Margo Koster, a tiny rose that I am adding to my garden this year.

It’s getting quite hot here and I feel like we are in a race against the heat to finish the garden.


Star of Bethlehem

I sowed seeds for sunflowers and butternut squash with the children. These are large enough seeds to have the children help plant. Seeds that are only covered with 1/8 inch of soil (like lettuce) are not ones that I sow with children, as I have trouble not planting them too deeply myself. I am starting all of these in small garden pots that I got for free as we are not quite ready to plant in the garden. I am hand-watering everything with the hose until we are ready to run drip irrigation; then everything will be planted in the garden. All of these seeds are outside, as it is more than warm enough, and I do not have a place to grow them inside.


Lilacs in the garden

I bought pasta on sale for $0.49 (this sale just comes a few times a year) and I bought several items on sale at the case-lot sale, which is also just a couple of times a year, saving $175 on several food items. I always try to buy these items on this case-lot sale, including green beans, corn, tuna fish, and peanut butter. I noted that the sale prices of several items had gone up by a few cents per can. I hope to grow more beans here, but they struggle in the heat of summer (even the recommended long beans), and while there are those who have had success growing corn here, it’s also very difficult to grow here (the ears tend to stay tiny and the corn tends to burn; I have not had success with it).

The children reorganized our pantry, which was a huge help.

I harvested tarragon, lettuce, parsley, Meyer lemons, and green onions from the garden.

I listened to music on Pandora and read e-books from the library.

My husband cut my hair.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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  1. -The local food bank had a huge surplus of donated bread, pastries and potatoes, and was asking people to come and get anything they could use. I got two loaves of bread, an 8-inch blueberry pie and about 5 lb of potatoes. It was very, very quiet when I went there, so my concerns about being around too many people weren’t a problem. One loaf of bread went in the fridge, the other in the fridge freezer. The pie also went in the freezer. I find I can cut one slice at a time and heat it up, so I can work my way through it slowly. The potatoes were a variety that is grown locally for storage. They have a thick skin, so they need to be peeled, but it’s an easy job for one person’s meal.
    -I made a quick early morning trip to the grocery store to fill in a few holes, like cat litter and cooking oil. There was only one other customer in the store. We are in a quiet time now, as CO-VID cases expand in the province and in the next town over. However, the vaccine supply has improved now, and they seem to have sped up how quickly they are allowing different groups to be vaccinated.
    -Lovely to see your roses and lilacs. We won’t see them until June, by which time you’ll be taking shelter indoors!

  2. When my friend at Kroger’s texted me about Kroger clearance the other morning- Miracle (AMAZING)Whip for $1.49 and Jif peanut butter for 99 cents, I was across town babysitting my grandson. So I asked Hubs if he would go. While he was on his way there, I texted 2 of my daughters and got their “orders” and figured out what we wanted as well. So by the time Hubs arrived at the store, he had a total number of each item to get, including how many Creamy and how many Crunchy jars of PB! He didn’t even complain about rearranging his morning plans to do this! What a guy!!
    I finished the 4 quilts had come in from my friend who teaches quilting classes:,,, Hopefully this will generate future repeat business with her students! Yesterday,another of my friend’s quilting students, after seeing those quilts decided to send her quilt top my way to quilt!! So here it is, all quilted up and ready to be picked up!

    And the client that I quilted this gorgeous batik quilt for,, is coming over this morning with another bed-size quilt she made and wants to gift to her sister-in-law! So,it looks like HandmadeinOldeTowne isn’t slowing down any time soon and will help us make renovations on and around the house as well as adding some extra to our savings!

    We had 2 sons and 1 son-in-law stop over last Monday and after taking gazebo cover off, they dug the holes so I could plant our new fruit trees!

    Later in the week, Hubs cut a 55 gallon plastic barrel we were given in half to make 2 more free planters! We planted our 2 new blueberry bushes in them. Then we took extra paver bricks we have and made a paved space between raspberry bed and one of the new barrel planters and paved spaces on either side of our tiered bucket planters. Good way to use up 60 pavers and it will make it easier to keep free of weeds! and

    I got our broccoli and cabbage planted as well as transplanting some volunteer lettuce plants that had overwintered among our strawberries!

    Speaking of strawberries, all the little runners we transplanted last fall have grown and spread!! I’ve started transplanting them into their permanent beds and all I can say is that we should have a great strawberry harvest!!
    I did a fast-start with my carrot seeds so by the end of the week, 30+ of them will be ready to plant in my 5 gallon bucket!! I’m so excited!

    Our chickens are now laying 6-7 eggs every day, so we shared a dozen with our over-the-fence neighbors next door and this week we will do the same with the neighbors across the alley! They have all been supportive of our chicken-keeping so we thought it would be a way to thank them! Plus, we are now getting about 3-1/2 dozen eggs per week! We’re sharing with our kids, selling some and generally, never having to look at a recipe and wonder if we have enough eggs in the house to make it!! Lol!

    I made a batch of 20 “chicken” taquitos for dinner last night, using Thanksgiving Turkey that I had cooked up and had packaged in the freezer. Picked green onions from the garden to use in them too. We each ate 2 for dinner and the rest were put into 2 gallon size ziplocs with 1 bag going in the “leftover” drawer of our fridge for lunches/dinners and the other bag went into freezer for easy meals in the future!
    Earlier in the week, I made a chicken/broccoli/rice dish to use frozen broccoli from last year’s garden and chicken I had canned in pint jars. I’m making room in my freezer and on my pantry for this year’s food preservation.

    Because our adjusted gross income is below a certain amount, we will qualify for the Homestead Exemption on our property taxes which will reduce them by about $250/year!!

    I love this time of the year! It’s busy but there’s such a positive feel in the air!! So many possibilities!! Plus, on these gorgeous days, we can open our new windows and let the warm breezes in!! So heavenly!! ❤️❤️
    Thanks, Brandy and all for you inspiration!! I learn so much that I can incorporate into our homemaking here!! ❤️❤️

    1. Would you share your taquito recipe Please? I have a good enchilada recipe and one for enchilada sauce that I use regularly for both turkey/chicken leftovers and even black bean ones too.

      1. Patsy- Here is the taquito recipe! It’s quite easy and is a Chicken Ranch Bacon taquito! I substituted my cooked Turkey (pulsed it in my food processor to shred up) and also my DIY dry ranch seasoning mix.

        1. Thanks Pat. That will come in handy for summer meals at the cottage; fast, freezer friendly and will feed a crowd.

    2. GardenPat – do you think strawberries will work in your 5 gallon bucket set up? We are at our new place and I don’t have a designated garden area yet and need to keep the squirrels, chipmunks and deer out of my plants. The only place that is right now is the dog yard – and my one Dane steals berries as fast as she can find them :D!

      1. Melissa V- That is exactly where I started the 8 (2 little four-packs) of strawberry starts I got last summer. I planted 4 or 5 in my five gallon bucket in the tiered frame. By the end of summer they had runners with “babies” that were hanging over the edges! I clipped those and transplanted them for the winter and now this Spring, I probably have 50+ strawberry plants!!
        Definitely worth it, imo!! Good luck!!

      1. Jayne- Here’s link to a YouTube video gardener in Scotland where he shows how ton”fast start” carrot seeds!
        I love that he uses recycled supplies he (and most people) will have at home! It’s a way to germinate seeds before planting them!

        1. I believe there is a lady on youtube who has been having a lot of success germinating her seeds in her instapot!!

          I saw online today that some pharmacies in Alberta were giving out second doses of Astra Zeneca for those who had their first shot 4 weeks ago-i.e. me. So I called and walked in and got my second dose. I was expecting to have to wait until July-I am not in the high risk age group for blood clots fortunately.

  3. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Glad you were able to save some money by buying cases of goods at a sale price. It seems prices are rising everywhere in the world.
    This week we picked leeks, kale and tulips from the garden.
    We planted carrot seeds, parsnip seed, potatoes and squeezed small lettuce plants my husband has grown in the edges of beds. He planted out several lupins he’s grown from seed.
    He made bamboo wigwams in a couple of our free tubs and planted the sweet pea seedlings.
    Then he spread mushroom compost over the soil and mulched on top of that with chipped bark.
    I have managed to cook once eat twice a couple of times this week. I made stock from a chicken carcass. We are saving money on imported fresh fruit by eating homegrown gooseberries and blackcurrants from the freezer.
    I used fabric from my stash to make two new face masks and a reusable fabric gift bag.
    Charity shops reopened today and I found new Kilner jar tongs for bottling for £2.50.
    I restacked some logs in the log shed to ensure better air flow and drying.
    I found a good deal on greeting cards and checked the calender for the rest of the year and ordered appropriate cards for 2 weddings, 2 babies, 80th and 60th birthdays etc. I would like to make more of my own cards in the future.
    If you like watching The Great British Sewing Bee it’s returning this week to the BBC. I enjoy it although it emphasizes my own lack of skill!
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. I’m so sad I can’t watch The Great British Sewing Bee in the US – it looks like such a fun show! Enjoy 🙂

      1. Amy – you might want to check out YouTube for the Great British Sewing Bee. It looks like they have some of the seasons. That’s how I watched Escape to the Chateau, which is just my favorite.

  4. Hello all, hope everyone is doing well.

    I picked up the free garden kit from Lowe’s. Signed up for the next item for this week, which is a piñata with seed bombs.

    Cleaned and organized the freezer. Found enough saved bananas to make 3 loaves of banana bread. Cooked sausage potato soup, and a leftover soup from saved dibs and dabs. We are trying to have the soups before it gets too hot. Made shrimp linguine and traded some for raisin cinnamon bread.

    Used hoopla to watch a movie on my tablet. Also listened to a audio book while cooking and cleaning.

    Not frugal for me but found a work shirt I won’t use now that I retired. I offered it to someone still there who will pick it up this week.

    I had to get rid of a bookshelf. I took a long honest look at the books on there, most I haven’t read or even thought about in ages. I also sorted cookbooks, most are just pretty and I never use them. I’ll either sell or donate these which ever I get to first.

  5. Lovely pictures, Brandy! We are still at least a month away from having lilacs in bloom. I have been cleaning up the garden in little bits and pieces (the Marivene bucket method) and I transplanted the baby tomato plants into larger containers–they all took!

    I picked up a huge bag of paper shreds at DD’s workplace and started another bin of compost. I asked a friend if she had any chicken poop and she gave me a whole feed sack full (I compost it with the shreds and kitchen and yard waste). She also gave me a dozen eggs!

    I cooked the .87 lb. Easter ham and simmered the bone overnight in the Crock Pot for stock. Then I turned the stock and a pound of white beans into about a gallon of delicious bean soup. We ate it for dinner, several lunches and I froze a quart, too. I also froze ham cubes for future meals.

    I mended a Merino wool sweater of my husband’s. The fix took less than 5 minutes and doesn’t show at all. I noticed that there were some faint spots on the front. I sprayed the spots with Miracle Spray, washed the sweater by hand in Dawn, and everything came out. I also patched up the denim rag rug we have underneath the dog dishes. Not the world’s greatest job, but it looks OK and will probably last another year.

