a potato cutter that was his grandparents’, a sort of grid with wire not quite half an inch squares in a frame, the Presto French Fry cutter. It’s easier than a knife and just one small item to wash and store.
    As others have noted, many things we do are habits– using the library, turning off lights, shopping intentionally.
    I had a fairly successful yard sale, not a lot of cash but got many things sold and leftovers donated. Sold a lot of unused stuff from my garden shed. I learned that people love a “free” pile, but more so if it isn’t too close to the regular sale part, so they don’t feel watched. And charging half-price during the last few afternoon hours I think encouraged people to buy more. Everyone loves a good bargain!

  74. Ms. Flathat, that sounds like an interesting way to spend your retirement! May you only have great tourists and thoughtful sightseers…may all the troublemakers stay home.

  75. Wow! That sounds so awesome! I would like to do something like that. If I may ask, how do you go about getting a job as a seasonal ranger?

  76. From
    i discovered meg miles’s instagram account @momstrongutah a few months ago and have so appreciated her “postpartum recovery circuit” posts. she just had a baby fairly recently and posted videos of the exercises she did at one/two/three/four weeks postpartum – while she was still allowing her body to heal before returning to her regular workouts. the exercises she demonstrates are really good for healing diastasis recti and strengthening the pelvic floor. it has felt so good to me to work on toning my body with gentle moves that i know will allow me to feel strong when i can get back into rigorous exercise. (you need to scroll back in her posts to january/february 2018 to see the postpartum recovery circuits.) meg knows her stuff and her online space is really inspiring.

  77. Tanja, that boat trip sounds simply magical!
    Smart idea too, to bake a cake – I think I might “borrow” that idea from you, since my friends I know would love a sweet treat on their birthdays but their spouses wouldn’t bake them one.

  78. Hi Allyson, thank you (and Cindi) for your kind words. You will most likely see better production next year, as they usually take three years to really get established. Each year in late winter, I dress the top layer of soil with either rich compost, aged chicken manure, or bagged manure from Home Depot. Then I fertilize or use more manure mid spring (usually late April, early May). Once I started adding the compost/manure I noticed a big difference in harvest. I heavily mulch all my perennials (roses, strawberries, rhubarb, and asparagus) in late fall using leaves from my yard. By spring, the leaves will mostly decompose. This combo has really helped with our asparagus yield, and we enjoy it often now. Hope this helps!

  79. Laurie, I am sorry for your loss. How nice you were able to fill in for and plan the get togethers and memorial service. I am sure this was a big help to your sister and her children.

  80. I will echo everything Samantha said. This is the fourth year for my asparagus — and the first I’ve really had any to eat. I also top-dressed with aged chicken manure in the fall.

  81. Luba, I love how you phrase everything you do with such a positive focus. As I go through my week, I find myself thinking along these lines also. It’s a good reminder to do all things with joy!

  82. Gardenpat – I love reading your comments – So positive. My DH and I are in our mid-60’s and looking to retire within the next 3 years. I am an accountant, so my side gig in retirement will be doing taxes. In fact, my employer said when I retire I am welcome back for as long as I want to do tax returns.

  83. I have one of those Presto French Fry cutters too that was my mother’s, handed down from my grandmother! 🙂 My now grown children used to use it with play dough to make pretend french fries.

  84. West Jet has amazing pricing from Calgary:)
    Check them out for Hawaii in the winter. Coming from another western Canadian city to get on the Calgary Hawaii planes and travelling in the middle of the week., with taxes you can get a round trip ticket for $500.00 CDN or even a bit less
    So is it a third party UK site? Would you mind sharing the name.

  85. This week is starting well as I had an interview for a casual librarian on Monday and they have rung one of my referees already so fingers crossed I get offered it. Downside it will take me about 1.5 hours using public transport to get there!
    Chicken keepers out there I haven’t had an egg from my 5 girls for three weeks now. It is Autumn here now, are they just having a rest and I need to wait or is there something I can do to get them laying again? They are 3 years old.

