Frugal Accomplishments

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

It’s that time of year here where we retreat indoors into the air conditioning and under the ceiling fans. I hope to finish several projects this summer indoors. This past week, I spent a good amount of time organizing and cleaning my bedroom. My hope is to have the house super clean and organized by the end of the month.

In the garden, I planted seeds for zinnias, sunflowers, and basil.

I harvested apricots, blackberries, and parsley from my garden.

I cooked a turkey in the oven from the Thanksgiving sales that we ate for cooked a large batch of black beans in my solar oven, made cilantro lime dressing using some cilantro my mom gave me and made ranch dressing.

I altered two pillowcases for my mom from king size to standard size for set of sheets that she bought at a garage sale. I also replaced the elastic in her workout shorts with some I had bought on sale in bulk from Wawak.

I mended a bra.

We had a picnic at a local park with turkey sandwiches using the turkey I cooked. The park has water play features that the children can play in as well as a playground. Many of the local parks have water features for children. We are considering making this a regular habit for the summer.

We went to the library to check out books.

I signed up for a free PDF for photography that allowed me to request access to two photography Facebook groups. The groups should be a great source of learning for me.

I watched a free webinar.

My husband and I enjoyed some free comedy one night on YouTube.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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138 Comments

  1. I love both the hollyhocks and roses. I’m growing hollyhocks, but yours look different. I’m guessing they may be a “double” type of hollyhock. Is there such a thing? I also grow roses, and none of them look anything like yours. So pretty. I harvested lettuce, chard, lambs quarter, purslane, and parsley last week, as well as a few blackberries. We have our first tomatoes forming, which I believe are Indigo Berries. We have quite a few mystery tomatoes from the compost this year, so they’ll all be a surprise. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2019/06/bumblebees-frugal-accomplishments.html

    1. They are double hollyhocks. They are also dwarf hollyhocks, so they are less likely to topple over in the wind as they don’t get as tall. These are double dwarf Majorette Champagne.

      The roses are a Kordes rose called Earth Angel.

  2. Sounds like you had a lovely week, in spite of the heat! Here in Central Ohio, the temps are not quite up to 80 lately and we’ve had some early and late rains that are perfect for our garden!
    I got a 25 pound box of lovely slicing tomatoes for my $5. We are eating them (isn’t part of the pantry principle that you eat what you store? I already have about 175 quarts of tomatoes that I canned on my shelves ), I shared 5 pounds with one daughter and 3 pounds with another so they could enjoy them also! I used 1 of the tomatoes last night, chopped up in dinner I took to a couple who just had a baby! These tomatoes meant that I could prepare the whole meal for them- IP Chicken burrito bowls (https://pin.it/3owve73ulgyjau) with crispy tortilla bowls that I made and chopped lettuce from my garden and these tomatoes to add to the bowls without going to the store and saving a ton of $$ over buying their meal or ingredients at normal prices!
    My tomato plants are happy but not producing quite yet!
    We sold more of our excess koi this week, bringing our income from them to over $500! This week will be our final week to sell any so we put out a new ad in Craigslist that lets people know that while we have a discount for bulk sales, this coming Friday any leftover koi will go back into our big pond with the rest of our koi that we are keeping!
    I’ve sold 5 more sets of Reuseable, Reversible Bowl Covers ( https://pin.it/pyy72a2y52czf3 ) So, our little HandmadeinOldeTowne.com is still helping build up a cushion for this retirement that we’ve just begun!
    Our chickens keep giving us 3 dozen eggs a week and we are enjoying these regularly in our meals/snacks! They also keep weeding and doing pest control in our yard! And it’s relaxing for us to sit outside and eat lunch or dinner and watch their antics! Free entertainment!!

    With Hubby now officially retired, we decided on Thursday to have lunch out at a restaurant, using a gift card we were given for Christmas from one of our children. By using it at lunch: Prices were lower, restaurant wasn’t as busy and as a result, the gift card even covered the tip! How fun!!

    We’ve been thoroughly enjoying spending time together working in the garden and doing projects that we had only hoped to get to! Amazing how little amounts of time are actually getting projects finished!

    I was able to take dinner twice to a couple who just had their first baby, without having to go to the store for any of the ingredients! How grateful I am to have a well stocked pantry! I made a baby quilt for them as well, using scraps from my fabric stash . https://pin.it/xhhz2v7yzcydhi. I made it a couple months before and put it into my gift cabinet for an occasion when I might need a gift in a hurry! What a blessing to not have unexpected costs to give a last minute gift!

    Still wrangling with Social Security. Hopefully, we will see the budgeted amounts coming in at the times we are expecting them! Until then , fingers crossed!! In the meantime, no/low spend weeks ahead and banking every extra dime saved/earned into our savings! So grateful hubby and I are working on this as a team and that we are finding fun times to have working/playing together without spending money!

    How blessed I feel to be married to such a great companion! In August it will be 49 years since we met and married 6 months later! Best choice ever! Retirement will be wonderful! So far 10 days into it, we are smiling a lot!!
    Life is good!!
    Pat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    1. Every time I read about your koi, I am reminded how much I would love to have a koi pond! It really isn’t practical for us right now but I think it would be wonderful!

  3. Living frugally in Portland:

    – I checked the ph level of my garden using a frugal method (the red cabbage soil test) https://www.designmom.com/red-cabbage-soil-test-ph-neutral-acidic-basic/ Either the test isn’t accurate or my soil is a good ph level because my soil samples from all of my garden beds stayed purple (neutral).

    – I had extended family over for a BBQ to celebrate the birthdays of two of my brothers and my husband. To save money, I bought hamburgers and hot dogs and buns on sale in bulk about a month ago and froze them until this weekend. I used decorations I had on hand and made homemade cupcakes from fresh strawberries in my garden rather than buying a cake from the bakery. I also made assignments for other families to bring foods. We have plenty of leftovers to eat this week, yay!

    – I’m looking to decorate and brighten my house up this summer, but I’ve vowed to only decorate using existing things in my house, gifts from neighbors via my Buy Nothing group, and garage sales. We’ll see how it goes!

    1. Jen G, thank you for the red cabbage tip, I’m going to try several spots in my garden I’ve always been curious about … should be fun too! ann l s

  4. There was a processing error in getting paid on time this last week, so a paycheck is delayed. Of course I wasn’t expecting that, and we had just finished the last of milk, butter, and AP flour (my main pantry stock up months are December and June, go figure). So, instead of getting out the credit card I took stock of what we have and have planned some meals until the pay correction comes on Thursday. I had four chicken breasts in the freezer…so tonight we had bbq chicken pizza made with one chicken breast and bread flour I found in the depths of our pantry. I also used the bread flour to make a loaf of French bread for toast for breakfasts and PB and Js for lunch. Other meals will be chicken burrito bowls with brown rice and black beans and chicken lasagna roll ups. The kids are annoyed that I won’t go buy snacks but they will survive. 🙂 Tomorrow I’m going to experiment with making waffles without milk and with almond flour- should be interesting and I’m sure the kids will be thrilled! ?

    I didn’t do much of a garden this year, and I’m not sure why. I guess I just wanted a break. I planted 16 tomato plants and 12 cucumber vines, and that’s it. I’m hoping to put up 30+ jars of pickles which is double what we normally eat. Last year I noticed that my MIL grabbed a jar everytime she stopped by, so they only lasted us 4 months! This year I will put up enough for all of us. I’m humbled that they have been so well received. Truth is I just use Ms. Wages dill and add garlic and red pepper flakes to it!

    I’ve been engaging my kids in chores everyday and have been so happy to see them thrive and be proud of their contributions to the household. Their reward is a sticker everyday they do their chores (it’s not an option to do them, though), and a special treat on the weekend, like an activity they like or a fun dessert item.

    We went to DC for the reopening of the Smithsonian’s dinosaur exhibit. The hotel was our only expense, aside from gas for the drive (4 hours each way), until we found out that my husbands uncle paid for it as a gift! It was a blessing and a great experience for our kids.

    1. Bobby, that is exactly why I keep a well stocked pantry. If for any reason I cannot buy food, I always have my pantry stock to make meals from. It sucks that you happened to have run out of some basics when you needed to rely on your pantry. Great job at looking for alternatives to make it work. For the future, I suggest considering keeping some powdered milk your the pantry. It is perfect for cooking and baking needs and can be make up as needed, even when there is a power outage! I also keep shortening in my pantry, which can be used in place of butter for baking/cooking in a pinch. It doesn’t require refridgeration, so again, perfect for extended hydro outages!

      1. I second the powdered milk recommendation. Until Brandy mentioned it on her site, I had never tried to use it. Now it is a staple. Really comes in handy when you are in a pinch.

    2. Bobbie: I used to make all sorts of exotic from scratch brines for my pickles. Then one summer I got in a rush and used Mrs. Wages. Like you, I put garlic in them and sometimes more dill if the garden is producing, and people love them. Now I don’t fight it, I just use Mrs. Wages. Sometimes I can find a good sale on them so the cost is pretty minimal…

      1. Mrs. Wages is delicious! I thought I like Claussen dills better, and then after a few years of making the Mrs. Wages mix, I bought a jar of Claussen’s and was surprised to find that I didn’t think they were nearly as tasty anymore as Mrs. Wages!

  5. I have accepted the gifting of food this last week. Most of the items were pop-overs and pies, but I was given a hugh, garden fresh cabbage, tomatoes and tomato paste.
    I have left the door open until almost noon every day. This is almost unheard of in Texas at this time of year.
    I turn off the air conditioner and ceiling fan when I go to bed. I am still running a fan in my bedroom while I sleep. With the cooler weather and the fact that I have changed from a blanket to a light-weight throw I am comfortable.
    I have been eating down my freezer and pantry.
    I am purging and cleaning my house (this is a very long-term project). I am setting aside items that I want to sell.
    I didn’t drive anywhere this week so I saved gas money.
    As usual, Brandy, you photos are lovely. Thank you for sharing them.
    I sold an 18th century reproduction pocket for $30.00. The pocket is made from “scraps” of other projects, usually, so the money is good.

  6. Hello!
    I have harvested a small bowl full of strawberries, green onions, garlic chives, and dandelion flowers ( to make dandelion oil). I planted two tomato plants and 1 bell pepper plant.I purchased both on clearance for $1.24 each. I cannot plant in my other raised bed yet due to a mama rabbit having a nest in it lol.

    I purchased two bottles of Xtra laundry soap for .99 cents each from Walgreens (this price is all week long, thinking of purchasing 2 more).
    I exchanged books, movies, and cd audio books from the library. I signed my daughter up for the summer reading program and she continues to go to the kids yoga class they have every week. My daughter earned free movie rentals from Family Video for every A she received on her report card (7 ) and we also received a coupon for a free pizza.
    I was able to make up the two hours I had to leave from work last week rather than miss the pay.
    I downloaded several free books to my Kindle.
    I saved $15 using coupons when grocery shopping.
    We cooked all meals at home except one.
    I hope Winter is doing well at college!
    Have a great week everyone!

  7. I got 3 coupons , one to use each week at Aldi’s re-grand opening after they remodeled. I also got several packs of meat that were reduced. Then I found marigolds on clearance at Lowe’s to put in my garden to keep insects away. I can usually revive the ones on clearance. I also found a nice shirt at the thrift store.

  8. Hello Brandy and all, this past week I trimmed bushes, weeded, and cleaned the upper yard. Took all trimmings to the dump for free disposal. The week before our daughter and her friend came over and helped trim our laurel bushes …I still have another load of branches to take to the dump yet…lots of yard work still in the future lol…line dried clothes, cleaned our my linen closet, cleaned out some of the totes of stuff I have in our storage area. I’m trying to dejunk my house as much as possible asy mom is having a garage sale in a few weeks. Canned my first turkey!!! It’s easier than I thought! ! Tonight I am going to can the broth tonight and finish that project out…my next canning project will be 15 pounds of ground beef I purchased at $1.99 a pound…I have been wanting to try canning meat for a long time …I don’t know what I was afraid of lol…anyway I hope everyone has a great week !

  9. Beautiful flowers, Brandy!

    We are in the same boat with the heat. Our electric bill will be going up now!

