Artichokes in Basket The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested artichokes from the garden.

I made a couple of large pots of soup the first two days of the week. We had soup and salad (with lettuce picked from the garden) every day for lunch last week.

I cut Swiss chard from the garden.

I collected green onion seeds from the garden. The onions will reseed themselves, but by collecting seeds, I will be able to plant more onions in other places in the garden and share onion seeds with others.

White Strawberries The Prudent Homemaker

I picked strawberries from the garden.

I planted dahlia seeds and Armenian cucumber seeds in the garden.

I saved water from rinsing vegetables and from the shower to water potted plants in the garden.

I opened the windows each morning and closed up the house around 9:00 a.m. We were able to wait until the last day of April to turn on the air conditioner, when it was 97ºF outside. I continued to open windows morning and evenings to let in the cool air.

I went to a garage sale that I saw advertised via a Facebook garage sale page. The seller said everything at the sale was $0.25! I spent $1.75 and bought 2 shirts and 2 camisoles for Winter, a wind-up alarm clock, a small purse, and this vintage suitcase.

Vintage Suitcase The Prudent Homemaker

I know these sell for a whole lot more and I wasn’t going to pass this one up for 25 cents! I didn’t notice until I got home that it isn’t a flat suitcase, so I don’t know that I’ll be able to stack it the way I had hoped, but I can still use it to store some items, and for the price, I am delighted!

What did you do to save money last week?


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  1. That’s a really pretty suitcase! For a quarter, no less! I got a dial kitchen scale this week for $2 myself (the cost of 8 suitcases, hee hee!). My Swiss chard is almost 2 inches tall now…but that’s actually good for my altitude in Colorado. I am hoping to start harvesting later this month.

    My frugal accomplishments for the past week are posted here: and visitors are welcome! 🙂

    I also have a question – do the alpine strawberries taste the same as red ones? Are they green and then they turn white (so you know they are ripe?) I guess that was two questions.

    I also wanted to tell you that I made your quiche recipe this past week and it was very good – thank you! I wanted to share an idea with you…sometimes when a recipe calls for bacon that is chopped, I use a similar amount of ham, but I pulse it in the food processor until it’s fairly fine. It has a very similar flavor, and I can usually get ham around Christmas and Easter for a lot less than bacon prices have been for me. I used a mix of the two (I was using up some leftovers) in the quiche and it was tasty.

  2. I have kept the windows open morning, noon, and night for a month now, only running the fans. I hang laundry as long as the weather permits me to. We picked more wild blackberries this week and made jam. Our farmers market sold green beans by the bushel for $5, so we loaded up. What we don’t eat, I’ll can. Chicken thighs were on sale for $14.90 for a 40lb box, so we stocked up on that. I’m also growing my own tomatoes. We spent $60 (we had to buy organic soil) to get them started but they’ll yield us a lot more in savings than that when they start producing. Tomorrow we’re building a large raised bed on the side of our house where my flowerbed used to be. That’s what I’ve managed to do this week. Once we finish getting the raised beds done and the chicken run finished, we’ll save a lot more money in the end.

  3. I had to laugh Brandy we were the opposite -we got to turn off the heat for the last few days. I’m excited we will have a lower bill next month!
    I can’t imagine the whole sale for 25 cents a piece. That would be my kind of sale! What fun and what great things you found!
    We went to a lot of sales this week. One of them was 46 mile long. Although we didn’t quite go that distance we went to a lot of them. I was able to get my grandson a lands end winter jacket for next year for $3.00.
    You can view the rest of my frugal accomplishments here:

  4. I love the suitcase. What a great find. And those artichokes look delicious.

    My frugal accomplishments for this week:
    – I made five Mother’s Day cards (for mom, stepmom, MIL and two sisters) and got them ready to send.
    – I visited a friend on a beautiful sunny day. She made me lunch and we went to a local beach to walk her dog. As I left, she gave me a few small flower plants that she had started from seed.
    – Our local energy company had a promotion that you could get four LED indoor spotlights (we have several of these fixtures) for $20 from Home Depot, with free shipping. This is a good price, so I placed and order and received them last week.
    – I made a big batch of black beans, and froze them in ziploc bags to use later.
    – We had run out of eyeglass cleaning solution, so I found a recipe online and mixed some up to refill the spray bottle. Works great! And it cost no money out of pocket, because I had the ingredients on hand.
    – At a thrift store, I found a pair of Birkenstock clogs that looked brand new. I wear these around the house because they have good arch and foot support (I have joint issues, and this brand of shoes really helps). They were marked $30, but I had a 30% off coupon, so I got them for $21. This style normally sells for around $130 retail. I was pleased to find them because the ones I have been wearing around the house are on their last legs.

    I am having nasal surgery this week, so I have been getting ready for that: grocery shopping, prepping food, getting organized. I am going to be out of commission for a couple days, and my husband is taking off work the day of the surgery to take care of me. It’s routine surgery, so hopefully it will go fine.

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

  5. We are having a welcome respite from cold, wet, windy days. The past few days have been gorgeous – sunny and bright – perfect weather for drying laundry. Today I opened the windows and doors and aired out the house.

    Do you use the alpine strawberries to make jam? I imagine on their own they wouldn’t look very pretty but you’d be able to make the prettiest shade of pink if you mixed alpine with red strawberries! Jam is on my mind lately as I made another 5 jars this week. I also sewed a little present for my daughter’s birthday. She’s shark-mad at the moment and keeps saying she wants a stuffed shark. I made her a shark pillow. Then, later in the week, I was at my favourite op shop, and they had a pretty decent sale on stuffed animals. I found her a little shark! It’s pretty small, only about 8 inches long, but it was only 10 cents, and since she tends to run through animals pretty quickly, and since she already has waaay too many stuffed animals, I thought it’d fit the bill nicely. As an extra bonus I also bought her a stuffed dugong, because they’re just wacky enough she’d probably really like it. I also bought a couple of dogs for my son’s birthday, including one that walks and barks. (It still works, I tested it with batteries when we got home. Actually the exact same model is currently on sale at K-mart for either $12 or $14, which isn’t hugely expensive, but I’ll take 10 cents any day.) I made a few stocking stuffers this week too – a couple of bracelets with some beads I had on-hand, and a couple of bag tags.

    Today I thought of you as I found some pretty greenery in my flower beds to cut and bring inside.

  6. I used to make some extra money.
    I rotated the winter items out of my sons closet & summer things in. I’ll sell the nearly new stuff in the fall.
    I made lots of bread & home cooked meals.
    We delayed celebrating our wedding anniversary so we could get a free upgrade ar the ritz Carlton hotel. We don’t go often so when we do we make the best of it.
    I line dried the clothes as always.
    At the local university the international students were having a good fair. We went for lunch and spent $10 for the three of us. It wasn’t huge portions but enough to have new foods we’d never tried before including Iraqi & Bangladeshi cuisines.
    We went to a free petting zoo at a local park.
    My sons kindergarten class is celebrating a local holiday & everyone is supposed to take snacks. I sent popcorn.

  7. I love that suitcase, Brandy. I’ve found several like that over the years and use them for storage. Same with vintage picnic baskets!!

    We have finally (FINALLY!!) finished unpacking and getting our farmhouse set up. When we moved in last October, we designated one of the upstairs guest rooms as a storage room to put all boxes in since we don’t have a garage or usable attic. All the boxes that weren’t immediately needed were sent to that room and then the weather got cold quickly and well, we unpacked a box here and there over the winter but it mostly stayed as storage until it warmed up enough to put everything away. That room is now our second guest room.

    I found a set of twin mattresses, box springs and headboards at a silent auction place and lucky for me, the auction was ending the following day and they had no bids on them. I went back the next day and put my bid in with 3 minutes til the close of the auction and won them for $50! They looked like they were probably in someone else’s guest room and very rarely used. Score for us! I searched and searched for a cheap king size metal frame for them but couldn’t find anything and I was absolutely not shelling out the $80+ that every store wanted so we improvised and built a king size frame (well, platform really) using pallets!! With a long bed skirt, you can’t tell, and the pallets were free!! Thankfully I had a king size linens and a quilt from years ago so no money spent on those things. Picked up a chest of drawers at a garage sale for $10 (real wood!!) and found an old school desk, the kind you’d slide a chair up to, for $8 at Habitat and used that as a side table for the new king size bed. Works perfectly and is a good height for the tall bed. Bought a $5 mirror that once attached to a dresser but is so tall that it can stand on the floor and be used that way. Found packs of standard size pillows for $5/per 2-pack and bought 3 packs. Not super great quality but since they are for the guest room and will be seldom used, it works for now. All in all, a comfortable, very inexpensively furnished room with a king sized bed, perfect for guests.

