We had an excessive heat warning for the week, though we just consider 108 degrees Fahrenheit to be a normal summer temperature here. It was a good time to stay indoors and get lots of things organized. It’s easy to feel more comfortable in one’s home if the house isn’t cluttered with things that aren’t being used.

I went through my summer clothes and anything I haven’t been wearing, I put aside to donate to the thrift store. I also added several other items from the household to the donation box.

I bought a new dress for 40% off using coupon codes from Rakuten. I chose the free shipping option.

We harvested artichokes, parsley, apricots, peaches, green onions, and blackberries from the garden.

I planted seeds for basil, zinnias, red noodle beans, and Armenian cucumbers in the garden.

I used some of the blackberries in a recipe for a sheet pancake that was in one of the recent Martha Stewart Living magazines to which I have a free subscription (through Recyclebank). It called for buttermilk. I used powdered milk from the pantry and a small amount of white vinegar in place of the buttermilk. I’m really grateful to have powdered milk on hand!

My blackberry harvest was small this year, but the berries themselves were larger for the most part without my needing to cover them with old sheets. The sun is so intense here that any that are exposed to too much sun will burn and become unusable, and the closer they are to the top of the canes, the smaller they are. Several years back, I took cuttings from my grapevines and set up new grapevines to grow over the blackberries. In all but one section where I have my blackberries planted, I have grape vines growing above them now to shade them. I’ll also have more grapes this year (on these canes) if I can keep the birds and bugs away.

My husband and I ran our errands together one day to save time and gas. These were for places that were all very close to one another. We also got gas at Sam’s Club, which was $0.49 a gallon cheaper than other places. At Sam’s Club, I bought three boneless pork loin roasts on sale for $1.59 a pound. I froze two and cooked one, which we used for meals all week, saving gas for the oven as well as heating up the house for additional days (we warmed leftovers in the microwave). It also saved me time cooking a main dish other days.

I sent some things up to my eldest at college in another state with a friend who was going up to visit.

I purchased a photography class on sale on an early-bird special. After weighing the options, I chose the particular class I did because it looks to give me the most coverage of topics from this instructor (an award-winning photographer) for the least amount of money. I have found that most photography classes do go on sale if you are willing to wait. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great times to find sales on classes, but signing up for a free webinar also gives you a chance at a significant discount to a class, and you’ll get emails about upcoming courses and discounts as well.

We visited the library for books. My children had already completed the required reading to get a free book to keep in the past week, so we brought home five new books to add to their bookshelves. They now have a goal to do the same for the next week.

We did not go to the park this week due to the excessive heat and also as we had a family time for them to meet with aunts, an uncle, and a few cousins to help clean my father-in-law’s house to put it up for sale. Cleaning it as a family was much more frugal than hiring a cleaning crew. Everyone brought cleaning supplies to wash walls, windows, bathrooms, etc. before I took photos of the house to list it for sale.

What did you do to save money this past week?k

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  1. Hi Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    Brandy I am so glad you were able to purchase a new dress for yourself and the children got some free books for the home from the library. The produce you picked from your gardens looks divine and will go a long way to filling in the pantry and making more meals for the children. We also are always on the lookout for meat on good specials as it is the most expensive part of our grocery budget.

    Last weeks savings by making things at home rather than purchasing and specials purchased added up to $97.85 🙂 .

    In the kitchen –
    – Made all meals and bread from scratch.
    – Made 2 x 1.45 kg homemade apple pies saving $18.55 over buying equivalent supermarket variety ones.
    – Made a double batch of chocolate chip & coconut biscuits saving $15.34 and a single batch of white sauce/pudding premix saving another $25.30 over buying it in pre-prepared packets in the supermarkets.

    Listings and finances –
    – Listed 10 items on eBay on a free listing promotion saving $16.50 on usual listing fees.
    – Claimed meal and travel allowances by sending away forms to DVA on all DH’s medical appointments for the last year. This will go a long way to topping up our fuel budget for some time without money coming out of our normal budget.
    – Purchased a 48 pk roll of Emporia toilet paper from Aldi on super special saving $22.16 over purchasing the same brand in Woolworths.

    In the gardens –
    – Finished digging our fence post holes with our post hole auger for our kangaroo garden enclosure. It took 2 goes first one got us down to 40 cm and then the second session got the holes down to 60 cm after soaking the soil with water. Not an easy task and I might add since then we have muscles on our muscles too and been sore all week :0 . Post hole augers are definitely not easy on the body in really hard soil like we have here.

    Hope everyone has got everything they wanted to do accomplished last week 🙂 .


      1. Thank you Jenifer 🙂 .

        No wonder people who own country properties are so fit as there is always something to do. We don’t need a gym membership here to keep fit 🙂 .

        Have a fantastic week.


  2. I paid all of my bills on time and online. Paying my bills online saves me time and money too.
    I cut mint to dry. I let my mint dry naturally…saving electic and/or gas depending on what I use to dry it.
    I accepted cooked pinto beans from Jake. They are now in my freezer in single serving sizes.
    I made large amounts of meatloaf. Using my oven once. Having enough meatloaf for 28 meals for myself. I did the same thing with “unstuffed cabbage rolls”. Many meals in the freezer in single serving sizes and only one hour of oven use.
    I am still able to keep the house open in the morning. It was hot and humid enough today that I closed up and hour earlier and turned on the a/c.
    I used coupons when buying groceries.
    My grandson helped me buy groceries this week. Zayne is 11 and does the heavy lifting for me. I am teaching him how to decide which item is the least expensive. I also told him that some items I buy are more for my comfort than price…like toilet paper. *laughing* It is worth the few pennies more I spend for toilet paper that doesn’t feel like sandpaper on my behind.
    I mended a shirt for Zayne.
    I only left the house 2 days this week.
    I had a few small fails this week since I had the grandbabies for a couple of days…and nights. I am $50.00 over budget on food. With Zayne here for 3 weeks this month I bought more at the grocery. I will have both kids next month so it will be tough until school starts. I don’t mind it though because they are fantastic kids.
    I was very ill for months this winter. I am better, but still puny. I am finding it hard to work (I sew) the hours I need to work. This is causing me a loss of income that isn’t horrible, but is worrisome.
    I lost a grapevine this winter. So now I’m down to one. I’m not sure I will replace the one I lost.
    I have a pear tree that is loaded.
    I have 4 apple trees that are so young they have never fruited, but this year one has about 50 apples on it and one of the others has about 100 apples. The Cox’s Pippen has 2 apples. The last tree has nothing this year.
    The plum tree has come and gone. This tree froze back to the root one horrible winter. I wouldn’t let Jake pull it out since I thought that it looked like the wood was still live. It grew up again, but it is a wild plum now not the big purple plums. We tried to make plum leather and it didn’t work at all. It was a total fail.
    I have a wild tree that came up right by the plum tree. It is so pretty when it blooms. One year it looked like and almond and the next year it looked like small peaches. Does anyone have any idea what kind of tree this might be?
    I also lost my old-fashioned rose bush. I hated loosing her as she bloomed 2 times a year and was a beautiful velvety looking red.
    As you can see it has been win and loose this week.
    As usual, Brandy, your photos are lovely.
    Thank you.

    1. Almonds look just like peaches, only not so full inside.

      You can take cuttings from your grapevine and make new vines.

      I would take out the plum tree and put in something else that will give you food.

      I am sorry about the loss of your plum and rose. We lost several trees in the last few years. The sooner you replace them, the sooner you’ll have fruit from the new trees. One of our new peaches is giving us a few peaches this year. Next year will be even better!

      1. Really? Hopefully it is an almond then.
        I have a very old pecan that has given nuts galore for all of the years I’ve lived here. She has begun to die back which saddens me beyond belief. I need to plant another one since it takes them like 20 years to fruit.
        I can’t pull the plum since the almond/peach grew up right next to it. they are like one tree at the base now. By the time I figured out it was a different tree it was so grown together that pulling one out would have taken both.
        I have plenty of room for more trees.
        I have tried peaches twice and the ants have killed the trees both times.
        Thanks for letting me know about the almonds and peaches looking the same. I wondered if I was loosing my senses.

    2. Becky, Wild Plums are great for pollinating some varieties of domesticated plums. I had a cookbook once called “Wild Plums in Brandy” — maybe that’s an inspiration. It was not a bad winter and we didn’t have a drought from Jan. to March but even so I have a lot of winterkill — the nanking Cherry tree/bush is half dead but a rigorous pruning should help it. My muckle plum (decorative only and really beautiful with deep pink blossoms) lost quite a few branches and is not blooming. The other thing you might consider about your plum is to graft other varieties of plums onto it. I thought I had lost one of the David Austin roses (Strawberry Hill) but it is coming back from the roots and doing quite nicely. If it were my wild plum, I’d be tempted to graft branches from other plum trees onto it in the early spring. It would greatly reduce time to fruiting. I also lost half of the zone 3 hardy Honeycrisp Apple. I lost a hosta, too which is a bit of a mystery as that should have survived.

      1. Oh my goodness! I’ve never heard of loosing a hosta. I would have been so upset.
        I haven’t grafted anything, but I think Jake may have. I would just buy another tree. I have tons of room for it.
        We had a mild winter so I’m not sure why we lost so much this last year.
        Thanks for the ideas.

        1. Most Lisa in winter areas come not from how severe the winter is, but from freezing- thawing- freezing. This usually kills them. I lost 3 blueberry starts and 2 Rosa Regusa.

  3. Brandy,

    Thank you for the reminder about our library’s summer reading program giveaways – I need to get in there and get worksheets for my kids to fill out this year! And those blackberries make me excited for ours to come (in about a month – although no one grows them on purpose here – they’re invasive – we pick them in empty fields and on the side of trails and roads).

    This week, living frugally in Portland:

    – I went through my boys’ clothes to give to a coworker with 12 yo twin boys. I’m happy to help her out, she is such a generous person!
    – More luck at garage sales: I picked up some name brand sunglasses for one of my kids and more tomato cages.
    – I used strawberries from my backyard and greek yogurt from the fridge to make strawberry creamcicles. We had two consecutive 97-98d days last week, very unusual for us. With no a/c or basement to hide into, it was pretty miserable. We kept cool with frozen treats and I blew fans next to bowls of ice.
    – We rode bikes all week except for a trip to visit my mom and a trip to get our passports.
    – I utilized bottle deposit returns, Kroger coupons, and weekly sales to keep my grocery bill down.
    – I made these oatmeal pumpkin bars: http://www.frugalwoods.com/2019/04/23/my-healthy-oatmeal-pumpkin-bars-recipe-how-i-get-my-kids-to-eat-kale/ in an attempt to use up some of the canned applesauce and pumpkin I have in excess. I like them. My kids weren’t thrilled about them until I said they could eat them for breakfast (they’re fairly healthy).
    -I researched free concerts and outdoor movies playing in our city and put them all on our family calendar. I also reserved several books and movies from our neighborhood library for summer entertainment.
    -My work hours this summer will be going down, but I’m thankful for the time I’ll have with my family and to work on other projects. Staying frugal keeps my anxiety about the lower income to a minimum.

    1. Not even weeds are invasive here! You have to water cactus if you want them to grow! However, the palms that people plant can grow unwanted in your yard if you water your yard here, and they have a super deep tap root from the very beginning.

  4. Lovely pictures, Brandy. We will be passing through Winter’s college town next week on our way to see my son and daughter-in-law and their new house.

    I have spent a lot of money over the past few months seeking relief from back pain. (The alternative is extensive surgery, which I plan to avoid). I have had 5 needle procedures at a cost of about $280 each, after insurance. I will be having the 6th one, with the most potential for relief, in about two weeks. Wish me luck!

    So, last week wasn’t particularly frugal or unfrugal, except that I had the 5th procedure (the unfrugal). This was the rest of my week–
    Heather, my good friend and garden helper, has taken two weeks off to care for her mother, who is very near the end of her life, As a result, I had no garden help this week. (And did not have to pay for it, although right now I need the help more than I need the $$$). I asked her if I could bring dinner Friday, which I have done for the last 3 weeks. She refused because she was there and able to cook. She suggested that I could make her some Miracle Spray to clean her parents’ house… so I made her a double batch.

    I ran drip lines to the 10×4 raised veggie garden using supplies I bought last year. I have one strawberry that is getting red and 6 tiny green tomatoes on the vine! Aphids are infesting my little plum tree. I treated it with soapy water…twice.

    I made a “dump” recipe in the Crock Pot for dinner Friday. My husband liked it very much, and I’ll probably make it again. He and I watched 12 episodes (2 seasons) of Home Fires, which was on Masterpiece Theatre a couple of years ago. It was free on Amazon Prime.

    Best wishes to everyone here!

    1. Maxine, I am watching MIDSOMER MURDERS on Amazon prime. Very enjoyable. Before that I watched 5 seasons of ENDEAVOR and season 6 just started on PBS. It is a prequel to the INSPECTOR MORSE series. Our PBS channel has run some interesting shows on the royal family…one of monarch clothes through the ages, a series on Balmoral castle and another on Princess Margaret.

  5. I’m feeling accomplished as I look back on my week. This past week I
    – Gave 4 children haircuts (Saving $46)
    – Canned 8 quarts of homemade chicken broth
    – Found a brand new dehydrator and huge Lodge cast iron pan at the thrift store. I knew the next day that store has kitchen goods half off, so I waited a day and got both items for $15!
    – Ate (free!) soup and homemade bread even though we didn’t feel like it (June in Florida, need I say more?)
    – Learned a cheaper way to make homemade pizza dough
    – froze the canning liquid from fruits to make popsicles
    – Roasted a chicken and used it to feed my family of 7 for 8 meals (5 dinners and 3 lunches)
    – Stocked up on marked down whole chickens and hams

  6. I didn’t exactly save money because I bought quite a few annuals as they were on sale. I bought fuschias, lobelia, red salvia, geraniums. Mostly, I bought plants that the hummingbirds will like. It was a really superb sale for four days and I happened to phone the store the day before they got a shipment in for the sale. I didn’t know they were having a sale but I succumbed. One only lives once and I do not go on holiday as I cannot afford it so I will stay home and enjoy these flowers. My gardener who only comes once or twice a season phoned to ask if she could collect my weeds as she was doing a program on tv about weeds and also about edible weeds. So I watched my weeds being eaten on tv! Usually I don’t buy many annuals as over a period of several years I’ve converted all twelve flowerbeds into perennials. Now if only I have hummingbirds! If you plant, they will come???

