Hot Air Balloons 6 The Prudent Homemaker

I cut daffodils from the garden to enjoy inside.

I cut flowering kale, broccoli flowers, and sage flowers to make an arrangement.

I made homemade insecticidal soap and sprayed it on the aphids and thrips on my rose buds.

I made a triple batch of laundry soap.

I zested the oranges that we ate and dried the zest to use in future baked goods. I used the water from rinsing the oranges to water plants in the garden. 

I printed paper dolls for my girls from a paper doll coloring book that I have from Lily and Thistle. It’s been over a year and a half since I last printed them, so they felt brand-new to my girls.

I cut rosemary, sage, and garlic chives from the garden. I picked lettuce from the garden.

I planted seeds in the garden for vegetables and flowers.

I picked up more strawberries on sale for .99, broccoli for .77 a pound, and cabbage for .39 a pound. I made strawberry jam. I used the water from rinsing the strawberries to water plants in the garden.

I went to Target for a few deals. I took the $5 gift card I had left from last month, and several coupons and Target cartwheel to stack (plus my bag credit from bringing my own bag). With the gift card, coupons, and $0.33 out of pocket, I got 2 cans of evaporated milk, a bottle of vitamins (on clearance, though it doesn’t expire until 2017), and 2 bags of white chocolate M & M’s (those will go in Easter eggs).

I used my solar oven to cook beans and to roast a chicken.

Hot Air Balloons 1 The Prudent Homemaker

We attended a hot air balloon festival on Saturday morning. This was in another town and just cost us gas to get there. Takeoff was at dawn, so we were up at 3 and got the children up before 4 so that we could get there in time.

Hot Air Balloons 2 The Prudent Homemaker

The balloonists who were setting up next to us did something we had never seen before. They invited all of the children nearby  into the balloon while they were blowing air into it!  None of the other balloonists there did this and I have never seen this done before. It was really neat! (They were using a gasoline operated fan at this point, and not the flames, in case you were wondering. They also told the children they could help spread the balloon out. The awesome ballonist who did this is in the grey hoodie above; you can just see his excitement in his face.)

Hot Air Balloons 3 The Prudent Homemaker


Hot Air Balloons 4 The Prudent Homemaker

Hot Air Balloons 5 The Prudent Homemaker

While the balloons were taking off, several people came through the sky flying ultralights. You can see a couple of them in the photo above. There were around 10 people flying them.

Red Rock 1 The Prudent Homemaker

On our way home, we took an alternate route home through Red Rock. 

Red Rock 2 The Prudent Homemaker

As the area we were at was at a higher elevation than near our house, there were lots of Joshua trees to see in the desert.

Joshua Tree The Prudent Homemaker

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. WOW! We met my in-laws at the Albuquerque balloon festival last October, and were never able to get nearly that up close and personal – I love that the kids could participate like that!

    We had a stay at home week of beautiful weather – my frugal accomplishments are posted here:

    I have some components that I am going to use to make a diy solar oven – hopefully this week!

  2. I have never seen a hot air balloon up close, they are beautiful. Despite being sick with a horrible cold last week I still went to work every day and managed to be frugal.
    -I took all meals to work with me and we ate all meals at home. We cooked all meals from scratch using food we had on hand.
    -I made almond milk, dehydrated the almond pulp to use in future recipes, coconut flour pancakes, potato soup, eggs and toast, honey whole wheat bread, hummus.
    -Since becoming a vegetarian my husband rarely cooks for me anymore (out of spite – he loves meat) which is fine. I began making a weekly menu for myself so I am not “flying by the seat of my pants” for meals anymore, resulting in eating the same things over and over again. This will also help reduce food waste so I can plan what to do with the leftovers.
    -I cleaned out the cupboards and pantry to take stock of what we have and clean up spills, etc. I found a few things I had forgotten about.
    -I did not shop all week or eat out at work.
    -I put water in the large mason jar I keep my powdered laundry soap in. That created enough soap for another load of laundry
    -My mom and I split the cost of a large package of raw almonds. I use a lot of almonds.
    -I used the water left in cups at the end of the day to water plants in the house
    -started some broccoli and cauliflower seeds indoors. I already have several sprouts and it hasn’t been a week yet.
    That’s about it. Not bad for being horribly sick all week. Have a great week everyone!

  3. Hot air balloons! How fun! What a great memory for the kids to be able to be in the balloon while it was inflated!
    This week:
    – I was able to get some great deals at CVS this week.
    – I ordered a few things off of Amazon using swagbucks credit I had stored up.
    – I did a pinecone survey.
    – I continued to get my daily goal on swagbucks.
    – I saved 40 cents a gallon on my gas fill-up thanks for fuels points offered by the grocery store.
    – Our daffodils are finally starting to bloom so I cut some to put on our kitchen table.
    – Our local grocery store had tuna on sale for 50 cents a can so I stocked up.
    – I filled out a survey and was able to get a subscription to The Economist magazine for free. Husband was pretty excited about that.
    – We ate all our meals at home and used up all our leftovers.

  4. Wow, what a fun experience!

    We’ve been fighting illness all week, I woke up last night with a sore throat myself 🙁

    * kids stayed home one day due to illness but saving on transportation
    * made some quick, easy dinners
    * did use a gift card one night for subs
    * son and I went for eye exams and neither of us need new glasses (just the cost of the co-pay)
    * took a book along to my sons track practice so I got in somer reading time while watching him (practice is 1.5 hours 3 times a week!)
    * was able to stock up on bulk cheddar (bought 8 pounds)

  5. It was spring break here so we were home all week and had a great time doing crafts, reading, cooking and cleaning.
    We went to an estate sale yesterday and my husband and grandson came out (I couldn’t go in…I didn’t have my wheelchair with me) with a sewing machine and a box of craft items.
    The craft items cost over $100.00 new and they bought them for $2.50.
    The Singer machine works so well. It looks like it is from the 60s or early 70s. It has many fancy feet and a buttonholer with it. They paid twenty dollars for it.
    We have eaten most meals at home.
    My daughter was given lunch twice (nice boss) this last week.
    I didn’t use the car at all this week.
    I have sewn with fabric from used clothes. I am making fabric pumpkins to sell.
    I sold 4 items on Etsy.
    There isn’t much else I remember.

  6. For those of you with Singers, vintage or not, you can download for free many of the manuals at this link for Singer! I do like vintage sewing machines, and today they consider the 70s vintage. Even as someone that collects them, often a manual makes all the difference in running. Or how to use the accessories! How nice you got a machine and your husband was able to pick the items out!

  7. That hot air balloon festival looks like so much fun. You can tell the balloonist really loves sharing his knowledge with children. Love those kind of people!

    I bought 12 lbs. of corned beef when it went on sale the day after St. Patrick’s day and canned it.
    Made homemade Greek yogurt.
    Made homemade peanut butter granola to go with the yogurt.
    Baked homemade English muffins.
    Baked a double batch of cookies and froze them.
    Ate completely from the pantry and freezer.
    Someone saw my woolen quilt and ordered one so I returned to the thrift store to buy more materials and they had 95% off! I bought seven garments for $1.50. I even found a nice shirt for my husband.
    Heated the house with wood this week as the temperatures have finally reached above freezing.
    Knitted a sweater from one of my thrifted (55 cents sweaters) for a Christmas present for my grandson.
    Made up mini pizza pot pies for the freezer for my son to have as snacks.

  8. This past week I was finally able to have my contractor come back to my house and do some installs. It’s taken me about four months to be able to slowly buy all the things we needed for the house. He’s coming back one more time….strangely the custom blinds (for an irregular size picture window) didn’t come with industrial size L hooks to hang them on, similar the basketball hoop had no mounting attachment… contractor will be purchasing these things and coming back to finish on another date. A few small road blocks, but we’re almost done with updating the house which feels amazing, and because I was patient I didn’t go in to debt to do all this.

    A friend who is moving out of state gave me a number of bromeliads that she had propagated, including some from plants I had given to her.

    I was able to repay a young neighbor who helps me with things around the yard and house by giving him an old bicycle we dont use anymore. He had grown out of his and the spare I had in the laundry room was the right height for him.