    I needed some solar lights to use out front where our new walkway is because the fiance leaves for work before the sun comes up but I didn’t want to pay the $15 each (x4!) the stores were wanting for the hanging solar lights so I made my own version using jars I’ve saved over the months, cheap solar lights and some wire. Fashioned a loop around the rim of the jar, threaded some wire across the top to hold the $1/ea solar lights into place and now we have our own hanging lanterns. I hung them on small shepherds hooks I picked up at Dollar General for $2/each. So for $3 and some change per hook, we have appropriate lighting for that walkway.

    Continued to cook at home as much as possible, was able to keep the space heaters off except 2 nights where I turned one on in the bedroom long enough to take the chill out of the air, was able to hang up laundry to dry on Friday. We had frost last week so still no planting going on here. Maybe soon!!

    Hoping now that the guest rooms are all complete, the house is completely spotless and everything is put away, and the first round of guests have come and gone, that I can stay home this week and not have to run a million errands. Have a great week everyone.

  8. Wow! What a deal on the suitcase! I love vintage suitcases, but I never find them in good condition. Now, for the frugal.

    1. Did not eat out at all last week. That is a major budget buster for us and we are so used to eating out at least once on the weekends, that this is probably our biggest accomplishment. We haven’t eaten out for two weeks in a row! Yay!
    2. Shopped the sales for pantry/freezer items. I got chicken drumsticks for .79 a pound. I bought ten pounds and will get about six meals out of it.
    3. Took all lunches to work. This week is Teacher Appreciation Week, so lunch will be provided every day except one.
    4. Continue to fill my mason jar with tea each day and took it to work instead of buying soda from the vending machine. I did NOT buy one single soda last week from the vending machine, so that saved me approximately 6.00 last week.
    5. Made homemade laundry detergent. Thanks for all the tips for making detergent without borax. I have tried making it in the past using your recipe, Brandy, but the borax makes my son’s eczema flare up terribly. I found one that only uses three ingredients and I will be trying it this week to see how he does. If it works, I will go back to making my own detergent.
    6. Used coupons to get some toiletry items for next to nothing. I am not a big coupon user, but these came in the mail and I needed both items so I used them.
    7. Shopped a friend’s garage sale and picked up several items for my youngest grandson. One item was a Ralph Lauren short set for .50 and the matching sandals for .50. Also at the garage sale, I paid 1.00 for a pair of shoes that my daughter-in-law has been wanting that are from Children’s Place but she wouldn’t buy them because of the price.
    8. Tried a new frugal casserole recipe. It made two pans and we only ate one for dinner Saturday night, so I heated the second pan up for lunch on Sunday and added some garlic bread. I have enough left over for lunch for one person today, so I think we have a keeper. I will be making it again, when pepperoni slices go on sale.
    9. Everyone in my family takes showers. My husband has always been one to not run the water while taking a shower, so this past week, I started doing the same. I am trying to lower my water bill, with usually runs between 60-70 dollars a month. I am also trying to cut my shower time to just a few minutes.
    10. My washing machine has broken again. It is only two years old and this is the third time we will have to put it in the shop to be fixed. My husband called the business we bought it from and talked to them, and they are going to call the manufacturer to see if there is anything that can be done. I am very careful not to overload it and I take care of it, but we have had problems from the very beginning with this machine. I am very unhappy with the brand and will not be purchasing another one from this company. In the meantime, I’m back to the laundromat, so that’s not a very frugal thing, but clothes must be washed!
    I think that’s all. Have a great week!

  9. That suitcase is wonderful!!!

    We had some things of concern come up in our house Inspection so we paid an electrician and hvac company to look. Coated more upfront but they only found minor problems (the problems being major would estimate 10,000-$12,000).. So we gladly paid a couple hundred before purchase 🙂 we close in less than three weeks!

    I put money into our moving fund.

    Went to Lowes to price things out.. The kids had fun smelling an spooking at all the flowers!

    Opened up Windows. My bill is down $10 this month, which is a lot when you live in an apartment.

    Had a purple and white 5th birthday for our daughter. We went after breakfast for pedicures while dad and the other two stayed at home to decorate with balloons. The nail salon made special designs on her thumbs and big toes for her birthday! … And her face lit up when she opened the door at home,! She really requested pizza for lunch. I bought her two summer dresses and two nightgowns on clearance.

    Made our first sun tea of the year!

    Did some spring cleaning and have a pile to list of FB garage sale site. Also packed up winter clothes and went through kids clothes and packed up clothes that were too small.

    I will be taking a summer dress back that doesn’t fit right and will purchase my son summer shorts.

    Our city has lots of walking/biking trails, which we enjoyed this weekend,!

  10. Last week was a typical week, although I did some spending to save. My husband replaced a caliper on our car because the old one was frozen shut, wasting tons of gas in the car.
    I am switching my pantry to a healthier stockpile slowly. Last week I stocked up on Quinoa pasta. I bought six boxes, which will last us around 6 months+. I also purchased Alum stones for myself and my husband. So far it seems to work ok, I am still on the fence. I am going for an easy, zero waste option.
    My husband was able to get LOTS of free mulch from the city. All year when the city cuts down trees they mulch the trees then put it in a pile. When spring comes they give it away. My husband used our station wagon and got LOOOOTS of free mulch and has mulched most of the yard. It looks so much better, there’ s less area to mow, and I won’t have to water some of the plants as often. He mulched the area at the end of our property around the black raspberry vines, which means when they are ripe I will be able to get in there and get MORE! 🙂
    I continue to use my treadmill and free youtube yoga videos (I love Courtney Bell’s videos) to work out for free. I use my body weight for resistance.
    We made all meals from scratch and ate at home.
    I purchased two onesies and a tiny little pair of matching pants for my first grandbaby that is due in August! I also ordered some clothes for the baby super inexpensive off of Amazon. I saved the items in my wishlist and purchased them when they went down in price. I also got a 3 pk of tiny little socks. SO CUTE!
    I also did the usual things that we all do everyday. Have a great week everyone! I hope I have time this week to come back and read everyone’s posts! Life has been super busy lately!

  11. Great deal on the suitcase! We had a very busy week and weekend, so I didn’t do a lot of frugal things. I did make sure we ate all of our leftovers. It’s a quick easy meal when your in a hurry, plus the leftovers didn’t get thrown out.

  12. I LOVE the suitcase! Great find!

    My frugal accomplishments-

    We called Coppertone and complained about some spray sunscreen we bought that whistles when it sprays and some of the sunscreen drips down the front of the cans instead of cleanly spraying out. We wasted so much! They are sending us an envelope to return the partial can we have left (we bought 4 cans) so they can diagnose the problem plus sending us a refund check for $10 and $20 worth of coupons. We should have called when the first can did that but I did not think of it.

    I made 2 loaves of vanilla pear bread with over ripe pears.

    I continued picking blueberries as they ripened. I used raw chard in fish tacos.

    I kept up with bits of extra income which I am putting away for the holidays: I completed a Pinecone Survey. I had a mystery shopping assignment one day after work while SO was working. I will get my meal reimbursed plus a small fee. I try to meet my Swagbucks every day.

    I made 2 separate stops to get things for my daughter’s graduation luncheon, but they were both on my way from work. I went to Aldi to buy meats, cheeses, breads, condiments, and fruit to make platters. I used platters and disposable serving bowls and tongs I brought home from work from catered lunches. I went to Publix to pick up her flowers. I ordered an inexpensive cobalt blue vase from Amazon and got free 2 day shipping with Prime and bought a flower arrangement with peachy/orange and white flowers to make an arrangement in her school colors. I used ribbon with her school mascot on it leftover from another project to tie around the vase.

    We went to Dairy Queen and got 2 free small smoothies with coupons that were in the paper a week or two ago. I got a large free sweet tea at McDonald’s with a coupon.

    Have a great frugal week ladies!

  13. We spent less than $10 at the grocery store last week and ate quite well from our pantry. We got almost all of our garden planted including herbs which will help keep my pantry well-stocked. I found several clearanced flower sales last week and was able to use the ‘saved’ grocery money to purchase them. I love a beautiful yard and gardening is my tonic!

  14. It is such a wonderful feeling when you find something you absolutely love and it only costs you $0.25! What a nice find, Brandy.

    We’ve had a busy week this week. I am officially back to work full time. We are cleaning all the historic buildings in the pioneer village right now, so I pretty exhausted by the time I get home. We’ve also had some appointments to attend to, and we’re still adjusting to my husbands new hours. He worked a 13hr shift on Saturday, and it looks like that may happen frequently throughout the summer (pour guy). Anyways, here is my frugal accomplishments for the past week:
    *We had a few meals out this week. The left over take out pizza was stretched over two more lunches (a total of three meals!). We also had take out Chinese food, which stretched over two dinners. It may be expensive to get take out, but at least we are able to make it stretch over more than one meal!:p

    *Homemade meals included frozen stuffed breaded chicken breasts (bought a bunch last summer for $0.79 a breast) with rice and veggies, chicken bacon sandwiches (bought chicken bacon on sale for $3 per package) and BBQ hamburgers and hotdogs (made an extra hotdog for my daughter’s lunch this week). I also used last weeks left over lasagne from fridge/freezer for two work lunches and had French toast for breakfast that I made and froze last January.

