Frugal Accomplishments

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

 Ivory Feet The Prudent Homemaker

We had rain on Sunday night and Monday morning. Monday is my assigned day to water, so I am grateful that it keeps raining on Monday! It is actually raining again this morning as I write. The last time I have seen this much rain in spring was ten years ago. I remember it being particualrly rainy that year. Our area needs the rain, so I am very grateful to have it.

I collected rainwater in buckets from the drips off the roof. I used this to water garden seedlings.

I continued to save water from the shower warming, and I used that to water our potted fruit trees and seedlings in the garden.

Frozen Birthday detail The Prudent Homemaker

I made presents for Elsa’s birthday gifts using fabric I had on hand, brownies and lollipops with ingredients that I already had, and decorated using items I had. You can read about Elsa’s Zero-Budget Frozen themed birthday party in an upcoming post this week.

I redeemed Swagbucks for Amazon gift cards. I used these to order some mylar blankets for our 72-hour kits. We are slowly building these as our budget allows; you may recall that last month we bought some refillable water bottles at the thrift store for our bags. Mylar blankets are also a good thing to keep in your car in case of emergency, especially if you should become stranded during a winter storm.

Libby and Winter at the piano The Prudent Homemaker

I printed some free sheet music for the piano for Liberty. After she told me about a song that she liked, I found the music online for her.

I bought a song for $0 from Amazon for Ezrom, using a promotional credit that I had. 

I sold a few items through Facebook garage sales.

I used a $5 off $10 coupon for Joann’s to purchase several items, including jean thread (I will be hemming some jeans), making my purchase just above $5. The coupon came in a copy of Martha Stewart Living magazine, which I get for free.

I thinned my lettuce seedlings and transplanted the thinnings to give them good room to grow.

Black Beans rice and salad The Prudent Homemaker

I cut broccoli, lettuce, Swiss chard, beet greens, spinach,  garlic chives, green onions, and three asparagus spears from the garden. I picked a few radishes too. We enjoyed several salads from the garden.

I put more canning jars over tiny seedlings in the garden, and I covered the tomato plants in the garden with quart-sized jars.

I cooked the butternut squash I grew in my garden last year. I saved the seeds, since it is an open-pollinated type, to plant new plants in the garden. This eliminated my need to purchase seeds for squash this year. I planted some indoors in egg cartons to transfer outside in a few weeks.

We did some armchair travel for geography. We used Google Earth to “visit” Paris, Rome and Athens. We saw famous places, and went down the streets (when you’re on a street view image, you can go around, look up at buildings, and click in the distance to go down the streets.) This was a lot of fun! (I did some of this the week before in rural areas of France, and some again in France on my own.) It’s a great way to see a city that you may not otherwise get to visit.

I made granola, balsamic orange vinaigrette, minestrone soup, steak sauce, black beans and rice, chocolate wafers, and black bean enchiladas. I used my solar oven to cook beans and a pork shoulder roast.

I pruned the hedges in the front yard, and took cuttings from the hedges to root in the garden, in the empty spots where the hedges are filling in slowly.

I took cuttings from one of my Thompson’s Seedless grape vines, dipped them in rooting powder, and put them in some new places in the garden. If they take, I’ll have some new plants that will be producing in a few years.

I watched some free shows on Hulu, Pbs.org, and on You Tube. Someone uploaded more episodes of Edwardian Farm to You Tube recently, so I was able to see a couple more. I am also immensely enjoying Ruth Goodman’s book, How to Be a Victorian, which I checked out from the library the week before last. 

Peach blossoms The Prudent Homemaker

I enjoyed time in the garden, both working, listening to birds, looking at flowers, and pushing the girls on the swings.

 

 What did you do to save money and frugally enjoy life last week?

 This post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure policy here.

 

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123 Comments

  1. Washed our white wool blanket & then folded it into a tub that lives in the trunk of my car, where there is also an old grey wool army blanket. I aired out a new wool blanket I had ordered, until the mothproofing smell was gone, then folded it & another of the old grey wool army blankets to fit in a zippered case in which the mattress pad for the upstairs guest room arrived. The cover should keep it clean & free from moth damage. This blanket lives in the trunk of my husband’s car. Our youngest daughter has two more of the old grey army blankets in a tub in the trunk of her car. The blankets live in the trunks year round, even tho they are “winter” driving items, because when we visit family, we drive over mountain passes where it would be a very good idea to have those blankets handy if the car broke down.

    Bought two lengths of white molding from the ReStore & cut them into sections to make 4 more earthquake guards, & then marked the “ends” to remove another one quarter to half inch of wood, so the two ends can be utilized as “end caps” between the wooden uprights of the same shelf unit, serving the same purpose as the earthquake guards. Secured 3 of the sections on the south end of the freestanding wooden shelf unit in the cubby.

    Continued to cut down apple boxes to hold my empty quart jars in the cubby. Cut down 2 boxes for quarts & 1 for pints for my oldest daughter, too.

    When I picked up a batch of 7 apple boxes, some still contained the purple cardboard inserts & the thin white packing sheets. The boxes were free, so the contents were also free. I saved the white packing sheets, made a paper pattern by drawing around one of my plates, & used the pattern to cut circle dividers to place between the china plates in my buffet. I was able to cut enough circles to go between all of my winter “bird plates”, as well as all the soup bowls in the Christmas Charm pattern. Having dividers between the china plates cushions them in storage, & makes them much easier to move without breaking plates. I think it would also be helpful during an earthquake, to keep plates & bowls from getting chipped or broken.

    Combined a pint of green beans, a pint of carrots, a pint of mixed summer squash & a pint of chunk turkey with the leftover cabbage & tomato sauce (that had been baked with hamburger patties) to make a soup for dinner. We ate all meals at home this week, but that is usual for us.

    Continued to dehydrate more pear slices & also sliced 4 bananas that were turning brown, placing them in the dehydrator as well. The pear halves from 3 quart jars fit into one quart jar when dehydrated as slices.

    Watched “Downton Abbey” on PBS. While I watched, I knitted 3 brown chickens in various stages of completion, as demo models for our next Relief Society craft night. They are quite simple to make, & one skein makes 15-20, depending on how tightly one knits & the size needles one uses. Each one will hold a plastic Easter egg inside, & young children love to “help” the chicken lay the egg.

    Continued to hem flannel emergency wipes.

    Took down the Valentine’s Day decorations & put our leprechauns & shamrocks out for St. Patrick’s day. I have 2 wreaths, which are hung on the inside of the front door & the inside of the kitchen-to-garage door. I also fill some small black plastic kettles (originally purchased years ago after Halloween), with gold chocolate coins, to be “pots of gold”. Since the gold coins are around 15-20 years old, they are pretty much left alone, since they don’t taste very good anymore. I bag them up after the holiday & store them with the St. Patrick’s Day decorations in the plastic shoeboxes.

    Filled the car with gas on Wednesday, at the Chevron station, using the card, for the discount & the free car wash.

  2. Thanks for the book tip. I love to read about the Victorian era too, and will be checking around for a copy. I also love to see your craft projects. I’m still a novice, so they inspire me!

    I continue to stay frugal by shopping the sales and using coupons whenever possible. This week, I got a free breakfast sandwich at Starbucks, a free reusable bag at Staples, $0.54 turkey bacon, $0.50 frozen veggies, and a huge package of chicken for $2.08. Full breakdown of all my deals with pics here: http://thejewishlady.com/super-savings-saturday-22815/

    Stay frugal, Ladies!

  3. Marivene, I’ve enjoyed reading your tips on here for years now. Do you blog? If not, I’d really love to see you start one. You have such good advice!

  4. I finally ordered my seeds! I could have put my peas in several weeks ago but hadn’t gotten my seed order done. I also ordered a mini grape vine that I hadn’t seen before to try. It’s supposed to be suited for containers and will only get 18 inches high. I had planned to put in a full size grape but my husband was not in favor of that idea. I have lots of seeds leftover from last year so I didn’t need to order too much.

    I needed to do some shopping at Target yesterday. The cashier forgot to scan my Cartwheel app, which would have saved me about 35 cents, so he gave me a $5 gift card instead.

    My bing rewards account had been cancelled and I’d been “banned for life” due to a miscommunication we had between whether I was supposed to be using my microsoft login or my facebook login. Now that you can’t use Facebook anymore, I sent an email to customer service and they reinstated my account. I lost all my history but they were able to restore the current points I had when they cancelled my account. Two days later I had enough points for a $5 amazon card. I also continued to earn my Swagbucks daily and cashed in points for a $10 Amazon gift card.

    I downloaded free and extremely inexpensive children’s audiobooks from Audible.com. My six-year-old really enjoys listening to stories when we’re in the car. Right now we’re working our way through “The Secret Garden”, which I downloaded from Storynory.com.

    I got a $10 Starbucks gift card from my insurance company for switching to e-delivery.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  5. Hello all! We have plenty of rain to share with you here in South Mississippi! We are expected to have rain every day this week, which makes it difficult to work on the garden here, but I am steadily planning so when it does become nice, I can get out there and get started. We are doing a raised bed this year for the first time as well as some container gardening.

    My washing machine broke two weeks ago and I had to put it in the shop to be fixed. The shop called me last Friday to tell me it was ready. It had to have a new control panel, a new lid lock mechanism, and all of the springs that hold the tub in place had to be replaced. This machine is only two years old. The shop owner kindly replaced all of the parts for the cost of labor only, so it was less than a hundred dollars. Although it was an unexpected expense, it was much cheaper than it could have been so for that I am thankful.

    I did no grocery shopping this weekend. We are attempting to eat out of our pantry only in order to clean it out. We are anticipating a small income tax refund in the next couple of days and there are some really good sales at our local stores so I am going to stock up again.

    Cleaned out my closet and found a winter suit jacket that I had forgotten about that pairs nicely with a simple black skirt. I will be going to Indianapolis in two weeks for a church conference and will need some warm clothing. Living in South Mississippi, I do not own a lot of winter clothing that will be appropriate for the trip. I am hoping to make do with what I own and not have to purchase anything.