    Here are my accomplishments from this week:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and foil and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Hubby had a business trip this past week, so all his meals were paid for Monday – Thursday and we got credit on Hotels.com and our credit card for the costs. He also got the toiletries and coffee from the room each day.
    • Since he was gone, I used that opportunity to eat up a lot of one serving containers of leftovers for meals from my freezer for lunches and dinners. Resisted the urge to eat out, which is hard for me when he is gone. I am focusing on that good feeling I get when I’ve used up something rather than wasted it!
    • Had Dad over for lunch instead of going out. I had a container of goulash in the freezer, so we had that. I served it with some leftover hamburger buns that I toasted and put garlic butter on.
    • Worked 10 contract hours. I had to go into the office both days, so I brought my lunch.
    • Resisted the urge to stop and get ice cream and instead made up some sugar free pudding and sugar free jello that I have had for a while.
    • Got a couple of Ibotta rebates.
    • Used the treadmill for free exercise.
    • Harvested 3 zucchini, 15 cherry tomatoes and 5 small peaches.
    • Hubby sprayed our house for bugs himself rather than pay for an exterminator. He also did a number of smaller projects including fixing a kitchen drawer that had broken and checking the brakes on my car.
    • Got a small spatula, 2 lip balms, an apple cutter and 2 thumb drives free from work that were leftover from a conference.
    • Forgot to mention last week that I made homemade pizza on Friday night instead of ordering in. I used the pizza dough recipe in the Tightwad Gazette book and it was really good and I loved the texture. Used up a small amount of pepperoni, bell pepper, onion and mozzarella I had in the freezer. Also added a can of mushrooms and some canned artichoke hearts that I had bought on clearance. I made my own pizza sauce with a can of tomato sauce and some dried Italian herbs.
    • Added some leftover bean soup to my freezer soup container. Also rinsed out a tomato sauce can and added that.
    • As a part of our library’s summer reading challenge you can get points for completing activities. I went to a small environmental museum very close to my house with my grandson after our regular preschool time at the library. It had stuffed desert mammals (javelina, mountain lion, bobcat, fox) as well as live snakes and bugs and skeletons of desert animals. It also had a little place with puzzles etc. It is part of a larger park with a lake with ducks. I never would have gone in there if it hadn’t been for the library challenge and now I have found a really nice park to take my grandson to (at least once it gets cooler!) I made a small donation (50c) and bought a bottle of water there as we got pretty hot walking around the lake), but still practically free.
    • Signed my grandson up for the library reading program so he will get prizes too. We’ll be able to go get our Culver’s ice cream cones together! Since he is under 4, we also received a onesie from Penguin books as part of his registration. I got it in size 3 – 6 months in pink, as my granddaughter is due within the month and I am putting together a gift basket.
    • Got some diapers on a good sale as part of the gift basket.
    • Got 2 lbs. of popcorn from the clearance rack for 79c. We were almost out, so that was a good find!
    • We went to a Blues festival a few hours away (and out of the heat!) We rarely do this type of thing, so it was a little bit of a splurge. We saved by only going 1 day. I used hotels.com thru Ibotta when I booked the hotel, so we got $13 back and earned 1 point towards a free night. Ate fast food instead of going to a casual dining. I also did a wine tasting since we were in that part of our state. Rather than buy a bottle of the kind I liked, I just had 1 glass, which saved me 75%. We turned the thermostat at the house to 82 degrees to save on AC while we were gone.
    • Best grocery deal was strawberries for 75c/lb.
    • Hung 3 out of 6 loads of laundry.
    • Made my own “Crystal Light” using unsweetened koolaid I got from the clearance rack and using packets of Sweet & Low I’ve collected from hotel stays. According to the internet it takes 24 packets to equal 1 c. of sugar, but I’ve found that 20 will make it sweet enough for me.

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  10. Your outing to the park sounds like so much fun.
    We have had such a wet spring – a blessing after last year’s drought, and it means I haven’t had to turn on the garden irrigation yet.
    We enjoyed lettuce, peas, broccoli, cabbage, chard, mint, and asparagus from the garden.
    One of my apple trees died and I had to buy a new one. (One apple tree won’t pollinate itself.) I had trouble from the beginning with the tree that died – I think it as a bad graft. The new one looks much healthier.
    I transplanted celery into the outdoor bed and planted green beans, plus three more tomato plants.
    I baked sourdough bread and wheat sandwich bread.
    We attended our electric co-op’s annual meeting – a free meal, a $10 bill credit, a 2020 calendar and a canvas tote bag, plus a fun evening with friends. And we won a doorprize of a free session and photos from a professional photographer!
    I spent Saturday afternoon working my way through a pile of mending. I also sewed new covers for the pillows in the chairs on my front porch, and the cushion in the porch spring, using fabric I bought on clearance last fall.

  11. Brandy, just as n FYI that I just got the email about this post at 8:10 eastern time. Second week in a row!

  12. I replanted green onions after using them from the store. I split my comfrey and turned about 3 plants into 30 new plants. I harvest the leaves and feed them to my pigs. We used our library for movies. Living off grid we used free solar power for just about everything.

    1. I wish we were off the grid. Our power company has raised our rates continually and now has gone to Peak hours. The cheapest rates are 12:00-6:00 A.M. when no one is awake. Peak rates are 4:00-9:00P.M. Their excuse is there not enough renewable power to go around. Everyone here has Solar, so that is highly unlikely. Our Power company lost a lawsuit for starting a major wildfire. Now they are trying to recoup their loses. They shut the power off when it gets windy and hot. We are looking into back up generators. Very Third World but 1st world prices.

      1. Lyn, do your washing machine and dishwasher have a delay start option? If so, you can have them run between midnight and 6 a.m. Then you can get up early in the morning and put that load of laundry in the dryer or hang it, and start a second load to run during off-peak hours.

        There was a power outage here the other day around dinnertime for about 3 hours. It was quite hot.

        1. It never occurred to me to use the delay function on the washer/dryer. I feel so foolish! One of the many reasons I’m part of this community – thank you!

    2. I just purchased comfrey seeds online. I read that they make good compost for the garden and am planning to feed it to my rabbit also.

  13. We’re almost halfway through our low-spend month and we’ve had a couple of unexpected expenses but all in all we’re doing okay. We’ve been eating more beef than anything because we just got our cow butchered and I’ve missed having more variety (although the beef is wonderful…store bought just can’t compare). But my mother in law sent home some leftover chicken with us which has been great.

    We’re fearing some job uncertainty in the future. Hopefully we’re wrong…

    I’ve listed some items on eBay and I’ve actually made a little money! I think I’ll continue trying to sell things…both things we have that can be decluttered as well as things purchased at thrift stores that I can make a profit on. I’m only ‘rolling’ the profit from previous sales into the purchase of other things to sell so that it doesn’t hurt our budget.

    I’ve spent more time blogging (cheap entertainment!) and I’m really enjoying it!

    Have a great week everyone!

    1. I like to sell on eBay too. I always keep a lookout for things to sell. Today I got a Starbucks penny farthing mug which is really cute, it will go on eBay tonight!

  14. Your hollyhocks are gorgeous. I may have to try and find some of the dwarf ones next year.
    Last week was an unusual week. I was on jury duty all week, and was mentally exhausted at the end of each day. I do work full time, but this was so much more difficult. I took my lunch with me each day while on jury duty. Mainly because I did not want to move my car, and possibly lose the free parking spots.
    My job does pay us for doing our civic duty and sitting on a jury, so I will still get my normal paycheck. that is a blessing.
    We got the rest of our garden planted within the last two weeks. Corn, beans, cucumbers, onions, zucchini, chard, tomatoes, peppers. We also planted navy bean seeds. We grow our own dry beans. Mainly just for fun. We have plenty of room, so we try new things. Planted a second planting of lettuce, and will plant a second planting of snow peas. going to try pole beans, and decide which we like best.
    Picked and dried 4 trays of parsley.
    Made homemade pizza, with homemade dough, homemade sauce, and just loaded it up with veggies, and a little meat.
    Thawed refried beans from the freezer, and made burrito bowls with beans, Spanish rice, chicken, peppers and onions and a little cheese and salsa.
    Had bean burritos for lunch on Saturday.
    It seems like there was more – I really need to start writing things down.
    Hope everyone has a good week.

  15. Hello Frugal Friends,
    Happy Summer finally! It is warming up here in Colorado. Beautiful flower photos!
    Here are my frugal accomplishments:
    – I signed up my children for the summer reading program at our local library. They have a wonderful program that encourages reading and doing other activities over the summer. I am so glad they have these programs to motivate my children to read!
    – We signed up for the YMCA for the summer. This does cost but I intend to use it several times a week and we already have been several times. It is worth it to have an activity that is already paid for that we can do everyday.
    – I signed up for several freebies and downloaded several Kindle books for free.
    – I enrolled in a college class. It will be paid for by a program from Veterans Affairs. I am excited to learn some new material and to have it paid for.
    – I cashed out on several websites and had some other money making opportunities on the side in May. I listed all of these on my blog at: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/2019/06/09/how-i-made-243-59-in-may-2019-from-websites-apps-selling-crafts-credit-rewards-and-more-side-gig-side-hustle/
    – Last week, we went to a park here called Garden of the Gods. It is in Colorado Springs. It is beautiful and free. It is fun to hike around it and take pictures.
    – We had family in town so we took turns cooking at my house and my in laws house.
    – We ate all meals at home. We have been doing a lot of grilling chicken, we had Dollar Tree steaks and hot dogs. We also had hamburgers and brats.
    – That’s about all I can think of for now.
    Blessings!
    Liz

  16. It’s been a long time since I’ve grown hollyhocks. I love them and your pictures make me want to grow them again.
    It’s been raining here in our part of Michigan a lot but we had a few days to dry out the garden. We were able to plant it all in record time this weekend.
    It’s good that we did that because it has rained all day today. Not sure if it will make it but we gave it a try.

    Here are the way I’ve saved this past week:
    https://www.vickieskitchenandgarden.com/2019/06/my-frugal-ways-this-past-week-6919.html

  17. What beautiful flowers, Brandy! Thank you for sharing…especially the pictures and info about the hollyhocks. I’m going to look for the seed so I can plant some this year to bloom next year.
    This was our week–
    *My husband had the oil changed in the car and was given a coupon for a free carwash.
    *I paid the bills online, saving time and postage.
    *One of the joys of getting older–my husband and I can no longer lift heavy stuff, even together. We went to Harbor Freight and bought ramps to help us move things into and out of the truck. We saved $13 with the 20% off coupon on their app and I had $27 left on a GC I got for a return at least 6 months ago.
    *For the past 3 weeks, I have been cooking double on Fridays and sending dinner to a friend’s parents. Last week I made homemade au gratin potatoes with ham and a salad made with homegrown lettuce. I had about one serving left over (no ham, LOL!) and turned it into potato soup for lunch on Saturday.
    *I got blueberries for $2.49 for 18 ounces and made a batch of freezer jam. It took a carton and a half. Including sugar and pectin, the jam cost about $1 jar. It is my husband’s favorite, so I always make him a batch.
    *I have one tiny green tomato on one of the Early Girls. And the strawberries, planted about 6-7 weeks ago, have green berries. Everything is up in my garden except for the zucchini…and if it doesn’t pop in the next 24 hours, it’s gonna be history!

    PS to Jen–the soil in Portland is acidic. That’s why the rhododendrons are so beautiful (and planted everywhere).

    1. Great idea on the use of the leftover au gratin potatoes! It is so much fun to be creative and save money, isn’t it?

  18. I wish that splash pads were around when my kids were little…what great free entertainment! Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were chicken and dumpling casserole (from the freezer), grilled steak with baked potatoes and green beans, salads topped with leftover steak, taco salad with nachos, hamburgers.
    *Hosted our family reunion at our church (which was free). We served grilled chicken and pork (which we bought on sale) and sweet tea, lemonade and water. Everyone bought a side dish and dessert. We brought home leftover pork to freeze for later.
    *Were treated to dinner out by cousins that were in town for the reunion. Accepted leftover pizza to bring home.
    *Walked with a friend for free exercise and fellowship.
    *Colored my roots using 1/2 a box of hair dye.
    *Ordered Father’s Day gift, birthday gift, bridal shower gift and wedding gift from Walmart.com going through Rakuten and with free shipping.
    *Scheduled 2 appts along with a stop at the cell phone store and a visit to the nursing home all in the same day to save gas.
    *Got a new cell phone for free as my job pays for it.

  19. Our weather finally got warm here–the week we had three doctor appointments. In between, we did work on the outside stuff but there is a lot to be done and we are two old people who can’t keep up with our own plans for the day anymore.
    Last night we discovered that we couldn’t run the AC in the bedroom because the plumber used our heavy duty extension cord to hook up new pumps in the basement. My husband had unplugged a number of cords, thinking he could get it running–while I was brushing my teeth. I had to tell him it was a no go, because we definitely had to buy a new heavy duty extension cord to run the AC. Luckily we have a good ceiling fan, and it wasn’t as warm as I expected it would be. Unfortunately, he “messed up” the TV so we couldn’t get the sound working again. Not at our best at 1 AM! I was forced to read a while instead of watching TV (“Becoming” by Michele Obama which has been waiting for me since shortly after Christmas–I bought it at my daughter’s request for her for Christmas and then borrowed it as soon as she finished it!) In the daytime today, it was less of a problem to go buy a new cord and re-hook things up so we can both run the AC and the TV at the same time.
    Part of the problem is that my husband is becoming increasingly unable to do things he used to do, and I never did learn the finer points of hooking up TVs and Computers and phones. I’m learning now! He earned his living as an electronics technician, so it amazes me when he can no longer help with those things. My daughter thinks I should not ask him to do anything, but I do try and see what he can handle so he can stay involved in everyday living. If I guess wrong, though, he does get very frustrated. I am limited to only being one person. My son in law can help with electronics, so DD did remind me today that they only live 2 miles away!
    Despite having a lot more to do, we did plant some sunflower seeds today–a must for us! I put some supports on the columbines–they are so tall and more flowers on some plants than I have ever seen before! And I pruned some wild grapevines out of the clematis but didn’t finish it all. It looked like it would rain every second but it held off until just about dinner time. I did notice some blooms in the front circle garden–which badly needs weeding but I can see at least some of the perennial geraniums I planted there a year ago have survived and blossomed. They will be a good addition instead of putting annuals in there every year. Perennials only cut down on garden chores–they don’t quite eliminate them!
    Also got back to baking last week–chocolate chip cookies which disappeared in record time, and then an almond/vanilla pound cake which is not entirely gone yet. My DD checks every time she comes over–her husband loves sweets and can’t resist them, so has asked her not to bake right now. He is disabled and accustomed to doing a lot of physical work, which is no longer possible, so he has to maintain with diet alone. She has to raid my kitchen to get her sweet tooth satisfied! Good things she likes the same things we like–and no surprise, since she grew up on my cooking.
    I was able to order new lenses for my glasses for no cost as there were still two days in the warranty period. Can’t wait to pick those up when they are ready–hopefully late this week.
    Hoping for good weather this week–today’s rain should be over by tomorrow, leaving us with sunshine to work outside in tomorrow. Just what we need! I hope for the same for all of you, unless you NEED rain!

