Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Larkspur and Rose arrangement The Prudent Homemaker

It was another windy week, though there were some still hours in which I managed to get outside to do some work in the garden.

I picked mulberries from my neighbor’s tree. The wind and birds had aleady claimed quite a few. It was too windy to risk picking on the extension ladder, so I only picked a small amount. I froze what I picked to use in smoothies.

I planted basil, vinca, zinnia, borage, and portulaca seeds in the garden.

With permission, I took cuttings from my neighbor’s honeysuckle plants and planted them in my garden.

I cut flowers, branches, and vines from the garden for indoor arrangements.

I bought a beautiful bookcase off a Facebook garage sale page for a wonderful price (and paying for a third of it from money I’ve made selling items on that same site). I had intended for this to go in the boy’s room, but it was too tall to fit through the hallway to get into their room, so we added it to the library. Because of the original plan to put it in the boys’ room, I ended up doing some bookcase switching anyway. I moved the cabinet with shelves (that has doors on it) to one girls’ room, and the boys other short bookcase to the other girls’ room. I moved the taller bookcase from one girls’ room to the boys’ room. The switch ended up being just what they all needed to be more organized.

Our vaccum died last week. Having to replace a vaccum doesn’t seem like a frugal thing–however, this vaccum started giving us trouble several years ago–it is an upright that would even break in half on a regular basis!  We worked on it before and made it keep working for us. When it first started looking like it was time for a new vaccum, I researched and added the one I wanted to my Amazon wish list. My husband suggested we keep using the vaccum (we would put it back together each time it fell apart) and I put off buying the new one–for four years! Now that I had to replace it, I was able to not only get a great price on Amazon, but they also had a bonus $20 off coupon; all I had to do was click the button and the $20 off was applied to the total!  (I must have hit just the right day for the coupon, too, because it wasn’t on there the next day when I went to look at it online again). After four years, I saw that the model I researched still has high reviews. It is also bagless and the filters can be washed. 

My husband cut his hair.

My husband and I went out for lunch on my birthday to Firehouse Subs, since they have a free birthday 8″ sandwich. I had never been there before; I thought their options looked delicious and my sandwich was very good! We both had water to drink and my husband bought himself a sandwich (we didn’t get any sides) so our lunch was just the cost of his sandwich. It was a nice date.

Dill Seeds The Prudent Homemaker

I collected dill seeds and snow pea seeds from the garden.

I cut lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, and parsley from the garden. My lettuce is usually bolting and turning bitter this time of year, but I continued to plant every couple of weeks, and so I have newer lettuce than usual this time of year. In addition, the hot temperatures that we had at the beginning of the month were blown away by the colder wind storms that have come through, which has been a blessing in keeping the lettuce growing well.

I picked white and red strawberries.

What did you do to save money last week?

This Post Has 116 Comments

  1. Rebekah

    Dear Brandy – I have planted Borage, but I do not know what to use it for. I planted it for my bees because it is a recommended bee plant. How do you use it? Also, I have lots of herb plants, but I do not know the best way/time/schedule to harvest them. I tend to only use them fresh and then feel bad when they go to waste in the fall. Any information you could provide would be awesome. Thanks so much! Love your blog!
    Rebekah

  2. Sandra

    I made all of our bread and meals last week. I canned the ground beef I bought on sale the week before. I got seven quarts which will be seven meals plus leftovers. I will use this ground beef for special meals because it is still so expensive even on sale. Wal-Mart had avocadoes on sale today for 33 cents each. I bought three. This is another special treat. They also had hams on sale for 99 cents per pound. I had a pretty good week but I plan to do much better.

  3. TerriC

    Brandy we broke down and got a vacuum this past week too. We’d ordered replacement parts for ours over the last 8 years. For a $45 vacuum it really did hold up very well. Our choice this time was the Bissell Clean View, also another bagless vacuum. We felt our old one had not been cleaning as well as it might but wow were we shocked when we used this new one for the first time. It pulled up loads of stuff and we’re the sort who vacuum three times a week (no kids/no pets) and had vacuumed daily when the kids were home!
    Here’s what I did this week to save: http://bluehousejournal.blogspot.com/2015/04/this-week-in-my-home-destination-savings.html

  4. Tina in the NW

    That’s amazing you were able to make your old vacuum last four years after it started breaking down. I think you will be happy with your new purchase – we used to have a similar vacuum and it worked great.

    My frugal accomplishments for this week:

    I dried a few clothes outside! While this is technically not allowed in our condo complex, it was a very sunny day and I couldn’t resist. We do dry some things inside, but it’s quite damp here, and we already have a problem with mold and mildew in our condo, so I don’t want to make things worse. I have a second, smaller drying rack that I found at a thrift store, and I realized it was shorter than the hedge that surrounds our patio, so people likely wouldn’t notice if I dried a few clothes outside. I was very pleased I was able to do this. 🙂

    I have a couple cast iron pans, but I have never mastered cooking with them (everything ends up sticking, and I can never get them clean without stripping the seasoning layer). Several weeks back, a friend gave me a lesson in using and cleaning cast iron. I decided to try cooking in my pans again. I successfully did this twice last week, and plan on continuing.

    My sister gave me a summer jacket that someone had given her. It’s a nice neutral color, and I will get a bunch of use out of it.

    When ordering supplements online, I searched for an additional promo code, and got an extra $10 off my order.

    And I did all the things I normally do: made water kefir and kombucha, read books from the library, ate from the freezer and the food I canned last year, washed out plastic bags, used my worm composting bin, etc. I also started collecting eggshells for the garden.

    Now, I have a question, and I am hoping someone could offer me some tips or advice. Every few months, our bath towels start smelling sour. We have a front loader, but this also happened in the past when we had a top loader. It is much worse if we use bath towels more than once or wash in cold water. So, what I do now is: use towels once, wash in hot water, add baking soda to each load, do a second rinse, and dry them in the dryer. I make sure the towels are completely dry before I put them away (it’s quite damp where we live). When they start to smell sour again, I put them through the sanitizing cycle on our washer, and that helps for a while. But does anyone know what causes this? Any ideas how to eliminate it completely, or is this just a normal thing that happens?

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

  5. Jane

    Happy birthday, Brandy! Your flower arrangement is just beautiful.

    This week I cut my own and my husband’s hair.
    Harvest rhubarb and made strawberry-rhubarb jam.
    Collected all the twigs and branches from the yard and made bundles for the fireplace.
    My husband made some wooden spoons from some firewood that he noticed had nice graining on it.
    Got a good deal on some pork/veal mixture from the butcher, so made a large meatloaf.
    Sewed a headcovering from fabric scraps.
    We got our heating bill for the past month, and all our heating with the wood stove is really paying off. Only $30 for the month of April! Not bad considering we have had hardly had any days with the temps. above 40 degrees.

  6. We’ve been working on getting our garden planted and the things replaced that didn’t survive our winter weather this year. I got some creeping phlox on clearance for $.25 each at Lowe’s. They needed a little attention when I first brought them home but now are thriving in their new homes … an old pair of my husband’s worn out boots, an old metal watering can and a willow planter.

  7. Heidi

    We spent one day of the weekend checking on our new beehive; last year’s couldn’t withstand our incredible winter and died. This was very sad but we harvested over five gallons of honey from the hive. I split it with my friend who is allowing us to keep our hives on her property…she doesn’t have bears, we do! I’ve made over 20 jars of honey, some of which I’m saving for family gifts and some of which I have sold. I’ve also separated the wax and am making candles from it. I’m restoring some lovely jar candles with it and some wicking that I’ve had around forever. So happy to be able to make our own candles and the house smells delicious!
    We spent the other day (which was supposed to be a day of rest but…) mucking out the chicken coop and digging out the year’s compost and putting it in some of the raised beds in the vegetable garden. The compost was incredible this year…black gold!! I’m so happy not to have to buy any! My husband repaired and shored up the compost bin and helped me wheel all the compost into the garden while the kids hauled wood into the house for the fire that we needed to have last night since the temperature was back down into the 30s.
    I planted lettuce, onions and leeks and got my potato bins ready. I have lots of seedlings in the house and my fig trees appear to setting fruit. They are inside, of course!
    I sold some of my children’s old textbooks in my Amazon store for a good price, got some organic mushrooms for free from a friend and hung all my laundry out on the sunny days. I made granola and am having great luck making an overnight-rise bread that requires only flour, yeast, salt and water. We had a no waste food week which always makes me feel terrific.
    Temps are chilly today so I’m staying in, making candles, transplanting tomato seedlings into larger pots and making soup for dinner.
    Have a great week everyone!
    Heidi

  8. Tina,

    I have heard your towel problem is a common one in the Pacific Northwest. You can also try vinegar in the load. I think the sanitizing cycle will just have to be a regular thing for you.

    Here it is not a problem because it is so dry. I can wash in cold and we can use towels all week without a problem. Every area has its challenges, and in your climate that is one of them. Best of luck to you!

  9. Marivene

    The arrangement is lovely in your Wexford bowl!

    Baked the last Boston Marrow squash from last year’s garden. It was a large one, so we ate some of it & I dehydrated the rest. I used the blender to spin down the pieces to a coarse powder, then did the same thing to the Butternut squash I had dehydrated & combined the 2. Three large squash made not quite 1 cup of coarse squash powder, so this will take much less space to store. I also dehydrated some older fruit cocktail. 5 cans filled 1 pint jar.

    Hauled more aged manure from the stable, & picked up more grounds for gardeners from Starbucks. I also gathered some elm seeds that had collected in the dry gutter, for my daughter to scatter along her pasture fences.

    Picked up & recycled soda cans that one of the RNs with whom I used to work saved for my grandchildren. Both of them received $2.50 because of her generosity, which is a lot more than the usual recycling run brings. We do not drink much soda, & neither do they, so the bulk of the cans we recycle together are tin cans from food, which are not paid out at as high a rate.

    Cashed a pine cone survey check.

