We celebrated my youngest’s birthday with homemade eggless chocolate cupcakes. I had ordered gifts for him months ago, which seemed way ahead of time at the time, but I’m glad I had them now. We threw him a Ben and Holly birthday party.

I used my frog molds that I’ve previously used for Harry Potter parties to make some green chocolate frogs. I also covered pretzels with red melting chips and chocolate to make ladybugs.

We used items we had on hand to make wands.

Figuring it might be difficult to get items later, I decided to use my Amazon credit now to purchase a couple of gifts for my daughter’s birthday that is in September.

We had to turn on the air conditioning this week. I checked the temperature each day to see how long I could open the windows in the morning before I had to close them. I keep the house at 79 degrees. I had to close them at 9 a.m. most days. I’m grateful it is still cool in the mornings. Soon our daytime highs will be our nighttime lows, and after that, our nighttime lows will be 102-104 degrees.

I sewed a mask for myself using fabric I had on hand.

I cut flowers from the garden to enjoy inside.

I harvested artichokes, snow peas, garlic chives, regular chives, asparagus, Swiss chard, parsley, oregano, lettuce, and three cherry tomatoes from the garden. I dried the parsley and oregano to use throughout the year in cooking.

I sowed seeds in the garden for basil and garlic chives.

Breakfasts were pancakes (half whole-wheat); eggs, toast from homemade whole wheat French bread, and smoothies with frozen peaches, frozen blackberries, and home-canned grape juice all from the garden; omelets with garlic chives from the garden; and oatmeal.

Lunches were pasta salad; white bean and pasta soup with Swiss chard and salad with carrot/pear whole-wheat bread; turkey sandwiches with lettuce from the garden and apples; several green salads, and fried rice with one cup of rice, four eggs, one shredded carrot, four ribs of celery, a quart of lentils that I sprouted, green onions from the garden, and 4 cups of snow peas from the garden

Snacks were lemonade popsicles (ice lollies); popcorn; toast and jam (both homemade); ice cream (purchased on sale last week for $3.99 a gallon as part of our delivery order); and strawberry shortcake.

Dinners were lemon chicken using garden lemons with potato salad (I made both a regular potato salad and a potato salad with lemon juice and fresh parsley from the garden along with some Greek yogurt); barbeque chicken and caramelized onion pizza using homemade barbeque sauce; bean and turkey enchiladas with artichokes from the garden; bean and turkey soft tacos; turkey with canned green beans, rice and pickled beets (from the garden) and pasta salad; and fried rice with one cup of rice, four eggs, one shredded carrot, four ribs of celery, a quart of lentils that I sprouted, green onions from the garden, and 4 cups of snow peas from the garden.

I ordered some fresh food along with my mom to split the delivery fee and tip again.

While there were things I would have liked to order, I am trying to be patient until some of them are ripe in the garden. For example, I love cucumbers, as do most of my children, but I won’t pay $0.79 each for cucumbers. I hope ours grow well this year; I am trying to grow extra for fresh eating as well as to make pickles.

My husband had to go to a work appointment that wasn’t far from Sam’s Club, so he dropped me off and went to his work appointment. This saved us on gas and time. I bought a number of items that should last us a while at Sam’s Club to reduce the number of trips I have to make to the store. This was my first time leaving to go grocery shopping since March.

I already like to go shopping as infrequently as possible and shop when there are fewer people in the store, which makes shopping faster with shorter lines. Now I would like to be in the stores even less. So, with all that is going on, I have changed my mind and decided that I will probably keep my Sam’s Club membership and not switch to Costco when it is up. Costco was always packed like it was Christmastime on a regular day, and my desire to keep us all well makes me feel more comfortable at Sam’s.

One of the things I bought at Sam’s Club was some salad dressing that my mom has been unable to get on her online orders. I will give this to her as a Mother’s Day gift. She gave food to my children for their last two birthdays (homemade granola bars to my 8-year-old and goldfish crackers to my 2-year-old). This is a change from her usual gift-giving; my parents give a gift and take the birthday child out for lunch. Everyone loves treats, so this has been fine, and it has also cost her less. I mention it for those of you who are looking for ideas for your children and grandchildren’s birthdays. As many shops are closed around the world, food gifts might be your best option for upcoming birthdays and holidays!

I contacted our insurance agent and had our car insurance reduced to show us driving under 7500 miles a year on our only vehicle. It wasn’t a big savings ($18) but I’m happy to have it as I’m sure we won’t be driving much for a while!

I watched Call the Midwife and World on Fire on Pbs.org.

I gave haircuts to my two youngest sons.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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  1. * I made home made pizza, using up some leftover patties from the freezer.
    * I ordered a maxi dress for summer from Lands End on clearance. Since that was the only thing I was ordering, I didn’t qualify for free shipping, but the price was still low enough even with paying shipping that it was well worth it. I have lost 50 pounds, and am still trying to replace things in my wardrobe as I have literally had to replace everything except for my socks and shoes!
    * I ordered some bulk foods from Azure. Since I have a basement, I do have space to store them and the prices are much better than purchasing in smaller quantities from the grocery stores.
    * I planted chard seeds in my garden, based on the recommendations on here. Eagerly watching for the seeds to emerge!
    * I cleaned up my garden further, and planted some tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs, and yellow squash, all things I started from seeds under fluorescent lights.

    Pictures and more on my blog at: https://chickadeecove.blogspot.com/2020/05/frugal-friday-week-of-april-26-may-2.html
    Looking forward to reading what everyone has been up to!
    Brandy, love your precious little one! And his birthday celebration sounds perfect!

    Writing from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

      1. Thank you! It took me long enough to learn how to eat healthy, but I finally learned so better late than never as they say! And at almost 55, I feel better than I did in my 20’s! I will never go back to my previous eating habits! My cholesterol is finally good, I am no longer pre-diabetic, and I no longer have painful arthritis in my feet that made me want to cry with every step I took!

    1. Hope you were able to get rakuten’s 15% (used to be called ebates) rebate from land’s end. Link: use this referral link of mines if u don’t have one to sign up:rakuten.com/r/SHEEBA346

  2. Such a sweet little boy! Sounds like you had some yummy meals at your house last week. Today is cool and damp( you would love it for a nice change!). My DH will have a phone consult with the orthopedic surgeon on Wed so hopefully we will get some idea of when his hip will be replaced. I really like phone doctor’s apts when they don’t need to exam you. Fortunately it is covered under our healthcare although he has been waiting a year. Elective surgeries are starting again in our province today.

    On the frugal front really not going out much or spending much-probably like most others. We are waiting for some travel related cancellation refunds and I expect those will take awhile. My 88 year old Mum had planned to move here from another province but is sitting tight until things settle down a bit Covid wise. I think she will stay with us for awhile until she purchases a condo. Have a lovely week everyone-especially those who are able to garden already.

    1. I hope your husband can get scheduled quickly! I know how much pain he must be in because my husband’s in the same boat.

    2. On Saturday my husband and I purchased 2 big boy tomato plants, 2 grape tomato plants, 4 green pepper plants, 1 cucumber plant, lettuce seeds & radish seeds. I used to have a large garden when we lived in the country 10 years ago. Since moving to a subdivision I got out of gardening bc of less space. I really don’t have the space for a large garden anymore but I can plant a few things. Forgot how much fun it was to purchase plants for gardening. I didn’t realize how much I missed it.

  3. What a sweet birthday party for your son. Those cupcakes are so cute. I haven’t been to our Costco in a while, but they now require that all customers wear masks, and only a certain number of people are allowed in at once. I have heard that the lines outside to get in can be quite long.

    Our local garden center has timed entry based on reservations. So, on a day I had to pick up something from my sister’s house (following social distancing), I reserved a time to shop there. It was super convenient, and the store was pretty empty. I bought some flowers and some jalapeno starts. I can grow those pretty well on my patio.

    Our stay at home order (Washington State) has been extended until May 31, as expected. A few things will be opening this week, and other things will follow if COVID cases don’t increase.

    I work at a specialized physical therapy clinic that has remained open throughout the stay at home order. Even when asked to do so, many of our patients refuse to wear masks or face coverings. As a result, I was feeling very anxious about working. I always wear a mask, but I have reasonably close contact with patients when taking payments and scheduling. I told my boss about my unease, and this past weekend he built a plexiglass shield for the front desk, similar to the ones they have at grocery store checkouts. I am so thankful and relieved. Now I don’t feel scared every time I go to work. (And I can’t imagine the level of stress and fear grocery workers have dealt with throughout the pandemic. Hats off to them.)

    One long time patient of the clinic sews, and we always talk about our sewing projects when she comes in. She is also a home care nurse, and must wear a mask every day. She came in last week, and brought me a mask that she made, saying it was the most comfortable one she had found. She also brought me info about how to make it. I really appreciated that (and it turns out the mask is indeed super comfortable, so I am going to make a few for myself). Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjIzW8uaxYs

    Other frugal accomplishments:
    – A few weeks ago, I sowed some lettuce and arugula in two planters using old seed packets. Unfortunately, I didn’t mark which seed was in which planter, and only one of them has seedlings. So I will have to wait and see. I planted green onion seeds I had gathered last fall in the planter without seedlings.
    – Shared more green onion seeds with a friend. Used an envelope (from a box I had thrifted long ago) to make a cute seed packet.
    – Used cards I already had on hand to send for Mother’s Day.
    – Cooked all meals at home except one takeout meal on Sunday (our weekly at home date night). Have been eating down the freezer. Found some chicken that my mom had made from two years ago deep in the freezer. I cooked it and it tastes fine. That’s what I’m having for lunch today. Yum!
    – Found some einkorn flour (several years old) in the freezer. It smelled fine so I made pancakes. Will find things to make with the rest of the bag.
    – Made more masks. Hemmed some sheets for my work. Continued to work on a skirt I started several months ago. My husband is working from home and I can’t access my sewing area when he’s working (I only work three days a week). So most of my sewing has to be done on the weekend.
    – Read newspapers my mom saved for me. Watched videos and read blogs online.
    – Continued writing down five good things that happen each day to keep my spirits up.
    – Borrowed a piece of exercise equipment from a coworker who is not using it Did my at-home workout three times this past week. Prior to that, I had been exhausted from work, but I am starting to get my energy back.
    – Had a Zoom call with my sisters and my dad. I haven’t seen my dad in several years (he lives in the Midwest), so it was good to see him that way.
    – Took walks outside when it wasn’t raining. Enjoyed the old and scraggly lilac bushes on the condo property. The flowers are still beautiful and fragrant.

    Have a good week, everyone. Thanks for hosting, Brandy.

    1. I love the idea of writing down five good things that happen each day! I am going to start doing that!

    2. Tina, I just can’t believe that clients would refuse to wear masks in a medical setting. It seems so selfish of them to endanger others. Glad your boss put up the shield!

      1. Elisa, it is shocking to me as well that patients won’t wear masks or face coverings. If it were just about them being unconcerned about their own health, ok, but they are putting our whole office at risk.

    3. Tina: thanks so much for the mask tutorial, after watching it, this is the type I plan to make. Tomorrow, I hope! very easy yet looks like a better fit than most. ann lee s

    4. Tina: Thank you for the mask pattern. It is very comfortable, and fits better than just a flat piece with pleats.
      I experimented with an old kitchen towel and was able to make three creations, so we don’t have to look like bandanna bandits in the store.
      I cut out a triangle shaped template for the corner curs in case I make more.

  4. Your son is adorable! And your fried rice sounds delicious!

    We received our stimulus check. I’m happy we are able to just put it right into savings for now. We feel fairly secure with my husband’s job, but you never know.

    My accomplishments this week:

    • Used free toiletries, washed ziplocks and foil and ran only full loads the in washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Ate dinner in 7 times. We had spaghetti & meatballs; frozen pizza; meatloaf with baked potatoes and roasted zucchini and onions (all done in the oven at the same time); grilled pork chops with grilled zucchini and corn on the cob; ½ of a Costco roast chicken on tortillas with home canned pintos & jalapenos; steak with spaghetti squash, asparagus and baked potatoes; and salmon with pasta salad.
    • Ate lunch in all 7 days too. We had salads, home canned pintos & jalapenos, pot pies, leftovers from the freezer, chicken wraps, and canned soup.
    • I have some chicken breasts in the freezer that just don’t have a good texture when cooked (too rubbery.) I didn’t want to waste them, so when making my meatloaf this week, I ground one of the breasts up using my Kitchen-Aid grinder attachment and put it in my meatloaf along with the ground beef. Worked great. I also cooked the meatloaf in individual loafs using my Yorkshire pudding pans. A trick I learned from my daughter. They don’t take as long to cook that way. I froze the extras. These will be good for lunches or quick dinners.
    • Breakfasts have been oatmeal with dried cranberries; pancakes and syrup, both made from scratch; toast and homemade jam; omelets made with leftover roasted veggies; and cereal.
    • Hung 2 of 5 loads of laundry.
    • Walked for exercise.
    • Continued 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan Peterson.
    • Watched 1940’s House. Thanks to whoever recommended it!
    • Worked some more on my denim quilt.
    • Finally found an 8 oz. bottle of hand sanitizer. I am happy about that, as I didn’t want to run out! I was also able to get 3 gallons of bleach at Costco. Whew!
    • Harvested our first zucchini of the season. Can’t wait for more!
    • Defrosted and inventoried our deep freeze and inventoried the freezer on our extra refrigerator and the kitchen freezer and updated my spreadsheet. Feels good to know what I have now.
    • Sliced a cucumber and put it in the leftover pickle juice from a jar of pickles. My husband loves these.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

    1. Laurie,

      I’m going to wash five loads before the day is done (two are done already) and the wind is blowing 20 miles an hour, so definitely no hanging them out! I can’t imagine only five loads in a whole week!

      1. I’m one of 8 kids and I remember how much laundry my Mom used to do! It seemed like the machines were always going!

      2. Brandy! One day you will know what it is to have less laundry! Our kids are grown and we have an empty nest. We usually only do 2-3 load of laundry a week. Darks, lights and sheets (I do them every other week).

        1. My husband is 57 and we have a 2-year-old. It’s an odd situation, but he was 37 when we got married. It’s hard to imagine an empty nest one day!

      3. With our 8 kids and a small washing machine, it seems to run constantly! So much so that when it stops, I have children complain! They think the sound of the machine is comforting!!

  5. I have left the house once and that was to pick up our grocery order. I saved $10. on my order since it was the first time I had used their pick-up app.
    I bought gas in the same trip for $1.24 a gallon. This is more than a dollar a gallon cheaper than a few months ago.
    I received my stimulus check.
    I received a $40.14 discount on my WiFi this month. I am assuming it is because of the Covid-19 mess.
    My car insurance is discounting @ 20% for the next 2 months. This is also because of the pandemic.
    Even though Texas is starting to “open up” we will be staying home. This will save us quite a bit.
    I have accepted free banana nut bread this last week.
    I’ve read free books. Two or 3 of them I think.
    I did a Zoom virtual sewing meeting Saturday. None of us are willing to meet yet. This saves us in time and gas.
    My insurance has gone down since they totaled my granddaughter’s car. She was hit the second time she drove it.
    My daughter, Windee, bought me a bag of onions. She said it smelled so good she had to buy it. *laughing* She said it was a poor gift, but I loved it.
    These are the highlights of the week.
    Everyone stay safe.

    1. We are in Texas too n keeping safe neighbor-Lewisville area it’s a relief that everything is reopening but I don’t think I would resume normally just as yet either.