    The neighborhood watch captain, my son, and I removed shoes from a tree in the neighborhood this weekend. Making the neighborhood safer and hopefully improving home values.

    I received 6 free mega passes for the county fair giving us free admission and unlimited rides. We went last night and gave the four passes to people who parked near us.

  9. I just spent more time than I care to admit reading your blog! Wowsers! It is full of fantastic and useful information! Between the prudent homemaker blog and your blog, I am going to have my grocery budget down and my pantry full in no time! I just requested to join your facebook group. I hope I’m not too weird for doing that. I am just so in awe of your blog that I want to stay up to date on what you post. I am so thankful for people like you and Brandy who share your knowledge freely with us who are struggling as well.

  10. We want to Sams club this weekend. We live about an hour away so we do go every few months. We combined this trip with seeing some friends. Sam’s had so many samples it felt like my husband and I were on a date! They had oranges, chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers, fish, pasta side, jelly beans, m &ms and chocolate milk! We stocked up on bread flour, olive oil, cheddar cheese, peanuts, BBQ, chicken broth, pepperoni, and pork loin. The pork loin was only $1.68 a pound. My husband and I watched video online on how to slice it. We ended up with 16 pork chops and a pork roast! which will be around 10 meals for us.

    I am also planting my seeds indoors today. Only 8 weeks until our last frost!!!!!

  11. Cut another bud vase full of fresh King Alfred daffodils for the library twice. All our daffodils are in bloom now, & the forsythia are coming out, too. I took a nice cluster of daffodils to one of the ladies I visit teach when we made our visit this month.

    Cashed 2 pine cone survey checks.

    Recycled the metal cans for my 2 grandchildren who recycle with me. They don’t earn a lot, but are too young to earn money any other way, so this allows them to learn to pay tithing & save, as well as how to work. It is their job to remove the labels from any cans & rinse them clean before placing them in a bag until Grandma comes to visit. It is also their job to crush any soda cans & place those in a separate bag. Those usually come from cub scouting functions at church.

    Reclaimed the water from soaking the dehydrator trays & used it to water the apricot tree that is in bloom & the lettuce. I saved the water while waiting for hot water in the kitchen; the pipes between the kitchen & the hot water heater hold almost exactly one gallon. I reclaimed the water from one of my baths (12 gallons) & used it to water all the daffodils, tulips, grape hyacinths, & the bushes. We have not had nearly enough snowpack this year, & I expect water rationing, so I am trying to make sure the landscaping starts out healthy. I also want to know about how much water I have to work with if I need to use reclaimed water to keep the trees alive.

    Dug more grass out to the top tier of the garden. This is an ongoing problem, because it blows in through the livestock fencing behind us, & one of several reasons why we are looking at changing the back fence to something solid. Thankfully, the thick blanket of grass clippings on the tiers has made it harder for the grass to grow & it is mostly yellow beneath the blanket when I rake it back. I also worked on the back perimeter bed, & pulled out all the weeds & grass around the Oriental poppies, which are my husband’s favorite flowers.

    Planted more lettuce.

    Bought $15 worth of groceries for free with the quarterly “store point credit” that accumulates as we shop. Since I had stocked up at the case lot sale, ours was much higher than usual.

    Grated & dehydrated some carrots in the bottom of the fridge that were leftover from our garden. They were beginning to grow & needed used. I want to see how well they work with the dehydrated potato shreds that we have in storage. They taste pretty good as a snack straight from the jar, once they are dehydrated.

    Picked up more apple, orange & lemon boxes. Cut down 11 apple, orange & lemon boxes to hold canning jars.

    One of my goals this year is to learn to shoot a pistol. Last week I went to my first gun show, & learned how to put on & take off the safety of several different models. I used a coupon for an all-day pass for $5 when I went to the gun range, & saved $8.50 off the lane fee. I hired an instructor for half an hour, since my father taught us all to shoot rifles, but I had no previous experience with a pistol.

  12. The house we were going to buy fell through. I am thankful we were able to step back and pray about why all of sudden problems were arising, so we withdrew our offer and felt immediately at peace.

    I based meals on what was in the cupboard and put the difference of grocery money into savings. I will be using up our stockpile as that will help when moving!

    SO has only been at home three days this month due to working overtime (which is helpful when squerrieling money away for our future home) so we went and spent time at his hotel this weekend. The kids sure miss their daddy. No money was taken out of savings for food or gas.

    We scheduled a playdate at a chuck cheese type place. I received a postcard for a free birthday cake, 10 kids admissions (adults are free) and access to 8 bouncy houses if I schedule it in March. I invited my sister and her kids. We will only have to pay for a pizza ($10)! The kids will be excited!

    I have been shutting of the heat for a few hours during late morning and washing clothes on off hours, I saw the savings on our electric bill this month (which is good for apartment bills).

    The balloons look amazing, I’m sure pictures can only do so much compared to the real thing!

  13. Our trip to Indiana was this week, so to save money we did the following:
    1. ate dinner before we left home so we wouldn’t stop to eat once on the road. (We traveled up there at night, so this would have been the only meal to purchase that day.)
    2. took sandwiches and other goodies from home to eat the next day while we traveled. This is approximately a 13 hour drive so we drove most of the night, stopping in a couple of rest areas to sleep for 2 hours at a time. It saved on a hotel room for the night and the traffic was much lighter!)
    3. Ate breakfast at the hotel, as it was free.
    4. Brought drinks and water bottles with us so we wouldn’t be tempted to spend a dollar at the vending machines every time we got thirsty.
    5. Ate all but one meal at cheap restaurants where we could order off the dollar menu. The one meal was at a nice restaurant and had been budgeted in.
    6. We took $800 for this trip. Grand total spent: $450.00!!!! I was so proud of our efforts at keeping costs to a minimum!

  14. What a fun event! I love that it was free, educational, and fun!

    We attended the Tucson Festival of Books, which was also free, and had a great time. We’ve also been working in the garden and are finally able to harvest a few things. Have a great week!

  15. Brandy, your photographs this week are just spectacular! I LOVE when I get the opportunity to do once in a lifetime experiences, like your family had with going inside the balloon. Those are such precious memories. Your family will be talking about that for years to come. The Red Rock was very interesting as well. I’ve never seen a Joshua Tree before…really cool! Also, I couldn’t help notice how tall your oldest son is getting. He’s even taller than Winter now!

    This week my daughter was on March Break from school. We attempted to do some fun things with her, but it didn’t go over as well as I had hoped. Her Asperger’s took over and made the whole experience miserable for everyone. Needless to as, I’m rather upset and disappointed about the whole thing. We did eat out more this week, unfortunately. I would have liked a repeat of last weeks “all meals at home”, but it just wasn’t in the cards. I would bring lunches with us, but my family would think I’m insane. They like eating out a little too much. Sometimes you just have to pick my battles. Anyways, here are some of the frugal accomplishment I was able to do this week:

    *Went shopping at a local used clothing store and bought a nice black dress, dress shirt, and a pair of fancier Capri pants for myself, a pretty Easter basket for my daughter and a book entitled “Fix It, Clean It and Make It Last” by Gayle K. Wood, which has lots of frugal tips in it. It cost $18 total for everything.

    *Bought groceries this week (I shop every other week). We seemed to need a bit more this time, especially meat, so the total was a little higher than normal. I am noticing, however, that I am buying far more “fresh foods” from the outer edges of the store, and less “convenience food” from the middle. I’m rather proud of that accomplishment.

    *Found cooked hams, 800g size, on sale for $5.97 each. The same ones were advertised in other grocery flyers as $8.99 each. We bought 6 total. We will use our meat slicer to cut these into ham steaks and shaved ham for sandwiches, then package them in portions for the freezer.

    *Spent most of the day today baking a bunch of cookies and squares, and wrapping for my daughter’s school lunches. I made butterscotch brownies and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies from scratch and used up the odds and ends of different cereals to make “rice krispie” type squares. The squares were cut and wrapped individually so they are quick to pop in her lunch in the morning. The cookies are easy to put into reusable containers. I will freeze them so they last a few weeks. I am proud to say I have not bought any pre-packaged granola bars or treats for lunches this school year! Both my daughter and husband also requested peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, so I made a double batch. Since our schools are nut free here, these are only for us to consume at home. They won’t last long, I’m sure.