  86. It would be nice. But I didn’t want to press the issue. I’d like to be on friendly terms with the neighbors. I’d just be happy if they keep the dog at their house.

  87. That is such a pretty picture, as always!
    It sounds like you are recovering well. Keep up the good work and take the time you need to rest.
    I’ve continued to do the usual things to save money, time and gas. I continued to combine errands with other commitments and meetings.
    My bush beans have come up. I planted my onions, and transplanted the cucumbers and butternut squash that I started from seed. I also had to replant my peas because nothing came up the first time. Our strawberry bed started with 12 plants 2 years ago and there must be fifty plants in there now and there are lots of strawberries forming. I still want to plant tomatoes, several types of peppers, zucchini, and acorn squash.
    I got a watering can for Mother’s Day with my grandchildren’s hands and feet prints on it and it has really come in handy with watering the areas that are planted when it gets hot and the soil dries out. We have had plenty of rain so we haven’t turned the sprinkler system on yet.
    We ate all meals at home and used leftovers for lunches or reused in other meals.
    Have a great week everyone.

  88. You have to apply months in advance on USA Jobs. More than half of the jobs in National Parks fall into the seasonal category. There are quite a few summer jobs and a smaller number of winter jobs. It is competitive and veterans get a substantial preference in hiring. There is a pretty bureaucratic hiring process, but hey, it’s the federal government.

  89. My husband and I did a Little House On The Prairie Vacation last year. We visited all the sites you mention here except the Wilder Farm in NY. It was a wonderful trip and was very exciting, for me, to see all the places I have read about and watched on tv for so many years! The log cabin in Pepin, WI is a wonderful recreation and the land surrounding it is beautiful A nice place to visit, very serene. We enjoyed Mankato, MN. Walnut Grove, MN had a wonderful museaum. Also in Walnut Grove, MN be sure to visit the Ingalls family dugout site. Bring a picnic lunch it is a beautiul place to sit and relax and explore. Have drinks as it is very hot here in the summer! The prairie reconstruction they have done to restore it to how it would have been is great! De Smet, South Dakota has so many neat places to see and visit. Be sure to visit the gravesites of the Ingalls family. It is such a beautiful resting place!
    Hope you have a wonderful visit!

  90. 1. I am in the midst of a no spend week, so I am trying to avoid the stores by staying home and decluttering/cleaning
    2. Paid my home insurance premium for the year all at once to avoid installment fees
    3. Redeemed 20 cents in fuel points at Kroger
    4. Picked up 7 trays of dog food, carrots, and a candy bar all for free at Kroger
    5. Thrift store finds (before my no spend week started): I found a new pair of Crocs for my son, a new set of Uno cards, and a board game called Mad Gab that my daughter has been wanting all for good prices.

  91. The site was I learned about their special from Chris.Myden @YYC You can sign up for his newsletter which he emails out occasionally with great deals from Calgary to many destinations. I agree with you that WJ has good prices to Hawaii. Let’s hope they don’t go on strike which is a possibility.

  92. I’m always excited when I remember to turn things in early and avoid tempting fate with fines.

    Congrats on the mileage reimbursement – too bad it isn’t retroactive, but it will sure be nice to get a bit back. I’m sure you’ll make it stretch too.

  93. Thank you, Athanasia. Everyone has their strengths and mine is entertaining large groups of people. I was glad I could help in that way.

  94. My daughter is so hard on earbuds too! For Christmas I bought three sets for $10 or less at Target and put them in her stocking. She was at her dad’s so she didn’t even get them until she got back in January – and the third pair was on its last legs when she flew back out yesterday. Didn’t have time to get her new ones so he’ll have to get her some there.

    I love how the support staff at your DD’s school really pulled out a treat for her birthday. Lovely! And ice cream cake twice in one day? Now that’s a good birthday to me! 😀

  95. My condolences to your sister and whole family for your loss. What a blessing you were able to open your home for the memorial – I’m sure your brother-in-law’s parents appreciated it greatly and it took a weight off their and your sister’s shoulders.