  6. We also have lilacs blooming, one of my favorite flowers. I snipped some to enjoy in the house. My husband and I worked quite a bit in the garden. He moved the trellis to a new spot, and set it up, and I planted tromboncino squash there. He also created a bed with a smaller trellis for cucumbers, and planted that. Radishes were planted along the cucumbers, broccoli and cabbage, and nasturtiums were planted along the tromboncino and yellow squash I planted, to deter pests. We planted lots of potatoes this year, and more than 1/3 are up. I transplanted the rest of the wintersown lettuce into the garden. Our strawberries were weeded, and cardboard put around them for weed control. While weeding there, I saw an interesting black and white salamander I still need to look up. With the LeafSnap app, I identified several black haw viburnum, which is edible and medicinal. I created a burlap liner with a free coffee bean bag for the window basket that will go on the workshop. Now that last year’s onions have been used, we’ve been pulling onions from the garden for meals. No heat or a/c was needed last week, though it looks like we’ll need a little heat a few nights this week.

  7. I was sent a 410 off of $75 target circle coupon. I bought things that we needed and things that had ibotta and coupons dot com rebates. Afrer all my circle coupons, i paid using a target gift card. Im going to a wedding shower in a few weeks, so I ordered a bed bath and beyond giftcard using reward points from discover. Ibotta had quite a few offers and bonuses last week. I recycled my funds doing that. I sold quite a few items on ebay. My postal scale died. I ordered a new one from ebay and paid for it with the funds in my paypal account. Incashed in swagbuck points for a target giftcard. I will hang on to it till I need it. I searched around for the best deal for airfare, hotel and a car for the upcoming wedding shower. I got a really good deal through priceline and applied for their credit card and got $100 off my trip for using the card. I baked bread a few times and also got a few loaves at the bread store. Other than that, just the usual stuff. We finally received the 3rd stimulus and it went right into the savings account.

  8. My mom sent over canned pinto beans, tomatoes, garlic bread, and a chuck roast(Walmart sent it in her order for whatever reason, and thankfully wasn’t charged for it)

    Redeemed a free breakfast biscuit from Chik fil a

    Dropped audible down to the lowest tier. I have plenty of audio books to get through so I don’t need the one credit a month.

    My mother in law gave me a $50 gift card to Barnes and Noble for my birthday. I have no idea what to spend it on, I quit buying books a long time ago and just use the library and electronic options.

    Spent one evening at a track meet. No charge that day for admission.

    Returned a library book on time to avoid late fees.

    Borrowed a couple dvds from a friend of movies we wanted to watch.

    1. To second what Brandy said, Barnes and Noble has beautiful stationary and notebooks. Ours also has tote bags, backpacks, puzzles, games, planners ( bound notebook style calendars), wall and desk calendars, book related toys and display items and some art supplies. I bought nice calligraphy pens there recently.


    2. Our B&N has cards (including Christmas cards that go on clearance in January), puzzles, games, Lego and coloring books in addition to books and stationery. I am sure the website has even more. Maybe use it to get gifts for other people?

    3. April,
      Do you need throw blankets, baskets for storage, or anything along those lines? When I get a B&N gift card, I keep an eye on their seasonal items – especially in the fall and winter, they get throw blankets, cozy “reading” socks, and accessories like hat & glove sets. I like to have spare gloves/hats/scarves in our vehicles or extra gloves in my jackets – when these items are clearanced out after a color or seasonal theme passes, it’s a great way to stock up and stretch a card. 🙂 There are sometimes useful, but fun, baskets/bags for tucking things into around the house, if you enjoy that sort of thing. I use them for our books and magazines.

      I also like to pick up packs of fun pens for journaling/list making that I normally wouldn’t go buy out of the regular budget, or reading lights to leave in various places my books/Kindle end up. (Worst case, they are handy if a flashlight isn’t at hand by a chair if the power blips.)

      Hope that gives you a few ideas!

    4. I echo the sentiment about the journals and stationary! I also love to check out their sale section – always such fun things to look through – books, cookbooks, journals, etc. And by the front door in my B & N they deeply discounted books. I don’t buy much there but oh I love to look! Also you could check their website for things and clearance stuff.

      1. Board games might be the only thing I would possibly buy(but we have several and only a couple of us enjoy them) . I stopped bringing in as much excess clutter as I possibly can several years ago.

        I hate cooking so definitely not interested in cookbooks, lol, have enough pens and paper for a good while, definitely don’t need blankets, and my youngest is 14 so don’t need toys(and sadly, she’s not a reader. No one in my family aside from me is really a reader ☹)

        Maybe I’ll keep an eye on clearance books, I might just buy as many as I can and distribute to the Little Free Libraries around town.

        1. What about a cookbook for the wedding gift with some cooking items from bed bath and beyond as a gift basket.

    5. Hi, April — I’m almost positive that you can use a Barnes & Noble gift card to purchase e-books, since that is your preferred reading method. Barnes & Noble’s Nook reading app is available to download onto Android and iPad devices, if you don’t use a Nook device. There are numerous how-to’s online, and this may be a way for you to enjoy your gift card.

  9. It’s been a couple of weeks since I commented. We had a turkey we bought cheaply at thanksgiving for Easter dinner.

    This week we cooked a lot of beans. We made two meals of red beans and rice one with chorizo and one with breakfast sausage. Both meals were good but it would be better with ham or smoked sausage.

    I made brandy’s creamy chicken enchiladas last night for dinner. But I changed the recipe to make it my own. We made a white sauce with butter flour and milk instead of using cr of chicken soup. And I added two cans of white beans along with the chicken to make it go further. Then we topped it with salsa verde and I have to say that it turned out pretty good.

    The weather here is starting to warm up. We saved over 130 dollars over our electric bill last month. I need to get better about turning off lights or having my children turn off their lights.

    Oh a funny thing happened. I’ve been trying to reduce my television viewing habits. Last week we had a thunderstorm come through that caused a power surge that fried our tv. Haha. God has a sense of humor. We probably aren’t going to replace it. I can buy an awful lot of books for the amount it would cost to get a new tv.

    1. That tv comment is an inspiration to me! I definitely need to read more – not watch more. I have so many books I want to read yet I find myself watching shows online. I need more balance 🙂

  10. Just wanted to set your mind at ease on the corn a bit. You really need quite a bit of space to grow corn in a large enough amount for a family your size. Each plant will yield (usually) one large ear and one small ear. So imagine how many plants you would need to have to grow enough for your family. I have grown corn for years, but I also have a 2 acre parcel of land, and only had two children. You, most likely, would be better served planting the things you do. By the way your lettuce looks so good, it looks like it could be pulled off the page and into my salad bowl. Love the lilacs. One of my favorite flowers.

  11. My little town is now part of the FARM TO FAMILY PROGRAM. You go and they will give you a box of food. You can do this once a month. The food will be cheese, dairy, fruit and veg. It may be different things every month. I don’t care what is in it we will eat it. If a lot of people do this the town will be able to get more to share with the community. Everything seems to be more expensive in the stores. It is crazy out there.
    I got my $14oo. check finally. Thank goodness.
    I’m watching free shows on TV.
    I’m reading free books.
    It is still cool here at night so I haven’t planted outside yet. I am hoping it will be planting outside time by the end of the week.
    My husband and I are going through tubs of items we have had in storage for years. My goal for this year is to get rid of as much as I can that is not needed or really wanted. I sew for a living and with fabric prices going up I am looking at all of the fabric with a jaundiced eye. What I am sewing is so different now then what I used to sew.
    I have donated bags and bags (big black garbage bags) of fabric that I won’t use. I have kept 4 very large tubs of fabric I will use.
    A friend is sharing a quilt pattern. I am helping her with her quilt. It has saved me buying the book.
    One of the neighbors is still giving us his empty pots. We are using them to plant food and flowers. We are drilling holes in the bottom of the pots for drainage. These were an answer for me. I wanted to container garden this year and here are the containers.
    Brandy, your photos are wonderful. I can’t wait for you to sell them.

    1. I wish they had a farm to family program where I lived – what a great program! So happy for you and your family.

  12. Thank you so much for the lovely pictures. Its been snow squalling here so its lovely to know there are flowers blooming somewhere.
    We saved money by:
    I cut my husbands and sons hair
    Getting a turkey on Easter clearance plus one of our local grocery stores has save 15% on the first Tuesday of the month so my discounted turkey was further reduced
    We’ve eaten at home all week, our kids had Easter break last week and we were planning on going away for a couple of days but with the increased restrictions and increasing COVID numbers we decided to stay home. Went hiking in the area instead.
    Did a fun family games night
    Went through our winter clothing and have a bag for donations and a bag to sell
    Friends are moving from Canada to the Southern Us and need to clear out everything. My parents needed a new lawn tractor so we were able to get them a deal while helping our friends at the same time.
    Got many new books, DVDs and video games from the library over the school break.
    Got some new work out DVDs to try from the library
    Transplanted my 400 tomato plants into larger pots that I’ve either saved or am reusing from different containers.

    1. Natasha, I’m not sure what you plan to do with 400 tomato plants, but we have a friend who grew 2,000 plants and sold them off her front porch for $1 each.

    2. In Canada, you could probably sell each tomato plant for at least $4 and of course more for bigger plants

  13. *I transplanted some baby raspberry plants that were coming up in my garden pathway. Some I put back into my raspberry bed, others I shared with the “plant lady” at Walmart. We had had a garden conversation the previous week, and I had offered to bring her some and she indicated that she would love to have some. When I actually showed up this week with some in a baggie with a damp paper towel, she was delighted! It felt good to make someone so happy!
    *While at Walmart, I looked at what plants the “plant lady” had just marked down on clearance. I was able to purchase seven Lavenders for just $1.00 each, a Columbine for $2.00, and a small flat of Marigolds for $1.00.
    *We read my daughter in law’s History blog as part of our homeschool. This week her post was about the Mason Dixon line. I learned new things that I never knew! If anyone would like to read her blog as well, you can find this week’s article here:
    *I accepted some cut Lilacs from our neighbor. They brought a beautiful perfume to our home all week long!
    *My teen daughter was able to receive her first COVID vaccine. While I wish the need was not there, I am thankful that she was able to receive it in our county. She received her vaccine in a pop-up location that our county Health Department is running, and it was a circle drive through a beautiful nature park! I was super impressed with the organization of it all—they had spots for ID checking, a drive through tent for receiving the vaccine, a place to wait the 20 minutes afterwards, and we never even had to get out of our car! It was drive through, the entire way!
    *We had our carpets professionally cleaned. This keeps our carpet warranty valid, and it also helps the carpet to wear longer without dirt on the underside acting like sand paper and wearing the carpet away. I did find a coupon for $30 off of the cleaning, so that helped!
    I have pictures and more details on my blog at:

    Looking forward to reading what everyone is up to!

      1. I wish I could give you some Brandy! I have more! I have one 4×8 bed of raspberries, and one the same size of blackberries. My blackberry bushes are currently loaded with blossoms, but they do not seem to put out more baby plants as aggressively as the raspberries do.

        1. I have killed every single raspberry. They really struggle in our heat.

          However, a friend from Iran was telling me last week about Damascus Raspberries that he brought from Israel (where his family lives) and says he will give me some baby plants. I don’t know when, but I am VERY interested in these! They grow well in the shade here, and even if they are invasive, I have just the spot. I hope they produce as well as his do.

          1. I have never heard of that type! So nice of your friend to offer you some starts—I really hope they do well for you! I didn’t think raspberries would grow in Chattanooga heat and humidity, but these seem to do fine. They don’t produce as much as my blackberry bushes do, though. I realize your area is MUCH hotter than here. We used to live in Texas. The people were wonderful, but the heat was really hard on me, having grown up in the North!

            1. I can’t find anything about them online. I hope he brings more than one! And if they spread, then I will transplant them to more spots. Hot, dry shade is extremely challenging and I am looking for things to grow there. To grow my favorite fruit would be a dream. If I can take cuttings from them to make more I will do that too.