  6. I would still consider Costco. They have gone above and beyond to keep customers and staff safe. Including limiting the number of people in the store. We have dropped almost all other shopping outside of Costco currently because it is the only place I feel safe. We have a child with asthma and are being as cautious as can. We have both Costco and Sam’s and very very rarely use our Sam’s. I know some think the prices are lower, and they sometimes are, but they continue to shrink amounts of containers. So if you do the math Costco regularly comes out as a better price for us. I understand it may be different where you live. Just sharing how it works for our family.

    1. I could walk to Cosco. Sam’s is about 7 minutes away. But every time I have been in Costco (I’ve gone with my parents), it is SUPER crowded (like the mall at Christmastime), which I don’t like for shopping in general. Also, their membership costs considerably more. I was going to have to go in and compare items again, but that’s not doable now. My mom still has a membership there, so I can get things from her.

      What I have found in that past is that they carry different items. Costco did not carry the items I purchased. Sam’s Club stopped carrying several items recently, which is why I was considering switching. I have gone in multiple times to compare prices. They were almost identical. However, Sam’s carried large 102-ounce cans of tomato sauce for under $4, which Costco did not, along with other items. Smaller cans of tomato sauce were nowhere near as inexpensive, and I use an entire 102-ounce can in a meal for my family.

      I do think requiring their customers to wear masks is good. I applaud them for that. I had read about that recently in the news and was happy to read it.

      It was 93 degrees when I waited outside Sam’s for about 20 minutes. The woman behind me in line remarked, “What are we going to do when it’s 110?” I’ve heard that Costco’s line wraps around the building. I don’t want to stand outside in that. So, at least for now, I’m not going to switch.

      1. Just an update on stores: here in Utah, Walmart has posted signs that highly recommend customers wear masks while shopping to be in compliance with state and local regulations. Reusable bags are not allowed at this time to try to reduce the spread of any virus. Shopping carts are sprayed from top to bottom with disinfectant as they are placed in the cart bay after being used to make them ready for the next customer. Registers are frequently cleaned with a disinfectant. The stores are limiting customer to 5 per 1000 square feet. That means my particular store would be at maximum capacity at just over 1000. The door greeters keep track of how many customers and employees enter and exit. All staff has to be screened and temperature taken prior to entering the building. So far, the lines are almost non-existent except for Tuesdays (senior day). I feel they are making a good effort to keep us healthy.

        1. That’s wonderful. I do believe it varies by store; I have talked to different people in town about their experiences at different stores. Sam’s had a sign about masks but not everyone was wearing one. Maybe 30% of the customers.

      2. Currently Sam’s has $45 membership fee but you get $45 instant savings loaded to your account. For new members only. I used a different email address to get mine.

        1. They don’t do this for returning members, unfortunately. I’ve had a membership for almost 20 years.

      3. I agree Sam’s club for me. A lot less people and better prices. If I need something at Costco I just ask a friend. Plus Costco doesn’t take my credit card and I don’t want to get a new card

      4. One thing that I have read about Costco, so I assume it is still true, is that you can shop without a membership if somebody gives you a gift card. For example, you could give your mom $100 to purchase a Costco gift card for you and you could use it to shop membership free. But I realize thereare other drawbacks to Costco and it sounds like the stores vary in how safe they are being right now.

  7. My 5-year old (who turned 6) had a birthday last week and my Mom left her two boxes of chocolatey cereal, boxed rice milk, plastic bowls and spoons. All the children were delighted with a fun birthday breakfast and I thought it was a great idea! My Mom only goes to the grocery store and so bought the gifts she could. The kids will always remember waking up to chocolate for breakfast. Ha!

  8. I made my grandson chocolate chip cookies for his birthday last month. They had a drive by party for him so I put them on the table they had set up at the end of their driveway. He was thrilled with his cookies!

  9. Our weather is finally becoming more Spring-like which lifts my spirits and brings me joy! My veggie garden is beginning to grow. https://pin.it/MadNsjc. And yes, our little “farm” is quite urban with houses quite close! Just a reminder that you can bloom where you’re planted and always find a way to improve your lot- whether it’s growing something in a little pot or on 10 acres, adding a few extra cans to your food storage or home canning 400 jars, buying new fabric yardage for a project or using up your scraps to make useful things/gifts. We all can do something more with what we have and by doing it, it gives us that wonderful feeling of empowerment!

    467 masks have been finished now since March 31- 71 of those have been this week. I have given myself permission to step away from the mask-making each day to give myself balance and permission to work on other things or just to enjoy a sunny day outside and be grateful for the abundance of blessings I do have! I’ll continue to make masks but not in batches of 30 for a single order.

    I was given a 5 gallon bucket of dehydrated potato slices so yesterday, after googling directions for rehydrating them and using them in a meal, I made scalloped potatoes. I found a recipe for Scalloped potato mix (and you all know that, because I’m lazy and cheap, I LOVE to make mixes!) Tried it out! It was wonderful! Here’s the mix recipe. I put it into jars that I vacuum sealed. https://pin.it/3XG69kM
    Hubs is excited about raising worms to help our garden and found a worm “condo” he wants to build. One of our friends who is moving to Utah tomorrow with his family to teach at BYU – Provo gave us several more odds and ends including some 2 x 6’s to build condo and some hardware cloth to use in it ! So a new project will begin to help our garden. He also gave us a 55 gallon plastic drum that we will pass on to our daughter so they can continue to use to grow veggies this season as they decide and work on some more permanent garden spots on their 13 acres.
    Stimulus check came so we moved that into our savings account while deciding the best use of it- paying down mortgage, buying more windows for our house to replace the 3 in my sewing room and 3 in parlour or just keep it in savings but maybe a higher rate account.
    The windows would really help the energy cost and comfort of our old house. The current windows are over 100 years old, single paned and drafty! Since our house https://pin.it/7u21azS has 43 windows, we have been replacing them a room at a time. We’ve become fairly adept at DIY with them and add a super insulation to the exterior walls as we install new windows. The windows are over 6 foot tall and it would be so nice to have them open easily and let the breezes come through the screens in warm weather and close up tightly and seal out cold drafts in the winter. Obviously, you can tell which way I’m leaning! Lol!
    Our car insurance sent us a one time payment of $50 because of the virus limiting travel. Our car still has almost a full tank of gas since 10 days ago, as does our van! We are definitely limiting our times out and combining trips in the same way we used to when gas was very expensive.
    We made muffins (from one of my mixes in a jar) and breakfast burritos https://pin.it/1uGn4VI and https://pin.it/2884GoU. This will take care of breakfasts for us for most of the week. I spent about an hour from the time I started making muffin batter and cooking sausage and scrambled eggs to the time I had 20 muffins and 20 burritos made! I felt like it was worth my time and definitely saved some money!
    It was a friend’s birthday yesterday- young couple- and I wanted to do something to let her know we were thinking of her so I made these: https://pin.it/4ldX8eO. Here’s the recipe : https://pin.it/n1XllQO. I had all the ingredients in my food storage!
    We are healthy here and feeling like our situation is so much easier than so many others. Hope all of you are finding ways to find joy and comfort in these unsettling times!
    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Gardenpat – no one could think you are lazy or cheap -467 masks made is wonderful. I’m full of admiration.

    2. GardenPat, I like to joke that I farm large. I have 36 square feet under management.

      I live in central Illinois, in a college town, and work at an insurance company that insures farmers. People get a giggle out of my little farm; many of them own 1500 acres or more in their families.

    3. Hi Pat,

      I envy you your old windows. I’ve read that original windows are actually much better made than the new ones and can last, as your have, for more than a hundred years while the vinyl ones will degrade rapidly. Apparently you can retrofit old windows to be just as energy efficient:


      “Mr. Aldridge stressed that retaining the original windows may add value to the property. “As it becomes increasingly rare for hundred-year-old homes to have the original windows, it only becomes a more desirable feature,” he said. “I have clients who have bought houses because they had the original windows, in good condition. That’s one of the features of the house that they definitely want to keep.”

    4. I started a worm compost bin in March. Mine is in an old plastic tub we had in the garage. It’s been a great way to repurpose kitchen scraps, and it’s been fun to work on the worm bin with my kids. I’m going to harvest some of the finished compost next week. Good luck to your husband as he gets the worm condo started!

  10. I also enjoy Call the Midwife, so much so that I have previously checked out dvd’s from my library to watch multiple episodes. I’m missing the library during this time and look forward to it reopening. I’ve been “reinventing” my life for post-covid and the library is one of the things I intend to retain. This time has been a positive for me to re-evaluate and re-focus my time and energies. I’m grateful for this time, but saddened it took such an awful event to gain my attention.
    Another new baby in my life! A former co-worker and friend have a darling new daughter. I was able to pull from my supplies to create a blanket and burp cloth, so no trip to the store needed. The bonus was that I purchased the fabric at a discount quite some time ago. Time spent crocheting is therapeutic for me; there’s something about fabric and yarn.
    Today is my “bake like crazy” day. So far I’ve made a double batch of cookies and loaf of bread. Next up is a pan of rolls. Muffins will come into the mix also. I’ve got a pork roast cooked up, waiting to be made into smothered burritos. I’ll share all of those things with a friend who is starting a clinical trial to treat her breast cancer. This has been a tough journey for her and she never complains, just counts her blessings. She has four boys who really appreciate my cooking and baking so I’m happy I can share. It does my grandma heart good when I see them dig into a roll and sigh with contentment. Thanks to my parents for practicing food storage all of my growing up years so I could learn from them. It has blessed my life in countless ways.
    I’ve got a few veggies planted in pots in the front yard; they’ve all sprouted. The weather is nice so it’s time to get the planter boxes in the back yard tilled up and planted. I’m hoping for a productive garden this season. I purchased both wide mouth and regular mouth canning lids when I found them at my store. I have lots of empty bottles I hope to fill. My plans this week include organizing my canning supplies that are stored in my garage so they are ready to go when the harvest begins. That will hopefully make it smoother and faster to process food.
    Thank you, Brandy, for sharing your ideas, plans, and successes; reading these things encourages me to keep on trying.
    Have a wonderful and healthy week everyone!

    1. Jerri,

      If you haven’t watched this weeks episode of Call the Midwife, be sure to have tissues handy. It’s a tearjerker! :'( Made me feel all the feels 🙁

  11. *I had a wonderful surprise. Our grocery is doing monopoly and I got a instant win of $50. I also picked $25 grocery gift card with their online points. And on the board game I matched $5000 groceries! I was giddy! I’m not sure I spend that much in a year. But then it took 4 trips to 3 stores before finding someone who knew how to apply for it. I understand because the store had been crazy this year. One store had missed placed the paperwork. Plus I don’t think many people are playing because I’ve had to ask for tickets each time. Now I waiting until it’s verified, maybe a month. Though I have faith everything will work fine. Anyone else been playing monopoly?
    *I received $35 from my insurance, 25% back on my credit card.
    *Bought a iPad to do once a month Dr appointment. Was able to use gift cards, rebate from my electric company and credit card points, making it $100 out of pocket. This was the easiest solution and I worked to make it as frugal as possible.
    *I not sure what is going to happen with my job. So I’ve really been looking into what I’ll need to retire. I hope to go back to work but it nice to have a plan.

    1. Congratulations!

      I ended up throwing away the board this year as I figured we weren’t going back to the store anytime soon. That is so wonderful! I am very happy for you!

      1. I played monopoly too.,but didn’t do as well as you. I won $5 cash and some good instant wins this year,. It’s fun to hear that someone I know sort of won

        1. I had told sonny I didn’t believed people really won these things. I mainly enjoyed it for the free products. It is fun opening those tickets, I’m easily entertained.lol

    2. My goodness! Yes, we played Monopoly, but not with those results:). I’m happy for you. My 15-year-old daughter took over the Monopoly this time. I downloaded my Just4U app and the Monopoly app connected to my account onto her phone so she could play for the family. I’m not sure she even tried to match the little pictures to the game board, but instead chose to enter things into the on-line game and use the instant win tickets. I had no expectations, so let her do whatever she wanted.

      We’ve had the opposite experience with tickets. We have been given huge handfuls every time we go to the store. I went a couple of times over these past few weeks, and my husband and daughter have been in there a couple of times as well. Each time, other customers in line did not want to mess with it, and gave their tickets to my daughter or me, and we got tickets from the cashier and extra tickets as a prize sometimes. I noticed the cashier would hand the customer their tickets and have them hand them to us. It’s probably procedure.

      We have won numerous free grocery items such as pasta, French bread, donuts, pan spray, sour cream, tin foil, a box of frozen waffles,
      gummy bears, cans of veggies, etc. I’m delighted. Some of those items were instant wins when she entered the codes in on her phone, some were the instant win tickets, and some were because we got points that we could redeem for rewards or items.. We qualified for a $25 gift card from Safeway and a $15 card from what they said was Fandango. But, when we got in there to redeem it, it could also be for Visa, so we took that. I’ve bought her needed items, such as a 1/2 slip, and wanted items, such as letting her choose the shape of pasta she wanted, or the free gummy bears during a “party” of decorated ice cream one day, because she had done all the work. I happily have added the grocery items to my pantry or fridge. Most of this was done several weeks ago, when I was stocking up right at the beginning of the shut-downs, but even going only every-other-week has gained us several free items because of the extra tickets we were given. I’m sure those people did not know how much of a blessing their gift was to us.

      I do have to confess that 2 trips were made in the same day, though. I forgot something really important. But….such is life!

      Enjoy all those free groceries!

      1. We didn’t get as many free products this year as in the past. It’s mostly been online codes or coupons. I’m very thankful about this. Yesterday evening the company managing the contest called and confirmed the win. Since it’s a strange year they will FedEx the prize instead of having to pick it up. Should come Monday. Woohoo!

    3. Congratulations! I’ve always wanted to hear first hand of one of the big winners. We have played and gladly redeemed the free canned fruit, vegetables and tomatoes, bread, bagels in the 6 pack sleeve, several cans of canola oil and coconut oil spray, aluminum foil, facial tissues, lip balm, animal crackers and gummy worms. We like you were the recipient of lots of tickets that others didn’t want to use or take the time to play. I am thrilled at the blessing your fortune will bring to your family.

      1. It really is a blessing for our family. I’m looking at it as an opportunity to save the money normally spent on groceries for other needs.

    4. I totally agree. I had tears streaming down my face with this past episode. What a fantastic show about what true joy and contentment really are in spite of life’s ups and downs. I look forward to Sunday evenings.

  12. My eldest son went on his first turkey hunt and got a wild turkey. We ate one breast for two meals and ground the rest and put it in the freezer for tacos and pasta sauce and anything else you would use ground meat for. We have gotten each of our three children a lifetime hunting and fishing license for Maine before they turn 6 so they will be able to hunt and fish here for the rest of their lives. It is well worth it if your family hunts and fishes, right now it costs an adult $69 a year for hunting, fishing and archery licenses and the lifetime license is $500. We will get most of the meat for our freezer this year from hunting. We have also ordered meat chickens that we will be growing with another family down the road from us as well – roasted chickens are just so yummy. We got a deer that had been hit by a car to put in the freezer. My husband butchers the animals himself and is teaching our children to do the same as it is much less expensive to take care of it ourselves. Even though we weren’t planning to have a garden this year, we have changed our plans and ramped up our plans for the garden area so we can grow lots of winter squash in an area that doesn’t have enough soil for root veggies, but does have enough for squash plants. I planted seeds in our current garden area for chard, lettuce, kale, peas and scallions. We have been getting lots of chives and our rhubarb, which I thought had all died due to having to put in a new septic system last year, has come back with a vengeance, our strawberries and asparagus are looking great as well. I am excited about the garden area as last year we didn’t have much of a garden and it was a little sad for me.

