Desdemona Roses

In between the windy days, the garden was an absolutely beautiful place to be.

I harvested lettuce, Swiss chard, Meyer lemons, chives, snow peas, and cilantro from the garden.

I carefully thinned and transplanted my thinned roselle hibiscus seedlings to places where seeds didn’t germinate.


The Alnwick Rose

I gave haircuts to two daughters.

I mended my husband’s leather welding apron and turned a pair of jeans into shorts for a daughter.

We combined errands to save gas and time, and ran them on windy days when it was too windy to work in the garden, and at night (to also maximize afternoon work in the garden).

I purchased a spiral-sliced ham and a shank ham (limit 1 of each) on sale for $1.27 a pound and $0.99 a pound, respectively. I have not been buying much meat this year (I think this is the first meat I’ve bought all year beyond some hot dogs that I purchased on sale). I’m holding out for what few sales there are and am stocking up on bulk beans instead.

I made a triple batch of homemade laundry soap.


White Ranunculus Flowers

We had a simple birthday party at home for my daughter. We were joined by grandparents and an aunt and uncle. We served salad from the garden with bread. Dessert was ice cream and homemade brownies. For fun, we played card games together. A cousin and a neighbor who couldn’t make it over for the evening came over earlier in the day and also joined in playing card games.



A friend took me out to lunch for an early birthday gift across town at a Persian cafe that I had heard about from a Persian friend. It is a cafe and grocery store, and the store had some things that I had been wanting to get: rose water, orange blossom water, tahini paste (so I can make my own hummus) and ground sumac. They also had just the thing I have been looking for: dolmas similar to the Lebanese ones I had in France. I was really excited by these, because they were warm (not cold, as the Greek places in town offer) and they had just the flavor I wanted without any meat. I grow grapes and have made dolmas before with our grape leaves, but I have been wondering if I could make a meatless version that tasted like the ones I remember. I’m now certain that I can, so it will be a matter of experimentation. A meatless version will be much less expensive than one with beef or lamb. I’ve tried a few different recipes from Pinterest before, and now I think I’ll be able to come up with something inexpensive using our grape leaves. These are grapes leaves, rice, and spices, with some lemon juice.


Pandora Poppy Bud

Thanks to all of your suggestions last week, my husband and I were able to find two suits for him for less than the price of one suit coat that we have previously seen! We ended up buying them at J.C. Penny, buying the Stafford Super Suit separates. They didn’t have much in the store, but they had a suit coat that fit him. We have ordered the matching pants (which we hope will fit, or we’ll end up returning the whole thing) plus ordered the same suit in another color. These were less expensive than other brands and were 30% off, plus they had an in-store coupon (available inside the entrance) for an additional 30% off. We were able to use that coupon to purchase more, which we ordered at their catalog order desk. These are fairly thin suits (no wool), which should work well in our climate in the winter months.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. This week we worked outside as often as it wasn’t raining. I took the herbs that were in one raised bed and transplanted them into separate pots around the yard. (This may not look like much but it’s 3 very pruned down lavender plants that are starting to get new leaves! By summer, it will fill the pot with lush lavender flowers!) And here’s the new strawberry bed all planted with new babies that I had overwintering in Dixie cups in the garden. I still need to pot up my rosemary bush.
    Got my potatoes all planted in the tiered bucket garden.

    On the quilting scene, here is a photo of how far along I am on the king size quilt for my daughter’s wedding. I have all 32 of the first block finished and this photo shows some of them next to the first 7 (of 32) alternate blocks. We also had 2 other clients drop off quilts that we quickly quilted up- #242- and #243- Since those 2 quilts are done, a third client brought over 2 bed quilts- one double side, the other is queen size! They will get done this week.
    I made Applesauce Muffins this week using the same Muffin Mux as before. I don’t know how Hubs swoops in for muffins before I even get a photo of them! Lol!

    I invited our youngest son over for dinner on Easter Sunday and cooked one of my boneless hams in the instant pot . It was amazing! Here’s the recipe: and here’s what it looked like: Absolutely delicious. Then I made garlic mashed potatoes in Instant Pot: These were also delicious! l rounded our simple dinner off with green beans we had grown in our garden last summer! Our son surprised us by bringing a cheesecake he bought at the store. This was a major thing to us- that he had considered bringing something to add to the meal without us asking! He has learned so many social clues that would not have been picked up on a year or two ago! A simple thing? Yes, but a joyful moment for us!!

    I also got busy and did some more bulk cooking of freezer meals by making 6 mini beef pot pies and 6 mini chicken pot pies.
    I also portioned out leftover meals from our Easter ham, mashed potatoes and green beans. I will be taking over a week’s worth of individual meals for a friend whose husband has been moved to a rehab center after being in hospital for some broken vertebrae after a fall. I thought that just to have these available so it’s one less thing to worry about on days that are busy and stressful might be helpful! It’s such a blessing to have the ingredients already here at home when there’s an opportunity to serve!

    We had individually packaged Rice Krispy treats at a grandchild’s birthday party in our “goody bag” . They were tasty but small and I thought about cost of buying pre-made versus DIY. So this morning I made this pan of Peanut Butter Rice Krispy treats using microwave in less than 10 minutes! You can see from the photo link that a taste test was made before I could even take photo! So delicious! So nice to make without leaving home on such a rainy day!

    My sister and her husband have sold their home and are downsizing to a condo and we have been offered some furniture that we have loved. Only problem is transport home since she lives almost 6 hours away. The bed which would really be great to refurnish one of our empty guest rooms, will not fit in our minivan. We considered renting a truck but the cost of gas for a round trip as well as the per mile charges on top of the daily rate would be staggering. So, after considering and researching, Hubs and I decided to have a trailer hitch installed on our minivan. That way, we can rent an enclosed trailer for this trip to carry the furniture while watching for an open trailer to buy for everyday bulk purchases/hauling. The price was still dear, but much less than the cost of renting a truck even once for this trip plus we feel like this investment (especially after we buy our own trailer) will more than pay for itself. We will use it to haul away the rotted Timbers from our raised bed garden. To hire someone to carry it off would have been over half of our outlay for the trailer hitch! And being able to bring home things in one trip in the future, rather than multiple trips, will save not only time but gas costs! We are willing to invest in this durable equipment knowing how handy it will be. Our daughter saw a large chest freezer coming up at an estate auction this Saturday that would fit much better in an open trailer than their minivan. So it’s already finding multiple times that it will be handy!

    This week a friend from another State (who I only know online) was gifted several bags of dry beans that were going to be discarded as leftover at a food pantry she helps at. She messaged me because she remembered that I love the convenience of my pressure canned beans to ask for instructions on how to pressure can these. I gave her the instructions and later that day she sent me photos of her newly canned beans!
    What a joy to be able to connect and lift and support others remotely that we might not have ever “met” 20 years ago!! It reminded me of how much I learn every day from you, Brandy, and all of your readers!
    Thanks so much for all that you share!! Dire times ahead across the world? Probably. But there is still a wonderful community of people out there that we can learn from and share with and that’s what will see us through any hard times!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. That is so fantastic that you help so many people including me. And you are so right the world is a bit of a mess right now but good people banding together to help each other is a great thing and empowers us to know there is still plenty of good in this world. Blessings to you and everyone else here who helps each other and inspires us to keep on trying.

    2. Gardenpat, we recently purchased a utility trailer that hitches to our minivan (we put a hitch on the van back when we were pulling a popup camper.) It has already been a huge help! We opted to do that instead of buying a pickup truck. No maintenance or upkeep, and my husband said it’s so easy to hookup. We’re thrilled with it! Hope it works out as well for you.

      1. Dianna- Thanks for your input and encouragement! Hubs found one that he’s going to see in the morning- ironically, in the town where our daughter and SIL and family do all their shopping! About 25 minutes from their house. That son-in-law has offered to pay half of the trailer cost so he can use it for hauling things to their 13 acres. So we’ve already cut the trailer cost OOP by 50%! 😉

        Gardenpat in Ohio

    3. Gardenpat, we have a trailer hitch on our small car and use a trailer cargo carrier. It is like a basket that slides inside the trailer hitch and fits on the back. It has been extremely handy over the years. We purchased it years ago to use when the boys were small and needed luggage space when we traveled in our van. Now we have a small car but still use it to haul trash cans to the dump, wood for the fireplace, large items that wouldn’t fit in the trunk, and the ice chest when traveling. If you decide to get one, I recommend the type that folds up when not in use because you can’t see it when backing up. I have almost backed into other cars when leaving a parking lot.

    4. The best trade we ever made was for our small enclosed trailer. I redid someone’s pontoon seats (he supplied the material) and he gave us the trailer!

      1. Melissa V- That’s my kind of economics- when we can barter our services/goods for something we can use!! Brilliant trade!!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

  2. I also love meatless dolmas.My Greek aunts always made them with rice. I never got their recipes but I get the ones that are in a can at Trader Joe..they are amazingly good! Of course homemade is always better.Grocery prices are startling these days. I have a freezer full of meat purchased on sale over time and have not bought any lately except for some chicken thighs on sale..I got the last available package..chicken has been in short supply around here. We make a good number of chick pea (garbanzo) meals..I love chickpea piccata even more than the chicken version! I also make chickpea curries and a few other chickpea staples over rice or grain or mashed potatoes.High protein and low fat! We’ve purchased a 25 pound bag at Winco and I parceled it into 1 and 2 cup portions and put them in food storage tubs. I may get another bag soon. I expect things to be in short supply/expensive through 2023. After that who knows.. Our world is changing.Must rely on all our frugal talents these days! Love your blog,thanks for sharing.. your gorgeous photographs are so uplifting!

  3. Two things we did.. we had eye appointments Saturday at Eyemart Express. We have used them for several years so all our glasses have come from there. We ask them if we could use our old frames which we like and nothing was wrong with them and they said “sure since they came from their store” so that saved us $100.00. We had old glasses from our last prescription so we used those to be able to see while they were making our “new” glasses the scripts weren’t that far different. It took them 24 minutes to get our glasses done. So my husband is like “why don’t we go out to eat somewhere while we’re waiting on the glasses or after we get them? I had bought earlier in the week his favorite chicken biscuits he likes from Tennessee Pride.. I said “Hey we’ve got this in the fridge at home” how about you eat those and I’ll have a bologna sandwich. He definitely was on board with that super easy microwave meal in less than 5 minutes cost? Under $5.00. We had ham for Easter from our deep freezer and cooked it in pineapple juice and pineapples I had canned in 2016. Green beans that I grew last year. Husbands mother always got him a chocolate easter bunny and a basket and he was sad when she passed away that he wouldn’t get his traditional easter basket so I have kept that tradition alive always making him a easter basket this year besides his small bunny I bought those dollar boxes of Junion Mints, Whoppers etc to add to the basket my cost was around $5.00. I bought green paper straw for his basket last year and will put it in a freezer bag and save it for next years basket.. bought it at Dollar Tree. My basket I use every year the same basket. I made a 2 pound meatloaf last week and will get 2 more dinners out of it besides last weeks dinner. Oh and we continue to utilize our library weekly with ordering DVD’s to watch and books to read.

  4. That’s great you and your husband found a reasonable solution for his suits. Your garden photos are beautiful. You’d never know of the upheaval there not long ago. It all looks like everything is settling in quite happily. I’m anxiously awaiting my rosella seedlings germination. Our biggest frugal accomplishment last week was finding out we were eligible for a tax credit on our solar system, for 26% off the cost. That was a savings we weren’t expecting, as my husband believed DYI solar was not eligible. I forget who, but someone here asked about that in a comment. I believe it’s the same across the US, but our accountant said here in NC, the credits are lowering each year, and will disappear at some point. I think she said next year would be a 22% credit, and there are stipulations, such as it has to provide 80% of a home’s power, and be the first system on a property. On a less happy note, my husband is fairly certain that two of the “pullets” he got at the feed & seed are roosters. Time will tell, but we already have three more roosters than needed. I understand the only way to be sure is get sex link chicks, but we wanted another variety (Blue Australorps). After delivering an order, I stopped at Hallmark, using several coupons, which brought the $13.54 total down to $4.97 for 11 cards. I picked up swiss chard plants, which I can’t seem to grow lately. They were $3.99 a pot, but I picked some that had multiples, getting 8 plants from 4 containers. Still not cheap, but I really want to have it growing in my garden this year, and these were fairly large, healthy ones. Lots of plants went into the ground. Others were transferred from wintersown containers to cells, to grow larger. The new to me drill press was used for the first time, to drill holes in lids, which are destined to become compost crocks. It went off without a hitch, which is wonderful, as on my husband’s large drill press, I had around a 10% crack rate. Mine is much easier to use as well.

  5. What absolutely gorgeous pictures this week! Thanks for sharing them with us.

    Easter was low-key this year. Everything in the baskets was bought on sale, with coupons and usually from a clearance section either online or in-store. My favorite find this week to stick in 2 of my daughters’ baskets were bright pink/yellow socks and slippers featuring peanuts characters that were 75% off at my local CVS. I combined baskets with one basket per family or couple. My kids are all older so we didn’t die eggs this year, but breakfast was cinnamon rolls and hard-boiled eggs. I didn’t buy Easter dresses for my girls or ties for the boys – they all have plenty of those things. I tried very hard to focus on the religious aspect for me. I bought two hams like Brandy did – my prices were exactly the same as hers as well and also the same types. I sent some ham home with the kids, but we have a large bowlful in the fridge that I will dice and freeze for future meals.

    I made the 2 hams, funeral potatoes, mashed potatoes (4 cups that I had frozen and then heated back up in the crockpot), no-bake cookies, grapes (99c sale), a veggie tray and rolls. It was an easier dinner and no one went home hungry.

    We bought 8 bags of mulch for $2/each at Lowes. I will put these in my flower beds. We are on water restrictions this season – just one time a week. I will use my flower beds for tomato plants and potatoes in buckets. That will free up quite a bit of space in the garden. I will plant marigolds and petunias around the veggie plants. My peach, nectarine and apple tree are flowering.

    My youngest has been applying to jobs that are close to home and not open on Sunday. She can ride her bike at times to these jobs. I can drive her when the weather is bad. She was not offered one job she applied for but will keep trying.

    Have a wonderful week!

    1. My son was able to get a job at a place that is open on Sundays, but he requested and got a regular Monday through Friday schedule, which we didn’t think was possible. We have lots of jobs close enough to bike to, but many places don’t hire until age 18, so that has been a challenge for the children.