          2. Raspberries are a mixed blessing. I had them for a number of years. Besides the thorns, they put out many small plants, which either overcrowd your bed, or need to be transplanted to additional land. They are extremely fragile and can’t be washed ahead of using them without damage. They keep producing forever so you have to keep picking forever. Eventually you get tired of them, tired of trying to get through the brambles, and don’t have enough time in your life to pull weeds and small baby plants so you either get very scratched a few times a week, or just give up on raspberries and use the space for something less painful. But they are delicious!!

            1. I figured they would be this way, but so far, I haven’t been able to keep any alive.

  14. I smiled last week when you mentioned discovering SweeTart jelly beans. I discovered them a few years ago and they’ve become my favorites. I’m nibbling on them as I type.

    Easter Sunday was my husband’s birthday. He loves the Beatles, and he turned 64, so I asked his close friends, siblings, and the kids to text gifs, memes, and youtube videos with Beatles themes (specifically When I’m 64, and/or [You Say It’s Your] Birthday). This was a rousing success – my husband laughed all day. (Our youngest even sang “64”, karaoke-style, when he called, which was pretty funny.) I woke him up to “Birthday” playing loud! I baked his favorite cake and made his favorite icing (caramel, which I always find tricky to get right) using what we had on hand, and we enjoyed a lovely dinner on the patio. We were visited by bluebirds and a spectacular woodpecker, before the birds realized there were humans sitting near the birdbath. Then we watched a movie of his choice – it was a very nice low-cost “party”.

    Even though we had no guests this year, I decorated for Easter and Spring purely for the good of my soul. I used only what I already had, which proved to be plenty.

    I replanted butternut squash and pumpkin sprouts outside in containers left by the previous owner of the house. She left a LOT of empty containers and I’m appreciating having them to plant in until I decide how I’m going to set up my garden(s).

    We had rain and were able to leave the sprinklers turned off for several more days. I blended fruit and vegetable scraps and used the liquid as fertilizer (I don’t have a composter). I saved warm-up water from showers to water plants. When letting the water warm up in the kitchen sink, I also make sure to fill the Brita pitcher. When the sun came out, I used the clothesline almost exclusively.

    I picked bunches of lavender, purple lantana, and olive branches (thank you, Brandy, for the idea) and made bouquets to enjoy around the house. Today I picked roses for the first time in quite a while.

    I made several gifts for upcoming birthdays using Shutterfly freebie offers, paying only for shipping.

    We discovered that a doctor’s office had charged our credit card $1500 for a routine lab test. You can bet that made us jump. We called the office. The explanation given was a mix-up due to doing things differently during COVID. They refunded our card and charged the correct amount ($100).

      1. How fun! If I remember correctly, they share an enjoyment of the Beatles as well. I hope he enjoyed the day. 😀

    1. LOVE that you decorated purely for the ‘good of your soul’! Too many people forget to do things they enjoy simply because no one else i there to participate. Go YOU!!

      1. Terri, thank you! And you’re so right about how easy it is to forget to do things we enjoy, when it’s just for ourselves – especially with the last year of isolation, tension, and worry. It really did give my spirits a lift. (When I first tried to post a reply to you, my computer glitched, so I’m posting again and apologize if I’m repeating myself.) 😉

  15. The new rose, Star of Bethlehem and your lilacs are gorgeous, Brandy! I hope you’re able to get everything done in the garden before it gets too uncomfortable for you to work out there.

    I haven’t posted in a long while. I think the last time l posted we had just paid off our last debt and could begin saving to buy a house again, save for retirement, and build up our emergency funds. At first, we spent quite a lot replacing things we had put off until the last student loans, car payment and medical debt were gone. But then we began to save again and it feels good to see our savings accounts grow a little bigger each month.

    This past week we met with a financial planner who is helping us get on track with saving for retirement and planning for the future. I’m glad to get a plan in place!

    My husband used some old wood he got for free to build me three new raised beds to expand my little garden. Prices on plants here have gone up quite a bit so l am trying to grow from seed for the first time. Wish me luck! We took advantage of a free compost giveaway from our city to get a bunch of compost to use in the garden. The city also had a free “clean out” day where you could go to the dump without paying a fee, so we pruned up a lot of trees and cleared brush from our property ahead of fire season, and took a few other things in a load to the dump. It saved us $25.

    My husband helped a friend clear some downed oak trees on his property and brought home a trailer full of oak wood. For the cost of renting a splitter for $35, we now have refilled our woodshed with enough firewood to last us all next fall and winter.
    Meat has been crazy expensive here, but I took advantage of a post-Easter sale to get a large rib roast for 60% off. We were able to get 4 dinners out of it, even with a hungry teenager, plus l made a lot of stock from the bones to freeze.

    My husband brought home leftovers from a work luncheon.
    Have a great week, everyone!

  16. Hi Brandy,
    Your photo of the Star of Bethlehem took my breath away! What a fantastic photo. Thank you for posting it. You might want to sell it to the seed people (assuming it came from seeds) to use as their cover photo ;).

    Last weekend, I did an April year to date look at our budget versus actual spending. While various categories were over/under, the total came in very close to expected, so that was good. Since we are both retired, I feel much happier when I track our spending and know we are on track.

    I did an updated freezer inventory on cooked meals and now have some easy meals to serve this week;). As a frugal fail, last week we ate lunch out a few times since we are both vaccinated and our state is now open. While it was grand to eat out, and the food was excellent, I was astonished that lunch for two can cost $35! Absolutely astonished. Prices are way up…I used to expect $25 at these nice lunch restaurants….no more. So back to eating at home. I cannot imagine how a family can eat out if lunch for two adults costs so much.

    Thanks so much for this blog, I look forward to your posts each week!

    1. They grow from bulbs. I posted it on Instagram and forgot to tag the seller; I will do that!

      I didn’t even think about rising prices like that at restaurants. Good to know!

  17. I have been sick for almost 4 weeks with a bad cough, sinus infection and pneumonia. I went and tested negative fir Civid but grew bacteria so have done 2 rounds of antibiotics and prednisone. Doctor is calling me tomorrow since I am still not well. Please pray for healing. I had put up a lot of cold medicine and Mucinex in case we got Covid and have depleted all of it. I see I need a lot more set aside. My husband has been so good to throw together meals after work and go shopping. We have had a lot of pizza and grilled cheese and eggs. One day I was able to out on lima beans and sausage and another time made a soup. Tonight I made pasta e figoili, but used potatoes instead of pasta.
    *I have been watching Escape to the Chateau. I found we are seasons behind British airing and that I can go back to previous seasons on YouTube. It may have been airing and I didn’t know until now. I am also watching Atlantic Crossing. My husband and I are watching an older series The Americans about Soviet KGB spies who take on American identities and blend in. We have to forward through scenes in bed, but are enjoying it.
    * I cut my husband’s hair. He cut the dogs bangs and chin.
    * My garden is on hold for now. I am too sick to get out to do anything. My seedlings died when I needed to repot and was too sick.

    1. I hope you get better soon! We’ve been dealing with a bug in our family but not pneumonia! Hugs to you-

    2. Sorry you’ve been so sick. I always look for your posts, Bama Holly. Praying for your health and recovery!

    3. well, I ended up going back to doctor Tuesday and they did a chest xray and it was abnormal. She thought I could possibly have a callapsed lung so sent me to ER. So I went and had xrays and tests. Still Covid negative, but have pneumonia. I am on more antibiotics and steroids and still coughing a lot. Hope I am finally on the mend.

      1. I hope you feel better soon! A collapsed lung is awful and if you feel that bad. . . I’m so sorry!

  18. I canned some pints of pineapple and pickled asparagus. It was good to get my canner out and start the season…. I also made three loaves of sourdough wheat bread and gave one away.
    I finished a baby afghan made with stash yarn and started another. I have enough stash to make about 10 more of them, so no shopping needed for me until I use up all that I have, despite the sales. I will also resume knitting cowls to donate using my stash of wool yarn. I just a bit tired of making them after #11.
    I too am reading books from the library. I really culled my book collection before we moved. As I was shelving what we have I wondered to myself why I really moved what I did. With a library so close by, I am happy to borrow the books from them and let them go to another reader. My criteria for keeping books is if I will read it again or use it for reference, then it stays. I’ve also decreased the number of cookbooks I have by copying the few recipes that I like, then donating the book. I keep a binder of recipes and put the recipes in sheet protectors.
    We also got a quarterly refund of $167 on our credit card. I use it for everything and pay it off each month. The refund certainly counters the poor interest rate on savings accounts. It’s all bonus money!
    Each day I am trying to organize one drawer or shelf. It only takes a few minutes and gives me great satisfaction that I am staying on tip of my organizing!
    This afternoon I went on a walk at our State Capitol. It is ringed by cherry trees–hundreds, if not thousands of them–all in bloom. It was very beautiful and peaceful, although a lot of people were there to enjoy them as well and take photos.
    Have a wonderful week!

  19. The rose and lilacs are so beautiful! We are enjoying lovely spring weather here and all of the blooms that come with it.
    My husband rigged up some shade over my raised beds. That will extend my kale/greens season. We helped our daughters move this weekend, which involved a long drive and one night in an airbnb. But I took all the food we ate, and it was a joy to be there for the move.
    I’ve been working in a school office this past month which has made me incredibly busy, but the paycheck was very welcome! I’m trying not to have ‘lifestyle creep’ with this extra income, but to simply save it all. I’m awfully tired though. I’m keeping my Etsy shop going, as my son says, “That is yours. You’re not working for anyone in that, you can grow it.” I do so appreciate encouragement and wisdom from my kids in their early 20’s. We dream one day of having a family shop.
    I’ve remade curtains (I’m not sure how many times this fabric has been re-made, I’m going to guess 4?). These curtains will go to my daughters. One had hopes of buying new curtains, then she looked at the prices and was very happy to receive the remade white ones from me! They came from IKEA and were a great buy new, and continue to be great even 4 alterations later!
    Two climbing rose cuttings are growing, that’s always a thrill. Even better that they were cut from the bush that grows over the fence-it’s our neighbors bush!
    I’m not sure I’ve done anything else super frugal, but being too busy to shop does seem to save money!

    1. My mom bought me kitchen curtains that faded in the wash until no two panels were the same color. The fabric itself was fine, I just had a rainbow of blues. One panel reupholstered my childhood rocking chair, one made Mary’s costume for the nativity play, one a jacket for a French and Indian war reenactor and one was used in a quilt. I got a lot of fabric miles out of those curtains.

  20. We had an interesting and unique Easter in Fairbanks! It started snowing on Friday and continued all weekend. The official final count was 14 inches. We only went out to get our second covid shots where we visited with a friend and said hello to a granddaughter and son. She got her second shot that day also. We decided on Friday to wait a week to have our family Easter, so the 3 of us at home had an Easter dinner. My husband is newly retired from many years of ministry. He was happy not to have to drive the 12 miles to his former church. His former apprentice who is doing pulpit supply for the church sent out a notice on Sunday asking people to stay home as roads were bad, zoom church was available, and the church’s sewer was frozen up. Very thankful for the zoom connection! The following nights were cold, down to -30. The snow was beautiful and the weekend was peaceful as most people stayed home where it was safe.
    This week is much warmer and we think breakup is beginning. In our back yard. The snow is almost to the top of our 4 ft. fence! I the front yard, the pile is over 7 ft. because it is the only place to pile snow from the parking spaces. It will be nice to be able to see traffic again! Under the snow piles, we have 10 garden spots, so can’t even think about them for a couple of months. We also have 2 garden plots in the community garden. It will be nice to be able to get out there and work after our long winter.
    Last Saturday was our 50th anniversary. We had hoped to take a long trip this year but even though we are vaccinated, are not co me mmfortable doing so until other areas covid rates fall. It took me many years to celebrate anniversaries, because a friend of ours from our wedding was murdered 5 years later. Finally on our 25th, as I was driving home from work, I decided it made no sense to continue to mourn after so many years! We will always miss him, but also know he is OK with Jesus.
    Thank you to all who continue to share here and to Brandy for maintaining this blog! Your frugal hints help all of us!