    I love reading what everyone else is doing to save money, there are always so many good ideas!

    1. I am in awe of the low cost of hunting licenses there! That’s amazing! Very different from here.

      1. Brandy,
        I live in Louisiana and it is the same here. Actually if you purchase a child a license before the age of 2, it is just a few hundred dollars(I think we paid less than $300 per child) and you can also include lifetime fishing very reasonably . When the child is around 10-12 they can take their hunters Ed course and they are set for life. A federal duck stamp is required when they get of age each year if they chose to duck hunt. Unless it is a steak or occasional roast we do not purchase beef, instead we choose to harvest venison, we require at least 3 Whitetail deer annually.

        1. My grandson was gifted lifetime hunting and fishing licenses as an infant from my husband who is his Papa (Maternal) and his Poppy (Paternal). We went in halves, both sides of the family hunt and fish. We camp all of hunting season and fish year round, he’s gone since he was tiny. He will be 7 in July and enjoys going with his Daddy and both grandfathers hunting and fishing. If I remember it cost around $300 – $350 total.

    2. Congratulations on his first turkey!!!! They eluded my eldest son this year. He could not call them close enough. It really is an awesome accomplishment.

  13. Happy Birthday to your sweet little one! I have artichoke envy :o). I can’t seem to keep any alive for long. Last week, I cut flowers for the house. Seeds were planted for lettuce, parsley and sweet peppers. I noticed this morning that some of the previous round of parsley is finally germinating. With the plants I have bolting, I was worried I wouldn’t have parsley this summer. I researched what to do with swiss chard stems, and found a blog post with 8 ideas. I don’t enjoy them so much in with the leaves, but look forward to trying some of these ideas. A new recipe for shortbread was tried, and 1/2 cup of our hazelnuts were shelled for it. I separated beets that had more than one plant germinate, and transplanted the extras. I came face to face with a coyote on my morning walk, which was pretty special. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2020/05/may-days-frugal-accomplishments.html

  14. I always enjoy reading what you fed your family this week, as it gives me ideas for things I might like to try.
    We were able to get over a cord of firewood from a local ranch that was cutting trees. It was a lot of work to carry and load the wood, but it was all cut into stove lengths, so all we will have to do is split and stack it.
    My potholders were looking pretty shabby, so I made some new patchwork ones, using small scraps of fabric. I made a few extra and put them in my gift drawer. I think I may pair them with some hand-knit dish rags and little jars of herbs I grow.
    We decided to use part of our stimulus money to build up our supplies – which we have been eating through during the past two months. I finally got everything we had ordered a couple of weeks ago from Costco (we do not have Costco or Sam’s near us.) The local Home Depot finally restocked their food-grade buckets and gamma lids, so I was able to order those for curbside pickup, along with blood meal and bone meal for the garden. I highly recommend using Home Depot’s curbside pickup. We pulled up and within five minutes someone loaded our order in the car and we were on our way. Meanwhile, there was a very long line of people waiting to be let into the store.
    I was able to get two pounds of yeast for a reasonable price on Amazon. I took an inventory and made a list of things I want to increase supplies of and each grocery order I add a couple of items. I plan to visit our local Mennonite store next week and hope to purchase some more bulk grains. Finally, I put in an order with a bison ranch I usually order from twice a year. They sent an email saying their stocks were low and since they only harvest in the fall, I went ahead and ordered. It will be two weeks before it ships, since they have been inundated with orders, but it will feel good to have some extra in the freezer. The meat is not cheap, but that means we use less of it per meal, which is good for us and our budget.
    I made a lovely card for my mother-in-law for Mother’s day.
    We are harvesting lettuce, arugula, radishes, and green onions from the garden. Most of the seeds I planted last week have come up, though still no sign of peas.

  15. We’ve been eating fresh green beans quite a bit as we have had a really good harvest this year. The tomatoes are ripening a little slower; I’m really hoping the Roma tomatoes take off – they are my favorite to store for future use in lasagna and other dishes. Your pizza last week reminded me of a recipe I tried a few weeks ago. I needed to use leftover chicken from fajitas, so I made an Alfredo sauce (I cooked it a little longer to thicken it up), then topped it with fresh spinach, chicken, and mozzarella on a homemade pizza crust. It was a hit with my husband.

    My youngest son just completed his college requirements last week in civil engineering. We are so excited for him! And, thanks to his diligence he was offered a job last semester and will start in August. I’m very thankful he isn’t needing to apply for jobs right now with so many other people out of work that he would be competing with (most likely others would have job experience he doesn’t yet have). We were able to cancel the hotel reservation and get our money back as graduation exercises are canceled; he’ll have a chance to walk in an upcoming ceremony. He had a friend take graduation pictures on campus. It’s obvious that the friend isn’t a professional photographer as far as lighting and such technicalities, but the pictures themselves capture C’s personality so well it’s easy for me to accept the candidness. The friend did it for fun too and not as paid work. They won’t be living in the same city after next week, so the outing became a good memory for them.

  16. I continue to learn so much and glean inspiration from these weekly posts. Thanks Brandy and those who comment from all over the world!

    Lockdown continues here in South Africa. We are awaiting clarity on one of the stipulations for the industry my husband works in, but there is a chance right now that we will lose 100% of our income for several months. We are not entitled to any unemployment benefits (my husband is self employed) nor are we entitled to the very small amount of business assistance available from our government.

    Here is what we are doing to save money:
    – I’ve been working with the children to plant food. Like Brandy, I’m experimenting with growing more intensively to maximize the small amount of space we have. We actually have a huge yard but our two puppies get into everything, so I’m left with a small, enclosed grow-tunnel and am trying to really make the most of that. We’re growing what will go far in our meals: leaf lettuce, salad onions, celery, Swiss chard, cabbages and kale, herbs, green beans. We are getting lemons and grapefruit from our trees.
    -I’ve become a clothes-making machine using yarn and fabric on hand to meet all our winter clothing needs with the exception of socks and shoes. I’m thankful for all the items I stored away whenever someone passed on clothing to me, and took my youngest daughter “shopping” in our storage shed last weekend! Our older children, my husband and I aren’t in need of anything new except socks, and I’ve creatively mended or lengthened a few other items for the younger children to extend the wear from last winter through this next cold season.
    -Our youngest turned 1 last week. I made him a gift, helped the other children make him cards and gifts, my husband baked him a cake and I cooked his favorite meal for dinner. We all agreed it was one of the nicest birthdays we’ve ever celebrated in our family, and believe that because of the lockdown, we were forced to be creative and intentional, and this made it really beautiful.
    -I’ve been saving water from the bath to flush the toilet, and when using the hot tap we catch any cold water first in a tub and that goes onto the potted plants.
    -We are very strict about saving electricity whenever we can. We make a point of speaking our thoughts out loud whenever we do something to conserve energy, thus teaching our children as we go.
    -We are using up odd bits of food as snacks or in meals even if they seem unusual.
    -I’m stretching meat-based meals like spaghetti sauce, curries and stews with loads of vegetables and lentils.
    -Salons aren’t open. This means we’re all cutting hair ourselves!

    We are sure living in interesting times. I’m glad for this support of this online community.

    1. Tracy, I’ve been wondering (and concerned for you) how you were going to make due with winter clothing for your children. Are you permitted to order socks online or any clothing online there?

      I love hearing about your water savings; water has been so precious there recently.

      I am very happy to hear about your grow tunnel that will help take you through the winter. It sounds like you are definitely making the most of your space. I hope you can add more growing space in the future and perhaps fence it off from your dogs.

      The self-employed are having a hard time of it in most of the world right now. As both of us are self-employed and I grew up with self-employed parents, I know how hard it is. The loans that are being offered in many countries are not really much of a help (pretty much no help) and some countries have nothing for the self-employed.

      I’m glad you have food. I pray that your garden grows well for you.

      1. Thanks Brandy. We are able to purchase winter clothing online and from certain stores now. Many stores are running sales because they need to make money, so I’m trying to find quality options at reduced prices. Fortunately that really is all we are needing. I have already sewed several items for the boys as well as knitted a two sweaters and a jacket for the baby, and new scarves for me and the older girls.
        Our pantry is well stocked and I’ve reworked meal plans to economize more than before. I’m also so very thankful for the money we have saved. It won’t last forever but the last time we faced reduced income we didn’t have savings and still had a mortgage and some debt. Thank you again for all your help. You feel like a friend after all these years.

    2. I love the idea that you say it out loud when you do something to save money, so that your children will learn from you. I am a great believer in “teachable moments.” I don’t think I realized quite how much I talk about teachable moments until one of our foster children who lived with us until he could emancipate, once told me something and when I opened my mouth to comment, he said, “Could you please just listen to me and not make this a teachable moment?” I laughed and congratulated him for giving ME a teachable moment about appropriate times to keep my mouth shut and just listen! He would love to know how often I have used his advice over the years since then.

  17. Nice picture of the birthday boy! (Nice fingernails, too…I can tell he has older sisters with lots of nail polish, LOL).

    We are still holed up at home, although our state (Idaho) has begun reopening on a gradual basis (I just haven’t been anywhere yet). This was our week–

    * I play the credit card game to amass frequent flyer miles. Last year I got a CC to protect about 100,000 miles that were close to expiring and to get a 60,000 mile signing bonus. The card came up for renewal and I cancelled to save the $75 annual fee. I have been a very good customer–I charge nearly everything and pay in full at the end of the month–but at renewal time, my loyalty expires along with the card.
    * I worked some stain removal magic on a hand towel. It took a few tries, and I had my doubts, but I got it out! I sewed a button on a pair of my husband’s pants. Mending and stain removal are two of my best cheap tricks.
    * I ordered $80 worth of OTC products at no extra cost through two of our Medicare Advantage plans. The quarterly  benefit is $40 and between us, we have 3 eligible policies. (You don’t really get that much for $80 because the prices are greatly inflated…but it’s still a nice perk that adds up).
    * I was given half a feed bag of chicken you-know-what! Woo-hoo! The volunteer beets are doing splendidly and we will have an early crop. I’m still 2-3 weeks away from planting anything in the garden.

    1. He just learned all his colors! He asked his sisters to paint his nails and they painted each nail a different color twice last week. He learned the color “gold” in the process. He kept saying that his older sister painted his nails. Then he would follow it up with, “That was really nice of her.” It made me giggle every time.

  18. Happy Monday! It has been quite a good week, all things considered. We were lucky again to get five days of breakfasts and lunches from my son’s school. They have switched from giving the small (1%) milk cartons to half gallon jugs of non fat milk, which is what our family prefers. I also like that I’m not loading up the garbage can with the small cartons. Had a zoom cocktail hour with my cousin and her family. She also shared her hulu account info with us. We now have access to Hulu, Disney + and Netflix through the generosity of others. I am looking forward to canceling our cable serve in a few months when our contract is up. We are concentrating on going through each room in our house and going through all our stuff. What we haven’t used in over a year and/or things we don’t need, go in the donation pile for the Goodwill. The Goodwill stores are closed here but the one of the main ones still has a donation drop off open. We dropped off a huge load of donations and have two more to go. Our next door neighbor gave us a dozen lemons when he was cutting his tree. Another neighbor gave us a dozen regular lemons when cutting their tree. We will use a combination of the two types to make lemonade. A close friend gave us two frozen vegan pot pies; she was cleaning out her freezer because she needed space. I had one one day for lunch. While not my favorite, they actually weren’t bad and the price was right! My mother in law went to Costco and found wipes & cans of disinfecting spray. She split both packages with us. We are now quite set for these types of supplies for several months. As a family, we also talked about needs v. wants. If we were to run out of something, we would just make do without until our scheduled day to go to the store. In the past, we most likely would have made a quick trip to the store. Ever since we got married, my husband has been wanting a pasta making attachment for our kitchen aid mixer. I have priced this and even when on sale, the good ones are a few hundred dollars. This has never been our budget, let alone now. Well, I was looking at our neighborhood website and a neighbor was selling hers. New in the box for $50! I contacted her immediately! She even offered to drop it off. I am going to save it for a Father’s Day present for my husband. With permission, I gleaned the cuttings of our neighbor’s loquat tree. He is in process of trimming it. We collected to large bowls of loquats for my son to enjoy. I saw in an above post about someone writing down five good things that happen each day. I love this idea and I am going to start doing this 🙂 We pulled out a huge train set that my godmother had passed onto us when her grandson out grew it. My son has been playing with it nonstop.

  19. It has felt like we have been bleeding money so this week I kept a list of some of my savings. It was encouraging to see that I have at least made some made progress. There are no good coupons available, sales at the stores are worthless since they are either limited quantities or not available and prices continue to go up. I have managed some money-saving in spite of the difficulties.
    *Earned $.70 off gas from points earned at Kroger. My oldest son shares my card so I use his points. In return, I load up coupons for items I know he will purchase. (He forgets to use coupons even if I put them in his wallet between the dollar bills.) We earned so many points because it was when we were stocking up before being locked down. We paid $.45 for a gallon of gas!!!!!!! Woohoo! I have never paid that amount in my life. We took selfies in front of the total and sent it to my non-frugal friends. The downside was that my car tank was still half full since we aren’t driving. We emptied our extra gas cans into the lawnmowers, tiller, and Dustin’s car but still didn’t have enough storage to purchase the 40 gallon total that was allowed.
    *Since gas was so cheap, we decided to visit a larger town (100,000 inhabitants) 50 miles from us to see if their grocery stores were better stocked than those in my small town. Nope. They weren’t. We checked out Kroger, Save-a-lot, and Aldi’s. Still no toilet paper, bread yeast, or sunflower oil. I did find apple cider vinegar which will be needed for canning this summer. I’m still not out of anything, I just want to make sure I have enough. It wasn’t worth the drive, even at $.45 per gallon.
    *I did find bananas on clearance for $.38 and bought all of them. They are in the dehydrator.
    *I found a 50-pound box of potatoes for $16.00 at Save-a-Lot. They are obviously last year’s potatoes since some are beginning to sprout a tiny bit. It will be impossible to eat them before they start going bad so I plan on canning some of them for casseroles, freezing some for fries in the air fryer, and dehydrating some in slices to make au-gratin. If they do sprout, I might try planting them in the garden.
    *Canned two batches of soup, pinto beans, and pulled pork.
    *The garden is producing all the lettuce, greens, and onions we can eat
    BIG MAJOR EPIC FAIL: Another bad storm smashed middle Tennessee yesterday and this time we lost about 8 shingles (looks like it is time for a new roof), my seedlings on the front porch were thrown out into the front yard and our power was out a while. We ate all of the ice cream in the freezer by candlelight for supper. Sometimes you have to make the best of a bad situation and it seems we are doing quite a bit of that now.

    1. Hi…check with your insurance company on the roof damage…you may get something towards a new roof.

      1. Laura S, I suggested this to my husband and he called our insurance company. The roof is 21 years old and it is a 20-year roof. They pro-rate it so after we pay the $500 deductible, and lose our $100 a year good customer discount, we are better off paying for it ourselves, The roofer stopped by today and the estimate is about $4,000. Oh well. A roof over our heads is a necessity.

    2. Jeannie—
      So sorry about your roof! We have had several similar storms here in Chattanooga, even after our Easter day tornadoes. We even lost our power again, after having JUST gotten it restored from the tornado. I would disagree with you on the storm being a “fail” though. Expensive, yes, but NOT a fail on your frugalness at all. Actually quite the opposite. It is because you have been so successfully frugal, that you are able to manage to get through times like this. Literally “ weathering the storm,” in this case! Prayers for your familyM hugs!