  96. WOW – those are some great savings. I will keep an eye out for a laptop deal like that. My daughter hopes to complete her GED this fall and go on to CNA training; she is asking for a laptop for schooling. I had no idea anyone clearances them that low – what a find!

  97. Thank you! I may apply a year before my retirement in less than four years! It sounds awesome!

  98. They really should compensate you but I understand your reluctance to press the issue. Of more concern now is that dog has a killing instinct.
    Is there any way to make the pen less accessible? If a dog got in, could a fox or a coyote? Ann

  99. Picked the first of the berries (like a blackberry but less seeds).
    Eating apricots from our tree, and a plum crumble to use up the last of the plums from the freezer.
    Using up the bits and pieces of food my daughter brought back from college.
    Sewing a pair of pajama shorts for myself from an old sheet.
    Sorted our closet, gathered a few things for a yard sale.
    Put up drop cloth shade over our patio. It really does help, and was very inexpensive. With our hot sun, even the expensive outdoor fabrics degrade quickly.
    Still not using A/C. Highs haven’t reached 90 yet.
    Still eating lettuce from the garden. Lots of figs (still not ripe) on the tree. Local fruit stand is open. Peaches, nectarines and apricots cost $10 for 25 pounds of fruit (40 cents a pound). We eat to our hearts content, and take a box as a hostess gift whenever we stay with friends in the summer.

  100. Oh, I envy you. I cannot fly Westjet or Air Canada because they allow cats and dogs onboard. Due to deathly allergies, I would not risk it. The only airline I think that does not is Air Iceland (they only allow bona fide service animals for the blind). On the plus side, if I ever fly again, Air Iceland has a stopover possibility so you can break up your trip by staying over and sightseeing in Iceland. Ann

  101. Spring has fully arrived here. The lilacs are in full bloom along with the flowering crabs so it very pretty. Well the crabs are just starting to fade so they are dropping petals and it looks like pink and purple snow on the ground. Just about everything is planted in the ground and in pots. The fields are about a week behind due to those 2 April snowstorms, which is better than other areas of the state that are 2 weeks behind. The shelling peas are up and have blossoms. We’ve been picking lettuce and spinach, kale, radish thinnings, asparagus, and rhubarb. All fruit trees and bushes made it through the winter and look healthy.

    Twins Miriam and Daniel are 6 weeks old and growing wonderfully. We are all settling in to a baby-led schedule around daughter’s part time work schedule and nursings and naps. Eliana is anxious to be back to her many farming duties so we are looking forward to youngest daughter returning as she will babysit full time June, July and August. Also my brother in law Paul will be with us for the summer so our little house will be full again.

    I never listed food last week so these mentioned are for the past 2 weeks. Baked white bread and whole wheat bread, banana nut cranberry bread, rhubarb crisp, rhubarb struesel muffins. Made tuna macaroni salad, coleslaw, potato salad (cold), cream of asparagus soup, cornbread, lemon bars, ginger snaps, tapioca pudding (cooked) with last year canned peaches. Put other half of the jar of peaches into jello salad. My mother makes really good beef stew so I took her over 2 packs of stew meat I had left in the freezer and all the vegetables and she made it Saturday. Daughter helped her and daughter in law and her mother came over to help also. So they had fun doing that and then we all had for noon meal on Sunday after church. I was not home to help as husband and I took a Friday-Saturday short trip.

    will finish later…

  102. I don’t think it applies to Medicare. I’m on Medicare and cared for my mother and MIL when they were on Medicare, and I never heard anything about it. I found out from my DD’s service coordinator (DD is developmentally disabled) and her transportation to work, doctor appointments, etc., is paid by Medicaid. I would Google something like [b]medical transportation reimbursement[/b] plus the name of your state, and see what comes up. Or, if your person has a service coordinator of some type, I would ask that person. Or call the Area Agency on Aging. Good luck!