      1. It’s a challenge here too. Most places are open on Sunday and won’t give allowances to those who request to not work it. We will keep looking. She is 16 and places will hire at 15 unless you won’t work Sundays. They give different reasons for not hiring, but it’s frustrating

        1. My boys both got jobs at Walmart and just wrote they were not available on Wednesday night or Sundays. They have had no trouble with this. They also started at 17. Walmart now starts them out at $14.00 an hour which still shocks me but is a blessing.
          This is my first time commenting on the blog but have read everyone of the posts for a few years. Thank you Brandy for all you share and for maintaining this site. Thank you to all who post weekly. It is so good to know there are Kindreds Spirits out there.

  6. Cindy in the South- A couple of weeks ago (I am catching up on comments) you mentioned you are maintaining keeping some weight off that you lost. Great job!

    I am cutting out the past meals to try and loose some extra pounds. This requires me cooking separate food for myself about 3 times a week. I have discovered that the pasta was making me feel icky after dinner and craving snacks.

    My seedlings planted inside under grow lights are growing! And the rose bush I planted outside is also growing! The two raspberry bushes I planted did not survive. I am going to return those.

    For Easter using supplies we had on hand I made a new-to-us meal shepherds pie. It is a winner and going on our meal rotation. Bonus it is a great freezer meal!

  7. Brandy, your flower photos are especially beautiful today. I love spring! In addition to the flowers I’ve been enjoying the past week, I am seeing daffodils in our yard and along my walks in the neighborhood.

    Jo, I am loving the red bush (rooibos) tea—especially iced. What a happy find (and no caffeine)!

    Debby, thanks sharing the Suzanne Woods Fisher recommendation. I am reading the second book now on the library app. Her books feel just right for a light and joyful read!

    I bought 2 more spiral sliced half or quarter hams @$.99/lb. After a couple ham dinners last week, I cut off slices for sandwiches, then used the bone in bean soup which we had with cornbread. We had roasted lamb for dinner with sweet potatoes and asparagus (all on sale) for Easter. My MIL accepted leftovers, we’ll have leftovers tonight here and then I plan to cook a shepherd’s pie with the rest of the lamb. Both Cracker Barrel cheese and Cathedral City cheddar were on sale @$1.99 each with Ibotta rebates of $1 each so I stocked up on both.

    Hoping everyone has a healthy, happy week and prayers for peace everywhere.

  8. Brandy, last week I said your husband deserved a new suit, not two! LOLOLOLOL I’m glad the suit separates at Penney’s worked out for him. I didn’t think to mention Penney’s because so many of their stores, including the one here, have closed. My husband wore suits to work for the first half of his career and often bought separates, mostly from Penneys. They were a good value and never needed altering. I hope your husband got exactly what he wanted!

    The biggest and best thing that happened this week–frugal and otherwise–was having a bone density test and learning that the injections I have been taking for osteoporosis for the last year have worked!! My bone density has returned to normal, meaning I no longer have active osteoporosis! I didn’t know this could even happen and I am THRILLED. This occurred after one year of treatment–I was expecting two years, meaning I’ll be saving about $7,000 in drug co-pays. Plus I no longer have to give myself daily shots in the abdomen (which don’t hurt if I do it right, but still!). I will be having yearly infusions for a couple of years, but it sure beats what I’ve been doing. Woo-hoo!

    I did federal and state taxes for ourselves and our daughter using H&R Block software, $aving a bunch on prep fees. The software included 5 free e-files. What I didn’t realize was the e-files only apply to the feds. When I discovered state e-files would cost $19.95 per return, I snail mailed the Idaho returns, saving us $37.54. I wonder how many people get to the end of the tax program and just click and buy the e-file? Not even tempted!

    I bought a butt ham for .79 lb., sour cream .99; butter $1.99 lb.; 10# potatoes $1.99, Tillamook ice cream 2/$5 and, best of all, two 2# Tillamook cheese $5.99 each. I also got some markdown meat. No eggs. Brandy, if you’re ever tempted to buy lamb for dolmas, I see quite a bit of lamb in the markdown meat bin at Safeway. It’s always 50% off, but still not cheap. Today might be a good day to check, since lamb is a “traditional” Easter meat and Easter was yesterday! (I hope everyone had a wonderful day).

    We are adding shelves to our master bedroom closet. I set up sawhorses in the garage and painted the shelving. I primed it with leftover Kilz and used a $6 sample of paint for the topcoat. The samples at Miller Paint (a NW regional brand) are full quarts!

    I dug up a piece of my friend Betsy’s bleeding heart and transplanted it here. Just for fun, I’m trying to start another one from a cutting. ??? I saw bleeding hearts–smaller than this one–for $18.

    I did federal and state taxes for ourselves and our daughter using H&R Block software, $aving a bunch on prep fees. The software included 5 free e-files. What I didn’t realize was that only applies to the feds. I snail mailed the state returns, saving us $37.54, when I discovered state e-files would cost $19.95 per return. I wonder how many people get to the end of the tax program and just click and buy the e-file?

    I bought a butt ham for .79 lb., sour cream .99; butter $1.99 lb.; 10# potatoes $1.99, Tillamook ice cream 2/$5 and, best of all, two 2# Tillamook cheese $5.99 each. I also got some markdown meat.

    Update on the microwave–

    1. Wow, Maxine, I’m amazed at the osteoporosis change! Yay, you!! Can i ask what drug you injected? I was getting a once-a-year transfusion of Reclast until i started the process of getting an implant. It’s months long and won’t be done until late June. Then, it’s back to Reclast and another bone scan. I can’t take the Fosamax. This news gives me hope!! Totally impressed!!

    2. Maxine,
      That is wonderful news about the osteoporosis! I’m not sure yet what my bone density scan showed
      but the technician said my height was the same as it had been 5 years ago so that’s promising!
      congrats on your news. Ann

  9. I took advantage of sales on Easter hams this week and added another half ham to our freezer at $1.29/lb. I utilized many ingredients from our pantry in preparing our Easter meal and I am delighted to say that I will not be cooking for a couple of days as we eat the leftovers from said feast.
    Easter sales also allowed me to purchase some flowers four our yard to plant. I used two gift cards that I had on hand and purchased small seedlings in bulk to get the lowest possible price. I ended up with 3 dozen impatiens, 24 petunias, 24 coleus, and 12 periwinkles. Many of these will be able to be divided as they are quite healthy and have multiple plants growing in one seedling container. I hope to have enough to fill my containers as well as the island in front of our home. I resisted the urge to purchase lavender plants and zinnias and will start these from seed instead.
    We will be leaving on vacation on a couple of weeks. I am working on a menu plan and will be packing food from our pantry rather than planning all of our meals out to save $$. I plan to cook and freeze some items as well as bake bread, cookies, crackers etc. to take along with us. We have several items that we will be selling as we no longer need/use them. We did a lot of work over the last week to organize these items and begin to make a list of sale prices. I am hopeful that we can have the sale by mid May provided that the weather allows us to do so.
    Hope everyone enjoys the week ahead!

  10. Friends, the cat is out of the bag! I keep a running list of frugal stuff and forgot to delete last week’s list. Everything after the paragraph ending “I hope everyone had a wonderful day” was reported last week. Sorry for the inconvenience. Duh!

  11. Sarah B, I just read your last week post on the peach tree that didn’t make it. Generally, the stores have a one-year guaranty. Lowes does, and I took the dead roots and my receipt back to the store the following year when the perennial did not re-grow and was refunded the money. Hope you are able to do this!

  12. Thrifty actions this week: simmering the ham bone, from Easter, for navy bean soup. A big pot will make a couple of meals this week. I cleaned windows inside and out with vinegar, Dawn, and water and finished/ filed taxes.

  13. What beautiful photos. Happy birthday this week, Brandy.

    My birthday was Saturday, and my mom’s is today. We have always done a combined birthday celebration, and this year we did it combined with Easter. We were able to reserve the activity room at her assisted living facility (no charge), and I organized a small birthday/Easter lunch. I brought linens, plates and silverware from home (we used the nice silverware set my mom always used for our family holidays). My sister and I brought food, and we had a simple celebration that my mom said was just what she wanted. She’s 82, so I am very thankful for every birthday we can celebrate together.

    On Saturday (for my birthday), I went to a garden center with a cousin and a good friend, and we looked at plants and had a coffee in the cafe. Later my husband and I got takeout for dinner. Today I’m taking a day off from work.

    I had a birthday coupon (10% off) from the garden center, and some birthday money I had received, so I bought myself a patio chair that is sized for a short person. I am not tall, and this is seriously one of the most comfortable chairs I have ever sat in. I spend a lot of time sitting on our patio when the weather is nice, so this will be used a lot.

    We visited the tulip fields north of here the first week in April. We had picked the day in advance and it was the sole sunny and warm day that week. We packed a lunch and ate it in the car, and then enjoyed the gardens. Thankfully we had bought tickets in advance, because the line at the ticket counter was very long. It’s my favorite spring outing every year. On the way back, we stopped at my favorite farm store and stocked up on a few items. We also bought some rhubarb that had been picked that same morning. When we got home, I made rhubarb blueberry compote, using blueberries from the freezer. So good!

    We received our tax return funds. Transferred part of it to savings.

    Used up things from freezer and pantry. Made a big batch of tomato squash soup (using up frozen squash from several months ago). Soaked dried beans and then boiled them with a frozen ham bone. Saved vegetable cuttings in my freezer broth bag and made several batches of bone broth (I reuse the bones at least once). My neighbor moved out and gave me the meat from his freezer. I used the sealed packages of chicken, but decided not to use the freezer burnt ground meat of unknown provenance (it had been repackaged in ziplocs, and he said that someone had given it to him a while back, and he wasn’t sure what it was…I decided not to chance it).

    Grocery prices are going up here like everywhere, but I have noticed that Trader Joe’s has not raised their prices on many items we buy. For example, due to food sensitivities, the only bread I eat is sprouted grain (Ezekiel) bread. The TJ’s price on this is still 3.49. The price elsewhere for the same item is 4.99 to 5.99. TJ’s fruit and tomatoes are still reasonably priced. The meat items we buy there are about the same too.

    Otherwise, I did the things I always do: took my lunch to work every day, made water kefir and kombucha, cooked at home, made hummingbird feeder solution, worked out at home and at the gym (I had the pool all to myself one day), read books from the library, and watched streaming TV and DVDs we already owned.

    Looking forward to reading all the comments.

    1. I just got home from a trip to the Eastside and went to Trader Joe’s.
      You are so right about many of their prices staying the same. I felt good that I was actually able to get some food at a decent price. They had daffodil bulbs in bulb forcing vases for $2.49. I got one because I read on a frugal blog (this one??) that you can put a yellow onion in one of these vases and then clip the green tops to use like chives – something I am planning on trying.
      I am guessing that you and your friend went to Molbaks to look at plants and coffee at their cafe. Something a friend and I used to occasionally do for fun.

  14. Hope all who celebrate had a Happy Easter 🐇

    *We are in the process of building a raised garden bed🪴 I’m so excited to add to my container garden. While there’s been some start up cost, I’m considering it frugal for the future. Also bought mulch on sale at Lowe’s (5 bags for $10).

    *I was chosen to taste test for Panera (I’ve done this in the past- they just randomly send emails to Panera reward members asking you to apply.) This time I go and pick up the food and take home to test and take the survey. Besides the food I also get a $30 gift card!!!

    *Cut my husband’s hair.

    Grocery store: $2 clearance rising crust pizzas, ham on sale for Easter 🐣

    Buy Nothing Group: 6 unopened bottles of hydrogen peroxide (expiration date of 2023), Chemex coffee filters

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  15. I have a thrifty question. The bird feeders are not going to be filled this year because of bird flu and to encourage field or deer mice to move away. I have two small plastic strawberry jars I’d like to hang up with macrame hangers on a double shepherd’s crook instead of bird feeders and I want something dangly in them. My daydreams go to vining begonias and nasteriums or even petunias. My budget and inability to go to a nursery suggests seeds are the way to go. I am thinking runner beans which have pretty flowers given I’m a month or more late in starting most flowers from seed. Suggestions?

    1. What zone are you in? Nasturtiums are a phenomenal choice and very inexpensive. One packet will do. Where I live, they burn to death in May, but in cooler climates, they live all summer.

      Baker Creek seeds is not the least expensive choice, but they don’t charge shipping, so you can order just one packet of seeds. They carry a few different colors.

      1. 5, basically. We are just under 1000 feet so we are a bit cooler than the surrounding areas. My sister gave up gardening when frost hit her gardens after Memorial Day one too many times. I might try both nasturiums and beans and just make sure I keep the pots well watered and fertilized.

        1. Nasturtiums prefer poor soil! So no worries there. You should be able to grow them all summer.

          1. I’m reminded of the old comedy/mystery Silver Streak, where Gene Wilder advises Jill Clayburgh to always be nasty to nasturtiums. 🙂

    2. Also, nasturtiums self-seed readily. The seeds are super easy to collect, and you will easily have enough to share with friends in the future.

    3. I would second the recommendation for nasturtiums. They like cool weather, and if you are up in elevation a little, they would probably like it. I already have a few poking up in my flower bed where they were last year– volunteers! It has frosted, and snowed, and hailed on them this past week, so I was very surprised to see that they were still there. I hadn’t realized they were that hardy, since that is NOT typical weather for April. Good luck with whatever you end up with.

      I’ve grown scarlet runner beans before, but up a trellis, not in a basket. If you end up with those, it will be interesting to hear how they do.

  16. Our 6th baby arrived – we had to be induced within hours of my 37 week appt due to low heartrate, but he was born perfectly healthy. we were able to go home the next day – home is way more comfortable than a hospital!

    I only bought new burp clothes and sleepers for baby boy.

    My husband cut my hair (about 9-10 inches!). my hair is thick and was giving me headaches.

    We bought a whole hog-worth of meat from a local non gmo meat butcher. I calculated all packages and what we paid — came out to be $2.80 a lb.

    We packed a picnic lunch and went on a walk (me) bike ride (kids).

    Took advantage of online shopping/ car pick up on all shopping needs.

    Started a mini composite price book that fits in my purse and labeled a-z . food. price per oz. and the store.

    1. Congratulations to you and your husband, Faith, on the birth of your baby boy! What a wonderful blessing!

    2. Faith – I don’t have time for a price book, but I do have a price photo book on my phone. I take a picture of the shelf tag and product (in the same picture) and save it to an album on my phone. For me it is quicker and easier to look for the picture of the food when I am trying to compare. If I find it cheaper elsewhere – I repeat the process and save the old picture to another album or delete. I always seemed to forget my price book or forget to update the price in the book but always have my phone with me to quickly take a pic.