  20. Those artichokes are beautiful! I can’t remember the last time I saw an artichoke that size for less than $1.49, and we live less than two hours from “The Artichoke Center of the World!” Trying to keep the grocery spending in check, but I feel like prices are rising. At least the sales are coming back a bit in the grocery store. I cut a pair of leggings down to shorts today.

  21. We were gifted 3 boxes of food mostly containing pantry items. In it we were given bags of mashed potatoes so I made shepherd’s pie.
    I made 2 batches of granola. I am substituting almond extract as I cannot afford to purchase vanilla.
    I bought a case of go-gurts typically sold by McDonald’s at the Mennonite store. They are good fresh or frozen.
    I bought and planted a cherry tree. Hope it helps with the older tree.
    I tried two new recipes a mexican pork and green chili rice cassarole and honey bun cake. Both were a hit.
    I bought herb seeds and am sowing them near my house. I’ve never tried this before.
    My rhubarb and asparagus are coming up!
    I had frozen raspberries and made a raspberry rhubarb pie. I loved it more than the strawberry rhubarb I usually make.
    Trying to keep the children on task with school.
    Getting a glut of chicken eggs. We are eating a lot of scrambled eggs and frittatas!
    We raise chickens for 4-H and I have a lot of chickens. I’m thinking of starting wheat grass and mealworms to cut down on feed costs.
    Husband is back to work and feeling better. Hopeful that no one else gets sick.
    Grateful that I have so many blessings. I know this pandemic has caused much hardship for so many.

    1. Hello. I was having the same problem with the vanilla price. I made my own. Even buying organic vanilla beans, I will still save over $300.00! All I did was split the beans and put them in vodka. 1 1/2 beans per 4 oz. vodka. Store in dark bottles, shaking about once a week. Ready in two months and smells heavenly.

      1. I made a batch in vodka and then read someone that makes it in run that said it is a little sweeter. So I made a batch in rum. It was the best tasting vanilla I have ever had. I had ordered an er bottles and done the batches 2 years ago and gave them with embroidered kitchen towels as friendship/hostess gifts at Christmas. I still have extra bottles so I just gave one to a family friend and her son. He had dug up all his day lilies so she called and asked if I wanted them.I got a full.lawn size bag of day lilies and took them the vanilla each as a thank you. It makes a great little thank you gift.

  22. What a sweet boy! And beautiful photos, as always. I feel for you with your temperatures going up. That is challenging weather.

    I have continued to work in the garden, as it seems so many are. I have harvested swiss chard, arugula and kale. My other plants are doing well. I drove a good distance for a doctor’s appointment, and visited my parents who live near to that. We sat outside, apart. It was a precious visit. I also got several plant ‘starts’ that my mother had kept for me. Rosemary, borage, valerian, blackberries, euphorbia, lamb’s ear. I have planted them all.
    I bought 3 tomato plants at the community garden. I took the lower leaves off in order to plant them deeply (they like this). I put the leaves that I removed in a glass of water. Two of them have developed roots. So now I have 2 more plants for free!!

    I had a baking marathon yesterday. I cooked bacon for lunch. As soon as the bacon was done I had gluten-free sourdough bread ready to put in the oven, and when that came out, chocolate cake and gluten-free scones were ready to go in. Now we are set for a while!

    My biggest accomplishment this week was opening the Etsy shop that I have dreamed about for the last few years. I love to sew and to repurpose fabric. My family could use a bit of extra income and this is something that I CAN do. There are many things that I cannot do because of autoimmune disease and chronic fatigue. It’s just a beginning for me. I will continue to stock it and improve it, but it’s a start. You have inspired me, Brandy, your blog is truly beautiful and you often mention things you are learning to improve your photography business and your blog. Thank you.

      1. My shop name is FabricSpeaks. If you scroll down nearer the bottom of my shop page, you can read the story behind my shop name!


        I sold two items yesterday, so I am busy sewing today to put a couple more things in. As I said, it’s just the beginning. The more views and ‘likes’ my shop gets, the quicker it will come up in a search. I am sewing some kids swim/beach bags right now, with denim (repurposed) on the outside, and super cute fish fabric on the inside. So stay tuned for those!

          1. Thank you! I appreciate you looking in on it. In some way it’s a good time for me to dive in since other distractions are less. Happy things to look at are always a good thing!

        1. Kara, I took a look at your shop. Your inventory selection is great. I’m in need of new potholders, so if you add any to your stock, please let me know!

  23. Thank you so much for this positive community. We live about forty minutes away from either Sam’s or Costco. I keep my membership at Costco to help with feeding a large family. The past two months have been very stressful for shopping. We realized that we were out of a medication for one of my daughters on Saturday. My husband who realized how stressed a Costco trip was for me offered to go alone. It was an awesome trip because I text him the items we needed as I checked the pantry. He would text me a picture to ask about the size. He was very surprised to purchase a 50lb. bag of rice! Using this method, he have restocked our pantry. I am going to purchase some additional beef tomorrow from a local butcher. The plan is then to leave out of our freezers and pantry including the garden until I return to work in the fall at the school system. Thank you everyone for your ideas and support!

  24. Hi Brandy. Costco is controlling how many people can be in the store at any given time. I’ve heard people say they are in and out in minutes. No waiting at the register.

    I started my vegetable garden. My trees got so big I was challenged to grow food, so I had several trimmed to open up light. I planted tomato and pepper plants. I am adding a raised bed this week using wood I already have for the vertical pieces. I purchased a 4×4 and cut it into sections for the corner posts. I have seeds. I will sow lettuce, spinach, onions, carrots, radishes, Swiss chard, kohlrabi, cauliflower in the bed. In a different part of the garden, I am building bamboo teepees for beans, and sowing cucumbers and zucchini in cages to produce a better yield. I don’t have much luck with fruit in my garden, except currants which have flowered abundantly, and rhubarb. Some of my herbs have come back. I will sow some seeds for others.

    We are doing what I call ingredient rationing. This is simply being careful not to use too many extras into any one meal. Probably should have done this before. We’re getting creative with cooking to use what we have and what we can get. I’m immuno compromised so I’m trying to stay home. I’m able to work from home with no problems. I have been getting grocery deliveries for safety. I plan ahead so we don’t run out of the basics like milk or onions. I also planned ahead for household supplies like cleaning products and paper goods so no panic buying.

    I’ve negotiated with some service providers like the gutter cleaner. They’ve been calling to drum up business offering discounts. I typically need my gutters cleaned in June after the maples release their seed pods, and was able to make an appointment with the discount.

    I’ve put out things like toilet paper and hand sanitizer for my the postal carrier and UPS guy.

    1. Pretty much everyone I know near me shops at Costco. My parents, who are not shopping for food except for online, have been out riding their bikes. They have seen lines wrapped around the building and an area marked off for the line that is there on other times when they were riding bikes at 5 a.m.

      I definitely had a faster shopping experience at Sam’s Club than before. They also have a shop and go app at Sam’s, where you can scan your own items and not have to use the registers at all. I think I will do that next time.

      1. I used Sam’s scan and go. It was great, we had two people shopping and grabbing items. The trip was fast, will definitely use it again. We had used the shop online and pick up but we couldn’t get everything we wanted that way. We also tried the concierge service, it was very nice. They took our list shopped for us and loaded the car. It was very fast, maybe 15 minutes.

  25. I have been ordering my groceries for home delivery but last week I went out to the Walmart “senior shopping hour” at 6 am on Tuesday and was very pleased. The store was quiet and I found one 25 pound bag of flour which I promptly loaded into my cart since I was running very low on flour. There were no smaller bags available at all. I also bought some fresh produce that I got to pick out myself…such a little thing but so rewarding. Other than that, I have been sewing and using up quite a bit of fabric I have had for a long time and finishing some old projects. I have wanted to make new cushions for some vintage rattan furniture I bought several years ago. I had all of the material and foam and batting already but ordered zippers and cording on line. I shortened a bathrobe I have had for several years but don’t wear often because it is just a bit too long and I am worried about tripping. I have baked several batches of “beer bread” using some old cans of beer someone brought for a party and left in my spare refrigerator. It’s really easy…3 cups of self rising flour, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and 12 ounces of beer. It smells pretty bad when you mix it up but tastes delicious. I also made a depression/whacky/war cake with no eggs or butter. I used 8 ounces of water with a teaspoon of instant coffee mixed in instead of just plain water and the flavor was much more choclately. My recipe only uses 3 tablespoons of baking cocoa. I cooked all my meals at home and had no wasted food except one piece of home made cornbread that I forgot about. Thank you to everyone who shares here for helping to keep me sane while I am home alone.

    1. Deb,

      Totally know what you mean picking your own produce. I did that today and it was so nice.
      I make the depression cake too with coffee (I use cold leftover) and agree it does make it more rich.
      Great minds think a like!

  26. Oh I love those ladybug cupcakes!!!

    We have been allowing ourselves a weekly outing to a hiking trail, avoiding busy state parks. We’ve hiked on so many unusual trails and nature preserves. It’s been a good break.

    Have done very little shopping of late, my husband is the one going to the store.

    I did use a 50% off for healthcare workers flyer for Papa Murphy’s and got 5 pizzas for $35. It was a good treat.

    Continuing to use my scrip orders to help offset some of school tuition.

    Doing a pantry/ fridge cleanout meal. Leftover cabbage went into a ramen salad (so much better than using coleslaw mix!). Used a package of lemon pudding (why I bought?) and leftover Graham crackers for pudding pie for dessert. Not sure what main dish is, that’s on my husband.

    Eating breakfast later when blood sugar allows lets me skip a mesal too, God willing that means weight loss someday!

    Camps are getting canceled so I am trying to find activities for my kids so not 10 more weeks of screen time. ? On hunt for Boy Scout virtual science activities and other hands on things they can do at home at a relatively low cost.

  27. I have walked 3 miles per day since lock down March 23. For April that equals 90 miles. Free exercise. I’m just starting on May. The gym I belong to is currently closed. Perhaps I should challenge myself to do 3 miles in AM & 3 miles in PM. We will see.
    Got several free Thank You meals from McDonalds for Health Care workers. A nice respite from my cooking. The Egg McMuffin is reasonably healthy.
    Made a universal casserole from the Tightwad Gazette recipes. Made a seafood version using a can of condensed crab soup, 8 oz of frozen Tilapia, left over celery, bell pepper, onion & some mayo. Was very tasty.
    Like others I have used little gas as I few places to drive.
    Got some good buys at the grocery salvage. 12 small oranges for 1 dollar, head of iceberg lettuce for .25 cents, bell peppers 4/1$, 54 oz of pasta sauce for 1$, 3 lbs of precooked hamburger patties for 3$, individual yogurt cups 4/1$. You never know what they will have. You just take a chance & go look.

  28. Deb, I may have to try that depression cake!

    I forgot one other thing. You can really regrow bok choy! I tried it on a whim after buying from a farm stand. Put end in water for a few days and it will sprout!! I moved the baby plants into our garden. Results TBD.

  29. My now 13yo would have loved those cupcakes when she was younger, she adored ladybugs!

    Not a windfall in being frugal around here, but a few savings.

    Redeemed my free food item for my birthday at a local gas station. I got one of their yummy banana nut muffins. I also had a free fountain drink so it made for a nice afternoon treat.

    Hubby got me a lotto scratcher and won $10 on it.

    Watched the play Frankenstein for free online

    My mom sent over chips and snack cakes she didn’t want

    Earned .25 from Checkout 51

    Walmart had packs of girls underwear marked down to $2-$5 a pack. I picked up 3 packs for my 13yo…one for now, one in the same size to save for fall, then another pack in the next size up. I paid $3 each pack.

    Rented a redbox movie using a .75 off code

    We received a dozen eggs from hubby’s boss. I sent him 3 empty egg cartons.

  30. This week hasn’t felt very frugal, but it wasn’t really un-frugal either. I think I might just be in a “funk”.
    -I was able to go grocery shopping. I, too, hadn’t been to a store since March. (Mid-march, I think) I’d had my husband pick things up several times, but that’s always more expensive in our family! When I went, I was looking for beef. I had seen some advertised for $2/lb and I’ve noticed a huge jump in the cost of beef recently here. Unfortunately, when I went, the beef was already sold out. It was at a discount/bent-&-dent store, so no rainchecks. I’ll continue to watch their Facebook page. I was happy to see some more reasonably priced fresh produce. Eggs were back to around $1/dozen, which was a nice surprise. Also, dollar tree had flour tortillas and Himalayan pink salt back in stock! And the stores had toilet paper! I still haven’t been able to get baby wipes, though.
    -I sold several items on eBay/etsy/poshmark. Things had been slow for my resale business, but it’s picking up now.
    On the not so frugal side, we had several unexpected expenses come up. We have also ordered a dining table (our current table is 3’x5′ for our family of 10). If we’d been able to predict the other expenses, we probably wouldn’t have purchased the table. Also, my husband had been temporarily laid off in the late fall and the temporary unemployment ran out. Because there are so many people waiting on unemployment, he’s been unable to contact them to reactivate his claim. I’m not sure if he’ll eventually get through or not. It’s been 2 weeks. We call up to 100 times per day hoping to get through. If he’s not able to get through, I’m thankful that we’re okay for now. We’ve been without an income before and we’ll get through again. Hopefully work will pick up soon!

  31. I wanted to share some info about buying meat directly from farmers since there are so many disruptions in the supply chains. I grew up on a small family farm. I wanted to share some of the terminology in case that would help any of you. I have bought beef directly from a farmer for many years. Sometimes I’m able to get pork and chicken.

    Recently my brother received a call from the butcher he has used for pork (in Washington State). This is a small butcher shop that serves local farmers. The butcher wondered if he could use a pork. My brother said yes. He then asked if he could use two, but brother didn’t have freezer space for it. My brother mentioned it to one of my sisters so now 4 more of my siblings have ordered a pig. (They all have adult married children that they will share with. My sister will drive up and get all of it. It’s an 11-hour drive, but they wanted to buy while it is available.

    I called the rancher that I buy beef from. Typically I order in the summer for fall delivery, but I’m glad that I called as he was almost sold out. (He requires 1/2 down.)

    If you live in the city, you might be able to contact a friend who lives in farm country or you could look up butchers in the surrounding area to you and see if they have any leads on meat.

    I had a friend that wanted to know about options. I called a farmer neighbor from my hometown. He has beef available. It would be a two-hour drive each way but it would be possible. Another friend checked with farmers in her area–about 1 1/2 hours from me. They all had animals that will be available. The bottleneck is that there are only a few small local butchers. The butcher in my small farm hometown is always backed up several months. The butcher in my local area is the same.

    Another option is to purchase a 4-H animal. A friend of my brother helps with the 4-H program in his area. When a child doesn’t have a buyer for his animal, my brother will get a call from his friend to see if they want to purchase it.

    If you do this, you need to be sure that you have freezer space. Freezers are very difficult to find to purchase.

    You need to understand the terminology. Typically farmers sell by hanging weight. This is the weight after an animal is butchered and includes the bones, fat and organ meats. The actual meat weight will be less. (I also have the bones and organ meats packaged and I use them.). Typically you will pay the butcher a separate fee. (Though sometimes a farmer will pay the butcher directly and include the cost with the overall cost.). Sometimes a farmer will sell on the “hoof.” A farmer should be able to tell you approximately how much actual meat weight you will have. (Different breeds of animals will have a different “hanging weight” versus “actual weight.)

    When you are comparing, you need to make sure that you know the approximately actual weight and whether or not the butcher price is included.

    I hope this is helpful. If you have questions, I’ll try to answer them. Because there are so many problems with processing plants, warehouses, etc., you may be able to get meat directly from the farmer. We are spoiled because we’ve done this for many years and I feel the quality of meat is so much better.