    Ordered another container of Terra Sorb. Since I live in a desert state, where it does not rain often, I use this to help retain moisture in the soil when I plant trees or berry bushes. After 5 years it breaks down into fertilizer, but by then the plants are usually established. I used to order the 1-lb containers, but both my oldest daughter & I use this, & it is much less expensive in the 4.5-lb container, so I order the big one now, & we both refill our 1-lb containers from it every couple of years.

    Continued to work on the strawberry bed. Planted Swiss chard & carrots.

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

    Gathered water from the downspouts during a series of rainstorms over the weekend. The jugs for the garden are all full now, & everything has been very well watered.

    Divided one of the rhubarb crowns that needed to be divided. I potted up 2 of the divisions for neighbors that wanted a start.

    Used the drying rack instead of the dryer for about half of the loads.

    Watched “Cheese Slices” on UEN.

  10. HeatherKee

    I’m not sure what causes it but we have the same problem here. I’ve taken to buying white towels and using bleach in my water every couple of washes. It allows us to use the towels more than once and not have to wash as often. It keeps the towels looking bright and they don’t get to smelling sour. I also “clean” my washer using vinegar and hot water for cycle with no laundry in it every couple 3 months or so to keep the washer from having a smell in it too. Hope this helps.

  11. Jenny

    The weather has been so nice that we’ve been keeping the windows open during the day and night. We’re curious to see how much that’ll save us on electricity next month. A month ago I started hanging our wash outside, that alone saved us $40 on our electric bill. The other thing we’re doing is using everything we have stored up in the pantry. I planted a garden. The girls and I also picked 4lbs of wild blackberries and made jam. And now that the chicken run will be completed this week, we’re getting chickens next week.

  12. Our vaccuum went out a month ago too…it was my third one from a garage sale. Decided to just go ahead and buy a new one like you did (although a different brand).
    Glad you enjoyed your day out. You can save a lot of money just ordering water. Have a great week.

    I sold a couple of items last week. It really helped with the budget. Here is a list of my other frugal accomplishments.
    http://vickieskitchenandgarden.blogspot.com/2015/04/my-frugal-ways-this-past-week-41615.html

  13. Annabel smith

    Every time you use your new vaccum it will be lovely after the broken one for four years. It will feel like a treat!
    I have been potting herbs to grow as gifts as I had so many seedlings come up I decided to pot some in a few lovely pots I had. I can use these as gifts in a few months time I think.
    We had lots of rain and I’m so happy for the garden. I made more freezer meals and am almost finished a blanket I am crocheting.
    I made gift tags so I have a big supply, after making a good card supply. You can see them here http://thebluebirdsarenesting.blogspot.com.au/ I added to my pantry and feel like I am learning lots of things about preparedness which is something I am trying to improve on. We had a good week and I have lots of cooking to do this week. Our weather is cooling so I am making pumpkin soup, curry and corn bread. Have a wonderful week. Xxx

  14. Lisa

    Tina, we had the same problem when we lived in Florida. As newlyweds, my husband and I selected pretty green bed sheets and bath towels for our new home. They quickly soured, and I wasn’t sure what to do. I then learned it is best to just buy white bed sheets and white towels, and bleach them. I have continued this practice while living in GA, and we no longer have sour-smelling linens! Lisa

  15. Tina in the NW

    That makes sense, thank you. I always felt bad about not using cold water for laundry, but warm/hot loads just work so much better for getting clothes and towels clean around here.

  16. Laurie

    Hi Tina: Is sounds like you need to go buy a dehumidifier from Lowe’s or Home Depot. I have one in my basement and run it all spring and summer. It pulls all the moisture out of the house. I have never had mold, water in the basement or any other problems. I would buy a large one and if you have a floor drain in your basement there is tubing that is hooked onto the back and you just place it on your floor drain so you do not have to worry about emptying it all the time. A lot of people say, but I have a dehumidifier on my A/C. That is not good enough. You see a huge difference very quickly. For instance when it rains a lot, my garage floor becomes very wet. I put mine out in the garage and within 12 it is dry.

  17. Mandy

    Hello everyone! Last week:
    -made veggie broth from scraps, honey whole wheat bread, a rice dish with brown rice, tomato paste and seasons (very good, my 4 year old had seconds!), lentil stew, and ate lots of veggies.
    -bought package free fruits and veggies except mushrooms
    -spent less than my allotted amount for groceries
    -fail: broke a glass jug of unopened milk on our concrete driveway.
    -my husband obtained a large plastic trash bag full of clothing from our daughter from a Facebook garage sale page. The lady was giving the items away because they didnt’ sell. He also was able to get two small tackle boxes, a small lawn chair for our daughter, and a jacket for himself.
    -saved $23.00 by purchasing some organic items through an online market.
    -did not eat out all week, at work or home
    -only food waste was a beans/rice recipe that was to spicy, attempted to eat as much as possible.
    -made pot luck food for work with mostly stuff on hand
    -took all meals to work, drank coffee, water, and hot tea.
    -I only went to work, home, and grocery shopping last week.
    -paid off a small medical bill
    -I received a surprise deposit from child support (for my grown son – his father will be paying me for a VERY long time due to not paying child support for 15 years). I will pay off a debt with this money, as well as restock some items in our pantry and freezer.
    -I ordered an Alum stone from Amazon (with no packaging 🙂 ) to use instead of continuing to make my own deoderant.
    -did the usual: watched how much I use of a product, wash and reuse baggies and glass containers, cook from scratch, turn off lights, wash full loads of laundry using my soap nuts and ACV for rinsing.
    Have a great week everyone!

  18. SCo Mary

    It was a mixed week. We both had an every 10 year medical procedure on Monday (no more details needed) which meant for a rather unproductive Sunday and Monday. We needed to do a few projects during the week but I wasn’t up for much. I’ve been dealing with lower back pain for several years (osteoarthritis) and 18 months ago a facet block really helped. I started to have pain again so went in on Friday for another block. It seems to be successful but for some reason it took 48 hours for me to have much energy. On Sunday I decided to go into town to take care of most of Mays grocery shopping.
    Albertson’s had their “quarter” sale so I bought 24 cans of no-salt diced tomatoes, 12 cans of crushed tomatoes and 12 cans of “Rotel” type tomatoes for 50c a can. I also bought 36 cans of beans (garbanzo, black, kidney, navy) for 50c each. This year I hope to put up a lot more tomatoes as we’ve use almost all that I put up last fall. I also found some other things to stock up, including packets of flavorings for 25c. I’ve found that if I have those on hand when SO needs to do cooking they are handy . For the two of us it is really more cost effective for me to have canned beans on hand versus taking up freezer space. I reserve that for meats and meals I’ve prepared and froze. We put in our ‘order’ for a ½ beef – we’ll get that in late August. The young couple who has a small ranch raises beef w/out hormones, mostly grass fed and then some grain. The flavor is out of this world even if a little more costly. We are both from ranching/farming families and the quality and flavor is a big priority for us. I’ve monitored what we use over the past several years and this year will request steaks, hamburger (which has amazing flavor), stew meat and just a few roasts.
    I stopped at Safeway and stumble on eggs for ½ price so I was able to get 2 more dozen for $1.25 each. They also had some other things in their ½ bins that I picked up to restock. KingSoopers was next and I found a thumb support for $2.99! I have needed one for some time as the one I’ve used forever has slowly given up. I have carpal tunnel due to all the years of working in high tech and typing on computers for hours and hours a day – as well as working production jobs long ago where hand tools were used before they knew the impact. I picked up the 2 free items from the last two weeks. These are real treats as they aren’t things that I’d normally buy. I also was able to boost my fuel points to the 20c off per gallon range. We need to fill about 35 gallons of regular and diesel fuel cans for use in our small tractor and big mower and this will really help.
    Then I stopped at Goodwill. I found small canning jars – the pint and ½ pint size for 35c each, a steamer basket for 99c (mine finally gave up after 20 years of use!) and five tops that were either 30% or 5% off! I found a lovely Coldwater Creek cross over top in their ‘traveler’ knit in black for $2.00. I am so please with that as I love the drape and quality of the knit and can make the top work with so many things. It looks like I’ll finally be working in late June – with two jobs! One is part-time, around 14 hours per week and one is PRN. There was a delay in funding for both (I applied in early spring, was hired and then the delays). I’ll need things that are suitable for office situations.
    Brandy – you made me laugh with the vacuum cleaner story. We have laminate and tile floors with a few small rugs. With dogs, cats and living on a farm we clean floors daily. We bought a little vacuum a year ago that worked great until I was cleaning the brushes and the little wheels fell off. SO’s solution was to ‘toss’ it but I persevered and finally fixed it. It is running great again and all it took was some super glue, time and patience! Yippee for me! Before I managed to fix it we used dust mops, brooms and a little manual sweeper but frankly it is easier to use the little vacuum.
    Finally Saturday night we went to the housewarming and 9th birthday party that our friend held – she moved into the small farm house on our farm a few months ago. She helps with our fall business (corn maze/pumpkin patch). Her son is like a grandson for us. We had a lovely meal and the evening ended with friends and neighbors sitting around a ‘bonfire’ – the first of this year. Her folks have some creek bottom land and they clean out dead trees and limbs all year long. It was a lovely low key country type evening – lots of stars and quiet conversation.

  19. Michelle S

    -Cashed in some mycokerewards points for a $5 Walmart gift card.
    – Was at the mall (oh how I hate the mall) getting my wedding rings cleaned and inspected when I remembered that I had a coupon for a free full-sized bottle of lotion from Bath and Body Works. Of course, I cashed in on that!
    – Ordered a $25 Wal-mart gift card from swagbucks.
    – Got money added to my savings star account
    – Used a code to rent a redbox movie for half price.
    – completed a pinecone survey
    – found 2 pound bags of brown sugar on clearance for 50 cents at my grocery store so I stocked up.
    – We are busy preparing for a road trip to a wedding several States away in May. We were looking at hotels (why are they so expensive?!?) when I remember that because husband is military, we can stay at military base lodging for fairly cheap! There are a few bases in the area we are going to so I had him call lodging and 10 minutes later we had a room booked for the week for HALF the price of a hotel stay!