    1. No wonder your daughter is so willing to come help with the electronics. She’s paid in yummy baked goods! LOL

  20. I never did get my kalanchoes to bloom again; will try this fall. I took the pot outside for the summer and decided it was much too thick and overgrown, so I cut off most of the stalks and put them in two vases of water. Not only did the original big plant survive, I will have at least a dozen more plants, as the cuttings started rooting within just a few days. Everywhere where there is a joint on the stems has put out roots. I probably could have put them right into well-watered soil and skipped the water roots.
    Staked two new little trees with posts left over in the shed, tied with old panty hose. When I was looking in the rag bag for the stockings, I realized how long it has been since I have dressed up with nylons! Also. I cut up some t-shirts that had been stuffed in the bag whole, as they won’t get used if they are big. The rag bag itself is a t-shirt I like that wore out. I cut off the sleeves and sewed the bottom and sleeve holes together so I could enjoy the shirt logo for longer.
    The squirrels have left almost all my plants alone this spring, a first for them. However, they are nesting in our big maple trees and keep chewing off and dropping small leafy branches that make quite a mess on the ground. I can see how good my flowers would look if I kept them properly watered in the spring, as we have had so much rain this year. The mint and the rhubarb are the only plants that aren’t over-the-top in size.
    I made good use of airline credit card and points to visit family last week. An elderly family member is facing a decision about kidney dialysis, which is very hard, especially as one can’t know how exhausting the procedure itself will be is until it is started.

  21. Brandy, I’m enjoying your photographs so much! I am learning more about photography and trying to get the most out of the 20 year old Nikon DSLR that has been embarrassingly sitting on my basement shelf! It’s great fun. I really wanted to get a 50mm lens for it and do something besides the kit lens, but I gave myself the fun goal of knowing all the buttons and trying them all out a bit before buying anything new. And then I swung for a delightful 50mm lens from Yongnyo which was only $50 instead of $100 but has nice reviews – and then my camera-savvy father-in-law surprised me with it as a present! Such a fun treat. I’m having a blast. Especially now that I have a sweet newborn baby boy to take 1000 pictures of – Linus Maxwell is a sweetie, and he and his family make great subjects.

    Frugal things from this week-
    *I learned to make homemade french fries! My 4 and 2 year old dearly love McDonalds fries, but, goodness!, that racks up quite a bill. Smitten Kitchen’s recipe that starts with cold oil is absolutely terrific. (https://smittenkitchen.com/2017/03/easiest-french-fries/). And Aldi’s ketchup brand could sure be mistaken for Heinz.
    *We ate from the freezer and only had small purchases from the grocery store. That was fun.
    *We celebrated our 15th anniversary with a vacation at home. Big kids went to grandma’s, baby stayed with us, and my husband treated me to chicken cordon bleu and wine we already had.
    *Got more books out of interlibrary loan. Brandy, I got the book “From Plate to Pixel” that you recommended and am enjoying it very much. Thanks for the good tip!
    *Planted 30 Easter lily bulbs in the garden. This is in addition to the 50 I planted last year. Did you all know that they’ll rebloom? Not at Easter – they’re forced for early bloom – but we got gorgeous blooms last year even in October. I haven’t seen them come up yet here in Boston, but I bumped a bulb when I was planting something else and they’re alive at least. Worth a try since our church was throwing out 50 pots of bulbs! I’ve also got a hankering to replant as many of the thrown away daffodil and tulip bulbs that nearby office parks get rid of. I’m stopping to talk to any landscaping company folks that I can meet to see if they’ll let me take them when they throw them away. I haven’t gotten it together yet, but wouldn’t that be fun?

    Thanks for all the inspiration!
    Sarah

    1. Sarah, THE DAFFS WILL CERTAINLY REBLOOM; THE TULIPS TAKE MORE FOOD TO DO SO! EASTER LILLIES MAY NEED TO BE IN A SHELTERED LOCATION NEAR A WALL OR BUILDING, BUT THEY REBLOOM FOR YEARS.

      Many years ago I worked for a well-known display garden , got the bulbs from the garbage pile, and they rebloomed for years! Hope you have fun with this plan! Laura

  22. Our weather is turning hot, too! It’s supposed to be 97 the next 2 days, and for my area, that’s extremely hot! My goal is going to be to keep the garden from getting crispy, and to do the things on my schedule without wilting myself!

    Deep cleaning has been on my list around here as well. My laundry room is done. One day last week, my older sister came and helped me tackle the garage. We use it as a pantry and for food storage, extra seating for family gatherings, a place for the kids to play the Wii, and clearly, the family dumping ground for anything people don’t know what to do with! We didn’t finish, but got a long ways.

    Today, I got out there early and picked strawberries at an U=Pick farm. They were $1.25/lb, which was 20c cheaper than the other place I picked at with my sister a few days ago. They were loaded! I got 16 pounds. I made strawberry jam, strawberry-rhubarb jam, and froze 2 quarts. There are some in the fridge to eat on for the next couple of days. The rhubarb was from my garden, and I was glad to be able to use it to stretch the strawberries. I was able to use some super-discounted sugar I picked up last year for 25c/lb. In all, with what I did last time, I now have over 30 assorted-sized jars of jam–anywhere from the little jam jars to pints. I also have bowls of fresh jam to eat. I will share several jars with my sister, and will save some for Christmas gifts.

    We had so many celebrations last week, my head was spinning. But, we enjoyed them all, made it to the dentist as a family, the zoo, my niece’s graduation, and 2 birthdays. Yikes! Pictures are here: http://beckyathome.com

    I stumbled upon a 69c/lb ham. It was the last one the store was getting rid of as it was closing in on it’s expiration date. I snatched it. I got a free item from Safeway. I am only buying what we need right now, with an occasional addition if the deal is good enough. I’m saving any extra grocery money for a trip we will take in a few months. I’m also collecting super-bargain, non-perishable foods for a short trip that is planned in a couple of months. I’m in charge of organizing the food for the 3 families that are going, a total of about 15 people. (Trust me, I’ve got a good job–we are being treated to a really fun long weekend–just got the invitation this week, and quickly, and gratefully, accepted!). So, I do look at the loss leaders each week.

  23. The old seeds I planted are beginning to turn into seedlings and the summer bulbs are beginning to pop through the soil in the flowerpots. I have more to plant but am very happy with their progress so far.

    I learned today I have only three more physical therapy sessions. Thanks to the physical therapist’s directions, my endurance has more than tripled on the treadmill and I have learned quite a few exercises to strengthen the muscles surrounding my sore back, hip and knee. I will pay to access the equipment on a month-by-month basis until I can walk at least 1 mile on the treadmill. Then, I’ll take my walks outside. I got so very weak sitting in my recliner nursing my injured hip and back while keeping my mother company.

    Now that I can stand for more than a few minutes at a time and have some of my strength back, I have turned my attention to mom’s overgrown landscaping. Saturday, I took down four weed trees that had set up housekeeping over the pipe between the house and the septic tank. But then I realized another “volunteer” tree had grown back to within three or four inches of the electric lines and mast. (Kind friends had cut it way back for us last year.) I drew on my inner Paul Bunyan Sunday before the rain and took it down except for the trunk. If I had waited even a few more days, we would have had to call the pricey pros. As my strength allows, I’ll be cleaning up the branches that are now on the lawn and continue trimming the overgrowth and pulling the weeds.

    In the kitchen, I made decadent drop biscuits using whipping cream. Yum. This morning we ate the two left over with orange marmalade accompanied by freshly squeezed orange juice–a better breakfast than that served by all but the finest cafés.

    I had also harvested a bit of rhubarb. While pulling off some seed stalks, I got some roots. I hope to get two new rhubarb plants for next spring from my mistake.

    I so appreciate reading all your experiences.

  24. Hello Brandy and so lovely and such a blessing to harvest lots of lovely produce from your gardens to supplement your pantry with 🙂 . I imagine the children will love playing at the park and cooling down at the same time in the water features being that it is so hot there for you all. Being in the opposite season here we are all rugged up with the fire on most nights, although it has been warmer the last few nights so we have not put the fire on.

    Our savings last week added up to $1748.97 🙂 .

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.
    – Made a batch of homemade chocolate fudge including the condensed milk saving $55.67 over purchasing it.

    Finances and listings –
    – Banked money for additional savings.
    – Paid and extra $400 in payments off our home loan.
    – Listed 10 items on eBay on a free listing promotion saving $16.50 on usual listing fees.

    Purchases –
    – Bought a gift card for future groceries and fuel from RACQ saving us 5% or $11.32 on the cost of groceries and fuel combined.
    – On half price specials we purchased 11 tubes of toothpaste as we each use different ones and on 15 % off I purchased DH’s favourite aftershave saving $49.72 on normal costs giving us now a years supply in advance.
    – At IGA we purchased 6 packets of french fry chips on half price special, 2 x 6 pks of croissants on half price special and 4 pkts of bread rolls for 0.92c each or 60 % off saving $17.12 on usual costs. I can’t make the bread rolls for that cost here and they are good to have in the freezer for quick snacks.

    Home maintenance and improvements –
    – Put our portable summer pool spa at the bank of the tank shed roof and collected about 200 lts of water in the recent storms and night dew. We will use the water for watering our potted fruit and herbs.
    – Retrofitted 118 square metres of wool/glass ceiling insulation batts into our roof cavity saving $1559.95 in labour and the additional percentage they charge on parts costs from if we hired a trades person to do it for us. The house is so much warmer now with the fire on and cooler during the day when it is warm outside. Well worth doing as far as we are concerned. Being an older home too none of the insulation batts sold today fit the roof joists so we had to cut quite a few to fit in the spaces left over. This is one job we are glad is over as crawling around in cramped spaces is hard on the knees and body.

    Have a fantastic week ahead everyone.

    Sewingcreations15

  25. Our Frugal Accomplishments this week:

    Cooked all our meals at home. We had oatmeal, cornbread, and eggs for breakfasts. Dinners were spaghetti, chili from the freezer, chicken stir fry with rice, chicken thighs on the grill and leftovers.

    Took our lunches to work each day. We had salads with tuna salad, chicken, and fresh vegetables. Snacks were hummus and vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, applesauce, and yogurt with fruit.

    A co-worker shared a large bag of oranges and I brought two home.

    I gathered together three bags of clothing to take to the thrift store. I routinely keep a bag in my closet that I keep adding to as I declutter.

    I decluttered our large walk-in closet.

    I harvested my very first radishes that I planted from seeds. I’m always surprised and delighted when I get something delicious or beautiful from seeds!

    I put several books on hold at the library and picked them up at the circulation desk a couple of days later. So convenient! I listened to a book on the Hoopla app on my phone. My job requires that I spend a lot of time in the car and listening to something interesting makes the time go by more pleasantly.

  26. Sounds like you have a lovely week of indoor living this week, Brandy. At least it’s not quite as hot as India…though I think you get pretty close! LOL. The flower photos are beautiful. Which reminds me, how is your photography side business going?