    1. Happy Anniversary to you and your husband!!! What a blessing to celebrate the milestone of 50 years in love 😊

  21. Last week, Marley posted a comment about cleaning an antique rug. I have a very large braided rug which was made by my grandmother sixty years ago. How can I clean it? Advice, please.

    1. Sue, I had a braided rug that I had professionally cleaned. I drove by the rug cleaners’ place the next day and saw my rug hanging to dry over a rail! If I were you, I would vacuum the rug, lay it flat in the backyard and go at it with cold/cool soapy water and a scrub brush (preferably on a pole), then rinse well with the hose. I would go over it with a carpet cleaner to suck up excess water to speed drying. When the top is dry, I’d flip it over to dry the underside faster. I would do this in the shade to prevent sun fading. I can’t guarantee that you won’t ruin the rug, but I think this would work and I’d be willing to take my chances. That’s why I said “If I were you…” LOL If you aren’t willing to take the chance, send it to a professional rug cleaner, but don’t be surprised if they require you to sign a damage waiver.

    2. I would do some research online and on YouTube as well as any advice you get here. My mom took an antique rug of ours to the dry cleaner and they didn’t damage it, but it really didn’t look any better. It’s still very dinghy and gray. I have it now in storage. I hate to give it away – My grandmother made it by hand. It’s a beautiful rug made for a babies room. I’ll be interested to see what advice you get here.

    3. Sue in Texas,
      After a lot of time on the internet I finally took the rug outside onto the driveway, sprayed it with the hose and sprayed a mixture of Dawn, vinegar and water all over it. Then I got on my hands and knees and worked it gently into the rug. Next I sprayed with water again, actually twice as I used too much Dawn, until the water ran clear. Next I rolled the rug up little by little and walked on the rolled up part with each roll to squeeze excess water out as much as I could. I did this a couple of times rolling the rug up from different directions. I laid the rug flat on the driveway until it dried. This process took me about an hour to wash and all day in the sun to dry. If I ever do this again I will mix the solution 2 tablespoon Dawn, 3/4-1 cup vinegar and the rest of the spray bottle with water. Once the rug was wet I could not move it. It weighed a ton. I was going to try to hang it on the clothesline but could not even drag it across the yard. My rug is wool and canvas. I used Dawn as I thought if it is gentle enough to wash oil covered birds it must be gentle enough for an antique rug. I thought about using baby shampoo instead of Dawn, but did not have any on hand so went with Dawn which I had. I also felt if the rug had not been cleaned in at least 45 years I could not do too much additional damage to it. It had spent the last 45 years living with my sister’s 6 cats who had obviously enjoyed the rug. Now it looks (and smells!) much better. Hope this helps. you.

    4. I don’t know how delicate it is, but we have taken rugs and either put down in the driveway, or hang over a fence and use a power sprayer to clean them. Works really well! You can spot spray any noticeable spots before spraying.

  22. The weather this week was warm enough to hang laundry outside to dry (instead of on a rack in front of the wood stove.) Snow has melted on most of the local trails and we were able to go hiking a couple of times with our dogs.
    The auger on our icemaker broke and my husband was able to buy the part and replace it very inexpensively. He had to bag up all the ice and put it in our big freezer, so I used that in my cooler when I went out of town for the weekend.
    For the first time since Covid I was able to get together with a group of writer friends (we have all been vaccinated.) We each brought our own food to eat, so saved money on the outing that way.
    I baked two loaves of whole wheat sandwich bread and a pan of rolls, and mixed up a new batch of hot chocolate mix. I also made a batch of homemade yogurt and cooked a big pot of dried beans to put in the freezer for future meals.
    I finished knitting a blanket made from yarn that was given to me.

  23. 1. I made some black bean veggie burger patties from beans I had soaked & cooked previously. I put them on buns w/ lettuce & tomato like in Brandy’s picture that accompanies her recipe. They were filling & tasty. My husband wolfed his down. I put some cheese on his for a cheeseburger.
    2. A colleague at work offered me her unwanted Dell laptop computer. I need to get a battery for it but it works fine. I offered to buy it but she said she would give it to me. Anyway I am going to give her 50$ as it seems like the right thing to do. When I retire I will have to give my loaner laptop back to my school so I needed my own laptop.
    3. I got a large jug of liquid Cascade dishwasher detergent & a twin pack of unopened solid deodorant free on my Nextdoor Neighbor app. Someone did not want the items.
    4. I found some change in the coin return of the vending machine at work.
    5. Got my hair cut at the beauty school. It was a bit more than I wanted to spend. However I have gotten my hair cut only twice in the last year. I guess I can splurge on a haircut every 6 months. The student did a nice job & I gave her a tip. I know that is the only $ the students make while in beauty school.
    I plan to go part time after this semester. Frugal habits will be useful when my income is reduced. My husband was self employed & did not plan much for retirement. He has learned to watch his $ w/ more care now that he is retired.

    1. I love free items! I found a quarter in my grocery bag as I was unloading it last week. I did the happy dance and then put it in my savings jar. 🙂

  24. I downloaded some things online so I have less to scan and can clean out a folder faster. DH and DS are starting to realize how handy it is to have more things in the pantry for spur of the moment ideas for a meal or snack. They are even writing things down when we get to the last of an item we don’t buy often so I can restock at the best time. DS and I cleared sticks from the yard so he could mow before a storm. I baked a ham to divide and freeze and made a carrot cake. DH called a number on a card for an energy package. We never had that opportunity before. I do plan to have our power company do an energy audit soon as they have rebates on some things we need done. I got a $10 gc for a survey.

    We looked at several places and priced sofas. Ours are part of what is being hauled off. We were going to recover one but it has a lot of cushions. From what we have seen that we like I don’t think we could recover it and pay delivery charges for what we can buy one. We have a very wide upholstered chair with ottoman that we can bring upstairs until we find what we want. The guy that will haul things away does have a big job. I saw on Facebook that a large piece of equipment got stuck when something collapsed underneath it. I left a message and if the refrigerator is meant for us it will be there when he comes. Meanwhile, I think DH and DS are loving finding things in either freezer to clear some space out. We also went to a new to us nursery and enjoyed looking at the plants we had time for. We will go back as we need some groundcover and I want more flowers and vegetables. I have made plans for the seeds we got last year. I definitely want to plant some lettuce and other things we did not do before.

    We walked several times. One time we walked an offshoot of a trail. I purposely hadn’t done the offshoot yet as it has a long steep part that I didn’t like before my surgery. It was great. The other was at the city park five days later. It is mostly uphill or downhill and I chose the mostly uphill to see how I was doing. I did well except at the very steepest part. We were talking about the first Easter egg hunt that was there and I may have been walking and talking a little too much and my breath caught for a second at the end of a sentence. A couple more feet and we were headed downhill to the car. It was a nice walk. There was a lot of tiny wild flowers. I would have liked to have gotten a couple but I didn’t have anything to wrap them in. Have a nice week.

  25. A busy week over here for my family with work and lots of projects around the house to accomplish.
    We ordered top soil for the garden and mulch for our flower beds and it Will be delivered tomorrow. The soil for the garden is enriched and mixed with river sand which helps with drainage and the root systems of the plants that form as they grow. It also keeps a cool temperature which is nice when one is growing a garden and days reach 98 degrees with 100% humidity. Since we have added to the garden each year we only ordered 2.5 cubic ft to be filled in which combined with what we have out there will cover and give us the depth that we need. I have manure to be tilled in as well as a basic 10-10-10 fertilizer. We will plant our plants next weekend after the dirt has a chance to rest a bit.
    We also bought mulch in bulk which was a savings of about $200 compared to what we would have spent to purchase it in a big box store.
    We saved over $100 hiring someone to come till the space instead of renting a tiller, then having to rent a truck to get it to our home as well.
    I signed to attend the University extraction master Gardner plant sale this past weekend. Tomato seedlings were incredibly hearty & healthy and $2-$3 for 6 inch pots. I was also sable to purchase large veregated hostas in gallon containers which have several plants in each pot. I also found creeping Jenny for a couple of dollars per plant that can be divided and used in all the pots I have sitting on my deck and along the front walk. I am hoping to build some window boxes for the front double windows but we will see how time goes.
    We used the last of the Easter ham to cook up a huge pot of pinto beans. We ate beans & rice, corn on the cob, fresh tomatoes, and roasted asparagus for dinner on Sunday. I used half of the leftover pintos to make a large pot of chili. We ate
    Some spooned over spaghetti noodles with cheese and froze the remainder for easy chili dogs sometime down the road. I wills freeze the remaining bens to add to soup, refried beans or another dish in the future.
    We used Easter decorations that we already had on hand to decorate our home for the holiday and we saw our first wild bunny rabbit in the back yard over Easter weekend.
    I had a large bag of lemons and used several to make a double batch of lemon brownies. These were delicious and we shared with two neighbors.
    I have enough lemons left to make a couple of lemon meringue pies at least and possibly some lemonade. I think I’ll add that to the list for this coming weekend.
    I sent a jar of homemade relish for the ladies to enjoy with their hot dog luncheon and prayer meeting.
    I washed my two makeup sponges in a bit of soap and warm water rather than replacing them with new sponges.
    I bought some new shorts for my son in a store but when I looked at the prices they were higher in the store than online. I talked to the store manager and she agreed to match the price. I have been looking for a bathing suit for my son and was hesitating to spend $28-$30 on a brand new suit. I found the exact one I had been looking at in his size in TJ Max for $7 instead of $30 from Carter’s 😊
    I paid for the remainder of our vacation condo this past week. This may not seem frugal but we opted for a smaller condo that is on the beach to avoid gas expense in the car and the parking fees to go to public beaches which in that area are $5-$6 per hour. Our condo has a full kitchen so I will be planning our meals and bringing all of our food from home. We also chose a condo that was on sale spending less over all, they rent bikes for residents, there is a pool, and lots of wildlife in the area to watch. We are looking forward to the time away so much.
    Can now see the bottom
    Of our freezer!! I still have a turkey, a pork sirloin roast and four packs of chicken but we should be able to get through that in the next couple of months easily. I will begin light stocking up when I see meat prices at their lowest. We are also low on oil, rice, oats, and a few seasonings.
    My husband will get his second dose of the vaccine this week and I get mine on April 20th. I’m excited for this to be completed for our family. With other medical conditions for my husband, anything we can do to avoid or lessen COVid is a savings.
    I hope everyone is well and at least enjoying small tastes of the warm spring weather ahead.
    Blessings friends!!

    1. I am very interested in your lemon brownies! We don’t have many lemons left this year as the wind blew most of the blossoms off the trees last year (instead of hundreds of lemons, one tree only had eight!) but I hope to have more this year if today’s horrible windstorm doesn’t destroy the crop.