    I’ve frequently split meat with my siblings or my married children. It’s pretty easy to transport because the meat comes totally frozen. Sometimes you can just put it all in a cooler and it’ll be fine. If you have a long way to drive, you can add a couple of pounds of dry ice and it will stay frozen for a very long time.

    I appreciate all that I learn from all of you. I hope this helps.

  32. Most of last week was spent in the garden, in-between working and cooking and homeschool, of course. I was able to plant most of it. Pictures are on my blog: http://beckyathome.com. I picked my first lettuce today–a volunteer plant and some thinnings from what I planted. I found 4 volunteer radishes and picked those. Little cilantro plants are sprouting everywhere so I picked the tiny plants before my husband could till them over and we ate them. We also have been getting basil leaves now and then, and have been putting them into things I cook.

    We were given some food by my husband’s cousin. She belongs to a gleaners group, and has a garage and freezers full. She has more than enough, and wanted to share, especially gluten-free items and coffee pods, neither of which she regularly uses. One item was a fully-cooked, but totally frozen whole turkey. I picked the meat from the bones and made 7 quarts of broth, which I canned. We ate turkey, I made casseroles and sandwiches, and shared a bunch with my mom, aunt and sister. I didn’t want to re-freeze the turkey, so I made a huge, huge casserole for friends with 7 kids. Rob dropped it on her doorstep.

    Today’s lingering food items to use were millet flour, a few mini peppers my daughter brought over, and some pepperoni I’d had for many weeks (still unexpired). I made a gf pizza. I had to look on-line for a recipe, but I was happy with the crust. I also made some banana bread with the last 2 brown bananas plus a few frozen pieces saved from another time, some gluten-free flour I was given which is different from my usual kind, and a handful of walnuts that have been frozen for several years. It came out great! I’m determined to try to find creative ways to use things from my pantry just like everyone else right now. As everyone else is finding, prices are higher around here and supply is coming back, but still missing on many items.

    My husband did a Costco run for several relatives that should not be in the stores. He did wait in a long line, even at the handicapped/senior time last Thursday. He was there long before it opened. The line snaked around the building, and once he got in, it did take more than just a few minutes. They had most of what those people wanted and he grabbed a couple of things for us, as he was there. There was no frozen chicken at all. So, he couldn’t get that for them. There was no t.p. When he left, the line was still very long. Here, only 1 person can go in with each “group” (so not a group at all!) so it’s no use sending our daughter to help him lift things. On the other hand, my aunt and mom did a delivery from Costco today–got it on the same day, got everything they asked for including T.P., and a rotisserie chicken. So…..I think it depends on where you are as to how busy it is. I’m glad you have options, Brandy, and everyone. I’m sure things will resolve, but I think it’s going to take quite some time.

    I’m glad your little guy had such a nice birthday!

  33. Hi I have 10 kids, so I’ve got a decent list again this week. I made bulk hot cocoa mix on the cheap, harvested and hung garden herbs and have half to bless my sister, made tub/ tile cleaning paste with all natural ingredients I had at home, saved seeds from a grocery honeydew planted some then stored remaining, planted green onion roots from grocery, used cloth period pads, used steel safety razors shaving, was given tulips by my daughter which I planted, saved rose petals for a potpourri, purged old toys to bless another family, got some of your free homeschool book recommendations off kindle, used plain vinegar to clean windows, bought a food dehydrator to make use of food before it spoils, oiled my wood with linseed oil and vinegar mix to protect and make beautiful (piano, banisters, buffet, hutch, dining table, beds). My son accidentally damaged my aeonium plant, so I cut off all the branches and put them in potting soil to give to friends. But I am going to splurge and buy myself 100% cotton sheets from cotton made in the USA as a special treat and they should be heirloom quality. In the end I consider it a good investment.

  34. I had also bought some gifts ahead and I am so thankful I did as my husband has lost his job. We have re-tooled our budget and can make it on my income alone for now. My husband is looking at starting a small business so there is a silver lining. God is faithful! Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were lemon garlic shrimp with leftover rice and tossed salads, pesto crockpot chicken thighs with green beans and toasted everything bagels, pan-seared steak with roasted brussel sprouts and potatoes, mozzarella pasta with smoked sausage and tossed salads, grilled chicken with baked french fries, garlic parmesan flounder with jasmine rice and green beans and cornbread, grilled pork loin with corn, spaghetti with tossed salad and toasted everything bagels, ham tetrazini, grilled flat iron steak with mashed potatoes and green beans, meatloaf.
    *Walked most evenings with my husband for exercise and to de-stress. Also walked with a friend on several occasions (keeping distance between us).
    *Accepted 2 boxes of cereal and 3 lbs. of cheese from a coworker. Passed along a box of cereal and a pound of cheese to my SIL when she came over to borrow our metal detector. She lost her wedding rings in her yard while playing with the kids.
    *Paid a hospital bill in full and received 10% off. I had to ask for this.
    *Planted seeds in containers I already had. Bought a dwarf Elberta Peach tree and planted it.
    *Held a zoom meeting with our bible study group. I am not techie at all, but I found it pretty easy to use.
    *Renewed several prescriptions at once to save on trips and time at the store.
    *Colored and cut my own hair. Also cut my husband’s hair.
    *Pulled out spring decor for the flowerbeds.
    *Made hummingbird feed.
    *Wrapped 2 baby shower gifts using one large plastic gift bag that I cut in half. Will deliver these as there will be no showers.
    *Accepted fresh asparagus from a neighbor.
    *Baked my husband a double-layer chocolate cake for his birthday.
    *Purchased the last whole chicken for $.99/lb and 2 packs of blsl chicken breasts for $1.99/lb. Not great deals, but I am thankful for the somewhat normal prices.
    *Made a loaf of bread machine french bread. It was delicious!
    *My boss had a cow slaughtered. He and his family decided that the meat is “too beefy” for them. I accepted 6 lbs of ground beef from him. I believe he will be giving away more, too. It tastes good to us!

  35. Brandy I am really happy you have been able to harvest lots of lovely produce from your gardens and keep your going out shopping to a minimum. Sharing online orders with your mother and splitting delivery costs and tips is a great money saving tip and happy you have been able to reduce expenses further by getting a discount on your car insurance 🙂 .

    Our savings added up to $138.58 last week 🙂 .

    In the kitchen –
    – We cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    Deep cleaning –
    – I deep cleaned the outhouse inside with hot soapy water and gave it a final rinse with a disinfectant solution. I also did the same with the door inside and outside too.
    – DH damp dusted the entertainment unit in the lounge room and cleaned the television screen with glass cleaner.

    Purchases –
    – Bought 12 kiwi fruit on special at Coles for $4 saving $4.64 on prices elsewhere.
    – From Drakes supermarkets I purchased 4.38 kg of chicken legs on special including a global discount for $1.83 kg and 2 dozen extra large eggs saving $12.70 on usual prices elsewhere.
    – Purchased 2kg of beef mince for $7 kg and bananas on special for $2 kg at Woolworths saving $3 on usual prices.
    – We saved another $6 by buying specials and markdowns in our usual Woolworths grocery shop one markdown being 340g of fresh green beans for 0.49c which we blanched and froze for 2 meals for the two of us which we will add to other vegetables to steam.
    – I went to Bunnings to buy another jerry can to top up our fuel to higher levels and got the last one but it didn’t have a spout. I asked it they could do a better price for me and they gave me a huge $10 discount. We have plenty of fuel spouts here. These here are limited to 1 jerry can per transaction probably due to the cheap fuel prices and everyone buying more fuel to stock up.
    – Bought 2 RACQ Wish e-gift cards one for fuel saving 5% or $7.50 and another for groceries saving 5% or $5.50 on usual prices.
    – We upped our fuel storage by 5 jerry cans and filled another 2 we had used on low fuel prices for 87.9 c per litre saving $82.10 on usual prices.
    – We used our Woolworths Rewards card to save a further 4c per litre saving another $7.14.

    Trading –
    – I traded some saved broad bean seeds from our last gardens with our neighbour for a pumpkin he had grown.

    In the gardens –
    – Planted a 2 square metre garden bed with broad bean seeds saved from our last gardens.
    – DH weeded and mulched our garlic garden bed with dried grass clippings.
    – DH put up two garden trellises with metal star pickets and more recycled heavy duty chicken wire from our grapeyard enclosure demolition for our snow peas. We also tied the peas up with unused freezer ties to the trellis.
    – I weeded the potato and capsicum and tomato garden beds and mulched some of the capsicum plants.
    – We filled in more truck bog holes and put the final layer of soil to even the ground above where we laid the storm water pipes in the yard.

    Have a great week ahead everyone 🙂 .


  36. Last week, we ordered our side of beef for the coming year. Because of everything going on it won’t be ready until late July. We have enough in the freezer to get us through until then if we get creative.
    We used seeds that we have to plant more lettuce, onions, zucchini, and melons for the garden. We also got a few plants from friends who were splitting perennials.
    We cleaned out the shed and came up with quite a bit of leftover wood from past projects, so we are going to build a few raised bed gardens. We are going to fill them with free compost through a connection I made on FB marketplace.
    Even though it meant a long day out, we drove a county over to go to the Amish salvage stores for our once a month grocery trip. We were able to get laundry detergent for under $2/bottle, a 3mo supply of vitamins for the children for $2.50, and flour for 10 cents/lb.
    We ate our leftovers and didn’t let things go to waste.

  37. I love, love, love those pretzel ladybugs! So clever! Also, your roses are gorgeous (as is your son)!

    My frugal week:
    – Using the last of some homemade cherry pie filling, I made Shortcut Cherry Beignets (http://approachingfood.com/shortcut-cherry-beignets/). I used my pizza dough as a base, so it was surprisingly easy to make fancy beignets!
    – I reused the oil from my beignets to make French fries.
    – I made my grandmother’s giant meatball recipe (http://approachingfood.com/german-meatballs/), and used the leftover meatballs (made with veggie ‘meat’) to make sandwiches for me for my work lunches.
    – I baked brown butter chocolate chip toffee cookies using an egg and a yolk, and used the remaining egg white to make a batch of flourless chocolate chip cookies.
    – I cooked up a large batch of lentils and added taco seasoning. I used part to make lentil tacos one night, burritos another night, two lunches, and then froze the rest for an easy dinner another night.
    – I used the last of an old bottle of wine to make a chocolate and red wine snack cake. I used whole wheat flour, as I’m running low on white flour.
    – I used some saved fabric ribbon to replace a strap on a surgical jacket for my workplace, I hand-sewed some tears in my uniform sweater, and I sewed up a few holes in a pair of pants.
    – I brought home a brand-new canister from my work (a freebie from a supplier) that wasn’t being used, and turned it into a flour canister.
    – I had an organic potato that was sprouting so I cut it into pieces and planted it on my balcony. Can’t hurt, might grow potatoes!
    – I made Brandy’s swiss chard soup.
    – Thanks to the advice of other commenters last week, I sautéed the radish greens I had, instead of throwing them out. Delish!
    – I sent away for free seeds from a cereal box promo.
    – I cleaned my bathtub using a homemade citrus scrub (dried powdered clementine peels with baking soda).
    – I sent hugs in the mail to my mom from my daughter as a mother’s day card. I had my daughter draw on a piece of paper, then I traced her hands on some brightly coloured paper, and attached the hands to some folded papers, then glued it to the drawing and folded it in hand. When my mom opens it, the hands will pop out to give a hug! I had everything I needed at home, including the stamp.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone!

    1. I’m going to try lentil tacos. I love lentils and taco seasoning and tacos in general, so it sounds like a good fit for me!

      1. Lentil tacos are really delicious! Brandy has a great recipe on her site, and so does Becky. But if I’m in a hurry, I just mix lentils and homemade taco seasoning together and I’m good to go! My toddler daughter enjoys the taco-seasoned lentils, and I enjoy that I know exactly what went into that spice mix. 🙂

  38. I had about a half pound of roasted lamb that was given to me and I froze. I used it to make Irish Stew, adding quite a few vegetables and potatoes. It stretched to 8 servings. I made Master Mix, the baking mix in the American Heart Assn. Cookbook. I used this to make whole wheat waffles and whole wheat biscuits a number of times. When I made up batter, I froze the waffles and biscuits to use one at a time. I had some spinach that was approaching maturity in the refrigerator so I made Rustic Tortellini Soup, again with lots of veggies. I froze the extra servings since it made 12. I love to eat a baked potato with melted cheese as my main dish with salad and a vegetable. This week I also ate New England Baked Beans that I made with a small amount of turkey sausage and froze in single servings.

    Here is Wyoming some businesses are reopening. My gym reopened today with some pretty strict requirements.. I might get up the nerve to try it in the middle of the day tomorrow. I have walked my 10,000 steps every day while we have been staying home.

    I finished the coverlet/duvet cover that I made out of old jeans and some other scavenged fabric in a patchwork design. I used an old curtain (nice fabric in good shape, just from different décor) and other fabric scraps to sew reversible placemats. reversible chefs aprons and some bandanas requested by DD. Since I am having a “No Buy” year, I only use the materials I have here, but I have started taking things apart – such as unraveling yarn from a hat and scarf I didn’t like and reusing it for other projects.

  39. The local doctors are only working two days a week. I am not sure whether they have cut back their service due to contract disputes with the government, or whether they are helping out in overburdened long-term care facilities, or in other communities where the doctors have quit, or whether it is just difficult to get locums. In any case, to get a prescription renewed, we now get the pharmacy to fax the doctors’ office, who faxes it back to the pharmacy. In normal times this costs extra, but not at this point. It also saves a half hour waiting in the doctors’ office, and 20 minutes or so waiting at the pharmacy. Prescriptions now have to be filled every 30 days rather every 90, which adds to the dispensing cost. They tell us it is to make sure there is no run on any medications, though it does provide extra income to pharmacies (and extra work). To offset this, I went to the pharmacy on seniors’ day, and saved 20% on over the counter meds and a couple of paperback books.

    I had the battery on my car boosted by AMA (the Alberta branch of CAA which is the Canadian Branch of AAA). I waited six weeks to make sure I could afford to pay for a new battery if needed. It wasn’t needed, but I also was able to walk everywhere, since I live a block from the main street of town, and half a block from a grocery store. After the battery was boosted, I took the car over to the NAPA dealership to have the tires re-inflated. The boost was a call paid for by my membership, and the air in the tires was put in for free as well. I’m pretty happy to have a working car again at no cost.

    The double lot at my house had been left very long in the fall. On Sunday evening, I heard a loud rumbling noise, and when I looked out the window found someone was cutting the lawn with his ride-on lawn mower! He smiled and waved goodbye to me when he left an hour or two later! This leaves me free to get on with tidying the yard and trimming overgrown branches and saplings.

    Simple meals this week, though on the weekend I made lemon chicken, with asparagus and potatoes, and a batch of brownies.

  40. We continue to put our seedlings out each day to harden them off. There’s still a risk of frost here so they come in at night. I used up last year’s frozen pumpkin puree in some muffins. No buyers for my beekeeping equipment yet, but I’ve had some inquiries. I always enjoy the comments, but now more than ever. Thank you Brandy & everyone.