  103. I don’t know what your work schedule is so I am just making a suggestion. Could you mass cook on one day like Sunday and then it is just a matter of heating up? Otherwise I would have easy items for quick meals when you get home. If they don’t like it then oh well your mom better start cooking real meals. Omelettes, cheese quesadillas, mac n cheese, hot dogs, PB&J, salads, dinners just have to fill you up they don’t have to be gourmet 7 course meals. Good luck.

  104. Tammy, the dog won’t stop so all your chickens are at risk. Ideally a report should be made to the county sheriff ( or police if they are in the city). But since you feel it would cause neighbor problems unfortunately it is all on you to take charge. My oldest daughter manages an egg farm and it takes a lot of barriers to keep the free range chickens safe from all kinds of predators. They even have a special trained dog that lives with the chickens in the enclosure.

  105. Libby, there is a very good book I would recommend called THE WORLD OF LITTLE HOUSE by Carolyn Strom Collins. It is fully illustrated and goes through all the locations from the books and gives floor plans of all the dwellings. I found it very interesting and we have it in our school library. You could probably find it at the public library.

  106. I personally think being in PJ’s at home is one of the greatest luxuries in life ! After working three jobs for years this is my greatest luxury, in old age!

  107. Becky, yes, aren’t parades just a lot of good cheap fun? My husband and I went to a family wedding on Friday (daughter of a cousin of his was married) and on the way back Saturday stopped for a parade in a little town, local festival. When we travel we always take my scooter along so we moseyed over to where everyone was lined up and a family scooted over and made room for us next to them. My husband put his camp chair down on the curb and I sat behind him. Very fun. We had quick put beverages and some apples and a bag of unshelled peanuts for snacks so we were set.

  108. How do you deal with water restrictions and your drip irrigation? We just got our first round of water restrictions for the year. We can only use irrigation one day a week! I’m stuck hand-watering and it drives me nuts.

    This week has been great!

    1. Today I noticed our lettuce bolted and produced seeds! I removed the seeds and will store them for next year. I’m shocked the lettuce was able to seed, considering how much it was attacked by deer this year.

    2. Our neighbor delivered TWO POUNDS of honey earlier this week. We’re going to use it to make mead. 🙂 Did I mention the honey came from bees in his backyard?

    3. In exchange for the honey, we gave neighbor our homemade mead, as well as a homemade beeswax cling. I told him to give me any beeswax from future honey harvests. This stuff is so useful! I love making pomade for hubby with beeswax.

    4. I brought in more freelance clients, which is always a welcome burst of additional income.

    5. I’ve been devouring free library books lately. I love the digital checkout feature that lets me download books to my iPad.

  109. Rhonda, I don’t know if this would be any help at all, but we have always made lunches at night. That includes school lunches, my work lunch and the covered plate of food for my husband’s lunch—he works from shop on our property so eats at home. Also, we take showers at night. That could give you some one on one time with your mother and organizing for the dinner each day.

  110. This morning my mom asked me what to make for dinner. We’ve already eaten beef a couple times and chicken last night. So, I told her that we could have the pre-made cheese manicotti (from Costco) that was in the fridge. She asked me how to make it and I told her to use Alfredo sauce (DD will not eat tomato sauce), and use the chunk of mozarella in the fridge and if it wasn’t enough cheese, mix it with the old cheddar cheese. The package has instructions on how to cook it. Easy, peasy, right?

    Get home from work and my mom says, I don’t know what to make for dinner. I said, “I told you this morning what to make”. She claimed she was too busy to reach into the freezer and pull out the manicotti! I don’t know how much easier a meal I can get!?!

  111. Yes, their laying years are over. Now they are for soup. I buy all my chickens from the egg farm…they are good for stewing and soup. If you have made your chickens into pets though, you probably will need a different option, as you might not want to eat them.