    1. I don’t know, but we have quite a few hummingbirds in our garden (it’s a rare day when I don’t see any) so I think so

      We spend more days at home than we do on vacation, so why not be surrounded by beauty every day? Flowers are on this earth to give us joy! And if we don’t go on vacations, it’s even more of a reason to enjoy our surroundings!

    2. I believe you’re in Ontario? You should be able to attract several species, but they seem to prefer native plants. Some annuals have almost no nectar for them and are worthless to wildlife. Red cardinal flower, bee balm, lupines and Canada lily come to mind. The hummingbirds in my garden love scarlet runner beans.

      1. Andrea,
        no, Alberta. Hummingbirds love fuschias. I also bought red salvia for them. I have perennials hummingbirds like, too. I have penstemon, definitely beebalm. I have had hummingbirds that stayed over the summer but this year we’ve only seen one on migration. We have different species than you. When we have any in the yard, they are Rufous, occasionally Calliope, and more often than previously Ruby-throated (which you have). thanks for suggestions! Ann

  7. The pancakes look awesome! I’d like to try the recipe. Work has been very busy for us but we’ve tried to be frugal.
    *we visited a museum that had free admission. We say some fossils and dinosaur eggs as well as having a nice walk.
    *I signed my son up for a free skateboard clinic next weekend.
    * I gave handmedown books and a doll with a crocheted dress I made as a birthday present.
    *we took the subway instead of driving
    *I froze some spaghetti sauce for later
    *I hung most of the laundry to dry instead of using the dryer. With the warm weather it dries overnight.
    *I passed on two boxes of books we no longer need. It freed up some much needed shelf space.
    *I’m going to stop buying food and use up what I have in the pantry and freezer so it doesn’t go bad.
    *I baked a loaf of bread.
    *I paid COD for a box of clothes through a facebook page. I took a few things and will pass on the rest.
    *A friend was able to snag a cheap flight to a nearby destination. I was lucky enough to find tickets and hotel reasonably priced as well. We spent the weekend catching up and took the kids to disneyland one day. We packed out backpacks full of snacks and water bottles to avoid the high prices.


  8. Our gloriously beautiful weather continues here. We did have to finally turn on the irrigation, but the rain we had earlier this month got everything off to a good start.
    We enjoyed lettuce, peas, broccoli, mint, and asparagus from the garden.
    I accidentally washed a hand-knit sweater in the washing machine and it felted, so I made it into a pillow. It turned out cute.
    The cover on one of the dog beds split, so I made a new one, using fabric I had on hand.
    Sunday after church friends invited us to go driving with them. We spent the rest of the day in the mountains, visiting a ghost town, fishing at a little lake, and seeing the sights. We ended the day with pizza.
    We attended our homeowner’s association picnic. I took macaroni salad.
    We took a picnic to a free concert in the park for an enjoyable evening with friends.
    I baked chocolate chip cookies and mailed them to my FIL for Father’s Day. At 89, he doesn’t need more things, but he has a sweet tooth and seldom gets homemade treats.
    Our leather sofa has been looking very scratched and worn. I rubbed it down with coconut oil and I’m very pleased with the results.

  9. Jen, I was a Portland kid. I grew up in SE and my dad delivered milk to homes all over the north Portland peninsula. North Portland had several large “defense” housing projects during WW2 that were demolished in the early ’50s, except for Columbia Villa. (They were built to house the out-of-towners who came to Portland to work in the shipyards). All of the houses had nice bluegrass lawns that were just abandoned when the houses were torn down. My dad would eat his lunch there each day in summer, then harvest lawn seed (rubbing the seed heads between his hands into his lunch bag) until it was time to go back to work. All that free grass seed became lush, thick lawns at the two houses where I grew up. If anyone wonders where I got my cheap streak, I inherited it! (The blackberries should be ripe here in another month….).

    1. Hi Maxine, how funny! I grew up in SE but we currently live in NE near Grant High School. And my grandpa was a home delivery milkman for Alpenrose for over 40 years! We just moved back after 17 years away, living in NYC, then DC area, and then Seattle. I love living here so much – especially this time of year!

      1. I grew up on Kelly Street below 39th (Cesar Chevez Blvd.) and then we moved to 75th and Flavel (in an area now unoffically known as Felony Flats) and graduated from Marshall High School. I walked in as a freshman the day Marshall opened in 1960. My dad delivered Darigold products for 23 years for Farmers’ Dairy, which later sold to Standard…which I believe is gone now. I went to Alpenrose Dairy Farm for my first grade field trip and milked a cow, LOL!

        I know the rest of you aren’t all that interested, but Jen lives in hallowed territory for lovers of Beverly Cleary’s books. Close to Klickitat Street and the park where Henry Huggins pulled nightcrawlers to pay for a football. Mrs. Cleary is still alive at age 103.

        Jen, Portland was a wonderful place to grow up in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s when it was a blue-collar town. It has changed so much I don’t enjoy being there. We still go back about once a year to visit my husband’s cousins.

        1. Beverly Cleary books were my favourite books to read as a child. How very interesting. I had no idea it was set in Portland. As a child, it wouldn’t have ment anything to me anyways. But I enjoyed reading your comment about it now that I’m an adult!

          1. I loved those books in the 70s. I had no idea they were set in Portland, either! I’ve never been to that of the country, hopefully some day.

  10. Ooh! Those blackberries look delicious ?

    Our frugal accomplishments for the week:

    * I froze uneaten lunches for future meals (we both unexpectedly were able to stay home from work a few times this week)

    * I made homemade biscuits to go with gravy. I cut down the butter used by a third by including a small amount of cheese (which added great flavor as well).

    * I made honey wheat bread for sandwiches for my lunch this week, using a small amount of honey left in a jar. By pouring hot water into the jar, I could get every last drop!

    * Lunches for this week include several items coming from the freezer (including some tofu I froze when it was nearing it’s expiration date) and things that need to be used up in the fridge. I’ll be having egg salad sandwiches, and my SO will be taking orange tofu and fried rice.

    * I prepped my breakfasts for the week- this week is cinnamon raisin oatmeal. I added some ground flax seed for some extra nutrition, as I had some in the pantry that needed to be used up.

    * I debated purchasing several items on Amazon, but I decided to only get the few things I actually needed (and one cat toy, which has been a hit!). If I still want the other items later, they’ll be in my wishlist for me to find.

    I hope everyone has a great week!

  11. What a great idea to use your grapes to shade the blackberries. I also get a free Martha Stewart magazine through Recyclebank & will have to look for the recipe. I’m perpetually behind on my magazine reading. I harvested lettuce several times, lambs quarter, nettles and purslane, basil, parsley & rosemary last week. Laundry was hung on the line. I cut bouquets for the house. We had blessedly cooler temps, with lower humidity last week, but today it starts ramping up again, into the upper 80’s and 90’s and higher humidity. Well, it is almost summer. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2019/06/pink-blooms-frugal-accomplishments.html

  12. Greetings!
    You have blistering hot and we turned the furnace back on. Our high will be low 60’s, today. Which is fine by me!
    I decided not to work the Summer job so that saves my sanity. In practical terms, i’m not on my feet eight hours at a stretch, I can eat my meals sitting down and I don’t have to rush to the bathroom and finish, tuck and wash hands in record time. Plus, dealing with entitled tourists is not working for me anymore. My regular job won’t be adding Sundays for me but for the boss’ daughter, which is fine. I have more time to play and less money to spend. I’m counting it all as a win!
    We hired a local young man to rake and sweep sand this year. It takes me days and hours and hours to clean up after the Winter. Here, they use sand, mixed with strong ant-icing salt, to coat the roads. My back just can’t take it anymore. I am so thankful we could afford to do this.
    Recently, I cleaned both freezers and pulled a bunch of stuff that’s getting old. I’m slowly feeding my husband all the meat products. I see that we’re really good on chicken and pork but will need ground beef. I also went through the pantry and pulled some things to donate to our little co-op. We have a basket at the back where we put food for anyone who wants it. One more bag and i’m done. Our tastes have been changing so I see where I don’t need so much of several things. Everything’s clean and more organized.
    I’m still hanging clothes to dry. I so wish we could do this year round.
    We’ve been to two matinee movies in recent weeks. These are the first paid movies we’ve gone to since we moved here over eight years ago. I do miss going to a movie theatre.
    My husband gave me a haircut.
    I saved the water from boiling and rinsing eggs as well as the dehydrator. ‘This is used for washing dishes or flushing.
    I’ve gotten back into hand stitching. I don’t know why I ever stopped. It’s one of my favorite things. Since I had gotten rid of most of my threads over the years, I went looking at thrift stores and yard sales. I do believe i’ve restocked without paying full price for just about everything! I did spend money on a small wall hanging to stitch. But, I bought the smallest, thriftiest one offered. It may take me forever to finish it but it’s such fun!
    That’s all i’ve got for this round. I’m so happy to be back on the list here! Wishing you all a fabulous, thrifty week ahead!

  13. Hello, love the pictures of your fruit.
    The usual frugalities here: breakfasts and lunches packed from home and all suppers cooked at home as well.
    Our fire ban was lifted so we enjoyed hot dogs and marshmallows around our fire pit a couple of times.
    Laundry is being dried on racks outside .
    I have been harvesting mint and chives from my garden, still to early for anything else to be ready. Looks like we will have apples this year but the plum tree doesn’t have any fruit on it.
    Have organized the freezer and now have a list of contents taped to the top.
    Took Mom to multiple medical appointments and tests, so grateful for our healthcare which has no out of pocket cost.
    Have a good week!

  14. Brandy, as always beautiful pictures. They could be in Victoria magazine! I did decide to pay for that subscription after all. It is especially nice to look at while cooped up inside due to the heat!

    Big news! Our beautiful granddaughter was born Friday! We are over the moon about her! I was there for the birth at my daughter’s request and both of them did great!. So wonderful! God is good!

    Question for you, Brandy. What kind of blackberries do you grow? I would love to plant some here. Am I correct in my assumption that if they’ll grow in Vegas, they should grow here in Phoenix?

    My accomplishments 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.
    • Made up my meal plan for the next 2 weeks. I have been lax at doing that.
    • Worked 11 contract hours. Worked from home both days so saved on gas there.
    • Hung 3 of 4 loads of laundry.
    • Ate in 6 times. Steak, baked potato, zucchini and tomatoes; turkey & gravy, boiled potatoes and green beans; bean soup (twice); pork chops with mushroom gravy, rice and sautéed cabbage; quesadillas and beans; baked balsamic chicken legs with caprese salad made with home grown tomatoes and basil.
    • Repaired a towel that had a seam coming undone.
    • Won $4 plus a $30 gift certificate at our weekly Trivia league night.
    • Had Dad over for lunch instead of taking him out.
    • Saved the tops of all the strawberries I used and put them in the freezer for smoothies.
    • I’m trying to use up things in my freezer and pantry and not buy anything except for really great deals I come across. I am getting such a thrill every time I use something up!
    • I go to Portland every December. The cost of the flights was the lowest I’ve seen them in a while, so I booked using airline points. I used less points on a round trip ticket than I usually do for only one way!
    • Got 2 dozen eggs for 3c/dozen at Albertson’s and a can of black olives for 50c.
    • Harvested 2 more zucchini, some basil and a bowl full of tomatoes from our garden.
    • Got some Ibotta rebates.
    • Hubby brought his lunch all week.
    • My brother came to town and stayed with us one night. He went to dinner with Dad and another brother. They came over afterward to play poker (I saved by not going to dinner with them.) I won $5!
    • Had some breadsticks leftover from when we did Olive Garden takeout last week. I cut them up and made croutons out of them by drizzling with olive oil adding salt and garlic powder and then toasting them in the oven.
    • Baked a double batch of blueberry muffins with blueberries I had in the freezer. Gave 1 dozen to my daughter and kept 1 dozen for my breakfasts for the week.
    • Daughter and SIL gave me a bottle of wine and my husband a 12 pack of beer as a thank you for watching my grandson while they were off having the baby. They absolutely didn’t have to, but it was nice of them.
    • Took the test on Rev.com for transcribing and passed. Due to the baby being born, I haven’t had a chance to start, but plan to put some time in this week.
    • Cashed in some of the points my grandson and I earned from the summer reading program. We got a free kid’s meal and a free guacamole and chips from Rubio’s, 2 Culver ice cream cones a sticker and a free personal size pizza from Peter Piper.
    • Just found out that our library has a Cultural Arts program where you can “check out” admission for 2 to a number of museums around the valley. The “check out” is good for 1 week. There are a number of places I would like to go to but haven’t wanted to spend the money. Now if my husband and I can just get the time…

    1. I have several kinds of thornless blackberries that I purchased years ago at our local nursery. They sold Arapaho and Apache. They need some afternoon shade if you want any kind of a harvest in our heat and sun. Mine are on the east side of a wall in a planter about a foot wide (across from our a/c units on the side of the house). I have tried them in other places in the garden but they have died in those locations.

      Victoria magazine affected my decision for what to study at college, it inspired my garden design, it inspired my living room window/wall design (the pictures were ones I saw in Victoria of Winterthur), it inspired me to learn certain sewing techniques, introduced me to some of my favorite authors, inspired me to grow certain flowers, inspired me to start cooking as a teenager, inspired my eighth-grade graduation dress and so many other clothes, my furniture choices, etc. My first cookbook was one of theirs. I looked into an internship there when I was in college and Nancy Lindemyer was the editor. My friends and I would pour over the magazines in high school and college. It has been a lifelong dream of mine to be featured in the magazine one day. I’m so grateful Phyllis Hoffmann bought the rights and brought it back into existence after Hearst Media stopped publishing it shortly after I was married.

      1. Brandi,
        I have collected Victoria magazines from when they were published and until they stopped. When they re started I subscribed for a few years and then stopped when I couldn’t afford it for the last 5 or 6 years. Do they have the same “feel” as the original – I may subscribe again- I am working 3 jobs- I deserve a treat! My Mom and I would look through them together over tea.

        1. The new owner/editor has done a fabulous job in keeping the spirit and style of the original! It is still only published bi-monthly, but it sure is beautiful! They’ve kept the same themes for the months, too, which I love!

      2. I thought that I was a huge fan of “Victoria” magazine but I think you’ve got me beat Brandy! I missed it so much when it wasn’t being published. I love how they feature women entrepreneurs as well as artists & writers. I have every copy ever published – and I don’t loan them to anyone! 🙂

        1. I don’t have all of them, but I have quite a few. I started my subscription a few years after it came out.

      3. I grew up reading Victoria magazine too! I started reading it in high school and it fit right in with my primary school dream of being a pioneer (canning and sewing and gardening and such) and my grade school love of Norman Rockwell. Can you tell I was not the type of kid to have movie star posters on my walls? *grin*

        1. I remember going to a girl’s house in ninth grade to work on a school assignment together. Her posters were covered with boy band posters (all the same group). I asked who they were (she told me all their names) and I didn’t even know what a boy band was . . . She was obsessed with them and incredulous that I had no idea who they were. We became good friends until she moved away a few years later, despite having very different interests!