    Downloaded some free music from Amazon for my son. He is a musician and loves classical music, so I am always looking for free music for him to listen to.

    Have a great week!

  6. It is hard to imagine Spring. I’m looking forward to it. This week I made a double batch of biscotti for my husband’s lunch, he likes them very much and the children Do Not, so I know he will not run out. I made shepherd’s pie, I was careful with portioning and had enough left over meat for a whole different meal. I made banana muffins. I used thirty dollars in rewards to get the treats for my son’s birthday party, he requested truffles so I am making them today. We had a 20% off coupon for Michaels, where we got all the ingredients for his cake pops. I am confident we can make the ones he wants. We are repurposing Christmas decorations since he wants a Rudolph theme. My husband applied online for rebates from our new furnace. They should take about a month to get here. I read free books on my kindle. We put a sale up on ebay. I almost ordered books on Amazon then checked ebay where I found them for five dollars instead of thirty. We are planning out our garage sale schedule as that is where we pick up ebay finds. My favorite sales clerk gave me free shampoo when I told her I was looking for a new brand. I accepted my friends offer to babysit so I can bake and cook for the party without as many interruptions. I clipped coupons and tucked them in my husband’s wallet since he is the one that stops on the way home. I tried washing our clothes with less soap and it’s working just fine.

  7. Made 3 quilts this week – 1 baby, 2 lap size, this week using my stash of fabrics, thread, batting! Am working on a fourth one this morning! Baby quilt went to new grandson and 1 of the lap quilts (as is my tradition) was given to a family we know who are moving. Another of the lap quilts will go to a young mom I took to Church two weeks ago and her 5 year old son who had been living in a homeless shelter but has now secured an apartment and job training and was so excited to go to the thrift store to buy a few dishes and pots and towels for her very own place! Her face was just beaming as she shared the treasures she bought and I was thrilled to see the hope in her eyes and face!

    I got 2 “rewards” visa cards for purchases made 2-1/2 months ago totally $264!!! They can’t be used as cash to put into the bank, but I was able to use them for gas for the cars and stocking up on our food storage! With them, I bought Hefty freezer bags- quart and gallon sizes- 18 boxes for 99 cents each instead of their rehular price of $3.19! I bought 10 packages of flour tortillas- on sale for $1/ package but because of bad weather, the store brand had run out and truck to restock was delayed. The clerk gave me my choice of name brand tortillas in whatever size I wanted for the same $1/package!

    I went to GFS and in their markdown area, they had a 30 lb box of California blend frozen veggies for $11. I need to prepackage them into quart size freezer bags, but, wait!! I have a nice stock of bags!!! They also had a 30 lb box of frozen Bob Evans biscuits that were unbaked and flash frozen in one giant bag! 192 biscuits! Sadly, there were no baking instructions anywhere on the box, so I googled it and sure enough, directions were there and we tried some for dinner. They were amazing! I will use some for breakfast biscuits!

    Made a big batch of Brownie Mix, made a wonderful new crockpot chicken dish that called for a package each of dry Italian salad dressing and buttermilk ranch dressing so I used the mixes that I found on-line in them. I keep the mixes in foodsaver containers that I have labeled with use instructions as well as the mix recipe so as I use it up, I can replenish it! Cheap and easy to make and SO convenient!!

    Made cranberry pecan muffins for breakfast this week as well as pancakes from my homemade mix. Cooked up in the crockpot a corned beef that had been in the freezer for 2 years! Hubby pronounced it absolutely delicious and so he has had corned beef sandwiches in his lunch a few days lately.

    Got fresh produce on sale from Fresh Thyme store- 77 cents/pound grapes, 2/$1 mangos, strawberries for $1.25! These will be used as snacks and for lunches.

    Will make some granola today using dried strawberries that I put up last year. All the ingredients are things that I have at home already in my storage.

    Payday is in 3 days and again I have around $300 that is leftover in my checking account that wasn’t needed for food/gas/other contingencies so when pay comes in, I will transfer that into savings account and/or pay down/off another debt! Been doing this for the last 3 paychecks and it’s become like a game to see how much I can have leftover by the next payday and then use it to pay off debt and add more to our savings!

    All in all, a very good week!

  8. I went to Google Earth and didn’t explore it enough. I can’t wait to go back now and visit some cities. I remember when I started playing flute and how I wanted those new songs I heard all the time. I spent my allowance a lot on sheet music! Your girls are so lucky that you find it for free for them!
    Last week I made sure I made good use of all the leftovers..You seen all my frugal ways in my post here:
    http://vickieskitchenandgarden.blogspot.com/2015/03/my-frugal-ways-this-week-3115.html

  9. Last week, I worked 11 hours of overtime. We ate all the leftovers in the house and literally threw nothing away.

    A co-worker brought in salad dressing on a day I forgot it; this was a huge blessing! Another co-worker recently adopted a cat, so I went through my cat’s things and found two items we didn’t use. I was glad to get the items out of my house.

    A co-worker bought some food pouches she didn’t want; she gave them to me for my toddler, and my toddler gobbled them up.

    My hubby attended a men’s event at our church and was fed pizza. He tutored a student one night, and we were grateful (as always) for the extra income.

    A couple of months ago, my hubby lost his wallet. Thankfully, his license was not in his wallet, but he did have some money in it and along with that, he also lost a couple of envelopes, one of which had some money in it. We canceled the cards that were in it (debit, etc.), but we were rather sure the wallet was somewhere misplaced and not really lost. My hubby found his wallet and the envelopes on Sunday! We were very happy and added the “found” money to our envelope for gas and groceries.

    This week, I will be, unless circumstances change, delivering my baby! I have a lot of fluid (too much) and the baby keeps flipping to breech and transverse. I’m excited to meet the new little one! That’s not really a frugal accomplishment, but I’m excited and wanted to share anyway 🙂

  10. Does anyone know if Victorian Farm is still available on YouTube anywhere? I looked it up after it was mentioned here but it looked all the episodes had been removed. Instead we watched Manor House (Edwardian Country House) which we enjoyed although being in a servant in that time period would have been a very hard life.

    Last week I hit the consignment and thrift stores in my town and scored 5 tops and a pair of boots for my daughter for $3.75 (the store had 75% on everything to clear out their cold weather items). We also got three kids’ books for $2.50 – I try not to buy a lot of books but couldn’t pass these up since two were partly in Spanish (my daughter is going to Spanish immersion preschool next year so want to start introducing some now) and one I enjoyed myself as a kid (A Chair For My Mother by Vera B. Williams).

    The Hy-Vee grocery store has started offering a free banana to kids under 12 so we grab one whenever I happen to be there with my daughter. I returned bottles and cans to the redemption center to clear out the garage and get a little money back; I also dropped off a couple bags of items at the thrift store and got a receipt for taxes. Our library had a family winter reading program in February; for completing it my daughter got a small craft project kit she enjoyed putting together.

    My husband made good progress this week on our bathroom renovation (he gutted it and we are putting in all new fixtures and re-doing the layout to make it more functional). A friend came over to give him a hand with blowing insulation into it (there was not a lot before) so hopefully that should help with heating bills going forward.

    Hope everyone had a good week!

  11. Hello everyone! I put a hold on the book you mentioned at my library, it sounds very interesting. Last week to save money:
    -we started some vegetable seeds in the house and I will be planting more over the next two weeks. I got out my seed box to see what I need to order.
    -continue to wash and reuse zip top baggies and glass jars.
    -my bestie bought me lunch yesterday. I had some much needed girl time! She also drove us to the restaurant. ( I had plenty of money, but she insisted).
    -my husband stopped at a house that was being gutted and the former occupants things were out for trash pick up. He found me a very nice purse ( 3 actually, but i only liked one – I have the other two in my donation bag), a cool little neon sign for his “man cave”, and a few other things. I needed a new wallet and I repurposed a small zippered bag that had feminine hygeine samples in it that were sent to me a couple years ago. Works perfectly.
    -I printed some coloring pages for my daughter from nickjr.com at home
    -I have been drinking green smoothies every morning. I found turnip greens for .99 for a huge bunch and spinach on sale. I have also been drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning to use up the lemons in the fridge. I made more lotion using coconut oil, vitamin e oil, shea butter and essential oil that I already had. I gave myself a “spa” night in my bathroom using supplies I had on hand as well. I’ve been very stressed out from work and needed some pampering.
    -I purchased two shirts, a pair of jean capri’s, and a sweater at Goodwill to replace some clothing that is now to large 🙂 I also purchased a pair of pajamas and one pair of black pants for my daughter.
    – I have been exersizing using free videos on sparkpeople.com and using my treadmill.
    -After reading the water quality report from the town I live in I ordered a ZeroWater pitcher and a water filtering shower head. I have had the money for both but hesistated to spend the money. The report made me stop hesitating. I guess seeing in black and white how contaminated our drinking water is will do that.
    -I renewed our library books online to avoid a trip.
    Have a great week everyone!

  12. My weekend was very frugal as I mostly stayed at home. My husband was out and about a lot, but with the exception of a slice of pizza, he was able to avoid eating out. (A huge accomplishment.)

    I scored a $1.29 gallon of milk at Fred Meyer yesterday.

    Last night’s dinner was a black bean chili made from dried beans in my crock pot. I did add a half-pound of nice bulk sausage, but the $2.50 spent was enough to give flavor to a very large amount of chili! I served homemade cornbread on the side with cornmeal bought in bulk from Bob’s Red Mill.

    I listened to a free library audiobook through overdrive.com.

    We’ll have my step father and mother over for a birthday meal tomorrow night and I’ll make oven BBQ chicken using thighs from my freezer. I’ve recently discovered the trick to this dish, and look forward to serving this delicious meal. I’ll also serve peas and bulk purchased rice.