  20. Linda P.

    I’ve been using the morning’s dish-washing and rinse water plus extra shower warm-up water to wash down and rinse off our tiled floor on the loggia.

    This must be the week for cast iron cooking. I, too, like Tina, dug out my old cast iron kettle and lid and re-seasoned them. I had read in a how-to article that cast iron isn’t the best cookware for use in a sun or solar oven because it takes so long to heat. However, we lost our enamelware pot that came with the sun oven all those years ago, and I did have cast iron. All the rest of my saucepans or kettles are shiny bright and won’t work for a sun oven. Someone from another hot climate like mine had commented that she uses the sun’s heat to warm up both the sun oven and cast iron pot in the mornings. Then, when she cooks in it, the cast iron retains heat, even with the variations in the sun’s angle or on a day with spotty cloud cover. Since the cast-iron kettle was already warm after being seasoned, I tried it out in the sun oven by making five days’ worth of steel cut oatmeal. I brought water to a boil inside first, then mixed in the steel-cut oats and carried them out to the already-hot sun oven and cast-iron kettle. The 300+ degrees cooked the oatmeal perfectly, taking about one hour instead of the usual thirty minutes inside the house on a simmer on the stove top, and it didn’t stick! I divided the oatmeal into servings in glass bowls I use for this purpose. Some went into the fridge and some, into the freezer. I’m the only one eating oatmeal, and I worry about how long it stays good in the fridge. In the mornings, I add raisins and soy milk and reheat it in the microwave. It’s faster that way on busy mornings, and I’m not tempted to reach for something less healthy.

    Although it doesn’t feel frugal, we bought a toaster oven on one of Amazon’s daily deals, also getting an extra percentage off due to our credit card via Amazon. We make toast almost every day, but because it’s a homemade rustic loaf, it doesn’t fit into a typical toaster. Toasting it in the oven on broil heats up the kitchen. That’s not a good thing in a Central Texas summer. This will help, we hope, with both toast and other items we can’t cook in the sun oven.

    I’ve already given my husband a gift suggestion for me for Christmas/birthday (the same day for me). I need a full-length mirror, and I suggested he start checking Goodwill and the downtown antique/junk shops for a good deal. He’s great at refinishing, so as long as the mirror is workable, I don’t care about the shape the wood is in. I had to laugh as I educated him about “fat” mirrors and “skinny” mirrors, telling him to look at himself in it and make sure that he didn’t look shorter and squatter than he usually does before he buys it.

    I got 2 lbs of key limes on special, so I zested them and froze the juice in ice-cube sizes. I like a squeeze of lime juice in my make-your-own brown rice and black bean rice bowls, but I can’t use up two pounds’ worth of limes before they go bad. Other than that, we’re doing the things everyone else is doing. Thank you to the person who suggested a couple of weeks back that she washes her face before getting into the shower. At first, as so often happens when I read something new, I thought, that’s getting a bit excessive. Then I saw how much time it saved in the shower. I’ve just started a Pinterest page to help us decide on new furnishings for the living room when we’ve finished saving for the room’s redecoration. A little outside-the-shower washing of my face is worth it if I can replace the sagging sofa a bit sooner!

  21. Andrea

    So excited to read everyone’s frugal accomplishments! We have had a great week frugally speaking. I found some great sales at the stores when I went shopping this weekend and we’re pretty well stocked for the month with the exception of milk and fresh fruit which I will probably have to supplement half-way through the month I imagine. Some of my frugal finds included 18 ct. eggs for .99 each. I was able to buy 6 at that price so I can make Brandy’s quiche recipe for dinner tonight! I also found pepperoni for $1.99/pound that didn’t have any additives, nitrates, nitrites, etc. My youngest loves pepperoni, but I hardly ever buy it due to the additives and the uncured kind is really expensive. It was a blessing to find this and I was able to buy four bags at that price. I was also able to buy 12 pounds of Pink Lady apples for $5 total. I couldn’t believe that price and they are a nice snacking size. I was needing to buy dry cat food again and the kind I had been buying was more expensive than the last time I bought it. I’m glad I held off buying it at Sam’s because I went to another store that had a bunch of 16 pound bags on clearance for $8. Much easier on the wallet…it’s tempting to go back and buy them all, but I don’t think I can do that right now. Maybe I will check back from time to time and see if they are still there. Speaking of checking on things, I checked our Winco’s for Dahlia’s Brandy, but did not find any. I might have missed them since I didn’t get over there until Sat.
    I also took another reader’s advice from the comments last week and was able to find a large canister of Gatorade powder at Sam’s for less than $10. It will make 9 gallons! Not only is this price cheaper than the cases I was buying (almost $16 for a case of 24-20 oz. bottles), but it will last us a lot longer, too. I’m hoping I can make it through the month with just one canister because I wasn’t getting through the month with one case of bottles. I was also able to get a flavor that didn’t have any “bad stuff” in it except the coloring. I guess I have to accept that, but I don’t like that they put artificial colorings in these drinks. 🙁
    We’ve been enjoying some cooler weather and a little rain. Managed to harvest the rest of our carrots over the weekend and exchanged some of those with friends who had a TON of grapefruit for us. Their grapefruit are the best! We got about 100 off our tree, but we harvested them all earlier this year before a frost was due. Theirs just keep coming!
    I think that might be about it for our accomplishments this week. Trying to stay the course and keep a positive outlook!
    God Bless,
    Andrea

  22. We had to replace our vacuum recently as well. We are currently Costco members (there was an offer with rebates that made it essentially free to join) so I got my replacement one there. I went from a bagged to bagless and washable filters too! I am very, very happy with the new vacuum. Our old one was held together with duct tape, sheet metal screws and a prayer or two!

    We had a good week last week – I have all my ‘stuff’ posted here: http://quietcountrylife.blogspot.com/2015/04/this-weeks-frugal-accomplishments-and.html

    It makes me smile that you are picking mulberries….while our trees are just beginning to break bud and leaf a little! Thanks for all you do!

  23. We have hardwood and rugs, and berber carpet in three rooms. This one is rated for hardwood floors, so we are hoping it works well on them. The last one had a hardwood setting but it didn’t get much up on the wood; this one has good reviews for hardwood, so I am hoping! We clean the floors several times a day but they get dirty so quickly.

  24. Deidre

    We’ve had this problem in the past, a cup of vinegar in the wash has always helped.

  25. Marie

    Since starting back to school, I often feel very un-frugal with the miles I’m putting on the car. But I try to focus on the little things.

    I bring my own lunch every Tuesday (my long day). Thursday I wait until I get home. I’ve had a sister and a friend helping out with sitting at no charge. We’ll do something special for each in the next few weeks. I have been able to run a few errands after class to save on gas, and I have run some errands while my college student attends class on Monday/Wednesday. Her Tuesday/Thursday schedule is similar to mine and the community college is on the way the the university.

    Last week we enjoyed meatless spaghetti. I made lasagna soup and pizza. We used sausage I purchased @ 5lbs/$8.80; I bought 10 pounds and froze it in 1 lb packages. We only use 1/2 to 1lb at a time, so it should last a while. For my sons birthday dinner with the grandparents we had pulled pork sandwiches. I purchased 30lbs of boneless pork legs at $1.29/lb last month. I froze those into 4-5 lb roasts to use for sandwiches. I froze some of the left over meat and we had left overs for lunch the next day. Because we have a cousin allergic to pork I also cooked some Turkey legs which were gifted to us. I think these were a couple of years old, but they cooked up well and I have a package of the left over meat in the freezer for another meal.

    We decorated the boys room. We repaired holes in the wall and repainted. Then we built a triple bunk bed so we could put all three boys in one room. We were able to build the bed for less than $300 – wood, hardware and paint. We also purchased two new mattress. It’s a very sturdy bed which should handle their teen age years well. We used left over paint from the bed to paint a mural of a tree on the walls and ceiling of one corner (the bed posts are brown and the cross boards are green).

    I sold the full size bed my little ones had been sharing on a local page.

  26. SJ in Vancouver BC Canada

    Tina – I had this same problem occur when I tried to line dry my towels, either inside or outside. It took quite a few washings with vinegar to finally get rid of the smell. Now, I throw my towel into the dryer for 20 minutes after each shower and wash the towels about every 3rd day. I also keep the door to my front loader washer open all the time and run the ‘clean washer’ cycle every week. Since I started doing all of these steps consistently, I have eliminated that smell.

  27. Cara

    Tina,
    I live in Ohio and have similar problems beginning in early Spring through early Fall. Very humid where we live. Like Brandy mentioned, using vinegar helps and always hot water. I use Arm and Hammer Washing Soda with each towel load…works great!

  28. Juhli

    Not many frugal activities outside of the every week ones. The one that I am happiest with though is finding 4 new to me clothing items at thrift and consignment stores. I am slowly building a wardrobe to replace my worn out spring/summer items and being very picky about color, style and fit so I will want to keep them for a long time. I found 2 pairs of capris and 2 tops. I had bought 2 more items but couldn’t make them work well with other clothing that I have so I returned them. Lots of thrift stores do accept returns which was a surprise to me.

  29. Tina in the NW

    Laurie, I have considered the dehumidifier option, but we are in a 900 square foot bottom-floor condo. I’d have to put it in the middle of our living area. I’ve heard dehumidifiers are pretty loud, and I’m not sure we or the neighbors would be happy with the noise. And the rules don’t permit running any noisy appliances at night. So I’m not sure if this would actually be a good idea for us.

  30. Gardenpat

    Grocery shopping this week was to replenish a few things in our food storage that were on sale- whole almonds for $4.95/lb as well as five pound bags of sugar for $1.89. Miracle Whip was $1.89/jar too. After buying 5 pounds of almonds, 50 pounds of sugar, 8 jars of Miracle Whip, some fruit and 2 gallons of milk, with the coupons and cash off I had from previous purchases, I spent about $37!! I was pleased! My pantry and storage are at a point where I can pick and choose when or if I need to go to the store in any given week!