  41. We were on the receiving end of a couple freebies this week: additional free eggs from my daughter’s girlfriend, who supplied us with several dozen excess as her chickens and ducks are laying a lot right now. I have about three dozen plus 6 duck eggs (the size of 2 chicken eggs). I plan to do some baking, especially quick breads as my supply of frozen is almost gone.
    On Friday the church across the street from us was giving away chili from 3-5 PM. I don’t know why but it was a quart container packaged with oyster crackers and several homemade cookies. We don’t attend that church but they were just handing it out, and my husband was doing something in the front yard, and a gentleman brought one over for him. He loves chili and I don’t. It lasted for three meals for him, as a part of a meal. I made different things with it, but he did get a lot of enjoyment from it.
    My youngest sister came for a visit on a sunny afternoon, bringing her daughter and her two girls, one of whom is just 5 weeks old! Due to distance requirements, I wasn’t able to hold her but at least I got to see her in person. She is adorable, of course, and just beginning to smile a lot, so it was fun to watch her. My sister brought a pizza as a gift for us–that was an additional freebie I almost forgot about. We had it for dinner that night! So I got to meet my newest grand-niece and skip cooking for the night as well. My sister is a big gift giver—she can’t visit without giving us gift. My other sister and I don’t even attempt to keep up with her any more! Even when we go to lunch together, she gives us gifts. And usually multiple gifts, not even single ones.
    It was nice to see my sister too–we sat on the front porch, masked, and chatted and watched the baby. The last time I saw her was early in March. We have not had any company except my daughter and my visiting nurses, and the nurses are finished with me now. I’m officially back to normal after receiving my 5th stent in late February, following an episode of congestive heart failure. I do feel recovered, but I also am on different medications to lower my blood pressure, and have less energy than previously. Still, I’m able to cook and clean and do laundry and stuff like that. Not as much as needs doing, but enough to keep us going until I can get some help (after the plague improves.)

    Those were the highlights of my week. Lows include the nights my husband decides it’s morning about 4 AM and I have to talk him back into the bed! He doesn’t foresee things like needing a tool when I ask him to do a little job, requiring two walks to the site needing fixing. He seriously can barely change a light bulb. We now have a 40 watt bulb in the overhead light in the bathroom. It’s a little dim for my taste.
    Occasionally he wants to know where his wife is, expecting the “me” of 40 or 50 years ago! I keep telling him I am his wife, but I don’t look quite right to him.
    We are getting tired of being quarantined but we’re not ready to give up the safety of keeping ourselves at home! It helps to have this community of people to share things with. Thank you Brandy, for providing a refuge here.

  42. We have started planting. Got 13 fruit trees planted. We have 2 apple trees that haven’t done well since we have been here even with pruning and spraying dormant oil. I think they are what are called cider apples around here. SO I asked the Amish neighbor who makes cider and he told me he would talk to the guy and if necessary he would just take them and we can split the cider. Works for me.

    I planted around 600 onions of 3 varieties, 150 strawberries of 6 varieties along with snow peas, peas, carrots, beets, Swiss chard, lettuce, spinach turnips etc. We got 3 more boxes built and in the south garden to fill and plant. My Brussels sprouts are hardening off to be planted next Monday if there is no freezing weather in forecast.
    Brandy , our Sam’s club does pick up orders, I ordered and paid for it on line and scheduled when I want to pick it up. I was able to put the app on my phone so I could let them know I was there. I did go in to the desk but was told there I could have had them bring it out to the car. I love to shop grocery stores (chef in me coming out) but at this point I would be happy to not have to deal with it.

    I’ve been making masks from old dress shirt and tee shirts from Son 2 . I used the tie , the clothes line rope design( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUrGc_-UWkE ) bands like on the N95 and ear bands. I am now out of white thread, ribbon, bias, and low of fabric. Son 2 realized elastic was going to be a problem so he ordered some and had it sent to me. I also ordered some so I am okay . I am using my wider elastic for the ones like N95 (works better for those that have to wear a hat at work) I also raided what was left of my late Mother’s sewing basket. Tons’ of buttons left now LOL. Son 2 told me to make some for this coming winter as everything we are hearing is the fear of another round this fall like the Spanish pandemic did. Just FYI Spanish pandemic lasted 2 yrs.

    I gave info to our neighbor that is homeschooling grandkids (she has custody) She wanted to do a history of pandemics. The history channel had a good show on about it a couple weeks ago.

    I’ve been turning the furnace off during the day, highs in the 50s and lows 30s with a few lower coming this week . Welcome to OHIO. Two hours south of me are hitting 60-70 at the same time. We are on the east side of the downward sloop of the highest point in the state (Bellefontaine OH) and it has it’s own little micro climate. Trying to make this tank last until Aug for the fall fill. That will leave us 2 tanks for next winter so we would only need to come up with another 2 tanks. Propane is expensive compared to electric or natural gas. We need about $650 to fill a tank and it takes 4 tanks to heat the house, water heater and cook stove each year.

    Haven’t been to the store or had delivery . Hubby asks if we need milk when he is getting fuel as he is right around the corner from Save A Lot.
    We will be going to the store for M our Amish neighbor( her Hubby E is in the fields and won’t be able to go until late next week, it’s a 2 hr trip just to go to town for them not counting store time) on Friday since we will be out delivering masks and flowers to the kids. I will be close to an Aldi’s so I will see if they have TP for us… not out but getting low so going to start looking now,

    I found a recipe for rhubarb jam I want to try. Rhubarb is coming on and I have 18 bunches of it. I will need pie filling also as I am low in that area.

    I was in the ER last week dehydration triggered my Crohn’s, Had covid testing while in (have heart failure). Test was negative. IT was a bit scary to be in the ER even with them having things as they did. If you went to go down a hall, you had to make sure no one was in the hall. No one was allowed to be with you unless you was a minor or elderly under the care of someone . Then it was only 1 person. Having security and a nurse meet me at the ER door was a little unsettling… Breaks my heart they had to have security with the nurse since things have gotten violent over the rules they have in place to keep everyone safe.

    Ordered some stuff through your site Brandy from Amazon.

    Be safe, be well everyone
    Blessed be

    1. Juls, I hope you are feeling better after your trip to the ER. That is sad to hear about the security being necessary. My son is struggling to keep his ulcerative colitis in check so I have seen a glimpse into what you must deal with having Crohn’s.

  43. Greetings Everyone! Our grocery budget has definitely increased but other areas such as entertainment & gas are way down so it is evened out. We are fortunate that the area we live has numerous different grocery store options so we are able to find any items we need but we have noticed less or no sales and increased prices as so many others have mentioned. My SIL gave us a pork roast because they decided that they don’t really care for pork anymore. My husband put it in the smoker on Saturday & we had delicious pulled pork. My hubby has been a home brewer for 25+ years & Saturday was National Home Brew Day so he & my son spent the day outside brewing 2 batches of beer. He took the spent grain and spread it in the garden afterwards. I filled my tank up with gas taking advantage of the low price & my grocery store discount points. I found sausage links with coupons on the pack as they were nearing the sell by date so I made baked ziti & sausage to use up the last of red sauce we had in the fridge & a spicy sausage soup which I shared with my SIL who gave us the pork. Our cherry blossom tree is in full bloom so I cut a few branches to put in vases & enjoy around the house.

  44. I am trying to not waste one bit of food. This week I concentrated on fresh fruits and vegetables. They are very expensive here due to drought, flood and fire. Cauliflowers have been priced at $13 each (Aus). I would have spent $80 on these purchases. Today I planted some herbs, peas, ginger and tomatoes. I have beans and some more herbs to plant/

  45. I purchased clothes using a large sale and rewards points. I only use our cc for gas and groceries, which helps keep our clothing budget low-
    I saved 84 percent!

    On that purchase I ordered a button down dress so I can nurse in – it came but I didn’t like the collar. After looking at it, I realized I could get my seam ripper out so I took off the collar. The neck line was still a finished edge, so I simply needed to resew the opening .

    My daughter had her 10 birthday- we made a gluten free lemon cake- lemon curd filling, with a coconut cream and lemon curd frosting.

    Last year we let her buy a flower at the store, later we were bummed that we chose an annual- dahlia. … this year we let her choose a rose bush from david austen – she is extremely excited. We are choosing to plant in a pot we already have, due to plans to moving to the country within 2 years and we want to take it with us! We all drew her a mini picture and stapled it into a little “book” for her – she also enjoyed that.

    I planted snap peas. radishes, and swiss chard in the garden.

    Cut the few tulips that still came up after the frost.

    I am in the process of redoing our front landscape = years overdue- it sits up over 2 feet against our siding. I am carefully digging up the plants are replanting them – and will only plant some annuals to fill in the spaces until I can really think of how I want it. I bought zinnia seeds and calendula (which I believe I can use to make salve!).

    We have been watching a lot of garden videos on youtube – we are really focusing on the garden and treating it less like a “hobby” this year!

    Meals and snacks included- rice and lentil soup with sourdough bread, grillled hamburgers and hot dogs, egg and potato hash, lemonade popsicles (with your lemonade recipe!), energy balls, homemade broth

  46. Here’s how we saved money last week:

    * I cooked all of our meals from scratch: I pulled more soups from the freezer (I had previously made these and froze extra); I cooked up some frozen salmon and used it to make salmon salad; I made tacos (I used ground beef, onions, rotel, black beans, tomato rice, and taco seasoning for the filling, to stretch the meat farther); I baked two loaves of wheat bread (I had to skip the egg, as I was saving our few left for another dish, and while the texture was a bit more crumbly, it wasn’t bad at all); taco seasoned eggs (eggs, onions, black beans, rotel, and taco seasoning- I used leftovers from making tacos); and a potato hash using potatoes, onions, and some kielbasa from the freezer. We also had oatmeal a few times for breakfast, and popcorn and fruit for snacks.

    * My SO got a job offer yesterday, so they should be able to start work as soon as the background check clears. It’s for a local company that contracts with Amazon, so it is a relatively “pandemic proof” position, and the company is offering good pay because they need more drivers. I have not yet heard back from the company I interviewed with last week, but they should get back to me by the end of the week with either a yes, a no, or “we’re still working on it”.

    * I have been positioning myself to also continue as a grad student, in case I am unable to get a job offer, as I am likely guaranteed an income as a grad student. I was going to leave my program because of a variety of reasons (that are still accurate, unfortunately), but it would be unwise to jump ship without a plan.

    * I finally received the stimulus check, and I also received a refund of some student fees. I didn’t pay much originally in fees because I am a grad student, so I didn’t get much back, but it was something!

    * I finished one of my classes last week, which leaves me a bit more time to focus on finishing my other class, grading, and job hunting.

    * My SO and I have been playing games we already had for entertainment, plus one game we purchased (digitally) on sale. We tend to only pick games that we know we’ll enjoy, and we often wait to purchase them until after reviews have come up (and often times, when the games go on sale), so that we can save money while making sure the game is something we’ll enjoy.

    * The weather has finally gotten warm enough that we can open windows without needing to turn on the heat later, so we’ve been able to have the windows open to cool the apartment. This is especially helpful when cooking/baking!

    I hope you all have a safe and happy week!

  47. Not exactly a frugal week for us – as we needed to stock up on a few items. I did manage to get a couple items on a rare sale. I got jeans for 60% off for my boys. We got feee sausages, and discount eggs. My only daughter has been in the kitchen extra helping.

    I worked in my garden, and we enjoyed lettuces, spinach, and onions from it. We’ve had a lot of storms, so I’ve had to cover and uncover daily on several plants.

    Someone gave our youngest a baby pool; he’s enjoyed that. My middle two have taken a lot of bike rides. At 13 & 11 we allow them to go around our neighborhood alone since it is very safe.
    My oldest has his driving practice on hold since we are not allowed to just go driving. It will be pushing it to get his hours in by summers end. Working on that is a goal for next week.

    School and errands have not changed for us since we already homeschool and only go out one day a week.
    We already eat all meals at home, but we are thinking of new ways to use up everything.

    One way we will save soon is that my husband’s PT is ending early. He had surgery on his knee at the beginning of shut down and his healing is a couple weeks ahead of schedule according to his therapist. ?
    Thank you to all the PT’s out there working!!
    His job is requiring everyone to return to work by June 1st. So, looks like one more month for us. I hope!

    Reading everything here makes me definitely want to try harder to get back on my frugal track. Thanks!

    1. I appreciate your “shout out” Mikki! So glad your husband had a good outcome following his knee surgery and progressed so quickly in PT 🙂

  48. It has been forever since I shared on here – When my youngest started school 5 years ago, I went back to the University and completed my degree in music and since graduation I’ve been busy teaching piano and substituting in the schools, including a couple of long term jobs.

    Since I’m essentially out of work at the moment, I’ve really enjoyed reading these posts again!

    I made bread using half whole-wheat flour and put one loaf in the freezer. My kids aren’t eating a lot of bread these days. I have to remind myself oldest boy is in Canada, serving a mission. I also made some bagels.

    My sourdough starter was looking bad, so I started a new one.

    My kids have been entertaining themselves by learning to cook. They have been making dinners, cinnamon rolls, and a variety of cookies from what I keep on hand.

    My husband had to get parts for our irrigation system last week – we had put off shopping to replace a couple of old sprayer nozzles that weren’t working. We doubled up, I went with him and did my first shopping for groceries since March. He had picked up a few things while running other errands, but there are a few things I wanted to pick out particularly – especially fresh produce.

    I left the heater off all week. The house never dropped below 61°F all night long. We open the windows in the late morning to warm the house up a bit before evening. This week we will start opening them in the morning to cool it down as our temperatures creep up to 80!

    I trimmed my rosemary shrub of a couple of branches that were just in the wrong spot. I trimmed the new growth and placed 8 stems in water in hope of propagating a couple of new shrubs. I stripped the lower part of the branches, cutting the biggest one into several pieces to create a lovely little centerpiece. We have been using the stripped leaves for cooking.

    My husband and son are working the soil in my garden by hand. I hope to start planting from left over seeds by the end of the week.

    I discontinued our Sam’s club membership years ago when our store stopped carrying the 50 lb. bags of sugar and flour. We have a wholesale supplier here where I have been able to buy most of what I bought at Sam’s at a similar price.

  49. Brandy, your littlest one is so cute – very photogenic! I love the nail polish – my sisters used to say that some of their little ones learned their colours by way of all the different colours I used to use on my nails and one of my nieces always pointed to my lips and wanted to know the colour – then I’d get a big kiss on the lips – figured out eventually that she liked to “wear lipstick” and this was her way of getting it! 🙂

    It was another odd week – went out on Monday to pick up an Amazon order (I have it delivered to a local post office in a large drugstore) and while I was there managed to pick up a few items for my long-term storage – nothing fancy, some jams, some canned soups (the hearty kind) and a canned ham – which I haven’t seen in ages! Picked up some milk for a friend who lives downstairs and then walked home to get some exercise – it was cool but lovely and sunny so I enjoyed it.

    Wednesday I did go into the office early in the morning – it was very quiet downtown and on the subway – wore a mask and gloves and took extras to wear home again. On the way home I did stop off at one of the underground grocery stores and two big drugstores – what I couldn’t find at one I did find at another including my favourite laundry detergent at half off! Just bought two jugs but with what I have at home that should take me to Sept. I also made it to the liquor store and picked up a couple of bottles of wine. I’m not a big drinker but decided that a glass with dinner would be nice so had one bottle over about 3 days.

    I continue to do a lot of cooking but somehow the freezer never seems to go down much. I do go through it at least once per week – especially if I am going to shop as really, something has to come out before anything else can go in. I used up a lot of bits and pieces by making another pot of soup which I ate for lunch most days. I am finally managing to get a grip on my eating and cut back somewhat – I’m not hungry, it’s eating out of boredom more than anything else. If I keep busy I’m fine but there is only so much to do in my small apt. I have some research work to do for the office this week so hopefully that will help keep me occupied.