  15. Once a year two friends and I have a large garage sale at one of our homes. I dread it every year, too, but after it is over I am glad I did it and we always enjoy a day of fellowship. We do buy a lunch, like a pizza, out of our profits, as an extra treat. This year I made $432 after the expenses, like placing an ad. I was smarter than in years past, in that I kept a large box in a back room and would put things into it all year as I would find something we did not need/want/had outgrown. I also cast an eagle eye on my kitchen items–we really didn’t need four colanders and three All-clad stock pots (some stuff was inherited, but still…)

    Cut my own hair and cut husband’s hair

    Replanted romaine in the areas where we had eaten the first planting.

    Had three salads of romaine and weeds (chickweed), turned into Caesar salad.

    For some reason, we had a lot of freebies built up at a local store, so brought home $70 worth of groceries for $33.

    We keep our eggs in a square container that came with our fridge; it was meant to be used for eggs and overall has worked well. However, somehow this week one of the eggs cracked, leaked and when it dried it had glued 10 other eggs onto the bottom of the container. I tried removing one and it broke. I didn’t want to waste the other nine eggs, so I carefully cracked and removed the top of the glued eggs and was able to tip the container over and have 9 eggs run into a bowl. I was pretty happy with myself for saving that many eggs (they are not cheap in Alaska). I used them to make a frittata that fed us for two dinners and a lunch.

    Husband was offered a day job today, paying him $350 for the day, so although it is Father’s Day, we did not want to lose that much money so he is off working as I write this. As a reward I am making his favorite from scratch pizza, using stuff we already have.

    My flowers are blooming and giving me a lot of pleasure. I was given a $50 gift certificate to a local nursery, as an unexpected payment for a volunteer job I did. I used it judiciously and am now enjoying them.

  16. I too am a long term fan of Victoria magazine and it has inspired me to keep adding beauty (and tea parties) to my life. Your photos and house would definitely be worthy of being featured!

  17. I was most sick this past week which resulted in not doing much at all except going to work . At least I saved on spending and eating! Less than 2 weeks till I am no longer full time here. As I go home, I am excited to settle in back at our house. I am going to need to job hunt and am looking for an online teaching job that will give me the flexibility to come back and help out our son as he keeps on in college. I’m hoping to drive back with him and bring his dogs. Than the dogs and I will return after a wedding this fall only to return for yet another wedding in November. After that, we will drive back with my son at the end of his college semester. I can only plan one semester at a time, but I do hope he’ll be up to spring semester mostly on his own and we can just fly him back home for spring break. Praying things are getting better for him as he plugs away.

    *I dried a load of laundry on the line on a day that it didn’t rain till later in the day.
    *haven’t needed the ac and am trying to minimize the heater usage
    *signed up for a free month to try amazon prime video. Still like purflix should I ever chose to pay for something
    *found a beautiful full set of Oneida silverware at the thrift shop to put in my daughter’s silver chest. I keep adding to her wedding present. So far I have those plus a full set of China that she loves (for 12), and a similar demitasse set for about 125.00 total. These are worth significantly more and my daughter approved them. Nothing will spoil before she marries, so all is good.
    *cut off the top of 2 bottles of hand lotion to use the remaining in the bottom
    *am eating my way through the food I have and just buying some things to supplement (when I finally felt better)
    *expensive, but frugal. I shipped the remaining stuff as it was cheaper than any other way to move it.
    *paid off another bill and have written the check to pay off yet another one next week. Making great headway! Only a couple to go.
    *found I have 2 airmattresses here and will bring my daughter one as hers has a not- repairable hole. Might be awkward carrying it in the plane, but I’ll figure it out.
    *touched up some scratches with a can of spray paint that I had
    *am leaving the top of the woodbox unpainted for now since I am out of paint and do not want up buy another gallon. It is not very visible anyway.

    Happy frugal-ing friends!

  18. The photo of your apricots is luscious! Kudos for investing in yourself with the photography class. I’d love to hear how Winter is doing: what types of meals she is cooking, what she wished she knew before going away to college, what the most useful things are that she brought with her, what she wished she had, etc.

    • School here finished on 14 June so now it feels more like summer. The weather has been gorgeous and we haven’t even installed the window A/C units yet. I’ve been managing the house temperature by closing windows and drawing drapes during the day to keep the heat out and opening up windows at night to let cool air in.
    • Bunched errands and was able to fill my gas tank at the cheapie gas station about 30 minutes away. Read two books and watched a DVD from the library
    • Made swag goal x 2
    • Hung laundry out to dry x 3
    • Ate all meals at home including: ham & broccoli quiche, chicken pad thai, oatmeal with flax seeds, beef ramen bowl, and risotto
    • Used a $25 off rewards coupon for the local hardware store that my neighbor gave me. I used it to purchase a box of disposable gloves and a quart of Rustoleum paint so I can repaint the basement bulkhead doors.
    • Found a bag in my chest freezer labeled “soup fixings” so I put into the slow cooker and made beef broth.
    • My over-the-range microwave broke and is not repairable. Our local library has an online subscription to Consumer Reports so I researched which models to buy.
    • Made a batch of stinky foot/shoe spray (vodka and tea tree oil)
    • Am helping to plan a mini summer family reunion and found lots of good ideas on Pinterest including a family Jeopardy game. I drafted the Q&As in Excel using these categories: vacation time, full names, hometown street names, world war II, where they were born, and school days. All questions and answers are about members of our family. I’m planning to write/print the questions onto index cards and affix to some type of board. Figure it will be an entertaining way of learning some family history.

    1. Sounds like a fun game. You could also do important dates, like birthdays and anniversaries.

  19. -I had a quiet solo celebration of my 65th birthday. I stayed home from my college board meeting that day, but the board members emailed me birthday greetings from the meeting.

    -Since then, I used leftover garlic mashed potatoes and leftover canned salmon to make salmon cakes, and have had leftover strawberries and whipped cream each evening for dessert.

    -Today I am roasting a turkey I bought on sale before Christmas, since this was the last protein in the house other than four eggs. The turkey will provide many meals between now and the end of the month.

    -I am waiting for a check, which could come any day, but could also be delayed. I am planning how to make do in case it is delayed into July. Wish me luck! I have accepted that I will have to live without my car until it arrives.

    -The weather forecast has improved with several days of sunshine and of rain in the forecast. Good for getting yard work done and for avoiding forest fires.

  20. I was able to take my boys and pick FREE blueberries at a local farm. They allowed us to each pick a gallon which resulted in over 15lbs of blueberries. This saved us $60.

  21. The fruit looks beautiful, Brandy. I can imagine all the family helping to clean the house together, it’s a great way to get it done!
    I completely finished my scrap quilt.
    I sewed 5 drawstring bags for boat part, for the family who had let us live with them for the last 3 months.
    We continue to enjoy free blueberries and cheap apricots.
    While we have been without our house I have bought so much less of everything. Now it feels odd to have to go to the store and spend money. With only one shelf in the shared fridge, I’m making sure leftovers are eaten up and no food wasted.
    Our kids came over for Father’s Day. We made hamburgers, oven fries from Trader Joe’s (best oven fries I’ve ever had), grilled zucchini, and peaches for dessert. We all cooked together and played games afterwards. It was a lovey time.

  22. Something I’ve learned from you, Brandy, is to think of the long game when it comes to saving money, Your growing grape vines over blackberries to help make the end product better is a great example of this! And I love your photos as always.

    My accomplishments for the past two weeks:
    – My husband received an unexpected bonus and we decided that instead of saving it we would use it to take a vacation, as i think my husband needs a break more than we need the savings. We went to Philadelphia and Atlantic city (my husband’s choice). We stayed in apartment-style units (and requested a crib), so we could make most of our own meals, and I brought a reuseable water bottle so we wouldn’t have to buy as many drinks. I packed my pump and a bottle as I’m still nursing, so we didn’t need to buy baby food. We only took carry-ons to avoid paying for luggage. The units had access to a washer/dryer so that helped keep the amount of luggage small. We took full advantage of the amenities each place offered, whether it be filtered water bottle fillers, pools, or a free breakfast (we turned that into brunch). We did soooo much walking on vacation, and took advantage of freebies where we could, like free donuts at Betsy Ross house the day we were there.
    – We attended a timeshare presentation to get a $100 gift card to local restaurants, and were able to use that to offset the cost of meals that we ate outside of the room. One dinner ended up costing us 28 cents, which I got a kick out of.
    – Instead of bringing lots of toys for the baby, I improvised: her new favourite toys? A colander, the top of a juice pitcher, and empty water bottles!
    – I checked out some American stores while we were in the States, like CVS and DollarTree. It was intersesting to see the stores that I read about on this blog! I purchased a father’s day card and a three musketeers chocolate bar from DollarTree, and that became my gift to my husband for father’s day (i.e. our family is the three musketeers #momjoke). Total OOP was $1 and change. I also emailed him an e-card I made using the free Canva app and a photo of my daughter and husband that I took on vacation. Oh, and I was able to find TrueLemon and TrueLime packets at the dollar store for waaaaaay cheaper than anywhere in Canada, so I was very pleased about that!
    – When I came home after the vacation, I whipped up a cheesy mushroom & green pea casserole (http://approachingfood.com/not-your-mommas-cheesy-mushroom-pea-casserole/) out of items I had in the freezer, so we didn’t need to go shopping.
    – I used a Starbucks reward to get a free slice of lemon loaf and an ice water when I had to travel across the city to a doctor’s appointment. As well, my birthday fell while we were out of the country, so when Starbucks sent me a birthday freebie, which has to be used on your birthday, I used whatsapp (free) to notify my sister, and then used the Starbucks app to remotely order a salad for pick up from a location near her. That’s right, I was able to order a free salad for my sister in Canada, while I was in the U.S. Technology is pretty cool sometimes! It made me happy to know that the freebie was being used.
    – For those readers who live in Toronto (I know there are at least 2 I think) Metro has a promotion going on where if you buy $50 worth of food through their delivery service ($11.99) you’ll get $50 worth of bbq products free. I shopped the loss leaders and was able to get everything I need to host my family bbq for Canada day on July 1. I only need to add a head of lettuce. I received a pack of sausages, pack of bacon, package of buns, containers of mayo, ketchup, pasta salad, and Caesar dressing, paper towels, chips, sparkling water, and coke bottles. I stuck the buns and meat in the freezer. So for essentially $6 (delivery fee less what I would have paid in public transit costs to get my usual shopping, plus a dollar for lettuce), I have everything I need to host my family bbq (and higher end brands than I normally would have bought). Plus, I saved time. The coupon code is FREEPRODUCTS. Worth it if you buy from metro anyway or if you only shop their loss leaders like I did.
    – Other things I did the past few weeks:
    – I made a loaf of no-knead bread.
    – I made a triple batch of Cranberry & Nut Granola (http://approachingfood.com/clean-eating-cranberry-granola-and-degrees-of-crunchiness/). I used the last of the oats I had traded for weeks ago, as well as some of the maple syrup I traded for a while ago.
    – I went to a school fun fair that had a silent auction, and for a $30 bid, won a gift card for $84 worth of organic produce. This will be cover two weeks worth of boxes to the organic food subscription box provider. I plan to turn as much of it as I can into baby food to freeze, as I would rather feed my baby the organic food and eat the conventionally grown (and less expensive) food myself.
    – I finished my last session of physio for the bursitis in my knee caused by my pregnancy, and as a thank you to the physiotherapist and her assistant, I baked some eggless chocolate chip cookies, and wrapped them up in treat containers traded for previously, tied up with reused ribbon. They looked quite nice, and the staff assumed they were store-bought!
    – Using my local trading app, I traded two baby sweaters that I had won in a raffle years ago, for a bag of organic carrots and a bag of mangoes. My daughter has enough sweaters and she’ll have outgrown them by next year
    – I also lent my bike out to someone from the trading app, in exchange for a bottle of wine which I gave to my sister as a thank you for watering my plants/picking up our mail. I was planning on getting rid of the bike this summer likely, and since I bought it for $100 a decade ago, if the person doesn’t return the bike I won’t be devastated (although I fully expect her to. She seemed trustworthy, and I choose to think the best!)

    Looking forward to learning from everyone, as always!

    1. Glad to hear that you were away having a lovely break. I’d noticed that you hadn’t posted at your blog or here for a couple of weeks and I was beginning to wonder if everything was ok. Sounds like a wonderful time.
      I too like to visit stores that we don’t have here when in the states. Last time I went to Atlanta to visit friends we spent a good bit of time in one of the drugstores. My friend was a “coupon queen” back then and I couldn’t believe the haul I got one trip for a grand total of fifty cents! There was one day when they owed her money! That never happens here! 🙂
      The Raptors parade will pass right by where I work today so hoping to see a bit of it from our front steps – are you anywhere near? We the North!!

      1. Hi Margie! As it turns out, I ended up being sick with a nasty cold on the trip, and then the baby caught it too, so it wasn’t as enjoyable a trip as I had hoped, but hey, if I had to be sick, at least I had a view! I had packed the baby’s nasal bulb and tissues from my stash and such, plus I never buy cold ‘remedies’, so at least it didn’t affect our budget.
        American couponing is so different from Canada, isn’t it? I can totally see your friend the coupon queen impressing you with her haul! I was trying to figure out the ExtraCareBucks at CVS when I was there, just for fun. And my husband was impressed with the variety of items at the Dollar Store.
        I didn’t get to see the parade, but hope you had a great view! Definitely a historic day!

    2. Margaret…I am constantly amazed at all you do. I am especially intrigued with the trading you do. In my area, there is little trading done…the buy, sell, trade sites are mostly for selling or giving away. I think trading is an underused resource here.

      1. Thanks, Laura! I love trading! I get to feel like I’m helping the environment by keeping stuff out of the landfill or get to ‘sell’ my baking by trading for items I need. It’s win-win for everyone involved!

    3. Margaret,

      I had a nostalgic giggle when you described your little one’s new favorite toys. When my grandchild was a baby (she is four now and, as she will readily inform you, much more grown up than “when I was little” 😀 ), my daughter and I had such fun coming up with “free toys” – and we had some great successes! A favorite:: the round plastic lids to glass milk bottles, in an assortment of bright colors, and a plastic Ovaltine jar. The lids were too big to fit in a baby’s mouth (so no choking hazard), but just the right size for pudgy little fingers to sort and examine and put back in the jar one by one.