  17. It never seems like I am doing enough to make our money go further, but I’m trying the best I can, so that is something.

    My husband garbage picked me some wonderful items lately: a heavy duty plastic bench/storage container for outside, a three tier shelf on wheels that I will eventually use in my book room, and a gorgeous Grandeur Noel Nativity set. It is larger than any that I have and has many more pieces. Looking it up on ebay, it looks like it was originally sold as two separate sets and would cost between $200-400 for all of the pieces he brought me home. It made me so happy. For an Easter present, he picked flowers while he was running errands and brought them to me; in my opinion, they are prettier than any store-bought bouquet I’ve ever seen.

    We got potatoes and sweet peas planted in our garden. The potatoes will be used by four households, so I don’t expect them to last, but they will be a delicious treat when they are ready. We plan on planting more when it is time – corn, beans, tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers, and squash. They are all mostly for eating during season, but will be a nice treat in the summer.

    Brandy, I wonder if you have made the list of books that you recommend yet? I find myself more and more interested in this topic of “getting by” and “putting by” in these crazy days. I feel like going back and reading my old childhood favorites of Little House books just to remind myself how it used to be done.

      1. For your list: The Little Wartime Library, by Kate Thompson. Based on true events, it just came out. My husband put it in my Easter basket and I am already done with it!

    1. Hi Alice
      Have you read Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson? It’s pre war and a very interesting read about how households managed their lives in rural Oxfordshire. Plenty of ‘making do’.

        1. I have had the hard back large copy for many years. It is colour illustrated and beautiful. I re read it regularly. It transports you back in time

  18. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Your flower photos are lovely, we planted a Desdemona rose last autumn and I’m looking forward to seeing it flower. Great news about the suits for your husband.
    We picked purple sprouting broccoli, leeks and Swiss chard and tulips from the new cutting garden. There has been lots of potting on and seed sowing including sweetcorn, beetroot, gherkin, poppies, larkspur, cornflower, zinnia and carnation. My husband planted out three different types of seed potatoes.
    We met our daughters and son in law at a big park on the edge of Bristol to see each other for Easter. All day parking only cost £1.20. Originally we had thought we would have lunch in a pub but the weather forecast was so good we decided to take picnic food instead. This worked really well and we all took home leftovers.
    I made Easter mini egg cupcakes with store cupboard ingredients. I bought the mini eggs some time ago.
    I cleaned the inside and outside of my car. All it costs is elbow grease.
    We had guests to stay this week, I made two dinners with food from the freezer and pantry and they kindly took us out for a meal one night.
    My husband bought me a lovely floral Easter wreath which was a fundraiser for a local school.
    I think I will be able to deconstruct it when it’s finished and keep the metal ring.
    We have discussed whether to pay for more TV programmes through Netflix, Amazon etc but decided against it, we can watch a few extra things that interest us for free on YouTube and most of what we watch is on BBC anyway. Speaking of which the next series of The Great British Sewing Bee starts on April 27 if anyone is interested. And we have many many books still to read!
    Stay safe everyone.

  19. How To Preserve Eggs: Freezing, Pickling, Dehydrating, Larding, Water Glassing, & More (The Little Series of Homestead How-Tos from 5 Acres & A Dream Book 1) Kindle. For anyone interested, this little book is available as a download from Amazon.
    I read Leigh’s posts at she blogs about life on a homestead.

  20. Your flowers are so beautiful!
    We had a surprise snow storm and temperatures down to 18 F, but I covered everything in the greenhouse well and everything looks great. We have been enjoying fresh lettuce, arugula and bok choy. I planted all my onion sets outside after the snow melted and they are doing well. I shared extras with a friend. I made a batch of homemade granola. Easter dinner was a roast I pulled from the freezer. A friend gifted us a small truck load of firewood from his property

  21. Your garden sounds so lovely right now! And I’m loving all your IG pics too!

    My frugal week:
    – I made my grandmother’s Dutch chocolate pudding for Easter dinner ( and made my own chocolate bunnies to top the parfaits with, using a mold I’ve had for years and melted chocolate leftover from making my baby’s birthday cake pops last week.
    – I dyed Easter eggs with my toddler using turmeric and a tea I had, making yellow and blue eggs.
    – I redeemed $10 in loyalty rewards, and earned an additional $15, buying only sale items.
    – I set aside more items for an upcoming garage sale.
    – I made homemade hamburger helper for dinner, and served the leftover sauce (my toddler only wanted the pasta, not the creamy, beefy sauce) over toast for dinner the next day, sort of like chipped beef on toast.
    – I used the free spotify app to have my daughters listen to the Cocomelon storytime podcast.
    – I used the Dial-a-story program from our public library a few times.
    – took my daughters to free outdoor preschool programming
    – hung our second hand swing back up
    – glued a toy and sewed up another toy
    – I made sensory bins using household items. But the biggest hit with my youngest is the open dishwasher and two kitchen utensil (not cutlery) drawers. Today despite an Easter egg themed sensory bin (made using years old dollar store Easter eggs) she still preferred to walk around the house with a measuring cup and sieve. Toys can be anything!
    – I redeemed points from for $20 to my paypal account, and $10 from Swagbucks as well.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

  22. Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!

    I have a question… when meal planning, do you find it easier to meal plan weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly? I would love some feedback on this as I want to be better at meal planning while also saving money when I do my grocery shopping.

    Thanks in advance 🙂

    1. I have a new menu planning plan I am trying. I plan two weeks at a time and incorporate pantry and freezer items and sales and seasonal items. I felt I needed to be more flexible. This also compels me to use leftovers better.

    2. I like to meal plan weekly using what I have and what is on sale. I sometimes change what I am going to have, using what needs used up first or using leftovers. Sometimes I cook things that take less time when I am in a hurry. I try to keep a few things in mind for quick meals using what I have. Sometimes I make a long range plan using only what I have. It really helps. Then I might add a few sale items if I have the funds.

    3. I don’t know if these ideas will help on meal planning or not. I have celiac and so I’m gluten-free and also allergic to dairy. I also try to eat 8-9 cups of veggies a day as that really helps calm autoimmune symptoms. I do a lot of soups, stir fries, smoothies/green drinks, veggie hash/scramble. 1: Fridge. I first start with my fridge. I try really hard not to waste food. A few days ago we had a few bites of chicken chunks w/veggies, a few bites of sausage w/veggies. I threw that in a pan and warmed with leftover green beans and a few other veggie odds and ends and some coconut aminos (like soy sauce). 2. Garden. Even though we are in Utah and had snow twice last week, I have greens in the garden. Lovage (a perennial kind of like celery), lemon sorrel, green onions, chard and beets (that were in a low tunnel over the winter). I also have some herbs right now that I throw in soups, stir fries, green drinks or air dry for herb teas–nettle, dandelion leaves, mallow, red clover leaves, chives, goji berry leaves (more nutritious than the berries). 3. Freezer. What odds and ends do I have in there that need to be used up. 4. Pantry. What can I use from there? I try to really keep things stocked up. Ex: Recently I went into a health food store and noticed that they had bunches of celery for $1.35/bunch. I use 8-10 bunches a month. I bought more than 40. I came home, chopped, blanched then froze, dehydrated and freeze dried. I also noticed that a co-op had organic chicken hearts for $2/lb. I bought a package and ground them up. We tried them and they weren’t bad. A little strong but I made a homemade apricot barbecue sauce from apricots that I got and froze from my sister. I bought all they had. Like all of you I’m trying to really stock things up, but like some of you I have a diet that I can’t deviate from. I’m trying to buy at the lowest price that I can get, but also like all of you if they have something that I need I’m purchasing it. I’m trying to have at least a year’s worth of food. I garden like a maniac. I also have sisters and friends that share extra fruit, veggies. I also know some organic gardeners that sell their extra produce at great prices. I’m constantly freezing, dehydrating, bottling and freeze drying. If I eat really well, I feel pretty good. If I don’t, I can hardly function so I’m very motivated. I appreciate GardenPat’s upbeat comment about the world being dire but working together we can do as well as possible. Hope this helps.

      1. Exactly. I always go off what we already have on hand. I only plan one day at a time; I have freezers and a pantry plus the garden from which to choose. I can be quite flexible depending on my time to cook each day.

        1. It is kind of the difference between buying ingredients and buying meals. I tend to buy ingredients, and then come up with meals.

              1. I have a listing of all of the meals I make in a small notebook, so if in a time crunch or wanting to change things up from what I’d planned, I can see many other options at a glance. I know what I make regularly but sometimes seeing something is a nudge, like breakfast for dinner… Waffles, homemade applesauce and smoothie is easy and lets me use up wrinkly apples, etc. But sometimes I don’t think of that meal. I have a rough menu but adjust daily, knowing what i want to use up.

  23. I hope a Happy Easter and Passover was had by all! My husband and I had a quiet day after church.

    I’m trying to do a kitchen freshen up at a very low cost. I already purchased fabric for new window curtains so we concentrated on the soffits over the weekend. For those who don’t know, that is the wasted space that some builders leave between the top of the cabinets and ceiling. It is a …ahem…lovely area to collect greasy dust build up. Some years ago I got the idea to tack down muslin on top, which turned out to be one of my more brilliant ideas!! Rather than scrub up there, the muslin goes into a hot washer, the dryer, and is retacked up all clean and fresh. It can’t be seen from below. So, I wanted to change some of the things I had up there for decoration. I shopped the house and basement. All I need is some greenery for some added color and I’m done. That should be less than $5 at Dollar Tree.
    In other things, I:
    * continued on the simple menu and it’s still working well. I’m beginning to work on some ideas for May .
    * embroidered 2 flour sack towels with bears on them for a friend’s birthday gift. They’re on their way to Cali.
    * Got 2 free frosting buckets from my market bakery for more food storage. They had to be cleaned, but are great! Thanks to the poster that mentioned this!!
    * found a beautiful Easter Lily in the clearance section for $2.99. No idea why it was there, but it had 2 plants. Maybe the one wilted flower?? I have others opening. The lilies on display were $8.99 and up!
    * Did all the regular stuff like hanging laundry, catching water, and combining driving trips.
    For the bookworm in me,
    On my nightstand – The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman. Thanks to the suggestor of this!! I’m loving it!
    In my craft room CD player – Stephanie Plum #28 by Janet Evanovich. Haven’t started yet.
    With my Bible study – Created to be his Help Meet by Debi Pearl.
    By my reading chair – Amish Peace by Suzanne Woods Fisher.
    To Kat- I’m so glad you’re enjoying Fisher’s books. They’re a nice and peaceful read, aren’t they?

    Brandy, your flowers are beautiful!! You must have some beautiful bouquets around the house!

    1. When we had our kitchen revamp 30 years ago all the installer wanted to leave a space at the top of the wall cupboards but we did find one man who built them to the ceiling . We had the the sofits put on clips, we keep empty bottles between the cupboards and the floor. I think kitchen firms make cupboards that are easier for them.

    2. Maxine,
      That is wonderful news about the osteoporosis! I’m not sure yet what my bone density scan showed
      but the technician said my height was the same as it had been 5 years ago so that’s promising!
      congrats on your news. Ann

  24. This week I have done all the usual things,cooking from scratch,cooking once and eating twice, drying washing on the line etc.
    We have had 2 supermarket deliveries, I received a voucher from one for £14. Also I have a greengrocery delivery.
    My grandson got a new job 3 weeks ago and has now come down with covid so has to isolate for 5 days and I don’t know wether he will get paid, having not been there that long
    We saw my daughter this week as well. I have spent a lot of time in the garden planting veg and a few flowers, we are expecting shortages and price raises what with all the things going on in the world.
    Please keep safe everyone

    1. Cooking once and eating twice should be my motto. I don’t have the time or energy to cook 3 meals a day. Yesterday I made a ham and lentil soup with the ham bone. It fed us yesterday. I froze a container for another day and there is enough left for several lunches. Some of my friends refuse to eat leftovers. I just don’t understand it.

  25. I always enjoy reading about your week, Brandy (and everyone!). Glad you found the suits. We’ve had a lot of luck at Penneys over the years.

    We had a quiet Easter which suited us fine this year. I made a cheesy potato with ham hotdish. I used frozen ham from our Christmas dinner. Then we had some leftover green salad and some frozen mixed vegetables. For dessert I decided to make a pie with some apple pie filling a friend gave me. It wasn’t enough for the 9 inch pie shell, so I added some blueberry pie filling and it was perfect. We have the hotdish and the pie left over to bless our week. Our 19 year old son, who lives with us, was here and we were able to Facetime with three of our four other children, plus all the grandchildren which made us happy.

    I mentioned before that I starting a new hobby called post crossing…where I send postcards to people around the world and receive them back. This past week I received cards from Belgium, Spain and even Russia. Very cool. Global forever stamps are $1.30 and the cards I send cost a little, but it is a fun new hobby that I’m enjoying for very little cost. Just seeing the stamps and even the handwriting from around the world is fascinating. The website is if anyone is interested. It’s free to join.

    A new ladies clothing catalog came in the mail with things I thought I needed. When I went to check out I saw the total and paused (in shock). I really didn’t need any of those things. So I emptied my cart and left the site. I was proud of myself for that. I reminded myself, once again, that being content is a gift (that I need to work on).

    I finished two more afghans for the nursing home with donated and gifted yarn.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about peace lately…both world peace and personal peace. I have been trying to define what brings me personal peace. My faith brings me peace. A simple life brings me peace. Staying home when I can does also. Finding ways to serve others in ways I can manage physically, emotionally and financially also adds to my peace. I wish all of you peace. Praying for peace. Have a good week!

    1. Becky,
      Discovering what brings me peace is also one of my personal goals this year. We’ve all been through a lot the past couple years and have been resilient, however stress has managed to manifests in different ways. I would like to manage stress better by discovering what brings me peace amidst chaos. 💝

  26. I made my last visit for a while to the waste reduction program put on by our local food bank and my grocery store. The food bank is having to cut back regular food hampers from every two weeks to once a month. Clients can still go to the waste reduction program every week and get meat, produce, bread and sometimes eggs. Though others are welcome, I’ll leave it to those in particular need. If they have a surplus, they always post it on Facebook. This week before Easter they had a huge amount of food, and made it very clear the community was welcome if things were tight.