    I used two large chicken breasts from my freezer with a grill seasoning – smokehouse maple sprinkled on them after I cut them into 8 pieces by cutting them in half by thickness and then half again by overall size. Grilled them on our George Foreman grill. So tasty. Next day, Sunday, had company coming over for an early dinner after Church and I saw a recipe I had pinned for Chicken avocado burritos- quick and easy! Sounded good! I found that I had 4 already opened packages of flour tortillas, so I used all 20 that were the total number in there, didn’t have plain avocado, but had an unopened carton of avocado dip that needed to be used! Cut the leftover chicken first into strips, then chunks and used that! Result? Cleared out some things taking up space in the fridge and made a dinner that everyone went back for more of!!!! Lunch today for DH and son to take to work? Leftover burritos!!! Now that was making those chicken breasts work!!!

    Made a dream/wish list of all the yard projects we would love to do as money and time allow! Looked on Craigslist under “free” items and found bricks about a mile from our house to extend/complete an existing area by the house that have a small glider and bench on the bricks we previously laid. And they match the old ones!!

    Also, found someone who has a ton of small garden stones/gravel on the same “free” site and this weekend we will get some for another one of the projects!!!

    We thought our dream list would be totally beyond our reach but it looks like, especially since we wrote it Dow so we can refer to it, we may be able to actually get more done on it than we anticipated!!!!
    Resisted temptation to just go out and get take out for dinner and instead made dinner from scratch here at home several times this week! Figure that every time we ate in instead (which was all week) we would be saving about $16- $30!!! Wow, it’s amazing how quietly that could add up!!! My jury duty money came so I added that to savings!

    Put a brand new Bluetooth thing that I was given but will never have a use for up on eBay so hopefully that will declutter and bring in some money since it is pretty high end!

    DH made another batch of oatmeal peanut butter cookies (I taught him how last week at his request) for lunches for work and home!
    Planted some Red Sails lettuce in my garden. All the lettuces, cabbages, broccoli, Swiss chard and spinach look happy and healthy and I’ll start harvesting them soon!

    Made a pint of homemade Ranch dressing for our salads from the dry mix I made and keep on my shelf. Family doesn’t want to go back to bottled Ranch dressing from store any more and, btw- it uses some of my Miracle Whip! Lol!!

    We really have been blessed with enough and to spare! And what a great feeling of accomplishment and joy to see what we are able to accomplish with the Lord’s help!!

    Have a great week everyone!!

  31. Erika

    We had a setback on the money saving front, but continue to move forward. Here are my adventures this week.

    makedohomemaker.blogspot.com/2015/04/frugal-friday-money-saving-weekly-recap_24.html

  32. tina

    *We are trying to get our garden plot in proper order to plant veggies. This week that involved picking a lot of rocks out of the dirt (free exercise???)
    * My son had his first track meet. We packed food and drinks. He and his relay team took first place and set a new school record (so exciting)
    * one busy night I made waffles for dinner instead of going out, another night we had reheated homemade pizza.
    * my husband is spray painting an outdoor wrought iron table set we recently bought off a facebook ad that had a small amount of rust.
    * my daughter has been cooking 1 dinner per week (she is 15) and so I have her do all the planning, prep and cooking. Great learning for her and a nice break from cooking for me 🙂
    * my daughter spent the weekend in Ashland, OR to see a couple shakespeare plays. I sent her with snacks and beverages for her ride down and back.
    * my husband has been using up a lot of the “freezer lunches” of leftover.
    * got a free container of salt on a friday freebie
    * made banana bread which will be used for snacks and packed lunches this week.

  33. Denise

    I cooked at home most meals except for our anniversary (we had leftovers and I had them for lunch today and will have lunch again tomorrow). My husband asked me to go to Lowe’s and help him pick out flowers for the yard. I was glad I went because I found snap dragons on clearance for .50 because they weren’t in bloom yet. I also reminded him that the soil he wanted was cheaper at Sams and we were headed there next. I stuck to the budget He fixed his parents lawn mower on Saturday.

  34. Adriana Bean

    -It must be the week of the vacuum! My vacuums extention hose has clearly seen better days and seriously thought about
    just using my other “baby” dyson and getting rid of the big Dyson. I cked online and found I could replace the hose for $50 w S&H.
    It is a $200-400 vacuum and Ive had it for 10 yrs so Im happy to not use the hose extention until the part comes in.
    -I signed up for pinecone research and filled out my first survey and cashed in my pts for $3.
    -I returned cans/bottles for deposit for $3.10.
    -I found 12 cents.
    -My hubbys co worker gave him about 2lbs of tomatoes. YES!
    -I got about 1lb of onions for free using my and my hubbys Ibotta rebate.
    -I will be getting 2 reams of printer paper for free after Staples rebate.
    -I brought in daffodils for our table.
    -I went to a local grocery store and bought $43 worth but paid $3. Using sales, coupons, ibotta, e coupons and military disc.
    -I continue to cut my dishtabs. I have made mine in the past and have the stuff to make them if necessary.
    -I asked my neighbor to borrow her wheelbarrow. In the past I prob would’ve gone out to buy one. This is inspired by the Nonconsumer Advocate..Katy.
    -My hubby received a promotion at work and it comes w 12K/yr pay increase.
    -My youngest daughter has subconsciously become frugal. She has been turning the shampoo and bodywash and face wash upside down in the shower and volunteered to decorate a gift bag for class and to her delight, received a Dunkin Donuts gift card.
    -And finally, we completed our one wk “no cable” trial and it went fantastic. My hubby is ready to give up the cable. We will save $65/mo. The new customer promotion offers very fast internet and minimal channels for $59.99. I plan to cancel it in my hubbys name and put it in my name to take advantage of this deal. If we kept it in my hubbys name w internet only, 79.99. whats up with that?!?
    Brandy.. Im glad you and your hubby were able to enjoy a lunch date. 😉

  35. Kelly

    Trying hard to remain frugal, given that I’m setting up a whole new household. My mother picked up a dresser & end table for me for $50. The dresser needs refurbished but it’ll be lovely in the end. My Parents have been oh SO helpful in helping me get settled in my own place. My Dad brought me a tool kit, with wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, a new cordless drill & flashlight. My Mom brought me over some food–squeezable jelly, chicken breast in a can (from Aldi’s), packaged pasta sides (which my son likes), pasta, a container of her homemade potato soup.

    Sunday was my son’s 11th birthday–we had a party for him on Saturday at my Mom’s house. I brought the cake and chips and my Mom sprung for Pizza from Little Ceasar’s….a nice little party. He made out well…got GameStop gift cards so he could buy some Xbox One games…he also traded in games from his Xbox 360 for which he received $80 in store credit. Sunday, we went out to dinner with my soon-to-be Ex…at Applebees, where my son had a free dinner as part of their birthday club…..then I went back to my Ex’s where I did my laundry–3 loads. I’ll be getting my own washer/dryer this coming weekend..electric, for $75 for both! They’re in good working condition…so I’m happy to get this deal!

    I also had to buy a push-mower and a trash can from Lowes..my Dad gets a 10% Veteran’s Discount on top of my 5% discount as a Lowe’s Card holder. My little lawn needs mowed. Also bought a 2.5Gal gas can to get gas to fill up the mower.

    I’m very blessed in that I have a very supportive family who have been very helpful in my new life transition. I’m basically setting up a new household from scratch.

    Have a wonderfully frugal week my friends!

  36. Myra

    Hello all from Sunny(?) South Mississippi. (It hasn’t been very sunny here recently, although we did have gorgeous weather yesterday only to return to thunderstorms today.) A very frugal week indeed!

    1. Was able to make the 20.00 I put in my car for fuel last all week again this week.
    2. Went to the grocery store and stocked up on several pantry items. A few things were: canned vegetable for .50 a can, flour for 1.99 for 5 pounds, 8 oz. bags of pasta for .50, 4 pound bags of sugar for 1.79, etc. They also had 2 lb. bags of rice for .99 but when I went they were out. The manager told me to come back on Tuesday when the next shipment comes in and I would be able to get it then.
    3. I only dried things such as towels, T shirts, underclothing, etc. If I hang it, it did not go into the dryer. My dryer was used when I got it and I have been trying to use it as little as possible to keep it as long as possible, since it is taking longer to dry loads now. I think it needs to be blowed out again for lint build up. When we got it, they told us the heating element was out but it wasn’t, it just needed a real good cleaning and I think that’s what is wrong again. It really doesn’t take much longer to hang items up when they are wet and I don’t have to iron as much!
    4. Did NOT eat out at all this weekend. We usually eat out at least once on the weekend, but we are working hard to cut that out of our budget. We talked about it and even toyed with going out Saturday night, then discussed ordering pizza, and then I finally just decided to make Rotel dip and nachos, which was MUCH cheaper than eating out.
    5. Took all lunches to work last week. I have been buying at least 2 canned sodas per day from the vending machine. That is $1.20 each day spent on soda. (I am trying to kick the habit, but not doing very well with it.) So, last week I begin to put enough tea in a mason jar for two glasses of tea at work and then drinking water the rest of the day. I bought one soda last week. Yay! I am hoping to grow some herbs and making my own herbal iced tea eventually and then I won’t buy tea at all anymore.
    6. Stayed home this weekend except for church and the grocery store for my weekly grocery trip.

  37. Adriana Bean

    Heidi,
    “no food waste makes me feel terrific” (paraphrasing)…love that!
    It doesn’t happen very often where I have no food waste but I def
    strive for it!
    I also think its really cool that you have honey bees!!

  38. Maria

    We live in the South and this is very common. Here’s what I do. Put towels in washer. Add one-half cup baking soda and one cup white vinegar on top of the towels. Wash in very hot water. Wash a second time with hot water and your regular soap. This works every single time with me and the towels stay fresh for a month or more even in the summer

  39. Maria

    I was blessed with some unexpected money. I used part of it at Big Lots with a $10 off $50 coupon that came in my email. I bought salad dressing my husband likes, mixes and a new coffee maker for my Sunday School classroom.