      1. Isn’t it great? It’s a variation on the classic banging-on-a-pot-with-a-spoon! As long as it’s safe to chew, the baby loves it and no fancy toys needed! Plus, I can put away the items in the kitchen when she’s done so it saves on space too. 🙂

    4. I’m so glad you’re doing well! You’ve been quite quiet on Instagram and your blog and I was hoping everything was alright. It’s near that you were in the US….and only a few hours from me. (Philadelphia is 3-4 hours from where I am in western Maryland but I’ve never been there!)

      1. Thanks, Sarah! I left on one weekend and came back on another and that’s usually when I post on my blog so I didn’t have a chance lately. I try to be a post ahead but that doesn’t always work out with a baby in the house. I have no idea how you blog, craft, and take care of 8 kids, all on a budget! As for Philly, it was interesting! I had no idea it was so integral to the rise of American democracy. It was quite the interesting history lesson! If you ever have a chance to take your kids there, it’s quite educational.

        1. That is true about Philadelphia, so much history and educational things to do. I grew up close to there and have been to the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Reading terminal, etc so many times. If anyone here gets the chance to do – I recommend it!

  23. Cooking at home. Black Bean burgers and black bean soup. Egg Salad. Sandwiches. Salads. Ham and kale with rice. Oatmeal. Pudding made form soy milk. Cauliflower curry soup with coconut milk. Most things from a pantry except for our eggs and black beans I bought a long time ago.. Used a gift card and enjoyed a personal pan pizza at target, actually planned on buying toilet paper with it but we got that and an icee instead. Bought toilet paper at Sam’s. Read the newspaper at the library. Purchased one afterward so we could get the entry for a talent contest that my husband may enter in July. Electricity is cheaper than last year. So far we are still able to pay our bills with the help of a food pantry. This weeks paycheck is gone but I think my paycheck next week can cover our tags. Next we will save for propane and property taxes again, and pay the tire bill we have now and the tires we will need before winter and save for medical bills. Ugh, It is a bit overwhelming sometimes.
    On a positive note, It is a nice evening and my husband is putting vegetable plants in the ground. I’m looking forward to garden fresh tomatoes and other vegetables from our garden. Basil is growing. I need to make some meals using our wonderful basil. Flowers have been enjoying the rain. I have a barrel with beautiful flowers that my husband planted for me. My son and daughter-in-law gave them to me.
    Grateful for so many things. Glad to have a home and a comfortable bed. Food to cook, dishes to eat from. Chickens for eggs. Space for plants. The internet to reach the world. And a husband who really loves me.

    1. Tammy, you are doing a wonderful job at making your money stretch to cover those bills. So many would not think to look ahead and save the money for future needs. I hope you are able to grow enough to eat fresh this summer and to put away some for winter. Keep watch for gleaning opportunities as the summer progresses as well. Does someone have a fruit tree or berry bushes they don’t collect the fruit from, is there wild raspberry bushes or an old apple or crabapple tree along the roadway that doesn’t belong to anyone, can you forage for edibles that grow naturally in your area, is someone giving away their excess garden produce, or in the fall, is there free pumpkins available from a local pumpkin patch after Halloween? It all adds up to free food, which can help you get back on track with your budget. I think about you often, Tammy. I really hope things improve for you soon.

      1. Rhonda,
        Thank-you. And thank-you for your ideas. It is nice to know that there are people who care. Thank-you

    2. Tammy, you are doing a great job. One can get very weary always trying to make ends meet. When I was in that boat, I used to remember the old adage…Necessity is the mother of invention. You are certainly inventive. It truly does help when your husband is right there with you…my former one was not in any way shape or form. In addition, to trying to make ends meet, I had to compensate for his spending habits. I had a Betsy Clark book as a teenager that had sayings in it. The one I remember most was something to do with wasting today and living to regret it down the road. That one has come back to haunt me many times when I toss something I didn’t use and wonder if somewhere down the road I will be wishing I had it. In more prosperous times, it is easy to lose the frugality and this saying brings it back to me. Two of our favorite dishes when we had little were fried spaghetti and fried macaroni and sauerkraut, to this day, my favorites and the grown kids still love fried spaghetti. Just cook the spaghetti and refrigerate. Then melt butter (or substitute), add spaghetti…fry until crisp and add some sauce towards the end once spaghetti has some crispness (it won’t all be crispy). Same with the macaroni for the second dish…then add sauerkraut and a little brown sugar. Yummy! I can relate to your thankfulness for a home and a comfortable bed. Many nights I laid awake listening to the wind and rain and thankful I had a roof over my head and blankets to cover us. I will be praying for you.

      1. Laura S.
        Thank-you for your prayers. I really appreciate it. I’ll have to try your recipe ideas. My husband thought they sounded good too! You are right, it can be easy to lose frugality in prosperous times.

    3. Tammy-
      I am so inspired by your thoughtful approach in managing and planning. Thanks for sharing your insights.

  24. Hi! As usual, I brought my lunch, drinks and snacks to work, and made my instant coffee–except for Friday, that’s my special Starbucks treat day, a reward for making it through the week! I finished reading two paperbacks I’d bought at the library a month ago for a dollar. Till I get back to the library next Sunday, I’ll reread a book I haven’t read for a while: Agenda 21, by Glenn Beck, which was pretty exciting!

    This weekend I did a combined celebration in honor of my darling doggie’s adoption anniversary (we were blessed with her a year ago.), her third birthday, which was on Flag Day, and Father’s Day. I plan on buying her a pink collar with rhinestones later, after my husband measures her. I made a chocolate dream cake with peaches; I’d baked the cake layers two weeks ago, wrapped them and placed them in the freezer till Friday night. For dinner, we made a homemade pizza with premade crust from the store, sauce made from scratch and BBQ chicken as the topping, along with frozen honey BBQ wings that had been bought on sale. I was exhausted from a very hectic week, so we had a stay at home date with dinner, Netflix movies, and the cake for dessert…in honor of my doggie’s birthday, we decorated it with three silver candles, and my husband and I made a wish for her to always be happy and healthy, and blew out the candles on her behalf…and ate the cake on her behalf, too! She had lots of special attention and received an IOU for her favorite treats, since the shop was out. It was a great evening!

    For Father’s Day, I’d bought my husband a beautiful card with our grocery money about a week ago, and included a gift card from Starbucks from our doggie. In the card I added a PS informing him I’ll take him shopping for the canvas camping wagon he wanted, probably next weekend. My husband’s kids are grown and not around as much due to their work schedules, so I treated my husband to a special day, just the two of us. For the day we picked up lunch from Togo’s (I used our date money for the weekend.) and took it to the park for a lovely picnic. We relaxed in the sun, strolled around the rose garden, and just enjoyed being with each other. Later at home, he gave me a refresher course in bike riding, in anticipation of some frugal old fashioned fun this summer.

    Tonite we’ll have the left over pizza and cake on the patio since it’s cooled down so nicely, and maybe read or watch another movie later on. I love left overs on Sunday, it’s the best! It was a really wonderful weekend, and I was happy to give him a special day–he really deserves it!

  25. Father’s day was fun and frugal! Iade homemade raviolis in a mushroom cream sauce (mushrooms were marked down, so we went veggie!), a baguette, and an in expensive bottle of wine. My husband loved it and raved about it all evening. It felt nice to give him a great meal using what I had on hand and a little creativity. We ended it with some homemade strawberry ice cream and whipped cream. Very indulgent for sure.

    My tomatoes are starting to ripen, which I am so excited about! Cucumbers are coming along but the deer are getting to a lot of them first.

    Kept the AC off during the day as much as possible. Spray painted our 5 year old metal tiki torches and they look like new! Should easily last another 5 🙂

    Found some sillivone and paint in the shed while organizing it, so I decided to recaulk the tubs and paint the master bath. This cost elbow grease and made a huge difference! We keep going back and forth about whether or not to sell out house and find something larger that can accomodate us better….either way, a fresh coat of paint can’t hurt anything. I’m trying to convince my husband to stay here and build an addition, but he really dislikes this house and wants to move. I think an addition would change iis mind. Ah, marriage and life 😉 I’m just thankful we have a roof over our heads and that we even have these options!
    Enjoy the first week of summer, everyone!

  26. During my lunch break on Friday I went to 3 garage sales. I found a vacuum sealer, a flannel flat sheet that I plan on using to make pajamas for my husband and myself, a cardigan and a long-sleeved shirt for $1 each, 2 Scentsy wax bars for $2 each, and a cat toy. The only things that were actually ever used were the sweater and shirt.

    I contributed several things to our donation bag that when full will take to the thrift store.

    A friend’s freezer went out and they gave us several pounds worth of meat. I cooked up the ground meat and froze it. The rest we will cook and eat this week.

    I cut my husband’s hair.

    We are making a point of eating all leftovers in the fridge. We are also learning (finally!) to make less food. It has been a real learning process for us. We have both been used to making food for a large family for so many years that we are finally realizing we don’t need to make so much at one time. I know that will help us in eating all the food we bring in to the house.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  27. We are doing a road trip East next week to visit DD. I have pre booked reasonably priced accommodation using Airbnb on the way there and hotels using airline frequent flyer miles on the way home. We will have a cooler in the car and most of our accommodation includes at least a minifridge and microwave and sometimes free breakfast. At least in our area, gas is cheaper this summer and our car is pretty fuel efficient. We decided for the price of 2 summer airfares we could drive for less than that and also save on a car rental once we arrive as we have several people in different locations to visit. We will likely have the occasional meal out enroute but DH and I often find the portion size so large we can split a meal. Many times too we just go to the grocery store and buy something ready from the deli-chicken and salads or buns, meat and fruit for a picnic lunch.

    DH will most likely drive back alone as I expect to need to stay on for an extra few weeks helping my Mum recover from a fall-fortunately I have enough frequent flyer miles that I will be able to fly home for just the taxes. DH and I both recently applied for new credit cards and received a total of 60,000 miles-so far I have used half of them them for 3 one way flights for DD( a uni student) and I still have plenty left. We look forward to staying with and catching up with friends and family.

  28. You had a really good week, Brandy. The fruit and pancakes look so delicious! Can’t wait until my garden starts to produce berries for us to eat fresh. I agree, powdered milk in the pantry is definitely a blessing. I use it all the time for cooking and baking in our home. No one ever notices!

    Weather continues to be crazy. Still lots of rain, some days are cold, others are hot. I still haven’t put away my winter clothing, because some days I’m still wearing it! Frugal accomplishments for for our family this week included:
    *Meals made at home included BBQ hamburgers & hotdogs with potato chips, homemade chicken parmesan with homemade pasta and potato salads, homemade shepherds pie, ham & cheese hasbrown casserole (made my own hashbrowns, useing up some sprouting potatoes and 1 sweet potato that has been lurking around for months), and BBQ grilled chicken breasts with cheese topped BBQ baked potatoes and corn.
    *I was annoyed on Monday when I was told (after working all day) no one took the time to consider what to make for dinner that night, even though there were 3 capable adults at home all day who could have. Three of us needed to go to Service Canada to renew health cards and/or driver’s licences. So we stopped at the grocery store for a rotisserie chicken dinner afterwards. I used the leftover chicken leg to make 2 chicken wraps for DD and friend’s lunches the next day. Hoping this doesn’t become a habit this summer!
    *On Friday, I was told again when I got home from work there was no plan for dinner and they didn’ know what to make. We were planning on taking hubby out for a father’s day dinner on Saturady night (too many things happening on Father’s day to do it then), so I told them we would bump up eating out to that night, and plan a meal at home on Saturday night. The waitress messed up a couple things with our meal (nothing major) and the manager offered us a free appetizer coupon for the next time we came in. That was unexpected, but a very nice gesture.
    *My mom made 2 banana bread loaves with some of the cheap, beat up bananas I bought for $0.25 the previous week. A few were eaten fresh, despite the bruises. The last 2 bananas were made into banana blueberry smoothies (used frozen blueberries from last summer, yoghurt and leftover juice from home-canned peaches & pineapple) and frozen into popcicle molds for a healthy, warm weather treat.
    *Harvested some spinach, radishes and some dandelion greens from the garden. The dandelion greens are growing around the outer edges of the raised garden beds, which needs to be treated. Until they are, our Guinea Pig is enjoying the fresh greens.
    *Had hubby take me to the medical centre to have bloodwork done, so I didn’t have to pay the $5 parking fee. He waited for me in the car, in the 30min free street parking.
    *My co-worker gave me 3 more free raspberry bush starts from her garden. That’s a total of 5 raspberry bushes she has given me. Now I just need to plant them in the raised garden bed I reserved for them. Not only did I save on the cost of buying the bushes, I will save big time on the cost of buying extremely expensive flats of raspberries each year! My co-worker told me to let her know it any don’t survive, and she will give me more next year. So happy to have these going in my garden!
    *I worked 7 extra hours at our Father’s Day Smoke & Steam show on Sunday. Tired but enjoyed doing jobs other than interpreting in one of the buildings. It was a nice break from the normal routine.
    *Took my mom to a Beatles tribute band concert on Sunday with tickets I had won for free through my work. My mom actually looked up how much the tickets cost and they cost $30 each. The Beatles was my mom’s favourite band when she was younger. We enjoyed a wonderful evening of great music. Now I have “Life Goes On” stuck in my head again!

    1. Girl…sit down with the other adults and make a list of who will cook what day and what they will cook.
      I have been where you are standing and my family did this every day. I was working 12 to 18 hour days (starting a new business) and then coming home to cook, clean…you get the picture. *smile*
      I sat them down and said we were making a list and the 3 of them would cook a meal a week.
      It worked out well.
      Good luck to you.

      1. I had a discussion with the one I have most influence over, my husband. I explained to him that he has roll reversed with what I normally do in the winter. My mother is not reliable to come up with a meal plan for the day. She obsesses over doing jobs around the house, then says she doesn’t have time to plan a meal (if she took the time, she could, but she doesn’t). My brother is not in my control, and god forbid I ask. So it’s in hubby’s ball court to get it done most days. He is a cook after all, and we buy the groceries (hubby has also taken over that job for the summer), so he can step up to the plate and get it done. He thought he would be taking the summer off and sitting around. But everyone has a role that contribute to the household. If they do their job, the house runs more smoothly. I hope by the end of the summer, hubby will have a bit more respect for what I contribute to the household.

        1. When my girls were in high school, I used to write a list of meals for the week on the front of the fridge on a sheet of paper. They could choose which meal to have which night, but whoever was there was supposed to work on starting dinner—I didn’t get home until 6 PM and waiting for me meant dinner didn’t get on the table very early! They were pretty good about getting things going, and it really helped. Being hungry by then also helped them some!