    *Happened to stop in at Costco and found a 2 pack of 830ml size bottles of French’s mustard on sale for $3.99, so I bought two (four bottles total).

    *Planted the tomato and pepper seedling (started indoors) in the garden or in pots, as well as direct sowed beet seeds, carrot seeds and hollyhock seeds. I noticed the spinach that I previously planted is starting to sprout! I still have to plant beans, zucchini, dill and catnip in pots. I also plan to replace the spinach with carrots after it bolts.

    *My husband is getting more hours on top of the increase in pay, plus I have started back to work. Hoping to see more income coming in over the next few months!

    *My daughter and I have been collecting dandelion greens and clover from our yard to feed her new Guinea Pig. The Guinea Pig loves it and the food is completely free! 😀

    *We have also been gathering a bunch of four-leaf clovers, which seem to grow in abundance in our yard. We found 16 four-leaf clovers in less than a half hour! I have hot iron pressed a bunch between waxed paper and plan to give these as little gifts to my daughter’s EA’s, teacher and principal as part of their end of year thank-you gifts and to my MIL for mother’s day (she likes to play Bingo, so a little luck is a perfect gift for her).;)

    *Watched a wonderful movie on Netflix called “The 100 year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared” (I have also seen the book for sale by the sale title). There were a lot of subtitles to read as the characters were speaking in several different languages throughout the film, but the story was absolutely hilarious! I highly recommend either reading the book or watching the movie.

    *Along the same lines, my daughter and I bought a book for my mother for Mother’s Day entitled “The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules” by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg. My mother worked as a nurse in a nursing home for many years, but is now retired. We thought this would be a fitting story for her to read. If she enjoys it, there is a second book to read in the series.

    That’s all for now. Looking forward to everyone’s comments. Have a great week everybody!!!

  15. When it comes time to stack that suitcase, you could always put a shim on the backside under it to level it off. Love reading your accomplishments. My husband is a full time student now and next will be my turn to go back to school to update my degree. I’m working full time teaching preschool. Have a great week!

  16. We have jumped from Winter to Summer here in the great northeast…just like Mark Twain said. “Don’t like the weather in New England? Just wait 15 minutes…”
    I’m putting my seedlings out to begin the hardening off process this week as we are predicted to have temps in the 70s and 80s all week. I can’t express the excitement I feel over wearing skirts and dresses again! No long underwear! No tights! It’s thrilling! I don’t get out much, you see…
    I cut my husband’s hair and mended a bunch of socks this week. My youngest child goes through socks like crazy but I’ve been able to extend their lives through careful darning. The girls washed and dried the dogs and I groomed them and did their nails. This is an enormous savings! Each of my large dogs costs $75 to be groomed! Each!
    I’ve been letting the chickens out each day, with the dogs to watch them, so they can forage. This saves quite a bit on food AND we get “free range, organic” eggs. 🙂
    I made quite a bit of money selling my honey and have put aside some for gifts. I also made candles from the beautiful wax; I poured it into antique canning jars that I got for free. More gifts!
    I went to a library book sale and found lots of great books for .50. We use these in our home library and for gifts.
    Our apple trees and beginning to leaf out so I’m expected buds in the next week or so (and am praying the temps don’t drop again…), the blueberries, currants and gooseberries in the garden appear to have survived the brutal winter and are also leafing out. No sign of asparagus and my rhubarb looks pathetic but I’m hopeful on both counts.
    It’s not yet garage season here but as soon as it is my daughters and are planning to go to some. We’re even going to use your idea for a list Brandy, so thank you for that!
    Have a great week everyone!

  17. Garage sales are so much fun! We went on a garage sale trail this weekend and I got some knitting needles for 25 cents each, a brand new Calphalon grater set for a dollar, and a nice cast iron Dutch oven for $4. Other thrifty accomplishments were:

    Cut my sons hair.
    Harvest rhubarb and asparagus from the garden.
    Painted a piece of furniture with paint we already had.
    Made a patchwork pillow with fabric scraps.
    Revived an old cast iron Dutch oven.
    Hung the laundry on the line (it’s nice to finally have warm enough weather to do that).
    Rearranged the furniture to give us a fresh look. I find if I am happy at home I tend to want to spend less time away from it spending money.
    Packed our own sandwiches and a thermos of water for a day trip.
    Made a big pot of meatless chili from dried beans that we ate for three days. (The final day we had it as taco salad)

  18. We had a sad week, our cat died and it was very unexpected. We were very thankful that being frugal in many ways allowed us to decide what was best for her without worrying (much) about how we would pay for it.

    I made cookies, a fantastic maple oatmeal bread, and hot dog rolls. I have been experimenting with hot dog rolls for a good two years now trying to get a recipe that my husband likes and we think I hit it. I use King Arthur Flours Beautiful Burger Buns and bake them very close to each other, as well as having a pan of water in the oven, and then brushing them with butter after baking so the crust is tender.

    I went shopping in our basement and picked out all the boy clothes that will also work for our daughter. In between hand me downs and indulgent grandmas we have really had to buy very little for her, I am glad I always chose clothes for our sons in as many neutral tones as possible for just this reason.

    We were invited to a birthday party at Sesame Place. We have never taken the children, so this was a big treat. They loved it though to be honest I found it kind of overwhelming. I packed our drinks and snacks and our only real cost was parking. My friend very generously invited my sister so that we could have an adult per child in such a large place. It was a huge help.

    I came in under my grocery budget for the week and that is even with me buying extra so that we have some pantry meals when we get home from vacation. I had a credit for five dollars off fresh fruit. I found quite a few snacks on sale for us for the trip.
    We toured a home that we were considering. It has so many problems that we don’t think we can handle it, but it was important to look as the house is a huge opportunity for the right person. I don’t think we can handle it, not with the children so young.

  19. I love the suitcase too! We have thought about having a $0.25 garage sale just to get rid of stuff.

    One of the biggest savings we found this week was in our garbage bill. After having our trash missed by the truck last week, I had to call our provider, and as I was looking up their number, I noticed that the rate they had on their website was much lower than what we had been paying. It turned out that they had been billing us for 4 cans instead of 1 for over 2 1/2 years, and they agreed to refund the $270 in overcharges. So that was good, as well as a $9 lower monthly bill. We also were able to lower our cell phone bill by almost $20 after my husband accidentally dropped his phone in the dishwater, and then we realized that they had a newer plan that offered more texting (which my husband uses a lot) for much less.

    We have felt very blessed and taken care of by God in all of this, for while we saved money in these areas, we also found out that we need to have orthodontic work done for our 7 year-old. Between the savings mentioned above as well as finding some other ways to cut our budget (I switched to cloth diapers which we already have on hand for our baby during the day, and we switched most of our lights to CFL’s), we will be able to cover almost all of the monthly payment on his work.

    Other good things – I planted cauliflower, calendula, turnip, French breakfast radish, and collard green seeds this week in our garden. I enjoyed the beauty of the full moon and the first burgundy and gold iris to bloom from a trade I had made with our neighbor awhile ago. And I found three diaper covers for my baby to add to our cloth diaper collection at a garage sale.

    God is good!

  20. Our week was not terribly expensive for once. I was able to save a favorite pair of jeans by patching a hole in the knee for my four year old- she will be able to wear them until the weather changes and they won’t fit in the fall. The Velcro in my six year old shoes was failing to the point of unwearable and I was able to shoegoo new Velcro and her favorite shoes are as good as new. I used free codes to get $25 of free clothes from Schoola and I used a gift card on amazon to buy an enameled dutch oven and silicone baking sheets. Both items were on sale and I found the dutch oven for even less as a warehouse deal. I don’t care that the box has been opened and the price difference paid for the baking mats. I was able to pay $2 dollars for three jugs of laundry detergent after CVS extracare bucks and buy one get two. I have so many prescriptions that we rarely pay out of pocket for toiletries because of the extracare bucks I earn. My frugal attempts do not cancel out our (huge) medical expenses but we are not in the hole anything like we could be and it means that we have the money to carefully do special things as a family.

  21. My husband went garaging this weekend and bought me two new shepherd’s hooks for my hummingbird feeders. Two for $3.00! He found an expensive digital camera for $15.00 that cost him originally over $300 new. It is a great brand and takes great pics. It came with a bag as well. We ate out of the freezer and bought basics at Aldi. He did buy me a new red maple tree and two new fruit trees. Our plum tree is loaded! Garden is going strong and cucumber seeds are up. Herbs and lettuce is up as well. Our grapes are full of leaves and the vines are taking off. Hoping for a great harvest this year. We are getting rid of cable and home phone. I am shopping for the best rates for internet right now.