      1. I found the recipe on a blog that I read…it is called the View from Great Island. If you search for lemon brownies it should pop up for you. Her recipe for apple cider doughnut cake is also quite good and simple 😊

  26. Brandy I am happy that you were able to stock up on multiple tinned items at good prices as well as pasta and the $175 saving is huge 🙂 . Glad you were able to harvest some more produce from your gardens and plant more in pots in readiness for planting in your own gardens once finished. How lovely the children were able to help you, save you time, and organise the pantry and help you plant seeds too.

    Our savings last week added up to $ 81.13 🙂 .

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked 2 loaves of wholemeal white bread in the bread making machine saving $6.98 over buying them locally.
    – Blanched and froze our broccoli we bought on special to make 10 meal sized portions for the freezer.
    – Cooked all meals from scratch.

    Purchases –
    – Bought 12 tins of spam on special saving $26.40 on usual prices.
    – Saved 4% or $8 by purchasing a RACQ Woolworths grocery gift card for grocery purchases.
    – On specials from Drakes supermarket we purchased on special 6.055kg of plain, bbq and honey soy marinated large chicken drumsticks for $2.90 kg, 2 x 500g of cashews for $5.95 a packet, fresh broccoli for $3.50 kg and got a 5% pensioner discount saving $35 on usual prices.
    – At Coles we purchased 15 tins of lychees in a cheaper brand saving $12.75 over buying them elsewhere.

    In the gardens –
    – Tied up our cherry tomato plants that are producing well and getting huge.
    – Started digging and loosening soil in another garden bed and will amend the soil before planting.
    – Dug and amended the soil with manure and compost in another garden bed to make it ready for planting.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead :).


  27. After pricing plants for my new perennial flower bed, my granddaughter and I planted flower seeds instead. You’re right, the bigger seeds (lupines) were much easier for her to handle than the teeny ones (black-eyes Susans)! But, assuming they come up, it should all work out in the end! Would love to know which books you’re enjoying, Brandy! Thanks, as always, for the inspiration!

  28. Thrifty actions this week: 1) purchased glue free carpet tiles for a couple of indoor entries at Habitat Resell for $2.50 2) explored more plant based whole food recipes ( this has kept me off of statins for cholesterol for past 3 years) at Lazy Cat Kitchen 3) reading ” The Women of Chateau Lafayette” ( historical fiction) by Stephanie Dray from the library & enjoying Atlantic Crossing on Masterpiece Theater.

    1. I just read about that book yesterday! I lived not far from there in the Auvergne region and never knew about it. I did a report on Lafayette in school (even drew his picture) and I requested the e-book from the library. It is 18 weeks out before I will get to read it, but it looks very interesting.

  29. The Star of David is beautiful, and Lilacs are one of my favorite flowers. Mine will not bloom for another month plus.
    Was able to work a few extra hours with the contract job, I will apply those extra earnings to my car fund.
    Sold some clothes from my closet that I no longer enjoyed/need and purchased some that I am enjoying all off eBay. I came out ahead money-wise in the end.
    Found a bunch of small-batch recipes for treats (brownies, coffee cake, etc.) on Pinterest which has been just delightful on the waistline and the budget.
    My dearest friend is decluttering her house. There are a few items I need, so I asked if she had any of those in her donation pile. She did. I took a few extra items that I know will sell on eBay to make her a little cash.
    Found established Kale plants on sale and purchased a 6 pack.
    Hope everyone has a calm week!

  30. The Star of Bethlehem photo is stunning! I’ve never seen one before and thought it was so beautiful & intricate I even showed my hubby. He even thought it was pretty.

  31. Your lilacs are beautiful, Brandy! I miss the scent.

    We are making a garden change as well- we are investing in a sturdy gate for our front garden area. Javelina are a terrible problem here and not only do they knock over the garbage cans, they just destroy so many of my plants and it’s awful to see empty pots and only a few bits of prized, chewed plants left. I’ll be saving money by not replacing plants so frequently!

    We’ve been eating meals made at home and with ingredients from the freezer, too.

    I hope everyone has a good week.

    1. Hi Nina
      I just googled Javelina, no wonder you want to keep them out, they must cause a lot of damage. We complain about rabbits and pigeons in our garden but Javelina would be worse! Good luck with the new gate.

  32. I’m always looking into my pantry to make sure things are being used up or given away if I can’t use them. This week I had a “save” and a “fail.” First, the fail. I have blood pressure issues and I realized I could help myself by trying hard to reduce salt intake. I fell in love with sweet potato crackers some time back and was buying them in bulk from Costco. I knew I had to give them up. I had two double batch boxes and planned on giving them to a neighbor, but then realized they were already two months past their “best buy” date. This would have been fine for me but I was afraid might offend somebody who was less frugal. So I tossed them, probably $10-12 in crackers. Better a small monetary loss than a stroke. Right?

    My save. We have a house cat who eats expensive/healthy cat food, and a feral cat who is kind of 70% ours and just gets grocery store cat food. After four years the spoiled house cat has begun to turn his nose up at the “expensive” tuna flavored food. I was gathering all the tuna flavored together and preparing to give it away when it occurred to me that half feral cat would be grateful for any of it. She is. Also, when she now gets the expensive tuna flavor, he decides he wants a tad, and will deign to eat a spoonful. The result is I didn’t give any food away, just shifted it.

    If all of this sounds confusing, it is. Picture spouse and I groveling to these two cats to try and make them happy campers, as if we were medieval serfs trying to please the king and his consort.

    1. Your cat food story made me laugh. It is a complicated job, looking after cats. I had one cat who insisted he could not eat salmon either in food or treats, whereas the other cat loved it. When the first cat turned thirteen, he decided salmon was his favorite flavor

    2. Anne, I had to laugh at the serf comment. I go through that weekly with our adopted cat. She needs a special expensive diet and some days will protest and protest and others gobble it up. Thank goodness she is so cute. 🙂

  33. Those lilacs are one of my favorite colors. My bedroom is painted a pale version of that very shade.

    I got notice of a one-day only 45% off sale going on at an online store. I usually ignore the sale notices, but they carry the items I had already planned to buy for an upcoming birthday, so I hopped on and placed an order. I was so tempted to add to my purchase to get free shipping, but I would be buying items costing $53 more to save on $9 of shipping, and I really don’t need anything else anyway. So, I paid the shipping.

    I bought a $25 Swagbucks Amazon card for $22 and will use it going through Brandy’s links. I already have something I need to buy for my husband’s gardening efforts, and will use the gift card on that.

    Locally, I bought PVC pipe for my husband, and bought it in the 20-ft. sticks. They will cut it for free, so I had them cut each stick in the 5-ft. lengths I need. I can buy it pre-cut, but it doubles the cost.

    I grabbed a free, good filing cabinet put out by the side of the road for bulk trash day.

    I made an error in my property tax payment when I dropped it in the box outside their door. Some days later, I got a notice that my taxes were not paid. I called, and it turned out an employee had spotted the error, set the bill and payment aside to handle later, forgot it, and went on vacation. They very kindly accepted my slightly too-small payment as paid in full, due to their error of mis-placing my bill; I had offered to make up the difference, but they insisted that I don’t need to. It pays to be very polite and friendly when calling, but I don’t recommend paying a little less, just to see if one can get by with it! 🙂 Needless to say, I will make sure I fill in the correct amount next time!

  34. I missed reading last week and will read that post next, but I am so impressed with how far that garden has come in each weekly lot of photos! It’s good to hear you are getting done with the construction part and are nearing the planting part. Having watched you transform the front yard, I am sure it will all be lovely!
    In January, when I did a pantry inventory, I came across quite a few expired items. Most were long term storage worthy items such as pasta or canned goods. As of today I have used all but three of those items over the past weeks. Some were one time purchases I’d bought to try and failed to do so. One of those will now move onto my stock up list: coconut milk in a can. I used half the can in leftover curry chicken. It worked well enough and I had no complaints but there was still half a can left. I made my usual Nut bread recipe and since I had only one ripe banana to use this week, I added in the rest of the coconut milk (skipped adding oil). This made a delicious bread that is lighter and fluffier than my usual nut breads. Well worth having one or two cans in my pantry for future use.
    I’ve also been very conscious of food waste, though I had improved greatly over the years. When Covid hit and shelves were often empty, I determined that every bit of food would be used to feed someone or something. It’s helped me return to making jelly (apple, mixed fruit and strawberry) and try new recipes. It’s pushed me to retrieve some of my most frugal recipes and use them once more. I’ve now got a recipe notebook with all the recipes gathered in one place. I’m still working on that but it is a huge help to have them all in one place. This determination to decrease our waste has changed much.
    It’s also made me realize that pets can eat food scraps (though my dog is certain I am poisoning her, the cat, the dog who adopted me and the grandpup all survive well, lol) or I will compost things that we can’t eat (egg shells for instance). I also have been adding shredded paper to my compost cans and paper towels, too.
    My husband has been working to fix some persistent leaks in the house. I think he’s finally got it all done. Not major plumbing issues but enough with it already! We’ve been working on this since about February when the dishwasher started leaking.
    I found a nice solid color quilt and shams to use in our bedroom for Spring/Summer. I also bought a pretty printed pair of pillowcases that I will make into envelope covers for two more pillows there. I bought 2 yards of fabric to make pillow covers for my living room, again a Spring/Summer look. For a total of about $60 I will have a fresh seasonal look in three rooms as I will now use my former spring/summer bedcover in the guest room.
    My gardening this year is going to focus on flowers which I missed more than I can say last year. We just didn’t have the funds for them. This year I will have a little more room in my budget so I’ll also return to my painfully slow process of landscaping our place. I do the little bits method and if you just persist you can accomplish so much, but it is still a slow process. I will also get set up to do some fall vegetable planting this year. I’ve got the space picked out and will work on that through the next few months to get it ready to go. Then I can plant fall/winter and spring/summer vegetables in a small area that should serve the two of us nicely.
    Our reclamation of the old cemetery on my son’s property has gone well. The graves are clear, the trees and privet and such that had come up in there were taken out and now it’s down to just being mowed. With warmer weather coming in we’re too aware that snakes and poison will be prevalent all around that cemetery. We’re going to wait until cooler weather in the fall and then we’ll work around the outside boundaries of the fence that encloses the cemetery. It was a LOT of work, but so worth while. The oldest graves there date around 1850. The last supposed burial was in 1915 but only three graves have any markers.
    If nothing else, we’re staying busy!

    1. I find that I like using leftover canned coconut milk in my coffee, if you find you have a bit of a can left. You can also freeze it just fine.

  35. I feel as if I have done nothing but spend for the past couple of weeks but it has only been for food.

    I have been trying to restock my pantry, especially soup, which I used up last month. I bought toilet paper on sale for $4.88, and two cases of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup (12 cans for $6.98, usually $9.98 per case at Superstore) and Campbell’s chunky soup at Co-op for $1.98 per can. I really don’t like eating canned soup but it is good to have in an emergency. I hope to stop eating it and save it for reserves. I got apples on sale.

    It is slowly turning to spring here. I am still plodding through our book. I hope it is finished except for layout and design (and printing, of course) soon. We received a fourth grant so are very close to having
    enough to finish it.