          1. Thank you for your idea, Marcia. Everyone, except my autistic daughter, has access to bank accounts and a car. If they get hungry, and dinner isn’t ready, they discuss what take out they want that night and go get it. They all love eating out, so having no dinner plan is just an excuse. Putting a list of meal ideas on the fridge would not work for my gang. They would just ignore it and get take out. That’s why I had to get annoyed and have the discussion with hubby, so he knows I mean business. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have stopped. However, other readers may find you idea very helpful! Thanks for sharing.

        2. Rather than having you mother obsess over meal planning, perhaps make it her daily task to make a salad. Your husband could be
          responsible for the main course. maybe she could help your husband wash and chop veggies. I too like having each one responsible for
          one meal a week.

          1. My husband is a cook. He is very fast at making a meal, and can whip through any prep in record time. When my husband goes on holidays or is off, the restaurants have to have 2 cooks cover his shift…he’s really that good! My mom will occasionally make a meal, which gives him a break, and I often try to do the cooking on the weekend. He’s not suffering at all by being asked to cook, I assure you!

            My mother is not a fan of cooking, and never has been (I can still rhime off the meals we had every single week when we were kids, because they were easy for her to make and she used them repetitively). It’s why she drags her heels about meal planning…she hates cooking (though she wouldn’t admit it). But she obsesses over cleaning. We would help her more with cleaning, but she refuses to allow us to plan our own routine on this. It has to be done her way and when she feels it needs to be done. So, we let her do it! My brother helps with lawn care/snow removal and maintenance/repairs. He has learned he must be on top of that, or my mother will go out and do it herself…because it has to be done on her schedule, not ours. It’s a crazy household, but we’re surviving the best we can!

  29. This week, by checking Craigslist for free items, we were able to get 32 paver bricks and 92 beautiful landscape blocks/rocks. https://pin.it/pfxamow26ooz4t. We are still waiting for final unused vacation days payout and our first SS checks and annuity payment to come so we have retirement hours that we can do things but we are being super-careful about spending money on anything! So these are a real boon!

    I went to Sam’s Club and found marked down top round beef that I cut into strips, then cubes and pressure canned! https://pin.it/paoexlpvh2gngw At Kroger’s there was also marked down ground beef -90% lean for $1.50/pound and I flash froze 36 more patties and cooked up the rest. I will can more chili this coming week with some of it! They also had Ball canning jars on sale and using coupons + Ibotta + sale price, my final price was $3.49/ case for 2 twelve pack cases of pint jars which I immediately used for my beef chunks! I was able to use part of a Kroger gift card hat Hubby’s friends at work had given him as one of his retirement gifts! So no OOP there!!

    A friend called then and said she is downsizing to a condo and wondered if I would like her extra canning jars! They were free as long as I could pick them up! We were there within a few minutes!! What a blessing!! We will never say no to canning jars! We can always share them with our daughters who are just beginning to can too!!

    Our 2-1/2 weeks of koi sales are over (We put a deadline of this past Friday so that we could put any remaining excess koi into the regular pond and also so we could work on other projects! We “netted “ about $700 from this in extra income! So after 20% put back into our business and 10% tithing on the rest, we still had a nice deposit to our savings!!

    We finished our project of leveling and placing 8”x16” paver blocks along the length of our side yard fence to make it easier to mow the grass. We also added 4 twenty-four inch square concrete pavers in a 4 patch under our tumbling composted so the wheelbarrow can be stored neatly under without getting muddy!

    We pulled out materials to “use up” lumber and ceramic floor tiles to start making the storage/countertop build-ins to surround the grill on both sides! Looks like we won’t need to buy any materials for this project either and it will use up materials that have just been taking up space here, so we consider it a Win-Win!
    Been cooler and raining off and on here, but our gardens are growing well!
    We are loving retirement. Just hope we can still say that once the first monthly checks start coming in! Lol!!

    Pat in Ohio

  30. The past few years I have grown artichoke plants – but starting last year and again this year I have a horrible time with tiny ants. They get into the leaves and leave the eggs and it is so unappetizing to have to scrape these tiny bugs – dead from steaming. Do you have this problem and if so – how do you remedy it?

    1. Yes. I have been debating spraying my artichokes as they grow with Neem oil to see if it helps next year.

      1. you could try putting food-grade diatomaceous earth around the base of the artichoke stem. Ants could not crawl across it to reach stem.

        1. That’s a great idea! It’s not just ants, though, so I could try dusting the bud itself while it was young and small.

  31. Wow, that is very warm weather, Brandy. It was in the high 80’s and low 90’s here a couple of days, and that was too warm for me.

    * It was a joy to take walks five out of the seven days last week. It was free exercise, sunshine, Vitamin D, and fresh air!
    * I used natural remedies we had at home to get rid of my sinus issues.
    * I made a double batch of cornbread using 2 cups of milk and 1 cup of water. No one noticed. 😉
    * I did my best to combine errands and time I was out of the house to be as efficient as possible.
    * Gratefully, I changed my summer schedule to work fewer days. The extra rest is helpful.
    * I loaned a Kindle book to a friend.
    * In my “time off” from my business, I read a few library books.
    * I baked two chickens at one time to save time, electricity, and extra heat in the house.
    * My husband and I are planning to renew our lease for the longest term possible in order to save the most amount of money.
    * I kept blinds shut during the warmer days to keep it cooler in the house.

  32. Beautiful pictures, as always, Brandy. As others said, it does remind me of Victoria magazine. I was glad to read in these comments that the magazine is back around – I used to subscribe and miss it. I will have to check it out! I also need to follow your lead and work on my donation bags more. We have a service that picks them up about once a month to benefit a local charity, but I have been lax about weeding things out of my closet, even though I know I need to. I just never seem to make the time. We also need to clean out our linen closet, as it is getting very full and I know there are many items we no longer use that could benefit someone else. I guess those will be summertime projects while we’re hiding indoors to avoid the heat.

    Last week I got several items for free using various grocery store apps – eggs, pasta, bottled water. We shopped the sales and restocked our pantry with several advertised items that were quite cheap – bbq sauce for 49 cents, large sports drinks 39 cents, eggs 29 cents/dozen, sliced cheese 49 cents, crackers for 79 cents (cheaper than Aldi), and corn on the cob 8/$1. Brought lunches, snacks & coffee to work each day. Cooked most meals at home and avoided food waste. Went to a couple of garage & estate sales for something fun to do on Saturday morning. My husband and I both found nice boots for ourselves. I also bought 2 handbags, a new Brita water filter pitcher, new hot pads, a painting for my office, and a few other random household goods. After the sales we cooked lunch at home and had a relaxing Saturday afternoon “date” watching a movie bought on sale at Target. On Sunday afternoon I had some free time, so I baked a black magic cake (dark chocolate cake – recipes from allrecipes) and roasted a whole chicken for dinner, with mashed potatoes, peas & carrots. Tonight we will have the rest of the chicken for dinner in King Ranch casserole, with beans & rice on the side.

    Our weather has been warm, although we had a lot of storms yesterday which cooled things down. Fortunately we only had heavy rains and no damage, but other parts of our city got hit pretty hard with damaging winds. Upper 80s for the high yesterday & today, but by the end of the week we are supposed to be up around 98. I am NOT looking forward to that.

    1. I was looking at the upcoming days where the weather prediction is 98 and thinking how nice it will be to cool down to that for a bit! Much better than 108!

      1. Haha! Yes if you’ve been 108, 98 is a real cooldown! I know later in the summer when we are usually over 100, I look forward to highs in the 90s.

      2. I cleaned and defrosted my chest freezer and came up with a meal plan to use what is in it. I’m putting aside a small amount of money each week just for stock up. I had to get a d&c this week so money to pay out there plus we must purchase a new car in the next month (At least a New to us car). We cannot complain, we purchased a new vehicle 14 years ago and have driven out over 200,000 miles.It served us well. I’m glad we are purchasing used now though. My husband is researching it. I purchased plants from the clearance rack and nursed them back to health. I gave 1/3 the cost of New and so far all are living. I’m taking advantage of free meditation classes locally and enjoying them. Making do with clothes I have rather than purchasing a new dress for an upcoming event. What I have is just fine.

  33. Our garden is coming along nicely. I’ve been able to harvest strawberries, lettuce, spinach, radishes, chives, and rhubarb. I took a rhubarb and blueberry crisp to a potluck concert/party and got rave reviews for it. The garlic and onions are almost ready to harvest too. My cantaloupe, cucumber and squash seeds did not come up, so last week I bought small starters of each of these plants so that I will get some produce from them later in the season. I also bought some bedding plants to add color to my flower gardens and got a great deal on geraniums on close out for .99 each.

    The weather is warming up, so line drying sheets and towels has been a pleasure. We still haven’t turned on the AC yet, which is wonderful! I am able to open the windows at night and cool down the house by about 4 degrees.

    I’m trying to walk more–10,000 steps a day–which are tracked on my phone. Went for a hike Tuesday night, which gave me a bonus of 8,000 steps or so.

    Took my watercolor paints, and a friend to the park with her paints, and we spent two hours in the shade painting.

    Donated a bag of craft items for an arts festival this weekend, gave my bead collection (I used to make necklaces) to my friend’s daughter who does bead work. I also crocheted five baby afghans from donated baby yarn, to an organization that gives blankets to kids 0-18.

    Thanks everyone for your inspirational comments!

  34. I haven’t commented for a few weeks as the time just seems to be flying by! We are having very variable weather and we’re alternating between winter and summer clothing daily it seems. The herbs in my raised planter are doing very well so I’m hoping to have lots of herbs to dry for the winter. Our church had a student-led garden for the past two years but unfortunately, we will not be having students to tend to it this year. I remembered that there was rhubarb in the garden and asked if I could take it. So far I have gathered almost three pounds of it and I’m hoping for quite a bit more as the rainy weather combined with some sun will bring it on. It’s going straight into the freezer for the winter.

    My husband has only been scheduled for 3 hours of work each day but, thankfully, has been getting more and last week even had a full 40 hours. I’m hoping this continues for the rest of the summer. With these variable hours, we’ve been trying to keep spending under control. We’ve eaten all meals at home and my husband takes his lunch every day. My mom continues to bless us with the specials she finds at the grocery store she shops at as well as leftovers when we have Sunday dinner with her. Every bit stretches our food budget.

    Hope everyone has a lovely week!

  35. Last Saturday I scored a banana box full of ripe bananas for $1. We ate a few bunches, gave some away and then they started to go bad. I made a batch of low fat muffins to snack on. Monday night I made a double batch of banana pancakes. We had some for dinner and I sent the rest over to a friends house. The next morning I peeled and froze 45 bananas. I decided I was going to save money and get back into the habit of baking bread. Now that I have room on the counter for my kitchen aid stand mixer, it is so easy to make bread. I had been doing it by hand untill I stopped. Any how I made one batch and we ate that too quick.. i decided maybe I should go back to buying it at the day old bread store. I needed bread and made another 3 loaves. Dh had used the meat slicef and sliced it all for me. We devoured 2 pounds of utter and 6 loaves of bread within less than 5 days. Its back to buying the bread unless its a special ocasion. We are all trying to lose weight and having fresh bread in-the house is too much temptation. Saturday I purchased a 10lb chub of ground beef for $17.46. I was planning to cook it all and portion it out, but dh cut 9 1lb portions and 1 larger. I froze them all. Today i made a large pot of taco soup. This should last for several meals. Watermelon is really abundant in Florida right now. I have been buying that for whenever we want a snack. Cant think of any more ways we saved moneyother than staying home not having money to spemd.

    1. Kim, I can so relate to the fresh bread dilemma. Whenever I make fresh, homemade bread, it’s gobbled up quickly. I haven’t made any in a while. However, I do sometimes purposely make a loaf of homemade bread to go with certain meals. For instance, if I make homemade soup, I will sometimes make bread to go with the meal. Or sometimes I will make homemade bread and use it to make yummy, hearty sandwiches for dinner (like gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches). It seems to work better for our household of carb lovers to plan it as part of a meal, then to make bread for the week.

  36. Hello Everyone,

    I love all of the pictures, as usual!

    Here are my frugal accomplishments:
    – Yesterday, we smoked a 5 dollar turkey for father’s day dinner. I had bought it around Easter when it was on sale.
    – I was able to get a huge wheelbarrow (really!) of food at a local food distribution. It was $25 for the food. It was for any income level. There was a box of acorn squash, a couple cases of yogurt, 2 gallons of milk, 1 of the huge cans of sweet potatoes, 1 huge can of tomatoes, a bag of oranges, 2 watermelons, lettuce, some snacks, a 15 lg bag of potatoes, and more! It was crazy and now the kids better not say we need more food. LOL
    – I started an economics class that I was able to use VA benefits for and get some money for books and extra.
    – I have been working on my apps that earn money every day: Swagbucks, Keep Rewarding, Coinout and More. They are on my blog.
    – I have also been getting free books, free samples, and I just signed my daughter up for a free camp. Those details are also on my blog at: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/
    – Than’s about all I can think of for now! Have a great week!

  37. Those apricots are lovely. I hope to someday have enough blackberries to get a bowlful when I pick. I have three plants, two of them very new.

    I was shopping at Walmart and I spotted 25 watt LED candelabra base bulbs on sale. The informal 6-light chandelier over our table uses candelabra base bulbs, and I have been replacing all the old bulbs with LED as the old ones burn out. These bulbs were on clearance for 75 cents a bulb, and one was 50 cents. So far, every one that I’ve tested has worked.

    I used one-half cup homemade bone broth in a recipe, which left me with about one and a half cups unused, so I created a smallish pot of soup with the broth. adding a little water and whatever vegetables that I had on hand. My soups rarely taste the same, but they are good and they are cheap.

    I put up the last of my new spice racks that I bought with Swagbucks on Amazon. I can finally see all my spices! No more letting them run out or buying a spice only to find I already had some.

    I used a Hobby Lobby 40% off coupon to buy a small acid free mounting board to back a nice print in a attractive Goodwill frame that came with glass but no backing.

    Our pear tree periodically gets a bad case of rust. This year, the rust took about 75% of the pears, but the tree always overloads with pears anyway. We can’t reach the limbs to thin them, so sometimes the limbs break if the pears all make. These aren’t good pears for fresh eating, and aren’t that flavorful when cooked, but they are delicious when dried or when made into pear butter. I’ll have enough, probably, to do some of both. Every year we debate getting rid of this old tree, and every year, we put it off. Its blooms in spring are amazing, and it gives us lovely fall color, even here in Florida.