  40. Rhonda A.

    Well Brandy, sometimes you just have to replace the old and worn out things we use every day. It’s funny how we hold off in buying the useful items but don’t hesitate to buy clothes or other items we really could live without. It’s pretty impressive that you were able to hold off for four years before it finally just gave up, though!

    I’ve officially started back to work now, which I’m happy to be back at. We’re starting with cleaning the historic buildings in the pioneer village. This will go on for the next two weeks, then we start with out orientation training before the village opens for the season. Although I am now much busier, I was able to accomplish some frugal things this week:
    *Went to auction with my husband and bought a stockpot with a blancher and steamer insert for $7! I am so excited about this purchase as last year when I prepared my veggies for the freezer, I had to boil the water, blanch my garden vegetables then dump out the water to put them into the ice water, then repeat the process for each batch. Now I will be able to easily strain the veggies from the boiling water to dump into ice water and reuse the boiling water multiple times. What a time saver, not to mention the hydro and water usage!

    *Made most meals at home, including homemade lasagne with side salad, homemade macaroni and cheese casserole with side salad, hamburgers and hotdogs on the BBQ, and a simple chicken noodle soup (made from left over chicken stock and some veggies from the freezer) paired with grilled cheese sandwiches. Also made homemade peach cobbler for dessert from some of the peach slices I froze last summer.

    *My husband and daughter have expensive tastes with hot dogs (they prefer Shopsy’s all beef). We used to be able to get them at Costco, but they have stopped carrying them (I used to buy them when on sale and freeze). My daughter does not like hamburgers, so we usually make hot dogs for her when we BBQ. I went to another store to buy some and paid over $5 for a normal sized pack. Way to expensive to keep doing for the summer! So I asked if my husband could order some through the restaurant he works at. He was able to get a box of 60 jumbo sized wieners for $45. Not sure if it is a great deal, but at least we have lots for the summer.

    *Did my every other week grocery run this week. Used a coupon for Glade Ultra spray, buy one get two free, paid $2 for all three (my mother and I like to have these for our purse when I have an emergency bathroom need when in public). Also bought several jars of peanut butter, $3/1kg jar, to restock our dwindling stockpile (we live on PB in our house, so a big necessity to stockpile when on sale).

    *Went for a mandatory work related training today and received pastries and goodies in the morning, a nice catered lunch and a reusable bag that folds for my purse, all free!

    *Filled the gas tank in my car this week for the first time in months! Will need to do this more regularly now that I’m back to work. Made a point to go to Costco to get my gas as it is always $0.02 cheaper than the cheapest local gas station.

    *Not so frugal: Had to buy some summer clothes and new “indoor” school shoes (old ones too small) for my daughter this week. She is a very difficult size to fit and particular about what she wears due to sensory issues (she’s on the Autism spectrum), so I ended up buying new. We were able to find a pair of shoes that were acceptable for only $20 new, so I consider this an accomplishment! I think we should have enough outfits for the summer now.

    Well, that’s about it for my week. I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s comments! Have a great week everyone!

  41. Rebekah,

    I primarily grow it for the bees. I have some blue borage in the backyard and some that reseeded itself that is coming up right now. Last week I planted white borage out front. It’s supposed to flower later than the blue. The zinnias and vincas will quickly fill the lower border by the street but I think the borage in front will fill in the space in the middle until the zinnias are blooming. I could be very wrong on this, though–the zinnias grow rather quickly.

    On borage I only use the flowers, as it is so spiny, and I mostly use it as decoration on things. I like the blue borage at a party in the punchbowl or on the dessert. I did see a recipe on Sunday Suppers blog where they used a TON of blue borage flowers on chicken. You would have to grow a lot to have that many. Otherwise, it is for the bees.

    For harvesting herbs, it is best before they are flowering, but can be done even if they are flowering. I like to cut a small bunch, rinse them, tie a bit of twine around them, and then hang them up somewhere to dry. In summer I might just put them on a cooling rack instead of hanging them, on the kitchen counter under the fan. They’re dry by the end of the day then.

    If the herb grows year-round, you don’t have to cut all the time, but if it will die before it freezes or when it freezes (like basil, or a dormant herb like mint) then I cut all of it back before then and make lots of bundles to dry.

  42. It still worked, so my husband didn’t see any point in getting a new one–it just fell in half all the time! But now that it is officially broken I am happy to replace it!

    Clothes are something we tend to put off around here, too–in fact, most things are put off. My husband has pointed out that I need to get some new clothes soon. Both of us tend to put off buying clothes for a very long time.

  43. Melissa L.

    I feel like we are back to turning things around here- we had a much more “frugal” minded week.
    -We rented a de-thatcher from Home Depot to take care of our lawn (it is in rough shape and we have a good sized back yard) My husband made sure to get it done quickly so that we could pay the 4 hr rental fee vs. all day.
    -I received a free Pampered Chef cookbook from the moving company we used back in November as a thank you.
    – Used a free Redbox code to watch a movie with my boys on a rainy day.
    -Took my 4 year old to the movies. My SIL gave me a coupon making our tickets and a popcorn just $10 for the two of us. We brought drinks and candy from home.
    -Picked green onions and flowers from my mothers garden.
    -My mom gifted the boys new sneakers. I had put the money aside so I will use it to buy some other items they need instead.
    -We had planned to treat the boys to ice cream one afternoon but it ended up raining. Instead I stopped at the grocery store and bought everything we needed to make sundaes at home. My 4 year old loved this!
    -Spent a lot of time working on our yard on Saturday. Fresh air is a good thing!
    Have a great week everyone!

  44. Holly B.

    This week was another busy one! We finished putting in our orchard of 12 fruit trees (4 apples, 2 cherry, 2 peach, 2 pear, 2 plum). While this cost money in the short term I am sure that it will help us save money in the long term.

    I am cooked 2 pounds of black beans for the freezer. It is much easier to soak all once and cook then pull smaller amounts out of the freezer. I made a batch of breakfast burritos for the freezer along with a few rice and veggie dishes.

    My husband used is reward points from this credit card to get a $400 visa gift card. We hope redo our front landscaping from this money.

  45. Mae

    This week had its share of challenges. I’m losing my job. The writing’s been on the wall for months now; and I haven’t really enjoyed it for a few years; but it just seemed easier to stay than to go. But, if staying isn’t an option, I’ll try to negotiate the best exit settlement and move on to the next thing. I am entitled to a fairly substantial exit settlement; so financially we’ll be okay for a while. The timing is excellent – my husband is looking at a transition in his career which, if successful, will result in an increased salary; but to make it work he’ll need to work additional hours, so having me home for a while is a net-positive. With a bit of luck, around the time my exit settlement finishes, he’ll be in a position where his income will replace all of my missing income, and then some. But if not, I’ll hit the pavement and find another job.

    In my worst moments of panic I think of you, Brandy, and know we can make it through this. Towards the end of last year I put together a year’s worth of family home evening lessons, so that I could just pull one out and go. When this all hit the fan, it was our FHE day. I pulled out the lesson, and it was “remember the lilies of the valley.” What a blessing it was, and what sweet reassurance that brought, that God knows me, personally, and will provide.

    Frugal finds: My mother in law gave us a box of strawberries. I used sugar we had on-hand and an envelope of pectin I’d forgotten about to make some strawberry jam. I want to make more; but first I’ll need to get more sugar and pectin. I gave a jar to our neighbour because she is always so good to us. This same neighbour just got a new puppy. She mentioned the puppy was having a hard time settling. I’d found a little stuffed animal at K-Mart for 2 cents and bought it because, hello, 2 cents, not really knowing what I’d do with it; so I gave it to her to give to the dog so she had a toy. She gave us some eggs; and asked us to watch her chickens the next couple of weekends, which will mean more eggs for us – probably around 3 dozen all-up.

    I bought chicken at $3/kilo; bananas at $1.50/kilo; I also found some quick and easy lunches (pantry-stable, quite substantial) for 50 cents each – normally they’re about $4 each. They had boxes and boxes so I bought two dozen and may go back for more. That shop also had some other good stuff – barbecue sauce for 50 cents a bottle, canned apricots for waaay less than it would cost me to do them myself, etc. The pantry and freezers are looking pretty good.

    Here’s hoping we make it through this change with courage and positivity.

  46. Sharon in CT

    Tina, I have had similar problems with my towels smelling musty/sour, at least from late spring until fall (I live in CT, so that’s when it gets humid here)–including the clean ones in the linen closet. After a bit of trial & error, I’ve found that washing the towels with hot water, using white vinegar as a rinse, and doing a extra rinse cycle (I have a setting for that on my washer) helped quite a lot, but it still was a problem in really humid weather. I tried putting Damp-Rid in my linen closet, and that seems to do the trick. I started out with the little Damp-Rid plastic tub (with the basket inside for the crystals), but now use the more decorative ones (they’re meant to be seen, so they look nicer (not that that matters in the closet!) and have a sort of lid on them). I would imagine the kind that can be hung up would probably work well, too. It’s an extra expense, but I buy them in multi-packs at BJ’s, so that (with coupons) isn’t too bad. It’s worth it to have fresh-smelling towels!

  47. Frugal Paragon

    My husband cut the boys’ hair.

    We also got a new vacuum! We just bought a house and our mortgage company sent us a certificate for a gift. One of the options was a well-reviewed vacuum. Ours is very old and not right for our new wood floors, so we went ahead and got the new vacuum.

    I went to Goodwill and got, for my four-year-old, five shorts, one pair of shorts, and a pair of summer jammies–all for $10!

    We also got some great Craigslist and yard sale deals for furnishing our new home: table and six chairs ($75), three dressers (total of $70), like-new overstuffed armchair ($10) and a desk chair ($20). All are in great condition! And Mr. FP stuffed them all into his Fit, saving on delivery charges/van rental.

  48. Tina in the NW

    Thanks to everyone for their helpful ideas. Much appreciated.

  49. Hilogene in Az

    Thanks to all for the interesting comments. This past week was good, spent very little. Did some minor stocking up at Frys but mostly just limited fresh items bought.