    Our weather this week went from cold and rainy to hot, summer like temperatures in the span of a few days. We’re happy to have sun, but the extreme swing is definitely taxing on the body! We’re currently back to cold temps again. I can’t decide if I should put away my winter clothing or not. Just can’t win this year!!!
    This week our frugal accomplishments included:
    *Meals made at home included sub sandwiches, tacos, BBQ hamburgers & hotdogs with potato chips, BBQ steak with mashed potatoes and corn, homemade cream of broccoli cheese soup (threw in leftover mashed potatoes when it didn’t thicken as well as I liked, and nobody noticed), and grilled cheese sandwiches with pickles.
    *Hubby went to help clean up the restaurant this week, now that it is officially closed. He brought home lots of free food, including 2 dozen sub buns, 2 dozen hamburger buns, 5 loaves of bread, 6 pk of bagels, approx 6lbs of bacon, 2.5 kgs of cheddar cheese, a Costco strawberry rhubarb pie, 6 heads of Romaine lettuce, 7.6 L of orange juice, 6L of chocolate milk, 2L of apple juice, 5 thickly cut steaks, 4 bottles of HP steak sauce, a Costco size bag of chocolate chips, 2 bottles of pancake syrup, and a 1.25kg pk of processed cheese slices. I’m thrilled to have this food, as I will be the main income over the summer (hubby should receive employment insurance, but it won’t start right away because he received a severance package). This food will help us stretch our grocery budget as we feed 4 adults, 1 hungry teen and a teen friend who’s family has food insecurities.The free food was incorporated into many of our meals this week. However, most of the free food was frozen or stored away for later use. Hubby talked to the new owners. It sounds like he will be receiving a job offer from them, once the renovations on the restaurant are complete in 2-3 months.
    *I picked some free rhubarb from the gardens at work to bring home. My itty bitty rhubarb plant in my garden is not big enough yet to harvest from. Most of the rhubarb was chopped and frozen for later use.
    *Found a huge bag of clearance bananas for only $0.25 for the whole bag! Used some of the bananas to make Banana Chocolate Chip muffins (https://www.thebakingchocolatess.com/perfect-banana-chocolate-chip-muffins-fluffy-moist/) and Rhubarb Banana Muffins (https://www.findingzest.com/rhubarb-banana-muffins/) using some of the previously mentioned fresh rhubarb. These will be used for bagged lunches as well as snacking on this coming week. I also made strawberry banana smoothies, using yoghurt, frozen strawberries from last year and leftover peach & pineapple juice from home canned fruit, then poured it into popcicle molds for a healthy, hot weather treat.
    *Picked a couple radishes and some spinach from our garden. Everything is starting to sprout, with a few things now big enough to harvest.
    *With hubby not working, I have drilled it in to his head that we need to be careful how we spend our money this summer. We have basically done a roll reversal of what I do in the winter. He is going to take over most of the grocery shopping and cooking. Hubby was so proud of himself this week, when he went to buy his beloved diet coke on sale for $2 and a lady pointed out there were $1 off coupons, so he bought 32 pks (6 bottles/pk) for $1/pk. That stocks him up for the summer (hopefully).
    *My MIL took us out for dinner as a belated birthday meal for DD. We treated her to Dairy Queen afterwards. DD and I took our leftover dinner home with us and enjoyed it for lunch the next day.
    *Last week at work, I made a simple rhubarb jam with fresh cut rhubarb, lots of sugar and some water. The leftovers were put in a container and saved. This week, a co-worker made bannock and pulled the jam to enjoy with it. Boy, did that jam turn out nice! So for those who are struggling to feed your family, this may be a great option (if you don’t have rhubarb, you could try using foraged fruit, frozen berries or canned fruit). I did not measure anything! I just dumped in what I thought I needed to make the jam and boiled it down.
    *Hubby was asked by his former boss if he would help at a Greek Festival on Sunday, hosted by a Greek Othodox Church that is a 10 minute walk from our house. It’s a fundraiser they do every year to help keep their church open. My mom, DD and I decided to go too. They had live Greek music, and we bought tickets for some really nice draw prizes. We enjoyed an amazing Greek lunch (chicken souvlaki with Tzatziki sauce, Greek rice, Greek salad and a slice of bakery style bread), as well as a Spanakopita (Greek spinach pie) and a Triopita (Greek Feta cheese pie). Afterwards we bought delicious strawberry cheesecake (not Greek, but it was made in a Greek restaurant!) for dessert, tried a Kourabiedes (Greek shortbread cookie) and brought home Baklava (the most amazing Greek honey pastry treat ever!), to enjoy later. It felt like we did a foodie trip to Greece…SO GOOD! Hubby had 3 different people, who actually own restaurants, wanting to offer him a job (1 even took his name and contact info). His former boss insisted on giving him $100 for coming to help, and gave him more baklava to bring home to his family.
    *DD went to see the gastroenterologist on Monday. The specialist believes she may have had a stomach infection at some point, which caused her stomach to slow down/stall the movement of food out of the stomach. This resulted in food sitting in her stomach for an extended time. Mixed with the acids in her stomach, the food would rot, causing the horrible smelling “gassy burps”, nausea, and inevitably a vomiting episode. The frequent vomiting then caused a tear in her esophagus, thus the bloody vomit. Since the vomiting has subsided considerably, he believes she is already on the mend, and therefore wants to delay any treatment for now. We have a follow up appointment in 2 months. If DD has any problems, we can contact his office and book an appointment for sooner. We can now tell the school she will live to see another day.
    *A co-worker of hubby’s gave him a gift certificate for a full car cleaning service (inside and out). His car has not been cleaned in a few years and was full of garbage and recyclables (no one could ride in the back seat, it was so full). With his extra time, hubby emptied out his car, then used the gift certificate to have it thoroughly cleaned. Hoping it will stay that way for a while, but that might be wishful thinking.
    *I entertained a visiting special needs high school student one day this week, by allowing him to feed my fire (he had a one on one support person with him watching him closely). He wasn’t getting much from the building interpretations (information was above is understanding), but throwing wood on my fire totally made his day! I was rewarded with a well kept fire and a very enthusiastic hug before he left. That made my day!
    *Watched a very interesting series called “The Hot Zone”. It was inspired by true events about an Ebola outbreak that almost happened in Washington DC in the 1980s. Highly recommend watching this!

    Looking forward to reading all the comments, as always. Hope you all have a lovely, frugal filled week!

    1. We get temperatures here that are very much like India, but they have humidity and air conditioning is common here but not available to everyone there. 46 degrees celcius feels like a pretty normal summer day to us.

    2. Not to be in your business but you might check expiration dates on Diet Coke. That is my beverage of choice and I was thinking they had a short expiration period.

      1. They came from a grocery store that doesn’t sell short dated “loss leader” sale items (if they were on clearance in this store, I’d be checking, though). Hubby drinks so much of this stuff, he can tell by the feel of the bottle if the product is “flat”. He gives those to my mom or daughter to drink, because they aren’t as fizzy. I’m rather confident it will be used up quickly. It’s a bad habit I wish I could break him from, but he will not give it up.

  27. Brandy, I got an email last night about the new post. We got a lot done this week. We sanded and painted the side porch so it matches the front porch that we did last week. My daughter and I gave the dog a bath and clipped her nails. I returned a book that I had gotten as a birthday present. I had one very similar to it. I used some of the money to get myself pajamas that I needed. Still doing some of the fence almost everyday. My big garden is in. When my son mows the grass he knows to put the clippings around my plants. Still have to get the little garden in. I have been getting a bunch of strawberries, kale and sugar peas. We made smoothies with the strawberries and kale. I added some over ripe bananas and blueberries. They were delicious and refreshing while we were working on the porch. Cooking at home as always. Hung a bunch of laundry outside when it is sunny otherwise it is on my racks inside. Hubby turned the AC on for the first time for about an hour. It was very humid and helped with that. Stop & Shop was doing a special on a bunch of different gift cards. Spend $50 get $7.50 in free groceries. I bought $250 in a bunch of different GCs. I will be using them over the next few months between graduations, weddings, father’s day and birthdays. I got $37.50 in free groceries. My grocery shopping cost me $4 this week. Have a wonderful week.

  28. Lovely flowers!

    Our frugal accomplishments:

    * I have borrowed several books from the library (both physical and digital), many of which have been cookbooks. I have been trying to expand my list of ideas for vegetarian and vegan recipes. My SO and I have been focusing more on eating vegetarian as a way to save money.

    * I baked bread and made yogurt for the week. I also made granola, though the end result wasn’t amazing so I’ll have to keep trying recipes.

    * I prepped lunches for this week. I made burrito bowls (tomato rice, seasoned black beans, corn, and a sprinkle of cheese) and cauliflower and chickpea masala (I used a recipe from Budget Bytes) plus some rice. Both were quite cheap and very delicious.

    * I utilized several sales at two different stores this week to get strawberries for $1/lb, chicken thighs for 59c per lb, corn for 25c an ear, and more. I also used a remainder gift card balance I had for one of the stores (I got the gift card as a gift originally), so I only ended up paying 70c out of pocket for one of the trips.

    * We rearranged furniture to help our cat regain interest in a couple of cat trees that she had stopped liking as much. It was an easy (and free!) way to help our cat stay entertained!

    * I cut and dried more herbs from the garden, and used cuttings from my green onions in a dish.

    * My SO planned their trip to work one day so that they would stop by a gas station with cheaper gas. It was just across the road from their usual gas station, but the difference per gallon was worth it.

    * I took public transit and walked to another Aldi to pick up the few items they were out of at the other store we usually go to. The most important item I picked up was more navy beans!

    * My SO’s new place of employment is right next to a Walmart. Normally, we try to avoid shopping at Walmart (previous bad employee experiences there), but that’s the only place we can purchase some items cheaply (most commonly, beans that Aldi does not carry). I was glad to see that the Walmart near my SO’s work carries several varieties of dried beans that other Walmarts near us do not carry or only carry piece-meal (such as kidney, small red, lima, and chickpeas). Having a variety of beans to chose from is a cheap way to keep meals interesting. We may have to purchase some next month, when we have more room in the budget.

    * I purchased my mass transit pass for the summer ($114 for 4 months), which will give me unlimited rides on any transit option in the area. I use this to get to work and to campus, as well as trips to stores (like Aldi) and the airport. It’s far cheaper than parking downtown or on campus, and it saves us the expense of having multiple cars.

    * Our first CSA box comes next week! I’m super excited!

    Have a great week everyone!

  29. Hello Brandy and all! The summer park visits with water features sounds so fun. I’m sure your children will really enjoy it during the depths of a hot summer!

    It is getting quite hot here (although today is much cooler, high only in the mid 80s!), so we are still working on “summerizing” our home. We bought a second portable air conditioner for our living area – we already use one in our bedroom. I have mentioned in previous comments that we do have central air, but it is an older system and isn’t the most efficient. We’re hoping to get a few more years out of it before we replace it. We bought the unit Friday night and my husband installed it Saturday. It instantly made a huge difference – our central system ran far less often, and the portable unit was able to cool the entire front portion of our home (large open living area, dining room, and kitchen). We are hoping we can keep the central system turned up higher to keep the rest of the house livable, but use the portable units for our primary cooling. On Saturday he also cleaned the coils of our kitchen refrigerator, to keep it running efficiently.

    We did our grocery and supply shopping on Friday night to restock the pantry and freezers. I bought a large package of brand new “bar mop” style towels at an estate sale. We needed some new kitchen towels, so that was a nice find. A neighbor who is moving gave us a few random items – LED light bulbs and some assorted pantry goods. Instead of purchasing a book I wanted to read (“Bad Blood” by John Carreyrou) I checked it out from my local library. The library has a branch very close to my house and on my way home from work, so I didn’t even have to do any extra driving. I love our local library and use it often. I got my hair cut and went for a different style that will be significantly easier during summer. I’m calling that frugal since it will use less product for both washing & styling, and less electricity since my blowdrying time was cut by at least half. Haha. We cooked most of our meals at home (although we did eat out a couple of times), and brought lunches/snacks/coffee to work.

    I hope everyone has a great week!

  30. I cannot remember if I posted about my cat smelling futon that I have been sleeping on for two years. I have been searching in vain for a used sofa but everyone wants $200 for their disgusting looking couches. I found, at a local furniture store, a brand new couch, that had a tear, that the owner said they were sending back. He agreed to sell it to me, with delivery (20 miles one way) and tax for $380. I gave the old futon to my dog and I have been enjoying the sofa since Saturday. I hated spending the money, but it was worth it. Still, I stress over spending money. I do not usually sleep in the bedrooms because I do not want to heat nor cool them. My electric bill was only $50. I was so happy about that! Otherwise, I am just doing the usual things, walking, and packing my lunch. My neighbor gave me a lot of cucumbers!

  31. Just a few things to add from our small retiree household.
    – We continue our slow progress on window screen and window washing by ourselves. 2 more done that hadn’t been done in 2 years! We are over halfway at this point.
    – My husband kept following up with our homeowner’s association to get a major sprinkler system leak fixed. We had such a pool of water by our foundation that he found a small frog in it.
    – I returned 2 items we decided not to use. $7.25 back in our pockets and less waste.
    – I volunteered at an event and took no money so didn’t spend any.
    – My reading group decided to reread “1984” and discuss in light of today’s world. I found 2 copies for $1 each at my Friends of the Library bookstore and we will pass them around.
    – Son and DIL asked to come out on Father’s Day so we are planning a cooked at home lunch with the menu requested by DH.

  32. I wanted to tell you again how much I love your blog. Could you get some sponsors to help you make more money from it? I know your time is limited with your busy life and it is another thing for you to have to do. I wouldn’t mind seeing ads if it meant you could keep it going and make a profit. Maybe you could continue it and do photography too, and advertise that more on your blog. I especially love seeing your pictures. I’m sending blessings from Bama!