    Aside from food my only other purchase was another mask, this one made of silicone. I’ve just ordered one to try – it can be sanitized by going into the oven for a few minutes and has disposable filters so I’m interested in seeing how this will work as I don’t want to only have disposable ones on hand. I do have a few items in my Amazon cart as I can see some things being more difficult to find as time goes on but trying not to spend money just for the sake of it. The hot rollers did not work out so I will have to look for some larger varieties the next time i’m in a drugstore – and I did trim my bangs – not a good job but it will grow out before I see my hairdresser so I’m not worried about it.

    Saved bacon fat from a batch cooking – washed and reused ziplock bags – added water to get the last bit of my very expensive shampoo – switched back to using mousse on my hair when I’m just sticking around the house (will use my pricy setting lotion when I know I’m going to the office) – washed some things by hand to save a trip to the laundry room ($2 per wash) – used some storage bins I found in the back of a closet instead of ordering new ones and used some very brown and soft bananas to make some oatmeal, raisin, banana breakfast cookies.

    Hope everyone is coping and as always I look forward to reading about all your adventures and I thank Brandy for hosting this site. Stay well!

  50. I am about to go outside and plant the strawberry plants my gardener grew and delivered. She also got me some Jerusalem artichokes.
    I will also plant some of the seeds into little pots. I have been finding out more about my garden plot commitments — perhaps I’m not up to it physically but my gardener said that she will do it for me as an unpaid volunteer. What I suddenly realize is that in addition to my plot there are areas where the produce is shared — like onions, garlic, squashes etc. so I’ll have a fair amount that is shared with me. I will share with my gardener of course…

    I saved money on Heinz canned baked beans, my go-to for protein. I am trying to leave them as a supply in my pantry. The store did not have 6 of the items that I wanted but my lovely delivery volunteer phoned me from the store and told me so I just had him pick up a few other things. He got yogurt on sale for 50% off.

    A friend was worried about our meat processing plant being shut down due to covid. It processes 40% of the beef in Canada. I told her that the 900 people with covid would mostly recover and would be back at work within a few weeks. Indeed, 800 of the 900 afflicted have recovered and they are starting up on a reduced basis next week.

    I am having email problems so undoubtedly I will be spending at least an hour getting those sorted out. My property tax assessment dropped but the tax rate went up so I owe quite a bit of property tax but no more than last year so that’s a relief. We also for some unknown reason got a rebate of $97. The province had just raised its taxation rate greatly for the education portion so I don’t know how that has come out in the wash. I think Albertans will almost certainly be faced with a sales tax. With the price of oil so low, how can it be avoided? At least the less you buy, the less tax you’d pay and as long as it isn’t on food or drugs… I am blessed to live in a country where there is clean water, food, medicine and universal health care and compassionate strangers. I listened to a jazz song on CBC called “You must believe in spring”. It was lovely. And spring has arrived — the miniature crocuses in my peony bed are blooming, the first peonies are breaking through the earth, a flock of about 30 Yellow-rumped Warblers is hunting for bugs in my trees, and off in the distance I hear a coyote pup “talking” to its parents. I could barely see it but a baby hare has found refuge inside my flower bed so I’ll have to fix the deer netting. Ann


  51. I love artichokes. I tried three different times to grow them, but our season is just not long enough. All I see take 180 days. Way too long of a growing season for Eastern Washington. We have a growing season of about 90 days – so only short term things for us. I planted a 4 x 8 bed of candy onions. We will put regular yellow and red onions in the garden, probably later this week. We planted cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower in the garden.
    Made homemade chow mein. Prepped cabbage and carrots for cole slaw.
    Made pancakes with one of my homemade mixes. Made 4 loaves of bread, using Brandy’s recipe. Took a loaf to a friend who has given me eggs.
    Made popcorn for snacks.
    Gave DH a haircut. Trimmed my bangs.
    My son’s girlfriend was going to Costco, and brought us a roasted chicken. I used the meat from the chicken to make homemade chicken enchiladas.
    Used some of the pork I cooked last week, and froze, to make a pan of homemade pork carnitas enchiladas.
    The beets, lettuce and snow peas I planted are coming up.
    I am on my 6th week at home. Supposedly I am on unemployment, but have yet to receive an unemployment check. Luckily our house is paid for, so not a problem there. We are living mainly off our storage right now – and we are very grateful for that.
    Spending some time cleaning rooms, that are not used very much. Turning one into an office.
    Trying to call my 97 year old mother every other day. She is in lockdown at her facility. She keeps telling me she is bored. I keep telling her in a pandemic that is a good thing.
    All for now. Good luck everyone.

  52. Hello!
    This past week was spent all at home, no outings, no spending, no fuel.
    We worked in the yard and did our spring clean up/de-thatch our lawn. We made a list of projects to complete with supplies on hand. My seedlings continue to grow inside and I did transplant a few that had outgrown their small starter pots. I sorted through some garden planters and décor and sold a few things that I haven’t used in recent years.
    I did a couple of surveys and had enough to redeem for Amazon gift cards which I used to purchase some household items.
    I cut my husbands hair with our clippers.
    I have not cut or coloured my hair since I was laid off, I am just going simple with a pony tail and a hat! no make up either.
    I refinished an outdoor table set that I picked up from a free pile. I sold it for $50 and was very pleased!
    I listed some items on my neighbourhood Freecycle; with no where to donate right now, there are so many items listed. I picked up a game and a puzzle, I gave away a scooter and some clothing.
    All of the other “usual” frugal things that we normally do: eat all meals at home, hang up laundry, use what we have.
    Thank you Brandy, I love your website!

  53. I noticed the nail polish, too, and thought that was so funny. “Sisters!” was my first thought. He’s adorable, and the cupcakes were so cute!

    I’m back at work, as Florida is opening in phases. That means I’ll be using more gas again, but it also is good to get back to something that feels more normal.

    I made a small pot of pumpkin sausage soup with half a can of pumpkin, leaving me with a half-can, I used two very ripe bananas that were all I had left from a hand of bananas, and the half can of pumpkin and made “banana bread” muffins out of them (gluten- and nut-free). They turned out delicious, so now I know what to do if I don’t have quite enough bananas for banana bread, and/or I have a little leftover pumpkin. I think I will also try this with applesauce in place of the pumpkin.

    I found an unexpected coupon for the adult nutrition drinks that my husband uses. It’s for $5 off of two cartons.

    After a fruitless search for hand sanitizer for work, we found a gallon of it at a local brewery, and they threw in a small extra bottle of it as well. It was definitely cheaper to get it there, and they do curb pickup.

    I’m still working on my container garden, and getting some promising cucumber blooms. I’m hoping to keep the cucumber beetles at bay. The okra all seems to be sprouting, even though we had some cool nights just after planting.

    I cleaned up some old scrap metal by our shed and made a bit of money selling it to the recycling center.

    My husband needed a light blanket for his hospital bed for warm weather because he still chills easily, especially at night, and we had nothing that would fit. I finally found one on clearance for half-price.

    I hope all have a good week.

  54. Brandy, I always love seeing your beautiful photographs! Your youngest is such a cutie! All of your children photograph beautifully!
    While you were watching to keep your A/C off, we were hoping to turn the furnace off! We managed to do that for just on night. We’ve been turning it off during the day if the sun is out and the wind isn’t howling.
    I was able to hang clothes on the line several times. My rule is that it has to be 40*. We’ve been above that last week. This week is looking to be cold again.
    I made a delicious apple crisp with apples and topping from the freezer. I usually make applesauce for the freezer so this was a nice change. I have enough apple slices for another crisp in the future.
    I’ve saved boiled egg water and shower warm-up water for flushing, cleaned cereal bags for waxed paper, walked outside and exercised at home.
    I found some extra yellow and green beans from last year. I didn’t have many but seeds seem to be in very short supply in shops and on line. I took a few of each and did the wet paper towel trick to see if they would sprout, which they did. So, i have extras for succession planting which makes me happy! With what a friend gifted me, i should be all set. Now, i’m counting on a warm summer!
    I had my husband buy a small bottle of vodka to start some vanilla.
    A walking friend dusted off her sewing machine to make masks for everyone under the sun. I thought i would make my own but i keep putting it off. I asked this friend if she would indeed make me a few if i brought over the fabric. Last summer i bought five boxes of embroidered towels, dresser scarves, you name it! I took a pillowcase, a dresser scarf and two pieces of fabric. I got two masks today and they are just awesome! She only had enough elastic for two but the rest will come later. I need to decide what to give her in return for her work.. We talk about gaining weight but we all love our chocolate!
    With this virus, my husband told our children not to buy gifts for his birthday last week. (Or Mother’s Day and Father’s day.) They all called and chatted and absolutely made his day! I bought him a bottle of his favorite sipping whisky and a steak that he grilled to perfection. The steak was on sale weeks before.
    And, every Monday we face time with our daughter and her family. I can’t wait to squeeze all our children and grand children in person! That’s the worst part of this virus!
    Wishing everyone a fabulous, frugal week ahead.

  55. Hello Frugal Friends,
    I have been trying to be more frugal again. It is sad to see so many friends struggle during this time. It seems like frugality is just something we should all do, even in good times just to have it in your mindset. Here are the frugal accomplishment I had this week.
    – We have eaten all meals at home. Some were baked chicken, baked ribs, taco soup and more. I made an interesting bread in my dutch oven. It only required 4 ingredients: flour, yeast, water and salt. It was so good! I let it rise 2 times and baked it.
    – I have been working on my garden. I have swiss chard, spinach, carrots and parsnips starting to grow. I am hoping for a great gardening year.
    – I sewed several masks for friends, and friends of friends.
    – I have sold several craft items in the last month or so. I wrote about this in a post on my blog: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/2020/05/05/how-i-made-226-03-on-the-side-in-april-2020-with-swagbucks-ibotta-fetch-coin-out-selling-stuff-and-more/ I also added up all the earnings from apps and websites that I do. There is a lot that can be made this way!
    – I have been getting free lunches for my kiddos from their schools.
    – I keep plugging away at my school work. I have been working on a business degree. I am using VA benefits of my husband to do this for free.
    – I made several teachers gifts for teacher’s appreciation week this week. I have them on my Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/p/B_yiwl_hGA9/ I hope they enjoy them as we were only able to drop them off without getting out of the car.
    That’s about all I can think of for now!
    Have a great week,

  56. *I’m continuing to prepare for our move in less than four weeks by listing things locally and selling them. I sold a brand new water heater in the box (from my husband’s business) and two dressers. I still need to sell a couch, a few rugs, some chairs, some dishes, etc. Boxes are slowly starting to fill the spaces next to our walls.
    *We are eating from our pantry to save money and to have less to move.
    *My garden is coming along with peas, radishes, beets, kale, chard, onions, potatoes, broccoli and cabbage. I will plant the tomatoes this week.
    *Last week had bad/good news. The bad news is that my Bernina sewing machine of 35 years seized up while I was making masks. I found a repair shop that would take it. I borrowed a sewing machine from my neighbor to finish the masks. The bad news is that my machine cannot be fixed. I was looking for a used one online but my neighbor, who lent me her Janome sewing machine, gave it to me to keep. She has had it for two years and never used it. Another neighbor, who has since passed away, had given it to her. I was thrilled to have it. I don’t sew that often and this should get me through what I need to sew. It’s a small, lightweight machine. If I start sewing more, I may look for a used machine.
    *I made a rhubarb crumble with rhubarb from the garden.
    *Read a book from a little library at the end of the street. I will return it for the next reader.
    *I watched a movie on Amazon prime with my friend’s account, who has lent it to me for two weeks.
    Have a beautiful week!

    1. Where are you planting your garden if you are moving? Are you putting it in pots to take with you?

      1. I am renting a community garden plot. It’s not far from where I will be living. There are also some communal fruit trees, berries, and herbs that I can pick my share. It’s my first experience with it, so I hope it goes well. I don’t have as much gardening space as I did at my house, but I think I can get many of the things that I grew in my soon-to-be former space.

  57. I’ve been diligently working towards cutting expenses by identifying the areas where we can achieve it
    – we only went shopping for food buying the essential for cooking from scratch
    – I started better supervising the children to make sure they turn off the lights in the rooms we do not use, as well as disconnected any unneeded appliances
    – I wash one load a day (as we are only four of us and we spend the time inside until May 15th, when the state of emergency in Romania will be lifted, though the schools, kindergartens and shopping malls will remain closed) and I choose to hang them to dry instead of using the dryer function of my washing machine which increases energy consumption, the wear and tear of clothes and the durability of the machine
    – my husband, when at the supermarket, asked whether I wanted him to buy two strawberry tarts that I love for me, but I opted for one kilo of strawberries instead, which had the same price and which all the family enjoyed!
    – we drove about four hours away from home to Sighisoara, Transylvania, watching the gas consumption so that we could optimise it and also got gas there, because it was much cheaper than in the capital
    – we worked in the yard at my grandparent’s house that I inherited when my father passed, cutting the grape vines, cutting the grass, taking the potted flowers out of the basement (where they spend the winter) and adding some new soil to the pots, cutting the rose arches to make sure they are not invaded by other plants
    – my husband worked on the roof over the garage where it had been leaking and he also fixed the cable to one surveillance camera that was no longer properly working
    – we cooked everything from scratch there and also had a 1st of May barbecue outside with meat from the freezer.

  58. Your son is adorable, Brandy, and so are the cupcakes.
    I remember my husband playing “Pretty, Pretty Princess” with his little sisters (he’s the oldest of 9 and 26 years older than his youngest sibling) and they would paint his toenails (he didn’t let them paint his fingernails as a 20-something). The polish on your son’s fingers made me smile!
    Nothing much exciting at our home, but we have been doing some cleaning out and yard work. We finished our fire pit area and were able to celebrate with a bonfire and S’more’s before the wind picked up and most of the state was under a no-burn order. We enjoyed that!
    I love spending so much time in our garden right now. It is a fabulous break from all the things that we do on the computers lately. My rhododendron is gorgeous this year and I see it out my kitchen window daily. I am so grateful!
    Here is the link to my frugal accomplishments last week:

    Blessings on your week,

  59. It’s so encouraging to see all your comments! Thank you all, and thank you, Brandy, for hosting this.
    This week we
    -made French bread overnight in a big batch. Makes a lot of easy meals from it.
    -eating up the freezer
    -finding new ways to portion snacks into smaller pieces so less waste from my 4 small boys if something goes uneaten.
    -planted lots of salad greens. I’m trying out different things to see what works. I’m trying soil blocks like Eliot Coleman (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqy5dhHH09Y). Also moved our small cold frame to a sunny, hot spot next to the house to try greens there. and also planted in pots as usual. Our house is bursting at the seams with seedlings waiting to go into our chilly Boston garden.
    -gathered dandelion greens for salad. Right now, we’re trying hard to avoid salad greens from the grocery store just in case of contamination, so we’re foraging. And it’s a delicious substitute for arugula! We still have goat cheese, raisins, and almonds to go with it. Delish.
    -bought some herbs from San Francisco Herb Company – thank you, Brandy, for the recommendation! Bought bulk parsley til we grow enough and some other things.
    -using art supplies to keep our boys busy. Either hikes or art. Sometimes it’s hard to get creative when you’re tired, but I can’t go too wrong with those.
    but most astonishingly…. thanks to your wonderful comments on here….. we just sat down and purchased a quarter beef. I’m still shaking my head. Here’s this clueless city girl in suburban Boston with a fifth of an acre yard and garden, buying a quarter beef! I read your comments and hope I did it right.
    Anyway, I wanted to thank you, Brandy, and all of you. Does anyone else feel like they’ve been preparing for this for a long time, and now all our frugal tricks are coming back to bless us and our neighbors? We have enough, we have a comfy home, we can spend time on what’s important. Thank you for all the good lessons! God bless you.