    Beautiful weather here in Arizona so had windows open and we even had rain this past weekend. Apparently this month is the month of extra income-managed to find other items to sell last week! Also dropped off a large batch of items at a local consignment store, which should turn into money next month. Frugal fail-ate three meals out but at least they were breakfast-lunch, rather than dinner!

  50. SJ in Vancouver BC Canada

    Jumping in on the vacuum theme – my frugal best had to do with my almost new (6months) vacuum. Even though it is bag-less, there is still a filter and a washable ‘pre-filter’. Some how I had missed this piece of information when I bought the vacuum. This week the vacuum had very little power and I couldn’t figure out why. Then I really looked at it and realized there was a latch I had never opened. Opened it to find this filter. Washed and dried the pre-filter, reassembled the works, and now the vacuum is working like new.

    In between rain storms I have been planting my garden. Ate all meals at home even when I didn’t want to. Took home made coffee on errands in my travel mug. Continued to use my cash envelope for my grocery shopping. And, worked a very part time, on call job for the school district as a crossing guard. Every hour adds up and is so appreciated.

  51. SCo Mary

    Hello Mae. I’ve always enjoyed your posts and thank you for the guidance on cooking with Asian ingredients. While the change can feel daunting given your faith, your hard work and your resilience you will be fine! I was in a similar situation and had started reading Brandy’s blog for ideas about gardening and food storage. After leaving my job I found that coming here on a weekly basis was so positively reinforcing! I’ll be thinking of you and lifting you up in prayer. Mary

  52. Debbie in Florida

    The previous owners of our house had left one of those old fashioned plastic grass door mats in the house which I put outside the laundry room door. I just love the “retro” look it gives our old house. The plastic flowers in the corner had dried up and cracked off in the Florida sun, although the mat itself is still in good shape. I used silk flowers and brads from my scrapbooking supplies to replace the flowers. It looks great and cost nothing to fix!

    I had 1 mystery shopping assignment at a grocery store and SO had signed up for 2. We spent close to what we got reimbursed each time and shopped the sales for items we needed. That was the only shopping we did for the week. I signed up for some more mystery shopping assignments for May.

    I did swagbucks each day, trying to reach my goal.

    I entered points into Kelloggs Family Rewards posted on Money Saving Mom.

    Received the $10 Dunkin Donuts gift card in the mail from Verizon for signing up for autopay. I signed up for Dunkin Donuts perks program using the gift card and got an email for a free beverage – including the iced coffees!

    I signed up for rewards cards hoping to get some freebies for my birthday next month. I used the list on All You and a few a co-worker told me about. Some places sent out coupons just for signing up.

    I got a $10 off $10 coupon in the mail from JCPenny.

    I completed 2 Pinecone surveys.

    I went to CVS and got the free Meta Health Bar.

    I signed up for insurance through my work (my probation period is over YAY!). So now I will have a savings of $305 a month over what I was paying for insurance through COBRA and then the health marketplace. That savings will go towards debt.

    I pulled weeds in the garden, moved more volunteers around, and I picked blueberries as they ripened.

    Something new I am working on – I am making an effort to wear clothes more than once before washing them. So many times I automatically throw them in the hamper when they could be worn again.

    Have a great frugal week ladies!

  53. Krissy in Sacramento

    Had a good frugal week for the most part. Managed to talk myself out of ordering pizza Sunday night and make the dinner I had planned, even though my husband GLADLY gave me “permission” to get the pizza, haha! 😀 One thing that unfortunately derailed me from being as frugal as I planned was buying a baby shower gift for my Sister-in-law and my newest nephew-to-be. Bless her heart, she is VERY particular about her boys, and the things on her registry list were expensive!! Unfortunately, the items that I planned to buy were not in the store I went to, and I just don’t have enough patience and energy to drive all over town looking for things. I was able to get a few things off her registry, and got a few more at Target (and a gift receipt!!) Still ended up paying about $60, but at least I got the gift wrapping stuff at Dollar Tree. I don’t have children, so shopping for the boys overwhelms me so much! This is why I felt I “deserved” that pizza! 😀
    With the drought here in California, I’ve been working really hard to be as creative with water as I can, and conserve! We did have rain Saturday night, which was wonderful. When I paid my City of Sacramento utilities bill last week, I noticed a new line item showing the amount of water used over the past month. It’s showing approx. 117 gallons per day (there are just my husband and I in our home.) Just wondering if anyone else out there has any comparable info? I looked at a website that said that the “average” person consumes 80-100 gallons of household water PER DAY, which I can’t believe. Need to do more research, but our Governor is mandating cutbacks, and honestly, I’m not sure how much less we can use and still stay clean, healthy, and home-fed!
    Since it was Earth Week last week, I was pleased to notice that we generated less than one 13-gallon bag of trash between the two of us. We had been paying for the largest size trash container for about 14 years before I realized that I could get a smaller one (one third the size.) I’m paying $8 less a month for the smaller container, although other rates HAVE gone up. Well, every little bit helps!
    Also, I:
    -Read 3 library books this week
    -Used coupons and Target Cartwheel, got 30c back for buying milk and 30c from buying pasta sauce from Ibotta. Entered receipts into Receipt Hog.
    -Free in the mail: a trial pack of Crest Sensi-Stop teeth strips and a Meta Health Bar. Hubby ate it the same day it arrived, haha.
    Hoping everyone has a wonderful week!

  54. Lisa

    Cast iron pans are really great once they have been properly used and seasoned. I think it gets better with time. My mother is 91 and lives with us. I have two of her cast iron skillets. They are so great–totally non-stick. They are better then my newer pans.

  55. Mae

    Thank you Mary, your kind words mean a lot to me. I think what I’ll miss most about my job are the tax benefits – they were great for when we travelled (basically cut the expenses by 35-40%) – but there’s plenty I won’t miss! I do have some exciting irons in the fire and I hope that all works out, and if so I’ll be sharing the news on here soon; but I am trying not to put the horse before the cart . . . And in the meantime, I’m going to enjoy some time at home, and maybe even tackle the mess that is our garden.

  56. Rhonda A.

    Linda, when my daughter was younger, my husband worked nights so we were often eating supper by ourselves. I LOVED my toaster oven, as I could cook just the right amount for just the two of us. Around that time, I was invited to a pampered chef party. It was quite expensive, but I found this inexpensive extra small stoneware pan that was just the right size for my toaster oven. Stoneware is similar to cast iron in that you “season” the cooking surface. It was so perfect, as I didn’t have to wash it. I just wiped it down after use. If you’re interested, here is a link to the pan on the American pampered chef website:

    http://www.pamperedchef.com/shop/Stoneware/Toaster+Oven+Pan/1448

    If you’re interested, it’s a bit of a small investment to buy a new one, or, if you are patient, you can watch for a used one.

  57. Nicole

    I have never tried vinegar but will have to do it. I find the only way I can get rid of that smell is to bleach them as soon as I notice it which is maybe twice a year

  58. Nicole

    We’ve been going to the library for books and movies and it has a kids ipad that my toddler likes to play on. I came in under budget for groceries because I’m trying to clean out my freezer and pantry a little for some spring cleaning. I received my first cheque from Surveylion. I’ve been trying to keep the heat off during the day but we still need it at night. I’ve started some seedlings that I collected from lettuce in my garden last year. This was my first time collecting my own seeds so I’m very excited about all these free lettuce plants that I hope to have!

    Also a question for anyone: in cleaning out my freezer I found rhubarb that I cleaned and chopped and put away in Ziploc bags last fall. I’ve heard that it only freezes well for 3 months – is this true? It seems like such a waste not to use it since it was from my garden.

  59. Mae

    Wow, that was a bag of mixed metaphors, sorry to make you all suffer through that!

  60. Krissy,

    Some cities in California are asking people to limit themselves to 50 gallons per person per day.

    Last month, we watered outdoors three days a week (including sprinklers), and there are 9 of us. We used 55 gallons per person per day, including outdoor watering. Other areas use less because it rains, so they’re not needing to use so much on outdoor irrigation. Your usage puts you at 58 gallons per person per day. You may be able to cut more. I’ve got a post planned on this subject.

  61. Linda P.

    Rhonda, thank you so much for the encouragement and the suggestion. I’m 65, and I can’t believe I’ve never owned a toaster oven. However, I grew up making toast in the oven, and, after marriage, we never used to eat much toast, for some reason until the last year. I’m sure I’ll find lots of reasons to use it, and your suggestion will help.

  62. Sabrina

    Wow, what a week for you! Great job! Could you, please, share the ranch mix recipe. My son does not like the ranch dressings I buy. Thanks.

  63. Patty

    Brandy, What kind of vacumn did you get and do you like it? I am needing a new vacumn and don’t really know what to get. It is a big investment and I would love to have other people’s recommendations

  64. Becky

    This past week, the youngest had her oral surgery. Because she is still a foster child, and it was medically necessary, that was all paid for by the state, which was nice. Since they put her under ansethesia for this, it was quite expensive, so we were thankful they did. I have bought a few extra foods, like a watermelon, because she is on soft foods only for a week. Mainly, she is living on homemade refried beans, yogurt and applesauce.

    Both younger girls attended a county-wide 4-H day. They went to several classes and learned a lot. The fee was very minimal, just to cover costs. My 14 year old was asked to help with a class, and then took classes for the rest of the day.

    We took the kids fishing on Sunday afternoon. We caught nothing, but had a nice picnic lunch. We drove the small, economical car, so all it cost us was gas and our picnic food, which I packed. Our fishing licenses were purchased already and will be good all year.