  33. I live in the same climate as you, Brandy, and the children really do enjoy the water features at the park!
    I returned from my trip back east. What should have been 2 flights turned into 4 ( neither flights 1 or 2 reached their intended destination). The airline refunded my whole ticket price, paid for the night in a hotel where flight had emergency landed, and provided 2 meal vouchers. So I had a free trip to see family (though it was a grueling trip home!).

    I crocheted 2 dishcloths while visiting and left them with my daughter in law. I also made pickled cucumbers while I was there. Son and dil liked them so much. My dil texted that she has already made another batch. I was so happy to see them working hard to stretch their food dollars-several meals of beans & rice or lentils & rice (mujadarrah-which was delicious and I got the recipe for it), eggs at ALDI for 59 cents a dozen, homemade sourdough bread and crackers.

    My husband got a $25 gift card for taking a test drive at a local dealership.

    We are picking blueberries for free, and I bought 10lbs of apricots for $5 at a local stand.

    Reading at the library in their free air conditioning.

  34. The flowers are gorgeous Brandy! Do you still make floral arrangements for your house? I love how you are a lifelong learner and find ways to learn for free or low cost.

    • Talked with friends in Spain for free using What’sApp.
    • The weather was very cool one day (high of 55) so I cranked up the oven and roasted a chicken, baked a pound of bacon (and froze), made Brandy’s blueberry muffins, made a sour cream coffee cake, and made cauliflower snowflakes. I am expecting house guests in the end of June so the coffee cake and muffins went into the freezer.
    • Rented a UHaul pickup truck and made multiple trips to the “stump dump” to remove vegetation we had cut back. I’m so allergic to the pollen from most of the plants that I couldn’t bring myself to make trip after trip in my Camry.
    • Made potato salad, chicken stock in slow cooker using carcass, ravioli with alfredo sauce, risotto with arugula and gorgonzola, and cucumber, feta and couscous salad
    • Returned three items that either didn’t fit or I didn’t need.
    • Used a $20 off coupon at Talbot’s outlet store and bought new jeans that were on the 75% off rack.
    • Shopped at three grocery stores buying loss leaders
    • Hung laundry out to dry x 2
    • With the cooler spring weather, I haven’t had to use fans or window A/C yet. The house stays cool with the windows open at night and closed up during the day. I’m looking forward to a very low electric bill!
    • Cashed in Swagbucks for a $25 Amazon gift card.

    1. I do make flower arrangements! This spring has been very odd, though. I’ve had lots of flowers in the gardens but I have been so busy with the children’s school, getting Winter ready for college, and photos sessions that I have not been able to cut arrangements like I usually do. I’m enjoying the flowers from the window, but I hope to get outside early enough to cut some more flowers soon! It has to be done by 7 am now or it is too hot and the flowers wilt. I’m usually busy with the baby during that time as well, so it’s been a challenge.

  35. I made a large batch of my favorite “cream of yellow squash soup” using yellow squash I previously canned. It really is delicious. You just empty the jars of yellow squash into a large stock pan, add chicken broth/bouillon and cook until boiling. Then I add hot milk, or cream, and about a cup of instant mashed potato flakes, herbs and spices. (You could also use a jar of canned potatoes). All of this gets pureed together until smooth.Then I add a small amount of cheese, and this can be dressed up with crumbled bacon, or croutons on top. If you prefer a deeper yellow color, just add a pinch of turmeric. You can also substitute zucchini for the yellow squash. I bring this for lunch, and co-workers often comment how good it smells. This is a terrific way to use excess squash!

    1. I’m going to remember this recipe. I picked my first yellow squash today. I planted three plants of yellow squash so will be swimming in it soon. Your soup sounds lovely.

  36. *I continue to creatively repurpose leftovers. Leftover Pasta Primavera morphed into Lasagna by adding homemade pasta sauce and extra veggies and layering that with a simple bechamel sauce with small amount of Parmesan cheese. Tasted delicious! Leftover Beef Piccadillo for tacos (potatoes bulk out the taco meat, so only need 1/2 lb. ground beef for the recipe) morphed into enchiladas with the addition of homemade sauce, leftover sour cream, and a top, light sprinkling of cheddar cheese . Leftover turkey meatloaf and garlic mashed potatoes morphed into Shepherd’s Pie. The secret to delicious second meal creations is using plenty of extra seasonings. I made Dining on a Dime’s Cheeseburger Rolls, using their 90 Minute Dinner Roll recipe. Although the Cheeseburger Rolls uses only 1/4 lb. ground beef and 2 oz. shredded sharp cheddar, the highly seasoned meat is so flavorful that it takes exactly like a yummy cheeseburger. I got 7 regular cheeseburger-sized rolls out of the recipe. Everyone loved these! I am successfully cutting down our consumption of shredded cheese by shredding no more than 2 -4 oz. at a time. When we have the big bag of shredded cheese, everyone just keeps grabbing handfuls—too many calories and too expensive. We get plenty of protein, so I have no worries about cutting back on meat and dairy.
    *Outside I thoroughly cleaned the entire wood-framed front porch, ceiling, 4 window frames, door frame, 25 feet of wood railings, and 3 large columns. All white was almost black with mildew. Lots of scrubbing , rinsing, and bleaching really brightened things up. Normally, I would do this each summer, but I was unable to last year, so things were twice as bad. I also tried spraying the constant wasp nest-building projects with Brandy’s dish soap and water spray. It worked! So glad to have found a less toxic means of killing them. I did spend $15 today on a quart of paint to brighten up our front door. It is so nice to be welcomed home by a cheery, new color scheme.
    * Due to hubby being unable to take off work this summer, I have had to postpone my cataract surgery. Grandkids need attention and a taxi everywhere since my daughter was unable to pay for day care for two school-aged kids. We are finding free things to do. Our biggest accomplishment was getting our middle daughter, who is disabled and 29, put back on our insurance. This will save us thousands per year on all her medical needs. Unfortunately, she was denied SS Disability again, so we are hiring an attorney. We gladly would have the second time, but she didn’t want us to have to pay. Youngest, college daughter needs wisdom teeth out, and hubby had to have a procedure. I will still need cataract surgery and another upcoming surgery is likely. If it weren’t for all our many medical issues, things would not be so tight. But thankfully, our family love and positive outlook see us through, and we know how to have fun! ?
    *Wishing everyone a blessed week.

  37. Hey Brandy,
    Lovely photos, as always! One day I will plant as you have but for now I will be content with my one hydrangea bush. I do love bringing in the purple/blue blooms and arranging them on our kitchen table.
    My sweet FIL stopped by yesterday with 5 dozen eggs from his chickens. They are the only eggs our daughter will eat and we are so grateful for them! He also brought us three tomatoes, some yellow beans, a couple of onions, a head of cabbage, and a small eggplant. We decided to make the eggplant and beans for dinner along with some tiny potatoes we already had. Everyone was happy and it was delicious! We don’t have too many cabbage fans here so I am not really sure what to do with it. I am the only one who truly likes it so I will have to get creative and hit up Pinterest for ideas.
    Last week was super-busy for us. Attended our state’s homeschool convention (HEAV.org) where I sat in on some amazing workshops and received tons of encouragement. I sold old curriculum and books in the used curriculum sale and will bring home close to $400! Yes! I picked up a few books we needed but only spent about $30. One book was a total splurge from Lamplighter Publishing. This was a special purchase for our daughter. These books are beautifully bound and printed.
    Thanks for all the encouragement everyone!

  38. Your pictures are always so beautiful! Those hollyhocks are stunning! I’ve only grown the big ones, but I’m going to order those double dwarf Majorette Champagne for next year. Whenever I leave your blog, I feel both inspired and inadequate! 🙂

  39. It was a good, frugal week! I repurposed the unused breakfast nook table into a work desk for my youngest son (the table was always too big for the room and now that everyone in the family is adult-sized, it didn’t work for us at all anymore). I then refreshed the nook by making it a seating area. I used old decorative pillows from our bedroom, and we sourced a lovely round coffee table off Craigslist for $25. I set up our camp cooking table on the front porch, and am using it to hold small appliances to cook with outside because of the heat — I have the bread maker running outside as I type. We went thrifting and I bought a church shirt for my husband for $6, and I bought a cake stand and cover for $6 as well, plus two reusable water bottles (one insulated stainless steel and one glass in a silicone sleeve) to keep in the car for $2 each, a crystal platter for $2, and a wood and glass hurricane candle holder for $6. I made a birthday card using notecards and rubber stamps I already had, and gave a gift of a 3 pack of travel journals and a large tube of washi tape from my stash of bargain priced gifts ($7 total, $30 value)). For my husband’s birthday I invited his family over and served rice, beans, vegetables, and cabbage salad, and I baked a cake. He didn’t want any gifts. We had a game night with friends and served the leftover birthday cake and ice water. When our kitchen sink got clogged and we couldn’t get it fixed for 24 hours, we made do with food we already had one evening and for breakfast, and the next day we used a gift card we’d received at Christmas to eat at a restaurant for lunch (we’d been saving it for our anniversary, but will do a picnic instead). My husband bought parts and repaired two of our bicycles.

    It’s terribly hot today, 104°F and headed for 106°F in a couple of hours. I made scrambled eggs for lunch (our main meal), served with watermelon (bought for 25¢/#). The A/C is set to 82°F and we’re all sitting next to or under fans. Chores are pushed to early morning or late evening — I think we cool off a little more at night that you do. As soon as the shade moves to the backyard and clothesline I’ll get a load of laundry washed and hung to dry. There’s a jar of sun tea on the front step.

  40. I don’t mean to be rude, honestly. I am just wondering why you are only “considering” making the splash pad a part of your summer. It is free, lets the kids have fun and run off energy, cools them down, allows them to socialize, etc. While it may cost a few dollars in gas (I am assuming that is the concern), it is overall a super fun, almost free activity that all of your younger kids would love. Truly not being mean – I am honestly just curious why you need to consider taking them back?

    1. It’s often 113 degrees out at 8 p.m for the next few months. The water stops at 7 p.m., so we’d have to be there at 6 p.m. It also says children up to age 12. So, the rest of us have to sit in the heat for an hour, and that’s really hard. The park was fairly empty the other night as the sun was still out; the parks here are full after 8 p.m. (after dark) because during the day, the park equipment is so hot that you can be seriously burned on it. We learned that with the slides when my first two were toddlers. The splash pad is mostly toddlers (I think the oldest child was a 4-year-old); we got lucky the other night that the other parents didn’t complain about my 14 and 15-year-old boys playing in the water too, but since the rules say age 12, I could see other parents protesting if it was very full.

      In short, it’s just very, VERY hot, and it’s hard to spend time outdoors in this heat. I had to run errands today and it’s only 103. I’ve been home for an hour and I still can’t cool down. I’m siting under the fan, I’m in air conditioning, I’ve drank cold water, but my head feels like it’s on fire still. Running errands in this heat is very exhausting.

      So we’d have to see if we could handle having a picnic as it heats up, or if we would just get burned on the concrete picnic tables and benches (they are covered on top, but sun comes in on the sides as the sun sets, and just the reflected, absorbed heat of the day can be very hot). The ground is hot, too; if children do not wear sandals outside here in the summer they can get burned while walking outside on concrete bad enough to go to the hospital. Water coming out of a hose is scalding; children are treated at the hospital for burns from it all the time (it was just the subject of discussion on a local Facebook gardening page from a nurse who also gardens, warning us to not kill our plants with burning water). I was at a pool party once, sitting by the side of the pool that had been in shade for the whole afternoon, but the heat was so intense that I couldn’t sit on the edge of the pool without burning my backside!

      So, yes, splash pads are awesome, so long as we can handle the heat all around without getting heat exhaustion. We certainly won’t be able to play on the playground while we are there unless we want the children to stay up really late and play after dark.

        1. Brunch is a definite no. I don’t know about breakfast. It’s about 85 in the morning right now around 7. I should check and see what time the water starts. I think it doesn’t start until 9 a.m., and that’s too hot to be out in the sun with no shade. It’s only good outside to about 7:30 a.m. and it’s cooler than normal still.

          1. As the grown up who loved water so much as a small girl that my parents made sure they never camped next to a water faucet after they made that mistake once until I was a teen, I certainly hope you’ll find a way to let your younger kids have fun spashing around many times this summer without getting cooked yourselves. Maybe a camping or portable mister could keep you safely seated in a cool mist while they play?

            Oh, I made rhubarb jam today thanks to anoher poster. Yum. Our next dessert will be rhubarb custard pie.

            1. We’ll do it when we can, but it depends on the weather. Yesterday and the day before I was feeling very ill after being outside for five minutes. I don’t usually have that problem, even during the excessive heat warnings like we had yesterday and the day before. We just have to be careful not to get heat stroke. I read the weather report every day so I just watch and see what days it will be a little lower and safe for me to go.