    Our desert on Saturday night was a “wacky cake” which was a recipe developed during the depression and does not include eggs. I made a cream cheese frosting using some of the 50¢ cream cheese I scored a few weeks ago at The Grocery Outlet and loss leader butter that I filled my freezer with. The powered sugar was given to me as a thank you for loaning out a card table and table cloth to a neighbor during the holiday season.

    Another neighbor gave me a small bag of cat food she was given despite having no cat. I mixed it into our bin of Costco cat food and it’s enough to feed our two cats for two-three days.

    I realized we were out of cumin as I was making last night’s dinner. Instead of doing a last minute trip to the store, I borrowed some from my next door neighbor. I keep them in enough baked goods to borrow every now and then.

    I look forward to reading about your zero budget birthday party!

    Here’s one of my “Five Frugal Things” posts that highlights the frugality of my week:

    http://thenonconsumeradvocate.com/five-frugal-things-39/

  13. Brandy, the pictures you shared are so lovely. I love the picture of your daughter’s little feet…so precious. I also love the gold chain in your daughter’s hair (I think it is Winter) in the picture of your two daughters at the piano. Very pretty and creative of her. The Google Earth “visits” sound like a lot of fun. I have been to Rome so I know how amazing it is walking the streets there. May I suggest that you try a “visit” to Pompeii. We did a side trip to Pompeii while visiting Rome. It was most definitely one of the best highlights of our trip. I could have spent far more time exploring there. It was just amazing to walk along the streets of a Greek/Roman city essentially untouched and unmodified by modern society. One thing that I learned from going there is that the layout of some of their homes included a kitchen that was open to the outside (no back wall to the house) which allowed direct access to a kitchen garden. I love history!

    Well, my week was filled with frugal ups and downs. Here’s my week:

    *Went to recheck appointment in T.O. and was told that I don’t have to see the Dr for 4 weeks and that I could make the next recheck appointment at his office, which has free parking…YEAH!!!

    *Found Ferrero Rocher chocolates on sale for $1.75 per package (reg. price $7.00), discounted from Valentines day. I bought 4 and my mother bought 2. I will most likely use one of these in my daughter’s Easter basket. We’ve already eaten one as a family. I will hang on to the other two as possible gifts, but I have to be careful as the best before date is end of June.

    *Almost bought a car through an on-line auction (1995 Honda Accord with only 28,000km), but the bidding went higher than we wanted to pay. We will continue to look for a new to us vehicle at a price we are willing to pay.

    *Bought 4 blocks of cheese on sale for $3.77/500g block, and earned 2000 PC points. The cheese went into my stock in the freezer. This was not my week for grocery shopping, but this deal was too good to pass up. We eat a lot of cheese (my favourite).

    *Went to an OHL hockey game with my husband this weekend. He was given free tickets to go. The OHL (Ontario Hockey League) is the league from which players are drafted to the NHL, so these are really good hockey players. I’m not a fan of hockey, but my husband enjoys it and the tickets were free. I enjoyed spending time with my husband.

    *Accompanied my daughter to her last cooking class on Friday and received a free meal. My daughter brought home two double chocolate muffins, which she can take in her school lunch. She also received a free set of measuring spoons as a last class gift. Now if I could only convince her to cook and/or bake at home…

    *Baked butterscotch brownies and a double batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for the freezer. These are used in my daughter’s school lunches, and the occasional treat for the rest of us.

    *From scratch meals included chicken stir fry, beef stew with dumplings and homemade bread, and homemade pizza.

    Frugal Fails:
    *I am getting rather annoyed that there is so much food waste recently at our house. Left overs are not getting eaten up, an entire 3L of milk spoiled before we even used it and my mother pulled a package of turkey bacon from the freezer which sat unopened for weeks which is most likely spoiled now as well. I buy fresh produce then they decide they don’t want to eat it or it gets buried under things and found rotting at a later date. If I don’t buy the groceries, my family complains. But if I do buy lots, it doesn’t get used up. Something has to change because I’m fed up with wasting money!!!
    *I finally couldn’t stand the pain any longer and went to the dentist to deal with a cavity in my tooth. We don’t have dental coverage, so I knew it would be out of pocket (one of the reasons why I held off). Unfortunately I waited too long to deal with the problem and ended up needing a root canal:( This was my first real dental issue I have ever had, other than a chipped tooth. It was painful and expensive (will be over $1000 out of pocket when all said and done). Lesson learned…don’t wait so long to deal with a cavity!

  14. My main frugal accomplishment was finishing up my drywall project, and it looks really good. I put two coats of paint on that part of the ceiling (it’s actually a 1 x 8 foot dropdown of the ceiling behind our kitchen cabinets) and repainted the adjoining areas too. It all looks clean and fresh. Now I am in the process of sorting through the things I had to move because of the water damage and the repairs, before I put everything back. Thanks to many commenters for their encouraging works last week.

    For this project, I had to buy some supplies but I already had the paint (which I actually didn’t have to pay for). I figure I saved at least $250 dollars doing the work myself. I probably spent around $90 total in supplies. My next project is to repaint the kitchen (using the same paint) but that can wait a few weeks.

    Other frugal accomplishments:
    – I read books from the library, and checked out an e-book for my Kindle
    – I made water kefir and fermented mayonnaise (yum)
    – I ended up buying a rotisserie chicken, because I was so busy, and it was far cheaper than buying lunchmeat for a quick lunch. I ate chicken salad for lunch all week, and made broth from the bones. I no longer cook chicken because my husband has developed some kind of chicken allergy/sensitivity. He can eat turkey and game hen, but not chicken. Strange.
    – I used a ginger poultice on my achy knee, which really helps with the pain. An acupuncturist told me about this: you grate fresh ginger onto a paper towel, and apply it to the sore area. Wrap in plastic wrap, and then a towel, and leave the poultice on for a half hour or so. If it gets too uncomfortable, you can take it off sooner. It gets hot and you may feel a burning sensation. That doesn’t bother me, so I just leave it on. It’s cheap and it really helps.

    I look forward to reading about everyone else’s week.

  15. Frugal doings last week:

    * repaired a hole in our rec room couch. It’s not beautiful but it works
    * made pumpkin bread, pizza, homemade bread, taco soup
    * our Albertsons was bought by Haggens and I was sent some weekly coupons; was able to pick up tuna for .50
    * got our taxes filed; getting a little refund which is nice
    * froze some leftovers in lunch size containers for hubby to take to work
    * got a free pound of brown sugar using saving star
    * needed just a little ground ginger so I bought from the bulk section so I would buy more than I needed.
    * got my bulk purchased rice moved over to my 5 gallon bucket.

  16. -We had more wood delivered for free from my husband’s church. They actually got after us at a little for not letting them know earlier that we burned wood. They said they would have brought us wood all winter. We thought that their wood ministry was for those who were old or disabled (we aren’t), those who heat exclusively with wood (we don’t), or those who are in dire financial situations (while things are tight with us, we are not in dire straights). They will bring us more wood in a couple of weeks.
    – I got a 24 pack of AA batteries for free from Habour Freight Tools (I love getting those free product coupons!)
    – We went to the neighbour’s house for dinner and they sent us home with the leftovers
    -We used a coupon for dinner at Zaxby’s that just opened here in town
    -I completed a pinecone survey
    -Both my husband and I cashed in swagbucks for Amazon gift cards
    -A friend gave us a quart of Brunswick stew
    -Ate up all our leftovers! This is something we sometimes struggle with so we are making a effort to more diligent in using them up.

  17. “It’s not beautiful but it works” is our motto around here! I should cross-stitch it onto a pillow or something!

  18. Kathryn, I did a quick check for you for the Victorian Farm and found a link to the episodes. Here is the link:

    http://tvo.org/video/162787/victorian-farm-episode-1

    TVO is a Canadian broadcaster, which may be why it didn’t come up through your search engine. You should also try Victorian Farm Christmas, which is separate from the Victorian Farm series (try searching on TVO’s website to start). They returned to the farm a year later to do the Christmas episodes, but are all the same people doing the show. Hope this helps.

  19. Every week, a little bit more of me wants a solar oven, hee hee. As always, I love your photos and your ideas! I have a rummage-sale glass jar about 18 inches tall and 8 inches wide with Epsom salts and two wee bottle brush trees in it….my daughter added a small deer from her toys – it is similar to your party decoration. 🙂

    My frugal accomplishments are posted here: http://quietcountrylife.blogspot.com/2015/02/frugal-accomplishments-and-blessings.html Everyone is welcome!

  20. Rhonda, I found that same page on Saturday. Unfortunately it won’t play if you live in the United States. A lot of video players only play if you’re in the correct country (for example, Hulu doesn’t work outside the U.S.) I have a good number of Canadian readers who should be able to see it, though!

  21. We did a lot to save this week, though most is so ingrained now, it hardly feels like “work”. Our biggies were saving on fuel since I didn’t go to work due to snow, saving on groceries, sticking to our $100/month budget for groceries (we were close at $99), finding new uses for citrus peels (I’m so excited about this!), and eating all meals at home. All other details are in the post below.

    I hope you visit my blog! I’d love to hear from you!

    http://liveandsave.blogspot.com/?_sm_au_=issNMqkW3F7FHMF6

  22. I look forward to reading about your Frozen party creations. Even though I don’t have children, I find one creative idea sometimes begets another. With all the wintry precip, dreary days and bitter cold temps, I had not managed to muster my seed planting mojo, until today. The sun is out, and I finally began planting my tomato, eggplant and pepper seeds. I may add in some flower seeds today as well. That salad looks absolutely wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing about Ruth Goodman’s book. I will see if our library carries it, and also check on the new episodes of Edwardian Farm. Netflix finally sent Downton Abbey, and I’m quite looking forward to this years episodes Thanks again for providing this lovely bright spot on a Monday. Joining in here: http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2015/03/pressure-canning-adventures-and-frugal.html

  23. That’s too bad. I know how frustrating that is. Too many things that are US will not work in Canada. It’s just not right!