    I did get a ham on sale. The advertised price was 50 cents more than the other store in town. They lowered the price in the store to match. I made garlic mashed potatoes, and rhubarb crisp using rhubarb from my freezer. It reminded me to get more rhubarb this year. It tasted like summer had come.

    This week the grocery store is having a case lot/big pack sale for the third month in a row. I bought a case of diced tomatoes for $1.47 Cad a can (28 fl oz). It was $2.28 a can the last time there was a twofer special. I use it to make tomato soup or chili. I can’t eat beans but make it with vegetables and meat. The case was really too heavy for me to carry on foot, so that was a one-time thing. I’m set for next winter, though. I don’t used canned tomatoes in summer.

  27. Glad to see an update early on Monday, and the beautiful rose photos. On our frugal home front, made all our meals except one at home, plus homemade bread. The meal out was paid for by neighborhood friends who were thanking my husband for some advice he provided on mechanical issues. I did manage to find a sale on country style pork ribs for $0.96/pound so got three packages for the freezer! I had a coupon for a dozen eggs for $2.19 and decided just to go buy a dozen, even at that crazy price. Well, the store shelves were completely empty of all eggs except free range $6 a dozen brown eggs (ha!). I had heard about chicken/egg issues but didn’t completely believe it. Now I do! We have 4-5 eggs left, that will have to hold us. Got home and decided to finish stocking up on pasta from Sam’s club since the aisles are mostly empty in the stores that used to run specials…I give up waiting for a sale that may never come again and just paid the $1.09 a pound 🥺. Otherwise, we had a great week, Phoenix weather is perfect and most of the winter visitors have left, leaving roads and parks mostly empty!

        1. Nancy, thank you for this link. Please also note in this article (which they mentioned very briefly) DEF is mentioned as being effected as well. DEF is a government-required additive to diesel fuel for semi-trucks. If there is a limit on the amount that can be transported, fuel prices go up and adds to the supply chain issues.

    1. Sadly, because my family has very specific allergy needs, when I can find things in stock I am having to do the same. It hurts but I would rather have it and things are getting much harder to come by.

  28. I don’t have anything frugal to share. I had to take my husband to the hospital the day before Easter Sunday and I was expecting 40 people to attend Easter dinner and egg hunt. My two adult children stepped in and made Easter dinner happen. Our son then stayed and helped with the clean up. That was a huge blessing! My husband is back home and doing ok. I am so very thankful my children live close by and are so very thoughtful and helpful. We had lots of great food as all the family members contributed to the dinner. We invited a single mom and her two children to join us. The boy is about 5 years old and when he entered the house and saw all the food on the table his eyes lit up and he said he had never seen so much food. He was very over-whelmed with all the choices. He very happily played with the other children and I think he had a wonderful day. Watching him being so happy was a true blessing to me.
    I want to thank everyone in this blog community. As I was heading out the door to take my husband to the emergency room, I remembered reading something on this blog so I quickly grabbed an apple and a granola bar and stuck them in my purse. That was my breakfast and lunch while at the hospital and saved me from spending money at the cafeteria or vending machines. Every little effort helps.

    1. Sorry to hear that your husband was in the hospital! Yes, it’s always good to take a snack and water bottle if you can — my husband has been in the hospital a few times since Covid, and it seems like the cafeteria hours have cut way down. There were also many times I could not find a stocked vending machine.

    2. What a wonderful thing you did for that young boy, his mom and the sibling. Best wishes for a continuing recovery for your husband. Ann

  29. Haven’t posted for awhile. Work has been…..well let’s just say I’m glad it is the end of tax season.
    I cook a lot usually on Sundays, then very little during the rest of the week. Last week I made a big batch of brown rice fried rice and also gnocchi and sausage soup. Those were great for lunches and dinner most of the week. My office treated for lunch on both Friday and Saturday last week, as a thank you for everyone working extra in tax season. whenever possible, if we get to select our own lunches, I always get a chef or cobb salad. If they choose to bring in pizza, then I have no choice, but I try.
    My best deal was at Winco on Saturday before Easter. I was able to get 2 spiral sliced hams for just 78¢ a pound. I was astonished. Got butter for $1.99 a pound with a limit of two and cheddar jack shredded cheese for 99¢ each – got 2. I also got my favorite – Tillamook medium cheese – $5.97 for a 2 pound brick.
    We did BBQ on Easter – ribs and hamburgers. Also made macaroni salad, corn with thyme butter and fresh asparagus. It was delicious – and lots of leftovers.
    I know there were other things, but my life seems to have settled around work and physical therapy (I did something to my back), so not doing much else. We usually plant our potatoes on Good Friday – but it snowed, so we didn’t.
    Ah well, at least it means we have a little more moisture in the ground.
    Hope everyone has a blessed week.

  30. The flowers are lovely, Brandy!

    Kat, I’m so glad you found the tea and like it! I’m drinking it right now.

    Alice, I have used “Preserving Summer’s Bounty” by Marilyn Kluger for about 30 years now, and I still love it. It’s very thorough, but bonus, she’s a good writer. I see it can be found used online.

    Since the doors on my deep sink cabinet fell apart, I have replaced them. I stumbled onto a tension rod that is the right size (about $3) and two nice tea towels ($5) in the right colors that fit perfectly once I created a simple rod pocket on the narrow ends.

    I keep my worm farm in a ventilated bucket. I mixed up dirt, cross-cut shredded clean, white paper, leaves and moisture in a second ventilated bucket and buried banana peels and apple cores in the dirt, then set it on a small block of wood in the current worm bucket. They’ll climb to the new bucket since that’s where the food is, and I can use that rich, black fertilizer they make on my raised beds. I switch them back and forth between buckets this way to get to the castings.

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed that my teenaged mowers will buy my husband’s commercial mower and weed eater. They are good kids and have said they would like to buy them for their own lawn business. I hired them when my husband could no longer mow, and until I retire, I don’t have the time to keep an acre+ yard mowed so I plan to keep using them. I had planned to sell the lawn equipment anyway, but this would be even simpler, since it requires no meeting with customers and working out delivery.

    We had a shared Easter dinner so that no one had to pay too much for it.

    We got some rain yesterday so there as no need to water.

    The dwarf mulberries I planted are looking good so far!

    Easter blessings to all who observe it here, and may spring find us all doing well.

  31. Hope everyone had a good weekend!
    * had our septic tank cleaned and it was $300. The man was very rude and was mad that it was full of toilet paper. Had a talk with both kids about their usage of toilet paper and the man suggested we get it cleaned out every 2 years instead of every 3.
    *my daughter who is a junior in high school got her first scholarship last week. It was for $1500 which made me happy. It was through 4H and took a lot of work. We also have to go to a presentation service in October. She has to have a headshot pic taken and a friend from school is going to take it for free. Our goal is to have our children graduate college debt-free so I really enjoyed last week’s comments about graduating debt-free. Now I am working on finding other scholarships.
    *my son graduated in 2020. He went to community college for a year that we paid for upfront and then he was offered an apprenticeship through BF Goodrich. He is an electrician and they pay for all of his college now. 4 more classes and he will have his associate’s for Industrial Electrician. He also has a certificate for Industrial Maintenance from the same community college. So definitely would recommend checking into apprenticeship programs (sometimes they are called TechScholor programs) if a child wants that. I know the HVAC field is in desperate need of technicians. *I was very frustrated with our power company. Mailed the bill and took 2.5 weeks to get there. I asked for the late fee to be refunded and they refused since I had paid the bill and I had a zero balance. She said once you have a zero balance they can’t refund anything. I realized I can now phone in my payment so will do that from now on to avoid mail delays. They had this service before but it cost $7.99 so I always paid it by mail.
    *had all food at home for Easter except for a cake mix which Kroger had on Digital Deal for 77 cents.
    *my daughter is going to prom this year and our town has a store called “say yes to the dress”. Went and checked it out and found an orange color that she loved for $89. Orange is her favorite color so she was quite pleased. We still need to find shoes and jewelry but I think we may borrow that from my mom
    *I had stopped in at Goodwill to see what they had for prom dresses and found a salad spinner for $1.49. I have been wanting one of these for a few years. When I got home I realized it was from IKEA.

    Can’t wait to read everyone’s comments and I hope everyone stays safe this week!

  32. I was able to take advantage of a sale at Aldi and pick up a bone in ham for .95 a pound. Invited friends without local families for an early Easter dinner and was able to provide additional ham for my parents to use. Will make soup with the bone soon. Overall, a nice holiday weekend with minimal expense per meal.

    I just started using the Flashfood app. { I am in Pennsylvania and the Giant Foods chain uses this company to help reduce food waste and provide bargains for shoppers. You can see marked down items and purchase them immediately and pick up from the store. Often they have pre-made items like bake at home Stromboli, meats, Cheeses, and produce. Items are kept in a refrigerator at the front of the store.} This week I bought two bags of mixed sweet peppers. Total of $7 for 12 peppers. Peppers are now nearing $2 each near me, so the price was good for hothouse peppers. They were in excellent shape — chopped and frozen for future stir fry and jambalaya. Also found 2 bags of organic avocados and paid .99 for both bags which made beautiful guacamole!

    I have also been doing extensive yard work for my parents who are 75 and unable to physically keep up with their property. My mother loves gardening and it has been a blessing to help get her garden back in shape and spend quality time together. She has also agreed to let me plant food in her back garden. I put in onion and have 24 tomato plants waiting to be planted after the weather improves. Also purchased seeds for beans, beets, turnips, herbs and flowers for a cutting garden. Her ;eight or keeps bees so this will also be wonderful for her bees.

    Have a beautiful week!

  33. —Does everyone know about the upcoming Lowe’s garden center tours and accompanying coupon? There a link to make reservations but I wasn’t sure about the rule on posting links.
    —We did potluck for Easter, every adult brings at least one dish. My sister makes favorites so she brought 4. I hate cooking so I ordered great service station fried chicken, paid over phone and nephew picked it up on his way to our tiny town for Easter lunch. One guest has great idea and brought pizzas for the kids. My sister and I stuffed about 250 plastics eggs with candy and each kid brought 12. Weather prevented egg hunt so we just stuffed 7 2gallon zip locks and then let kids randomly pick a bag. All bags were pretty much the same except one had the golden ticket to turn in for Queens Egg. The grand nephew who won queens egg (basically another 2 gallon zip lock stuffed to brim with different candy and gift cards and cash) was so excited that he slept with it that night. Kids removed candy from plastic eggs and I brought the eggs home to use again next year.
    —A local liquidation store often has items from 🎯, today I got some environmentally friendly eye shadow. Target price was $28.49. I paid 7.5 cents. Now I have to decide if I’m keeping or passing on to my niece.
    —Rewatched season 5 of Better Call Saul in anticipation of Season 6 premier tonight. S5 was 2 years ago so I would have never remembered storyline. DVDs were available at my local library.

  34. I switched our car insurance company, saving $180 a month.

    Picked up a free sandwich from Jimmy John’s as a birthday reward

    Redeemed a free redbox rental(also birthday reward)

    I received a sample bag from Walmart when i picked up our grocery order…it had 2 Zantacs, snack size cheezits, bottle opener, and an energy drink mix.

    I put my last 2 green onions in water to regrow. Hopefully, we’ll get a few more uses out of them.

    Easter was pretty easy(the advantage of teens and twenty somethings). I just put their candy in a large ziploc bag, and dinner was a chunk of ham from the freezer, with roasted potatoes and Brussel sprouts.

    Ate lunch at work 3 times.

    Watched my daughter’s high school production of A Midsummer Night’s dream on Saturday for $10. My teen helped at the front of the house at all the showings, so she got a t shirt for free.

  35. Happy Easter everyone. My big grocery deal this week was 2 hams for 77¢ a pound. I cooked one and froze one. Hubby sliced half of it really thin for cold cuts. I diced the rest and froze them for future omelets and quiches. We ran out of bread one day so we had ham sandwiches on hamburger buns. No one complained. I cooked the bone today and made ham and lentil soup with homemade rolls. My daughter is very happy with me.
    I garbage picked 2 new rolls of purple cellophane and a metal tray. On a different day at a different house, I got 3 huge plant pots and 4 long railing pots. The house just went into contract so I will look what they put out the next few weeks.
    My friend gave me a large box of books. I sold some and the rest will be donated.
    Not to gross anyone out but I flushed my ears and the kids ears out. We all have bad allergies this time of year and it really helps. I won’t tell you what comes out… I bought the removal kit when the kids were little and it has paid for itself many times over. We just put warm water and hydrogen peroxide.
    Hubby pulled out the dryer and blew out the vent. It is drying much better now.
    My youngest cut her hair with the help of a friend.
    All of us have been doing yard work and working on the gardens. The peas, beets and carrots have all sprouted. There are lots of strawberry flowers. Several garden beds are ready to be planted at the beginning of May. Still have a few more to get ready.
    We brought the puppies’ home to my daughter and son in law. They had a wonderful late honeymoon. They got us a bottle of vanilla extract from one of the islands they visited on their cruise. They know me well. Hubby showed them how to fix their garbage disposal. We brought a table saw and stand that Hubby doesn’t use any more and 3 cases of jars that I had garbage picked. We were only there one night but we had a great time. I packed a cooler with sandwiches, snacks and drinks. We had to stop at Hubby’s NJ office on the way home to pick up equipment he needed. We had drinks and snacks compliments of the office.

  36. Most of this past week was focused on getting ready for Easter at my house. Some family members brought food, and some gave me money to use to buy things, but I did most of the cooking this time. We shopped for those things and picked up a few loss-leaders while in the stores anyway. While my husband and I were in the stores, he found no eggs, except some overpriced organic ones, at 2 stores. (He had a coupon for free 18-count eggs there, but no dice). I saw eggs where I went, but they were not on sale at all. A few weeks back, there was an advertised special for 5 doz for $5 at Safeway, on a Friday. They actually gave Rob a raincheck because they hadn’t gotten them in. He went back and got them the following week, and I’m so glad. No one has been offering raincheck around here lately, so he was surprised. I guess it never hurts to ask. I made deviled eggs from most of the decorated ones–couldn’t bear to waste them even though the price I paid was low. So they were a little colored. Fancy:).

    Shrimp was advertised as B1G1 free, but when I got there it would have been almost $25 for the 2 bags, so I’ll wait. I just didn’t make shrimp this time. Instead, Rob pulled out a huge trout he caught last summer and froze, and BBQ’d it. We have 2 daughters that don’t eat meat, only seafood or vegetarian food, so that’s what they got this time. It was a hit with several people, I noticed when I cleaned up.