    *Washed out a bread bag and two plastic liners from cereal boxes. Bread bag will be reused for homemade bread. The plastic liners from the cereal boxes were cut to size and used in the storage containers between the layers of cookies I baked, instead of using waxed paper.

    *I received an email that we were able to get special funding to help pay for respite services/camp fees for my daughter. We hope to send her to a special summer camp for children on the Autism Spectrum this year. The camp has a 2:1 ratio for camp counselors to campers, which she will need for support. We know she will have a lot of difficulty dealing with sleeping away from home but I’m confident she will enjoy the experiences and activities they offer at this camp. The cost is almost $3,000 for one week, so we would not be sending her had we not received this funding.

    *My husband received an unexpected check in the mail for over $300. That was a really nice surprise and blessing.

    *After my husband talked to my brother (who is a car mechanic) while he was here visiting, my husband decided to go ahead and purchase a new battery for my car. It also required a new battery cable on one side, due to corrosion damage. Total cost for repair was under $200, which was cheaper than buying a new vehicle. We hope to replace this car in the near future, but this buys us the time we need to look for the right vehicle at the right price.

    *The seed I am starting indoors are doing well so far. Several of my tomato seeds have sprouted and now the pepper seed are just starting to come up. We finally had some warmer days over the past week and patches of grass are finally visible in the back yard. Spring is finally starting here!:D

    Well, I think that is it for my list. Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  16. Susan, I sew for a living and my husband has always brought home fabric, sewing machines and anything that is sewing related. He hits all the 2nd hand places and looks for fabric. I have to say that some of it is dog ugly, but most of it is wonderful. *laughing* I use even the ugly fabric in small bits.
    Thanks for the link.
    I’m trying to find more info on the machine and haven’t been too successful yet.

  17. Whoops! I didn’t proofread! It’s approximately an 11 hour drive but it took us 13 hours because we stopped at a rest area. I didn’t want to confuse anyone that had read my comments last week and this week! 😀

  18. Oh wow, the balloon festival looks wonderful! They have one every year for the Preakness but there are often problems in launching due to wind, rain, or other conditions. We went once several years ago when they inflated them at dusk in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. I don’t think they took off, but it was a while ago, so I honestly don’t remember. I do know we were up close, but not inside any balloons.
    I prepped lots of veggies that I already had (three peppers, 3 pounds of carrots that had been in the refrigerator for months, strawberries, celery, and cucumbers). I cooked a chicken last weekend and took leftovers to work. Leftovers were also used to make two servings of chicken fajitas using peppers and onions I already had prepped. Finally, the bones were used to make chicken broth in the slow cooker. Adding onion tops, onion skins, and celery leaves gave it a nice, richer flavor. I currently have a quiche with bacon, mushrooms, spinach and cheese in the oven. This will make for quick, take to work breakfasts this week and made good use of veggies that needed to be used.
    I made a fantastic carrot cake using ingredients I already had on hand. I used to think making it from scratch would be a pain, but it was really easy, especially once I had cleaned all the carrots.
    I spent $11.50 on two meals outside the office (a pit beef sandwich and half of a BBQ chicken bacon pizza and brownie from Papa John’s using a 50% discount code available the day after one of our local sports teams won). The pizza was good for 2 meals. Several meals incorporated I canned or froze last year.
    I worked from home 3 days last week, saving gas and time. I turned off the central heat for nearly the entire week, using the gas fireplace when I was home and a room heater on a few nights when the outside temp was below freezing. I’m also washing my face before I get in the shower to save some time and hot water. I did three loads of wash today and was FINALLY able to hang clothes and linens outside. The combination of wind and sun dried them fairly quickly, even the flannel sheets.
    My only frugal fail this week is that my cat appeared to be getting sick again with the health issue he had last November and December that cost so much money. I took him to the vet and they ran some tests, which all came back fine. It cost more than I would have liked to spend, but if he had the same problem, it would have cost several times more if I had “waited to see”.

  19. Mandy, I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve been so sick and I hope you’re soon all mended. We’re vegan. When my husband had surgery about eighteen months ago, friends and neighbors ordered five days’ worth of pre-prepped Engine 2 meals from Greenling here in Texas, and I learned some tips from that how to prep several days’ worth of meals. (If you’re not familiar with Engine 2, it was begun by a strapping vegan fire fighter who convinced his engine company to go vegan when one of their members turned out to have terrible heart disease.) After a grocery shopping trip, a pot of beans and another of brown rice can go on the stove to simmer, and a couple of sweet potatoes or potatoes (depending on the week’s menus) can go in the oven. Chop up a couple of onions and whatever other veggies you might use through the week and put them and portions of the rice and/or beans in the fridge or freezer, depending on how soon you need to use them. Then, when you just don’t feel like cooking, you have the beginnings of several meals: lasagna using a prepared or homemade marinara sauce, pasta and sweet potatoes; a Mexican rice bowl or wrap, etc. More complicated meals can wait until those days when you’re not working. The blog on the Engine 2 site offers lots of ideas about how to manage being vegan in a non-vegan household, being vegan on a budget, eating out, etc. There are some paid portions of the Engine 2 site, too. While I’d love to attend some of the sessions, that’s not possible for me because of both expenses and mobility problems. I don’t use the paid portion of the site, but the blog can still be helpful.

  20. Wonderful photography as always and glad your family had such a fun outing together.
    Yesterday was a wonderful day for frugality. It started with an early morning trip to a church rummage sale where I got 4 tops for myself for $1 each. That’s even cheaper than I would get at the thrift store. Then I stopped at Aldi’s to pick up just a few things. Went by their meat counter and saw some ground beef marked down $5. Looked some more and found whole chickens marked down $2 and chicken thighs marked down $2. Their whole chickens are only 95 cents per pound regular price so with the markdown I was getting 6 to 7 pound chickens for just over $4 each. Spent over budget but the savings was worth it. I’ll limit my shopping for the rest of this month to just absolute necessities.
    I went to old Navy where they were having $2 tank tops on Saturday. The style isn’t one I wear, but my 15 year old daughter does, so I got her 6 different colors for $2 each. Did find canvas shoes for me on clearance for $4.50 (regular $22) and ballet flats for $8 (regular $28).
    Trimmed up our dog myself, so saved a $50 groomer bill.
    My biggest excitement is finally used the pressure canner I bought for myself over a year ago for the first time. I took one of the chickens I got at Aldi’s and cooked it. Used the bones and cooked bone broth and canned it. It wasn’t hard at all. Now waiting for the pressure to finish going down so I can see it. Got 4 quarts canned.
    Hope you have a wonderful week. Itching to garden, but here in PA we still are not even seeing 50 degree days yet…..

  21. I love the balloon pictures. How fun. Red Rock is so beautiful. Have you ever been to the Valley of Fire? I think that place is amazing. One of my sisters lives in Henderson, and I always take a field trip when I come to visit her. That is my favorite place so far.

    It wasn’t really a frugal week, but I managed to do a few things. I started some plants from seeds (several kind of flowers, jalapenos, pattypan squash and lettuce). I have a seedling heat mat so they don’t get all moldy (we keep our place rather cool).

    I have also been cleaning out the file cabinet and sorting through books and other stacks of stuff. Nice to get rid of/donate things I don’t need and organize the rest.

    I also volunteered to be in charge of a garden committee for our condo complex. I’m not an expert or anything, but I enjoy doing research and figuring out what needs to be done. The goal is to improve the curb appeal of our complex on a $500 budget, which should be possible. This way we don’t have to pay the landscaping company extra to do this in addition to the regular maintenance. There are several volunteers, so I think it will be a fun and useful project.

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

  22. I love what the balloonist did for the children! What a great experience for them – I’m sure they’ll never forget it!

    I ate lunch provided at my employer’s 3 days and brought home leftovers every night. One day they brought in Olive Garden! There was no lunch provided on St Patricks Day, but we were treated to Starbucks (we all got to order what we wanted and they brought it back for us). They also had tons of cupcakes, mini-cupcakes and cookies. I brought home 2 mini-cupcakes and 2 cookies for SO and I for dessert. There was plenty more left but I didn’t want to bring home more than that. SO and I don’t normally eat sweets.