    As an alternative, you could check your local library to see if they have the DVD set. Also, keep checking periodically. I find the episodes are shown rather frequently on TV. The previous weeks episodes often become available on-line in case you miss one.

  24. Don’t you feel such a sense of accomplishment when you do the work yourself. We just finished two rooms in the basement and saved over $7000 by doing it ourselves. We also insulated and it does help a lot . Good for you doing this job yourselves !

  25. This week was pretty uneventful. No one had to go to the doctor which was a bonus. The last few weeks sure have been rough with sickness around here!
    – I worked on our budget quite a bit , crunching numbers before we start a March No Spend month.
    -I made a big batch of strawberry freezer jam with my 4 year old who thinks mashing the strawberries is cool. I bought the strawberries for 1.50 a pound which is a great price here.
    -We went to story time at the library and borrowed books and movies for the week.
    -Got a few free samples from Sam’s Club. I’ve been shopping there a bit more often lately, trying to make more bulk purchases to stretch the budget. I am however disappointed that my local store does not have bulk bread flour. My 4 year old thinks going there is lots of fun- he enjoys trying all the food samples they pass out. Free entertainment for a few minutes!
    -was given a small bag of hand-me-downs for my boys.
    Hope everyone has a great week!

  26. My hairdresser/friend’s pre-teen granddaughter reads books faster than her parents can buy them for her. After being in house for almost two weeks due to nasty winter weather my mom and I went thrifting in Oxford MS (about 45 minutes from my tiny MS town). At one of their thrift stores I found her 13 books, most in excellent condition, for only 25 cents each. I don’t have children and sometimes have hard time judging age-appropriateness so I always tell them to donate the books somewhere if they don’t work for her. Just started watching entire “Gilmore Girls” series on DVD from library. You can reserve online and they will be there waiting for you in a day or so (I live 15 miles from library so I always try to reserve online so I know they will be there on my next trip to town). My library also allows free access to an online system called Hoopla where you can get free music,books and movies online. So far I’ve only used the music feature to play in background while I am working on laptop and love it. Listening to lots of music I would never buy. Even though 95% of this blog does not apply to me (No kids, No Garden even though I live on 2000 acre farm, Do Not Cook) I love reading it each week. People are so creative when it comes to saving money and I love reading from all the geographic areas.

  27. I baked my daughter a birthday cake last week–chocolate with butter icing. Served it on my footed milkglass cake plate (a wedding gift 53 years ago. She got the rest of the cake to take home, but wouldn’t take the cake plate–I had to put the leftover cake on a couple paper plates I keep for just that purpose. I got the cake plate from our next door neighbor, the same lady who gave me the icing recipe I have used these many years also. She was a great cook, hostess and seamstress. I moved when I got married and she eventually went to live with her daughter–where she was happy until the age of 102. I just am so pleased she had such a long and fruitful life.
    I also made banana bread and raisin (yeast) bread for us. Meals were all at home. Our computer broke down and while it was down, our satellite dish was out for one evening due to weather—we were joking that we might have to talk to each other to amuse ourselves, but we ended up mostly reading instead. We do talk—we have “pillow talk” time every night at bedtime, in case we have been busy and not aired our problems, concerns, or reminders during the day. Mostly it’s our individual plans for the next day, though.

  28. Melissa, if I may make a suggestion of a book for your 4 year old. When my daughter was younger, we stumbled upon these books at the library. It is “Walter the Farting Dog” by William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray, and illustrated by Audrey Colman. I’m not one for potty humour, but these books had me laughing uncontrollably along with my daughter. There are several titles that feature Walter and his family as they go on various adventures. Walter and his flatulence always manages to save the day. If you haven’t read them, it’s worth checking them out at your local library.

  29. Don’t take the wool blankets out for those summer months! Wool blankets are the best thing to have on-hand if you ever get trapped in a bushfire. Park on a clear bit of ground, crack the windows just a bit (because the plastics in your car are toxic and will kill you when they melt if you don’t ventilate), pull the blanket up over you, and as long as the flames are no higher than the roof of the car you’ll be uncomfortable but come out of it just fine.

  30. Karen, THE SECRET GARDEN is my all time favorite children’s book. I still re-read it every couple of years.

  31. We never take the wool blankets out of the trunks, unless they are being used in an emergency. We don’t have many brushfires here.

  32. A set of Walter the Farting Dog books just came up for sale through our work bookseller. I am so tempted because of the name – my little boy loves dogs and we are all huge on potty humour. He’s going to be 7 this year, though, so I’m not sure if I should be getting more picture books or transitioning him away from them. Your thoughts?

  33. Brandy, do you have a recipe for those black bean enchiladas? I looked at the “Cook” section here and didn’t see one. I have guests coming for dinner this Friday, and I would love to make that for them, since I have dry black beans on hand.

    I’m saving a lot of money by not leaving my house unless it’s for work or the grocery store — there’s so much snow up here in the Boston area that driving is too treacherous; I can’t see over the snowbanks, and the roads are extremely narrow. I feel badly for the local businesses, though, who are undoubtedly struggling.

  34. I read that the average cost of a bathroom makeover is $9,000 to $11,000. That seems very expensive to me, but certainly a big savings if you can do it yourself.

  35. [list]
    * When the toddler pees in the little potty, the pee and rinse water go out to water one of our apple trees. Diluted pee is great fertilizer and we live in CA so water conservation is very important to our long-term survival.
    * While out on walks, collected lots of green weeds from freeway easements and similar empty lots to supplement our regular chicken feed. The chickens LOVE it.
    * Collected lots of rainwater in our rain barrel and some frosting buckets obtained from the supermarket. We got four more rain barrels at $20 using a local government rebate, but I still need to get them hooked up before the rainy season ends!
    * Made Brandy’s rosemary white bean soup. DELICIOUS.
    * Failed miserably at limiting my coffee consumption overall, but at least I made most of it at home and stayed out of Starbucks almost all week!
    * Harvested and used nasturtium greens, broccoli greens, onion greens, sage and lemons from the garden.
    * Bought books, but also used the library, including the online renewal and reservation system and the ebook-lending-library system through Kindle.
    * Made a batch of crockpot “groatmeal” (whole groats from Azure Standard + 5.5 hours on low + 4:1 ratio + optional salt and vanilla = waking up to warm heaven)
    * Curbside finds include some brand-new Christmas wrapping paper, a metal filing cabinet I will use for the children’s schoolwork and a discarded baby gate I plan to use as a pea trellis in the garden.
    * Spent Saturday cleaning out the garage and filing a dumpster with assorted broken children’s toys and plastic (sigh). I salvaged what I could and took them along with some extra throw pillows to Goodwill.
    * Trying to pare down kitchen junk as well and will probably take in another donation later this week.
    * Bought a whole, just-butchered chicken from a nearby polleria and used it through the weekend:
    ** Roasted it for Friday night dinner, stuck some whole fresh carrots underneath and they turned into the most delicious carrots ever
    ** Made stock in the crockpot from the feet, neck and leftover carcass (used the stock for black bean soup with some mixed-in aging veg from the fridge)
    ** Pulled a cup or so more of off shredded chicken off of the carcass to use for tacos or sandwich filing, composted the remaining gristle scraps.
    ** made a second batch of light thin stock (remouillage) from just the bones, which I noticed where much stronger and sturdier than the bones from a grocery-store rotisserie chicken, for example. (using this for asparagus soup later)
    ** Crushed the bones with a potato masher so they could be safely added to the compost pile without attracting pests
    ** Chopped up the heart and liver and pan-fried them up with butter and shallots (pretty good)
    ** Composted the gizzard–I couldn’t bring myself to address that learning curve yet!
    [/list]

  36. I have not commented in awhile. I find myself too busy these days. One thing hubby and I did a few weeks back we stopped for lunch for Valentine’s and when the waiter brought our bill it was wrong three times when he brought it back to the table. If we had paid the first bill without hubby noticing we would have overpaid by over $30 . When you eat out with large groups etc make certain your bill is right!

  37. We’re putting in a second bathroom. We were going to wait a while to do it; but then the hardware store had the vanity and sink we wanted on sale at 35% off, and they also had a sale on toilets; and so we’ve decided to just go ahead with it. We saved a fair bit of money since the stuff was on sale, and then saved a bit more by borrowing one of their trailers rather than getting it delivered. Over the weekend we pulled up the carpet in the room that will become the bathroom and laid down the sub-floor; now we just have to wait for the plumber to come hook everything up, and then we’ll have to build some walls because apparently, while open-plan kitchens are all the rage, open-plan bathrooms have yet to catch on. Silly design rules, eh?

    I realised yesterday that once this is done, we will have structurally changed every room in the house except the laundry room. The structural changes in the kitchen and bathroom have been fairly minor but in every other room the work has been significant. Best of all, every time we do something huge, there is a moment towards the end of it where I look at the work and think, “Yes, this is the way it was always supposed to look.”

    I saved about $150 on car insurance by shopping around. My husband got some bonuses at work. We stopped by the library van on the way home from school to pick up some new books. Our printer’s been out of action for a while; my husband found a great replacement printer at a very good sale price. We had a few days of rain (I can’t remember a summer as wet as this!) which has helped the garden. I picked some lavender to dry to make sachets; also a tomato and a couple of strawberries. (Even though the neighbour’s lamb keeps eating the strawberry leaves, somehow the plants are surviving to produce more berries.) As always we hung our laundry out to dry. It gets harder in the winter; but we always manage to find a couple of nice days for it.

    We took advantage of a sale to get return fares to Wellington (New Zealand) for just over $100 per person. Jetstar is just adding this route; often that’s when you get the cheapest seats, because the airline just wants to fill the plane. In asking around this route typically costs $300 – $400 return. Because we’re going for part of school holidays we’ll also save some money on child care. For your Australian readers who may want to book through Jetstar but want to avoid the atrocious booking fees, if you don’t have a Master debit card and you don’t want to do a bank deposit, you can also buy a Jetstar voucher through their website and then use that to buy your tickets. The vouchers are supposed to be single-use but when we went back into the system to book our seats, they credited us with the $4 left over on our voucher. I saved more money by buying the Jetstar voucher on the credit card I use for salary packaging.