    I used actual dishes and tablecloths this year. It was because I wanted to use my pretty things, but it did save me almost $10 in paper products, which I saved for another occasion. I used napkins that had been given to me long ago and tablecloths I’ve had for years.

    My husband cut the Easter ham off the bone before Easter and I made up a pot of ham and bean soup. (He did the ham on the BBQ, saving my oven space)Then, when people were taking home their leftovers, I also handed out recycled cottage cheese cartons of ham and bean soup for them to take home. I purposely cooked tons of extra food. It’s nice for everyone to have food for a few days. We ended up with baked potato bar and I used chives from my garden. I used parsley and chives in a chip dip I made. I also picked a few leaves of spinach to mix with purchased head lettuce. I was glad to have the herbs, especially, as that is something I would not have spent the money on at the store.

    My garden is limping along–it’s been so cold and wet. I wish I could share some rain with some of you. When we took a walk today with my nephew, the water was just running down the street in a stream and I was really thinking that it would be so welcomed in some other places. There are a few early veggies that do seem to be surviving. I’m really trying to get early lettuce and other veggies.

    Pictures of my week are on my blog:

  37. Hi Brandy,
    Do you mind sharing more about your trip to France? I’d also appreciate frugal travel tips to Europe/ France from the readers. Thank you, in advance.

    1. Farhana, I lived in two cities in France and in Geneva, Switzerland, as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for 16 months (with an additional two months of language and missionary training in the U.S. before that).

      I did not make any of the housing or travel arrangements myself. All of it was arranged for me.

      This was 1997 to 1999.

      My readers who have traveled to Europe more recently would have more info for you on traveling.

      The friend who invited me to lunch last week told me about an interesting site where you put in your travel plans and it tells you the cost of making the trip by plane, train, car rental, etc. It’s called My friend goes to Europe with her family every couple of years and she says that site helps her price out the least expensive way to go. She used it to plan a trip across France later this year.

    2. Farhana – I’ve travelled to a few cities in Europe but not France (that’s on the list for next time) but here are a few:
      .travel off season
      .3 star hotels, especially local ones are great – location is what to watch for – my travel friend and I always like to be downtown and within walking distance of a lot of the sights that we want to see. You will then also be close to public transit and don’t be afraid to use it even if you don’t speak the language. Buy a pass – even if you end up out a bit of money the convenience makes it worth while. Also – get a paper map from your hotel if available, mark your hotels location and phone number and make sure you can pronounce everything properly – hotel staff will help – just in case you get lost.

      .scope out the freebies – London is an expensive city but so many of the galleries, museums and other venues are free! Many of them also have wonderful restaurants. We try to get a hotel where breakfast is included then we eat a late lunch at a venue option (or small local restaurant) and we tend to have our main meal then – much cheaper. Last trip to London our hotel was across the street from a large Waitrose shop (upscale grocery store) – British shops mark down a lot of things in the evening – we would stop off at the end of the day and buy half price sandwiches, salads and/or yogurt and just have that in our room – we didn’t need another big meal.

      .take things like granola bars, hard candy and a water bottle with you on your day trips – they come in handy.

      .it is often cheaper to book some outings before you leave (we found this when going to Iceland) but on the other hand – if you are on a tour – remember that you aren’t obliged to do everything with the rest of the group. Just let the tour leader know that you’ll be off on your own that day – sometimes a day away in what is essentially a tourist trap doesn’t appeal so do something else.

      .Don’t try and do too much – plan ahead and only do one or two things per day. Also give yourself a day off from being a tourist and be a local – walk – go to a grocery store or find a nice neighbourhood to visit – not everything has to be historically or culturally important. Hope some of this helps.

      1. Good basic advice from Margie here!
        Consider: Which is more important, time or money? I was on a tour group to Paris that stayed at Mister Bed City (rock bottom priced motel), which might have saved money, but also meant more time taking transportation into the city. If you like watching people or seeing areas farther away from the city center, this might not be a problem.
        Trains, buses, airports, and museum entrances are logically organized, so they are largely the same anywhere you go. Watch what other passengers do for any local quirks.
        Professionally photographed postcards might be better than photos you take. Make sure you see the places through your eyes and all your other senses, not through your camera lens.
        Almost anything “foreign” can be a souvenir, for you or someone else, and you don’t need to spend much on them. My most useful buy was two tiny ceramic ashtrays from the Rome “1000 Lira” store, (like a Dollar Store), that we have been using for spoon rests for twenty years. Kitchen items, art works, toys, children’s books, socks and accessories are all fun to shop for, and are found in real stores, not tourist spots.
        Presume the people around you who might overhear what you are saying understand English, no matter what the local language is.
        Leave yourself down time and relaxing time! And leave a day to adjust to being home when you return before you go back to work.

        1. I would like to recommend the 7th arrondisement (sp?) as a general location in Paris. It’s very convenient to everything. We were about 3 blocks from L’ecole Militaire (military academy, like West Point) and there is a Metro stop and major bus stop right there. Easy walking distance to the Eiffel Tower. 2-star hotels in Paris are very nice! In Italy, we stayed in 2-star places and they were spectacular!

      2. Thank you, Brandy, Margie, and Heidi for taking the time to respond in thoughtful detail. I really appreciate it and took note so I remember. Did anyone try staying in an airbnb/vrbo? Thank you.

        1. I only stayed in traditional hotel/motel places. I have never stayed in hostels either, though understand some have broadened beyond “youth” hostels. I like to believe there are more good people than not in the world, and would believe the general trend of online ratings for specific AirBnBs, hostels, etc., especially as the companies that oversee them have vested interests in only having quality locations.
          I used overnight train trips to replace a hotel overnight. Those were never restful for me, in the same way that taking an overnight flight to arrive in Europe in the morning was not restful. Hotel rooms are likely not available until afternoons, so the time spent hauling luggage and finding a place to wait for our rooms was awkward, especially while adjusting to the time change. Happy travels to you!

        2. I have never stayed in an AirBnB – others swear by them but my travel friend and I like hotels and we don’t want to cook or tidy up when we are on holiday – but that’s just me . Again, I would check on location first and make that the priority.

        3. We’ve stayed in Airbnb’s all over, including Paris and London, and have generally been very pleased. Choose one with lots of positive reviews (more than 100) as those are more reliably accurate. Read the reviews carefully and you will find out about quirks like weird layout of rooms or lack of necessities like dish towels, etc. We travel as a family of 5 adults, so hotels get pricey. I always want a place with air conditioning and laundry as it helps me travel with just a carry on. And Wi-fi is a must. You can find some amazing places on Airbnb – we stayed in a yurt in Wales and just returned from Costa Rica where we stayed in a treehouse!

    3. I agree with everything that Margie from Toronto says but I would add the following. If you go to Great Britain, and if you stay in bed and breakfasts (which I recommend) (3 star hotels are also good), breakfasts are substantial and you can last a whole day on that kind of breakfast. (as long as you have your water bottle)And tea time can be reasonably priced with delicious treats. Go out in the country — go to Wales, Ireland or Scotland. Prices will be lower. In Italy, at a convent for about $3.25 US you can get a light breakfast — usually a roll, jam, an Italian coffee or maybe a juice.

      Margie mentions that in London a lot of the museums are free. Whether they are free or not, make online reservations for times as this will save you hours of waiing in line.

      Actually, the best advice I have is go off season (Margie mentions this)– the shoulder season when fewer people are going. In Italy, for example, don’t go in the summer, it’s just too hot and too crowded. — go in May or October. Find out when the local fairs or markets are — go to a fair or market and eat food there. Airfares are lower too. By going off season, you may see something other tourists miss — for example, in Siena the marble floors had the boards removed so we could see the beautiful artwork of the inlaid marble. Tourists in high season don’t see this as the floors are protected by boards.You could also go to one place, make it your home base. See day trips below.

      You might look into a book about staying in convents or monasteries in Europe. Some of them can be very inexpensive. You do not have to be Catholic. We stayed in one in Siena (didn’t see anyone but the linen sheets had been ironed and were exquisite –– in Italy it is de rigeur to take the used sheets off the bed and put them in the pillowcase), one in San Gimagnano, and the best on a hillside overlooking Florence which had a beautiful rose garden, olive and fruit orchard. I just looked up a convent in San Gimagnano — for a room with two single beds it was 60 Euros (so split between you and your friend 30 Euros each plus 3 Euros for a light breakfast = about $35 US. A single room with one bed was close to $30 so if one of you snores you could have your own room.

      When you go into a restaurant you don’t have to order all of the courses. I’ve only ever had one dinner with 8 courses and that was in Florence. But it is fine just to have a first or a second course.

      You cannot see everything and I agree with Margie. Just do one or two things every day. It took me about 3 months to recover because my friend (who is Italian) had the idea that one should cram as much as possible in. It almost killed me!

      Get good walking shoes – and break them in before you go.

      The Florence convent also offered dinner — it was about the best meal I ever had — homemade pasta (just out of the pot)for a starter, a veal cutlet and roasted veggies, a salad, fruit (grapes, pears from its own orchard), cheesecake for dessert. All for about 20$ Cdn. Prices I’m sure have gone up. Unfortunately, that convent was sold and is now a pricey private hotel. On the plus side, it still has free parking but try to avoid using a car) and best of all they have a no charge shuttle bus that drops you off and picks you up from downtown Florence. In Europe, the room charges are sometimes for a room, not the number of people. (make sure it has the number of beds you need) You sometimes need to leave your passport at the desk. You should in any event carry a passport but in a separate place a photocopy of it and your other documents. Similarly carry two sets of medicines in case one luggage gets lost. Carry a hard copy of your. prescriptions. Split your money into two places — a hidden waist belt is a good idea.Also, it is good not to look like a tourist. Don’t carry an expensive camera and with your point and shoot keep it mostly in your handbag which you will carry with a shoulder strap around your neck so no thief will knock you down and quickly take the handbag you drop. As far as not looking like a tourist, learn some basic language. Duolingo is a good free starting point. Learn how to order from the menu in the language, how to say please help me, I need a doctor, what the emergency number is. I have a very funny situation that happened in Salzburg. An American, his wife and daughter got on a bus. We were the only other people. He struck up a conversation and eventually he told me that I spoke very good English so I simply thanked him. And he asked if I had learned it in New York city The bus driver knew from my German that I was Anglophone but he was just in stitches. The man actually made his wife and daughter attach themselves to us — they went up on top of the mountain where we had the most delicious pea soup I’ve ever had. (really inexpensive). Then learning where else we were going they came too. I took pity on the man because he said the food in Austria was horrible so I taught him how to read a menu in German. I said — do you like fried chicken? So I ordered him bakhendl. He looked so happy I thought he would cry. Austria and other countries have gondolas that take you up to mountaintops where you can then hike on groomed trails from hut to hut.

      It really depends on what you’d like to do. Theatre, music, hiking? renting an electric bike and going from village to village?

      I have not travelled very much. The other time I won a trip to London. On that trip, we did not stay long in London but only for a day or two. My mother had bought a book entitled The Best Bargains in Europe, so we took the train to Stoke on Trent, went to the Wedgwood interpretive centre which was very interesting, then went to the equivalent of factory outlets for Royal Doulton and bought little enamelled boxes for a fraction of the price which we gave as Christening gifts. We took the ferry to Dublin and went to Irish tweed sale outlets. Our bed and breakfast hostess in Wimbledon let us stash the heavy fabric in her garage while we caught the plane and went to Vienna. There we spent 5 days before using a special train pass to go across the country — stopping in Salzburg, going up the cable car to the castle, drinking apple cider and having dessert there. Then to the far west of the country. Eat where the locals eat.

      If you make one city a home base,, you can take day trips out from it. For example in Salzburg, the ever popular Sound of Music tour. In Vienna, a tour of the Vienna Woods. In Dublin a trip to Wicklow. Ireland has a lot to recommend it.

      Once you know which region of which country you are going to, read a few books about it. Then make an itinerary. Figure out and reserve your accommodation. Make sure you can cancel with no penalty. Pack light. I would not wear jeans or shorts in Europe nor sleeveless dresses (especially if you are going to be in churches). Theresa May gave Meghan Markle the dirtiest look when Markle went in the abbey with a sleeveless, shoulderless or off shoulder dress. Not one other woman was dressed like that. If you are wearing such a dress, make sure you have a jacket to cover it up. It is just not done and either Markle’s protocol officers were leading her astray or she wilfully dismissed their concerns. I would take about 10 days of clothes, perhaps 5 skirts, co-ordinating tops, a couple of dresses, some slacks, long shorts for where it’s appropriate. All things that can survive being packed. A couple of pairs of shoes, sandals. The idea is that you can go to a laundromat for a longer trip. I would have a small suitcas with a foldable duffle bag that you could take things home in.

      1. I had sort of forgotten a book that helped me get ready for traveling to Paris: “Paris to the Moon” by Adam Gopnik, who is a writer for The New Yorker. His observations about culture are very thought-provoking. His family lived in Paris and he describes discovering it. 2000 publication, the chapters stand alone so it can be read at a leisurely pace.

      2. Lots of good advice in these posts, but I would just like to add that France and Italy (and probably some other countries) close up for a month or more in the summer and everyone goes on vacation. Find out when the country shuts down and don’t go then. Museums and many other attractions will not be open. Generally, these are the hottest months, and many cheaper accommodations do not have air conditioning…so going earlier or later will be better.

        Also, you will be happier if you pack everything in a roller bag that fits into the airplane bin…even if you check it for the flight! If you work at it and wear some of your clothes more than once, you can easily pack 7 days’ worth of clothes in a suitcase this size, which is going to be a lot easier to handle than a larger bag. I’ve always been able to find a laundromat near the hotel and I do laundry about once a week. I’ve stretched out the days by washing out underwear in the bathroom sink. Take detergent tablets or pods and a few dryer sheets with you.

        I had always wondered about overnight trains as a way to save on hotels. Thanks for the insight. I’d never thought about having to drag the suitcase around all day. This convinced me that I’m too old for this! Plus, the suitcase targets you as a tourist…as does a fanny pack.

        In England and Ireland, we’ve only ever stayed in B&Bs, and we loved them. “Purpose built” means they were built to be B&Bs and each room has a private bath (“ensuite”). We’ve also stayed upstairs in pubs, which can be a blast. I don’t recommend them on weekends when there is live music, LOL. Wherever you stay, it may be difficult to find rooms with two beds, including twins. When we took both of our then-young adult kids to Europe, we never found a place where all 4 of us could sleep in the same room. With difficulty, we were able to find the kids a separate room with twin beds (rather unusual). When we just traveled with our daughter, we usually could find “triples,” meaning one double bed and one twin in the same room.