    We had a very nice St Patricks Day dinner. I made a lentil and veggie shepard’s pie and dessert was leftovers from work.

    I made a couple of quick stops all in one trip and didn’t have to go further than 5 miles. Walgreens for the 2 for $10 Coppertone spray sunscreen and 2 Dawn for 0.49 each. CVS for a lotion sunscreen and the gummy vitamins that were on sale, used coupons, and got bucks back and used bucks to pay for part of it. I split the orders to minimize the out of pocket. Winn Dixie for cat food on sale. Publix for almost free dog treats and a couple of things I need for Passover (on sale but still so pricey!). Aldi for soft buttery spread. That was all the shopping I did.

    Free in the mail – Better Homes and Gardens

    Worked in the garden. Mucked out the pond and added it to the compost. Pulled weeds. Watered using the rainbarrel. Plus raked leaves and all the pollen junk from the yard and the strawberry patch. Picked a strawberry. Washed the patio furniture using cleaner that was left in the garden shed from the previous owner.

    Completed a Pinecone survey and did some Swagbucks each day.

    We attended a free concert on Sunday and enjoyed the beautiful weather.

  23. Brandy, your photos are exceptional this week! Thank you for sharing them, especially the hot air balloon ones.

    Savings wise, for the first time ever, I made two loaves of bread from scratch and they were excellent. Used a bread machine so it was really easy! Brandy, thank you for mentioning home baked bread often, I finally decided that if you could find the time to do that with seven kids, I surely could figure it out cooking for just the two of us, now that I am retired! And it was so easy, I could have done this while working fulltime, and the bread is excellent! Better late than never.

    Also cooked a turkey, will make soup tomorrow for the week. Bought a cooked chicken at Costco, turned into four meals plus soup for two lunches. My husband is now excited about how shopping prudently saves huge amount of money and we are eating really well. Today when we sliced up the newly baked loaf of bread, he said…let’s start another one now ;). The current loaf should last us a week so I just laughed and said later.

    I really enjoy reading this blog, thanks for all the education and inspiration!

  24. It must be something in the time of year that illness is just everywhere it seems.

    Here’s my frugal accomplishments from last week (sorry to share such a bleak and depressing week as my first post here, but I just discovered the blog a little bit ago :).

    It’s really great to discover a community like this one. Glad to know I’m not alone and you guys and gals are offering some great inspiration! God Bless!

  25. Thank you for the info about the Engine 2 blog. I’m going to check it out this week as well.

  26. Thank you for the information too. I read Dr. John McDougall’s book a while ago. I am going to check it out. My health is important to me. I don’t want to end up sick and in a nursing home.

  27. Faith, re the house sale, been there, done that, only it was because I was outbid. I’m so happy that happened because I really, really love the house I ended up buying. Keep the, uh, faith – as if you’ve never heard THAT before! It will all work out in the end.

  28. Looks like a lot of fun was had by all. I have always wanted to see/go up in a hot air balloon.
    This week I:
    * turned the heat off completely and wont turn it back on until at least September/October. Will make do in the evenings with an extra blanket until it really warms up.
    * Made biscuits using your recipe. (I never liked biscuits, but your picture looked yummy and I had everything on hand). They are excellent!
    * Made French bread using your recipe (it’s my go to bread recipe)
    * Made a double batch of brioche rolls (very rarely make because they cost a lot to make, but saved a little by using powdered eggs rather than going and buying eggs)
    * Made a double batch of Christmas bark/pine park to use up saltines that were going stale.
    * Made a gallon sized bag of bread crumbs for the freezer using the remaining saltines from the case and grinding them up.
    * Used homemade un-paper towels to clean counters
    * used fleece scraps as Swiffer replacements for the floor.
    * Found a way to use the scraps of flannel I have for handkerchiefs to eliminate the cost of buying facial tissue and just throwing them in the wash with the towels and floor wipes.
    *Continuing to not shop and use what I have.
    * Keeping lights off and opening drapes to save electricity
    * Rather than washing my hair everyday (get really sweaty from running) I am playing around with only washing it every other day and just rinsing the salt/sweat out real quick to save that way.
    * Toying with the idea of getting a safety razor for shaving. Even though the initial cost is high, the replacement blades are very cheap and the handle can last a lifetime. If anyone has any experience with these please let me know!
    * used water from the dehumidifier to water my plants.
    * Planted for veggies from seed.

    Wanted to thank you again Brandy, for this site. I come here several times a day to reread things and give me encouragement. Thank-you

  29. Erika,

    March has not been kind to you and your family, has it? I hope your can-do attitude helps you feel as if you’re moving forward again.

  30. Hello Brandy, thank you for including the superb photos of places that are not far from where you live. Living in Australia, I love seeing these. Is the area part of the Route 66? Just loved the red colours in Redrock. How did you manage to raise the children at such an early time? They were probably so excited to be going on an outing I suppose?

    Abundant Blessings to you and your family. Regards Robyne.

  31. Never heard that before 😉
    Our realtor is so sweet and she has said that same thing, people end up being much happier in the with the house the end up buying! I am not giving up! I have two more houses to look at today!
    Thank you!

  32. Debbie, I am just curious what line of work you are in that your employer provides lunch all most every day? That seems like a great perk to the job, and I’m sure it saves a lot of money by not having to provide your own lunch.

  33. Oh my goodness, I can imagine seeing multiple big, colorful balloons lift off would be an awesome sight! And being allowed to help would make lasting memories. What a wonderful event to be able to take part in. I believe I’m going to have to put attending one of these festivals on my bucket list!

    Your arrangement of flowering kale, broccoli and sage sounds lovely. My forced forsythia bloomed! Thanks for the inspiration to try again. I need to remember to try making my own insecticidal soap, instead of buying it. Thanks again for creating this wonderful and inspiring community. It’s such a pleasure to visit here on Mondays and throughout the week. Joining in here:

  34. What an amazing experience for your children Brandy. They will be talking about it for a long time.

    As the seasons change, so too do my tasks around the house. I’ve moved away from jam and relish making and moved onto the garden as we prepare for the next planting. Here’s what I got up to this week –

    * Gratefully received some raisin bread, a few slices of fruit cake, a couple of sandwiches, breakfast muffins, bread rolls, dried soup mix, dried onion flakes and lentils.

    * Continued to pick a handful of raspberries each day.

    * Darren planted silver beet, beetroot, lettuce and broccoli into a prepared veg garden bed. He’s added lots of coffee grounds to the soil and turned it over a few times. I must say, the garden smells lovely.

    * Gratefully received a 15 kilo bucket of white bread flour mix from a facebook follower . My girls love white bread and I don’t like buying the supermarket bread. Now I can make my own and hide a few extras in the mix.

    * Gratefully received some glass jars from my sister inlaw. I love receiving glass jars as they hold so much potential. I could use them for jam, relish, lemon butter, dry mixes or biscuits. A great way to recycle as I use them any times over.

    * Found and bought some plain card stock in Spotlight on sale for 35 cents a sheet. I can get at least two cards per sheet making them very cheap.

    * Made lavender air freshener for the toilet. Here are the instructions

    * Saved the shower warm up water each day. Some was poured into the washing machine. The rest was poured into a watering can and used on my mango plants.

    * Saved the washing machine water when possible for the next load. I don’t save water from a dark load of washing because it’s not suitable to use for a white load the next day.

    * Sold a jar of jam and a dozen eggs.

    * Picked the last of the tomatoes before Darren pulled them out.

    * Made 20 hamburger patties for the freezer.

    * Made more dried bread crumbs from bread crusts. The crumbs will eventually be made into seasoned bread crumbs when the container gets low.

    * Bought 4 punnets of blueberries for $1 each. They have been washed and frozen in snap lock bags to be added to muffins.

    I have a few photos of my frugal tasks at

  35. They were excited and got up right away! Even one my slow risers sat right up in bed and got dressed! I did have them lay out their clothes on their beds the night before to make things faster.