    Since we purchased several big-ticket items last week I’m hoping to spend considerably less money this week!

  38. Last night I sewed a new raincoat for my oldest son! It turned out great and it only cost me about $4 to make. For the outside I used some PUL (waterproof fabric) that I bought on clearance for $.99/yd (it had a cute print and the regular price was around $16/yd)! I used 2 yards. For the lining, I used a quilter’s cotton that was given to me (it was part of my Grandmother’s stash). I purchased the zipper from JoAnn’s using a 40% off coupon–I don’t remember but I think it came to around $2. Much better than my husband taking my son to Burlington Coat Factory and spending who-knows-how much.

    I had leftover refried beans and spanish rice in the fridge, along with a piece of chicken. I made 5 small bean/rice/chicken/cheese burritos for lunches at work.

  39. Unfortunately we had to make an impromptu trip to a family member’s house to get their stuff out of our garage (they were supposed to pick the items up months ago). Now that my friend and I are re-finishing some furniture, we needed the space back in the garage… This trip cost us meals as well as gas (5 hours each way), but the one bright spot was that my kids enjoyed visiting with family.

    While I was gone my friend was given a free desk for us to re-do and sell! She was also sweet enough to come out to our property twice to help with the dogs. I found a very sweet “mason jar” spoon rest at World Market for her as a thank you.

    I received another free book through the Kellogg’s cereal give-away, I’ll put it in my son’s Easter basket.

    Not much this week, hopefully this week will be better!

  40. One problem may be that many of the previously televised shows shown on YouTube are pirated copies, ones that violate copyright protections. They might be taken out of circulation when the owner of the copyright objects. Not all YouTube shows are pirated (perhaps out of a desire to be helpful) and uploaded by individuals: some are uploaded by the owners of the copyrights, and YouTube even has some original series, I believe. However, with my being a writer and knowing how I would want to protect my own copyrighted material and my husband being an attorney, I sadly have concluded I can’t watch the ones I suspect are pirated. I’m not casting any aspersions on anyone who chooses differently than I have. I’m just replying to why some shows might have disappeared.

  41. I made enchilada sauce with just taco seasoning (I have a bulk container) in some tomato sauce. I used a spoon to coat the inside of each corn tortilla with sauce, and then filled them with black beans and lined them up in a sprayed baking dish. I poured the remaining sauce over the top and sprinkled on some mozarella cheese. I put them in the oven until the cheese was cooked and they were good!

  42. You’ve had a very productive week Brandy. I’m so glad you got some much needed rain and on the day you were meant to be watering. God is good.

    I’ve had a much quieter week work wise. This has given me plenty of time to shop for bargains, bake, cook and potter around the house. I love pottering. Collecting an egg or two, picking raspberries, watering our edible garden. Ohhhh, such joy !!! Here’s what I got up to this week –

    * Made lots of pita chips to munch on.

    * Made lots of pumpkin scones for morning teas. These have been frozen.

    * A fruit and veg shop opened up in the shopping centre where Darren and Megan work at the church cafe. They had opening day specials of tomatoes for 99 cents a kllo and bananas for 99 cents a kilo as well. Megan picked out some lovely produce.

    * Reduced the amount of clothes washing I do by doing one load every day and only if I really need to . I’ve been doing this for the last three weeks. The first week I did six loads, last week I did five and this week I did six loads. Usually I do 8 – 10 loads so I’m very happy with the reduction. Hopefully I’ll see a reduction in my water bill too.

    * Gratefully received some bread rolls, cheese, sandwiches and small slices,

    * Made a double batch of brown sugar.

    * Made 14 jars of tomato relish with the cheap tomatoes Megan bought. Hopefully I won’t need to make any more relish until next Summer. I have over 30 jars of relish for us to consume, to give as presents and to sell.

    * Saved the warm up water from the showers. Some was poured into the washing machine and some was used to water veggie seedlings and my mango plants.

    * Fed the chooks some kitchen scraps.

    * We’ve been able to source some used coffee grounds. Darren has been putting them in our compost and some around the garden. I must say, the compost smells divine.

    * This week we picked a few beans, corn, tomatoes and lots of raspberries.

    * Gratefully received a few empty glass jars. These came at a perfect time as I was searching for smallish jars to make the tomato relish.

    * Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread.

    * Made sweetened condensed milk. Some was used in a lemon slice. The rest was frozen into 1/2 tin and whole tin portions for future choc truffles and more lemon slice.

    * Planted some broccoli and cauliflower seeds for Autumn / Winter growing.

    * Picked lots of iceberg roses to make two posies. I used recycled pasta sauce jars as vases. I think they look beautiful.

    Brandy, last week some of your readers were asking for my muesli bar slice recipe. I’ve put the recipe up on my blog today.
    http://myabundantlife07.blogspot.com.au/2015/03/muesli-bar-slice.html?showComment=1425337765298

  43. We had a wonderful frugal weekend. My husband and I went birdwatching. I had seen bald eagle a few roads over last week and my husband has never seen one. We decided to try and find it. We found the bald eagle right away!!! We also saw a dozen hawks and a few woodpeckers! Then we drove down to the lake to look at more birds. The lake was frozen enough that we could walk out on it! It was very popular; it seemed like half the town was there. We also drove past the waterfalls which was completely frozen over! It was a wonderful day out in the middle of the winter.

    Also, this I roasted a chicken, and made a batch of waffles for the freezer. I plan on trying your curry recipe tomorrow. We are looking forward it!

  44. It won’t seem like I did much, mainly because I worked 6 days last week. I have actually done that each week since the beginning of the year. I am an accountant, have been for over 30 years, so this is my normal. However I did manage a few things:
    1. Brought breakfast and lunch to work each day.
    2. Returned books to the library, and renewed those I have not finished. Checked out “Living Well, Spending Less” by Ruth Soukup. Am reading it during lunch at the office.
    3. Picked up 6 packages (the limit) of vegetable seeds from the library. They are passing out heirloom seeds, limit 6 vegetable and 6 flower, and then are asking you to let one plant go to seed and return the seeds to the library. It is a seed lending library.
    4. Found russet potatoes 10lbs. for 98¢ each. Limit of 2, so got 2.
    5. Did a survey from Fred Meyer for 50 fuel points.
    6. Got 35¢ off per gallon of gas at Fred Meyer this week.
    7. Found 10¢ while crossing the street. The light just changed, so I picked it up.
    8. Planted my tomato and pepper seeds in the house. We do not plant these outside until Memorial Day weekend. Also planted artichoke seeds. This is a special one, that is made for northern climes – it is an annual. We are Zone 6, so we have to pay attention.
    9. Made all meals at home, including popcorn for a snack twice.

    I guess that was more than I thought. Have a great week everyone. By the way, I love those little toes, but way too cold here.

  45. I am so glad for you to have rain. My friend says when it is raining that it might as well be raining money it is that much of a saving!
    Here we are into our third day of autumn. I love autumn it is my favourite time of year. Beautiful.
    I have dealt with the last of our free fruit and now have rows and rows of jams and fruit pies in the freezer. I have been cutting a lot of fresh herbs. Money saving has included baking cakes for birthday presents and putting a dark fruitcake away for my husbands birthday in April as well.
    Otherwise I have been working hard on building up my pantry. Brandy you are a major influence on me to do that. On Fridays I post on my blog my frugal things and the ways I built up my home for the week. My blog is http://thebluebirdsarenesting.blogspot.com.au/
    Another blog I love and is helping me with my pantry is A Working Pantry aworkingpantry.blogspot.com/ I join in there as Patsi has a lot of challenges and fun with building up the pantry and she helps me get things done plus I learn a lot. I find by following your posts Brandy and working week by week I achieve so much more. Plus its fun. Thank you!

  46. I love Winter’s chicken apron!!
    Our biggest accomplishment this week-my husband and I spent many hours this weekend cutting down part of the plum tree in the backyard, cutting the logs and branches into smaller pieces, and stacking the logs and kindling in a neat and tidy way. We’ve owned our 70+ year old house for 14 years, and there are three very mature trees (plum, pecan, and grapefruit) that were planted right up against the fence line. They are HUGE and it’s nearly impossible to harvest almost any of the fruit from each, as they are so tall. The plum tree actually drops more fruit on our roof and the neighbor’s driveway than anything else. We’re finally trying to get the two fruit trees completely removed and will do as much of the labor ourselves as we can, as an arborist is so expensive! We’ll be giving the wood to my parents, as we don’t burn wood in our fireplace because it makes me sneeze.
    Other good stuff from this week:
    I read 6 library books.
    We got Subway for dinner one night, using the last bits of money of two gift cards (one had two cents left! Lol.) and most of a new one. My aunt sends each of us a Subway gift card each year for our birthdays. I also did the survey from the back of the receipt to receive a free cookie later.
    We got a flyer on our doorstop from a real estate company that had a penny taped to it to weigh it down. I recycled the flyer, but kept the penny. 🙂
    I got a free full size “Meta Health Bar” from CVS in the mail.
    I used the app from our credit union to deposit my husband’s paycheck instead of driving there.
    I got 25c back from Checkout 51 for buying a bell pepper, 40c from Ibotta for buying milk, and $1 from Snap for going to Costco (uploaded the receipt from my prescriptions, which worked!) I also entered receipts into Receipt Hog. Getting closer to cashing out $10 Paypal!
    Have a wonderful week, ladies.

  47. We went to CVS and I got the free nutritional drink, the 29cent tomato soup, and 4 bottles of the $1 laundry detergent.

    I stopped in at Aldi to get ice cream for dessert when my son was here and found whole wheat bread marked down to 50 cents a loaf and 29 cent packages of hot dog rolls. I bought as much as would fit in the side-by-side freezer.