      1. You are absolutely right about the heat we get here in the Southwest. Hard to explain sometimes. People say, “Yes, but it is a dry heat.” The answer to that is, “Yes, it is, but so is an oven.” And then in July the Monsoons come and it is hot AND humid. I’ve seen experiments where people have literally baked cookies by putting a tray of dough in a car on the dashboard. Yes, the sidewalk gets hot enough to literally fry an egg.

        We’ve had pools in previous houses and they are great the first half of the summer, then the water gets to 94 degrees and they aren’t quite as refreshing!

        We lived in the Pacific NW for a time and summers there are a totally different experience. It is the time to get out and enjoy the sun! But here? Here we stay indoors, close our blinds, do quiet tasks and think cool thoughts. And as my Mom used to say, “Sometimes you just have to sit there and sweat!”

        Toasting you, Brandy, with a nice, cool glass of lemonade!

        1. It is so true that this is our indoor time.

          I went outside for a few minutes and I keep getting these heat-induced headaches where my head feels like it is on fire. I think the park might be out this week and we will stick with the library. Just five minutes outside is making me feel sick. I have had heat exhaustion as a child and I don’t relish the idea of getting it as an adult.

          1. So sorry to hear about the heat-induced illness, Brandy. Here, in hot and extremely humid south-central Texas, I recently had that problem for 10 years, although I had never had it before. I felt so incredibly ill, and finally figured out that I had to literally drink a quart of water every 30 minutes to alleviate the severe weakness and deathly-ill feeling. Turns out, when I no longer needed my blood-pressure medicine that contained a diuretic, my problems totally disappeared. Is it possible you are on a medicine or even a supplement that could be causing your issues? Also, my 16 year-old grandson is on many meds and is anemic. He gets severe fatigue and headaches when he gets overheated. Could it be time for a checkup for you?

            1. I think I haven’t been drinking enough. I usually drink about that same amount of water as you do, and I just haven’t been the last week for some reason. I’m not on any medication. I usually am nonstop drinking water and I wasn’t. I did much better today and didn’t have any problems even though I had to run to the store at 10 a.m.

          2. Yep opposite of us in the Midwest. We stay in during the winter with cold and snow. And play outdoors in the summer. Although with all the rain we’ve had in Minnesota the mosquitos are becoming horrendous!

      2. Thank you for explaining …I would never have thought that concrete could get so hot. I do understand about playground equipment getting too hot.
        It’s always so interesting to learn about other areas where folks live.

      3. Brandy, if you are concerned the other parents may complain about your older children, assign them to watch the 2 youngest ones. If they are accompanying the little ones, as some parents might also do, there will be less chance of complaints. Our splash pads have age limits too. But parents commonly wander in with their little ones, and we don’t complain about older kids enjoying the water when it is really hot, as long as they are respectful of the younger children.

  41. Hi Brandy,
    Beautiful photos of your flowers. I was glad to hear your children are enjoying the splash pad at the park-sounds like fun.
    I have a nice large pot of lettuce that we have been eating out of for several weeks now. I have planted another container with lettuce seeds so in a couple weeks I should have a fresh, new crop. We have wild bunnies so I place my lettuce containers up off the ground so the bunnies can’t reach them. My latest is a wire basket lined with moss, filled with dirt and lettuce seed and mounted on a fence post-vertical gardening. This frees up space in my regular garden beds as well.
    I finished a baby blanket I had been knitting for an upcoming baby shower. I plan to sew a couple bibs using an old bib of my grandson’s for my pattern. I found some cute fabric at the thrift store for a dollar and there is enough to make a couple bibs and a receiving blanket.
    We are having warm weather this week- 80 and 90 degrees so I am line drying my laundry.
    I have harvested enough rhubarb from my garden to go with some sale-priced strawberries to make a strawberry rhubarb crisp. I will freeze enough rhubarb to make another one for a family picnic scheduled later this month. I love using fresh produce from my garden because it taste so much better than store-bought and is almost free.
    Happy to read everyone’s comments.

  42. I love your holloyhocks! I’m so fond of old fashioned flowers.

    For about a week I have been rather sick. I’m usually super healthy, and am not enjoying being down. It’s a busy time at work, so I’ve been dragging myself in everyday.

    I’ve not gone anywhere nor spent much beyond what was planned. I did buy a couple frozen meals, but they are not worth the expense. I’m just not going to eat much-which is very ftugal. I go outside and work when I don’t feel well.

    I did start on a project to clean up the farm junk pile be filling the neighbors pickup truck bed with scrap metal. He adds it to his metal collection and I get more hidden junk gone. Win-win.

    I’ve been building rock walls around the perennial flower beds and finished off another one. One final wall to go. Saturday we finally had decent weather so I finished painting outside. I used every drop of paint I bought when there was a 25% off sale. It perfectly finished off the shed, covered the outside of the woodbox, and freshened up the window boxes and outside table.

    I also finished cutting and stacking the brush pile. On our way to a warm winter for free.

    Happy frugal-ing friends.

  43. You do grow the most beautiful flowers, and I love seeing them each week. I am not sure you realize that coming to your site by phone, your latest three posts come up and revolve extremely quickly to choose to one to click on. When the title is simply Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments with no date, it gets a bit confusing, as often the flowers of several weeks are in the same color scheme and I try to judge which flowers are the new ones. My eyes are not the best, but just thought you might want to know how to make your site more accessible to those with phones. Thanks for all you do.

    1. I will check the phone settings again. I did not know they were revolving. I thought they were one right below another. I will try to fix that!

  44. Well, since I am in Grad school to become a FamilyNurse Practitioner, I am currently doing clinical for my pediatric rotation at a site an hour’s drive from my home. So, I’m spending more in gas. My student loan refund will be in soon to help defray those costs.

    My mother gifted me with some money which came in handy for groceries and fuel costs

    My mother gave my son a haircut

    My husband planted our small garden. We will have tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow squash, green peppers and zucchini. It is fenced in to protect it from getting eaten by deer and rabbits.

    My son is earning money this year by Umpiring at youth baseball games. He gets paid $30/game!

    My brother-in-law purchased a football helmet for our son who is now a Sophomore in high school. He has always had a big head and the biggest helmet they have doesn’t fit him well. This was my son’s birthday present from his uncle. We have always purchased him his own helmet for all sports. We had to buy him a baseball helmet for little league because his head was just too big for the team helmets.

    They were doing free Sports Physicals at the high school. Last year we paid $10. Unfortunately, there were so many kids and not enough Dr’s, that my son got turned away after waiting in line for 2 hours. The Athletic director will call him when they are doing the physicals again on another day. We live in a poverty stricken school district, so it is no surprise that there was a long line. Last year, we were only there for 30 minutes when they were charging.

    I have been packing my lunches to take to my clinical rotations each day. This saves money on eating out, which can get quite pricey!

    Now, if it would just quit raining (I’m in NE Ohio).

    1. My husband wore the largest helmet on his football team, but he wasn’t the tallest and was considered “too small” for college ball at 5 10 1/2″ (though he was an all-star player who played both offense and defense). My boys have followed him in this and they always need larger hats. At age 2, they need a 4 to 5-year-old hat!

      1. My daughter had the largest cap in the class when she graduated from high school. There were about 300 graduates. Well, somebody has to be the biggest, right?

      2. I live in South Alabama and went to the coast here (my daughter flew in to join me) for a work conference. She wanted to walk on the beach and we did at 10 a.m. in the morning…I almost had a heat stroke. She was seriously concerned. I know better, but did not take proper precautions.

  45. I would like to add some of the stories about Texas heat also.
    People that don’t live in the really hot areas of our nation just don’t understand (at first glance) how dangerous it is to be outside in our kind of heat.
    We have had a lovely cool-ish springtime here and it has been nice. I grew up in IN where it was cool in the mornings and warm in the afternoons.
    Most of the time by May or June it is too hot to be outside without protection from the sun in TX.
    You don’t think about getting burned by items outside, but it happens here all of the time. I don’t mean small burns, but blistering…burn you skin off burns from anything left in the heat.
    We have to consider heat stroke, heat exhaustion, dehydration and all other ills like sunburn and simple burns.
    My children have grown up here and to tell the truth we still forget when it first gets “warm”.
    Your question is a good one, Jenna, that let’s us share how very hard it is to live in some areas of this country.
    Now…I’m not even going to start in about the scorpions, fire ants, rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths and all other manner of awful that lives here with us. Oh…and we have panthers and bobcats on my 10 acre farm. Wild hogs too. *laughing*
    It’s a circus down here.
    I liked your question.
    I liked Brandy’s answer.
    Oh…the stories I could tell of hospital stays for dehydration, heat exhaustion, bites and stings.
    I would so love to move back home, but my babies (except for my son) all live close to here.

    1. We’ve had summers where the low temperature of the day at 4 a.m. is 104 degrees. We’ve had 126 degree days (official high for the city is recorded about 45 minutes away and it was 118 a few years back, but we’re in the hottest part of the valley). This is the time of year that we generally stay inside. I also try to do as little shopping and running around as possible, as I find that it quickly exhausts me for the entire rest of the day. I prefer to go grocery shopping around 8 p.m. so that at least afterwards I can go home and go to bed!

      1. We have had a “very cool” season so far. Only in the 90s for the highs.
        Like you, we have many over 100 degree days.
        I believe the record was 120 a few years back.
        One of the things I forget it that the heat “takes your breath away” literally.
        Our news tells people to stay in and bring in your animals if they are outside.
        People die every year down here from the heat.
        My friends from home have a hard time understanding why my children didn’t play outside all of the time. *laughing* Friend…”But let them play in the pool.” They had no concept of how much you can burn in 10 minutes of water play.
        I wear gloves or carry something to hold the railings that are metal.
        You can go on and on about it, but until you live with the heat for a while you don’t understand the danger.
        Don’t get me started about how hot your car is after sitting in a parking lot for an hour. *laughing*
        When my babies were young I would shop in the middle of the night. The heat was only in the 90s then.

        1. My mom checked with a thermometer over several days. It gets to be between 140 and 145 in the car. It takes about 20 minutes of driving before the car starts to feel a little cool. When you’re sitting at a light, the car stays hot; you have to drive for the air to blow through and cool, which means you can’t start your car early to have it cool because it cannot do that. People joke about using oven mitts to drive because they will get burned on the steering wheel, and when we first moved here another mother who grew up here talked to me about putting three ice packs in the baby’s car seat (one in the back and one on each side) to keep the baby from overheating while driving, because 140 in the car is just so dangerous. My children’s faces would still turn bright red during a 5-minute drive. We sold my car and my husband’s after a few years to get something that had rear a/c so that our children would be safe. I just had to go out this morning (ten minutes each way) and my head again is feeling on fire and not cooling down. It took about 4 hours yesterday for the heat headache to go away, and the exhaustion that comes with driving even a short way in this heat is hard.

          We have 100 days a year over 100, but it’s not just 100. My first year here it was 126 in September.

          It’s important to take water everywhere, but to never leave it in the car unless you want to get burned on the water when you come back to the car. We did that the second month after moving here.

          1. Jake and I were talking about this thread this morning. I was saying how long it took to cool down when you’ve been out. Jake was reminding me of times I came in and sat in front of the air conditioner for hours and my body temp was still high. You just get sick from it.
            This may sound silly, but I used to count my 4 children as they got into and out of the car. I was always afraid of one of them staying in the car because they were reading. So many children die from being left in cars down here.
            The first time I left water in the car I was amazed at how hot it got.
            It is just the beginning of the heat here. As hot as it gets…it isn’t as hot as you guys get…thank goodness.

        2. When I was a baby, we lived in a house that only had evaporative coolers, which work great when the air is dry, but when it is humid they do not. My parents said that after all the kids went to bed, they would go out back and sit in the kiddie pool with a couple of beers trying to cool off! I love the image of my parents doing that!

        3. Becky, I’m in Texas as well. You are so right, the heat here is no joke! I imagine it might be difficult to fathom if you live where summers are pleasant and maybe in the 80s or occasional low 90s. I had severe heat exhaustion (almost to the point of heat stroke) as a teenager, and now even 30 years later I find I can’t handle the heat very well at all. I’m also fair-skinned with freckles, so double whammy for me because I burn so quickly. Summers for us are primarily staying indoors in the air conditioning!

    2. Yes, add a lot of sand in the soil and a bunch of palm trees, and you get Florida. The ocean on either side means 100 is not real common in the summer, but it’s not unheard of either. The biggest heat problem we have (besides those already mentioned in Becky’s comment – Becky, you forgot the mosquitoes!) is that the humidity is always high down here at sea level; sometimes it feels like trying to breath thick soup instead of air, and sweat never evaporates, to cool your skin. Of course, where Brandy lives has its own serious hazards from the super hot dry heat.
      This is an amazing country with wildly varied climates. I’ve lived in a couple of them and visited a few more, and I’m always amazed at the differences as well as at the resiliency of people who chose to settle in places where there are blizzards/hurricanes/tornadoes/earthquakes/ice storms/floods/droughts/excessive heat/excessive cold. For instance, I can’t imagine living here in Florida in the pre-air conditioning days, wearing long dresses, yet many women did. They were tough.