    This is not Route 66. We drove on the 159. There is something more to see in Red Rock, but you have to pay to go see it; it’s $7 per vehicle. We didn’t go through that part; we just stuck to the free part.

  36. The hot air balloons look amazing! It sounds like your family had a great outing.

    I continue to stay frugal by shopping the sales and using coupons. I wanted to do the Target deals you mentioned, but my store was out of stock. I did find many other things like free jelly beans, Ensure shakes, Always liners, Crest toothpaste, and $0.99 Skippy. My favorite deal of the week was getting free ice cream at Dairy Queen.

    All of my deals with pics can be found here:

  37. I went to Sprouts and bought blackberries for 88 cents each.

    I transplanted a cucumber seedling so it had more space to grow. The kids and I harvested Swiss chard for green smoothies.

    I made all purpose cleaner using things I had on hand–Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds, vinegar, water.

  38. Patience is a wonderful thing. There are spots in our house that I wish to update and like you, I want/will do it without going into debt. Thanks for sharing to keep me on track!

  39. Would it be possible for you to share your pattern for the woolen quilt? Or could you point to a/ your website where the instructions could be found?


  40. I cooked dinner at home every night last week, my kids encouraged me to use what we have not make any special trips to the store just because I wanted something easier 🙂 We had 2 overnight guests and I made a double batch of spaghetti, the kids don’t normally eat their moms red sauce and loved mine, that felt good, my is homemade and their mom uses sauce from a jar.
    Swagbucks changed their points prices for gift cards, it used to be less swagbucks to get the $5 amazon card than the bigger denominations, now it is less to save up and get the $25 card, ugh, I will just be watching that as I work my way towards that higher value. I use ibotta, savingstar, and checkout51, the key is to remember not to buy things that would not have been on my list, unless of course it is an item I would use and it is free:D Back in January my cell phone provider droped my plan by $15 and gave me unlimited calls, text, and data, so we bought smart phones when they went on sale, this allows me to more easily use these savings apps, get coupons when I am out and forgot to print them before leaving, now I can save ink and just pull them up. Spending is never saving, but sometimes it can be an investment in future savings.
    I got a chicken coop and will hopefully get some laying hens this week, another example of future investing I hope. 😀

  41. I did some mending for a friend. Her nurse uniforms were too long. Another pair had holes in the legs. I put patches on them for her. I mended some things for the grandchildren too. Took jeans that had big holes in the knee (had been patched before) cut them off for shorts. Made short sleeved shirts out of long sleeved shirts too. It is getting too warm for long sleeves. There is no one else to hand these shirts down to so I made them work for summer in TX.
    We went to Sam’s Club and got a free sample of tooth paste. It is a nice size for travel.
    We grilled out side (under our patio cover) and made chicken and pork chops for the week ahead. Used a FREE coupon to bottle of new laundry soap sold only at Walmart. (called, Persil) It will do many loads of laundry for free. Walmart had men’s Fruit of the Loom t-shirts on clearance for $3.00. I got a couple for the boys (church summer camp is coming in June)
    Planted some tomatoes, potatoes, and squash plants. It rained here on Saturday so the garden was very wet. It was not ready to plant other things yet. I planted a herb garden in a big tub outside my kitchen back door. It will smell wonderful when going in or out the back door. I used water from the shower to clean the floors. (we had rain so did not need it on plants)
    I made some napkins for a small housewarming gift for some friends who just got a new house. I have fabric to make some more for gifts. My niece is having a baby in May so I made her a new blanket. I found some sock monkey fabric for her it. It is going to be so cute. I love sock monkeys. I have an old sock monkey from when I was a child. I will make a new sock monkey for the baby too.
    Worked on my hexagon quilt on Saturday while my husband and I watched an old movie on TV. Our grandsons are back from their cruise and I caught up on the laundry. They had a wonderful time with their other grandmother.

  42. I use orange zest in my cranberry orange nut bread along with orange juice, and in nut quick bread, can be added to vanilla frosting, or into angel food cake mix, and into sauces for Chinese dishes, into rice pudding and tapioca pudding when they are cooking, also into the filling and frosting for sweet rolls.

  43. Patsi, just a question…I read some of your blog and I was wondering why you package the oats in only qt size jars. Seems like a 1/2 gallon jar would be about the size of an oatmeal box…if I did such a thing I would use a 1/2 gallon jar. Just cooking oatmeal a couple times a week, and a batch of granola or oatmeal bread or cookies would use up a quart in a very short time.

  44. I too was wondering on the woolen quilt. I checked the blog also and could not find it in the links for CRAFTS or HOME.

  45. Hilogene, Congratulations on the bread making. I like to start mine when I get home from school
    (work) because if I want I could use some of the dough for homemade pizza after the 1st rising, or for sweet rolls or monkey bread. My recipe makes 2 loaves and I use it for most everything. Dinner roll, hamburger buns, runzas, breadsticks. For me it works well to be making/baking the bread while I am getting dinner ready as I am in the kitchen, the dough rises nicely due to the warmth of cooking kettles and the oven is on often anyways. I do all the mixing and kneading with my Kitchenaid mixer.

  46. Got several cute dresses (brand new with tags) on one of the Facebook sale sites for $2 each. I was excited because they all hit me right at the knee or mid-calf which is what I prefer!

    Yesterday was my daughter’s birthday party. We had purchased a pony party for her at a fundraiser auction for less than 1/2 off the normal fee! It was her fifth birthday so we did a larger birthday than normal. 🙂 The business owner told me we could be there an hour early to set-up, and then she was roughly 20 minutes late; so she gave my daughter a gift certificate for a day at her horse camp ($50 value). I told her she didn’t have to give us anything, but she’s so sweet she insisted. It was pouring down rain and the kids had a blast anyway! Saved all of the gift bags & tissue paper from the gifts received.

    I needed to order pictures from last year so I could update my photo albums. I uploaded everything to Costco ($.13 per print), when I remembered I had received a $20 giftcard for Shutterfly (from purchasing a few things at The Childrens Place). I went through and uploaded pics to Shutterfly and was able to get 134 prints for $8 (price of shipping). This was about 2/3 of the pictures for 2014. I was very pleased!

    I turned my Scentsy catalog party in yesterday and received $85 in FREE products! I made sure that anytime I took the bag to someone it was when I was already running a necessary errand (so no extra gas money spent). Between this party and the last one I will have gotten all of my products for the year for free and didn’t have to host a physical party (and provide food).

    I had some frugal fails (like eatting out), but the successes help me keep plugging away! 🙂

  47. Dear Miss Brandy and readers,

    What a beautiful posting! What a priceless experience for everyone! Wonderful memories for your family!

    My spring break did not go quite as I hoped. I got quite ill before our spring break started. In the end, I stayed home sick and sent the kiddos away part of the time. I have asthma and had a severe attack so it takes time for it settle down. Although not the way I like to get rest, I ended up sleeping most of several days. I took time off from work for vacation but used it as sick time instead. Needless to say, the house did not get cleaned, the laundry did not get done, grocery shopping done, or anything else. On the flip side, I saved in groceries, gas, electricity, and my own energy. 🙂 My kids helped out but were gone part of the time too. I did try to do some quiet activities here and there. The last couple of days I did do some things to get ready for going back to school.

    Frugal accomplishments:
    Electric bill half as compared to last year
    Did not use much if any gas
    Did not grocery shop for one week
    Sent kids on their own “free” vacation
    Got videos from the library to watch while I recovered
    Read books I had on hand
    Paid off $210 medical bill, $90 physician bill, $15 boot for child’s foot (funny medical bill)

    Feeling better:
    Made muffins (3 kinds), strawberry preservatives, applesauce, prepared “ripe” veggies and fruit to use for meals, granola, soup, prepared fruit for meals (cut up strawberries), bread
    Baked chicken (from freezer), shredded for salads
    Got milk and bottled water from CVS using ECBs I found in my wallet for 50 cents. The young guys behind me in line were so impressed and put 50 cents on the counter for payment–no OOP! (still have $7 in ECBs)
    Got strawberries, blueberries and blackberries on sale for 99 cents/item all varieties

    Made eggs out of felt and put them in a basket for decorations
    Crocheted 4 crosses for Easter baskets
    Made one “Easter” bag/purse for Easter gifts
    Got 3 giant shirts for $1 to use for future gifts (got before I got sick)

    Not so frugal accomplishments 🙁
    Medical bills from hospital stay, medications, MD appointment

    Most frugal accomplishment 😀
    A healthier me



  48. Hi Jenn! I’m a medical transcriptionist for a large busy clinic. They have meetings almost every day with different reps, so bring lunch in for the doctors who have to go to the meetings. They are very generous and bring in enough food for the whole staff to eat (even though we do not have to go to the meetings). This is the only job I have ever had where they did this though.