    I ate the catered lunch provided at my work 3 days and then brought home the leftovers every time. I had some for dinners and put some in the freezer, including some for my son. I had been trying to use up what’s in the chest freezer so I can defrost and organize it, but instead of getting emptier, it’s filling up! WOOHOO!

    Now that I’m not working at home anymore, I haven’t been able to reach my Swagbucks goal every day, but I do what I can. I cashed in for two $5 Amazon gift cards.

    I got a letter in the mail that my hotel points were expiring, and I could use them towards magazines, so I ordered a year of Real Simple.

    Free in the mail – Better Homes and Gardens and Family Circle.

    I completed a Pinecone survery.

    I started 2 auctions on ebay.

    I ordered my daughter’s birthday present from Amazon and used my gift card balance earned through Swagbucks to pay for it.
    I got my oil changed at the dealership for free with a postcard they sent me. After that I went to the mall and used a $10 off $10 at JCPennys to get 3 pairs of clearance tights for $2.11 out of pocket . I went to Victoria’s Secret and got a free pair of panties with a coupon they sent me (I put those away for my daughter’s Easter Basket). Then I went to Dillards to get my rosacea cleanser from Clinique. I had a $10 Dillards reward to spend. I have an American Express card that earns Dillards rewards which my son carries for emergencies and had to use the card while away at college for repairs to his car. I was able to pay it off as soon as I got the bill. I put the $10 towards my cleanser and got a free gift with purchase on top of that (the GWP is also earmarked for my daughter’s Easter basket).

    We stopped at Lowes to get a bucket of grass seed, fertilizer and weed killer. They had carts and carts of plants on clearance. I got 6 big Mexican heather for $3! We used a $10 off $50 coupon that Lowes sent us in the mail.

    Plus all the usual, washing and reusing baggies, composting, being careful with water and electricity. I had some food waste this week of a tomato and cucumber 🙁 I did make a few saves though of an apple past its prime that I turned into a crisp and crookneck squash that was a little wrinkly but fine after I peeled it.

    Have a great frugal week!

  48. Thank you! That sounds delicious, and I’m going to try it! I have taco seasoning and tomato sauce…I just need tortillas and cheese! Thanks for your help, as usual!

  49. Brandy, I second Annabel’s comment about your blog, it really does inspire me to do more. I also read through all the comments and learn ideas there as well. A great site you have!

    I was very good about using large electric appliances only during off peak hours, I had gotten lazy the past year about that, but have now started paying attention again. In Phoenix, the electric company offers lower cost power during off peak times, the trick is to move our usage to off peak 😉

    Last week was a good week, ate all our meals at home, plus I had a small group of friends for lunch one day, serving first ever home made black bean soup. It was excellent. Also made first ever almost home baked bread (it was from a mix but I had to knead it). Since this was my first effort ever at baking bread, I decided a mix was less risky. It was a great success. So we went to a few Goodwill stores and found a $9 used bread machine-that included the instruction booklet, a $1 glass replacement lid for a Corning microwave dish….And our biggest score, which turned my husband into a goodwill store fan, he found the exact same coffee maker we use. It was marked $12, we agonized over whether it was worth $12 (retail is over $100) then finally decided to buy it, since he will use it for spare parts to keep ours going. When we got to checkout, the price rang up as $1. The cashier said it was due to a red tag special. Amazing! Overall a very good week for us.

  50. Last year I got on to Google Earth and searched for my childhood homes. It was amazing how different they were from the way I remembered them! The house I lived in from the age of 3 until the age of 8 suddenly looked so small!

    We are sacrificing our toy room for a second bathroom. In the long run I think we’d all rather have an extra toilet; and now that both kids have fairly big bedrooms, we no longer need a dedicated room for toys. Plus an extra bathroom will be a bigger selling point for the house than another bedroom. We were going to put off the bathroom for a few months but everything was on sale now, and the plumber had time now, so we decided to go ahead with it. We saved a fair amount of money by buying the fittings on sale. Since we have a long weekend coming up, we’re hoping the plumber is done this week, so that we can build a wall over the weekend, as people tell me ‘open plan bathrooms’ will never be a thing.

    I spent a fair amount of time this weekend going through the toys . . .putting some in storage, donating some, tossing a few that were really past the point of keeping. I was sure my kids would complain about it but they’ve taken it all in stride. I was able to free up 2 toy storage units (the type with dowels which support fabric baskets where the toys are stored) – I’ve used one outside as a ball rack and the other is just waiting for now; I figure I’ll use it for storage in the new bathroom, if nothing else. (The plan is to get a linen closet eventually; but ‘eventually’ can take a while in our world.)

    I managed to save $150 this week by shopping around on car insurance. My husband got some bonuses at work. We put all of that towards our next holiday – we found very good airfares for Wellington (New Zealand) for later on this year. They’re more than half off. We saved more by using the credit card I salary package on to, to buy an airline voucher, to buy the tickets, thus saving the booking fee (a total of $100) and making the fares about 30% cheaper again through tax savings. Since the money was already sitting on the credit card (it’s automatically deducted from my paycheck once a fortnight, and I try to only use this credit card for bigger bills) it almost feels like ‘free.’

  51. Back in college I used to go white water rafting a fair bit. One beautiful Saturday we watched as a fisherman pulled in a big trout – and then cheered on as a bald eagle swooped down and took it right off his line. It was amazing! The fisherman didn’t seem to mind too much either.

  52. This week has been a bust as far as plans went. I did stick to my menu plan but the only thing I marked off my list was ‘bathe my dog’ and that was about a waste since it has rained so much. I had a family member call and ask me for some help this past week and for the next few weeks. Family comes first and everything else will still be here when I get done with what they need me for. I am reading a book I downloaded on my Kindle a couple of years ago called ‘The American Frugal Housewife’ by Lydia Maria Francis Child. It was published in 1828. I am really enjoying it even though I have had to look up quite a few terms used in it. Some of the things still apply to frugal living today. While some suggestions are rather scary. Hope everyone has a great week.

  53. Made a set of pillowcases for a young lady’s birthday this last weekend. Found fun fabrics and trims in my stash. Best part of it all, they match her room!

  54. Dear Miss Brandy and readers,

    The pictures are lovely as usual so different from the snowy scenery around here. Our January weather was warm and so spring like and then February winter hit and hit and hit! We are hoping the last of the winter storms are this week. Despite the cold temperatures and frigid air, my thoughts are wandering towards spring. My heart is longing for the blossoms as depicted in the photos on this posting. I am ready to walk outside again and visit the parks. For the most part the winter has been mild and we had many days of warm weather and then BOOM cold weather. Mother Nature played a game by the early, early warmish days. However too soon it will be spring again. I like spring because everything feels so fresh and new. I like the ducks and their babies that swim in the ponds close to our house. I am ready to make Easter dresses and put fresh flowers on the table.

    Many weeks have passed since my last posting. I have done a few frugal things.
    I worked 2 jobs and paid off $1000 in debt
    I have 2 part time jobs for March and April
    I saved $500 to put back into our emergency fund
    I paid cash for all our medical expenses including one of my kids getting two infected toes and 3 trips to the ER (very strange infection)

    Recent frugal activities:
    Electric bill was 50% less than last year
    Kept the thermostat @ 62 F
    Found 7 tops and 1 sweater at Walmart on clearance–got each for 50 cents
    Found a bag of fabric at the thrift store for $1 (summer type fabric)
    Made a large haul of bargains, groceries and monthly supplies for $75 this past weekend (got some good deals)
    Bought myself 4 scarves at Dollar Tree for $1/item (for spring outfits)
    Found milk on clearance 1 gallon for 99 cents so bought 3
    Cooked enough items for the freezer for March lunches and breakfasts
    Got free candy at CVS and on clearance for Easter baskets
    Went walking at the free gym
    Kept the water bottles filled (very dry winter here)
    Used lots of coupons for the first time in a while (saved money)
    Bought seeds at Dollar Tree (they sell fast once the weather warms up a bit)
    Started some seedlings in the house
    Made meals from the pantry most of January and February
    For some reason all our light bulbs went out at the same time–replaced them with bulbs I got at Target for free a couple years ago

    Not sure this is frugal but I took a break. January was filled with warms days so I took the kids and went walking many days. We had a respite from all the turmoil from the last year. There was no miracle cures to our finances. I still owe huge sums in medical bills. I/we just took time to breath, to rest, to live. We closed our eyes and rested for awhile. Each of us wanted to dream about something, a trip, a new outfit, a new car, flowers for the table, a new cell phone…just wanted to dream. We laughed. We wandered the malls. We spent no money for 2 months for the most part. I worked two jobs and little by little am getting us back on track. There is a theory about chaos–out of chaos comes calm. I am not sure I believe in the theory but after the chaos in our lives we now have some calm.

    Blessing to all. Wishing for an early spring so I can plant a garden again.

    Anna

  55. This past weekend my sisters and I went away for 2 nights for the first time ever (where our families did not go along). We haven’t talked so much since we were children. It was so special. I set aside money for the weekend, but did not spend much of it. First, the cabin was free–one sister’s inlaws own it and we could use it. 2nd, my oldest sister drove and would not accept gas money. My youngest sister paid for Friday night’s dinner. We took food for all other meals except for 1, where my oldest sister and I took our youngest out for her 50th birthday. Although we took her to an expensive (really excellent) restaurant, we split the cost. Frankly, after over 32 years of marriage and 8 children (not all home at once, but still a lot to take out for dinner at any given time), it seemed very cheap to only have to pay for 1/2 of a meal for only 3 people:) So, I guess some things are relative. We also went to listen to a piano player in another restaurant for several hours. We drank tea, coffee, etc. and one sister got salad for us after a few hours. He was amazing, such a treat! Otherwise, we spent the weekend talking—and talk is cheap, you know:)

    Meanwhile, my husband held down the fort. He barbequed chicken and beef, fed the kids potatoes and tator tots one night–and informed me that he gave them vegetables once as well! They took back all the pop cans and went out for dinner (ha-ha that was enough to pay for it–NOT), but it kept them busy. He also made sure the dishes were done, there was plenty of food cooked so I didn’t have to cook ahead for the week like usual, and did a lot of laundry so that I didn’t feel that I had to come home and go right to work to prepare for the week. He even stopped by JoAnn’s to get a certain pattern that I needed that was 99c because the sale would have been over by the time I returned. I feel like I was given a gift.