    I washed my shower curtain and liner this weekend, as I do once a month, to keep mold from taking over. I am so glad I opted for the heavy duty vinyl liner and a sturdy duck cloth curtain. I accidentally messed up the first liner, but the current liner is at least ten years old, and the cloth curtain is twenty years old.

    I trimmed our dog’s nails. I couldn’t manage it when we had really small dogs, but I have no trouble trimming the nails of larger dogs. Every trim I do saves me a minimum of five dollars that I would pay at the shelter fundraisers, and the vet charges fifteen.

    I wish everyone a great, frugal week!

  38. I am saving money by reducing the amount of coffee we brew each morning. For years, we brewed 10 cups and have now reduced that down to 8 cups. Over the course of a year this will save 730 cups of coffee. My husband and I each drink two large mugs – and that is sufficient to wake us up. If I want another cup, I can get it at work in our break room where it is complimentary. If we have any leftover, it becomes iced coffee so that nothing is wasted.

  39. We had a super busy week with many birthdays. It’s was fun but I’m looking forward to a quieter week this week.

    I sewed an outfit as a birthday gift using scraps I’ve had for a long time. The cloth was eyelet and quite expensive so I was very glad to use the leftover bit. I put a picture on my blog: beckyathome.com,

    Our family did games for a birthday party. We did super simple games and were amazed at how much the kids loved them.

    I made more strawberry jam and used all my rhubarb.

    Best of all, my husband has finally started losing weight again after a long plateau. He’s starting to look silly in his clothes,which is very encouraging!

  40. I feel that I have been running like a chicken with no head the last 10 days. We actually had to turn the furnace on 3 times this past week. It’s rained 5 days out of 7 and 6 days are forecasted for rain the next 7 days. Scioto River is out of it’s banks, roads are closed, houses are flooded and my gardens are under water. I do not think it’s going to get better for awhile as last year was the wettest we had ever in recording.

    Brandy I am glad you posted that you have your grapes over your berries. We plan to start a new grape harbor… the one here is very old and right on the driveway making it hard to get the livestock trailer back to the parking area. So planting the new grapes over the berry patch would work well for us. I do have my blueberries in pots (suggested by our nursery) as we don’t have acidic enough soil in this area. I lost one last week due to the neighbor’s horse getting out and eating it and then knocking the pot over and stomping all over it. They are replacing the bush and the pot… E thought it was funny the horse then kept rubbing against my head when we got him back in the pasture and I was standing at the fence.

    Rest is here. https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2019/06/10-day-busy.html

    1. Juls, they still get morning sun. In most areas, blackberries need full sun. It’s just here where they need afternoon sun. I had some in deeper shade and the berry bushes didn’t make it. It was too much shade.

  41. Hi!!! This week we returned a rotatiller we didn’t use (in the box) and used the refund to buy materials to build three garden boxes-1 for raspberries and 2 for strawberries. (We finally started out garden!) While at the store they had strawberry starts marked down from $12 (for a basket of 4) to $2.49. But they couldn’t get the register to make a markdown that big so they just gave me 14 baskets of them for FREE. I used the money I would have spent on the berries for the dirt for the new garden boxes.
    I picked lettuce, basil and strawberries from our new garden this year. I made homemade French baguettes, kamut bread, chocolate chip pretzel cookies, salted caramel, beer bread, and strawberry butter from groceries we had at the house from last week so I didn’t need to spend as much at the store this week.
    I returned a Bosch mixer attachment I had been given as a birthday gift (and didn’t need) and used the money to purchase cleaning supplies I did need for the month.
    We put up a temporary fence around our backyard patio to Keep the kiddos in, with materials we had on hand, to save up for a permanent fence.
    We used rocks around the property to landscape the planters, we found them while putting in the sprinklers for the garden boxes. Hubby built the boxes and did the sprinklers himself to save money.
    We sold some items around the house we didn’t need to buy some food storage items and more plants and seed packets.
    We received a free bag of chicken feed for our seven chicks we are raising. They loved it.
    I turned 4 pairs of pants that are not going to fit my daughter in the fall and had tears in the knees, into shorts for her. I plan to turn 4 longsleeve shirts I don’t wear often into short sleeve tops. I purchased two shirts from a thrift store for one of my little girls and decided against making an online purchase for new clothes for her. I also decided to not buy my son (my only boy) new tennis shoes till school starts. The ones he has are well worn but still function well and he has sandals too. I gave his too small clothes to a neighbor that has lots of little boys, saved me some gas taking the items to DI also.
    I decided against going to several places and saved gas by lumping shopping stops to one day and time. I also decided against going to the store more than once a week to save money on impulse purchases.
    It has been a wonderfully abundant week and full of blessings. Hope you all have had a great week as well!

  42. Can you believe I’ve never heard of Victoria magazine? I’ll have to look into it!

    We’re halfway through the low-spend month, but this past weekend certainly didn’t feel low spend. I’d say it more closely resembles our usual spending. Now we’ll need to be extra careful for the rest of the month. We went to a discount food store and got a lot of good deals to help stretch out grocery budget, though it was difficult to spend so much at once! The best deal of the week was a box of 100 CFL light bulbs for only $10. Our small home doesn’t require a lot of light bulbs so those should last a long time!

    I accepted 2 hand me down wicker chairs from my mom and reorganized a small space in our home to utilize them. It might be my new favorite spot.

    Sold another item on eBay. I also bought another item or two to list and sell for a profit.

    I continue to blog through the month. The accountability is wonderful!

  43. I just love ready your blog Brandy and all the wonderful comments from your subscribers. So Inspiring. I even starting watching Masterpiece theater’s show Home Fires on Amazon prime after one of your readers talked about it, I’m really enjoying it but I’m a sucker for period dramas. My kids have 3 more days of school, well more like 2 1/2 as the last day is only a half day. I have not spent any money yet this week on groceries because next week we will be in Disneyland so I’m trying to have us eat what is in the house. Normally I order and pick up on Monday’s. With that said I will have to soon because my twins turn 12 and we are celebrating with family Saturday at
    Home with a BBQ and cake. I planned to make the cake but my mother in law offered to get one at Costco for them. I gladly accepted. We are going simple burgers, salad, pasta salad (my husband is allergic to potatoes and I don’t like mayonnaise so potato salad is not on the menu) and water/lemon and iced tea.
    I was elected secretary of my youngest sons PTA. I think it will be good for me. I did it a before about 3 years back and it wasn’t a great experience with lots of drama. It took a lot for me to try again but with a new board and some very kind women cheering me on I’m excited to try again. I also agreed to be the secretary for my daughter’s middle school music departments booster club. Feeling already a little overwhelmed and I haven’t even started but no one stepped up to volunteer and my daughter is so involved with both orchestra and choir I want to support her.
    My oldest son’s teachers is having a mini bday celebration for him on the last day of school. It’s super sweet if her. He has autism and is in a self-contained classroom. I’m bringing in some cupcakes, he won’t eat them but some of the kids will. She is bringing him Swedish fish candy he enjoys. He will just love everyone singing happy birthday to him.
    Frugal: I saved $28 last week on my groceries by using my Fred Meyer rebate. Added .35 to my Ibotta acct. it may not seem like much but it adds up. Found a $40 Kohl’s card I received a while ago and forgot about. Going to get some clearance items I found online and I have a code for free shipping that I think is still valid. Found 4 items so I’m excited to get some new summer tops for myself. Gave away some items on our Buy nothing group. For $92 I found 23 pieces of clothing for my boys and 2 for myself at Walmart. Shorts /T-shirt’s for my boys that seem to just grow every week!! Most were $3.44 a piece. Boys are ready for summer and Disneyland. I went to Goodwill first but it was overpriced and everything was very worn. Can’t wait for garage sales to start around here. We applied
    And was approved for a Disney credit card. We paid off all our other cards but choose this because it comes with a $250 statement credit (49 annual fee) so after we spend $500 we get $200 credit. We will be spending way more than that so the credit will be a nice bonus. Of course, all will be paid off when we get back. Plus we get discounts at dining /Disney stores. It also comes with a free character meet up just for card members so we thought that would be great for the kids. I have both a Fred Meyer and a Safeway app with gas rewards. Safeway lets you use them for free or discounts or gas. Realizes I had 50 off a gallon at both so used my Fred Meyer for gas and my Safeway for free dozen eggs, box of pasta, Apple juice, 1 avocado, hamburger buns. All free with my rewards. Hope everyone has a wonderful week. Looking forward to reading next weeks.

  44. Those blackberries look luscious. I am amazed at what you can grow in your climate. Our growing season is roughly 100 days, so we have to be quick about it when the time is just right.
    We got the last of our garden in. The snow peas – the first thing we usually plant, are full of blossoms. I can hardly wait for them to ripen. We eat them raw or in salads, in stir fries, and I even put them on pizza. You put peppers on pizza, so why not snow peas?
    The green beans and navy beans are both up, as is the corn, zucchini, onions, chard, and a few cucumbers.
    We are eating the first of the lettuce, and also green onions and chives. Parsley, oregano, lovage, thyme and rosemary are also available as needed. Need to get the basil and cilantro planted this week. Garlic will be ready to pick in about a month.
    I made a batch of pizza dough, then made 8 individual pizza crusts, par baked them for 4 minutes then let them cool and froze them. When we don’t know what else to have for dinner, or are tired – pizza it is.
    Made a big batch of spaghetti sauce to eat on all week, as I knew I would be exhausted after work and gardening when I got home.
    Made a blueberry buttermilk coffee cake., with blueberries bought on sale. I use powdered buttermilk, as I don’t use it often.
    Was able to get 5 cans of Bush’s beans for 99¢ a can and Kraft mayo for $1.49 per jar at the Fred Meyer weekend sale.
    Took my mom shopping on Saturday, and picked up her laundry to add to ours. Dried as much of the laundry on the clothesline as possible on Saturday. Especially the sheets and pillowcases. they smell so good.
    Listened to books on CD while driving to work. It calms me if there is traffic. If the going is slow, I just listen to an extra chapter.
    I guess that is it. Hope everyone has a great week.

  45. I never heard of a sheet pancake before. You prompted me to look up a recipe and make – Thank you!

    I took advantage of an Ebay seller offering a limited time discount for some much needed clothing.
    Traveled on a small vacation and packed breakfasts for each day and some flavored drinks. Portion controlled at the restaurants and brought left overs home (in a brought cooler) and repurposed those into new meals. I will not be needing the grocery store this week. The hotel offered free “fancy” coffee and tea, which was a nice daily treat.
    I had a small 20+ year jewelry box that was perfect for travel – it needed a little glue and a new shelf insert which I made and covered in washi tape.
    I put the word out to friends and family that I would take used mailers (they use Amazon & such frequently) – I have been using them to mail my Ebay sold items in. The new mailers I usually buy have doubled in price. These “re-useable” mailers are so helpful right now.
    Still honoring Marievne with the bucket of weeds pulled daily. With all this rain, I am glad she had written about doing that.
    Have a wonderful week!

  46. I saw that recipe in Martha Stewart’s magazine and was intrigued. Often the pancake maker is busy tending to the griddle while everybody else is enjoying their pancakes. This looked like a wonderful idea to allow all to eat together. Now I’m curious to know whether you and your family enjoyed this recipe? It looks beautiful in your photos, Brandy.

    1. I liked it, and several of my children did, but not everyone liked that I put blackberries in it (they can be a bit sour). I plan on trying it again with something else in place of the blackberries. Perhaps chocolate chips!

    2. I make pancake squares from the blog saving4six every week and it’s nice to be able to all eat together! I double the recipe and then bake it in a lasagna pan as well as a 9×13 as it makes it a bit thinner and less crumbly than just dividing the batter between two 9x13s.

  47. 1. We celebrated Father’s Day at home with a son and DIL with the salad trio my husband requested. Homemade chicken salad, coleslaw and fruit salad. Son and DIL made him donuts as a gift which delighted him.
    2. Exercising at home with walks and DVD I already own.
    3. I am 1/6 of the way through a 3 month no clothes shopping ban! I’m doing it season by season as I see if I have enough clothing that fits and is in good repair for each season. I do know I will need to buy some shoes, PJs and warm sweaters when summer is over.
    4. Frugal and expensive at the same time. Our frig water filter has been stuck in place for 2 years but we will probably be selling our house within the next year. and need to have the frig in full working order Finally got a repairman out to see if it could be fixed and it can. Ordered the parts and gave him a deposit. Much less than a new frig and these houses are expected to be sold with appliances.
    5. As usual, eat all leftovers so almost zero food waste, library books a lot, etc.

    1. As someone who recently boght one house and sold another, I guarantee that buyers want perfection or as close as they can come. Start decluttering NOW if you have not already done so. Repair what needs repaired from stuck windows to loose railings to running toilets, etc., etc., etc. All those things you live with are not what potential buyers want and will either turn them off or lower your price. Besides, you may as well get to enjoy the repaired items, too.

      1. Mari, I agree totally. We bought and sold just 2 years ago so quite familiar with the expectations of buyers. This situation is a bit different in that is is a 55+ community where lots of buyers are doing major remodels when they move in. First we have to decide where to move to!

  48. I hope everyone is keeping cool and warm enough in these strange weather times!
    We had an unexpected $50 credit on our utility bill this month. When I called to ask about it, I was told that we had paid our bill on time for long enough and were getting our deposit back. This must be a new move, because we always pay on time. As I was instructed when we set up the utilities, I kept the receipts, (hand-written carbons, almost 30 years ago), and need to check them, because I think it was originally $75. Still, that was a very nice surprise.
    I realize these words don’t appear often on this blog: I went to the mall today. But as my small town does not have nice women’s clothes, (WalMart and Dollar General clothing isn’t what I want), and my summer wear is pretty much all worn out or t-shirts, and I had an out-of-town appointment so was there anyway, I looked around. Thrift stores choices are poor and limited for 2x and 3x. Garage sales are sometimes ok.
    But my question for the group is why clothing manufacturers believe very large women should wear Rayon, or Rayon-Polyester, or other artificial fabrics, even for casual clothing? It looks ok when new, is a pain to keep up, does not “breathe” or feel comfortable like cotton, and floods thrift stores. Add in that this is a year for lots of floating fabrics when I want more tailored tops, and I am saving a lot of money while not buying anything!