        Our favorite sites in Britain are the Imperial War Museum. In addition to the main museum, there is the Duxford airfield near Cambridge (my husband’s fave) and the Cabinet War Rooms, in the basement of Whitehall. This is where Churchill and his advisers ate, slept and ran the second world war. When the war ended, they just walked out, and it was left exactly as it was when they were there. That is how you will see it today. My personal favorite was the “washroom” next to Churchill’s room that was permanently locked. Everyone just assumed it was in use. Inside was the telephone that connected Churchill and Roosevelt. Wires ran under the street to the basement of Selfridge’s Department Store where the equipment was secretly located.

  38. We have collected rain water through the last week (every drop counts in California drought). We have over 600 gallons collected, so that will carry us into the summer a bit. We picked up free 16 oz jar of peanut butter at Safeway.

    I collected a free table and chairs, and a desk for our son and daughter-in-law setting up a home after he leaves Marine Corps in a couple of months. They gave me a list of things to watch for. I also picked up free Duplo from Buy Nothing for my grandson.

    I up-potted lettuce and continued installing drip irrigation. I keep covering my tenderest plants when we have frost forecast. So far it’s working because I have almost ripe strawberries (only a few, but still…),

    I finished a second stole

    1. This second stole is lovely too but I really fell in love with that green one from last week. You really have a talent for putting colors together.

  39. Hello Everyone!
    I just love the photos of the rose and ranunculus. I have enough roses, but would love to plant more in the yard. Beautiful!

    This week I baked coffee cake for Easter breakfast along with some sale bacon from our freezer. I also baked oatmeal chocolate cherry cookies for Grandma’s arrival and 2 loaves of dark rye sandwich bread. We baked a ham bought for $0.99/lb. Safeway was out of the advertised $0.88/lb.hams. We bought some $0.99/lb. asparagus for Easter dinner.

    I roasted turnips from my garden, made baked egg cups from leftover ham and garden chard, and salad from garden lettuce. I just picked two cabbages and endive.

    Today I put several hours in the veggie garden amending more beds and planting starters grown from seed. I’ve decided to forgo bush beans this year and grow more pole beans. I ordered some additional bean towers (that I’ve been happy with over the past several years) using a 15% off coupon. I also ordered bare root elderberry plants (that were on sale) for the front yard. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow so I will start more veggie seeds indoors. The weather has been erratic so I try to make the best use of each day.

    I completed a 9 patch quilt that will be gifted to Grandma. I did free motion quilting to finish it myself. Next project is making a pattern for the window seat cushion using craft paper I’ve had for years.

    Have a blessed and beautiful week! Thanks for the book suggestions! I add them to my Hoopla list and listen while I do chores. 📕 PS congrats on the suit find at Penney’s. We don’t have one anymore but I used to love that store.

  40. Congratulations on all things Winter! How very proud you must be, Brandy!

    Had a very busy Holy Week. Tried to stay focused on the the reason, but did a lot of cooking, baking and socializing also. Had a Video call with our Charleston daughter and grandchildren. It was wonderful! Spoke with all our children. We are blessed!

    My garden has really been a challenge! Flooding, weather extremes, squirrels and rabbits—have thought about giving up, but I don’t believe it is an option this year! I think vegetable seeds may be the new bitcoins!

    I am dedicating our sunroom to growing citrus fruit-mostly lemons and limes. Our climate will not allow them to be permanently planted. Home Depot had a large amount of Meyer lemon and lime trees. 29.99! Great price for us and amazing that they had them.

    Walmart has their Great Value 12.5 ounce canned chicken on line for 19.99 for 12 cans. Good buy if you use it. I supplement my dogs diet with it. My son eats it often!

    Concerning WWI/WWII books: I am currently reading all of Pam Jenoff’s books in chronological order. No Pulitzer’s here, but easy reads with lots of insight into the Jewish plight in both wars with romance and details of the countries affected!

    Everyone stay frosty out there! Onward, by all means!(Ryan)

  41. -I started seeds, using some lights in the basement as grow lights. I have a lot of seeds on hand so I’m trying to not go crazy buying this year. I got a trailer full of manure for free. I also got some indoor citrus plants. My overwintered pepper plants are blooming and the rosemary is coming back to life,
    -Sold a few items on eBay and FB
    -Stomach bug and colds have continued. It’s slowed us down a lot but we’re all finally feeling better. I used Hylands homeopathic tablets for my daughters vomiting and diarrhea which worked amazingly well. Took my son to the chiropractor which cleared up his ear infection. Much cheaper and so much better than going to Urgent Care.
    -I got some sourdough starter from a friend. I made sourdough banana muffins with markdown bananas, apple mulberry oat bars with random seeds and nuts, turkey dumpling soup with leftover turkey from thanksgiving, and hot dogs and burgers on the grill. I got a few hams for 87c/lb for Easter, along with Brussels sprouts. I brought a quiche for Easter breakfast made with random leftover veggies. I cooked the last spaghetti squash from last years garden. My husband likes energy drinks (yuck) but I found a whole cart load on clearance. They rang up with an extra discount making them only 29c each. I bought 12 and went back and bought another 48. Also found some condiments we enjoy on clearance
    -Used items we had on hand to decorate for Easter and some small items I’ve bought through the year. Also a few consumable treats. Dyed Easter eggs using beets, cabbage and turmeric, then roasted the beets for my lunches this week. Enjoyed spending time with my parents. Bought them some beer and wine, which they enjoy.

  42. Beautiful photos of beautiful flowers! Thank you for always sharing your lovely garden with us, Brandy. 🙂
    April is a month-long celebration for our family with our anniversary and several birthdays and, most of the time, Easter, as well. It may sound boring to some, but my husband and I do not exchange gifts or go out of town for our anniversaries. We always have so many projects at home and ideas swirling around in our heads that we prefer to focus on things we can do to improve our own little piece of the world. We worked on adding more garden beds to our kitchen garden, as an example. My husband found some raised bed kits at Northern Tool that, on sale, cost less than it would have for him to buy the materials to make them. Our others are all made from materials we had on hand at the time so, overall, this garden has cost us very little while yielding an abundance of food and beauty. We celebrated my mother’s and my youngest son’s birthday together with a meal outdoors at our home with everyone contributing food. My mother’s gift was a second-hand book which I knew she would love (she did!) and two bookmarks my children and I made. We have done this for her since our children were very small and she has kept and uses them all. My son is my beekeeper’s assistant and he is getting his own hive from us. We have been refurbishing some of our old equipment with paint gifted from a neighbor. My son is an avid artist and is planning some decorative painting for the bee boxes once the base coats are finished. I am glad he enjoys a hobby which, if he remains interested, could be a source of income for him for the rest of his life. I read years ago that the average age of beekeepers was 60+ so I am thrilled with his interest which has only grown stronger over the last 2-3 years. Plus, it is something we enjoy doing together. I split one of my hives this past week, as well. Simply put, splitting a hive is something beekeepers do to create two hives from one when the original hive is strong and the bees are considering moving elsewhere. Considering the price of a nuc – 5 frames of bees with a laying queen – runs about $175 these days, splitting hives is a great way to expand your apiary.
    I found an alternate on-line pharmacy charging less for a maintenance medication I take. This will save me about $60 per year.
    I gratefully accepted some canned good from a neighbor who had received some things she cannot use. Included in this gift were two bags of instant potatoes. I have never used them before but imagine they could be used for potato bread or rolls. Before I go down the rabbit hole of Google, would anyone who has used instant potatoes in recipes kindly share their favorites? Thank you!
    I sold eggs from our chickens and bartered some for more canned goods. My father’s eyes grew wide when he saw my pantry this weekend. He said, “This is Prepared with a capital P!” I took that as a compliment. 🙂
    I made a triple batch of laundry detergent and cut my oldest son’s hair.
    Holy Week was lovely and meaningful. We went to church for the various services and enjoyed a wonderful pot-luck brunch on Easter Sunday with our fellow parishioners. I made blueberry muffins from ingredients I had on hand. I made extra to share with my elderly neighbors, making up an Easter bag for them with the muffins and a few chocolates I knew they would enjoy. We have a family tradition of hunting for dyed hardboiled eggs as well as hand-painted hollow wooden eggs. I buy a few each year from a local business whose artisans are in Russia. Their items are lovely (including nesting dolls) and I am happy to support a local business whose workers are caught in an awful situation they never asked for. I hope they can stay in business through all of these trying times. At any rate, my sons have been painting a few of these every year since they were very small. I write their names and the year on the bottom and fill them with candy for our egg hunt which takes place in our large field and in the woods. It is so special to pull the wooden eggs out every year and relive all those memories while continuing to make new ones. I do not know when they will decide they are too old for this tradition but I hope the answer is never. 🙂 All the candy was purchased on sale and my mother contribute unique things she finds, as well.
    On the reading front, I am enjoying a 50 cent find from my local Friends of the Library sale. It was written in the 1980s and is called, “A Window Over the Sink” by Peg Bracken. It is a memoir of little, everyday occurrences that are very relatable. As the author says, some of the best thinking happens at the sink. I know that I often think I can solve the world’s problems when I am up to my forearms in soapy water. 🙂 Anyway, a fun read.
    Wishing everyone a lovely week!

    1. Mountain Mama,
      I use instant potatoes to thicken gravy. I don’t have a recipe for this but just sprinkle a little at a time into the thin gravy or soup until it gets to the consistency I want. I also use it to make potato soup. Again, I have no recipe but I just cook diced potatoes in water, then add some milk (sometimes I use milk powder), diced onions and butter directly to the water, then potato flakes until it gets to the consistency I like, then add some grated cheese and/or bacon or ham bits. I also make bread from a potato flake based sour dough starter. It is so good. I can share the starter and dough recipe if you want it. You can most likely google it though. Instant potato is also great in a pinch when time is short. Leftovers make great patties or topping for shepherds pie. Hope this helps.

        1. Hi Dawn
          I’ve just discovered insta t Idahoan Buttery Mash which is sooooo delicious all on its own. I have awful memories of instant potato from my childhood, it was called SMASH and it always, always had lumps in it, nasty 🤮

    2. Mountain Mama Dawn, my grandmother taught me to add potato flakes to sauerkraut. The flavor is amazing. I rinse the kraut, add water and bring to boil. Add butter and potato flakes (to thicken to your liking) and a bit of brown sugar. Delicious!

      1. I make sauerkraut and would never have thought to add instant potatoes. Interesting! Thank you for the suggestion. 🙂

    3. I have never been an instant potato devotee, but felt compelled to research ways to use up a box that came into my possession. Instant potatoes can be used in place of cooked potatoes to make gnocchi. They are easy to make, and the results are surprisingly good! For those unfamiliar, gnocchi are small dumplings made with flour and potatoes. They can be served as an entree, or as a starch accompaniment to dishes with gravies such as beef stroganoff. My apologies if someone has posted about this before and I missed it. I’ve posted a link to the Taste of Home recipe. I don’t tend to add any spices and have found that it takes several minutes for the gnocchi to float.

  43. Your garden is such a beautiful peaceful place that you really should be so proud of. I didn’t comment last week but also the fact that Winter and her husband are also so wise with not carrying debt speaks volumes to how you are raising your children!

    This past week I went to the dentist, and it turns out I have TMJ, so the visit was 1/4 of what I was expecting.

    My husband has been watching for a bandsaw for woodworking for some time. They are upwards of $1800+ so finding one used was the only option. He happened to see one posted on FB marketplace for $175 that was barely used and retails for over $1800. He was beyond thrilled! It needs a few minor adjustments but overall is in great condition and not used much by the owner.

    I picked enough lettuce from the garden for sandwiches, lettuce wraps, to serve with hamburgers and several salads. My spinach is almost ready for its first harvest as is my Tatsoi. I planted more flower seeds, replanted more Sweet Pea seedlings that were destroyed by the crazy wind and hail we had last week and have been hardening off my seedlings. All in all with the crazy storms and hail I lost a few sweet pea flower plants and a few shallots were broken, so I was very thankful. Tonight is hopefully our last frost, so I covered my garden beds back with Agribon. I am starting sweet potatoes inside to try to make my own slips again this year. I have in the past and last year purchased starts and they produced terribly. It may have been weather related but I am going back to grow my own.

    I have been watching stock on several items online and thankfully Vitacost is one that takes notice when you put something in your cart if you are logged in and don’t checkout. They often send coupons when I happen to leave items in my cart, 10% and 15% off most frequently. This time they offered a $20/$50 purchase coupon. I purchase gluten free oats, some gluten free flours and grain free pasta for my husband from here. This was equivalent to a 40% off coupon so I made sure to use it, ordered enough to get free shipping and went through a rewards portal for 5% back plus 1.5% on my credit card. We pay in full everytime but worth it to collect the rewards.

    My father brought my sister’s family and mine both a large full ham, a full pork loin and two giant pork roasts. It came to almost 60 pounds of pork! He visited a town several hours away that has several stores that compete with prices. Even at the great prices he spent a large amount and wouldn’t let me repay him. I was able to cut the pork roasts into quarters. I cooked two in my instapot and made pulled pork and bbq pulled pork that we ate on 4 times throughout the week. I also cooked the ham, because of lack of space in my freezer and then made several meals during the week, including white beans and ham and then froze much of the meat to use later. I save the skin and fat in a separate bag in my freezer and use it to season green beans when I cook them. It was very much a blessing!

    We have been opening our windows as often as possible and not running the ac or heaters. I paid all bills online, except mailing in a check for our State Income taxes that were due. I blended banana peels, water and crushed egg shells to fertilize my roses that were planted this year. We have been feeding our worm farm kitchen scraps that I chop in my food processor for easier digestion. They have grown a tremendous amount already and in another week or two will have to add another tray to the composter as the first one is almost full.

    One of my recipes that I have made for many years for muffins has always called for milk to be used. We use dairy-free milk because of allergies but I have been making with water instead and honestly do not taste any difference or notice a change to the texture. In fact, the children say they taste better than ever! I have been thinking about ways to try to start making even more adjustments to meals I make to use less or different ingredients that may start being more unavailable or out of reach. We currently do not have any shortage of eggs, but I know this is not the case with many. We often use chia or flax seeds to make an egg substitute in baking. They work great and add in some nutrition and fiber. Just a thought for those who are having issues with price or availability. I know there are a lot more adjustments I need to make in this regard and am going to put forth more effort to really try to figure out less expensive options.