  112. Ms Flathat, i just remembered a mystery series set in the National Parks. They are written by Nevada Barr. It looks like there are now 19 in the series, though I only read up through #9. They were interesting, but definitely not a cozy type mystery.

  113. Thank-you for the information Athanasia. My husband is going to build a run. Hopefully all will be well. I hope.

  114. Yes, I agree with you, they should offer to compensate us. My husband is going to make a more secure pen for them. We have scraps from building our house. But we will have to get some sort of enclosure to keep predators out , including the dog.

  115. We did have four paper towel dispensers in the house. One in the basement laundry room that was rarely touched, one in the kitchen, and one in each bathroom. Those last three required about six rolls of paper towels a week. We were paper-towel-aholics. About a month ago, we bought a package of paper towels, but I left it in the trunk of the car. There was one roll high on a shelf in the front closet, where it sat for the entire month. I left the dispensers empty. I told mom we were using too many rolls of paper towels at nearly $1 a roll and it was silly given our large collection of rags so I wanted us to go cold turkey. The other day, I put the two bathroom dispensers up high on the hall closet shelf and refilled the dispenser in the kitchen with that lone roll in the closet. But we haven’t used the first towel on that roll yet. Thrifty mission accomplished. We should save at least $200 a year painlessly by this change.

  116. An extra I just had to share. I bought a cotton dress for 25 cents at the thrift store. I cut off the top and made an elastic-waist skirt out of it for myself. It was a strange white color, with almost a yellow tint to it. I soaked it overnight in a 5 gallon bucket of very strong coffee, made from free leftover coffee grounds from Starbucks. Then I rinsed it well, and machine washed it. Now it’s cream/tan colored-much better than funny white/yellow.

  117. Laura’s husband probably wasn’t malnourished while he was doing most of his growing. He was just short. The new book Prairie Fires gives a lot of background information on Laura’s life. You might want to bring it on your travels.

  118. Maybe she needs a trip to the doctor’s. Does she have early Alzheimer’s? Physical causes for forgetfulness? A bladder infection? A folate deficiency? etc. etc. It sounds like she is truly forgetting what you are telling her.

  119. We stayed in a convent (found using a book) across the street from the Vatican in Rome. It was a lovely experience–though a bit of an adjustment with no air conditioning and a bathroom the size of a phone booth (for the shower and toilet). A nice breakfast was served each morning and we visiting a local grocery store for lunches and snacks. None of the nuns spoke English which could be a drawback for some U.S. travelers. For us, the convent was a great experience and savings.

  120. My mom was always organized like that when I was a kid. She always made our lunches the night before and she often still takes her shower before going to bed. However, it just doesn’t work well for me. When I come home from work, my mind and body are ready to shut down. It is just too overwhelming to make decisions like what I might like to eat at dinner, or what I want for lunch the next day, let alone implement an action plan. I like my morning shower to wake me up and both DD and I prefer to choose our lunch items according to our mood in the morning. We often appreciate leftovers for our lunches…but not always.

  121. Cindy in the South,

    I love posts that I could have written. I always polish my shoes with oil or Vaseline, do my own nails and such. I grew up quite well off and my mother wouldn’t think of allowing us to pay to have someone do for us what we could do for ourselves. I struggle to hire out things that we can do even now that I’m older and finding I can do less. This attitude has been such a blessing in the past couple of years as we have struggled financially! I find I have either the skills or the wherewithal to figure out how to do things! Thanks for your post and allowing me to feel that I’ve found a fellow friend!


  122. Love your photos!

    I have moved from daffodils to lilacs to grace our indoor space. So uplifting.

    My class schedule for next year has changed significantly and should be less stressful. I’m just so very thankful for this job. The rest of the family is back home moving into the new house that we are renting. Jobs are secured and our daughter is career job hunting now that she is out of college. She thought she had that settled for the summer, but was mislead. She has a side job that starts next week to cover her incidentals. I’ll be there in a month, and there is so much yet to do here before I go.