  49. I was inspired by reading others canning so I canned 12 jars of strawberry jam last week. Final cost was less than 75 cents per jar with the cost of sugar fruit and pectin totaled. I was excited and my hubby is gobbling it up which is surprising since he hardly ever eats jam.

    Saved used dryer sheets for quick dusters. They are nice to wipe down surfaces with. Stuff clings to them well and they are free!

    Finished planting my veggies. Can only do a small amount this year so I did tomatoes spinach beets and some herbs and lettuce.

    Broke down and bought a one cup coffee pot for $8. Don’t drink a lot of coffee but I occasionally enjoy a cup and had a lot of free coffee samples from hotel visits and such. I also had a free bottle of creamer that I received with the purchase of a bottle of oj. I love getting free items especially when it is something like juice that I was buying anyways.

    Found a glass sun tea jar at goodwill for $2. Have been using quart size mason jars for a while until I found a good deal on a jar.

    Working on a runner for my mother for Christmas. They got a new fire place and I want them to have something special to decorate the mantel. I made one side using fabric I already had. Now just working on embroidering a pattern on the other side. Brandy you inspired me to practice a pattern that I made myself. Used a 60% off coupon from joann to get a piece of muslin for $3! Can’t wait til it is all done

    Baked banana bread with some frozen bananas that I had gotten on clearance a while back. They were starting to make my entire freezer smell like banana so I figured it was time to use them up.

    Been cooking a lot of dried beans. Made some delicious chili last week and tortilla soup this week.

  50. Lots! We continued our $80 weekly grocery budget, and our moratorium on eating out.

    For fun, we went to a birthday party (at the neighbor’s) and my big boy had a sleepover. Then another friend from Canada was visiting, so we met her at the beach – packed up water, PB sandwiches, fruit, homemade hummus, veggies. Used a gift card to get a couple of “treats”.

    I found great deals on eggs and strawberries last week at the 99 cent store. Will have to go there more often (it’s hit or miss).

  51. I love this!! It is wonderful to see the fun things that you do with your children which cost only gas money! You are an inspiration.

  52. Thank you for the information! I will check it out. I feel better today, thank goodness! My husband is in bed now, poor thing.

  53. Brandy, love your posts! You are always so inspiring and I love to read what others are doing in order to be frugal. There is always a wealth of inspiration and ideas to be had! That said, I was raised to be frugal but during my 20’s my husband and I strayed away and found ourselves “keeping up with the Jones” . Some years back I came to my senses and realized I was living to work instead of working to live and all the trappings of that life soon lost their luster and I found myself steadily moving away from it all and back toward a simpler lifestyle. We own a farm but I was never able to be a part of it because I felt like I always had to work for the vacations, new cars etc. Now that has all changed. At 55 I am a semi -retired Critical Care Nurse who spends most of my days outdoors working on the farm, raising livestock and corn to sell for silage and tending my garden. The pace is slower, more intentional and there is a lot to be said for kicking back with a mason jar of cold ice tea and listening to birdsong! There is nothing like it.
    Anyway, for last week I planted 3 new blue berry bushes, set out arugula and spinach. I baked all our bread and we ate out of the freezer and pantry for the most part. We always plan our excursions into town for farm supplies, a few groceries etc with the intention of grouping errands together cut down on gas consumption and time wasted on the road.
    On rainy days I caught up on my reading and watched a few shows on Netflix. My husband likes to read farm journals and watch you tube videos on farm related information. I also begin to plan out my garden for the rest of the year. I would like to suggest to other readers that The Mother Earth News website has a lot of wonder information about gardening, preserving food. sustainable living and so on. I refer to it often.
    Hope that everyone has a fruitful, productive frugal week! Rose in western NC

  54. I haven’t done too much out of the ordinary this week. We will be flying to Florida at the end of the week for a vacation away from this cold (it’s still below freezing in Toronto this week!) so I’ve been trying to use up all the food in the house. This lets me use my grocery money on things like sunscreen, candy and small books/stickers for my son for the plane ride.
    I found pita bread (packs of 4) on sale for $0.25 and apples on for $0.99 a pound, the cheapest I’ve seen this year (that’s in Canadian dollars which would be like $0.69 in US) so I stocked up on both.

  55. I have been to Red Rock once and loved it so much I wanted to be married there – my husband didn’t agree but one day we will come back again!

  56. Hi Tabbie
    I love using dryer sheets as dusters. I only use them in the winter to help keep the static down in the clothes but they pick up the dust great after they’ve gone through the wash. My husband used to think I was nuts for keeping them 🙂

  57. Thanks for those tips! They are very helpful! DH and I started the Engine 2 diet last year and lasted about 3 weeks on it. The food was great but I couldn’t seem to get the prep organized. And I think it does take more time to prep than our regular diet. Anyway, we are gradually starting back on a plant strong diet for our health. My parents died at ages 60 and 61 due to coronary artery disease and diabetes related issues. I’m trying to avoid that path so I was very excited to learn that this way of eating has actually reversed CAD.

  58. I love watching hot air balloon! They look so peaceful floating in the sky. And what a fun trip for your family!

    This week:
    -I harvested spinach that was planted last fall from our cold frame. Used it to make several spinach salads and still have some in the fridge for use this week. And the garden bed is still full of spinach to harvest!

    -Started 40 tomato plants of various varieties, 15 Sweet Banana Pepper plants and 5 jalapeno’s.

    -Purchased Kennebec and Red Pontiac Seed potatoes from Southern States for .95/lb and yellow and red onion sets for $1.95/lb. It takes a lot of onion sets to make a pound so I will be sharing them with a friend. Hope to get them in the ground in the next week or so.

    -Received a check for almost $500 from our mortgage company for over payment of escrow. Putting that back on the principle of the mortgage.

    -Made sweet potato treats for the dog. He loves them!

    -We have 5 hens and have been getting 3-5 eggs a day. I’ve frozen some and we are eating them as fast as we can but still have an overabundance. So, I’ve been gifting them to may neighbors. Not frugal for us but hopefully helpful to them and I like to do it.

  59. Brandy, it looks like your two oldest are catching up to your husband in height. Are they taller than you yet? I am the shortest in our family. A balloon came down in a field by the campground we were staying at when the children were very young, like 7 and down. We ended up burning our cake in the dutch oven as every one ran over to see the balloon and we totally forgot about the food.

    I am still typing one handed, but that may change next week.

    We did all the usual frugal habits…recycled, cooked at home, carpooled, hung laundry inside to dry, used our wood stove for heat, packed lunches, used up leftovers, used many items from freezer in preparation for refilling it with this coming seasons foodstuffs, also used homemade freezer meals to make it easier on my
    youngest who has been doing a lot of the cooking. She is getting much better at it too.

  60. Just a comment on something I have noticed. Lots of people say they freeze their gallon of milk after taking 1 C out first. We never remove the extra milk. The cartons have bump-outs on the sides that pop out to allow for the expansion when frozen. Then when it is thawed, just push them back in.