  22. Last week was a vacation week for us. So not much frugal work done as we were not home for 4 days. When we got home had a lot to catch up on. Got things washed and put away. We had beautiful weather here but it was hot. Near 90 everyday in the after noon. In this part of TX right now there is smoke in the air because in Mexico they are burning off old crops. (at least that is what the news says is causing the smoky haze we are having) Made some doll clothes for this next years Christmas gifts to our church’s Africa school for children who have lost their parents to AIDS. I make clothes for dolls I buy all year and fix up to send over there. I down loaded a free pattern to make ‘baby sleeping’ doll. Children have been my life’s passion for so long I can not begin to think about not doing things to make their childhood fun. My own childhood was ‘not good’ in many many ways. This is how I feel lead by my Lord to give to others.
    Planted some bulbs I got at Dollar Tree (Gladiolas) Hope they come up. Got some eggs from a friend in church who has chickens. I need to figure a way to pay her for them. She refuses money. I do happen to know she is in need. Her husband died suddenly on Dec. 22. He was not even 55. So sad.

  23. Everything on sale for $0.25! Wow, that’s an amazing price. Sounds like you found a bunch of goodies. That’s what I love about garage sales, sometimes you stumble on a real gem.

    Last week, I found a bunch of deals by shopping the sales and using coupons like a free protein bar, $0.39 bread, $3.24 whole chickens, free reusable bags, $0.63 bottled water and much more. All of my transactions with pics can be found here:

    I also got my haircut for only $5.99! It was a special at Great Clips. I was a bit nervous because the price was so low, but the results were just fine. I’ve never seen haircuts offered so cheaply before! If anyone needs a hair cut, it’s worth looking into.

    Thanks again to everyone for all the frugal encouragement.

  24. I live out in the country a ways but I borrowed a friend’s garage in town and had a garage sale. It took a few trips to get all of my treasures over there but it was worth it in the end. I ended up profiting about $400. The leftovers got dropped off at Goodwill and a consignment shop. Before the sale, I stopped at the consignment shop and cashed in my account. It was about $158. I took that to the bank and and cashed it for change for the garage sale. For signs, I used cardboard from boxes I had on hand and painted them with black tempera paint. I folded them like a pocket so that I could turn them upside down and rest them over two “driveway markers” for posts. I placed them at three different intersections and advertised on Craigslist as well. I took pictures of the tables set up before I posted the sale on Craigslist, listing my more expensive items individually and left my cell phone number so people could text me with questions. Many people commented on my signs that that’s how they knew there was a garage sale.
    We asked our neighbor to come over and till a new garden area for us. He didn’t want to be paid so we will do something nice for him at a later date. I started most of my seeds indoors in March (we live in Iowa) and have already been enjoying cuttings of lettuce. I sprouted them in moist paper towels inside ziplock bags and then transplanted them to homemade seed pots. Because of starting them this way, I should have enough seeds for next year’s and the year after’s garden. We have 7 children so this garden is huge! We even included a couple of artichoke plants because of you, Brandy! My husband fell in love with them in Italy a few years ago.
    I am working on recovering old outdoor cushions that are part of a patio set. I tore off the old “fabric” and savaged the piping on it and the foam cushion. I purchased new fabric from JoAnn’s when it was 40% off and used my teacher discount card (I’m a homeschool mom). My daughter is sewing all of the zippers in the back panel and I am learning a new skill: sewing piping into a cushion. It is easier than I thought! Three are finished, three to go.

  25. Your bargains were amazing! We are heading in the opposite direction weather wise as we are cooling going towards winter.Last week we a big week for us! My husband got a new job plus some extra weekend work. This will be a huge help.
    I have been making soup and my crock pot (slow cooker) has been busy!
    I cleaned my fridge top to bottom, washing everything. It looks like new! I am working on how to reduce costs in recipes by substituting cheaper things. Also building up my pantry week by week. My Mum gave me some lovely big jars.
    My whole list is on Fridays at
    Have a wonderful week. xx

  26. I came across some of those old suitcases at an estate sale this weekend and I’ve been kicking myself for NOT picking them up! I don’t even know what they were asking, but that they’ve lasted all these years while mine is falling to pieces after a couple of years says a lot, doesn’t it? Here’s what I did this week: I’ll have a Coffee Chat post up a little later this week with photos of what I bought at the estate sale.

  27. We got rid of cable and our home phone. We just have really cheap cell phones for emergency use. (I’m a student so I need to have a way for the school to get a hold of me if my kids need me.) We only have internet at home. If we want to watch something now, we watch you tube that we’ve wired into our tv through our PlayStation. This is going to save us around 75 dollars a month.

    I made all of our bread this week and our meals. We are trying to eat through the potatoes I bought on sale a couple of months ago when it was cool. They are starting to sprout now and I really need to use them before they go bad.

    The biggest thing I did to save money was to stop drinking soda. We can’t afford it and it isn’t healthy. So I quit! Yay for me!

  28. Happy Monday everyone! Hope everyone had a good week! Your artichokes look beautiful, Brandy! I don’t think they do well here in Maryland but I wish they did.

    This week:

    -I harvested more spinach from the garden. I need to harvest all of it and get it put in the freezer as it looks like its going to bolt soon.

    -I finally got the cabbage and broccoli in the ground. It’s late but with the wet weather and other issues this is the first I was able to plant them. We will see how they do. Also added more anise hyssop, marjoram and borage to the herb garden. All of these I started from seed.

    -made lemon poppy seed bread and banana bread from box mixes I purchased several years ago on sale with coupons. We ate the lemon poppy seed this weekend and I put the banana in the freezer.

    -went grocery shopping at Aldi’s and found Avocados for .80 cents ea which is the cheapest I’ve seen them here. They usually run $1-$1.50 ea. I bought several and am now researching how to freeze them. They also had cucumbers for .40 cents each. I prefer home grown cucumbers but ours won’t be ready until the end of June at the soonest.

    -Made iced tea from herbs out of the garden. We had a pitcher of mint and a pitcher of lemon balm. It was really good!

    -part of the lease agreement we have with our new tenant states that we will provide a storage shed for her. We decided to do all of the work ourselves. DH dug out the ground by hand and I helped him fill it in with stone we had delivered. Yesterday we finished building the deck for it to sit on and we will start assembling the shed after work today. DH calculated that we have saved ourselves several hundred dollars doing it ourselves! And we’ve gotten some good exercise as well!

  29. Love the solar light idea! I bought a lot of ready made lights last year for our fall agritourism business and was so disappointed in them. To make them with mason jars and inexpensive solar lights would be perfect for the ‘country’ setting!

    Also – congrats on the bed and room! I love the idea of using pallets for the platform.

  30. We were the exact opposite. We were able to keep the heat off for 4 days last week. We went to a yard sale on Saturday and found a domino game for $0.05 and it had all the pieces! We planted our garden. On the deck we are growing three types of peppers, lavendar, spinach, parsley, cilantro, and tomatoes. In the grow bed we are growing more peppers, cucumbers, more tomatoes, and green beans. This is our first garden and we are so excited about it.

  31. Mandy, if the alum stone doesn’t end up working for you, it’s easy to make your own deodorant from baking soda, arrowroot powder, and coconut oil. My local health food store sells arrowroot powder in bulk. I make up a batch and put it in a mason jar, and it lasts for several months. You can search online for a recipe. It works really well for me.

  32. Always enjoy reading these posts as well as all the comments!

    We are in north Texas & still able to leave our windows open here, with fans, instead of running the central a/c. That is a real moneysaver for us, and unusual that we are still able to do it into May. Usually by now it is far too hot. I’m hoping we can keep it going for a couple more weeks. I will take what I can get! Without a/c our electric bill is usually around $100-$120; with it during the hot months it is around $400, so a pretty major savings.

    We had a nice dry weekend compared to all the rain we have had lately so I took advantage of that & line dried our laundry to save money on running the dryer. Since it is still dry today (before the rain starts back up tomorrow), I washed & hung out another load before I left for work. Once a week I also wash my delicate/cold water items & hang them on a rack in our guest bedroom.

    We ate most meals at home, and took our lunches & snacks to work. I like to use my slow cooker during the summer to avoid heating up the oven. This morning I started a pork roast (copycat Cafe Rio recipe) to shred for tacos or taco salads.

    We needed flowers for our front beds, so we went to Lowe’s and bought off the clearance rack. We were able to get almost 100 plants for under $30, which helped fill our front porch pots & some additional spots we had. Typically the plants on their sale racks are either things that are just out of season, or things that need more care. We have found that almost always they are just fine with some water & TLC.

    Bought 4 tires for my car, and came in $200 under budget by taking advantage of a sale at Sam’s Club. While we were there waiting on tires we also found some organic canned tomatoes on markdown sale, so bought those to restock our pantry.

    Went to a neighborhood garage sale on Saturday & found a brand new steam mop for $10. Mine still worked, but the handle was broken and jagged, so you had to be very careful when mopping. The yard sale find was actually a nicer model than my old one! That was a real blessing.

    Worked a few hours at my 2nd online job to bring in some extra cash.