    1. Heidi Louise, I’m not sure what style you like, but I quite like Old Navy. They do sell larger sized as well as tall sizes. I don’t know about the states, but here in Canana, the larger sizes are often only available on-line. However, if something doesn’t fit, it can be returned to the store. In our area, if they don’t carry the size, the returns are put in the Clearance section. So I always check the clearance section for marked down clothing in my larger size! If you want something specific, you can always watch for a really good sale. Great part is this store has very frequent sales on their clothing! Best of all, they are very trendy looking clothing, instead of the frumpy “old lady” look that many plus sized stores offer.

      Another store I like is Torrid. It is an American store (I think out of California) with larger sizes, and is available on line as well. It is more expensive to buy from, but does offer much nicer looking clothing than many plus sized stores. They, too have good clearance sales if you watch closely or sign up for emails from them. The down side is that shipping costs are extremely expensive for Canadian orders and the closes “brick and mortar” store is about an hour away from where I live. So I don’t get to shop there as much as I’d like. I hope these suggestions help you find some nicer clothing options than what you’ve found so far! Being plus sized for most of my life, I certainly feel your pain and frustration!!!

      1. Rhonda: Thank you for the comments! You hit the right note with pointing out that we larger people don’t necessarily want “old lady” clothes. I can’t necessarily define what that means, but I sure know it when I see it. I like pretty colors, (because I can always find black), and sleeves closer to elbow length. Shopping for hot weather is also harder.
        I haven’t gone into Old Navy since they first opened, so could try them again. Torrid was new to me this visit; the staff was very helpful. Women seem to come in a lot more shapes then men do, making finding clothes that fit well harder for us!

        1. As someone whose weight fluctuates a lot – I feel your pain. I am also in Canada but the two brands that I like for nicer clothes are Talbots (very tailored and I love the fact that many shirts & tops come with 3/4 length sleeves). I also like Lord & Taylor clothes. I know that both of these stores are more expensive but I do find that both brands do have good sales, both online and in-store. I also find that both brands run true to size (and the measurements given) so have ordered online with good luck.
          I’ve never been one for “fast fashion” so I prefer to pay a little more for classics and then wear them forever and with Talbots in particular I find that things stay in great shape for a long time!
          Hope that helps,

          1. Margie: I am also with you about more classic pieces rather than fast fashion. I’m going to wear what I buy for years, so it needs to be suitable for a long time. Talbots would be great if I still needed a professional wardrobe. (We trust Winter is taking notes on this discussion…).

    2. Hi Heidi-
      I am at the opposite end of the size spectrum and also have been saving a bundle because I don’t want to buy Rayon clothes for all the reasons you state! Also, as I live in a major urban center, I need dressier/higher end clothes even for day-to-day living (no t-shirts or shorts ever unless actively engaging in sports; my husband always wears a collared shirt, etc). I have found European companies have not yet resorted to Rayon. They are more expensive, but I don’t want Rayon or other low quality materials at any price, so sometimes I’ll budget for an item or two. Boden is one such company (has good sales and discounts if you get on their mailing list) and goes up to size 18.

      1. Just a quick word about rayon. It is a natural fiber, made from wood pulp, that has been around since at least the 1940s and perhaps before. Although it is a manufactured fiber, it’s not a synthetic. It is known for taking color beautifully. It is easy to care for if you wash by hand (or the gentle cycle) and hang on a hanger to dry…especially on a breezy day, when it will come out wrinkle-free.

        1. Hi Maxine:
          Thanks for the info. It’s the pilling of Rayon that gets me! It seems to happen equally with higher end and lower end Rayon. I wash on gentle and hang to dry…and yet it still seems to pill after just a couple washes. Any trick to avert the pilling?

          I learn so much from this blog; thanks for hosting it, Brandy!

          1. No, I don’t usually wear rayon myself…just wanted to present the information. Cotton is “the fabric of my life”!

        2. It is also highly flammable! When I took the museum conservator course, we learned how to do fiber burn tests to help determine what material an artifact is made of (which influences what you do to preserve the artifact). When you do a burn test on rayon, it literally goes up in smoke with a poof! For this reason, I would not want to wear rayon. If you were ever in a fire, or car accident, the material alone could cause a lot of burn damage to your skin with minimal exposure to heat/flames. It may be made of natural fibers, but it is a highly processed fiber, and therefore is considered part of the synthetic family.

  49. 1. Earned $41 in credit card reward points this month.
    2. Gifted a friend a Pothos plant I grew from cuttings. I think the Pothos plant has to be the easiest plant in the world to grow (as long as you do not overwater it that is)
    3. Borrowed two textbooks from our homeschool co-op’s library for this fall instead of buying them.
    4. Have been getting a lot of vegetables and eggs from my dad’s farm weekly for free (I offer to pay, but he loves spoiling us)
    5. I have been hand washing our dishes instead of using the dishwasher and noticed that my monthly electric bill has been $30-$40 less this summer (I do not know if that is the reason for the lower bill but I plan on continuing doing this anyway)

  50. Hello all…. It’s been a rather interesting June so far but here is what I did last week to save money.
    1. Turned the air off until about four or five in the afternoon. I turn on the ceiling fans if it starts to get warm before then. I am anxious to see what the light bill will be.
    2. We had a serious sewer problem. Something was blocking the line and started backing up
    , first in my master bathroom then my kitchen and laundry room. We were on the verge of calling a plumber when the previous homeowner who happens to,be our friend cam over and showed us where the lines were as well as the clean outs. Within minutes my husband had it cleared and now we can finish remodeling our bathroom. My husband is doing all of the work himself and will cost about five hundred for the remodel. I’m not a picky person and I am more about function than being trendy so we went with a basic plain tub and shower. I don’t have to have the latest trends in order to find beauty… Or create it!
    3. Stayed home except for my scheduled errand day.
    4. I am keeping my grandsons this month. We are doing free or little cost activities all month. They are happy and so is my wallet. We go to the local park on Monday with a picnic lunch from home. Then we get dollar snow cones. Tuesday is water day at home with a small pool to splash in. Wednesday is library. Thursday is story time and then errands. Friday is a special trip to somewhere inexpensive.
    5. Lights are not on during the day. This one I constantly have to stay on top of with my grandchildren.
    6. Ate from my pantry and freezer. I didn’t realize I still had a good bit of chicken in my freezer that n ends to be eaten.
    7. Cleaned and vacuumed my Jeep at home instead of taking it to the car wash. That costs me ten dollars a week. I clean it every Thursday.
    I think that’s all. Have a blessed week!

    1. Myra: Put a small piece of masking tape over the light switches to symbolically hold them off? That might get them out of the habit of automatically turning the switches on when they enter a room. Could even be a game of seeing what was still in place when you get to night time.
      When my son was young and in time-out-from television, I would put a bath towel over the TV screen. He hated that, but respected its power, however imaginary it was, and left the set off as he was supposed to.

  51. I made my own buttermilk this week, too. Great minds! ? Frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were steak (leftover from a church dinner) with baked potatoes and green beans, fried eggs with bacon and biscuits, Italian chicken thighs with corn on the cob and peas, grilled pork from the freezer, homemade stromboli, salads topped with grilled chicken.
    *Sent a thank you note from my stash.
    *Baked a cake from the pantry for a funeral meal at church. Also baked an apple pie (using canned apples from the pantry and a homemade pie crust) at the same time. I will be taking the pie to a family dinner this weekend. Was able to use leftover pie crust and apples to make a mini-pie for dessert that night.
    *Wrapped a birthday gift, a Father’s Day gift and a bridal shower gift all with gift bags, tissue paper and ribbon from my stash.
    *Made ham biscuits for a bridal shower using homemade biscuits and ham (bought on sale) from the freezer. Also made mustard butter to go on them.
    *Bought a nice sweater vest for 1/2 price at the thrift store and a full sheet for $1.
    *Sewed buttons back on two pairs of my husband’s pants.
    *Made a coconut cream pie using a can of coconut milk someone had gave me instead of regular milk. Also put it in a graham crust that had been hanging out in the pantry for a LONG time.
    *Wrapped up a few blueberry muffins from the freezer to take to my brother for Father’s Day.
    *Meal planned.
    *Stopped at a Kroger on the back from my brother’s house. Stocked up on sale items and earned $.20 off gallon of gas, which we promptly used.

  52. Hi everyone! I have not commented since January, I believe, but have been reading faithfully. I love reading about the differences in everyone’s various locations. The climate differences are so interesting. We have been doing our usual to save money and in addition we have been doing the following:

    Continue to transition to more DIY products (cleaning, beauty and food)
    meal planning pretty. I like it for saving money, organization and less food waste. It makes me feel in control when I create my grocery list.
    Kids have been having many appointments this year and am combining my errands to coincide with these appointments. Only using the car 1 time per week when possible.
    Still focusing on the food budget but trying to keep the overall budget in mind so we can see the “big picture”
    My husband’s work week has been reduced to 4 days which is a loss of approx. $140/week. Really cracking down on spending. Also has been told it will be even slower this fall.
    My husband was picked for jury duty 2 times. First time he missed 2 days of work so he cashed in one vacation week for pay since his employer does not pay for jury duty time. The second time he served for the whole week. He was going to cash in another vacation week (he has 4 annually) but his employer blessed him by paying his wages for the week.
    While spring cleaning I have been decluttering & either donating or putting aside to sell or throwing out. I have also created a running list of what I need to replace for family.
    My 17 year old had a frugal win. She bought herself a car last fall and is responsible for all expenses. It seemed to have reduced power so she brought it to our usual mechanic. He admitted he did not do much but charged her about $80. She paid but she must have had a shocked expression at the charge so he later called me and felt really bad. He said he did not explain himself enough. Anyhow he had her bring back her car to adjust it again for free. A savings of $175.
    Many good finds at my local thrift store New management has had many $5 bag sales. I have been able to find many things on my list. Best deal was a dehydrator for $4.
    Had to replace washing machine. It conveniently broke down during the Memorial Day sales.
    Went out to dinner with husband to celebrate both mother’s day and our 25th wedding anniversary. Was not planned but that’s ok.
    Reduced size of garden per husband’s request.
    Finally shut off furnace for summer. 9 months of heating is crazy.

    Brandy, I appreciate your blog and it’s gentleness. We are all at a different pace in our journey to save money but both you and your readers are very helpful and nice in your comments. Please continue.

  53. My garden is doing great. I’ve picked 12 gallons of strawberries so far with more still coming. We’ve been eating them like crazy and freezing any that start to get soft. I made 4 pints and 9 jelly jars of strawberry jam. I’ve also picked two huge bags of rhubarb. I share some with my grandparents. I friend gifted me a gallon of cherries from his tree, which I pitted and froze for pie later. I’ve also pulled about 2 pounds of radishes. I’ve got lettuce for salads, too. Everything else is looking good. It’s rained so much here this spring that I’ve only had to water once!

    We are still eating pork from the pig my parents had butchered for us for Christmas. We are also working on finishing up the sweet potatoes from last year. We are still eating the two deer I killed last fall, too. The only meat I’ve bought in months has been chicken.

    I got a raise at work. My husband and I decided to pretend it never happened and had the money redirected to our HSA and my 401K. We are lucky to be able to do that. We paid off our mortgage March 1st, so we felt like we could save that money for now.

    I have redeemed quite a few offers on Ibotta and fetchrewards. I’m finding fetchrewards does better for me since I buy a lot of generics. I have a referral code – It’s K9YTB if you want it – you get 3,000 bonus points.

    I bought a birthday present for my niece on major sale.

    I found a few essential oils that seem to help some ailments I’m having – sleep issues, cold sores, a small rash, and some asthma symptoms. Saved me a drs appointment and some medicines.

    I requested a book from the library.

  54. I had never heard of sheet pancakes, but perhaps I will try them. I cook 4 pancakes at a time on my square griddle and 8 on my cast iron griddle that covers two burners. We often have pancakes for supper, topped with fruit. We had a nice Father’s Day. I put pork from my freezer along with sauce ingredients in my crockpot before church. When I came home, I baked two apple pies, using the last of my autumn stash of apples that had been in our garage fridge. The peels were really wrinkled, but the apples were still good and made delicious pies. I froze all the peels, as I have been doing over the last 9 months. In the coming months, I will make apple butter with all these organic peels. Our local store had fresh corn on the cob 10/$1. I husked them, broke them in half, oiled and salted them, added 2/3 cup water, and cooked them on high in another crockpot for 4 hours. The corn was great, and it was wonderful not having to boil a huge pot of water and heat up the kitchen. The pork cooked all day, then I shredded it for Texas Pulled Pork Sandwiches. This meal, that cost me little, served 9 people for two different days.
    We are looking at replacing our roof soon, but need to get the insurance adjuster to come out. The roofer estimates $8000 for the job, but hopefully, insurance will pay for multiple hail damage events. After cleaning the wood trim in the large front porch and railings, and columns, I have decided to paint all that this summer. There are no guarantees that my health will be good next summer, so I need to do that while I can. Our home needs so very, very much work. It is not at all wheelchair friendly for our disabled adult daughter, and the day will come when we need walkers, too. Much to think about in preparing for our future. I harvested my potatoes, becoming ill with heat-exhaustion despite the entire area being in the shade. 96 degrees with 95% humidity is pretty bad. I dehydrated all my onions and onion tops over several days, using my oven. Our fig tree has 60 figs, so I have been googling fresh fig recipes. I purchased 2 skirts from the thrift store and altered their lengths. Thank you, Brandy and all commenters, for sharing your frugal lives. You are all so encouraging.

    1. I had a coworker who would freeze her extra figs whole. She would then take out and defrost throughout the winter.

  55. Thank you so much for all the encouraging words last week! Your kindness meant alot to me. Rhonda, thanks for the new way to look at my lifestyle!!!
    This past week was not so frugal. It’s the last full week of school here, and with that comes lots of school activities that are not free. Just like at the beginning of the school year, I feel like I am “bleeding” money at the end of the school year.
    I made my meal plan this week, but some of the leftovers ended up being thrown away because of our busy schedule this week.
    Bought eggs for 99 cents at our Kroger affiliate. I bought 4 cartons, but am thinking about going back for more. I usually bake more once school is out, so I’m sure they will get used up.
    Bought some pasta for 99 cents a pound in shapes that I can’t find for my stock up price of 49 cents a pound.
    Packed meals for eating in the car during our weekend trip up to our vacation condo. (we were very blessed to be able purchase the condo when the real estate market was at its lowest and the owner needed to sell. It was built in 1979 and has funky mid century modern architecture and the original shag carpet. Vintage!! I furnished it almost entirely with free or thrift store furniture.) It’s a ferry ride and a long drive to get there, so packing food togo saves us hundreds of dollars each year and keeps us out of the fast food restaurants. ***If anyone has ideas for car meals and snacks that travel well, please let me know. I’m running out of ideas.
    Used a gift card from Christsmas to purchase clearance clothes at Macy’s. Because we have lots of mild weather all year round, many of the winter clearance items can be worn on cool summer days here. I got over $400 worth of clothes with my $50 gift card.
    I’m looking forward to my weekend “off”! With school getting out next week, I won’t get much of a break. I’m a stay at home mom, and my husband works very long hours and is on call most of the time he is home. I also drive for my mom, since her eye sight no longer allows her to drive. This is my weekend “off” to get away by myself and take a break. I will probably spend most of it in the thrift stores and walking the beach!
    Hope everyone has a great and frugal week! Thanks for the great ideas & inspiration!