  61. Enjoying the spring weather here in Northern California. My grapefruit tree is blooming and the blossoms smell heavenly. I’ve been keeping my office window open here in the back of the house and can smell the blossoms, as well as enjoy the mild weather. I do wish it would rain though, as the drought conditions are getting more and more worrisome to me. We try to conserve and not waste water whenever we can, but I feel so discouraged when others don’t seem to care.
    Had a frugal fail which hopefully will turn into a win. My husband was attempting to fix the insides of the toilet tank in our only bathroom (we live in a small house built in 1942) when the tank unexpectedly cracked. So it was off to Home Depot to buy a new tank. There was only one type of tank available locally, so that’s the one we got. It was nearly $100 after tax and cost about the same as the cheapest full toilet. However, it is a newer style “dual flush” type where you can either flush more or less water. It holds less water than our previous tank, even using the “more water” flush. So hopefully it will affect the our water bills and save enough to pay for itself…eventually. It is a “prettier” tank than our old one, though, which is something! The flush handle is nicer, but it’s on the opposite side from the other toilet, haha. Have to remember where it is!
    Also this week:
    *Read 2 library books.
    *Swapped coupon inserts with my mom. We’ve been doing this forever!
    *Ordered a free subscription for Martha Stewart Living (thanks for the heads up, Brandy! Saw this on the Facebook page.)
    *Received 3 men’s Hanes undershirts in the mail. There was a hole in one of the brand new ones I bought my husband for Christmas, so I shipped it back to Hanes with a note about their replacement guarantee. I’m happy that they sent three, as the return postage cost as much as one tank top on its own.
    *Although I don’t have children, I enter the free codes that Pampers and Huggies put out every so often. I redeemed points to Pampers Gifts to Grow and received the bathtub toy I ordered this week. Pampers is a P&G product, so I was able to order some free trial size items with points too, which made me very happy! I got a one washload of Dreft, a Swiffer 360 starter kit, and some Always liners.
    *Feeling thankful that my husband has a smartphone for work where I can submit for rebates using apps. I cashed in $10 for Ibotta, and got 25c from Checkout 51 for buying potatoes, 50c from Ibotta for buying eggs, and a free can of tomato sauce from Saving Star. Also entered receipts to Receipt Hog. It’s not a lot of money, but it adds up, eventually.
    Best to all! Happy Spring!

  62. Hi, Tabbie,
    Another fan of saving dryer sheets. I use two and put them on my swiffer. When they run out, i put rags on it. Works like a charm and saves a bundle!

  63. Hi, Rose!
    Are you in the mountains? We’re in the U.P. of Michigan. We’ve just started a conversation about moving South. Western N.C. is on the list. (Along with that corner of Tn. and Va.) It may be a few years, but i’m excited about the prospects! Less snow, more growing season and closer to family. This frugal journey is helping save for the day…

  64. Hi Elizabeth and Athanasia! Sorry about the delay in answering your question. I will do a post about it on Monday. It really very simple just your standard patch quilt but with wool instead of cotton. And you tie it rather than quilt it.

  65. Hi, I read your post and thought again about my electric mattress… I keep it under my bed linen all the time, put it in before bedtime and then unplug. So I can sleep even in very cold rooms, bed is warm. I take it with me everywhere!

  66. I just love to stop by here and read all the comments – I always learn something new! 😀 We have a few larger projects planned for our house that we need to save up to complete, so I’ve been working hard on being more intentional with frugal ways to accomplish this. I pulled together a number of the children’s items we no longer need and listed some on CraigsList and some on local Facebook garage sale pages. I sold a few things here and there – but I’m taking a break from that. We live in CO and there was a situation in Longmont that was very tragic and frightening that involved CraigsList and similar methods of owner-sales. I will only feel comfortable meeting to sell items in a public place with heavy traffic going forward, and that of course makes it a little more difficult to do (I stay at home full time with our littlest – the older is in elementary during the weekdays). I listed a few higher end items that were in excellent condition on eBay and sold those. I re-used shipping materials I have saved from previous online purchases which saves both me and the buyers money in the end. I used the money I earned to get a second hand high quality ski/snow coat for our oldest to grow into. There is a large children’s items sale locally this weekend that a friend of mine participates in regularly. She let me add some items to what she is selling, and we will split the listing fee in half. She is putting the items out at the start, and we will both work on gathering up unsold items at the end of the sale. It was very gracious of her to help me learn the ropes for this sale. I don’t think I’ll ever have as many items as she has to make it worthwhile to sell on my own, but if I can continue to split the fee/work with her (the sale is a couple of times a year) I will hopefully have a new avenue for bringing back some of what we have spent on children’s clothing, accessories and gear. I’ve been really cutting down on food waste and making sure we are using up leftovers regularly. Since it has warmed up I’ve been able to start trench composting food prep scraps again, and a friend of ours who has bunnies said when they clean out their cage they will save the ‘throwaway’ for us to put into the garden. The raised bed we have has gone kind of clay-ey so we have some work to do before we start to plant seeds in a couple months! Today I spent time repairing toys that had broken, needed new batteries, etc. I set them aside in a container as needed and go through and fix them about once a year. We keep so many things out of the trash this way (and keep from having to replace what we already own too!). A LOT of it only requires a little super-type glue or hot glue. I need to work on some clothes mending this afternoon/evening too (that is a whole OTHER pile 😮 I’ve been slowly working on my Swagbucks points total, but it is HARD for me to remember to do it daily! I need to figure out a way to follow through on it though, as this is how we’ll be paying for most of the gifts we give this year. I finally joined Azure Standard and ordered a few items from them that are priced less than what we would pay for them locally and picked them up at our local drop-off. I have been making sure the shutters are opened during the daytime, and lights are off until the evening – but I am struggling with getting my husband and my oldest to make sure they turn off lights when they leave a room for an extended period of time. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get them to come around/remember?

  67. The only way I found to get my family to stop wasting was to charge them. When kids get an allowance for doing chores but you take .05 each time they leave the lights on then at the end of the week when the allowance is light they get the picture and they start to remember. In our family there is so much waste right now and I can not get it under control so I have had to take drastic measures.

  68. Rhonda,
    Hang in there. We have many kids that struggle as well, but only 1 grown son with Asperbergers. Now days, I deal with a lot of ADHD, drug and alcohol effects, PTSD, etc…… I know how hard it is to go on vacation. My niece and nephew struggle, also,(we vacation with them at times) and yet, it’s wonderful to see all of these children bloom and grow as they get older and these “new, uncomfortable” experiences become “normal” to them and they enjoy them much more. Our son, who now lives in a group home, goes on vacation with his fellow residents and the caretakers every year or two and seems to enjoy it-so there’s hope. (For those who are interested–he became unable to live with us when he was around 16 because his rages were destructive and dangerous to the younger children–sad times–but he visits on holidays, etc. now).

    So, this past week while we were gone, I had one little nervous nellie myself who bit her fingernails to the quick, brushed her hair until I thought it would fall out, and (wait for it–) pulled out her brace wire by worrying her braces so much with her water bottle that it finally came part way out in a big loop and my husband had to remove it all the way. You just had to chuckle. The minute we walked through the door, calm returned. Change is not our friend:) — Routine is! It is disappointing when you plan something and they don’t deal well with it.

    I’m glad you get to send her to camp. It’s the only way she will ever get to enjoy that experience. My niece, who is more autistic, has gone a few times to one of those special camps and it was so worth it for her to feel like other kids, special, and at the same time not bombarded with crowds, noisy music, and she got to have a routine, etc.

  69. We had a nice get-away for a few days down at the beach. We stayed in a cabin we got for free at a camp where my husband has worked as part of his job over the years.

    He took my 14-year-old to garage sales while I shopped at JoAnn’s. They found a sewing machine for $10. The woman said she had only made a few items on it, like curtains. If we had not taken the small car to save gas, my husband said he would have bought much more stuff, as these people were cleaning out a beach cabin and going cross country to live, so were basically giving it away. We easily got the maching working. It’s a relatively inexpensive Singer from JoAnn’s. We saw them selling for $159. Still, it works well, and should be a good machine for her. She then bought some fabric that was 75% off, due to some spotting. I helped her cut it out and we worked around those spots. She got the skirt 1/2 finished. Even including notions, pattern, etc. the skirt is under $7. The fabric was only $1.50 since it was on the bargain rack and we used a coupon for elastic.

    We chopped and hauled wood for 5 hours today. I’m sore because we do it so infrequently. It was free, other than our labor, gas, oil, etc. What a blessing. I’m falling asleep just from the exertion, so good night to all.