    My gardener (who usually helps me just twice a year) came over before her season gets busy and helped finish a dry stream/bog garden that we started about 3 years ago (delayed by my broken arm). When I asked her how much I owed her, she insisted on nothing. I have sent many clients her way… It is nice to have it completed this far because the piles of sand and gravel are now off of the patio which can be used again.
    How one might ask can it be a dry stream AND a bog garden at once? To answer this, I would have to say first that I always wanted a pondless waterfall but it became impossible because there was no water tap anywhere close and no electrical outlet although an outlet could have been installed from the garage but would have mean going through the wall to the outside. That would have meant a permit… and a lot of expense. Then a downspout needed replacing. It went underground but where it ended was a mystery. In anticipating that it might someday need to be replaced, I had built a rock garden in two halves leaving a gap where the downspout should have been. We dug a trench but alas the downspout went in a different direction. A new downspout was installed going from the roof sloping downward over or through the airspace and then down a tree so it is not noticeable. Alas, I could not just put the new downspout under the patio and use the dug trench. So I previously had bought the proper sand, right sized gravel, pond liner and fabric liner for the pond. This time, we dug out a depression (a basin) then created a “step” or earth berm (one would usually do this with bricks but we didn’t), then downslope another basin. Then we placed the fabric liner fitting it into the basin #1, up and over the weir or berm, then through the next basin. etc. Then laid the pond liner in much the same fashion then placed the sand and then the gravel and then the tufa rocks (a gift from a friend). Now what remains to be done is to plant the rock garden plants into the tufa, then the bog plants into the basin. A friend is growing wetland primulas for me for the basins (yet another gift).

    It took an afternoon for us to finish it except for the planting.

    I still wish I could have had a pondless waterfall but this is the next best thing and I don’t have to
    worry about the maintenance of a pump (taking it out every fall, putting it back every spring).
    And this way there is no electricity cost.

    Well, back to the book.

    1. Your bog garden sounds amazing. I reread step by step to try envisioning it. I am accustomed to tapping words for their definitions on reading apps and found myself clicking on weir, tufa and primula but, obviously, nothing happened. It’s off to a real dictionary (which I’ve missed, so thank you)!

      1. weir = a small dam to hold water in. In this case, a dirt wall (covered by the liner) to hold the water in the “basin”

        tufa = in North America, a rock that is a variety of limestone made when calcium precipitates out of water (usually out of spring water of hot springs) and deposits to form a rock. It is porous. It often has plant fossils in it. It is a favourite of rock gardeners because it is lightweight and also because it is porous plants can be planted in it. It needs to be sunk slightly into soil. When it has rained, the water wicks from the soil into the rock; when it is dry, the water wicks from the rock into the soil. If it is not sitting in the soil just enough, it will totally dry out and the plants will die. Not the same as tuffa or tuff in Europe which is volcanic in origin.

        Kat, it is just two small bog garden basins but still it is really the only wetland habitat for plants that I will have.

        primulas = often called primroses. In the case of the bog garden, basins, I will be planting wild alpine varieties of primulas that are grown for me by a friend. In the meantime, we will see whether any fine-tuning will be needed. We will have to put chips on the sand to hold the sand in place when it rains.
        I hope to get it done before it rains. It looks like we will have dry weather for awhile.

        It is a very different rock garden and dry stream. Most rock gardens you look up at from below. This you look down on from the patio that is on top of a little hill. It would have made the perfect spot for a pondless waterfall but due to difficulties mentioned before that’s not possible. I couldn’t have a pond either because the deer would crack a liner and also I would not want the load factor of a pond (water is heavy) or the maintenance. So 2 small bog gardens it is!

  36. I love the flower pictures! Stunning!

    *My birthday was last week. I was blessed with flowers, balloons, candy and lots of sweet texts and phone calls from loved ones. I was sent several free birthday meal coupons which I’ve been using slowly. Most are good throughout the month of April.

    *My son attended a day convention and was able to bring back lots of food which he shared with me. He gave me 12 Chobani yogurts, 6 big boxes of raisins, lunch meat, orange juice and muffins. I sent most of it back with him to his home but was grateful for the free food. We also received 2 free canisters of oatmeal from a friend who doesn’t like it.

    *My husband received a free rocking chair that was his grandmothers. It had been in a family members basement for years and had been covered with a heavy blanket. It’s fabric covered and in beautiful shape. We also received a free piano from the same source. Several keys are chipped and it needs some care. We are getting a quote on repair. It was also my husband’s grandmother’s.

    *I canceled our dogs grooming appointment and will stretch it out a few more weeks. The dogs are both still looking good. Saves us money to stretch out appointment times.

    *I pulled out my spring wreaths that I’ve made in years past. I update them as needed. Both looked very good and so I hung them on the front and back door. I carefully packed away all my Easter decorations and baskets and plastic eggs for use next year. I’ve had my decorations for many years. I want them to last for many, many more years. I look at Dollar Tree/Thrift stores for flowers to use for the updates when they need them.

    *My husband loves the show Blue Bloods and we have a subscription streaming so he can watch it. I found the DVDs for a very good price and will cancel the subscription. Will save a tidy sum.

    *I earned another $25 in Ibotta rebates. I print off the gift cards and tuck them away for Christmas gift buying. This will so wonderful to use this year.

    *Wishing you all a wonderful and frugal week.

  37. Youngest daughter, SIL and I got our 2nd vaccine dose. I just got a headache for 2 days. She had the chills and aches for 2 days. My oldest daughter got her first shot. We are on our way.
    Hubby did an online training. He was given a code for a $10 gift card. It was for a coffee break. He chose Dunkin Donuts. I will wait for a coupon and get us some donuts. Hubby also returned a few items we didn’t use on the living room project. He gave the old flooring to a coworker that wanted it.
    I foraged lots of wild scallions. They grow everywhere here. I keep baggies and a hand shovel in my car. I get some weird looks but I don’t care.
    We made an extra payment to our mortgage. It is my new favorite thing. I can’t wait for it to be gone. I look at it as a game. How much time can I cut off of the mortgage?
    P and I ate out twice last week. I brought home the leftovers. I cooked all other lunches for us. Not having to spend money on lunch any more helps the grocery budget. P told me to throw away half a crumb cake because it started to go stale. I asked if I could take it home. It was fine dipped in coffee.
    We got take out Friday night. I couldn’t cook. Our dog passed away and I couldn’t function. We watch our money for times like these. My youngest took paw prints on small canvases that she had for us. I love looking at it.

      1. Marybeth I am sorry to hear about your dog and hugs from our family to yours.

        We have been playing the same game as yourself which is pay off the mortgage as quickly as possible so all “spare money” or savings in other budget areas goes there or into our emergency fund.


      2. Me, too. I know what it is to love a dog and lose it, and my heart goes out to you. Dogs have been a huge part of our lives and I still miss every one that has gone before. Our two Westies (one a rescue and the other a freebie because his back legs don’t work right) have given us so much pleasure and comfort during the pandemic. I hope another dog comes into your life soon.

        1. Thank you. We adopted a puppy last September so we do have a sweet girl still. Oreo was 15 and she was totally my dog. She loved everyone but she followed me everywhere. We have lost dogs before and each one hurts so much. I just can’t imagine a house without a dog so I know it will happen again.

  38. We had an expensive week! We paid our income tax. Then we discovered our water heater had a leak and needed to be replaced. And then we received a hospital bill from a surgery I had in 2019. I am in extreme budget mode now, trying to replenish our savings as quickly as possible.
    We ate from the freezer for a week. We had lots of single serving meals in there, so we cleaned them out. My husband helped with a food box distribution and received one of the extra boxes.
    I goofed and didn’t fully drain our water line for the back yard area before winter. My husband was able to fix it where it had frozen and broke the pvc pipe.
    I’m getting ready to plant early crops in our kitchen garden and am also preparing the soil for planting in our larger garden area. I went ahead and bought plant starts for peppers and tomatoes. I usually start them from seed, but I decided to buy them this year. I usually end up buying part of our chile pepper plants anyway, as I don’t usually have enough germinate. This year our garden is considerably smaller, so it was not terribly expensive to buy the plants. I also cleaned up our raspberry patch. I love having fresh raspberries!
    I’m continuing to work on my budget kitchen makeover, mostly organizing and purging right now. I guess it’s just the springtime that has me in “clean-it-out” mode. I’m hoping when we have less “stuff” it will be easier to keep things organized. The pantry is next on the list. There won’t be anything to throw away as we are good about rotating our stock, but it is really disorganized. I know that having it organized will make meal planning and meal preparation much easier.
    Details of our week are on my blog at:

  39. Brandy,
    Thanks for sharing the great photos of your plants. I have a nice lilac growing in a large pot from a cutting I took off of mine. I wish we lived closer and I would gladly give it to you. Since we don’t, I am donating it to a plant sale which is fund raising for a museum. This would cost at least $30 retail so I feel great being able to donate it. It has inspired me to start more plants from things I already have. I may not have cash to give but I could do my part by giving plants which for some reason I had never thought of before.
    I cut my husband’s hair this week.
    I found celery for .99 a stock so I will purchase probably 3 stocks and dry it. This is a good price for here. (food prices are rising here too)
    I went to the thrift store and was able to purchase a much needed pair of jeans for myself and a really nice t-shirt top to go with them for less than $10 which is not a terrific price but I have been looking for jeans to fit correctly for quite some time so happy I found some. I also picked up a huge wicker basket for $5 and plan to use it as a pot- filling it with flower seeds and placing it on a stump in the garden. Sometimes I ask for the stump to be left when removing large trees so I can use it to elevate pots of flowers. That way they are seen and enjoyed from anywhere in the yard.
    We are forecasted to have warm weather for a couple weeks so I am looking forward to drying my laundry outside for the first time this year.
    Take care everyone.

  40. What beautiful lilacs, Brandy! I love them, especially the ones at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston – they have a whole hillside covered with about 50 different kinds. We can’t indulge at our house because of allergies, so I’ll enjoy yours.

    Well, we have our new baby home – sweet Isaac! He’s darling and healthy and sweet, and beloved by his three brothers. And my frugal rejoicing this week is how much easier it is when it’s not your first rodeo. How much easier to handle birth, postpartum, and household when you already kind of know what you need and what you don’t. It was lovely to be able to skip the extra two days in the hospital and come home four hours after delivery – sounds crazy but less so when Grandma’s there, and the fridge is stocked with delicious waffles. So lovely to have the bassinet all set and the clothes sorted by size. Also, such a blessing to have practical friends, also with lots of kids, who send us food. I don’t usually indulge in Whole Foods, but a smart friend sent a bunch of treats. Their pizza, quiche, and chicken pot pie were great. Sometimes we like to send meals to friends too with new babies or hard times, and if we’re too far away, this would be an good alternative to GrubHub certificates.

    Also, I’m amazed by what that unheated greenhouse is doing this month. I left it alone for 10 days after baby and then was astonished to see gorgeous heads of lettuce! They had been two inch plants, nice ones, left over from fall planting, and how they have grown. I’ve never had such nice lettuce. That $100 greenhouse has been well worth it.

    So nice to see what you all are doing! Wishing you a lovely week.

    1. Congratulations on your new baby boy!

      How nice about your greenhouse. We are hoping to make some cold frames so that we can have lettuce big enough to harvest in winter and get a head start on cucumber and zinnia seedlings. Your comment gives me hope!

      1. Thank you, Brandy! We have had cold frames too for a few years and love them. I’m using them this year for winter sowing perennial flowers, shallots and onions from seed. The frames also had lettuce in them that lasted through early January for us, until the temperature dipped down into the single digits. I hadn’t put the fleece over those plants in the cold frame, so the lettuce froze, but I doubt those sort of low temperatures will be a problem in your area!