    Found sandals from last year that I had forgotten I had purchased from a thrift shop, so this is good. Was able to mail my son’s sandals (rather costly ones) to him for my husband to try for his new job as a river guide. I’m very happy he has found a job he will love and that fits our schedule.

    Finishing one year strong and only 3 more to go. My son is feeling better and he got good grades. The cabin is slowly coming along. I went to the local hardware store with a 5.00 off coupon only to discover that most everything I bought was on sale. I saved a lot more than the coupon’s value! I’m going to start painting the very much in need of painting garage and shed. I’ll paint the garage doors and leave my DH to paint the garage this fall.

    Found some very over ripe Bananas on sale and froze them for an icecream substitute. I refuse to eat icecream and cookies as I just do not feel good after eating all that sugar. Yesterday, I ate some candy (I very rarely eat candy as I don’t really like it much) and felt just awful all night. When I had all those midlife medical tests done this past winter, I found that I am perfectly healthy. However, I’m cutting out sugar anyway as I don’t think it’s good for me. And I need to lose the last of the stress weight!

    Am on a no spend two weeks now that I’ve bought supplies. I have set aside a minimal amount for milk and salad since I was able to unplug the large fridge finally and am using my son’s from college. Other than that, no thrift store or online shopping allowed. I’m going to stay home and see if I can spend less on gas as well!

    Happy frugal-ing

  123. Rhonda, was just some ideas since they worked well for our family of seven. And you learn to take quick showers so the hot water doesn’t run out. We like to go to bed with the day washed off……the dirt, smells, sawdust, farm residue, animal hair, pollen, etc. I remember my sons sometimes stuck their head under the faucet in the am if their hair looked wild. Growing up, our old house would have been too cold for a bath in the morning.

  124. Your date night sounds wonderful! My Hubby and I dream of the day we have our own acreage. His job is in Arizona now, but we will retire in the Pacific Northwest. We hope to do so in 10 years or so.

  125. I love frozen bananas instead of ice cream. Just curious as to what you are studying? Ann

  126. When you mentioned your class schedule, I assumed you were studying. Maybe, however, you are a teacher! If so, my mistake!

  127. Ann,

    I am a teacher who seems to be always studying something. So many fascinating areas to explore; however I am getting beyond adding more degrees – I think. I already have degrees in education, history, and anthropology (sociocultural and archaeology).

    I found flavored liquid stevia and have been enjoying a slight caramel flavor in my frozen banana shakes. I make them super thick to resemble ice cream 🙂


  128. I haven’t posted in quite some time because I haven’t felt very frugal but might as well celebrate what IS actually frugal!
    – washed and hung laundry on the line
    – had to buy new car seats (boo) because there is a new baby on the way and we needed narrow seats for my husbands car. I put the ones we wanted into CamelCamelCamel two months ago and when the price on each dropped 50 bucks the website emailed me and we snagged them. Not cheap still but cheaper than they would have been and definitely cheaper than a new car!
    – my husband and I are both switching jobs. I asked about the health insurance at his place so we can compare where we will get it
    – on my way home from one job site, stopped at Aldi to pick up groceries
    – came to visit my college friend in Maine. She’s allergic to dogs but let me bring mine and keep her in the entry room, saving me money boarding
    – woke up early today and walked the dog with the sound of the lighthouse bell and the birds and the smell of salt air. It feels like a vacation!

  129. Thanks Brandi and Athanasia one menopausal chick in my family ( that would be me) is quite enough to deal with, and yes they are more pets than anything so I’ll let them retire and get a couple of new chicks in Spring.

  130. All your education — that’s wonderful! I eat my frozen bananas as if they were popsicles. Ann

  131. Are they molting? I have been keeping chickens for over ten years, they slow down as they get older but don’t just all stop laying at once. Add a light to your coop, on a timer. Chickens need 14 hours of light a day to continue laying through winter.

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