  70. Thank you so much for your kind words, Becky. We didn’t even go away…we just went bowling. My daughter, on her own accord, turned it into a competition (we kept reminding her this was just for fun), then had a major meltdown when she didn’t win. It’s not “socially acceptable” to have an 11 year old have a meltdown like a two year old, so of course we had people staring at us. This made my daughter even more upset, because people were staring at her (gee, I wonder why?). So, instead of this being a nice, fun experience as a family, it turned into yet another disappointment.:( It’s hard for parents of normal children to comprehend how difficult it is for parents of special needs children to do normal things.

  71. My mother used to save dryer sheets, & reuse them, by using 2 per load. We don’t use them at all, due to allergies, but they can be used more than once if you use 2. Mom kept a little plastic tub on the top of the dryer where we put them if there was only 1 in the load.

  72. i used to call the person that left the lights or tv on back into the room. Interrupt whatever they are doing from wherever they are to come back and turn off the lights or tv. Example, I go downstairs to do laundry and all the lights are left on by the boy. I walk back upstairs to find boy outside shooting hoops with others. Call him in right there, immediately to go downstairs and turn off all the lights.

  73. What a wonderful opportunity for your family. The pictures are beautiful. DH and I went at Red Rock for the first time last week-it was a treat with temperatures here in the midwest still very “wintery”. Thanks for sharing. This week…
    -Took lunches every day to work.
    -I am saving milk jugs to make mini-greenhouses for seeds.
    -Went to Goodwill and passed on some gift wrap, made due with what I had at home.
    -Offered to make a fabric basket for a friend, asked what I wanted-not a thing. She offered to cut and color my hair.
    -Went to doctor for check up, feel blessed to be able to make the appointment.
    -Ate dinner tonight using up two evenings of left overs.
    -Sold an item of ebay and made $10.00 after expenses. I was going to donate the item, glad I tried selling it.
    -Fixed the computer power cord, duck tape did the trick.
    -Cleaned the house during two different days so don’t have to do it this weekend.
    -Went to the grocery store and stuck to the list.
    -Keep window shades up and furnace turned way down.

  74. What a great experience for your family! I think they must have loved it! So exciting!
    Last week we had a few days away. We take a very frugal holiday at least once a year. We drive to our favourite beachside town. It is autumn here and the weather was beautiful! I bought a lot of magazines at the local op shop (thrift store) for 5c each and loved them! Now I have new ideas and new recipes!
    We fed the pelicans and they were so friendly. We took a lot of food with us. In the morning I took a lasagne from the freezer and by the time we got there it was almost thawed for our first dinner away. I packed a picnic basket and hot drinks for the road. We had a lovely time. Now I am home facing up to the washing! My frugal week is posted on Fridays at It really helps to appreciate how much we saved and all we did during the week. Now to plan next week! xxx

  75. My husband and I enjoyed a “balloon glow” in Colorado Springs years ago. The balloons glowed as they were being filled before dawn.

    I love it that your eldest son carries his water bottle on his belt loop with a carabiner, mine does too!

    My daughters picked wild chives on our property and I diced them and froze them. We’ll use them for soups, baked potatoes and casseroles. I made and canned lemon curd. We have chickens and are getting 7-9 eggs a day. So this is a great way to preserve the extra. Plus the curd helps tide us over till July when it’s blackberry jam time. I will also pack extra eggs in lard and salt in a large pretzel jug, storing in the cellar. This preserves the eggs for months!

  76. Thanks! I had a lot more of them bloom after I took that photo. I have promised myself to plant the flowers I love. Daffodils are one of them. Pansies are another.

  77. Mandy, glad you are feeling better. All 3 of my girls went through various stages of vegetarianism , now only my youngest remains. We have many veg recipes, many of them vegan. Both my husband’s parents died too soon…heart disease and circulatory problems and a lifetime of little medical care. I’ve always been interested in nutrition since I have an auto-immune disease….I was diagnosed with RA at 25. Meat is mostly cooked as a side here and added in by the person that wants it and how much they want. I hope your husband and you can work out a plan so you are both happy.

  78. I didn’t know you could do that with eggs. I did read that if eggs are from your own chickens or chickens from people you know that there is a natural coating on the egg that shouldn’t be washed off. That is why those eggs don’t need to be refrigerated as with store bought eggs that are required to be washed and then have to be refrigerated.

  79. Packing eggs in lard has been around since at least the 19th century. We do a demo of this at the pioneer village I work at. They also featured this on one of the episodes of Victorian Farm or Edwardian Farm (not sure which one), where I think they used a lye solution which helps with bacterial formation (the show explains it better than I am). Anything that coats and seals the pours on the surface of the egg shell can be used, including wax. It stops oxygen from getting into the egg an making it go stale, the same way oxygen makes grains go stale. Here’s an article I found that talks about storing eggs this way:

  80. Found 12 perennials to transplant in a side garden that we are going to tear up (nothing ever done well there and we really don’t need the garden space). Only a few of my herbs came back this year and I will transplant those as well. The only plants I plan on buying this year are tomatoes and eggplant. Everything else will be done by seed. If our local seed/plant place has good onion sets I may put in 100 or so of those.

    Found the day old bread store in town! It is an Earthgrains store and for $21.00 I bought enough bread for three months or more for us. I used to bake my own bread but actually found it more frugal since it is just the two of us and we have very different bread “likes” to search the half off bin at the grocery store. This stores prices were so much better than even half off! For me: two packages of english muffins (including one premium one that is double protein), 1 bagel thins, 1 Orowheat Country white and two packages of Voortman’s cookies – shortbread and coconut. For SO: multigrain sandwich thins for turkey burgers, 1 thin sliced white sandwich bread, 1 doz Entremann’s donuts. For both: a two bound food service sliced loaf of sourdough and a package of UTZ potato chips (hard to find here and expensive when I do). I am repackaging most of it in to smaller packages so I can take it out as needed from the big freezer. The thin sliced sandwich will last two weeks and not spoil 😉 so won’t repackage that.

    I did a thrift store day on Wednesday (Senior day at Goodwill and our local store run by the Mennonites). In these two I found 3 tops for me for $2.00 each, a long jean skirt for $4, and some socks at GW that are brand new – five pack of dark colors for $6.00. In addition my favorite store is having it’s red basket days – $10.00 for a shopping basket of clothes. There I found more tops for me (I did an assessment and I have a lot of capris and long shorts but my tops were getting really thin), a beautiful linen 3/4 length shirt and a pair of cammo fleece pants for the 8 year old son of a our neighbor. That will be the end of thrift shopping for me for a couple of months. SO doesn’t really like thrift cloths and is very particular so I don’t try to even pick up things. Funny – I really don’t mind but I have friends who actually recoil when I mention that I found something at a thrift store. These are top labels too and they are complimenting me on them but when I say “oh, found this at Bargain Box” they say something like “oooo”. Guess I shouldn’t say anything but thank them for the compliment.

    We have a couple of big projects here on the farm and I found ‘cull’ wood at Lowes for 1/4 of the regular price and two 8′ tall large round cedar posts at our Habitat reStore for $15.00. I am blessed that my father was a carpenter for years – first as work then as hobby – and I learned a lot about selecting wood from him. SO did a thorough reorganization of our shed and we don’t need any hardware, nails or screws to do the projects.

    I am making my frugal soup on a weekly basis. SO really only likes chili, beef stew and gumbo once or twice a year. And chicken noodle when sick. I LOVE soup for lunch and had stopped making it since I was the only eating it. I baked a chicken using Brandy’s great recipe and then made stock. I’ll make a batch of my mixed veggie/fridge cleanout/bean soup today and then freezer in one serving sizes.

    I realized that I may be sounding critical of my SO but I think I’ve finally realized that there are ways for both of us to be happy with what we are eating and how we are saving money. Finding that compromise after so many years together makes situations a lot less testy. Plus when we both were working and had a lot of ‘disposable’ income we just bought things and had a lot of waste. Not anymore!

    Have a great week everyone.

  81. Brings back memories of when I owned a hot air balloon. Lots of fun for the first few years. Then it became less exciting and more like work. Much like owning a boat I hear. But its fun to give others a thrill.

  82. We actually had a brick in the tank of a previous house’s toilet. Not sure what was wrong with the brick, but it decomposed?/bits flaked off? and made a huge mess. The brick was there when we moved in. Thanks for the suggestion though!

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