      1. We usually call the mosquitoes B52 Bombers. Someone called them birds this year. *laughing*
        I’ve heard stories of the old-timers wrapping in wet sheets and sleeping on the sleeping porches to stay cool.
        I’ve often wondered why people stopped here to live…then one spring we had lots of rain and the wildflowers were amazing. I looked around and marveled at the beauty of Texas.
        I think you are super brave for living in Florida.

        1. I was introduced to Texas heat by spending the third trimester of my first pregnancy by moving there in July. That seemed like a double whammy. But I want to chime in on the wildlife. Once my husband and I were traveling down a highway in the countryside and we came upon about 50 huge…and I mean huge (soup bowl size)…tarantulas sunning on the highway, and we had to drive over them! Ewww! I was so very scared that one or more would get on the car or underneath it and appear when we got home. Fortunately we still had quite a ways to go so that didnt happen.
          One nice thing about the heat — when you’re hanging diapers on the clothes line, the first ones are dry by the time they’re all hung up. Which was also good because we had to beat the near daily 10:30 dust storm.

  46. Enjoyed food at home. Went to a town dance that only cost $5 dollars to get in. Drove only when necessary. Reduced our electricity bill with the help of my son who walks around and turns off lights. Much appreciated. Also he likes it warmer as he gets cold easily so we have turned up our air conditioning which saves energy as well as money. Hubby dug holes and planted tomatoes and some cucumbers and plans on planting some peppers. Made chai tea at home. Made Indian bean dishes. Hubby brought all meals to work. My son and I ate meals at home. We splurged one day and bought an oriental meal. We regretted it as it cost too much, about 18 dollars, and wasn’t even good. Next time we have to travel we will go to a grocery store or eat a picnic lunch. We both had headaches from needing to eat. Wish I’d thought of the grocery store first. Enjoyed a poetry reading that only cost us gas to get there and unfortunately a meal that wasn’t too good. My husband and I actually cook pretty well. We enjoy our cooking as well as my son’s. Ate a meal at my in-laws. My parents have been helping us with my son’s part of the house this past week. They ate a few times with us. We sure appreciate their help. I was able to go to a food pantry today. So nice to have a full fridge with a variety of vegetables and some fruit to choose from. Hubby is going to try and fix his old truck rather than pay the 400 dollars that was quoted for him to have someone else do it. He watched you tube and is going to tackle it after we get paid so he can buy the parts. Called about the $5 dollar charge on an account I opened. Evidently the “free” account is not free unless I have online banking. I will have to decide what I want to do there. Enjoying a rose bush that was given to us by hubby’s family. Enjoying flowers given to us by my other son. Looking forward to grandchildren visiting tomorrow. Enjoying eggs from chickens. We are going to mow the asparagus and see if we can get more. I ‘d like to plant more things. Enjoying the little farm.

  47. Hi Brandy,
    As a teenager, my family took a trip through Las Vegas during the summer. That was YEARS ago! I still remember quite vividly swimming outside in the motel pool at midnight and it being just perfect. I had never experienced anything like that and haven’t since.

    1. It doesn’t really cool down much at night, and the concrete, asphalt, and stucco all retain heat, keeping the city even hotter at night. I’m very glad to have planted trees and grass. Midnight would be a good time for a swim!

  48. My ways to be frugal have been the same old, same old, but I have committed to listing my future projects these days, so I don’t forget them and possibly waste the supplies I bought with which to do them.
    I love those hollyhocks. I tried to grow them but they were a big failure. I’d love to try again.
    I’ve been careful to put my leftovers in the freezer as single servings of stew, soup, etc. Those are great when I realize I have nothing leftover from our dinner to pack for my next day’s lunch. I used to let them sit too long in the refrigerator and would have to throw them out. Yikes.
    I’m heading back to the library (online at first) to see if they have some of the books Brandy’s been reading. I’m going to assume that Brandy doesn’t have time to read tomes of 1000 or so pages, and that these are easy to read even when one is short on time or frequently interrupted, or both. That’s certainly what I need at this stage of life.

    1. Jo, if you are looking for books that are easy to pick up and put down, perhaps try getting one of the many Chicken Soup for the Soul books. They are filled with short little stories that are only a few pages long, but very impactful. Just make sure you have a tissue or hankie nearby.

  49. Jo, you might want to give audio books a try. My library has them on CD, of course, but there are also a lot of electronic audio books at my library through Libby and Hoopla. I listen to them on my phone while driving, gardening, cooking, cleaning, etc. I live alone but if others are in the house with you, headphones would work, too. I “read” 2-3 books a week this way

  50. -I love the double hollyhocks. I’ve never seen them before, and they are so pretty in pink.

    -It is a beautiful summer day here. My neighbor has some time off, and asked if he could trim the trees in my driveway and along my sidewalk while he was trimming the hedges on his property. He just got his hedge-trimmer repaired and was anxious to tidy everything up. I was very agreeable, and he refused any payment. At the same time, I have been cutting the grass. It is going faster each time, as I get rid of the thatch from leaving it too long in the fall. We have a few days of rain ahead, so it is a relief to get this done while it is possible.

    -Last week was seniors’ week in town, so I took advantage of 20% at the drugstore. I stopped for a free cookie and coffee with another customer there who is very ill, after the sudden loss of one of her adult sons. She was in quite a lot of pain and anxious for a little company, so we spent a few minutes together.

    -I like to have cream with my coffee, and have taken to either buying a small container half price when it is close to its best by date at one store, or a larger container at a different store, where the price is much lower for that size. I also buy the coffee in much larger containers now when it is on sale. This everyday treat is much less expensive with this new approach.

  51. It’s very hot here now, 111. So I’m doing what I can outside very early.
    I signed up for the summer reading program at our local library. I love to read so I’ll be doing a lot of that when it’s so hot out. Last week we cooked in the crockpot and ate leftovers other nights. I eat fruit salad for lunch usually with whatever fruit is on sale. I have gotten several tomatoes from our garden.
    I have been doing all the usually savings, drinking water from my swell bottle, washing baggies to reuse, hanging clothes to dry and doing most errands in one day. I look forward to reading everyone’s post and learning from you all.

  52. *****Well finally I seem to be connected to your blog again. I haven’t been getting email notices since last fall I think, so I was either connecting through and only email post till that got to far past. Then I was just googling and clicking on your link and then the last 5-6 weeks when I tried that gave me some error message and said could not be found. So I have months of reading to do. Now this week and last week I received the email notification of post of I HOPE that that will continue for me.

    *****The Four Season Harvest book that your have linked is very good. My oldest girl, the farmer, uses some of his methods/ideas/techniques.

    *****We have had too wet of a spring here and has caused problems with planting. We normally have good drainage here for the soil but the water has been way way more than normal and lower lying fields were still not dry enough to plant by the 5-31 deadline for crop insurance. So we left 2 fields fallow and so have many of our neighbors. We and they will probably plant cover crops but there will not be enough time left in the growing season for seed (cash) crops. As of now it started raining again last night around midnight and has not stopped yet.

  53. I watched a movie on Kanopy, the library’s free streaming service. And then I watched Das Boot (The Boat) about a German uboat, the resistance in France and the fate and twists and turns of its crew and the resistance members. That was on CBC’s free tv streaming service. Very violent but excellent nevertheless.

    Am finally shaking the cold/pneumonia/ bronchitis and allergies. I planted most of the plants that I bought at a discounted rate. And was given some.
    I only need a few more annuals (most of the plants are perennials) to finish everything. I cut up the sprouted potatoes and planted them and they have started to grow. I won’t have a huge crop but still, it’s basically free.

    The peonies (Itoh) that I bought on a deep discount flat sale three years ago are going to bloom — it will be the first year that all of the plants have blossoms. At its maximum, potentially, I could have 1760 blooms and lasting longer than garden peonies. I found it really humid and hot today so stayed inside for the most part. Am really thrilled because one of the lady-slipper orchids that has never bloomed before is in bloom.

    Tammie, I know things are a struggle sometimes but it sounds as if you are managing and moving to the farm was a great idea. I think of you often.

    1. Your flowers are going to be beautiful! I know you considered selling them. You might also consider a small fee to have local photographers use your field for photos.

      1. great suggestion. Thanks, Brandy! I have a lot of Lily of the Valley which I may try to sell for bridal bouquets. i don’t think I’ll reach the maximum number of peony blossoms but it’s definitely increasing! Ann

    2. Anne,
      Thank-you for your kind thoughts. I’m glad you are feeling better. Peonies are beautiful flowers. Somehow we are managing. I’m hoping my husband will enter a local talent contest next month. The prize money would help. But also I think it could be fun!

  54. 1. I used a coupon at Lane Bryant for $15 off any purchase and received a pretty necklace for free (no tax!)
    2. Sent my kids off with their grandparents to visit for the week and they have been doing all sorts of fun things (that I didn’t have to pay for)
    3. Refinished my daughter’s dresser and door in her room to save myself from buying new things (this was part of her birthday gift)
    4. Found a metal desk on Amazon at a great price for my daughter’s main birthday gift (no more particle board for us!) *I have been trying to buy only used items this year but all the used metal desks I found were almost just as much as this brand new one…so new it is:)
    5. I have spent my week (without kids) cleaning and finding new ways to decorate my house with things I already had and the results are making me smile

  55. Elizabeth,

    Understand perfectly about the desk. I, too, get rather frustrated at the cost of some used items. It can be rather discouraging when there is little extra and all the shops are charging so much for “vintage” items. I keep having to hunt and hunt as well and, sometimes, also resort to just buying new.

    Trish

  56. I am a long time reader, but this is my first time to comment. I really want to thank you, Brandy, for your blog. It is a bright spot in my week. Ten years ago we moved from a homestead in the country to a suburban city outside of Seattle. This area has hyper inflated housing prices because it is close to major tech and aeorospace companies., and it’s what I call “fake rich”. It’s full of Escalades and Mercedes. The moms carry around their starbucks and shop daily for dinner at the expensive local grocery store. I knew from day one that I did not fit in. People here think I am crazy because I shop in thrift stores, keep a well stocked pantry and emergency supplies, make my own coffee at home, sew, use coupons, don’t eat out much, pay cash for our modest cars… so, I’m pretty much an outcast in my own town. This blog gives me hope, makes me feel like I am not alone, that I am living the right way for my family and our financial goals. I feel like I know the ladies who post comments each week. I have cried many days since moving here because I feel alone being a stay at home mom with very few friends here, but I feel like I am a part of this blog community. Brandy, I would gladly pay a donation or subscription fee to help keep your blog going!!!! I have 5 more years here until my son graduates and we can move out of the school district and back to the country life!!!!
    Here are some of ghe things I did to save money in the last few weeks:
    Much to my neighbors horror, I had a very successful garage sale (i think my neighbors believe having a garage sale makes you look poor and desparate?)
    Accepted a gift of extra produce
    Bought hams at .49 cents a pound!!! Cooked one, put the rest in the freezer. Made yummy ham quiche with leftovers
    Accepted leftover cupcakes from a birthday party
    Although I have closed my eBay store for the summer, I did find a few items to sell in the fall
    Received a nice check from a store that buys my handmade home decor and sewing
    Colored my own hair
    Went to the local beauty school for a haircut. They do a wonderful job for a fraction of th price.
    Saved lots pf cardboard pieces for my son and his best friend to make a giant fort with for an end of school celebration
    Cooked meals at home, brought coffee, water and snacks in the car
    Redecorated my family room with things I have on hand, just need to buy or sew some drapes.
    That’s all that comes to mind….just want to say thanks to everybody for all their great ideas and inspiration each week!!!!

    1. Thank you, so very much, for your wonderful comment. You brought tears to my eyes. Comments like yours are worth more than any donation. They remind me why I write. I truly appreciate the wonderful comments that have been coming in the last couple of weeks, and I’m so glad that after years of reading you decided to comment today.

    2. Susanmarie, I think you touched the hearts of many of us. I know I really have no friends with whom I can celebrate my frugal accomplishments or seek advice or even just share my financial challenges. Thank you for joining in and posting with this kind and caring community. I hope you will become a regular poster.

    3. Susanmarie,

      I think you described beautifully how much we are grateful for the blog that Brandy has created and knit this incredible group of women together!

    4. I lived in Seattle almost 10 years. I loved the thrift stores in Lake City and also across the lake in Bellevue. Lots of great designer labels at wonderful prices. Also, great garage sales in some of those neighborhoods. I remember buying a huge Rubbermaid tote of Legos for $10 – it had to be worth over $100. Long story to say, you can get some great deals when no one else is shopping at the thrift stores.

      Have you tried to find any community gardens? I’ve found like minded people there.

      I too love this blog that Brandy has kept all these years. I re-read the articles a lot, especially when I’m down.

    5. Susanmarie, I just wanted to say hello, and I’m also so glad you decided to comment. I get what you’re talking about with the “fake rich.” We live and work in a large city and it’s similar. Everything here is about where you shop, what bag you carry/car you drive, which fancy restaurant you dine in, who you know or can namedrop, etc. I feel like so much of it is “putting on airs” as my mother used to say. Frankly I would much rather go to a garage sale or cook a meal at home. Most of the time I feel like I do not fit in. I just wanted to say I understand how you feel.