        1. We are usually not lower than 28, though I have seen a few exceptions to 22 a couple of years (when I lost my grapefruit trees).

    2. Wow, I would have loved to come home 4 hours instead of them waking you all night to take vitals. Congratulations! Mama’s are wonderful, let her spoil you.

  41. We are being careful about our shopping. Prices are so much more at some stores than others. We were in sticker shock when we went to one of the more expensive stores. We bought very little there. Just what we needed for my husbands lunch, a bit of sandwich meat. I prefer to shop at Aldi or Checkers. I’m just glad to be able to buy groceries. We like to shop the sales. I hope to have a large garden to save money. I am using seeds from last year for the most part. We did buy some tomato seeds. I need to eat more veggies. Meals are based around what we have and what is on sale.

  42. The most interesting thing for us this week was how we celebrated my husband’s birthday. He is in memory care and they keep having staff members getting covid infections and that stops visitation for 2 weeks each time. Today is actually his birthday, but we had an appointment with his cardiologist yesterday. So DD and I picked him up and she sat in the car while I took him in for his appointment. No changes except he has lost 8 lbs in the last 6 months. (May be the difference between my cooking and the facility’s–he has been there three months now.) After we went back to the car (my DD’s tiny Honda Fit) we had my grand-daughter meet us (he hasn’t seen her the whole 3 months) and we brought him gifts and I made a pie and packed a piece for each of us in reused plastic food containers, along with drinks, forks, and paper napkins. So we managed to have a real birthday party for about half an hour, and then took him back to memory care. We can take him out but we can’t visit him there! So we made the best of it and had a party a day early. He won’t remember it was early. He has another dr appt in three weeks, so it won’t be any longer than that before we see him again, no matter what happens for visitation!
    Aside from that nothing too much is going on. The weather has been beautiful except for one day of needed rain—over an inch. Good news for gardeners. I am working on decluttering but I am not very energetic these days so some days I get things done and some days I don’t. I do need to add “organize the freezer” to my list, as I wanted a mini-meatloaf for my dinner tonight and couldn’t find one in either freezer. I’m pretty sure there are at least three left in there somewhere. I found some other things to eat but I wasn’t happy because I was in the mood for meatloaf. I will try to get more done tomorrow, but the freezer reorganization is a ways down on the list.
    I did take out and mark husband’s name on several pair of shorts, a group of short sleeved shirts and a pair of sandals for the warmer weather. Despite calling ahead, he appeared for his appointment with a less than perfectly clean pair of sweat pants, slippers, and some one else’s jacket. They have been short staffed as four people are quarantined for covid–two who have it and two who were exposed. I didn’t say anything this time but I will at some later time if things don’t improve. No one tells him he has an appt until I am in the lobby waiting, although I let them know at least a week in advance. It costs a LOT of money to keep him in there, so I will be complaining if they don’t get their act together! I took his spring jacket in a couple weeks ago so it should be in his closet still!
    I have talked to my lawnmoving service and they will mow in two weeks–which means I have to remove a lot of pine cones from the lawn before that. DD will help me, although her back isn’t much better than mine! For now, it’s my prescribed bedtime, so I have to stop and get my feet up. I’m working on reducing edema by being more careful about salt and calories in general. I’ve lost 3-5 lbs in the last couple weeks, so it’s a start.

  43. That lettuce looks AMAZING, Brandy! How do you avoid getting it all chewed up from bugs? That’s always the issue with the lettuce/greens I grow.

    My frugal accomplishments:
    – I had my baby! Born a month early, she and I are both healthy, which I am so, so thankful for. A friend sent me some newborn clothes, which were small enough to fit my late-term preemie.
    – I was able to bring home a few things from the hospital, including a box of pre-made servings of infant formula.
    – My pediatrician gave me some samples, including several bottles of Vitamin D drops, which will save a bunch of money
    – I donated a BN NICU-themed onesie to the NICU as I had no need for it, happily.
    – I sharpened my hair clippers by using a whetstone, and researching how to do so on youtube. Made a huge difference in cutting hair!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

    1. Congratulations on your new baby!

      I don’t usually have issues with bugs eating my lettuce when it is large, but pill bugs usually take out my seedlings, so that is my main problem. I think it could be just the different bugs in different areas. I know grape leaf skeletonizers are a major western problem for grapes here.

      1. Let me see if I can tap into your vast garden expertise. Every year I plant marigolds, easy peasy marigolds…..and they slowly die. They kind of look like they are being eaten, but I surround them with bait that kills slugs and snails. Do you think I might be over watering them? Any ideas will be appreciated.

        1. Perhaps someone here will know; I have trouble getting marigolds to germinate. I grew them in another state but here they have never come up for me, despite their reputation for being easy to grow.

    2. Congratulations, Margaret. That is wonderful news that baby has arrived, although a bit early, and you are both well.

  44. -Meals for the last week-pork roast with mashed potatoes; scalloped potatoes with ham; nachos; pheasant nuggets with home fries; spaghetti with salad, plus a couple nights of leftovers.

    -Zucchini bread made with the last 2 packages of frozen zucchini.

    -Sewed a baby quilt with scraps. Did a flip and stitch so quilted as I went. Now just need to add the binding, then will add to my gift cupboard.

    -Finished the flamingo shirt for a friend’s Bday. I had the buttons in my stash.

    -Watched my grandkids this week (had them 5 days)as my daughter and her husband had a water pipe break and they had no water and no power while the issue was resolved. I did distance school with the 2 older kids, the preschooler had the week off. Plus it rained most of the week so they were inside! Boy was I tired when they went home on Saturday!

    -We baked cookies a couple of times using supplies on hand. Some sent home with the gkids, some in the freezer.

    -Good news is that we stayed home so litttle money spent and no gas bought. Pretty frugal week.

    Have a great week!!

  45. Hello, frugal friends. It has been a nice week here in southwest Virginia. This has allowed me to work a lot outside. It has helped that we have had good rainfall every few days. I don’t have to drag the hose out or carry buckets of water to newly transplanted plants. I continue with dividing and transplanting lilies and hostas. So far I have divided and transplanted 2 hostas and over 40 lilies. I still have another section which needs about 20 lilies…then I can mulch. I am finding doing all this type of yard work is not as easy as it once was so I am trying to make the landscaping less maintenance. By filling the mulch beds with lilies we will need less mulch in the future. At $4/lily at Lowes I will save $240 by dividing and replanting.
    With the pleasant weather we are able to keep the heat off.
    My lettuce wintered over so we have been enjoying salads daily. And it looks like it will be a good year for rhubarb. I went onto Kroger’s website for recipes using rhubarb as this is a new to me fruit. They have some good recipes for many things. I do have a problem in the garden I could use some advice/suggestions on: I planted about 40 pea seeds a few weeks ago. One morning I went out to check on them and most had been pulled up. I am not sure what type of critter is doing this or what to do. I have replanted and covered most of them but am wondering if it is moles or rabbits or birds. Any help would be appreciated.
    I read an ebook online from the library.
    I will be buying most of my vegetable and flower plants at the high school Ag department sale. I have already contacted the teacher with my list so it is guaranteed I will get what I want. She does not have her students grow everything but tomatoes, peppers, geraniums, etc are always available. Anything she does not have I will buy at my local nursery if possible. I also contacted our local extension service and was given a packet of free carrot seeds and 2 packets of green bean seeds.
    I was not going to buy much at the grocery store this month other than milk and fresh fruit but our local Food Lion had some fruit on sale and I hit the jackpot on marked down meat this week. They had BLSL chicken breast for $1.39/#, ribs $1.70, ground turkey chubs $1.67, and chicken legs $.49/#. All in all I got enough pork and poultry to last us at least 6 months.
    I get my second COVID shot on Friday. YEA!!
    We continue with the usual daily frugal living things like hanging laundry when possible, eating what we have, maximizing the gas in the car, etc. Happy frugaling, friends.

    1. Wow! I have never seen prices on meat here like that, and I have lived here almost 21 years.

  46. Both DH and I have had our first Covid vaccines. We are still being super cautious so no meeting up with groups of people, double masking when we must go into a store and generally staying away from crowds. We walk along uncrowded streets or alleyways and meet on our front porch with our adult kids who distance from us. It will be nice to be able to hug again in the not too distant future, won’t it?
    The weather is warming and improving every day now. I hung sheets and towels to dry in the backyard this past week. Hoping to do more of that in the days ahead.
    I cooked a small turkey for Easter dinner (turkey was free to me) and had all the side dishes prepared in advance with things on hand. We set up small side tables and chairs on the back patio for DH and I, DS and GF, and DD. I used easter themed paper napkins and had bought a few usable things as Easter bunny treats for the kids(even tho’ they are adults). The GF chose to eat with us and not her parents since she loves turkey and wouldn’t have had it at home. She was thrilled to get Easter treats as well. She has quite a sweet tooth so every time they come to visit she loves the cookies etc. I have on hand. This time it was Haystack cookies using up my chocolate chips and chow mien noodles with a handful of peanuts. She bragged about them to her sister and Mom and took a couple to a family function the next weekend.
    Easter dinner was lovely eating outside. All the kids said it looked like a bistro with individual tables and little candles etc. We had to maximum number of people allowed (5) and when it got a bit cooler out, we just bundled up in blankets to chat for a while.
    With leftover turkey I made enchiladas using home made sauce, a recipe a dear online friend had shared years ago. Also made turkey pot pies with meat leftover after making stock plus my home made pie crust. I shared those and two pans of enchiladas with my DS who works lots of hours.I’m sure he stocked up his freezer. He brought us bacon from our favourite store as a trade. The extra pans and pot pies will go into my freezer as well as the stock for future soup.
    I had lemon juice and zest in the freezer to use up plus a bit of sour cream in the fridge so I made a lemon loaf that the Queen likes. It was delicious. Some of the lemon juice was from whole lemons I had tossed into the freezer when they started to go soft. It was an experiment and worked perfectly. Easy to juice them when they thawed and saved the rinds to dry and grind up for zest later.
    Leftover soft bananas were used in pancakes with leftovers in the fridge for lunches. Some lemon zest and 1/2 bag of cranberries were used in Lemon Cranberry muffins. More soft bananas will get used this week in muffins or bread or both.
    As a treat my DH and I were getting a bagel with cream cheese and salmon and eating by the beach once a week. Well, now that our variants are running rampant, we don’t want to even go into the bagel store. So I got bagels, cream cheese online and used a package of Gravlax in the freezer from Ikea for a similar lunch on our front porch. We had the extra for a quick supper last night with soup.
    This week I’ll make Mac and Cheese with cheese in the freezer and home canned tomatoes and breadcrumbs from loaf ends. I’m quite used to doing all my grocery shopping online now. I think it has saved us money since I only buy what I need according to my month long menu plans. Often I ask my two adult kids who live nearby if they want anything added to the list. They pick up what I run out of, so it’s a fair trade.
    We cleaned up the leaves and branches from our gardens and took advantage of the pick up this week. I noted my swiss chard plants that I overwintered are putting out new shoots. And the kale plants I left in the ground are also sending out new leaves on the stalks. I never thought this would be possible in Toronto. I have hunted up my leftover seed and will plant peas and lettuce this week.
    I did go into a greenhouse more than a week ago and got a couple of flats of pansies and some lavenders to put in my planters out front. I also got hardy herbs and made my kids some herb pots. Got a couple of extra herbs for myself as well. There were very few people in the greenhouse and I double masked so felt safe.
    DS asked to borrow our car to drive to the GF’s parents house the past weekend for a get together. In payment he brought us burgers and deep fried pickles the next day for late lunch plus a lovely deep purple hydrangea. The plant may have been dyed that colour but it is lovely. I seem to have a purple and yellow theme going on this spring for the planters.
    I got library books to read, we watch certain programmes on PBS and TVO each week for entertainment and we sit on the front porch under our electric blanket throws for fresh air and relaxation at the end of the day.
    This week my DH asked me to cut his hair. I’ve been watching youtube videos to prepare…wish me luck. I’ve never done it before and we are both a bit anxious. but, if all else fails, it will grow back in a few weeks, right?
    The fog has been rolling through my area of town this morning and now the sun has begun to peek out. It may be chilly but at least I have a few things blooming in the yard. The crocus are about done, the daffodils are just beginning. The Labrador Violets are done but the Trillium are just starting. Always something changing to look at. If I could just get the squirrels to stop digging up the pansies in my planters I’d have it made.
    Take care everyone.