    I worked on some sewing projects last week. I finished another knit dress for the youngest and have a skirt half way done for my 14 year old.

    Best of all (but nothing to do with frugality), we were able to go to court last week and DHS was able to get the plan changed so that we can work toward adoption for our youngest. It will still take a while (months), but it is a step in the right direction. Obviously, we feel that over 2 years in foster care is a really long time for her, and are glad the judge agreed. Now, more paperwork, etc., and another court date in the summer, but at least we are on a path that leads toward permancy for her.

  56. I love Ruth Goodman too! I discovered her while coming across “Tales of the Green Valley” series on you tube.

  57. Hello from far away!
    Last week I:
    – put some onions on kitchen windowsill to get green onions. I fill tiny baby food jars with water and just put onion on the jar. As water and onion do not have much contact, there is no unpleasant smell.
    – started gathering eggshells. I will crush them and put around some plants to protect from snails.
    – my daughter had to bring sweets to school, I had some cookie dough (white gingerbread) in the freezer, so I could make them, also nice plate put aside which they could throw away later.
    – needed soda in our farmhouse, so took half of the big package I have in our city home and put to nice refused glass jar.
    – we have lots of very rough salt for sheep we have in our farm. I use it in cooking, too. Sieved the salt, so I got fine salt, too.
    – had only 1 egg and no milk, made pancakes still. Were even better than those with milk and several eggs!
    – I have put aside different plastic small boxes, mainly from food. I clean them, make holes in the bottom with knife and use them for seeding my plants, I put some other things like bigger boxes, sliced wurst plates etc under them to collect leftover water. I had my husband to bring me soil when in was on sale, so he brought it gladly, also I bought seeds early, so I should be prepared.
    – as we grow beets in our farm, I have started to eat them finally during winter. I steam some beets with peels on and then just clean, cut and put on my kids plates, whatever they eat. Sometimes I fry some pieces for myself lunch with beans, onions etc.
    – made a big amount of mashed potato-barley porridge and froze portions. New practice to me. Used round-shaped tart box plastic cover to freeze them round-shaped to fit on pan later. See if it works. Also boiled barleys and froze to make quick barley-milk soup.
    – we have area covered with stone plates under kitchen windows. Do not use that area much. I plan to take up some plates and put strawberry bushes there. Easy to pick and no trouble with new small plants coming and planting themselves!
    Keep up good work!

  58. So good to see your post Anna, and that things are going well for you. Paying off $1000 in debt is amazing! I always look forward to your posts as you truly inspire me.

  59. I love coming on here and reading everyone’s frugal accomplishments. I don’t comment on here often, but am always trying to live frugally. One thing I did in February was write a letter to my family and post it on the fridge. It addressed the word diligent and what it means to live that way. I touched on using our resources that we have and looking for ways to improve. I have to say that I know I tried much harder to be that way (and still am), and I have noticed changes in my husband and son as well.
    We are really having to live frugally right now. My husbands former employer (he worked for his family taking care of his grandmother and as his own Mother’s book keeper) decided that they didn’t need his services anymore. We kind of already knew but it was somewhat sudden. He now has a job interview tomorrow for a painting company, so many positive thoughts and prayers are welcome! I keep telling him not to worry too much about it because God will take care of us, but his anxiety level is high. :(.I have faith, it will all work out. Part of my assurance is coming here and reading and getting ideas from everyone! You give me hope, and I appreciate it.

  60. Brandy, have you ever watched Tales of the Green Valley on YouTube? It’s by the same people as Victorian Farm but the setting is a 1640 farm. Very interesting as that is when the Pilgrims came to this country.

    This week we spent money to save money. Our local grocery store had pork loin chops for $1.49/lb, so I bought 20lbs and canned them. Used the bones to make broth and canned that,too. Saved the fat for soap making. When I was done with the bones I put them in a pan outside and let the Chickadees pick the suet off of them. Did they love that! Also our local bulk food store had a customer appreciation day and had boneless hams for $1.79/lb. (Also picked up butter for $1.99/lb.) So I bought one and canned that too. All told, for less than $50, we have enough meat to last us the next 6 months. We use it very sparingly in soups, stir-fries, pot pies, etc.

    We found some discontinued brand of coffee at Meijer’s for $2.36 a package. We weren’t sure if it would be any good so we took it home and tried it. It was good, so we went back and bought some two more packages, so for less than $10 we have coffee. We store it in the freezer.

    The temps. have finally reached the upper 20s, so we are using our woodstove to heat the house. Been very pleased with our heating bills this year. In spite of it being record cold this year, our highest heating bill has been $106!

    Did lots of other things, like learned how to make oil from birch bark and how to make an emergency heater out of a tin can and toilet paper, but this comment is getting long, so I guess I better sign off. Have a nice week!

  61. I’m a retired first grade teacher. Many books which are classified as picture books are third and fourth grade reading levels. I’m not familiar with this series, so I don’t know. But I feel children should still read for enjoyment even if the level of the books may be lower than their reading level as long as books on level are also included in their library. You can check out the reading level of most books now ( try amazon or I think it is renaissance.com that gives reading levels). Hope this helps. It’s wonderful to see children who are on the way to becoming lifelong readers.

  62. Rhonda – Thanks for the suggestion. As Brandy mentioned, unfortunately that link doesn’t work in the US. And as far as I have been able to find, the DVDs only seem to be offered in a non-US format so they won’t be at the library.

  63. L.P. – I understand where you’re coming from on the copyright issues. It’s just tough when there’s not an easy way to access something legally. In this case it looks like the only option would be to buy the DVDs of the series and a DVD player that works with international formats.

  64. Dee – Thanks! It will be nice when it’s all done. Most of the credit goes to my husband in that he’s doing the heavy lifting with plumbing, re-wiring, etc. I’m lucky to have a handy guy 🙂

  65. Athanasia – I can easily believe the $9-11K figure. Even when doing all the labor yourself, all the supplies and fixtures add up rapidly. It’s crazy how much we’ve spent just on spray foam and PVC pipe for example.

  66. Well, let’s see-
    I enjoyed a free lunch (a former boss took me out to pick my brain about a company he is interviewing with)
    I bought chicken on sale at Albertson’s, and cooked up a pot of BBQ chicken in the crockpot. We are eating it this week in tacos.
    My husband is traveling this week, so we are saving money on food that he’s not eating.
    I accepted some free produce from a coworker.
    I made orange-lemon poppy muffins.
    I cooked up everything we got from the CSA, and froze dill and parsley. This is important because we had beets (which I like), and beet greens (which I don’t), and turnips and turnip greens. I cooked the turnips and both sets of greens in some pork fat that I’d saved from a pork shoulder. It made it palatable. (I won’t say “good” but “edible”.)
    We went for a walk as a family.
    I won a free Itunes gift card at a party.
    I won a free Redbox rental at the grocery store.
    I made “spinach balls” (with butter, parmesan, onion, and breadcrumbs), using leftover raisin bread from the freezer and beet greens and chard (including the stems). Very tasty way to eat greens.

  67. Greetings! This was a spendy week for our household. Once in awhile, i have to stock up and this was the week. A lot of money was spent, but it was all saved and accounted for.
    *I finally got a decent haircut; i went to WM. I have medium long, coarse ,curly, middle-aged hair and always seem to have trouble finding someone who can cut it the way i like. This was the week for a touchdown! Yay!
    *Ordered two cases of organic tomatoes from the co-op. My husband picked those up for me since i had to work. Our Summers are so short that i can’t grow enough to last all Winter. Actually, i can only grow enough for lots of sandwiches, forget the Winter!
    *Our local credit union has an annual meeting every Spring for its members. My husband signed us up. They serve a light meal, read the minutes, go over any concerns, and have some kind of raffle/give away. One year, my husband won 25.00; last year i won 50.00.
    *We don’t get red box here, so we rented two movies from our local video store. We have apple Tv, Netflix, amazon prime and hulu plus, and we can never agree on a (free) movie. it seems that everything we want to watch is an added expense. Lest anyone wonders, netflix and amazon were gifts. We’re letting some of these go when they expire. I know that Vinnie appreciates our business.
    Aside from all that spending;
    *I diluted the new shampoo
    *Cut the top off the toothpaste to get a few more days
    *Re-used foil for the third or fourth time. I had to throw it out; too goopy
    *Added chocolate chips to discounted, un-chocolated trail mix, because well, it’s just not right!
    *Skyped with my son and grandsons
    *Washed the shower liner; sadly, this was the last time. I had to buy new when it came out in pieces. But, we had a great run. I probably washed it close to two dozen times. That’s 5.00 in my pocket every time i don’t have to buy new. This new one is noticeably cheaper, so we’ll see how long it lasts.
    *Started marking on the bottle of laundry soap every time i wash a load. I want to see if i can get more loads than what the package says. (My husband’s not too keen on making our own soap. I do have some dry home made that i use on rugs and dog blankets. I do make our softener.)
    *Imputed coke codes.
    *Got the dusting done.(Okay, most of the dusting; i hate dusting!)
    *I’ve been doing some armchair traveling; dreaming about possible trips. I’m going to use Brandy’s suggestion about google maps
    *Lucky me, i got to shovel snow twice today. If i’m really lucky, i may get a third shot at it! The UP’s version of exercise.
    I always look forward to this weekly get together even if i don’t participate.
    I wish everyone a peaceful, frugal week!