    1. Sarah, I have read some of Eliot Coleman’s books, but I didn’t know he had a YouTube channel! Thank you so much for sharing!

      Those of you who don’t know, Eliot Coleman grows food year-round in Maine. Those of you in colder climates should check him out!

      1. Brandy, I hope you enjoy his “Gardening Naturally” reruns as much as I have. And he has a wonderful hour long speech about Winter Harvests on the same channel. Thank you also for mentioning the Rustica French gardening channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJJyXHiKEiQLf6HLIP6RTKw). I’ve really enjoyed that and subscribed. And I also found “Mon Potager Plaisir” and another nice video about soil blocks – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jYHtqIy0QY. I’m trying them out right now and having trouble keeping them from drying out, as mine are teeny tiny, but it would be fun if they work. In any case, gardening videos in French, and good ones, are such a pleasure! My French badly needs the dusting. Thanks for the inspiration!

  60. This last week I used items on hand to convert a portion of our small wooden barn to a chicken coop, which cost nothing out of pocket. My husband built nesting boxes with scrap lumber we had laying around the property, and I repaired fence with extra gardening fence from several years ago. We purchased 9 chicks for 3 dollars each. The most we have had previously had been 5, which gave us more eggs than we could use….but my now 6 year old will eat 4 scrambled eggs at breakfast! So, I don’t think 9 will be overkill. Its been fun for the kids to care for the babies and learn lessons in real life, not just through a video on tv.

    Made all meals from scratch, including spinach ravioli (it took two hours start to finish but was a fun treat to make), Reuben sandwiches, and a host of other things. Made all bread, muffins, biscuits, scones, etc from scratch. We’ve been using you tube and pbs to assist with homeschool, they are great resources. The kids are doing well overall and are so resilient.

    All seeds and starts have been planted in the garden and now we are just in maintenance mode, weeding on the regular. We have not eaten out since the beginning of March. I hate to not support businesses, but we just don’t feel comfortable eating out…my husband and I often ate lunch out together as a kid free date during the workweek….i have noticed that by not eating out, I feel much better. My skin has cleared up and I have more energy. I guess I cook healthier than I thought, ha!

    1. Not eating out can be a great way to lose weight, too! I know there’s been a lot of joking from people about gaining weight during this time, but for those who are used to eating out, cooking at home can be a great way to eat better, healthier, lower-calorie meals.

  61. I had to think really hard if we had actually saved any money last week. I filled my car up at $1.52 . I try to make sure it’s always full , just in case. I found an odd offer at Swagbucks. A $14.40 credit for making a purchase at Threadup. I started to by pass the deal due to shipping. But after searching for several more items, I had a pop up for free shipping if I bought in the next few moments. My new dress w tags will cost me less than ten dollars after the swagbucks. I have had my father’s old pick-up truck for about 12 years. I have blessed it to a man to take to a mission in Mexico. It made my little heart happy to know it will be well used and loved. It’s 25 years old and well maintained since brand new. My utilities were no more than normal this month . A blessing since the usage was potentially higher w the children all home. I mainly sleep and watch tv. I’m very tired. I have mild chest pain but my shortness of breath seems to be a little worse. Tomorrow, I will be traveling a couple hours away for a corona checkup. It’s impossible to receive care in our rural area. They will be testing sugar cookie..I have tried so very hard to not infect that child. I’m going to try to send mothers day messages out. No physical cards for me. I work on my swagbucks in my few alert moments. I’m cashing out for Visa giftcards. Perhaps next month I can do some work on my kitchen. Hugs and smiles from Atlanta.

    1. So sorry you aren’t feeling well but I’m glad that you are going to get things checked out – as well as your daughter. I hope things go well and that you get the care you need.

  62. Brandy, I dont know if you are aware, but Sam’s has an app and you scan each item into your phone as you add it to your cart. Then you swipe to pay without having to even go through a check out line. You hold your phone up to the person at the door that normally takes your receipt and they scan the barcode without having to touch your phone.

    My father in law was admitted to a hospice facility last week and my husband had been down a week and a half seeing to him. He passed away Saturday and we had the funeral yesterday. There was a jar of change that was mostly quarters and dimes. My husband took it to the bank today and it was $440 in change! We are splitting it up and giving it to our 5 kids. He also had some ugly gold jewelry from the 80’s, one was a necklace with a large monogram no one would want. He took it to our gold guy and got $2200, which we will split with my sister in law. Our half we are dividing up and giving our 5 children.
    Mother in law and Father in law were divorced. She had my sister in law go to the plant and buy Conecuh bacon ( famous in Alabama) and sent us home with eleven 3.5 lb packages of bacon. We gave 2 packages to a family friend along with a box of catfish my mother in law sent back with us. I had bought a large package of tri colored sweet peppers from Sam’s so I made a small ziploc bag and sent with the bacon and catfish.

    We received a tree and large lily plant at the funeral. I dont know if it is really a tree, but it is as large as a tree and had about a four foot spread of leaves. I have no where to put it out of the way in our rental house. It was fun to travel with for a five hour ride.

    I have wanted to make a meat run, but with Father in Law on hospice have not been able to go to the store. I would like to get some extra chicken, pork loin to cut into chops, and I really need hamburger meat. My last trip the meat was wiped out so I picked up a package of beef stew meat and divided it for 2 meals and froze. I normally dont buy it, but they had no chicken, or hamburger meat at all. I had to throw away some squash and sour cream today. They went bad in our crazy schedule. I have tried to stay on top of fresh vegetables and rotate things, but didnt have a chance to eat it when we got the call about my father in law. The sour cream was still in date, but it had mold all in it.

    My plants are coming up and looking good. Hopefully I can get some fresh tomatoes in a few weeks.

    1. I know about the app but haven’t used it yet. I plan to the next time I go there. I hate the time it takes to stand in line at stores (one of the main reasons I shop when stores are quietest) and I kept putting off signing up for this. I won’t any longer.

  63. Hi Brandy! Somewhere last night I noticed that you are now cutting swiss chard earlier. I have always done this. It regrows so fast! I have it planted in the raised bed at the front of the house facing south and am still eating from the chard I planted last spring. Here’s my favorite way to make it. Chop small after washing. Cook small amount of bacon til almost crisp, add olive oil, put in chard and small amount of water. Put on the lid. Watch, as it cooks fast. Keep turning til all cooked down then add 1/2 tablespoon of sugar and about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. it’s done as soon as it finishes sizzling. It is SO good. I have also used it very successfully in place of spinach in soups, dips, quiche, etc. I’m very sorry that you didn’t get to attend Winter’s whirlwind wedding. Maybe do a photo shoot later in the summer? I’m sure she missed having you there. Blessings, Holly

  64. DH’s stimulus cheque found him all the way up here in Canada-so that is a good thing! We bought some potted plants today for mother’s and grandmother’s for Mothers Day-but overall we have not been spending too much.

  65. We have been turning off lights when not in use. Opening windows for fresh air. Planting as much as we can. We just got some chicks. I’m excited about the ones that will produce blue-green eggs! Of course that is 4 to 6 months away. My radishes are ready. I will pick them tomorrow and plant some more in their place. They are in a small pot. So there are not that many. But I am looking forward to them. We also planted some later in the ground. I got to see my Son and his family when they came to pick asparagus. We social distanced, which is hard to do with grandchildren. I am going to get to homeschool my grandson this summer and probable next year as well. I am really looking forward to it. He is also very excited! That makes me happy. I am hoping they will ask me to teach my granddaughter also. I’ve been busy reading the standards for 3rd graders. I want to be sure to cover everything he needs to know and more. Plus I want him to have fun! I’ve enjoyed ordering books and buying supplies. I really am looking forward to when the libraries open up again. I also plan to teach both my grandchildren the piano. I had started teaching them before the whole Covid-19 thing started. We were all enjoying it. Well, as soon as it lets up I will get to start teaching them again. I get to talk to them almost daily with a video app. I am very happy about that. It is nice to talk to my son and daughter-in-law that way.
    I have found that I have to eat meat and veggies for most meals to keep my blood sugar numbers in check. So I am eating more meat than I ever did before. I imagine it will make me healthier. The price of meat is expensive but I think we may save with veggies grown at home. I have more energy when I don’t eat sugar and tremendous amounts of carbs. I love beans but I have to watch how much I consume. I can in small quantities with veggies.
    I am glad you posted things about homeschooling Brandy. I am looking for more ideas to homeschool my grandchildren. I’m so glad my daughter-in-law and son asked me to teach my grandson. I want to have a plan in place in case I am also going to teach my granddaughter. I used to be a Special Education teacher and I have taught French and piano lessons as well. So I have some ideas of my own. But I am always looking for more Ideas. Reading about teaching methods and curriculum is one of my favorite things to do.

    1. So good to catch up with your news, Tammy! Do you think your vitamin levels are ok? One thing that came to my mind when I read your news was that eating meat can make you feel better if your B12 or iron levels or both are low. See my comments below.

  66. Like all of us, I’m getting tired of our upside-down world. Still focusing on using and appreciating what we have. I’m blessed with a rather close family and friends who like to chat and text to keep us all sane. I’ve joined one of my closest friend’s Bible study first through zoom and now that they are gathering again (a couple thousand miles away) on the phone. Such a blessing. I’m in month 11 of isolation and still going strong. I did finally venture out to the local store in my mask with a N95 filter and plastic gloves diligently keeping well away from others. Where I live is very safe. There have been no cases in my town and very few where my husband and son work. We are fortunate. Praying for our nation and president today along with everyone else.

    -continue to exercise for free at home and by walking. On the sunny days, it is hard to come back inside, so I take the dogs into the national forest.
    -getting the paperwork done to consolidate my bits of retirement monies into one IRA. Not much, but every dollar adds up. Besides, I paid into the state systems, so I’m just getting what I put in back.
    -just bought milk, sausage on sale, and on sale Bananas this week. We are all stocked up and plan to eat what we have
    -our library added Lynda.com tech videos to their free digital content and I’m working on building my website. Slow going, but I’m plugging along.
    -I did order three yards of an absorbent material that I’ll use to try and make cloth sanitary pads. Now that I’ve mastered the masks with a pocket for the N95 filters, I think I’ll try them. My daughter said she’d test them out for me. When we get the kinks all worked out, I’ll make some for her and my nieces.
    -Cancelled a magazine that I ordered when I got sick using a gift card. It was nice to get it in the mail monthly when I couldn’t touch anything from the public library, but I’ll be back to using the library when it opens again.
    -listened to a couple books on tape and watched a few free shows and movies from the library and PBS. Loving watching Call the Midwife weekly. Thanks to this blog for mentioning that it was on PBS! And it’s renewed for two more seasons I read. Yeah!
    -I’ve been transplanting seedlings and am wondering where to put all the plants! Many more of my older seeds germinated than I expected. I’ve decided to skip flowers this year and plant veggies in the pots. I don’t have a garden, but have the new 6×10 greenhouse to grow in. Just hardened off seedlings this week and tonight is their first night in the greenhouse. It’s supposed to get to about 30 degrees tonight, but they should be OK. This year is the learning year.
    -since I only have about a month left for toilet paper, we bought a package. This brand (the only option in the store) is going much faster. I never thought I’d say this but…I miss the toilet paper we’ve always bought that just isn’t available. Just thankful to have some to buy. I had a good three month supply and thought that was enough to store. Guess I learned differently. I’m hoping I did a better job with our meat in the freezer and it lasts through the next couple months. Trying not to buy things for a bit unless really necessary.


  67. I have looked back through the comments and cannot seem to find the person who said they were looking for a Boy Scout virtual science activity so I will leave a general comment instead of a reply. These two things may not be what they need, but here in KY, the Blue Grass Council recently announced virtual summer camp with more information being released on May 11th. We also got a notification today from Tennessee for a virtual scout fest. The link is http://www.ScoutFest2020.org. Hopefully this will help someone 🙂

  68. We are still on stay at home orders and people are getting restless. We feel much safer living on our small farm. My husband does not want us out in the stores at all. I was able to get a order from Target delivered, took over a week to get a spot. The person shopping for me sent pictures of all the empty shelves, so she wasn’t able to get all I needed. The prices are very high too, but for now it is the price we pay for staying safe. We wipe everything off that comes into the house. We have many people that travel out of state to shop in our stores. We are about 90 minutes from NY and we have had a lot more people coming out here from that area, as well as PA. The stores are usually packed here and because of that there are a lot of covid cases around our county.
    A dear friend brought us some apples, lettuce, potatoes and sweet potatoes from a farmer’s market near her. I baked one of the sweet potatoes for my dinner tonight and it was very good. I used up some old chocolate chips and made oatmeal cookies. My husband ate so many of them I am not sure how economical it was. We are ready to plant our gardens but the weather has not been helpful, it will be below freezing tonight and has been raining for about 12 hours now. Hopefully Sunday it will be warmer. While our local food pantry is currently closed, I am still able to to make up bags for people in need. I made up bags for 4 families today. I am happy to be able to help them and get out of the house a bit. We are going Monday to the large food bank to get more food for the pantry because out list is growing of those that need food. We have know idea what is going to be available or how many cars we will need to haul everything back to the church. I am praying we can get a good amount. I am glad people are reaching out for help because there is no need to go hungry when food is available during these difficult times.
    Our schools were finally closed for the rest of the school year. The teachers just send work for the kids to do, there isn’t any real interaction with the teachers or the students. My son misses his friends, especially now with his older brother having moved out. He comes to visit once a week and I cook for him so he has extra food. His work still won’t tell the employees if there are covid19 cases and I think that is just horrible. I long to give him a hug but we practice social distancing when he visits.
    I miss the library too but I don’t see them opening anytime soon and I don’t know how they are going to keep the books sanitized. I use gift cards or points to buy some books online and share them with a friend who is shut in with her husband who is not well. She can’t risk getting him sick. but she loves to read.
    We enjoy watching a wonderful pastor from PA on Sundays from my in-laws church. He is very uplifting. Take care and stay safe.

  69. Today was a wonderful day. I was planning on working on the never-ending book when I glanced out the back window and saw the most beautiful bird. I raced to get the camera and then went out the front door and it was right in front of me. A splash of colour announced a Western Tanager with red head, yellow body, blackwings and tail. It was among a flock of about 30 Yellow-rumped warblers. It was a cold day here — we had had rain. In between showers, however, the birds were all “hawking” for insects. When it is cold in early spring, the insects are all closer to the ground. where the air temperature is warmer. So the birds were low down to catch the insects. As the temperature rises, so the insects fly higher up and the birds follow. Today the birds would glean the insects in the spruce trees and fly across the airspace above the driveway and then land in the dead tree. There they would perch and then fly through the air catching the insects. When the sun came out, and there was warmth, the birds were high up in the trees hunting the insects. Then it clouded over and the birds and bugs came lower. I missed a really good photo as I was losing my balance so saved myself rather than get the photo. I did get several very nice photos. I’m hoping that there will be more tomorrow.

    Allergies have been really bad and I was amazed because I started taking Vitamin B12 and within a couple of hours of taking the first tablet my wheezes were gone. I did some reading on it and there is a relationship.

    Last night a thrush flew into my kitchen window. I sat near it to protect it from predators and covered it with a box so it would stay calm. I talked a bit to it but didn’t pick it up as I knew that would stress it. Presently it hopped off into the leaf duff and I was greatly relieved to see it fly away. My kitchen window is terribly dirty as I don’t wash them until the end of migration so I was surprised about the accident.

    Well, so much for the book. My peonies are coming up, the tiny crocuses are in bloom. Although I think we may have snow still spring is here.

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