    1. My elderly neighbors finally were able to get in to get their shots. I have had my first one and will go in two weeks for the second. My neighbor is Italian and says hello with big kisses on both cheeks.

      So when I saw him getting the mail on Monday, he told me he got his second shot. With his arms wide open, he loudly exclaimed to me, “In two weeks, we KISS!” I had to hold in my laughter. I told him my second shot is in two weeks, so it will have to be four weeks! I came in the house and told the children and my husband and everyone busted up laughing. It will be good to say hello to people again!

    2. Our infection is awful isn’t it Patsy? I too got my first shot at the Convention Centre this past Monday but it’s currently 4 months to the second one I too will continue to double-mask and stay home as much as possible!
      Have you watched “Tripping the Niagara” yet on TVO? If you haven’t it is well worth while – I’ve watched it twice now and I can’t wait until I’ll be able to head out that way again – so much to see and do along the way.
      Stay safe!

  47. Brandy,
    I love your photo of the Margot Koster rose. I myself have a Margot Koster clematis which is
    30 years old and is spectacular.

    1. I noticed you spell it with a “t” at the end. That’s what I thought it would be, too, but the website where I bought it from labels it as “Margo”. What color is your clematis?

  48. It has been several weeks since I posted. I planted lettuce, radish, beet and carrot seeds. Only the radish seem to have sprouted, they were older seeds given to me so not a huge loss. I did buy a dozen pepper and cucumber plants, a half dozen zucchini and 4 tomatoes. 7 of the cukes got eaten by the rolly polybugs and I will need to buy some more. I found the spray I got last year and sprayed the remaining ones. I have been picking kale and chard from the fall planting and adding dandelions to sauté. I have loads of spring onions and garlic that have overwintered from compost. It looks like there are several potato plants, too, from compost.
    I continue to find good produce markdowns and am thankful for those finds. I bought toilet paper at Aldi the other day in another town. They had no limits and the cashier saw how much I had and sent me to a row I had overlooked with industrial size packages. I returned what I bought and got the packages for a total of 72 rolls. My daughter is coming with her family next month and we will be having family members coming in shifts. I saw on last weeks post about paper products going up so I stocked up. I found organic sausage marked down to $1.10 # and got 11 packages for family gatherings.
    I am buying clothing for my granddaughters who are with us on 9 weekends while their mom gets some help. There is a Goodwill right on the way to their daycare and I have gotten most everything they need except some shorts for under dresses and play shoes. This feels really good as I started from scratch for them.

    I hope you all stay healthy and enjoy the spring weather wherever you live!


    of the new

  49. Hello Everyone! This past week has been focused on getting organized both literally and financially. Just when I thought we had nothing left to donate, I have filled two bags of donations. My mother is also cleaning her house out and going through things and gave me a bag to bring to the Goodwill for her. There is a store and donation station a block away from my husband’s office, so he will drop off one day when he goes in. The garage is the next project to tackle! I also hope to put the garment rack I bought last year to dry some laundry in the garage during the summer. Hope to get it finished by the time I return to work full time in June. Our community pool where we are members opened up for reservations (due to the pandemic). I was able to make reservations for our family for the month of May. We filed our taxes online and received the state refund two days later. We will put the majority in savings, but hold a little back to pay for our hotel on our mini vacation next month. We are still waiting on the federal return refund. With the hopes of me retiring in the near future, we decided to practice living on the amount of pension I will receive. So far so good. It has made us really watch our spending and wants v. needs. Several times this past week I really wanted to order take out. Resisted four different times! That easily would have been $120.00 at least for our family of three. My husband went and picked up a week’s worth of school lunches for my son. He didn’t come home with any milk nor a farm box, I’m not sure if they are providing those items anymore or…..? No matter, as we had plenty in our pantry and freezer, but I have to say the lunches are very handy. We went to a birthday party (just my son and I and then three members of the other family) at our friend’s house for a front yard lunch for their son’s 8th birthday. Their son is autistic. My friend called the local police department to have an officer stop by as the birthday party was police themed. Little did we know that this department has an Autism Awareness campaign. They brought I bouquet of balloons a special police uniform patch. We got to visit with the officer and take pictures. My husband and I wanted to treat for pizza for the party, as they had hosted our son’s birthday last year. In the end, they bbq’d hot dogs and hamburgers. There were also games and a baskets full of goodies for the two boys. Being outside the entire day and the fellowship was so needed and very much appreciated! When I delivered groceries to my parents, my mom gave us a huge container of spring lettuces, spinach, cherry tomatoes and half of a cooked chicken. Her neighbor goes to the store for her on Saturdays when he goes to get vegetables and produce. He got her another round and she hadn’t finished what she had, so she gave them to us. My mom (who is vaccinated) and I (wearing a mask) took a ride around San Francisco. I wanted to go to the Presidio to scope it out and check for public restrooms (which are very scarce in our area). I am going to be meeting some friends from high school to to walking this coming weekend and wanted to make sure there was a restroom if one of us needed. Since we were in a part of town that we don’t get to very often, I was able to stop by a shoe store and order an everyday pair of shoes for me as well as a pair of german made house slippers. My parents treated me to these as a birthday present from last year. How grateful I was! Both pairs totaled $300.00. Other savings included several rebate checks that came in, that went directly into savings. I also returned a few items that weren’t going to work for us. I also continued picking a few weeds everytime I go to dump the trash and recycling. I took also decided to take an inventory of personal hygiene items, confirming that we have enough for the year. We got a few leads on our neighborhood website for some potential dog sitting jobs. We have not intentionally started a dog sitting business, but indirectly I guess we did, as friends and neighbors keep asking us. We will have another four legged friend staying with for a few days tonight. This dog is a facility dog (kind of like a service dog) at the non profit where my mother in law and husband work and her owners are going away for a few days. This one isn’t a paying gig, but we love her so much! Have a great week everyone!!!

  50. Beautiful flower photos!
    It was a very busy week of work and I didn’t do much else.
    I made white chili, pasta with sauce and Italian sausage and pasta with kale and bacon. We still had split pea soup and vegetable soup and one evening when we were both tired, we ate crackers and cheese for dinner.
    My windowsill plants and seedlings are all growing. Forsythia has bloomed outside and trees in the neighborhood are flowering. I love this time of year.
    Hope everyone has a safe and healthy week. I enjoy reading every post!

  51. -Rode my bike to work one day, saves on gas and it’s great exercise. I’ve also been running outdoors and doing online exercise videos
    -Keeping better track of receipts means more tax savings
    -Asparagus is coming up early thanks to the warmer weather. I’ve also planted kale, carrots, and some old onions (not sure if they will grow or not). Started seeds for herbs, marigolds, broccoli and more kale in a sunny window. Planted some mint and green onions from the grocery store. Dug up some overwintered carrots and parsley.
    -Made homemade yogurt, muffins, mini pizzas, and banana date bars. I took items on hand to a friends for a bbq, resisting a trip to the store.
    -If you live near a Menards, Home Depot will match their 11% rebates. We have a lot of rental properties so we spend a lot of money at the hardware stores. I submitted a whole stack of receipts, which is hundreds of dollars I’ll get back. Also have some vacant property that I plan on planting some fruit trees this summer, since there isn’t much more room in my yard.
    -My DH continues to cut everyone’s hair- except mine. I couldn’t get into my hairdresser for 2 months and it was driving me crazy, so I cut it myself. I wear it in a messy bun most days anyway.
    -Continuing to declutter on eBay and FB.
    -Over the winter, we did major renovations at our house, adding structural supports and moving our kitchen. We were planning on buying a few pieces of furniture but we’ve moved things from around the house. We did find some great basement furniture for very cheap on marketplace, so we will sell the stuff we had downstairs that didn’t work. We still have some work to do to finish the projects but we will take our time to find the best deals.

    1. My only regret with my husband cutting my hair is that I didn’t ask him to do it years earlier! My husband just cut mine again on Sunday and I am loving it!

  52. Hi Brandy,
    It should be a “t” on the end. I could not find much information about Koster but M. Koster is a Dutch plant breeding company. I’m not sure if Margot was the breeder or a relative of Marinus Koster. I think the latter.
    My clematis is a dark rose colour with a light purple tinge to it. Interesting, the blooms of one part of the plant are slightly different from the rest in that it has light stripes on the petal. My gardener pruned it down when she was here (but luckily not all the way down to the ground). Sometimes it grows on old wood so I hope we haven’t wrecked or impeded it. (It’s not technically supposed to grow on old wood but it does). I will be fertilizing it with worm castings.

    1. That’s what I would think. Even the tags don’t have the “t” on the label. Interesting. Thanks!

  53. Given the winter wiped out a lot of landscaping, I have had several chances to be frugal. Removing shrubs is very expensive, so my daughter and I dug out five shrubs that were 30 years old, and I am replacing them with one gallon varieties of boxwood as opposed to larger sizes which are at least double the price. I cannot tell you how much we have saved doing it ourselves so far. I have eight more shrubs to go, and a really large crepe myrtle which may end my shovel and sharp-shooter shovel, but replacing the tools and doing this ourselves is still less expensive than paying someone else to do it. I have been able to save most of my perennials, roses, and shrubs by feeding them heavily the minute the weather turned to give them a leg up after 15 below zero weather we had for a week in February. I also repointed a brick sill on my house myself saving the cost of a brick mason. I have a pine tree which provides mulch in the form of falling pine needles saving the cost of mulch in my flowerbeds. Cleaning out the vehicles saves us the cost of having it done. Changing out the fill valves on both of the toilets in the house myself saved me the cost of a plumber, and the extra cost on my water bill.

  54. I tried to see your Instagram to keep up on your gardening progress but now we have to sign in
    to Instagram. I don’t want to comment. I liked not having to sign in — I had read about some abuses arising from using the system so early on decided not to do so. I guess it will just be the blog from here on — although the blog is great!

  55. -I love nail polish. Last Thursday I scored a few bottles f0r 15 cents in clearance bin at local liquidation store, then at next stop 4 bottles for 25 cents each and then finally at GW a bag for $4 that averaged 13 cents a bottle. Most of these retail for $5-$11. Color me happy.
    -It’s only the 84 yo mom and me. Hamburger meat at our grocery is ground fresh all day long and usually $2/pound. I bought a 2.5 pound pack and we had burgers, tacos, hamburger steak and nachos from it.
    -Headed to Memphis to pet sit, can’t wait for different places to eat (I hate cooking and only started due to Covid) and great places to bargain shop.
    -Ordered the mom 15 books from partner library. She reads a book a day and I’m able to get almost all from library with curbside pickup.

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