    6. Susanmarie, I too understand where you are comming from. In my twenties, I lived in a big city and experienced the same things as you. Perhaps rewording how you chose to live your life may help those around you appreciate your lifestyle more. For example, shopping in thrift stores, having garage sales and chosing modest cars to drive are ways of being environmentally conscious (global warming is a huge topic after all). You garden to provide your family with fresh, high quality, pesticide free, organic food. You cook and bake at home because you enjoy the art of creating your own delicious, gourmet cuisine. Keeping a well stocked pantry allows you can whip up those gourmet meal whenever it suites your fancy. You sew because you enjoy crafting high quality, beauitful and unique one-of-a-kind items. These word are more “trendy” then the word “frugal”, and therefore may be more appreciated or valued by the “fake rich”. They don’t need to know it is actually saving you money. This lifestyle is all about mindset. Viewing your frugal accomplishments as a positive action is extremely important, even for those who are living on very limited budgets. Some people have different values. So we need to show them how these actions still fit within their values, too…even if their values are superficial.

      1. If this was Facebook, I would put a “this” with an arrow up gif under it! I’ll add one two more words: “bespoke” and “custom” when it comes to Do-it-yourself things.

        1. Brandy, I’m not on Facebook, but you are welcome to share my comment on yours if you’d like (and feel free to fix any spelling and grammatical errors, of which I noticed a few after posting it).

    7. Susanmarie, your post really touched my heart. I, too, am so thankful for Brandy’s blog! Learning how to be happy where you are in life is a great blessing. Our world trains us that material things make us happy…and we all know they don’t. This community shows daily where true joy lies. It is such a blessing! Though we may be a distance apart, we are all connected here thanks to Brandy! Brandy, we are really grateful for you! Like others, I would be willing to donate or subscribe for you to keep going, though I realize that time may be an incredible factor for you now having had nine children as well. Wishing all of you blessings!

    8. Thank you, Susanmarie. I live in a university town that has many “fake rich.” When I am able to have time to myself my ideal day is going to the thrift store or garage sales, or cooking up an inexpensive meal, getting grocery bargains, or getting through my pile of mending. So many I know need a spa day, massage, manicure, pedicure, different hair color, and a new designer expensive handbag. I need to be me, and it doesn’t bother me that I don’t live up to other’s standards. I love this blog. I feel like all of you are my closest friends, and I worry about all of you when a week or so passes by and all don’t post. I rarely post, but I read every post and feel very much a part of the wonderful family that Brandy has created. This blog has gotten me through an extremely difficult time in my life concerning another family member’s serious health issues. In the middle of the night when I would wake up worrying, I would turn to this blog. It has given me so much comfort during my darkest days. Thank you, Brandy.

    9. Susanmarie, I think many of us can identify with your feeling out of step with your spendy neighbours, and being so glad to be able to learn and share on Brandy’s blog. It might help to keep in mind that a lot of the people you see with their fancy cars and big houses are likely deeply in debt, while you are achieving your financial goals. You should definitely be proud of yourself and the life that you are crafting!

  57. Hi Brandy and all,
    Alas, we have the same temps as you in Vegas, so we are indoors for the next few months. Got the electric bill yesterday and was very happy that the mild May weather translated to a nice lower bill!

    For the last year and a half, my husband and I have been working to improve our health, specially going to a gym with a gym trainer to improve our strength, balance and flexibility, he is 72, I am 63, and it was alarming how much strength and balance we had lost over the years. It really sneaks up. We have made great progress and now have stopped using our trainer for a while. We will do our best to continue her program independently. We also looked around at different gyms and have moved. We evaluated what we used and needed and found a gym that has all the equipment we need, and the cost dropped (for the two of us) from $82 to $16 a month! For folks in the US, we joined planet fitness.

    We continue to eat out of the freezer. We have eaten so much soup over the past year for lunch that I took three months off and stopped making and serving it. I only had six recipes that my husband liked (he is fussy) and I got to feeling if I saw one more bowl of navy bean soup I was going to cry ;). With the past few months off, I am now making soup again and back to enjoying it. It is the best frugal meal ever. I use two chicken carcasses in a crock pot cooked overnight for broth, add a bit more water, herbs, bouillon, veggies and noodles, and it makes five meals for the two of us. And by freezing the portions, I have take out soup any time we need an easy meal!

    1. Hi Hilogene, I see often on here that people make chicken soup with the carcasses. I visit a wonderful organic farm in our area and one of the farmers is a former chef. He makes the most amazing chicken bone broth! I keep a jar in the freezer for when I need warming up or don’t feel well. He told me that the secret for healthy bone broth is to simmer the uncooked chicken in a pot of water for hours until the broth has a great deal of gelatin consistency. He also adds ginger and lemongrass as seasoning at the end, along with other seasoning. These spices give it more of an Asian flavor and are ones I would not have thought to add. I, like you, love soups!

  58. We are having some lovely cooler weather for a few days, haven’t had to run the AC! We run our house fan at night and close up the house in the morning!

    My garden has produced chard, parsley, sugar peas and we have wild blackberries, blueberries that are producing a wee bit. There are tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and peppers that are not ready yet.

    Last week I found marked down peppers, apples, oranges and lemons that we have eaten off all week. Our son, DIL and two year old triplets have been here all week. We have gone to the park almost every mornong, and one day went to a downtown children’s library and they had a ball with the exhibits. I had lots of bread, souring milk and eggs, so we made French toast daily and that was a hit. We are hosting a graduation party for two of our kids who graduated this year for various programs, combined with Father’s Day, and having enchiladas and rice, fruit and dessert.

    My husband and I had a date at a local restaurant that I had a gc for, his order got mixed up and they gave it to him free. This will stretch the go even further.

    Hoping everyone is safe in the heat, and finding creative ways to enjoy the summer.
    We

  59. We have not been as frugal these last several weeks as we would have liked. However, we still find ways to save a few dollars even we aren’t being that diligent. The Safeway store by my work was closing for good. I enjoyed several shopping trips with 25% off total purchases, eventually going to 50% off the entire store. I was lucky enough to pick up several items for a party we are having in two weeks. I also stocking my pantry and freezer with things we will use this summer. I also picked up a few extra items to make donation gift baskets and birthday presents. Each time I went and shopped, they packed all the purchases in brown shopping bags free of charge; here stores are required to charge for each store bag you use costing 10 cents on up. My mother took me grocery shopping a couple of times, and gifted us groceries which we were so thankful. I also managed to score some great deals on sonic type toothbrushes for the family. I was able to find a few things for my son at Goodwill. He came with me on one trip and found a brand new toy he wanted, still in the packaging for $5…it sells at Target for $15. On a different note, my mother and I were able to tour the Mormon Temple in Oakland, CA that had recently been remodeled. Apparently, after a remodel, they offer tours to the public. We were are not of this faith but were very excited to go on the tour of the temple and grounds. For years, we have seen it and always wondered what it looked like on the inside. It was beautiful and the tour guides were so helpful! One was nicer than the next 🙂

    1. I’m so glad you were able to attend the open house of the Oakland Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! Whenever a new temple is built or when one is remodeled, before the dedication (or re-dedication) there is an open house where the public can go.

      A friend of mine was a tour guide for the Paris temple a couple of years ago. Mutual friends of ours happened to go while he was there volunteering, which made it even more special for them both!

      This is my faith, and I’m so glad you were able to go!

    2. Hi Peggy! I have been off the frugal living for a while now :(. This year has been personally challenging to me as my husband has an assignment for a year in Washington, DC. I have been traveling a lot and we have had the kids and friends down to see the sites (almost all of which are free!) while he has been there. It should have been a time of low spending, but I found myself living more like on a constant vacation…eating out, souvenirs for everyone, etc. I also was so lonely at home that I indulged myself shopping :(. I am so upset with all of this and am dealing with the consequences. I started reading this blog again and getting back to the values I believe in. While my kids were growing up, before I met my second husband, we lived in abject poverty (both while I was married to their father and when I left him due to abuse). I learned so many frugal ways, but once things were better, fell away from some of them. I think I am finally at a point where I am not making up for the trauma and hard times we experienced. I am finally feeling more secure. While we have been financially secure for the last ten years, we still deal with the aftermath of not having a roof over our heads and food to eat. It makes us stockpile and end up throwing so much away. I am now, with the encouragement of this community, trying to not waste anything in the frig, to not buy what I don’t need just to fill another need. I am 60 years old now…I don’t need more stuff! Though books…meh. But I think I have enough books to last a year. Every time I go to DC, I find another topic or era I am interested in. This week, in my hometown, there was an annual book sale (this sale has grown to incredible proportions). I came home with 25 fiction and nonfiction books of high quality for $15. The money goes to support their church programs, which is a win-win! Brandy, we have an LDS church in our town and they have the best genealogy help there! My daughter used to attend the youth dances with her friends who were LDS…we are Catholic. I especially liked the values these kids exhibited. Anyhow, just a little about me and my struggles and getting back on track. This community is such an inspiration. I know I have knowledge to share as well and hope it helps others.

  60. Hello everybody, it is been a long time since I wrote a comment, but I read your blog every week. I get a notice in my E-mail now, wich I did not get before. We are ofcourse still living as frugal as possible, like eating leftovers hardly ever eat out, linedrying the laundry etc….
    My garden starts producing finally (we have had a lot of rain and a lot of wind,) I hope we get some dryer periodes now so tomatoes and pepper wil grow better to. For now it was just lettuce (this lettuce grow thight and you can also use it to braise/cook) and arugola and some strawberries, but the cabbage is going good.
    We bought an oven though the Dutch E-bay and because we had to drive for 1 1/2 hour to get it we made it a little outing. We went to the gardens of Paleis het Loo (former royal palace). we took drinks with us , had a good breakfast before we went on the road and only bought some french fries on the way back home. And because I bought the tickets online I got a dicount of 1 euro per ticket, and we did not have to wait in line.
    I bought 3 nice shirts at the thrift store, and a kitchen clock and a gift for my sisters birthday (shower gelland so on, nicely wrapped in a nice basket).
    Picked flowers from the garden to put in the house. I am making 3 salads for a friends 25th wedding anniversary. She pays for the ingredients herself , me making it is the gift to them ( I worked in catering al my live so it will look proffesional) Borrowed a suitecase for our little holiday to Sweden next week. We travel only with hand luggage so we do not have to pay extra for suitcases. We stay in a little cottage with kitchen so we cook our own food to keep the costs low. It is the first time without childeren, I hope they do not fight to much at home……The freezers are full so they do not need to buy anything to eat.
    Always when I write down al the frugal things I do I realise how much it ecually is that I do frugal. To us it seems normal.
    Greeting from the Netherlands, Tanja

    1. Tanja – I was just thinking of you the other day as I’d noticed that you hadn’t commented in a little while. It is good to hear that you are still doing well.

      Unlike all those folks with 100+F temperatures we are also having a cool and very wet Spring so not sure how people’s vegetable gardens will fare. It’s lovely and green here in Toronto but it’s hard to get out and enjoy it when we get one day of sunshine and then three days of rain! It’s the middle of June and some days I’m still wearing a jacket!

      I hope you will write about your trip to Sweden – it is on my list of places to visit so I am very interested. ave a wonderful time.

  61. I haven’t posted in quite a while here but reading this evening inspired me to do so…and has my brain turning with things to do in my yard and in my home! Thank you all so much for sharing! I had a nice week of mostly being at home. I’ve managed over the past six weeks to cut our grocery budget by a 1/4 which is pretty major for us. I realized today that what I’d picked up at grocery today and what we have on hand will carry us another two weeks with just the need of lettuce and bread. I could use that ‘savings’ in my yard work which is my primary focus of late. One purchase made at the grocery today was $9 and not even for food but already so worthwhile: they had bunches of peonies in bud for sale. I’ve never even seen a real live peony in my whole life but I can say that I have now. When I got home and put them in water, one big bud unfurled into a flower. So awesome! Savings is very important in our lives but sometimes it’s what I spend that brings a reward, too.

  62. *We were given a box of squash that was reaching the end of its usability. I shredded it and froze it.
    * I stocked up on more whole chickens. (They were priced the same as last week, but because they were at their sell by date, they were discounted further!)
    * I found dried beans and lentils for 25¢ per pound, so I cleared the shelves.
    * I cooked a batch of wheat berries for the week. I made them into cereals, salads, and side dishes.
    * I got a practically new bread machine (with instruction book and bread slicer) for free from a friend of a friend on the way home from an appointment. Free machine and saved gas!
    * Went to a local thrift store to take advantage of their “fill a bag” deal. All the kid clothes you can fit in a paper grocery sack for $4. 3 pairs of church pants, 4 shorts, 4 play dresses, 3 dress shirts, 5 onsies, 2 shirt and shorts sets, and 3 pairs of sandals.
    * Repurposed household objects for a child’s OT needs.
    * Bought a flat of peaches for $3 (the last of the season). Cut up and froze.

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