    1. In our cooler, we take grapes, apples (and pack an apple slicer as well), pretzels (bought in bulk at Winco), sandwich meat (homecooked turkey and ham, sliced on our slicer), homemade bread, bread knife, mustard in a squirt bottle, mayo in a squirt bottle (we buy mayonnaise by the gallon at our house and refill a squirt bottle), lettuce, tomatoes (plus a knife and cutting board, but you could bring sliced tomatoes in a container), hard-boiled eggs, homemade chocolate chip cookies, homemade muffins, and lots of water in reusable water bottles that refill along the way. We bring paper plates and paper towels, and salt in a salt shaker.

      1. Athanasia, I would never live in Midsomer. Too many people get murdered there–not a safe place to live, LOL. There is also an old English series called Rosemary & Thyme. They landscaped beautiful gardens, and usually dug up a body. I liked The Last Detective, starring Peter Davison. When he was younger, he played Tristan in All Creatures Great and Small.

      2. Brandy, thanks for the ideas! I think I will watch for an apple slicer to add to my cooler, and boiled eggs are a great snack thst I never think of for traveling!

    2. Susanmarie, here are some suggestions I thought of:
      -veggies and/or chips with homemade dip in a resealable container (if there are children, make up ziplock baggies/reusable container of veggies/chips and small containers of dip for each person)
      -hummus and crackers or veggies (package same as above)
      -nuts/trail mix or homemade “chex mix” (made with cereal, often popular around Christmas)
      -homemade baked goods (squares, cookies, muffins or even homemade granola bars wrapped individually)
      -watch for cheap candy/treats on sale after various holidays and tuck them away to use on your car trips. Special treats are always nice for getaways or long car trips.
      -wraps (cooked chicken/turkey, ham, cold meat or beans with favouite toppings. Chicken Caesar or Chicken Ranch wraps are very good!)
      -a charcuterie style lunch (cold meat slices, ham cubes, cheese, crackers or french baguette slices, pickles/olives, etc. I watch for cheap cold meat on discount/clearance and cheese blocks on sale, then freeze until we are ready to use it)
      -boiled hot dogs (boil the weiners then seal them in a large thermos with boiling water until you stop for lunch/bathroom break) on a bun with favourite toppings in squeeze bottles/resealable containers
      -pulled pork (again, store hot meat in a thermos until ready to eat) on a bun
      -homemade pasta salads, potato salad or coleslaw (can make up individual servings in reusable containers for each person)
      -make homemade pizza (or individual pizzas for each person, made on Naan bread) the day before, and bring the cold pizza slices for lunch the next day
      Just a note, a large thermos that can be reused for storing hot meals in may be a good investment if you don’t have one. Once you have one, you may think of other lunch ideas to take with you that everyone would enjoy! I hope these ideas help.

      1. Rhonda, I love your ideas!

        I forgot to add that we have brought home-canned pickles as well. We just keep them sealed and then as we need them cold, we add them to the cooler (on a several day trip). I haven’t done a lot of trips as it just isn’t in the budget, but I would love to do some of the ideas that suggested above Rhonda!

        1. Glad I could help, Brandy! I’ve learned so much from you and this community. I’m glad I was able to give you a few new ideas. Of course, these ideas also work well for picnics, too!

      2. Rhonda, thanks for all the ideas! Now I will add a large thermos to my “watch for” list! It’s brilliant that you put hot dogs in the thermos! I would never have thought of that. My son and husband both love hot dogs, so that will be a huge hit with them. Thank you!

        1. The funny thing is, I hate hot dogs! But I remember going to a birthday party with my daughter once, and the mom had made hot dogs ahead of time, the brought them the pot in hot water, to give the kids at lunch. A thermos would seal much better and keep everything hot until you are ready to eat them.

      3. I like your ideas too Rhonda! We like to pack picnics whenever we go to town or to the lake for a scenic picnic. I’m like you Brandy, traveling is not in our Budget right now. Pickles are a good idea, yum!

        1. Tammy, I use many of these ideas for school and work lunches too. Hope you have lots of fun with your picnic day trips with your grandchildren and hubby this summer!

  56. I have never received an email notification. I still see the same notice when I try to sign up for one – email already exists. I signed again under another email I use and did receive a welcome message. But I check here every week and I do follow you on Facebook and Instagram.

    I had my daughter get married and she stayed under budget. We gave them the amount they were under back in cash as an additional wedding gift. A friend did all the flowers, another did the pictures and video. We had a luncheon at a local restaurant that was well under our budget. Our open house was a pot luck held at a local church. It all turned out so well. They were thrilled with their day. We ended up not doing a reception but several bridal showers were held by friends/neighbors/ward. We were all overwhelmed with the kindness and generosity of good people.

    Not all meals were made at home last week – but most were done at home. Leftovers were creatively used. Father’s Day steak (top sirloin that was bought from the closeout bin) leftovers were sliced thin for sandwiches, all veggies and fruit were prepped and put in containers for easy grabbing and munching. Treats that weren’t eaten were either frozen or shared with neighbors. Really large hot dogs that I bought on sale were sliced in half lengthwise to make 8 hot dogs. Cut down on calories and used up all of the buns (bought on sale) in the package. Leftover taco meat/beans were used for nachos or wrapped in a flour tortilla. Fruit that was on the edge of being not good were washed trimmed and thrown into the blender for smoothies.

    We made multiple trips to the local library for books and movies. I’ve enjoyed finding new authors to try and read. My kids spend lots of time devouring their books and sitting in the hammock chair swing under our big backyard tree.

    We bought an annual pass to a local waterpark (on Black Friday). Each annual pass purchased included 1 free day pass. We took a daughter who came in from out of town with us to spend the day at the waterpark. We packed our own lunch and had a nice day spent outside in lounge chairs under the shade of the tree. We had also brought books to read when we wanted a break from the water. It was lovely. Spend the day yesterday doing the same thing with my youngest. The temps aren’t too hot yet and it is so nice under the shade. We go every week. My other daughter lifeguards there and gets in for free.

    My husband and I had a date night that was done at lunch. We had a gift card and a coupon.

    Made a fruit platter for a friends bridal shower using fruit I had on hand at home. It used mandarin oranges (given to us for free), kiwi, watermelon and mangos.

    Discovered a forgotten tub of teen girl clothing in our storage. I don’t know how I missed it! But we find many, many pants, shirts, pjs and sweats that fit my youngest.

    My girls attended our ward girls camp. I didn’t buy anything new to send with them. All treats, snacks were from our pantry and the secret sister gifts were from my stash. All camping equipment needed was from our home. I also packed a home lunch for the first day. After they came home, I gave each leader a hug and a thank you for their time. I also offered to run items around to homes that had been left so that the leaders could go home earlier.

    I made banana bread and shared one loaf with a neighbor who was needing a lift. She loved that it was still warm from the oven. It’s such simple things that bring so much joy and contentment.

    I took a vase of flowers from my flower beds to another neighbor. I have been planting more and more flowers this year that I can cut and bring in my home or share. Thank you Brandy for the idea! Right now my peonies have just finished blooming. Now I have daisies, lilies, carnations and geraniums. It’s all so lovely.

    I love reading the comments each week – thank you all for the uplifting ideas and encouragement.

  57. Had a mostly good week. Monday was seeing my cardiologist, who was PLEASED with how I am doing, and is leaving my meds as they are, AND not wanting to see me for a whole years unless something comes up that I need to talk to her about. I’m happy with that!
    Finally managed to clear my mending pile, except for a zipper jacket replacement which I need to do soon, but didn’t have enough time for that day. I mended a bra, a bath towel, and a top of mine.
    Had a big mix up with cars but got it straightened out today. I thought one car needed an inspection, but it turned out that it did not. I needed registration and so did the OTHER car! Mine had only been about a week and a half of driving illegally. Husband’s car was overdue since May 1st but we only drove it 4 miles in that time. To the mechanic and back! Last night I searched all the documents out and today DD took us to the Motor Vehicle Dept., and we had everything we needed and I just had to write a check and wait while she processed the forms. My car also got an oil change yesterday so mine is fine now, and husbands’ –which he can’t drive anymore anyhow–needs to be driven more frequently — by me, and then hopefully by whoever I can find to buy it. We don’t need two cars, and I don’t like his—It’s a Subaru Outback and I’ve never driven a big car before and have no desire to start. It’s in good shape so hoping I can sell it now! It’s hard for me to handle all the car stuff now that my husband can’t drive any more (due to dementia) but I think I’m getting the hang of it. It does not appear that we got any notices from Motor Vehicles about re-registering the cars!
    Also discovered that husband’s computer needs some TLC from me. He apparently hasn’t deleted any messages in MONTHS. I started last night but it will take a while. 870+ messages just in his SPAM folder!! Thousands of e-mails.
    I think he has hit another plateau of declining abilities. We noticed with my mother that it went in spurts too. Doctors explained that their coping mechanisms develop as new disabilities do, but eventually lose their effectiveness. That makes it seem like they have sudden set backs, but they are really slow declines that they can’t “cover” forever. Today I asked him to water the hanging basket on the front porch. I am too short! By the time he asked me where the watering can was, found it, and filled it with water, he had to ask again what he was supposed to water! Yes, I do spend a lot of time answering the same questions again and again. At least he’s willing to help to the extent he can. We got one good day of gardening in and hope we can do more tomorrow.
    Also spent a short time today shopping for groceries. After 2 weeks of good sales for stocking up, I didn’t need much at all this week. $44 was the total–after going a bit over $100 each of the last two weeks. We had NO garden last summer due to illness and weather. I don’t think I’m planting veggies this year either but will have flowers and herbs. And a pot of basil that I bought at the nursery when I bought the one hanging basket. I am going to order some more bulbs for the fall, though. And I have some iris that need digging up and replanting if I can manage it this summer.
    I cooked at home all week, which is good because friends called and want us to join 3 other couples for dinner tomorrow night at a restaurant we really like! We can afford to do so.
    And we have finally been eating local strawberries—June 15th was the day they appeared on the stands. Fully two weeks late–nearly 2.5! So glad to have them now.

    1. Marcia,

      As you go through your husband’s emails, you may find the car registration and other significant bills, reminders, etc., if your husband chose to go paperless. My electric, internet, water, car insurance, and cell phone bills are all paperless.

      Congrats on the wonderful checkup and good luck with both your husband and selling his car. My mom had dementia so I know how hard this is.

  58. For those of you who live in Calgary, the Lougheed House is having an event on Thursday June 27th to celebrate Métis culture.
    It is by donation but can be free. Go to the Lougheed House website and click on get tickets and click on free ticket. The Lougheed House is a lovely old sandstone mansion and is a national historic site. Although there is usually an admission fee, on June 27th for this evening event there is no admission fee.

    They will have demonstrations and hands on lessons on how to do Métis beading. They will have lessons on how to do Métis dancing (jigs) and talks about Métis history. The gardens are beautiful and always free.

    I went to the archives yesterday then met my friend and her mother for lunch. We had a great Italian pizza — they treated me to lunch. Then, afterwards, I went to the Lougheed House where I went to the first event on Métis culture. It was really interesting. It was really great because
    I aslo met three people had photos for our book, or had information for it. Not on Métis but coincidental that I had been trying to meet these people for awhile and there they were.

  59. Starting to pack up for our road trip East-booked a surprise 2.5 star hotel on Priceline in Minot, ND for $44 plus tax-this includes breakfast so I think it is a great deal. It was cheaper than the Airbnb I had planned to stay at so we cancelled that. I was guaranteed to get one of 3 different hotels and I ended up with the one I wanted. Today at the drugstore I picked up a couple cans of short dated canned milk marked down to free. Also loaded a CVS $ off offer onto my card to pick up some free car snacks enroute .

    Like Becky my DH will be needing a new hip-at the moment he is holding his own while on the waiting list for consult here in Canada. Hip replacements are free where I live but there is a wait. In the meantime he can have free steroid shots in his hip and we also just paid to have a lubricant injected too-to keep him moving and as pain free as possible for now. I checked our closest US hospital( 5 hr drive away) and the cost there would be $27,950( minus about 7% that our provincial govt would reimburse us)-so as long as we can keep him comfortable we will wait. I had guessed it would be about that much but still it is shocking the cost of healthcare in the U.S. I was also reading that insulin costs about 10x more in the US than Canada and many Americans are coming here to buy their drugs.

  60. Hello!
    First, I just want to say I love your website Brandy. Thank you so much for helping us!
    I would love to know how you manage to stay frugal when you had morning sickness, and had no appetite for anything in your home? I am really struggling to stay within budget, but my pregnancies tend to be SO hard the first few months.
    Anyone else with any ideas, please chime in!

    1. Have you tried increasing your protein intake? Check out the site “Blue Ribbon Baby.” Protein, not crackers, first thing in the morning, before going to bed at night, and throughout the day really helps keep morning sickness at bay. It can be a snack of almonds, a few bites of leftover Rosemary White Bean soup in the morning, hard-boiled eggs, leftover chicken, etc. You’re building a person, making muscles and organs, and those are all protein. Increase your protein and see if you see a change. I can count on one hand the times I’ve thrown up with ten pregnancies. I can get nauseated, but if I do, I eat something with protein and it goes away. Plus, eggs are high in folic acid, and beans have iron!

    2. Hi Chaya! I had SEVERE morning sickness and the only thing that worked was alternating a prescription (from my obstetrician) anti-nauseant and gravol. That, plus making sure my stomach was never empty. Lots of snacks, such as yogurt, nuts, pretzels, and so on. I drank several litres of lemonade a day as well. Also, sometimes prenatal vitamins can cause nausea. Try to get one where the calcium and iron are in separate pills. I used pregvit, which I needed a prescription for but was covered by my insurance.
      Best of luck!!!

  61. I love the sheet pan pancake! I might have to try these. I often avoid making them, just because it’s tough to clean the griddle.

    We had a great week and are looking forward to another good one with being home this summer with the boys. We’re looking forward to a fun summer, and have saved significantly on gas with not driving to school each day. Here’s how we saved:


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