  33. My frugals?

    Just made myself and for Christmas gifts 13 candles this morning. I buy in bulk from a wholesaler 50 lb. boxes of soy wax which makes 100 candles. I haven’t had to buy any since 2013 (the wax). We enjoy candle light in the evenings, dh has one burning by the computer and I’ll have them burning on a ledge between our kitchen and frontroom. I scent mine so not only are we saving some on electric but the house smells so good. Todays were Home Sweet Home (smells like cinnamon) and Arabian Sandalwood. Yesterday I cooked 3 whole chickens bought at Aldi’s 95 cents a lb. each was a little over 5 lbs. We give our dogs chicken instead of canned dog food over their dry dog food so 2 were for the dogs, one for us. I deboned it all today and froze it.. I’ll be making homemade chicken and noodles one day this week. I too am picking up a few more hours looks like.. one of our girls is quitting and this is our slow time of the year so we have a girl from another of our stores looking to pick up a few extra hours and I’ll be doing the same so no need to hire another new person till fall. I work for a candy store that is family owned. I have been able to hang laundry out several times this week including today.. the clothesline twirly thing I have is next to my apple tree which is in full bloom so not only is it nice to be able to hang clothes out but smelling that wonderful scent of apple blossom at the same time is awesome!

    One day this week I’ll be making a trip to Lowes to get soil for my container garden.. we have a new puppy who likes to dig so no big garden this year (boo!) but hopefully next year she’ll have calmed down some. I do have some chicken wire so may try to corral some space in the back yard for more gardening??

    It’s beautiful here this week temps in the low 80’s loving it.

    I also started going through my freezers and reorganizing.. I had meats and veggies, etc. scattered in both the chest freezer and upright and almost made a frugal mistake thinking I was out of Salami.. I make subs every Friday night and had it on my list to buy at GFS when I found a whole pkg. in the freezer.. yay! I made a list and taped it to the freezer so I now know what is in there. Still more work to be done but it’s a good start.


  34. Myra, would you please share the casserole recipe? I have some pepperoni that I need to use up. Thanks!

  35. Thanks for the movie recommendation, Rhonda A. Although I’m an avid reader, I hadn’t heard of the book. I watched the trailer and will be watching it on Netflix the next time I sit down to watch a movie.

  36. Celia, your week presented many challenges, including the death of your cat and the disappointment over the house. I hope next week is better!

  37. What a find! .25 per item! And I thought the sale I hit that was .25 for clothing at our local thrift store was great! Nice thing about vintage suitcases is even if they don’t sit flat, they still look awesome tucked under a dresser or something.

    My accomplishments for the week can be found here…

    Even with all the financial hardships, I have to say that I’m so grateful to the Lord for providing opportunities to get things I need cheaper than I thought possible. At least there is that :).

  38. Our 23 year old Camry is dying, so we decided it was time to find a new(to us) 2nd car. We have developed over the years a system to find great used cars and so I spent one full day looking through ads of available private party cars for sale. Weeded through dozens and then checked kbb on each of the possibles. That narrowed the list more and so then I checked reviews from owners as well as edmunds to narrow the list down based on current customer satisfaction and reliability and repair records. Our car was selling for $300 under blue book ad our mechanic loved it. It did have a couple repairs needed that owner was not aware of so he refunded an additional $300 after the sale!!!!

    Bought leaf/compost mulch from our Scouts and they spread it for us . Found the annual plant sale at our local home improvement store with 4 pack of locally grown veggie plants for 79 cents/4 pack! Got my Roma tomatoes, cabbages, other tomatoes, and several peppers there. Got my garden planted and it will be raining this afternoon!

    We replaced the screen for free on the intake spout for our rain barrels and reattached the downspout to the rain barrels! Not a day too soon!!! Those 3 barrels kept my garden watered completely for the last two years without using any of our city water!

    Harvested 3 Napa cabbages today and planted 3 of my tomato plants in their place!! Harvested more lettuce and spinach too!!

    Packing our food for our day working at the elections tomorrow – that will bring in an additional $336 for us + $168 for our son. The polling place is just three blocks from home so we will stagger our lunches so we can let the dog out (and back in) 3 times in the late morning/ afternoon.

    Sold a Bluetooth thingy I was given but never used on eBay for $50!!! Going to put up my Kitchenetics mixer and parts tonight to bring in some more money!!

    Bought an extra loper for $1 at a yard sale so hubby and I can both be branch trimming at the same time!

    Hubby baked more cookies from scratch this week and had son help him so son learned new skill and there was some good father-son bonding time! The cookies will go in their brown bag lunches for work!

    Fewer and fewer things staying in fridge too long! I’ve been proactively recycling leftovers into other dinners/ lunches!

    Extremely blessed this week!

  39. That suitcase is fabulous!

    * DS had a track meet on Saturday; we packed lunch, snacks, and drinks
    * made all dinners at home; my 15 year old made bbq chicken sandwiches 🙂
    * contacted a company as we had bought some bags of tortilla chips that were stale when we opened them (and they were within date). Was sent some free item coupons.
    * we are making progress on our garden space, hoping to get planting very soon!
    * my 15 year old won a $15 gift card for filling out a school surgery ~ she was so excited
    * dehydrated some pineapple (one of our favorite snacks!)
    * DH took our dog to the vet to see about some balding spots. Good news is that it is common in this breed and no treatment required

  40. This week:
    I turn off the heat and open windows.
    Walk to town to pay bills
    Work on my garden (My friend has a the space and we work together) but won’t be able to actually plant to the end of month or beginning of the next.
    got a certifcate for karate paid 25 instead 100.
    didn’t not go out to eat this weekend
    hung all laundry out side
    ate from the freezer
    made brownies, and all meals at home

  41. I got it from Pinterest. It’s super easy. I doubled this to make two casseroles: 1 pound of ground beef, 1 small onion, 2 cups of spiral pasta (I just used elbow macaroni), a 28oz jar of spaghetti sauce, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese (I used mild cheddar because that’s what I had on hand) and 4 oz. of pepperoni. Brown your beef and onion and drain. Mix with the sauce. Cook the pasta until almost done and drain. Mix in with the meat, onion, and sauce. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and pour in mixture, top with the cup of cheese and pepperoni slices. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. I had everything on hand but the pepperoni, but even buying everything, it wouldn’t have been too bad and honestly, I could have probably used one pound of ground beef for both casseroles since it had the pepperoni in it too.

  42. Years ago our little boy celebrated his 1st birthday by pulling our laptop off a high shelf and broke the screen. Since he’s a Christmas Eve birthday that meant we had to wait until Boxing Day to replace it! My husband insisted on keeping the broken computer, and I kept teasing him about it, until, about a year later, he hooked it up to the TV and voila – a media player. It works brilliantly.

  43. I have the sort of problem everyone likes to have, and since this board is full of so many wonderful mothers and educators, I thought you might have some suggestions for me –

    We have about $1500 to spend on resources for our son before the end of the year. He gets extra funding because he has a moderate to severe hearing loss in both ears; but it runs out on is next birthday, which is in December. We have very wide latitude on what we can buy for him; but obviously we’d like it to get things that will provide longevity and be useful and helpful to him.

    We are fortunate in that his hearing loss is only moderate to severe, so he can communicate on the phone (well, as well as any 6 year old with a speech impairment!) and he can hear the fire alarm even with his hearing aides off. He already has a reciever and his classroom is already wired up with a sound field (speakers etc.) So we don’t need special deaf equipment like that. Our speech therapist recommended using it all on books; but we already have several hundred children’s books and while I’m not against using some of it on books, it seems a bit of a waste to just go out and buy $1500 worth of books. I’m also not above using it for toys; but if I go down that path I’d like to use it for toys that are actually useful for speech and language development. These don’t have to be things like alphabet blocks – he’s a bit above that stage – but if you have suggestions for board games or toys suitable for a 7+ year old that help with language, I’m open to them.

    Academically he’s doing very well; deaf children often have reading difficulties but he’s in the top reading and math groups for his year. He has very good comprehension; just about the only thing that he struggles with his speech, but he’s making great strides there too. He gets speech therapy through the school; his classroom aide is a qualified speech therapist assistant, the speech therapist visits every fortnight, and the visiting teacher for the deaf visits every week. (I’ve asked them for suggestions too; but so far, nobody’s gotten back to me.)

    We do have some storage in this house so if your suggestions are along the lines of “get one of these for when he’s older” I can do that. I’m tempted to use the money to stock up on birthday and Christmas gifts for the next several years; but again, I do want it to be spent on things that will benefit him, and help with his speech and language development.

    And before you suggest I just give it back – Well, that is an option too. But as a politician here so eloquently put it recently, “Giving money back to the government is like peeing in a wet suit. You get to feel all warm and fuzzy but nobody else notices.”

  44. I am very sorry to hear of the loss of your beloved cat. I hope this week will be better.

  45. You inspired me with your soup and salad menu. Since I am getting lettuce and radishes from the garden and I got broccoli in my food co op, I make broccoli soup and we had a salad with it. Tonight we are having vegetable soup and salad. I will be harvesting Swiss chard this week–another inspiration from you. Other than soup how do you serve Swiss chard?