  68. – I found a pork roast on clearance for $1.49/lb
    – purchased a new car seat from amazon. It was an open box, never been used. I saved $26.
    – My third brake light was out. The dealership wanted $130, I found it at the parts store for $80, I saved 10% using my military discount. I replaced it myself
    – My husband and I were looking for tubs to use as nest boxes for my hens. We found litter boxes on clearance at Wal-Mart for 95 cents each.
    – built the hen house. We did it ourselves. We looked into some shed “kits”. We spent $200 less drawing up our own plans and building it ourselves.
    -found a pair of fleece lined leggings for $2.50. I like wearing these under my skirts when I go to church to stay warm.
    -made granola and brownies.

  69. Congratulations, Becky, on getting that plan changed and working toward adopting your youngest. Congratulations to her, too, and to a new sense of permanency.

  70. Hello Anna, So very good to hear from you again. Good for you for taking time with your family. You have had so much going on for so long and I am sure everyone appreciated the time to pause, reflect and celebrate the joy that just being together. Rest can be a balm for the spirit.

  71. I would be real interested in learning how to make oil from birch bark. Our land in WI is loaded with birch trees and some will need to be cleared to make a driveway. Would you be willing to share your information Jane?
    Thanks.
    Sue

  72. I made some more makeup remove. I have found an easy way to make it at home for cheaper than in the store. I also made a huge batch of pizza dough and froze some of it. Whenever I have a busy night I can just pull one out and have an easy dinner.

  73. When I made the above suggestion, I did a google search for the author’s name, and stumbled upon a YouTube video of the first book in the “Walter the Farting Dog” series. You can check out the video here and decide if you might want to look at the other books:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfjNsk3MR0g

    The books have a really wonderful message about loving and appreciating people who are different and misunderstood, which I really loved! The book I remember finding was about the family taking a cruise. The ending was quite funny.

  74. Big Lots gave me a 20% off coupon at the door on Sunday, and I stocked up on cans of coconut milk and black olives (both items are regularly $1, giving me a nice purchase price of .80). I purchased Fire King’s reissued jadeite bake-ware when it was available around 2002, and I treasure the pieces. Over the years, my pie plate and two mixing bowls have been broken, and I finally decided to replace them. I purchased three sizes of mixing bowls and one pie plate using the Big Lots coupon, and they were “free” when considering the savings from my other items. It was easier for me to justify the purchase with that in mind.

    Bread, pizza, muffins, waffles, and cornbread are a few of the items I baked using flour from a score earlier this year of .10/lb on sixty pounds I stashed away (with just my husband and I, this should last around eight months).

    I continue to save dryer lint and toilet tissue rolls to make fire starters, thanks to the nice tip here from another poster on this site. These will be given to my father in law when he visits in a few weeks (we do not have a fireplace). We lit candles during the evenings over the weekend, as is our habit, and I trimmed the excess wax and put it aside for making another batch of candles. My husband popped popcorn and we enjoyed our cozy time together. Being married is the tops!

    Following a recent move and new home purchase, my files were in serious need of a sound purging. I diligently went through and pulled all unnecessary papers, quartering them and stacking them for use as scrap paper. My last legal pad is currently in use, and I think it’s been about four years since I’ve purchased any paper. I’ll use the scrap paper to stave off any paper purchases for as long as is possible.

    I restocked a few pantry essentials from the stores I know have my best prices. I also purchased pineapple and grapes ($1 each and $1/lb) for a treat. I will trim the pineapple top and try to regrow a pineapple from it by starting it in water and then moving it to soil after it develops roots. Green onions are re-growing in this manner in my kitchen right now.

    This week will be used as a preparatory time for the weekend. We have many errands and things to accomplish as newcomers to the state, and being well-prepared will save us time and gasoline. Both of us are eagerly anticipating our first visit to the local library– we’ve moved eight times in five years and it’s always fun to see what the new places have to offer in terms of free entertainment (indoors and outdoors). I will prepare and/or cook all of my weekend meals on Friday, and will make sure that we have portable lunches and snacks on standby– this keeps us from cutting our outings short due to hunger.

  75. Books from the 1800s tend to be a bit scary. However, they are also very interesting as they often contain little nuggets of info that give you a sense of the beliefs and attitudes of the time. Here is a link to an article I wrote on the blog for the museum I work at:

    http://lpvmvillagevignettes.blogspot.ca/search?updated-max=2014-03-18T10:55:00-07:00&max-results=7&start=7&by-date=false

    I have a few articles posted there, if anyone is interested in reading more. In fact my story on the first post is what inspired the creation of this blog.

  76. Overall a great week! Lots of snow and cold weather but kept the thermostat at 62 degrees and added layers. Renewed books and movies on line at work to avoid late fees. At the end of the week stopped by on the way to pick up hubby and returned what needed to be, picked up items my two children reserved, and picked up a few items for hubby and I to have a movie date night. Planned and cooked all our meals including lunches for my two kids and hubby. Drifted briefly from my frugal plans and hit the drive thru after getting everyone fed, lunches made, and dinner prepped. I have a new goal to add myself to the list of priorities as I have returned to work full time and at times am struggling with dual roles. Financially it is great for the family but I miss being home with kids in the afternoon. Luckily I have supportive parents who help me (for free) part of the week and then they are with my ex-husband a couple afternoons too. Found some great deals and saved between 72% and 80% on items we needed immediately and added to our stockpile. I was finally able to purchase myself a facial moisturizer after being out for two months. It is not expensive; store brand (CVS) Oil of Olay but I feel guilty spending money on myself when there is debt to be paid. I wish I was wiser when I was younger and hope that I guide my children in a more frugal and thrifty way of life in which they make wise decisions. Sometimes the heart isn’t always the way to follow…anyways thank you for all the posts Brandy. You and your family are an inspiration that I look forward to reading about and I also learn a lot from your readers.

    Wishing everyone a happy stress free week :0)

  77. Melissa, Christine is correct re’ the reading levels. Picture books would stiill be suitable for a 7 year old. The reading level on picture books is higher as the parents are doing the reading and it is built in that the reader will ad lib or explain as needed.

  78. TCR, oh we (daughter and I) borrowed the DVDs of GILMORE GIRLS a couple years ago and they were very enjoyable. Lots of dialogue; a few more adult situations than I would have let my daughter see if she was younger (she was about 18 then). I had never seen the show before. My favorite side character was that Kyle…he was so funny without trying to be funny, if you know what I mean.

  79. I make sweetened condensed milk and is so nice to have on hand. I’ve never tried freezing it though, I just store in canning jars upside down in the back of fridge.

  80. Wonderful to see those birds! We have a red tailed hawk whose favorite perch is about a 1/4 mile down the road from our entrance road. He keeps an eye on stuff and either he or his children have been our resident hawk for the last 20 some years.

  81. Anna

    We are trying to implement that “be at peace” and breathe here too. I too will be facing huge medical bills soon my dh has been pre diagnosed 50% chance of prostrate cancer, had his first surgery (biopsy) on Tuesday . It is so stressful as you know to deal with a pile of medical bills coming in but we need to remind ourselfs it’s not in our control, breath and enjoy life instead of worrying so much. Glad you posted it as a reminder to all of us.

    From Anna In Ohio

  82. Thank you for sharing the link. Unfortunately they are not available in our area. What a fabulous program though!

  83. Thank you for recommending Tales from the Green Valley. I had not heard of this series, but started watching them per your suggestion. I love all the other shows that these historians have produced, and this one is no exception! Thank you again!!!

  84. Anna, so happy to hear you and your family are well (toes not included!). Your joy in the calm and quiet life is inspiring and brings peace to my heart. Continued happiness and blessings.

  85. Rhonda,
    Good luck with the root canal. Despite the expense, it will be totally worth it to get rid of the pain. Even with regular dental cleanings and fillings, root canals are sometimes necessary…I had to get three of them last year (I lost the genetic lottery in terms of good teeth, unfortunately).

  86. Sue, just type in birch bark oil on YouTube and you’ll find several videos on it. It’s really easy. All you need is a tin can, a large tin and firewood. Fascinating stuff on YouTube!

  87. Wool blankets in a summer emergency kit make sense to me. Nothing like a snowstorm in July while you’re driving over Soldier Summit!

  88. I spent a day armchair traveling via Google Earth, too. I looked up the last four houses we lived in from the time I was in kindergarten until we bought a house when I was eleven, although I could only determine the block and not the exact house with one of them. I also found our grandmother’s house, abandoned now but still standing. Because I’m the oldest sibling in our family and our parents died young, I sent my siblings all the links and told stories about what I could remember: the house where we lived when the third sibling was born and then the one we lived in when the fourth one was, for example. I told about some of our neighbors and some of the things I remembered about the siblings when we lived in those houses. The youngest sibling wrote me to thank me, telling me that he hadn’t known some of the family stories. I had already known about Google Earth, but Brandy’s mention reminded me that I had intended to look up those of our childhood homes I could remember. My MIL recently died, and I’m conscious of how many family stories are lost when a family member dies. Thanks, Brandy, for the reminder.

  89. Exactly! When one of our daughters was in a weather related car wreck in college, she & a friend were both wearing the wool blankets wrapped around them when the state police arrived. These blankets live in the car trunks.

  90. Cheers for adoptions! I work as a legal advocate for abused/neglected children and this makes me happy 🙂

  91. Dear Anna In Ohio,
    I am so sorry about your husband. His health is worth everything! I will pray for you and your husband. Take care of yourself too.

    Blessings,

    Anna

  92. Dear all,
    Thank you for the kind words and warm thoughts. I am so touched and was so happy to revisit this posting and find all these wonderful comments.

    I needed support this week and these comments were a wonderful find.

    I was in the hospital for asthma problems. I am better and I do not have energy to do much but rest. Kiddos are taking care of things (sort of). Family here.

    Spring is coming, warm days are predicted, and spring break is next week. Life is good.

    Anna

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