    Saturday, my older daughter decided to have a bunch of girls over for her birthday, which actually was about a month ago. I told her, fine, but I wasn’t going to be home, or do my usual amount of “helping.” So, she did make the food herself, decorate, etc. while I was gone. It was a good feeling to know she could do it. I required her to go over the menu with me and we had to agree on what food she was using. Anything extra she wanted, she paid for, so it cost me nothing beyond what I already had purchased. She did buy chips, ice cream, flowers for the table, etc.–really quite a bit of stuff, but that was her call and her money, so I had no problem with it. Normally, we don’t allow sleep-overs on Saturday nights, because of our busy Sundays, but I allowed it this time. It will be the last for a long time. They kept me up until midnight, and apparantly stayed up until 3ish after I got them to quiet down. They all did go to church the next day, but my crew (and me) were pretty tired. So, it will be back to Fridays on the rare occasion we have a sleepover, except for my nieces and nephew, which I can get to go to bed easily.

    It looks like I have a few lettuce and spinich plants coming up. Now, it remains to be seen if the slugs will get them all, too, as they have every other one that came up this spring. I have used enough slug bait to buy a lot of lettuce, but hopefully, I will prevail in my battle with the slugs! I bought 5 more strawberry plants to plant next to the 10 my mom brought me last week. I picked a few asparagus. I have blooms on the few pea plants that survived the slugs. We did a bunch of transplanting in the greenhouse–peppers and tomatoes mostly, a little basil, etc. I re-seeded some parsley. I just don’t see much coming up volunteer like it did last year.

    I roasted some hazelnuts I was given. We have been eating them for snacks. I made soups, a casserole, salads, etc. I went through Taco Bell a couple of times when out and about to buy pintos and cheese for the child who needs soft foods for a week. Otherwise, we’ve eaten at home.

  65. AnnaInOhio

    I have one cast iron skillet. After using it, I wash it (no soap) with a steel scrubber (looks like a scrunchy but it’s made out of steel bought at GFS $1.49). I then turn the burner on on my stove, set the skillet on there till it dries cpl. minutes, let it cool off the burner plate and wipe it with cooking oil and put it away. Took me many pans over the years before I finally figured it out.

  66. Patty, the link is in the post; it’s in blue where it says “the model I researched.” Click on that and you’ll see it.

  67. AnnaInOhio

    Mae

    You’ll do fine on the job front.. just went through this myself earlier in the year. Sometimes it’s a blessing in disguise.. I now have a much less stressful job and all my customers are happy when they come in our chocolate candy store instead of grumbling about how price the grocery store prices were where I was at before.. not that the store I work at now is in anyway cheap $19.95 a lb. for candy but people are just happy when they come in, no worries. New job is closer to home so I am saving on gasoline also in a strip where I can do some of my errand shopping before I go in to work so again saving me time and gas. And more stable working shift. So while I was upset about loosing my old job, it had a silver lining too. God Bless.

  68. AnnaInOhio

    Wow what a great price on the dressers.. I was at Volunteers of America the other day looking a dresser, a little banged up and scratched but old real wood they wanted $89.00 for it. I had to walk away but am sort of regretting it but that’s more than what I wanted to pay.

  69. AnnaInOhio

    Brandy

    I missed your response to my suggestion about the $29 a week frugal Menu challenge that the celebrity took up. It took me two weeks and was very difficult trying to think about what all people on food stamps might not have that I do .. deep freezers and all my kitchen toys but I came up with a menu and kept it in budget. I plan to do this monthly with different items for the website I moderate on. It did make me feel very very blessed at what I have when sometimes I think I don’t have enough: A big yard to garden in, Apple and Cherry trees, the knowledge to know what to do with them, jobs for both me and my husband so many things I sometimes take for granted till I stopped and thought about others who have so much less. You can find my menu here:

    http://www.familycorner.com/forums/tightwad-tips/32353-grocery-budget-challenge-29-week.html#post1175793

  70. AnnaInOhio

    My frugals this week? Finally nice enough weather to hang clothes outside to dry, Yay!
    Put pictures of the maple wood I had in my back yard that needed taken away on Craigslist, got immediate responses.. less than 12 hours later the wood was gratefully picked up. These were large tree stump pieces from where we had a tree cut down by America Electric Power for free last summer. So I helped someone who needed wood to heat with and didn’t have to pay money out to have someone pick the wood up. Win Win.
    Today I used my Kroger fuel points and saved 90 cents off a gallon on gas.. paid $1.47 a gallon Loved That! Most meals from home this week, taking leftover meatloaf for my early dinner at work tonight.. I work 3-9pm. Sunday I cooked 8 lbs. of potatoes and premade mashed potatoes. Also cooked a large dinner tray of Mac and Cheese in the oven I forget how many lbs. about 5 I think? from GFS and divided it out so we would have easy side dishes on the nights I work.

    Anna

  71. Linda P.

    I agree with SCo Mary. The situation must be both scary and a bit exciting. Just as your posts have offered additional encouragement and information to readers of Brandy’s blog, I’m sure you’ll find that same encouragement from others. Sometimes, it feels so safe and encouraging here, I wonder if Brandy has to work hard at filtering out unkind comments. If so, thanks for doing so, Brandy. I imagine not all my views match those of many readers, as theirs might not all match mine, but this feels like a group of people who come together always to offer each other nothing but kindness without judgment.

  72. Cindy in the South

    I am so sorry Mae. I lost my job during the financial crisis of the recession, had to move three hours away, lost my home etc. However, I found an even better job with more money and with a wonderful boss in September 2011, and I have since bought a home I love so much more than the old home! I thank God now for losing that job and getting this one. As a bonus, I love my Church branch here! Prayers and hugs for you and I hope you get an even better job that you enjoy!!!!

  73. Being a native Oregonian I know from damp towels issues. My family has hooks instead of rods to hang our towels on which greatly helps. I lived in New Mexico for college and was amazed with how you could hang a towel on a rod and it would dry out, even if it was folded over!

  74. Anna,

    I did respond, but so you can see it here I’ll do it again, though it may be shorter:

    My $300 a month for 9 people is $69.23 a week, divided by 9 people is $7.69 per person per week, and that includes toiletries.

    You can see my menus under cook. We already live under the amount of food stamps.

    Though they divided them up into weekly amounts, those in the U.S. who receive an EBT card get a monthly amount, from what some of my readers who have it have told me. This allows them to purchase items in bulk (like rice, oats, beans, wheat, and flour), and many have told me that using my tips, they’ve been able to build up their pantry, allowing them the ability to have food as they’ve gone off food stamps when they’ve obtained a better job.

    They’ve also told me that they’ve used food stamps to purchase garden seeds, berry bushes, grape vines, and fruit trees. Not all stores take EBT, so they’ve needed to buy these items at Walmart over the local nursery. One reader had an abundant garden from this, which stretched her amount much further. Her plates of food have generous amounts of vegetables from her garden. She receives around $25 a week per person. She makes her own bread and lots of soups.

  75. Mae

    I’m jealous too! I’ve been looking for second-hand dressers forever. The only ones I can find have drawers that are falling apart and are made out of chipboard that has definitely seen better days. I’m resigning myself to having to buy new . . . and I hate buying new for furniture.

  76. Mae

    If I worked in a chocolate shop I’d be constantly “accidently” dropping the product on the floor so that it couldn’t be sold to customers . . . . Thanks for your encouragement Anna. We’ll be okay. Change is always scary but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. And yeah, the gas savings – I used to drive about 700 k/week. I’m looking forward to saving money on gas!

  77. Mae

    I agree with you, Linda. I’m probably waaaay more liberal than most of the readers here, but everyone is always so wonderful and supportive towards one another. Thanks for that, Brandy. And I promise not to talk politics! :p

  78. Mae

    Thanks, Cindy! I’m glad everything worked out for you in the end. I’m hoping that in a couple of years I’ll look back and see this as a blessing, too. In the meantime, we are luckier than many; my husband has a good job and my exit package should be healthy; and there will be savings on me not working (less wear and tear on my 11 year old car, less money spent on gas, less money spent on child-care during school holidays, etc.) I could have quite happily stayed at my job until retirement; but I don’t think that would have necessarily been the right thing for me . . . so I’ll try to embrace this change and see it as blessing.

  79. Mae

    My bagless vacuum is about 7 years old, and it was an Aldi’s special to begin with. Every single time I think it’s giving up the ghost, I clean the filter and it comes back to life.

  80. Mae

    With water, try to use your water twice. One simple tip (assuming you don’t have mobility problems which would keep this from being feasible) is to get a large tub for the bottom of the shower, and then stand in there while you have your shower. This can have the added benefit of making you time your shower because it’s not comfortable standing in a lot of water. You can use that water for flushing the toilet, watering plants, topping up your washing machine if you have a top-loader, or pre-soaking laundry to remove stains. You might even find the water’s clean enough that with a bit bleach or Pine-Sol you can use it to clean your floors; you’ll almost certainly find it’s clean enough you can use it for outside cleaning, like to wash down your sidewalks. You can often get by with only showering every other day too; obviously this depends on how much you exercise and the type of job you do – if you do manual labor or exercise into a sweat every day you’ll need to shower every day; but if not, once every two days may be enough. (There are some studies showing that it’s also better for your skin and hair.) Dish water is generally only good enough to use for flushing the toilets (it’s usually not clean enough for anything else). Lots of people around here catch the grey water from their washing machines and use that on their gardens; generally you let the first rinse go through and then capture subsequent rinses. Water you used for cleaning or cooking veggies can be used to water plants. Also pay attention to how you are washing dishes – obviously it depends on what you’re eating; but I often find I can wash all of our daily dishes in about 5 inches of water at the bottom of the kitchen sink (in a pinch, if water is tight, I can do it in 3 inches, but 5 just seems cleaner); when I rinse I rinse over the same sink (not over an empty sink) to keep track of how much water I’m using. Of course you only turn on the faucet when you need to (don’t let it run the entire time you’re washing dishes or brushing your teeth). Try to make a game of it; that way it won’t seem like such a horrible chore – set a goal for where you want to be, and see how long it takes to get there.

    The good thing with conservation is that after a while it becomes a habit, and then you can’t even remember why you thought you needed more of a resource!

  81. Mae

    I would think even if you can’t eat it, you can use it in compost or feed it to chickens.