    I love your blog! I’m going to write that every time I comment! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  46. Laura, I enjoy your blog. I am going to have to try Brandy’s quiche recipe. I will be harvesting Swiss Chard this week!

  47. Those strawberries are larger in the photo than they are in real life. They are TINY! I picked the amount you see in the picture twice last week–not enough for a batch of jam. But, they are continual until it gets too hot, and then they come back in fall when it is cooler. I’ve expanded the area in which I grow them, so I will eventually have more, but still not enough for jam.

  48. When you feel up to it, I would be interested in your recipe for maple oatmeal bread… but take your time. I’m so sorry for the loss of your kitty. 🙁

  49. Debbie, do you mind saying what company you do mystery shops for. I am in North Florida, and I’d be interested in those. Thanks

  50. I was thinking the same thing Vickie – I finally get to turn the furnace off! I’ve been leaving it on just overnight but I think we can finally do without!!

  51. Hello Anna and Avalon! I use this recipe from, Pear Bread II. I don’t use the cinnamon, nutmeg and pecans. I use 2 tablespoons vanilla instead of 2 teaspoons. I also don’t bother to peel the pears. We like the vanilla flavor rather than the spice flavor of the cinnamon and nutmeg. i make a pumpkin spice bread so making this one more vanilla gives us more variety when I make breads. I do like the pecans in it, but to keep the cost down, I skip using them.

  52. I didn’t do very well this week – went over my grocery budget and ordered pizza one night. But I did get all my vegetable seeds and seedlings in the garden. I tried to eliminate some of the things that haven’t done very well for me in the past and planted more of the things that have done well. I’ve also added more herbs which should help with savings down the road.
    My favourite frugal accomplishment this week wasn’t even my own. My husband’s friend found for our son a Star Wars Lego set still sealed for $1 at a thrift shop which she picked up for us. I’ve been trying not to buy him any new toys so this made him very happy.

  53. We are having a later than usual garden start this year due to a cold spring. My lettuce and snow peas are growing and I planted potatoes, onions, carrots, and replanted Swiss chard and spinach which did not sprout from the first planting.

    I made $40 in Swagbucks during April

    My biggest achievement was at a local church rummage sale that I go to every year. My MIL and I went on Saturday which is bag day. For $5 you fear a large paper bag that you can fill completely. I normally don’t go on that day because some years there are very few good clothes left by then and it usually is crowded. Maybe it’s the better economy, but there was hardly anyone there and there were 4 long tables full of women’s clothes. There were also 2 full tables of children’s clothes which is also rare for the last day. I got 7 tops for me, a pair of almost new sandals, a pair odf shorts, 3 almost new bras, two brand new dresses with tags on them, a deck of cards and a crochet pattern book all for $5. I felt incredibly blessed with all I was able to get. We have lots of medical bills now so every penny saved is wonderful.

    Glad to see you found some great buys also!

  54. Thanks for the suggestions! I’m looking at getting him a set of story cubes, and a set of conversation cubes. I like the idea of games that require him to read out loud. He’s much more clear when he’s reading than when he’s talking, though, so I’d also like to get him games that require talking.

  55. Sandra, if you and your family like potato salad, you could make a big batch and use it in lunches for the week to use up some of those potatoes.

  56. Thank you Debbie.. sounds wonderful! And easy since it’s ingredients most of us already have in our pantry.

  57. You sound as if your child has a very sound foundation for assistance, many other children do not. I would counsel to purchase supplies and resources your child will need in the future and perhaps purchase items other hearing impaired children could benefit from. Ask you child what they liked the best, the best book or resources, etc. and pay it forward. You have been blessed to have an environment that your child is supported, some are not as fortunate and just think of the life lesson that it would teach. My son is dyslexic and we are very blessed that his school is so incredibly proactive in his treatment, he is a top reader and we could not have achieved that skill without support. It also is a reminder that there are some that are not that fortunate. Sometimes it is a simple lack of money, God doesn’t have a resource problem, perhaps he is using your family to bless others.

  58. Everyone has been very kind about her death. thank you.

    I adapted a bread machine recipe for this loaf. It seems to keep very well and is lovely for sandwiches and toast.
    1 1/3 cup buttermilk( I never have buttermilk, I use 2% and a splash of vinegar)
    1/3 cup maple syrup
    2 tblp softened, unsalted butter
    3 cups bread flour
    3/4 cup rolled oats
    1 1/2 tsp salt
    2 tsp SAF yeast

    Take the oats and dump them in with the buttermilk, let it sit a bit, maybe 15 minutes. Stir everything together. It will seem quite wet, but that is because the oats will absorb some of the liquid. After twenty minutes ( or thereabouts) go back and see if it seems like it needs a bit more flour. Stir or knead depending on how messy you care to get. Butter the dough and let it rise until doubled. * Becuase of the very long rising time, this dough does not require aggressive kneading. *

    Deflate the dough, shape it into a loaf, put it into a buttered loaf pan and let it rise again. Bake at 350 to an internal temeprature of around 205. Normally I would not take an internal temperature of bread, but this loaf is quite dense and appears to be done when it is not. Butter the top when it comes from the oven, turn to cool on a rack.

    Generally if I start this bread around 9 it is ready around 3. It seems to keep quite well, probably because of the maple syrup.

  59. Mae, my 11-year-old granddaughter is deaf, with cochlear implants. I texted my daughter to ask her to remind me the kind of toys that we bought for her when she was your son’s age. She said that once my granddaughter was implanted, she never bought anything special other than extra speech sessions, but did avoid toys that are too noisy since that can hurt when the cochlear implants (and hearing aids, I know from my own experience) amplify sound! I did find this source that gives lots of tips for the kinds of toys that work to enhance speech development and note that they were the kind that my granddaughter always played with:

    I hope this helps.

  60. My daughter cracked the screen on her netbook ages ago but we kept it anyway and lo and behold when my laptop died I simply dug out an old monitor and hooked it up to the netbook.
    Voila! A “new” computer for me to use.
    I have also hooked it up to the TV to watch stuff on a “big screen” instead of the tinier monitor.

  61. Not a whole lot this week. I’ve been having back problems (ongoing issue). Yesterday I did a lot of cooking using foods shpped from my pantry/freezer/fridge – pasta salad, coleslaw, baked beans (a friend’s recipe – she puts in green chile for a little punch) and slow cooked in the oven thin beef steaks I found on special. There were 10 large pieces that I cut in half. They really weren’t of a quality meant for grilling so I braised them. Having the oven on low was good as we are in the brief spring rain period here and I don’t want to turn the heat back on. I wasn’t crazy about the sauce so am going to doctor it up today – maybe with some sour cream/stroganoff style.

    Getting ready to plant our garden as we can safely plant here after Mother’s Day. Our local nurseries and Big Box stores are only now getting in their veggie plants. We took out a failed flower garden where I had some herbs – moved the herbs and what perennials I could find to other spots.

    Brandy – you so inspired me! I was really wanting fresh flowers but didn’t want to pay the ‘pre Mother’s Day’ prices and I couldn’t find any on discount. Yesterday I realized our Columbine were flowering – they have naturalized and filled a bed. I cut some lilacs, columbines and… mint! I made three little bouquets – put them in wide mouth point Mason jars and voila! The colors look amazing. I would never have thought to cut Columbine for flowers or to use mint for the green. They look so fresh and the scent is amazing.

    We don’t get rainy days here very often so today I am going to continue watching Midsomer Murders on Netflix, reading library books and doing a few projects as I get up for my ice pack. Maybe it is a good day for a little ‘down time’!

    Frugal fail – I deep cleaned the fridge and freezer. I was pleased that there wasn’t much waste. The fail is that a small piece broke on the piece that the two crispers slide into. Argh – I will go online and order a new part. It is amazing to me that appliances used to last for decades and now an expensive fridge has pieces that break off within five years of purchase! And there are only two of us so it isn’t like a lot of people are in/out of it.

  62. Make your friend a baked good or something else that would be useful to her and gift it to her. Do you make something regularly that she would use (and it would save her from buying that item)? Trade!

  63. Every child in our country who has similar program gets this funding; and unfortunately I haven’t had much luck finding charities which work with hearing-impaired children overseas. I have suggested to the school that perhaps there is something they would like to get that would benefit the entire school that we could assist with purchasing. We are very blessed to have a proactive school. Schools get extra funding for children with disabilities, depending on the level of disability. The money is supposed to be used to help the student, and in our case, the school has done that. I have a friend with a son who is moderately autistic. His school got extra funding to help him out. She discovered they’d used this funding to purchase a piece of playground equipment. When she objected, saying the money was supposed to help her child, the school said, “Well, he can use it too.” (In that case she got the last laugh – she pulled him out of that school and moved him to another one. The funding goes with the child, which meant, suddenly, the first school had a huge gaping budget hole.)