  44. Happy Easter!

    We had a date and drank coffee and tea out then came home for dinner. My husband was willing to take me out but I could think of so many things that I would rather spend the money on. So we had a nice dinner at home and he was happy and so was I! We have had a grocery date before and bought coffee or tea for home and drank it there. We have just as much fun! My husband planted the end of a romaine lettuce and it is growing in a pot! We already have green onions growing from the roots that we planted. We have cut it many times over. Paid all bills early. I collected seeds from okra we planted last year. I’m pretty excite about that! I love heirloom seeds! I also bought a couple other varieties that we hope to plant. We never bought any other grow lights instead my husband is rotating the few plants we have growing and it seems to be working. We are still keeping track of money, every cent. The weather has been good and so my husband got some overtime! It was very helpful. We will buy glasses most likely this week. I will probably look at zennioptical. I have been pleased with them in the past. Today I made Indian aubergine and lentil soup. It was very satisfying. My husband loved it! My son ate Mac and cheese and veggies but I think he will enjoy eating the soup tomorrow as well. I find that it cooks quicker in a pressure cooker, saving on fuel.
    This week I also made asparagus soup using asparagus that I froze last year. I then had some soup to eat and to freeze for later when I need a quick meal. I made a lot of meals this week but I can’t remember them all. Oh, another one was an oriental dish using veggies and some ground pork and a bit of rice for my husband. I just made it up using what veggies I had and ginger, garlic, onion, siracha and fish sauce, Thai basil. He loved it! I bought cereal this week, something I rarely do, but it was enjoyable to wake up and have a bowl for a change. My husband and son like to snack on it as well. Usually we eat oatmeal or eggs or leftovers for breakfast. I oftentimes eat veggies for breakfast. They make me feel good. Sometimes cottage cheese.

  45. Great post Brandy, I enjoy reading all your frugal accomplishments. I love the Alnwick rose. What a lovely simple birthday party you had for your child. The Persian cafe/grocer sounds good, wish I lived closer.

    Our week was the usual going to work, grocery shopping ($41 total), going fishing to catch our dinner (two nights worth caught), housework, yard and garden maintenance and harvesting, cooking all meals and going outside as much as possible. I’m trying to be creative with using up our abundance of mandarins. There are so many on the tree.

    We gratefully received Easter morning bruch of croissants with ham, cheese, avocado and tomato and waffles with cream, ice-cream and berries. We were asked to supply juice.

    I got Easter gifts for my children for next year, at 60% and 90% off. My best buy was medium sized beautifully boxed packs of Easter themed headbands with removable accessories to attach to the band, bunny wands and lots of glowsticks for $1. I also bought boxed packs of two decorative bunnies for 20 cents per pack.

    School started today so to keep up good spirits we made giant pancakes for breakfast.

    Take care.

    1. The restaurant was across town and I rarely go more than 2 miles away for most of my shopping, so it was a rare treat, but it was delicious!

  46. Hello, frugal friends, Mother Nature cannot seem to make up her mind whether it is winter or spring. Yesterday and today we have had snow flurries! And the wind is crazy loud and strong. What little I have in my garden seems to be holding up though. We did get some much needed rain so there is water in the rain barrel for future use. Here in the Appalachian Mountains the dogwoods and redbuds are blooming along with daffodils and tulips. I brought some in and made a simple centerpiece for our Easter table. Easter dinner consisted of roasts and marked down rolls I had in the freezer and sides using what I had and what my children each provided (deviled eggs, and the most beautiful and delicious cupcakes my DIL made).
    *We have had a few good rain showers in the past 2 weeks so our rain barrel is full.
    *Our rhubarb and asparagus is coming in. I will harvest tomorrow and cook and freeze some of both for future use.
    *I purchased broccoli crowns on sale and will freeze them.
    * I received a coupon for free 18 count eggs. There seems to be a good supply of eggs in my area, but I realize that can change at any time. I also was gifted 9 eggs from a friend with chickens.
    *I have been freezing milk in pint jars so I can stay out of the grocery store.
    *I have been mixing the thawed milk with reconstituted powdered milk to stretch it.
    *My husband fixed both our dryer and my 20 year old sewing machine. My sewing machine had a loose wire in the foot control. The dryer hose was cleaned out and a switch was replaced in the dryer. My husband had everything, including the knowledge, to fix the dryer. My husband said he was going to run up to get a new dryer lightbulb at one point in the repair. I told him I wasn’t aware the dryer had a light! It apparently has been out for so long that I forgot it even existed! The laundry room has plenty of light so I never even missed it.
    *A friend came into town and took us out to dinner one night. We had leftovers for another dinner the next night.
    *We had a few warm days in the past 2 weeks so we turned the heat off. Of course, it is back on now with it being 36 degrees out today and yesterday.
    *I found a few worms after the rain last week. I brought them home and added them to one of the garden boxes.
    *My DIL gave me 2 tomato starts. So far I have a couple of cucumber starts and her tomato starts. Now I just need to keep them alive until Mothers Day when it is safe to plant around here.
    I appreciate all the book recommendations. I really enjoyed The War that Saved My Life and the sequel to it. As a former elementary school librarian and retired kindergarten teacher I love reading young adult/youth fiction. I read aloud to my grandsons when they come to visit and my granddaughter and I sit in my car while waiting for the bus every morning and I read to her as well. I also appreciate the thoughtful comments and ideas I find here. Brandy, your website has taught me so much.

    1. I recommended “The War That Saved My Life” a while back. I am so glad you enjoyed it and shared it with your family. It was snowing here this morning in our neck of the Appalachian Mountains, too. Stay warm! 🙂

      1. I second this! An absolutely marvelous, insightful story, and the sequel (The War I Finally Won) is just as good!

        1. I read both of them on Mountain Mama Dawn’s suggestion. Excellent read! I actually bought them for my grandchildren to read sometime in the future. Thank you!

  47. I have been meal prepping and it is working great. I have been tried some new dishes and they are interesting. The flower pictures are gorgeous. I love flowers. We went to the library and the Extension Office for gardening ideas. My family celebrated on Saturday my niece’s baby shower/Easter/birthday celebrations. I have started walking everyday with a friend from work.

    Happy Birthday, Brandy we wish many blessings on you.

  48. Many blessing for you Brandy.

    My brother (principal of high school) and Daddy (plant manager) always wear suits. They got theirs at Salvation Army. Grandson says he still gets his dress shirts there.

    We are stocked for our needs except in the “emergency like grid goes down) area. I am still pricing that out and making sure the monthly bills are paid first.

    We bought only 1 gallon of milk and Hubby got it at Save A Lot while fueling his work truck across the road… so no extra trips.

    Easter was just the two of us. I used the ham steaks we already had in the freezers. We still have popcorn and sweet corn in the freezers so I told Hubby we would hold the seed until next year. No sense growing something we have in the freezer to will last us a year.

    Asparagus is starting in. We had enough to share with our Amish neighbors of 11. They sent over 2 dozen fresh eggs. Cage free and organic LOL.

    This week was more of what we didn’t do to stay frugal than what we did. We do have a grandchild*who is an adult* that is replacing the lemon lime koolaid they took (over 40 packets) when they were only to get 10 packets. They decided to suck up to Granddad and get his wild berry lemon aide sent at the same time he likes so he wouldn’t give the lecture. She thought we wouldn’t miss it, the rest of the family was like “seriously? you think they don’t inventory that?” She will be teased the rest of her life over it by her cousins.
    Praying for peace
    Blessed be

  49. Brandy your gardens are beautiful! It has been so windy, rainy, and snowiy here that I can’t even get into the garden yet! I had a few grocery wins last week, but overall prices continue to rise. There is no chicken breast to be had here. I was able to get 3 hams for .87 per pound at Aldi. At Kroger I bought 6 pineapples for .87 each. I was also able to get 2 lb. packages of cheese for 6.99. I purchased 3.
    My chickens are laying about a dozen eggs a day. I am going to start canning the meat in my freezer to extend its storage life.
    I tried to buy Easter candy the Monday after Easter (7am) but there was none to purchase. I went to all the stores in our town. I have never experienced this before. I have been super vigilant about using up leftovers. I am putting some odds and ends veggies into the dehydrator today. Anxious to get to work on my garden. Not sure if my fruit trees made it last winter. Not much blooming here yet. I strung new clothesline and am drying items outside as weather permits. So ready for Spring!

  50. Working at a church meant that last week was more than a little busy – but everything worked out well and services were well attended. I attended the Maundy Thursday service via Zoom but went in person to the Good Friday and Easter Sunday services.

    Being so busy kept me out of the stores for most of the week – I only bought a litre of milk, some cheese and hummus for immediate use. I did find a small ham for Easter – invited a friend – caved in and bought some peameal bacon (usually only buy it when it’s on sale) and then some breaded haddock for the freezer – managed to squeeze them in. Everything is packaged up for individual servings so they will be added to the rotation. Today and tomorrow will be days to use up leftovers and then I plan a couple of soup, cheese & cracker meals to ensure that some meals are non- meat. I also hard boiled some eggs so they are also available. Eggs seem to still be in good supply here (although they announced more cases of avian flu this morning) but our prices would shock most of you – I pay around $4.29 for a dozen extra large eggs – not organic but really good quality from a small supplier and that’s not the highest price I’ve paid!

    Made do with only hand laundry last week, decided to cut up a tube of expensive hair styling cream that seemed to be finished – well – I scraped out enough to last for the next six weeks!! Combined any errands and trips to the library so that all could be done within the two hour window allowed on each transit fare.

    Had five social outings – woohoo – met my best friend at about the half way mark for both of us on the subway line and we had a couple of hours to wander around the shops, get in a good walk and then she treated for coffees and muffins (I treated the last time). I met two friends from church for coffee after worship on Friday and then the friend who lives downstairs asked me to Good Friday supper. She and I did go for hamburgers after a long walk on Saturday (it had been months) and then she came to dinner on Easter Monday. I haven’t had so many outings or seen that many different people in one week since before the pandemic started! I had hoped to perhaps visit family for a few days this week (they are all out of the city and it involves a train trip of a few hours for me) – but then both sides came down with Covid so that plan was scrapped. A couple have been hit harder than others but all seem to be recovering well. It was the same for other friends – plans had to be cancelled or switched at the last minute – disappointing but people seem to be used to it by now – there will be quite a few “Easter dinner get-togethers” over the next few weeks!

    I did have some good news from the office – I had been a bit confused by my pay last month so did a quick check for last year – turns out I’m due a full month’s pay! Apologies all round but it’s fine – I missed it myself! I’ve asked for it to be paid out over the next four months rather than in one lump sum – I need to think about what to do with it and don’t want to be tempted to spend it mindlessly!

    It seems to be one step forward and two steps back here when it comes to the weather. One day it’s sunny and in the mid-teens C and the next day it’s snowing again! We had a huge snowstorm last night – huge, fluffy flakes – it looked like a winter wonderland out my windows – but this morning it was mostly all gone – but grey and cool. Spring is scheduled to return for the next couple of days but then temps will drop again to barely above freezing. It must be driving the gardeners crazy – although most people up here don’t start outdoor planting until the May long weekend (one weekend ahead of your Memorial day weekend) – this Winter just keeps on giving! Stay well everyone.

  51. Hello and I’m so glad everyone had a nice Easter. I started last week off in a very non-frugal way: I went out to eat with my girlfriends at a nice restaurant that they really enjoy (I’m a cheap restaurant person), and I spent $18, yes $18 on fish and fries and I felt sooo guilty. Fortunately, we only meet every 3 months, and I’m very determined next time to get the absolute cheapest item on the menu. I tried to be super focused the rest of the week. I ate all meals at home until the weekend: we watched our niece play volleyball in GA and ate lunch with family, where I only ate a bbq sandwich. Then we went to our great nephews’ birthday party (cash gifts so they’re tailor made!) and their mom had lots of healthy snacks so that was my supper. We cooked out for Easter with minimal sides, and we continue to eat those leftovers. This week is low key so minimal expenditures, hopefully!
    Thank you again for such a wonderful blog with all of the uplifting comments! They really help me get through the week!

  52. Winco had beautiful Tri Tips for under $4.00 a pound. I marinated it over night and my husband cooked it on our Kamada Grill. It was very delicious. I had a Costco Ham that we were given at Christmas and cooked that as well. We provided the meat and the rest of our family and guest provided the sides and dessert for Easter.
    My husband bought brake pads to change on our car. They had doubled in price. At least he could do the labor.
    I read today Azure Standard HQ burnt to the ground. Fire is under investigation. Between fires, drought, Bird Flu, Fertilizers shortages. Crops not being planted. Supply Chain delays. I am doing everything I can to store up food for my family. We have never faced a Holodomor here in the States but it looks like the perfect storm is brewing for that.
    I bought a food dehydrator and I dehydrated Spring Onions from my garden. So much cheaper than buying dried from the store. I can’t wait to try more things.
    I wonder has anyone bought Organic Dried Corn? I found a huge bag of corn meal at a restaurant supply for $22. I thought whole Kernels would keep longer. Keep building up your home ladies.

    1. Yes, corn kernels keep much longer than corn meal, which goes rancid very quickly. I grind my own in my Nutrimill.

    2. The comparison of the Holodomor to food shortages in the U.S. makes me uncomfortable. The Holodomor was a famine in the Ukraine that killed millions of people (1932, 1933). The origins of the famine lay in the decision by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin to collectivize agriculture in 1929. Teams of Communist Party agitators forced peasants to relinquish their land, personal property, and sometimes housing to collective farms, and they deported so-called kulaks—wealthier peasants—as well as any peasants who resisted collectivization altogether. Collectivization led to a drop in production, the disorganization of the rural economy, and food shortages. It also sparked a series of peasant rebellions, including armed uprisings, in some parts of Ukraine. Many countries consider this a deliberate genocide of the Ukrainian people.

      1. Patricia,

        I did not know about this – thank you. I understand what you are saying and agree – we are experiencing shortages in certain things for a variety of reasons but there is no comparison to what was deliberately inflicted on the people of Ukraine.

        I find myself similarly uncomfortable when I hear jokes about the potato famine in Ireland.

  53. Brandy,

    Your photos are great. My David Austen free rose catalog came —
    I love reading and keeping these catalogs.