  82. Jennifer

    My mother grows plants to encourage bees. Also, I’m interested in the use of herbs in a medicinal way (obviously, heeding medical advice:)). When I looked up the old uses for borage, sites indicated the young leaves can be used in salads and the older leaves have a light cucumber-like flavor that is good for flavored water. Interesting.
    I really enjoy and appreciate your website Brandy! Homemaking has it’s own store of wisdom and I never know what I may learn here!
    P.s. The “mock” chicken fried steak is great!

  83. Nicole

    I am actually very surprised that anyone would go to the trouble to leave unkind comments. It seems like such an encouraging and lifting place. Brandy, I’m sorry you have to read them but I’m glad that you are able to keep them out.

  84. Adriana Bean

    Debby
    I also “re wear” my clothes. Mostly my pants and pjs.
    I never considered it frugal but I guess it is! Awesome!:D

  85. Celia

    We did very well on eBay, and are using it to help pay our sons tuition, I made cookies and bread. The bread was excellent, a maple oatmeal loaf. Even my Mr Picky liked it. We combined an errand. I got a good sale on soap. We are looking at a home on Sunday. It has a lot of problems but we are looking at it as a potential opportunity to get into the town we want.

  86. sue

    Nicole,
    I used some a couple of weeks ago that I had in the freezer since last June. I thought it was fine.’

  87. AnnaInOhio

    Brandy

    Thank you a member here who belongs to Family Corner told me you had commented but somehow I didn’t get to see it. What I did with my challenge was look at people who live in apts. who wouldn’t have the ability to grow much for vegetables. It was hard to think outside the box as I’ve worked for so long to be able to do things like canning, cooking, learning to be frugal and having a house with land to grow a garden or take a drive in the country and buy from farm stands. One year we happened upon a old man out at the end of his driveway selling corn for 10 cents a piece because he had some some kind of bug in them ( organic farmer) we bought every ear he had, brought it all home, brought the neighbor kids over and we all shucked corn on the front porch.. I blanched and froze it all and we enjoyed that corn ( I only found one bug in all the corn we shucked) all winter long. I am so glad you are here to help guide us, just wish more people could find you and take the time to learn to be more self sufficient. What a great idea on buying seeds at Walmart’s. I will be looking back at your cooking section again. While we are in good shape right now life can change in a second. My husband has recently been diagnosed with prostrate cancer, thanking God it hasn’t spread but it does make me think what would I do without my husband not only emotionally but financially. I am trying to learn and share what I learn so that all of us can be better prepared for life’s unexpected challenges. God Bless.

  88. Hilogene in Az

    I hope you will love your toaster oven. For just me and my husband, we use it daily. Toast as well as baking and broiling items. The trick as mentioned is to find the right size smaller pans. I use it for 95 percent of my baking.

    Probably like a microwave, the trick is to find out what it is good at and learn how to adapt.

  89. Mae

    You’re in Oregon, aren’t you? We took a picture of a banana slug at the Oregon Coast because my husband couldn’t believe the size of that thing. We put a nickel down next to it for comparison. Yep, Oregon slugs are *massive*! I dunno, you’d have to be pretty brave to fight them for your lettuce!

  90. Tina in the NW

    Sharon, I’m a huge fan of Damp-Rid. It really helps with the moisture problems, and I have several around our condo. I get the big gallon ones for $10 at Home Depot. I tried the hanging closet ones but I was going through them every couple of weeks. The gallon ones last several months.

  91. Marivene

    I have used frozen rhubarb that is much older than 3 months, & it was fine. I generally use frozen rhubarb for rhubarb crisps, either plan, or mixed with strawberries, or apricots.

  92. cathy

    Krissy,
    You got me curious, so I pulled out our most recent water bill. I remember being concerned when it came because it went up a bit from previous months. But when I ran the calculations, I found that we used 43.6 gallons/day per person. There are four of us, and one is a teenager who likes LONG showers. What I suspect is that there are some things we can personally control–how often/long we shower or wash hands, etc–and some things that will be about the same usage whether you’re a two-person household or larger. Your water usage will also vary depending on how often you do laundry (assuming you have your own washing machine) and what kind of machine you have. Same for doing dishes. We have an Energy Star-rated dishwasher and I’ve found it makes more sense for me to use it than to hand wash everything. I do wait until I can’t possibly fit in one more thing before I run it. I’m in Utah, which is very arid. So I xeriscaped the front yard in the fall of 2013, and it takes very little water, but we still have lawn and garden in the back. I find that I’m always tweaking things and looking for ways to cut back.

  93. Jenifer

    Linda,
    We love our toaster oven, in fact it is very rare that we use our regular oven. Makes me so happy. Little less cook time and the kitchen stays cool.
    Also, I had to chuckle at the fat/skinny mirror remark. I found a free wicker full length mirror 15+ years ago. Covered it in all white fake flowers so it is super girly. When my husband and I moved in our house he wasn’t to fond of the super girly look until he looked in the mirror and said he looked 10 lbs skinnier. The mirror stayed!

  94. stephanie

    Last week was school vacation so we were going to do a few outings (preplanned with library passes). We were unexpectedly invited to Six Flags- our friends have season passes and it was bring a friend free during vacation. We could never afford to go at full price so it was a huge treat. The four of us were free and free parking ($25 per car!) so to make the money work (food and gas) we skipped the Museum of Science since as husband reminded me downtown is a zoo during the marathon. The kids had a few playdates, the adults put a good dent in 2.5 years worth of house projects and we also went to the zoo. We hit the thrift store and now the kids only need sandals and they are set until autumn. We did a bunch of errands including dropping clothes off at the consignment store and they took everything which paid for the thrift store.

  95. tina

    Sorry to hear of your job loss Mae. Hope you find something soon.

  96. Melissa in MD

    Due to some unexpected news last week things have been a bit crazy so I’m late in posting. On Friday my younger brother, who is 43, was diagnosed with rectal cancer. Thankfully the doctors got right on it and on Monday he had a full body CT which did not show any metastasis, Praise God! Tuesday was an appointment with the surgeon who then called the oncologist. The oncologist saw him a few hours later and then he was seen by a radiologist. Tomorrow he goes to the U of MD for an more detailed test and then we will know about surgery. I’m very impressed at how quickly they’ve acted on this! Prayers are appreciated!
    We were able to accomplish the following this week:

    -Ate all but 2 meals from pantry

    -dried all laundry outside on the line

    -car pooled to work with DH

    -Harvested spinach from the garden for salads and sauteed spinach and garlic

    -ran out of balsamic vinegar so I made my own honey mustard dressing for the spinach salad instead. DH loves Balsamic vinegar but liked the honey mustard just fine too.

    -had a doctor’s appointment this week and was told that I could stop one of my meds! She has agreed to allow me to try a radical change in diet for 3 months and if things go well she will let me stop 2 more meds! She did start me on something for Cholesterol for now but will allow me to stop that as well if I can keep my numbers down with diet. Anyway, I work for a cardiologist and we get sample of the Cholesterol med so I was able to get some from the sample closet saving me the cost of a medication that I might be on long term anyway.

  97. momsav

    i use it like Marivene; it’s always been great!

  98. Mae

    Thanks tina! Actually at the moment I’m feeling pretty positive about things; already we are seeing, in so many ways, how the timing is really very good for our family. The loss of income on the other hand . . . . But at this stage, we won’t really feel a loss of income for some months still, so we have plenty of time to make adjustments.

  99. Becky

    Mae,
    Yes, I am in Oregon. I don’t fight with banana slugs, though. Mine are smaller than that, and often black. I know this because I am killing so many with my slug bait!!! Sadly, there are many, many more!!! My lonely lettuce plant left in my cold frame is growing nicely, surrounded by slug bait:)

  100. Amie

    I remember staying at TLQ(I think that’s what is was called Temporary Lodging Quarters) and liking having a small kitchen. That will help a ton, if you have one in your room. 🙂

  101. Kim in MD

    Melissa, I am so sorry to hear about your brother. Please check out the blog Charlotte’s Heart. Charlotte used to attend my church before they moved to the other side of town. She started her blog in 2007 a few years before she was diagnosed with Stage 3 Rectal Cancer. She is also located in Maryland and lives in the Annapolis area as do I. I am sure if your brother has any questions Charlotte would be happy to answer them for him.

    I hope all is calm for him to get into the city for his appointment at University with no issues. I will be praying for him and your family as you go through this.

  102. Nicole

    Thank you everyone, I will probably try it in Strawberry pie/crumble. Just wanted to make sure it wouldn’t be a waste of some good baking first! 🙂

  103. Nicole

    I love when the stuff you sell pays for the stuff you need – that’s one of my favourite feelings, lol!

  104. Melissa in MD

    Thank you so much for your kind words and the information! I’ll pass this along to him and my SIL. I know they will appreciate it! He is at U of MD right now and actually should be finished with the endoscopic study. Just waiting to hear. Thank you so much for the prayers too! I am trusting that the Lord will use this to bring my brother back to Him.

  105. AnnaInOhio

    Melissa

    I too am sorry to hear about your brother’s cancer and hope that it is quickly curable. We found it very helpful to talk to others about my husbands cancer, people who had been through it. A co worker and the owner of dh’s company have both had prostrate cancer. So hopefully he’ll take Kim in MD.’s advice and contact her friend. Doctor’s can give you statistical data but it is not like someone who has been through it. God Bless.

  106. Jenifer

    Rinsing clothes in shower warm up water is a great way I found to extend multiple wears before tossing in the laundry. Esp anything that has poly in it.

  107. Avalon

    That is what I do as well. I love cooking with cast iron.

  108. KathyinTN

    Your shopping story made me laugh! We don’t have children either, and last month I went into a children’s store to buy 2 gifts…and turned around and walked out! It was crowded and I was so overwhelmed that I couldn’t take it. I went back the next day right when they opened and had a much better experience 😀 I told the cashier that I was out of my league…however, if I was in a pet store I’d be right at home! 🙂

  109. KathyinTN

    Maple oatmeal bread sounds divine! If you have a recipe and wouldn’t mind to share, I would love to try it!:D

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