  64. That’s a great link for kids with or without a hearing loss. How is your granddaughter going with the cochlear implants? It’s funny how people just assume my son should have cochlear implants too – I’ve had strangers on the street ask me somewhat accusingly why we just have hearing aides and not cochlear implants! (Simply put he doesn’t need them – his hearing loss is only moderate to severe and amplification is effective for him.)

  65. Mae, can you use the funds to send him to camp or sign him up for a program. My daughter is on the Autism spectrum and we are sending her to a special camp this summer. We also are trying to get her into a special program that will incorporate both ABA programing and drama. Do you think that looking into signing him up for something like a drama program or day camp might help him with his speech?

  66. My husband just brought home 5 baby turkeys to add to the 5 he got last week. They were from from the 4H office. They had hatched them for an education program and were giving them away for free now that they were done with them. He also received 8 baby ducks. What a nice gift to us:)

    I finally have a little lettuce that is surviving the slugs. Yea. Plus the 1 nicely growing one in the cold frame. There are also a few beets, spinich, carrots (very few), and boc choi surviving.

    I cooked a small pork roast. There were more bones in it that I had thought and it was intended for 8 people for dinner tonight. So, I shredded it and added green salsa and about 4 cups pinto beans I had frozen previously. I will make brown rice to go with it, along with canned peaches and the other family is bringing drinks and veggie tray.

    My husband planned and barbequed prime rib for a charity auction on Saturday. Of course, he had lots of help, but did the meal planning, purchasing, and oversaw the actual cooking. I stayed home because our new youngest does not deal well with that kind of commotion, so it was best for her. They raised almost $30,000. His contribution is the cooking, which took a large amount of time, but no actual cash from our family. He’s been working on it for a few weeks, and worked many, many hours Friday and Saturday on it. People were so generous. The money will be used for teen-agers at church to go to Mexico and build houses for those who need a house.

    We decided to hold off on replacing our camper. It’s not going to make it any longer due to dry rot, and we’ve know that for a while. We decided to wait until we need it in a few more months. We have other plans than our normal camping trip vacation for this summer, and the camping trip we have planned is going to be part of an extended trip where we will just need to take a tent. HMmmm (it was my idea to tent camp for 2 nights. We will see if I’m crazy or not!!! We are not getting any younger)

    I continue taking items out of the freezers to use in meals in anticipation of shutting one down. I’ve said that for weeks, and I’m starting to see some spaces in them, so one of these days, I’ll see what happens if I consolidate. In the meanwhile, I’m appreciating room to root around and find things more easily with more space in there.

    We went to the library twice, which is more than usual.

    I have 3 more intense weeks of homeschool with my 14-year-old and then need to buy more curriculum. So, we both wll love having a break. I’m looking at options and think it will cost less next year. One main reason is that she won’t need to take Spanish again, a class that takes $ for driving and tuition. She will be done with her 2 years. I plan to buy some curriculum soon and may put together some unit studies for myself as I have done in the past, which costs less and is more geared to her specific learning style/needs instead of just buying a pre-packaged program, which I usually have done lately.

  67. A big thanks to Brandy and everyone who gave me water-saving tips last week! I love this group!!
    This week I did a lot of little frugal things:
    Read one library book and one free Kindle book.
    Got out my hot glue gun and FINALLY fixed a bunch of bag clips (glued the magnets back in.)
    Remembered to cut off and save the buttons from a worn out pair of my husband’s suit pants.
    Free in the mail-Cottonelle wipes.
    Redeemed Swagbucks for a $25 PayPal, and completed all Swagbucks goals for the month of April.
    Got back 80 cents from Ibotta for buying milk, cheese, and a banana. Also got back 25 cents from Checkout 51 for buying that banana. Free banana plus 15 cents overage! Yay! Also entered receipts into Receipt Hog.
    My neighbor across the street died suddenly at age 58. My husband and I attended his funeral and received a packet of flower seeds. Flower is “5 Spot” (Nemophila maculata). Looks like a really lovely flower, and one I’ve not seen previously. I need to research whether I can grow it in a container. I’ve never grown flowers before, and am planning for my first vegetable garden this summer, which I need to get a move on!
    Happy May, everyone!

  68. Thanks to Brandy and everyone for all the inspiration here!

    Last week:
    Returned a new pair of summer shoes I bought a month ago. Although I have been looking for a pair of that type since last summer, they were a “want” not a “need” and there’s no $$ for wants just now, so it was the smart decision.

    After using an online calculator for CFLs vs regular light bulbs, based on use, allegedly will save $2.70/month for changing to CFLs. Since I could buy a pack for under $10, it seemed a money maker to purchase. Bought them at Walmart with a Walmart GC earned through Swagbucks. Will be eager to see the next electric bill; fingers crossed. Have been even more diligent about not using lights than usual e.g. in a dim bathroom, no need for a light…it’s not like reading or something where a light is really needed.

    Mended the thumb on a pair of gloves that was nearly coming off.

    Have a number of occasions requiring gifts coming up in summer and have been trying to think ahead. Carefully went through my “gift stash” and found a small item that will work as a part of a gift. Have been extra diligent on Swagbucks to earn a gift card that can be used to purchase another small item that can pair up to be a complete gift (still a very modest gift overall, but hopefully it will seem enough).

    Ate a lot of food out of the pantry, and modified recipes as needed to leave out ingredients I didn’t have.

    Filled my free time with decluttering and reading books that are already owned. Cut up a very outdated pair of cotton pants into rags (saving the buttons), and gathered a lot of clothes and other things to be hand-me-downs for others.

    Walked a lot to save gas. Entered my distance walked on Walgreen’s free wellness card program to work my way up to a $5 GC.

    Needed a greeting card and was able to make one with items on-hand, despite not being very crafty or artistic.

    Thanks to whomever mentioned Walmart’s Saving Catcher program a few weeks back. I hadn’t heard of it before, but have started entering receipts and will get $0.26 back (on a GC). Every little bit helps.

    Have a great week everyone!

  69. There are some great deaf camps out there; but most of them have a cut-off of about 8 years old, and our funding runs out when he turns 7! We were actually going to ask if we could use it for music lessons, as an ex-Sunday School teacher of mine (this woman has known me since I was 3!) who has a graduate degree on methods of teaching deaf children, told me that getting him involved with learning to play an instrument would make a huge difference to his speech.

    There are so many great resources out there now for autistic kids. Finding the right fit can be hard! I hope the camps are a huge success for your daughter.

  70. We’re doing our first garden too this year! Going to do the same as you have in your grow bed. Hope we both have success, I’ll be thinking of you as l plant and grow! Good luck!

  71. Planted 7 hills of pole beans under cloche. Our last frost date is around Mother’s Day, so they will have time to sprout & grow under the cloches, which will protect them until after the frost date. This will give me a 2 week head start on the bean season, which means 2 more weeks of harvest at the end of the season. They were out of the ground by the end of the week.

    Dehydrated dandelion leaves. This is an experiment to see how it works to conveniently add them to eggs, stews, etc. to increase nutrition.

    Continued to dig out the grass & roots from the strawberry bed, then fill with a mixed of aged manure & coffee grounds. I was able to finish the strawberry part of the bed & made good progress on the part with the red raspberries as well.

    Dead-headed the purple iris.

    Picked up more grounds for gardeners from Starbucks.

  72. If you search on Money Saving Mom, there were several articles about mystery shopping with companies listed that do pay. Read through the comments also because readers have posted companies and reviews. I signed up for several, but it really varies what is available. I never did any shopping for 1 of the places I signed up for since there were no shops available where I live. It also goes in spurts for me with what is available, where I am willing to drive, and what fits with my schedule.

  73. Brandy, if you were to freeze the alpine strawberries until you had 2 cups, would you be able to mix them with the mulberries to make a batch of mixed berry jam, or is the flavor not strong enough for that?

  74. Visiting might be just what she needs. A lot of us don’t like to admit we get/feel lonely.

  75. ~Purchased markdown Easter chocolates at Aldis for 50¢ a bag. We’ll either eat it as is or break it up and use for baking.
    ~Made cream of mushroom soup with mushroom purchased at Aldis for 69¢ a container. Yummy!
    ~My neighbor was pulling out massive amounts of lemon balm from her garden since it was taking over. I rescued 2 nice size plants and planted them in pots where they seem to be quite happy.
    ~Attended my 2 church sales that are my absolute favorite to attend. They are held twice a year and in the spring they are normally on the same Saturday. The first church everything is marked and it’s priced to sell. I use these sales to pick up things we need and also find things to resell online. At the first sale I got several bags of sewing trims and zippers for 25¢ each, a few SU rubber stamps sets, a vintage Fiesta bowl for $2, a some unused vintage dishtowels for 25¢ each. I was also able to get 17 ink cartridges for 25¢ each that I will recycle at Staples. They are all expired and I can turn each 25¢ cartridge into $2 in Rewards. Need to buy son a laptop for going away to college in the fall so I will use all my Rewards I’ve accumulated for that purchase. I also picked up several sealed CD and DVD sets that I listed on Amazon.
    ~At the second sale I picked up a brand new electric wok and the funny thing DH and I had just been talking about how we wore out our wok that we received as a wedding gift and how we used to use it so much! So we can once again make stir fries which help stretch the food budget! A quilter had donated bags of beautiful remnants and quilting books and magazines. I filled a shopping bag with beautiful batiks and high quality quilting fabrics and also found a quilting square and triangle that was shoved in 1 of the bags. My favorite find of the day were two large vintage storage jars- 1 with a green painted lid and the other with a red lid. I have a few of these and they are always expensive when found in antique shops. I was quite surprised they were still at the sale since it was almost noon by the time I got there. I also got a large basket filled with cloth diapers and liners in almost new condition. There were a total of 40 diapers and the organic fabric liners. I knew I could resell them but had no idea how much these sell for until I got home and started to research and learned this new brand sells for $17.95 each! I have to do some more research but the sale of these should help with the college fund!