    I continued to build up my pantry with canned soup on sale at
    NoFrills for $1.67 per can (usually $3). I also continued buying
    Dole’s pineapple, on sale for $1.49 (on sale from $2.50 to $3).
    I have quite a bit for my pantry. I had hoped for more variety
    for canned fruit but will watch for that later. These are for emergencies
    so I hope to have quite a bit put away.

    I had bought a ham (Co-op) for $1.99 per pound (on sale from $4 per pound) — just before
    Easter it went up to $2.49 on sale. When Easter came, I really didn’t feel like cooking anything
    so I will have a ham dinner next weekend. When I cook it, I’ll cook a blueberry crisp (to lessen the quantity
    of blueberries in my freezer). I’ll also cook several potatoes and sweet potatoes all at once to save on electricity.

    We are still proofreading the book but slowly and steadily making progress.

    We had a sudden snowfall — it is thick and heavy and like cement to walk through. Although
    I’d normally shovel it, I’m hiring someone to do it.

    I had a mammogram and a bone density scan (both free under our system). As mentioned above
    since 2017 (the last bone density scan) I have not lost any height which is promising. I don’t know the results yet.
    Also since 2017, I’ve lost 9 kilograms (about 20 pounds) which makes a total of 120 pounds which I have kept off.
    I did this when I gave up dieting, added fat back into my diet (olive oil, canola oil), got rid of my scales. I once before lost 100 pounds but gained it and even more back by dieting. This time I am hoping there is no medical cause for it. I would like to lose another 20 but am not stressed about it.

    I bought a couple of other things on sale — I needed comfort food so I bought 3 boxes of KD Kraft Dinner on sale (in “Canadian”, in “American” Kraft Macaroni and Cheese) but this is called “Simply” and is made from cauliflower. I avoid high sodium food (except for a ham at Easter as a rare treat) and this isn’t too bad for sodium.
    I hope it’s good – certainly not something I’ll have often. (the canned soup is high in sodium but since it’s only for emergency use it’ll be ok).

    Two of my friends are in the hospital. Since the second friend is my back up buddy, I felt very stressed when she went missing until I phoned her condo building manager and learned she’d gone to the hospital by ambulance (free for seniors here). I guess I’m her backup buddy too as I was about to call the police for a wellness check on her! Both friends are doing well, both on antibiotic drips.

    My friend and neighbour came on Easter Sunday with a turkey dinner for me. It was great! I hope this coming month not to spend
    a lot of money on groceries on sale or otherwise. My one indulgence will be locally grown asparagus. (I’ll think of Tammy when I buy it).
    I hope to eat quite a bit of it and make soup for my freezer. Also, very soon my rhubarb will need harvesting. (although it seems like a long time with this snow).
    I plan on freezing it, too. Perhaps make some crumbles.

    I thought the comment above about lining the top ledge of cupboards that don’t go all the way to the ceiling with muslin to keep the grease and dust down was brilliant. I am going to start doing that this summer. Thanks for that inspiration!

    I had a moment of panic when my cellphone went dead this afternoon and said the software had to be updated or restored.
    I started an upgrade but it said it had to be restored but 4 hours later nothing was happening. It was to be restored by downloading some program to iTunes. That didn’t happen. I tried to reboot it. Nothing happened. I read about it online. Restoration should only take about half an hour. Finally I was so disgusted I simply unplugged it. Et voilà it works like a charm. I am so relieved!

    Once it warms up a bit, I will be stopping feeding the birds. I usually do this in spring as I feel they should be catching bugs. But I will definitely do it this year
    because of bird flu. I have stopped putting the seed in the feeder and just use a stump. That way I don’t have to touch the feeder, don’t have to clean it every day.
    It will save me money not to buy bird seed over the summer. I will be growing my own sunflower seed heads for hanging out next fall.

    Once this snow goes, we will rapidly get into spring — everything will be green. I can hardly wait till it warms up a bit and I don’t have to pay for heating.

    As soon as this snow melts I will plant my seeds. I regret not planting before the storm to be able to use the moisture but it is about a month early here and too cold.

    I really lov snow and winter but I’ve had enough!

  54. It has been a busy week orienting our visitor from Ukraine and preparing Easter dinner, visiting with family etc. We are still eating leftovers from the weekend which has meant no cooking for the last couple of days. Our visitor has to quarantine for another week so she is somewhat limited in what she can get done quite yet.

    I was struggling to think of any frugal things I have done but… My doctor prescribed a new drug for me that cost $465 for a 6-8 week supply. Gulp! I was hoping my health insurance would cover but that was not the case. My husband went to pick it up for me and the pharmacist suddenly remembered she had a coupon for the first order of this drug for free-thank goodness for that. At the moment I am feeling like it is not agreeing with me. If that changes I will have to find ways to save when/if I repurchase.

    My husband is off work this week so he is taking my Mum for her fourth Covid booster this morning and running any errands she needs. I plan to relax as I worked yesterday and the next two days.

  55. After returning from the south and seeing half of the children, and our grandchildren, last week was spent catching up and preparing for Easter. We had my mom and sister (she lost her husband in September) over for Easter dinner and I didn’t have to buy one single thing!! Everything was already in my freezer or storage. I also had plenty to give to someone else. Yesterday, I went to Jewel to pick up a few sale items (large pineapples were $.88, limit 2) and didn’t pick up some of them because you had to buy five of the item and I only wanted one. However, I checked the Cook shank hams, which were listed as $.99/lb. with a $25 purchase. To my delight, they were marked down to $.69/lb. and no other purchase required!!!! I bought a large one. My freezer is packed, and the other ones looked rather dark and not so trim, so this was fine with me. I could NOT believe it! I also just signed up for the FlashFood app and there is a lot of half-price meat at one of my local stores. Thanks for the suggestion. I don’t know if everyone saw this, but the headquarters of Azure Standard burned down night before last. This is very disturbing; they are the largest distributor of organic food. I am sure this will impact prices. Seems everywhere one turns lately…. But, keeping my eyes on the blessings and thanking God that we are stocked up. This site, as well as Ice Age Farmer, lit the fire under me when the virus started and I have been ahead of the game the whole time. Sadly, I haven’t planted any seeds yet. Outside has been freezing (snow on Easter night) and wet. It is supposed to be 80 on Saturday and then drop to 48-50 next week. Will take that time to get the cooler weather crops in. Also need to start my trays; I couldn’t do this as we were gone too long and no one to tend them. Wishing everyone a blessed Easter season, and a blessed Passover season. Thank you, Brandy, for all you do and congratulations to Winter and her husband. It isn’t easy, but she had great training! Love the rananculus! I didn’t know what they were until last year when my cousin said they were her favorite flower! Absolutely beautiful!

  56. Belated happy birthday to you, Brandy! You are a blessing to so many!
    We continue to try and save money by streamline cooking, shopping for markdowns and making do. I cooked an .87/ lb ham, and 10 # potatoes. My daughter brought dessert and sides, and another frequent guest brought fruit. We have had ham and smashed potatoes every night since and it is just heating up the leftovers. I made a big batch of slaw to go with that and that has been our dinners this week. I sent everyone home with leftovers That has worked well since I got home late from work and did gardening till dinner. I found 12# bananas at $3.00 and apples at $4.00 for #12, all markdowns. I have been drying all of them.
    I have been transplanting kale volunteers and lettuce and beet seedlings. My husband brought home 2 big bags of coffee grounds and I added that along with manure and mashed to my compost piles.
    My husband flipped the boards on our 25 year old picnic table, sanded and stained them, no more splinters and it looks great.
    I trash picked a bucket and notebook. I grow through buckets like crazy, hauling dirt all the time. I was excited to get it.

    Blessings to each of you in these crazy days.

  57. Your roses are so lovely! I have always wanted to grow ranunculus, but they have to be lifted here in zone 7 so I’ve never tried. I did try with dahlias once, but they only returned for one year then died in a frost. So now I stick with things I don’t have to lift in fall.

    Both of my kids’ birthdays were last week, so it was quite busy. We had some unexpected expenses, as well as houseguests; it wasn’t a budget-friendly week. It won’t be this week either, as we have other houseguests again.
    We had a few wins, though. I got a free Hallmark card with a coupon. I used a $20 reward at Hibbett’s to get a discount on shoes my son wanted. Uploaded receipts to iBotta and other rebate apps. Enjoyed salad greens and radishes from the garden. Found that I could leave reviews for Office Depot purchases for $2 rewards each, so I did 3 (the monthly limit). Snagged a $5 Panera gift card from Verizon. We ate most of our leftovers. Redeemed $.40/gal in Kroger fuel points. While there, I noticed that they allow up to 35 gallons per redemption. That is huge savings — most of the other gas discounts around here limit to 20 gallons. So next time I redeem my points I’ll plan ahead and we’ll fill all 3 cars with the discounted gas! Two of our cars are Prius so they don’t take much gas anyway, the savings would pay for about half a tank on one.

    I was at a consignment store with my mom, and there were two huge boxes of cheap hangers sitting outside (the kind that clothes on Walmart come on). The clerk said they were free for anyone to take, so I took one of the boxes. These will be used for upcoming consignment sales. Very glad I won’t have to use my “good” clothes hangers for that like I did last time. At the shop, I found a Nike polo for my son, and a nice sweater vest for my husband. $1 each. At another shop, I got a dress for $3.

  58. Happy birthday, Brandy! I hope you enjoy many moments to treasure this year.

    We are finishing up the third month of clearing out my in-laws house, and still probably have another month to go. Another dumpster was dropped for us to use and that will be filled this weekend. Most of their belongings were ruined through years of neglect; it’s hard to see so much be just plain trash. We are recycling all we can and saving anything that might sell for a yard sale. Vast majority though is not. We are spending $$$ driving there several times a week, working much of the day each time. Trying to keep things frugal at home to make up for high gas costs.

    Meals at home have included breakfast for dinner, slow cooker black bean soup, white bean soup and rice, bruschetta, roasted red pepper and onion coques (like flatbreads), and large salads with marinated white beans.

    Meeting with friends to walk and so nice to get time to catch up. A friend was killed in a car accident earlier this week in bad weather and it’s been a lot of shared grief among friends and former co-workers. I’m grateful for the free long distance we have these days to connect.

    1. I am so sorry to hear about your friend, Bonnie. When we cleaned out my in-laws home this past fall, it was much the same as yours. Two industrial dumpsters full, plus two truckloads and four stuffed car loads to the charity shop, and a big Penske truck of stuff brought home to sell or keep. It made me sad to have to toss so much because of neglect. Sadly, the house had also fallen into disrepair and spending some money to fix some things would have generated far more profit for my MIL (who is in a home), but my husband’s siblings didn’t want to bother. So sad.

  59. I’d love to see the dolmas recipe on the website when you have it sorted. I’ve only had them on occasion at festivals, but always enjoyed them, meatless in particular.

    I took an old, leaking stock tank and added some logs to the bottom (a la hugelkultur), then some sticks and twigs, some old straw, and finally, some rich soil from our former chicken run. Zero cost and I have my first raised bed garden. I’m trying it out to see what I learn. It will settle quite a lot the first season, so I’ll plant things like salad greens and kale rather than perennials.

    I borrowed some seeds from our library’s seed library. This will help supplement the garden seed I’ve got saved from previous years. I also borrowed books, DVDs, and audiobooks from the library.

    We gave our dog his spring haircut. He looks very cute, and completely different.

    We planned our menu based on the fresh produce items on sale in the current and most recent cycle, ensuring some good variety at lower cost.

    We set a watering can on our front step. When we run hot water to the kitchen sink, we’re capturing the cool ‘first’ water, and then putting it into the watering can. End of day, I go around and sprinkle it on some of our plants around the front of the house.

  60. Brandy, I have a gardening question. I have searched the web but can not quite get a satisfactory answer, which would mean an answer that would satisfy a cheapskate. 🙂 I live in So Cal desert with gardening conditions much like yours. One of the flowering plants that survives this brutality is Vincas, but they are actually annuals. They do survive longer than that but are homely and leggy the second season even when I prune them back. However, it’s possible I should have pruned them back a month or two ago. I know that you use a lot of Vincas. Are you tearing out after season and starting anew each year or are you able to get them bushy the second year by very early pruning?

    1. They freeze here in winter but they last from April through November so I consider that pretty good.

      It’s cheaper to buy them in a 6-pack rather than individually. sells seeds for them in bulk if you want to grow them from seed. Not all colors are the same amount so do compare. I am thinking about ordering some more seeds this year today, actually. I have to see how many I have still.
      I bought five 6-packs yesterday in white but that’s all they had and I need more than that.

      I had them self-seed several years but nothing has come up here yet. Self-seeded ones come up in June for me.

  61. We MAY be talking about different plants, but perhaps mine is the same plant and burns out at higher temps? The one I’m familiar with is perennial and more of a spreading groundcover. It comes in periwinkle blue or white. The whites are less common, but they are the ones that are going crazy at my house. What we call vincas are easily propagated from cuttings. Just bury a piece, particularly if it has already started putting out roots. You might try this with yours–if it doesn’t work, you aren’t out anything.

    1. Probably not the same vinca. They sell that here too. Vincas are also called periwinkles and are an annual here. They love heat. I use them in place of pansies in the summer.

  62. Thanks Brandy for the wonderful flowers that bring lots of joy to these days of spring.

    I am so inspired by the positivity of this great community and always look forward to learning wonderful new things from everyone.
    This week here in the midwest we:
    Had a bad wind storm and picked up the branches from our yard; some were frozen in snow banks so we had to be patient.
    I sowed seeds in milk jugs that act basically as terrariums. I set them in the sunshine on blocks to attract as much heat as possible to germinate.
    Had a “major” necessary truck repair covered by a truck manufacture and we were over the top impressed by the great customer service we got.
    Save $60 by contacting our wifi provider when the rate went up $5 per month-got it cancelled.
    Got a Fetch redeemed and got $10 toward groceries at Kroger’s.
    Turn the heat down when we leave the house. There is still 45% in our LP tank so will wait until this summer when the cost is down to fill up the 500 gallon tank.
    Put expiration dates on stored coffee cans, flour, sugar, etc. By using a permanent marker I can see easily what should be used first. I just don’t want to waste anything and can control our inventory.
    My husband ran errands while I got my hair cut. We also carry lists or try to plan as many errands at the same time.
    Bought Easter candy at 50% off. I love my little peeps and what a great treat. Waited until they were on sale to buy anything.
    Started making my a baby pillow out of scraps I saved from a baby quilt I made.
    Have a frugal week everyone.

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