  76. Planted a second round of peas and first round of other vegetable starts.
    Swapped extra seedlings with my mother for her extra seedlings.
    Started organizing another look book of my clothes for spring/summer to increase outfit options (really worked on me not buying impromptu clothing pieces which is easy to do when I shop at the pay by the pound Goodwill).
    Added another vegetarian meal to our weekly home cooked meals to save on meat. I don’t know if I can get away with this every week – the Mister is getting more accustomed to it.
    Made peace that dinner out and a card is plenty for my mother in law this week.
    Upped my Ebay listings from 30 to 50 a week.
    Found more books (future gifts) for my nephews at a quarter each. They love to read.
    I use Bing as my search engine and get rewarded with points to use for $5 gift cards. It is pretty easy to get $10 worth of gift cards in a month.
    I hope everyone has a fabulous week & a blessed mothers day!

  77. Thank you Brandy and everyone who makes such inspirational and creative comments. I’ve been reading your blog for a couple months and this is the first time I have commented. Well, once i tried before but i don’t think it went through. It is so nice to have a place to go to when you need a little nudge to live a bit more frugally and simply.

    My husband and I just sold our house last week. The amazing part is that there ended up being a bidding war and we made $35,000 more than the asking price! We are sixty two years old now and wanted to downsize a bit – our large lawn and garden are just getting too difficult to maintain. In three weeks we will start moving to a cute apartment in a small waterfront town. That will be a change after living in the country for so many years. At least there will be a weekly farmer’s market only a block away.

    We decided to get rid of one of our cars and sold it on Craig’s list for $1,000 this week. Less insurance and we plan to walk many places instead of drive. I gave many belongings to some charity thrift stores and saved the receipts for tax purposes. I got some library books and read a free book on my Kindle. I made some apple crisp out of some apples that i really didn’t care for. My husband is going to color my hair this afternoon – he’s done it for years and does a great job. I sold a cabinet that I refurbished years ago for $50. I was really happy about that as I got back all the money I’d put into it.

    Lastly, I found the haircolor that I use on sale for only $6.83 – it is usually much more.

  78. Went to Libcon at our library. The kids got their faces painted and they got to make a couple of crafts and get a free comic book. Plus our regular books and movies.

    The kids have been picking strawberries every day. It’s not enough to even make a snack, but it makes me (and them) happy.

    We’ve been eating out of the pantry this week to skip a shopping trip. Good thing, since I realized there are some other things I need to stock up on. I’m trying to eat up my (small) larder and start over, so we’ll probably do this again next week.

    Ordered passes for a festival for the kids this summer and got a discount for ordering early.

    It was teacher appreciation week and our amazing PTO has gifted us every day. One day we got camelbak water bottles worth $15! We’ve had free massages and fancy pizza catered for lunch. Our PTO is awesome!

  79. I keep losing my post, not just here but elsewhere. I think I am too distracted…I have spring fever. We are in full blow spring here now with most of the trees budded and greening up and the grass is green and the dandelions have exploded. The tulips and daffodils and the bleeding heart and the flowering trees are all beautiful. We’ve had some nice spring showers. The windows are open, rugs and quilts and blankets are all out on the lines and airing.

    One of my projects now is the food storage…I keep a clipboard on the inside of the basement door with a page for each of our food storage areas….root cellar, canning shelves in basement, deep freeze, and 2 refrigerator/freezers. I need to make sure that we have finished up all that we put up so we know what to do the coming year and in what areas do we need more or less. We finished off the root cellar food almost 2 months ago and that has just been sitting open and airing. For example, we’ll be harvesting rhubarb again soon so I want to be done with all my frozen… according to my list I should only have one quart left down there so will make a rhubarb pie for MOther’s Day. Now I still have 3 quarts of frozen corn and 7 of canned but that is OK because we won’t get sweet corn for months yet. I’m low on all the tomatoes but that is OK because I do not make as many soups and hot dishes once it is warm. We have starting picking asparagus and have had it broiled 2 x in row for dinner.

    People mentioned stocking up on BBQ supplies. That has all been on sale since right after EAster here. From now on it is picnic season straight through to Labor Day. I bought large squeeze bottles of the store brand yellow mustard for 1.00 ea, 8 jars of Hellman mayonnaise (32 oz?) for 1.95 each with sales and double coupons. I bought charcoal (without lighter fluid), heavy duty foil, citronella torch fluid at the farm store.

    We had our county Homemakers spring banquet last night. They were raffling off themed baskets as a fundraiser…I won a kitchen one with a pump bottle of hand soap, scrub brushes, a wooden recipe box, towels, scrub brushes, measuring cup and spoons, cheese slicer…I haven’t totally emptied it yet so there may be more. It’s getting toward the end of the AWANA year, school year and people start giving you presents…thank you type gifts. I received a $10 gift certificate for JoAnn fabrics, a $15 gift card to STarbucks, a jar of homemade peanut butter spread (it is peanut butter mixed with marshmallow fluff and some molasses)…very tasty, but sweet, stuff.
    My husband bartered with a cousin in law of mine to get repairs done to our old VW bus (rust removed and patched , paint touch up). Levi is going to strip and refinish their baby crib and rocker for upcoming grandchildren’s use.

    We have a graduation next weekend as my middle girl finishes her BS Nursing degree. We will go to the graduation and have a “small” party there at the home of the older couple she rooms with, just our family and some of her friends and their families who are also out of towners. She and her brother, that lives there too, has it all planned…we are bringing pies and cupcakes and sweet-sour cole slaw and all our lawn chairs…some are doing plates and stuff, some beverages. It will be fun.

    I hope everyone elses spring is wonderful too…now is it fall for your Australian readers? Happy Mother’s Day to all, too.

  80. Such a lovely suitcase! And those artichokes are just beautiful!! I’m gad to be catching up here. I was on vacation with my sister, and then came back to a temporary job that will finish tomorrow. I hope to be joining in again next week. In the meantime, I look forward to reading what everyone else has been up to.

  81. Roxie , if the eggs were a gift to you I would not try to pay her for them.
    Give her something else the next time you see her like fresh bread or a quart
    of soup you just made. And then as someone else said, spend some time with
    her. She may need to do things around the house that will just be easier with
    another person to talk with while working, just so she doesn’t become overly bogged down
    in sad thoughts. I hope your church knows of her need to. Have your deacons or elders
    contacted her to see what chores they can take over for her? Like the lawn or car
    maintenance? I am thankful you are such a compassionate person.

  82. Jean, legible signage is so important. People forget that the writing that they
    can read a foot away from them is not going to be OK to drivers in cars 15 feet
    away who only have 10-15 seconds to actually read the sign.

  83. Annabel, looks like you changed your blog a bit…did you make your mixer cover
    from a pillowcase? We have that same set of linens…they are probably at least 20
    years old. Good idea.

  84. Terri, I commented on above Annabel by mistake when I meant you. Sorry. I
    hope you see it. Sometimes my kindle page moves when I don’t expect it too.

  85. I love the idea of making a list of what is in the freezer and taping it to the outside! So simple but brilliant. I inventory my pantry and freezer every so often, but have never thought to do that.

  86. Sandra, I have seen recipes for making your own hashbrowns and storing in
    freezer. I keep meaning to try. I think you parboil the potatoes and then
    cool and grate and freeze on trays, then pack in freezer bags.

  87. Melissa, I was reading about growing artichokes as they looked so good in
    Brandy’s pictures and they look so ratty here in the stores. Apparently you
    can grow them up to zone 4, which we are in, if you can find a way to over-
    winter them.

  88. Elizabeth and Krissy, best wishes for a successful first garden and many
    many more after that.

  89. Athanasia I found that single pillow case for $.25 and one in blue, too. I thought it would make a handy cover for the mixer. I did an antique one that had a few holes in the seamed end to make a sewing machine cover. And yep, I change up my blog. When I’m temporarily stalled on home projects, I decorate the blog, lol.

  90. If you put your potatoes in the crock pot and cook until soft (but not falling apart), you can then grate them into home fries or hash size and freeze until you need them.

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